The Gracious Invitation
"Come unto me all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you
rest." Matthew 11:28.
Gracious "word" of a gracious Savior, on which the soul may confidingly
repose, and be at peace forever! It is a present rest the rest of grace as
well as the rest of glory. Not only are there signals of peace hung out from
the walls of heaven the lights of Home glimmering in the distance to cheer
our footsteps; but we have the "shadow" of this "great Rock!" in a present
"weary land." Before the Throne alone is there "the sea of glass," without
one rippling wave; but there is a haven even on earth for the
tempest-tossed "We who have believed DO enter into rest."
Reader, have you found this blessed repose in the blood and work of
Immanuel? Long going about "seeking rest and finding none," does this "word"
sound like music in your ears "Come unto Me"? All other peace is
counterfeit, shadowy, unreal. The eagle spurns the gilded cage as a poor
equivalent for his free-born soarings. The soul's immortal aspirations can
be satisfied with nothing short of the possession of God's favor and love in
How unqualified is the invitation! If there had been one condition in
entering this covenant Ark, we must have been through eternity at the mercy
of the storm. But all are alike warranted and welcome, and none more
warranted than welcome. For the weak, the weary, the sin-burdened and
sorrow-burdened, there is an open door of grace.
Return, then, unto your rest, O my soul! Let the sweet cadence of this "word
of Jesus" steal on you amid the disquietudes of earth. Sheltered in Him, you
are safe for time, safe for eternity! There may be, and will be, temporary
tossings, fears, and misgivings manifestations of inward corruption; but
these will only be like the surface-heavings of the ocean, while underneath
there is a deep, settled calm. "You will keep him in perfect peace" (lit.
peace, peace) "whose mind is stayed on You." In the world it is care on
care, trouble on trouble, sin on sin, but every wave that breaks on the
believer's soul seems sweetly to murmur, "Peace, peace!"
And if the foretaste of this rest be precious, what must be the glorious
consummation? Awaking in the morning of immortality, with the unquiet dream
of earth over faith lost in sight, and hope in fruition no more any bias to
sin no more latent principles of evil nothing to disturb the spirit's deep,
everlasting tranquility the trembling magnet of the heart reposing, where
alone it can confidingly and permanently rest, in the enjoyment of the
Infinite God. "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me you might
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The Comforting Assurance
"Your heavenly Father knows that you have need of all these things."
Though spoken originally by Jesus regarding temporal things, this may be
taken as a motto for the child of God amid all the changing vicissitudes of
his changing history. How it should lull all misgivings; silence all
murmurings; lead to lowly, unquestioning submissiveness "My Heavenly Father
knows that I have need of all these things."
Where can a child be safer or better than in a father's hand? Where can the
believer be better than in the hands of his God? We are poor judges of what
is best. We are under safe guidance with infallible wisdom. If we are
tempted in a moment of rash presumption to say, "All these things are
against me," let this "word" rebuke the hasty and unworthy surmise. Unerring
wisdom and Fatherly love have pronounced all to be "needful."
My soul, is there anything that is disturbing your peace? Are providences
dark, or crosses heavy? Are spiritual props removed, creature comforts
curtailed, gourds smitten and withered like grass? write on each, "Your
Father knows that you have need of all these things." It was He who
increased your burden. Why? "It was needed." It was supplanting Himself He
had to remove it! It was He who crossed your worldly schemes, marred your
cherished hopes. Why? "It was needed." There was a lurking thorn in the
coveted path. There was some higher spiritual blessing in communion with
God. "He prevented you with the blessings of His goodness."
Seek to cherish a spirit of more childlike confidence in your Heavenly
Father's will. You are not left unfriended and alone to buffet the storms of
the wilderness. Your Marahs as well as your Elims are appointed by Him. A
gracious pillar-cloud is before you. Follow it through sunshine and storm.
He may "lead you about," but He will not lead you wrong. Unutterable
tenderness is the characteristic of all His dealings. "Blessed be His name,"
says a tried believer, "He makes my feet like hinds' feet" (literally,
"equals" them), "he equals them for every precipice, every ascent, every
And who is it that speaks this quieting word? It is He who Himself felt the
preciousness of the assurance during His own awful sufferings, that all were
needed, and all appointed; that from Bethlehem's cradle to Calvary's Cross
there was not the unnecessary thorn in the crown of sorrow which He, the Man
of Sorrows, bore. Every drop in His bitter cup was mingled by His Father:
"This cup which You give me to drink, shall I not drink it?" Oh, if He could
extract comfort in this hour of inconceivable agony, in the thought that a
Father's hand lighted the fearful furnace-fires what strong consolation is
there is the same truth to all His suffering people!
What! one superfluous drop! one unessential pang! one unneeded cross! Hush
the secret atheism! He gave His Son for you! He calls Himself "your Father!"
Whatever be the trial under which you are now smarting, let the word of a
gracious Savior be "like oil thrown on the fretful sea;" let it dry every
rebellious tear-drop. "He, your unerring Parent, knows that you have need of
this as well as all these things."
"Your word is very sure, therefore your servant loves it."
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The Power Of Prayer
"Whatever you shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be
glorified in the Son." John 14:13
Blessed Jesus! it is You who has unlocked to Your people the gates of
prayer. Without You they must have been shut forever. It was Your atoning
merit on earth that first opened them; it is Your intercessory work in
heaven that keeps them open still.
How unlimited the promise "Whatever you shall ask!" It is the pledge of all
that the needy sinner requires all that an Omnipotent Savior can bestow! As
the great Steward of the mysteries of grace, He seems to say to His faithful
servants, "Take your bill, and under this, my superscription, write what you
please." And then, when the blank is filled up, he further endorses each
petition with the words, "I WILL do it!"
He farther encourages us to ask "in His name." In the case of an earthly
petitioner there are some pleas more influential in obtaining a benefit than
others. Jesus speaks of this as forming the key to the heart of God. As
David loved the helpless cripple of Saul's house "for Jonathan's sake," so
will the Father, by virtue of our covenant relationship to the true Jonathan
(lit., "the gift of God"), delight in giving us even "exceedingly abundantly
above all that we can ask or think."
Reader, do you know the blessedness of confiding your every need and every
care your every sorrow and every cross into the ear of the Savior? He is the
"Wonderful Counselor." With an exquisitely tender sympathy He can enter into
the innermost depths of your need. That need may be great, but the
everlasting arms are underneath it all. Think of Him now, at this moment the
great Angel of the Covenant, with the censer full of much incense, in which
are placed your feeblest aspirations, your most burdened sighs the
odor-breathing cloud ascending with acceptance before the Father's throne.
The answer may tarry these your supplications may seem to be kept long on
the wing, hovering around the mercy-seat. A gracious God sometimes sees it
fitting thus to test the faith and patience of His people. He delights to
hear the music of their importunate pleadings to see them undeterred by
difficulties unrepelled by apparent forgetfulness and neglect. But He will
come at last the pent-up fountain of love and mercy will at length burst
out the soothing accents will in His own good time be heard, "Be it unto you
according to your word!"
Soldier of Christ! with all your other armor, do not forget the
"All-prayer." It is that which keeps bright and shining "the whole armor of
God." While yet out in the night of a dark world while still camping in an
enemy's country kindle your watch-fires at the altar of incense. You must be
Moses, pleading on the Mount, if you would be Joshua, victorious in the
world's daily battle. Confide your cause to this waiting Redeemer. You
cannot weary Him with your importunity. He delights in hearing. His Father
is glorified in giving. The memorable Bethany-utterance remains unaltered
and unrepealed "I know that You hear me always." He is still the "Prince
that has power with God and prevails" still promises and pleads still He
lives and loves!
"I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait; and in his word do I hope."
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The Unveiled Dealings
"What I do you know not now; but you shall know hereafter." John
O blessed day, when the long sealed book of mystery shall be unfolded, when
the "fountains of the great deep shall be broken up," "the channels of the
waters seen," and all discovered to be one vast revelation of unerring
wisdom and ineffable love! Here we are often baffled at the Lord's
dispensations; we cannot fathom His ways like the well of Sychar, they are
deep, and we have nothing to draw with. But soon the "mystery of God will be
finished;" the enigmatical "seals," with all their inner meanings, opened.
When that "morning without clouds" shall break, each soul will be like the
angel standing in the sun there will be no shadow; all will be perfect day!
Believer, be still! The dealings of your Heavenly Father may seem dark to
you; there may seem now to be no golden fringe, no "bright light in the
clouds;" but a day of disclosures is at hand. "Take it on trust a little
while." An earthly child takes on trust what his father tells him: when he
reaches maturity, much that was baffling to his infant comprehension is
explained. You are in this world in the childhood of your being Eternity is
the soul's immortal manhood. There, every dealing will be vindicated. It
will lose all its "darkness" when bathed in the floods "of the excellent
Ah! instead of thus being as weaned children, how apt are we to exercise
ourselves in matters too high for us! not content with knowing that our
Father wills it, but presumptuously seeking to know how it is, and why it
is. If it is unfair to pronounce on the unfinished and incomplete works of
man; if the painter, or sculptor, or artificer, would shrink from having his
labors judged of when in a rough, unpolished, immature state; how much more
so with the works of God! How we should honor Him by a simple, confiding,
unreserved submission to His will contented patiently to wait the
fulfillment of this "hereafter" promise, when all the lights and shadows in
the now half-finished picture will be blended and melted into one harmonious
whole when all the now disjointed stones in the temple will be seen to fit
into their appointed place, giving unity, and compactness, and symmetry, to
all the building.
And who is it that speaks these living "words," "What I do?" It is He who
died for us! who now lives for us! Blessed Jesus! You may do much that our
blind hearts would like undone "terrible things in righteousness which we
looked not for." The heaviest (what we may be tempted to call the severest)
cross You can lay upon us we shall regard as only the apparent severity of
unutterable and unalterable love. Eternity will unfold how all, all was
needed; that nothing else, nothing less, could have done! If not now, at
least then, the deliberate verdict on a calm retrospect of life will be
this "THE WORD of the Lord is right, and all his works are done in truth."
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The Father Glorified
"This is to my Father's glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves
to be my disciples." John 15:8
When surveying the boundless ocean of covenant mercy every wave chiming,
"God is Love!" does the thought ever present itself, "What can I do for this
great Being who has done so much for me?" Recompense I cannot! No more can
my purest services add one iota to His underived glory, than the tiny candle
can add to the blaze of the sun at noonday, or a drop of water to the
boundless ocean. Yet, wondrous thought! from this worthless soul of mine
there may roll in a revenue of glory which He who loves the broken and
contrite spirit will "not despise." "Herein is my Father glorified, that you
bear much fruit."
Reader! are you a fruit-bearer in your Lord's vineyard? Are you seeking to
make life one grand act of consecration to His glory one thank-offering for
His unmerited love? You may be unable to exhibit much fruit in the eye of
the world. Your circumstances and position in life may forbid you to point
to any splendid services, or laborious and imposing efforts in the cause of
God. It matters not. It is often those fruits that are unseen and unknown to
man, ripening in seclusion, that He values most the quiet, lowly
walk patience and submission gentleness and humility putting yourself
unreservedly in His hands willing to be led by Him even in darkness saying,
Not my will, but Your will the unselfish spirit, the meek bearing of an
injury, the unostentatious kindness these are some of the "fruits" which
your Heavenly Father loves, and by which He is glorified.
Perchance it may be with you the season of trial, the chamber of protracted
sickness, the time of desolating bereavement, some furnace seven times
heated. Herein, too, you may sweetly glorify your God. Never is your
Heavenly Father more glorified by His children on earth, than when, in the
midst of these furnace-fires, He listens to nothing but the gentle
breathings of confiding faith and love "Let Him do what seems good unto
Him." Yes you can there in the furnace, glorify Him in a way which angels
cannot do in a world where no trial is. They can glorify God only with the
crown; you can glorify Him with the cross and the prospect of the crown
together! Ah, if He is dealing severely with you if He, as the Great
Husbandman, is pruning His vines, lopping their boughs, stripping off their
luxuriant branches and "beautiful rods!" remember the end! "He purges it,
that it may bring forth more fruit," and "Herein is my Father glorified!"
Be it yours to lie passive in His hands, saying in unmurmuring resignation,
Father, glorify Your name! Glorify Yourself, whether by giving or taking,
filling my cup or "emptying me from vessel to vessel!" Let me know no will
but Yours. Angels possess no higher honor and privilege than glorifying the
God before whom they cast their crowns. How blessed to be able thus to claim
brotherhood with the spirits in the upper sanctuary! no, more, to be
associated with the Savior Himself in the theme of His own exalted joy, when
he said, "I have glorified You on earth!"
"These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and
that your joy might be full."
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The Tender Solicitude
"The very hairs of your head are all numbered." Matthew 10:30
What a "word" is this! All that befalls you, to the very numbering of your
hairs, is known to God! Nothing can happen by accident or chance. Nothing
can elude His inspection. The fall of the forest leaf the fluttering of the
insect the waving of the angel's wing the annihilation of a world all are
equally noted by Him. Man speaks of great things and small things God knows
no such distinction.
How especially comforting to think of this tender solicitude with reference
to His own covenant people that He metes out their joys and their sorrows!
Every sweet, every bitter is ordained by Him. Even "wearisome nights" are
"appointed." Not a pang I feel, not a tear I shed but is known to Him. What
are called "dark dealings" are the ordinations of undeviating faithfulness.
Man may err his ways are often crooked; "but as for God, His way is
perfect!" He puts my tears into His bottle. Every moment the everlasting
arms are underneath and around me. He keeps me "as the apple of His eye." He
"bears" me as a man bears his own son!"
Do I look to the future? Is there much of uncertainty and mystery hanging
over it? It may be, much foreboding of evil. Trust Him. All is marked out
for me. Dangers will be averted; bewildering mazes will show themselves to
be interlaced and interweaved with mercy. "He keeps the feet of His saints."
A hair of their head will not be touched. He leads sometimes darkly,
sometimes sorrowfully; most frequently by cross and circuitous ways we
ourselves would not have chosen; but always wisely, always tenderly. With
all its mazy windings and turnings, its roughness and ruggedness, the
believer's is not only a right way, but the right way the best which
covenant love and wisdom could select. "Nothing," says Jeremy Taylor, "does
so establish the mind amid the rollings and turbulence of present things, as
both a look above them and a look beyond them; above them, to the steady and
good hand by which they are ruled; and beyond them, to the sweet and
beautiful end to which, by that hand, they will be brought." "The Great
Counselor," says Thomas Brooks, "puts clouds and darkness round about Him,
bidding us follow at His beck through the cloud, promising an eternal and
uninterrupted sunshine on the other side." On that "other side" we shall see
how every apparent rough blast has been hastening our boats nearer the
Well may I commit the keeping of my soul to Jesus in well-doing, as unto a
faithful Creator. He gave Himself for me. This transcendent pledge of love
is the guarantee for the bestowment of every other needed blessing. Oh,
blessed thought! my sorrows numbered by the Man of Sorrows; my tears counted
by Him who shed first His tears and then His blood for me. He will impose no
needless burden, and exact no unnecessary sacrifice. There was no
unnecessary drop in the cup of His own sufferings; neither will there be in
that of His people. "Though He slay me, yet will I trust in Him."
"Therefore comfort one another with these words."
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The Good Shepherd
"I am the good shepherd; I know my own sheep, and they know me" John 10:14
"The Good Shepherd" well can the sheep who know His voice attest the
truthfulness and faithfulness of this endearing name and word. Where would
they have been through eternity, had He not left His throne of light and
glory, traveling down to this dark valley of the curse, and giving His life
a ransom for many? Think of His love to each separate member of the
flock wandering over pathless wilds with unwearied patience and unquenchable
ardor, ceasing not the pursuit until He finds it. Think of His love now "I
AM the Good Shepherd." Still that tender eye of watchfulness following the
guilty wanderers the glories of heaven and the songs of angels unable to dim
or alter His affection the music of the words, at this moment coming as
sweetly from His lips as when first He uttered them "I know my sheep." Every
individual believer the weakest, the weariest, the faintest claims His
attention. His loving eye follows me day by day out to the wilderness marks
out my pasture, studies my needs, and trials, and sorrows, and
perplexities every steep ascent, every brook, every winding path, every
"He goes before them." It is not rough driving, but gentle guiding. He does
not take them over an unknown road; He himself has trodden it before. He has
drunk of every "brook by the way;" He himself has "suffered being tempted;"
He is "able to support those who are tempted." He seems to say, "Fear not; I
cannot lead you wrong; follow Me in the bleak waste, the blackened
wilderness, as well as by the green pastures and the still waters. Do you
ask why I have left the sunny side of the valley carpeted with flowers, and
bathed in sunshine leading you to some high mountain apart, some cheerless
spot of sorrow? Trust me. I will lead you by paths you have not known, but
they are all known to me, and selected by me Follow Me."
"They know Me!" Reader! can you subscribe to these closing words of this
gracious utterance? Do you "know" Him in all the glories of His person, in
all the completeness of His finished work, in all the tenderness and
unutterable love of His every dealing towards you?
It has been remarked by Palestine travelers, that not only do the sheep
there follow the guiding shepherd, but even while cropping the herbage as
they go along, they look wistfully up to see that they are near him. Is this
your attitude "looking unto Jesus?" "In all your ways acknowledge Him, and
he will direct your paths." Leave the future to His providing. "The Lord is
my Shepherd; I shall not lack." I shall not lack! it has been beautifully
called "the bleating of Messiah's sheep." Take it as your watchword during
your wilderness wanderings, until grace be perfected in glory. Let this be
the record of your simple faith and unwavering trust, "These are those who
follow, wherever He sees fit to guide them."
"The sheep follow him, for they know his voice."
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The Abiding Comforter
"And I will ask the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he
may abide with you forever." John 14:16
When one beloved earthly friend is taken away, how the heart is drawn out
towards those that remain! Jesus was now about to leave His sorrowing
disciples. He directs them to one whose presence would fill up the vast
blank His own absence was to make. His name was, The Comforter; His mission
was, "to abide with them forever." Accordingly, no sooner had the gates of
heaven closed on their ascended Lord, than, in fulfillment of His own
gracious promise, the bereaved and orphaned Church was baptized with
Pentecostal fire. "When I depart, I will send Him unto you."
Reader, do you realize your privilege living under the dispensation of the
Spirit? Is it your daily prayer that He may come down in all the plenitude
of His heavenly graces on your soul, even "as rain upon the mown grass, and
showers that water the earth?" You cannot live without Him; there can be not
one heavenly aspiration, not one breathing of love, not one upward glance of
faith, without His gracious influences. Apart from him, them is no
preciousness in the Word, no blessing in ordinances, no permanent
sanctifying results in affliction. As the angel directed Hagar to the hidden
spring, this blessed Agent, true to His name and office, directs His people
to the waters of comfort, giving new glory to the promises, investing the
Savior's character and work with new loveliness and beauty.
How precious is the title which this "Word of Jesus" gives Him the
COMFORTER! What a word for a sorrowing world! The Church militant has its
tent pitched in a "valley of tears." The name of the divine visitor who
comes to her and ministers to her needs, is Comforter. Wide is the family of
the afflicted, but He has a healing balm for all the weak, the tempted, the
sick, the sorrowing, the bereaved, the dying! How different from other "sons
of consolation!" Human friends a look may alienate; adversity may estrange;
death must separate! The "Word of Jesus" speaks of One whose attribute and
prerogative is to "abide with us forever" superior to all
vicissitudes surviving death itself!
And surely if anything else can endear His mission of love to His Church, it
is that He comes direct from God, as the fruit and gift of Jesus'
intercession "I will ask the Father." This holy dove of peace and comfort is
let out by the hand of Jesus from the ark of covenant mercy within the veil!
Nor is the gift more glorious than it is free. Does the word, the look, of a
suffering child get the eye and the heart of an earthly father? "If you,
then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much
more shall your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit unto those who ask
Him?" It is He who makes these "words of Jesus" "winged words."
"He shall bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said unto
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The Gracious Verdict
"Neither do I condemn you; go, and sin no more" John 8:11
How much more tender is Jesus than the tenderest of earthly friends! The
Apostles, in a moment of irritation, would have called down fire from heaven
on obstinate sinners. Their Master rebuked the unkind suggestion. Peter, the
trusted but treacherous disciple, expected nothing but harsh and merited
reproof for faithlessness. He who knew well how that heart would be bowed
with penitential sorrow, sends first the kindest of messages, and then the
gentlest of rebukes "Do you love Me?" The watchmen in the Canticles smote
the bride, tore off her veil, and loaded her with reproaches. When she found
her lost Lord, there was not one word of upbraiding! "So slow is He to
anger," says an illustrious believer, "so ready to forgive, that when His
prophets lost all patience with the people so as to make intercession
against them, yet even then could He not be gotten to cast off this people
whom He foreknew, for His great name's sake."
The guilty sinner to whom He speaks this comforting "word," was frowned upon
by her accusers. But, if others spurned her from their presence "Neither do
I condemn you," Well it is to fall into the hands of this blessed
Savior-God, for great are His mercies.
Are we to infer from this, that He winks at sin? Far from it. His blood, His
work Bethlehem, and Calvary, refute the thought! Before the guilt even of
one solitary soul could be washed out, He had to descend from His
everlasting throne to agonize on the accursed tree. But this "word of Jesus"
is a word of tender encouragement to every sincere, broken-hearted penitent,
that crimson sins, and scarlet sins, are no barrier to a free, full,
everlasting forgiveness. The Israelite of old, gasping in his agony in the
sands of the wilderness had but to "look and live;" and still does He say,
"Look unto me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth." Upreared by the
side of His own cross there was a monumental column for all time, only
second to itself in wonder. Over the head of the dying felon is the
superscription written for despairing guilt and trembling penitence, "This
is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Jesus Christ came
into the world to save sinners." "He never yet," says Charnock, "put out a
dim candle that was lighted at the Sun of Righteousness." "Whatever our
guiltiness be," says Rutherford, "yet when it falls into the sea of God's
mercy, it is but like a drop of blood fallen into the great ocean.
Reader, you may be the chief of sinners, or it may be the chief of
backsliders; your soul may have started aside like a broken bow. As the
bankrupt is afraid to look into his books, you may be afraid to look into
your own heart. You are hovering on the verge of despair. Conscience, and
the memory of unnumbered sins, is uttering the desponding verdict, "I
condemn you." Jesus has a kinder word a more cheering declaration "I condemn
you not: go, and sin no more!"
"And all wondered at the gracious WORDS that proceeded out of his mouth."
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The Wondrous Relationship
"Whoever shall do the will of my Father who is in heaven, the same is my
brother, and my sister, and mother." Mark 3:35
As if no solitary earthly type were enough to image forth the love of Jesus,
He assembles into one verse a group of the tenderest earthly relationships.
Human affection has to focus its loveliest hues, but all is too little to
afford an exponent of the depth and intensity of His love. "As one whom his
mother comforts;" "my sister, my spouse." He is "Son," "Brother,"
"Friend" all in one; "cleaving closer than any brother."
And can we wonder at such language? Is it merely figurative, expressive of
more than the reality? He gave Himself for us; after that pledge of His
affection we must cease to marvel at any expression of the interest He feels
in us. Anything He can say or do is infinitely less than what He has done.
Believer! are you solitary and desolate? Has bereavement severed earthly
ties? Has the grave made forced estrangements sundered the closest links of
earthly affection? In Jesus you have filial and fraternal love combined; He
is the Friend of friends, whose presence and fellowship compensates for all
losses, and supplies all blanks; "He sets the solitary in families." If you
are orphaned, friendless, comfortless here, remember there is in the Elder
Brother on the Throne a love deep as the unfathomed ocean, boundless as
Eternity! And who are those who can claim the blessedness spoken of under
this wondrous imagery? On whom does He lavish this unutterable affection? No
outward profession will purchase it. No church, no priest, no ordinances, no
denominational distinctions. It is on those who are possessed of holy
characters. "He who does the will of my Father who is in heaven!" He who
reflects the mind of Jesus; imbibes His Spirit; takes His Word as the
regulator of his daily walk, and makes His glory the great end of his being;
he who lives to God, and with God, and for God; the humble, lowly,
Christ-like, Heaven-seeking Christian he it is who can claim as his own this
wondrous heritage of love! If it be a worthy object of ambition to be loved
by the good and the great on earth, what must it be to have an eye of love
ever beaming upon us from the Throne, in comparison of which the attachment
here of brother, sister, kinsman, friend all combined pales like the stars
before the rising sun! Though we are often ashamed to call Him "Brother,"
"He is not ashamed to call us brethren." He looks down on poor worms, and
says, "The same is my mother, and sister, and brother!" "I will write upon
them," He says in another place, "my new name." Just as we write our name on
a book to tell that it belongs to us; so Jesus would write His own name on
us, the wondrous volumes of His grace, that they may be read and pondered by
principalities and powers.
Have we "known and believed this love of God?" Ah, how poor has been the
requital! Who cannot subscribe to the words of one, whose name was in all
the churches "Your love has been as a shower; the return but a dew-drop, and
that dew-drop stained with sin."
"If a man love me, he will keep My Words; and my father will love him, and
we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
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The Befriended Orphans
"Remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how He said"
"No, I will not abandon you as orphans I will come to you." John 14:18
Does the Christian's path lie all the way through Beulah? No, he is
forewarned it is to be one of "much tribulation." He has his Marahs as well
as his Elims his valleys of Baca as well as his grapes of Eschol. Often is
he left unbefriended to bear the brunt of the storm his gourds fading when
most needed his sun going down while it is yet day his happy home and happy
heart darkened in a moment with sorrows with which a stranger (with which
often a brother) cannot understand. There is One Brother "born for
adversity" who can. How often has that voice broken with its silvery accents
the muffled stillness of the sick-chamber! "I will not leave you
comfortless the world may, friends may, the desolations of bereavement and
death may; but I will not; you will be alone, yet not alone, for I your
Savior and your God will be with you!"
Jesus seems to have an especial love and affection for His orphaned and
comfortless people. A father loves his sick and sorrowing child most; of all
his household, he occupies most of his thoughts. Christ seems to delight to
lavish His deepest sympathy on "him that has no helper." It is in the hour
of sorrow His people have found Him most precious; it is in "the wilderness"
He speaks most "comfortable unto them;" He gives them "their vineyards from
thence" in the places they least expected, wells of heavenly consolation
break forth at their feet. As Jonathan of old, when faint and weary, had his
strength revived by the honey he found dropping in the tangled thicket so
the faint and woe-worn children of God find "honey in the wood" everlasting
consolation dropping from the tree of life, in the midst of the thorniest
thickets of affliction.
Comfortless ones, be comforted! Jesus often makes you portionless here in
this world, to drive you to Himself, the everlasting portion. He often dries
every rill and fountain of earthly bliss, that He may lead you to say, "All
my springs are in You." "He seems intend," says one who could speak from
experience, "to fill up every gap love has been forced to make; one of his
errands from heaven was to bind up the broken-hearted." How beautifully in
one amazing verse does He conjoin the depth and tenderness of his comfort
with the certainty of it "As one whom his mother comforts, so will I comfort
you, and you SHALL be comforted!"
Ah, how many would not have their wilderness-state altered, with all its
trials, and gloom, and sorrow, just that they might enjoy the unutterable
sympathy and love of this Comforter of the comfortless, one ray of whose
approving smile can dispel the deepest earthly gloom! As the clustering
constellations shine with the most intense luster in the midnight sky, so
these "words of Jesus" come out like ministering angels in the deep dark
night of earthly sorrow. We may see no beauty in them when the world is
sunny and bright; but He has laid them up in store for us for the dark and
"These things have I told you, that when the time comes, you may remember
that I told you of them."
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The World Conquered
"In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good
cheer; I have overcome the world." John 16:33
And shall I be afraid of the world, which is already conquered? The Almighty
Victor, within view of His crown, turns round to His faint and weary
soldiers, and bids them take courage. They are not fighting their way
through untried enemies. The God-Man Mediator "knows their sorrows." "He was
in all points tempted." "Both He (that is, Christ) who sanctifies, and they
(His people) who are sanctified, are all of one (nature)." As the great
Predecessor, He heads the pilgrim band, saying, "I will show you the path of
life." The way to heaven is consecrated by His footprints. Every thorn that
wounds them, has wounded Him before. Every cross they can bear, He has borne
before. Every tear they shed, He has shed before. There is one respect,
indeed, in which the identity fails He was "yet without sin;" but this
recoil of His holy nature from moral evil gives Him a deeper and more
intense sensibility towards those who have still corruption within
responding to temptation without.
Reader! are you ready to faint under your tribulations? It is a seducing
world? a wandering, wayward heart? "Consider Him who endured!" Listen to
your adorable Redeemer, stooping from His Throne, and saying, "I have
overcome the world." He came forth unscathed from its snares. With the same
heavenly weapon He bids you wield, three times did He repel the Tempter,
saying, "It is written." Is it some crushing trial, or overwhelming grief?
He is "acquainted with grief." He, the mighty Vine, knows the minutest
fibers of sorrow in the branches; when the pruning knife touches them, it
touches Him. "He has gone," says a tried sufferer, "through every class in
our wilderness school." He loves to bring His people into untried and
perplexing places, that they may seek out the guiding pillar, and prize its
radiance. He puts them on the darkening waves, that they may follow the
guiding light hung out astern from the only Ship of pure and unsullied
humanity that was ever proof against the storm.
Be assured there is disguised love in all He does. He who knows us
infinitely better than we know ourselves, often puts a thorn in our nest to
drive us to the wing, that we may not be grovelers forever. "It is," says
Evans, "upon the smooth ice we slip; the rough path is safest for the feet."
The tearless and undimmed eye is not to be coveted here; that is reserved
Who can tell what muffled and disguised "needs be" there may lurk under
these worldly tribulations? His true spiritual seed are often planted deep
in the soil; they have to make their way through a load of sorrow before
they reach the surface; but their roots are thereby the firmer and deeper
struck. Had it not been for these lowly and needed "depths," they might have
rushed up as feeble saplings, and succumbed to the first blast. He often
leads His people still, as He led them of old, to a "high mountain apart;"
but it is to a high mountain above the world; and, better still, He who
Himself has overcome the world, leads them there, and speaks comfortable
"I hope in your Word."
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The Little Flock
"Fear not, little flock; it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the
kingdom." Luke 12:32
The music of the Shepherd's voice again! Another comforting "word," and how
tender! His flock, a little flock, a feeble flock, a fearful flock, but a
beloved flock, loved of the Father, enjoying His "good pleasure," and soon
to be a glorified flock, safe in the fold, secure within the kingdom! How
does He quiet their fears and misgivings? As they stand panting on the bleak
mountain side, He points His crook upwards to the bright and shining gates
of glory, and says, "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you these!"
What gentle words! what a blessed consummation! Gracious Savior, Your
gentleness has made me great!
That kingdom is the believer's by irreversible and inalienable
charter-right "I appoint unto you" (by covenant), says Jesus in another
place, "a kingdom, as my Father has appointed unto me." It is as sure as
everlasting love and almighty power can make it. Satan, the great foe of the
kingdom, may be injecting foul misgivings, and doubts, and fears as to your
security; but he cannot divest you of your purchased immunities. He must
first pluck the crown from the 'brow upon the throne', before he can weaken
or impair this sure word of promise. If "it pleased the Lord" to bruise the
Shepherd, it will surely please Him to make happy the purchased flock. If He
"smote" His "Fellow" when the sheep were scattered, surely it will rejoice
Him, for the Shepherd's sake, "to turn His hand upon the little ones."
Believers, think of this! "It is your Father's good pleasure." The Good
Shepherd, in leading you across the intervening mountains, shows you signals
and memorials of paternal grace studding all the way. He may "lead you
about" in your way there. He led the children of Israel of old out of Egypt
to their promised kingdom how! By forty years' wilderness-discipline and
privations. But trust Him; dishonor Him not with guilty doubts and fears.
Look not back on your dark, stumbling paths, nor within on your fitful and
vacillating heart; but forwards to the land that is far off. How earnestly
God desires your salvation! What a heaping together of similar tender
"words" with that which is here addressed to us! The Gospel seems like a
palace full of opened windows, from each of which He issues an invitation,
declaring that He has no pleasure in our death but rather that we would turn
Let the melody of the Shepherd's voice fall gently on your ear "It is your
Father's good pleasure." I have given you, He seems to say, the best proof
that it is mine. In order to purchase that kingdom, I died for you! But it
is also His: "As a shepherd seeks out his flock in the day that he is among
his sheep that are scattered, so," says God, "will I seek out my sheep, and
will deliver them out of all places where they have been scattered in the
cloudy and dark day." Fear not, then, little flock! Though yours for a while
should be the bleak mountain and sterile wasteland, seeking your way
Zionward, it may be "with torn fleeces and bleeding feet;" for,
"It is not the will of your Father which is in heaven, that one of these
little ones should perish."
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The Unlimited Offer
"If any man thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." John 7:37
This is one of the most gracious "words" that ever "proceeded out of the
mouth of God!" The time it was uttered was an impressive one; it was on "the
last, the great day" of the Feast of Tabernacles, when a denser multitude
than on any of the seven preceding ones were assembled together. The golden
bowl, according to custom, had probably just been filled with the waters of
Siloam, and was being carried up to the Temple amid the acclamations of the
crowd, when the Savior of the world seized the opportunity of speaking to
them some truths of momentous import. Many, doubtless, were the "words of
Jesus" uttered on the previous days, but the most important is reserved for
the last. What, then, is the great closing theme on which He rivets the
attention of this vast auditory, and which He would have them carry away to
their distant homes? It is, The freeness of His own great Salvation "If any
man thirst, let him come unto me and drink."
Reader, do you discredit the reality of this gracious offer? Are your legion
sins standing as a barrier between you and a Savior's offered mercy? Do you
feel as if you cannot come "just as you are;" that some partial cleansing,
some preparatory reformation must take place before you can venture to the
living fountain? No, "If any man." What is freer than water? The poorest
beggar may drink "without money" the wayside pool. That is your Lord's own
picture of His own glorious salvation; you are invited to come, "without one
plea," in all your poverty and need, your weakness and unworthiness.
Remember the Redeemer's saying to the woman of Samaria. She was the chief of
sinners profligate, hardened, degraded but He made no condition, no
qualification; simple believing was all that was required "If you knew the
gift of God," you would have asked, and He would have given you "living
But is there not, after all, one condition mentioned in this "word of
Jesus?" "If any man thirst." You may have the depressing consciousness that
you experience no such ardent longings after holiness no feeling of your
affecting need of the Savior. But is not this very conviction of your need
an indication of a feeble longing after Christ? If you are saying, "I have
nothing to draw with, and the well is deep," He who makes the offer of the
salvation-stream will Himself fill your empty vessel "He satisfies the
longing soul with goodness."
"Jesus stood and cried." It is the solitary instance recorded of Him of whom
it is said, "He shall not strive nor cry," lifting up "His voice in the
streets." But it was truth of surpassing interest and magnitude He had to
proclaim. It was a declaration, moreover, especially dear to Him. As it
formed the theme of this ever-memorable sermon during His public ministry,
so when He was sealing up the inspired record the last utterances of His
voice on earth, until that voice shall be heard again on the throne,
contained the same life-giving invitation "Let him that is athirst come, and
whoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." Oh! as the echoes
of that gracious saying this blast of the silver trumpet are still sounding
to the ends of the world, may this be the recorded result,
"As he spoke THESE WORDS, many believed on him."
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The Sonful Servitude
"My yoke is easy, and my burden is light." Matthew 11:30
Can the same be said of Satan, or sin? With regard to them, how faithfully
true rather is the converse "My yoke is heavy, and my burden is grievous!"
Christ's service is a happy service, the only happy one; and even when there
is a cross to carry, or a yoke to bear, it is His own appointment. "My
yoke." It is sent by no untried friend. No, He who puts it on His people,
bore this very yoke Himself. "He carried our sorrows." How blessed this
feeling of holy servitude to so kind a Master! not like "dumb, driven
cattle," goaded on, but led, and led often most tenderly when the yoke and
the burden are upon us. The great apostle rarely speaks of himself under any
other title but one. That one he seems to make his boast. He had much
whereof he might glory he had been the instrument in saving thousands he had
spoken before kings he had been in Caesar's palace and Caesar's presence he
had been caught up into the third heavens but in all his letters this is his
joyful prefix and superscription, "The servant (literally, the slave) of
Reader! do you know this blessed servitude? Can you say with a joyful heart,
"O Lord, truly I am Your servant?" He is no hard taskmaster. Would Satan try
to teach you so? Let this be the refutation, "He loved me, and gave Himself
for me." True, the yoke is the appointed discipline He employs in training
his children for immortality. But be comforted! "It is His tender hand that
puts it on, and keeps it on." He will suit the yoke to the neck, and the
neck to the yoke. He will suit His grace to your trials. No, He will bring
you even to be in love with these, when they bring along with them such
gracious unfoldings of His own faithfulness and mercy. How His people need
thus to be in heaviness through manifold temptations, to keep them meek and
submissive! "Jeshurun (like a bullock unaccustomed to the harness, fed and
pampered in the stall) waxed fat, and kicked." Never is there more gracious
love than when God takes own means to curb and subjugate, humble us, and to
prove us bringing us out from ourselves, our likings, our confidences, our
prosperity, and putting us under the needed YOKE.
And who has ever repented of that joyful servitude? Among all the regrets
that mingle with a dying hour, and often bedew with bitter tears a dying
pillow, who ever told of regrets and repentance here?
Tried believer, has He ever failed you? Has His yoke been too grievous? Have
your tears been unalleviated your sorrows unsolaced your temptations above
that which you were able to bear? Ah! rather can you not testify "The word
of the Lord is tried;" I cast my burden upon Him, and He "sustained me"? How
have seeming difficulties melted away! How has the yoke lost its heaviness,
and the cross its bitterness, in the thought of who you were bearing it for!
There is a promised rest in the very carrying of the yoke; and a better rest
remains for the weary and toil-worn when the appointed work is finished; for
thus says "that same Jesus,"
"Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me, and you shall find REST unto your
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The Measure Of Love
"As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you." John 15:9
This is the most amazing verse in the Bible. Who can sound the unimagined
depths of that love which dwelt in the bosom of the Father from all eternity
towards His Son? and yet here is the Savior's own exponent of His love
towards His people!
There is no subject more profoundly mysterious than those mystic inter-communings
between the first and second persons in the adorable Trinity before the
world was. Scripture gives us only some dim and shadowy revelations
regarding them distant gleams of light, and no more. Let one suffice. "Then
I was by Him, as one brought up with Him, and I was daily His delight,
rejoicing always before Him."
We know that earthly affection is deepened and intensified by increased
familiarity with its object. The friendship that began only yesterday is not
the sacred, hallowed thing which years of growing communion have matured. If
we may with reverence apply this test to the highest type of holy affection,
what must have been that interchange of love which the measureless span of
Eternity had fostered a love, moreover, not fitful, transient, vacillating,
subject to altered tones and estranged looks but pure, constant, untainted,
without one shadow of turning! And yet, listen to the "words of Jesus," As
the Father has loved me, so have I loved you! It would have been infinitely
more than we had reason to expect, if He had said, "As my Father has loved
angels, so have I loved you." But the love borne to no finite beings is an
appropriate symbol. Long before the birth of time or of worlds, that love
existed. It was together with Eternity itself. Hear how the two themes of
the Savior's eternal rejoicing the love of His Father, and His love for
sinners are grouped together "Rejoicing always before Him, and in the
habitable part of His earth!"
To complete the picture, we must take in a counterpart description of the
Father's love to us "Therefore does my Father love me," says Jesus in
another place, "because I lay down my life!" God had an all-sufficiency in
His love He needed not the wearisome love of creatures to add to His glory
or happiness; but He seems to say, that so intense is His love for us, that
He loves even His beloved Son more (if infinite love be capable of
increase), because He laid down His life for the guilty! It is regarding the
Redeemed it is said, "He shall rest in His love He shall rejoice over them
In the assertion, "God is love," we are left truly with no mere unproved
affirmation regarding the existence of some abstract quality in the divine
nature. "Herein," says the apostle, "perceive we THE LOVE," (It is added in
our authorized version, "of God," but, as it has been remarked, "Our
translators need not have added whose love, for there is but one such
specimen") "because He laid down His life for us." No expression of love can
be wondered at after this. Ah, how miserable are our best expressions
compared with His! "Our love is but the reflection cold as the moon; His is
as the sun." Shall we refuse to love HIM more in return, who has first
loved, and so loved us?
"Never a man spoke like this man."
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The Brief Gospel
"Only believe." Mark 5:36
The briefest of the "words of Jesus," but one of the most comforting. They
contain the essence and epitome of all saving truth.
Reader, is Satan assailing you with tormenting fears? Is the thought of your
sins the guilty past coming up in terrible memorial before you, almost
tempting you to give way to hopeless despondency? Fear not! A gentle voice
whispers in your ear "Only believe. Your sins are great, but My grace and
merits are greater. 'Only believe' that I died for you that I am living for
you and pleading for you, and that 'the faithful saying' is as 'faithful' as
ever, and as 'worthy of all acceptance' as ever." Are you a backslider? Did
you once run well? Has your own guilty apostasy alienated and estranged you
from that face which was once all love, and that service which was once all
delight? Are you breathing in broken-hearted sorrow over the holy memories
of a close walk with God "Oh that it were with me as in months past, when
the candle of the Lord did shine?" "Only believe." Take this your mournful
soliloquy, and convert it into a prayer. "Only believe" the word of Him
whose ways are not as man's ways "Return O backsliding children, and I will
heal your backsliding."
Are you beaten down with some heavy trial? Have your fondest schemes been
blown upon your fairest blossoms been withered in the bud? has wave after
wave been rolling upon you? has the Lord forgotten to be gracious? Hear the
"word of Jesus" resounding amid the thickest midnight of gloom penetrating
even through the vaults of the dead "Believe, only believe." There is an
infinite reason for the trial a lurking thorn that required removal, a
gracious lesson that required teaching. The dreadful severing blow was dealt
in love. God will be glorified in it, and your own soul made the better for
it. Patiently wait until the light of immortality be reflected on a receding
world. Here you must take His dealings on trust. The word of Jesus to you
now is, "Only believe." The word of Jesus in eternity (every inner meaning
and undeveloped purpose being unfolded), "Didn't I tell you that you will
see God's glory if you believe?"
Are you fearful and agitated in the prospect of death? Through fear of the
last enemy, have you been all your lifetime subject to bondage? "Only
believe." "As your day is, so shall your strength be." Dying grace will be
given when a dying hour comes. In the dark river a sustaining arm will be
underneath you, deeper than the deepest and darkest wave. Before you know
it, the darkness will be past, the true Light shining the whisper of faith
in the nether valley. "Believe! Believe!" will be exchanged for angel-voices
exclaiming, as you enter the portals of glory, "No longer through a glass
darkly, but now face to face!"
Yes! Jesus Himself had no higher remedy for sin, for sorrow, and for
suffering, than those two words convey. At the utmost extremity of His own
distress, and of His disciples' wretchedness, He could only say "Let not
your heart be troubled: you believe in God, believe also in me." Believe,
"Lord, I believe, help my unbelief."
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The Great Calm
"Take courage! It is I. Don't be afraid." Mark 6:50
"It is I" (or as our old version has it, more in accordance with the
original), "I AM! do not be afraid!" Jesus lives! His people may dispel
their misgivings Omnipotence treads the waves! To sense it may seem at times
to be otherwise wayward accident and chance may appear to regulate human
allotments; but not so: "The Lord's voice is upon the waters" He sits at the
helm guiding the tempest-tossed bark, and guiding it well.
How often does He come to us as He did to the disciples in that midnight
hour when all seems lost "in the fourth watch of the night," when we least
looked for Him; or when, like the shipwrecked apostle, "The terrible storm
raged unabated for many days, blotting out the sun and the stars, until at
last all hope was gone." how often just at that moment, is the "word of
Jesus" heard floating over the billows!
Believer, are you in trouble? listen to the voice in the storm, "Fear not, I
AM." That voice, like Joseph's of old to his brethren, may seem rough, but
there are gracious undertones of love. "It is I," he seems to say; It was I,
that roused the storm; It is I, who when it has done its work, will calm it,
and say, "Peace, be still." Every wave rolls at My bidding every trial is My
appointment all have some gracious end; they are not sent to dash you
against the sunken rocks, but to waft you nearer heaven.
It is sickness? I am He who bore your sicknesses; the weary wasted frame,
and the nights of languishing, were sent by Me. Is it bereavement? I am "the
Brother" born for adversity the loved and lost were plucked away by Me. Is
it death? I am the "Abolisher of death," seated by your side to calm the
waves of ebbing life; it is I, about to fetch My pilgrims home It is My
voice that speaks, "The Master has come, and calls for you."
Reader, you will have reason yet to praise your God for every such storm!
This is the history of every heavenly voyager "SO He brings them to their
desired haven." "So!" That word, in all its unknown and diversified meaning,
is in His hand. He suits His dealings to every case. "So!" With some it is
through quiet seas unfretted by one buffeting wave. "So!" With others it is
"mounting up to heaven, and going down again to the deep." But whatever be
the leading and the discipline, here is the grand consummation, "SO He
brings them unto their desired haven." It might have been with you the
moanings of an eternal night-blast no lull or pause in the storm. But soon
the darkness will be past, and the hues of morn tipping the shores of glory!
And what, then, should your attitude be? "Looking unto Jesus" looking away
from self, and sin, and human props and refuges and confidences, and fixing
the eye of unwavering and unflinching faith on a reigning Savior. Ah, how a
real quickening sight of Christ dispels all guilty fears! The Roman keepers
of old were frightened, and became as dead men. The lowly Jewish women
feared not; why? "I know that you seek Jesus!" Reader, let your weary spirit
fold itself to rest under the composing "word" of a gracious Savior, saying
"I wait for the lord, my soul does wait, and in HIS WORD do I hope."
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The Dying Legacy
"Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you: not as
the world gives, give I unto you." John 14:27
How we treasure the last sayings of a dying parent! How specially cherished
and memorable are his last looks and last words! Here are the last words the
parting legacy of a dying Savior. It is a legacy of peace.
What peace is this? It is His own purchase a peace arising out of free
forgiveness through His precious blood. It is sung in concert with "Glory to
God in the highest" a peace made as sure to us as eternal power and infinite
love can make it! It is peace the soul needs, that is nowhere else to be
found, but through the blood of His cross! "Being justified by faith, we
have peace with God." "HE gives His beloved rest!"
How different from the false and counterfeit peace in which so many are
content to live, and content to die! The world's peace is all well, so long
as prosperity lasts so long as the stream runs smooth, and the sky is clear;
but when the flood is at hand, or the storm is gathering, where is it? It is
gone! There is no calculating on its permanency. Often when the cup is
fullest, there is the trembling apprehension that in one brief moment it may
be dashed to the ground. The soul may be saying to itself, "Peace, peace;"
but, like the writing on the sand, it may by obliterated by the first wave
of adversity. But, "not as the world gives" the peace of the believer is
deep calm lasting everlasting. The world, with all its blandishments, cannot
give it. The world, with all its vicissitudes and fluctuations, cannot take
it away! It is brightest in the hour of trial; it lights up the final
valley-gloom. "Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright, for the end of
that man is peace." Yes! how often is the believer's deathbed like the deep
calm repose of a summer-evening's sky, when all nature is hushed to rest;
the departing soul, like the vanishing sun, peacefully disappearing only to
shine in another and brighter universe! "I seem," said Simeon on his
deathbed, "to have nothing to do but to wait: there is now nothing but
peace, the sweetest peace."
Believer! do you know this peace which passes understanding? Is it "keeping
(literally, 'garrisoning as in a citadel') your heart?" Have you learned the
blessedness of waking up, morning after morning, and feeling "I am at peace
with my God;" of beholding by faith the true Aaron the great High
Priest coming forth from "the holiest of all" to "bless His people with
peace?" Waves of trouble may be murmuring around you, but they cannot touch
you; you are in the rock-crevice against which the fiercest tornado sweeps
by. Oh! leave not the making up of your peace with God to a dying hour! It
will be a hard thing to smooth the death-pillow, if peace be left unsought
until then. Make sure of it now. He, the true Melchizedek, is willing now to
come forth to meet you with bread and wine emblems of peaceful gospel
blessings. All the "words of Jesus" are so many streams contributing to make
your peace flow as a river "These things have I spoken unto you, that in Me
you might have peace."
"I will hear what God the Lord will speak, for he will speak peace unto his
people and to his saints."
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The Supreme Investiture
"All power in heaven and in earth is given unto me." Matthew 28:18
What an empire is this! Heaven and earth the Church militant the Church
triumphant angels and archangels saints and seraphs. At His mandate the
billows were hushed demons crouched in terror the grave yielded its prey!
"Upon his head are many crowns." He is made "head over all things to His
Church." Yes! over all things, from the minutest to the mightiest. He holds
the stars in His right hand he walks in the midst of the seven golden
candlesticks, feeding every candlestick with the oil of His grace, and
preserving every star in its spiritual orbit. The Prince of Darkness has "a
power," but, God be praised, it is not an "all power;" potent, but not
omnipotent. Christ holds him on a chain. He has set bounds that he may not
pass over. "Satan," we read in the book of Job, "went out (with permission)
from the presence of the Lord." He was not allowed even to enter the herd of
swine until Christ permitted him. He only "desired" to have Peter that he
might "sift him;" there was a mightier countervailing agency at hand: "I
have prayed for you, that your faith fail not."
Believer, how often is there nothing but this grace of Jesus between you and
everlasting destruction! Satan's key fitting the lock in your wayward
heart but a stonger than the strong man barring him out. The power of the
adversary fanning the flame the Omnipotence of Jesus quenching it. Are you
even now feeling the strength of your corruptions, the weakness of your
graces, the presence of some outward or inward temptation? Look up to Him
who has promised to make His grace sufficient for you; "all-sufficiency in
all things" is His promise. It is power, too, in conjunction with
tenderness. He who sways the scepter of universal empire "gently leads" His
weak, and weary, and burdened ones He who counts the number of the stars,
loves to count the number of their sorrows; nothing too great, nothing too
insignificant for Him. He paves His people's pathway with love!
Blessed Jesus! my everlasting interests cannot be in better or in safer
keeping than in Yours. I can exultingly rely on the all-power of Your
Godhead. I can sweetly rejoice in the all-sympathy of Your Manhood. I can
confidently repose in the all-wisdom of Your dealings. "Sometimes," says
one, "we expect the blessing in our own way; He chooses to bestow it in
His." But His way and His will must be the best. Infinite love, infinite
power, infinite wisdom, are surely infallible guarantees. His purposes
nothing can alter. His promises never fail. His word never falls to the
"Heaven and earth shall pass away, but MY WORDS shall not pass away."
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The Divine Glorifier
"He will bring me glory by revealing to you whatever he receives from me."
The Holy Spirit glorifies Jesus in the unfoldings of His person, and
character, and work, to His people! The great ministering agent between the
Church on earth and its glorified Head in Heaven carrying up to the
Intercessor on the throne, the ever-recurring needs and trials, the
perplexities and sins, of believers; and receiving out of His inexhaustible
treasury of love comfort for their sorrows strength for their tears fullness
for their emptiness and this the one sublime end and object of His gracious
agency "He shall glorify Me." "He shall not speak of Himself, but whatever
He shall hear, that shall He speak." My words of sympathy My omnipotent
pleadings the tender messages sent from an unchanged Human Heart all these
shall He speak. "He shall tell you," says Goodwin, commenting on this
passage, "He shall tell you nothing but stories of My love." He will have an
ineffable delight in magnifying Me in the affections of My Church and
people, and endearing Me to their hearts; and He is all worthy of credence,
for He is "the Spirit of truth."
How faithful has He been in every age to this His great office as "the
glorifier of Jesus!" See the first manifestation of His power in the
Christian Church at the day of Pentecost. What was the grand truth which
forms the focus point of interest in that unparalleled scene, and which
brings three thousand stricken penitents to their knees? It is the Spirit's
unfolding of Jesus glorifying Him in eyes that before this, saw in Him no
beauty! Hear the keynote of that wondrous sermon, preached "in demonstration
of the Spirit, and with power," "HIM has God exalted to be a Prince and a
Savior, to give repentance to His people, and forgiveness of sins."
Ah! it is still the same peerless truth which the Spirit delights to unfold
to the stricken sinner, and, in unfolding it, to make it mighty to the
pulling down of strongholds. All these glorious inner beauties of Christ's
work and character are undiscerned and undiscernible by the natural eye. "It
is the Spirit who quickens." "No man can call Jesus Lord, but by the Holy
Spirit." He is the great Forerunner a mightier than the Baptist proclaiming,
"Behold the Lamb of God!"
Reader! any bright and realizing view you have had of the Savior's glory and
excellency, is of the Spirit's imparting. When in some hour of sorrow you
have been led to cleave with preeminent consolation to the thought of the
Redeemer's exalted sympathy His dying, ever-living love; or in the hour of
death, when you feel the sustaining power of His exceeding great precious
promises what is this, but the Holy Spirit, in fulfillment of His
all-gracious office, taking of the things of Christ, and showing them unto
you; thus enabling you to magnify Him in your body, whether it be by life or
death? As your motto should ever be, "None but Christ," and your
ever-increasing aspiration, "More of Christ," seek to bear in mind who it is
that is alone qualified to impart the "excellency of this knowledge."
"The Spirit of truth which proceeds from the Father, HE shall testify of
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The Joyful Transformation
"Your sorrow shall be turned into joy." John 16:20
Christ's people are a sorrowing people! Chastisement is their badge "great
tribulation" is their appointed discipline. When they enter the gates of
glory, He is represented as wiping away tears from their eyes. But, weeping
ones, be comforted! Your Lord's special mission to earth the great errand He
came from heaven to fulfill, was "to bind up the brokenhearted." Your trials
are meted out by a tender hand. He knows you too well He loves you too
well to make this world tearless and sorrowless! "There must be rain, and
hail, and storm," says Rutherford, "in the saint's cloud." Were your earthly
course strewed with flowers, and nothing but sunbeams played around your
dwelling, it would lead you to forget your nomadic life that you are but a
sojourner here. The tent must at times be struck, pin by pin of the moveable
tabernacle taken down, to enable you to say and to feel in the spirit of a
pilgrim, "I desire a better country." Meantime, while sorrow is your
portion, think of Him who says, "I know your sorrows." Angels cannot say
so they cannot sympathize with you, for trial is a strange word to them. But
there is a mightier than they who can. All He sends you and appoints you is
in love. There is a provision and condition wrapped up in the bosom of every
affliction "if need be;" coming from His hand, sorrows and riches are to His
people equivalent terms. If tempted to murmur at their trials they are often
murmuring at disguised mercies. "Why do you ask me," said Simeon, on his
deathbed, "what I like? I am the Lord's patient I cannot but like
And then "your sorrow shall be turned into joy." "The morning comes" that
bright morning when the dew-drops collected during earth's night of weeping
shall sparkle in its beams; when in one blessed moment a lifelong experience
of trial will be effaced and forgotten, or remembered only by contrast, to
enhance the fullness of the joys of immortality. What a revelation of
gladness! The map of time disclosed, and every little streamlet of sorrow,
every river will be seen to have been flowing heavenwards every rough blast
to have been sending the ship nearer the haven! In that joy, God Himself
will participate. In the last "words of Jesus" to His people when they are
standing by the triumphal archway of Glory, ready to enter on their thrones
and crowns, He speaks of their joy as if it were all His own. "Enter into
the joy of your Lord."
Reader, may this joy be yours! Sit loose to the world's joys. Have a feeling
of chastened gratitude and thankfulness when you have them; but beware of
resting in them, or investing them with a permanency they cannot have. Jesus
had his eye on heaven when He added "Your joy no man takes from you."
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The Omnipotent Prayer
"Father, I will that they also whom you have given me, be with me where I
am; that they may behold my glory." John 17:24
This is not the petition of a suppliant, but the claim of a conqueror. There
was only one request He ever made, or ever can make, that was refused; it
was the prayer wrung forth by the presence and power of superhuman anguish:
"Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me!" Had that prayer been
answered, never could one consolatory "word of Jesus" have been ours. "If it
be possible" but for that gracious parenthesis, we must have been lost
forever! In unmurmuring submission, the bitter cup was drained; all the
dread penalties of the law were borne, the atonement completed, an
all-perfect righteousness wrought out; and now, as the stipulated reward of
His obedience and sufferings, the Victor claims His trophies. What are they?
Those that were given Him of the Father the countless multitudes redeemed by
His blood. These He "wills" to be with Him "where He is" the spectators of
His glory, and partakers of His crown. Wondrous word and will of a dying
testator! His last prayer on earth is an importunate pleading for their
glorification; His parting wish is to meet them in heaven as if these
earthly jewels were needed to make His crown complete their happiness and
joy the needful complement of His own!
Reader! learn from this the grand element in the bliss of your future
condition it is the presence of Christ; "with ME where I am." It matters
comparatively little as to the locality of heaven. "We shall see Him as He
is," is "the blessed hope" of the Christian. Heaven would be no heaven
without Jesus; the withdrawal of His presence would be like the blotting out
of the sun from the firmament; it would uncrown every seraph, and unstring
every harp. But, blessed thought! it is His own stipulation in His
testamentary prayer, that Eternity is to be spent in union and communion
with Himself, gazing on the unfathomed mysteries of His love, becoming more
assimilated to His glorious image, and drinking deeper from the ocean of His
If anything can enhance the magnitude of this promised bliss, it is the
concluding words of the verse, in which He grounds His plea for its
bestowment: "I will that they behold My glory;" why? "For You loved (not
them, but) ME before the foundation of the world!" It is equivalent to
saying, "If You would give Me a continued proof of Your everlasting love and
favor to Me, it is by loving and exalting My redeemed people. In loving them
and glorifying them, You are loving and glorifying Me so endearingly are
their interests and My own bound up together!"
Believer, think of that all-prevailing Voice, at this moment pleading for
you within the veil! that omnipotent "Father, I will," securing every needed
boon! There is given, so to speak, a blank check by which He and His people
may draw unlimited supplies out of the exhaustless treasury of the Father's
grace and love. God Himself endorses it with the words, "Son, You are ever
with me, and all that I have is Yours." How it would reconcile us to Earth's
bitterest sorrows, and hallow Earth's holiest joys, if we saw them thus
hanging on the "will" of an all-wise Intercessor, who ever pleads in love,
and never pleads in vain!
"Be it unto me according to YOUR WORD."
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The Immutable Pledge
"Because I live, you shall live also." John 14:19
God sometimes selects the most stable and enduring objects in the material
world to illustrate His unchanging faithfulness and love to His Church "As
the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so does the Lord compass his
people." But here, the Redeemer fetches an argument from His own everlasting
nature. He stakes, so to speak, His own existence on that of His
saints "Because I live, you shall live also."
Believer! read in this "word of Jesus" your glorious title-deed. Your Savior
lives and His life is the guarantee of your own. Our true Joseph is alive.
"He is our Brother. He talks kindly to us! That life of His, is all that is
between us and everlasting ruin. But with Christ for our life, how
inviolable our security! The great Fountain of being must first be dried up,
before the streamlet can. The great Sun must first be quenched, before one
glimmering disciple which He lights up with splendor can. Satan must first
pluck the crown from that glorified Head, before he can touch one jewel in
the crown of His people. They cannot shake one pillar without shaking first
the throne. "If we perish," says Luther, "Christ perishes with us."
Reader! is your life now "hidden with Christ in God?" Do you know the
blessedness of a vital and living union with a living, life-giving Savior?
Can you say with humble and joyous confidence, amid the fitfulness of your
own ever-changing frames and feelings, "Nevertheless I live, yet not I, but
Christ lives in me"? "Jesus lives!" They are the happiest words a lost soul
and a lost world can hear! Job, four thousand years ago, rejoiced in them.
"I know," says he, "that I have a living Kinsman." John, in his Patmos
exile, rejoiced in them. "I am He that lives" (or the Living One), was the
simple but sublime utterance with which he was addressed by that same
"Kinsman," when He appeared arrayed in the lusters of His glorified
humanity. "This is the record" (as if there was a whole gospel comprised in
the statement), "that God has given to us eternal life, and this life is in
His Son." Paul, in the 8th chapter to the Romans that finest portraiture of
Christian character and privilege ever drawn, begins with "no condemnation,"
and ends with "no separation." Why "no separation?" Because the life of the
believer is incorporated with that of his adorable Head and Surety. The
colossal Heart of redeemed humanity beats upon the throne, sending its
mighty pulsations through every member of His body; so that, before the
believer's spiritual life can be destroyed, Omnipotence must become
feebleness, and Immutability become mutable! But, blessed Jesus, "Your word
is very sure, therefore Your servant loves it."
"I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall
any man pluck them out of my hand."
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The Abiding Presence
"Lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the world." Matthew 28:20
Such were "the words of Jesus" when He was just about to ascend to Heaven.
The mediatorial throne was in view the harps of glory were sounding in His
ears; but all His thoughts are on the pilgrim Church He is to leave behind.
His last words and benedictions are for them. "I go," He seems to say, "to
Heaven, to my purchased crown to the fellowship of angels to the presence of
my Father; but, nevertheless, Lo I am with you always, even unto the end of
How faithfully did the Apostles, to whom this promise was first addressed,
experience its reality! Hear the testimony of the beloved disciple who had
once leaned on his Divine Master's bosom who "had heard, and seen, and
looked upon Him." That glorified bosom was now hidden from his sight; but
does he speak of an absent Lord, and of His fellowship only among the holy
memories of the past? No! with rejoicing emphasis he can exclaim "Truly our
fellowship is with Jesus Christ."
Amid so much that is fleeting here, how the heart clings to this assurance
of the abiding presence of the Savior! Our best earthly friends a few weeks
may estrange them but centuries have rolled on Christ is still the same. How
blessed to think that if I am indeed a child of God, there is not the lonely
instant I am without His guardianship! When the beams of the morning visit
my chamber, the brighter beams of a brighter Sun are shining upon me. When
the shadows of evening are gathering around, "it is not night, if He, the
unsetting 'Sun of my soul,' is near." His is no fitful companionship present
in prosperity, gone in adversity. He never changes. He is always the same in
sickness and solitude, in joy and in sorrow, in life and in death. Not more
faithfully did the pillar-cloud and column of fire of old precede Israel,
until the last murmuring ripple of Jordan fell on their ears on the shores
of Canaan, than does the presence and love of Jesus abide with His people.
Has His word of promise ever proved false? Let the great cloud of witnesses
now in glory testify. "Not one thing has failed of all that the Lord our God
has spoken." This "word of the Lord is tried!" "having loved His own, which
were in the world, He loved them unto the end."
Believer! are you troubled and tempted? Do dark providences and severe
afflictions seem to belie the truth and reality of this gracious assurance?
Are you ready, with Gideon, to say, "If the Lord be indeed with us, why has
all this befallen us?" Be assured He has some faithful end in view. By the
removal of prized and cherished earthly props and refuges, He would unfold
more of his own tenderness. Amid the wreck and ruin of earthly joys, which,
it may be, the grave has hidden from your sight, One nearer, dearer,
tenderer still, would have you say of Himself, "The Lord lives; and blessed
be my Rock; and let the God of my salvation be exalted." "Thanks be to God,
who always makes us to triumph in Christ." Yes! and never more so than when,
stripped of all competing objects of creature affection, we are left, like
the disciples on the mount, with "Jesus only!"
"These things have I spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace."
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The Resurrection And Life
"I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even
though he dies." John 11:25
What a voice is this breaking over a world which for six thousand years has
been a dormitory of sin and death! For four thousand of these years,
heathendom could observe no light through the bars of the grave; her oracles
were speechless on the great doctrine of a future state, and more especially
regarding the body's resurrection. Even the Jewish Church, under the Old
Testament dispensation, seemed to enjoy little more than fitful and
uncertain glimmerings, like men groping in the dark. It required death's
great Abolisher to show, to a benighted world, the luminous "path of life."
With Him rested the "bringing in of a better hope" the unfolding of "the
mystery which had been hidden from ages and generations." Marvelous
disclosure! that this mortal frame, decomposed and resolved into its
original dust, shall yet start from its ashes, remodeled and
reconstructed "a glorified body!" Not like "the earthly tabernacle" (a mere
shifting and moveable tent, as the word denotes), but
incorruptible immortal! The beauteous transformation of the insect from its
embryo state the buried seed springing up from its tiny grave to the
full-eared corn or gorgeous flower these are nature's mute utterances as to
the possibility of this great truth, which required the unfoldings of "a
more sure word of prophecy." But the Gospel has fully revealed what Reason,
in her loftiest imaginings, could not have dreamt of. Jesus "has brought
life and immortality to light." He, the Bright and Morning Star, has "turned
the shadow of death into the morning." He gives, in His own resurrection,
the pledge of that of His people He is the first-fruits of the immortal
harvest yet to be gathered into the garner of Heaven.
Precious truth! This "word of Jesus" spans like a celestial rainbow the
entrance to the dark valley. Death is robbed of its sting. In the case of
every child of God, the grave holds in custody precious dust, because it is
redeemed. Talk of it not, as being committed to a dishonored tomb! it is
locked up, rather, in the casket of God until the day "when He makes up His
jewels," when it will be fashioned in deathless beauty like unto the
glorified body of the Redeemer. Angels, meanwhile, are commissioned to keep
watch over it, until the trumpet of the archangel shall proclaim the great
"Easter of creation." They are the "reapers," waiting for the world's great
"Harvest Home," when Jesus Himself shall come again not as He once did,
humiliated and in sorrow, but rejoicing in the thought of bringing back all
His sheaves with Him.
Afflicted and bereaved Christian! you who may be mourning in bitterness
those who have died rejoice through your tears in these hopes "full of
immortality." The silver cord is only "loosed," not broken. Perchance, as
you stand in the chamber of death, or by the brink of the grave in the
depths of that awful solitude and silence which reigns around this may be
your plaintive and mournful soliloquy "Shall the dust praise You?" Yes, it
shall! This very dust that hears now unheeded your footsteps, and unmoved
your tears, shall through eternity praise its redeeming God it shall
proclaim His truth!
"Lord, to whom shall we go but unto you; you have the WORDS of ETERNAL
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The Little While
"In just a little while I will be gone, and you won't see me anymore. Then,
just a little while after that, you will see me again." John. 16:16
Long seem the moments when we are separated from the friend we love. An
absent brother how his return is looked and longed for! The "Elder
Brother" the "Living Kinsman" sends a message to His waiting Church and
people a word of solace, telling that soon ("a little while"), and He will
be back again, never again to leave them.
There are indeed blessed moments of communion which the believer enjoys with
His beloved Lord now; but how fitful and transient! Today, life is a brief
Emmaus Journey the soul happy in the presence and love of an unseen Savior.
Tomorrow, He is gone; and the bereft spirit is led to interrogate itself in
plaintive sorrow "Where is now your God?" Even when there is no such
experience of darkness and depression, how much there is in the world around
to fill the believer with sadness! His Lord rejected and disowned His love
set at nothing His providences slighted His name blasphemed His creation
groaning and travailing in pain disunion, too, among His people His loving
heart wounded in the house of His friends!
But, in just a little while, and all this mystery of iniquity will be
finished. The absent Brother's footfall will soon be heard no longer "as a
wayfaring man who turns aside to tarry for a night," but to receive His
people into the permanent "mansions" His love has been preparing and from
which they shall go no more out. Oh, blessed day! when creation will put on
her Easter robes when her Lord, so long dishonored, will be enthroned amid
the Hosannahs of a rejoicing universe angels lauding Him saints crowning
Him sin, the dark plague-spot on His universe, extinguished forever death
swallowed up in eternal victory!
And it is but "a little while!" "Yet a little while," we elsewhere read,
"and He that shall come, will come, and will not tarry." "He will stay not a
moment longer", says Goodwin, "than He has despatched all our business in
Heaven for us." With what joy will He send His mission-Angel with the
announcement, "the little while is at an end;" and to issue the invitation
to the great festival of glory, "Come! for all things are ready!"
Child of sorrow! think often of this "little while." "The days of your
mourning will soon be ended." There is a limit set to your suffering
time "After you have suffered a while." Every wave is numbered between you
and the haven; and then when that haven is reached, oh, what an apocalypse
of glory! the "little while" of time merged into the great and unending
"while" of eternity! to be forever with the Lord the same unchanged and
"A little while, and you shall see Me!" Would that the eye of faith might be
kept more intently fixed on "that glorious appearing!" How the world, with
its guilty fascinations, tries to dim and obscure this blessed hope! How the
heart is prone to throw out its tendrils into the earth, and get them rooted
in some perishable object! Reader! seek to dwell more habitually on this the
grand consummation of all your dearest wishes. "Stand on the edge of your
nest, pluming your wings for flight." Like the mother of Sisera, be looking
for the expected chariot.
"He is faithful that promised."
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The Beatific Vision
"Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." Matthew 5:8
Here is Heaven! This "word of Jesus" represents the future state of the
glorified to consist not in locality, but in character; the essence of its
bliss is the full vision and fruition of God. Our attention is called from
all vague and indefinite theories about the circumstantials of future
happiness. The one grand object of contemplation the "glory which excels,"
is the sight of God Himself! The one grand practical lesson enforced on His
people, is the cultivation of that purity of heart without which none could
see, or (even could we suppose it possible to be admitted to see Him) none
could enjoy God! "The kingdom of Heaven comes not with observation the
kingdom of God is within you."
Reader, have you attained any of this heart-purity and heart-preparation? It
has been beautifully said that "the openings of the streets of heaven are on
earth." Even here we may enjoy, in the possession of holiness, some
foretaste of coming bliss. Who has not felt that the happiest moments of
their lives were those of close walking with God nearness to the
mercy-seat when self was surrendered, and the eye was directed to the glory
of Jesus, with most single, unwavering, undivided aim? What will Heaven be,
but the entire surrender of the soul to Him, without any bias to evil,
without the fear of corruption within echoing to temptation without; every
thought brought into captivity to the obedience of Christ; no contrariety to
His mind; all in blessed unison with His will; the whole being impregnated
with holiness the intellect purified and ennobled, consecrating all its
powers to His service memory, a holy repository of pure and hallowed
recollections the affections, without one competing rival, purged from all
the dross of earthliness the love of God, the one supreme animating
passion the glory of God, the motive principle interfused through every
thought, and feeling, and action of the life immortal; in one word, the
heart a clear fountain; no sediment to dim its purity, "no angel of sorrow"
to come and trouble the pool! The long night of life over, and this is the
glory of the eternal morrow which succeeds it! "I shall be satisfied when I
awake, with Your likeness."
Yes, this is Heaven, subjectively and objectively purity of heart and "God
all in all!" Much, doubtless, there may and will be of a subordinate kind,
to intensify the bliss of the redeemed; communion with saints and angels;
re-admission into the society of death-divided friends. But all these will
fade before the great central glory, "God Himself shall be with them, and be
their God; they shall see His face!" Believers have been aptly called
'sunflowers' turning their faces as the sunflower towards the Sun of
Righteousness, and hanging their leaves in sadness and sorrow when that Sun
is away. It will be in Heaven the emblem is complete. There, every flower in
the heavenly garden will be turned Godwards, bathing its tints of loveliness
in the glory that excels! Reader, may it be yours, when canopied by that
cloudless sky, to know all the marvels contained in these few glowing words,
"We shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is."
"And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself even as he is
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The Many Mansions
"IN MY FATHER'S HOUSE ARE MANY MANSIONS." John 14:2
What a 'home aspect' there is in this "word of Jesus!" He comforts His
Church by telling those who soon their wilderness wanderings will be
finished the tented tabernacle suited to their present probation-state
exchanged for the enduring "mansion!" Nor will it be any strange dwelling a
Father's home a Father's welcome awaits them. There will be accommodation
for all. Thousands have already entered its shining gates patriarchs,
prophets, saints, martyrs, young and old, and still there is room!
The pilgrim's motto on earth is, "Here we have no continuing city." Even
"Sabbath tents" must be taken down. Holy seasons of communion must
terminate. "Arise, let us go from here!" is a summons which disturbs the
sweetest moments of tranquility in the Church below. But in Heaven, every
believer becomes a pillar in the temple of God, and "he shall go no more
out." Here on earth, it is but the lodging of a wayfarer turning aside to
tarry for the brief night. Here we are but temporary tenants our
possessions are but moveables ours today, gone tomorrow. But these many
"mansions" are an incorruptible and unfading inheritance. Nothing can touch
the heavenly inheritance. Once within the Father's house, and we are in the
Think, too, of Jesus, gone to prepare these mansions "I go to prepare a
place for you." What a wondrous thought Jesus now busied in Heaven in His
Church's behalf! He can find no abode in all His wide dominions, befitting
as a permanent dwelling for His ransomed ones. He says, "I will make a new
heavens and a new earth. I will found a special kingdom I will rear eternal
mansions expressly for those I have redeemed with my blood!"
Reader, let the prospect of a dwelling in this "house of the Lord forever,"
reconcile you to any of the roughnesses or difficulties in your present
path to your pilgrim provision and pilgrim fare. Let the distant beacon
light, that so cheeringly speaks of a Home brighter and better far than the
happiest of earthly ones, lead you to forget the intervening billows, or to
think of them only as wafting you nearer and nearer to your desired haven!
"Would," says a saint, who has now entered on his rest, "that one could
read, and write, and pray, and eat and drink, and compose one's self to
sleep, as with the thought soon to be in heaven, and that forever and ever!"
"My Father's house!" How many a departing spirit has been cheered and
consoled by the sight of these glorious Mansions looming through the mists
of the dark valley the tears of weeping friends rebuked by the gentle
chiding "If you loved me, you would rejoice, because I said, I go unto my
Father!" Death truly is but the entrance to this our Father's house. We
speak of the "shadow of death" it is only the shadow which falls on the
portico as we stand for a moment knocking at the longed-for gate. Then
next a Father's voice of welcome is heard "Son! you are always to be with
me, and all that I have is yours."
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The Promised Return
"I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there you
may be also." John 14:3
Another "word of promise" concerning the Church's "blessed hope." Orphaned
pilgrims, dry your tears! Soon the Morning Hour will strike, and the sighs
of a groaning and burdened creation will be heard no more. Earth's six
thousand years of toil and sorrow are waning; the Millennial Sabbath is at
hand. Jesus will soon be heard to repeat concerning all his sleeping saints,
what He said of old regarding one of them: "I go to awake them out of
sleep!" Your beloved Lord's first coming was in humiliation and woe; His
name was, "the Man of Sorrows;" He had to travel on, amid darkness and
desertion, His blood-stained path; a crown of thorns was the only crown He
bore. But soon He will come "the second time without a sin-offering, unto
salvation," never again to leave His Church, but to receive those who
followed Him in His cross, to be everlasting partakers with Him in His
crown! He may seem to tarry. External nature, in her unvarying and
undeviating sequences, gives no indication of His approach. Centuries have
elapsed since He uttered the promise, and still He lingers; the everlasting
hills wear no streak of approaching dawn; we seem to listen in vain for the
noise of His chariot wheels. "But the Lord is not slack concerning His
promise;" He gives you "this word" in addition to many others as a
keepsake a pledge and guarantee for the certainty of His return, "I will
Who can conceive all the surpassing blessedness connected with that advent?
The Elder Brother arrived to fetch the younger brethren home! the true
Joseph revealing Himself in unutterable tenderness to the brethren who were
once estranged from Him "receiving them unto himself" not satisfied with
apportioning a kingdom for them, but, as if all His own joy and bliss were
intermingled with theirs, "Where I am," says He, "there you must be also."
"He who overcomes, will I grant to sit with Me on My Throne."
Believer, can you now say with some of the holy transport of the apostle,
"Whom having not seen, we love"? What must it be when you come to see Him
"face to face," and that forever and ever! If you can tell of precious hours
of communion in a sin-stricken, woe-worn world, with a treacherous heart,
and an imperfect or divided love, what must it be when you come, in a
sinless, sorrowless state, with purified and renewed affections, to see the
King in His beauty! The letter of an absent brother cheering and consolatory
as it is, is a poor compensation for the joys of personal and visible
communion. The absent Elder Brother on the Throne speaks to you now only by
His Word and Spirit soon you shall be admitted to His immediate fellowship,
seeing him "as He is" He Himself unfolding the wondrous chart of His
providence and grace leading you about from fountain to fountain among the
living waters, and with His own gentle hand wiping the last lingering
tear-drop from your eye. Heaven an everlasting home with Jesus! "Where I am,
there you may be also." He has appended a cheering postscript to this word,
on which He has "caused us to hope"
"He which testifies these things says, surely I come quickly."
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The Closing Benediction
"Blessed are those servants whom the Lord when He comes shall find
watching." Luke 12:37
Church of God! is this your attitude, as the expectant of your Lord's
appearing? Are your loins girded, and your lights burning? If the cry were
to break upon your ears this day, "Behold the Bridegroom comes," could you
joyfully respond "Lo, this is my God, I have waited for him"? WHEN He may
come, we cannot tell ages may elapse before then. It may be centuries before
our graves are gilded with the beams of a Millennial sun; but while He may
or may not come soon, He must come at some time yes, and the day of our
death is virtually to all of us, the day of His coming.
Reader! do not put off the solemn preparation. Do not be deceived or deluded
with the mocker's presumptuous challenge, "Where is the promise of His
coming?" See to it that the calls of an engrossing world does not foster
this procrastinating spirit. It may be now or never with you. Do not put off
your sowing time until harvest time. Leave nothing for a dying hour, but to
die, and calmly to resign your spirit into the hands of Jesus. Of all times,
that is the least suitable to attempt to get the vessel filled to attend to
the great business of life when life is ebbing to trim the lamp when the oil
is done and it is flickering in its socket to begin to watch, when the
summons is heard to leave the watchtower to meet our God!
Were you never struck how often, amid the many gentle words of Jesus, the
summons "to watch," is over and over repeated, like a succession of
alarm-bells breaking ever and anon, amid chimes of heavenly music, to rouse
a sleeping Church and a slumbering world?
Let this last "Word" of your Lord's send you to your knees with the
question "Am I indeed a servant of Christ?" Have I fled to Him, and am I
reposing in Him, as my only Savior? or am I still lingering like Lot, when I
should be escaping? sleeping, when I should be waking? neglecting and
trifling, when "a long eternity is lying at my door?" He is my last and only
refuge; neglect Him all is lost!
Believer! you who are standing on your watchtower, be more faithful than
ever at your post. Remember what is implied in watching. It is no dreamy
state of inactive torpor: it is a holy jealousy over the heart wakeful
vigilance regarding sin every avenue and loophole of the soul carefully
guarded. Holy living is the best, the only, preparative for holy dying.
"Persuade yourself," says Rutherford, "the King is coming. Read His letter
sent before Him, 'Behold I come quickly;' wait with the wearied night-watch
for the breaking of the Eastern sky."
Let these "Words of Jesus" we have now been meditating upon in this little
volume, be as the Golden Bells of old, hung on the vestments of the
officiating High Priest, emitting sweet sounds to His spiritual
Israel telling that the true High Priest is still living and pleading in
"the Holiest of all;" and that soon He will come forth to pour His blessing
on His waiting Church. We have been pleasingly employed in gathering, up a
few "crumbs" falling, from "the Master's table." Soon we shall have, not the
"Words" but the presence of Jesus not the crumbs falling from His table, but
everlasting fellowship with the Master Himself!
"Amen, even so, come, Lord Jesus."