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was not then made, when all was planned and settled in Christ. No work of His hand had God to survey then. No evening or morning had then given Him succeeding periods for delight and refreshment, as the good and holy work advanced to its perfection. But He had Christ in counsel before him, His first thought, and the foundation of all His thoughts. The things of creation and redemption, the things of Providence and grace, heavenly purposes and earthly purposes, things nearer at hand or further off, all had respect to Him. • The Lord possessed me,” says Wisdom, " in the beginning of His way.”
But in this beautiful mysterious passage, there are two things which specially engage my mind at this timethat Christ was, “ by Him, as One brought up with Him,” and again, that He was also “His delight. That is, He was ever at hand, so to speak, and ever a joy. He was God's resource and God's object.
These two things are strongly marked here; and as we pass down the current of Scripture, we find this to be
Let what may arise, Christ is ever by God, ready to be used by Him at once, and then used by Him with delight. In Eden or at creation, among the Patriarchs, under the law, in the days of the kings, and by the voices of the prophets, as well as after His manifestation in flesh, and then in the light of the Holy Ghost through the Apostles, that is, from the opening to the close of the volume, this is seen. Let man be in innocency or sold under sin, whether the elect be in simple family order, or in the organized system of a nation, or in the unity of a mystic body, whether they be ruled or instructed, under government or under revelation, Christ is God's great ordinance. It may be, that we, through unbelief and blindness of heart, get but a dim sight of Him at times, God sees Him clearly and at all times, under all changes and conditions. And this is what I would now contemplate for a little while, in some of the leading instances of it.
We know that, at the Creation, without Him was not anything made that was made.
As soon as sin enters, He comes forth at once. He is
the burden of the first promise which was made immediately upon the entrance and conviction of sin.
He is, as we know, the bruised, victorious seed of the woman. The Lord God brings him forth at once, as One already provided in counsel, or, as our Scripture speaks, “As One brought up with him," as One that was "by Him." Sin, the great occasion for the manifestation of God and His grace, and His secrets, had come in, and Christ at once comes forth. Faith in Adam receives Him-with what measure of light we may not be able to say,—but as soon as believing Adam comes out from his guilty covert at the bidding of the seed of the woman now revealed to him, the Lord God uses Christ for him with delight. The action of clothing him with the coat of skins tell us this. There was freedom and fervency in that action. It was done without reserve, and by the Lord's own hand. The coat of skins was first made by Him, and then by Him put on the naked Adam-all this bespeaking His delight in Christ, using Him, and using Him with readiness of heart, for “the sons of men' our Scripture speaks. The Lord God wrought in a ruined world now, as He had lately wrought for six days in an unstained creation. And, if the eternal purpose respecting Christ, the counsel of grace laid in Him ere worlds began, had been the delight of God, so also was the manifestation of this purpose now—this earliest use and application of it. This delight fed itself in action and service, when the need arose, as surely as it had fed itself in thought and counsel in eternity.
So again, shortly after this first case of Adam, Abel's altar and lamb speak the same truth.
The sacrifice was to God a witness of Christ, and God had immediate He answered that sacrifice at
and evidently with delight. He had respect to Abel and to his offering. He pleads with Cain on the warrant and value of it, and would fain have had him, another sinner like Abel, serve at the same altar-all this still telling of the
purpose and joy, that His anointed was “by Him, as One brought up with Him," and “ daily His delight,' His equal and full delight one day as well as another, in the behalf of one sinner as well as of another, for Abel as well as for Adam.
respect to it.
Noah's ark was just the same.
Another ruin had broken forth. The end of all flesh was again before God. It was the wreck of a world a second time. But Christ was “by Him” still. - Make thee an ark of gopher-wood,” said the Lord to Noah, and that ark was Christ. And when Noah pleaded Christ, in other words prepared an ark to the saving of his house, “ The Lord God shut him in," and then the ark went upon the face of the waters.” His own hand, which before had made the coat for Adam, now sheltered “the sons of men” in that sanctuary which grace had provided—and this action, this shutting of all the ransomed in that sure place by the hand of God Himself, again tells of the
delight” with which He used His Anointed for us, which He tasted when His Christ was thus trusted and pleaded by sinners.
And Noah's altar afterwards was just what his ark had, thus, already been. That altar and the victim upon it was Christ.
Noah took of every clean beast and of every clean fowl, and offered burnt offerings on the altar. I say not how far he discovered the Christ of God in all this.
In his measure I surely believe he did. The woman's seed promised to Adam, bruised yet victorious, was, I judge, before him, and so was Abel's lamb.
But be this so, whether dimly or brightly as to Noah, as to the Lord God Himself, the One whom “He had possessed in the beginning of His way, before His works of old,” was assuredly before Him; and in the virtue of His name, and of the preciousness of His blood, He said in His heart, “I will not again curse the ground any more for man's sake.” The Lord God - said in His heart.” What words! What a witness of the profound and perfect satisfaction God was taking in Christ, the counselled, covenanted foundation of all His purposes about “the sons of men,” the treasury of all His riches and secrets of eternal saving mercies !
And the Bow in the Cloud speaks the same language. In the fine glowing style of that beautiful token, God seems, as with His whole heart and His whole soul, to pledge security to the creation. But this was all in His anointed, for it was the blood of Noah's altar which pre
vailed thus to keep the token of the covenant, the pledge of the earth's security, ever under the eye of the Lord. That precious blood had drawn forth the deep delighted utterance of His heart, as we saw, and now this token shall draw His eye in its own direction continually. The cloud big with judgment may come, but the bow shall ride upon it, and control it, and give it an appointed “ here shall thy proud waves be stayed.'
The eye of Him who sits above all water-floods shall look upon the bow — and another witness is given, that time makes no change, successive seed times and harvests shall go on while the earth remains, for Christ is still “ by Him," and always “ His delight,” His predestined salvation and gift of grace, in behalf of “the sons of men."
But as we still pursue our way through Scripture, or along the path of God, we still find the same mystery; we still find Christ" by Him” and also “His delight."
In the day of the call of Abram, the world was in the darkness and abomination of idols. The family of Terah served them (Josh. xxiv. 2). Another mighty moral ruin was spreading itself every where. As disobedience had defiled the garden of Eden, and self-will and violence had corrupted all in the world before the Flood, so now, these idol abominations marked the apostasy of even the family of Shem — for Terah was of that line. But Abram is separated. Like Noah, he found grace in the eyes
of the Lord. He was a chosen one, a vessel of mercy. Great promises are made to him; but of them all, Christ is the ground and title. “In thee,"
"In thee,” says the God of glory to him, when He called him out, “ in thee shall all the families of the earth be blessed” — and his blessing, as we know from the divine teaching of Gal. iii., is through faith in Christ Jesus. In that word to Abram, the Gospel was preached to Abram, the Gospel of Christ, in whom is all our blessing.
How simple this is! Christ and Christ only is still before God, at His hand or “by Him” for use in the behalf of the sons of men,” produced without delay or effort, and given to their rising and recurring necessities. And the Lord God calling out Abram to look on the
stars and see if he could number them, when Christ was about to be revealed to him, was an action which bespoke the delight which God took in using His Anointed for him. There was fervency in the action — a style about it that tells of secret joy, well marking or accompanying that moment when God was revealing Christ to the faith of His elect.
And thus, in this other and later day, this same mystery re-appears. In the day of the fall of Adam, in the apostasy and doom of the antediluvian world, and now in the hour of the call of Abram from amid the overspreading of abominations, Christ known in eternal counsels, is brought forth, and that with delight for the sons of men.
But as we go on with the Book of God, we find the Christ still. See this in the day of the Exodus. It was a time of judgment, as the time of Noah had been. But another Ark is prepared, and that Ark, like the former, in the day of the Flood, is Christ. • They shall take of the blood, and strike it on the two sideposts and on the upper door-posts of the houses wherein they shall eat it, for I will pass through the land of Egypt this night, and will smite all the first-born in the land of Egypt, both man and beast, and against all the gods of Egypt I will execute judgment; I am the Lord; and the blood shall be to you for a token upon the houses wherein ye are, and when I see the blood I will pass over you, and the plague shall not be upon you to destroy you, when I smite the land of Egypt.' The blood was upon the Jewish lintel, and that blood was Christ sheltering the house in the day of judgment and death.
His Anointed, after this manner, was again" by Him," for the use of “the sons of men” in the day of their necessity. And, as a people thus redeemed by Christ, and standing before God in the value of Christ, God takes them up as with His whole heart and His whole soul. In the cloud of His Presence He joins them on the road, as soon as they are freed from the place of judgment; He takes counsel with Himself about them; then He acts for them; He raises a wall of partition