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shall walk in white and he that overcometh shall thus be clothed (see Greek) in white. We are told in the end of chap. 7, whom "white" characterises; and, therefore, we may conclude, that the wearers of white here are not those who remained in the low condition in which Sardis is here described, but rather those who have overcome, and through trial renounced, the deadness and evil there so dominant for they alone have white garments who overcome; they did not assent to the evil ; they had not defiled their garments, but they were to do more, they were to renounce and overcome it; and they would do so, for “they shall walk in white for they are worthy;" no neutral ground but a decided victory and superiority pressure
marked their course—their destined It is unnecessary for me further to pursue this subject, deeply interesting and important as it is. But to return to consider a little more in detail the characteristics of the candlestick. To the quickly sensitive and affectionate heart it must have been painful to hear of disqualification from bearing of light. Light is of God
-Christ is our light unto God. From Adam to Christ every witness had failed to hold out the light of God to the world. In Christ was life and He was the light of man.
He shined in the darkness; but the darkness did not comprehend Him. In Christ the saints have life; and this is the argument of 1 John i. Therefore we are in the light, we have fellowship with the Father and the Son: as long as we abide here we are in the light; we have fellowship one with another, and we know whither we go.
And if the candlestick have failed, nothing can rob us of the privilege individually of being light-bearers, but loss of a first love;" loss of that deep and fervent interest in the person of Christ, which would supply us with power and intelligence to guide the souls of others. Paul could say, Be
followers of me as I also am of Christ.” Nothing so attracts the sheep as the shepherd: none can guide as He does. None can restore but the Shepherd. The soul is in an unhealthy state when anything but Christ appears to restore it
. Devotedness raises the question,“ What is thy beloved more than another Beloved ?" It is not doctrine, dry and correct, that feeds and leads the souls of Christ's
flock. It is Christ Himself, vividly and truly declared. He is the bread of life. The pasturage attracts the sheep, for Christ stands and feeds in the strength of the
Lord. If a number of believers meet together, there is si no promise of blessing unless they meet in the name of
the Lord Jesus. The Apostle when directing the Corinthians how to vindicate the holiness of God among them, tells them they are to gather together in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ. If they assembled otherwise they could not reckon on the power of our Lord Jesus Christ. **For where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them. If it be said, and alas ! it may justly be said (with sorrow and humiliation) that we know little of the power or presence of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only answer is, It is so, because we do not simply meet in His name. This I again repeat was the sin of Ephesus; this is the first form of declension, and practically we know what a sad train of weakness and carelessness follows with it. Meeting in His name implies, at least, that we unreservedly commit ourselves to Him, that we depend on nought save Him and His Spirit to feed and satisfy our souls; nay, that nought else is allowed. May our minds weigh the portentous meaning of these words to which are attached, even to the end, such wondrous blessing and blessings, alas ! so little known by us. Do we want blessing as for the two or three meeting together ? Let us meet in the name of the Lord Jesus. Do we want power? Where will the power we need be found, save in that Blessed One. Do we desire that our light may shine forth? The tender all-absorbing emotions of first love alone can effect that. Let us not think that our devotedness to Christ, however earnest and self-sacrificing, will discourage or deter any Christian. Doubtless it will raise opposition where there is a name more than a reality; but the sheep will follow the shepherd's voice. The more undilutedly His grace flows from us, the more will it commend itself to the simple-hearted saint. When did Abimelech seek unto Isaac? (Gen. xxvi.). After Isaac by slow and sorrowful steps had separated from all the attractive region of Abimelech's influence. He proved his superiority by renouncing what the other lived
in. This manifestation of moral power led the Philistine kingato Isaac's retirement, and to seek a covenant with hiin.o Here he was indeed light-displaying. Again, David'in Adullam's cave, the cheerless hold, had more numerous and more illustrious followers than in Saul's palace (1 Sam. xxii. 1). Simple suffering devotedness is always attractive. The maintenance, the strict and holy maintenance of truth in honor to Christ, whilst it repels the Deceiver, assures the heart and invigorates the purposes of the faithful. Witness the effect of the solemn judgment in Acts v. 13, 14, “of the rest durst no man join himself to them;" and yet,“ believers were the more added to the Lord multitudes both of men and women.”
In the consummation of all blessing “the Lamb shall be the light,” and around Him, in one holy and bright array will all the saints be marshalled, and as we are like unto Him now, as “Christ is formed in us” (which the Galatians needed) are we the bearers of light before the world.
Each of the verses 1–8 begins with * Aleph.
they shall seek Him with the whole heart.
ver, 5 to keep Thy statutes! Ashamed I shall not be, when I have
respect to all Thy commandments. As learning Thy righteous judgments,
ver. 7 I will praise Thee with uprightness of heart. Ah! forsake me not utterly,
ver, 8 I will keep Thy statutes. 1 lit. Blessedness of the perfect. 2 lit. Blessedness of the keeper.
THE LOVE OF CHRIST.
THERE are, I think, three characters in which the love of Christ is presented to us, and is to be learnt by us; that is, his love to the saints, for I speak not here of his love to the sinner. The first we shall find, I believe, in the third chapter of the Ephesians, that is, his love to the church. Paul had been dwelling there on the mystery of the church, as in union with Christ-its mystery as to its earthly calling, and constitution, “ that the Gentiles, should be fellow-heirs, and of the same body, and partakers of his promise in Christ by the gospel" (chap. iii. 6), that the middle wall of partition should now be broken down, and that God should form out of Jew and Gentile, one new man" in Christ, and one "temple,"
“ (chap. ii.) his own habitation by the Spirit. He had dwelt, I say, upon this external character of the mystery, and passed on, I believe, in his mind, to the interior, and essential mystery, in ver. 8., viz., that the body should be in union with Christ in heaven, for this is the “ unsearchable riches of Christ," in view of which he becomes but the least of all saints; this is the mystery kept secret from the ages, and hid in God, when he created all things by Jesus Christ, and by which now principalities, and powers, are learning the manifold wisdom of God. It was, I judge, clearly in connection with these thoughts that he here speaks of the love of Christ. They are to learn it “ with all the saints.” It is the love of Christ to the church. And it is truly of infinite importance to know that there is a body, which Christ loves with a special, and peculiar love, and that body is the church. Christians commonly hindered by the trammelling systems of man, only think of themselves as individuals; they think of Christ's love to them as individuals; but they do not identify themselves with Christ's love to the church, as a body. But let me say, it is utterly impossible ever to enter into Christ's love in its fulness, without this; Christ is not thinking merely of individuals, he is thinking of a body, a body which God prepared for him, and gave to him (John xvii. 6), a body for which he died (Ephesians v. 25), and for which he lives, and which lives in, and by him (John xiv. 19), soon, too, to be presented in glory to Him (Ephesians v. 27). Is say, upon this body, Christ's love dwells with infinité fulness. We must see this, then, in order to comprehend with all the saints, what is the breadth, and length, and depth, and height, and know the love of Christ, that passeth knowledge, and thus be filled with all the fulness of God.
This is true; yet is it well also to see the love of Christ to us, as individual members of himself. This is presented in (Ephesians v). He there speaks much of the church, yet still he says, “ We are members of his body, we are (Greek) of his flesh, and of his bones," we individually in union with Him, He with us, "He that is joined to the Lord is one spirit.” And how blessed to think that the love of Christ rests upon us, individually, severally, and specially. What a comfort is this in affliction, and trial! Our flesh might perhaps think that the Lord deals hardly with us; but how impossible! “No man ever yet hated his own flesh, but does nourish and cherish it, even as the Lord the church.” Be the stroke ever so rude, and overwhelming, it is but the tender hand of Christ after all. It is wisely and gently dealing. It cannot do otherwise, for “no one ever yet hated his own flesh, but does nourish and cherish it."
But beside these two characters, John, I think, opens to us another thought, which " sealeth the sum; and that is, that this love which is resting upon us, is a Divine love. That is the character of our Lord, so much brought out in John, viz., as the Son of God; and that is what ever gives it such value to the saints. And so it is, I judge, very much in that character that our Lord acts here (John xiii). He knew that he came forth (Greek) from God, and that he goeth to God.” He was