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in the full possession of what he was, and what he has, " that the Father had given all things into his hands.” And then it comes out,
loved his own which were in the world, he loved them to the end.” Yes, it is a Divine love that is resting upon us, upon his own; it is the love of the Son of God; it is the love of GOD. The other parts, as shewn, bring out the love of Christ in constituted relationship to us; but this, as I said, brings out a higher thing still, the nature of Him that loves, and the nature of the love. May we learn all more fully, that we may more fully adore Him “ that loves his
I will not dwell here upon the nature of the action he there performs for his own; in type, the priestly intercession, and washing away of His people's defilements. Surely it is blessed to have such a One to wash our feet"; and may we learn day by day more fully in quiet submissive love to leave all our sins there, where Jesus would put and leave them, in the basin—the laver. Let us not in apparent humility, but in real pride, and self-righteousness of heart, refuse to submit to this washing, saying, like Peter, “ Thou shalt never wash my feet;” but since our Lord will have it so, even let it be so; let ours be the blessing, His the glory. “Behold,” says Mary, the hand
1," maid of the Lord; "be it unto me according to thy word.” Soon shall we come where the streets are of pure gold: there will be nothing that defileth there; meanwhile, whilst wandering here, may we learn more fully the grace of Him with whom we have to do. It is our privilege, as I said, to leave even all our sins and all our defilements there in the basin, or laver, of Jesus; all our needless worldly cares and anxieties we may leave in the same place too; for, after all, it is but the dust of our feet. Jesus loves us: it is our privilege, like John, here to lean on his bosom; let us do heartily whatsoever we have got to do of earthly business; but as to needless care, it should find no place for one leaning on the bosom of Jesus. May sin and sorrow thus be more removed from
DEUTERONOMY XXXII.-HABAKKUK. ACTS XX. 29. - 2 TIMOTHY. - JUDE.
Moses and the Apostle Paul, each in the respective times or dispensation in which he lived, prophetically bore witness to this, namely, God's people corrupting their ways. They testify of the apostasy and ruin of that entrusted to man's hands—yet (and seen, may we not say, the brighter because of it ?) the unchangeable goodness of God-His glorious Majesty and all the unfailing power of His grace, and love, and tender mercy above the sphere of man's conduct, and whatever failure there may be, though He deal with it, and judge it, for He must judge, in that sense, His people.
, The prophet Habakkuk establishes and confirms the testimony of Moses. Jude that of Paul. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word is established.” Others, indeed, as Peter in his second epistle, witness the same.
It may be found instructive to examine and compare the Scripture as to this testimony, for where are we? What is God's present testimony to us? Assuredly it is as to His faithfulness and blessedness in spite of failure and corruption. There is witness enough as to the ruin and failure, and, alas! abundant practical proof of our unbelief and folly, but the point which God
presses on our consciences is that He is the same. God and Father, whose mercy endureth for ever. The same God the giver in all His unsearchable riches and inexhaustible fulness. Jesus Christ the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. The same God the Holy Ghost in all His present living energy and witness, given “that He may abide with you for ever.” Blessed truth! With this, and having special faith in this, there is a remnant recognised and addressed in the Word, represented in lively way by Habakkuk in his triumph of faith, and specially testified of in Jude, who-in communion with
Habakkuk, etc. 23 God's thoughts, and walking with and before Him as the living God, and cheered by the promises and truth suited to their circumstances—work on (as those in Ezra) for the building of the House and are sustained in doing so (notwithstanding all the trial and difficulty of the way), by the moral power — the secret divine energy of faith, looking on to the glory itself, not working or building with reference to the scene here only, or so much-as to the time when He will appear, who alone is worthy and able to bear the glory and sit and rule upon His throne. Oh that our hearts could enter into this. That there was given to us the needed confession of sin and failure, the broken and soft heart, and the faith that will work on, not for man or present things, but having “respect to the recompense of the reward” and to Him who will dispense crowns of gold and better than that, (Rev. ii. 17), “hidden manna” and “a white stone and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.” But let us glance at the Scriptures quoted. In Deut. xxxi.29, Moses speaks to the people, the elders and officers “ For I know [compare Paul's identical ·For I know' to the elders of the Church at Ephesus, Acts xx.29] that after my death ye will utterly corrupt yourselves, and turn aside from the way which I have commanded you, and evil will befall you in the latter days:" It is then on the fore-known failure of the people, and fore-declared corruption of their ways that the magnificent song (chap. xxxii.) and utterance of the Holy Spirit by Moses proceeds. It is based on man's failure, but oh! what a testimony as to our God. “Give ear, 0 ye heavens, and I will speak; and
O hear oh earth, the words of my mouth. My doctrine shall drop as the rain, my speech shall distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb and as the showers upon the grass [and how or why was the doctrine to be such a cleansing, fertilizing, refreshing blessed doctrine ?]: because I will publish the Name of the Lord: ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is the Rock, His work is perfect, for all His ways are judgment, a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He"; and what does he find at man's hands ? “They
have corrupted themselves," and with what tender and affecting words does Jehovah speak of His dealings with the people, ver. 9, “For the Lord's portion is His people; Jacob is the lot of His inheritance. He found Him in a desert land, and in the waste howling wilderness; He led him about, He instructed him, He kept him as the apple of His eye. As an eagle stirreth up her nest, fluttereth over her young, spreadeth abroad her wings, taketh them, beareth them on her wings: so the Lord alone did lead him, and there was no strange god with him. He made him ride on the high places of the earth, that he might eat the increase of the fields; and He made him to suck honey out of the rock, and oil out of the flinty rock.” How the very terms and thoughts (the pure grace) are calculated to penetrate our very souls and affect our consciences indeed (if heart and conscience be not as the
her millstone); but what of the people Israel, ver. 15, “But Jeshurun waxed fat and kicked," the very exuberance of the grace and manifestation of God's goodness not held in communion with Him, turns them aside. forsook God which made him and lightly esteemed the Rock of his salvation.” Thus early, ere the dispensation had well begun, does Moses speak as to man's failure, but utters such a glorious testimony as to the perfectness of the work of the Rock of Ages, and how does Habakkuk witness towards the close of the dispensation ? " Although the fig tree shall not blossom” failure and disappointinent may be all around, “ Yet, I will rejoice in the Lord, I will joy in the God of my salvation. The Lord God is my strength.” He can fall back upon the faithfulness and perfectness of Jehovah the Rock. But the prophet Habakkuk did not get these blessed thoughts without due exercise of soul-yea, deep searchings of heart; . surely the three chapters of his prophecy are replete with instruction, and give a very exact picture of the course pursued, and the exercises of conscience of many
a saint of late.
In the 1st chapter Habakkuk manifestly is not in communion with God as to what is going on around, he is astounded at circumstances and the conduct of manycomplains to God Himself, even vexed in spirit at the
scene before him. Mark the expressions, ver. 2, “O Lord, how long shall I cry and thou wilt not hear ! even cry out unto thee of violence, and thou wilt not save! Why dost thou shew me iniquity, and cause me to behold grievance ? for spoiling and violence are before me : and there are that raise up strife and contention. Therefore the law is slacked and judgment doth never go forth,” etc. We see from the entire chapter (see ver. 13 to the end) that the prophet is occupied with the scene below, like a field of battle for confusion. He does not get above to the pure atmosphere of God's counsels and the needs be for such things, he is taken up with himself and man-expediency and circumstances. What a picture of the condition of many a soul ! but the scene changes in chap. ii. The prophet gets into God's presence and mark how, with self-judgment and lowliness and watching, “I will stand upon my watch and set me upon the tower and will watch to see what He will say to me, and what I shall answer, when I am reproved. And the Lord answered me.” And what a truth does his God meet him with, ver. 4, “ Behold, his soul which is lifted up is not upright in him; but the just shall live by his faith.” Here is the principle, the secret, which when understood, removes difficulties and accounts for God's dealings with His people ofttimes. They get away from Him. The Lord Jesus loses His due and proper place, as the centre of their affections—the object of their faith and service—the eye is not single-worldliness comes in—independency and, presently, haughtiness of spirit: the soul becomes “ lifted up” (just the contrary to the word “learn of Me, for I am meek and lowly in heart”). The Lord judges it and sifts because of His Divine, unceasing, as unchangeable love. This blessed Divine culture and teaching was not lost on Habakkuk, for in chapter iii. we see him fully in the Lord's thoughts. In the power
of communion with God he has the vision of the Holy One from Mount Paran, the manifestation and power of the Son of Man, whose glory covered the heavens and the earth was full of His praise. And then, notwithstanding all his exercises, ver. 16, “and disappointment and failure all around,” ver. 17, he comes to the blessed conclusion, that let man or things fail, God is VOL.III. PT.I.