« AnteriorContinuar »
grace, on this subject, are largely and (as all revelation), perfectly set forth in the writings of Paul. John takes up another point, that of the communication of the divine nature, what that nature is, and, consequently, what God is, whether in His living manifestations in Christ, or in the life which He communicates to others. Without this community of nature, communion were impossible, for darkness can have no fellowship with light. But, as we have already seen, the Apostle goes still further: we dwell in God, and God in us, by the Holy Ghost; and thus, as far as we are capable of it, we enjoy what God is in Himself, and become the manifestation of Him: the limit to this manifestation being only in the vessel in which God has taken up His abode. How great are the varied riches of the goodness of God! This communion with Him, which raises us as far as possible towards the fulness of Him who reveals Himself in us, is certainly something very sweet and precious; but the tenderness of God toward us, poor pilgrims on the earth, and His faithful love, so needed in our weakness to carry us onward to the goal, are not less so.
The testimony of Peter, in his First Epistle, treats of that which God is for the pilgrim, and of what the latter should be for God. The resurrection of the Messiah has set the pilgrim on his road; and thereon are presented the faithfulness of God, and the encouragement which His power gives to our hope by this resurrection of Christ, the Son of the living God, though rejected of men; and lastly, the apostle speaks of the walk, the worship, and the service which flow from it.
John presents to us that which is most exalted in communion, or rather in the nature of communion; consequently, he does not touch on the subject of the Church, as an object of divine counsels, but of the divine nature.
Paul treats of that which is perfect not in respect of communion, but of counsel. In His writings God is glorified more especially as the object of faith, though he speaks of communion too (Romans v. 5). Where, in the same chapter (ver. 11), he speaks of God, as the one in whoin the Christian is to glory; he pluces Him before, and not as in us as the object for faith to lay hold of, and not as dwelling in the heart.
This divine and infinite blessing—this love perfected in us, communicated by the presence of the Holy Ghost, and realised by our dwelling in God and He in ushas led some to think that, when this point is attained, the flesh can exist in us no longer; but this is to confound the vessel with the treasure placed in it, and of which it has the enjoyment. We are in the body which still waits its redemption; only God can dwell in it, because of the sprinkling of the blood by faith; this sprinkling does not correct the flesh, but only renders testimony, both to the perfection of the expected redemption, and to the love to which we owe it.
When in real enjoyment of God, we may for a moment lose sight of the existence of the flesh, because, then the soul (which is finite) is filled with that which is infinite. But even in these moments of blessedness one cannot doubt but that the flesh is an obstacle to the larger and more intelligent action of love. Paul, caught up into the third heaven (a privilege which the flesh would have used to puff him up with, and which made a thorn needful) is a proof to us that grace does not change the flesh. Alas! even the joy of which we are speaking, without watchful dependance upon Christ, gives dangerous occasions of action to the flesh, because there is so much littleness in us, that, forgetting who gives the joy, we lean on the feeling of the joy, instead of dwelling in Christ, the Fountain-head of it. Nevertheless, it is certain that the love of God, made perfect in us, is a reality, and that the Christian is called to know God, and to enjoy Him as dwelling in Him.
I have but one more remark to make.
When we are full of the love of God, we enjoy it with a power that hinders our seeing anything, especially the objects of the goodness of God, save with the eye of divine love. But where there is a real knowledge of the existence and nature of this love of God, the walk will also be characterised by faith in that love, even though the heart may not realise the whole power of it; and, thus, we shall dwell in God and He in us. But since
this fulness of joy can only be realised by the action of the Spirit, it is easy to understand that, if grieved, He will become a Spirit of reproof, judging the ingratitude with which such love as the love of God is requited, instead of filling the heart with that love; though it is impossible for Him to cast a doubt upon it. It is evident that the love made perfect in us is the work of God; and this it is which forms the joy—the whole of the state. That which the Holy Ghost sheds abroad in our hearts is the love of God; and this love, powerful in our hearts, cannot but show itself externally.
That which I have said does not, properly speaking, belong to the operations of the Holy Spirit, but the subject is of the greatest importance. And this importance, which is that of the fruits and grand results of the presence of the Holy Ghost (for by it the love of God and of Christ are glorified, as far as it is possible here below) seemed to render a few remarks upon this subject desirable.
May God bless them to the reader ! May it please Him to realise in us the things of which I speak on the subject of revelation, and may He so bless as that truth may have its full weight on the soul; so that we may know, with all the beloved church of Christ, what it is to have the Holy Ghost dwelling in us according to the power of the love of God!
"It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
And when he is come, he will reprove the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment: of sin, because they believe not on me; of righteousness, because I go to my Father, and ye see me no more; of judgment, because the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall'shew it unto you.” John xvi. 7- 14.
OBSERVATIONS ON THE PERUSAL OF
IF we would read the Psalms intelligently, or even understand the piety which is unfolded there, we must see in them the Spirit of Christ identifying itself with the circumstances, trials, thoughts, feelings, and position of the faithful in Israel in the latter day. They give a divine, and consequently perfect, expression to that which may be working by grace in their hearts, but which, in their hearts, mixed up with many other feelings, might, without this expression, which, in giving them in their perfectness, puts a divine sanction on them, have left their souls in uncertainty and misery. Whereas, through this blessed revelation, God comes into the grief, and gives also an answer to it.
Hence, in the very outset, we have the character of the righteous man placed among the ungodly, and the consequences under the government of God; and in the second the firm counsel of God, Christ, in spite of all the efforts of the heathen, whose kings and judges are called to submit themselves to the Son of God. In Psalm viii. His glory as Son of man is unfolded consequent on his rejection as Messiah.
Thus, in general, we have everything past, present, and to come, which could touch the heart of a Jew renewed in the spirit of his mind by grace, expressed in connection with the feelings it gives rise to. Hence also the sufferings of Christ are given historically, the great centre of everything that Israel could rightly feel, and which forms the sole ground on which He could enter in spirit into the sorrows of the sinner.
TAE Books of Kings show us the kingly power established in all its glory, its fall, and God's testimony in the midst of the ruin, with details concerning Judah after the rejection of Israel, until Lo-ammi had been pronounced upon the whole nation. In a word, it is the trial of kingly power, placed in the hands of men, as there had been a trial of the people set in relationship with God, by means of priesthood. Out of Christ, nothing stands.
Although the kingly power had been placed under the responsibility of its faithfulness to the Lord; and although it had to be smitten and punished whenever it failed in this, it was yet, at that time, established by the counsels and the will of God. It was neither a David, type of Christ in his patience, who, through difficulties, obstacles, and sufferings, made himself a way to the throne; nor a king who, although exalted to the throne, and always victorious, had to be a man of war to the end of his life, a type in this, I doubt not, of what Christ will be in the midst of the Jews at His return, when He will commence the coming age by subjecting the gentiles to Himself, having been already delivered from the strivings of the people (Ps. xviii. 43, 44); it was the king according to the promises and the counsels of God, the king established in peace, head over God's people to rule them in righteousness, son of David according to the promise, and type of that true son of David, who shall be a priest upon His throne, who shall build the temple of Jehovah, and between whom and Jehovah there shall be the counsel of peace (Zech. vi. 13).
Let us examine a little the position of this kingly power according to the Word; for responsibility and VOL.III. PT.IV.