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“ The Lord shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” The Lord loves you too well to leave you in his hands to finally triumph over you.
While here in the body, you often get down in the mire; get under the waves in a storm; get rocked and tossed about, feeling hard to believe that even a spark of grace is in your heart. You oftener get robbed of your comforts than your convictions. Don't you often feel comfortless for a while ? and yet how strong your convictions are, even those of your being "a guilty, weak, and helpless worm!” If any one were to say to you in such a state, that man was some great one, able to help the Lord to save him in any particular, you could not receive such doctrine. None feel so much their need of Christ's strength as those who know their own weakness. Perhaps at this very moment you are feeling such a lifeless, dull, and stupid state of mind, as hardly to entertain the thought that you will ever be " present with the Lord.” But in this state, is there not a little inward pining after the Lord, “a secret moan,” a cry, a wish? The well of living waters is deep; the spring exists, when it does not always feel bubbling up, and running. Do you ever have any hard thouglts of God, and of the way He deals with you? No doubt you have. Well, do you not feel grieved afterward, when thinking over your hardness and ingratitude to the kind and precious Saviour? Cannot you sometimes say, “I am black,” when you cannot say with the same assurance that you are comely? The word “ black” is not too strong to express the views held even by those who are just entering glory. Satan would, if he could, keep Jesus's whiteness out of sight. Faith must be tried “so as by fire."
Suppose a father continually doing things to make his child's home less and less comfortable, crossing his will in this and that, giving him bitters when the child wanted sweets, keeping him indoors when he wanted to be at liberty; how could this conduct be in harmony with parental love ? Now, my dear brethren in Jesus Christ, you know the Father of mercies has often crossed you, sent one thing to upset you, and another thing to set you up again; kept you poor, when you would be rich ; down, when you would be up; little, when you would be great; mourning, when you would be mounting; sighing, when you would be singing. And why? To make you feel tired and sick at heart of this vain world, and produce in you a longing and desiring for “to be with Christ, which is far better.” Tetbury.
NO CITY HERE. “Here have we no continuing city, but we seek one to come. By Him therefore let us offer the sacrifice of praise to God continually, that is the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name.”—Heb. xüü. 14, 15. "WE'VE no continuing city here,” “We've no continuing city here,” This world is not our home,
'Tis passing fast away; We walk by faith and holy fear,
Each short-lived day still brings us near Our rest is yet to come.
To where we long shall stay. "We've no continuing city here,” “We've no continuing city here,” Free grace has made the change;
For our Beloved's gone It doth not to the world appear,
To heaven, and Hewould have us there, What makes us seem so strange.
To claim us as His own. "We've no continuing city here,” “We've no continuing city here,”. We have a house above;
There's nothing here that's good, This world is no longer dear,
Shortly like Him
we shall appear, Our better home we love.
Who bought us with His blood.
THE TRAVAIL AND THE TRIUMPH OF FAITH. MOST DEARLY BELOVED IN THE LORD, --I feel myself bound by the very nature of love to no longer delay answering your very precious epistle. It appears more than likely to me that you were visiting your brother Joseph in the favoured land of Goshen when you penned your warm letter of love. At any rate, Joseph our Brother had a hand in the matter; for it is evident that there is nothing of that kind ever effectually done unless Joseph has the doing of it (Gen. xxxix. 22). How truthful are the lines of dear Hart
“All our prayers and all our praises,
Rightly offered in His name;
He who answers is the same.' Hence we see that all spiritual breathings and all spiritual songs of praise are inspired in the heart by the Lord Himself; and this is beautifully expressed in the following Scripture : “Be thou exalted in Thine own strength : so will we sing and praise Thy power.” " The Lord is exalted ;" but it is He Himself who exalts Himself. He is exalted for us, He is exalted in us, and we are exalted in union-life and grace oneness with Him. We are
“Saved in the Lord-for ever saved,
And in life's bundle bound.”
“ Thus till the affections of our God,
From Jesus shall remove;
Will God the Father love." The Father can only love us in Christ His Son, and we can only love the Father in Christ our Beloved. He is the express image of His person, and the only revelation of His mighty Majesty. Christ is the invisible God made visible to the spiritual eyes of His own forming, to the spiritual child of His own begetting. He Himself says, “A little while, and the world seeth me no more; but ye see me. As though the Lord
“I care not that the world should see me, so as ye see me. This perfectly satisfies me; for my portion is my people, my inheritance is my flock of slaughter. To these alone I reveal my mind, to these exclusively I make known my secret and sacred intentions. Father, I will that they also whom Thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory."" The natural eye of religious Adam cannot behold my glory; the spiritual eye alone of my bride can gaze upon such immortal and uncreated light: the finely-set eyes of my dove in the cleft of the rock only can peer into my heart of all hearts of love, and there discover my warm thoughts of pure and perpetual love. “This honour have all the saints,” and this privilege of unspeakable delight have all the children; but every one in his own order. I never did intend to reveal myself and make myself known to any but to those given me of my Father before all worlds, to those loved and blessed with all spiritual blessings in me of my Father before Adam's dust was formed into a man, to those who form the jewels of my crown and the gems of my diadem. Had it have been my will, had it have been my sovereign
pleasure, I could have manifested myself to others of Adam's children; but it was not agreeable to my eternal intentions of love, therefore I have manifested Thy name unto the men which Thou gavest me out of the world : Thine they were, and Thou gavest them me; and, as Thou hast given them me, I will continually take care of them. They have cost me heart-blood and soul-agony. I have travailed in the greatness of my strength to save them, to rescue them, to deliver them, and to present them to myself a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing; but that they might be holy and without blame before me in love: and now, having cost me so much heart-anguish and bloody sweat, I will see to it that none shall ever have the opportunity granted them, or the power afforded them, of plucking one of them out of my hands. Hence
“ The feeblest saint shall win the day,
Though death and hell obstruct the way.” I do not intend that my dearly-beloved people shall have a smooth pathway in the wilderness, for this would not be good and profitable for them; therefore they shall have tribulation in the world, and peace in me. They shall one and all of them find that, whilst dwelling below, they are in an enemy's land ! that this is not their rest, that I turn the heart of the serpent's seed to hate them, and that bonds and afflictions await them day after day. Indeed, they must find a sentence of death passed upon all sublunary objects and subjects-and, more than this, they shall have a sentence of death in themselves, which will make all the natural religion of the flesh droop and die, that they may be constrained -sweetly forced-to live the life of faith upon me, the Son of God. Again and again will I cause the arm of the creature to fail, that they may prove that " underneath are the everlasting arms,” and that they may triumphantly sing, “God is our refuge and strength.” I will show them that the cause which is too hard for them to manage, they must bring to me with, “O Lord, I am oppressed ; undertake for me;" and very frequently I will“ hide the purpose of my grace,” in order " to make it better known.” This shall sadly perplex them, and much puzzle their natural wisdom, that they shall frequently despair even of life; but they shall prove that the vision is for an appointed time, and that "there is a set time to favour Zion.” I will try them as gold is tried, and I will purify them as silver is purified, but "I will say, It is my people; and they shall say, The Lord is my
God.” " These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them;" for they are indeed “A people near unto me.” How near, they cannot tell; how dear, they cannot divine; but they are so near and so dear that I have declared, and will declare it, that he that toucheth them toucheth the apple of mine eye. They are one in bonds of love, they are united in ties of blood, and they are bound in the bundle of life with me, their Lord and God. I will never leave them, I will never forsake them, and yet I will often hide myself from them, and screen the visions of glory from their view; but all this shall be in the purest love and in the most lasting affection.
“ Yea; all I do, I do in love,
And solely for my spotless dove." I have hidden her in the clefts of the rock, I have covered her with the warm feathers of my love, and I have placed her in the secret places of the stairs. The roaring lion cannot devour her, the vulture's eye cannot see her, the dog of hell cannot bite her, the plague of sin cannot reach her, the pestilence of self cannot touch her, the flood of hell cannot overwhelm her, and the stream of death cannot inundate her: for I the Lord will cover her all the day long, and she shall feelingly dwell between my shoulders. “My delight is in her;" she shall be for me and not for man; so will I also be for her. I have betrothed her unto me in love, in faithfulness, in lovingkindness, and in tender mercy. Her name is Hephzibah, her name is Beulah. She is my married wife, and her desire shall be to me, her husband, and I will lovingly rule over her. My love shall frequently be shed abroad in her heart; my well of living water shall often spring up in her soul, and I will again and again extend peace to her like a river. At all times she is my love, and at all times I love her. My love when sick, my love when well, My love when I thy soul embrace, I call thee still my bride;
And thee with kindness crown; I did thy soul redeem from hell, My love when I conceal my face, When for thy sins I died.
And seem in wrath to frown. My love when on the mount I kiss My love when I thy fleece shall wet Thy sorrows all away;
With blessings from the sky; Mylove when serpents round thee hiss, Nor think that I my love forget, In tribulation's day.
Whene'er thy fleece is dry.' At all times, and in all places, and under all circumstances, thou art my love, my dove, my undefiled. Thou art my queen standing upon my right hand. Thou art my fairest bride, my fondest love. Thou art the darling of my heart, the apple of mine eye; and, though the pathway in which I appoint you to walk be an extremely rugged one, yet it need give you no reason to suppose that my love for you has cooled, or that my affections have diminished. “For ever in my sight
“I love thee on the mount, I'll guide thee with mine eye; And in the trying day, My portion and my soul's delight, For thee thy sorrows I recount, My treasure and my joy.
And fiery trials weigh." Yes, beloved, all our trials and affilictions are dealt out both in weight, and in measure, and they at all times involve the glory of our Beloved and the good of our soul. For the time being, we see not the needs-be for this furnace, or the necessity for that flood, but the Lord knows best how to lead His wayward and fickle children. Under all circumstances it is indeed
“Sweet to lie passive in His hand,
And know no will but His." But our fleshly mind is so opposed to the Lord's will and way, and it cannot see that “All things work together for good. How true do we find the words of Christ in our daily experience, " That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit." All the time that we possess these contrary natures, these opposite dispositions, we must not expect to walk a very long distance without a beclouded sky, we must not fondly hope to be long at ease; for this is not our rest, it is our journey. But, when our beloved Lord is pleased to indulge us with special manifestations of love, with signal revelations of His matchless person, with ecstactic views of His peerless beauties, and with overwhelming communications of spiritual blessings in heavenly places, we say, with
dear Peter, “Lord, it is good to be here.” Well, it is, or the Lord would not so favour us, our blessed Jesus would not so indulge us ; for all His works praise Him, and His saints bless Him. We often think that we should like to remain much longer upon the mount, and it is with great reluctance that we descend to the valley; but we have again and again proved that the vale has been most beneficial to our spiritual well-being. The furnace is not an agreeable place, but how needful it is! The flood is not pleasant for flesh to be overwhelmed in, but how necessary we find it to be! Mountain-top manifestations are most delightful to experience, we would fain be enjoying them more frequently; but the Lord has set the day of adversity over against the day of prosperity, and our own loving Lord has said, “These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” We are not of the world, even as He is not of the world; and, although the world is ours, yet we are not the world's. Bless God for so distinguishing a mercy! How truthful are the lines of the poet :
“ A few more days, and we shall rise,
• All things were ordered for the best." Sometimes we care not how soon our time shall arrive to go hence and be no more seen here, for we well know that it is at all times well with the righteous; but, when we are dark in mind and barren in soul, we are almost afraid of our own shadow. We love to see our prospects brighten for a glory-world, We delight to scale the lofty mountains that are round about the New Jerusalem, and we rejoice to see how gloriously our God makes them a way, Christ. We cannot but covet intimacy with the Lord—our Lord ; blest communion and fellowship with Him, our Beloved. We love to be light in the Lord, joyful in our God. Our nature is so like His, that it delights to inhale the same pure atmosphere, it loves to live in the same genial clime. Well, soon the shadows of dull mortality will flee away, and we shall drop this "scuttle-full of dust," and be ever with the Lord and eternally like the Lord.
“O glorious hour! O blest abode!
The glowing pleasures of my soul."
With our united best love,
Believe me to remain,
I know no service I ever performed, but there has been such a mixture
а. of what was wrong in it, that instead of recommending me to the favour of God, I needed His pardon through Christ for the same. There is not a grain of real goodness in the most specious actions which are performed without a reference to God's glory.