CHAPTER VI.

 

JESUS, IN ALL THINGS LIKE UNTO HIS BRETHREN—THROUGH

 

SUFFERINGS AND DEATH OUR HIGH PRIEST.

 

Heb. 2: 11-18.

 

JESUS CHRIST as the Son of God, and according to that glory into which in His humanity He has entered through His sufferings and death, is high above the angels. It was ne­cessary for Him to pass through sufferings and through death; it was in accordance with the divine plan, and in harmony with all the divine attributes and perfections. Through His sufferings and death He glorified the Father. He put away sin; He abolished death; He destroyed the power of the devil; and for Himself, and for all those who are His, 'He has obtained that high position in which, as the 8th Psalm testifies, all things are put under His feet; and not merely this, but He Himself has become a merciful and faithful High Priest, able to succor us who are tempted, and to sympathize with us in all our sorrow and in all our trial.

 

Now, the first truth which is brought before us in the verses which we have read is that Jesus, who is not ashamed to call Himself brother, and us His brethren, is one with us. We who are sanctified by Him, and He who sanctifies, are of one. Christ is He who sanctifies. The source and power of sanctification are in Jesus the Son of God, our Saviour. We who were to be brought into glory were far from God, in a state of con­demnation and death. What can be more different than our natural condition and the glory of God which we are awaiting? Condemned on account of our transgression of the law, we lived in sin, alienated from God, and without His presence of light and love. We were dead; and by dead I do not mean that modern fancy which ex-plains death to mean cessation of existence, but that continuous, active, self-developing state of misery and corruption into which the sinner has fallen by his disobedience. Dead in trespasses and sins, wherein we walked; dead while living in pleasing self. (Eph.2: 1,2; 1Tim. 5:6.) What can be more opposed to glory than the state in which we are by nature? And if we are to be brought into glory, it is evident we must be brought into holiness; we must be delivered and separated from guilt, pollution, and death, and brought into the presence of God—in which is favor, light, and life—that His life may descend into our souls, and that we may become partakers of the divine nature.

 

Christ is our sanctification. "By one offering He hath perfected for ever them that are sancti­fied." By the offering up of His body as the sacrifice for sin He has sanctified all that put their trust in Him. To sanctify is to separate unto God; to separate for a holy use. We which were far off are brought nigh by the blood of Christ. And although our election is of God the Father (who is thus the author of our sanctifica­tion, Jude 1:1-3), and the cleansing and purification of the heart is generally attributed to the Holy Ghost (Titus 3: 4, 5) ; yet as it is in Christ that we were chosen, and from Christ that we receive the Spirit, and as it is by the constant application of Christ's work and the constant communication of His life that we live and grow, Christ is our sanctification.

 

We are sanctified through faith that is in Him. (Acts 26: 18.) By His offering of Himself He has brought us into the presence of God. By the Word, by God's truth, by the indwelling Spirit, He continually sanctifies His believers. He gave Himself for the Church, "that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word." (Eph. 5:26.) "Sanctify them through thy truth." (John 17:17; 15:3.) Through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. (1Peter 1:2.)

 

Christ 'Himself is the foundation, source, method and channel of our sanctification. We are exhorted to put off the old man and to put on the new man day by day, to mortify our members which are upon earth. But in what other way or method can we obey the apostolic exhortations, but by our continually beholding Christ's perfect sacrifice for sin as our sufficient atonement? In what other way are we sanctified day by day, but by taking hold of the salvation which is by Him, "the Lamb that was slain"? Jesus is He that sanctifieth. The Holy Ghost, the Comforter, is sent by Christ to glorify Him, and to reveal and appropriate to us His salvation. We are con-formed to the image of Christ by the Spirit as coming from Christ in His glorified humanity.

 

"He that sanctifieth and they who are sancti­fied are all of one;" namely, of God the Father. And here we are reminded of the teaching of Scripture that all things are of the Father, and to His glory. Christ is the vine, we are the branches; but the Father is the husbandman. Christ is the bridegroom, and we are the church, the bride; but it is the Father who is the King, which made a marriage for His Son. Christ is the Head; we are the members; but as we are Christ's so Christ is God's. "The head of Christ is God." (1Cor. 11: 3.) "'He that sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are all of one." Christ is of the Father; we are of the Father. As the Lord Jesus Christ Himself says, "Thine they were, and thou gayest them me;" and as in the epistles of John, we are taught that we are of God, and the seed of God abideth in us. What a wonder­ful brotherhood is this, rooted in the mysterious election of eternal love! Christ, the only begot-ten of the Father, and we who by nature are children of wrath and disobedience, are eternally and indissolubly united with Him. Therefore He is not ashamed to call us brethren. As it is said also in the 22nd Psalm 22, in which the sufferings of Jesus upon the cross and His exaltation are des­cribed: "I will declare thy name unto my brethren : in the midst of the church will I sing praise unto thee." Notice how literally that was fulfilled; for it was immediately after His resur­rection, and in reference to this Psalm, that Jesus said, "Go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God." The risen Saviour, as the first-born among many brethren, hastens to declare the name Father unto His disciples, and to assure them, that He who sanctifieth and they who are sanctified are both of one.

 

Christians, if Jesus is our brother; if Jesus and we are both of one; if Jesus says, "I will sing thy praise in the midst of the congregation;" if He is the leader of our prayers and praises before the throne of God, then we may approach the Father without fear and without doubt! Christ's peace is our peace, and our worship is the worship of perfect acceptance, of perfect trust and love in union with the Head of the Church, Jesus crown­ed with glory after His sufferings. Thus do we praise and pray in the name of Christ; thus does Christ Himself praise and pray in the midst of the congregation. Where is doubt now? For is Jesus in doubt of His acceptance with the Father? Is not His atonement upon Golgotha most glo­rious in the sight of God? It is Jesus who is our representative and spokesman. As on that night on which He was betrayed He sang the hallelujah with His disciples, so now He presents to the Father our sacrifice of thanksgiving, our ador­ation, our petitions, and the Father hears the voice of Jesus in the voice of the church.

 

The apostle illustrates the relationship which subsists between the Lord Jesus and His people by another typical prediction. The prophet Isaiah is not merely an eminent evangelist of the Old Testament, but his position in the important crisis of Jewish history is typical. The judgment which was then threatening Israel, the judicial blindness and hardness of heart which fell upon the great majority of the nation, was a type of that culminating sin and obstinate rejection of Jehovah which is described in touching and solemn words in Matthew 13: 13-15; John 12: 37-41, and Acts 28: 25-27. But Jehovah prom­ises protection and grace to those who trust in Him. The prophet by faith has his refuge in God, and looks with confidence to the future. He and the children whom God has given unto him are types of the Redeemer and His people. The chil­dren of the prophet are signs and wonders. The application of this typical prediction by the apos­tle to Christ and His people is bold, but beautiful, and in harmony with the whole spirit and scope of the prophecy.

 

The Lord Jesus all the time He was on earth exercised faith in the living Father. Even His enemies bore witness at the crucifixion, "He trusted in God." All His lifetime He was one of those peculiar people who, instead of being guid­ed by what is called "common sense," instead of being influenced by public opinion, prudence, and the power of the world, was always beholding Him who is invisible; was always walking with God and doing His will. "I am not alone; because the Father is with me." He was continually leaning upon the Father. Thus we understand these two quotations: "I will trust in Him," and "Behold I and the children whom thou hast given me." Christ is represented as Brother and as the everlasting Father. The promise was given to the Messiah:—"'He shall see His seed. Who shall declare His generation?" Christ who sanctifies and we who are sanctified are both of one—the Lord Jesus, who is not ashamed to call us brethren, who hastened to declare to us the Father's name after His resurrection, who dur­ing His lifetime exercised to the fullest extent faith in God, at the last shall acknowledge us as the children given to Him of the Father. Brother-hood is now the relationship subsisting between Him and us, a relationship which can never be altered. We may lose friendship; but brotherhood is fixed and unchangeable. Thus our Lord Jesus and we are rooted and united in God the Father.

 

Christ is the Elect of God, and we are chosen of the Father in Christ Jesus. In Him we are predestinated unto the adoption of children. Of God are we in Christ; and of God Christ is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctifi­cation, and redemption. God the Father gave us to Jesus, even as the Father gave Jesus to us. And because Jesus and the Father are one, the union between the Lord Jesus, given unto us by the Father and the children, given unto Jesus by the Father, can never be broken.

 

The Son of God being appointed to be the Captain of our salvation, it was necessary that He should become partaker of flesh and blood. "Inasmuch as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, He also Himself likewise took part of the same." What is the meaning of "flesh and blood"? The human race, in its creature de­pendence and weakness, is described in Scripture by "flesh." "0 Thou that hearest prayer, unto Thee shall all flesh come." Christ said in His prayer, "As Thou hast given Him power over all flesh." "Flesh and blood" describe us in our present earthly condition. "Flesh and' blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God." A change must take place to fit us for the heavenly region. The flesh and blood which the Lord Jesus Christ took shows that He became truly and really man. "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us." This seems a wonderful contrast. The Word, eternal, all-perfect, all-glorious, the Son of the Most High, who was with God from the begin­ning, and was God, He became flesh, He was born of the Virgin Mary. "The flesh" shows the weakness of which the Lord Jesus Christ became partaker. It is written that He was crucified through weakness; that He came in the likeness of sinful flesh. When people saw Him, they did not notice in His outward appearance anything superhuman, glorious, free from earthly weak­ness and dependence. He did not come in splendor and power. He did not come in the brightness and strength which Adam possessed before he fell. "In all things He became like unto us." In everything; in His body, for He was hungry and thirsty; overcome with fatigue, He slept. In His mind, for it developed. He had to be taught; He grew in wisdom concerning the things around Him; He increased, not merely in stature, but in mental and moral strength. In His affections, He loved. He loved the young man who came unto Him, and was not willing to give up his riches. He loved Lazarus, Mary, and Martha—the disciple who leaned on His bosom. He was as­tonished; He marveled at men's unbelief, and said to the Syro-Phoenician woman, "0 woman, great is thy faith." Sometimes He was glad, and "rejoiced in spirit;" sometimes angry and indig­nant, as when He saw the hypocrisy of the Jews, who accused Him of having broken the Sabbath. Zeal, like fire, burned within Him; "The zeal for the house of God consumed me ;" and He showed a vehement fervor in protecting the sanctity of God's temple. He was grieved; He trembled with emotion; his soul was straitened in Him. Some-times He was overcome by the waves of feelings when He beheld the future that was before Him. In all things He was made like unto us. Do not think of Him as merely appearing a man, or as being a man only in His body, but as man in body soul, and spirit. He exercised faith; He read the Scriptures for His own guidance and encourage­ment; He prayed the whole night, especially when He had some great and important work to do, as before setting apart the apostles. He sighed when he saw the man who was dumb ; tears fell from His eyes when at the tomb of Lazarus He saw the power of death and of Satan. He wept over Jerusalem, as He foresaw the fear­ful results of their grievous sin. His supplications were with strong crying and tears; His soul was exceedingly sorrowful; He was sorely pressed, and He agonized in Gethsemane.

 

"He suffered being tempted." The temptation was a reality to Him. He felt most keenly and painfully the weight and the pressure of the test. His soul was full of love to Israel, and eager to gather children of Jerusalem. The broad road, easy and attractive to the flesh, would have led to immediate recognition and reception by Israel; the way of humility and obedience, of faith and suffering, was narrow to Jesus also. He felt hunger, reproach, hatred; Satan was permitted to test Christ's most sensitive heart, with the most penetrating and painful trial.

 

When His sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground, His soul was shrinking from the awful cup of Golgotha; and to strengthen Him in this most real, and to us un­fathomable, conflict, an angel from heaven appeared unto Him. The world also was a tempta­tion to Him. The spirit of the world was enmity 'against Him, and came into collision with Him every moment. His own brothers said, "Why do you not go up to the feast and shew yourself?" His own disciples said, "Far be it from thee to suffer, Lord." But He saw Satan in all this; and said, "Get thee behind me, Satan." Not for a single moment did He yield—erect He stood. But nevertheless, and by this very perfection of His victory, He felt every moment all the burden of the weight. If He had given in, that very moment the pressure would have been re­lieved. Because He remained without sin, He suffered being tempted. Jesus, as Messiah, felt the sorrow of love rejected, of instruction refus­ed by the people to whom He came in mercy infi­nite; He felt keenly the pain of being called a blasphemer in His own beloved city. As the prophet describes it, He mourned and wept be-fore God, that He had spent His strength and labor in vain. He felt that Satan could give unto Him the allegiance of the nations, if He would only yield to him on one point. The narrowness of the path He chose was a reality to Him. "He suffered being tempted;" and His suffering was again a temptation to Him. "This," 'He said, "is your hour, and the power of darkness." In the garden of Gethsemane, and on the cross, He saw in His sufferings the power of Satan's temptation He felt the fearful strength of the adversary, endeavoring to make Him swerve from His loyalty to God. "He that sanctifieth, and they that are sanctified, are one." Mysterious brotherhood! "He became in all things like unto His brethren." "He suffered being tempted," and was tempted in all His sufferings.

 

Now we advance a step further. By death He took away the power of him who has the power of death, that is, Satan. We considered the ex­pression, Christ tasted death,—that He did not merely die, as it were, in a moment of enthusiasm, as many a warrior has lost his life courageously. But, laying down His life, He came into contact with the whole sting of death; measured its length and breadth and intensity, the power of Satan, the wrath of God, the condemnation of the law. How clear it is from this passage what Jesus Christ suffered in death!

 

But which death did He die? That death of which the devil has the power. Satan wielded that death. He it was who had a just claim against us that we should die. There is justice in the claim of Satan.*[I] He stands upon the justice of God; upon the inflexibility of the law; upon the true nature of our sin. But when Christ died our very death, when He was made sin and a curse for us, then all the power of Satan was gone. It was of the grace of God that He tasted death for every one. This is often set before us in Scripture, lest we should imagine that the Lord Jesus loved us more than the Father loves us, or that the Father did not love Him with the most intense love at the very moment He hid His face from Him as our Substitute. In the expiatory death of Jesus all the attributes of God are in sweetest harmony; but grace shines bright­est through all. "By the grace of God He tasted death."

 

And now what can Satan say? The justice, majesty, and perfection of the law are vindicated, more than if all the human race were lost for ever. In the sufferings of Christ there was not merely punishment endured, but there was faith and love; the highest and deepest obedience; the law was magnified. There was a burnt-offering in this sin-offering. The penalty due to the broken laws Jesus endured, and now, as the law is vindicated, sin put away, death swallowed up, Christ has destroyed the devil. In connection with this word, I must refer to the extraordinary delusion of supposing that "destroy" means to annihilate. Christ did not annihilate the devil; Satan still exists, and will exist for ever and ever. But the Lord has taken his power from him: He "bruised his head." Satan, we are taught here, has the power of death, even as Satan introduced sin into the world. While we are without Christ we are under the power of darkness (Col. 1: 13); we walk according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now worketh in the children of disobedience. (Eph. 2:3.) But when we come to believe, by Jesus we are delivered from the power of Satan, and brought into the liberty of the children of God. (Acts 26: 18.) Only through the death of our Lord Jesus Christ upon the cross can men be de-livered from Satan. As we are delivered from the dominion of Satan, who has the power of death, we are also delivered from the fear of death. And this is to some extent the special privilege of believers living in the new cove­nant. Now, being delivered out of the hand of our enemies, we may serve God without fear. The children of God in the old dispensation had faith in God and the Messiah, and lived in the

 

 

Hope of everlasting blessedness. They enjoyed the peace of God, yet it was natural they should be `afraid of the darkness and gloom of the grave; and many passages in the Psalms and prophets, referring to the realm of death before the advent .of Messiah, appear sad and mournful. This is natural; but when Messiah comes, they expected God would put all things under Him: joy will come in the morning, and Israel will then see the salvation of God. But the intermediate period was to them a time of great darkness. But how different is it now that the true light shineth. Jesus has abolished death. He has the keys of death and of hades. In His resurrection we have obtained the victory. The Christian can look death in the face, and say, "0 death," and ask the question: "Where is thy sting?" We know that to depart and to be with Christ, to die, is gain. Absent from the body, present with the Lord. "Are you afraid of death?" said a friend to a German pastor. "Which death do you mean?" replied the dying man. "Jesus my Saviour saith, `He that believeth in me hath eternal life. He that believeth in me shall not see death.' Why should I be afraid of what I shall not even see? The real death is past. Outward death, separa­tion of body and soul, we have to endure, and God gives us grace and strength in this last trial; but the sting of death has been taken away."

 

 

 

 

 

The apostle now states the result and fruit of the Lord's condescension and work. The Son of God became man; He took hold of the seed of Abraham; He became in all things like unto us, He was tempted, He suffered, He died, He saved us; and now, by virtue of His incarnation, obedi­ence, sufferings—through all the experiences of His earthly life, and perfected in His death—Tie has become "a merciful and faithful High Priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconcilia­tion for the sins of the people." In no book of the New Testament is our Saviour called the High Priest, except in the epistle to the Hebrews; not even in the book of Revelation, where the heavenly sanctuary and its worship are disclosed to us. How precious is this epistle to us in revealing the whole rich cluster of truths and consolations which gather round this central word, High Priest.

 

 

In the 110th Psalm it is said, "Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchizedek;" and in the prophet Zechariah, Messiah, the Branch; that is, Jehovah's servant, who shall build the temple, is called a priest upon the throne. But the full exposition of the fulfillment of Levit­ical type, and of the eternal Melchizedek priest-hood of the Lord Jesus, we possess only in this profound and precious portion of Scripture.

 

Believe then that Jesus, by His experience, by His sufferings, and above all by His death, has become a merciful and faithful High Priest. We are now on earth, in the flesh, sin around, and alas, within us. How can the Holy God look on 'us, and grant us blessings? How can there be communion between heaven and earth? Jesus is ascended, and having put away sin by the sacri­fice of Himself, presents us to the Father; and we are holy and unblameable before Him; and Father, Son, and Holy Ghost are able to send down the fullness of blessings, of grace and strength; to have communion with us. Not with­standing all our sin and defilement. Christ is a merciful High Priest; not merely full of pity, compassion, and grace, but full of sympathy. He knows what is in man, He understands fully all our sorrows and is able to measure the strength of all our temptations. He is most lovingly and earnestly anxious that we should always obtain the victory and suffer no injury; for hav­ing gone through all the conflict Himself, without a single moment's wavering or surren­der, He wishes us to be found continually in Him, and to conquer continually. He is faithful in bringing down to us all the gifts of God; all the counsel, will, and blessings of the Most High; faithful in taking up to God all our need and trial; all our petitions, fears, and tears; all our suffer­ings and all our works. What deep and infinite sympathy is in Jesus! And how much we should dwell upon it, and strengthen ourselves in the Lord. For He wishes to succor us; to take us by the hand when we are sad, weary, and exhausted ; to help and encourage us; to cheer and gladden us who are still in manifold temptations and suf­ferings. He is Immanuel, God with us, as the Man Christ Jesus. We are comforted and upheld when we remember the humanity of Jesus now enthron­ed in glory, even as He in His dealings with us re-members what He endured upon earth. And thus we can say to Him, "0 Thou, who art not asham­ed to call us brethren, who Thyself didst suffer in being tempted, fulfill in us the good pleasure of Thy will, that in nothing we may yield to the adversary; however heavy our trials, however overwhelming our afflictions, and however pain­ful our experiences in a world of sin and unbelief, O do Thou grant of Thine infinite faithfulness that through it all we may be kept looking unto Thee and following Thee, that we may always have peace and joy in Thee, and never waver in our childlike confidence in the Father!

 

Now, dear friends, what else can I say in con­clusion but what the apostle says, "Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus." Think of Him; gaze steadfastly on the Lord Jesus. Consider; ponder. Let your mind be filled with Christ. Make not your sanctification the object of your contempla­tion, the theme of your meditation. What is it? Do you wish to ornament yourselves, and to come before God beautiful, or as a sinner? Do you wish to say from time to time, I have made great progress; I have advanced many steps in my heavenward journey; I have got into the higher Christian life, as people call it? Do you wish to come before God beautified? or do you wish to humble yourself, and ascribe glory unto the Lamb that was slain? . . . Where do we see Christ? Are we beholding the image of Christ reflected in our own hearts, in our own disposi­tions, states, and phases of faith? Then it will be reflected in troubled and muddy waters; and unstable and uncertain shall be the features which meet our eye there. Or shall we behold Jesus in the glory of His excellence, in the perfection of His holiness, in the beauty with which God has adorned Him? Are we not to look off unto Him in heaven, and to know that we are seated together in heavenly places, and complete in Him? Shall we say, "Oh, if I was only more holy, less selfish, more patient! If I could only see more of Jesus reflected in me!" Or shall we say, "Oh, if I could always behold the Man who died upon the cross! if I could always see Jesus, the Lamb of God that was slain! if I could always remember that I am bought with a price; and that He was wounded for my transgressions, and bruised for my iniquities!"*[II]

 

I will ask you still further, Why do you wish to be holy? Is it to depend ore on Christ, or to be less dependent on Christ? To think more of the sacrifice which Jesus made upon the cross, and to know and feel

 

"Nothing in my hand I bring,

Simply to Thy cross I cling!"

 

Have you not detected it in yourself, that sometimes, when you have given way to tempta­tion, fallen into sin you wished to avoid—when you have in the performance of duty stumbled over the same difficulty as before, that a feeling of distrust, disappointment, and despondency comes over you, a feeling of wounded pride and vanity, of impatience and irritation, and you say, "I am not making progress; it is really too bad; I am always falling into the same low state?" And then the lowest depth of self-abasement and humiliation is to go to God and to find no change in Him; the same Fatherly love, the same High Priestly compassion and grace, the same Com­forter, patient and gentle, and you discover, that in your best moments as well as in your worst, you depend exclusively and entirely on the grace of God, which saves the chief of sinners. In fact, you have only stood by grace through the blood shed for vile sinners. How much we need to avoid the snare of cultivating vanity and self-seeking even in our sanctification! How apt we are to make a Saviour of self! I am anxious and troubled about the unscriptural view of the Christian life, of which we hear. Look at it. What was it in the Church of Rome that for so many centuries made the cross of Christ of none effect? They did not wish to ignore or reject Christ's salvation, and to make Christ of none effect. Do not imagine that grievous errors and heresies began as it were in a bad and wicked pur­pose. How was it for centuries in the Church of Rome? Christ was put in the background, and the Reformers had to dig very deep, and put away a great amount of rubbish that had accumulated—the gold and silver and precious stones lay buried among wood and hay and stubble—till at last they found that Christ in whom alone we must rejoice. Look at the theology of such a book as, for instance, Thomas a Kempis, in which there is much that is excellent, but which suffers from the radical error of not distinguishing Christ for us, and Christ in us. These good men began to be exclusively thinking of Christ in them. All their attention was centered in that as­pect of truth. They said, "It is true, Christ died for us; but now we must go higher; and accord­ing as we realize Christ in us, we rest and have peace." It was by this well-meant praising of Christ in us that they forgot Christ for us. They saw that a hypocritical and superficial trust in the merits of Christ was a dead thing, which brought forth no fruit, which gained no victory over sin and the world. They therefore were anxious to see life and power. But they did not perceive clearly that our only power, peace, and life are in Christ, who died for us, and in whom we have perfection. By looking to their love to Jesus, to their imitation of 'His perfect example, to their resemblance to His holy image, they never could have true, perfect peace.

 

As a Christian never loses comfort but by breaking the order and method of the gospel, looking on his own and looking off Christ's per­fect righteousness, so he that sets up his sanctifi­cation to look at, sets up the greatest idol, which will ultimately strengthen his fears and doubts, though at first it may soothe his feelings and please his imagination.

 

The young Christian is especially apt to fall into error. After his first zeal and love, after the spring and dawn of his spiritual life, when he is full of praise and strength, when prayer is fer­vent, when joy and praise abound, when love to the Saviour is ardent, when work for Christ seems refreshment, there generally succeeds a period of languor and of darkness, when he is led into the experience, painful but salutary, that even after his renewal, the old man, the flesh, is enmity against the Spirit, and that our all-sufficiency is of God. Now it is for him to enter more deeply into the valley of humiliation, to see more clearly the need and the preciousness of the blood of Christ, to ascribe more cordially and with greater contrition all glory to the God of salvation. He is, however, tempted to choose the path of what appears progress, victory, strength, and beauty; whereas God's saints say—Christ must increase; I must decrease. Christ is comely; I am black. Christ is strength; I am weakness. In Christ is all good; in me, that is, my flesh, there is nothing good. The saints of God find, that instead of pro­gressing from one degree of perfection to an-other, they discover in themselves daily more that sin which is exceeding sinful; they behold them-selves vile, and cling with all intensity of faith to Jesus, who saith unto them, "My grace is suf­ficient for thee." They are saved by grace; they know Christ only as their righteousness and per­fection; and even at the end of their earthly journey, of their labors and sufferings, they grasp "the faithful saying, worthy of all accepta­tion, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief."

 

 

Rest in the Lord, and in Him alone. Consider the Apostle and great High Priest, Christ Jesus. Place your confidence and have your joy only in the Lamb slain. Call Jehovah, Jehovah-Tsidkenu. Day by day you are a burden to Jesus, and His grace alone upholds you, while you stand only in His perfection. You would not have it otherwise. And while you are looking off unto Him, you will run with patience the race set before you. You will fight the good, but real and painful, fight of faith; you will crucify daily the old man, who to our last breath is enmity against God; you will have no confidence in the flesh, but rejoice in Christ Jesus; and your life will be hid with Him in God. And at last Christ will present His children unblameable in body, soul, and spirit. Then shall we be like Him; then shall we have no more conflict, and no more sin. Faithful is He who hath promised, who also will perform it. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

[I] *It is quite true that Satan is only a usurper; but in saving men God deals in perfect righteousness, justice, and truth. Ac-cording to the Jewish tradition the fallen angels often accuse men, and complain before God that sinful men obtain mercy. Our redemption is in harmony with the principles of righteousness and equity, on which God has founded all things. The prince of the world is judged; he is conquered not merely by power, but by the power of justice and truth. That Messiah is to vanquish the angel of death was held by the Jews, according to Isaiah xv. 8: "When Satan saw Messiah he was afraid, and fell upon his face and said, He is the Messiah, who shall cast me and all nations into hell; as it is written, The Lord will swallow up death for ever."

 

[II] * Gossner, in Berlin, wrote a beautiful tract: Mir ist's, air ob's Charfreitag war—I feel as if it was Good Friday; in which he shows that the one thing we ought to desire and aim at is to .behold constantly Christ crucified for us.