« PreviousContinue »
There are others towards whom you feel a fond attachment, a union of heart, tendrils of affection laying hold of each other's being, with a grasp tender and loving, but firm and inseparable. Apply this to the love of God. There are some, and we fear, professing Christians too, whose feelings towards God are those of respectful and polite reserve. They know nothing of living in the love of God. They never approach God nearer than that of a respectful and polite subject to his sovereign. But there are others who get into his very heart. They are children. They cultivate kindred sympathies, kindred tastes, kindred inspirations. They foster a tender, loving, filial spirit. The word “Father on their lips, and in their hearts, is a sublime and glorious reality. They feel the loving, gracious emotions of his heart throbbing in their own.
So real is their conception and realization of God's love, that never a fear, doubt, or misgiving crosses their minds, or conceals the smiles of his favour. Such enter into the secret of God's love; they breathe the atmo. sphere of God's love, they feel the inspiration of God's love, they feed their souls upon God's love. They dwell in God's heart.
See again. Here is the purpose of God. It has its secret. And you know the difference between a mere acquaintance with the purposes of others and a knowledge of them that awakens our deep interest, and that kindles our profound and active sympathy. We know the purposes and intentions of many men, but we feel little or no interest in them, it is a matter of indifference to us whether they succeed or fail. There are others with whom we have so closely identified ourselves, that their purposes are our purposes, and their success or failure ours. Apply this to the purpose of God. There are some who feel little or no interest in that which lies close to God's heart, engages his profoundest sympathies, and employs his untiring energies. They have never entered into that purpose, never felt its vital importance, never conceived its glorious design. Never seriously considered whether by their lives and actions they were co-operating with God, or opposing Him. But there are others who have so closely identified themselves with God's purpose, who enter into it with such a thoroughness of heart, that it is the great centre to which every line of thought, of feeling, of intention, and of sympathy converges. The purpose of God they adopt as the supreme business of life, so that their aims, intentions and labours are God's; they are co-workers with God, or, in other words, God is working to secure his purpose with them and by them. Of such it may be said they have entered the secret place of God. They live the very life of God. Their impulses are identified with the impulses of God, their sympathies with the sympathies of God, their works with the works of God, their achievements and triumphs with the achievements and triumphs of God. “They dwell in the secret place of the most High."
Secondly: The attitude. “He that dwelleth.” We need not detain you here. To dwell means a fixed, settled, habitual mode of life. It must be so with our conduct in reference to God's word, God's friendship, God's love, and God's purpose, We must dwell in them, live in them, abide in them. We must ask for no holiday, no leave of absence, there must be no departure. But this we shall neither wish por desire. Of God's word we shall say, “Oh, how I love thy law, it is my meditation all the day!" Communion with God will be the richest, sweetest exercise of our souls. His love will be the source of our purest enjoyments, and His purpose the one business of life.
Thirdly: How attained. How can we reach and take up our abode in this the very heart of God! Christ supplies the answer, “I am the way, the truth, and the life ; no man cometh unto the Father but by me." Let us look, then, at the four particulars in the light of this gospel principle. (1.) It is through Christ that we reach and dwell in the secret place of God's word. Christ is the key to that word, Christ in the glory of his person-the depth of his humiliation--the agony of his sufferings—the 'sacrifice of his life, accomplishing the purpose of the Father, in the destructio
of sin and the redemption of our race. Read in this light, contemplated in this mirror, examined by this key, and you read and comprehend God's truth in God's light. The Spirit of God, by whose agency and teaching God's word was written, is the spirit of Christ, catching the spirit of Christ; God's book is a revelation, not a mystery, a revelation that conducts you straight to the heart of God. (2.). It is through Christ that we reach and dwell in the secret place of God's communion. Christ, Christ's mediation, Christ's word, Christ's spirit is "the new and living way. There are some things upon which there can be no communion between God and our spirits. They are far up and above all finite comprehension; they must for ever remain hidden in the depths of the Divine mind. But the things of Christ are common to God and uş; we can talk about them, we have a common interest in them--it is by them that we have been brought together. They are a common ground upon which we can meet; "the mercy seat" where God can commune with us, the medium through which God can bless us, and through which we can receive and enjoy God's blessing. "The things of Christ,” the thoughts and teaching, the temptations, the actions, the sufferings, and the death of Christ, are all subjects upon which there can be the closest and the most engrossing communion with God, upon which our thoughts can mingle with God's thoughts, in which our feelings can commingle with God's feelings. In Christ God and we are one. (3.) It is through Christ that we reach and dwell in the secret place of God's love. In the life and character of Christ, God the Father is revealed to us. We see that the love and regard and care and sympathy which the earthly parent fosters and displays are the rays, the throbbings, the breathings of the great Heavenly Parent. That the highest, noblést, the greatest thing we are ready to do for our children is, but a dim 'reflection, a faint resemblance of what the Heavenly Father is ready to do for us. In the prompting motive, the sustaining power, and the ultimate design of Christ's earthly life of humiliation, suffering, temptation, and sorrow, and which culminated in a death of shame, of obloquy, and of anguish, we are drawn into the full-orbed splendour of God's love. We see love, eternal, unconquer: able, sovereign love, devising the most extraordinary means (the incarnation of the Eternal Son), sustaining the most amazing sacrifice (the most cruel and ignominious death of that Son), and employing the most potent energy (the infinence of his Spirit) to save and to redeem guilty and rebel men. It is here that “God commendeth his love toward us.". “Christy the life of Christ, but especially the death of Christ, is the heart of God laid open, that in it we may almost hear the unutterable throbbings of his love, and almost-feel the rash of its mighty pulsations of mercy.” It is in Christ that we get at the secret of God's lovė. (4.) It is in Christ that we reach and dwell in the secret place of God's purpose. The redemption of men from the curse and power of sin by the bloodshedding of the cross-+-"the bringing of many sons unto glory," by that perfect obedience which braved death rather than yield, is the grand solution of God's providential government over our world. Dark and mysterious as it appears when viewed alone, when viewed'in the light of that great design, it becomes luminous and clear. In its consum. mation every event will be absorbed ;' every circumstance will find its goal,' and every act its endi Christ--the triumph of Christ the exaltation of Christ--the eternal glorification of Christ with his people, is the one grand ultiinate purpose of God. The salvation of souls, the cleansing, purifying, elevating of souls from the guilt, the defilement, the pollution, and the death of sin, is the design upon which God's heart has been set from all eternity, the one object towards which everything has been directed, which He has done. When, then, we comprehend the grand meaning of the cross, and so enter into the work and the ministry of Christ as to become partakers of his thoughts and sufferings, we reach and dwell in the secret place of God's purpose. I
shadow of the Almighty." What intelligible and practical meaning can we attach to these words that will be of service to us in the conflict and labour of life? We shall illustrate the line of thought already pursued. We conceive these words to mean that he that attains to the position indicated shall enjoy God's special protection, security, and serenity.
First : We have indicated what it is to dwell in the secret place of God's word. In that position" we get our minds furnished and filled with God's thoughts about things God's ideas concerning things God's principles relating to things: With minds thus furnished and filled 'we are under their protection. The world's thoughts, and ideas, and principles of things may assail us, but they cannot do much with us ; we know better; we have received a higher education, our minds are fortified with God's tlioughts, guarded with God's ideas, protected with God's principles. As we have said, we look at things from the same point of view as God. We have the secret of God, and that will enable us quickly to detect the fallacy, the error, and the evil that lie concealed in that which the world presents. The man of science is not to be imposed upon by the tričks, legerdemain, and deception that the thoughtless multitude gaze at, and receive with amaze ment and simple credulity. He is under the protection and shadow of science. His knowledge of scientific laws enables him to detect at once the imposition and fraud. So with the man that dwells in the secret place of God's word; he abides under its shadow and protection. And the higher and superior and truer views of things which that word gives him enable him to detect and to refuse the juggleries and decéptions and frauds that are leading the multitude down the road to destruction and perdition. The words of God, the thoughts of God, keep out, repulse, and drive back the thoughts of the world and the falsehoods of sin.
Secondly: We have indicated what it is to dwell in the secrat place of God's communion. In that position we get our whole nature fired and animated with holy and heavenly impulses, sympathies, tastes, and dispositions. We get our