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“ Thou hast hid these things from the wise.” Matt. xi. 127 then, are the sheep of Jesus, whom the Father gives to Him. They have already, although perhaps in much darkness, acknowledged Him, when they had heard and learned of the Father-for He and the Father are one.
And their preparedness to recognize Him consists in this, that “the word which He speaks, is not His, but the Father's who sent Him," and that word of the Father they already know within their own hearts.
In Matt. xi. 20—30, we have another striking illustration of the same principle. Jesus upbraids the cities in which most of His mighty works were done, because they repented not; and then He explains the reason of their impenitence, in these words, “I thank thee, O Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes.” “ They were wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight;" they were not hearing and learning of the Father. They were following the drawing of their own carnal wisdom, instead of following the drawing of the Father, and therefore they could not come to Jesus. The babes are those who yield to God's drawing; who “ hear and learn of the Father,” and thus they are led to Jesus.
In the 27th verse, it is written, “ All things are delivered to me of my Father; and no man knoweth the Son but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal Him.” This verse at first sight appears to
. present a great difficulty as to the way of commencing the life of godliness; because it says at one and the same time, that we cannot come to the Son, except by the Father; and that we cannot come to the Father, except through the Son. But we have seen that the Father draws by the word sown in the heart, and that they who hear and receive that word, are really under the Father's drawing, although they may not as yet have discovered Him to be their Father. And those that are faithful in hearing and learning the word, are given by Him to the Son. He shows them that it is not only righteousness, but Fatherly love, that afflicts and crucifies them; for He shows them the Man of Sorrows, and says to them,—That willing sufferer, “marred more than any man,” “ is my beloved Son,” hear Him, and follow Him. And when they receive the Son, He reveals
the Father to them; that is, “ they become sons of God." To reveal God as our Father, is the end and object of Christ's coming. He came in His Father's name, to declare the Father: and, therefore, those who do not know God as their Father, have not received the revelation of the Son—for He is the revealer of the Father; and they have not found that rest to their souls into which He would introduce them--for that rest is the Father's heart.
I may farther observe on this passage, that when He says, “Come unto me all ye that labour,” &c., He implies that they should come by the right way, namely, that they should come, not as wise, but as babes, following the inward drawing of the Father, for no man can come otherwise. And when He thanks the Father, that He had hid these things from the wise and prudent, and had revealed them unto babes, we are to understand, that He really thanks Him for having called man to a true participation in the divine wisdom-unmixed and undebased by the wisdom of the flesh; and also, that He acknowledges the Father's righteousness, in refusing farther spiritual light to those who do not walk in the spirit but in the flesh.
The passages of the Bible which might be cited in confirmation of this principle are innumerable. The Psalms and Proverbs, especially, are full of it. Thus, “ The meek will He guide in judgment; the meek will He teach his way.” Ps. xxv. 9. “I love
I them that love me, and they that seek me early shall find me." “ Whoso findeth me, findeth life, and shall obtain favour of the Lord.” Proy. viii. 17, 34.
There are passages, however, which appear to have an opposite meaning, and which may here occur to the reader as a counterbalance to all the statements and quotations which I have been setting before him. Some of these I shall now notice, pointing out, at the same time, what appears to me the true principle of their explanation. Thus, the promises of spiritual blessings to Israel, in Jer. xxxi. 33, and xxxii. 39, and xxxiii. 8, and Ezek. xxxvi. 25–27, appear to be unconditional promises of sanctification, holding forth the expectation of a time when God will no longer permit the resistance of man's independent will to defeat or hinder His purpose of blessing. But when we consider that these promises are really only repetitions of much more ancient promises, recorded in the books of Moses, in reference to the very periods prophesied of by Jeremiah and Ezek. iel, we shall see the propriety of comparing the repetitions with the originals, and of carrying on in our minds the spirit of the originals, into all the repetitions of them. I do not mean by this manner of expressing myself, at all to suggest the idea that Jeremiah and Ezekiel borrowed from Moses; or that the prophetic spirit, coming through one earthen vessel, is to be less accounted of, than the same spirit coming through another. What I mean to say is, that through the whole Scriptures, we find God always assuming in His later revelations, that the earlier ones are known, and building, as it were, the one upon the other. We are thus continually referred back to past dealings, and past promises and threatenings, as to the prototypes of those made afterwards, which must be known and understood, in order to the right understanding of these others. And this is especially the case with regard to the books of Moses, which seem to hold the same place in the Old Testament, that the four Gospels do in the New.