March 27: Our Intercessor

Who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us. Romans 8:34

THE exaltation of Jesus in heaven is associated with the dearest interests of His people on earth. Joseph was forgotten when Pharaoh lifted up the head of the chief butler. But our Lord, amid the honors and splendors to which God has highly exalted him, still remembers his brethren in bonds, and makes intercession for them. How expressive is the type of our Lord’s present engagement on behalf of His people. “And he (Aaron) shall take a censer full of burning coals of fire from of the altar before the Lord, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil: and he shall put the incense upon the fire before the Lord, that the cloud of the incense may cover the mercy-seat that is upon the testimony.”

The passing of Aaron into the holy of holies was the shadowing forth of our Lord’s entrance into heaven. The blood sprinkled at the mercy-seat was the presentation of the great Atonement within the veil. And the incense overshadowing with its fragrant cloud the mercy-seat, thus touched with blood, was the figure of the ceaseless intercession of our great High Priest in the holiest. “For Christ is not entered into the holy places made with hands, which are the figures of the true: but into heaven itself now to appear in the presence of God for us.”

It is an individual, an anticipative, and a present intercession. It embraces all the personal needs of each believer, it precedes each temptation and each trial, and at the moment that the sympathy and the prayers of the Savior are the most called for, and are felt to be the most soothing, it bears the saint and his sorrow on its bosom before the throne. Just at a crisis of his history, at a juncture, perhaps, the most critical in his history, the heart, oppressed with its emotions, cannot breathe a prayer—Jesus is remembering him, sympathizing with him, and interceding for him. Oh, who can fully describe the blessings that flow through the intercession of the Son of God? The love, the sympathy, the forethought, the carefulness, the minute interest in all our concerns, are blessings beyond description.

Tried, tempted believer! Jesus makes intercession for you, Your case is not unknown to Him. Your sorrow is not hidden from Him. Your name is on His heart; your burden is on His shoulder; and because He not only has prayed for you, but prays for you now, your faith shall not fail. Your great accuser may stand at your right hand to condemn you, but your great Advocate is at the right hand of God to plead for you. And greater is He that is for you, than all that are against you.

The mediatorial work of Christ shuts every mouth, meets every accusation, and ignores every indictment that can be brought against those for whom He died, rose again, ascended up on high, and makes intercession.

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Deeper Knowledge Of Jesus

Cultivate frequent and devout contemplations of the glory of Christ. Immense will be the benefit accruing to your soul. The mind thus preoccupied, filled, and expanded, will be enabled to present a stronger resistance to the ever advancing and insidious encroachments of the world. No place will be found for vain thoughts, and no desire or time for carnal enjoyments.

Oh, how crucifying and sanctifying are clear views of the glory of Emmanuel! How emptying, humbling, and abasing! With the patriarch, we then exclaim, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” And with the prophet, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” And with the apostle, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Continue reading “Deeper Knowledge Of Jesus”

October 30: Meditate Upon Him

“What think you of Christ?” Matthew 22:42

Reader, what do you think of Christ? Do you see beauty, surpassing beauty, in Immanuel? Has His glory broken upon your view?—has it beamed in upon your mind? Has a sight of Jesus, seen by faith, cast you in the dust, exclaiming, “I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye sees You; why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes”? Your honest reply to these searching questions will decide the nature and the ground of your present hope for eternity. On the confines of that eternity you are now standing.

Solemn consideration! It is of infinite moment, then, that your views of the Son of God should be thoroughly examined, sifted, and compared with the inspired word. A crown now lowered on your brow, a kingdom stretched at your feet, a world gained and grasped, were as infant’s baubles, compared with the tremendous interests involved in the question, “What think you of Christ?”

And what do you think of Him? Is He all your salvation and all your desire? Have you laid sinful self and righteous self beneath His cross? and in all your poverty, nakedness, and vileness, have you received Him as made of God unto you “wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption”? Does His glory dim all other glory; and does His beauty eclipse all other beauty in your eye? Can you point to Him and say, in the humble confidence of faith and joy of love, “This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend”? Eternal God! but for the righteousness of Your Son, I sink in all my pollution! but for the atoning blood of Immanuel, I perish in all my guilt! Holy Father, look not on me, but behold my shield, look upon the face of Your anointed! and when Your glory passes by—the glory of Your majesty, Your holiness, and Your justice—then put me in the cleft of the rock, and cover me with Your hand while You pass by.

Cultivate frequent and devout contemplations of Christ and of His glory. Immense will be the benefit accruing to your soul. The mind, thus preoccupied, filled, and expanded, will be enabled to present a stronger resistance to the ever-advancing and insidious encroachments of the world without.

No place will be found for vain thoughts and no desire or time for carnal enjoyments. Oh, how crucifying and sanctifying are clear views of the glory of Immanuel! how emptying, humbling, and abasing! With the patriarch we then exclaim, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” And with the prophet, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips. Mine eyes have seen the King.” And with the apostle, “God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Oh, then, aim to get your mind filled with enlarged and yet expanding views of the glory of Christ. Let it, in all the discoveries it affords of the Divine mind and majesty, be the one subject of your thoughts, the one theme of your conversation. Place no limit to your knowledge of Christ.

Ever consider that you have but read the preface to the volume, you have but touched the margin of the sea; stretching far away beyond you, are undiscovered beauties, and precious views, and sparkling glories, each encouraging your advance, inviting your research, and asking the homage of your faith, the tribute of your love, and the dedication of your life.

Go forward, then! The glories that yet must be revealed to you in a growing knowledge of Jesus, what imagination can conceive, what pen can describe them! “You shall see greater things than these,” is the promise that bids you advance. Jesus stands ready to unveil all the beauties of His person, and admit you into the very arcana of His love. There not a chamber of His heart that He will not throw open to you; not a blessing that He will not bestow upon you; not a glory that He will not show to you.

You shall see greater things than you have yet seen—greater depths of sin in your fallen nature shall be revealed—deeper sense of the cleansing efficacy of the atoning blood shall be felt—clearer views of your acceptance in the Beloved—greater discoveries of God’s love—and greater depths of grace and glory in Jesus shall be enjoyed. Your “peace shall flow like a river, and your righteousness as the waves of sea.” Sorrow shall wound you less deeply; affliction shall press you less heavily; tribulation shall affect you less keenly: all this, and infinitely more, will result from your deeper knowledge of Jesus.

Ah, wonder not that the apostle exclaimed, “Doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord. That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.” “Then shall we know, if we follow on to know the Lord.”

Fan The Most Holy Flame

Cultivate frequent and devout contemplations of the glory of Christ. Immense will be the benefit accruing to your soul. The mind thus preoccupied, filled, and expanded, will be enabled to present a stronger resistance to the ever advancing and insidious encroachments of the world. No place will be found for vain thoughts, and no desire or time for carnal enjoyments.

Oh, how crucifying and sanctifying are clear views of the glory of Emmanuel! How emptying, humbling, and abasing! With the patriarch, we then exclaim, “I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.” And with the prophet, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the Lord Almighty.” And with the apostle, “But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”

Oh, then, aim to get your mind filled with enlarged and yet expanding views of the glory of the Redeemer. Let it, in all the discoveries it affords of the Divine mind and majesty, be the one subject of your thoughts — the one theme of your conversation. Place no limit to your knowledge of Christ. Ever consider that you have but read the preface to the volume; you have but touched the fringe of the sea. Stretching far away beyond you, are undiscovered beauties, and precious views, and sparkling glories — each encouraging your advance, inviting your research, and asking the homage of your faith, the tribute of your love, and the dedication of your life.

Go forward, then! The glories that yet must be revealed to you in a growing knowledge of Jesus — what imagination can conceive, what pen can describe them? Jesus stands ready to unveil all the beauties of His person; and to admit you into the very pavilion of His love. There is not a chamber of His heart that He will not throw open to you — not a blessing that He will not bestow upon you — not a glory that He will not show to you.

You shall see greater things than you have yet seen:
greater depths of your sin shall be revealed,
deeper sense of the cleansing efficacy of the atoning blood shall be felt,
clearer views of your acceptance in the Beloved,
greater discoveries of God’s love, and
greater depths of grace and glory in Jesus shall be enjoyed.

Your communion with God shall be closer, and more the fruit of adopting love in your heart. Your feet shall be as hinds’ feet, and you shall walk on high places. Your peace shall flow as a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea.
Sorrow shall wound you less deeply,
affliction shall press you less heavily,
tribulation shall affect you less keenly,
all this, and infinitely more, will result from your deeper knowledge of Jesus.

August 16: Now Called To Go Low

“Beloved, I wish above all things that you may prosper and be in health, even as your soul prospers.” 3 John 2

Is it true that God, by setting you aside from active engagements, has set you aside from all duty and labor? We do not think so. Is it too much to say, that He is now summoning you, though to a more limited and obscure, yet to a higher and holier, because more self-denying and God-glorifying, sphere of duty?

Your present loss of health has brought with it its high and appropriate duties, obligations, and employments. It bears an especial message from God to you, and through you to others. Contemplate the work to be done in your own soul, and the testimony through this which you are to bear to the power of Divine grace, to the sustaining energy of the Gospel, and to the character of God; and I ask if the lone chamber of sickness has not its special and appropriate duties, responsibilities, and work, equally as difficult, as honorable, and as remunerative as any which attach to the sphere of activity or to the season of health?

You are called upon now to glorify God in a passive, rather than in an active consecration to His service. Graces hitherto perhaps dormant, or but feebly brought into play, are now to be developed and exercised to their utmost capacity. Patience is to be cultivated, resignation is to be exhibited, faith is to be exercised, love is to be tried, and example is to be set; and are not these great, holy, and sublime achievements? Who will affirm that there is no sermon to be preached from that languid couch, that sick-bed; yes, and it may be more solemn, more searching, more full of Christ and the power of the Holy Spirit, than the pulpit ever preached.

The Church and the world have now the testimony of one passing through the present and personal experience of what he speaks. A sick-room is not the place for theorizing upon truth and eternity. All transpiring there is stern reality. The dust of human applause is laid aside, the breath of adulation is hushed, the flush of excitement has faded, and the delirium of an admiring throng has passed away; the artificial gives place to the true. All is as real and solemn as eternity.

Deem not yourself a useless cumberer, because sickness has incapacitated you for active labor. God has but changed your sphere of duty, transferring you, doubtless, to one more glorifying to Himself. Receive, then, with meekness your Heavenly Father’s dispensation, which, while it has set you apart from the Lord’s work, has set you apart more exclusively and entirely for the Lord Himself. Your great desire has been to glorify Him: leave Him to select the means which may best advance it.

You have thought of health and activity, of life and usefulness; of being a champion for the truth, a herald of salvation to the ignorant and the lost, a leader in some high and laborious path of Christian enterprise; but He has ordained it otherwise. And now by sickness and suffering, by silence and solitude, He is giving you other work to perform, which shall not the less secure your usefulness, and promote His glory.

March 3: The Heavenward Mind

“If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.” Col. 3:1-2

To win heaven, the mind must become heavenly; and to be heavenly, it must habituate itself to heavenly things and heavenly pursuits. It is a law of our mental constitution, that the mind assimilates in its tone and habits of thought with the subject which most engrosses its study. Hence it is that we sometimes become men of one idea.

Now the contemplation of divine and spiritual themes has a powerful tendency to spiritualize and sanctify the mind. It seems impossible to breathe a heavenly atmosphere, and not be heavenly; to study holy things, and not be holy; to admire the image of Christ, and not resemble Christ; to have frequent communion with Jesus upon the throne, and not catch some stray beam of His glory. And apart from Christ nothing is really pleasant and satisfying to the heavenly mind. Without Him, what a dreary, lonesome wilderness would this be! But with Christ in the heart, and the heart resting in Christ- He in the center of our souls, and our affections and desires centering on Him- the desert loses its solitude and its desolateness.

To have the eye resting on Jesus- all our heart-springs in Him- the spirit in frequent excursions where He dwells in light and glory- to lean upon Him and converse with Him as though He were actually walking by our side, sitting at our table, associating with us in our callings- this, this is heavenly-mindedness. Such is the counter-attraction to the “things on the earth,”- the secularizing pursuits, the low-thoughted cares, the carnal enjoyments- which we so deeply need. And this powerful counteracting influence which we possess is a realization of our resurrection with Christ, and His enthronement in glory.

 

Means of Grace

Give all diligence in the use of the means of grace, if you desire a flourishing state of soul. They are the Divinely appointed channels of conveyance from the Fountain. They are the tributary streams from the great Ocean. You cannot possibly maintain a healthy, vigorous state of the inner life without them. You cannot neglect with impunity private prayer, meditation, and self examination—or public ordinances—the ministry of the word, the services of the sanctuary, the assemblies of the saints. A slight thrown upon these must entail a severe loss to your soul. It is in the way of diligent, prayerful waiting upon the means, that the Christian “goes from strength to strength, until he appears before God.” Search, oh search, for this living grace. No man shall wait upon the Lord in vain. “Those who wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength.” They who plough deeply the fallow ground, and in its furrows sow the precious seed, shall not lack the Holy Spirit’s descending influence, in silent dew by night, and in copious showers by day, to quicken and to fructify it. Only honor the God of grace in all the means of grace, and God will honor you by imparting to you grace through the means. “The diligent soul shall be made fat.”

Evening Thoughts (2/3)