« AnteriorContinua »
foundation be laid in it, all our hopes towards God will be built upon it. We cannot place too much dependence upon Christ, or think too highly of the exceeding great love wherewith He hath loved us.63 If this be the soil in which we strike root, all the storms of temptation or affliction will not be able to shake us; the wintry blast of adversity will only make us adhere the more firmly to Him, as all our salvation, and all our desire. 64 If this be the foundation on which we build, the rain descending, the flood swelling, the wind blowing, the torrent or the tempest will not greatly affect us, will not separate us from the love of Christ,65 but only make us adhere to Him the more closely and firmly. As our Saviour said to His disciples, Whosoever heareth these sayings of Mine and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock; and the rain descended and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house, and it fell not; for it was founded upon a rock.66 The storms and tempests of adversity only prove how great is the security of those who confide in the love of Christ.
It is prayed on their behalf, that they might be able to comprehend with all saints, what is the breadth and length and depth and height of this love. It is the high privilege of the saints of God, and of them alone, to enter upon this de
63 Eph. ii. 4. 64 2 Sam. xxiii. 5. 65 Rom. viii. 35. 66 Matt. vii. 24, 25.
lightful subject; what is the breadth or extent of it, from east to west, from north to south, throughout the whole world. In reference to which the Psalmist observes, As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. What is the length or continuance of it in all ages; as it is said, The mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting upon them that fear Him; and His righteousness unto children's children. What is the depth of it, descending to the lowest state of misery to be found on earth. For He remembered us in our low estate, for His mercy endureth for ever; and He hath not despised nor abhorred the affliction of the afflicted, neither hath He hid His face from him, but when he cried unto Him, He heard him. And what is the height of it; for as the heaven is high above the earth, so great is His mercy toward them that fear Him.67 It is only by considering the love of Christ in all its bearings, that we can know any thing on this wonderful subject. Hints are however given to direct us in our researches, that we may obtain some slight knowledge of it; and to know the love of Christ which passeth knowledge ; but it far exceeds all our conceptions. As it is said of the perfections of the Almighty in general, It is high as heaven, what canst thou do? deeper than hell, what canst thou know?68 So the love of Christ towards the sinful children of men is truly incomprehensible, beyond our imaginations or conceptions; it is a subject which the mind of man, which even the intellect of angels can never fully explore. When we contemplate it, we may well exclaim with the apostle, O the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! how unsearchable are His judgments, or determinations, and His ways past finding out !69 At the same time this is the most interesting subject which the mind of man can contemplate; and it will fully repay all the research which the saints of God may direct towards it. They alone indeed are able to comprehend any thing of the love of Christ; they alone know its value; they alone meditate upon it with gratitude of heart. While the people of the world are seeking happiness in every empty bubble, which alternately amuses and disappoints them, so that they are continually inquiring in vain, Who will show us any good ? the believer in Christ, the despised saint, finds real delight in meditating on the love of Christ, his Lord and Saviour; and in obtaining fresh discoveries of its breadth and length, its depth and height; or of the blessings conferred by means of it on the children of God in time and in eternity; its eternal source, its everlasting duration. This is indeed an infinite subject. The comprehending of it is the joy of the saints in heaven, as well as of those on earth.
67 Psalm ciii. 11, 12, 17; cxxxvi. 23; xxii. 24.
68 Job xi. 8. 69 Romans xi. 33.
The apostle could add nothing more to include all conceivable blessedness, than to pray, That ye might be filled with all the fulness of God. To understand and experience this is to reach the summit of happiness. It is the highest happiness of heaven; beyond which happiness is not to be conceived of. And yet worms of the dust are permitted and invited to seek for this supreme happiness, even while they are here on earth; that they may be completely happy in partaking of the blessings of Divine grace. How wonderful is this! One would think it would be enough to inflame our desires to the utmost, only to hear that such blessedness is to be attained here below. But oh! the folly of mankind. When they are invited to partake of the blessedness of heaven, they refuse it for the most part with disdain; they prefer the merest trifles, the most momentary gratifications of earth, the pleasures of sin for a season, to eternal joys and pleasures for evermore. The riches of the glory of God, those glorious riches which He graciously offers to them, are despised as though they were of no value. But if we be deprived of them hereafter, we shall ever bewail our folly when it is too late. Let us then be wise in time, that we may be rich for eternity. To be filled with all the fulness of God, is to be completely happy in the enjoyment of every spiritual blessing, both for this life and for that which is to come.
These are the blessings for which the children of God are encouraged to ask their heavenly Father in Christ Jesus; to these it is their privilege to direct their meditations. On these their thoughts are occupied; the obtaining of these is their earnest desire ; for these their fervent supplications are addressed to the throne of grace. And they are encouraged to expect from the Giver of all good even more than these gifts, great as they are. On which account the apostle bursts forth in a song of praise and thanksgiving: Now unto Him that is able to do erceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us; unto Him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus, throughout all ages, world without end. Amen. Here he describes the God of all grace as able to give even more than what he had spoken of.
And He is as willing as He is able, of which His
that worketh in His believing people is a full and convincing proof. For it is God which worketh in them both to will and to do of His good pleasure.71
To this the apostle ascribed his own willingness · to labour in the cause of God; I labour, striving
according to His working which worketh in me mightily. From the operation of the Spirit of
71 Philippians ii. 13.
72 Colossians i. 29.