J. G. Bellett.
from Miscellaneous Papers
(R. L. Allan)
The Volume before the reader consists of a collection of brief articles by a beloved Brother now with the Lord, which appeared in the "Prospect" and the "Bible Treasury." Refreshing and redolent of Christ, they are now reproduced in a form more convenient; and it is hoped that they may thus be a help and comfort to many more.
Grace and Glory.
2 Chr. 9:1-12.
It is commonly apprehended among us, and very justly, that grace is the thing exhibited in David, and glory in Solomon. Grace had a very full exhibition in David. It raised its objects from degradation to honour, it comforted and sustained him in sorrow, restored him from wandering, and kept him to the end in safety. But when the time came for glory to shine forth, grace having thus displayed itself to the full, David delivers the throne into the hand of Solomon.
Each of these, grace and glory, has its own peculiar method. It is this which just at the present has drawn and fixed my thoughts a little. Grace only divides the scene with other principles, glory forms it all alone. Grace meets David in either his degradation, sorrow, or defilement, and brings honour, comfort, or restoration, leaving the struggle between the former and the latter things in measure to the end, and the whole a divided empire. But glory holds the entire scene at its disposal, and leaves the trace or reflection of itself on everything. It is not God bringing out His resources to mingle themselves with man's circumstances; but it is the supreme presence of the Lord forming the whole sphere of the action according to itself. This appears in this chapter. There is no darkness at all upon the scene abroad, nor working of nature in the heart within — no trace of man, or of his passions, or his miseries; the finger of God and the Spirit of God delineate and animate the whole picture.
The queen of Sheba is the witness of this. Her consciousness of what she saw tells us of glory being everywhere in the regions of the king of Israel — the stirrings of her own heart tell us of the absence of all the ways and principles of nature. There was nothing minute under her eye, that did not to that eye reflect the glory. As the stars of the heaven differ in their glories, but each of them is glorious, and lends something to the common magnificence, so here. There is the house of the king, and his ascent up to the house of God; but there is also the meat of his table, and the apparel of his servants; and the latter are glorious like the former — in other measures, it may be, but still equally parts and parcels of the glory. The glory was leaving its reflection on all she saw. It might be small in the great account, but still it was glorious. And because it was small, it was only the worthier of the notice of the Spirit-led soul, that delights to put honour on the uncomely member, and enable her the more fully to testify to us that glory was everywhere, even, so to speak, on the kitchen furniture — "the sitting of the servants." Just as another voice of the same Spirit, anticipating the sanctity or cleanness of these same days, tells us of "Holiness unto the Lord" being now upon "the bells of the horses," and "of every pot in the Lord's house being like the bowls before the altar." For the glory had taken the whole scene into its hand, and there was nothing hid from the reach of its beams. It was a morning without clouds — there was no shadow anywhere. All was in the light. The very equipage of the attendants and their sittings reflected it. All was delivered into the liberty of the glory, and fashioned by the power of it.
But the kingdom within was as excellent in its way. If the day dawned around, the day-star had risen in the heart. There was no blemish of nature or of the flesh in her spirit, as there was no dimness or uncertainty in the scene around her. She was small in comparison with the king in Zion, but there was full delight and no grudging because of this. She trafficked for wisdom, and esteemed the merchandise of it above gold or rubies. The best of her land she offered to King Solomon, doing all she could to beautify the house of God's glory. Nothing that she had, could she esteem too good for him. O the blessedness of all this within and abroad! Glory abroad, leaving its memorial everywhere, the beauty of the Spirit's mind within, ordering the whole conversation of the soul, without touch or soil of nature! "Scenes surpassing fable, and yet true!" Scenes to be realized to the enjoyment of our hearts and eyes, and to the glory of our Lord, in the days of the kingdom!
Well is it that grace now divides the scene with nature's misery and defilement; and still well is that glory then will know nothing but its own creation, for light and its principles will be triumphant. The light which God has as yet brought in shines, it is most true, but shines in a dark place; the light that He will bring in by and bye, will be light everywhere, the day-dawn around, and the daystar within (2 Peter 1:19). It is now the valley of Baca with wells of water, by and bye it will be the dwelling of praise still, unbroken, undivided praise. (Ps. 84)
"The Lord will give grace and glory."