J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 1.)
The love of God is the source of all our blessings and joys, and God is Love; but in a certain sense His holiness elevates us more. His love is perfect; we dwell in love, dwell in God, and God in us; it is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given to us - it is proved by the death of Christ, and so we are to walk in it. But it cannot be said we are love; God is sovereign in love, "rich in mercy, of his great love wherewith he loved us" - all this is, objectively blessedness, and in us, and enjoyed by us in communion.
It is said we are "light in the Lord"; He makes us partakers of His holiness - partakers morally of the divine nature. No doubt we love, but we are light. How blessed this partaking of the divine nature! And to this we must have respect too in our relationships with God. We know, thank God, that He is love towards us, and indeed in us; but He is Light, and as this tested man, so, in grace, man is made it, i.e., the new man has this character, "after God, is created in righteousness and true holiness."
Now I cannot but feel that, in fact, there are souls perfectly sincere, and in Christ agreeable to God, who as to the Word and prayer are in an outside place practically. The Word is the revelation of God, and, in and by a Man, suited to man, reaching him there where he is; and prayer takes up our wants where we are, and presents them to God - goes in where He is, according to what He is.
Now there are practically two states - true states - as Christians in connection with this; the Word reaches a renewed soul as for man down here, and so it is, but he takes it, and as down here - it is a light to his feet and a lantern to his path, but he takes it as suited to him down here. It came he recognises, from God, but it occupies itself with his condition here; it came out from God to him who is outside - came in grace, and he so received it, and all right. But, save in owning the grace that gave it, he does not go in where it came from, but is thankful for that which is a light where he is, and so far it is all right, but his spirit remains there, in that which the Word is adapted to; this was properly the character of the law. In the case I refer to, there is this difference between it and law, that grace is owned in God, and in that given, which is very important; but the man remains outside, and has a word adapted to him as walking as a man outside. He is not living, thinking, feeling inside by it. The ray has come down and lit up his path, but he is in, and occupied with his path, though acknowledging the Sun as the source of light.
307 So in prayers; men are in wants and difficulties down here, and they carry them, as down here, to God, and this is all quite right, and they will be surely heard, and graciously heard.
But there are Christians, whom the Word carries in to what it reveals, not what it throws light upon. Divine wisdom does give here a path, according to divine wisdom, which the vulture's eye has not seen, but it comes from above, takes the heart up to the source from which it comes, and reveals what is there, and causes the soul to live there, and this is another thing. It does not cease to enlighten the path, and we need it - God's wisdom in this world, a divine path in it; but Oh! how much more blessed to have fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ - to say "the only-begotten Son who is (ho on) in the bosom of the Father, he hath declared him" - to know where He is gone and the way!
Christ is God's way and truth in this world, but He is the way to and revealer of the Father, and the things which God has prepared for them that love Him, the way of knowing the things freely given to us of God; and we may live in them, and understand, for example, the promises to the seven Churches, and a thousand other passages which tell us about what is within. We have it revealed in John, we are brought into it by Paul, and even by John too. And so with prayer; I may pray from my wants, and for my wants, and others, too, as we have seen, and it is all right. But if I am living in the heavenly things, and see the saints in the beauty that belongs to them in Christ, and my prayers for myself and for them are formed in what I am dwelling in, how much higher and more earnest they will be; I am thinking of them, or of myself, with the thoughts of God, and want them to reach them - my desires are formed by these, and I labour with God in prayer for them. The Word, through the power of the Spirit, reveals heavenly things - I see the saints according to God's mind in them, and as with God, and for carrying out His desires, and His thoughts for and in them, I plead with God according to these thoughts. Oh! what a different thing it is! But how near we must be to God so to labour in prayer - to labour for the carrying out His thoughts in them, as they are inside with Him.
308 NOTE. - It is good sometimes to see the saints, the Church and people of God in their own beauty as viewed of God; it elevates our thoughts, gives God's mind of what is lovely and what we ought to be, but are in God's mind, so that His affections and delight are revealed to us. Surely it will humble us as to our practical state. Thus in the parables of the treasure hid in the field, and pearl of great price, we have what they are to Christ - He sells all He has to have them, gives up His life, everything, to have them, for joy thereof - what a place to have with Him! Indeed in a higher scene, when in the form of God, He gave up the outward glory, and made Himself of no reputation, and took on Him the form of a servant - when He was rich, for our sakes He became poor, that we through His poverty might be made rich. But doubtless the parable specially designates what He possessed as Messiah, but not excluding higher glory. So He shall see the fruit of the travail of His Soul - in us - and be satisfied. So in the parable of the pearl of great price, He was looking for what was specially lovely and beautiful - understood it - was seeking it, according to His estimate of what was beautiful, and that was according to Himself - His own mind - and found one specially lovely, and sold all to have it - the saints in whom He could delight and be satisfied - so precious to Him, He gives up all for them; how lovely they must be in His mind, for they are indeed according to it - He loved the Church and gave Himself for it, to sanctify and cleanse it by the washing of water by the Word, to present it to Himself a glorious Church, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that it should be holy and without blemish - a pearl of great price. Hence He will be, in the end, glorified in His Church and admired in all them that believe. How blessed, and what rest it gives the heart! But even now He says: "And I am glorified in them."
END OF VOLUME 1