"The Woman whom Thou gavest . . . me"

"The Men which Thou gavest Me"

(Genesis 3:12, John 17:6)

How great is the contrast between the first man and the second, between Adam and Christ. To Adam God gave a helpmeet to be his companion and joy in the place of dominion in which God set him. And as it was his responsibility to keep the earth for God, so also was it his responsibility, and should have been counted his chief duty and joy, to keep the woman, also, from every evil, for she was nearer to him and more to him than all beneath him, seeing she was taken out of him and given to him by God.

But he failed to keep her. He had evidently given her God's word as to the trees of the garden, but he did not support her in the hour of trial, nor preserve her from the subtle tempter; and when she fell he made no attempt to rescue her, but followed her with his eyes open into the place of disobedience to God and defiance of His word. Hence "by one man sin entered into the world and death by sin." And when he was confronted by God with his treachery and sin, his now sinful and selfish heart cast the blame of all the ruin upon the woman and upon God whose gift to him she was.

Then Christ came, and to Him were given men, who were to form the nucleus of His church, which is to be His helpmeet when He is given the place of universal dominion. He found them fallen and ignorant, but He gave them His Father's word, and thus He enlightened their darkness and brought them into a new life, and taught them so gently and patiently that when the test came to them as to whether they would join the multitude or follow Him, they chose to follow Him. "They have kept Thy word," said the Lord of them.

But how was it that they had done this? The secret is revealed when He said, "While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Thy name: those that Thou gavest Me I have kept, and none of them is lost" (John 17:12). It was His love and power and grace that kept them from being seduced from Him by a subtle foe. But all this of which He spoke involved Him in death, for He found His own where sin had left them, lying under the judgment of death, and He had to bear that judgment to release them from it. The full penalty fell upon Him, and those disciples of His, and all who have believed on Him since, are kept by Him. He gives them eternal life, and none shall pluck them out of His hand. And soon shall come that day of His glory when all who have been given to Him out of the world shall be presented by Him, faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy (Jude 24). What a contrast this to Adam who, as a willing partner in his wife's transgression, stood miserable and afraid before God, casting the blame upon her whom he ought to have kept.

All those, kept by Him, shall form His church which He loved so well that He gave Himself for it, that He might present it to Himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish (Eph. 5:25-27). Then shall we all be beyond the reach of evil and temptation, and His labour of love and constant solicitude for us in this respect over, He will rest in His love, and we shall be with Him, the eternal evidence of a love that died to deliver us and a care that kept us unceasingly.