J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 1.)
All our best feelings are wrong, if we look at them absolutely in themselves, and hence, give ever the feeling of poverty, and imperfection, and not reaching up to the relationship in full, even looked at relatively - and this is necessarily so, for being fallen creatures, what is a good feeling in a fallen creature cannot be according to the relationship in which, abstractedly, he should stand. Our right or good feelings, being the consciousness of what we are, cannot be according to the relationship in which we stand, but contrary to it, and a confession of being out of it, when we are in it - we cannot take the place we ought to take - what other have we?
This makes all, looked at before God, so very poor, though grace may accept and delight in it; but Christ was perfect in every relationship in which He stood, but did receive what was due to it - stooped down from that, in grace, to the circumstances in which we, or Israel, were, and at last received what was due to our condition.
In His interview with John Baptist, what was John's place? His thoughts are necessarily in disorder, however gracious, "I have need to be baptized of Thee, and comest Thou to me?" If he was to take the place of baptizer, what was his personal relationship to the Lord, or rather actual condition before Him? His relationship, as of God, was baptizer, but how could he take it when what he was, was brought into question by the presence of the Lord? But Christ's is perfect, "suffer it to be so now"; He can take this place in grace, according to God's ways with the people, but His part was perfect in it, and He gives it in service to John, for "thus it becometh us to fulfil all righteousness," for He was following the path of God in perfectness, and John was to fulfil his service in it.
It was a good, and gracious, and suitable feeling in John, but evidently, taken absolutely, a wrong one - his personal state as a man, and his relationship which he had to fulfil in it, did not correspond. It is always so, save only what is of the power of the Holy Ghost, based upon the redemption which is in Christ; for that supposes the whole natural relationship gone by sin, and makes death its starting point. Hence, as in Christ, and practically, so far as we are really dead, we can have right feelings, and movement of soul, because it is the Holy Ghost's testimony of God Himself, as known in and by redemption, and has place in an entire abnegation of all that we are. This is an important difference.