J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 1.)
It is evident that no creature can subsist in truth, save in absolute dependence on God. It must be kept to be in the truth - cannot subsist without it - for, if it is not dependent, and if dependence is real, it must be kept. It has lost its place of creature, if it is not in the truth of it. The first principle of its being, as such, is that dependence; it is in virtue of creation, i.e., it subsists in relationship with the Creator, and with the Creator as such, and does not exist if the Creator has not created it - exists in virtue of His power as Creator, and of His will too; hence, the moment it has made itself, in will, independent (in fact it cannot) it has falsified its existence - its existence, morally, is a lie in opposition to the truth of its necessary condition, that by which alone it exists. Thus dependence is alone the truth of any creature.
But, if this be so, there must be an active process of sustainment by Him who creates, otherwise the dependence is in vain; hence, whenever the creature is left to its responsibility, free to the action of its own will, its first act in will is its fall - it has gone out of dependence - it has left God - and the truth of its position with God, its subsistence, if it subsists, is a lie, and will becomes, not a mere part of nature, setting the rest in activity, but a will of its own, i.e., rebellion against God.
A creature, not positively sustained, necessarily falls; and if there is to be responsibility, and moral trial, in whatever shape, this must be gone through. Christ is just the contrary of all this - He was dependent and obedient - came, when in the form of God, having no independent place to seek, in the form of a servant to do God's will. When good and evil are known in a state of things grown up away from God, besides the conscious disposition itself, the Word and prayer are the expression of the two sides of this relationship.
But what an immense thing it is, after all, to have perfect good come into the midst of evil - perfect good in our nature; and, tempted, preserving itself in the midst of evil, and perfect good victorious over the effects of evil. This we have in the blessed Jesus. But we have more, not evil put away by power - that will come, but evil put away by righteousness - God dealing in righteousness with sin, so that sin being, as to the moral nature of God, put away, i.e., God perfectly glorified as to it in judgment, righteousness is made good in Him, and in glorifying Christ. The result will be, sin gone out of the world before God; but now by the Holy Ghost, union with Him who is glorified, who put it away - He is God's Lamb and baptises us.
277 The result of sin in death is set aside too; so, as good has been manifested, kept itself, triumphed - so, righteousness is exalted - hence justification a judgment for - and death annihilated and Man glorified. We have more than the reign of good - union with Him who is the centre of it, and who has glorified God. In the work, both parts of it, He was alone, only now we are to manifest the good in the midst of the evil. But perfect good in the midst of evil, where only it could be in grace and in this perfection, is the divine riddle; hence, a way, as we have seen elsewhere, heretofore - in the two Paradises there is no way.
But I have another remark to make. It is important that we hold fast the sense of the victory of good over evil by faith now, while evil has the upper hand, or our thoughts of God will be wrong - falsely characterised, I do not say false. We cannot, ought not, to hide the evil or palliate it. A world that has rejected the good that came into it, is in itself an evil and judged world; its works too are evil - there is no good in palliating evil. But then I ought to be so with God, according to the perfection and work of Christ, as to be able to come in according to His mind into the scene of evil, i.e., with a sense and consciousness of perfect good. This gives a different tone to my having to say to the world; I shall find evil to say to, evil to know - morally speaking it is all evil, man's mind being in a lie and false - enmity against God. Nor am I to deceive myself as to it; I know it in knowing myself, but I come into and approach it with the sense of good in my soul - I think no evil - I see in the very creation around me proofs of goodness, see God's creation in it, and by faith look at it, and enjoy it as such, though I know evil is in it - as Christ who knew all the evil, yet could notice the beauty of a flower, and tell us that God fed the ravens. And so it should be with us - we ought not to let the sense of evil around us shut out God. Christ has entitled us to see good in the midst of evil, though that good has made us conscious of the evil.
278 NOTE - The presence of God keeps everything in its place - nothing else - else the human mind works. John does not worship up in heaven, when others did, his place was to see and record. The living creatures celebrate, and the elders worship - when John saw the Angel, he was going to worship him. What a difference the presence of God makes!
Religion is a dependent bond, connecting us with God, or a bond by which we are consciously dependent on God, i.e., a Being we look up to as having power over us.
The old consciousness is not capable of being applied to this new object, because the new object has qualities and rights which that consciousness cannot admit. Faculty is not a mode of action, but a capacity to conceive or act. But I deny all capacity, or potential energy to apprehend the infinite; man would cease to be mentally finite. It is in our mind, only the negation of finite, the moment "measure" comes in.