"Where I am."

"Tell me, O thou whom my soul loveth, where thou feedest, where thou makest thy flock to rest at noon: for why should I be as one that turneth aside by the flocks of thy companions? If thou know not, O thou fairest among women, go thy way forth by the footsteps of the flock, and feed thy kids beside the shepherds' tents." (Cant. 1:7-8.)

The language of the earthly bride in this passage is free from all obscurity. She has Himself, the object of her heart's delight, and she converses with Him. But because He is known to her, and is the joy and delight of her heart, the One whom her soul loveth, she covets to learn what she can only learn from Himself, the place of His habitual resort; for there would she abide with Him. This is fitting and beautiful; for it is the quality of true affection to seek out the environment of its object, the scene in which it moves, and responsive love delights to answer to so clear an evidence of the affection it has inspired. Hence we find the two disciples, who had been attracted to the person of the Lord by the overflowing appreciation of Him by the Baptist, when he exclaimed "Behold the Lamb of God," being asked by the Lord "What seek ye?" with unaffected simplicity made answer, "Master, where abidest thou?" the beauty of which is only excelled by His equally simple reply, "Come and see. They came then and saw where He abode, and they abode with Him that day." Surely it was the quintessence of the Christianity that should be according to God; the divine drama rehearsed. For there is (1) Himself, known in His sacrificial character as God's Lamb; (2) He is followed; and (3) dwelt with where He dwells. His work, His person, and His place all ours. If I have, through grace, a valid claim to one, I have equally so to all. The title, and the estate go together. The more then I value Himself, the more I seek to be where He is; and if that be in its full character denied me for a time, yet I cannot be denied an interest in the scene where He abides, nor be prevented in spirit abiding with Him; for I have an undeniable title, in the plenitude of His grace, to His own portion for ever.

It would be easy to trace this principle through Scripture. The innocent man had his Eden; lawless man, a cursed earth. The typically redeemed nation, a land flowing with milk and with honey; the really redeemed of Old Testament times had heaven. And the Church has the prepared place in the Father's house, in a word, "Where I am." The Lord not only taught this to His beloved disciples in distinct terms, but He fortified and comforted their hearts with it, in view of His being about to leave them. "If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be." Again, In my Father's house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto myself; that where I am, there ye may be also." And finally, in that wonderful John 17, "Father, I will that they also, whom thou hast given me, be with me where I am; that they may behold my glory, which thou hast given me: for thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world." The deep significance of this is most precious, and for us is full of joy. As He said, "If ye loved me, ye would rejoice, because I said, I go unto the Father." We have not to wait for Him to take His place; He fills that place already. "Being by the right hand of God exalted," as the glorified Man in the presence of God, He but waits now the word of the Father to come forth and fetch His beloved saints to where He Himself is. The greater result of His divine work is already wrought - this taking His place as man in the scene which His own presence fills and illuminates. The lesser result only is what remains - the bringing us there also, which is but the complement of that glorious act of divinely surpassing power which the God of our Lord Jesus Christ wrought "when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places, far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come." (Eph. 1:20-21.)

The very fact that He as Son of man has passed through death and resurrection, and now occupies a place in the Father's house as our "forerunner," assures that place to us, according to the counsel of His will who has predestinated that He and we shall be glorified together. The deep significance of this is most precious, being full association with Himself in His own acquired place, both now and eternally.

Nor are we left till the day of glory for an apprehension of what such blessedness will be. Its present enjoyment in character and quality, though by no means in its adequate degree, is assured to us in the words, "Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them." Accordingly we have when so gathered the "where I am" made good to us even now, in a way incomparably blessed for saints while on earth. This side the glory no scene can rival the blessedness to us, and the unique joy to Him, of the gathering together of Himself and His saints; and at such a time the Spirit of God loves to conduct our hearts right onward to that still fairer scene, and that still happier occasion, when we shall walk with Him in white, and when the "where I am" shall be peopled with His blood-washed ones, His companions in unfading glory, Himself in their midst in His many-phased beauty and supremacy, the centre and the spring of their exceeding joy for ever.

May our hearts, under His exquisite touch, be moved by the Spirit of God to cherish and to cultivate a joyous and hallowing anticipation of the approaching blessedness of His unclouded presence, which is "fulness of joy." W. R.

The consequence of Christ's priesthood is that He makes us priests. He has entered in once into the holy place. That relates to Himself; and He makes us children with the Father and priests to God. He has, of course, the preeminence. The moment the least thought of a priesthood comes in between us and God, the truth of Christianity is gone. There is only now the priesthood of all believers. We are priests by virtue of the competency to enter the holiest of all. There is as much liberty for us to enter into the holiest as Christ Himself To deny the priesthood of all believers is to say that all saints cannot enter into the holiest by virtue of that blood.