"I, even I, am He that blotteth out thy
transgressions for mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins."—Isa.
" Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree."—1
Pet. ii. 24.
Let us look at that "tree"—at the cross of
Christ, our tree of life—if we would see how it is that for His "own
sake" He blotteth out the transgressions of His people. On that tree He
himself "bare our sins," and God accepted the offering; and in this
wonderful way, which angels desire to look into, God is "just, and the
justifier of him which believeth in Jesus." These words of Isaiah in the
ancient dispensation speak of a forgiveness only to be fully revealed in
the coming of Christ; yet how strong and how clear is the promise ! It
tells of a blotting-out of sin that is even more than forgiveness
; it speaks of one who knows all—even more than we in our most
self-accusing moments know—yet one who '' will not remember" our sins!
And, to convince us, He has given not His word only, but the pledge of
the cross of His own dear Son! Can we look at this greatest of all
miracles—the miracle of Love hanging for our sakes upon the tree—and yet
remain indifferent to the love of Jesus, regardless of the evil of sin?
"He died to bear the guilt of men,
That, sin might be forgiven;
He lives to bless them and defend,
And plead their cause in heaven."
"They rested the sabbath-day, according to the
commandment."—Luke xxiii. 56.
What a wonderful Sabbath-day was that! The world knew
not how wonderful it was, and the men of the world, whether Jews or
Romans, went on their ways as usual, regardless that all this day the
Lord of life lay sleeping the sleep of death in Joseph's sepulchre ! It
was a day full of mystery to angels in heaven. How strange it must have
seemed to them, that they had not been summoned to come with all their
bright legions to aid their Lord and Master before He was brought so
low! Things like these "the angels desire to look into." To the spirits
of darkness it must have seemed a day of triumph; yet the devil must
have known that his time was short, and that his seeming victory was to
be his great fall. To the infant Church gathered in the upper
chamber this must have been a day of inexpressible desolation; but how
often is the darkest hour the nearest to the dawn! They rested through
that long, sad Sabbath, and Jesus rested/ His bitter hour was
past; pain and agony, and sorrow and sighing were over for Him now. The
cup that His Father had given Him He had drunk to the dregs; and now He
lay low, low in His humiliation for us, waiting His hour
of exaltation —an exaltation which was also for us!
"For thee He died; for thee He lives again;
O'er thee He watches in His boundless reign."
"The first day of the week cometh Mary Magdalene
early, when it was yet dark, unto the sepulchre, and seeth the stone
taken away from the sepulchre."—John xx. 1.
It was dark in the early dawn of that spring morning,
and oh how dark in the stricken heart of Mary as she drew near to that
sepulchre! Her sun had gone down there, as she thought, for ever; little
did she know how gloriously He had already risen from the tomb. Let us
go with her in spirit, and see the place where Jesus lay. The narrow
bed, hallowed by Him, becomes no longer a terror to His people ; for His
resurrection, which rolled the stone from the sepulchre, shall in due
time open every sepulchre in this our world, so full of sepulchres, and
they who are His own shall arise to meet Him in His glory above. Let us
look at the place where Jesus lay, that we may there lay down our old
natures and rise with Him in newness of life; in that sepulchre may we
lay our vanity and pride, our earthly minds and our corrupt affections,
our doubts and unbelieving fears, and may we, through His grace, arise
filled with His Spirit! O Lord, grant us the Spirit of wisdom and
revelation in the knowledge of Him, that we may know '' the power of His
"Break through my bonds, whate'er it cost,
What is not Thine within me slay,
Give me the lot I covet most,
To rise as Thou hast risen to-day.
I nought can do; a slave to death I pine,
Work Thou in me, O Power and life Divine!"
"Commit thy way unto the Lord; trust also in him
; and he shall bring it to pass."—Ps. xxxvii. 5.
"What a marvellous privilege is this, that we are
permitted and commanded to bring our concerns before the Lord, however
small they may be; and that in so doing we are encouraged to trust in
Him, and expect that He will bring to pass the matter in which we are
engaged. But perhaps our "way" may not be according to His plan and
purpose for us. What then? It seems to me, that if we ask for
guidance as well as success, we need not doubt that He will
grant it, and I think that a Christian would shrink from asking the one
without the other. When we "commit our way to the Lord," we ask Him to
shew us what He would have us to do, we leave it to His wisdom to direct
us; and having placed ourselves and our way in our Father's hand, it is
sweet indeed to trust in Him, and feel sure that He will bring it to
pass. We must first seek His guidance, and submit ourselves to it, and
then we shall find peace in the exercise of faith in His promise. The
Lord will shew us His way, and enable us cheerfully to adopt it
as our own. We are not to look for signs and wonders, but we are to
exercise in all humility the judgment He has given us, and we shall find
our judgment strengthened and enlightened by having been brought to Him
"Lead, Saviour, lead, amid the circling gloom,
Lead Thou me on,
The night is dark, and I am far from home,
Lead Thou me on.
Choose Thou my path,—I do not ask to see
The distant scene, one step enough for me!"
"When I awake, I am still with Thee."—Ps. cxxxix.
How wonderful is the feeling of His presence,
His nearness, who fills heaven and earth, and sustains the
universe, and yet condescends to be my God! " I will both lay me
down in peace and sleep; for thou, Lord, only makest me to dwell in
safety." When I awake in the stillness of the night, "I am still with
Thee" and Thou art with me, O Thou watcher of Israel, who neither
slumberest nor sleepest. Thus it is now, and thus will it be when
awaking into eternity, after passing out of time. For neither death
nor life can for a moment separate us from Him. Thus, too, will it
be at the dawning of that solemn day of which every morning's awaking is
a type. Little, indeed, can we know, or even conceive, of the great
realities which will then be revealed. We know not what we shall be :
nor how those bodies shall be raised incorruptible. We look through a
glass darkly towards that great future, yet we may cling to this one
thought, "When we awake, we shall still be with Thee!" With
Jesus, who died for us; with Him who has loved us with an everlasting
love, and saved us with His own blood; with our God, who has led us all
through this great and terrible wilderness, and who will never leave nor
forsake even the very least of His own redeemed children who put their
trust in Him, but will be their portion now and for evermore. "When we
awake, we shall be satisfied with Thy likeness."
"When I rise to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment-throne,
Pock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee!"
"Remember me with the favour that Thou bearest
unto Thy people; O visit me with Thy salvation."—Pa. cvi. 4.
Many pray this prayer with no clearer ideas of all
that it implies than Balaam had when he cried, "Let me die the death of
the righteous, and let my last end be like his," never meaning all the
while to live the life of the righteous! Not such was the spirit of the
Psalmist; and, oh, may I as fervently partake of the favour the Lord
bears to His people as David here did! May I have faith to perceive the
excellence of the portion of the righteous, though it may be one of
suffering and trial, as far as this world is concerned. They are the
children of a King, and He provides for them royally; but those who
neither know their Father nor them, are ready to count them fools for
Christ's sake. May I seek to share the children's bread, believing that
no mere earthly portion can supply the wants of my soul, and that no
favour of man is of such value as the favour of God! May I receive all
the dealings and discipline of my heavenly Father as coming from His
hand for my good; and, oh, may He so visit me with His salvation,
that I may bring forth "much fruit" to His glory!
"Well may Thine own beloved, who see
In all their lot their Father's pleasure,
Bear loss of all they love, save Thee,
Their living, everlasting treasure!"