"But rejoice, inasmuch as you are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, you may be glad also with exceeding joy." 1 Peter 4:13
WITH the cross of Immanuel before us, and with the heaven of glory which that cross unveils, and to which it leads, can we properly contemplate our trials in any other view than as loving corrections? "He that spared not His own Son, but gave Hint up for us all," shall He send an "evil" which we refuse to interpret as a good? and shall not that good, though wearing its somber disguise, raise the soul to Him upon the outstretched and uplifted wing—as the wing of the "anointed cherub"—of adoration, thanksgiving, and praise? If, numbered among His saints—and, oh, be quite sure, beloved, of your heavenly calling—we stand before Him, objectively, the beings of His ineffable delight, and, subjectively, the recipients of his justifying righteousness. Thus loved and accepted—and we believe, and are sure, that this is the true and unchangeable condition of all His people—shall anything but a sentiment of uncomplaining gentleness—a submission not shallow but profound, not servile but filial—respond to the dealings, however severe, of our Father in heaven?
It is, beloved, in these disciplinary seasons that we become more thoroughly schooled in the knowledge, of the infinite worth, glory, and preciousness of the Savior. How much is involved in a spiritual and experimental acquaintance with the Lord Jesus! We are in the possession of all real knowledge when we truly know Christ. And we cannot know the Son, and not know also the Father. And it is utterly impossible to know the Father, as revealed in His Son, and not become inspired with a desire to love Him supremely, to serve Him devotedly, to resemble Him closely, to glorify Him faithfully here, and to enjoy Him fully hereafter. And oh, how worthy is the Savior of our most exalted conceptions—of our most implicit confidence—of our most self-denying service—of our most fervent love! When He could give us no more—and the fathomless depths of His love and the boundless resources of His grace would not be satisfied by giving us less—He gave us himself. Robed in our nature, laden with our curse, oppressed with our sorrows, wounded for our transgressions, and slain for our sins, He gave His entire self for us.
And let it be remembered, that it is a continuous presentation of the hoarded and exhaustless treasures of His love. His redeeming work now finished, He is perpetually engaged in meting out to his Church the blessings of that "offering made once for all." He constantly asks our faith—woos our affection—invites our grief—and bids us repair with our daily trials to His sympathy, and with our hourly guilt to His blood. We cannot in our drafts upon Christ's fullness be too covetous, nor in our expectations of supply be too extravagant. Dwelling beneath His cross, our eye resting upon the heart of God, we will in all things desire and aim to walk uprightly, presenting our "bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God;" that "the trial of our faith may be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ."