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BELOVED IN THE LORD

The elect of God in their earthly pilgrimage are called to journey in paths that they have not known, and even while treading in the very way that the saints before them have trod, they little know and trace the way, but as the blind our God leadeth us, holding us with His hand, nor will He ungrasp His hold of us till He shall bring us safe to glory. The world knoweth us not, because it knew not our precious Christ.

It cannot understand the steps of faith that we take in our pilgrimage, and they know nothing of our destination, the city that we seek, which "hath foundations whose builder and maker is God." The world can have no fellowship for God's elect, their life, their way,, their end is an unsolvable enigma to the unregenerate. As I have already intimated, that peculiar spiritual pathway of the ransomed of the Lord is such that no fowl knoweth, which the vulture's eye hath not seen, the lion's whelps have not trodden it, nor the fierce lion passed by it. (Job 22:7-8; Isa. 35; Jere. 32:39) All is beyond what the mere natural mind of men can perceive and understand. (I Cor. 2:14) The kingdom of God cometh not by observation. Then, dear brethren, it is no marvel if even we with our natural minds fail to comprehend the dealing of the Lord with our souls. "O! the depths of the riches, both of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are His judgments and His ways past finding out." It is only as our God gives us the spirit of understanding in the knowledge of Christ, only as the things of God are revealed by the Spirit, only as the "Interpreter," (Job 33:23) opens unto us the mysteries of Jehovah's providence and grace, that we can in any measure enter into divine and eternal things, and gain an assurance that we are of God, and that He is our God, our Salvation, our All. Whose life, and whose path can be more subject to vicissitudes than one's own? Thus I feel it to be, and doubtless many others of the household of God often have to say, "My soul through many changes goes. We read, "The soul of the people was much discouraged because of the way. (Num. 21:4) Is it then any strange thing that, compassed as we are with infirmities, and buffeted with temptations and cares we are sometimes wearier and faint in the struggle and are often filled with disquietude. "In the world ye shall have tribulations."

But when away from all dependence in ourselves, when out of our temptations and conflicts we are drawn to look up to and feel in our hearts to trust in Jesus alone, then we have peace. "In me ye shall have peace." (John 16:33) We can only run with patience the race that is set before us when our eye is upon Jesus. (Heb. 12:14) Too often we forget that Jesus has trodden the pathway of tribulation before us. Yes, we forget He is with us in all our afflictions. (Isa. 62:9) Unbelief and deceitfulness of sin as a mist, or veil, hide our Companion and Heavenly Guide from our view, then as desolate wanderers in the waste howling wilderness of temptation we wind our sorrowful way. While life's journey lasts, troubles we must endure. But they will not be any more, they will not be heavier than the God of our mercy ordains.

I love to ponder upon the divine truth that all things are in the hands of Jehovah. He is the Almighty Disposer of all events. All our times are in the hands of our Holy and Gracious God. "All things" include our trials and afflictions within and without, and of whatsoever nature they may be, they are all subservient to the purpose of our God concerning us, and His own glory shall be declared therein, and in the end we shall prove that all is well.

Surely infinite wisdom, love and grace is woven throughout all the dealings of the Lord. I know this cannot be seen now, our sight is so dim, arid then so much concerning us is yet imperfect; but when God shall have perfected all the good pleasure of His goodness concerning us, then "face to face," (I Cor. 13:12) with our Redeemer in glory we shall know even as we are known. Then, in resurrection glory, death destroyed, and time no more, night and sorrow, pain and sickness, sin and anguish gone forever, they shall vex us no more.

Oh what glory is our portion in the Lord, whom we adore. But though buffeted with the temptations of the enemy, and much tried by the depravity of our flesh, yet our faith and hope is in our God. Let us search our hearts and inquire. Do I sigh over my sins, and my unlikeness in my flesh to God? Do I hunger and thirst after righteousness? Is the dear Saviour the lovely One, the desired One of my soul? To those who hasten after the Redeemer (whom we esteem as those who are His welcome companions), Do our love sick aching hearts exclaim, "I charge you, O ye daughters of Jerusalem, if ye find my Beloved, that ye tell Him, that I am sick of love."

"O Love! I languish at thy stay,
I pine for thee with lingering smart,
Weary and faint thru' long delay,
When wilt thou come into my heart?
From sin and sorrow set me free,
And swallow up my soul in thee."

You, beloved of God (and I also very willingly) have to confess, that although we are poor, vile, unworthy sinners, that the things of Christ are much desired and precious. And though we are plagued with our own sinful hearts, (I Kings 8:38) and Satan's temptations, notwithstanding we feel we have no righteousness, comeliness, and merits of our own wherewith to come before God, yet how precious is the Gospel of Christ to our souls. We muse upon the precious God pardoning sinners for Jesus' sake. We say, how good, how sweet that must be. Then as we view the meek beautified with salvation, and arrayed in the obedience of the Lamb, they shine before the throne of God. Sweet truth! There is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus. (Rom. 8:1) Faultless in resplendant, immortal glory, the church of Christ we view, washed in Emmanuel's blood, yes, decked with His merits, who can point with the finger at a spot, a blemish, or wrinkle, or any such thing? O Zion, the voice of thy Husband and Saviour proclaims, "Thou art all fair, My Love, there is no spot in Thee." Often as an onlooker I appear to be, my heart sometimes faints with longings to be thus embraced, and included among the ransomed of the Lord, and thus to stand in spotless, immortal beauty in the presence of the King. The language of my heart's desire is, "Remember me with the favour that Thou bearest unto Thy people. O visit me with Thy salvation that I may see the good of Thy chosen, that I may rejoice in the gladness of Thy nation, that I may glory with Thine inheritance." (Psa. 146:4-5)

Elder Keene
Selected from Zion's Landmark, 1937.