"I, John, saw the new Jerusalem ... prepared as a bride adorned for her Husband." (Rev. 21:2)
We are now directed in our thinking to consider the wonder of all wonders, the marvel of marvels, yea, in the profoundest sense the door is open for us to contemplate the very mystery of mysteries. Human wisdom is baffled when it attempts to describe the matchless condescension of Christ and His celestial considerateness in calling the sons and daughters of men to share His companionship in an eternal society. The great mission of His gracious manifestation demonstrated the kindness of God to His creation, and resulted in the lifting of an innumerable host of redeemed humanity into the realm of divine sonship. The call of reconciliation came to the alienated, bidding them enter the sphere of sanctified fellowship. The loving Lord undertook the laborious task of leading the disinherited into the legal right of a regal heirship. By determinate counsel, His Royal Highness decreed to initiate the defeated and dethroned into a place of kingship with Himself for evermore.
His purpose in doing all this was to establish an everlasting kingdom, in the light of which, any known administrations in this world were, at their grandest, but paltry shadows in comparison. According to the reliable revelation of the Scriptures of truth, the changeless character of our Lord's abiding authority is determined most assuredly to perform His immutable will.
Human conception of such a purpose was too improbable and imponderable for unaided calculation to have comprehended, having been designed "before the world was." The processes leading to, and the perfecting of the plan were too remarkable and remote to be fulfilled by any would.be proposers of such an enterprise. The whole program which was outlined many centuries ago has already been well.nigh fulfilled, so the entire purpose must be considered as standing wholly outside the range of mere coincidence.
"We were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love." (Eph. 1:4)
The spacious grandeur of the Lord's eternal purpose is not without illustration in the Bible, and as already mentioned, the aim of it all is beautifully reflected in the book of Ruth. The ratio of proportion however is no greater than when we gaze at a reflected star mirrored in a deep well.
We were reminded in the previous section that the uniting in marriage of Boaz of Bethlehem, a mighty man of wealth, and Ruth, the stranger of Moab, supplies one of the great landmarks in the history and genealogy of Messiah. The royal affection and loyal devotion of Boaz, so generously demonstrated toward a despised and widowed Moabite, lifted an outcast into lustrous dignity, and changed a lonely life from abject penury to that of abounding prosperity. Yet Ruth's real gain lay not in the costly home and courtly legacy she inherited, nor did it consist in the complete liberation from harassing cares and trying circumstances, but rather in the comely character of Boaz himself with the personal charm of his companionship and the affectionate attention of his abounding love. Well might Ruth be enraptured with a companion so dignified, whose real wealth was not limited to material resource but consisted mainly of sterling qualities, stately abilities and sublime aspirations. As we stated earlier, his faultless fidelity and considerate constancy enabled him to secure justice for Ruth in the eyes of the law, but he did more than this by showing an overweight of mercy and an overwhelming generosity toward the stranger. The reassuring words of Naomi at the time revealed that she had an accurate and intimate estimate of Boaz. She knew the inner character of his noble nature. "The man will not be at rest until he have finished the thing this day." (Ruth. 3:18)
If Boaz be a mighty man of wealth, Christ is far mightier in the wealth of His abounding resource, and mightiest of all in the wisdom of His omnipotent will, and having begun a good work in us, He will continue to perform it until it is completed." (Phil. 1:6) Yea, He towers handsomely above Boaz and all other bridegrooms in the sublimity of His thought and the grandeur of His motive. He transcends every known personality in nobility of spirit, in loftiness of aim, in splendor of strength, in the spacious rights of His title, and in the stupendous dignity of His claim.
Christ is "altogether lovely" from whatever viewpoint we behold Him. At every angle we find a vantage ground which enables us to gaze upon His manifold beauty of character and survey His unrivaled capabilities. He is lowly in heart in every sympathetic virtue, irrespective of what may be the intent that constrains man to consider Him, and His whole nature is absolutely devoid of vanity or vaunting pride. He is so lofty in authority that despite every victory gained in the interests of justice and mercy, His power has in no wise been depleted nor His arm palsied. Wherefore, "Trust ye in the Lord forever, for in the Rock of Ages is everlasting strength." (Isa. 26:4)
Heroes may gain a remarkable crown,
Cities may rise to gigantic renown,
Yet ruin and war consume them as stubble,
Leaving behind but a graveyard of rubble,
But love's golden chalice abideth for aye,
For Christ's name and fame can never decay.
Great kingdoms may rise to enslave the earth,
Famines may stalk with their pitiless dearth,
The heavens may pass with a thunderous crash,
And lightnings destroy with their blinding flash,
But this love of our Lord immort'lly true
Will ever remain and its pledge renew.
Here we meet face to face the real Semper idem, always the same, for He Who reigns in the true regality of righteousness is declared "the same yesterday, and today, and forever." Over against the jittery wail of uncertainty in this world, we meet with the jasper wall of security in the next. No undesirable intruder can invade the citadel of love where He dwells and no interval of time can impair the permanent ramparts of protection which surround.
“Tis Heaven where Jesus is and nowhere else beside,
'Tis Heaven to dwell beneath the smile of Jesus glorified.”
Within these jasper walls harmony, amity and unity are perfect. One gracious will governs the whole glorious community. Every function is centered and every feature is conformed to the image of the Son. His fragrant loveliness combined with His faithful leadership and fervent loving-kindness comprises one of the richest portions of “The inheritance of the saints in light." The Holy One Himself is greater than the heritage He bestows. Immanuel is grander than the inheritance He imparts. The Lord is more glorious than any legacy He lavishes upon His beautiful bride, who is made perfect in His comeliness. (Ezek. 16:14) The love of Christ is more kindly and kingly than human minds can ever know. His royal love is richer and dearer than classical estimates can ever imagine. His divine love is deeper and more devoted than words can even begin to describe. His tender love is more true and trustworthy than the most thrilling orator could ever expound. His celestial love is more constant and complacent than the profoundest philosophies can conceive. His princely love is more perfect than any earthly potentate could portray, and His sacrificial love is far superior to and more sympathetic than all other loves combined.
If we select the finest specimens of the most thrilling romances in the annals of history in which celebrities of the highest rank have chosen commoners to be their companions, none can compare in any degree whatsoever with this one. The fortunes of famous suitors are not worthy of mention when we consider the vastness of Christ's virtues, the lastingness of His legacies, the eternity of His estate, the permanence of His presence, the incorruptibility of His inheritance, the holiness of His household, the preeminence of His person, the perfection of His power, the duration of His dominion, the trophies of His triumphs and the extent of His excellent endowments. All of these illustrious gifts to His bride are gloriously indescribable and consist of immortal treasures which express the imperishable tokens of His own infinite love. His love.letters sent through the long period of endearment are packed full of the most precious promises far too wonderful for any human being ever to fulfil. One glance into the interior of the eternal home with its gladness and glory, to which He has already gone to prepare His loved ones a place, is enough to shame the greed of selfishness and make it appear grossly repulsive. The vaunting pomp and pageantry of the proud, the ambition and aggression of avarice, the vanity and violence of vice, the lure and lust of license, the glamour and glitter of gain in all their tragic issues are dimmed into insignificance in the light of this everlasting habitation. Abraham could never be enticed into the vulgarities of the city of Sodom with its lure and lust after receiving the vision of the City of God with its light and love.
The friendship, too, of Christ is most exceptional, for the bond of His goodwill even in its most elementary stage exceeded that of all others in maturity. “A friend loveth at all times.” (Prov. 17:17) Shakespeare said, “Love is not love that alters when it alteration finds.” Christ was never disheartened when His church acted disloyally. Her failure should not prove final in view of His fidelity. His essential kindness, His endearing name, His personal love, His enduring patience, His enriching gifts, His enlightening truth and His exquisite power were among the evidences He expressed as proof that He eclipsed all other lovers. All of this was shown in the presence of unfaithfulness. The closer we investigate His character, and the more intimate we become in our comradeship with Him, the greater our estimate of His worthiness becomes. The glittering peaks of His preeminence are never dimmed by other worthies for He is high above all other principalities and powers. (Eph. 1:21)
Over and beyond what He is in the beauty and bounty of His own personal beneficence, He shares with His bride the priceless and perpetual heritage of the ages. In the capacity of a lover He represents at once the richest resource, the greatest glory, the stateliest sympathy, the choicest chivalry, the gentlest grace, the mightiest majesty, the comeliest courtesy, the loveliest legacy and the widest range of real wealth ever personified. "For a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth." When we pause to consider His availing representation before the Eternal Father at the right hand of the majesty on high, whereby He safeguards and sustains His people, His abiding attitude of constancy and cheer to all His loved ones everywhere, His attractive amiableness in attention and care throughout the years, His appropriate ministry of gentleness and grace to every saint of every clime and country, His administrative helpfulness in making peace, and His promise to increase our participation in the divine nature, His able purpose in the fulfilling of which He guards and guides through the whole pilgrimage of life, and His assured comradeship through all the days in communion and consolation, these we say form but a particle of His ways, but how small is the portion known of Him. (See Job 26:14.)
"Thou hast loved me with an everlasting love and with loving kindness hast thou drawn me." (Jer. 31:3)
Loved before the heavens above us
Draped their vaults in azure skies,
Loved before angelic chorus
Burst in rapturous, glad surprise.
Loved with all the love that dwelleth
In the very heart of Truth,
Loved with love that far excelleth
Kinship-love as shown to Ruth.
Loved in fashion such as never
Was expressed by human hearts,
Loved by Christ and loved forever,
To the utmost heaven imparts.
- C. J. R.
We should seek to tabulate some of His inherent attributes, for Christ, our Lover, stands supreme in the celestial world glistening in the holiest heights with the utmost of Heavenly honor. He is the brightest of the brilliant in the effulgent light of spiritual radiance and spotless righteousness. He is the greatest of the glorious in the imperishable beauty of His personal charm. He is the mightiest of the majestic in His mediating ability and matchless qualification, yea, He is the princeliest of potentates in His sovereign sufficiency in all spheres of official vocation and virtue. Christ is the veritable King of Kings and the venerable Lord of Lords. Our beloved Bridegroom is the citadel of all certitude wherein our confidence may implicitly rest. He is the Reservoir of trustworthiness wherein our trust may instinctively rely. He is the Fountain of faithfulness where individual faith secures perfect satisfaction, and He is in Himself a domain of dependability where our dependence may dwell without fear of betrayal or desertion. Little wonder that His name has been emblazoned far above every name, not only in this world but also in that which is to come. In multiform ways He stands without peer or competitor. In obedience He glorified the Father, in observance He magnified the law, in testimony He dignified the truth, in courtesy He beautified grace, in faithfulness He ratified promise, in virtue He vitalized life, in devotion He sanctified love and in uprightness He satisfied justice.
On one occasion when C. H. Spurgeon was speaking from the text, “Thou hast loved my soul,” he said, “We are the beloved of the Lord Who changes not. If we realized this fact, dear brethren, how it would elevate and comfort and set us all ablaze with love to God. Think it over, and then say each one to himself, Jehovah, the Eternal, self-existent One loves me; Jesus, the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the Wonderful Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace loves me; the Holy Spirit, the Wonder.Worker, the Comforter, the Illuminator loves me. What bliss is this!”
No state is more blessed than when one realizes the enjoyment of perfect love. Here are heights of Heavenly goodness which the hind's hoof of imaginative thinking can never reach. Here are depths of divine mercy which the plummet of profoundest reasoning can never fathom. Here are oceans of everlasting enjoyment which the most æsthetic temperament of exquisite taste can never estimate. Here are pinnacles of prosperity which the profoundest philosophers of speculative ideals can never propound. Here lovingkindness is so lofty that expositors in their most lavish commentaries can not conceive. We should bare our heads and bow in a worship born of deepest gratitude. No disaster can ever destroy the ecstasy of Heaven, no disagreement can ever disturb the harmony of this home, no disgrace can ever defame these halls of honor, no disease can ever deface the beauty of holiness, no divorce or death can ever mar this society that is immortally happy.
Fountains of fullness evermore replete,
Furnish the life.stream from a throne complete.
Groups of the glorified form a countless throng,
Raising their tribute in a glad new song.
Will immutable, always the same
Thy victory over death endears Thy name.
Eternity Thy day, in splendor crowned,
Thine everlasting fame by hosts renowned.
When the election of grace was first made known in the days of Abraham, the patriarch planted a grove and called on the everlasting God. A desire had been stirred in the human heart for a sacred and secure society that would survive death and satisfy a mature capacity for fellowship and fraternity everlastingly. From the quest of Abraham as he went out from his national civilization, to the manifestation of Messiah, Who “brought life and immortality to light through the gospel,” the vision continued to grow brighter, richer and fuller. The establishment of the church demonstrated as never before the prospective unification of all things in a corporate and celestial oneness. The apostle Paul states that God has made known the mystery of His will that in the new order of the fullness of times He would gather together in one all things in Christ. (Eph. 1:9)
The apostle John was later chosen as the servant to whom the final unveiling was given, and he describes in vivid detail the eventual society which he beheld in the form of a Holy City descending from God out of Heaven as a bride adorned for her husband. This City of God constitutes the very crest of the wave in the wisdom of Christ’s creative plan and redemptive purpose. The figure itself supplies a symbol of a universal society unique in its security, with everlasting foundations unparalleled for safety, and guarded gates to prevent the intrusion of all uncleanliness, unreality and everything else that is tainted and unjust. The society is unlimited in its amplified sufficiency of provision for complete satisfaction and perfect satiation both in companionship and communion.
We might well draw attention to some of the many symbols which are used to describe this crowning citadel of the new and final social order. The boundless beauties of the Best Beloved are likened to the shimmering Shekinah of the sunlight shining in all its brilliance. The unveiling enables the myriad hosts to comprehend in some measure the riches of renown and majestic resources of the Saviour with perfected capacities. None could possibly stand unmoved in the presence of such exquisite beauty and radiant grandeur. The vast array of angels in their attractive attire of glistening purity admire and adore the Ancient of Days. The translucence of a transparent and tideless sea which features unchanging truth in all its crystal clearness reflects the celestial throne on which immortal Majesty is forever exalted. The spotless sanctity of the heavenly society displays the superior workmanship of the Creator Who makes all things new. Charming colors beautifully blended in the fascinating foundations set forth the permanent perfection and steadfast security of the spiritual characteristics of the City. The purity and peace of the environs, combined with the abiding unity and harmony of spirit, assure perennial pleasure. The fragrance of the fadeless flowers, the foliage of the matchless trees and the flavors of the faultless fruits contribute everlasting delights. The justice of the jasper walls encircling the justified indicates that every legal aspect has reached finality by the verdict of an infinite decision, while the Jubilee of joy is realized and the entire estate emancipated from the thralldom of the usurper, with every illegal claimant silenced forever. The golden glory of the gorgeous street suggests the simplicity, sincerity and sublimity of the one way of access to the Fountain.Head of life, love, light and liberty. The gentle glint uniformly shining from each gate of pearl denotes the unity of purpose and harmony of praise existing within the society, with angel sentinels guarding the right.of.way.
Upon entering the select confines of the city, no silent sullenness casting its spell on any section of the innumerable hosts is encountered, but the singing of glorified saints, the praises of perfected peoples, the hymns of the holy in heart, the Psalms of prevailing patriarchs, the tersanctus of the triumphant throng who endured in trial, the worship of all witnesses who warred a good warfare, the anthems of the angelic hosts, the choruses of the cherubim cohorts, the songs of the shining seraphim and the adoration of the archangel administrators, resound from every company continuously and in perfect harmony.
The whole wedding ceremony is wondrous in worship blended with the matchless music of the myriad martyrs and a multitude of missionaries all of whom extol and magnify the Bridegroom because of His exquisite character, exceptional bounty and royal glory. What He is in Himself is the supreme subject occupying the minds of the entire concourse of the assembled multitudes. "The servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever." The sap of His vitality is unabated; the arm of His strength is unpalsied; the wisdom of His will is undiminished; the plan of His purpose is unabridged; the verity of His truth is unvaried; the light of His glory is undimmed; the beauty of His meekness is unchanged; the appeal of His ministry is unaltered; the resource of His power is unrestricted, and the gifts of His bounty are unlimited.
"Thou remainest," is the word of the prophet Zechariah. "Thou art the same; thy years shall have no end," quoth David.
We are venturing on a hopeless course in endeavoring to describe the ineffable, which towers above the transient things of this temporal world in every respect. The most elaborate estimates of Christ are paltry, and the most dignified description of His fragrant name and fervent love are poor and cold. He ever abides as the most adorable in sovereignty, “The same yesterday, and today, and for ever.” Yea, He is perpetually the same in His infinite knowledge, His intimate relationship, His imperial authority and His immortal loveliness. He is perennially the same in His incorruptible glory, His inexhaustible wisdom, His impregnable righteousness and His immutable will. "Thy throne, O God, is forever and ever. A scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom." Therefore, age has in no wise altered His ability. Time has not tarnished the testimony of His triumph. Centuries have not cankered the constancy of His character. Epochs have not enervated the energy of His essential endeavor. Æons have not atrophied His administrative authority. Millenniums have not marred the majesty of His might. Duration has not decayed the dignity of His dominion. The rolling years have not robbed Him of His youthful radiance. His faithfulness remains full-orbed and the favors He furnishes are as fresh and free as ever.
All-powerful at the dawn of creation, His consummate skill and controlling strength continue undiminished. His perfect knowledge and patient kindness, His omniscient wisdom and omnipotent will, His abounding grace and abiding glory persist unabated. He remains the invariable one without shadow of turning.
What will it mean to live with Him in a thornless paradise, and be like Him, sharing a tearless society with a tombless landscape in full view, while enjoying the timeless pleasures beside the tideless sea which is described in the Scriptures as clear as crystal? The loving Lord in His matchless kindness has prepared the new earth for His beloved, and no one in the whole universe appears to better advantage than the glorious Bridegroom Himself. He is more precious than the melodies of celestial music, more desirable than the pleasures of perfect peace, more enjoyable than the facilities and fruits of replete fullness and more admirable than the choicest vesture of the virtuous in their raiment of final victory.
Naomi gave utterance to wonderful words in the hour of realizing her fairest dreams and fondest hopes. She said, “Blessed be the Lord, who hath not left thee this day without a kinsman ... He shall be unto thee a restorer of thy life.” (Ruth 4:14, 15) We might well exclaim, “Blessed be His name” for the everlasting thoughts of tenderness towards His beloved from the very bosom of eternity. No mathematician can calculate a true estimate of celestial dimensions because the Bridegroom’s love surpasses knowledge. The fathomless depth and faultless devotion of our Lord’s changeless affection are beyond description. If anyone should ask why it is so we answer, “Because His love is as long as eternity, wide as immensity, high as infinity and glowingly fervent with an intensity of such sort that no formula written can frame an estimate, and eloquence is powerless to attempt it."
In volume His love is without boundary, in virtue without beginning, in vastness without horizon and in value without price. No one can trace the splendor of its conception in the divine heart or tabulate the grandeur of its consummation in the distant heights of glory.
In the dimless dawn of replete restitution of all things, love's closest companionship will be experienced between bride and Bridegroom. Love's deepest consciousness will be exercised in calm complacency. Love's sweetest communion will be entered into with reciprocal delight. Love's choicest contemplation will be enhanced with the utmost of spiritual intelligence and insight. Love's richest comradeship will be exemplified in unbroken harmony and uninterrupted agreement. Love's highest compensation will be exchanged in the giving of everything of value and virtue to each other, and love's clearest comprehension will be enjoyed by perfected minds to the fullest possible degree of realization.
These abysmal realities of unseen riches, pregnant with moral and spiritual excellence are backed by the inscrutable mysteries of Godhead. Within the environs of that golden day we shall realize the Holy Spirit's testimony that we were chosen in Him before the foundation of the world. The signs of His sterling sovereignty are engraven in the skies. Sun and stars in their brilliance bespeak the Almighty authority of His administration. Christ is the Cornerstone of world history, the First.Born of all creation. He is the highest in honor above all principality and power; He is foremost in renown as the First.begotten from the dead, and He is the Leader and Lifeguard of manifold millions who are marching to Zion, whither He has entered for us as the Forerunner. The Creator Himself, Who steers the planet in its mighty orbit athwart the sky, Who guides the comet in its gigantic circuit through the heavens, Who sets a limit to the titanic waves of the turbulent ocean, and Who at the same time protects the little linnet in its daily flight, is the same Who came to claim a bride from the penitent of earth and call out from among the nations a people for His name. Hallelujah, what a Savior! What a Suitor!
He Who is the brightness of Godhead and express image of Deity, Who upholds the universe that now is, and will yet make all things new, is coming to establish His will on earth as in Heaven. He has determined to fulfil His own eternal purpose according to the good pleasure of His will. He has fully demonstrated His infinite love to the redeemed, in multitudes who are to be perfected in the Heavenlies. He will exonerate the righteousness of His inerrant justice in a realm of readjustment where His mercy is to be acclaimed to the very highest, His honor adored to the uttermost and His holiness admired by all the redeemed.
At the outset we referred to the description given in the opening chapters of the Bible of a gorgeous garden which is called the Paradise of God, and also directed attention to the ultimate perfected society at the close of the Revelation, which is named the City of God and portrayed as a bride adorned for her husband. In this final disclosure, clustered beauties are gathered into one center, the most colorful jewels that have ever sparkled in brilliant radiance are used to reflect the fundamental virtues of the entire community. The comeliest pearls with their graceful iridescence scintillate their softly glistening light to portray the unity, amity, harmony and beauty of the congregation that is without number. The arrangements of these various groupings are exclusively exquisite in their setting. The true spirit of the sacred society is voluminously expressed in the cadences of poetry, melodies of song, the harmonies of praise, and displayed in the trophies of conquest, all of which contribute to the august surroundings of this Heavenly host in white array.
Nothing is lacking to complete the perfect setting for this consummate ceremony of the centuries. The bridal festivities are arranged amid the choicest gardens the fairest flowers, the loveliest trees, the sweetest fragrance, the richest colors, the rarest fruits, the comeliest virtues, the purest joys, the holiest harmonies, the costliest jewels, the greatest riches and the brightest glories, but
Not at the crown He giveth,
But at His pierced hand;
When throned where glory dwelleth,
In Immanuel's land."
The unveiling of the innermost nature and uttermost glory of Christ, the Beloved, to His redeemed and regenerate bride is to be the supreme feature of this most memorable day. The earlier demonstrations of His transcendence witnessed in the four gospels during His manifestation on earth are now strangely surpassed and overwhelmingly exceeded. They in themselves were sensationally beyond all former authority and dignity as known to mankind. Matthew exhibits the majesty of His power as a King, swaying His princely scepter. Mark portrays the ministry of His patience as Heir, seeking His rightful regalia. Luke discloses the mystery of His passion as Priest, wearing His holy miter. John describes the maturity of His prerogative as Son, marked by His perfect insignia. In the unveiling of the eventful hour of the marriage these realities are lifted to a new height of realization and renown. The perfected capacities of the redeemed are now able to fully understand and comprehend. The Lord is revealed as sole Administrator of the entire universe with a magnificence that eclipses all potentates. He is unveiled as the sole Executor of the entire estate with an excellence that enthralls all worlds. He is displayed as the sole Mediator of all peoples, nations and tongues of all mankind with a transcendence that excels all other daysmen. He is declared the sole Regenerator of everything, everywhere, with an effulgence that exceeds the brightness of the sun and stars.
His unrivaled beauty of countenance charms and captivates the holy throngs, while the unparalleled light of His glory grows in undiminishing splendor to fill and flood the vast region of eternal day. The unblemished love of His heart pours forth perpetual affection and attractive endearment into every domain of His everlasting dominion. The untold riches of His abounding grace furnish every virtue and fill every vessel of honor throughout the new creation. "When he shall appear ... we shall see him as he is." Every storm will be forever stilled, all tears will be forever dried, all sorrows forever banished, all pain forever removed, all sin forever expunged, all unrest forever quelled, and all suffering forever ended. The Conqueror establishes prevailing calm, perfect contentment and perennial complacency. Every enemy is subjugated, the Devil is defeated, despotism dethroned, death destroyed and darkness dispelled.
The One Who holds the seven stars (Rev. 1:16), the sealed scroll (Rev. 5:1), the sacred censer (Rev. 8:3), and the sharp sickle in His strong hand (Rev. 14:14), is fully qualified to finish the work He began in the church, the creation, the commonwealth and the City, which features are dealt with in the fourfold unveiling.
We are enraptured to behold that the ponderous weight of merit, the prodigious wealth of honor, the stupendous right of moral might and the enormous authority of absolute ability are in the hands of the Christ, Who is, and was, and is to come, the Almighty. By virtue of His wisdom He purposed what no one else could plan, and by virtue of His will He wrought what no one else could determine. In His victorious majesty He prevails over all opposition. In His voluminous mercy He counteracts all overbearing pride. In His venturous mastery He subdues all oppression and in His virtuous ministry He proclaims overcoming power to all His saints. From the highest sphere of grandeur He stooped to the lowest confines of grief and guilt to select and save in order to unite in a suitable society a countless community of mankind for His eternal companionship.
What a choice! He who fashioned creation, framed its confines, and Who filleth all things, He Whom the Heaven of Heavens cannot contain and Who does nothing in an inferior manner, for all His works are masterpieces, decided on one final masterpiece of mercy, namely, to raise up a spotless bride from the dust and dunghill. (Psa. 113:4.7) In Scripture, this expression represents a sphere of waste and worthlessness. What a picture is this! Dust is detestable, an offence to the eye with its sense of sight, while dung is loathsome, objectionable to the nose with its sense of smell. Paul would speak of these as the sweepings and offscouring of all things. When man reaches such a state he realizes that even his fancied values of human goodness have entirely vanished, for such a condition is worse than worthless. Yet Christ purposed as Son of man and Near.of.kin to the human race to change a great congregation from natural degradation to spiritual regeneration, as an expression of the grace and generosity of His mighty heart. "He will change the body of our humiliation that it may be fashioned like unto his glorious body." (Phil. 3:21)
He made His selection in spheres that earthly sovereigns reject with scorn. He did not seek out the stately nor court the company of the coronated; much less did He call on the aristocracy of castled splendor. His choice bore out what He charged others to do when sending invitations to a feast. (Luke 14:1.14) He also said that He had not come to call the righteous but sinners to repentance.
What must it mean to enter His banqueting hall and be a member of His divinely royal consort, chosen to be His church, betrothed to be His bride, qualified to be His queen (Psa. 45:9), and guaranteed to be glorified in the beauty of holiness! One glimpse of His graceful garments of righteousness will ravish the heart. One glance at His grandeur in Godhead will captivate the soul. One gleam of His glorious greatness will awe.inspire the spirit. The very first glimmer of His generous gifts will make us feel as did the Queen of Sheba when she gazed at the magnificence of Solomon's majestic might!
The Prince of Life incorporates in His own personality the unutterable lusciousness of spiritual sweetness, richly and daintily condensed into one all.inclusive title, "Altogether lovely." Everything that our capacious powers can conceive of perfection, all that our most copious comments can contribute concerning excellence, and every detail that the most conspicuous saints with masterly minds can comprehend about holiness, dwells in Him bodily. (Col. 2:9) He shares all the luster of His illustrious titles and the honor of His heavenly distinctions with His selected society. So then our communion with Christ is a more priceless gem than ever glittered in a golden diadem.
How little time we give to meditating on this mystic marriage of the ages, this bridal day uniting earth and heaven in one. We must dismiss from our minds the local circumstances and conditions of marriage as we know them, when considering the wonderful wooing of the Son of His love. For at this stage
The unique and universal purpose of this unending union requires the newest and rarest of marriage covenants, the purest and fairest of wedding robes and the truest and holiest of matrimonial rights. The occasion celebrates the welding of the heart of humanity to Heaven's eternal Head, which dignifies the bride of Christ to share an abiding home in the Father's house. Well might we sing:
Let us seek to visualize the stainless raiment, the jewels of adornment, the angelic amazement, the seraphic wonderment and the cherubic enthronement attending this bridal pageant.
The solemnizing of the unprecedented union marks the perfecting of partnership, the everlasting consolation of companionship and the fadeless felicity of fellowship.
“His for ever, only His: Who the Lord and me shall part? Ah, with what a rest of bliss Christ can fill the loving heart!”
The spirit of aspiration should be constantly winging its flight to the unborn dominion where the glory of untarnished day and the gladness of unbroken communion are to crown His redeeming love,
For ever through endless ages,
Thy cross and Thy sorrow shall be,
The glory, the song and the sweetness
That make Heaven, Heaven to me."
- Henry Suso.
Let us ascend the mountains of memory with their extensive array of sunset experiences, and climb for a ramble on the hills of hope with their relished expectations of day.dawn delights. With reverent soul-stirring remembrance we should recall the past, when reflecting on the earlier activities of this royal romance of our Redeemer as revealed in the Scriptures. We should also look attentively to the beyond with an eager expectancy toward the fulfillment of the final features of His agreement, when He shall with the utmost fidelity and faithfulness finish the contract.
What will it mean to enjoy an everlasting estate with Him beyond the entanglements of envy and the enticements of evil! Yea, and dwell in a veritable domain of delights out of reach of distress and despair!
What will it be to reside in a realm of realism beyond the possibility of rebellion and revolution, and to live in a lovely land of largest liberty, far removed from the boundary of lust and license!
Can we estimate the bliss of communing in a consecrated community out of the range of conflict and contention, and of reigning in a kingdom of righteousness with an intimate knowledge of the kindest of kinsmen!
This means being established in an empire par.excellence along with the Emperor of Eternity, and of participating as joint.heirs in a perpetual possession, with the ageless Prince of Peace! We are to inherit an inheritance immortal with Immanuel the infinite One, and have a place prepared in the Father's house by the blessed and only Potentate, the Lord of Lords and King of Kings.
We have already received assurance through the Word of God that in this perfected sphere light prevails over darkness, life conquers death, love dispels hate, peace destroys war, joy surmounts sorrow, sympathy wipes away all tears and the balm of consolation banishes pain for evermore.
This is romance, regnant in the resilience of reciprocal love, "We love him because he first loved us." This is marriage, magnificent in the matchless unity of mutual agreement. “We shall be manifested with Him in glory.”
This is home, the happiest possible society in Heavenly honor handsomely draped in the beauty of Holiness. “Holiness becometh thy house, O Lord, forever.”
The high untraversed sanctities of Home,
The halls untarnished by defiled feet,
Where love shall flood the blue ethereal dome,
And holy joy the saints immortal greet.
All features are aglow with cheerful smiles,
No chilling frowns intrude their shivery cold,
No pavements rough of tessellated tiles,
One lovely aisle of rare transparent gold.
Divinest footprints mark the Heaven-born way,
Drenched in the splendor of revealing light,
Leading to realms of Heaven’s perfect day,
With every soul arrayed in garments white.
The Tree of Life, the health of all maintains,
While gates of pearl reflect the lovely Lord,
In radiant life, He evermore sustains,
By revelations of the Living Word.
In choicest gardens fragrant flowers bloom,
Their fadeless colors variegate the earth,
The tomb is banished with its fear and gloom,
The crystal sea bespeaks a second birth.
Endearment knows no pang of variation
No chills or moods disturb the happy throng,
Immortal love has had her coronation,
The mansions fair reverberate with song.
A true resemblance marks the perfect bride
The mirrored image of her royal Lord,
Combined with virtues from the Crucified
And peerless blessings from the Father..God
The Sharon Rose and sweetest scent abound,
The purest pearls and costliest jewels are hers,
While mingled melodies of songs resound
With richest treasure which His love confers.
Beyond the narrow bounds of time and sense
The Bridegroom's will reveals new designs
Affection's Lord spares nothing of expense
His precious love all Heaven intertwines.
For aye unrivaled beauty fills the place
And glowing tribute pays its homage toll,
The bride beholds her Bridegroom face to face
Well satisfied in Him, while ages roll.