Christ- Emmanuel, or God with Us
"They shall call His name Emmanuel, which being interpreted is, God with us."- Matthew 1:23.
"All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel– which means, 'God with us.'" Matthew 1:22-23
The titles of the Lord Jesus were not like those of the world, empty and vain sounding things. Each one possessed an impressive meaning, significant either of some distinguished trait of His personal character, or illustrative of some important aspect of His official work. There is no study of our Lord more precious and instructive to those who love Him than the varied and expressive names He wears. A single title is to them often as a volume replete with divine truth, as a mine of untold wealth, as a box of most precious ointment, as a tower of impregnable strength.
We are about to consider a few of Christ's more familiar and prominent titles; and, as introductory to the series, have selected, perhaps, the most significant and impressive one of all. This remarkable title is the fulfilment of a prophecy, and the confirmation of our faith in the truth of His Messiahship; the unfolding of a twofold nature- it brings before our view at once His Deity and humanity. The narrative is in this way- "All this took place to fulfill what the Lord had said through the prophet: 'The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel"– which means, God with us.'" Matthew 1:22-23
As I have remarked, we have here a famous prophecy fulfilled, and a wondrous person revealed. The former view of the subject would alone supply us with ample material for reflection. It is no light thing in the present day to maintain the integrity of God's word. On every hand, and from
every quarter it is malignantly and fiercely assailed. Men deeply erudite, religious in profession, and eminent in their relation to the Church, are devoting all the power and influence their learning and position can command, to the destruction of the Bible. I speak advisedly- the destruction of the Bible! The Word of God is wholly divine; and as a volume thus wholly divine, it must, in faith, humility, and love, be received. Impugn the integrity of any one part, and you have impugned the integrity of every other. Loosen one stone of the sacred fabric, and you have loosened all. Tamper with the integrity of this book, or question the veracity of that narrative; reject the inspiration of this gospel, or doubt the canonical integrity of that epistle, and you have taken away my Bible, and what have I left?
The God dishonoring theories, therefore, which several modern writers have advanced, the refined and subtle shades of inspiration which many have drawn, all converge to one point- the virtual denial of inspiration entirely; and all tend to one solemn and inevitable result- the overthrow of God's Word. A"ept, then, with gratitude every fulfilled prophecy as evidencing the truth of the Bible, and as establishing your individual faith in the inspiration, integrity, and preciousness of that Divine Word, which is all that you have to guide you through the sins and snares and sorrows of this life to the happiness and the glories of the life that is to come. Hold fast to the integrity of these two witnesses- the Old and the New Testament. They confirm and establish each other. The Old Testament predicts the New, and the New Testament fulfils the Old; and thus both unitedly testify, "Your Word Is Truth."
In entering upon a consideration of the present title of our Lord, we are in the very outset confronted by the most marvellous and glorious doctrine of the Christian faith- the DEITY of the Son of God. This is an essential doctrine of revelation, not accepted by any one particular branch of the Christian Church, but is the received tenet of the whole. Even in the creed of the most corrupt of all religious communions, the Church of Rome, it is found to exist, though blended with so much that is erroneous in doctrine, and overlaid with so much that is superstitious in worship, as entirely to neutralize its power and utterly to veil its luster. Perhaps, the most lucid and earnest embodiment of this essential truth of the gospel is found in the doctrinal formula of the English Church. The article to which we refer runs thus- "The Son, who is the Word of the Father, begotten from everlasting of the Father, the very and eternal God, and of one substance of the Father, took man's nature in the womb of the blessed virgin, of her substance; so that two whole and perfect natures, that is to say, the Godhead and Manhood, were joined together in one person, never to be divided, whereof is one Christ, Very God and Very Man, who truly suffered, was crucified, dead, and buried, to reconcile His Father to us, and to be a sacrifice, not only for original guilt, but also for all actual sins of men." But this fundamental doctrine of our faith- the Deity of Christ- rests not upon human testimony alone. It appeals to a high and divine authority in support of its truth- it rests upon the revelation and teaching of God's inspired word. To this let us turn.
The title of our Lord under consideration distinctly affirms His Deity- "GOD with us." The proof we advance confirmatory of this doctrine must, in our limited space, be but a summary. The title itself would seem to carry to every ingenuous and earnest mind desiring to know what is truth touching this doctrine, sufficient evidence of its veracity. The presence of God with man has, in all dispensations of the Church, been an acknowledged fact. The Jews, as God's peculiar people, had the more immediate token of His presence by an appearance of glory enshrouding with its divine effulgence the holy tabernacle. This they termed the Shechinah, or, the Divine Presence. God was with them in that "cloud by day and pillar of fire by night." But this symbolic and extraordinary manifestation of the Divine presence was to cease with the first temple. A new and more spiritual dispensation was to supersede the old, and another and more wonderful temple was to enshrine the Deity! God would still be with His people and dwell amid His Church, but it would be "GOD manifest in the flesh," and this is the name by which He should be known- "EMMANUEL, GOD with us." And what is the line of proof? Briefly this. All that belongs to Deity is ascribed to our Lord. For example- The names and titles of Deity belong to Him. He is emphatically called the "First and the Last " "Who was, and is, and is to come" "The Almighty" "The Everlasting Father" " The Lord of Glory " "The Lord God of the holy prophets"
"The only begotten Son of God" "The brightness of His glory, the express image of His person." These, as I have remarked, are not vain-sounding titles, but embody and express His GODHEAD. Had he not a preexistence before He touched the horizon of our earth, had He not subsisted eternally in the divine essence and glorious majesty of the Supreme God, could it with any propriety have been said to Him, "Your throne, O GOD, is forever and ever" "We give You thanks, O Lord God Almighty, who is, and was, and is to come" "You are the same, Your years shall not fail" "The same yesterday, today, and forever."
But not the titles only, but the works of Deity, are ascribed to Him. It is said, that "all things were made by Him, and without him was not anything made that was made" that, "by Him all things were created that are in heaven, and that are in the earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by Him, and for Him, and He is before all things, and by Him all things are held together." "He upholds all things by the word of His power" that, "His throne is forever and ever." Surely He who is before the created, must Himself be uncreated; He who is before all beings, must be pre-existent; He who can create, sustain, and govern all worlds and all beings and all things must be the eternal, omnipotent, omnipresent, and everlasting Jehovah. And yet all this is ascribed to our blessed Lord.
The miracles of our Lord were equally confirmatory of His divinity. By the exercise of His divine and miraculous power. He healed the sick, restored sight to the blind, hearing to the deaf, strength to the paralyzed, fed thousands with a few loaves and small fishes, controlled the tempest, and exhibited His power over death and the grave, despoiling their laurels, rescuing their prey, bringing back the spirit from Hades and the body from the grave to life and service again.
And did our Lord ever deny His essential deity? Never once! On the contrary, He invariably vindicated the doctrine, boldly acknowledging that He was one with God. Hence He said, "If I do not the works of any father, believe me not. But if I do, though you do not believe, believe the works, that you may know and believe that the Father is in me, and I in Him." "I and the Father are one." And then, when closing His ministry on earth, as if most fully and demonstratively to establish His union with the substance and incomprehensible nature of the Godhead, He commissioned His apostles to go forth and to "baptize all nations in the name of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit." Had our Lord not been equal with the Father, how confused, inappropriate, and impious were this language, thus representing Himself as the joint and equal object of our faith, hope, and love. And how animating and sanctifying is the thought that, when thus dedicating ourselves to the Triune God, rendering to each divine person the most unquestioning faith, the warmest love, the divinest worship, and the most dutiful obedience, it is because we recognize three distinct people in the One Godhead, and look for rich and inestimable blessings flowing from, the love of God the Father, through the merits of God the Son, and by the power of God the Holy Spirit.
This suggests another view of the subject, equally confirmatory of the doctrine. I refer to THE NECESSITY OF CHRIST'S DEITY, AS IMPLIED IN THE WHOLE ECONOMY OF REDEMPTION. There could have been no salvation of sinners apart from the Three People of the Godhead. In accomplishing this, the master work of Jehovah, it was necessary that an ample satisfaction should be made to the moral government of God, in the shape of a full atonement for infinite transgression, that thereby the righteousness of the law might be fully vindicated, and the claims of justice be fully met. It was equally necessary that a provision should be made, not only for the pardon of sin and the justification of the sinner, but that, also (and without which neither of them could have availed to bring the sinner to heaven) provision should be made for the spiritual renovation of the soul. Hence the necessity of the Trinity. The Father is reputed as loving man; the Son, as dying for man; the Spirit, as regenenating man; and an equal Divine love binds its threefold girdle around every believing saint. Do we need further proof? Behold Him setting the seal to the truth of his Deity, and manifesting to all that He was the King of kings and Lord of lords, by overcoming Satan, by vanquishing death, by bursting the barriers of the grave, and by ascending triumphantly to heaven, leading captivity captive, and from thence dispensing the blessings of His grace to men, even the rebellious, that God might dwell with them.
Before I venture upon the second part of this subject, let me bespeak, in behalf of the truth which has engaged our first thoughts, the most prayerful study, and the most implicit belief of all the Lord's people. The doctrine of the Incarnation is the chief corner-stone of our faith. Here reposes the entire fabric of our salvation. This is the key that unlocks the deep mystery of divine love; this the solution to every difficulty that presents itself to the soul in its struggle to be saved. Let your faith simply grasp this truth, and all is safe with your everlasting well-being. Do not pause to sound it with the poor plumb-line of your reason, before you believe it. Wait not to under stand, before you receive it. Receive it with the simplicity of a little child, and it will make you happy. It is the great mystery of Godliness. How, then, can you, a finite being, a sinful finite being, be supposed fully to comprehend a truth which touches the very heights, and sounds the very depths of infinity itself; over which angels bend with humility, reverence, and awe? Lay down your reason at the feet of faith, and let faith take her place at the feet of Jesus, and, as I have said, receive the kingdom of God as a little child, and you shall be saved. Deem it not uncharitable when I say, that there is, there can be, no salvation apart from a belief in the doctrine of the Incarnation of God for the salvation of man. In the words of the evangelist, "Neither is there salvation in any other; for there is none other name under heaven given among men, by which we must be saved." This is the "Stone" which the deniers of the Deity and atonement of Christ set at nothing, rejecting which, they build the fabric of their future upon the quicksands of their own works, reposing upon which, shame and everlasting contempt must be their portion. Become, then, a humble worshiper at Bethlehem, a believing student at Calvary, a joyful saint at the tomb, and yours will be the divine benison of him "that believes, and yet has not seen." The path of the soul's travel to glory, commences at the manger, winds round the cross, sweeps past the grave, ascends to, and is lost in, the perfect sight of faith, and the full fruition of hope, and the boundless sea of love circling round the throne of heaven-
"Where sits our Savior, crowned with light,
Clothed in a body like our own."
But we approach that branch of our subject which brings it home more closely and blessedly to our individual selves. "Emmanuel, God WITH US. How wondrously and completely does this truth, the Incarnation, span the wide chasm between the Infinite and the finite- God and man! God is no longer to the believer's mind an incomprehensible and invisible abstraction. He is brought near, as it were- visible, tangible, real- in a word, He is WITH us. Let us illustrate in a few particulars this marvellous, and not less experimental and precious, truth.
In the first place, Emmanuel is GOD WITH US. We here ascend infinitely above the human. It is not merely an angel that is with us- a man that is with us; it is Deity who is with us, none less than Jehovah Himself, Israel's covenant God and Keeper. We cannot do with anything short of Deity. If Deity does not come to our aid, if Deity does not stoop to our low estate, if Deity does not save us, we are lost to all eternity. When we fell in the first Adam, our humanity lost all its original righteousness and strength. If Deity did not interpose on our behalf, if God did not Himself embark in our rescue, the inevitable consequence must have been the shades of endless death. But a plan of deliverance had been conceived from everlasting. God, in the infinite counsels of His own mind, resolved upon the salvation of His eternally chosen and loved people. He saw that there was no eye to pity them, and no arm to save them. He resolved upon our salvation, embarked in it, accomplished it; and eternity, as it rolls upon its axis, will magnify His name, and show forth His praise.
And, O beloved! what an assuring and comforting truth is this- God with us! Now we feel equal to every service, prepared for every trial, armed for every assault. Deity is our shield, Deity is our arm, Deity is our Father and our Friend. We deal with the Divine. Deity has died for us, has atoned for us, has saved us, and will bring us safely to the realms of bliss. "This God is our God, forever and ever, and will be our Father even unto death." Oh, see, my reader, that your hope is built upon nothing more and upon nothing less than Christ. The "Rock of Ages" must be your only foundation if saved. If you stand not in the "righteousness of God" when you appear in His presence, He will say to you, "How did you get in here, not having on the wedding garment?" Speechless will then be the tongue now so fluent and ingenious in its many and vain excuses, or so loud and earnest in its heartless responses in religious worship. I solemnly repeat that, if you have no better righteousness to appear before God in than your religious duties, or rites, or doings, when summoned to His dread tribunal, it had been better for you never to have been born. Oh, cast from you the leprous garment you so long and so fondly have clutched, as though it were a white and beautiful robe fit to appear in the presence of the holy, holy, holy Lord God; and accept in penitence and faith the "righteousness of God, which is by faith of Jesus Christ unto all, and upon all those who believe." Deadly doings are deadly things, sinking you as a nether millstone down to the shades of the bottomless pit. But one believing look at the crucified Savior is life and immortality, raising you above the curse, above your sins, out of the horrible pit and the miry clay of your present condemnation, into the sun-lit regions of forgiveness, peace, and hope.
Once more, let me remind my believing reader that "Emmanuel is God with us." Come, then, and lean upon His omnipotent arm. You have no need which from His infinite supplies cannot be met; no stone of difficulty in your pilgrimage which His might cannot remove; no burden which His arm of power cannot bear, no perplexity which His wisdom cannot guide: in a word, no condition to which Christ our ever present God is not equal. In faith and humility make practical use of your Savior's divinity; and when all that is merely human has failed, broken like a rope of sand, dissolved like a passing vapor; or has pierced your too fondly leaning hand like a shattered reed, then take hold of this precious truth, and say, "My Savior God is with me in all the boundless resources of His Godhead, why then should I fear?"
It follows from the preceding truth that Emmanuel is GOD WITH US REVEALED. The great object of Christ's mission to our world was to make God known to man in all the glory of His being and harmony of His perfection. Nature gives but a dim and imperfect reflection of God. That was all the knowledge of the Divine Being that Cain possessed, and he expressed his idea of God in the offering which he brought of the fruits of the earth. His was a natural conception of God, and he embodied that conception in a natural religion. But Abel's knowledge of God embraced His moral attributes- holiness, justice and truth; and his offering of a slain lamb presented as a sacrifice, embodied his conception of the moral character and government of Jehovah, and was at the same moment a penitential confession of his sinfulness, and a believing apprehension of the Lamb of God slain from the foundation of the world. Oh, let your knowledge of God embrace a wider range of His being, government, and glory than the sun, the stars, or the flowers afford you. Across yon azure sky no words are emblazoned assuring you of the pardon of sin, of salvation, of heaven. How you maybe saved from hell and prepared for heaven can only be learned as you behold "the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ." Christ reveals God as sin-forgiving and reconciled. Yes, more: where do we learn the parental character of our God but in Christ? At whose feet, and gazing up into
whose face do we learn to lisp His endeared name as Father, but Christ's! Do we inquire, Show us the Father, and it suffices us? Jesus answers, "He that has seen Me has seen the Father." Thus our Emmanuel uplifts the awful veil, and shows us God as pardoning our sins, as justifying our person, and as enfolding us within the embrace of His paternal love. There is probably no versification extant embodying a more true and beautiful conception of this grand idea than that of the illustrious Watts, still leading the service of song on earth:
"Dearest of all the names above,
My Jesus and my God!
Who can resist Your heavenly love,
Or trifle with Your blood?
It is by the merits of Your death
The Father smiles again;
It is by Your interceding breath
The Spirit dwells with men.
"Until God in human flesh I see
My thoughts one comfort find,
The holy, just, and sacred Three
Are terror to my mind;
But if Emmanuel's face appear,
My hope, my joy begins;
His name forbids my slavish fear,
His grace removes my sins."
Emmanuel is GOD WITH US IN OUR HUMAN NATURE. How near are You, O Lord! clothed with my very flesh! What! did You stoop to my humanity? Did You take up into union with Your Deity my poor inferior nature? Were You bone of my bone and flesh of my flesh? Did this my nature, so diseased, paralyzed, and tortured, so nervous, weak, and trembling, and which ofttimes I sigh to lay down as a burden I cannot longer bear- did this same nature veil, as with a garment, Your Deity, my Lord? How near have You brought Yourself to me! Truly You are God with me, for You are God in me. Thus the humanity of our incarnate God unseals a spring of ineffable sympathy. We need human sympathy because we are human. Angelic sympathy could not meet our case, neither Divine compassion alone. One loving, tender, sympathizing touch of the human, in the sorrows and sufferings of our humanity, oh, how soothing and pleasant it is! Emmanuel once craved and asked it, though denied; and He will not chide you, clinging child of suffering and grief, for craving and asking it too. "For we have not a High Priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities, but was in all points tempted like as we are, but without sin."
Emmanuel is GOD WITH US SAVINGLY, bearing our sins, expiating our crime, and "giving Himself for us as an offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling savor." He was with us presenting such an atonement to God in the way of obedience and death as met all the demands of the law, and as satisfied all the claims of justice, and as reconciled us forever unto God. "In whom we have redemption through His blood, even the forgiveness of sins." It was the divine virtue of his Deity that imparted a sovereign efficacy to His active and passive mediation. It was thus: "He offered Himself without spot unto God," that we, who were defiled with sin, might receive a free and full forgiveness. Thus it is by the "blood of God" sin is cleansed; and by the "righteousness of God" we are justified; and by the "grace of God" we are saved. Thus upon the head of our Emmanuel the crown of Deity shall eternally flourish. Can you, then, O penitent, weeping sinner, doubt either the ability- or the willingness of Christ to save you? Or can you, O trembling believer, doubt that He will keep that redeemed soul you have committed to His care until that day when He shall present it to the Father as one of the many sparkling gems of His mediatorial diadem?
Emmanuel is GOD WITH US IN EACH EVENT AND CIRCUMSTANCE OF OUR EARTHLY HISTORY. That history is all foreknown to, and is all prearranged and shaped by, Himself. No uncertainty, nothing merely accidental, belongs to the most trivial incidents of our life. It is sustaining and consolatory, beloved, to bear this in mind. The crushing event may, at its first burst, stagger our faith in this truth. It is so unexpected and untoward, so strange and mysterious, we are compelled, at the moment of its occurrence, to exclaim, "Is God's hand in this? has this a place in the everlasting covenant? can this be among the all things that are working for my good?" and for the moment our feelings are stunned, and faith is staggered. But the Lord comes to our help. He leaves not His child long in doubt, either as to the source of the event, or the hand that has given it its mission, and that guides its outcome. Yes, beloved, all your individual history, from your first to your last breath, is in the everlasting covenant of grace. An invisible Hand- that Hand a Father's- holds the mystic thread interwoven with and knitting together the whole web of your present life. Oh, how assuring the faith, and soothing to the mind, to look at swelling billows, at darkling skies, at drooping clouds, and see our loving Father in all! We need more fixedness of faith on our divine and immovable Center. Everything out of God is changeable, and changes. Nothing here is stable, nothing permanent. God only is immutable. Heaven only is true. But in all the shifting scenes and passing events of this chequered, changeful life, the believer recognizes the Invisible Hand that moves the whole. He sees inscrutable wisdom where others see nothing but rashness; order where others see only confusion; the silver light where others see but unmitigated gloom.
And why? because the justified live by their faith. The man of the world is a man of 'sight', and by 'sensible' objects alone he lives; but the man of God walks by faith, deals with the objects of faith, and by faith he stands. This is the clue by which he unravels the wonders of God's providence, this the key by which he unlocks the mystery of God's word. Looking through the wondrous telescope of faith, he beholds "the things that are unseen and eternal." Interpreting all events by this divine principle, he sees God in all.
"There is a light in yonder skies,
A light unseen by outward eyes;
But clear and bright to inward sense
It shines, the star of Providence.
The radiance of the central throne,
It comes from God, and God alone;
The ray that never yet grew pale,
The star 'that shines within the veil.'
And faith, unchecked by earthly fears,
Shall lift its eye, though filled with tears;
And while around 'tis dark as night,
Untired shall mark the heavenly light.
In vain they smite me- men but do
What God permits with different view
To outward sight they wield the rod,
But Faith proclaims it all of God.
Unmoved thus let me keep my way,
Supported by that cheering ray,
Which, shining distant, renders clear
The clouds and darkness thronging near."
But perhaps there is no part of a Christian's experience in which this title of our Lord is more expressive and precious than in the season of ADVERSITY, when passing through the discipline of trial, sorrow, and need. It is then, if ever, we feel that we need Christ with us; and it is then, if ever, that He is. He is Emmanuel- God with you in your affliction, O afflicted one; and the waters shall not overflow you; for He controls the winds and the waves. He is with you in your bereavement, O bereaved one; for when on earth His warmest tears were wept in sympathy with a grief like yours. He is with you, O tempted one; for He was in all points tempted like His brethren, and knows how to support those who are tempted. What is your present condition? Are disease and suffering slowly dissolving the earthly tabernacle? Does the wild tempest of adversity sweep fiercely over you? Is the poisoned shaft of calumny leveled at you? Does the lying tongue of malice pierce you? Listen to the soothing invitation of Emmanuel, which bids you come and hide in the chambers of His love until these calamities be overpast. He would have you, in faith, spell the syllables of this precious title, and receive the strong consolation which distills from the assurance that God in Christ is a very present help in your time of trouble. The divine promises given to the Church of God are the precious legacy of the Church now. "Fear you not, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am My God. I will strengthen, yes, I will help you with the right hand of my righteousness." "When you pass through the waters I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you; when you walk through the fire, you shall not be burned; neither shall the flame kindle upon you. For I am the Lord your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior."
Emmanuel is God with us in the solemn hour when heart and flesh are failing, and death, the appointed messenger of the everlasting covenant, comes to usher the freed spirit into the glorious presence of the Lord. In anticipation of that solemn hour, faith has need to strengthen itself with this precious truth. It is a solemn thing, even for the Christian, to die. And the renewed mind is often filled with dread at the prospect. But if Jesus is with His saints, it surely is at this trying and solemn hour. Was it ever known that Christ left one of His blood-ransomed saints to pass over Jordan alone? Did He ever guide their journey through the wilderness, and then desert them at the margin of the cold river? Never! I have known many a believer go doubting, and fearing, and trembling down to the river's brink, but I never knew one who did not leave all his doubts, fears, and tremblings upon its bank, and pass over in peace, or joy, or triumph. Then, when the Christian racer approaches, pantingly, the goal- when the weary and footsore pilgrim nears the end of his journey- when the voyager has weathered the last storm, and enters the harbor- when the warrior has fought his last fight, unclasps his armor, and sheaths his sword, oh, then shall we realize, as never realized before, how really, closely, blessedly, Emmanuel, God in Christ, was present, leading us gently down the shaded valley, and triumphantly up the celestial hills of everlasting light and glory. Oh, let death be to you a pleasant thought; for God will be with you then, and Emmanuel the title He will wear. God with us in life, God with us in death, God with us and we with God through eternity.
This surely must speak pointedly and powerfully to the unconverted. Your Godless life, my reader, is a constant ignoring of this truth- "God with us." The reverse of this truth is your experience, God from me. The fool has said in his heart, No God." That is, you want no God. Your life is a practical embodiment of the awful sentiment the poet has placed in the mouth of his Atheist- "Absence from You is best."
You are striving to live independently of God. You feel that you can do without Him. More than this, you are aware that death is the common lot of man, and therefore you know that you must die, but you prefer to die without Christ. Thus you are resolved to live independently of God, and to die independently of the Savior. What a miserable life, and what an appalling death is this! It is to live without one drop of true happiness, and to die without one ray of real hope. If this be your present and final condition, nothing is more certain, as nothing is more solemn, than that the hell of the Bible must be your doom. The "bottomless pit," the "cup of wrath without mixture," "everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord," the "worm that never dies, the fire that is never quenched," must be your awful, indescribable, changeless portion forever.
But has the Holy Spirit made you to feel your lost condition?- has He shown you the plague of your own heart?- has He made you to long for salvation? Do you hunger and thirst after Jesus? Then, accept believingly, accept unhesitatingly, accept now the overture of the Gospel. "Him that comes unto Me, I will in no way cast out." "Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." "The blood of Jesus Christ, the Son, cleanses us from all sin;" and you shall know the "blessedness of the man whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered, unto whom the Lord shall not count iniquity."
Live in a realizing sense of the Lord's presence. Do not be satisfied with a religion of which this is not an essential element. Seek to live in this atmosphere, and in no other. Go nowhere, and indulge in no recreation from which your Lord will be absent. O be jealous of His presence! Let not worldliness, or levity, or coldness thrust Him from your arms. And should you walk in darkness, or wade through affliction, or battle with Satan, unconscious of the sustaining, cheering presence of Emmanuel, yet fear not. He is nearer to you than you imagine. Unseen, unheard, and unfelt, Christ is still at your side, "A very present help in time of need." He knows your sorrow, sees your difficulty, is acquainted with all your mental despondency and spiritual distress, and presently your tear-dimmed, cloud-veiled eye, shall be open, and you shall see Emmanuel at your side, in all the benignity of His love, and in all the might of His power. Soon we shall realize this presence in glory, unshaded by a cloud, unmingled with a tear. No more darkness, no more grief- no more sin, and no more separation- "Forever with the Lord." Walk in the sunshine of this blessed hope, and you shall walk in the light of life. Your present light affliction is not worthy to be compared with the glory so soon to be revealed. O how we shall marvel, when we plunge into this sea of love and glory, that we ever allowed present trials and disappointments and persecutions to affect us as they did! One breath of heaven, one refrain of its song, one sight of our glorified Emmanuel will obliterate all the sad memories of the past, and light up the endless joys and splendors of the future.
God with its! O glorious name!
Let it shine in endless fame;
God and man in Christ unite;
mysterious depths and height!
God with us! amazing love
Brought Him from His courts above
Now, you saints, His grace admire,
Swell the song with holy fire.
God with us! but tainted not
With the first transgressor's blot;
Yet He did our sins sustain,
Bear the guilt, the curse, the shame.
God with its! O wondrous grace!
May we see Him face to face,
That we may EMMANUEL sing,
As we ought, our God and King.