"Come to Me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest."
"If a man loves Me, he will keep My words--and My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him." John 14:23
What a hospice is this! What a wondrous relationship the words of the divine Bestower of Rest unfold--that love toward God in the soul of the believer has the most gracious of responses! Two of the adorable Persons in the ever-blessed Trinity are represented as Guests entering in and dwelling there. "My Father will love him, and we will come unto him, and make our abode with him."
It would seem as if the emblem were dear to Him who
employs it; for it is the very same that is repeated, in still more touching
and winning language, not in the days of His humiliation, but from the
throne of His exaltation. Standing, as a patient KING, outside the closed
portal of the heart, with the dews of night at His feet and frosty skies
above, the lock of the door matted with ivy and corroded with rust,
"Behold," says He, "I stand at the door, and knock--if any man hear My
voice, and open the door, I will come in to him, and will sup with him, and
he with Me" (Rev. 3:20). In the words of a sacred poet–
Both figures significantly convey the pleadings of a love that never fails, an importunity that never wearies, as well as a fellowship most intimate and endearing.
O blessed meeting-place! The human heart becomes itself a Hospice--a house of shelter and refreshment, where the festal table of rich spiritual blessing is sacramentally spread, and where the storm raging without only enhances the gracious rest and security within. "And in this mountain shall the Lord of Hosts make unto all people a feast of fat things, a feast of wines on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wines on the lees well refined" (Isa. 25:6).
"Accept these gifts beyond compare,
"If you will serve Him, you of Heaven
"My Father will love him." We are told of Thomas Aquinas, the scholar and saint of the thirteenth century, that when lying ill he had continually in his mouth these words of Augustine--"Then shall I truly live when I shall be quite filled with You alone and Your love" (Vaughan's Life).
There is but one condition here made by the Divine Speaker regarding "the mountain guest-chamber,"--"If a man loves Me, he will keep My words."
Gracious Redeemer, Author of Peace and Giver of Rest, help me to accept this stipulated provision. Enable me to hear and to obey Your voice, to reverence Your will, reflect Your holiness and purity, Your charity and unselfishness, Your patience patience and endurance, the beauty of Your life of self-consecration. The words of Jesus I am asked to "keep," are not the words of a dead teacher or prophet; not the obsolete sayings of the Christ of an historic past--a Figure which flitted in mystery across the world's stage nearly two thousand years ago, and then vanished like other great men of the olden time. They are the utterances of a divine, sympathetic, ever-living, ever-loving Being--the God-Man, the Man-God. They are arrows, polished shafts sent as fresh today as then from His golden quiver. The words of man may fail and falter, and before long be forgotten. But "the words I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life," welling fresh from a perennial Fountain.
"We will come unto him," further says our verse, "and make our abode with him." An ecclesiastical writer mentions that Ignatius, in the early years of the second century, "borrows an image from the sacred pageant of some heathen deity, where statues, sacred vessels, and other treasures are borne in solemn procession." "So," are the words of that venerated Christian regarding the true followers and worshipers of his Lord, "are they all marching in festive pomp along the Via Sacra--the way of love--which leads to God. They all are bearers of treasures committed to them; for they carry their God, their Christ, their shrine, their sacred things in their heart." Happy those who in some lowly measure are able to join this festal throng, bearing with them consecrated treasures, and seeking to take up their abode in the heart of the "Father-God!"
Conscious, it may be, of past shortcoming and unworthiness, may I be yet enabled, with humble confidence, to make the avowal--"Lord, You know all things, You know that I love You." "He that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him."
"Truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ."