If we take up this psalm dispensationally, we are in a very rich realm, as bearing on the remnant of Israel crowning their King; or still more, spiritually, as bearing on the assembly as in the kingdom of the Son of His love exalting her glorious Head. That is just a touch on the matter dispensationally, for we must cut in a straight line the word of truth.
One would just touch first upon the three previous psalms without alluding to them in detail. Psalm 42 gives us great pressure; but as Psalm 30: 5 says, “at even weeping cometh for the night, and at morn there is rejoicing”. Psalm 45 is like a morning without clouds. We know that, according to David, the king was to be such. It is important to see that Israel are suffering governmentally through their own folly, and God will allow instruments of wickedness to attack them, antichrist and others. I refer to the coming day when the church has gone. But
Out of the eater came forth food,
And out of the strong came forth sweetness, Judg 14: 14.
God causes the wrath of man to praise Him (Ps 76: 10 KJV), and out of the furnace of affliction does the gold appear, Isa 48: 10 and Prov 17: 3. It becomes characteristic of Israel, for we are told that the queen is marked by the gold of Ophir, the choicest of the gold; and then she is marked also by wrought gold, bearing particularly on what is woven amidst suffering conditions into the very texture of her being. It is within that she is connected with the wrought gold, and it is publicly she stands as queen in the gold of Ophir as she is displayed according to the glory of the King. There is what is retained for His own heart secretly. She can grace Him in the outward position; she can minister to Him in the inward.
These great thoughts, dear brethren, of course, anticipate an intensity and wealth of thought in the assembly that even the redeemed remnant of Israel will never know. Hence the Lord opened up the scriptures from Moses and the prophets with those who would be the nucleus of the assembly, all showing that in the gift of the Spirit, then promised by the Lord, there would be an intimate understanding of those which immediately bear on Israel, but inferentially and spiritually bear supremely on the choice vessel of Christ’s building - the assembly.
In Psalm 44: 4, the psalmist says they are under pressure, and accept it as they proceed, knowing God to be their King, and in the spirit of Christ’s suffering in verse 22. This utterance is taken on by the Holy Spirit in Romans 8, giving a lustre to it and only operating in this wonderful economy - “For thy sake we are put to death all the day long; we have been reckoned as sheep for slaughter”, v 36. You can see, dear brethren, that, while outwardly their conditions do not change, they are bowing submissively to them and in that sense they rise in moral triumph present here, because everything awaits the King. In Romans 8, where we have the quotation from Psalm 44, the King is known. I am referring to the utterance, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”, v 35. Now we have got an environment of adoration and appreciation of the King, which is so essential; and I therefore allude to the prefix (or heading) of the Psalm, the title, addressed to the chief Musician. One might liken it, just by way of figure, to the Holy Spirit. I know we could rightly apply it to the Lord, surely, but there are many presentations of this phrase that could be applied to both. The word “chief” at once draws our attention to a divine Person who stands alone, unique in whatever the matter be on hand. It means there are going to be others, thank God, but the chief is outstanding. How the Spirit has raised melody in our hearts to the Lord, blessed Spirit! God would never have had a note of praise without Him, nor would Christ, nor would the saints to one another - “speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and chanting with your heart to the Lord”, Eph 5: 19. As we are in the hands of the blessed Spirit, how He loves to strike a note delightful to God and to Christ.
And then it says further, “Upon Shoshannim”. The word “Shoshannim” is generally admitted to bear upon the thought of lily-like instruments, delicate instruments; probably instruments connected with strings, harps and so on. The harp is a lovely instrument. Stringed instruments suggest great delicacy, and what is priestly. The use of a plural, and the feminine idea, suggest the assembly to a great part; and Israel, of course, in the coming day. The strings are tightened through discipline. Half-open flowers are found in the temple (1 Kings 6: 29) - life bursting out in the work of God.
The “sons of Korah” suggest the moral side. They were delivered from the doom of their guilty father, preserved to sing lustily of mercy, exalt here the King, the great vessel of mercy: “Remember Jesus Christ raised from among the dead, of the seed of David, according to my glad tidings”, 2 Tim 2: 8. There is no song short of Christ in resurrection among the saints. There is nothing to sing about here; all lies in death, and it would be a mockery to sing. “But thanks to God who gives us the victory by our Lord Jesus Christ”, 1 Cor 15: 57. The light of the situation is known in the prison in Philippi by the two prisoners and voiced by them in no uncertain tone, in no hesitant whisper, but in a bold psalm, for the prisoners heard them. The walls of the Roman prisons were thick but they could not deaden the sweet notes of those lusty singers, Acts 16: 25. They were like Korah’s sons, both of them. Paul himself would tell you so - “mercy was shown me” (1 Tim 1: 13); chief of sinners he!
The word ‘Maschil’ means ‘an instruction’, intelligence. Psalms are associated with learned, spiritual men of Israel who know what to do. There will be great stress, persecution, antichrist; what will these wise men not be in steadying the saints under the storm? They are referred to in Daniel, you know, “they that are wise shall shine….. as the stars, for ever and ever”, chap 12: 3. They furnish light in divine wisdom in a day of terrible darkness, the elements of intelligence, dividing in a straight line the word of truth so that the saints can have peace together. God’s mind is known on the one hand as to His service Godward; and as to His testimony manward, as Spirit taught, the Spirit of truth. As we give Him His place, we are to hold in our souls every component part of the truth in relation to the whole.
And then again, it is “a song of the Beloved”. Some might ask why it does not start with that. He must have song; so He is set up as the Chief Musician, and He must have it in a holy way. The lilies speak of purity, “Shoshannim”. Hezekiah says, “the living, he shall praise thee” (Isa 38: 19); there is life bursting out in plants of the Father’s planting. I believe the lilies suggest another generation, and the sons of Korah are that generation steeped in mercy as divinely recovered. The newness of the generation must come first. The ways of God in recovery to bring us into it must follow, and it is an instruction, intelligence together. We know how playing in an orchestra, for instance, requires continual practice, for just one individualised note would be jarring in the harmony of the concerto.
‘An instruction’ involves our intelligent part in the economy, our niche in the body, if you will, our place in the assembly; intelligence enters into it. Sober-mindedness is connected with it, the mind is renewed (Rom 12: 2), and there are no high thoughts, v 3. “For I say … to everyone that is among you not to have high thoughts above what he should think; but to think so as to be wise, as God has dealt to each a measure of faith”. This word “wise”, as the note shows, is ‘to have a sober judgment’, the wisdom indeed that finds us in our place and operating in it in intelligent concert with the Lord Jesus Christ and the Spirit, and with our brethren in the great vessel of praise, the assembly.
But now, “a song of the Beloved” – the Beloved. He is not one to share our hearts with many; there is never a beloved; “Beloved” means “the Beloved”. David means ‘the beloved’, and he was the only king to Abigail. It was not official kingship, with all its external trappings, but as the unchallenged sway of the Son of God’s love pervading us individually and collectively. So that in the Colossian epistle, where the Lord personally is made so much of, and who He is, and then what He has effected in the fruit of His death (He has brought in on the whole scene in reconciliation for divine complacency, anticipatively in the assembly, soon so publicly and gloriously in the universe of bliss), there is the great thought of tuning up in concert practice in our hymn singing to one another - even admonishing one another. You may say you have talked to the brother about something, and you have told him where he was wrong and you have not got very far: how about singing him into it! That is the idea, “admonishing one another, in psalms, hymns, spiritual songs”, Col 3: 16. But then the Psalms are many, are they not? There is not one of them that will not be used appreciatively by the remnant. I believe they will be their most used part of the Scriptures; they will furnish them with material for the service of God. And while the Psalms are not exactly set in Christian language, as we know it - that is, God known as Father, and so on - still we can cull from what will be the joy of the remnant something that we can take on in the lustre and liberty of our own portion as sons with God and brethren of Christ, through grace - and of the queen; for these great thoughts, worked out finally in Israel on an earthly level, have a lustre eternal and glorious in relation to the assembly.
And so it is here, “My heart”. It is not a borrowed psalm; it is composed. Every saint should have a psalm: “each of you has a psalm”, 1 Cor 14: 26. Have you one? If we have not, we have a dirge. Such was Job’s. He refers to it in that character, which can only be in relation to the man who is the source of all the grumbles in contrast to the blessed Man who is the source of all joy. And so it is, “My heart”. It is not the study-chair composition: something has made the heart tender and sensitive to divine writing. Even antichrist in all his malice has had to play his part under divine control, little as he will know it, in the breaking up of the stony heart, and making room for God to place a heart of flesh there in the repentant remnant of Israel, because all is changed now the King appears. Of course it would be. Deliverance in Romans - “I thank God, through Jesus Christ our Lord” - is when the King appears; before there is a dirge, a groan, “O wretched man that I am …”, Rom 7: 24-25. But I am not referring to this quite in its initial side, though it must bear on it in that the whole position is changed as the morning dawns - the morning star having already arisen in our hearts (2 Pet 1: 19); the King having come into our view and filling the horizon of our soul and the praise of our lips. “My heart” has a love song. How could God take a song of His Beloved except from love? “My heart is welling forth with a good matter”: how selective! A lovely note of praise in the assembly, serving there, dear believer, because you cannot help it in the spontaneity of love that is welling up, springing up, as we have it in the Spirit of God.
“I say what I have composed”. This is authoritative, dear brethren. You may ask what about the books? Oh, any light shed by those who know Him better than we do on the King is good, surely; value them we do, but what about your own composition? The brethren of Joseph are asked as to what is their occupation. What is our occupation? ‘Well, a rather trying one just now; trade union black looks, and strenuous circumstances’ - that is the three previous psalms: this is the holy and free occupation of worshipful lovers. It is the occupation on which we enter in the hour of love that is before us on the morrow if left here. But it must be our occupation, dear brethren. Pharaoh asked them a very searching question, “What is your occupation?” (Gen 47: 3), and Pharaoh represents God. Joseph is ‘Christ among the gentiles’; that is, “Christ in you the hope of glory”, Col 1: 27. What is your occupation? “Speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs”, Eph 5: 19. That is the Ephesians’ occupation. Other things are incidental, wearing down the will, enabling us to provide for what is honest and to have something over for the testimony. For Tyre is referred to in this psalm, showing how the fruits of commerce are subordinate to the prosperity of the testimony. She is there with a gift: but not before the queen is there. If you brought Tyre’s daughter in before, you would be using your money to sell the brethren, to acquire a place for yourself. Paul refers to the Ephesian saints to working with his hands, and it is more blessed to give than to receive, Acts 20: 34, 35. The saints had acquired queenly distinction in first love in relation to Christ. I only say that in passing, but your occupation - what is absorbing you? What is your life? “I say what I have composed”. Yes, the heart meditatively, contemplatively, adoringly moving livingly and lovingly in that realm where Christ is all and in all.
And now it goes on, “Thou art fairer”. He is coming to detail, and priestly detail is the touchstone with us. We can get through on generalities maybe, and well known and hackneyed expressions current among us in regard of the Lord, but what about priestly discrimination? The priest fed on the flesh of the sacrifices on some occasions (Lev 6: 26), and he had to cut up the inward parts as well as skin the animal, Lev 1: 6. He was to be versed in the inward motives of Jesus, typically, and as the priestly company were at it, they would be together in it. Well, how is God served in the sanctuary if we are not at home in relation to the inward motives of Jesus, fed on them, discriminating between them? For if He is glorious as one blessed whole, how infinitely glorious He is in His holy parts, shall I say in reverence, “Thou art fairer than the sons of men”; His unique humanity in the glory of grace? Men have set places in humanity in tyrannical power: Jesus holds His place in incomparable excellence amongst His own; even His place as Head of humanity that God has made Him provisionally is as the Vessel of grace to humanity, giving men a new Head in His presence. Glorious grace of God to do that! But here it is His excellence as known, I suppose, among His lovers, grace poured into His lips. Oh, the excellence of dependent grace with Jesus! His ear opened every morning (Isa 50: 4) to have a word from His Father to speak to those that were weary, wonderful grace! “Fairer than the sons of men”. All humanity of all degrees is set aside in the incomparable worth of His Person. “Grace is poured into thy lips”. And how it poured out, that grace - the gracious words which fell from His lips. His mouth was most sweet in the synagogue of Nazareth (Luke 4: 22): gracious words proceeded in lovely rhythm and cadence and moral beauty and order from the lips of the anointed Man. ”God hath blessed thee for ever”. God says He will go on for ever with man in that blessed Man, He will never want another, and they will never want another. Rejected in the synagogue of Nazareth by His would-be murderers, among whom He had lived in such grace over all those years, God says that if He is refused in the tiny synagogue of Nazareth, He will give Him the whole universe, where He shall be the vessel of His grace. They thought to remove Him from the tiny pulpit of their parochial synagogue, and God says that He has exalted Him on that throne of grace - He shall address the universe from it. And we are the fruit of that grace here tonight, thank God!
“Gird thy sword”. We have grace and truth. Do you think that such grace is going to go unchallenged by Satan? Are people going to listen? It was the examples of grace they would not have: Naaman and the woman of Sarepta, Luke 4: 25-27. They would not mind grace in the abstract, so to speak, like the picture on the wall; it was the living exponents of that grace, persons who had no title to anything, and were, therefore, the suited objects of that grace and became the happy subjects of it. And so it is the sword. If grace holds the field, then the field must be cleared of all that is foreign to it. And so He came by grace and truth (John 1: 17), lest we become lopsided in grace at the expense of truth, which is not grace at all. “Gird thy sword upon thy thigh, O mighty one”. Things have to be faced. The first scripture, in verse 2, is the Lord morally, or else none of us would be here tonight. Verse 3 is the Lord militarily. I suppose verse 2 would attach to Luke - personal; verse 3, to the mighty warrior, Matthew’s gospel; verse 5, the skillfulness of the great archer, Mark’s gospel - “the Lord working with them”, chap 16: 20. Joseph’s hands were made strong:
… his bow abideth firm,
And the arms of his hands are supple
By the hands of the mighty One of Jacob.
From thence is the shepherd, the stone of Israel, Gen 49: 24.
What does it mean, this archery? God, the mighty God of Jacob, is holding the hands of the Archer, because what a skillful place the hands have in archery: and the result is “the shepherd, the stone of Israel”. It means that the sheep are going to be saved, by “the shepherd, the stone of Israel”. The councils of God are going to be made sure. God is going to give everything through this great archer; the Lord Himself, of course, supremely. “The Lord working with them”, in Mark. He shot to the bringing down of that stubborn heart of Saul of Tarsus; and yet in the tenderest grace of the Son of Man. His arrow found its billet in a heart encased in the armour of religious pride. The Lord knows where to touch the person in the chink of the armour, the conscience. Read the gospels in this light. The great Vessel of divine grace, in Luke; the Vessel of divine light. Matthew - the mighty Warrior riding in truth and meekness: all the truth of God for the universe in one blessed Man, and He riding meekly into the very city that was to hate Him, lowly, meek, riding upon an ass and the foal of an ass. You might say, ‘What about the heart of the King’s enemies?’. The truth finds its billet in Mark: “And no man dared question him anymore”, chap 12: 34. What a time it was! His bow abode in strength! “Pay what is Caesar’s to Caesar”, v 17. And then, “Do not ye therefore err, not knowing the scriptures nor the power of God?”, v 24. In their sad tale everybody died, it was a black picture. There were seven husbands and there was one woman and last of all the woman died, v 19-23. But they were in the presence of Him who would die knowing that God would raise Him, and that men would live on account of Him; and His arrows were sharp in the heart of the King’s enemies.
But there was one man there who was a scribe, and the Lord said to him, “Thou art not far from the kingdom”, v 34. And then in chapter 14, you have some fine trophies of the mighty Archer, whose arrows, in this dispensation of grace, are not steeped in poison to destroy the enemies, but rather steeped in grace to win them. “Saul, Saul, why dost thou persecute me?” You can see how these matters come out: the heart at home in the grace of the great vessel of grace, and His beauty; the heart with Him in the conflicts of the testimony in the light of that great victory, v 3, 4.
Trod all our foes beneath His feet,
In being trodden down Hymn 24
This is the great thought in Mark, the great Archer, and he is teaching us archery: “the Lord working with them”. So that He holds our hands, the mighty one of Jacob, and we ought to know more about it. You may say that the great battles are over now. Well, they are in a certain way - three thousand captured in one blow, a great number of persons, bound in love’s fetters to their loving captor, the Lord Jesus Christ, preached so faithfully by that happy captive of His, Peter. But it is important to see that we all ought to be archers. The archer hides himself; he keeps out of sight, but the arrow of a good archer finds its billet. I believe open-air preaching furnishes a field for archery - an arrow shot at a venture as a person may be passing by - that day will show.
Verse 6 relates to John’s gospel (I am only making applications to the gospels). We have what He is morally in grace, in Luke’s gospel - as seen in verse 2. What He is militarily in Matthew’s gospel is suggested in verses 3 and 4. What He is in spiritual strategy, and wondrous accuracy as the great Archer in Mark’s gospel is in verse 5. I believe that, if Mark once retired from the field, the Lord’s arrow reached him, through Paul, I presume, and he was brought back a willing captive instead of the free-lance his will had made him in leaving Paul and his company. And now we come to verse 6: “Thy throne, O God”. I am not limiting this of course to John’s gospel; it is essentially the Person, who He is. The Lord speaks of His kingdom in John: “I have been born for this”, chap 18: 37. Nobody in the royal lines of this world has been born a king in that sense. He was born a king. One loves that, who He is. And He is saluted of God. Wonderful! These marvellous subjects of grace presented first and then saluted of God. You may ask why that is not put first: because we reach the truth of His deity through the grace of His humanity. It is the question of priestly power to understand the ark. And so all these lovely traits of the three synoptic gospels are introduced before we reach the great climax. Co-equal in the Godhead He, with the other Persons, but what is so wonderful is all that He is in the glory of His Person as God. Still in Manhood, of course, for we shall never know Him as God save in Manhood; a divine Person, but Man; all these glories of His grace and truth, His skill against the king’s enemies, all conclude together to the great climax of His Person. And what is He going to be now? Oh, you might say that He is out of our reach for ever - “over all, God”, Rom 9: 5. No; He is going to be Head of the heavenly choir, anointed to that end and chosen of God: “in the midst of the assembly will I sing thy praises”, Heb 2: 12. He is “anointed with the oil of gladness above” His companions. What for? He wept alone, but who shall say what these tears were? We are told that God gathered them into a vessel and wrote them in His book (Ps 56: 8), the tears of Jesus; God is ever treasuring the tears of Jesus. Soon all tears will be wiped away; but I suppose anything attaching to Jesus must abide for ever. And when tears are for ever gone, the excellency of what the tears of Jesus convey shall abide with us as with God, who alone could fully assess them. And so there is such joy with Him, the oil of gladness above His companions, companions that He has reached in grace; companions that He has delivered from the empire of darkness by bringing to them truth in His wonderful meekness and righteousness; companions that His skillful bow as the great archer has won with His divinely directed arrows. There are they, His companions; the grace of it! What were they not once? “And these things were some of you; but ye have been washed.”, 1 Cor 6: 11. What are they now? Companions of Christ.
“Myrrh and aloes, cassia, are all thy garments”: that is the Lord appearing now in character; as He is supreme in our praises Godward, His character would shine in features. The garments of Jesus speak of the saints; myrrh, aloes, cassia, the new man, if you will, the fruit of suffering. The myrrh and aloes represent bitterness; cassia, the perfume of all that goes to make up that kind of man in the history of the saints. “Out of ivory palaces stringed instruments have made thee glad”. That is tomorrow morning at the Supper; those “who love our Lord Jesus Christ in incorruption”, Eph 6: 24. It is said you can bury elephant’s tusks for a century and bring them up afterwards uncorrupted, which is very suggestive. There are those who are of the ivory palaces - inherent purity, constitutionally. It is the work of God, and the power of the Holy Spirit.
We come then to “King’s daughters” - now we have got the queen. You might say that she is a long time coming. Yes, but not too long. It would be artificial, dear brethren, it would be mere language, only words, if we had her before. It is the transforming glory of the King that assures the status and state of the queen; standing in public display - “the queen in gold of Ophir”. We have the officers of the royal household attached to the queen. Are they not subject to the King? Of course they are, they are the King’s servants, but they are specially set aside to attend to the queen. And, dear brethren, we ought to have it in the economy, actively. We are not slouching (I mean spiritually), but in the dignity of attendants on the queen. There she is. We must have her in gold of Ophir; just anything will not do. It must be the best - Ophir’s gold was without compare. The great urban area is here, in order to provide a dress for the queen. Such dressmakers would make no secret of their glory, that they had furnished the queen with her wedding trousseau, shall we say. Do we appreciate that we are here in order to see to her wedding garments? It refers to the way things are done publicly, the way we are here in eldership. Man must be irreproachable - that bears on the side of dignity; standing, not sitting yet, not in the inward apartments - that is coming, that is Ephesians. But this is more like 1 Timothy here. Later it does not refer to Ophir in the inward apartments; and there is a reason for all that.
So, “Hearken, daughter”. The hymn says,
We have nought to regret nor to lose. No 139
Well, you may say, ‘You have some might-have-beens at times’. While ravished with the King adoringly in the kingdom of the Son of His love, you will have power to leave these things behind. Paul says, “forgetting the things behind”, Phil 3: 13. We are lovely to Christ as forgetting. Rebecca was lovely to Isaac as taking a journey where she left behind all her heart could call dear for a man she had never seen, but of whom she had heard so perfectly from the one who speaks to us of the Spirit of our God. And then Ruth was delightful to Boaz in that he had heard from the Spirit, as we should say, from the chief over the reapers. She had left her home, left it for ever, as she made no secret of to Naomi. And then Paul says, “for we have not here an abiding city, but we seek the coming one”, Heb 13: 14. Oh, that we may be more forgetful of what is to be forgotten. (We are not to forget to entertain strangers, v 2). To forget means that you have no reminiscences harboured and no inclinations to return; in other words, if they arise, you nip them in the bud. Dear brethren, we are not lovely to Christ till we forget, and we do not forget until He is lovely to us - “Thine eyes shall see the King in his beauty; they shall behold the land that is far off”, Isa 33: 17. How near that land is brought now; the King and the land are one. In the assembly we have the land, the territory, the circle, as well as the Lord, the Centre; it is the kingdom of the Son of His love.
And then as we proceed, what scenes are unfolded now.
Incline thine ear; and forget thine own people and thy father’s house;
And the King will desire thy beauty.
Here are the conditions. The Lord says, “Ye are they who have persevered with me in my temptations”, Luke 22: 28. You say, ‘They made a poor thing of it’; and we would have made but a poor thing of it; but He credited them. Indeed, Peter had said, “to whom shall we go? thou hast words of life eternal”, John 6: 68. So that they did leave all for Him and they were wonderfully beautiful in His eyes. He thanked the Father for them as they rallied to Him as babes in Matthew 11, and He blessed the Father for them in John 17, as He had made men of them under Himself in His culture of love. He thanked the Father for the gift of the babes; blessed the Father for the gift of the men. What it means to Christ to have the assembly now!
The daughter of Tyre comes in rather late. There has been some difficulty in the collection coming into the morning meeting. Why does the box come in there? Because the daughter of Tyre comes in there. You can well see the daughter of Tyre, symbolical of commerce, liberated from that environment, holding the fruits of commerce in the sense of what God has furnished materially at the disposal of the queen in her appreciation of the King: “the Lord Jesus, in the night in which He was delivered up, took bread”, 1 Cor 11: 23. How kingly! And she is for Him; and ere He passes into the apartments made for the queen, in the morning meeting, you have there the daughter of Tyre with a gift, and a good one too, moved by the grandeur of the scene.
All glorious is the king’s daughter within; her clothing is of wrought gold:
She shall be brought unto the king in raiment of embroidery; the
virgins behind her, her companions, shall be brought in unto thee.
She is giving a lead inwardly, a queenly, spiritual lead inward. That is what the saints want, and they will join in. Lydia would give that at Philippi. She, like Paul, would forget what had naturally dominated her; she is a spiritual woman, she took heed to the things spoken by Paul, Acts 16: 14, 15. It says, “the virgins … her companions, shall be brought in”. What a lead she has given, and then coming into the king’s apartments. The companions are the cities of Judah; to us it would be what is of assembly character today, cherished; a potent influence, a living current afforded whereby saints not in the light and intelligence of the assembly shall have some part in it. We think of them in this great urban area and thank God and long for them.
“Instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons”; you think of the fathers and the good times we used to have here 20 or 30 years ago. Thank God for them, but that is not what we are to be taken up with. “Instead of thy fathers”. We do not put away the fathers, not spiritually: the psalmist gathered up the fathers in a most lovely way in speaking of the cross. He says,
Our fathers confided in thee; they confided, and thou didst deliver them.
They cried unto thee and were delivered; they confided in thee, and were not
But I am a worm, and no man; a reproach of men, and the despised of
the people, Ps 22: 4-6.
Think of the fathers’ faithful feelings gathered up rightly in Jesus in the very hour of His abandonment by God. The faith of “our fathers” must be carried through the cross. It was the faith in the God of resurrection. He whom God raised must carry through the faith of the fathers in His holy soul, as He did the praise of God, as He did the assembly in His heart. But note the word: “Instead of thy fathers shall be thy sons”. Thank God! As we have noted what we had then - all is Christ. What we have now - all is Christ and glory too: “princes shalt thou make them in all the earth”. What does it mean? Royal all over the earth. The precious inward light of the assembly. “Arise, shine! for thy light is come”, Isa 60: 1. What she is in the inward apartments; what He is to her as loving her; and giving herself to Him; and what she is to Him in private, the whole earth through.
Who are they? Bishops? No. First in the city? No. Princes! Men! Large-hearted, competent to represent God in the magnanimity of His grace. Princes! The young people may have been taught at school that, in medieval ages, princes were known to be of a royal family even when travelling incognito, by the princely habit which ever marked them, always tendering their money in gold and never asking for any change. And, dear brethren, what opportunities have been lost over the change, maybe in a care meeting; for you are on the gold standard, not on paper. The whole realm of the King and queen is permeating throughout the whole earth in the catholicity assured in Corinthian assemblies governed by Ephesian light.
May the Lord bless the word.
14th May 1949
This script has been taken from an unrevised shorthand transcript and carefully revised by the editors, but not of course by the author.