COMFORT

John 14: 15-21

Isaiah 40: 1

Genesis 24: 67

PAG It will be clear that the thought of comfort runs through these scriptures. We had a touch in our hymn, and in the opening prayer, of what it will be to be in the Lord’s presence for ever. We have touches of our eternal portion at the moment, but we are still in a scene where comfort is needed. When we are with Him, we will not need to be comforted because we will be in His presence all the time, but where we are, comfort is required, and it is a wonderful thing that a divine Person is named the Comforter. He is “another Comforter”; so the comfort that the disciples had when they were in the Lord’s presence when He was here is still available because there is a divine Person here now. Sometimes the disciples were with the Lord and sometimes they were not. They went away to buy provisions, for example; or the Lord went to the mountain, to pray; they were elsewhere. They enjoyed His presence, no doubt, but there were times when He was not there, but the Holy Spirit is here all the time. The Lord says to His disciples, “but ye know him, for he abides with you,” - that was because the Lord was anointed with the Holy Spirit - “and shall be in you”. That was when the Spirit came at Pentecost.

And then that works out in our relations with one another. The word to Isaiah is, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God”; so the prophet is instructed to comfort the people, and I believe that, as enjoying relationships with divine Persons, we can comfort one another. The Lord says, “I will not leave you orphans, I am coming to you”. The King James Version says, “I will not leave you comfortless”. The Lord also says, “In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you”. There would be direct relations with divine Persons as the Lord was on high and the Spirit here. The enjoyment of these relations forms a basis for bringing comfort to one another.

Then as to Genesis 24 we must not forget that the Lord Himself proves comfort in His present relations with the assembly. Israel’s praise is silent. It says, “And Isaac was comforted after the death of his mother”. Really, as far as affections towards the Lord are concerned, Israel is dead, but the Lord has comfort in His assembly. But the Lord feels the fact that the present scene is largely unresponsive to Him, and He proves comfort in what He has in His assembly. I wondered if we could get help together.

DCB It is indeed helpful to be reminded that we have “another Comforter”. It is not that the Lord has ceased to be a Comforter. He remains, as does the Father, but what fulness there is in the supply of the comfort that comes directly to us by the Spirit.

PAG Yes, so Paul speaks to the saints in Corinth about “the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassions, and God of all encouragement” (2 Cor 1: 3); so “the Father of compassions” is known, and the Lord Himself in His present Priesthood no doubt comforts us. It says in Hebrews, “For he does not indeed take hold of angels by the hand, but he takes hold of the seed of Abraham”, chap 2: 16. I judge that the comfort we enjoy in communion with divine Persons is known to us on a spiritual basis because the Spirit is here. So, “another Comforter” would remind us that divine Persons are set to comfort us and to keep us now.

JTB In Acts there is a reference to the assemblies being “increased through the comfort of the Holy Spirit”, chap 9: 31. That comes in after the matter of the introduction of Saul of Tarsus, which was settled, was it not? Do you think the Lord in His grace - having accomplished all His work, and therefore to maintain the saints in the good of His work - provided the Comforter? The matter of Saul of Tarsus had been addressed, and given the significance of Paul in the development of the testimony, comfort comes in there. I suppose divine Persons really operated in that way to ensure that there was a basis in which we can have confidence in the ministry of Paul.

PAG It is interesting that Peter came to the tomb in John 20, and entered into the tomb and “sees the linen cloths lying, and the handkerchief which was upon his head, not lying with the linen cloths, but folded up in a distinct place by itself”, v 6, 7. Now, Saul of Tarsus, who became Paul, coming in really made way for a great unfolding of what had been hitherto retained, and I believe the unfolding of Paul’s ministry coming from an ascended Head would be of particular comfort to the saints of this dispensation, as really showing them that Christ was living on high. The Lord had not simply disappeared; He had gone on high and was still unfolding things through the apostle.

JTB That must have given them great assurance: “that he may be with you for ever, the Spirit of truth”. It is marvellous consolation that a divine Person should be with us for ever.

PAG Yes; so this service will never be withdrawn until the testimony’s course is completed here, but then the Spirit’s mediatorial service will be retained because we will always be creatures although we will have bodies of glory.

JTB Thinking about the mediatorial service of the Holy Spirit, it is a very blessed thing to think that we have the Lord’s mediatorial service and that is distinctive, but another divine Person is also serving. It shows you how well provided we are.

PAG That is what I was thinking. There is a lot encapsulated in verse 20: “In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you”. We should be comforted by the thought that divine Persons are dwelling but they are providing us with a dwelling-place too.

DHM I wondered if there was a suggestion that divine Persons are working together in relation to all of this. We have the Father, and we have the Lord Jesus, and we have the Holy Spirit. We have them mentioned in one verse, which is quite unusual. You get the sense that they are all at one with this.

PAG I think so. The operation of divine Persons is always at one and when you see the Trinity, as revealed, operating together, it brings a particular distinction to the moment. If you think of the time of the Lord’s baptism, for example, the Spirit descended as a dove and abode upon Him, but there is a voice out of the heavens. The Father’s voice was heard. So the Father and the Son and the Spirit were there. Then in relation to His death, “who by the eternal Spirit offered himself spotless to God”, Heb 9: 14. There is a particular distinction, do you think, given to moments in the course of the testimony where the Trinity is seen operating together?

DHM That is very helpful because here you see it in operation. There must have been great reassurance that there would be new relationships established with the Holy Spirit, and new relationships established with the Father. Here there is almost a preview of that as to what is going to take place. We are not going to be left as orphans; there is going to be a great source of supply.

PAG The believer must feel the orphan character of being in this world. We are not here with anything outward to support or sustain our faith; it must be an inward, spiritual matter. The Lord is reassuring them here that they will not be left without resource. Indeed, they will have a greater resource than the world has: “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world”, 1 John 4: 4.

GB In John 17 the Lord’s prayer to the Father is very full of the love which they proved when Christ was here, but in view of His going on high He is saying, “keep them in thy name”, v 11.

PAG Yes; this dispensation in which we are is the Spirit’s day, and therefore what is enjoyed is by the Spirit, but it is to be no less than it was when the Lord was here. Indeed, it is greater to us because the Spirit helps us in understanding. I was struck this morning when we were together for the Supper, both as to the knowledge we have of divine Persons, and as to the power we have to enjoy what proceeds. That is a direct consequence of the Spirit being here. The disciples had a certain amount of knowledge when the Lord was here. They had everything before them objectively, but they had not the power to take it in because “the Spirit was not yet”, John 7: 39.

DJH And do we prove this as our relationships are right with the Lord Jesus also? I was thinking of the introduction of this, “If ye love me, keep my commandments. And I will beg the Father, and he will give you another Comforter”. It seems our relations with the Lord Jesus are still maintained, rightly, in view of our enjoyment of the presence of the Comforter.

PAG I think that. It is very important to understand what this word “another” conveys. It is not a ‘Comforter instead of’; it is additional; it is “another Comforter”; so our relations with the Lord must be maintained. We have the opportunity to take up relationships on a wider scope on account of the Spirit being here, but it is “another Comforter”; it is not a replacement.

DJH I was thinking that. It is not that one Comforter is lost and another One comes, but it is “another” as additional.

DCB The Lord says in Matthew, “Blessed they that mourn, for they shall be comforted“, chap 5: 4. Circumstances are such that mourning is and was appropriate. Mourning is not to cease exactly; but there is a blessing in that comfort that can only come from divine Persons.

PAG If our relations with divine Persons are right, and because the Spirit is here, we would feel things more deeply, rather than less so. You see the way the Lord felt things when He was here. A certain condition came before Him, and it says, “he groaned” (Mark 7: 34); in another matter, the death of Lazarus, He “wept”, John 11: 35. His feelings were unique, and distinctive to Him, particularly in relation to the cross itself: “Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say? Father, save me from this hour”, John 12: 27. He felt things in depth. The Spirit would help us to feel things in depth, but He would not cause us to be overwhelmed by them, do you think?

DCB We can think of what the disciples were about to undergo as the Lord was taken away, going to the cross, and He says, “ye shall weep and lament, ye, but the world shall rejoice”, John 16: 20. This whole series of chapters would be giving something to sustain them before that particular trial.

PAG We are often glad to recall the Lord’s words in Luke 4 when He quotes from Isaiah 61 as to “the acceptable year of the Lord”, v 19. That section in Isaiah 61 goes on to say, “to comfort all that mourn; to appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, that beauty should be given unto them instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning, the garment of praise instead of the spirit of heaviness”, v 2, 3. We might think of the Spirit, the Comforter, as being linked with “the oil of joy” but yet the mourning goes on, “to comfort all that mourn”, and particularly in relation to mourning in Zion. There would be sorrow, even in relation to the greatest of God’s thoughts and the way that they have been largely set aside, but there are those who can be comforted and who can see that God is carrying the greatest of His thoughts through, and will bring them out in triumph.

RCT The fact is that the Spirit remains. There is a verse in Haggai, “The word that I covenanted with you when ye came out of Egypt, and my Spirit, remain among you: fear ye not”, chap 2: 5. That is something the enemy has been against, the continuance of the Spirit here.

PAG Because it is the Spirit’s day, the enemy’s attack might be particularly against that, and would promote all that would cancel out the service of the Spirit. Liturgies and other systems of set worship would tend to displace the Spirit, but the life that is maintained by the Spirit’s presence and by giving place to Him is something that is very pleasing to God.

DHM Do you think that in a way this whole section in John 14 alludes to the prospect of a vibrant life in Christianity after the Lord is gone and has taken up His place as ascended?

PAG I think it does. There is triumph in that: in a scene of adversity God can bring through life. The word “life” is important. It is not a form or a doctrine; it is life. I have been thinking lately of what came to Hezekiah, “The living, the living, he shall praise thee, as I this day”, Isa 38: 19. There is life. The Lord Himself makes clear that God is not the God of the dead but of the living, and the scripture says that, “The dead praise not Jah” (Ps 115: 17), but the Spirit is bringing in life according to God.

DHM We are reading locally in Romans and several chapters end with that thought, “eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (chap 5: 21) and “eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord", Rom 6: 21. It is something that is living.

PAG It is. We prove that in Romans, “but the Spirit life on account of righteousness”, chap 8: 10. “For the mind of the flesh is death; but the mind of the Spirit life and peace”, chap 8: 6. Before that we come to the point when we recognise that because of who the Lord is and where He is, we are “saved in the power of his life”, Rom 5: 10. God is maintaining a system of life in the midst of a scene of death.

DJH “Because I live ye also shall live; I was just thinking that confirms what you are saying. It is because He is alive there, we live here. That is by the Spirit.

PAG It is, and that is very important because we might think that we live because He has died, but we live because He lives. He died so that we might live, but the maintenance of our life is because He lives. By the Spirit we get the benefit of that.

JTB It shows how the Christian is superior to what is in the world. You have already referred to “greater is he that is in you than he that is in the world”, but I was thinking when Noah sent out the dove, she “found no resting-place for the sole of her foot” (Gen 8: 9); then she came back with “an olive-leaf plucked off”, v 11. There must be some pleasure for the Holy Spirit having begun the work of new birth in a person’s soul, then to come and indwell him, and in such a capacity, not only as the Spirit of life, but as a Comforter.

PAG I think that. In Ephesians 1: 12 and 13 it speaks about “the Christ: in whom ye also have trusted, having heard the word of the truth, the glad tidings of your salvation”. New birth enters into that because there would be no hearing if there was not new birth. But then it says, “in whom also, having believed, ye have been sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise”. The Spirit comes in to seal what He has begun, to seal what is for God, do you think?

JTB We had a touch about the anointing recently, and God is in the matter too: the work is His. But to be sealed and to be anointed is very blessed.

PAG As you know, in Leviticus 2 there is a very helpful note that draws out the matter of anointing but also mingling (v 4, note k). Mr Darby points out as to the thought of mingling, ‘it formed his strength’. It is a wonderful thing to think of, that the Spirit in that sense forms our strength, both in relation to what we may have to face here, and also for what is heavenly. We are strengthened for our walk here in Romans, although you also get the matter of response, “whereby we cry, Abba, Father”, chap 8: 15.

JTB “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which has been given to us”, Rom 5: 5. What wonderful diversity of functions He discharges!

PAG I think that. It is good for us to understand that whatever the Lord did in service for His own when He was here, the Spirit would do for us now. There is not some deficiency as a result of the Lord being on high, but rather, what is available is expanded.

DCB I was wondering about verse 20 which you read on to, which makes no direct reference to the Spirit, but you can see that it must be by the Spirit. It is only in the Spirit’s power that you can know what it is, “ye in me, and I in you”.

PAG I judge “In that day” to be the Spirit’s day. It is really when the Spirit is here: “In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you”. How else could we know it, because that is an entirely spiritual thought? It is not something we can see. The evidence of it is by the present service of the Holy Spirit, would you say?

DCB Yes, so that this is where we would look to see that we are united to Christ, and being united to Christ must be by the Spirit.

PAG John does not describe things in any official sense. So union does not come into John explicitly, and the assembly is not formally mentioned in John, although the personnel of the assembly are, but the practical expression of being united to Christ is this: “In that day ye shall know that I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you”. When Paul says, “and to know the love of the Christ which surpasses knowledge” (Eph 3: 19), we could not know that but by the Spirit. But if we know it, we know that what the Lord says, “I am in my Father, and ye in me, and I in you”; “the love of the Christ” is not simply Christ’s love for the assembly, but it is His love for the Father too, and we know it by the Spirit.

DJH I was just thinking of the way this matter of love comes in again. As referred to earlier it is, “If ye love me”, and here it is a question of loving Him also. We always think of that as related to the divine nature. That must be by the Spirit that is working in us in view of the knowledge of this wonderful relationship.

PAG I would say so. What a comfort it is to be brought into the enjoyment of divine love, not just to be the objects of it, but to be able to reciprocate and to dwell in the conditions in which that love is free.

We might look at Isaiah. The thought is that these known relationships, enjoyed with divine Persons, would have a direct effect on our relations with one another. “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people, saith your God”. This was an instruction to Isaiah the prophet but, nevertheless, I believe it would bear on us all. The Lord had said not long before where we read in John, “A new commandment I give to you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you”, chap 13: 34. That was the standard of divine affections, which would now apply in the relations that would be formed, and would be suitable to saints of the assembly. There are many references in the New Testament to our relations with one another, “using diligence to keep the unity of the Spirit in the uniting bond of peace” (Eph 4: 3); also, “be to one another kind, compassionate, forgiving one another, so as God also in Christ has forgiven you”, Eph 4: 32. It is worked out at the divine standard. It is not mere philanthropy or being pleasant to one another; it is worked out on the basis of the divine standard of affection, and it is a matter of righteousness to do so.

DJH So it says not simply 'saith God’ but “saith your God”. Does that confirm what you say? It is a God who is known, is it not, according to His nature and the way it has been expressed?

PAG I think that. It comes with authority but it also comes with affection, “saith your God”. He is giving Isaiah a direction here which He expects him to follow, but it is a direction coming from One whom Isaiah knows.

DHM It really operates through right feelings. Agitation has no place in Christianity really. The devil would seek to cause agitation, but it is interesting that comfort is something that would put that to one side and put us at rest. We read just the other week here in Matthew 8 how the Lord slept on the ship, v 24. Things were adverse in many ways, but comfort would help us at times like that.

PAG I do think that. In Mark’s gospel in chapter 1 it says, “And the mother-in-law of Simon lay in a fever. And straightway they speak to him about her. And he went up to her and raised her up, having taken her by the hand, and straightway the fever left her, and she served them”, v 30, 31. The Lord took this dear woman by the hand and the fever left her. She was comforted. In another setting it tells us that it was “a bad fever”, Luke 4: 38. It had maybe gone on for some time, but the Lord took her by the hand. That is the Lord’s comfort. He takes us by the hand. Just to be simple, things do make us feverish at times in our spirits; that happens. We should not pretend that it does not, but then is it possible for us to take one another by the hand? It need not be a literal matter, although it might be, but just to assure one another of our desire to provide these conditions of restfulness in which the Spirit’s voice can be heard.

DHM You are right. Things come in and sometimes our spirits could be better. On reflection, I think we would almost always say that, but we have something we can go back to, this commandment of love: “A new commandment I give to you, that ye love one another; as I have loved you”. That is something we can fall back on.

RCT “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people” would come from respect for one another, would it?

PAG It does, I am sure. I have often been struck by Acts 21 when they sought to kill Paul. It says “And as they were seeking to kill him a representation came to the chiliarch … But they, seeing the chiliarch and the soldiers, ceased beating Paul” (v 31, 32); what a dreadful way to treat Paul! As soon as Paul had the opportunity to speak to them, it says, “and a great silence having been made, he addressed them in the Hebrew tongue, saying, Brethren and fathers”, chap 21: 40; chap 22: 1. One might ask, why would you speak to people that had just been beating you ten minutes before? But he addressed them in the Hebrew tongue, spoke to them in their own language. He could have spoken to them in another language but he says, “Brethren and fathers”. Even at that time when they had been attacking him, he sought to comfort them rather than attack them in return.

JTB When Eutychus fell through the window, there was obviously a lot of consternation, but the solution to that was Paul descending and enfolding him in his arms, and they “were no little comforted”, Acts 20: 12. That was the effect of Paul’s actions to revive the stricken youth.

PAG I have no doubt Eutychus was comforted, but they were comforted. Just to be very simple, we may think of Eutychus as a rather naughty, foolish boy; we wonder if he should have been listening and he was not; or that perhaps he was looking out of the window, and he was bored and he fell asleep; but Paul did not say, ‘Never mind; he is not of much account’. He descended and enfolded him in his arms; he went right down to where he was. The Lord has been like that with us.

JTB The way the Spirit puts it is, “And they brought away the boy alive, and were no little comforted”. Obviously, their consolation was complete, and they were now at ease, having this recovered youth in their midst.

PAG Yes, and that made way for certain things to take place. That is another thing the Lord would have us understand. If we are comforted and restful, it makes way for Him, and things can move on.

JTB It leads to the elders being summoned and so on, that great chapter.

PAG That is what I was thinking, and all that flows out of the incident. He would just bring a certain calm to the situation, and then there would be a further unfolding.

RCT Paul could recognise “his life is in him”, v 10. That was of the Spirit, do you think?

PAG It is a great comfort to us all that, even if a person has got away, we can recognise that there is life still there. That is what we should be looking for. The Lord going after the two on the way to Emmaüs had to rebuke what they had done. He calls them “senseless and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken”, Luke 24: 25. But there was something living there, and they say, “Was not our heart burning in us”, v 32. The Lord recognised that there was life there that could be reignited.

DCB In 1 Corinthians, there is the reference to the prophetic word as being for “edification, and encouragement, and consolation”, chap 14: 3. I was wondering, in the context of Isaiah, since it is the prophet that seems to be addressed to “Comfort ye, comfort ye”, whether the prophetic word should play a particular part in the comfort of the people of God.

PAG It should. I do not mean in any particular case or situation; I just mean in general; if something is wrong, it needs to be named and corrected, but it should not be our occupation. Our occupation should be what comforts the saints and what builds them up. I know my own heart. We can become taken up with things, whatever they are, whether in assembly matters or family matters or other things that may weigh on our spirits, but the Spirit’s service is to occupy us with a Man in the glory, and I believe that is a comfort to the saints. In one sense there is no more comforting occasion than the Lord’s supper, where the Lord, to put it simply, fulfils every promise that He made. Think of the scripture in 2 Corinthians, “For whatever promises of God there are, in him is the yea, and in him the amen, for glory to God by us”, chap 1: 20. You can see it all spread out before you at the Supper, and it is a time of great comfort, I believe, to the hearts of the saints, but also comfort to the heart of divine Persons.

DJH It is a proof of what we referred to earlier: “because I live ye also shall live”. We have an impression, a real experience, of what it is to be living, and therefore it brings in this life and comfort to us, does it not?

PAG It does. There were difficult times amongst the brethren in the 1960s, but my father often goes over the fact that the Supper never ceased; it was maintained. The Lord maintained that so that the saints might be kept and comforted.

DJH Yes; I can remember it was very real at that time, and the Supper itself went through in a peculiar distinctiveness.

PAG Well, the Lord would see to that. It is His own direct command. Paul says, “For received from the Lord, that which I also delivered to you”, 1 Cor 11: 23. The Lord’s command relates to the Supper. On other occasions, we have had help as to how they might be conducted as time has gone on, but the Supper itself, the setting on of the emblems, is the Lord’s own command.

DCB Would you say something about the fact that divine Persons may be viewed as needing comfort?

PAG We spoke already about divine feelings. Think of the Lord’s feelings in relation to Israel at the present time. They may observe certain rites, and follow a calendar, but there is no living link with their Lord, their rejected Messiah. He feels that. There is no food in criticising what other Christians go on with, but, suffice to say, in certain areas of Christendom things have been allowed in which are directly contrary to Scripture, including what is corrupt. The Lord feels all that. It is not simply that He looks on it and dismisses it. He feels it. Well, then, is He to have any comfort in the present time? It says, “He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head”, Ps 110: 7. He is to have comfort at the present time when there is silence in Israel and deadness in certain areas of Christendom, although there are very real believers in some places. We would not deny that at all. Is the Lord to have comfort? I believe He is.

JTB Psalm 69 is very affecting: “Reproach hath broken my heart, and I am overwhelmed: and I looked for sympathy, but there was none; and for comforters, but I found none”, v 20.

PAG Well, the Lord has been that way, and do you think the spirit of that may still be found amongst true believers? They look for comforters and find none, persons perhaps, particularly in isolated circumstances, where there is nobody to understand, but the Lord understands.

DHM The Lord really wants to be remembered in affection by His own. The hymn puts it well. It says,

Love’s remembrance, Lord, Thou seekest

From Thine own assembled thus (Hymn 30).

PAG Yes. We do not assemble because it is a meeting that is announced. We come with true hearts: “we being assembled to break bread”, Acts 20: 7. There is a dignity that attaches to it. It may be a very few persons. You will know what that is like, just a few coming together, but we are not just congregating at a particular time of day. We are assembling to break bread, because we recognise the rights of the One who has called us to that place, and our hearts are affected by it. We sang that hymn this morning:

Thine is the love, Lord, that draws us together (Hymn 4).

We have one Object for our affections as we come in.

DCB It is really a very great privilege that we should have part in what is for comfort to the Lord Himself. Perhaps we need to be conscious of what that is as coming to the Supper.

PAG I feel that. We are doing what He asked us to do. We may, and we do, look at it from the standpoint of what it means to us, but He asked us to do it because of what it means to Him, that He should have His portion, that the Spirit should have His portion, and that the Father should have His place, be recognised and responded to. We cannot really measure what that means to the heart of divine Persons. We should also, I believe, take account of the fact that as the service proceeds we may be responding to the Lord or to the Spirit or to the Father, but the other divine Persons are not absent at that point. They too are taking account of what proceeds and are receiving something as a result of that.

JTB There is a certain poignancy in that it was “in the night in which he was delivered up” that the Lord Jesus “took bread … and said, This is my body”, 1 Cor 11: 23, 24. He sought remembrance in such an atmosphere, at such a point in His sojourn here, “the night in which he was delivered up”.

PAG The hymn-writer takes that up:

On that same night, Lord Jesus,

When all around combined

To cast its darkest shadow

Across Thy holy mind (Hymn 435).

Think of all that lay upon His spirit at that time, and what would He say? Well, as to the passover, He says, “With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer”, Luke 22: 15. There is what He desired at that time, but He desired that they should remember Him: “this do in remembrance of me”, 1 Cor 11: 24.

GB The message through Mary was “go to my brethren”, John 20: 17. It was an occasion of rejoicing with the disciples gathered.

PAG Yes, indeed, and that is what came about: “The disciples rejoiced therefore, having seen the Lord”, v 20. “Having seen the Lord”: not simply having heard that He was risen, but “having seen the Lord”. That again would give character to the occasion, do you think? That we might see Him as He is; not as He was, but as He is.

DCB We are announcing “the death of the Lord, until he come”, 1 Cor 11: 26. When He comes, what is included in that is that He will have His rights in Israel and in the world, of course, publicly restored; but it is a privilege of the period of His absence that there should be those who answer to His desire.

PAG Yes, and as you say, He will be established here on earth, and there will be no need to remember a Person as He is present. We do not have to remember someone if they are there, but we call Him to mind. That does suggest something not simply passive, but active. I think the Spirit helps us to call Him to mind. If our minds are available to the Spirit, the Lord would have access to them.

DCB Is that part of having the actual emblems there? They give us a focus for our attention and would affect our spirits every time we gather.

PAG Yes. We do not have much that is symbolic, and rightly so; so if the Lord has left that for us, it must be particularly significant. He has not left us signs or symbols or icons. I know some have adopted them, but this is what He left, the loaf and the cup; so they must have a special significance. I suppose there are the two things that have visible signs attached to them, one is the Supper and the other is baptism. Now, if these have been left by the Lord, then we must regard them as having special significance.

GB When Jacob saw the waggons, he “revived”, Gen 45: 27.

PAG Well, that is right. “Joseph my son is yet alive” (v 28); Christ is living. I suppose Jacob had decided long ago that Joseph was dead, but he was not, and not only was he not dead, but he had a great administration of blessing under his hand, and it was all available for Jacob. Jacob says, “I will go and see him before I die”.

GB So Joseph had said, “And tell my father of all my glory”, v 13.

PAG Yes; his brethren were to tell his father of all his glory in Egypt. We have the opportunity now to tell the Father of all Christ’s glory. We can do that. That all flows out of the Supper. What a comfort to the heart of divine Persons that there is an occasion where believers can come together and take account of divine glory, and can respond to it.

JTB It says of King Solomon’s palanquin

The midst thereof was paved with love

By the daughters of Jerusalem Song of Songs 3: 10.

They created an environment where that matter of consolation for the heart of Christ could be met, do you think?

PAG I think that. Much depends on what divine Persons do, of course, and without Them there is nothing, but we do have a responsibility. Even here, I know it is a little different, but in verse 65 it says, “Then she took the veil, and covered herself”. She came prepared too. We can prepare the conditions in which divine Persons can receive what is due to them.

JTB You have quoted: “He shall drink of the brook in the way; therefore shall he lift up the head”: what satisfaction for Christ to have this portion at the Supper!

PAG You would hardly think of the Lord being refreshed, and yet He is. It is not that He requires to be strengthened in any way, but, nevertheless, He finds refreshment in what comes before Him.

JTB The psalm says, “from the womb of the morning shall come to thee the dew of thy youth”, v 3. These are invigorated persons; they are typical of persons indwelt by the Spirit.

PAG Yes, indeed; the Spirit’s power is really pervading all. The dew in that sense covers all and strengthens. I have often thought of Song of Songs 4: 8:

Come with me, from Lebanon, my spouse,

With me, from Lebanon.

The gospel says come to me, but in the Supper it is, “Come with me”. He wants those who have come to Him to come with Him.

 

Edinburgh

30th April 2017

 

List of initials (Edinburgh unless otherwise shown):-

G Bailey; D C Brown; J T Brown; P A Gray, Grangemouth; D J Hutson; 
D H Marshall; R C Trotter