“FAIRER THAN THE SONS OF MEN”

Eric C Burr

PSALM 45: 2

         We have been engaged, beloved, while we have been together, with some consideration in relation to the Holy Spirit, and I would suppose, to judge from the spirits of the saints, that the Spirit would be becoming  magnified amongst us, and that our impressions in relation to Him would be becoming enlarged.  I would suppose, too, that this is something in which the spiritual amongst us - in which I would love to include all - would desire to be increased, that the Spirit might be magnified to us.

         Reference was made in the first reading to the capacity that we have to honour the Spirit, and I think that that is a line on which all of us would desire to increase.  Certainly the question of knowing the Spirit is one in which we would do well to increase.  The blessed Spirit has drawn very, very near to us.  He is here, Christ having gone on high, and He is not only with us but He is in us.  He is very, very near to us.  Let us, every one of us, commit ourselves to getting to know Him better!  I think that, in these days, there is an increasing need for us all to develop in the knowledge of the Spirit.  I think that this would help to preserve us from going astray. 

         Let us never think that we have been through the last conflict.  Let us never think that having got through stormy water of various kinds we are now just set for home with fair seas and fair weather.  There will be conflict of one kind or another until the end of the testimony here, and one thing which will maintain the saints in security against it is an intimate acquaintance with the Holy Spirit.  He, after all, has been charged with the testimony all the time that the testimony is needed.  We, therefore, would do well to increase in our knowledge of Him and our reliance on Him - indeed, as we were saying, our trust in Him - so that we might be more and more established to go through until the end of the time of testimony.  If you think about what the Spirit does in magnifying Christ, and engaging us with the things of the Father, the things of God, you will be more and more spiritually and wonderingly astonished at the extent of what He is able to introduce us into.   As indeed Paul says to the Corinthians, “Things which eye has not seen, and ear not heard ... which God has prepared for them that love him, but God has revealed to us by his Spirit,” 1 Cor 2: 9, 10.  We might ask one another, beloved, ‘How much of this has the Spirit revealed to you?’.  How well acquainted are you with things that eye has not seen and ear not heard?  How much of these depths has the Spirit explored for you and brought up for you?  How real is your knowledge and your understanding of these things that lie in depths and heights, that lie in areas into which the natural mind of man, whatever capacity he may have, is completely incompetent to penetrate, and only attempts to penetrate to his own bafflement and ultimate defeat?  How much have we been committed to the Spirit in the exploration of these wondrous things?

         Have you ever reflected, too, on the capacity that the Spirit demonstrates every moment of every day to restrain evil in the world?  Do you ever think of the extent of the power of the Spirit in that connection?  You see things break the surface and one thing and another comes out, and it just gives you an impression of how much evil there is operating underneath, and yet “he who restrains”, restrains, 2 Thess 2: 7.  Can you contemplate how much more actively evil this world would be if the Holy Spirit were not operating here?  All these things should enter into our minds as we think more and more about the way in which the Holy Spirit is here and the knowledge that we are to have of Him.  Let us commit ourselves, and, if we are spared, let us seek grace from the Lord, that our understanding of the Spirit may be further increased, even during our time together in this place, so that we may be developed in elements which are fundamental, not only to the continuance of the testimony, but to the enjoyment of Christianity.

         But if we are engaged with the Spirit, we shall not long be engaged with Him - although we may be detained for a moment on the things that He in His marvellous divine capacity is able to do - before He will turn to His normal service of glorifying Christ.  I think that this is a service in which the saints are always happily ready to be the objects of the Spirit's service.  The Lord says, “He shall glorify me” (John 16: 14), and I believe, beloved, that this is the normal service of the Holy Spirit, to glorify Christ.  I think that all the brethren would say that this is a service in which the Spirit delights, more than in anything else that He undertakes, the glorifying of Christ.  And, therefore, I have just read this verse in this psalm, partly because I was thinking about it when we were together for the Supper last Lord's day morning.  It is not the first time I have thought about it at the Supper, and I do not suppose it will be the last; and I do not suppose it will be the first time you have thought about it, nor that it will be the last either.  What impressions you get of a Man that God has blessed for ever!  Do you get impressions like that at the Supper?  And then we are tested as to how far we can carry these things through the week, and how far they have been amplified in our souls under the power of the Spirit, so that when we come towards the end of the week we expect to have something matured and developed in us in relation to the attractiveness of this One with whom the Spirit delights to engage us and with whom the Father is always pleased to see us engaged.

         The Book of Psalms is not a very easy book to expound.  I suppose anyone who serves, or anyone who has any capacity to teach, would say that.  There are, after all, one hundred and fifty in it and that takes some embracing.  Nor are individual psalms easy books, but, beloved, the impressions that there are in the psalms in relation to the various psalmists' impressions of God and, typically, of Christ, are really supreme in the extensiveness of what they cover.  I do not suppose there is a book in Scripture which explicitly brings out more detail in relation to the glories and attractiveness of Christ.  Indeed, if one refers to the beginning of Hebrews where it says that “he inherits a name more excellent than they” (Heb 1: 4), brethren will remember that that remark was made immediately in the context of a number of quotations from the Psalms, showing that the name which He inherits which is more excellent than that of angels, is a name that He acquires in the experiences of the saints.  This is a very wonderful thing - the name which Christ is acquiring out of the experiences of the saints.  That is what you will find developed in the Book of Psalms. 

         Well, what is developing in our own experience in relation to the name that Christ inherits?  What kind of psalmist are you?  What kind of psalmist am I?  It is not quite the same as writing hymns or poetry.  What kind of psalmist are you?  What kind of impressions of Christ's glory could you commit yourself to, commit to writing?  It may not be something in which the significance is on the surface.  It may be something which spiritual people, and yourself, as your spirituality increases, have to reflect upon and dwell upon, and you find that these impressions which you had about Him arising out of your own experience are beginning to mature and come together, and form something which is developing in you a more excellent name for Christ.  How then do we treat our experiences, beloved?  Do we write them off?  Most of us are glad to write our experiences off and say, 'Well, that is through and now we shall try and go on’.  Is that how we treat our experience?  I suppose that in Merton there is as much mixed experience as there would be in any other locality.  People have died here, people have been born here, people have had accidents and sorrows here, people have been married here, and people live ordinary lives here, just as they do in every other locality.  Into all these things experience enters, and it is a question whether out of this varied experience a more excellent name for Christ is being developed in the appreciation of the saints.  Maybe you can accumulate something yourself out of your experience, but then when we come together it is a question whether all this impression as to Christ's glory which we have learned in experience can be combined with that of the rest of the brethren, so that something goes up freshly in appreciation of Him, goes up to God, but also goes up to Christ Himself. 

         It is a wonderful thing to think that “he inherits a name more excellent than they”, and that that is a name that He has acquired in the experience of the brethren.  I think that is the way in which you can distinguish the more excellent name that He has in Hebrews from the name which He has been given by God in Philippians, because that is something that God Himself has given Him; He “has granted him a name, that which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of heavenly and earthly and infernal beings ... to God the Father's glory”, Phil 2: 9-11.  That is something which God has done, and that is something of which we adoringly take account, the name that God has given to Jesus.  What names He has given to Him - He has given Him the name of Lord and of Christ.  He has made Him Lord, made Him Christ, made Him, you might say, everything that God will require to bring in the fulness of His thoughts.  The wonder of the name that God has given Him is something which will always adoringly impress us, but what it is to come back again to this name more excellent than that of angels which He acquires out of the experiences of the saints!

         Let us then refine our experiences.  Let us not be quite so hasty in getting through them.  Let us count on the Lord's grace as we do go through experiences.  Let us prove His coming in and His priestliness which sustains us in our experiences, but let us be sure that out of the experiences we are distilling something in relation to Himself which is going to enter into what this psalmist would begin with: “My heart is welling forth with a good matter”.  What a place Christ might arrive at in our own affections through all that we may go through!  Do you find that Christ acquires something from you when you go through times of pressure?  No doubt you do.  Do you find that Christ acquires something from you when you go through times of prosperity, or do you leave that out?  A lot of us leave that side out; we say, ‘Well, I went through such and such a circumstance and the Lord was with me in it, and I found that this was what He would be to me’.  But, beloved, when you were in prosperous circumstances, did you find the Lord was with you in them, and did you find increased glory for Him in the prosperous circumstances as you did in the sorrowing circumstances?  Let us see that every one of our circumstances, whether they are bright or dark, is going to contribute something in our experience to an increased and more excellent name for Christ.  This verse says, “Thou art fairer than the sons of men”.  Does every one here think that about Jesus?  If I slip into preaching the gospel, I do not suppose the brethren will be slow to forgive me.  But when you have Christ before you, you can hardly but think of Him in relation to what He has done in the gospel.  But He is presented here as fairer than the sons of men.  I would just ask everybody again this evening, whether to them He is fairer than the sons of men.  Is He so, beloved?  Suppose you went round the room and asked everyone what they thought of Jesus, how many would say, 'Well, to me, He is fairer than the sons of men'?  Most of the brethren would.  I guess you would feel a bit isolated if you could not say that here this evening, because if there is a circle where Jesus is esteemed as fairer than the sons of men, it is certainly in this area where He has recovered saints on the basis of naming His name.

         But, younger brethren, is He to you fairer than the sons of men?  Young men here, boys here, is Jesus fairer than the sons of men?  Is He?  Does your way of life demonstrate that you believe that?  I wonder if it does.  Who are your heroes now? What kind of heroes do you want - racing car drivers, prominent footballers, eminent cricketers - are these the kind of men you want?  Intellectuals, would you like them? Is this the kind of man that you want?  Is this what you are looking for, to find someone that is fairer than the sons of men?  You are on the wrong tack if you are looking for that, because all these idols have feet of clay, and a moment is coming when they will all come down.  And you will find that it is not very long before they come down; they run for a time and then they come down.  Men who were the idols of schoolboys in my day, which is not all that long ago, are completely forgotten now.  As one of the poets says, 'they have their day and cease to be', and so they do. 

         But there is presented in Christianity One who is fairer than the sons of men, and, beloved, I would just say this to the young people: we, who are getting in any degree older, are genuinely concerned about the continuance of the testimony.  Not all of us will be here very long - none of us could say, of course, that we would be here until midnight tonight but just looking at things naturally and subject to the Lord's will, some of us will not be here long, not really.  Life begins to run away and in a very little while many of us will have gone, and we are concerned about the continuance of the testimony.  And to the young people I would just say this, that it is to you that the Lord is looking in relation to the continuance of the testimony.  Meetings like this may have an immediate purpose in carrying forward what the Lord has to say in a place just at the present moment, but the Lord is looking to see that something is getting built into the souls of those who belong to the place, and indeed into the souls of all who come, in order that there may be something established which will carry forward the testimony.  And the testimony is going to be carried forward in people to whom Jesus is fairer than the sons of men.  If you have your eye on anybody else, be it brother or sister, be it someone prominent in the world, be it who it may, you are not set for the continuance of the testimony.

         We were speaking in our local reading last night of 2 Timothy 3 where Paul says, “thou hast been thoroughly acquainted with my teaching, conduct, purpose ...”, v 10.  Now what is the purpose of every one of us here?  Is it One who is fairer than the sons of men?  One is always attracted by the title of that little book that we have - ‘The Moral Glories of the Lord Jesus Christ’.  Just think of it, fairer than the sons of men!  Do you look for perfection in manhood?  You will find it only in Him.  Do you look for perfection in any aspect of manhood?  You will find it only in Him.  Break man down to the component parts of his character and take each one as you will, you will find the perfection of any good only in Him.  Beloved, if you want an object you have to find it in Jesus, and you find it on this basis, that He is fairer than the sons of men.  Fairer, as the hymn says, than all the sons of men, Hymn 313.  He has a moral glory which eclipses the glory of every other man that has been, and in all things He must have the first place.  Well, how is He to us?  The Spirit would take Him and glorify Him to us.  This is not, I think, that He just brings out Jesus to be admired, but the Spirit would bring out Jesus and glorify Him.  That is, He would say of Him, He has this glory, and He has that glory, and He has another glory, and the Spirit would engage you with every glory that Jesus has, and when your own capacity to understand them and take them in is in any way full, you will always know that there is further glory which the Spirit will bring forward for you when you have the spiritual capacity to take it on.  Let us get this Man as an object for our souls.

         What capacity have we to carry this through?  What power have we to carry it through?  I suppose we have power to carry it through only as the Spirit is able to operate ungrieved in us - certainly unquenched in us, but ungrieved in us; because I suppose that when the Spirit is grieved He is for the moment stopped from His normal service of engaging us with Christ.  Come through the week with the Spirit ungrieved - right through the week!  Do you look back on the week and have to reflect on how much ground you have lost?  How many days were there when the Spirit was not free, how many parts of how many days when you were just not free with the Spirit or the Spirit not free in you?  One way of getting into conditions where the Spirit is not free is to be engaged with other men than with Jesus.  I do not speak of the Lord's servants and such; they would never in any case want you to be engaged with them as men.  Be engaged with them as the Lord's servants because that engages you with Him whose servants they are; but if you get other men before you in some degree the Spirit will be deprived of the opportunity of engaging you with Christ.

         Be careful, too, that your thoughts do not sink downward.  I suppose that if most of us were examined we would have to confess that at some time our thoughts go down to a fairly low level.  Is that not true?  Is there not a lot in the world that panders to the lowering of the level of the mind?  It is a great mercy - it must be one of the greatest mercies - that on the whole, and I trust absolutely, saints are preserved from reading novels and modern literature.  The degrading level on which literature is written now is absolutely astonishing.  It is incomprehensible that people can find nothing better to write about than things that relate to the lowest level of activities of mankind.  We are to be preserved from that, but think what there is in the world, how advertisements more and more are directed to engaging your mind downward, and with covetousness and with lust.  If you could interpret many advertisements, you will find that really they are just pandering to lust, and by lust I mean lust.  What a thing it is to have been preserved by the Spirit through the week in engagement with One who is fairer than the sons of men, so that your eye is always elevated and always upward, and always absorbed!

         Well, how does Jesus present Himself to you?  You might say that in this psalm He comes in as the Messiah.  So He does.  He came in to Israel as the Messiah, but He went out, beloved, as the Saviour of mankind.  He was born here and it was said, “he shall save his people from their sins” (Matt 1: 21), and His people, in its narrow immediate meaning, meant Israel.  Those who were waiting for redemption in Jerusalem were looking for Him as Messiah.  And He came to them as Messiah, and He operated here in all the grace and effective service that Messiah will yet display.  But they put Him to death, and, as is foreshadowed in the Old Testament, He went out as the Saviour of mankind.  He was nailed to a cross, not just for Israel, but for the whole of mankind, in order that He might bear away the sin of the world, and that He might be the Saviour of every man and woman in it, if they would only believe in Him.

         If you want to see moral excellence, I suppose you find it in its supreme display on the cross.  If you had eyes to see, and went to Bethlehem and looked in the manger, you would have seen moral excellence there.  “I was cast upon thee from the womb”, does it not say, Ps 22: 10?  He was cast on God right from His birth.  We have often been engaged with the fact that when Jesus came in, He came in in a form which reflected total dependence.  There is moral excellence.  There is One who is fairer than the sons of men in His moral excellence exhibited in dependence upon God, when He is just a Babe in a manger.

         Then you will find Him growing up to be a Boy of about twelve years of age, and subject to His parents.  There is moral excellence too.  Subjection to His parents, that is an aspect of moral excellence.  How widely is that cultivated?  How have I cultivated it?  How far have we cultivated subjection?  “He went down ... and he was in subjection to them”, Luke 2: 51.  How far is that being cultivated in the next generation where the defiance of parental authority is becoming a characteristic of the day?  Is there going to be found amongst us, beloved, a demonstration of the moral excellence of subjection to parents?  He went down and was subject to them.  Well, is that found amongst our young people - a demonstration of one characteristic, in principle, of One who is fairer than the sons of men, the moral excellence of One who would fill out the duties and responsibilities of the position into which He had come as Man?

         Then from twelve years old to thirty years old even the little that is said about that in Scripture is morally excellent in itself - the moral excellence of an ability to be out of sight.  How many of us are good at that?  How many of us love the moral excellence of being out of sight?  How many of us love the platform, the front place, our names mentioned, and all that kind of thing?  How many of us find the moral excellence of being out of sight an attractive feature that might be found in ourselves?  I remember reading a poem many years ago which ends with, 'No man likes to think himself forgot.'  Most of us are like that, we do not like to think of ourselves forgotten.  Think of the moral excellence of being content to be hidden for eighteen years!  I think that when Scripture says nothing about the Lord's activities in that period there is moral excellence in the silence, demonstrating to us the capacity to be content, to be out of sight.

         How good to be content not to be prominent, to be content not to have your name brought forward, to be content in the moral excellence that was in Jesus, to know what it is to be hidden!  I think that there is moral perfection in the silence of Scripture in relation to those years of the life of Jesus.  Fairer than the sons of men - every son of man would be wanting a place for himself.  Have you children of twelve?  Are they content to be out of sight?  If you are a young man of thirty, are you content to be out of sight?  Nineteen, twenty-three, these odd ages in between, are you content to be out of sight, to be hidden, to be meek and unnoticed, and unknown, are you content to be that?  There is moral excellence in that, and it was seen in One who is fairer than the sons of men.  You might think that even if He presented Himself, the excellence of the fairness of the presentation of Himself would itself have secured Him a place.  Are we content with the moral quality to be out of sight?  Well, that is what marked Jesus and it marked Him for more than half His life - contentment to be hidden.  All this enters into the character of One who is fairer than the sons of men, because it is not a quality that naturally marks the sons of men.

         The last three-and-a-half years were devoted, as I would suppose the previous years had been (but scarcely anything, as we have been saying, has been said about them), in service, devoted to a demonstration of God, a demonstration of God in grace.  “Thou art fairer than the sons of men: grace is poured into thy lips”.  Well, beloved, this challenges me.  Does it challenge you as to how much grace has been poured into your lips?  Because grace was poured into His lips, they “wondered at the words of grace which were coming out of His mouth”, Luke 4: 22.  How much room is there in you or me for grace?  We talk about it a lot.  How much is it manifested in us, the reality of grace?  Think of the grace of One who could say, “I will; be thou cleansed”, Luke 5: 13.  Think of the grace of One who would touch the bier and tell the dead young man to wake up, and give him to his mother, Luke 7: 14, 15.  Think of the grace of One who will say, “Child, arise”, and command that something to eat be given her, Luke 8: 54, 55.  Think of the grace in which He will tarry by the well of Sychar in order to bring a morally dissolute woman to a moral conclusion in herself, so that He might engage her with the glory and greatness of God and the wonder of the service of the Father.  Think of the grace of that; think of the grace which, when a man is utterly rejected, will find him and engage him with the Son of God.  How much grace marks us?  What kind of supply have we?  Suppose God started pouring grace into you, how much could you hold?  Do you like to retain just these low elements of your own personality?  Many of our personalities express themselves with sharp edges, with bitterness, with acute observations, with those bits of penetration which get into people and quite injure them.  How many of us are like that?  How much of the natural facility of our minds is devoted to giving people a dig?  “Grace is poured into thy lips”.  Well, beloved, how much have you room for?  How much can be poured into us?  Think of the wonder of One who came in amongst His own last Lord's day morning, and everything He said to us was on the line of grace.  He would engage us right from the beginning, even give us impressions again that by grace we are saved, and that not of ourselves, it is God's gift.  It is God's work that we are saved at all.  He would give us impressions that it is due to His own grace and to the grace of God that we have any part at all in the wonderful order of things of which we know so much, and experience, I would say, a good deal.

         These last three-and-a-half years were filled with a manifestation day after day of One into whose lips grace had been poured.  Let us be engaged with Him, beloved! Think of the supremacy of the utterance of grace, for when grace had been poured into His lips out of these lips at the end come the expression, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do”, Luke 23: 34.  Think of the grace of that, and then wonder at how little any of us is formed by grace at all.  These things are not put before us in order to bring us down and make us miserable or dejected about ourselves, or make us think that things are hopeless; they are put before us in order that our eyes might be lifted up, and that as becoming engaged with a Man who is fairer than the sons of men we might begin to make more room for Him and more room for His Spirit.  “If any one has not the Spirit of Christ he is not of him”, Rom 8: 9.  How much of that have we?  Some of us cannot have had much time in the development of the Spirit of Christ.  Beloved, there is still time to be getting developed in the Spirit of Christ, and room and way are made for it by being engaged with Him as fairer than the sons of men, and the One into whose lips grace is poured.

         Such a Man God has blessed for ever.  Do you not get an impression on the Lord's day morning that God has blessed Him for ever?  Of course, He comes in as God, but He comes in as Man too, and with all the glory that is His as Man.  One thing is that He has been raised from the dead by the Father's glory.  What a blessing for ever that must be!  Death cannot possibly have any dominion over Him any more.  He is delivered from its pains and from its bonds, delivered from them for ever.  What a blessing this is!  “Therefore God has blessed thee for ever” - O, how God has blessed Christ in raising Him from among the dead, so that He now subsists in a condition which is not only incorruptible but which can never be ended.  “God has blessed thee for ever” - and, of course, He has blessed Him for ever because, amongst other reasons, the moral attractiveness of the Man who lay in death is such that the Father's glory must claim Him from the grave.  His moral excellence demands that the Father raises Him from the grave and blesses Him for ever in the retention of Manhood for ever.  Think of what Christ has acquired as a result of becoming Man, that He now retains Manhood for ever, and what God has in an order of Man that was so attractive to Him.  He has blessed Him for ever in giving Him to retain Manhood for ever.

         And, of course, in His retaining Manhood for ever, He is not alone.  He has you and me with Him, amongst others.  In the company that He has with Him, He does not just have one or two: He has much fruit.  God has blessed Him in this great multiplying number of those who are the fruit of His own death.  God has blessed Him in giving Him this fruit, as He says, for instance, “Behold, I and the children which God has given me”, Heb 2: 13.  God has blessed Him in the fruit that He has given Him as a result of His death and of His rising again.  And this is fruit, beloved, that He is not going to lose: He is going to retain it for ever.  Just think of that - that Christ is going to retain you for ever.  It says in John’s gospel that no one can pluck them out of His hand and no one can pluck them out of His Father’s hand, John 10: 28, 29.  That is in the way He is speaking of them as His sheep, but what it is to know that in the condition of Manhood that He retains for ever He has you with Him, and He is going to have you there for ever.  Think of the extensiveness of the fruit that Christ has out of His own death, all that He has as Man!  Think of the companions that He has, think of the brethren that He has, think of the assembly that He has!

         If He has companions, He has one companion distinguished above all, not just distinguished amongst the companions that He has, but a companion who really consists of many companions, this single vessel to be His counterpart and His joy, and to be it for ever.  God has blessed Him for ever in giving Him the assembly.  It is not only that He blessed Him in giving Him forgiven sinners as a result of His death.  That would be wonderful, because if God has forgiven sinners then a day will come when Christ comes and everything that He has secured through His death will then be caught up and secured for Him and for God eternally.  All the forgiven sinners would be there because God would have no issue to raise with them; but just think that God has not only blessed Him with forgiven sinners, He has blessed Him with the assembly, a companion that He will have for ever.  When God said in Genesis that it was not good that man should be alone, “I will make him a helpmate, his like” (Gen 2: 18), He was speaking about man and the highest level of blessing that man can have.  Do you find that in your own marriage, beloved brother?  In giving you a wife God has given you a blessing above any other blessing that in manhood's condition He could give you, save what He gives you in Christ.  But in giving Christ the assembly, He has given Him a supreme blessing, to be not only Christ's companion, but a vessel and in a real sense a vehicle for the service of God for ever.  God has blessed Him for ever.  He has given Him the assembly, so that the assembly in Christ Jesus should be a vessel of glory to God through all generations of the age of ages.

         I do not suppose the sons of Korah thought about the assembly when they wrote this psalm, but at the top of the psalm they wrote, “A song of the Beloved”.  I think that they must have had some impression that there was a setting coming in where love would be at rest and it would be when God had blessed a Man for ever who is fairer than the sons of men.  Does this not throw fresh glory on our apprehension of the assembly itself?  In the Song of Songs the spouse is spoken of as all fair - “Behold, thou art fair, my love” (chap 4: 1), and, “Thou art all fair, my love; and there is no spot in thee”, v 7.  If you think of Him as fairer than the sons of men, in that very condition and in that very description He has a companion who is suitable to Himself and whom He will retain for ever.  Just think how God has blessed Christ in giving Him the assembly!  I suppose that if the sons of Korah thought about blessing into which they might come, their thoughts would hardly run beyond the Messiah, so they wrote a psalm which is really in substance largely engaged in its direct interpretation with the Messiah, and then they speak about the queen “upon thy right hand doth stand the queen in gold of Ophir”.  When you come to the application to us of what they were saying, you can only find it in the assembly as related to Christ and standing with Him in His headship over everything.  O, the wonderful detailed impressions that you get as you dwell upon the Psalms!  Do you wonder at the more excellent name that Christ acquires out of the experience of the saints?  The experience of the sons of Korah is a song of the Beloved.  When you come to reflect on it you find that out of their experience you have anticipations which you can easily relate to the assembly in relation to the Man that God has blessed for ever.  It is wonderful how this takes you - this idea of the queen at His right hand in gold of Ophir - to the end of the first chapter of Ephesians - “the assembly, which is his body, the fulness of him who fills all in all.” 

         Well, He will have the assembly as Man and have it eternally.  The assembly exactly corresponds to Himself, as that which, in Mr Raven's language, is adequate for His complete display, vol 1 p3.  God has blessed Him for ever in giving Him that.

         Much could be added in relation to the blessing that God has given Him in regard to Israel and in regard to the nations.  He will have the nations for an inheritance and the ends of the earth for a possession.  When God sets His King on Zion He will come into everything over which God intends man to rule, He will come into it in a way of glorified display.  This present day, though, is the day of the assembly.  Our thoughts, as we think about Him being blessed for ever, concentrate on what He has in the assembly.  This is a thing which must always give us intense, adoring satisfaction, to think that God has blessed for ever this Man, fairer than the sons of men, with a vessel of which it can be said typically that she, too, is all fair.

         Well, beloved, the Spirit carries us through the week and sustains us in relation to what we were able to enjoy when we were together last Lord's day.  He holds us in the enjoyment of it in anticipation, if we remain here in the Father's time, of another Lord's day, in order that we might be on the line of increase in what we have brought forward from our past experience out of which Christ is obtaining a more excellent name.  May He become more and more the object for every one of us, for His Name's sake!

Merton

25th November 1966