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Three Friends of God: Records from the Lives of John Tauler, Nicholas of Basle, Henry Suso
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CHAPTER XXX

OUT OF EGYPT

YES, the Master had seen that which so filled his heart and soul, that even his own blessedness and enjoyment had passed out of sight, and Christ was all and in all. This is the truest worship, when the One whom we adore, fills to us Heaven and earth, and we have lost ourselves in the glory and gladness of His Presence.

How fully shall we know this, when the great call is made, and we are caught up to meet Him and to see His Face! And how fully even now do we know it by the Spirit, who is the earnest to us of the joy to come.

The Master spoke of this continually, and he desired all who heard him, to understand that this great joy and blessedness is not gained for us by righteousness of our own. “Mark well, dear children,” he said, “how it was with the thief — the enemy of Jesus, who was hanging on the cross beside Him, as the due reward of his evil deeds — who had mocked and scorned the blessed Lord, even whilst hanging there.

“The moment that he turned to the Lord, and looked to Him for grace, the Lord received him as it were with open arms, and gave him not only all that he asked, but how much more!

“He said, ‘Lord, remember me when Thou comest in Thy kingdom.’ And the Lord answered gladly and said, ‘Verily I say unto thee, To-day shalt thou be with Me in Paradise.’

“Was not that more than he had asked? For the Lord did not remember him merely. He gave him to behold Himself, His blessed face, His beauty and His sweetness, the true and livings Paradise of everlasting joy.

“So also Zaccheus, who climbed upon a tree because he desired to see the Lord. Dear children, such a little Zaccheus is every man who is converted to know the love of God.

“Zaccheus was a prince of sinners; he was not ashamed to own himself an open sinner, and a great sinner — and moreover to confess openly the sins he had committed.

“So also S. Paul, who said, ‘Jesus Christ came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.’ It is these sinners who receive the riches of grace. For where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

“Therefore let none of you despair because your sins were, or are, so great and grievous, but do as Zaccheus did, betake yourselves to the Lord, and look to Him.

“Oh how many warnings, how many calls, how many reasons, has the Lord given us, that we should turn and be converted to Him! He does as many signs and wonders to-day to bring His people out of Egypt, as He did in the days of Pharaoh. Yes, the conversion of each one amongst us, is as great a miracle as the miracles of the Lord in the old days, in the house of bondage. Were we but truly thankful to the Lord for these warnings and these calls!

“But, alas, there are many amongst us, as amongst the people of old, who are brought out as to their bodies, but their hearts are left behind in Egypt. Many, whose conversion is an empty show and shadow, and the truth and reality with them, is that their love and their desires are set upon the enjoyments and the pleasures of the world and the flesh.

“They are careful and diligent in their religion — in vestments, and in singing, and in bowing, all in due order; and when all this is carefully observed, they sit down quite satisfied, and think that all is well, and that they are clean out of Egypt.

“Alas, dear children, this is all an empty show — these things are the fig-leaves of Adam, the fig-leaves of the tree that bore no fruit. When the Lord seeks fruit thereon, He finds it not. He finds nothing that will satisfy Him. And let all such beware, lest the curse fall upon them from His lips, ‘Let no man eat fruit of thee hereafter for ever.’ Better is it to remain in the world, in it, and of it, than to come out of Egypt under false colours of holiness, and gain thereby a greater damnation.”

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