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Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Get thee up into the high mountain Isaiah 40:9

       "Get thee up into the high mountain." 
              -- Isaiah 40:9

Our knowledge of Christ is somewhat like climbing one of our Welsh
mountains. When you are at the base you see but little: the mountain
itself appears to be but one-half as high as it really is. Confined in
a little valley, you discover scarcely anything but the rippling brooks
as they descend into the stream at the foot of the mountain. Climb the
first rising knoll, and the valley lengthens and widens beneath your
feet. Go higher, and you see the country for four or five miles round,
and you are delighted with the widening prospect. Mount still, and the
scene enlarges; till at last, when you are on the summit, and look
east, west, north, and south, you see almost all England lying before
you. Yonder is a forest in some distant county, perhaps two hundred
miles away, and here the sea, and there a shining river and the smoking
chimneys of a manufacturing town, or the masts of the ships in a busy
port. All these things please and delight you, and you say, "I could
not have imagined that so much could be seen at this elevation." Now,
the Christian life is of the same order. When we first believe in
Christ we see but little of him. The higher we climb the more we
discover of his beauties. But who has ever gained the summit? Who has
known all the heights and depths of the love of Christ which passes
knowledge? Paul, when grown old, sitting grey-haired, shivering in a
dungeon in Rome, could say with greater emphasis than we can, "I know
whom I have believed," for each experience had been like the climbing
of a hill, each trial had been like ascending another summit, and his
death seemed like gaining the top of the mountain, from which he could
see the whole of the faithfulness and the love of him to whom he had
committed his soul. Get thee up, dear friend, into the high mountain.


       "The dove found no rest for the sole of her foot." 
              -- Genesis 8:9

Reader, can you find rest apart from the ark, Christ Jesus? Then be
assured that your religion is vain. Are you satisfied with anything
short of a conscious knowledge of your union and interest in Christ?
Then woe unto you. If you profess to be a Christian, yet find full
satisfaction in worldly pleasures and pursuits, your profession is
false. If your soul can stretch herself at rest, and find the bed long
enough, and the coverlet broad enough to cover her in the chambers of
sin, then you are a hypocrite, and far enough from any right thoughts
of Christ or perception of his preciousness. But if, on the other hand,
you feel that if you could indulge in sin without punishment, yet it
would be a punishment of itself; and that if you could have the whole
world, and abide in it for ever, it would be quite enough misery not to
be parted from it; for your God-your God-is what your soul craves
after; then be of good courage, thou art a child of God. With all thy
sins and imperfections, take this to thy comfort: if thy soul has no
rest in sin, thou are not as the sinner is! If thou art still crying
after and craving after something better, Christ has not forgotten
thee, for thou hast not quite forgotten him. The believer cannot do
without his Lord; words are inadequate to express his thoughts of him.
We cannot live on the sands of the wilderness, we want the manna which
drops from on high; our skin bottles of creature confidence cannot
yield us a drop of moisture, but we drink of the rock which follows us,
and that rock is Christ. When you feed on him your soul can sing, "He
hath satisfied my mouth with good things, so that my youth is renewed
like the eagle's," but if you have him not, your bursting wine vat and
well-filled barn can give you no sort of satisfaction: rather lament
over them in the words of wisdom, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity!"

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