J. N. Darby.
(Notes and Comments Vol. 2.)
The Wisdom of God is a wonderful thing. It must put things in their place or it is not wisdom - that the Cross does. We are sinners - we must come as such; all then is changed. Yet what sin is, what holiness, what hatred, what love, what man, what God, what the world, what its prince, what the Devil, but this by the bye - we come as sinners, then love is there. So Christ always drew out what people were and met them divinely. For surely here is wisdom too. Christ in life, and in death is God suiting Himself to man and drawing man to Himself.
Now philosophy assumed the competency of man, and to make even God the subject matter of its judgment and thoughts. This was necessarily false. It either left God out and all was clearly wrong, or brought God in and it was worse, because God and man were both out of their place - they are both in it at the Cross.
But then further, the saint becomes nothing and God all - Christ all. This is just right, and the very fulness of blessing, to have done with self and have the fulness of God to dwell in and enjoy; and here is the daily process. It is done completely at the Cross. It is brought out practically by all the discipline of God. But then, when we have this place of nothingness as self, there is divine wisdom unfolded to us.
All things were made by Christ and for Christ. All things are to be gathered together in one in Him, and to be reconciled - all to the eternal fulness of God - all that is in heaven and earth. The result is purposed before the foundation of the world, but in the world, in the creatures, responsibility has come in - we are guilty and all is defiled. But it was all ordained before the world to our glory. Christ has perfectly glorified God morally, and brought out what He is as nothing else could have done. Redemption and grace have a glory, and that through perfect separation from evil, and perfect obedience of Man in the midst of evil, which is all its own. Done for us, we have a part in the glory which belongs to it - the glory of God - are the first-fruits of it - the inner circle round the blessed and glorious Centre in which God is displayed in Christ. Then all things will be gathered round as a redeemed and reconciled Creation to the praise of His glory - the glorious result of the hidden wisdom ordained before the world to our glory. Then Christ will be displayed as the Power as well as the Wisdom of God.
237 Finally the great centre, moral centre, is the Cross - Redemption; when in the weakness of the creature, and the fullest effect of the power of evil, and its present effect - death - good triumphed. Its weakness was stronger than the power of what was against it. It was really divine power but in weakness of the creature, at least of what was of the creature, though divinely, for creature it could not be called. Death was the end of the creature in itself, the birth-place of the new Creation as leaving the old wholly behind. I speak of its effect, for none but a divine Person could have done it. It is Christ and He crucified in the lowest place the creature man can be brought to, but Christ, the Wisdom of God and the Power of God. Then we can have a place in the glory itself, the glory of God, because He is made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption - not power.
We are brought before God and intelligently according to what God is. We are always dependent and subject - that only is our place, as really with God - our blessedness. To be out of it is everlasting and perfect misery; the pretention to power is man's folly in assumed independence, which is sin.
We are of God - that is our nature, and actual condition in Christ Jesus, and He is of God wisdom to us, and righteousness, etc. So that we glory in the Lord. Power remains in His hand; we may be instruments of it hereafter, and spiritually may be vessels of it now, as far as emptied of self.
I have very imperfectly brought out what I would here. The great point is the place Wisdom has now; subjection and nothingness beginning with the Cross for the sinner which is deliverance - being nothing, for the saint Christ being all. We know perfect love. We know the counsels and purpose of God - have Christ's mind, but as a soldier in an army, he does not know the bearing of each act in carrying out the plan in the presence of the enemy, he marches right and left as ordered, it is all he has to do, and perfect wisdom is in each step of obedience, and inward wisdom in restoration, for he is thus in his place with God, and in motive, for it is love to his Commander, confidence in Him as well as obedience. All thus becomes right.
I return for a moment to 1 Corinthians 1 and 2. The Cross is the end of flesh and the world - death to one, the deepest possible shame and ignominy to the other. Flesh is wholly set aside, and now folly written on its wisdom - no flesh is to glory in His presence, "He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord." Flesh cannot glory before Him - we are to glory in Him, but then the whole being of man in the flesh, morally speaking, has ceased for the Christian. "Of him" (God) "are we in Christ Jesus," and "Christ Jesus is made unto us wisdom of God" (for that is the great subject here) and then righteousness, sanctification, and final deliverance - we glory thus in Him.
238 But then the whole thing is new. There is a plan, a purpose of God for our glory - a purpose before the world. The highest in the world knew nothing of it; if they had, they would not have crucified the Head of it. This is revealed to us by the Spirit; man's heart has not conceived it, but God's Spirit has revealed it. And that is the Spirit the Apostle had, and we have in our place. Then the same Spirit gave the words which were the medium of communication, and the same Spirit enables us to receive it. No one can instruct the Lord, but we have the mind of Christ in whom all this wisdom is. So it is a wholly new sphere and form of Wisdom which is in this purpose of God, the hidden Wisdom, before this world of responsibility and failure and sorrow.
But note it was the princes of this world not knowing it which, as to means, brought about what its accomplishment is founded upon. And note, this is a positive fresh revelation - not anything discoverable by man's mind. A man's spirit knows what is in him and none else; God's Spirit knows what is in His mind and none else. It is purpose that was before man or the world existed, and it is revealed and communicated, not by man's wisdom or words which man's wisdom teaches, but which the Holy Ghost teaches.
Note how simply the true wisdom is stated in Ephesians 5, as we see it in Proverbs, "Be not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is." Simple obedience and, by singleness of eye, intelligence of what the Lord's will is, is in practice divine wisdom; as to the way of having it, compare Romans 12:1, 2.
Axioms have no evidence - they are principles which contain their own evidence - the statement is another form of the definition or nature of the thing. "A whole is greater than a part" - that lies in the meaning of "whole" and "part"; it is given that form for the convenience of reasoning. So "one is the half of two" is hardly an axiom; it is the meaning of the words. "Two" means two ones, and "half" means a part contained twice. Axioms are only convenient forms of tautology, and so is all mathematics.