Luke 3:21, 22.
The ministry of John the Baptist, which mainly occupied us last week, was of such an exceedingly searching nature to every class, that none were exempt from responsibility by the application of his word to their consciences. It was as like the ministry of Elijah of old as anything could be. Indeed, the angel Gabriel said of John that he should go before the Lord "in the spirit and power of Elias;" and that is what characterized the searching, sifting nature of his testimony. It was preparatory for the One that was coming. It said, in fact, that God was coming.
I suppose that, in some sense, God would send out, and does send out, morally, ministry of a like nature at the present moment, in connection with the near return of His blessed Son; only in this way, that it is a waking up of His own people. God would do this, beloved friends, and, I have no doubt, is doing it, in His grace, and in His own way. He is stirring up the hearts of His saints in these last times. When I say "His saints," I mean every Christian; I mean all His own, wherever they are; not merely a few out of the whole, or any particular body; but ALL; the whole Church of the living God on earth. For wherever there is one of Christ's members; wherever there is one that is purchased with His blood; surely God has a specially peculiar waking-up voice for such at this moment with respect to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. And this it is that makes it so solemn for ourselves. We must put the question to ourselves (if, indeed, we are accustomed to live in the application of the word of the Lord to our own consciences and souls), "Am I ready for His coming?" I do not now mean merely in title; I do not mean to confine the challenge to the question of fitness; but am I practically ready for all that is involved in this word, "The coming of our Lord Jesus Christ"? It is very searching if, in truth and verity, we apply it to our own hearts.
John's ministry was of a larger and wider nature, because it took in all classes; it extended to every one; not merely to Israel, but to all mankind. It was also preparatory; not to the establishment of the kingdom in the sense that the Lord would then set it up, but for the reason that God was coming. The Jews might speak of the Messiah to come according to their own thoughts; but what is pressed here is, that God is coming. John was to go before the face of God, who in His grace became a Man; but still it was God who was coming.
Now, if we think of it in that way, it searches our consciences and hearts; and that is what the word of God ever does. The Lord make us honest with our own consciences! It is a great thing to be searched down to the very depths of our moral being. It is not a question of what people may say or think of us, but how this word cuts us. And, when it is so, the inquiry arises at once, "What shall I do?" If you look at the ministry of John, you see every class brought in wanting; all the people are brought in deficient. They come and ask him, "What shall we do?" There is no preparedness anywhere; there is imperfection manifested wherever you turn; and if you think of all the grace of God shown to this world; the manifestation of God's kindness, and mercy, and favour down here on every side; the pains He has taken with man; the pure grace He has displayed to sinners, as well as to His own; you might well ask the question which is asked in Scripture, "What is man?" And your heart would sink within you, for, no matter where you turn, you fail to find anything suited to God. Whatever there be that at all meets His mind is the product of His own grace. If there is anything which, in the smallest degree, is suited to Him, He is the One who formed it. Look at the creature in any condition as the fruit of God's favour bestowed on him, and you must ask the question, "What is man?" You find faithlessness, inconsistency, and departure on all sides; and nowhere more than when you look at the Church. What is the Church of God upon earth to-day but the witness to the fact of the utter ruin of that which was set up on earth to be a lamp-stand for the truth? Inspect, if you will, the nearest circle of all, even those who are most responsible, because most favoured in having light from God as to His mind, as well as truth recovered for them which had been lost sight of for centuries. If we think for a moment of such, what are they but witnesses to the more grievous failure of not holding fast, and maintaining for God, the truth and light which, in His sovereign grace, He had made known to them? Your heart might well sink as you behold revolt and wickedness in the world; breakdown, failure, and departure in the Church, individually and collectively, wherever your eye rests; for there is nothing that you can find comfort in anywhere.
Such is the character of things brought before us in this third chapter of Luke; and such is the effect upon the conscience and soul that are touched by the sight. Well, it is exactly at this moment that God ushers the Lord Jesus on the scene. Yes, when there is not a single thing that your heart can turn to with anything like comfort, then it is that God says, I will bring in One now whose like has never been found. Then the eye rests on Jesus; and there is perfection. I do not know anything more blessed; for it is perfection in a Man; One who, as a Man on earth, met every thought, and satisfied every desire, of the heart of God. I do not, of course, mean to say that He was not God. God forgive the thought! We know that He was divine, and we adore Him who was God's own beloved Son, the eternal Son before ever time was, or the worlds were made. But I am speaking of Him now as entering into time, coming down into this world as Man, having taken that place in perfection before God. Again I repeat it, He was, as Man, perfect under God's eye. That also is what comes before us in the third of Luke; and here alone there is rest.
It is very blessed to think that our faithful God and Father would assuredly bring our hearts at this moment to where perfection alone is; not to the creature, either individually or collectively, but to Jesus. That is, I believe, what is set before us here. Not, observe, Jesus as Messiah purging His floor; not His coming with the besom of judgment to remove defiled things. No doubt He will do that; He will baptize with the Holy Ghost, and with fire. John's testimony was, "I indeed baptize you with water; but One mightier than I cometh, the latchet of whose shoes I am not worthy to unloose: He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost and with fire: whose fan is in His hand, and He will throughly purge His floor, and will gather the wheat into His garner; but the chaff He will burn with fire unquenchable." Luke 3:16, 17. That is not what we find here.
Ah, no! it is not judgment, not Messiah purging His floor, but a Man in lowliness and subjection, a Man according to the purposes and counsels of God, in whom all the dearest thoughts of God's heart were folded up, the only perfect, spotless Man, even Jesus! I know nothing more blessed; and, beloved friends, if one poor thing may be permitted to put a practical question to other poor things like himself, I would affectionately ask you if you can sit down and meditate on Him who is thus set before us? Alas! how little we appear to be free to meditate. Oh that we were at liberty to meditate more! In this busy, restless age we seem to be so little at leisure, to have so little time to sit down and meditate upon what Jesus is, on the records about Him, on the testimony that God has given concerning Him. Oh, how different is this to meditating on our own thoughts or our own hearts! Verily, they are not worthy of it; they are at best but worthless. The very best thing that passes through these wretched hearts of ours is not worthy to be even mentioned. But on Him! Well may we say, "My meditation of Him shall be sweet"! Dwell upon Him; think of Him. The Holy Ghost has come to bear witness of Him. The Scriptures testify of Him. Wherever you turn your gaze the object of the heart of God is presented to you in Him. And, oh, beloved friends, that is what you ever find when you come to the knowledge of yourself, not merely of the things you have done, but when you come to know yourself; the depth of the abomination and the iniquity and the vileness of your own heart; the man of self there, the depths of that treacherous, yea, villainous nature within us all to-night! If you look, in company with God, at the wretchedness, the wickedness, the worthlessness of the creature, in a word, at what man is, you cannot but admit that just as he gave up God for an apple at the first, so he would do it now.
Is that the material you have found out yourself to be made of? Man just come from God's hand, in innocence, gave up God for an apple! That, without a gloss, is what man is; and we are all by nature of that man, and after his order. May God give us to look at it, to measure it, to acknowledge it in its awful depths. What for? Only that we may witness the perfection of man in Jesus! There alone is where solace for our hearts is found, in Him in whom all the thoughts of God's heart are met, and where we find positive perfection in a Man under God's eye. Over such a One it was that the heavens opened!
There is, I may say emphatically of this scripture, a great reality here (and we suffer loss if we do not give it its full measurement and place in our souls), that which we find also in Rev. 5 — viz., He is worthy. It is as true a description as could be given of who He is and what He is, who is set before us here in all the perfection of the position He was pleased to take in this poor world. In that position He was Himself worthy. How could we see the heavens opened unless there was an object worthy? Now, that is exactly what you find in Revelation 5. There it is a question of opening a book. Here it is a question of opening the heavens. But whether it be the opening of a book of judgment, or the heavens opening to express the appreciation and delight of the heart of God in this blessed object upon earth, it is the same One, and He is worthy! "Worthy by all to be adored," well may we sing.
Oh, beloved friends, what a theme for us! what a comfort if in any little measure our hearts are at leisure from ourselves to enter into God's thoughts about the One thus presented to us in His own blessedness, One perfectly worthy, intrinsically worthy! And that is just what you find in Rev. 5. The prophet saw a seven-sealed book, and "wept much," he says, "because no one was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon." v. 3. It was the book of the judgments of God with respect to the earth, and no one was found worthy to open it. But there were those at hand who had intelligence, and to the weeping seer it was said, "Weep not: behold, the Lion of the tribe of Juda, the root of David, hath prevailed to open the book." Then he says, "I beheld." And what did he behold? A Lion? A mighty Conqueror? Neither of these, but a Lamb! a suffering Victim that had exhausted all the judgment of God! And when all the created intelligences of heaven see that form before them, they raise the note of praise — WORTHY: "worthy to take the book, and to open the seals thereof: for Thou wast slain." v. 9.
Now, here in our scripture this evening it is only the first step, as it were, toward that. Jesus had only just entered on His ministry. It is perfectly true that we have not as yet come to the end of the work, the finish of it; but it was He, and He alone, who was to do it. And that is what is so blessed. You can predicate of the Lord Jesus Christ from the very commencement of His ministry, "He shall work, and who can let it." Everything that comes out with respect to His blessed person extended to the fulness of the work in its perfection. The whole state of blessing, all the good that was to be secured, all that answered to the heart and mind of God, was summed up there in His holy person. In due course He will accomplish the work given Him to do; but here the Person who should do the work is He who commands the whole attention of heaven — the heavens were opened!
Two things come out here, and I earnestly ask you to bear them in mind: heaven opened on a Man perfect according to the counsels and purposes of God. It is what we find set forth in Psalm 8. Three times in Scripture the question is asked, "What is man?" It is asked by Job (chap. 7), by the remnant in Psalm 144, and by the Spirit of Christ in Psalm 8. Job asks it in view of God's care over such an insignificant thing as he was: he exclaims, "What is man?" He says, as it were, "Why shouldest Thou think of me, consider me, a poor worm?" That is what man is. Then the remnant, smarting at the hands of their enemies, ask, "What is man?" Why dost Thou not take vengeance on, and rid us of, impotent oppressors such as men are? But in Psalm 8 it is the Spirit of Christ who asks, "What is man?" And the answer is JESUS, the Man according to the whole counsel of God. He is the One who meets the heart of God — the personally worthy, intrinsically perfect, Man, upon whom the heavens can open. How blessed to think of Him!
Thank God, we can now look up into the opened heavens, and see Him there who is the Object of the heart of God. They were opened upon Him down here on earth long before the work of redemption was finished; because His person, in all the glories that marked it morally, was there under God's eyes and before men. This moment, as we have seen, was that which ushered in His ministry. The heavens open upon Him; the Holy Ghost descends on Him. Oh, what a sight — the opened heavens and the descending Holy Ghost! The Holy Ghost descended in a bodily shape like a dove, and rested on Him. How blessed to meditate on such a scene! There was One who was not only worthy for the heavens to open unto Him, but that the Spirit of God should descend in a bodily shape, and rest upon Him. The Lord Jesus, according to Acts 10, was anointed "with the Holy Ghost and with power." And this carries back the thoughts at once to the type, even the anointing of Aaron for the ministry, the details of which are given in Exodus 29.
I need not say to you that the Holy Ghost's coming down on the Lord Jesus did not in any sense add to His perfection. He was as perfect before as afterwards; but it was in connection with His service on earth. It was God, as it were, setting His mark upon Him, and sealing Him for His work. Acts 10, already referred to, explains that as simply as anything could do. "How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with Him." v. 38. This chapter furnishes a divine commentary on what took place in Luke 3.
Now, what is so significant about the anointing of Aaron in Exodus 29 is, that no mention of blood is made there. Aaron is simply anointed with oil (that precious compound which we were speaking of two weeks since), but not with blood. He himself, and by himself, is anointed with oil; and it descends from the crown of his head to the skirts of his clothing, prefiguring the Lord Jesus Christ in His own personal perfection being set apart for His ministry. Afterwards you do find blood, when Aaron and his sons are together brought in, but not with Aaron alone, because Aaron alone stands before us as a type of the Lord Jesus Christ in His intrinsic perfection.
Thank God, the Holy Ghost comes now and dwells in our bodies, if we are Christians. But upon what ground? Assuredly because the blood of redemption has been sprinkled upon us, the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ has washed us whiter than snow. If we are washed from our sins in His blood, then the Holy Ghost comes and dwells in us. The oil can be poured upon the blood. The Holy Ghost seals the value of the blood. It is not the apprehension, it is not the appreciation, that our hearts have of the value of it that is sealed, nor is it our intelligence that is sealed; but God puts His seal on the value of the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. Verily, that is something worthy of His seal. The oil rests upon the blood; God, as it were, thereby expressing His own satisfaction in the worth of that blood, as well as marking for ever as His own the one sprinkled by it.
How blessed thus to think of it! The Lord Jesus Christ has secured that for us through His finished work. Thank God, the Spirit of God, the Holy Ghost, has come down, and has never left the earth, but abides with the saints for ever. He had not previously come in person to dwell upon earth, but when Jesus is here in His own intrinsic worth, in the perfection of His own nature, and under that opened heaven, the Spirit descends in a bodily shape like a dove, and rests on Him, a perfect Man.
Another thing is, that the form He was pleased to take was intended to mark off, as it were, Him upon whom He so rested, as in the truth and blessedness of His own person. The form, observe, was that of a dove. Does not this set before us, in a very striking way, the blessed, gentle, gracious character of Him who was perfect goodness and grace? Assuredly the gentleness, kindness, tenderness of our Lord Jesus Christ is clearly brought before us in the form the blessed Spirit took. How vividly this stands out in contrast with our ungraciousness, roughness, uncouthness, hardness, and severity, of spirit as well as of word. Oh, the contrast of all that is in us to what was in Him!
But, further, we see here, in the Lord Jesus Christ's being thus anointed with the Holy Ghost, and in the form the descending Spirit was pleased to take, that God's Object is Christ; and how blessed for our souls just to dwell and meditate on this! God's heart rests on Jesus. He is everything to Him. The Father's love rests upon the Son, in delight and complacency ineffable. We may say, with adoring reverence, how God delighted thus to mark out His Object here; and not only is He thus seen as God's Object, but Jesus alone is the fitting resting-place for the blessed Spirit in the moral deluge of this world.
Now, all this receives both emphasis and confirmation when we remember that the Spirit came down personally to dwell in the Christian and in the Church; because the Holy Ghost does dwell in the saints corporately, as well as in their bodies individually.
When He thus came He took, as we read in Acts 2, a form suitable to the occasion and purport of His coming, a form significant of what He was then about to carry on in this world; just as here He took a form suitable to the expression of the person of the perfect, blessed Man Christ Jesus. In Acts 2:2, 3 we are told, "There came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind [or hard breathing], and it filled all the house where they were sitting. And there appeared unto them cloven tongues like as of fire, and it sat upon each of them."
Now, that is perfectly expressive of what He was about to do. You understand clearly, I trust, that the Holy Ghost could come down here because the work of Christ had been accomplished; Christ had finished all He came to do; the foundation, so to speak, had been laid in blood, and Jesus had been exalted; so that the descending Spirit could come and take possession of the bodies of those who had been washed from their sins in Christ's precious blood. The form which the Holy Ghost takes is beautifully significant, because the moment had arrived when God was about to send out a far-reaching testimony into this world; a testimony not to be confined to one people or nation, but addressed to all the world. It was to go out on all sides, and this is set forth by the "cloven tongues."
When God dealt with but one nation, He was pleased to use one language, the Hebrew tongue; but now His voice is to reach out to Gentiles as well as to Jews; hence the appearance of cloven tongues. We find also that they were "like as of fire." What does this imply? Simply that grace reigned through righteousness. There was that in man which called for judgment; and the cross had fully met it; there sin had been judged. This testimony was to be founded upon the cross, and therefore the cloven tongues "like as of fire."
Here is a mark of the most exquisite grace. The diverse tongues which previously had been given to men were the expression of divine displeasure and judgment; but now God's infinite grace and goodness were to be made known to them; and hence we read of it in these words: "We do hear them speak in our tongues the wonderful works of God." v. 11. But in the scene before us in Luke, how suitable in every way to the Lord's blessed person was the dove-like form! And thus we see in suited character the blessed One whom God was setting apart and specially anointing and sealing for His ministry.
There is another point here, of great interest and beauty, to which I would call your attention for a little. It is this: the Holy Ghost's descending in bodily shape like a dove, and abiding on Jesus, was also the expression of the place of man acceptable before God. It is very blessed to see this unfolded here, and it is everything to our souls when we discern that we have it thus in Christ. It is a great thing to trace all up to Christ. All that He has won He shares in grace with us now on the ground of redemption. Redemption in this manner opens the way for us to come into all the blessing which we find set forth in Himself.
Thus what we have here set before us in figure is, our place before God in Christ, the Father's delight in us as in Him, and the seal of the Holy Ghost as the expression of it.
Let us now for a little dwell upon the voice from heaven, and first observe how different it is from the voice in the first part of this chapter. Have you noticed the two voices in this third of Luke, and how they are in contrast? The first voice is in the wilderness; and it was in every sense suitable that God's servant should be there. It is suitable that God's servants to-day should be morally in the desert. No other place befits them, because of the evil state of things in this Christ-rejecting age. A witness for God to-day must stand apart; he must be morally outside; in one sense a Jeremiah, a man of tears and sorrow, who sits alone (Jer. 15:17); in another sense a Habakkuk, standing upon his watch, and setting him upon the tower; but in either case a man apart.
I was thinking the other day that the question at the present moment for every conscience and heart is this: Shall we remain within the departure and protest? or shall we go apart and testify? Now, I do believe God has raised that question, and it will not be possible honestly to shirk it. Shall I stay as part and parcel of the order of things, and protest? Let me ask you, What is the good of your protest if you do? What value, then, has your protest in it? If you stay in the thing you protest against, you take away from the value of your protest, you negative it; nay, you paralyze it; you destroy it. This is an immensely solemn question for the people of God at this moment. Of what value, I most earnestly and anxiously ask, is that protest against the world and its ways, and all that belongs to it, if the man himself who protests adheres to that against which he witnesses? Example is far more powerful than precept. Men care but little for the precept if they discover inconsistency in principle and example. There can be no doubt our lot is cast in difficult days. The words of the prophecy of Isaiah, "Truth is fallen in the street," are at this moment receiving a painful exemplification in the professing Church. "Truth is fallen in the street," and there are but few who seem to think it worth their while to pick it up. If a man stands for it, if a man seeks to be controlled by it, if he is a lover and a witness of it, he must be morally outside the existing order of things. Hence we see John in the wilderness; from thence sounds the first voice in Luke; and oh, what an awakening voice it is! How it exposes, and makes bare, and cuts up everything of man! No class of the community escapes its withering exposure; the "generation of vipers" are warned against the boasting self-complacency that would shelter itself in pride beneath the ancestry of the father of the faithful. Verily we may say, What a voice!
But we find another voice in this chapter. There is no thunder in its tones, no denunciation in its sound. It came not from the wilderness, but from heaven. It was the Father's voice. Who but the Son could elicit its testimony? Just as on Him the heavens could open (for He was worthy), so this voice could testify, not of Him, but to Him directly, "Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased." v. 22.
Oh, the blessedness of being made acquainted with the testimony of this voice from heaven! Wonderful grace on God's part to allow us to know how He feels toward His beloved Son. Wonderful grace to allow us to hear what He thinks of Jesus, what He has found in Jesus. The Father's voice from the opened heavens tells out His heart's appreciation of Jesus; and He has revealed it for you and me, that we may share it with Him. "Thou art My beloved Son; in Thee I am well pleased." Not only I am, but I have been. It is retrospective, and not present only.
It is very striking, beloved friends, to put those two voices together — the voice in the wilderness and the voice from the open heavens; the voice of John the Baptist thundering forth upon the moral death around, breaking up the highway for Him that was coming, and the Father's voice in the preciousness of its testimony to the Son, "Thou art My beloved Son: in Thee I am well pleased."
There is another thing that comes in, and that is, just in proportion as your conscience is affected by the first voice, your heart will find its comfort in the second voice. It tells of Him who has met God's heart, God's affection, God's nature. And about Him, the Son, the Father lets us know His thoughts, and gives us to share those thoughts with Himself.
Further, it is very comforting to the heart to think that poor, wretched things though we are — poor, worthless, silly sheep — yet He does not present a different object to that which His own heart has found. Christ is the Father's Object and pleasure, and He would have Him to be yours. Christ fills all His thoughts, and He would have Him fill all yours. That is blessedness indeed, and glory as well.
We have here also, in a very marked way, an owning of the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. Now, you do not find anything at all like this in previous ministry. The subject of ministry in itself is very interesting. I do not believe you will find preaching (such as we understand it) until you come to Christianity. I do not say there were not proclamations made. We do read in the Book of Ezra that he made a pulpit, and proclaimed the law from it; but that was not preaching, as we commonly understand the word. Further, I believe I can give you a very good reason why it is so. Preaching would have been out of keeping and order with the previous ways of God, because the law demanded doing, and man elected to be on that ground. It was the characteristic of the time or dispensation. Law meant a claim upon the creature to do. You can easily comprehend how out of place preaching would be then. Man was called upon to yield obedience, to do and live; but when man is brought in utterly ruined and lost, and the Lord Jesus Christ came from heaven to do all the will of God, and to seek and save the lost, then you get preaching, because there is something to preach. There is now good news to proclaim, and it takes the character of evangelizing. Philip went across the desert and evangelized one man. He preached Jesus to him. He found there one to whom he could go and tell, ignorant and desolate as he was, the new good news. That is how preaching comes in. The Lord Jesus went about preaching, and His apostles afterwards did the same. John's preaching was more of the character of law — demanding and exacting; but man never could meet the requirements of God. John's ministry brought conviction, but never relief; and therefore there is no heaven open, no unfolding or expression of the Father's thoughts then. But when Jesus was here, in whose blessed person grace and truth met, the eye of God rested upon One, above and beyond all others, whose ministry would be the setting forth of the mind of heaven; One whose ministry should perfectly express God's thoughts and the desires of His heart for poor, wretched creatures in this world. "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ." John 1:17. Accordingly when He was here who was to sustain that blessed ministry, who was as well the expression of it in His own spotless person, then heaven opens, and the complacency of the Father's heart in Him personally is sweetly expressed in those wondrous words, "Thou art My beloved Son: in Thee I am well pleased."
Beloved friends, is there not immense comfort in that for you and me, knowing what poor, wretched creatures we are, what poor, wretched hearts are ours? It was this which moved the heart and conscience of the poor thief. No doubt the grace of God had wrought in his soul, and the Spirit of God had wrought in his conscience, but do you think it was nothing to that poor thief to look upon a spotless Man? Do you think it was nothing to him to see a Man who was absolutely perfect hanging upon the cross? Hearken to his dying utterance — "We indeed justly; for we receive the due reward of our deeds: but this Man hath done nothing amiss." Luke 23:41. I can well understand how that poor thief would say, O Lord, let me wrap myself in Thy eternal perfections. It was the tremendous contrast between himself and Christ that forced the confession — "We indeed justly." There was no palliation, no excuse, no explanation. He does not attempt to lessen the enormity of the guilt, he does not complain of the severity of the sentence or dispute the justness of the position. No, here is the "no guile" condition of Psalm 32. The actual confession of sins is here. Grace has brought him to this point.
While on this subject, though a little outside what is before us in Luke 3, it may be well to call your attention to that which finds an apt illustration in the history of this saved robber; viz., the ways of God in bringing the soul to self-judgment and confession, and His ways after it. The work of the Spirit is in the first, the work of Christ is in the other. The first is the creating of a sense of need, the second is the meeting of that need. What a rest for his heart to see beside him on the cross his contrast in that spotless Man! Hence his cry, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom."
Now, to return to our immediate subject, we see heaven open upon a perfect Man, the Holy Ghost comes down and abides on Him, and the Father's voice from this opened heaven salutes Him, as it were, in words which demonstrate His own exclusive blessedness — "Thou art My beloved Son." Oh, the blessedness of this voice and of those who were permitted to hear it, and witness this scene! Now in faith and by the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven we can dwell upon it, meditate upon it, and thus taste somewhat of the joys peculiar to it.
May God by his grace lead us to hear it in the record to-night. It is, be assured, in such scenes that all true and lasting comfort can alone be found. Here the eye can rest, here the heart can repose. It is of scenes and subjects like this that the following words are descriptive. They were found, after his death, in the pocket-book of the late Venerable Henry Irwin, a beloved and faithful servant of Christ in Ireland —
"Hark! the thrilling symphonies
Seem within to seize us;
Add we to their holy lays,
Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.
Sweetest name on mortal's tongue,
Sweetest note in angel's song,
Sweetest anthem ever known —
Jesus, Jesus reigns alone."
May God by His Spirit set that Blessed One before us. He is the balm, the sovereign balm, for every wound, the cordial for our fears. The Lord in His mercy grant that none else save Himself may be our theme and our song, so that our hearts' affections may be called back to Him, and occupied with Him until we ourselves have reached Him on high, for His blessed name's sake.