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distresses, in stripes, in imprisonments, in tumults, in labours, in watchings, in fastings." We have his own testimony that in the bearing of these fruits of holiness and endurance it was not his life, but Christ's, that was manifested.
Always,” he says, “ bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal body.” And yet this man, in whom the Life of Christ was so abundantly manifest, said that he did and underwent all this: “If by any means he might attain unto the resurrection from the dead;" in other words, that he might be eventually saved by the life of Christ.
Here then is the paradox. Certainty, and yet uncertainty. Certainty if we look to God. Uncertainty if we look to ourselves.
Certainty, for God said by His servant, “ much more, being reconciled, we shall be saved by His life.” Uncertainty, for God's servant says, “If by any means I might attain to the resurrection of the dead: not as though I had already attained, but I follow after;"_I pursue with eagerness—“if that I may apprehend that for which I am also apprehended.”
Certainty, for God has said, “If we have been planted together in the likeness of His death we shall be also in the likeness of His resurrection;" and uncertainty, in that God has also said, “Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal bodies."
Uncertainty, in that Christ has said to His very Apostles, " Abide in me. If a man abide not in me he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered;" and one was cast forth, and lost: and yet certainty, for the same Christ said to the same men,
“ Because I live ye shall live also.”
THE HEAVENLY DRAWING.
ST. JOHN xii. 32. “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me."
IF we were to read the Gospel of St. John for the first time, and were in so reading to come upon this verse, without the explanation which St. John gives of it in the next, what should we say that the “lifting up” here signified ? We connect with lifting up ideas of exaltation, whereas by this “ lifting up” is meant, not exaltation, but the deepest possible degradation.
By “lifting up” is here meant the lifting up upon the Cross. When men were crucified, their bodies, stretched upon the cross, were raised on high above those around them, so that they were exposed to the gaze of those whose brutal natures take delight in watching agony and death, whilst they endured the torture of suspension on nails, driven through such nervous and tender parts as the palms of the hands.
Undoubtedly our Saviour meant this “ lifting up." He says here the same in substance and meaning as what He had said some time before to Nicodemus: “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
And yet when we read over this saying of Christ we cannot help reverting in mind to the further “lifting up”-of His exaltation into heaven. For when St. Peter, on the Day of Pentecost, speaks of Christ being by the right hand of God exalted, he uses the same word which is used here to denote that Christ was humbled below the very dust by having been lifted up on the Cross.
So that we can scarcely help regarding the great truth of Good Friday, and the great truth of Ascension Day, as in this verse joined together.
Christ is lifted up in utter abasement that He may be lifted up into corresponding glory. And an Apostle, full of the Holy Ghost, joins these two liftings up as
cause and effect. “Being found in fashion as a man,” the Apostle says, “He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross : wherefore God also hath highly exalted Him,” i. e., "hath lifted Him up exceedingly.”
Easter, the victory after the seeming defeat of Good Friday, is now receding from our view,
and Ascension and Pentecost are breaking upon us.
The mysteries of these four days of God are all wrapped up in this verse.
Good Friday was the day of conflict and seeming defeat. Easter was the day of victory, but not the day of triumph. He began not to draw men to Himself at Easter. He reserved His power and His rights. He merely reassured the hopes and reanimated the faith of His fainting ones. He was the conqueror on the battle field, as it were, seeing to the wounded, giving directions for the further pursuit and discomfiture of the enemy. Ascension was the triumph itself. Before principalities and powers in heavenly places He led captivity captive and received the power and authority by which He might reap the reward of His humiliation. And on Pentecost He began to enjoy the reward of His humiliation and to reap the fruits of His victory.
He began then to draw men to Himself. He began amongst His enemies. He was then seen to "rule even in the midst amongst His enemies."
And it was seen that they were drawn to Himself. They were not only pricked in the heart because they had cried "Crucify Him," or had assisted, perhaps, in crucifying Him, or had acquiesced in His Crucifixion; it was seen—the very world could see—that they