"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this is the place of repose"—

"We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." John 1:14

If the fronds of the palm, by a beautiful Eastern Christian myth to which we have already referred, were said to whisper the name of Jesus, it may surely be averred of the true Heavenly Palm, that the leaves were heard continually to whisper a name, well-nigh, if not altogether, new to God's spiritual Israel—that of FATHER.

And yet, may it not be truthfully asserted regarding many who live under the better dispensation, that there are often distorted views entertained of the nature of God, little in harmony with this Divine Fatherhood? Are there not many who think of Him only as a mighty Architect who has piled infinite space with His handiwork—omnipotent, omniscient—awe-inspiring in His holiness, unrelenting in His justice, implacable in His vengeance. They have fully understood the partial revelation of Him as the punisher of sin, but they have failed to gaze on the glorious complement of His character, as the Gracious and Merciful, the Father and the Friend.

This new paternal relation of Jehovah to His people is manifested in the Person of Him who came to our world the Incarnation of the Divine Spirituality—the unveiler of the essential perfections of Deity. "In Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." He is Himself the articulate answer to the query of His impatient disciple, "Lord, show us the Father, and that will be enough for us." "He that has seen Me," was the reply, "has seen the Father." As there had been a patriarchal, a legal, an angelic, a prophetic dispensation—so now Christ came as the founder and exponent of a filial one. To take the significant opening words of the Apostle in his Epistle to the Hebrews (not as they are rendered in our version, but as they have been rendered in the full force of the original), "God, who at sundry times, and in diverse manners, spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, has in these last days spoken unto us by a Son."

Most delightful surely and comforting is this theme of contemplation—Christ the Revealer of the Father! "The Word," says the beloved Apostle, "was made flesh, and dwelt among us" (and then follows our motto-verse), "We have seen His glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth." Well may He be designated by this appropriate term. For just as 'words' are the outward audible expression of silent invisible thought, so Christ is the expression of the Invisible God, the utterance and embodiment, in human shape, of Him who revealed Himself in the dimness of an earlier dispensation as "Secret," "Wonderful," "Incomprehensible."

"From henceforth," says Christ, pointing to Himself, "you know the Father, and have seen Him" (John 14:7). How He dwells upon the very name! How He delights to interweave it with parable and miracle, and intercessory prayer, and last agony, and first Resurrection-words! Well He knew the tender associations the image would call forth among the millions who pondered the story of His incarnation. He would have the sacred earthly relation transfused into the Heavenly. As He puts His people in the clefts of the Rock, and makes all the glory of His goodness to pass by, the proclamation is made, "My Father and your Father, My God and your God!"

The opening invocation of His own Universal Prayer is "Our Father." He would have them to know and to feel, even in the house of their earthly tabernacle, that they are pacing a Father's halls—a dwelling frescoed and decorated with a Father's love! In seeing Him they see the Father (John 14:7). In asking Him for some needed blessing, they ask the Father. The names are interchangeable. "The Father will give you whatever you ask in My name."

Oh, how near does all this bring the great God Almighty! How it represents Him, as regarding with especial and individual love, each member of His redeemed family; caring for their needs, sympathizing with their sorrows, bearing with their infirmities; loving them—we had almost said doting on them as a Father. How different from the heathen conception of their deities, living in the isolation of a voluptuous calm; far removed from the concerns of earth, devoid of all personal interest in those from whom, nevertheless, they demanded cruel offerings, and over whom they were often represented as reveling in bloodthirsty vengefulness.

"God in Christ," "God with us"—"with us," as truly as Jesus was with the anxious Nicodemus, or with the sisters of Bethany, or with the widow at Nain, or with the disciples tossed on their midnight sea, or with the downcast wayfarers on the road to Emmaus. "God with us"—brought down from the regions of infinite abstraction; challenging our perfect confidence and trustful love. Even in our Gethsemanes of deepest sorrow, we can take the cup as He did in His midnight watch, and say, "O my Father! If it be possible!"

Realizing this glorious truth, we can breathe the timeworn litany, with the consciousness of a new meaning and trust—"O God, the Father of heaven, have mercy upon us, miserable sinners!" O my gracious Father! I will measure You no longer by any low human standard. Let the gentleness and kindness of Him who walked this earth as Your Image, teach me evermore to repose unhesitatingly in the everlasting kindness of Your Infinite heart. Under this glorious shelter—the shade of this Palm of Elim, "I will lay me down in peace and sleep;" for God is my Father; and GOD is Love! Yes, and even though that love should at times be veiled, and the leaves of the earthly palm tree be saturated with "the dews of the night," I shall strive to remember the new sacred Covenant relation, and with a child's unwavering trust breathe the words the Divine Revealer Himself has taught me—"Yes, FATHER, for this was Your good pleasure!"

"O Father! not my will, but Thine be done,"
So spoke the Son.
Be this our charm, mellowing earth's ruder noise
Of griefs and joys;
That we may cling forever to Thy breast
In perfect rest."

"I delight to sit in His shade."

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