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

"For God so loved the world that He gave His one and only Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life." John 3:16

There is nothing in this world which is not a gift of God. Every palm-tree in the grove of created comforts and blessings—every morsel of the bread which perishes; the sunlight which gladdens us; the atmospheric air which sustains us; the fuel garnered deep down in earth's storehouses to warm us; the succession of seasons; the living streams which fertilize our fields; the waving harvests which crown the year with their plenty; the thousand tints of loveliness and beauty in garden, and dell, and forest; far more, the blessings which rejoice and consecrate social life—the Elim-palms and Elim-springs of gladness in our domestic circles; these are severally and collectively "gifts of God." "Every good and perfect gift is from above." And they are gifts and pledges, too, of love.

"God's world has one great echo;

Whether calm blue mists are curled,
Or lingering dewdrops quiver,
Or red storms are unfurled;
The same deep love is throbbing
Through the great heart of God's world."

But what are these to the blessing here pre-eminently spoken of—the Gift of gifts, "the Tree of Life in the midst of the garden"? a blessing whose magnitude transcends all thought and illustration—the Son of the Highest to become 'of human virgin born,' the Babe of Bethlehem's lowly cradle; the God of Eternity condescending to be a pilgrim on life's highway—the great Leader of His spiritual Israel, with the rod of grace and power in His hand, with which to open living streams for the lost and perishing? "God so loved the world (and who can fathom or exhaust the meaning of that 'so'?) that He gave His one and only Son." God's "Gift"—it was, unpurchasable by money—the unmerited benefaction of Heaven—free as the desert palm to the fainting pilgrim, who has only to repair under it for shade—free as the desert pool to the thirsty wayfarer, who has only to stoop at its brim and drink!

And this greatest and mightiest Gift, moreover, consecrates and sanctifies each minor one. As the sun glorifies with his radiance the tamest landscape, and transforms the barren rock into a pyramid of gold; so are all earthly blessings glorified, beautified, sublimated, by the beams of the Sun of Righteousness. Christ has been aptly compared to the numeral, which, put before the unmeaning ciphers, gives them peerless and untold preciousness.

The very outer world of nature wears a new aspect when seen through eyes spiritually enlightened. Earthly discipline has a new meaning; and when subordinate comforts are blighted, or diminished, or withdrawn, there is ever the imperishable Gift remaining, beyond the reach of change; so that we can say, "Though the fig tree does not bud, and there are no grapes on the vines, though the olive crop fails and the fields produce no food, though there are no sheep in the pen and no cattle in the stalls, yet I will rejoice in the Lord, I will be joyful in God my Savior."

While feelingly alive to God's goodness in His various other mercies, can we heartily join in the transcendent estimate of the Apostle—"Thanks be unto God for His unspeakable Gift!" Truly, with this Gift, "having nothing," we "possess all things." In Christ's glorified person, as the God-Man Mediator, "all fullness dwells." No other earthly blessing, no other trees in the palm-grove, can compensate for the lack of this. But under the shade of these sheltering fronds, whatever else may be denied us, we can say in the words of the Sacred Minstrel, "Because Your loving-kindness is better than life, my lips shall praise You!"

"Bounteous Giver! to befriend me
None I have compared with Thee,
None so able to defend me;
You are all in all to me.

"What is life? a scene of troubles,
Following swiftly, one by one;
Phantom visions—airy bubbles,
Which appear, and then are gone.

"What at best the world's vain fashion?
Quickly it must pass away,
Vexing care and whirlwind passion
Surging like the angry spray.

"Friends may fail, and bonds may sever,
Cherished refuges may fall,
But Thy friendship is for ever—
It survives the wreck of all."

"He who did not spare His own Son, but gave Him up for us all—how will He not also, along with Him, graciously give us all things?"

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