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

"What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ." Philippians 3:8

The "loss of all things" bringing with it rest—tranquility! This seems a contradiction in terms. Worldly loss generally, and as an almost necessary consequence, leads to unrest, unquiet, trouble. Yet in Paul's case it was sublimely true—the surrender of former grounds and subjects for exultation and boasting led him to the truest, to the only stable rest. We are reminded of another of his seeming paradoxes: "Having nothing, yet possessing all things."

We may readily believe, indeed, that it would be no small effort for him to discard what he once so fondly loved and prized, and to which he so proudly clung. Sad to go to that gallery of pleasant pictures which he himself had hung in the chambers of his soul, and with his own hand to wrench one by one from its place—to tear sculpture by sculpture from niche and pedestal, and to write upon these walls, so lately gleaming with fancied righteousness, "All loss for Christ!"

In the words of the entire passage, he has undoubtedly reference to that wild night in the Adriatic Sea, to which in former pages we have incidentally referred, when pursuing his voyage to Rome in the Alexandrian ship. The tempest was threatening; the safety of the ship seemed to demand a lightening of the cargo. But that precious corn! must it be sacrificed for the safety of the vessel? It was "gain;" but must it come to be counted as "loss," and tossed overboard? Yes, the tempest decides the question. It must be consigned to the waves, otherwise the vessel will sink. There is no room for debate; the crew make up their minds to "suffer the loss of all." No, more, when the tempest howls with greater fury, and danger and death stare them full in the face, they go a step further. The "loss" is never thought of. They do not now pause in uncertainty and indecision, saying, 'Cannot we save these precious barrels of merchandise?' Imminent danger makes them glad to plunge them into the roaring sea. When the question is between the loss of the wheat, and the loss of the ship, there can be no hesitation. They account them as absolutely worthless—of no value. They are glad to see them pitching against one another in the dark abyss. They look upon them now, not as gain or treasure, but as having proved an absolute hindrance, endangering their safety.

And this was the process in Paul's mind. First, there was a clinging to all these birthright gains and self-righteous confidences. He was unwilling to part with them. Secondly, he underwent the "loss," but it was accompanied with "suffering." It was an intense effort for him to renounce that which he had once so fondly treasured and trusted in. But the third stage of feeling was when he was brought to say, 'I hate them all! they are as rubbish—they are worthless: they are endangering the vessel's safety; they are endangering my soul's interest; let them go, every one of them! They were once "gain to me;" once I endured "suffering" at the thought of losing them; but now, heave them into the raging sea. I count them as refuse, sweepings, husks, that I may win Christ, and be found in Him.'

Is this our case? Can we, as voyagers on the sea of life, make such a declaration, that all in which we once trusted and gloried, as a ground of justification in the sight of God, we toss overboard, in order that the giant deed of Christ's doing and dying may stand out alone in solitary grandeur? "Not having my own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."

"Accepted in the Beloved," says Hedley Vicars, "What a healing balm is there here, for a weary, heavy-laden sinner!"

And if being clothed in the imputed righteousness of Immanuel is a blessed truth to live on, what a blessed truth to die on! What a joyous garment this, with which to wrap around us when the billows are high, and we are plunging into Jordan! We can imagine, when that solemn hour arrives; when, perhaps suddenly, we are laid on the pillow from which we are to rise no more; and when, despite our well-grounded confidence in the Gospel, gloomy visions and memories of former guilt will gather around, filling us with trembling and dismay—oh! in the midst of the thick darkness, to feel clothed with a garment, which the rush of waters cannot penetrate, and of which the King of terrors cannot rob us—the robe which we received at the cross, and which we are to wear before the throne!

Yes, children of God, of every age and rank and experience, tune your hearts and lips for the joyous strain. Aged believers, sing it! you whose earthly pilgrim-garments are soiled and travel-worn, but whose robe of righteousness is fresh as in the day of your betrothals with the Heavenly Bridegroom. Young believers, sing it! you who may have but recently stood at the marriage-altar with your Lord, and received at His hands the glistering apparel; who may have a long journey, it may be, still to travel, before you reach the King's Palace. Sorrowing believers, sing it! take down your harps from the willows of sadness. You are in mourning attire; but through your garments there shines this "clothing of wrought gold," which the shadows of death and the grave cannot dim or alloy. Let the whole Church of the living God, divided on other themes—mute with other songs—kindle into holy rapture with this—

"Jesus, Your blood and righteousness
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
'Mid flaming worlds, in these array'd,
With joy I shall lift up my head.

"This spotless robe the same appears
When ruined nature sinks in years;
No age can change its glorious hue—
The robe of Christ is ever new.

"And when the dead shall hear Your voice,
And all Your banish'd ones rejoice,
Their beauty this, their glorious dress—

"To the praise of His glorious grace, which He has freely given us in the One He loves."

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