CHRIST EVER THE SAME
"This is the resting place, let the weary rest; and this
is the place of repose"—
"Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and
forever." Hebrews 13:8
We may well sit under this shadow of the Beloved with
Human life, outwardly, inwardly, is a "shifting
spectacle;" so says the apostle of it. He compares it to the moving scenes
or characters in the old Grecian theater—"the fashion" (or the drama)
"of this world passes away." Over the "yesterday" of the past, and the
"today" of the present, the clouds of heaven are chasing one another. The
waves of its seething, restless sea, are tossing and tumbling in fretful
disquietude. And whether these changes have been from prosperity to
adversity, or adversity to prosperity; converting life, with some, into a
golden bridge, with others, into "a bridge of sighs," they both lead to the
one final goal. The path of sorrow as well as the path of glory "leads but
to the grave."
Believer, amid the fitfulness and uncertainty of earth
and earthly things, come and seat yourself under this verdant Palm of a
Savior's unchanging faithfulness. "Trust not in man, who cannot save."
It may be, that some who read these pages may have had, or may be even now
having, painful personal proof of that change and uncertainty, that fading
and fleeting. You may have felt by experience, how often those joys, which
like the bright berries in the summer woods are beautiful to the eye, prove
bitter to the taste; how often the loveliest cloud in the life-sky condenses
at last into a shower and then falls; how the loveliest rainbow-hue
dissolves; how riches take to themselves wings and fly away; capricious
fortune forsaking, often just when the golden dream seems most surely
But "HE has said, I will never leave you nor forsake
you." Have you never observed, that while, in the course of a long
succession of years, the scenery on a river's bank may be changed, the river
itself remains the same? Formerly it was accustomed, it may be, to flow
through secluded woods—its waters, murmuring by forest glades, where the
wild deer stole down in the silent eve undisturbed by human step. Now hives
of industry are lining its course. Ponderous wheels are revolving and the
clang of hammers are resounding, where the woodman's axe alone was heard a
short while ago. But the river itself, unchanged and unchangeable, carries
its unfailing tributary-torrent to the main.
So it is with Him who, as "the River of God which is full
of water," rolls its own glorious volume of everlasting love. "There is a
river whose streams make glad the city of God, the holy place where the Most
High dwells. God is within her, she will not fall!" "Behold," says the same
Immutable One, in another metaphor, "I have engraved you on the palms of My
hands." Not on the mountains, colossal as they are, for they shall depart;
on no leaf of Nature's vast volume, for the last fires shall scorch them;
not on blazing sun, for he shall grow dim with age; or on glorious heavens,
for they shall be folded together as a scroll. But on the hand which made
the worlds, the hand which was transfixed on Calvary, the hand of
might and love—I have engraved you there. No corroding power can erase the
writing, obliterate the name—you are Mine now, and Mine forever!
The travelers come and go in the desert—the canvas tent
erected today, is down tomorrow, but the sheltering palms remain. The great
Apostle speaks of 'tribulation'—'distress'—'persecution'—'famine,' and other
adverse forces as so many waves dashing against The Rock—trying
to "separate"—gathering their united strength to sweep from the secure
shelter. But in vain. They are beaten back in succession with Faith's
challenge—the reproof, not of bold arrogant presumption, but of lowly
believing confidence and heavenly trust—"In the name of a Mightier, we bid
defiance to your might!" 'Who shall separate us?' "I stand upon a Rock,"
says Chrysostom, "let the sea rage, the Rock cannot be disturbed."
Bereaved Christian, you who have been called more
specially to experience the sorrows of life; how comforting to know that
there is One Prop that cannot give way, One Friend beyond the
reach of change, who is working out your soul's everlasting well-being in
His own calm world, far above and beyond the heavings and convulsions of
ours. One who is the same in storm and sunshine, births and deaths, marriage
bells and funeral knells: of whom you can say, amid the wreck of all human
confidences, "They shall perish, but You shall endure!"
"This same Jesus!" Oh how sweetly
Fall those words upon the ear,
Like a swell of far-off music
In a night-watch still and drear.
"He who spoke as none had spoken,
Angel wisdom far above,
All forgiving, ne'er upbraiding,
Full of tenderness and love.
"For this word, O Lord, we bless Thee,
Bless our Master's changeless name;
'Yesterday, today, forever,
Jesus Christ is still the same.'"
"Trust in the Lord forever, for the Lord, the Lord, is
the Rock eternal."