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Lord’s Day 25, 2009


I was glad when they said to me, “Let us go to the house of the Lord.”

THE HOME SICKNESS.
Horatius Bonar (1808–1889)

   “civitas sancta, civitas speciosa, de longinquo te saluto,
ad te clamo, te requiro.”—Augustine, De Spir. et Anim.

Horatius Bonar

And whence this weariness,
      This gathering cloud of gloom?
   Whence this dull weight of loneliness,
      These greedy cravings for the tomb?
   These greedier cravings for the hopes that lie
   Beyond the tomb, beyond the things that die;
   Beyond the smiles and joys that come and go,
   Fevering the spirit with their fitful flow;
   Beyond the circle where the shadows fall;
   Within the region where my God is all.

It is not that I fear
      To breast the storm or wrestle with the wave,
      To swim the torrent or the blast to brave,
      To toil or suffer in this day of strife
      As He may will who gave this struggling life,—
But I am homesick!

It is not that the cross
      Is heavier than this drooping frame can bear,
      Or that I find no kindred heart to share
      The burden, which, in these last days of ill,
      Seems to press heavier, sharper, sorer still,—
But I am homesick!

It is not that the snare
      Is laid around for my unwary feet.
      And that a thousand wily tempters greet
      My slippery steps and lead me far astray
      From that safe guidance of the narrow way,—
But I am homesick!

It is not that the path
      Is rough and perilous, beset with foes,
      From the first step down to its weary close,
      Strewn with the flint, the briar, and the thorn.
      That wound my limbs and leave my raiment torn,
But I am homesick!

It is not that the sky
      Is darkly sad, and the unloving air
      Chills me to fainting; and the clouds that there
      Hang over me seem signal clouds unfurled,
      Portending wrath to an unready world,—
But I am homesick!

It is not that the earth
      Has grown less bright and fair,—that these grey hills,
      These ever-lapsing, ever-lulling rills,
      And these breeze-haunted woods, that ocean clear,
      Have now become less beautiful, less dear,—
But I am homesick!

   Let me, then, weary be!
      I shrink not, murmur not;
   In all this homelessness I see
      The Church’s pilgrim-lot;
   Her lot until her absent Lord shall come,
   And the long homeless here, shall find a home.

   Then no more weariness!
      No gathering cloud of gloom;
   Then no dull weight of loneliness,
      No greedy cravings for the tomb:
   For death shall then be swallowed up of life,
   And the glad victory shall end the strife!

—Horatius Bonar, Hymns of Faith and Hope, First Series (James Nisbet & Co., 1878).

imgJohn 1:14
   14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

imgThe passage of Scripture now before us is very short, if we measure it by words. But it is very long, if we measure it by the nature of its contents. The substance of it is so immensely important that we shall do well to give it separate and distinct consideration. This single verse contains more than enough matter for a whole exposition.
   The main truth which this verse teaches is the reality of our Lord Jesus Christ’s incarnation, or being made man. St. John tells us that “the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us.”
   The plain meaning of these words is, that our divine Saviour really took human nature upon Him, in order to save sinners. He really became a man like ourselves in all things, sin only excepted. Like ourselves, he was born of a woman, though born in a miraculous manner. Like ourselves, He grew from infancy to boyhood, and from boyhood to man’s estate, both in wisdom and in stature. (Luke ii. 52.) Like ourselves, he hungered, thirsted, ate, drank, slept, was wearied, felt pain, wept, rejoiced, marvelled, was moved to anger and compassion. Having be come flesh, and taken a body, He prayed, read the Scriptures, suffered being tempted, and submitted His human will to the will of God the Father. And finally, in the same body, He really suffered and shed His blood, really died, was really buried, really rose again, and really ascended up into heaven. And yet all this time He was God as well as man!
   This union of two natures in Christ’s one Person is doubtless one of the greatest mysteries of the Christian religion. It needs to be carefully stated. It is just one of those great truths which are not meant to be curiously pried into, but to be reverently believed. . . .
   But while we do not pretend to explain the union of two natures in our Lord Jesus Christ’s Person, we must not hesitate to fence the subject with well-defined cautions. While we state most carefully what we do believe, we must not shrink from declaring boldly what we do not believe. We must never forget, that though our Lord was God and man at the same time, the divine and human natures in Him were never confounded. One nature did not swallow up the other. The two natures remained perfect and distinct. The divinity of Christ was never for a moment laid aside, although veiled. The manhood of Christ, during His life-time, was never for a moment unlike our own, though by union with the Godhead, greatly dignified. Though perfect God, Christ has always been perfect man from the first moment of His incarnation. He that is gone into heaven, and is sitting at the Father’s right hand to intercede for sinners, is man as well as God. Though perfect man, Christ never ceased to be perfect God. He that suffered for sin on the cross, and was made sin for us, was “God manifest in the flesh.” The blood with which the Church was purchased, is called the blood “of God.” (Acts xx. 28.) Though He became “flesh” in the fullest sense, when He was born of the Virgin Mary, He never at any period ceased to be the Eternal Word. To say . . . that at any instant of His earthly ministry He was not fully and entirely God, is nothing less than heresy.
   The cautions just given may seem at first sight needless, wearisome, and hair-splitting. It is precisely the neglect of such cautions which ruins many souls. This constant undivided union of two perfect natures in Christ’s Person is exactly that which gives infinite value to His mediation, and qualifies Him to be the very Mediator that sinners need. Our Mediator is One who can sympathize with us, because He is very man. And yet, at the same time, He is One who can deal with the Father for us on equal terms, because He is very God.—It is the same union which gives infinite value to His righteousness, when imputed to believers. It is the righteousness of One who was God as well as man.—It is the same union which gives infinite value to the atoning blood which He shed for sinners on the cross. It is the blood of One who was God as well as man.—It is the same union which gives infinite value to His resurrection. When He rose again, as the Head of the body of believers, He rose not as a mere man, but as God.—Let those things sink deeply into our hearts. The second Adam is far greater than the first Adam was. The first Adam was only man, and so he fell. The second Adam was God as well as man, and so He completely conquered.
   Let us leave the subject with feelings of deep gratitude and thankfulness. It is full of abounding consolation for al who know Christ by faith, and believe on Him.
   Did the Word become flesh? Then He is One who can be touched with the feeling of His people’s infirmities, because He has suffered Himself, being tempted. He is almighty because He is God, and yet He can feel with us, because He is man.
   Did the Word become flesh? Then He can supply us with a perfect pattern and example for our daily life. Had He walked among us as an angel or a spirit, we could never have copied Him. But having dwelt among us as a man, we know that the true standard of holiness is to “walk even as He walked.” (1 John ii. 6.) He is a perfect pattern, because He is God. But He is also a pattern exactly suited to our wants, because He is man.
   Finally, did the Word become flesh? Then let us see in our mortal bodies a real, true dignity, and not defile them by sin. Vile and weak as our body may seem, it is a body which the Eternal Son of God was not ashamed to take upon Himself, and to take up to heaven. That simple fact is a pledge that He will raise our bodies at the last day, and glorify them together with His own.

—J. C. Ryle, Expository Thoughts on the Gospels (Baker Books, 2007) [Westminster (PB) | Amazon (HC)], 3:24–28

A
udio Sermons
Albert Mohler
Alistair Begg
Bret Capranica
David Legge
David Strain
John MacArthur
John Piper
Mark Loughridge
Mark Dever
Michael Beasley
Paul Lamey
Paul W Martin
Phil Johnson
Phillip M Way
RC Sproul
Steve Weaver
Thabiti Abyabwile

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.



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Posted  in: Expository Thoughts on the Gospels · Horatius Bonar · Hymns of Faith and Hope · J C Ryle · Lord’s Day
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