"When God sought a King for His people of old,
He went to the fields to find him;
A shepherd was he, with his crook and his lute
And a following flock behind him.
"O love of the sheep, O joy of the lute,
And the sling and the stone for battle;
A shepherd was King, the giant was naught,
And the enemy driven like cattle.
"When God looked to tell of His good will to men,
And the Shepherd-King's son whom He gave them;
To shepherds, made meek a-caring for sheep,
He told of a Christ sent to save them.
"O love of the sheep, O watch in the night,
And the glory, the message, the choir;
'Twas shepherds who saw their King in the straw,
And returned with their hearts all on fire.
"When Christ thought to tell of His love to the world
He said to the throng before him,
'The Good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep—'
And away to the cross they bore Him.
"O love of the sheep, O blood sweat of prayer,
O man on the cross, God-forsaken;
A shepherd has gone to defend all alone
The sheepfold by death overtaken.
"When God sought a King for His people, for aye,
He went to the grave to find him;
And a shepherd came back, Death dead in His grasp,
And a following flock behind Him.
"O love of the sheep, O life from the dead,
O strength of the faint and the fearing;
A shepherd is King, and His Kingdom will come.
And the day of His coming is nearing."
Christ is crowned. Not in any vague far-fetched meaning, but in the plain common-sense meaning of the word, He is crowned.
For crowned means put in the place of highest power, with full right to exercise that power at will. And when the crucified Jesus went up that Olivet day, before the astonished eyes of the disciples, into the sightless blue, on the cloud, He was received in the upper world by the Father. And He was lifted up into the place of highest honour and greatest power. He sat down at the right hand of the Father.
He had said it would be so. Breathing the air thick with bitter hate on the night of His trial, He had quietly said to the Jewish rulers that even so it would be, bringing at once about His person the bursting of the storm of hate. Now His unfaltering trust in His Father has its sweet reward.
The Holy Spirit poured out on Pentecost, the birthday of the Church, was the gift of the crowned Christ. The rushing sound as of a mighty wind that filled all the house, the tongues of flame plainly seen, the bold talking to the crowds of foreign Jews of God's mighty power, the faithful witnessing about the crucified Jesus in the city that hounded Him to death, the convinced crowds openly declaring at the peril of their lives their belief in the despised Jesus, the strangely rare unselfishness even in money matters, and the winsome graciousness of spirit that marked, not only the inner circle, but these greatly increased crowds,—all this said one thing in clear unanswerable tones of unmistakable power, Christ is crowned. For the sending down of the Holy Spirit was the act of the crowned Christ.
And every touch of the Holy Spirit's presence within trusting hearts,—the sweet peace, the quiet assurance, the longing for purity, the drawing away to prayer, the hunger for God's Word, the intense desire to have others saved, the passion to please this wondrous God of ours,—all these simple marks of the Holy Spirit's presence in our hearts, all tell us, and each tells us, in unmistakable tones, that Christ is crowned. For this wondrous Spirit within is the gift of the crowned Christ.
When Jesus went up from the earth, holding as His sure captive the captivity of suffering and death to which He had with such great strength yielded, He received gifts, coronation gifts. The Father gave Him all. He gave Him the disposal and control of all. This was the crowning.
And in His great out-reaching love Christ received these gifts on behalf of men, His blood brothers. And at once He gave to men, to His trusting disciples, the all-inclusive gift, the Holy Spirit, His coronation gift. So God came anew to dwell with men as originally planned.
This blessed Presence within tells me, by His mere presence, that Christ is crowned.
The writers of the New Testament make a chorus of sweet music on this chord, ringing out in clear tones the full notes of delight and joy. Luke's simple narrative sounds the note four times. Paul swells it out with a joyous fulness that grows in volume and intensity as his narrowing prison walls shut out more and more the lower lights, and centres his upward gaze upon Jesus, "far above all rule, and authority, and power, and dominion, and every name that is named," with "all things in subjection under His feet." John's special companion and working partner, Peter, makes this note blend with and dominate the minor chord of suffering for Christ's sake.
The Christian Hebrew who wrote so eloquently to his fellow-countrymen of the immense superiority of Jesus and so modestly withheld his own name, strikes this note five times with strong, clear touch. He quotes that Eighth Psalm, which so wonderfully gives God's own ideal for man's mastery over all creation. And then he tells us that in Jesus the ideal will yet be fully realized. And that while the whole plan has not yet fully worked out as it will, yet even now we see the Jesus who tasted death for every one, crowned with glory and honour as part of the plan which He carried out in suffering the extreme suffering of death.
And our Lord Jesus Himself, talking out of the glory to the man who was His bosom companion on earth, reserves as His last tender plea to us to live the overcoming life this—"he that overcometh I will give him to sit down with me in my throne as I also overcame and sat down with my Father on His throne."
And so we find out just what this word crowned means. Jesus was received in the upper world, exalted, glorified, made to sit down at the Father's right hand, put far above all rule and authority, with a name greater in the sweep of its power than any other, and with all things put in absolute subjection under His feet. This is the simple, direct meaning of the sentence—Christ is crowned.
What a contrast the two faces of that glory cloud saw! The face looking down, and the face looking up! The one—the downward face—looked upon a cross, a Man hanging there with a mocking crown of thorns without and a break ing heart within, scowling priests, jeering crowds, deserting disciples, sneering soldiers, weeping women, heart-broken friends, a horror of darkness, a cave-tomb under imperial seal, and blackest night settling down over all.
The other—the upward face—looked upon a great burst of the upper glory, the countless angels singing swelling songs of worship, the wondrous winged cherubim, the redeemed hosts from Eden days on reverently bowing and exultantly singing, the exquisitely soft-green-rainbow-circled throne, the Father's face, once hidden, but to be hidden now never again, the shared seat on the Father's throne,—what a contrast!
Here crucified—there crowned. Crucified on earth, one of the smaller globes of the universe. On the throne of the whole universe of globes—crowned! From the lowest depth to the one extreme height. From hate's worst to Love's best. From love poured out for men to love enthroned for those same men; love triumphant each time, on cross and on throne. What a contrast! What a coronation! What a welcome home to a throne!
It is most intensely interesting to recall that, of course, this is just what the very word Christ means,—the Crowned One. We sometimes get so used to a word that it is easy to forget its real meaning. The word Christ has been used so generally for so many centuries as a name that we forget that originally it was a title, and not a name.
And it still is a title, though used chiefly as a name. Some day the title-meaning will overlap the name-meaning. We may never cease thinking of it as a name, but there is a time coming when events will make the title-meaning so big as to clear over-shadow our thought and use of it as a name.
It helps to recall the distinctive meaning of the words we use for Him who walked amongst, and was one of us. Jesus is His name. It belongs to the man. It belongs peculiarly to the thirty-three years and a bit more that He was here, even though not exclusively used in that way in the Book.
There's a rare threefold sweetness of meaning in that five-lettered name. There is the meaning of the old word lying within the name, before it became a name, victory, victor, saviour-victor, Jehovah-victor. There is the swing and rhythm and murmur of music, glad joyous music, in its very beginnings as a common word.
Then it has come to stand wholly for a personality, the rarely gentle, winsome, strong personality of the Man of Bethlehem and Nazareth, and of those crowded service-days. And every memory of His personality sweetens and enriches the music in the old word.
And then the deepest significance, the richest rhythm, the sweetest melody, come from the meaning His experiences, His life, pressed into it. The sympathy, the suffering, the wilderness, the Cross, the Resurrection, all the experiences He went through, these give to this victory-word, Jesus, a meaning unknown before. They put the name Jesus actually above every name in the experiences of tense conflict and sweeping victory it stands for. This threefold chording makes music never to be broken nor forgotten.
"There is no name so sweet on earth,
No name so sweet in heaven,
The name before His wondrous birth,
To Christ the Saviour given."
Lord is a title, of course. It was used of one who was a proprietor, an owner, or a master. It was commonly used as a title of honour for one in superior position, as a leader or teacher. In speaking of Jesus it is coupled with the title Christ as an interchangeable word, as well as an additional title. But peculiarly it is the personal title given Jesus by one who takes Him as his own personal Master, while it still retains its broader meaning.
But Christ is peculiarly the official title of Jesus. There is only one Christ. Lord is used of men. It is used of both the Father and the Holy Spirit, as well as of Jesus. But the name Christ is used of only one person, and can mean only that one. There could be only one Christ.
The word or its equivalent was used occasionally in the Old Testament in a narrowed sense for the King of Israel, who is reverently spoken of as "the Lord's anointed," that is, God's Messiah or Christ.
But the one common thought of it among the Hebrew people, growing ever intenser as the Old Testament period merges into the time of the New, was that there was one coming, the Messiah, the Christ, God's chosen, the one anointed and empowered, to be their Deliverer. The one question that sets all hearts a-flutter about the rugged John of the deserts was this: "Is he the Christ?" In their thought there was only one to whom the title belonged.
And even so it is. Christ is the official title of the One Chosen and anointed by God to be ruler over His Hebrew people, and over all the race, and the earth, and the universe,—God's King, to reign until all have been brought into full allegiance to the great loving Father. The Christ is the Crowned One, God's Crowned One. The very word Christ tells that Christ is crowned.
There is an intensely interesting question that crowds its way in here, and it proves an immensely practical question, too. Why was Christ crowned? We can say at once that this was His due. He was given that which belonged to Him in good right. He was reinstated in His former position, with all the power and glory that were His before His errand to the earth.
Then too this was His vindication after the shameful treatment of earth. Before the eyes of all the upper world, both loyal and disloyal eyes, this man whom earth hounded so shamelessly is vindicated; He is set right by the Father.
But there is yet more than this. It is a more of a sort that concerns us very closely, and it sets one's heart a-beating a bit faster. This crowning was part of a plan, a plan of which our earth is the centre. It was the second great part of a plan of which the suffering and dying were the first great part. Both were for the sake of us men and our earth-home, and the lower creation.
This is the thing being emphasized in the second great paragraph of the Hebrews. Man was made the under-master of the earth and of the lower creation, but lost, weakly surrendered, his place of mastery. The new Man came to recover for man what had been lost and to realize this original lost plan.
And so He became our brother, sharer of our flesh and blood, tempted like as we, perfected in His human character by the experiences He went through, then tasted to the bitter dregs the death that belongs to our sin. And then follow ing that, He was crowned with glory and honour. And so He rises to the place of mastery over all that belongs to perfect man. So He brings all creation into the glad subjection which is its natural happy state. It is for earth's sake, for the race's sake, and for the sake of our faithful companions and servants, the whole lower creation, that Christ has been crowned.
We think more about the personal meaning to ourselves of His having died and risen again. We need to remember, too, this broader meaning. The dying and rising secures our salvation personally. The crowning and the reigning will work out the redemption of all nature and of the lower creation, and this in turn will mean much for men living on the earth in the Kingdom time, and for the race as a race.
This leads at once to another question that presses in. What is the domain of the crowned Christ? If we take the crowning in the common meaning of that word, it means that there is some domain that Christ rules over. What is it that He is crowned over?
And the answer is so sweeping as to seem far-away and dreamy to us who are living on this sin-hurt earth. He is the crowned Ruler of the whole created universe and all intelligent beings in it. He has been placed over absolutely every "rule and authority and power and dominion, and not only in this present age but in the com ing age." There is simply no limit in extent to His domain. Everything has been placed in subjection to Him and is now subject to His word, and His alone.
There is a striking passage in Philippians that fits in here. In speaking of the exaltation of Jesus Christ, Paul is careful to explain particularly that every knee would bow, in the heavens, and, on the earth, and under the earth or in the world below.
This threefold division is very striking. The heaven things are understood at once, and things of the earth sphere. But there is a third world to be taken into account, that strange uncanny world of evil spirit beings in rebellion against God's authority. It is spoken of repeatedly as principalities and powers, indicating numbers and organization, dignity, and power. All of this is included in what has been placed under Christ's authority.
But there is still another question that has been impatiently pushing underneath for some time. And it also is an intensely practical one. Does this mean that Christ is actually ruling now over this domain of His? How about the affairs on the earth? Are all things here subject to Him? Is this the way He would have things go? And some of us think the evil spirits seem pretty free in their movements. This present order of things that we are living in the thick of, is this the reign of the crowned Christ? And some of us feel the stress of things so much that we can scarce keep patient for a thoughtful poised answer to our questions.
There are those, and good earnest folk they are, too, who tell us that Christ has come, and is constantly coming, more and more, into our common life. The higher ideals that are crowding for expression, the more spiritual conceptions of man and his brotherly relations, the constant striving toward better civilization, the bettering of the condition of the poor and less fortunate, the increased recognition of men's rights in the complex industrial world, the increasing effort to correct evils by legislation, the great moral reforms that are sweeping aside the awful liquor curse, and loosening women's bonds, and safeguarding young womanhood and children, the newer aggressiveness in the missionary propaganda and in much of the activity of the Church, even the attempt to humanize and civilize the warfare that in itself is stupidly savage and utterly inhuman,—is not all this a coming of Christ and of the Christ-spirit into our common life? many ask.
And there is only one answer to such questions, a strong emphatic "yes." It surely is the Christ-spirit that moves in all of this. This is a coming of Christ; and a blessed coming, too. There was nothing of this sort before the Christ-spirit began to sweeten the world's life. And there is none of it to-day except in those parts of the world where the Christ-spirit influences life.
But—there's a "but"—it proves a blessed but; this is only a crumb or two falling from a loaded table. And he who judges Christ by these crumbs only, wholesome and toothsome as they are, will have a very skimpy conception of Christ.
All of this sort of thing that has come has come very slowly. It has had to fight through and in, every step of the way that it has come. Its coming has been opposed stubbornly, maliciously, viciously every inch of the road, as only those know who are in the thick of the struggle for these reforms, panting for breath sometimes.
It is as though a few whiffs of wholesome life-giving air have breathed through the cracks and crevices of the breastworks and fortifications of evil in which all our common life seems entrenched. But the fortifications are still there. If the sweet, wholesome breathing in through cracks and crannies has been so blest, what would it be if the forces of evil were clean removed from the scene, and the Christ-spirit became the whole atmosphere breathed fully and freely without restraint, with no bad draughts, and no counter currents to guard and fight against?
It would seem like a strange sort of a kingdom if the present is even a gradual coming in of the Kingdom. We would seem to be having a new, strange sort of a Christ if the present is a sample of His sort of reigning. For it may well be thoughtfully doubted if ever there was such a condition of feverish unrest in all parts of the world as to-day.
It is most difficult to put your finger on a single spot of the world-map that is not being torn and uptorn by unrest in one shape or another. Either actual war, or constant studious preparation for war, actually never ceases. And it is difficult to say which is the worse of the two. The actual war reveals more terribly to our eyes and ears the awful cost in treasure and in precious human blood spilled without stint. The never-ceasing preparation for war seems actually to cost more. In the immense treasure involved, and in blood too, given out, not on an occasional battlefield, but in the continual battle of daily life to meet the terrible drain of taxation, it costs immensely more. There is less of the tragic for the news headings, but not a whit less, rather much more, in the slow suffering, the pinched lives, and the awful temptations to barter character for bread.
Then there is the continual seething unrest in the industrial world; the protests sometimes so strange and startling against social and political conditions; the feverish greed for gold, and land, and position; the intense pace of all our modern life; the abandonment of home and home ideals; the terrific attack against our young womanhood. The political pot which gathers into itself all these things, never quits boiling or boiling over, in some part of the world, now here, now there. And it seems like the greatest achievement of diplomacy when here and there it can be kept from boiling clean over, or at least made to boil over less.
It would seem indeed like a queer sort of kingdom if this is a sample. Some of us would have less heart in repeating one petition of the old daily prayer. And Christ would seem to have quite changed His spirit and character if this is a result of His coming.
And the great simple truth is this, the truth that in the strange mix-up of life we easily lose sight of is this: Christ has not yet taken possession of all of His domain; a part of it still remains to be possessed. "We see not yet all things subjected to Him." We are living in the "not-yet" interval between the crowning and the actual reigning. We are living on the "not-yet" possessed part of His domain.
And the question that comes hot and quick from our lips, even though with an attempt at subdued reverence, is this: "Why does He not take possession, and untangle the snarl, and right the wrongs, and bring in the true rational order of things?" And all the long waiting, the soreness of hearts over the part that touches one's own life most closely, the shortness of breath in the tensity of the struggle, underscore that word "why?"
And the answer to the impatient question reveals all afresh the greatness of the love of our Christ. His greatness is shown most in His patience. But patience is one of the things we men on this old earth don't know. It's one of the unknown quantities to us. It can be known only by knowing God. For patience is love at its best. Patience is God at His best. His is the patience that sees all, and feels all with the tender heart that broke once under the load, and yet waits, steadily waits, and then waits just a bit longer.
In this He runs the risk of being misunderstood. Men in their stupidity constantly mistake strong patience for weakness or indifference or lack of a gripping purpose. And God is misunderstood in this, even by His trusting children. But, even so, the object to be gained is so great, and so near Christ's heart that He waits, strongly waits with a patience beyond our comprehension; waits just a bit longer, always just a bit longer.
There are two parts to the answer. Jesus the Christ is giving man the fullest opportunity. He never interferes with man's right of free choice. Man is free to do as he chooses. Every possible means is used to influence him to choose right, but the choice itself is always left to the man. The present is man's opportunity. The initiative of action on the earth is altogether in man's hand. All of God's power is at man's disposal; but man must reach out and take. This long stretched but waiting time is for man's sake, that he may have fullest opportunity. The longsuffering of God would woo men.
When at length opportunity comes to its end it will be only because things have gotten into such desperate shape, into such an awful fix, that at length for man's sake Christ will step into the direct action of the earth once again. He will take the leadership of earth into His own hands, even while still leaving each man free in his individual choice. This is the first part of the answer. The waiting is that man may have fullest opportunity.
Then Christ has a great hunger for willing hearts. No words are strong enough to tell His longing for a free, glad, joyous surrender to His mastery. He could so easily end the present conflict, but He waits that men may bring to Him the allegiance of their lives, given of their own glad, gracious, voluntary accord. He was a volunteer Saviour. He longs for that love that is the bubbling out of a free, full heart.
The best love is only given freely without any compulsion of any sort, save only love's sweet compelling. He wants what He gives—the best. And so He waits, patiently waits just a bit longer. This is the second bit of the answer. The long delay spells out the hunger as well as the patience of God's heart. The divine Husbandman is pa tiently waiting, and sending warm sun and soft rains and fragrant dews while waiting.
"The Husbandman waiteth—
The Husbandman? Why?
For the heart of one servant
Who hears not His cry.
"The Husbandman waiteth—
He waiteth? What for?
For the heart of one servant
To love Him yet more.
"The Husbandman waiteth—
Long patience hath He—
But He waiteth in hunger—
Oh! Is it for thee?"
But—ah! listen, there's a wonderful "but" to put in here. But, while waiting He puts all His limitless power at our disposal. If that simple sentence could be put into letters of living flame, its tremendous meaning might burn into our hearts. When Paul piled up phrase on phrase in his eager attempt to have his Asiatic friends in and around Ephesus take in the limitless power of the ascended Christ, he added the significant words, "to the Church." All that power is for the use, and at the disposal, of the Church.
The Church was meant to be a unit in spirit in loyalty to her absent Lord, wholly under the dominating touch of the Holy Spirit, not only in her official actions, but in the lives of the individual members. If she were so, no human imagination could take in the startling, revolutionary power, softly, subtly, but with resistless sweep, flowing down from the crowned Christ, among grateful men.
Not being such a unit it is not possible that that power shall be as great in manifestation as was planned and meant. For no individual nor group can ever take the place in action of the whole unified body of believers, acting as a channel for the power of the crowned Christ. That power shall be realized on the earth only when the Church is so unified, and at work, under the reigning Christ, from the new headquarters up in the heavens.
But meanwhile all of that power is at the disposal of any disciple of Christ—the humblest—who will simply live in full-faced touch with Christ, and who will take of that power as the need comes, and as the sovereign Holy Spirit leads.
It is of this, this personal taking, that Paul is speaking when he piles up that intense sentence: "able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think according to the power that worketh in us." The great bother in Paul's day and ever since, and now, is to get people to take. The power is fairly a-tremble in the air at our very finger-tips. And we go limping, crutching along both bodily and mentally and in our spiritual leanness.
Those tremendous words of Jesus, "because I go unto the Father," with the whole passage in which they occur, must be read in the light shining from the throne. Only so can they be understood. But then, so read, they begin to grip us, and grip us hard, as we see what He really meant and means.
He who has the warm, child-like touch of heart with Jesus, that the word "believeth" stands for, shall—as the Holy Spirit has full control—do the same works as Jesus did, same in kind and in degree, and then shall do even greater than Jesus ever did. Because it is now the glorified crowned Christ who is doing them through some child of His, simple-hearted enough to let Him have full control.
And the means through which He will do them is simple, child-like, trusting, humble prayer. The man using the power is on his knees. The lower down he gets the more and more freely the power flows down and out among men.
As one learns to keep in touch—learns it slowly, stumblingly, with many a stupid fall, and many a tremble and quiver—as he learns to keep in simple touch with the crowned Christ he will find all the power of that Christ coming with a soft surging throb of life wherever needed. We may have all we can take. But the taking must be with one's very life. No mere earnest repeating of a creed in Church service will avail here. The repeating must be, syllable by syllable, with feet and will, with hands and life, in the daily tread where each step is stubbornly contested.
This is the bit of truth for the waiting time. This is the song to be singing in this present "not-yet" interval. And the song will help cut down the length of that "not-yet," until the friction of our lived faith shall wear off the "not" and wipe out the "yet," and we shall find the crowned Christ a reigning Christ.
For some day this patient waiting crowned Man will rise up from His seat at the Father's right hand. He will step directly into the action of earth once again. Man will have had his fullest opportunity lengthened out to the last notch of his possible use of it. Then we shall see the crowned Christ quietly stepping in, taking matters wholly into His own hands, and acting in all the affairs of earth as the Crowned One. Then He shall reign from sea to sea, and from the Euphrates out to where the ends of the earth become a common line on the other side. The Kingdom will have come, for the King will be reigning.
The night will be gone. The day has come. The shadows flee. He has come, whose presence puts the new day at dawn, with the East all aflame, and the fragrant dew glistening gladly on every tender green blade. This time of expectancy is over; the time of making real has come. Then comes the restoration of the old original love plan to earth and beast and man.
"Thou art coming, O my Saviour!
Thou art coming, O my King!
In thy glory all-transcendent;
In thy beauty all resplendent;
Well may we rejoice and sing!
Coming! In the opening east,
Herald brightness slowly swells;
Coming, O my glorious Priest,
Hear we not thy golden bells?
"Thou art coming, Thou art coming!
We shall meet Thee on Thy way,
We shall see Thee, we shall know Thee,
We shall bless Thee, we shall show Thee
All our hearts could never say!
What an anthem that will be,
Ringing out our love to Thee;
Pouring out our rapture sweet
At Thine own all-glorious feet!
"Thou art coming! Rays of glory,
Through the veil Thy death has rent,
Touch the mountain and the river
With a golden glowing quiver,
Thrill of light and music blent.
Earth is brightened when this gleam
Falls on flower, rock, and stream;
Life is brightened when this ray
Falls upon its darkest day.
"Not a cloud and not a shadow,
Not a mist and not a tear,
Not a sin and not a sorrow,
Not a dim and veiled to-morrow,
For that sunrise grand and clear!
Jesus, Saviour, once with Thee,
Nothing else seems worth a thought!
Oh, how marvellous will be
All the bliss Thy pain hath bought!
"Thou art coming! At Thy table,
We are witnesses of this,
While remembering hearts Thou meetest,
In communion clearest, sweetest,
Earnest of our coming bliss.
Showing not Thy death alone,
And Thy love exceeding great,
But Thy coming and Thy throne,
All for which we long and wait.
"Thou art coming! We are waiting
With a hope that cannot fail;
Asking not the day or hour,
Resting on Thy word of power
Anchored safe within the veil,
Time appointed may be long,
But the vision must be sure;
Certainty shall make us strong,
Joyful patience can endure!
"O the joy to see Thee reigning,
Thee, my own beloved Lord!
Every tongue Thy name confessing,
Worship, honor, glory, blessing,
Brought to Thee with glad accord!
Thee, my Master and my Friend,
Vindicated and enthroned!
Unto earth's remotest end
Glorified, adored, and owned!"
But we are still in the "not-yet" interval. We see not yet all things subject to Him. This is still the waiting time. It is the pleading time for Him. He pleads for the personal crowning of Himself in our lives, that He may reign there and He alone. This is our great opportunity. We shall never see its like again, nor anywhere else than on this earth.
In the reigning time that's coming this peculiar opportunity of crowning Christ while He still is absent and despised, this will be gone. In the upper world they have no such opportunity. There is no opposition there. Now and here is the rarest opportunity to put this great waiting patient Man on the throne of heart and life, with possessions and ambitions and plans all in subjection under His feet.
Every woman knows the name of Brussels lace. The old capital of the low countries of Europe has long been famous for its lace. It is of great interest to note the conditions under which it is sometimes made. They are conditions studiously prepared after long experience. In one of the famous lace factories in Brussels there are a number of small rooms devoted to the making of some of the most delicate patterns.
Each room is just large enough for a single worker, and is quite dark except for one narrow window. The worker sits so that the stream of light falls from above directly upon the threads, while he himself sits in the darkness. The darkness aids the workman's eyes to see better, and to work more skilfully in the narrow line of clear light centred on the delicate task. He weaves in the upper light intensified by the surrounding gloom, and does exquisite work.
There is a clear line of light from a throne shining down into the darkness in which we sit and move. It shines from the face of a crowned Man. In the light of that light we can see clearly to do a difficult bit of crowning work,—to crown the Christ in our lives and to keep Him crowned.
As our eyes follow that line of upper light we may catch glimpses of His wondrous Face up there in the glory. So we shall be steadied and cheered in the darkness as we stick to our glad crowning work. And so we shall move forward on the calendar the day when that thin line of light seen now only by watching eyes shall become a burst of glory light seen by all eyes.
And this is the thing the crowned Christ is asking of us during this waiting time, this "not-yet" interval. He is counting on each of us being faithful to Him, our absent Lord, in this.
"He is counting on you.
He has need of your life
In the thick of the strife
For that weak one may fall
If you fail at His call.
He is counting on you,
If you fail Him—
"He is counting on you.
On your silver and gold
On that treasure you hold;
On that treasure still kept,
Though the doubt o'er you swept
'Is this gold not all mine?
(Lord, I knew it was Thine.')
He is counting on you,
If you fail Him—
"He is counting on you.
On a love that will share
In His burden of prayer,
For the souls He has bought
With His life-blood; and sought
Through His sorrow and pain
To win 'Home' yet again.
He is counting on you,
If you fail Him—
"He is counting on you.
On life, money, and prayer;
And 'the day shall declare'
If you let Him have all
In response to His call;
Or if He in that day
To your sorrow must say,
'I had counted on you,
But you failed me'—
"He is counting on you.
Oh! the wonder and grace,
To look Christ in the face
And not be ashamed;
For you gave what He claimed,
And you laid down your all
For His sake—at His call.
He had counted on you,
And you failed not.
Ah! Please God, by His grace, we shall not fail in the ruling purpose of our lives. We may crown Him Lord of all. We can. He asks it. We surely will.
"With all my powers Him I greet,
All subject to His call;
And bowing low at His pierced feet
Now crown him Lord of all."