"Then they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened, and heard it, and a book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name. And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels; and I will spare them, as a man spareth his own son that serveth him."
We are not only to contemplate the glory of Christ, but also to speak of his excellences. Isaiah not only beheld the glory of Christ, but he also spake of him. While David mused, the fire burned; then spake he with his tongue. While he mused upon the wondrous love of God, he could not but speak of that which he saw and felt. Who can by faith behold the wonderful plan of redemption, the glory of the only-begotten Son of God, and not speak of it? Who can contemplate the unfathomable love that was manifest upon the cross of Calvary in the death of Christ, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life, and have no words by which to extol the Saviour's glory? We cannot become partakers of his love, and give no expression to our reverence and adoration.
As believers behold Christ, they will be led to assemble together, and to speak one to another words that will express their fervent love. They will say, He is "the chiefest among ten thousand," "Yea, he is altogether lovely." "In his temple doth everyone speak of his glory." The sweet singer of Israel praised him upon the harp, singing: "I will speak of the glorious honor of thy majesty, and of thy wondrous works. And men shall speak of the might of thy terrible acts; and I will declare thy greatness. They shall abundantly utter the memory of thy great goodness, and shall sing of thy righteousness. . . . They shall speak of the glory of thy kingdom, and talk of thy power; to make known to the sons of men his mighty acts, and the glorious majesty of his kingdom." This will be the character of the conversation of those who are described in the Scriptures as those that "feared the Lord, and that though upon his name." God is represented as listening to their words and writing them in a book.
John, the beloved disciple, bore a living testimony, saying: "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life (for the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and show unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us); that which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us; and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ. And these things write we unto you, that your joy may be full. This then is the message which we have heard of him, and declare unto you, that God is light, and in him is no darkness at all."
Surely, those who speak one to another of the goodness of the Lord are highly privileged. Peter exclaims, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should show forth the praises of Him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light." We have rich themes for thought and conversation, and if we will dwell upon these themes, our souls will be encouraged and uplifted. Those who are subjects of the grace of God, upon whom the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness are shining, are to be God's witnesses. Should they hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out. God will be glorified.
If the members of the church are one with Christ, there will be union one with another. The unity of believers will be a living testimony to the world of the power of the Gospel. When there is love one to another, the bright beams of the Sun of Righteousness will be diffused to a world that lies in darkness. Why can we not see from the lessons of Christ, and especially from his prayer for the unity of believers, that Christians must be perfect in unity in order to represent the glory of their Redeemer? If those who believe the truth would bring the prayer of Christ into their practical life, they would grow up into the full stature of men and women in Christ Jesus. As believers in Christ, we are "built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord. In whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit."
The believer in Christ should understand that dissension and division in the church are brought about through the working of the powers of darkness, in order that those who profess to be the children of God may not present the oneness for which Christ prayed. God's people greatly dishonor his name, and misrepresent his truth, when they manifest a lack of love one for another. As love for God grows cold, they lose the childlike simplicity that knits heart to heart in loving tenderness. Hard-heartedness comes in, and there is a drawing away one from another. Many are saying by their actions, "I care not for the prayer of Christ." They feel under no special obligation to love others as Christ has loved them, and Jesus can do little for these souls, for his words and Spirit are not permitted to enter into the heart.
Many are in darkness, and know not the cause; they are not at peace with God; they are not one with Christ nor in unity with the brethren. They seem to think that they are at liberty to act out the natural feelings of the heart. They testify by their words and actions that they do not desire to be in union with those who do not exactly meet their mind, even though they are believers. All who entertain evil surmisings, and cherish ill feelings to others, need to be converted. They need to learn to live by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.
Love for one another is not to be manifested by praise and by flattery of one another, but by true fidelity. The love of Christ will lead us to watch for souls, and if we see one in danger, we will tell him so, plainly and kindly, even at the risk of his displeasure. The religion of Christ is not to be controlled by impulse. We need to pray much and lean wholly upon God. We need to hold the truth with firmness, and in all righteousness and truth; but while we speak the truth with fidelity, we should speak it in love.
"A new commandment I give unto you, That ye love one another." How much?-- "As I have loved you, that ye also love one another." Do we regard this commandment sufficiently? Do we permit it to control mind and heart, and mold the character? "By this shall all men know ye are my disciples, if ye have love one to another." Thus believers are to bear to the world the credentials which will testify that they are indeed the children of God. Jesus says: "The glory which thou gavest me I have given them; that they may be one, even as we are one: I in them, and thou in me, that they may be made perfect in one; and that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them, as thou hast loved me."
What can I present before my brethren and sisters that is more important for their study and practice than the prayer of Christ? The entire seventeenth chapter of John is full of marrow and fatness. Are there not urgent reasons why we should take heed to those words of Christ? Is it not time we sought for the unity for which the Saviour prayed? Shall we not open our hearts to the melting love of Jesus? Shall we not let that love take the place of the coldness and hardness that have been too often revealed in the character? May the Lord have compassion upon us; may he forgive our perversity, heal our backslidings, and unite the hearts of all that believe the truth in that oneness for which Christ prayed, that we may be one even as he and the Father are one.