The Patience of the Saints
“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord” (, ). See also ; .
When the disciples came to Jesus with joy because the devils were subject to them through His name, He confirmed to them this and still greater power, but He warned them thus: “Notwithstanding in this rejoice not, that the spirits are subject unto you; but rather rejoice, because your names are written in heaven” (). Christ would guard His followers against pride, and here He gives to them a thought to occupy their minds when they were tempted to glory in the power they had received from Him; not to rejoice in this power as it might lead to vainglory. . . .
In both of these lessons, one from Jeremiah, the other from the precepts of our Lord, we behold the very same principle, a warning against pride, and a cure for pride, or a preventive for the vice; for truly pride may very properly be called a vice. All that may possibly lead to pride we should studiously avoid. There is a beautiful feature in a lesson given in this way. Instead of forbidding pride, and leaving the learner so, the teacher gives a complete, a radical, and specific remedy. When we are pleased because of powers granted to us, or we are self-complacently joyous in possession of gifts from God, we may well be on our guard, and cease to be joyous on these accounts; but we should not wholly cease to be joyous but should rejoice for a different reason; that is, that God is altogether and in all respects a good and just and holy being, and that we are safe and all our interests are safe in His hands, and that He will continue to favor us with His good Spirit and bring us finally to His own inheritance.
It is natural for people to glory in something. This is a world of sorrow, and we all need something to brace up the spirit against the constant wear and friction of life. And this is what brings out character—the motive. If we lean on our gifts, the same thing as rejoicing and glorying in them, we are on a sandy foundation. We are duty-bound to be thoroughly grateful to God for gifts, whether they are mental or material; but here is the point: We may not safely lean upon them, that is, to glory in them, or rejoice in them, for they are only gifts, but we may rejoice in the Giver and in the promised inheritance of the saints.
Such glorying and rejoicing is infinitely above the other, in purity and excellence, and its tendency is to elevate the mind, while self-complacent and selfish joys tend to lower the standard and, in the end, to degrade the mind.
To understand and know about God will cause us to long for that purity of the heart which will bring us into a closer communion with Him, and that will not rest content until we are sure that our sins are washed away in the blood of Christ; and then we will feel the obligation to depart from all iniquity. . . .
Whether we view His work through the microscope, which reveals His skill in the minutest of His works, or through the telescope, which peers far out in the ocean of space to other systems of worlds and suns, we are deeply impressed with the wisdom, power, and skill of the Creator; but all this is not to compare with the consideration that the infinite Creator possesses a character such as revealed in Christ, who is “the brightness of his glory, and the express image of his person” (). . . .
After all we may learn of the character and works of God in this world, it is only as through a glass darkly, as we shade the eye to view the sun. But we see all we need to make us thoughtful, humble, reverent, and pure. We see enough to keep us from unbelief and sin; enough to encourage us to labor and devotion to His truth; but our knowledge of the infinite power and wisdom and love of God will continue to increase as we continue to grow in grace and in the love of God. Throughout the ages upon ages of eternity, His perfections will be a continual joy and admiration and surprise to the ransomed host.