“In Holy Splendour”
I had been sighing over the dull, drab, ordinary sort of Christian living that seems to characterize the most of us who profess the Name of the Lord, and praying that there might be revived in our souls a holy enthusiasm for Him and His interests. But by what means could this be brought about?—that was the question which exercised my mind through a somewhat sleepless night. I believe I got the answer to the question at the dawn, for just as the grey light of morning came softly stealing through my eastern window, Psalm 110 came with peculiar force to my mind. I had just at hand the “New Translation,” by J. N. Darby, and I found in verse 3 a description of the very condition of things for which I was longing. “The people shall be willing [or, shall offer themselves willingly] in the day of Thy power, in holy splendour: from the womb of the morning [shall come] to Thee the dew of Thy youth”, will be literally fulfilled in the day of the Lord’s millennial power, but it should have a not less blessed fulfilment in us who know the glory of the Lord now.
I had a spiritual vision of the saints of God, wholly separated unto the Lord, yielding themselves with a glad and willing obedience to Him and His cause, like an army, triumphant and well equipped, shouting its enthusiasm for its king. I saw the saints as a company of Nazarites, such as the Nazarites in Israel once were. “Her Nazarites were purer than snow, they were whiter than milk, they were more ruddy in body than rubies, their polishing was of sapphire” (Lam. 4:7). This surely is the meaning at the words. “The people shall offer themselves willingly. . . in holy splendour.”
True Nazariteship, true sanctification of body, soul and spirit unto the Lord; this is holy splendour, the only splendid thing in the eyes of heaven in this tawdry and sordid world.
It is this “holy splendour” that we must seek after; nothing less than this will wholly please the Lord; without it we have left our first love, and we are neither cold nor hot. The very thought of the possibility of it makes the heart glow, and quickens prayer that it might be so. Let us consider this “holy splendour;” it is not the doing of doughty deeds, the winning of wonderful victories over mighty foes, it may lead to that surely, but it is the full and glad acknowledgment of the Lord’s absolute right to possess us wholly. It is that of which Paul speaks, “a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the Master’s use.” When Mary in silence and self-forgetfulness poured her spikenard upon the feet of her Lord, It was holy splendour; when there was forced from the heart of Paul the cry, “The love of Christ constraineth us,” and, again, “for me to live is Christ,” it was holy splendour. When any soul can truly sing—
“Thine, Jesus, Thine
For ever to recline
On love eternal, fixed and sure.
Yes, I am Thine, for evermore
Lord Jesus, Thine.”
that soul is coming to the Lord in holy splendour.
But these who thus come to the Lord for His joy and use are “from the womb of the morning.” They are children of the day, they do not belong to the night, therefore they are not to sleep as do others, but must watch and be sober. They are like an army, alert, well disciplined, and watchful. And they are wonderfully accoutred, for the Scripture says, “Let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation” (1 Thess. 5:8). Behold this army standing ready for service or for the home-call, girt in these heavenly graces; as the light of heaven shines upon them do they not appear in holy splendour? This was my vision; this is the “army with banners” beautiful in the eyes of the Lord.
But how can this be not a vision merely, but a great spiritual reality? There is only one way. Never yet did any soul become subject to the Lord except as He became its sole object. So our Psalm begins, “The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou at My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.” These are familiar words. They are quoted three times in the New Testament, plainly showing the immense importance of them. They were quoted by the Lord Himself to the Pharisees when in His patience with them He asked, “What think ye of Christ?” This declaration of the Eternal God plainly shows what HE thinks of Him. Herein is found His answer to all the contempt and hatred that men heaped upon Him. It is God’s answer to the cross. The One who was thorn-crowned and crucified is now sitting at the right hand of the Majesty on high. But there is more in it than that. It means that though He was despised and rejected of men, and though it is still the day of His reproach, He is yet to be triumphant over every foe. But there is more even than that, for He is addressed as the Lord, He is not only the Man, infinitely delightful to God, but He is Himself the Lord, God and man in one Person. Could we possibly consider Him coming
“From Godhead’s fullest glory
Down to Calvary’s depth of woe”;
and going back again to the glory from whence He came without being profoundly moved towards Him? His humiliation and suffering and death, His resurrection and ascension and glory, and the love that lay behind it all claim us for Himself alone, and as we consider Him we shall most certainly desire to be “unto the Lord,” and so be true Nazarites (see Numbers 6). We shall willingly yield ourselves to Him in holy splendour.
But there is more. It is well to reach that point in our soul’s history when we make a definite decision to be wholly for the Lord, but to carry out that decision is utterly beyond us, if we have no strength but our own, and hence there is a wonderful provision for us. Read the 4th verse of our Psalm, “Jehovah hath sworn, and will not repent, Thou art a priest for ever after the order of Melchisedek.”
Have we considered our Lord in this character? It will be well worth our while to do so. He has become, through His suffering, the Author of eternal salvation to all who obey Him. He can maintain us in the holy splendour of our willing obedience to Him. If we look to Him He becomes our strength in weakness, He can preserve our devotion to Himself, whiter than milk, purer than snow, more ruddy than rubies, and bright as the sapphires that shine in the city of God. When weary and like to faint in the conflict He brings forth the bread and wine to refresh us as Melchisedek did for Abraham in the days of old. He can never fail, and we may rely upon Him who is able to keep us from falling, and to present us faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy. To Him be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen.