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of the Nazarite condition. They may be Christians;
. but they are surely not in enjoyed communion. They have none of its sweet blessed brokenness of spirit before God-none of it before men. True joy is a divine joy. “The joy of the Lord is our strength.” “We also joy in God, through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement." “Whom having not seen we love, in whom, though now we see Him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Our Lord is the highest example of this. His joy consisted in His doing the will of His Father-or, more properly, in His Father Himself. For what gave Him joy? Was it the wine of any earthly root ? Nay, the earth gave Him no joy. He found no rest, no portion here. Ah! He will have joy in the earth ; but it is not yet. He came to His own, and His own received Him not.” “He was despised and rejected of
. men, a man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief.” They would not have this man to reign over them. And He is still, as it were, under the Nazarite vow; yet He will drink the wine; but it will be in the kingdom, when the vow will no longer be kept with Him or with us. We shall sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and indulge in all joy ; for everything in us, and everything in that kingdom, will be according to God; the things that offended having been taken utterly away.
Meanwhile, Christ now is our true joy-not anything here, not self, but Christ; especially not anything of this present evil age. It is a secret known to the Christian. Its true scene is where Christ now is. He is in the Father, and we are in Him. But the Father is in heaven ; Christ is there ; we are there in Him in heaven, The disciples indeed had their joy in Him, whilst as yet He was down here; but when they saw Him ascend, He drew their spirit after Him-as the needle always points to the north, so love directs itself to its object. We set our mind on things above, where Christ sitteth at the right hand of God; and where, together with Him, we are partakers of the heavenly calling. When the Lord passed forty days on the earth after His resurrection, the disciples were, doubtless, often agitated and unsettled, not knowing what He would do; but when He led them out to Bethany, and they saw Him ascending to where He now is--to the presence of the Father-the scene of their joy was plainly in heaven. Knowing what had occurred, “they returned to Jerusalem with great joy." What was the secret of their joy? Was it in anything on earth? No indeed. So now with each one of us.
“The path where my Saviour has gone,
Has led up to His Father and God,
And His strength shall be mine on the road."
Such is the first requirement, beloved, of a Nazarite. He is taught that his joy is a divine joy, and in that which is unseen; and you know as to how you are affected by this. The importance of it practically, is immense; for if your own soul be out of this joy, the loss is not only yours, it affects others also. Are they low ? Having lost your Nazarite strength, you have no power to elevate them; for, as a rule, you can only raise to your own height. There will be no rending of a lion, no pulling down of pillars; but you are become as weak as other men. It is this which accounts for the little power there is in service; the gospel seems taught rather than preached; men look for truth in the letter of it, and learn certainly, but largely in the abstract. I believe, as another has said, that “ truth learned out of the maintenance of communion, only tends to deaden, if not to harden." Like food which, taken when there is no appetite, only weakens and encumbers, instead of strengthening, so truth taken into the mind when the affections are torpid and dead only hardens, and hinders the true power of the Spirit so much needed. Oh, beloved, for that power, and its blessedness, in us now.
But what do we understand by this second requirement of the Nazarite, viz. : “That all the time of his separation no razor shall come upon his head, that he shall let all the locks of the hair of his head grow” (5)? The hair is that which gives comeliness to the person. It indicates personal dignity, beauty. Self, and all that springs therefrom, or that would minister to it, is to be as nothing compared with God. Is it not the same truth as in Num. xix., where all our sins having been reduced to ashes in the burning of the red heifer, the scarlet and the hyssop and the cedar also are cast along with the sins into the same fire? The scarlet indicating earthly glory, and the hyssop and the cedar all that which lies in the domain of mere nature in us, which, apart from God, is under the dominion of sin. It is a poor thing, beloved, pride of person, the mere adorning of nature ; but
, oh! the secret adorning, the adorning of the soul, the affections absorbed, filled with Christ, assimilating to themselves all that is precious in God. This surely Daniel had, and Joseph ; and above all the blessed Lord Himself, who in the hidden parts was made to know wisdom, and the law was written in His heart! “I delight to do Thy will,