Cowper did not say amiss when he sang,-
“He plants his footsteps in the sea,
And rides upon the storm.”
His footsteps cannot be seen, for, planted on the sea, the next wave washes them out; and placed in the storm, rioting as the air then is, every impression of his chariot wheels is soon erased. Look at God, and at whatever he has deigned to do, and you will always see him to have been a hidden God. He has concealed himself, and all his ways have been veiled in the strictest mystery. Consider his works of salvation. How did he hide himself when he determined to save mankind? He did not manifestly reveal himself to our forefathers. He gave them simply one dim lamp of prophecy which shone in words like these “The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent’s head;” and for four thousand years God concealed his Son in mystery, and no one understood what the Son of God was to be. The smoking incense beclouded their eyes, and while it showed something of Jesus, it did hide far more. The burning victim sent its smoke up towards the sky, and it was only through the dim mists of the sacrifice that the pious Jew could see the Saviour. Angels themselves, we are told, desired to look into the mysteries of redemption, yet though they stood with their eyes intently fixed upon it, until the hour when redemption developed itself on Cavalry, not a single angel could understand it. The profoundest sage might have sought to find out how God could be just and yet the justifier of the ungodly; but he would have failed in his investigations. The most intensely pious man might meditate, with the help of that portion of God’s Spirit which was then given to the prophets, on this mighty subject, and he could not have discovered what the mystery of godliness was-“God manifest in the flesh.” God marched in clouds, “He walked in the whirlwinds;” he did not deign to tell the world what he was about to do; for it is his plan to gird himself in darkness, and “the clouds are the dust of his feet.” Ah! and so it always has been in Providence as well as grace. God never condescends to make things very plain to his creatures. He always does rightly; and therefore, he wants his people always to believe that he does rightly. But if he showed them that he did so, there would be no room for their faith. ~ C.H. Spurgeon from his sermon, What Are the Clouds?
“For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world; and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith.”- 1Jo 5:4
THE epistles of John are perfumed with love. The word is continually occurring. while the Spirit enters into every sentence. Each letter is thoroughly soaked and impregnated with this heavenly honey. If he speaks of God, his name must be love; are the brethren mentioned, he loves them; and even of the world itself, he writes, “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son.” From the opening to the conclusion, love is the manner, love the matter, love the motive, and love the aim. We stand, therefore, not a little astonished, to find such martial words in so peaceful a writing; for I hear a sound of war. It is not the voice of love, surely, that says,” He that is born of God overcometh the world.” Lo, here are strife and battle. The word “overcometh” seems to have in it something of the sword and warfare; of strife and contention; of agony and wrestling; so unlike the love which is smooth and gentle, which hath no harsh words within its lips; whose mouth is lined with velvet; whose words are softer than butter; whose utterances are more easily flowing than oil. Here we have war-war to the knife; for I read “Whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world;” strife until death; battle throughout life; fighting with a certainty of victory. How is it that the same gospel which always speaks of peace, here proclaims a warfare? How can it be? Simply because there is something in the world which is antagonistic to love; there are principles abroad which cannot bear light, and, therefore, before light can come, it must chase the darkness. ~ C.H. Spurgeon from his sermon, The Victory of Faith