Anne Dutton's Letters on Spiritual Subjects
My Dear Brother in Christ,
I humbly think that the bondage of the children of Israel in Egypt, under Pharaoh and his task-masters, was typical of the cruel bondage of the people of God in a state of nature, under the tyranny of sin and Satan and a broken law of works.
Their deliverance from Egypt and passage through the Red Sea were typical of our deliverance from the power of darkness, and translation into the kingdom of God's dear Son at our first conversion.
Their journeys through the desolate wilderness were typical of our travels through this world of trouble.
Their Land of Promise was typical of our promised rest.
Their passage over Jordan into Canaan was typical of our passage through death into everlasting life, or of our passing from this world of sin and sorrow into the world of joy and glory as our everlasting rest.
And that Canaan was typical of heaven, is evident, in that God, when He made promise of Canaan to Abraham, did thereby make promise of heaven to him—of heaven's glory—as the substance of that shadow in Canaan's bliss, whence his faith beheld the same afar off through the glass of the promise, as (Heb. 11:9, 10), "By faith he sojourned in the Land of Promise as in a strange country, dwelling in tabernacles with Isaac and Jacob, the heirs with him of the same promise; for he looked for a city which has foundations, whose builder and maker is God." And thus those who are of faith, that have the same faith with Abraham, are said to "seek a country, and to desire a better country, that is, an heavenly—wherefore God also is not ashamed to be called their God—for He has prepared for them a city" (verse 14, 16), no less than the city of God, the heavenly Jerusalem, the glory of the heavenly state.
Thus, this was the sum and substance of the promise, spiritual and heavenly glory, that was shadowed forth by literal Canaan with its flowing bliss, and this is what the faith of all the Old Testament saints beheld in Canaan's promise, as the ultimate of that bliss comprised in it. And this is what all the New Testament saints likewise, all that are of the faith of Abraham, and so heirs with him of the same promise, this is what they look for and expect, even the heavenly glory of which Canaan, the glory of all lands, was a sweet resemblance.
And as the Israelites were to pass over Jordan, in order to possess the bliss of Canaan, so the people of God must pass over the river death before they enjoy, and in order to possess, the glory prepared for them in heaven. Death, like Jordan's river, lies between us and promised bliss, between the wilderness and Canaan. But over Jordan the Israelites went dry-shod, under the conduct of their Joshua, to possess their portion in the Land of Promise; and over death we shall go unhurt, untouched by the waters, the sorrows thereof, as a curse, while the waters divide here and there, by Omnipotent power, to make us a safe passage through the flood on foot, under the conduct of our Jesus—the Captain of our salvation—to the full possession of our inheritance in light and life, in the immediate vision and fruition of His glory unto fullness of joy and endless eternity.
And the believers, the spiritual Israelites, must pass over Jordan into Canaan before they can feast in Canaan. A taste here in grace, to whet our appetites and set our souls a longing, is our unspeakable privilege, but our delicious, soul-satisfying feast, is reserved for future glory until we are made partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light. And here what shall I say? "Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, those great and glorious things which God (in His everlasting love) has prepared for them that love Him, for them that wait for Him." The best and richest wine of God's everlasting word is kept until last, reserved for a glorious eternity. And O the rich dainties, the royal wine in abundance, on which immortal saints shall feast at the marriage-supper of the Lamb! "We shall eat and drink at His table in His kingdom" (Luke 22:30), "Yes, eat as His friends" (Song 5:1), and drink as His beloved abundantly of love, of love before time, in time, and after time, unto endless eternity; for the great opening of God's heart—of the heart of God the Father, in all the displays of His everlasting love—of the heart of God the Son, in all the displays of His everlasting love—of the heart of God the Holy Spirit, in all the displays of His everlasting love, is reserved for blessed eternity.
The love of God in itself, and in all its wondrous fruits, will then be set before the quick appetites of glorified saints, and make them a joyful, eternal feast. The new and old fruits of everlasting love, and love in all its fruits, to our eternal salvation and glory, ordained, procured, and bestowed, will delight us exceedingly, and feed us substantially. And oh, what tongue can express, or heart conceive, a thousandth part of that bliss, joy, and glory we shall possess in the immediate vision and fruition of Christ, and of God in Him—of God in all His Persons, as Love, without darkness, without distance, without a veil between, without the medium of ordinances? Oh, what will it be to see, to enjoy God as love, in Himself, without intermission, to an endless duration, and without fear also of any even the least separation?
Oh, what is Christ? What is God? What is God in Christ, the ultimate of the saints' enjoyment? He was of old prepared for us worthless creatures, for us miserable sinners! For us, sinful men—while sinning angels perish! For us, the chosen, the beloved of the Lord, while thousands of our sinful race sink down with sinning angels into endless misery! Were we better than they? No! in no way. Oh free, rich, distinguishing love! Oh, great, everlasting love! "Lord, what is man, that you are thus mindful of him? or the Son of man, that you should set your heart upon Him?" This note of joyful wonder will be echoed forth by glorified saints from their fervent love of God and zeal for His honor, in their lofty songs of praise, while they ascribe salvation and glory and blessing unto Him who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb forever and ever, to which all their innumerable multitude and myriads of glorious angels, with joy unknown, shall join a loud amen! But oh, this feasting upon the everlasting love of God and all its glorious fruits, upon Christ Himself, and God in Him, as the old provision made for the heirs of God, to delight their hearts and sustain them to eternal life, when they possess their vast inheritance reserved for them in heaven—this, this is a bliss too great, a joy too rich, a glory too high, to be conceived or expressed by saints on this earth! This mortal must put on immortality, we must pass over Jordan into Canaan, before we can tell what delights we shall enjoy in this rich and everlasting feast!
The children of Israel knew not the pleasures of eating Canaan's delights until they had got into the Land of Promise. They had manna in the wilderness, but when once they had eaten of Canaan's old corn, the manna ceased, they had it no more; they needed it no longer when brought to feed on a more substantial food.
Their manna was typical of Christ, the Bread of Life; but the manna was a lighter food, suited to their wilderness-state, and to set forth those lesser discoveries and enjoyments of Christ, and of God in Him, with which the heavenly pilgrims are blessed during their travels through a world of griefs. Their manna, also, was bread given them from heaven, to show the miraculous care of God's providence for the support of those who were the objects of His love, when they were in a desolate wilderness, and to show also that Christ, and every discovery of Him made to the faith of God's people, while in this world, for the support of their spiritual life, is from heaven, and a marvelous display of God their Father's care, to supply the needs of His beloved children while traveling through this desert land.
And the Israelites' manna, likewise, which fell round about their camp, which descended with, and was wrapped up in, the dew, which, when that was gone up, was to be gathered by them daily, was to teach them diligence in the use of means, and constant dependence in a way of obedience, upon the God of their lives, and to teach us also to give all diligence, in the use of all the means of grace, of all gospel ordinances and appointments, to find, take up, and enjoy Christ for the spiritual life of our souls, and thus, in well-doing, to commit ourselves daily to the love and care of God our heavenly Father for all supplies of grace, until we are brought to glory.
But when once we, as the Israelites, have passed over Jordan, and set our feet, as they, upon Canaan's blissful shore, the manna, as it ceased to them, so to us it will cease; we shall have manna no more. We shall be done with all imperfect discoveries and enjoyments of Christ, and of God in Him, when that which is perfect is come. We shall not need bread to be given us from heaven when once we are advanced unto heaven to possess that land where bread is eaten in plenty, without scarceness, nor those marvelous displays of divine love and care which were needful to supply our needs in a weary wilderness, when once we possess the land of rest, where all fullness dwells. Nor yet shall we need the use of the many means of Grace, when grace has brought us to glory; we shall not need gospel ordinances to bring us to Christ, and to God in Him by faith, when once we are blessed with the immediate vision and full fruition of God and of the Lamb, unto joy ineffable and life eternal.
No! we shall look back indeed, and remember all the way which the Lord led us through the wilderness, and adore everlasting love in every of its bright displays, in all its wise conduct by grace in bringing us to glory. The remembrance of the manna will not cease, but be preserved fresh (as the pot of manna for a memorial was, in the ark), in the memories of glorified saints to Jehovah's endless honor; but the manna itself shall cease, we shall have manna no more, we shall be above needing it, above using it, when once we partake of God's everlasting love and all its glorious fruits, as love in its eternal round runs through and shall be enjoyed in them all, unto rising praises, and endless ages.
The grace of Christ be with your spirit.
Downloaded from Grace Gems - A Treasury of Ageless, Sovereign Grace, Devotional Writings
Bible Bulletin Board
Middletown, DE 19709 USA