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To Be With Christ

It is a blessed thing to be with Christ while we are here. ‘I am ever with thee.’ What is it the pious soul desires in this life? Is it not to have the sweet presence of Christ? He cares for nothing but what hath something of Christ in it; he loves duties only as they [lead] to Christ: Why is prayer so sweet, but because the soul hath private conference with Christ? Why is the word precious but because it is a means to convey Christ? He comes down to us upon the wings of the Spirit, and we go up to him upon the wings of faith. An ordinance without Christ, is but feeding upon the dish instead of the meat. Why doth the wife love the letter, but because it brings news of her husband? Here we enjoy Christ by letters, and that is sweet; but what will it be to enjoy his presence in glory? Here is that which may amaze us, we shall be with Christ. Christ is all that is desirable: nay, he is more than we can desire. A man that is thirsty, he desires only a little water to quench his thirst; but bring him to the sea, and here he has more than he can desire. In Christ there is not only a fullness of sufficiency, but a fullness of redundancy; it overflows all the banks. A Christian that is most sublimated by faith, hath neither a head to devise, nor an heart to desire all that which is in Christ. Only when we come to heaven, God will enlarge the vessel of our desire, and will fill us as Christ did the water-pots with wine, ‘up to the brim.’

John Newton
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The Presence of God

“Believer, since the Lord is always present with you, compassing your pathway and your lying down, besetting you behind and before (Psalm 139:3-5), be careful to refrain yourself from doing anything that would be unbecoming of His presence. Set the Lord always before you. Acknowledge Him in all your ways. Fear Him. Humble yourself before Him. Walk in all reverence and humility before His countenance, for to sin in the presence of God greatly aggravates the sin committed. The presence of people serves as a restraint against the commission of many sins, and if the presence of God does not accomplish the same, one reveals himself having more respect for people than for the majestic and holy God. What a despising and proving of God this is! Therefore, let your reverence for the presence of God prevent your sinning against Him and let it motivate you to live a life pleasing to the Lord”

Wilhelmus A Brakel, The Christian’s Reasonable Service
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Desiring the Presence of God

The glorious presence of God that the saints shall have of God in heaven is a great part of their happiness

Heaven would not be heaven without the presence of God. The presence of God in the most miserable place possible would be a greater happiness than the absence of God in the most glorious place possible.

David would not be afraid though he walked in the valley of the shadow of death, because God was with him (Ps 23:4). Luther would rather be in hell with God’s presence, than in heaven, God being absent. If the presence of God takes away the dread of the shadow of the valley of death and makes hell to be more desired than heaven, what will the presence of God make heaven to be? The three children in the fiery furnace with God’s presence were happy; how happy then are the saints with God’s presence in heaven?

The saints desire God’s presence even when He is angry; they hate to be out of His presence. In Psalm 51:9 David cried to God to hide His face from his sins, for God’s face was then an angry face against him. Yet in v. 11 he cried out again, “Cast me not away from thy presence.” He was not willing to be out of God’s presence.

Saint Augustine has this expression: “Whose face he fears, even his face he [desires].” God made rich promises to Moses, yet Moses could not be satisfied without the presence of God. “If thy presence be not with us, bring us not hence” (Exod 33:15). The apostle, when describing the misery of those that are damned, in 2 Thess 1:9 says, “Who shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord, and from the glory of His power.”

The presence of God needs to be the happiness of the saints.

—Jeremiah Burroughs

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