Divine Reserve

Job 36:9.---' He holdeth back the face of his throne.'

RESERVE is not merely a human quality: there is a sense in which we may apply the word to God. There is much that He does not reveal to us: 'He holdeth back the face of his throne.'

God does not reveal Himself in entirety.---God does not reveal to us more than we can bear.---There is nothing artificial about our ignorance; facts are not withheld from us, any more than a picture, a statue, or an oratorio is kept from the cognizance of an animal---everything lies before it, ready to be seen or heard---only the perception is lacking. In the divinest creation of man such creatures see absolutely nothing; nothing can they appreciate of the spirit, the idea, the inspiration, incarnate in a work of genius. And even so it must be with the most enlightened man, confronted with the creations of God. How little of the universe we know: only that part revealed by our senses, or deduced by inference. That God can give when His time comes is, granting His existence at all, a self-evident proposition. The limitation is merely our own power to receive. If our power were greater we could receive more, as by use of delicate instruments we can receive perceptions of light-rays above and below those of the spectrum, which are all that most of us---and more than some of us---can perceive with the eye.

We recognize a gradual Revelation. Gradual, not for the sake of delay or secrecy, but because of the limitation of human faculties. Revelation is as rapid as the race can receive it. There is no artificial withholding of information, but every expression must necessarily be in terms of what can be understood. For instance---our most recondite modern conception of the physical Universe is expressible in terms of Ether and Motion. Suppose that a statement in such terms---appropriate to Lord Kelvin, let us say---had been made to nomad tribes wandering like Arabs in the desert, while they were going through the effort to found a civilized race among barbarous nations. What mockery it would have been! Would it even have been truth? No, not to them; something much more human was necessary.

Every revelation of God to us is after all a limitation of Himself---a closing in of the face of His throne, so that it may be brought within the angle of our vision. This limitation is the condition of all true teaching. God's gradual revelation is a magnificent promise.---We know in part; but as yet we do not know what we may know, only that it will be infinitely greater than we know now.

Whatever is given, there is more in reserve. Behind the abundance bestowed, there is a greater in store. that which is revealed is but the shadow of that which is to come. The present is always imperfect without the future, as the past was, lacking the present. Something must be withheld from Abraham which shall be granted to David, and that which Isaiah sees in prophecy only is the living reality of Peter's life and Paul's. God's resources are infinite, and man is made the recipient of his fullness only according to his slow ability to receive. He is led through God's fields of beauty, wealth, and blessing, step by step; and little by little are their richness and glory unfolded before his eyes. This universe is too great a wonder to be flashed all at once upon his vision. Life is too profound an experience to be poured hastily into his weak heart. The Divine Spirit is too subtle and too pervasive to be hurriedly revealed. Because of this the condition is inevitable that God must fit the gift to the hand that takes it, the light to the eyes that see. He must keep back the inheritance till the heir is of age. The preparation of the physical world, the education of the human race, involves, in the very nature of the case, the withholding of the finer forces and resources until the beings have come who can use them, the minds that can comprehend them. Our Maker is forever withholding. Yet He withholds today only that He may give tomorrow. He bestows as fast as we are capable of receiving. After all that he has given, there is boundless store remaining. And so the future promises revelations richer than the past has conferred; the ages that lie before will witness the same bestowments which have made us rich. As fast as we are ready or have need, the abundance of the heavenly treasures will be disclosed, and all God's glory forever made to pass before our eyes.

The promise in God's gradual revelation is a revealing of His love.---If God has thus cast aside for us veil after veil that hinders our sight of Him, each new light giving us fresh power to bear the next, what else can that mean than that He has chosen us, loved us [for to whom else do we show ourselves but to those we love?] and means for us---what? We dare not more than recognize that the last question exists. The other we must face, and it needs courage. To be chosen, loved, by one human being is an experience at once greatly exalting and profoundly humbling; but to be chosen and loved by God? Truly, though He have many things to say unto us we cannot bear more now. We can only say, 'Behold the servants of the Lord: be it unto us according to His word.'

In Christ, timothy.