And he said, My presence shall go with you, and I will give you rest.
Since God is everywhere, in what sacred and peculiar sense is He present to the believing heart? "Lord, how is it that Thou dost manifest Thyself to us, as Thou dost not unto the world?" The principle on which He does so is illustrated by some of the common facts of life. A man is present to his friend, as he is not to a stranger, though he may be at the same moment speaking to both. The light which floods the landscape with a deluge of beauty is present to him who sees it, as it is not to the blind man walking at his side. Music, though it may ripple round the deafened ear, is only present to him who hears
2. The discourse of the naturalist on his experiments, of the scholar on his books, of the mathematician who is talking with raptures on the beauties of a theorem, will bring things into the presence of initiated listeners, which are still remote from the minds of those in the very same company who have no sympathy with the theme. So, "two women may be grinding at a mill"; "two men may be in the field"; one a believer, the other an unbeliever; and although the Great Spirit is near to them both, there is a sense in which He is present to the one as He is not to the other; for, in the case of the believer, the causes of estrangement have been taken away, a new relation exists, a new life has been born, and God is present as a Friend, whose love has been accepted, and whose conversation is understood with all the intelligence of a kindred nature. Everything we need to secure that peace which the world cannot give is secured by the promise, "My presence shall go with thee," for that tranquil presence does not merely attend us, it enters the very soul, and sheds its benediction there. Plato seemed to have a glimpse of this glorious truth when he said, "God is more inward to us than we are to ourselves." What was to Him a beautiful speculation is to us an inspiring reality; for we are the "temples of the Holy Ghost." He dwells within us as a pitying, purifying friend, to kindle celestial light in our darkness, and by removing the cause of discord, and restoring the equilibrium of the soul, to give us peace at the very seat of life. Ignatius, from his eminent devotion, was called by his companions "The Godbearer"; and when Trajan said to him, "Dost thou then bear the Crucified One in thy heart?" his reply was, "Even so; for it is written, 'I will dwell in them, and walk in them, and I will be their God, and they shall be My people.'" This honour have all the saints, yet all do not seem to be fully conscious of it. Only let us feel it; only let us own that inward authority, and listen to that inward voice; only let us act in obedience to the suggestions of that "Power that worketh within us to will and to do of His good pleasure," and we shall find that in proportion as we are actuated by the life of God within us, shall we feel "His peace."
(C. Stanford, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: And he said, My presence shall go with thee, and I will give thee rest.