So the next thing is that we find them assembling together. The more I know His grace in coming where I am in present circumstances, the more my soul is stirred to meet Him on His own ground and in His own circumstances. Where shall I find Him thus? I find Him thus in the assembly. Before He left His own in this world, He said, “I will not leave you orphans; I will come to you.” He knew they would be perfectly comfortless if entirely bereft of His presence.
Again He says, “And ye now therefore have sorrow, but I will see you again, and your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you.” I find it verified here, and so He comes to us. Their hearts rejoiced when they saw Him again, and that joy is the inalienable portion of His beloved people here on earth. I do not think the assembly here on earth is the place of sorrow; it is the place of joy. There is that which involves sorrow and affliction here, but the assembly is the place of indescribable joy, and I would to God our hearts knew more of it.
I see two great features of the assembly here, peace and joy. When He comes into the midst, He says, “Peace unto you”; He sets them in the consciousness of His perfect triumph over all the power of evil. He thus identifies them with Himself against whom the power of evil had risen to its highest height. In His death was the rising up to its greatest height of all the power of evil. His resurrection is the perfect proof of His victorious triumph over all the power of evil; and the assembly is thus the place of divine calm and restfulness. They had everything to fear, and nothing to gain from the Jews, but the Lord stands in their midst, and they are relieved of the pressure and the fear, and set in perfect calm in the triumph which He had gained over the power of evil. Do you believe the gates of hell can prevail against the assembly? I do not believe it. No, in the depths of my soul, I believe Christ’s assembly which He builds is a perfectly impregnable fortress against all the power of wickedness, and not all the power of evil can destroy that which Christ has built as His assembly. But, remember, He has built it in the divine nature. There is nothing built in the flesh. The history of flesh is ended in His death. Everything is built in the divine nature, and that is perfectly impregnable. No power of evil can touch it, and I bless God for it.
In 2 Timothy, where everything is broken up, what is brought in for relief is the purpose of God; and all the divine work is on the line of that purpose. There is nothing like that to quiet and encourage the heart. The assembly is the place of divine calm and restfulness, and I am sure, if you are in the realisation of the presence of the Lord in power in your soul, you are in perfect peace. I do not mean the peace enjoyed by an individual, but the divine calm of the spot where the Lord Jesus Christ is. There is no more ruffle in that spot than in heaven itself.
It is said, “Then were the disciples glad, when they saw the Lord.” Can you explain that gladness? Can you set it forth? I cannot. This I say, I know it is the Lord’s purpose to put His disciples there. He can bring His own into all the fulness of joy which is found in the presence of God where He is. Thus peace and joy are the characteristic features of the assembly.
How blessed it is to retreat into that circle that is of no account whatever in the eyes of men, and which wishes to have no recognition from any man, but in the retreat and solitude of that circle to find the Christ of God, His beloved Son, the object of His divine affections and to have Him filling our souls with great joy, as He fills the heart of God! The Lord grant it for His name’s sake!