by James Meikle, 1730-1799
The treasures of kings have sometimes been so vast, as to become proverbial. And yet, what were they but gold or stones dug out of the bowels of the earth, which, amassed to ever so great a sum, could neither give contentment, ensure health, nor lengthen life? But there is a portion of a diviner nature, and infinitely more excellent, which falls to the share of every child of God—and God himself is this stupendous portion! "The Lord is my portion, says my soul."
Now, the astonishing wonder here is, that God, in all his perfections, should condescend, through his Son—to be the portion of his people. But this wonder is not alone—but is joined with another, that is in a manner more surprising still, expressed in these words—"The Lord's portion is his people, Israel is the lot of his inheritance."
We know how highly we esteem that which we account our portion. And the pious breathing of the saint is, "Whom have I in heaven but you? and there is none upon earth that I desire besides you. My flesh and my heart may fail—but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion forever." Then, may we not see what value he sets upon his people, that he, who possesses all things, and has all perfection in himself, should call them "his portion."
A rich man may condescend to be the helper and friend of a poor man—but will scarcely allow the pauper to be of great account to himself. But with God it is otherwise, to the praise of his glorious grace—which is not less astonishing in receiving than in giving. He gives the treasures of eternity, which enrich forever; and receives the ciphers of time, which cannot profit him at all. He gives himself to be ours in his infinite excellences forever, and receives us, in all our needs and infirmities, to be his for evermore. We so not know whether he is most glorious in accepting the lispings of faith, "You are my God,"—or in returning the mutual "You are my people."
Because God is the portion of our soul, we have hope; and because he sees the travail of his soul, he is satisfied. O what condescension is this, not only to bow down to give himself away to us—but to take us up to himself! Let philosophers dream on of ten thousand inhabited worlds, yet, among them all—the Lord's portion and inheritance is his redeemed people! The heavens are his throne, the earth his footstool—but his portion are dearer to him than both—purchased at an amazing price, and preserved by almighty power—to an immensity of bliss!
Precious and costly things are in the peculiar treasures of kings; how noble, then, and precious must they be, whom the eternal King of kings has chosen to himself for his peculiar treasure, for whom he will give his Son for their ransom!
Again, a treasure is that which is laid up for time to come; then God will never cast off his own inheritance, give up with his portion, or throw away his treasure—but reserve all to eternity!
Finally, if God is the portion of his saints—why do they struggle to fill their coffers with perishing things? And why so disquieted if they do not succeed?