difficult for him to accept the dread challenge! "Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me" must have been the cry of Jesus and Isaac alike; and the common experience of anguish and yet pride in the possession of such a son made Abraham "The Friend of God" in a unique degree. Men are accustomed to think of the Almighty as if He was happily living in serene contentment and pleasure in all the delights of Heaven, unmoved by, and scarcely aware of, the sufferings and joys of His unhappy earth. But that is because we read the Bible with unseeing eyes and shut hearts. "Now will I cry like a travailing woman, I will cry, yea roar". "How shall I give thee up, Ephraim? Mine heart is turned within me, my repentings are kindled together". "Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me?" and a thousand similar passages tell a different tale, of a God of quick and deep feelings, wholly absorbed in the condition of His Creation, partaker of their joys and sorrows, delighted at their triumphs, cast down when they fall, disgusted at their animality and cruelty, but putting away Noah, Daniel and Job in the innermost recesses of His heart.
As, therefore, the Lord before the Creation lifted the Cross upon His shoulder, and carried it until the day on which it carried Him, so did Father and Spirit consecrate themselves wholly to this high adventure, and join Him in a holy fellowship cemented by a common suffering, and a common determination, and a common expectation of a common reward, a Creation happy and eternal. For from the moment that the final decision was taken in that Pre-Creation Council, the Trinity was completely devoted to the happiness of their creatures and gave up for ever their Pre-Creation Life, never to return to it, but instead entered upon an unending sequence of "Ages", (cf. 1 Timothy 1:17 Greek; Romans 16:25-27 Greek) each with its own interests, its tasks, its joys, its