WHEN does Christ manifest Himself unto those who love Him
(1) Sometimes Christ quickly manifests Himself after a little seeking. Some young converts have early and soon revelations of Christ and His love; they are cast down for a little while, and Christ soon comes unto them and lifts them up again. Weeping endures but for a night, and joy comes early in the morning. They have the spirit of bondage, which awakens them to fear; by and by the Spirit of adoption graciously visits them, and makes discovery of their relation to the Father, the love of their Savior, and sheds abroad the sense of His love into their hearts.
(2) Sometimes Christ is long before He manifests Himself. It is long before some seek Christ, and it is long before such find Him. Christ waits long to be gracious unto them, and Christ often makes them wait long before He manifests to them His loving-kindness; yes, sometimes, early seekers are no early finders. Christ makes some wait a long time to try their faith and patience, their love and obedience—so that He may prepare them for more than ordinary comforts and sweetness which He intends to give, in the revealing of Himself unto them.
(3) Sometimes Christ suddenly manifests Himself unto those who love Him, Song of Solomon 6:12, "Before I realized it, I found myself in my princely bed with my beloved on!" Before ever they are aware, the Lord Jesus comes unto them in the chariots of salvation, with such glory and luster as transports and amazes them.
Some Christians who truly love Christ have sought Him in this ordinance and have not found Him; and they have sought Christ in that ordinance and have not found Him. They have been looking, waiting, and hoping that at this time Christ would reveal Himself, or at that time He would reveal Himself—and still He has hid Himself; still they have come off with disappointment. This has been their grief, this they have complained of before God, and they have been under fears lest they should never see Him, never meet with Him at all. Hereupon their spirits have been ready to fail and sink within them and, in discouragement, they have been ready to say or think that all their labor would be in vain; and yet they have resolved to seek Him to their death. And, though He should kill them, to put their trust in Him. And, behold, all of a sudden, when they have had the least expectation, and they have been ready to give up their hope—they have met with Christ and found Him whom their soul loves! All of a sudden, the veil of the temple has been rent—and they have seen their Beloved in the Holy of Holies! All of a sudden the clouds have fled, their darkness has passed away—and the light has shone! The chill north-wind of trouble has ceased, and the sweet warm southern gales have blown upon them. I mean, they have been under such shinings and breathings of the Spirit, that they have seen and felt the presence of Christ, and such a sweet sense of His love as has filled them with soul-ravishing joy!
(4) Christ manifests Himself seasonably unto those who love Him. Though He does not always manifest Himself when they most desire—yet He manifests Himself when they have most need; and then they have most need when they are most low, when they are most low in their spirits, most poor in their own esteem, as well as most low in their condition through affliction and trouble. Humility and patience under affliction, makes way for the experience of Christ's manifestation. Christ, many times, reserves His cordials for the fainting fits, and the sweetest consolations in the discoveries of His love for the time of the greatest adversity; especially when the trouble is for His sake, He is graciously present. John had his visions and revelations of Christ—when He was banished for the sake of Christ unto the isle Patmos. And when all men forsook Paul—then the Lord came to him, stood by him, and strengthened him!