JOHN HAZELTON SERMONS

01 The Death of God’s Saints

THE DEATH OF GOD'S SAINTS

PRECIOUS IN HIS SIGHT.
A
Sermon
PREACHED BY
MR. J. S. ANDERSON,
At Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell Street
On Lord's-day Evening, January 13th,1888,
ON THE OCCASION

OF

THE

DECEASE

of

Mr. JOHN HAZELTON,

THE PASTOR
OF THE CHURCH,

Who fell asleep in Jesus, January 9th,1888.

J. BRISCOE, PRINTER, 28, BANNER STREET, BUNHIIL

ROW, FINSBURY.
1888.

SERMON. I.

"Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints."
{Ps 116:15}.

The Lord in His infinite mercy has placed an opaque veil between us and to-morrow, between us and the next hour; so that we cannot possibly know what events are to transpire during our pilgrimage through this world to the next. If the children of Israel could have foreseen all that they had to experience in the wilderness, and the lengthened period that they had to sojourn there, methinks that Moses would never have been able to lead them out of Egypt. But they, like us, could not foresee one day before them. And if those of us who stood on this platform, and those who sat in the pews about a month ago, could have known what would have called this vast congregation together to-night, how the anticipation would have cast a gloom over that assembly, and over every subsequent moment, from the time it was revealed, to the time it was accomplished : and hence we say that it is a mercy that we do not lose the enjoyment of the present through the anticipation of the future, which the Lord holds in His own hands.

If my departed brother could stand by my side this evening, and be my prompter, I know he would say, "Exalt the Master! Extol Him! Set Him very high! Keep me as much as possible out of sight, and only talk of Him by whose grace I was what I was, and am what I am." But he cannot stand and prompt; yet we know very well that something like that would have been his instruction, could it have been so. And I hope that we shall not forget that we are here to worship God; and may God help us, and sanctify to us all the event that we so keenly feel, and so deeply grieve over: for though we are forbidden to murmur, the Lord does not forbid us to mourn. When Mary and Martha mourned the loss of their brother, He did not lecture them on the folly of their grief, but rather comforted their hearts by mingling His tears with theirs. While He was able to quicken the dead, and to restore from the grave, He was a Brother that had a heart that could feel for the sufferers.

We shall offer a few remarks this evening on these three particulars— First, the persons referred to—saints; secondly, the process that they pass through—death; thirdly, the preciousness of that process unto our God.

First, let us invite your attention to the persons referred to, and notice what they are—" saints," holy persons, God-like individuals through sovereign, distinguishing, and almighty grace : and he whose absence, whose departure we lament, was an eminent saint. All those who knew him best felt that he lived in communion and in fellowship with his God, and only at the last anniversary meeting I remember his saying, as I sat by his side on this platform, that all who knew him knew where he lived; and then he quoted the first verse of the 90th {Ps 90:1}, "'Lord, Thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations "and I dwell," said he, "in God." Oh what a dwelling-place! What a home! What a refuge for the heart of one who was a sinner, but who has become a saint! They are made saints by sovereign and divine grace, first in the purpose of Jehovah in choosing, in predestinating, and in uniting them federally with their covenant Head, thus setting them apart for Himself, that all His divine perfections may be glorified in their salvation: for God is revealed in the salvation of His people as He is not in any other part of His dominions. We see only parts of His ways in creation; but the whole Godhead is concerned in making saints, and in keeping, preserving, and teaching them, and finally, in taking them to heaven. They are, therefore, not only set apart in everlasting love, by choice, but they are called out of the world by the power of the Holy Ghost, and receive, as a free and sovereign gift, a nature that is heavenly, holy, pure, and God-like : and thus they are sanctified by God the Lather, redeemed by the blood of the Son, and quickened by the Holy Spirit, washed in the "fountain opened for sin and uncleanness," and made manifestly to differ from their former selves, and from a godless and profane world.

Observe whose they are. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death His saints." Ah! they belong to Him. "Whoso giveth a cup of cold water, because ye belong to Christ, shall not lose his reward." His people are His patrimony, His portion given to Him by the divine Lather; He speaks of them emphatically as His own. Jesus, "having loved His own,...He loved them unto the end for they became His own, not only by right of creation,—by donation or gift of the Lather,—but by the purchase of His blood. "Ye are not your own," said the apostle. Our brother was not his own, he did not belong to this church only as a loan for a while; he belonged unto our Divine Lord, who had a right to do with Him whatsoever seemeth Him good, and hence Jesus ever speaks of His people as having a special and peculiar right to them. "I have called thee by thy name; thou art Mine." Yes, thou art Mine; and how blessed if we can adopt the language of the spouse in the Canticles, and say in the confidence of faith, "I am my Beloved's, and my beloved is mine!" Whatever figure is employed in the Scripture to set forth the union of Christ and His church, you ever find that union to he very close. The church is His bride, His own bride. He never had but one. He is the Vine, they are the branches; and the branches spring out of the Vine. He is the Shepherd, they are the flock; and you know we read in the 10th chapter of John, of the hireling, "whose own the sheep are not;" who "fleeth, because he is an hireling:" but "the good Shepherd giveth His life for the sheep," because they are His own. They are His saints, and they are spoken of as the stones of a crown; and He says by the Prophet Malachi, that "they that feared the Lord spake often one to another; and the Lord hearkened and heard it: and a hook of remembrance was written before Him, for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon His name. And they shall he Mine in that day when "make up My jewels." Oh then, how unspeakably blessed it is to be found in the Saviours crown—to belong thus specially to the Lord Jesus Christ by an indissoluble bond, a bond that death itself can never dissolve.

II. But let us, in the second place direct your attention to the process that they are called to pass through. u Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." I call it a process, and it is such; for instance, we died, penalty, in the Lord Jesus Christ on the cross. By man came sin; by sin came death as its wages; not only natural, physical death; —but eternal, or the second death,—the penalty of the law, attached to transgression; and the people being one, His saints being one with their covenant Head, they lived in Him, they fulfilled the law in Him, and they died in Him, mystically. His death was real; it was an accursed death; it was all sting, nothing but sting, to Him. His soul was stung: His inconceivable agonies arose, not from the mere pain of physical death, but from the fact that God's curse was in it; and hence that bitter wail—"My God! My God! Why hast Thou forsaken me?" Beloved, behold Him on the cross, treading alone the wine-press of the fierce wrath of God against sin, after the vials of that indignation had been poured out upon His holy soul in the garden, when His sweat was like drops of blood falling to the ground. Hone but He Himself can possibly know what He endured; but His people were in Him. "I am crucified with Christ," said the apostle; "nevertheless I live." Think of this, believer; try to realize the precious truth, and remember that it was Jesus who bore for you the curse of the law, and that not one drop of all the curse remains for wretches who deserved the whole.

`At most we do not taste His cup,
For He Himself has drank it up."

For said He; "The cup that My Lather hath given Me shall I not drink it?" And, "Ye are dead with Christ," says Paul. "Beckon yourselves to be dead." You died on Calvary in the Lord Jesus Christ. And then the results of it are certain and sure. There can be no failure whatever in the fulfillment of the Divine purposes concerning the objects of His eternal love. I should sink in utter despair if I did not believe that all that God purposed, and all that Christ intended by the purchase of His blood shall be fulfilled ultimately by the exercise of Divine power; and as the result therefore of His death, and our death in Him, mystically on the cross, we die to the world, and to the law, and to sin. "I was alive with out the law once," said the apostle; "but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died,"—died to sin. The question of our sin, legally and penalty, was settled on Calvary, and it cannot be reopened. I say this advisedly:—the question of the believer's sin, once settled, cannot be reopened; and therefore, reckon yourselves to be dead to the law, dead to sin. "I know that in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing;" but all the vile corruptions of fallen nature; but, legally, sin was put away; the penalty was endured, and the believer delivered from its guilt, and by the Holy Ghost he is delivered from its power; and as he dies to the world, and to sin, and to the law, he lives unto God. And you find life ever springing out of death. Yes, "Except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone; but if it die, it bringeth forth much fruit and thus Jesus illustrated the results, the blessed glorious results: own death. He was the corn of wheat, and He died, and from His death our life springs; and as we live to Him, we die to all beside. Our beloved brother—oh how dead he was to the world! As we heard on Friday, the Lord had stopped him when a frolicsome lad, had opened his heart, like that of Lydia, let in the blessed light of that truth, and revealed unto him his need of salvation; then he died to the world; it lost its charms; he could find nothing in it whereon his new life could feed; and increasingly, from that day until last Monday, he was dying a lingering death to the world. And you know, those of you who have sat under his ministry, either statedly or occasionally, as well as those of us who have been in close ministerial association and companionship with him—how dead he was to sin. He was preeminently a godly man. Yes, dead to sin—that had lost all its charm. He only knew it to hate it and ever to fight against it; and we know who are acquainted with his ministry how dead he was to the law. Yes, alive in the Gospel, alive through the Gospel, alive to the Gospel. But oh he could sweetly, and did sweetly, realize these precious lines of Toplady's that some people call blasphemous who know nothing of the secret:

"The terrors of law and of God,
With me can have nothing to do;
My Saviour's obedience and blood,
Hide all my transgressions from view."

The saints die in Christ, and die by the power of the Holy Ghost unto the the world, and sin, and to the law. And then they die literally and physically, but not as other men die. There is not a drop of penal wrath connected with their death; and have you not noticed that the Scriptures speak of it—the New Testament Scriptures especially,—very rarely as being death at all. "Our friend Lazarus sleepeth." " After that, He was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep'" "I would not have you to be ignorant, brethren, concerning them who are asleep, that ye sorrow not even as others who have no hope," [or ground of hope in salvation.] The Old Testament describes it very blessedly too as being "gathered to their people," or being "gathered to their fathers." Yes, it seems to me to take away a great deal of the gloom when we think of these descriptive passages concerning what we call "death." But Peter the Apostle speaks of it as a going out, an exodus. Those who understand the Greek language tell us that the word " deceased" is a compound word, and signifies the same as the word " exodus," going out; and Peter forewarned those to whom he wrote concerning his decease, and then very blessedly as "putting off this my tabernacle," putting it off like a worn-out garment. And Paul speaks of it as an earthly house, or a "tabernacle being dissolved," where we have the same idea—worn-out, tumbling down. So our dear brother's earthly tabernacle was literally worn-out by the hard work in the cause of Him he loved so well; for he often preached when, humanly speaking, he should have been in bed; and he preached because he loved the Master, and he loved the work, and he loved the pulpit. Hence, when the last attack came, his constitution was too weak to resist it. But the saints do not die as others, because their death is a step in advance: it is a promotion, a departure to be with Christ, a transfer to a higher class in the school, and a bringing of the beloved one and Jesus more closely together, to have sweeter fellowship with Him, and to learn yet more concerning Him. Yes, brethren, it is a real promotion; hence Paul says, "Having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ, which is far better: "absent from the body, present with the Lord." Would we bring Brother Hazelton back again? Ah I no; much as we miss him, much as we loved him, deeply as we grieve over his departure, we would not bring him back to the sufferings which he has endured for the last eight or ten years. To be with Christ is "far better—some old copies read "best of all." Oh, it is best of all to see Jesus, to see His face, to hear His voice, to receive the glad welcome, "Come, ye blessed of my Father;" or, "Well done, good and faithful servant: enter thou into the joy of thy Lord."

Ill. But once more, let us direct your attention to the preciousness of this process of dying. You see it is a process the saints pass through— which is precious in the Lord's sight. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints." Oh, will not this help you, beloved, to dry your tears, to wipe them away, to look up to Him. We know from this declaration of Holy Writ, that that which we mourn, that which is exceedingly painful to us who are left behind, is most precious in the sight of the Lord. But how can it be? I have thought that this death is "precious in the sight of the Lord," because they are precious to Him. Every regenerated soul is unspeakably dear to the heart of Jesus Christ. Let us not forget this. What a price they cost Him! He was rich, and who can tell how rich! Mark you, he was rich in the possession of glory that He could relinquish for a time—that was not His Godhead;—no, whatever it was, it was not His Godhead: He never laid that aside, He was never undeified, He was God when manifest in the flesh—but He was rich. Surrounded by the seraphic host, that never sinned, who hymned His praises, flew on His errands, honored Him as co-equal with the Father and the Holy Ghost. Oh, how rich, and how independent! The Lord hath looked down from heaven. He could see a long way—He hath looked down. Yes, and He "wondered that there was none to help," and His "own arm brought salvation!" He came down; "for your sakes He became poor." He made Himself of no reputation, took upon Him the form of a servant, and was made in the likeness of men, Mark you, His character was unspotted, but His reputation, He was content to forego. There is a vast difference between real character and reputation. A bad man, from policy may manage to keep up a fair reputation, and be esteemed in the world, while He is deceiving all around him—there is real villainy beneath the cloak that he wears. A good man may make a false step, and his reputation may be damaged, as was the case with David. Bless God; our brother's reputation was never damaged, any more than his character. But Jesus, while His character was perfect, "made Himself of no reputation for your sakes He became poor; that ye through His poverty might be made rich." Oh! How He must have loved us!

"Oh for this love, let rocks and hills,
Their lasting silence break;
And ail harmonious human tongues
The Saviour's praises speak "
"Down from the shining seats above,
With joyful haste he fled."

And what for? "The Son of man is come to seek and to save not them that were lost, though that is true; but He came " to seek and to save that which was lost:"—that treasure of His, those saints of His, they are dear to His heart, precious in His esteem, as the " precious sons of Zion, comparable to fine gold." Believer, try and think of this. Whatever the world thinks of you as an individual, the world thinks very little of you as a believer—very little indeed. Ah I the world does not esteem you as a Christian. Ah! No! They know us not, because they knew Him not. But oft times the child of God is persecuted, and despised, and down-trodden, and oppressed, simply because he is a saint. Never mind, so was the Master; and His saints are precious to Him; and because so precious to His heart, because they cost Him such a price, their death is precious in His sight.

In the next place, because it is a grand conquest. It is a blessed triumph of His grace. Life is a battle, not only commercially, but spiritually; the Christian has to fight the battle with indwelling sin; for though Christ has put it away penalty and legally, it is there as a root of evil, and is ever budding forth; and life, therefore, is a battle with sin, Satan, the world, and self: and what is it, beloved, that sustains and upholds, and enables us to keep up the conflict? Grace, the grace of God. No sooner do we attempt the warfare in our own strength, than we fail. Peter said, "Lord, I am ready to go with Thee, both into prison and to death." "Lord, I will lay down my life for Thy sake!" That arose from self-confidence and pride; and you know what a disastrous fall he had. If we stand a moment against these foes, it is by the grace of God. And that grace is precious to Jesus; and the trial of the Christian through that grace, the victories obtained, are all precious to Jesus, and when these victories are complete, when every battle has been fought, and every foe vanquished in His name, and through His strength; and the soul is released from its body of clay, methinks it is precious in the sight of the Lord. Beloved, I say again, dry your tears; that which you grieve over is precious in Christ's esteem.

But once more: the death of the saint is precious in the sight of the Lord, because He loves to have them near Him. He is happy in their happiness, his enjoyment is their enjoyment; and when they pass through the change that we call death, they are released from their labors. "Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them." They do not go before them,—their works do follow them. And the Lord bids them welcome to the mansions in the sky, and rejoices in their deliverance from sickness, sorrow, pain, conflict, and temptation; and rejoices to have them with a numberless host, around His mediatorial throne, rejoices in their songs of praise and thanksgiving unto Himself; while they cry, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us from our sins, in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father; to Him be glory and dominion for ever and ever." Yes, " Precious in His sight is the death of His saints' because they are released from all suffering, and admitted within the pearly gates, to enjoy the fellowship of the church above, and await the grand day when salvation shall be complete, in their resurrection from the dead, for it is only a question of time. On Friday afternoon, we left the emaciated frame in the cold and dark tomb, committing "earth to earth, and dust to dust, and ashes to ashes but as we said then at the graveside, it was not common dust. No, it belongs to Christ; it is a part of the purchased possession, and He will watch over it while he sleeps. It is a dreamless and calm sleep; and in the morning of the resurrection, He who said to the dead, "Lazarus, come forth!" will again speak, and all the nations underground shall hear the voice; for we read "the Lord Himself shall descend from heaven, with a shout, with the voice of the Archangel, with the trump of God; and the dead in Christ shall rise first." Thus, dear friends, you see their spirits are still living, and still making fresh discoveries of His glory, and receiving a higher education for eternity, and waiting there in the hope of rejoining their clay tenements, when they shall be rebuilt in the glorious image of the Lord. And oh how happy they are! How happy is Christ! And how precious to Him is their departure to be with Him! Aye! With God,—

"Far from a world of grief and sin,
With Christ eternally shut in."

But are all my hearers' saints? Have you all been brought by the power of the Spirit to realize your need of Christ? Have you fallen at His feet, as self-condemned, penitent sinners? And are you resting by faith upon His blood and righteousness—the blood to atone, the righteousness to justify? And are you looking up to Him for grace to help you in the time of need? Then you are saints. But are you resting in outward forms, in mere duties, self-deceived! Our brother has taught all who sat under his ministry that God alone can convert a sinner into a saint, and I would warn you this evening, that this privilege, this honor, this blessedness is not to be obtained by any creature performances. Ah! no; 0 that God the Eternal Spirit may awaken such I and signalize this service by the outpouring of His influence into your hearts, both saints and sinners; for Jesus, the Redeemer's sake. Amen.

02 LOOKING ON A PIERCED CHRIST

LOOKING ON A PIERCED CHRIST.

A SERMON

Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET, CLERKENWELL.

`And again another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced."—

(Joh 19:37).

It will be remembered that the Lord, immediately after predicting the destruction of the temple and the city of Jerusalem, said to his disciples, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away." The word of Jesus Christ, therefore, is important to himself and also to all his loved and redeemed people. He has been sovereignly and mercifully pleased to give us a revelation of his will, of his heart and the thoughts of his mind; and, if we are hearty believers in the plenary inspiration of God's word, we know, in some respects, what the future will be, and what operations 'he will carry on in the kingdoms of nature, of providence, and of grace. Our Lord said also, while preaching a sermon on himself as the good Shepherd, “The scriptures cannot be broken and in consequence of this the expression is so frequently used, "The mouth of the Lord—the mouth of the Lord hath spoken this." The word of God lies beneath his eye as he sits upon his throne; and his hand is fulfilling his promises, his threatening, and also the hopes and expectations of his beloved people. The Old Testament was before the eye of Jesus, as the suffering Saviour of his people, he was careful to confine himself, as to his words, his conduct, his steps, and his sufferings, to what was therein predicted concerning himself and his people; consequently, in the chapter out of which I have taken my text, the fulfillment of the scripture is referred to four or five times. In the 24th verse we read, "They said therefore among themselves, Let us not rend it (that is the coat of the Saviour,) but cast lots for it, whose it shall be; that the scripture might be fulfilled which saith, They parted my raiment among them, and for my vesture they did cast lots. These things, therefore (and the word "therefore" here is very significant and expressive): "These things, therefore, the soldiers did." It might have occurred to our minds, had it not been for this word, that the soldiers were guided by no special influence, at least, by none that was supernatural, when they said, Let us not rend it; but their minds, their mouths, and their hands were directed or overruled by a Divine power. The word of prophecy was present to the Saviour, and therefore his coat was not rent; hence, "Let us cast lots for it, whose it shall be."—"These things, therefore, the soldiers did." Then again, in the 28th verse, we read "After this, Jesus, knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, said, I thirst. It appears that the Saviour's eye was upon the writings of David; and whilst it was a fact that he thirsted, and that his thirst was penal and unspeakably intense, it was also a fact that he had regard to the immutability of Divine revelation; and said, in order to fulfill the scripture, " I thirst Again, in the following verses, we read, that "Jesus having received the vinegar, said, It is finished ! And bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. The Jews, because it was the preparation that the body should not remain upon the cross on the Sabbath day (for that Sabbath was an high day), besought Pilate that their legs might be broken, and that they might be taken away." Otherwise it was usual for criminals to hang upon the crosses upon which they were executed. But since the Lord Jesus was crucified at the time of the Jewish Passover, and the Sabbath following was to the Jews a very important day, they were anxious that no criminal should then be seen on Golgotha or Calvary; and believing that Christ and the thieves had not had time to die, they went to Pilate and besought him that their legs might be broken, in order to accelerate their death; and he gave them permission to do this. "The soldiers therefore went and brake the legs of the first thief and of the other that was crucified with Jesus; but when they came to Jesus to accelerate his death, they saw that he was dead already, and brake not his legs. And this again constituted a perfect fulfillment of Scripture, for "these things were done that the scriptures should be fulfilled, A bone of him shall not be broken." We are then told that since the Lord Jesus was dead, they resolved not to break his legs, but one of the soldiers in an unaccountable and wanton manner “with his spear pierced his side, and forthwith came there out blood and water and my text says, "Another scripture saith, They shall look on him whom they pierced."

Now just one or two words more before I try to open the text. You observe in the fact that the soldiers omitted a portion of their duty, the word of God was fulfilled. They would not have exceeded their duty had they broken the legs of the three sufferers; they had orders so to do, and it was therefore their military duty to break the legs of the two thieves, and those of Jesus also; but finding him dead already, a thought occurred to their minds—for a supernatural influence was upon them—that they would not break his legs; and that took place, the Holy Ghost tells us, in order that the Scriptures might be fulfilled: "A bone of him shall not be broken." And then, in the second place, one of the soldiers exceeded his duty. He did what he had no authority to do. He had authority from Pilate and from his captain to break the legs of Christ, and that he did not do; but he had no authority whatever for piercing him in the side; and therefore an omission of duty on the one hand, and an excess thereof on the other, fulfilled the word of God; and hence it is said, “A bone of him shall not be broken" according to the scripture; and another scripture saith, “hey shall look on him whom they pierced."

I have made these introductory remarks for the purpose of trying to exalt your thoughts concerning the boundless importance of the word of God. And now leaving, the fulfillment of the Scriptures, let us limit our attention for a few minutes to the words we have read, which express a solemn fact, “They shall look on him whom they pierced."

In the first place, this might refer to the Jewish nation; for although Christ was not pierced by a Jew, but by one of the Roman soldiers, a person is said to do that which is done in his name or by his authority, and it was the dews that cried out, “Crucify him! crucify him!" They clamored for his death, and therefore they pierced him. The time may come, for aught I know, when a very considerable number of the descendants of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, will be called by Divine grace, and look upon him whom they pierced and mourn for him. At all events, the period is coming, and may not be far distant, when the Lord of life and glory shall appear in the clouds, and every eye shall see him and they also which pierced him, and all kindred's of the earth shall wail because of him. I shall not confine my attention to the Jewish people as a nation, nor make any further remarks upon the supposition or the belief that large numbers of them may probably be called by Divine grace, but look at my text as applicable to sinners saved, or to such persons as have a humble hope that their guilt and sin were imputed to the Lord of life and glory, and that he was pierced and wounded for their transgressions and crimes; for "they shall look on him whom they pierced." This being the course which we intend taking, the subject may be divided into two branches:—First, the blessed and important object, a pierced Christ; and secondly, the solemn act,—looking on Him. They shall look on him whom they pierced. Thus we have a marvelous object to contemplate, and a saving act to describe.

I. A few observations, in the first place, on the object—a pierced Christ, who is looked upon by every saved sinner. And the first thought here is this, the object of a saved sinner's faith is a suffering one—a pierced Christ. Some persons are continually saying, Preach Christ; and there is, I think, much meaningless talk in relation to this point. Let Christ be preached: but have we a definite and scriptural idea of what it is to preach the Lord Jesus to our fellow. men? If I preach an uncrucified, unsuffering, unpierced, an unbleeding Christ, I do not preach the Christ of the Bible, nor that Saviour which lost and ruined sinners require. And therefore the apostle Paul has very beautifully and comprehensively put the fact before us: "I am determined to know nothing among men save Jesus Christ and him crucified." We may, if we can, look into the bosom of eternal love, and exhibit Jesus Christ as lying therein, and then we may consider the throne of eternal glory wherein he is now seated, and preach the fact that he is crowned with many crowns, and that his kingdom is an everlasting one; but if we omit his cross, his sufferings, his sweat and blood, we omit, I had almost said, the greatest and most wondrous view the sinner can have of the dear Redeemer. The cross of Jesus, his bleeding wounds, his crown of thorns, his unparalleled sufferings, and the fact that death with its ten thousand stings met him and thrust them all into his dear and precious person, constitute the cream of the gospel. And therefore the crucifixion, sufferings, and death of Jesus are all-important matters to every inquiring sinner, or to every man and woman that is going to heaven.

All suffering appears superlative at the cross of Jesus. I beg attention, beloved friends, to this point for a minute. For instance, the sufferer himself is the greatest Being that ever suffered, or that ever will or can suffer. He was incarnate God, and you are not, when contemplating Christ on the cross, to separate his divinity from his humanity; his Godhead should not be modified or lessened on account of the fact that it was obscured in some measure whilst he hung on the accursed tree. The whole of the divine nature, his whole Deity was there. All the boundless greatness and majesty of God were in the person of him whom the cruel and cursing soldier chose to pierce. It was Jehovah-Jesus that hung on the tree; and therefore in him we have the greatest Being that ever suffered. Then, pursuing this train of thought, we have, in the next place, the greatest sufferings that were ever experienced, as well as the greatest sufferer. There is not a being in hell that suffers as the Saviour did; for all the pangs endured by the lost cannot be compared with those of the great Son of God. He suffered the hells of thousands, and on the tree he quenched that wrath which to the sinner himself would have been endless, and therefore this great Sufferer endured what had never been experienced before.

And then, in the third and last place, the greatest possible results are flowing, and will for ever flow, from these greatest sufferings of this greatest of sufferers. What are they? What is the outcome of the depths of Christ's sorrow? Why, all your life and mine. All your good hopes and mine. All those comforts which tend to make existence pleasant flow from the sufferings of the dear Redeemer; and the facts that you are prepared for heaven, that your end shall be peace, that your spirit in its departing moments shall be tranquil and serene, are all owing to the superlative sorrows and sufferings of incarnate God. And then, beloved brethren, the heaven that lies beyond all time and sin, the crowns of glory you shall for ever wear, the throne of dignity you shall for ever occupy, the robes of immortality you shall for ever wear, and those overflowing joys you shall for ever feel, may all be traced to the fact that Jesus was pierced for sinners,—for their guilt, transgression, and crime. And, therefore, we have in the pierced Christ the grand central object of the church of God, the grand central object of the universe of divine and holy minds, the very centre of that eternity of heaven and bliss which are prepared for the family of grace. The pierced Christ of God is the most glorious expression of the Father's thoughts of love concerning wretched, ruined man. "They shall look on him whom they pierced."

And, now, what were the sufferings of Jesus? They were penal. Yours and mine are not so; but those of Jesus were: that is, they were such sufferings as are experienced by the criminal in prison, or when his life is ignominiously taken for crime to satisfy justice. Go into a prison, and you see penal suffering there. Go into a hospital, you see suffering; but not that which is penal. Now Jesus suffered penally. He was punished. His sufferings were a punishment inflicted upon him to satisfy Divine justice. They were inflicted, not with a rod of correction as yours and mine are, but with a sword, and a spear, and with instruments of torture which indicated breaches of the law and transgressions of the will of God. They shall look on him who was suffered for sin. And, then, his sufferings were meritorious. You and I might suffer all the days of our life, and people might say when they were over here, and our spirits had departed for eternity—Poor creatures! they are better off now; as if the sufferings of a sinful creature could possibly merit so great a boon as love divine, or eternal happiness and glory. No, my friends—

"Could my tears for ever flow,
Could my zeal no respite know,
All for sin could not atone—
Christ must save, and Christ alone."

His precious blood was a sufficient price. All his groans and agonies only were and are current coin in the moral government of God. Christ bought us with a price, and he merits and deserves for his weeping observers, all the perfection and bliss they shall ever possess. When Jesus died, the stipulated price was fully paid, the bill was receipted, the book was cancelled and closed, and Christ said, "It is finished and bowed his head, and gave up the ghost. And, then, in the next place, the sufferings of Jesus Christ were final. I do beg attention to this, and hope to dwell upon it myself as a poor ruined sinner. I should not be comforted, and I hope I am speaking with reverence, by looking on him that was pierced, if I did not believe that his sufferings for sin and his people were final. My Christian brethren, the work of penal suffering for sin, as far as the people of God are concerned, is ended. It is all finished. Justice will never draw her sword over your soul, and never pour a curse upon your mind; and Jehovah will never judicially frown upon your troubled spirit; for he can frown, curse, smite no more. The punishment is all for ever ended, and the sufferings of the redeemed are chastisements and corrections, but not penal visitations for guilt, transgression, and crime. 0 that we had a stronger faith to cast ourselves on this great fact, and to look with a steadier eye on him that was pierced for sin! Well, the sufferings of Christ were meritorious and final; and since they were so, they sent a fragrance to heaven which entered that glorious world, surrounds the throne of God, envelopes Deity himself; and impregnates for ever the very atmosphere of glory. Faith lives in it here, hope is now sustained thereby, and herein the believer dies, and ascends from the body to heaven, to live and sing for ever and ever there. A suffering object is the object of the saved sinner's faith. "They shall look on him whom they pierced." But it is time to pass away from this point, otherwise I intended to remind you of the fact that here we have the sinner's Refuge. If there is anything in the life and death of the Lord Jesus that ought to be regarded as the antitype of that cleft of the rock into which God put Moses, we have it here. Christ was pierced and wounded: and his wounds are the clefts of that rock into which God puts all his beloved people. “I will put thee," said God, to Moses, "into a place which is by me here and there is now a place by God, blessed be his name, in the smitten rock, into which he puts trembling sinners, and having lodged them therein, he covers them with his hand whilst he passes by and shows them his hinder parts. They look on him whom they pierced; and, wishing they were in his wounds, God the Spirit in due time puts them therein. They look on the pierced One, and regard his wounds as the great outlets of eternal love. And as Moses smote the rock, and the waters gushed out, so, when Christ the Rock of Ages was pierced, blood and water flowed out— blood to atone for accursed crimes, and water to wash, cleanse, sanctify, and make us for ever whiter than snow. Brethren, it is sweet to look at the wounded Christ, and see the heart of Deity flowing; good to look on a smitten Saviour, and wish we were in him; sweet to be consciously placed in his bosom by the Holy Ghost; and sweet to look and regard his wounds as the accepted depository of prayer, and all our offerings. Dear Jesus, we come to thee as helped by thy Spirit, and connect our prayers, tears, services, and sermons too, with thy wounds. They, whether they be ministers or private Christians,—”they shall look on him whom they pierced," and, as it is elsewhere said, “they shall mourn for him." And here, my brother, in the fact that our Lord was pierced, we have our way to God, our way out of time into eternity, our way through death, and our way into a better world. We go through the pierced heart of incarnate God to heaven, and through the wounds of the dear Redeemer into eternal rest. This is a living, tender, bleeding, and purifying way. We go this way to see our God. But lest we leave not ourselves time to glance at the second part of the subject, we will now leave the sufferings of Christ.

A risen Saviour is the object of the sinner's faith. They shall look on him whom they pierced—i.e., awhile ago, eighteen hundred and forty years, or thereabouts. Christ on the cross is not the termination of the believer's hope and faith. Christ is not in the grave, but risen from the dead; and living again, he says, "Amen. I have the keys of hell and of death." Had not Jesus been raised from the dead, all would have been for ever lost. You cannot attribute too much importance to the resurrection of him that was pierced for you, or whom you pierced. This is the grand declaration of the fact that you are a saved man or woman, and that all in heaven is peace in relation to your soul and body. Had Christ remained in the grave under the power of death, all heaven, I had almost said, had been clothed in mourning, and God himself would have been disappointed, for full salvation would have been impossible without the resurrection of the Saviour. But on the morning of the third day, he that was pierced came out of prison or the tomb, and that fact proclaimed many delightful truths—viz., that the law was magnified, justice was satisfied, guilt was expiated, the debt was paid, and the way of salvation from the threshold of hell to the heights of glory was perfectly finished, and there was nothing more for a suffering Christ to do but go to heaven and take his crown and scepter and reign there, for the purpose of bringing the purchase of his blood to himself in a better world. They shall look on him whom they pierced on the tree, and rejoice that he is risen from the dead, and ever liveth to make intercession for all that come unto God by him. Our dear Lord may be regarded as first, standing on the condemnation side of death, and then, secondly, as standing on the justification side thereof. He entered death from the sinner's place, passed through it as a sufferer, and rose from the grave on the opposite side, which I have called the justification shore. He rose, and Paul triumphantly says, "He is able now to save all that come unto God by him." We look at our pierced Christ as suffering, and mourn, and then we look at him as risen, and commit our cause into his hands, fall at his once-pierced feet, pray for an interest in his intercession, and say, as did the dying thief—

"Now thou in thy kingdom art,
Dear Lord, remember me."

Thirdly, he is a revealed Christ. They shall look on him; he must therefore show himself. This object, like the sun of nature, is a self-revealing one. He reveals himself declaratively in the Word; ministerially by the preaching of his sent servants; spiritually and experimentally to the hearts of his purchased people; and he ever liveth to reveal himself as the sinner's Saviour. And, beloved friends, I beg your attention to this important fact:—every one that goes to heaven looks on the pierced Jesus, and sees him somewhere before he enters, that holy place; for it seems to me that there is no other method of practically and experimentally cleansing the mind from sin, and preparing it for the presence of eternal purity. "They shall look on him whom they pierced." Some of you are looking for him, or feeling after him, for you want him. By-and-bye, and before you enter the world of light, whither you are going, it may be in the deep solemnities of death, he will reveal himself, and you shall look on him; and, looking on Jesus, your adoring soul shall leave your body, and glide out of time into eternity, and pass in a marvelous manner into all the bliss of being and the grandeur of your God. They shall look on him, for he is a revealed Christ. And is he not attractive? This shall be our last idea—a pierced Christ is attractive. Among millions of beings he is the most prominent. Bible history gives us an account of the solemn business which was transacted on Calvary. We see the soldiers; we see Mary and the women sitting and watching him there; we see the rabble wagging their heads and putting out their tongues, as the Psalmist has it; and we hear them sneeringly and persecuting say—”He saved others: let him save himself." We see all those characters; but the most prominent, the most attractive object on Calvary is the Being that was pierced; for they shall look on him. And, my brother, when he comes the second time without sin unto salvation, he will come attended by perhaps millions and millions, but the Lord will be the most prominent of all. Some little idle talk I sometimes hear about the experience of the glorified in heaven. One says, I shall look for you, and you will look for me among the glorified; and when I arrive I shall look for my father, and my mother, and my husband, and for others. All this appears to me to be canalizing that spiritual place and state, and things which are supernatural and divine. Christ is all in all; and our heaven will not result from a sight of creatures, but from the presence of him that was pierced for us, who will then be in the midst of the throne, whose beauties and excellencies we shall gaze on for ever and ever, as the good old believer in a country town said, just before she died—”I am now going to close my eyes for ever on earthly things, and open and fix them upon Immanuel, to take them off no more for ever." Oh, heaven will consist in being with and looking on him that we pierced, the Lamb as he had been slain. Well, they shall look on him only. Mary will be there; but should the Pope of Rome, and his predecessors and their followers go to heaven, and carry their religion with them, I suppose they would look on the Virgin Mary, the apostles, and the hundreds and thousands of saints that they have canonized. Miserable trash! Abomination, mystery of iniquity, and vile idolatry! Mary, indeed! Why, she is one of the observers or spectators. Her ransomed eyes are fixed upon her once pierced Lord. And Peter with the keys of heaven—another abomination! He is there; but not as an apostle, not in official robes, but in the robe of his Saviour's righteousness, looking at him whom he pierced. Hence Christ in the midst of the throne will attract the attention and absorb the thoughts of ransomed minds for ever and ever.

II. The act itself. They shall look on him; first, in condemnation. Sensible of the fact that they are condemned, lost, and ruined, they shall look on him that was pierced; and hence you observe the look is that of a guilty sinner, that of a criminal, that of one that is under sentence of death. Where do our criminals look, and on whom can they fix their eyes after conviction has taken place, and sentence has been passed upon them? All before them is death, darkness, and black despair, except there may be a thought, a passing thought that probably petitions may be sent to Her Majesty, and the sentence may not be carried out; but if there is such a hope it has no just foundation, and should it be fulfilled, justice would be wronged, according to existing facts, and mercy would triumph over her. But here is a guilty sinner in a state of condemnation, and under sentence of death: he is not in absolute despair, though perhaps not far from it, for there is ground whereon he may stand and hope. He is looking upon this pierced object; and the language of his spirit is—God be merciful; for thou canst if thou wilt be merciful to me a sinner. Say unto me, I am thy salvation. And this look is a loathing one. What is meant by that? Was not that Christ is loathed, but that he that looks loathes himself and his sins. It is a look of self-loathing, of godly sorrow and repentance. It is faith, with her eyes filled with tears, looking on the Lord Jesus. The sinner loathes his sin, and hopes for mercy, and hence he does not sink into despair; he hangs between heaven and hell, looking on Jesus; he does not sink into hell, for he is looking on the pierced One: he does not rise to heaven, for he knows not yet whether the Saviour died for him or not; and, finally, he says—

"If I die with mercy sought,
When I the King have tried,
This were to die,—delightful thought!—
As sinner never died."

He looks in condemnation thus on Jesus Christ, the pierced One. I should like to dwell on these points, but time forbids.

Secondly there is a looking on him in suffering—mental, physical, spiritual circumstantial, and dying. In affliction, look at the grandest Sufferer that ever tasted sorrow.

"His way was much rougher and darker than mine:
Did Christ, my Lord, suffer, and shall I repine?"

Your pierced Lord had no dying bed; he gave up the ghost on the accursed tree. Look at his dying circumstances. Who nursed him? No one. Who moistened his burning tongue when he said—I thirst ! No mother was permitted to dip a feather into wine and water to mitigate the sufferings of the dying God-man. A wretch filled a sponge with vinegar, and raised it to his parched lips. When fever burns us up, my friends, we have nurses, and are succoured; and when otherwise afflicted, we have alleviating circumstances and services; but your Lord had none,—nothing to mitigate his woes. When tempted to repine and murmur in suffering, think of and look on the pierced One. They shall look on him whom they pierced when in suffering. And then again in learning—whilst inquiring into the mysteries of the kingdom, they shall look on him. When they would know the whole about sin, they shall look upon him, for the whole appears there. When they want to know what is love divine, they shall look on him. When they would know as much as possible of justice and its inflexibility and sternness, they shall look on him; and when they would know what is hell, they shall look on him that was pierced, and around whom the flames of divine wrath raged; and when they would know what is death, and the sting thereof, they shall look on him; for a pierced Christ is the fullest and grandest exposition of the vital mysteries which constitute our grand and holy religion. Then, fourthly, they shall look at him in their conflict with the world, the flesh, and the devil. I know of no influence that can enable one to stand against the powers of darkness, but that which comes from the crucified One. The Papists,—deluded mortals,—have many methods of mortifying the flesh and sin. Let me say—Do you want to mortify sin? It must be done by a look— a daily look at him. Is the world to be crucified to you, and you to the world? It must be done in this way. They may kneel on pebbles, count beads, and pray for whole days together, put peas between the soles of their feet and their shoes, wear horsehair or sackcloth next to their skin, immure themselves in nunneries and convents, assume a voluntary poverty, and much more, yet the “old man" will remain strong, and sin will prevail. When all these things are placed in competition with the pierced Christ of God, we say, with Paul: “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of my Lord Jesus Christ, by whom I am crucified to the world, and the world is crucified to me." I would sit before this pierced One as a sinner, and loathe sin, mortify it, be crucified to the world myself, and become pure; for purity emanates from the pierced One, and flows from him through faith into the spectator's heart. They shall look on him in worship; in prayer; in the ordinances of God's house, baptism and the Lord's Supper. I could not baptize any person that said he saw nothing of Jesus Christ in the ordinance, nor could I baptize one that rested therein. Be baptized for his sake; but whilst doing this look on him whom you have pierced. Let us take our seats at the Lord's table, see the elements, and look through them on him whom we pierced. In worship look; but on him only. "This, sir, is the identical cross that Christ hung upon." I do not care for that. "Here is the identical spear with which he was pierced. Here are the three nails with which he was nailed to the tree—one for each hand and one for his feet—the identical nails I do not care for them. Could I have them, and were I convinced that they were the same, I would pass them by, and come to the fact that as a guilty sinner, I want, not the spear, not the nails, but him that was pierced. And then, lastly, death will come, and we will die looking on him. Then, by-and-bye, the graves shall be opened and the dead shall be raised, and he that was pierced shall come again, and every eye shall see him, and we shall put our blood-bought, pardoned heads out of our dusty beds, and our ransomed eyes will be fixed upon him whom we pierced, and we shall say—”Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, and he will save us: this is the Lord; we have waited for him, we will be glad and rejoice in his salvation."

Then shall our eyes be set upon him for ever; and "so shall we ever be with the Lord." Amen. May the Lord add his blessing, for Christ's sake.

03 Christ Exalted, and the Holy Spirit Given

CHRIST EXALTED,

AND

THE HOLY SPIRIT GIVEN. A

Sermon Preached

Mr. HAZELTON, AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET, CLERK

ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JULY 10th, 1881.

"This Jesus hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, he hath shed forth this, which ye now see and hear." — {Ac 2:32-33}.

It will be remembered that before His ascension into heaven the Lord said to His disciples, "Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature: he that believeth, and is baptized, shall be saved; and he that believeth not, shall be damned." But they were to tarry at Jerusalem until they were endued with power from on high. Having given this charge to his disciples, Jesus ascended to His Father; and our Father, to His God and our God, from whence in due time he fulfilled the promise which He made to His disciples, and also the covenant engagements into which He had entered with His divine Father. On the day of Pentecost He poured out in a miraculous manner His blessed Spirit upon His church, according to His word, and the hopes and expectations of His servants. Peter had preached in the day of Christ's flesh; but he never preached the Gospel before the death and resurrection of the Saviour, as he preached it on the day of Pentecost, for we learn that when Jesus spoke, concerning His death, Peter took Him aside, and rebuked Him. Peter could not bear to hear of the sufferings and death of His Master, and none of the disciples would accept the fact that He was about to leave them, and therefore, they said one to another, "What is this that He saith unto us: A little while, and ye shall not see me, and again, a little while, and ye shall see me; and because I go unto the Father? What is this that He saith, A little while? We cannot tell what He saith." However, the time came when Jesus died, and put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, and the disciples having lost the personal presence of their Master, remained, according to His orders, in the city of Jerusalem. On the day of Pentecost the promise was fulfilled; a marvelous measure of Divine "power" was poured down upon their heads and their hearts, and the Old Testament—the New was not then in existence—appeared to them as a new book. The prophecies, the promises, and the doctrines of grace, as recorded in the Old Testament were understood, and Peter, for the first time, "preached" the Gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven." On the day of Pentecost they saw that the death of their Lord was essential to salvation; that the blood of the dear Redeemer was required to put away sin, and that God could not be just, and the justifier of the ungodly, without the interposition of that Ransom. Therefore having received the Holy Spirit they proceeded to address the multitude in various languages. Some of the people sneered and mocked, and others said, "These men are full of new wine." But Peter being divinely inspired, rose, and preached the Gospel in the new light and power which he had received from heaven, and my text forms a part of the first sermon preached after the outpouring of the Spirit. "This Jesus," said Peter, "hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses. Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted, and having received of the Father the promise of the Holy Ghost, He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear."

Let me Endeavour simply to illustrate the text, and in so doing you perceive that we shall have to notice three things. First, the resurrection of the Lord; and, secondly, His exaltation at the right hand of God; and, thirdly and lastly, the effusion of the Holy Spirit: "He hath shed forth this which ye now see and hear."

In the first place, let me offer a few observations upon the resurrection of our glorious Lord. I dare say some of my remarks this morning will be doctrinal, but I have long believed that there is no spiritual meat or drink, no spiritual honey, milk or wine, for the saints of God, without the glorious doctrines of grace. The incarnation of the Son of God is a wonderful doctrine; His obedient life and sacrificial death are glorious themes, and it is also very blessed when one is influenced by the Holy Ghost to dwell upon His burial and resurrection. It is said emphatically in the Word, that Jesus died, and was buried. He did not return to life immediately after He had died on the cross. It was necessary that he should enter the grave; necessary that He should lie there three days and three nights; necessary that He should conquer death in his own territories, and necessary that He should sanctify the tomb for the sleeping dust of all His blood-bought people. Our great Redeemer is now Lord of all, having taken possession of all things for Himself. He has taken possession of His church; He has taken possession of all the grace that is required to save His people; He has taken possession of death; He has taken possession of the grave; He has taken possession of heaven, and of all those mansions which eternal love ordained; and He has left on record a blessed and precious promise for His people: "Where I am, there shall also My servant be." In looking at the resurrection of Jesus, we shall first regard it as a proof of the fact that His great saving work is done, or that redemption is finished for ever. Had not redemption been completed, had not our debts been fully and eternally paid, had not our guilt been quite expiated, and our sin wholly put away, Justice would not have opened the Saviour's tomb, and eternal righteousness and truth would not have permitted our great Surety to leave the prison. Blessed for ever be the name of the Redeemer, He is not in the grave, but on the throne; He is not in the world, but at the right hand of God; and that He is there proves the real and blessed fact upon which our hope rests, that redemption's great work is done; that the perfections of God have been brought together in everlasting beauty and harmony, and that there is eternal peace between the everlasting God and man. That the blood that was demanded has been shed, and the atonement that was required has been made and taken into heaven, appeasing for ever the great Jehovah on His throne, Christ's resurrection makes clear. I hardly know how to receive the words of Dr. Watts, when speaking of God's throne—

"Once 'twas a seat of dreadful wrath,
And shot devouring flame?'

Well the throne of God is not now a seat of wrath, neither does it shoot devouring flame; for the blood of Jesus has been taken within the vail, sprinkled upon that high and majestic throne, and there are no fires now to quench; no curses now to inflict, and no attributes now to reconcile. The heavens of eternal glory are everlastingly filled with the fragrance of the Saviour's atonement, and mercy reigns over guilty men. Grace reigns righteously and equitably; so that God is just, and yet the Justifier of them that believe in him. When the blood was taken into heaven, God smelled a sweet savour of rest, and eternal justice descended in connection with angels, and rolled back the stone that was over the grave of Emmanuel, and He that was dead came forth, and thus the resurrection of our Lord forms a part of the foundation of our imperishable hopes. He has left the tomb. This Jesus has God raised up; for His work was done.

Let us look at this subject for a few minutes. His work as a servant was done. He took upon Himself the form of a servant, and engaged to serve His Father by fulfilling His laws and demands, and by accomplishing His purposes; for His work consisted in obeying the law, and making it for ever honorable. Our Lord commenced His work of obedience when He entered the world; for He was made of a woman, made under the law, that He might redeem them that were under the law. He lived for three-and-thirty years under a broken law, and obeyed in the place of transgressors, and as He proceeded with His work He left perfection behind Him, whilst before Him there were guilt and curse. He gave a glory to every precept, or a perfect obedience to every requirement and demand of God, and having reached the end of the precept His cross was set up, and He was nailed to it, where He bore the penalty due to sin, and bowed His head, and said, My work as a Servant is completed; my obedience is perfect and saving. He took His obedience, and presented it to His Father, saying, Father, will it do? And the Father said, I am well pleased with Thee, for Thy righteousness' sake, for Thou hast magnified the law, and made it honorable. And now that same righteousness, as He sits upon the throne, He presents to the guilty, sensible sinner, and says, Sinner, will it do for you? It is My obedient life, and My Father has accepted it with tokens of divine approval—will it do for you? And this righteousness cast upon the guilty, and covering the unclean, induces him to sing—

"Bold shall I stand in that great day,
For who anght to my charge shall lay?
Fully through Christ absolved I am,
From sin's tremendous curse and shame."

Yes, the work of the Redeemer as the Father's Servant is finished. The sufferings of our Lord were penal. He bore every penal woe; swallowed up every penal sorrow, having received every curse. The curse of God is a heavy, fiery, and burning reality. It is hell, and it raged around the suffering person of the Redeemer, as He hung on the accursed tree. As it is written, "Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree." His precious soul was filled with a sense of wrath, and His precious heart was enveloped in the curses of a broken law. God smote Him as He never smote a being before; for there is not a mere creature that could survive the blow that fell upon the glorious person of God's beloved Son. The damned in hell suffer the curses of the law, but they fall not there upon lost finite creatures as they fell upon our incarnate suffering Saviour. God took all the vials of wrath which had been accumulating from the fall, and emptied them upon the head of His Son, and Jesus lived to receive and to exhaust them all; and when the last drop had been poured out, the Father said, "It is done;" and Christ said, "It is finished," and bowed His head, and gave up the ghost. There are now afflictions for me and for you, but nothing penal has been left by our Lord. Our sufferings are not judgments, but chastisements; they are not curses, but blessings. They do not come from the judicial, but from the parental hand of our God. They do not come from the broken law or the law of works, but from the covenant of eternal grace. They are not intended to appease God, to satisfy justice, or to remove sin; for all that was done by our great Emmanuel, and He that did it all has been raised from the grave. "This Jesus," whom we preach, "hath God raised up, whereof we all are witnesses."

The work of Christ as the Captain of salvation was completed. The world was before Him, with all its blandishments, pleasures, pains, and curses. It was before Him to condemn, and to applaud; but our great Emmanuel was equally dead to its applause, its condemnation, its pleasures, and its pains; and went on conquering and to conquer, in His own great might. Just before He met the last foe, He said to His disciples, "In the world you shall have tribulation," and it will be deep and bitter; for "the time is coming when whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." "But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world." Sometimes our brethren in prayer say, "We are passing through an enemy's land to our heavenly and eternal rest." Dr. Watts was not of that opinion—

"We're marching through Emmanuel's ground,
To fairer worlds on high."

There are enemies in the land; but the land itself belongs to our Lord, the world having been conquered and overcome by Him. It is Christ's property, and He reigns in, and reigns over it, for His beloved people; and hence as the Conqueror of the world He said, "Be of good cheer." You shall have tribulation below, but you shall have peace in Me. And what was Christ's conflict with the devil, during forty days and nights in the wilderness perhaps we shall never know. I would not go too far or too deep into the mystery of temptation; but some of my beloved friends have met the great arch-fiend more than once, and received his arrows, and been tempted by him to doubt almost everything. You have been tempted to doubt the existence of almost everything recorded in the Bible, and to doubt the existence of beings whose character is described there. Have not vile thoughts, abominable feelings and heart- polluting ideas swarmed in your minds, and have you not under such circumstances been filled with terror, and shaken as an aspen leaf ! Oh what were the temptations that surrounded and enveloped the great Captain of our salvation ! The devil invented all he could invent, and forged every arrow that he could forge, and hurled all at the Lord of life and glory. But, bless His name! it is said that "when the devil had ended all the temptations he departed from him for a season;" and our Lord came forth unstained, uninjured, and undamaged. Satan's temptations on that occasion were as the way of a ship in the sea, or as the way of a serpent on the rock. The Rock of Ages was there, and the old serpent crawled about Him, and had it been possible would have injected his filth into His glorious person; but the Redeemer was untarnished by it all. His work as a Conqueror was completed, and hence He was raised from the dead. But He had another foe to meet, and that was death, with its ten thousand stings: for "He, by the grace of God, tasted death for every man." I wish I could enter deeply into the fact that our blessed Redeemer bore all the terrors of death that were due to our transgression. What it is to die we do not yet know, and what it is to die for sin and under the burden of guilt we cannot tell; but our Lord met death with all its stings, and tasted it for everyone that shall sing His glorious praises in heaven. And when the sting of death was quite extracted, and death itself was wholly conquered; then our Lord bowed His head, and gave up the ghost; and because the world, and the devil and death were all vanquished at His feet, having lost their power, the Father raised Him from the dead. And, lastly, his work as a priestly Saviour was completed. As the great High Priest of our profession. He offered Himself without spot to God, and having expiated and put away our guilt, and appeased the eternal Jehovah, He has entered within the veil, there to appear in the presence of God for us. The resurrection of our Lord is a proof of the fact that salvation is a finished work. If it were not, the resurrection of Jesus would have been impossible. He is not in the grave; He is risen, and we rejoice.

In the second place His resurrection is a sweet pledge of ours. It is a proof of the completion of Christ's work, and a pledge of the resurrection of His people. He died as a common person, I mean as the Head and Representative of the church. He was buried as a common person, and not as an isolated individual, and in this capacity He rose from the dead. When He came out of the grave He represented all His beloved people, and inasmuch as He who is the resurrection and the life, and also the great Head of the church is now living on high, where He is His members must also be for ever. Our union to Jesus requires our resurrection, I have sometimes had some serious, and I trust profitable thoughts, whilst speaking over the remains of some of the saints of God. The grave is not a pleasant place to look into; but when we view it in connection with the Lord Jesus, we feel there is mercy connected with our death and burial, and our rest in our dusty beds. As surely as the body of our Lord is in heaven, so surely will all the bodies of His people be raised from the dead. And what a wondrous sight will be seen at the last day, when every grave will be opened, and countless millions of ransomed beings will lift up their heads in the dust, and be drawn out of their graves; for their Lord is the resurrection and the life. He will communicate new life to the dust now sleeping in the grave, and by His almighty power raise every ransomed body, and form and fashion it like unto His own glorious body, when it shall be caught up to meet Himself in the air, and so shall it be for ever with the Lord. Beloved friends, we shall see and meet our friends again. The eyes of Job, which saw his three or four friends, shall see his descending Lord, for himself, and behold Him, and not another. Since death is inevitable, and we are certainly going to the grave, and must become dust again, oh how pleasing and sweet is the fact that the day is coming when death shall be swallowed up in victory! The blood of the Lamb demands our resurrection. It speaketh better things than the blood of Abel, and among its other demands it requires the glorification of our bodies. I have sometimes made observations here and elsewhere in relation to the bodies of the saints, some of whom I have heard speak as I have thought very improperly and un-scripturally concerning their bodies. If our souls, they have said, get to heaven, and enter into rest, we care not what becomes of our bodies. But your Lord cares for them, and has made himself responsible for their resurrection. He is to present your bodies at the last day, before the glory of God's presence. They are purchased property, they are the temples of the Holy Ghost. The body of Jesus was raised, and the bodies of His people cannot be allowed to remain in the tomb. A sweet pledge is the resurrection of Jesus, of the resurrection of His people.

Lastly, with regard to the resurrection of Christ—it is the pattern of the resurrection of His people. The minds of the saints are conformed in some measure to Jesus Christ in this world. He is holy; so are they. He is spiritual; so are they. He was filled with the Holy Ghost; and they possess a measure of the same Spirit. The life of Jesus is in every saint; and every saint is a Christian, because Christ is formed in him the hope of eternal glory. But our bodies, beloved friends, are to undergo a change similar, perhaps, to that which our minds passed through in regeneration. I have no authority for saying that the Holy Ghost will regenerate our bodies, but the resurrection of the body will, in some measure resemble the regeneration of the mind. Now the body is a burden to the mind. "The spirit is willing, but the flesh is weak." We sometimes experience considerable difficulty in bringing our bodies up to the sanctuary, and when they are there they frequently burden our souls. There is drowsiness, and a want of liveliness and buoyancy which interfere with our spiritual worship and comfort. Soon our bodies will be spiritual, like the glorious body of the Lord Jesus, and when He has put if I may so speak, the last touch to His work by raising us from the grave, and making us completely like Himself,—what shall we be, and how shall we appear? Brethren, "it doth not yet appear what we shall be; but we know that when He shall appear, we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is." Eternity will never, like time, cause infirmities and defects upon our parts and powers. Immortal youth and vigor, and strength, and buoyancy, and spirituality will characterize the persons of all the people of God. "This Jesus hath God raised up." And the fact that He did so proves the completeness of our redemption, supplies a pledge of our perfection, and is a pattern of our resurrection.

Let us notice in the second place, one or two facts in connection with the exaltation of Jesus. "Therefore, being by the right hand of God exalted," it was necessary that our Lord should be honored for His work, and His exaltation is the glorious reward of His sufferings. He entered heaven justly and righteously, having a right to do so, in consequence of His own personal worth and merit. We enter behind Him in His name, and in dependence on His worth and merit. He leaned and rested, and depended on Himself alone. He lifted up His head with confidence and joy when He reached the portals of eternal glory, and, conscious of His own worth and worthiness, He went up to the right hand of God. Divine justice seated Him on the throne of honor, and put upon His head the many crowns which now adorn His brow, for He is worthy to sit there; and worthy to receive all the ascriptions of praise and glory which are presented to Him. He is the only worthy one in that glorious world. Gabriel never speaks of worth or worthiness, and the saints that are glorified have no thought of personal worthiness; but our Lord is conscious of the fact that He is worthy to sit, and live, and reign over all, for ever and ever. He is rewarded for His work with a seat at the right hand of God.

"His work for ever is complete,
For ever undisturbed His seat;
Myriads of angels round Him fly,
And sing His well-gained victory."

"They brought His chariot from above
To bear Him to His throne;
Clapped their triumphant wings, and cried,
The glorious work is done"
And who is it that sits at the right hand of the Majesty on high? The Lord that died for us? Flesh of our flesh, and bone of our bone. He is our Brother. If when we were in trouble we had a brother in a high place that could and would help us, what hope and confidence that fact would inspire us with. 0 friends, eternity is before us, and we have immortal minds to be saved from sin, and carried through all our trials and troubles here. Our Brother is on the throne, our Jesus is Lord of all; God has exalted Him at His own right hand, and He reigns over all. John saw a book in the hands of Him that sat on the throne, and heard a voice saying, "Who is worthy to take it, and to open the seals thereof! Of all that John saw, not one in heaven, or on earth, or under the earth could open the book. John wept, and one said to him, "Weep not; for the Lion of the tribe of Judah hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seals thereof." And John looked, and saw a Lamb in the midst of the throne, as it had been slain, who took the book out of the hand of the Father. And what is He doing now? Why, the book of God's purposes is before this exalted Lord, who holds the reins of universal dominion in His hand, and

"Here He exalts neglected worms
To sceptres and a crown;
And there the following page He turns,
And treads the monarch down."

As a minister preaches, this exalted One drops his grace into the hearts of sinners and saints, regenerating the former and edifying the latter, proving that he is Lord of all. Whilst all this is being done, there are hundreds of saints on their dying beds, not far from their home of glory; and He that sits on the throne attends to all their wants, and sees them safely through. Our exalted Lord is receiving those for whom He died, helping them on their way to the heavenly home, is present with them in their last moments, and meets them at the threshold of glory, to welcome them to their everlasting home and rest. He is exalted at the right hand of God. There is not a world, but what is His, nor a devil but what He controls, nor an event but what He influences. The circumstances of our life He connects together in a way that is worthy of Himself. That which is casual, and called an accident, He controls and manages.

"My life's minutest circumstance
Is governed by His eye."

He that is your Lord was the "man of sorrows, and acquainted with grief." It is divinely right that He should sit on that high throne, and manage all the affairs of the universe. But that is not all. He is the object of eternal worship. He that is exalted above all blessing and praise represents Deity, and is Himself the eternal God. How great is the mystery of godliness! We do not expect to see three divided persons in heaven, certainly not as painters represent the Trinity—the Bather as an old man, the Son as a young man, and the Holy Ghost as a dove. Oh how prone people are to canalize eternal things, and even Jehovah and His character.

"The God shines gracious through the man,
And sheds sweet glories on them all"

The Lamb of God embodies Deity, and all the perfections and attributes of Jehovah. Thus all the inhabitants of heaven fall before our exalted Lord, and sing, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain to receive honor, and power, and glory for ever." Amen.

04 Peter’s Confession of Faith

PETER'S CONFESSION OF FAITH.
A

Sermon

Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET, CLERKENWELL,

ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, 18th SEPTEMBER, 1887.

"He saith unto them, But whom say ye that I am? And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living Cod. And Jesus answered and said unto him, Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona: for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven."— Mt 16:15-17}.

Peter was an extraordinary man, and he often spoke for his brethren, and was mouth for them on this particular occasion. His Master said, "I say unto thee that thou art Peter, and upon this Rock [which you have now confessed] I will build My church" and thou shalt be a living stone thereof, and occupy a place upon Myself as its firm foundation, "and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it." Now, I say this portion of the Word of God has been fulfilled from year to year, and from one month to another, until the present moment. The gates of hell have attempted to prevail against the church, and rivers (so to speak) of blood have been shed in connection with a public profession of religion. The gates of hell and the powers of darkness have always been opposed to God's dear Son, and His cause and interest in the world; but we leave that, however, and glance at the fact, " I will build My church upon this Rock." Where is the church of God now? In God the Father, and in His Son Jesus Christ. The church is upon Christ, the Rock of eternal ages; and let us bless God, dear friends, for this. Whatever may happen in the world, Christ's church is safe. Kingdoms may fall, politics may change, and change greatly too, and thrones and empires may tumble down, the church of God will stand firmly until the end of time; and then it will appear in full perfection and glory in a better world for ever. The Scriptures cannot be broken; for He who said, "The gates of hell shall not prevail against it," will see that this word be fulfilled unto the end.

"What though the gates of hell withstood,
Yet must this building rise;
'Tis Thy own work, Almighty God,
And wondrous in our eyes."

Families are dissolved, societies are breaking up, and all nature is changing; but the church of God is saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation, and can never, never be destroyed. Let us, however, confine attention to the words we have read.

There are four points to be noticed; I will mention them as I proceed, and offer a few remarks upon each of them. In the first place we have an important question: He saith unto them, not unto Peter singly or separately: "But whom, say ye that I am?" Let us tarry here a few minutes, and try to look at this great question. In general affairs public opinion goes for something, I dare say; but it goes for little or nothing in the things of God. The Saviour had previously put a question to His disciples; "Whom do men say that I, the Son of man am?" Not that our Lord thought or cared for public opinion; and yet, determined to pave His way to this question, He asked of His disciples, " Whom do men say that I am?" In the first question He introduces the words, "the Son of man," but in the text that phrase is left out. "Whom say ye that I am?" In answer to the first question, the disciples said, "Some say that Thou, art John the Baptist, some Elias, and others Jeremias or one of the prophets. That is the opinion of the people. "But whom say ye that I am? What think ye of Christ? Let us not go out of doors into the world for a correct view of the Saviour. Let us look at the Word of God, and hold it up to our experience, and see how we compare with the gospel. If that Christ who is formed in our hearts, the hope of glory, is the Christ who appears in the glorious gospel of God's grace, we are safe to all the intents of bliss. " Whom say ye that I am?" The thought strikes me here, that our dear Lord always turns His mind, as it were, towards and upon Himself; He always directs our attention to Himself; He always makes Himself very prominent and conspicuous, and is always determined to magnify Himself. It was perfectly right that it should be so on His part; for He was, and is, and ever will be, the greatest being in the universe. It is your privilege and mine to magnify Him, to speak well of His name, and to see that He is exalted, if possible, not only above all that is within and without, but above all blessing and praise in heaven. I should be a happy man if I could lift or raise the Saviour in my own heart above all the evil that dwells therein; and if I could set my Lord above all the circumstances which surround me, and keep my eye steadily fixed upon Him. My days would pass quietly away, and my nights would be calm and serene. Is it not a fact in connection with our experience, that we are so prone to magnify the creature, and our troubles, and to so magnify the nature and consequences of sin, that we almost lose sight of the great and glorious Immanuel, the blessed, the ever-reigning Christ of God. He is greater than the greatest, and higher than the highest, and stronger than the strongest; are these contradictions, or am I using superfluous words? There are men that are of the strongest; but our Lord is stronger than they. Devils are stronger than men; but our Lord is stronger than they. There are thrones which are comparatively high here, but His is the highest throne; and there are crowns that glitter much in this world; but on His head are many crowns, and it is our mercy that it is so. Brethren, let Christ be magnified in our life, our experience, and our progress through the world, as He will be in eternity. Yes, the Saviour turned His eyes upon Himself, and it was perfectly just on His part to do so, and ask the question, "Whom say ye that I am?" I should not like to ask my friends for their opinion of myself as a man, as a Christian, or as a minister. It is for me, for you, and for all God's people, to turn their attention away from themselves as much as possible to the dear and blest Redeemer; but it was the grand prerogative of Jesus Christ to stand out prominently before everybody and everything, and to place Himself above all, and say, " Whom say ye that lam?" If we have low ideas of our Lord, we are in a strange position; but if He is our dear Lord, and we have been bought with His blood, and have some humble knowledge of that fact, our ideas and estimate of Him will not be low. We shall labor under the weight of His great name, and feel how heavy is His glory, and lament our weakness and inability to raise Him to the position which He has a right to occupy.

Now, I take it, my friends that in the first place our Lord appealed to the faith of His disciples. "Whom say ye that I am?" We read in the 53rd of Isaiah, that when Jesus Christ should appear, the world, and especially the Jewish world, would see no beauty in Him that they should desire Him. I am glad that the Holy Ghost has been pleased to add these words, "that we should desire Him;" for otherwise in this wonderful day of ours the world professes to see moral beauty in the character of the Messiah. They express this very guardedly, for they do not know Him, and their utterances are as dry as chips, if I may so speak. The infidel sees it; for a celebrated man who died a few years ago admitted that the character of the Messiah was very beautiful. Therefore the Holy Ghost has been pleased to add the words, "that we should desire Him." Our Lord appealed to the faith of His believing disciples. Their faith was not very deep, or vigorous, or strong; nevertheless they did believe in God, and in their Lord and Master; and He appealed to their faith: "Whom say ye that I am?" What are your convictions, your thoughts, your feelings, your experience? "For, as believers in Me you have convictions, and they are deep, and concerning My person they are correct and true; therefore, whom say ye that I am, 0 that our faith may be of that kind which animated the heart of Peter, and which elicited from the Master this benediction, — "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee." The people of God sometimes wonder whether their faith be a saving faith or not. The devil is permitted at times to cover their minds with darkness, and to utterly conceal from their eyes the nature of the good work which is going on within, and they stumble and draw conclusions which are as far from the truth as the heavens are from the earth. My dear friends, we cannot do without a living faith in the heart, and we can no more do without its great Author than the world can do without the influences of the natural sun. The soil which produces what man requires, may in itself be good and rich; but however excellent it may be, it requires the sun, the wind, and the rain, and other influences must be in perpetual operation, or all will become barren and desolate. As it is in nature, so it is in grace in this respect. Your heart may have been changed, and a living faith rooted therein, and that faith may have embraced the Saviour again and again; yet you are not independent of the great Author of faith, nor of the influences of heavenly love and rich and reigning grace. These are absolutely necessary; for if God hides His face we die; at least, our pleasure dies, and our spirituality withers. Therefore may the Sun of Righteousness ever shine, may His warming influences ever enter and ever pervade our hearts and minds, and may that faith which worketh by love embrace the dear, and sweet, and precious name of Jesus; so that we way be always ready to give a reason of the hope that is within us, with meekness and fear.

Then again, I think our Lord appealed to the experience of His disciples. This as to its spiritual power and reality perhaps was not very deep, yet, inasmuch as they believed in Christ, they had a measure of what is designated Christian experience. "Whom say ye that I am?" Who am I, and what am I to you? The Master would know from their own lips what He was in their estimation, and to their hearts. What am I in myself, and what am I to you? I do not suppose the words occurred to the mind of Peter, but methinks if they had he would have given utterance to them: "Thou art the chiefest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely." Why, it was Peter, who said, after our dear Lord had delivered certain truths, and many of His followers left Him, and walked no more with Him, and He had said, "Will ye also go away?" "Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life."

"Depart from Christ! 'tis death ! 'tis more!
'Tis endless ruin ! deep despair !

I may hold my Saviour in a very awkward manner, and exercise my little faith upon His name very incoherently; yet, if I love His precious name, and have a measure of holy experience of what He is, and can say at times with the church of God, "This is my Beloved, and this is my Friend, 0 ye daughters of Jerusalem!" perfection will come by and bye. I may be cast down and distressed because I am not perfect here and now, yet perfection certainly will come; for sight must follow faith, and fruition must follow hope. Turn your eyes within—I do not often invite you to do this—look into the deepest recesses of your soul, and say what Jesus Christ is to you? A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief, a perfect character, an amiable Being, that Being who gave rise to Christianity, and upon whose name the church of God is built. Ah, my friends, can you not go a little deeper? Does not the name of Jesus Christ go through and through your heart? Are there not moments when that dear name absorbs you altogether, and you are completely lost for a few moments in the great and glorious name of the Saviour? As the fish in the sea is at home, and remains there until it be caught or die, so the child of God would ever be immersed in the great name of the Redeemer. In the glorious ocean of everlasting love He would dive, and bathe, and live; and as the fish finds its food in the ocean which is its home, so the believer finds his satisfaction and his all in the Christ whom his heart desires to love. 0 that we could love Him more, and serve Him better; lift Him higher, and realize more of the infinite sweetness and boundless preciousness of His great and holy name.

Now, our knowledge of Christ has a considerable influence in forming our character. Religious knowledge, as it is called, always exercises a powerful influence upon character. Beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and of the Sadducees. Their doctrine was leaven, which diffuses itself through the whole mass, and doctrines diffuse their influence through the character. If our knowledge of Jesus Christ be true and spiritual, our character will be true and spiritual also. Persons repudiate doctrines in the day in which we live, but be sure you never do so; for notwithstanding their position and the manner in which people speak against the doctrines of grace, the doctrines one holds always have their influence upon character. The Pharisees and Sadducees were what they were owing to the influence of the doctrines they held; and hence the Master says, "But whom say ye that I am;" knowing well that their knowledge of His name had a great influence upon their whole life. Let me ever know the Lord as saved sinners know Him, and know Him so as to love Him intensely and increasingly, and my character will be acceptable in the sight of God. I want you to notice another point for a moment. Your estimate of Christ will influence you in forming an estimate of other matters. "Whom say ye that I am?" Thou art my all in all. Well then, what do you think of sin? I hate and loathe it. No being hates all sin unless he knows and loves the Lord. What is your estimate of yourself? A man's foes are those of his own household. Self I would tread under foot and never follow it. It is a mischievous power; Lord save me from myself. Enter my heart Thyself, and reign supremely and for ever there. What is your estimate of the world? "Well, I see no harm in spending an evening in the theatre, or in the dancing room, or in the music hall, or in this, that, or the other entertainment." I rather think, my friends, that if your estimate of the Saviour were higher than it is, your estimate of theatres, dancing halls, and so on, would be very low. You would have low ideas, opinions, and feelings, in regard to them. Let Christ sit high in my heart, and occupy the best seat therein, or let Him have my best and noblest affections, and you may have all the theatres, entertainments, and their worldliness for me.

"Let worldly minds the world pursue,
It has no charms for me."

I once loved it, but I have been taught and brought to love another. I once saw beauties in it, but then I did not see the world from a proper point of view, nor had I ever seen the greatest beauty in the universe. But having seen Christ, and having had to do with Him, the world has lost its charms. Self, I would trample in the dust; sin, I would divest myself of it, if I might and I could; and I sometimes long for the time when I shall be wholly stripped of it, for mine eyes have seen the King in His beauty, and beheld the land that is very far off.

In the second place, observe the important confession of faith. It comes as an answer to this question. "And Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." What did the Saviour ask the question for? Not for information; He knew what their feelings were, and what their utterance would be. What may we suppose the Lord put the question for? To elicit this confession and to draw forth is expression of faith and experience. And Simon Peter, not merely for himself personally, but as mouth for the rest, said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Short but weighty; a very few words, but every word is full. "Thou art Christ, the Son of the living God." Here we have an important confession. They all believed the thing, and I suppose their faith was pretty much the same as to its measure in all their hearts. However, there was no dissentient, no difference, not one of them held back any portion of his faith. The whole eleven, excluding Judas; whether he was silent or not I do not know—the whole eleven godly men threw themselves for eternity upon that person who was their Master, and said, "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." First, in this confession of faith the divinity of Jesus Christ is brought out prominently. "The Son of God?" When I was a younger man, I used to speak with a great deal of fervour and zeal against Unitarianism and Socinianism. I suppose this is as a rule characteristic of young men; but I may be permitted to say to-day, though I am hardly such an one as John the aged, yet I am getting into years, and going down the hill, I am ready to say to-day with all the feeling I can command, that I do reject Unitarianism and Socinianism, and shall loathe it for ever. If I rob Christ of His Godhead, and reduce Him to a mere man, there is nothing in Him to save me. If He is only a man, a good man, a great man, the best man,—and I admit all that, yet He cannot save guilty sinners if He is no more than a man. I loathe the sentiment, and had almost said something more; but let me not express myself too strongly here. I loathe a sentiment, the result of the influence of which is to take the crown of divinity from the glorious head of the Lord Jesus Christ. "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Secondly, not only did they believe in the divinity of the Lord, they believed that He was a divine person in the Godhead, the Son of the living God. If that does not indicate personality, where shall we look for it? What does indicate it? Christ was, and is, and ever will be one of the glorious persons in God, equal with the Father and the Holy Spirit. Wonderful that Peter should have learned so much, and that the disciples should have seen so much in Him. Equal with the Father and with the Spirit. "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Thirdly, it included His official work. Christ is Divine, and a Divine Person, but He is Christ the Anointed, the Messiah, the Mediator between God and man. The confession comprehends all the Gospel. The Mediator between God and man. "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." And what is Christ to God and to His people? The great outlet of grace and mercy. Some of our towns have names which end with the word "mouth," to indicate that their rivers are connected with the sea, such as Yarmouth and so on. Now what the river is to that part where it is connected with the sea that the Lord Jesus Christ is to this poor desert world and His dear people that are in it. Christ the Mediator is God's gracious mouth, through which He pours all His spiritual blessings into this poor dying world of ours. "Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God." Peter saw God in the man Christ. He saw Deity in Him behind His flesh, His human nature, His poverty, and His humiliation. His deity was veiled; but every now and then His Godhead broke out, "And they beheld His glory, (the glory as of the only begotten of the Father) full of grace and truth." The important confession.

Thirdly, the important revelation : " Flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven." . Bar-jona, the son of Jona or Jonas. Our Saviour referred Peter for a minute to His natural name and state. I do not know whether Peter's father was a good man or otherwise. The Lord Jesus Christ did not say how it was; but He knew his father and said, " Blessed art thou Simon Bar-jona but when you were educated, trained and instructed, the revelation of Myself formed no part of the work of teaching; "for flesh and blood hath not revealed this fact unto thee, but My Father which is in heaven." We are told that children come into the world perfectly pure and clean, and that they are just ready to receive like a clean sheet of writing paper what parents and others may impart to them.

Well, whatever a child may bring with itself into the world, it brings no grace, nor the germ of saving religion, for that is subsequently revealed and given. "My Father which is heaven has revealed it to you, and not flesh and blood." Human nature can never discover the Saviour, nor find Him, can never get to love Him, nor come by its own power to rest upon Him for eternal life. Hear that trembling one as he stumbles along towards Christ, listen to him and mark him well, for he is a child of God though he stumbles.

"Lo! glad I come, and Thou, blest Lamb,
Shalt take me to Thee as I am :
Nothing but sin I Thee can give,
Nothing but grace shall I receive."

The power of flesh and blood does not bring poor sinners here. This is the result of a Divine revelation. Revelation is an uncovering, and the discovery of something that had been hidden and concealed. It is not creation. Distinguish between revelation and creation? My Father in heaven has revealed it, not created it. Christ was in existence before the Father revealed Him; and He was lovely, glorious and sweet, before we saw His loveliness, or realized His sweetness. Now there is the eye, and the object, and the light. The eye is faith, and the object to be seen is Christ, the Son of the living God. What is wanted but light? Not any light, artificial, educational, moral, intellectual or rational light merely; the light required is heavenly, special and divine, conveyed by the Spirit into the heart; flesh and blood cannot reveal the Lord. Here is the altogether lovely Christ, and here is the altogether sinful creature; and there is the Father on the throne, looking with approbation upon His dear Son, and with love upon the sinner that wants to see Him. The heavens are open, and light divine falls upon the scene, and to the sinner Christ is revealed in the heart, the hope of eternal glory. "You preach mysteries, and go in your experience so far in one direction that we cannot follow you." The Lord the Holy Spirit help you to follow me at some future time, if I now go a little too far for you. If the preacher knows anything of the Father's revelation, this is how it takes place. Now this revelation does not give us an interest in Christ, nor is it the cause of relationship. The theory, the doctrine of the present day is, that something must take place within, before we can be said to be interested in Christ. My beloved friends, revelation follows interest and proves relationship. If there had been no connection between you and Jesus Christ before He was revealed to your heart, there would never have been a revelation of Him to your poor soul. "I have loved thee with an everlasting love, and therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." How can the Father draw one unless something is presented wonderfully powerful In its attractions. Well, the attractions of Jesus Christ are wonderfully powerful, and God says, He has loved, and therefore He has drawn. He reveals His Son; and we, feeling the power of His attractions, as the objects of His grace, sing,

"Gently He draws my soul along,
Both with His beauties and His tongue."

Fourthly and lastly, the important benediction: "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed it unto thee." "Blessed art thou." Christ had blessed him, and then pronounced him blessed, and I think I had some little sweetness in thinking over this part of the subject when it presented itself to my mind in this form,—that when Jesus Christ pronounced the words, "Blessed art thou, Simon Bar-jona," He was at that moment full of spiritual blessings for Peter, for God hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings, in heavenly places, in Christ. Christ, if I may so speak, spoke in relation of what He Himself held for Peter. He had all the fullness of Peter's grace in Him, or all the grace Peter required to save Him. All the love of God towards Peter was in him; and, speaking experimentally, for I love the experience of My Lord,—the Master said, "Blessed art thou in Me, Simon Bar-jona." Now this blessedness is the best. We have other blessings; they are all good, but the best of other blessings is inferior to this one. Temporal things are mercies. We thank our Lord for temporal good, but they are not our God. Peter was blessed with the best of all blessings. Another thought is this, that the blessing was a present one. Now look at the words of the text again. "Blessed art thou," not, Blessed shalt thou be by and bye; but thou art blessed to day. Blessed art thou even now. Was Peter, then, without sin? No, yet he was blessed, though sin dwelt within. Take courage, then, my dear friend; you may be a blessed man or a blessed woman, although sin dwells within. Did the Master—and let us tread softly here—did the Master see any error in Peter's mind? Yes, Peter had carnal views of the kingdom of his Lord, and his faith did not go far into the spirituality of His kingdom; yet he was a blessed man. Did the Master foresee Peter's fall, and how far his sin and cowardice would carry him? Yes, but the Master did not withhold the information on account of that. Did blessings continue to follow Peter? Yes, for the curse never follows the saving blessing of God. The world may curse you, the devil may curse you, and you may be almost ready to curse yourselves sometimes; but if God has blessed you with spiritual blessings to-day, He will bless you for ever and ever. The Lord add His blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen.

05 The Saint’s Best, Prepared, Promised, and Given

THE SAINT'S BEST, PREPARED, PROMISED,

AND

GIVEN. A

Sermon Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET, CLERKENWELL,
ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, JUNE Ist,1884.

"And He saith unto them, Ye shall drink indeed of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with: but to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father."— {Matthew. {20: 23}.

Although the disciples were near to the Master when He was here in the flesh, many of their views and thoughts concerning Him were exceedingly carnal. They regarded Him not only as the promised Messiah, but as a temporal Prince; for He was in point of fact, the Son of David. They were looking that He should become the King of the Jews, assume the reins of government, and literally ascend His father David's throne. Therefore they said, "Wilt Thou at this time restore the kingdom unto Israel?" This was the case on this interesting occasion, when the mother of Zebedee's children brought her two sons to Jesus and said to Him, " Grant that these my two sons may sit, the one on Thy right hand, and the other on the left, in Thy kingdom." The feelings of the mother ran in the general course, concerning the temporal reign of the Lord Jesus Christ. Her thoughts on this particular occasion had respect to Christ's ministers of state, and therefore being actuated in some measure by sentiments of ambition and pride, she desired to speak in time, especially as Jesus had manifested a peculiar partiality for James and John. "Grant that these my two sons may sit on Thy right hand, and on the left in Thy kingdom." And Jesus said, "Ye know not what ye ask. Are ye able to drink of the cup that I shall drink of, and to be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with? And they said, We are able." The Master said, "Ye shall indeed drink of My cup, and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with." You are My followers, and members of My mystical body; you are My servants, and sons of God, and you must be conformed to Me in suffering as well as in spirituality and holiness, and therefore you shall drink of My cup and be baptized with My baptism. I have to drink of the cup of persecution, and to be baptized with the baptism of suffering and sorrow, and in the world ye shall have tribulation; nevertheless "to sit on My right hand, and on My left, is not Mine," as Man, as Mediator, apart from My Father, to give; but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of Him.

Let us look at the latter part of the verse: "To sit on My right hand and on My left, is not Mine to give, but it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared." In the first place, let us direct our attention to the interesting and glorious privilege indicated here, viz., that of sitting on the right hand, and on the left of the Lord Jesus Christ in His kingdom. I shall make no critical observations on the right and the left hands of the Lord Jesus: therefore we notice, first, that we have here the idea of eternal nearness to our Lord. If we in His kingdom sit on His right hand, and on His left, as it were, we shall be for ever near to Him, and nearer to Him than we can possibly be here. I do hope that most of my hearers this morning know what it is occasionally to be near to the Lord, and to hold sweet fellowship with God, in and through Him. You know what it is to enter into your closets, to leave the world outside, to rise above the influence of your circumstances, and to have communion with the dear Redeemer. How sweet are the moments when all one's thoughts are absorbed in the Saviour, and one's heart is lost as it were, in the grace of Immanuel. "That is fanaticism, sir." No; it is a part of the occasional experience of the beloved people of God; and if on earth, by faith, it is so sweet to sit at Jesus' feet, what must it be to "sit on His right hand, and on His left," in the eternal felicity of heaven, where we shall be near Him as we cannot be near to Him here! We shall be personally near to Him; our minds will be near to His; our bodies will be near to His, and we shall be for ever within sight of the beloved Son of God. We shall see Him for ever; for nothing will ever arise in that blessed world to divert our attention from the glorious Immanuel. Certain persons are near to Her Majesty the Queen; but the great majority of her subjects are at a great distance from her. The persons nearest to her are the Royal Family. Then many persons in official positions, as statesmen and others, are near to her, and various servants are in the royal palace, while outside is the nation itself. But all the people of God will be for ever near to the Redeemer. One will not be farther from Him than another. You are ready to say, "You cannot explain that mystery." I am glad I cannot. Our bodies and our souls will be universally spiritual; and what it is to be absolutely free from corruption, and from the flesh and blood which cannot enter into the kingdom of God, I do not yet know; but if we are saints, our bodies shall be made like unto the glorious body of the Redeemer; and then with millions of other happy saints, we shall be caught up to meet the Lord in the air, and so shall we ever be with the Lord. We shall enter heaven and see Christ as He is, and be like Him for ever. Here we meet together in God's house, and catch a glimpse of heaven, and of the Saviour, and then He disappears again, or at all events, we cease to see Him; and hence the complaint:—

"l count it long since I received
A visit from the Lord."

But having entered heaven, and taken our seats in the presence of the Redeemer, we shall rest for ever. There we shall for ever view His face, meditate upon His grace, contemplate His charms, and so to speak, for ever lose ourselves in His boundless and mysterious grandeur and glory. And is it not a position of honor, to sit on the right hand and on the left of Jesus for ever? No trace of sin and guilt will appear, and no taint of iniquity. All shall be pure as the Son of God, and holy and transparent as Immanuel Himself; and no spot or blemish will ever appear upon them. What must it be to be free from sin, absolutely free from all marks of transgression and iniquity! Here we pray, and sometimes send all our thoughts for a few moments up to heaven, and then Satan comes and diverts our minds, interferes with our communion with God, and interrupts our joy. But then there will be no corruption in the soul, no depravity in our nature, and no remains of sin left, and therefore there will be eternal honor as well as eternal nearness to the Saviour. A spot in heaven would un-paradise the place. A blot upon the character, or upon the person of one of God's dear people, would leave peace and joy impossible. It is the determination of God so to wash every saint in the blood of the Lamb, as to remove every stain, and so to work by His Spirit in every heart, as to make every saint all- glorious within. There we shall be as if the fall had never taken place, and we had never sinned. Yet we shall never forget the fall, nor our sinner-ship, our vileness, our uncleanness, our character as fallen creatures, and hence the song will be "Unto Him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in His blood."

But, in the next place, so to sit in heaven with our Lord indicates eternal rest. There God's people rest from their labors, in the place which has been prepared for them. Here we are weary; for we are journeying towards home and eternity, and we are oft times, if one may speak for others, cast down and distressed, because we cannot see our signs, and wonder whether our religion be genuine or not. I shall not preach so as to encourage doubts and fears; and yet I would never discourage those who have them, for I have no whip for fearing and doubting ones. I know you would not fear or doubt if you could help it: but this is the experience of many of the people of God. Oh! it is hard to be godly; for it is to be in the field of conflict, and to he engaged in battle from day to day. There is always something to fight against, and always something to oppose; but the time is coming when all that shall cease. The journey of life will be ended, the work done, the weariness past and gone, and the ransomed spirit shall glide confidently and righteously out of the body into a better world, and into the presence of the Redeemer. Some have said that they should be satisfied if they might only step over the threshold of glory and stand at a distance from the Master, and see His face in that position. You would not be satisfied in such a position, if there be such a place in heaven; and Christ would not be satisfied to see you there: for all are loved with all the love of God; and therefore, having passed over the threshold of glory you will go at once to your seats, for they have been prepared for you; for; It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." You shall go to your seats, and God shall place upon you the crowns of eternal righteousness, and you will rest in the presence of your best Beloved for ever. "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." Rest. What a sweet word! Rest. What a gracious blessing it is to come into the house of God and rest in His presence for half-an-hour; to leave the world on a Thursday, or some other evening, and enter into God's courts, to shake off the dust of business, and to cease to hear the noise and strife of life, to sit at God's feet, to receive a shower of Divine blessing, and to be fertilized by God Himself! How sweet it is by faith to enter into rest in this world of turmoil and trouble! What must it he to be in heaven, and to rest from our labors in the presence of our best Beloved! This "shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." A last idea here will be that of permanence. "To sit on My right hand and on My left." The posture is an everlasting one; for the soul in the presence of Jesus is eternally there. "They shall go no more out for ever." Shut in by God in the best world in the universe, and seated before Him, there to remain for ever. No Sabbath evenings, and no Monday mornings there. Monday morning now comes, when we go into the cold, dusty, bustling world, where our minds become withered and our spirituality is weakened; hence we want reviving in our bondage, and renewing by the Holy Spirit again and again. But there congregations never break up, and the Sabbath has no end. Weariness and drowsiness will never be felt, but

"There we shall sit and sing away,
A long and everlasting day."

A cup of sweets without a bitter, a day that will last for ever, a Sun that will always shine, and rivers of pleasure that will ever flow, even the rivers of God's pleasure of which we shall drink for ever. Joy so great, and yet without an end. Peace so deep, and yet never to be disturbed. Tranquility and serenity so pure, heavenly, and Divine, and nothing in all that vast world prepared by God to interrupt, or ruffle, or disturb it.

`A few more rolling suns at most,
Will land us on fair Canaan's coast."
"There we shall see His face,
And never, never sin;
There from the rivers of His grace,
Drink endless pleasures in."

All this is a Divine gift. "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." Talk about earning glory! About deserving it! About meriting it! About working for God, and bringing Him under something like obligations to the creature! Let such words never fall from our lips, and such thoughts never enter our minds. There is no proportion between the heaven of glory, and the services, the sufferings, and the sorrows of God's people here. No, it is all a gift. A kingdom given; not to be divided among many, but a kingdom given to each and everyone. Everyone shall be a king, and every seat shall be a throne, and every inheritance shall be a kingdom, and all shall be given by God Himself. But how given? Oh, so lovingly! You know there is much in the manner in which a gift is bestowed upon a receiver. You may meet a poor, needy being, and throw a shilling or even half a crown into his lap, or his hand, in a manner which almost prevents him thanking you; or you may give him a sixpence, or even a less sum than that, with a smile upon your countenance, and a tone of tenderness in your voice which will almost break his heart. How will God give you a crown, and a throne, and a kingdom? With all His heart, with an eternal smile upon His countenance. He is resolved to do you good, according to His resources and ability; in fact, to do for you all that it is possible for a God to do for creatures such as we. "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." But where is all this to be enjoyed and experienced? Not here, but there; not in this world, but in that which is to come. Some persons and I think their minds must be very dry, are almost always speculating as to the future of this world, as to what God (intends to do with it. I am sure I do not wish to be wise above what is written, and am perfectly satisfied to keep within the covers of this book. I am told that heaven has been prepared by God for sinners saved by grace; and therefore, I am expecting to go to heaven, so far as I can believe that I am a child of God. I do not think our Lord will come down and pitch His tabernacle in the land of Canaan, and call His people together in the city of Jerusalem, which would not hold a millionth part of them; neither do I believe He will come down and convert the world into an Eden. As for the millennium, (and I do not wish to needlessly offend,) that Christ will come and live and reign a thousand years on the earth, I do not know whether it will be so, or not; I can only say as the good Suffolk minister said, "If He should come and dwell with us a thousand years, we shall all be glad to see Him." Should He come and dwell with us here, we shall be delighted to sit on His right hand and on His left. I am not looking for that, however, neither can I speculate in those matters. He is gone to heaven, to prepare a place for His people, and has said, "If I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again." And so far only am I expecting to see Him again in this world. "I will come again and receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also." Well, it will be in heaven and not here, in that kingdom which God has prepared.

Let us now notice in the third place the preparation indicated. I have been trying to set forth the privilege and the gift, but we have also the preparation indicated. "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." And when was it prepared? Very early, even before the foundation of the world. "Come, ye blessed of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world." It appears, then, that heaven was the first world God made; for He had built heaven, that great and glorious place, and brought that marvelous kingdom and inheritance of saints into existence before the foundation of the world. And therefore Christ is represented as "the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world." And how was it prepared? According to the resources of our heavenly Father. The man who is about to become a husband provides, or it is presumed that he provides, as good a home for his wife and for himself with her, as he can, and that his home bears some proportion to his ability and resources. The father is supposed to do the very best he can for his son and for his children; and you may apply this to your Father in heaven. The preparation of heaven by God for you, bears a perfect proportion to the resources and ability of your God; and I sometimes look at the world we live in, and through which we are passing, and say, if God has made a world so good, so great, and so excellent as this for men as creatures, and if He continues so to fill it with His goodness for men, though they are sinners, what must that world be which He has prepared for His dear people! All His resources are infinite and were united and inseparably engaged in preparing heaven for you and me. We shall find in heaven that which will meet every want, that which will drown every desire, that which will realize every hope, and that which will leave prayer, petition, and expectation impossible. "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." Well, my friends this place has been prepared for us, and. promised to us, and opened for us, and our faces have been turned towards this inheritance and we are journeying to the place of which God has said, I will give it to thee. I think it was last Lord's-day, in the hall yonder, that I referred to the fact that probably I had, since I had been in London, buried almost as many persons as were then present before me, and I do not think I exaggerated. I have buried a great many saints during the thirty-three years or thereabouts that I have ministered to the people here. They are gone not from my thoughts or yours, not from our affections, not from our feelings, not from our gratitude. We see them now, and our fancy or imagination tries to paint them, if I may so speak, as they now appear in heaven. They are there in the place appointed or prepared for them; for the place is prepared for the people, and the people are prepared for the place.

Look in the fourth place at the promise. We have looked at the privilege of living near to Christ for ever. We have turned our attention to the gift and the Divine preparation of the place, and now for the promise. It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." God's promises are sweet, they melt the saints to tears. Promises that relate to our pilgrimage, and to our passing through the water and the fire, are very sweet and precious: but what about this promise? "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." Then heaven is sure, and eternal glory is absolutely certain; the perseverance of the saints of God is certain, and it ought to be regarded as a fact beyond dispute. "I am God, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed." God has given a promise, which is a representation and expression of His purpose, and He will never alter His mind, and here we have the testimony of Him who is the Amen, the faithful and true Witness. It shall be given to them. Look at this promise, first in relation to the Father Himself; He has prepared the place, and given a promise: and can the place be unoccupied? There are the seats and thrones, and shall they too be vacant? Was there not a fixedness of purpose in the mind of God, when He prepared the seats and the place for His dear people? Did He not resolve so to arrange all matters of providence and grace that every saint should arrive in heaven and be seated in His presence? My beloved friends, the promise considered in relation to the Father must be fulfilled. Again, look at it in relation to the Lord Jesus Christ. He has emphatically said, 4 i It shall be given." " Not Mine to give He does not mean that He has not power to give it, for He will be engaged in giving the seats to His beloved people; but it will be in harmony with His Father, and with the Holy Spirit,—not Mine officially to give. " It shall be given for whom it is prepared of My Father. I do not know that I need to stay here to allude to Arianism and Socinianism. Some of you know that Socinians take this portion of the Word of God to prove what they assert as a fact, that Jesus Christ is not God, since he says here that it is not His to give places at His right hand and His left; but that it is given of the Father. Yet Christ never contradicted Himself. "I give unto My sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand.

All power in heaven and in earth is given unto Me." Jesus Christ is equal with the Father. He was here speaking of Himself as man and Mediator, and as filling an important office in connection with the salvation of His people. It was My Father's office and work to prepare the place, My office and work to redeem the people from all evil, and the office and work of the Holy Spirit to prepare them for the place, and "it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared." Look at the subject or the promise in relation to the Holy Spirit. "He that hath wrought us for the self-same thing is God." And what does the Apostle refer to? "We know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God and He that hath wrought us for that building, "a house not made with hands eternal in the heavens," is God. The house is ready and the seats are ready, but at present they are vacant. A work is going on in our souls which we did not commence, which hell has opposed ever since it was commenced, and the influence of which often draws us in an attempt to call in prayer upon God. This work within sometimes brings tears into our eyes as well as cares into our hearts. And what of all this? The place there is prepared, and the people here are being prepared for .the place, and over the people in whom the work is going on we read this promise: "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father." Look at the promise in relation to the people themselves, and then finally, in relation to our enemies. Hell opposes. It shall be given notwithstanding. I have a deep sense of my vileness and unworthiness.

"Hardly sure can they be worse
,
Who have never known His name."

Yet it shall be given. But you do not know my unbelief, how deep my fears are, how high my doubts are; and if you could see what goes on within, you would not have a word of encouragement for me." But it shall be given. The home is a gift, and the gift is absolutely certain; for "it shall be given to them for whom it is prepared." Many have entered the heavens of glory since they were first opened, and God opened them for the sake of His beloved Son, immediately after the fall, when He gave the first promise. The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head. Abel, the martyr, was the first saint that breathed out his soul into the hands of his covenant God, and entered heaven, and took his seat; and he was followed by Enoch, Noah, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, who are seated with their Lord; and millions, perhaps, have entered since,

`And we are to the margin come,
And soon expect to die."

I shall not be thirty-three years longer preaching the gospel, for only the fag end of my life remains. My hair is grey, and years are increasing upon me and infirmities also. Now is my salvation nearer than when I first believed. Oh may it be mine to die in the everlasting arms of God, and in possession of that sweet and simple faith which God has promised His people shall then be blessed with. Then in the valley of the shadow of death I will fear no evil, but shall peacefully and calmly slide out of this poor, vile body into the presence of the Lord. Instead of the fathers shall come up the children; and they in their turn shall become fathers and pass away into the eternal glory of God. The stream of saints is always coming and going. "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared of My Father."

Lastly, the people themselves, "for whom, it is prepared of My Father." What shall we say about the people? Two things are upon my mind, or I have only time to mention two. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Now, if you want evidences, there are two. Poor in spirit. Are you rich? are you full? are you great? are you satisfied? Are you not rather poor in spirit? not poor in circumstances; not poor-spirited, but poor in spirit. Well, what follows? "Theirs is the kingdom of heaven." You may be too rich, but you cannot be too poor; too fat, but you cannot be too lean; too strong, but you cannot be too weak. Oh for more grace to reduce us to nothing, in order that we may he found among the poor in spirit, for whom the Father has prepared the kingdom of heaven. And then the pure in heart. "Blessed are the pure in heart." Their hearts are not absolutely, universally pure, yet they are pure in heart so far as their desires go. You would from this moment, if it might be so, be pure and spotless, and white, like your Lord. a Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God." And what operations are now going on in relation to this promise? The Holy Ghost is at work, and I trust He will descend and work in this renovated place of worship. A good many souls have been saved in this sanctuary, and many saved souls have been helped and blessed here. Let us pray for a large outpouring of the Spirit, that the Word may be applied to sinners as well as to saints. The operations of Providence are going on for the purpose of fulfilling the promises. Christ is interceding in heaven, and His intercession keeps pilgrims on their feet, and sojourners travelling forward towards their eternal rest and home. The ordinances of God's house, the means of grace, the ministry of the word, and the attendance of angels, are fulfilling the word. "It shall be given to them for whom it is prepared." Then for the consummation when all the work is done, and all the people are at home, or ready to be taken home and all the family are prepared for glory. Oh! what a scene it will be for assembled worlds, for fearing, trembling devils, and for millions of ungodly sinners, to see all the family of God free from fear, and doubt, and stain, all following their great delivering Saviour to their respective places, and all seated round about the throne of God and the Lamb, to drink in eternal pleasures from the Son of God in the world prepared for them.

"When God makes up His last account,
Of natives in His holy mount,
'Twill be an honor to appear
As one new-born and nourished there." The Lord command His blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen.

06 Our Rock

OUR ROCK A SERMON

Preached by Mr. HAZELTON, AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET, CLERKENWELL,

ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, 27th FEBRUARY,1887.

For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges." {De 32:31}.

These words are among the last that Moses ever delivered from God to the children of Israel. The chapter opens very solemnly and gloriously, Moses said: "My doctrine shall drop as the rain, and my speech shall distil as the dew." And what was his doctrine? "I will publish the name of the Lord. Ascribe ye greatness unto our God. He is a rock, His work is perfect; for all His ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is He." His doctrine was the character and the works of God. He says, "My doctrine shall drop as the rain;" that is, occasionally and irresistibly; for who can prevent the rain from falling? And as the rain cools, moistens and fertilizes the earth, so the doctrines of divine truth and grace, when they fall upon the heart, cool, comfort and fertilize the soul, and cause it to be as a watered garden. The doctrines of grace cannot be dry, if they a drop as the rain and distil as the dew." The dryness is in the creature, and never in God. The emptiness is in man, and never in the word; and if the doctrines of divine grace are dry to you and to me, it is not owing to any deficiency in them; but the fault, if fault there be, is always to be found in the creature. And as a shower of rain nourishes the herbs and grass, so the doctrines of grace, and the grace they reveal, nourish and comfort the souls of the people of God. Let us, therefore, love these holy truths and hold them fast, and pray for showers of heavenly rain in connection with them; and let us especially contend for those great facts which are embodied in the early part of this chapter. God is a Rock, His work is perfect. His work in creation is perfect. In six days the Lord made the heavens and the earth, and all the host of them. Since that day He has never created a stone, nor a drop of water, nor a man, nor a fish, nor a fowl of the air, nor a beast of the field. He finished and completed as a Creator His work in six days: all was perfect and good, according to His own testimony. His work is perfect in providence as far as He has gone with it, for He leaves no imperfections behind Him. Sometimes workmen, even the best of them, do their work in a somewhat imperfect manner, although it is their intention to complete and perfect the work they have in hand; but on reviewing what they have done they are not always satisfied. Our God, however, is always satisfied with what He has done, and on a review of the operations of His hand in the past He is satisfied and pleased. His work is perfect, even when it is not completed, and He will finish the whole. His work of salvation is also perfect, although in some respects it is not yet completed; therefore it is said, "Who are kept by the power of God, through faith, unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time." Now this is one of the doctrines of grace which was well known to Moses, which He insisted upon and brought before the children of Israel just before he stepped out of this world into heaven, and concerning which he said, "It shall drop as the rain, and my speech shall distil as the dew." He refers to the name of God, to the perfection of His work, and to His character; that He is a God of truth and without iniquity and that He is just and right. In this manner the good man commenced this song, introducing into it a number of very solemn and important matters until he reiterated the fact asserted in my text, for their rock,—that is, the rock of the enemies of the children of Israel,—"their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges."

Now having thus reached the text, let us try to go round and through the fact asserted, and make a few observations upon it.

The first thought that occurs to my mind is this,—That God is a Rock. "Their rock is not like our Rock." This of course is a figurative, but a glorious representation of the everlasting God; God is a Rock, and not sand. I think we have had some holy feeling in singing the words:

"On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand."

Was the poet right? Is not the assertion somewhat too wide? Is all other ground sinking sand? Think of those two lines in connection with my text,—"Their rock is not as our Rock, our enemies themselves being judges."

To depend upon our works, our good behavior, and good conduct, is to build upon sand. To trust in national privileges as the Jews trusted for salvation in their relationship to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, is to rest on sinking sand. "Do you mean to say, that if we do the best we can, every day and every hour of our life, we shall not be rewarded for so doing?" We may obtain something for doing so here; but our works are not rock, and are worth nothing as the ground of salvation. In this respect they must fail; they are not perfect, and they are not sufficient to sustain a good, comfortable, or a happy hope as to the future and heaven. God and God only is the Rock. May it be yours and mine, therefore, to be found building upon Him; for He is the Rock of eternal ages. But let us look more closely at this subject. In the first place, God is said to be a rock on account of His firmness and fixedness.

"Is He a rock? how firm He proves !
The Rock of ages never moves;
And the sweet streams that from Him flow
Attend us all the desert through."

The Rock of ages. The patriarchal age is past and gone, but the rock of that age stands where it stood then, and to day our God is what He was then. What Abel, Enoch, Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, Joseph and others found Him to be, that you and I have found the Rock of ages to be to-day. The aspect of the world has changed since the days of the patriarchs, all of whom have left time for eternity, and are now in heaven; and manners and customs have altered and changed: but our God remains, and is the same; for Our Rock is not like their rock, being eternally firm and fixed.

Then we may notice the ceremonial age, which was an important one; for very much was done during that lengthened period of time. Were there two rocks for the two ages? No, one only, even Jehovah. Was He changed or altered in any respect from what He was in the days of Abraham, and Enoch, and Abel? No, for Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. Ages with their freezing cold, and ages with their burning heat, ages with their rivers of blood flowing in war, and ages with all their multiplied changes came against our Rock, surrounded Him and passed away, and left Him the same, behind them all. This is what He is, my brother; no change can ever take place in Him. He is the Rock of eternal ages; therefore our Rock is not like theirs. And He stood not only during the ceremonial age, but the prophets wrote of Him, rested on Him, entered into Him, leaned upon Him, raised His honors high, and set forth His greatness and His glory , He was to them, and to the church of God through the whole prophetical age, what He is to us and to all. Another age came, and it is gradually wasting and passing away, the age of Christianity, and we are living in the 19th century of this dispensation, and oh what miserable and wicked attempts are made to misrepresent, or to conceal and hide this great Rook, and the persons who are making those attempts are guilty traitors in the sight of God! But they can neither alter nor move Him. He is, and will and must be, the same yesterday, to-day and for ever, notwithstanding all that enemies can do or say. What He was to Paul, what He was to Peter, James and John, the Apostles of the dear and blest Redeemer, that He was to the following generation, and to the next generation also; and as generations rose and lived, and labored, and withered, and decayed and passed away, they all of them left behind them the Rock of eternal ages. When I first knew Him, or rather when my eyes were first opened some years ago, I embraced this Rock for shelter, and entered into Him; and what He then promised to be unto me and to do for me, all that He has been to me, and has done for me. Therefore I take an offering and come into His presence, and proclaim the greatness, and righteousness, and holiness of the character of my Lord. Yes, our dear Lord is a Rock on account of His firmness. He is firm as to His love. There is no love like His; it never changes; it cannot be greater, it cannot be less than it is; it could not have been earlier, and it will never end. Sin—it is not in the power of sin to damp or cool it; nor to divert or separate it from its objects. It is the love of God, and therefore not moving sinking sand, or soft clay, or changing earth; the love, the everlasting love of God is a Rock. I wish I could bring it vividly before you, and give you a due idea of its fixedness and firmness, amid the ever changing scenes that are taking place in time, in human affection and human character. Here is a fire, the steadiness of whose flame has never been interrupted. Here, to change the metaphor, is a mighty ocean, upon which there has never been a wave, it is placid, calm, serene, quiet, bottomless and shore less. Winds and storms, and tempests have never raised a ripple upon the clear, and crystal and transparent sea of the everlasting love of God. Here is a divine fact vast as God Himself. He does not love a little, nor with an affection that can be measured. His love is Himself, for God is love; and if God can be disturbed, His love may be disturbed; if God is a Rock, and can never move,—then, since God is love, His love is a rock, and vibration or oscillation can never happen there. Oh happy man and happy woman whose souls are lying quietly, calmly and believingly in the everlasting arms of the everlasting and ever-loving God. A Rock—not only as to His love, He is a Rock as to His purposes. "My purpose shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure." " My brother," one says, " I have been thinking of what took place the other day; although we made such an arrangement, it now appears that we must alter it, for it will not do to proceed in the direction in which it was determined to proceed." "God is in one mind, and who shall turn Him? And what His soul desireth, even that He doeth." If I cannot bend circumstances to my mind, my mind must bend to circumstances. God will never bend His mind to circumstances and events; for His will and not circumstances give shape and form to the intentions of God. He will make everything yield to His own purpose, and never alter His thoughts or change His will. All shall be brought into conformity to the ideas of Him who is a Rock, and whose work is perfect. Then, my brother, what are His purposes concerning us? "All things work together for good to them that love God, to them that are the called according to His purpose." Did He purpose to save you? Then He will do it. "Oh, but sir, I feel this, and that, and the other." My dear hearers do not just now introduce your poor feelings. They are not rock you know, but like feathers floating in the air; you may feel thus and thus, and be here and there and elsewhere, but do you not know that God purposed to save you? You know He did so, you know your desire to be saved is so intense that you would give a world to know that you are saved. Then you are saved, my friend; for that burning, prayerful desire is a part of salvation, and a token of life in your heart. This is not a universal feeling. All men and women in the world do not want to be saved. They push away God's truth concerning salvation, and turn their backs upon it, and loathe it on various accounts. They regard it as a state of bondage to keep the Sabbath, or consider it as the Lord's day, to read the Bible, to associate with God's people, and to pray and sing psalms; they deride, or if there are some who do not thus treat the things of God, they treat them with absolute calm, and quiet indifference; but you are not indifferent; your soul is agitated, troubled and tried, therefore the beginning of salvation has taken place in your heart and your mind. Then I want you to go back to the great origin of this salvation, even the purpose of God; for as He purposed to save you He will do it, although you have such bitter feelings. He has saved you, although you are the subject of such sorrow. The Rock of ages never moves, and you are on the Rock. You rise and sink upon it, and your hearts are contracted and expanded thereon, but the Rock itself never expands nor contracts and it never shakes. What shaking hearts and trembling minds are found thereon! "Our Rock is not like their rock, our enemies themselves being judges." God is a Rock as to His love and also as to His purpose; and is He not a Rock as to His fullness? The rock in the wilderness was smitten by Moses, and who thought there was water in it that would flow from it after Moses had smitten it, and who thought it would continue to flow and follow the people forty years ! They all drank of that spiritual Rook which followed them and that Rock was Christ. Do you think the water was there naturally or miraculously, even for Christ's sake? There would have been no smiting of the Rock, and no gushing of water from it had it not been for Christ who was behind it all. They all drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them and that Rock was Christ. But the water that followed the children of Israel through the desert was material water, although it was no doubt better than the water obtained from places round about. It was rock water, brought out in a miraculous manner by God for His people. Here we have the Rock of ages smitten.

"Rook of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in thee:
Let the water and the blood
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power"

The water gushed out and flowed among the dry places like a river. Well, our Christ is a Rock in regard to His fullness, and these streams will ever run with waters sweet and clear. He is inexhaustible, and His blessings cool, comfort, and refresh the soul. We have tasted this water and there is nothing on the earth like it. We would go down upon our hands and knees, and drink and drink again of the water of life that flows from this Divine and glorious Rock. There is no rock like our Rock with regard to His fullness. I must pass from these matters. He is a Rock, then, as to His firmness, His love, His purpose, and His fullness.

I want you to distinguish between immovable and immutable. The Rook of ages never moves, but that which is always in the same place may not always be the same in character. Jesus is immovable and He is immutable also, and can never change Himself. The Rook is always there, and He is always Rock; and the supplies that flow from Him are perpetual, and as I said just now their cooling nature is sweet and heavenly. I was never satisfied, and I never knew the meaning of the word satisfy, till I had a draught of water from this Rock, and was helped to say, "He loved me, and gave Himself for me." May it be ours to sit under the shadow of this Rock, and to drink of these living streams during the few remaining months or years we may tarry on the earth.

Now their rock and our Rock were objects of trust. By their rock understand their idols, their deities, and by our Rook understand the true and living God. Now both are objects of trust, but theirs is not like ours as an object of trust and confidence. I do not think that the heathen who repose their trust and confidence in their idols are un-agitated and unmoved in trouble, or with regard to the future; but when you and I are helped to cast ourselves unreservedly into the arms of God, and to rest upon the person, the promise, and the fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ, we do not go too far when we sing—

"My steady soul shall fear no more
Than solid rocks when billows roar"

Are we in the midst of the sea, and does it rise and rage? do its waves mount up to heaven and go down again into the depths? There is a rook even there, and you and I are upon it, and though the scene is terrible, and everything is in itself most alarming, our steady souls fear not upon the rock, upon which through favor Divine we are resting. Their rock of trust and confidence is not like ours. They shake and tremble, and their hearts rise and sink again; but the good man resting upon Jesus Christ for all he needs here and hereafter is un-agitated, unmoved, and undisturbed. Do you say I am going very high? I do so because I am standing on the Rock—if not experimentally so for myself, I am ministerially so for you. I am speaking of a high point of Christian experience; the child of God is not moved, and cannot be moved, so long as the Holy Ghost holds his feet upon the immovable Rock of everlasting ages. He raised me out of the horrible pit and the miry clay, and set my feet upon a rock, and established my going; and I could not help singing, for he hath put a new song into my mouth. Their rock and ours differ in this respect,—theirs is an object of sense and reason, but ours is an object of faith. They have no god but what they can see, and the gods they see they have made for themselves and placed in their temples. Their rock is not like ours. Our God is in the heavens, and we say of Him as Peter said, "whom having not seen we love; in whom, though now we see Him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory." Their rock is an object of reason. One says, "Do you believe what is stated in the Bible?" Yes, I do, sir. He replies, "I do not. It is contrary to reason." I care not about that, I am not so deluded and empty as to base my firm belief upon purblind human reason. Our reason is not rock. "It is with me, sir." Then your rock is not like mine, our enemies themselves being judges. If you say that what does not square with your reason, you will not believe, you are on the sand, and your building or hope will prove at last to be without a foundation. I shall not build upon reason, nor upon sense, nor upon a God I can see in a niche in a temple; and yet I would as soon build my hope for heaven upon an idol as upon human reason. What are you building your hope upon? The Rock of ages. Where is He? Everywhere. Where is He as the Rock of ages? In heaven, in the gospel, before me—and what is blessed, He is underneath my faith, my hope, my life and underneath my soul. "Why, you are a 'strange man, to build on what is apparently contrary to reason, and which you cannot explain." I am glad I cannot fully explain the foundation of my hope; but my soul is thereon, and I hold fast the Gospel of God. Cleave to your idols, hang on your godless though religious systems, hug your Unitarianism and Socinianism to yourselves as tightly as you can, my faith shall go beyond all sense and reason, and beyond all creatures to the unseen though not unknown God, and all my hope shall rest there, whether I sink or swim, whether I am lost or saved. But I have no doubt with regard to the issue; for

"I shall see His face,
And never, never sin,
And from the rivers of His grace
Drink endless pleasures in."

Secondly the appropriation. He is not only a Rock in Himself, He is our Rock. By the will of His love, and the love of His will, He is our Rock. He will be so because He loves us, and He loves us according to His sovereign will, for He is our Rock with all His heart. Now as He is our Rock—take the following facts. He is our Rock to hide in, not to talk about merely, though if we love His name and hide in Him, we cannot help talking about Him; but He is not only our theme, He is our hiding place. More than that, He is our Rock, because we have been hidden in Him. What is the difference? To hide there is my act, but to be hidden there is the result of an act of another. I run to Him and try to hide myself there, but I am hidden there by God Himself. How is that? Behold, said God to Moses, there is a place by Me, and thou shalt stand upon a rock; and I will put thee in a cleft of the rock, and will cover thee with My hand while I pass by." God places His people in the cleft of the rock, so that it is not merely run and hide in Him. We do run, and are favored to hide in Him; but that is not the whole of it. It is the work of God to take the running, timid, trembling soul, and put him into the cleft of the Rock, and then the hand of omnipotent power covers him for ever. "I will cover thee with My hand." And what then? Why, "I will make all my goodness pass before thee." Let it be so, 0 God. We can well bear the sight, and the sight of all that agitates the world if we are in the cleft of the Rock and covered with Thy hand. Well He is our Rock to hide in. He is our Rock to rest upon, to confide in, with a calmness and tranquility of mind, and experience which nothing can disturb. If He speaks peace, war cannot break out; and if He says to the storm, Peace, be still, there is a great calm, for He is obeyed in a moment, the wind drops, the sea becomes smooth, and all is quiet and serene. 0, if you are on and in Him, resting upon this Rock, you enjoy a solid peace, such as the world can neither give nor take away. Your Rock to hide in, and your Rock to rest upon. And what is better, if possible, He is our Rock to inhabit. We live in the Rock of ages. "Let the inhabitants of the Rock sing, let them shout from the top of the mountains." And then He is ours, as I said just now, as to all His fullness; thus in Him we have peace, safety, and plenty.

Thirdly. God our Rock is incomparable. Their rock is not as our Rock. An incomparable God is ours, an incomparable rock is the Rock of salvation. He is incomparable as to His nature, as to His covenant relationship, and in various other respects also. I have already spoken of Him as the foundation of our hope, the home of our souls, and the rest of our minds. Now what is in Him, and what comes from Him? Honey, water, oil, blood. This is quite in accordance with the type itself, for even in this chapter we read of honey from the Rock. Sometimes infidels have rather sneered at the idea of honey from the rock, quite forgetting that a rock was one of the most common bee-hives in the land of Canaan. They obtained their honey from the rocks. Bees were abundant, and they produced their honey in rocks, so that honey flowing from the rock was by no means an un-frequent sight. This is beautifully descriptive of our dear Lord. Oh what sweetness comes from Him! His word is sweeter than the honey and the honeycomb, and as the honey flowed down the rocks in Canaan, so life, and spiritual heavenly peace flow out of Jesus Christ, the Rock of ages, for you and me. Their rock is not like ours. Then again oil out of the rock. Rather recently, you know, this has been verified; for now we have rock oil in general use, though the oil of Canaan was probably that of the olive. The unction or the oil of the Holy Spirit is perpetually flowing from the Holy One, Jesus Christ. Here is oil to anoint, and honey for sweetness, from our Rock.

There also is water to slake our thirst, and wash our persons and garments in. But here is blood from the rock. You have this thought in the words of Toplady,

"Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure,
Cleanse me from its guilt and power. '*

Cleanse me from its guilt by blood—justification, and from its power by the water—sanctification. Water and blood, a double remedy for a double disease, intended to affect a double cure. The blood and water come, and grace flows, and a cure is affected through faith in the dear Redeemer. Their rock is not as our Rock. We sit calmly therein and are safe, or stand upon its summit and look into eternity there from.

Take the following thought, and then I will close. Their rock is not like ours as to guilt. Man has a power within called conscience, and he cannot get rid of it, it is a moral power, and its operations are about moral matters. Sometimes conscience is burdened with guilt, torn, lacerated and bleeding, and there is no help, no remedy for a bleeding conscience apart from blood, and this flows from our smitten Rock. Conscience comes to Christ and relies upon Him. His blood is applied to the wounded soul, and peace, healing, and comfort are experienced. Our Rock is incomparable with regard to the conscience. Incomparable also in trouble. Where is the idol that can help its worshipper in trouble. In trouble the child of God may be calm, and then he says, "My Rock has left the words on record and we believe them with all our hearts." That 'all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.' "

In trouble what a hiding-place
Have they who know the throne of grace! "

Thirdly, their rock is not like ours as to prospect. Ascend mountains as high as you will, the Himalayas for instance, which, if I mistake not, are the highest in the world, yet you cannot reach heaven nor see into the future. Let me stand, however, upon this Rock of ages, and I shall see the King in His beauty, and behold the land that is very far off, and the future will not seem to be an uncertainty. The rock of idolaters leaves them in doubt as to whether they have souls or not, and what will become of them. Their rock cannot reveal this to them; but standing upon the Rock of ages, we look forward into the future and sing—

"There is my home and portion fair!"

Their rock is not like ours. We die where we live, and we live where we hope to die, on the Rock and in the everlasting arms of God. May the Lord be pleased to command His blessing, for Christ's sake? Amen.

07 What Wilt Thou That I Shall Do Unto Thee?

"WHAT WILT THOU THAT I SHALL DO UNTO THEE?"

A SERMON

Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET, CLERKENWELL,
ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, 8th MAY, 1881.

" And Jesus stood, and commanded him to he brought unto him : and when he was come near, He asked him, saying, What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee? And he said, Lord, that I may receive my sight."— {Lu 18:40-41}.

Every branch of the mediatorial work of the Lord Jesus Christ is of unspeakable importance to all who are concerned therein :—to God, to angels, to all that are in heaven before the throne, and to all God's dear children now living on the earth; and since there are perhaps millions of the objects of God's love not yet in existence, the mediatorial office and work of Jesus Christ are important in relation to them. Salvation is one great whole, and God is accomplishing His merciful purposes in relation to that glorious work. The operations of Divine power are advancing, and our great God, seated on his throne, says, " I will work, and who shall let it?"

The sufferings of our dear Redeemer on Calvary constitute a divinely important part of our salvation; and the Saviour's intercession in heaven is an equally important branch of His work. It is a most encouraging fact that He ever liveth to make intercession for all that come unto God by Him, In the intercessory prayer of the Son of God addressed to His Father just before He left the world, He said, "Thou hast given Him power over all flesh, that He should give eternal life to as many as Thou hast given Him." It appears, therefore, that Jesus Christ has been communicating eternal life ever since these words were uttered, and that fact was expressed by Him. There are not many of us who fully appreciate the marvelous truth, that the stream of eternal life is perpetually flowing from the' throne and heart of God. With our mortal eyes we see things that are visible, and with our mortal ears we hear the sounds that are round about us; but how seldom do we contemplate the sacred spiritual mystery referred to! Our dear Lord loves to communicate those blessings He has obtained for His people, and the right to distribute which He has acquired ! In the days of His flesh His salvation was occasionally very manifest; but now as it reaches the hearts of sinners, it is, for the most part, a blessing invisibly communicated.

When the poor man, to whom my text refers, was made experimentally the subject of faith, I do not know; it is, however, certain that he was a believer; for the Master said, "Thy faith hath saved thee;" and therefore he was a spiritually living person. He was, however, tried with poverty, and afflicted with blindness; for he was a blind beggar, sitting by the way-side, asking alms. Hearing a crowd of persons approaching, he inquired what it meant, and was told, "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by and he cried, saying, "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me; and they which went before rebuked him," Bartimseus, as Mark tells us he was named, is not the first that has been rebuked by his fellow-men for calling upon God in prayer , we are prone to injure one another, and there is something very solemn in wounding the heart of an individual who has been touched and saved by grace. That friend near you may not express himself as you do, his language may be somewhat strange , but deal kindly with him, it may be that there is a little grace in his heart; and although he is awkward in his expressions, do not cut him off, nor rebuke him because of that fact. Notwithstanding all rebuffs, the blind man cried so much the more, "Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!" Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh; and if the water is dammed up, the banks will be overflowed, and the country flooded. He cried so much the more, "Have mercy on me!" His religion was not to be quenched; his wants were not to be supplied by any other person than the Saviour; he had an experience which was at that time peculiar to himself; and he said, as it were, mine is an urgent pressing case. And Jesus heard his cry, and stood, and commanded him to be brought unto Him. He did not request His disciples to do it; neither did he invite the poor blind man to find his way to Him; but he commanded him to be brought; and when he was come near He asked him saying, " What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" and he said, " Lord, that I may receive my sight."

The words to which I would more especially draw your attention this morning are these: "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" In offering a few observations upon them, let me first call your attention to the character of the Speaker. "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" In the second place, let us look at the character of the person addressed, for though he was poor, and a beggar, we shall have something to say of the excellency of his character; and thirdly, let us look at, the importance of the question put to him by the Lord.

I. In the first place, let us make a few observations on the character of the Speaker. Jesus is the Speaker, and He is represented in the context as the " Son of David," and " Jesus of Nazareth the poor man himself called Him, " Lord and therefore it will be important, and I trust somewhat profitable, for us to contemplate the character of the Speaker here. I notice in the first place that the poor man who cried to the Saviour regarded Him as the promised Messiah, as the Son of God, as He concerning whom Moses and the Prophets had written; and when the people said that "Jesus of Nazareth passeth by," he did not address Him by this title, but at once said, "Thou Son of David, have mercy on me!"

Now there is something very significant and important in the fact that Jesus was not called the Son of Abraham, Isaac, or Jacob , He is said to be the seed of Abraham, Isaac, Jacob and David; but not in so many words the Son of Abraham; and yet He was one of his descendants. How was it that He was addressed as the Son of David? Abraham was never a ruler and a king; Jesus Christ is King, and Lord of all. I want to call attention to the fact that He who addressed the poor man on this interesting occasion, was a complex person, He was the great God-man and Mediator,—the Lord Jesus Christ,—bone of our hone, and flesh of our flesh; and it may be said of the circumstances recorded in the text, "God was manifest in the flesh." Jesus appeared on that occasion as a man, "clothed with a body like our own," dressed in our human nature. He did not assume any other nature, for no other one was interested in his doing and dying; but "He took upon Him the seed of Abraham." How, this is a great mystery, and it will remain infinitely deep to all eternity, how two dissimilar natures are united in one great and glorious person. He did not assume an angelic nature, nor another nature differing from the human; He might have created another nature for Himself, but had He done so He could not have saved human sinners, and therefore He assumed human nature; the God appeared in the man,—the perfect God appeared in the perfect man; and we have the words of a God here speaking through a man's lips. "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?"

Unmediated Deity, God out of Christ, can do nothing for sinners; and the sinner can have no consecutive or comforting ideas in his own mind concerning unmediated Deity. God out of Christ is indeed a consuming fire, and can never say to a guilty wretch, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" Ho, He took the nature that had sinned, and veiled His majesty and divinity behind it, and came as the great healing God of heaven and earth, and addressed Himself to that poor wretched beggar, and said, " What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" He did not appear to him as a legislator, or as a judge; for it is never the business of a law-giver or judge to consult the will of a criminal. What would be thought of a judge if he said to a prisoner on trial, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" It is the business of a judge to administer and enforce the law, and to consult, not the criminal's will, but the law and righteousness, and justice concerning the case. No, had Jesus appeared to him as a Law-giver, or in His judicial character, the will and feelings of the poor man would not have been referred to; he would have been told to go his way, into utter darkness. But having assumed the nature of the man, and having resolved to save him; and having, in fact, already done so, and created spiritual life in his soul, He appeared to him in a human form, full of attractions, excellences and beauties; and cheeked the impetuous feelings of the suppliant's rebuke's. The blessed Jesus is human and divine; all the majesty of God is in Him, all the omnipotence of Jehovah is in the Man Christ Jesus, for He is the everlasting fullness of heaven and earth, and His divine excellencies constitute that consuming fire before which the wicked cannot stand; but all that majesty is softened and modified by His humanity, and all the glories of Deity fall in saving power and influence upon blind beggars, and lost and ruined sinners.

Now let us pass on, as time is going, and notice in the second place that the words of the Saviour implied Sis Divine fullness. Make known your requests; ask; open your mouth wide; ask for as much as you will; "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" " It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell and if all fullness dwells in our Lord all the fullness of nature must be there; all the fullness of light is there else He could not have been the Light of the world, nor given sight to the sightless eyes of that poor man. All the fullness that saints require here, and all the fullness they will require hereafter dwells in that Man of sorrows, who was poor, and walked along the dusty roads of Judea, and who, sitting on a well, said to the woman, "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink; thou wouldst have asked of Him, and He would have given thee living water." Great is the mystery of godliness; the Author of heaven sat on that well; the author of all heaven hung on that accursed tree. He it was who said to Peter, "Of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? Of their own children or of strangers? Peter saith unto Him, of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, "Then are the children free. Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea and cast an hook and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth thou shalt find a piece of money, that take and give unto them for Me and thee." As tribute was due, and He had not the money to pay it with, He had to work a miracle for the purpose of appearing honest in the sight of all men. That poor Person, who for our sakes became poor, contained within a poor human body all the fullness of the Godhead, all the fullness of the Christian's life, and all the fullness of heaven. I do wonder why ministers of the gospel and preachers of religion want any other theme to dwell upon, and that they should depart in preaching from the great and glorious person of our Lord. He is the wonder of heaven, the masterpiece of all the works of God. Angels can never explore the mysteries of His glory, for there is indeed everything that is unfathomably deep and indescribably excellent in the dear Son of God. He never experiences a difficulty in saving a soul. He speaks, and it is done; He commands, and it stands fast. He put on our body, and wore it at once, and will wear it for ever. He experienced no difficulty in fulfilling the law, and He experienced no difficulty when He met His heavenly Father. And when the curse was inflicted on Him, there were no regrets on the part of Jesus Christ; He never said, The punishment is more than I can bear. Omnipotence was under that burden; an omnipotent Saviour was underneath that withering, flaming, burning curse; an omnipotent Saviour was underneath the interests of countless millions; and no difficulty was experienced by Him, for in Him all fullness dwells. And now He comes to sinners and saves them. To me it is most astonishing that men should misrepresent Christ in His saving work as they do in the day in which we live, saying that, He stands by the sinner and entreats him to be saved, and holds out His hands to him from hour to hour; and having sent out thousands of invitations which are not accepted, He turns away disappointed, and that because the sinner will not allow Him to save him. The Saviour spoke like a God, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" His fullness is Divine; He touches the will and the affections, and detaches them from sin and the world in a moment; He touches the immortal soul, and snatches it from the fire, and rescues it from the tyrant's hand, puts it into His precious blood, and washes it and makes it whiter than snow, saying, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee."

My dear brother and sister, has He healed you, and opened your eyes, and unstopped your ears? Can you grasp this idea, that your health and life are in the Lord Jesus Christ, from whom you have received your salvation, and that there is health enough in Him for you, and life, and pardon, and peace, and heaven enough iu His dear person to fill your vast desires for ever and ever?

My friends, if there are ten thousand worlds in the material universe, Jesus contains more than they all contain; for He is their Creator, He made them all; and so the Saviour is greater than His salvation, as the Creator is greater than creation; and therefore all fullness dwells in Him; and this full Saviour, who has never out-promised Himself, and whose purposes have never proved larger than His power, took ail His fullness to blind Bartimseus, and said, ,:What wilt thou that I should do unto thee?" First, the Messiah, and secondly, His eternal fullness, appear in connection with His character.

Now let us notice another point, viz., His deeds, or His operations. He has only to leave the sinner where he is, He has only to leave us in our sins, under a broken law, and we shall, as sinners, sink into eternal woe. If the Saviour should say, "Let him alone," and pass on, and do nothing, hell, and perdition and eternal darkness are absolutely certain. It is not merely His thoughts about us, and the expression of those thoughts in the glorious gospel of His grace; it is not merely what we have done for ourselves, or what others have done for or against us; but it is, " What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" My beloved friends, if Jesus has done anything for us, we shall never forget that blessed work? It is well to forget a good deal that our fellow creatures have done for and against us. I should like to forget hundreds of things, but though my memory is treacherous to good things, yet I can remember hard words, or blows, and cruelty from my fellow man; but I cannot always, remember all that the dear Lord has done for me.

There are some points, however, that can never be forgotten by me. When I was but a youth of sixteen years of age, I was dancing in the road that leads to hell, and was making as much haste to eternal darkness as such a boy could make. I well remember a dear old saint and his wife, who lived alone in a little cottage, and who were in the habit of reading the word of God and praying every night; and night after night I went and gathered up a handful of small stones, and threw them at their window to disturb them at their devotions. But subsequently that dear aged saint of seventy-two, and that boy of sixteen years, who had persecuted him, were baptized on the same occasion, and became members of the same church. And I well remember the dear old people pouring out the feelings of their hearts when I told them that it was I who used to trouble them.

Well, I shall never forget what the Saviour has done for me; how I lifted up my hand against Him, and He would not be wroth with me; and how I smote His people, and He loved me notwithstanding all; and by and bye He put the hand of His grace on my heart, and killed my natural enmity, and made me a friend; and now I rejoice that

"Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God,
He, to save my soul from danger,
Interposed His precious blood."

There is another thing in connection with the Saviour that will never be forgotten by us, and that was the time when He proclaimed liberty to the captives, and took the chains off our souls, and the sting of guilt out of our consciences, and quenched the fire of apprehended wrath. Truly, we have abundant cause for sweet meditation upon this blessed question put by our Lord.

Many times have I been in the pulpit, full of doubts and fears, my knees knocking together, as if I had not the slightest strength in my legs, when suddenly all my doubts and fears have been removed, and as I have proceeded, I have been set at liberty. "True religion's more than notion; something must be known and felt." When this dear Saviour comes, and does something for us in trouble, we remember it all the days of our life, for the manifold works of our dear Redeemer can never be forgotten by us.

Lastly, as to His character, it is perfection. "He which hath begun a good work in you will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ." I will say for your comfort, if the Lord will be pleased to comfort you with the observation, that if He has laid the foundation of your faith, He will finish it; "and He shall bring forth the headstone thereof with shoutings, crying, Grace, grace unto it."

If you. go about the suburbs of our great cities you will see carcasses of numerous houses that have not been finished, perhaps for lack of funds; but there are none of the Lord's people, standing and waiting for further means and further ability in the dear Redeemer. He is full enough to satisfy all on earth, and to fill all in heaven; and if, therefore, He has given you a little faith, a little love and grace, He will give you glory by and bye. A sermon is delivered by a preacher, and he is ashamed of it, or dissatisfied with it. There is a piece of work performed by another individual; it is like him, and it is not finished, and far from excellent. But here is a beggar, only he is blind, but not spiritually so. He is poor, and asks alms from door to door; but he is a believer, a child of God, one of the Lord's precious jewels, and there is a place for him in the Mediator's crown, and Jesus will bedeck Himself with that jewel, and will wear it among the rest. A great deal must be done before He can enter into bliss, but the Saviour has pledged Himself to finish His work, and glorify that individual. "And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up My jewels."

A few words only on the character of the person addressed. May I give you a test? There are two classes of persons in this world, and there are two classes of persons in the two worlds that are to come. There is a worse world than than this, and the wicked are there; and there is a better world than this, and saints are there. There are two classes of persons here—saints and sinners. If the Lord Jesus Christ came to you with this question, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee what answer would you return Him? Would it be, "depart from us, for we desire not the knowledge of Thy ways?" Oh, no I could not for ten thousand worlds say, Depart from me. But if you were a stranger to eternal things, a sinner dead in trespasses and sins, that is what you would be saying, and that is what you would mean; and when anything like a Bible thought came into your mind it would disturb you, and you would crush it if you could. Nothing is so unwelcome as thought about the future to a natural man or woman, but if you are a living soul, such thoughts are welcome; so too is He that produces them, the Lord Jesus Christ, through the Holy Spirit. It is not, Depart from me, but,

"Come nearer, nearer, nearer still,
I'm well when Thou art near"

When blind Bartimseus was brought to Jesus, how his heart thrilled with pleasure as He approached the Saviour, and when he heard those omnipotent words, "Receive thy sight," and opened his eyes; how he leaped with joy, and with what heartiness he became a follower of his living, loving, and saving God!

I would say first, that he was a living character, because he was a believer: "Thy faith hath saved thee." The Master knew that by the way-side, nigh unto Jericho, the poor man sat begging, and He was drawn to the spot by blind Bartimseus and his faith; for faith attracts the Saviour, and faith and its Giver are sure to meet sooner or later. Bartimseus had not previously met Jesus; he had faith, however, in the promised Messiah, and when he heard that He was passing by, he cried, saying, "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy on me." And then we see grace and its Author meeting and embracing each other.

Secondly, he was willing to be saved, and willing to receive and experience the operations of God's grace. I beg attention to a fact here. "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" Is it not most unusual to consult the will of His creatures? No, not so unusual as you suppose, Does He consult our will? It seems so, "What wilt thou?" Well, if He consults the will of His creatures, and follows it, He first rectifies the will; for "Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power." And having done this great work, He then places Himself before the needy one with, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" If you desire Him, He will receive you; for your will has been rectified by His Spirit, and your experience will be as described in the text.

"Those feeble desires, those wishes so weak,
'Tis Jesus inspires, and bids you still seek."

Lastly, he was a saved sinner. "Go thy way, thy faith hath made thee whole," or saved thee.

One word on the importance of the question. "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" Why did the Saviour put it in this form? To discover character for the information of others, and perhaps for the further information of the poor man himself. The Lord had formed his character, and delighted to manifest the operations of His own hand. He put the question for the purpose of making it apparent what the man was in himself. And was not the question asked for the purpose of eliciting prayer? He did not put the question for His own information, He knew what the man wanted and what he was about to receive; but He will have His people, by prayer and petition, ask for the blessing. What wilt thou then, Bartimseus? "Lord, that I may receive my sight." Receive it, said the Lord; and his eyes were opened; and he glorifying God, followed his healing Saviour. Do you not in this see the authority for prayer? The Master says to you and me, "What wilt thou that I shall do unto thee?" Open thy mouth, "Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it;" do not speak as though there were any limitation. If you want things for the body, and mercies for the soul, and blessings for this life, tell me. If you want meetness and a title for the world to come, open thy mouth wide.

"He Himself has bid thee pray, Therefore, will not say thee nay.
"Thou art coming to a King,
Large petitions with thee bring;
For His grace and power are such,
None can ever ask too much."

I do not know whether he was born blind or not; but his eyes were opened, and he saw. If he were born blind, he saw himself naturally in a new position, and viewed objects he had never seen before, and never realized in connection with their color, or form, or shape, before the opening of his eyes. It was this that gave him, for the first time communion with the world he was living in; for light and sight give us communion with the objects before us. In receiving spiritual sight, he saw sin, and the world, and its emptiness; he saw his Lord, and he saw his all in Him, and became a follower of his Benefactor and Saviour. The Lord add His blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen.

08 The Best Wisdom

THE BEST WISDOM.

A SERMON

Preached by
Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET,

CLERKENWELL,

ON LORD'S DAY MORNING, 20th JANUARY,1884.

"And unto man He said, Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." {Job 28:28}.

"The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned." Nature can never rise above its own level, and the things of grace and eternal life and salvation are spiritual things, and as such cannot be understood or comprehended by the natural man. Hence the necessity for the work of God the Spirit. "A new heart," the Lord says, "will I give you, and a new spirit will I put within you. I will take away the stony heart out of your flesh, and I will give you a heart of flesh." The Lord has promised to impart grace and spiritual fear to the hearts of sinners. When therefore one has been constituted a spiritual character, "old things are passed away, and all things are become new." He is blessed with new light and life. Other objects are discovered to him by the eternal Spirit, such as the natural man never saw, and he occupies a position which is entirely spiritual. Hence the serious errors and mistakes which are made by natural persons concerning the character of God, His holy law, spiritual things, the covenant of grace, and the glorious gospel of the blessed God. There is a life in a spiritual man so mysterious that the natural man cannot comprehend him; for all that are in Christ Jesus are new creatures. Hence in this chapter out of which the text this morning is taken, we have a threefold view of wisdom. Job was led first to speak of natural knowledge or wisdom, and, secondly, of the wisdom of God in the operations of Divine Providence, and in the text of that wisdom which is from above, and which is inseparable from salvation. In the former part of the chapter he speaks of that natural knowledge and wisdom which miners have displayed. "Surely there is a vein for the silver, and a place for gold, where they fine it; iron is taken out of the earth, and brass is molten out of the stone." But if you will read the chapter at your leisure, you will perceive that Job here is speaking of the knowledge and wisdom displayed in going down into the bowels of the earth, and obtaining there from the hidden riches of nature. That wisdom, however, is not saving; for man may know much about the surface and interior of the earth, and yet be destitute of the one thing needful; and therefore a most important question is asked in the 12th verse: "But where shall wisdom be found, and where is the place of understanding? The depth saith, It is not in me, and the sea saith, It is not with me." Heavenly wisdom is a boon so precious and so great, "that it cannot be gotten for gold for it has often turned out that the richest men have been destitute of this grace. Wisdom is not a purchasable blessing for it cannot be obtained for gold and silver, neither is it to be acquired by human power, and it is so rich and great that it can never be merited; and therefore, " Where shall wisdom be found, and where is the place of understanding?" Job, having contemplated the depth and the sea, soars as it were into the clouds, and says, "God understandeth the way thereof, and He knoweth the place thereof. For He looketh to the ends of the earth and seeth under the whole heaven; to make the weight for the winds; and He weigheth the waters by measure." Wonderful words, and very wonderful are the facts they indicate. The clouds hanging over our heads are filled, so to speak, with thousands of tons of water, and yet they are upheld by an unseen Hand, and when it is needed they pour their contents upon the earth by the will of an unseen Being. Surely we have got at the best wisdom now and it is unnecessary to rise higher! The visible clouds and the aerial heavens where God's greatness and wisdom are so conspicuous, surely teach us all the wisdom we need, and studying God in these wondrous operations must surely be the highest wisdom! No, "Unto man he saith, Behold the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding." The natural man, to repeat what I commenced with, knoweth not the things of the Spirit, because they are spiritually discerned. A person may soar to the clouds, and give us their dimensions and even the weight of water which they contain, and yet be ignorant of God, and have no knowledge of himself as a sinner, nor of the Way of Life, and no desire to be found therein. Therefore, He said unto man, "Behold the fear of the Lord that is wisdom."

"The Lord said unto man." Some have supposed that Job refers to Adam; that the Lord said unto him, when he was in a state of innocence, "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding and thus gave him the law, which is holy, just and good. Is not this taking too limited a view of the verse? Should it be confined to the first man? Does he not speak thus to every man, and if to every man, then to every descendant of Adam, "Behold the fear of the Lord that is wisdom," and therefore, he that is destitute of this fear has not begun to be wise; for "the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom, a good understanding have all they that keep His commandments." I suppose those truths would be offensive to the minds of the learned, the philosophical and the intellectual, and hearing them from us they would contemptuously set us down as so many ignorant beings; but, Christian friends, I trust I am right in saying we know something about the importance and the nature of spiritual things. Let them sneer, contemn, and condemn and if permitted let them persecute, which may the Lord prevent, if it please Him. One thing is needful, and that through mercy we possess. Though the natural man knows us not, we know him; though he knows not the position we occupy, we know where he stands; and although he is a stranger to that experience with which we are blest, we are not altogether strangers to his spirit; for once, like him, we were dead in trespasses and sins.

Looking at our text this morning, I shall make a few observations upon certain points which lie upon its surface; but, having on recent occasions directed your attention to the nature and operations of the fear of God, I shall not now tarry on that point. "Unto man He saith, The fear of the Lord that is wisdom." I notice that the fear of the Lord is wisdom, because it invariably leads its possessors into a safe state. Surely the man that knows where to go to be safe for ever is a wise man, and not a fool. All that fear God are certainly wise unto salvation, and to be wise in this respect is to possess the richest and best wisdom under the heavens. The persons that are wise unto salvation may not know many other things; indeed, there have been thousands of God's dear people in the world wending their way to heaven, who have scarcely been able to read the letter of Divine truth. As for philosophy, they never knew the meaning of the word; as for philosophers, they never knew who or what they were; and as for science, they never understood or desired to understand it. The way of the Lord, however, is so plain, and straight, and clear, that a way-faring man, though a fool in other respects, shall not err therein. I may go to heaven without the slightest knowledge of scientific matters; but I cannot go there without the wisdom which cometh from above. Heaven is reached by many who never possessed great intellectual powers. One whose mind, indeed, actively considered is very feeble and limited in its operations, may yet be found in the way of life, and obtain heaven after all, but he can never reach those scenes of eternal bliss and glory unless he is blessed with light from the the throne of God and the Lamb; therefore "Unto man He saith, The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom." It is so because it always leads its possessor into a state of safety. Now do you know what it is, my dear friends, to hide yourself in the glorious person of the Mediator? There is safety there. "A prudent man foreseeth the evil, and hideth himself; but the simple pass on, and are punished." You remember the time when your eyes were first opened, and you discovered yourselves to be lost and ruined sinners, and saw no signs of safety anywhere. You looked upwards, and saw nothing but the anger and curse of God; you looked downwards, and saw nothing but hell and ruin; you looked behind and saw nothing but a life of sin, which rose up in judgment against you; and before you was nothing but a fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation. There was no safety anywhere. At length the Son of God, the glorious Mediator between God and man, was discovered to you, and you were enabled to flee for refuge to the hope set before poor sinners; and if you did not flee to your own satisfaction, yet you did flee; and if you have not yet confidently entered into that hiding-place, yet you desire to be there; and let me again assure you that you are really in God's sight where and what you desire to be. If you desire with all your soul to be found in Jesus, you are in Him. God finds you there, Satan shall find you there, Justice shall find you there, death shall find you there, and the troubles and changes of life shall find you there. Well, this is your desire, and I am now speaking to the little ones; you desire to be "found in Him, not having your own righteousness which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." Sink or swim, you feel you must abide here; and whether you be cursed or blessed, you must try to remain on this high and solemn, and sacred ground. If you perish, you are resolved to perish at the feet of the dear and blest Redeemer. Well, you are a wise man or woman; I cannot make you believe it, but the fear of God is before your eyes and in your hearts, and it has induced you to flee for refuge to the only hope set before you. You are safe from all danger. 0 that the Holy Ghost would apply the fact to your hearts and make it your own! You are safe in this rock, in this Christ, and under this shadow. If you are resting here, you are safe with regard to the past. Adam's imputed guilt is gone, and you are safe with regard to that. You are safe with regard to your own sins; they have been pardoned and forgiven. You are safe with regard to the future; for being in Christ, saints are as secure as angels in heaven, for there are no degrees of safety in the spiritual and gracious government of our God. Safe you will be to-morrow, whether you live or die, and safe you will be next year, whether you be in England or Australia, on the earth or in heaven. Safety is of the Lord; and you are with Him, and in Him; for the fear of God has induced you to flee for refuge to Jesus Christ, the sinner's hope and Friend. "Unto man He saith, The fear of the Lord that is wisdom;" for it leads its possessor to flee to the only hiding-place God has prepared for guilty, ruined sinners. Are the dangers visible, or invisible? (and the invisible are far more numerous than those that can be seen,) it matters not whether they be visible or invisible, near or distant, great or small, physical or spiritual,—

"On Christ, the solid Rook, I stand,
All other ground is sinking sand."

And there you are safe for heaven. Oh what a precious power then, is godly fear, if it leads its possessor to flee to this great hiding-place.

Such persons are said to be wise unto salvation. One word here, before I dismiss this point. Timothy was thus addressed by Paul: "From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation." This most important fact is to some extent lost sight of in the day in which we live; that the Scriptures, the Word of God, the revelation of heaven were never intended to teach man science, or philosophy, or politics, or astronomy, or any other branch of secular knowledge. They were designed by the God who gave the Word to teach men spiritual and eternal matters. The Holy Ghost comes not to teach men science, nor to instruct them in natural things, but to lead the mind into the things that relate to the kingdom of God, of Christ, and of heaven, things which cannot be learned at school, or acquired by nature's powers, and which are in all respects the simple and pure gift of God, the free outflow of His loving heart to His dear people. If you do not know even the meaning of the word science, yet you know Christ. If you do not know what philosophy is, yet you know the Lord, which is better; for you are wise unto salvation. As to politics, you may hardly know whether you are a Conservative or a Liberal, or anything else; but you are wise unto salvation. As to what party might be best in power, probably you do not know, and do not trouble yourself concerning the question; but you love the House of God, you hold converse with the God of heaven, Christ and you are one, and you shall one day see His face,

`And never, never sin,
And from the rivers of His grace,
Drink endless pleasures in."

Oh you are wiser than the most intellectual natural man that ever lived. You might have all the knowledge of Newton, and all the poetry of Milton, and all the powers of the great and learned,—and let me speak it with reverence and solemnity,—be lost at last. But you have the fear of God in your heart, you have been made wise unto salvation; for you know yourselves as guilty sinners, lost and ruined, and you know you are interested in the Saviour; and this is the wisdom which cometh down from above, even the fear of the Lord. Now these wise persons commit their all into the hands of Christ, and Paul was wise in this respect, and some of my hearers possess a measure of the same wisdom. "I know," said that great man, "whom I have believed, and that He is able to keep that which I have committed unto Him against that day." And what had Paul committed unto Him, but his everlasting all? He felt that he could not keep, save, exalt, protect or preserve himself, and that was a feeling which arose from that heavenly wisdom, which sprang from the fear of God in his heart. He feared God, and that fact made him wise, and his wisdom induced him to gather together all that was dear to himself, both mortal and immortal, his body and soul, for life and for death, and he went to Jesus and committed all into His hands. If you and I have been led to commit our immortal souls into the hands of this risen and reigning Saviour, we are as safe as Paul was, and may say with him, "I know whom I have believed;" not "in whom but "I know whom I have believed and I am calm and serene because His hands are strong to keep what I have put into them, His character is untarnished and untarnishable, and because He was never known to fail. I have such a knowledge of that dear Friend unto whom I have committed my all, that,

"My steady soul shall fear no more
Than solid rooks when billows roar"

Oh am I safe in Jesus? Is it a fact that I am in this great hiding-place, under the shadow of this blessed Rock? Yes, the fear of God has made me wise to run away from myself, to leave the world behind, and to commit my all to the great and glorious Son of God. To creep beneath the wings of Jehovah, is the part of wisdom. "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." "Under His wings shalt thou trust." I do not mind whether take you "wings" there to indicate those of the cherubim on the mercy-seat, or the wings of a fowl. We are not hiding under the wings of an army, and not under the wings of the cherubim merely; but under the perfections, and purposes, and providence of the Lord our God.

"Just as a lion protects her brood
From birds of prey, which seek their blood,
Under her feathers, so the Lord
Makes His own arm His people's guard."

London people, or perhaps, many of them, are not well acquainted with the habits of fowls; but if a kite or a hawk appears over the brood the hen calls in a very peculiar manner, and the young ones at once run towards her. She sees the danger, and calls them, and they run and creep beneath her wings, and are all concealed there. Our God sees our danger, and speaks to us in a peculiar manner in His invitations and His promises; and having implanted godly fear in our hearts, and so caused us to hate sin, and to distrust ourselves; when He calls, we run and creep beneath the wings of His power, providence, and grace. The fear of the Lord leads us to Him, and the wisdom that springs out of that fear leads us to creep beneath His shadow. This proceeding on the part of the brood is not forced, but quite natural; and it is not forced work on the part of the sinner that he flies to God for refuge.

"I can but perish if I go,
I am resolved to try;
For if I stay away, I know
I must for ever die. "But if I die, with mercy sought,
When I the King have tried,
That were to die—delightful thought!
As sinner never died."

Therefore, 0 God, I am come to put my trust under the shadow of Thy wings. "The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding." Now such persons can never be lost; and the principle of godly fear in the heart can never be destroyed. "I will put my fear into their hearts, and they shall not depart from Me and my fear will bring them from the world, and from sin, and from themselves into My presence, and induce them to hide under My shadow, and they shall there abide. I remember when I was sixteen years of age, and joined the church, a number of persons who were employed on the same premises, partly owing perhaps to the fact that I was a mere boy, sneered very much, especially when it became known that I had been baptized. I had many doubts and fears respecting the future, and I think I did most earnestly and fervently pray that God would keep me, and never permit me to bring a blot or reproach upon His holy cause.

"I have been upheld till now,
Who could hold me up but Thou?"

The fear of the Lord never leaves its possessor to trust in himself; but it induces him to come out of self, and enter into this place of safety. This is all I have time to say on this point. The fear of the Lord is wisdom, because is leads into the place of divine safety.

In the second place, it is wisdom because it leads its possessor into peace—not only into safety, but into peace. Is it a blessing to know God? That person, whoever he may be, and whatever he may know, is a stranger to safety and peace, who is ignorant of Him. "There is no peace, saith my God, to the wicked." Let me be in the dark concerning God, and I am not safe or tranquil, or secure; but if I know God, and the relation in which I stand to Him—"Ah that is it, Sir!" Yes, I know: but let us go on gradually; if I know Him, and the relation in which I stand to Him, and that the great God of heaven is my God, my Father, and my Friend, then I am wise unto salvation; and possessing such a knowledge I have a good hope within, and a peace, such as the world can neither give nor take away. The fear of God in operation, and pervading the whole mind destroys all tormenting fear. At times we have many fears which are not godly, but this fear in vigorous operation overcomes them all. The fear of man brings a snare, but the fear of God never does. I venture to say there is no one in the house of God who better understands this than the preacher. I have been sorely tried by the fear of man hundreds of times, and well do I know that it is a snare , but if the fear of God prevails in my mind, and holds all my faculties and powers, then I do not mind who may be present to listen to me; places, persons, circumstances and scenes, all fade into comparative insignificance before the fear and love of God. In this respect, therefore, the fear of God is wisdom. Then there is the future; and one says, "I have a large family and small means, and I am deeply tried about the future." May the Lord increase this grace in your heart, and in mine too. I am not one to flog you because you disturb yourselves as to the future. Many do so sometimes. May the Lord give us more grace, and increase His own fear in our hearts; for so shall we be enabled to leave the future where it is, even in His hands, and have no carking care whatever about it. The fear of the Lord brings its possessor to rest in God as to the morrow, and He that rests in God is wise. Then there is the fear of death, for, in some respects, it is an enemy. Perhaps it is not sinful to shrink from death, for God has created the love of life in us, or implanted that sentiment in our very nature, and, therefore, its existence cannot be wrong. "But Sir, there is something that triumphs over death." Just so, but there is only one thing that can enable us to do this, and that is the fear of God. Let me know that my sins are pardoned, that my soul is one with Jesus, that I am in Him , let me read my title clear to mansions in the skies, and let me be filled with a sense of the greatness of God's love to my soul, and I am not afraid to die; the fear of death is then carried away, and I have confidence in relation to death and to eternity. Yes, this fear is wisdom, because it destroys all other fears in its possessors' hearts.

Now from this it appears that the fear of God is quite consistent with courage. We fear God without being afraid of Him, and those who have had most of this fear in their hearts have been the most courageous characters. " So did not I," and Nehemiah is referring to a certain course of conduct which had been taken by Jews, and speaking of himself, he says,—"So did not I, because of the fear of the Lord." I also should have done as they did, but for the fear of God." What was it that kept Joseph? "How can I do this great wickedness, and sin against God." Was it not the part of wisdom in Joseph to act as he did? And it was godly fear that shaped his conduct on that occasion. To depart from evil, that is understanding. But there are degrees of godly fear, and I have often thought of Obadiah. Mysterious are the operations of Divine Providence, and the reign of grace. Obadiah was governor of Ahab's house. Perhaps a worse man than Ahab, or a better man than Obadiah never lived; for of Obadiah, it is said that he feared the Lord greatly. I wonder why Ahab had such a man in his house, and why he so exalted him as to make him governor of his household. The wicked sometimes see something in the just that is commendable, and this may have led Ahab to confide and trust in him. Obadiah feared the Lord greatly, and that fear induced him to conduct himself wisely in that wicked court. And then it is said again in Nehemiah, concerning Hananiah, ruler of the palace, that he "feared the Lord above many." Thus we have Joseph fearing the Lord, and fleeing from evil, and Nehemiah, stern, and courageous, and bold, saying, " So did not I, because of the fear of the Lord; and I shook my lap, and said, So God shake out every man from His house and Obadiah, who feared the Lord greatly, and Hananiah, who feared the Lord above many. To fear the Lord that is wisdom and to depart from evil is understanding. Dear friends, there is peace here, because godly fear leads the soul to rest where God Himself rests and is pleased. To rest where God's perfections are all in harmony, where all is tranquility, even in the atonement of Jesus Christ. Godly fear brings its possessor to the atonement, there God is found, and He and sinners are sweetly reconciled. Thus the fear of the Lord, said God to man, that s wisdom, and to depart from evil is understanding.

My time is gone, or I had some other points to mention; for instance, I intended to look at the subject in connection with the circumstances of our life, and with the world, and with the future. It is a good thing to be well prepared for the future; and he who well provides and prepares for it (and I speak of natural things now), is sometimes said to be a wise man. Well, you may apply this to the things of God. Lay up for yourselves a good foundation against the time to come. The future with regard to all its circumstances,—are you prepared for that? Yes, I fear God, and He will provide. I am satisfied, and I leave myself, and my affairs in His hands. He has provided, and He will provide. Then there is death. "Prepare to meet thy God, 0 Israel." They that are prepared for this are wise. Are you washed in the Saviour's blood, and clothed in His righteousness? Are you filled with His grace, and led by His Spirit? If you are thus prepared to meet God, you are wise; to meet Him in death; to meet Him in heaven; to meet Him on the judgment day. Prepared to hear the last trumpet sound; prepared to rise from the grave; prepared to fix your eyes upon your descending Lord , prepared to be caught up to meet Him in the air, and prepared to be for ever with the Lord. To man He said, " The fear of the Lord, that is wisdom, and to depart from evil,—the evil of error, the evil of sin, the evil of the world, and the evil world itself, and the evil one,—is understanding." Some people are for going as near to the danger as possible. God says it is understanding to depart from it. Yonder is an Atheist, and he is very clever, if you can keep out of his way do so, for the serpent is more subtle than any other beast of the field. If you feel your feebleness and inability to cope with the evil, depart from it, for to do so is understanding. The Lord add His blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen.

09 The Kingdom of God

THE KINGDOM OF GOD.

A SERMON

Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHAD WELL STREET,
CLERKENWELL,

ON L'ORD'S, DAY MORNING, 4th MARCH,1884.

"For the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power." {1Co 4:20}.

As the everlasting love of God is expressed in effectual calling, it. Is said, "Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with loving-kindness have I drawn thee." God had His eye upon Saul of Tarsus before be was called by grace. He was preserved in Christ Jesus before His soul was born again. His name was in heaven and his person was beloved by God in Christ, and therefore, notwithstanding his pharisaism and cruel and bloodthirsty persecution of the church of God, he was followed from place to place by a special providence and in due time conquered by irresistible grace. "Other sheep," said the Saviour, "I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring; and they shall hear my voice, and there shall be one fold and one Shepherd." Saul was not in the fold when the great Shepherd of Israel uttered these words. He was then a very young man, but he was a Pharisee of the strictest sect, notwithstanding his secret and unknown interest in the everlasting love of God. The time of love, however, came; and when the period had arrived, it broke forth, and the long concealed grace and mercy of God arrested him. His heart was then broken, his conscience was stung, his soul was filled with godly sorrow and repentance; and as God had said, "I will turn to the people a pure language," his language was changed and he was heard saying, "Lord, what wilt Thou have me to do?" Taken into a street in the city of Damascus, Ananias was sent to him. That sheep, however, Ananias, objected at first, to the visit, fearing that he was still a wolf. "Lord, I have heard by many of this man, how much evil he hath done to Thy saints at Jerusalem, and here he hath authority from the chief priests to bind all that call upon Thy name." "Go thy way," said the Shepherd; "for he is a chosen vessel unto Me, to bear My name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel." And not only so "I will show him how great things he must suffer for My name's sake." That prediction was soon fulfilled. Saul received Divine assurance of forgiveness; His spirit was led into the sweet enjoyment of gospel liberty; He received spiritual and official gifts from his Master for his work, and commenced preaching the glorious gospel of the grace of God; and from the very first of his official career he suffered in the Saviour's cause. Having himself been a bitter persecutor, he met with persecution and fiery trials all the days of his life; some of his sufferings being described in the chapter out of which I have taken my text. It is very mysterious that the prime ministers, if I may so speak, of the church of Jesus Christ should have suffered as they did, yet so it was; and the Apostle in the 9th verse says, " I think that God hath set forth us the Apostles last, as it were appointed to death; for we are made a spectacle unto the world, and to angels, and to men," in allusion, perhaps to the cruel and bloody entertainments which were provided for the people in the city of Rome. Their theatres were filled on various occasions with thousands of spectators whose object was to see their fellow men destroyed by one another, or by wild beasts, and the most celebrated of all the sufferers were the last that were taken into the arena, and the eyes of all were fixed upon them; and the Apostle says, " I think He (that is God) had set forth us the Apostles last, as it were appointed to death, a spectacle unto the world, to angels, and to men." The world sat round about as it were and watched their movements and sorrows, and angels good and bad watched their engagements and sufferings. "We are fools for Christ's sake, but ye are wise in Christ; we are weak, hut ye are strong; ye are honorable, but we are despised and then follow statements which are truly wonderful. "Even unto this present hour we both hunger and thirst, and are naked, and are buffeted and have no certain dwelling place. Where are the ministers of the gospel of the present day that can truthfully use this language? The apostles hungered, wanted bread; thirsted, wanted water; were naked, badly clothed, and had no home. No man knows either love or hatred by all that is before him. A proud blasphemer, one that curses the name of his Maker, and hates the hand that supplies his wants from day to day, is sometimes very rich, whilst a dear saint of the Most High who lives near to God and has much to do with Him, is pinched with poverty or like Paul is almost forced to say, I hunger and thirst, am badly clothed and almost homeless. Whilst the Apostle was an object of Divine love, and could say, "Christ loved me, and gave Himself for me," yet he went through scenes of privation, persecution and temptation day by day. This object of Divine love, living in fellowship and communion with God, was yet naked, horn Jess, and without the ordinary comforts of life. The Lord Jesus Christ, however, never left him: Paul was never forsaken, but was sustained in his work; and, the love of Christ constraining him he was determined in preaching the gospel "to know nothing among men save Christ and Him crucified. But the apostle was not only hated by Satan and the world, and his own nation the Jews, he was despised by a number of the members of the church at Corinth. " Now some," he says "are puffed up, as though I would not come to you; but I will come to you shortly, if the Lord will, and will know, not the speech of them which are puffed up, but the power, for the kingdom of God is not in word, but in power."

Now, let us give our attention to this portion of the Word, and make a few remarks on the kingdom of God indicated in the text. By this kingdom I understand the dominion of reigning, saving, sovereign and eternal grace and mercy. The dominion of grace under the gospel dispensation, and not as it appeared under the ceremonial dispensation, though that also was the kingdom of God. The phrase "the kingdom of God," in the New Testament, often relates to the Gospel, so that here we understand the rule, the empire of grace in the church of the living God, and its reign in the hearts and consciences of saved sinners. Now, this kingdom is not in word only, whether it be considered in connection with the gospel dispensation or the church of Jesus Christ, or as seated in the hearts of regenerated persons; the gospel of God comes not in word only, but in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance. This kingdom is to be contrasted with other kingdoms. Pilate had strange feelings when looking at the suffering Man who stood before him, he said, "Art thou a king, then? And Jesus said unto him, My kingdom is not of this world; for if it were, then would my servants fight, that I should not be delivered to the Jews : but now is my kingdom," not from hence; or I have a kingdom, but it is spiritual. The kingdom of God is to be contrasted with the kingdoms of the world, with the legal dispensation, and with the various systems of error which were then in existence and are in existence now, and which perhaps, will continue to exist until the end of time. But this Divine kingdom is to be contrasted with another kingdom which is not often referred to, I mean antichrist—the man of sin—or mystical Babylon. As Egypt and Babylon, both of which were the oppressors of the people of God, were destroyed, so the time is coming when Rome or Antichrist shall cease to exist, being cast as a mill-stone into the sea, and be found no more at all. That kingdom is now in existence, and it consists in words and forms and ceremonies, and the power connected with it is political, human, and carnal, and the power of error; and therefore, the whole of it is delusive and dangerous, and presents a striking contrast to the kingdom of God. The grace of God is not popery, for that has nothing to do in fact with grace in the heart, seeing the kingdom of God is not in word but in saving power. That is a part of the kingdom of Satan, and round about are the kingdoms of the world

but in the midst of these kingdoms God has set up a kingdom, which is inhabited by the saints of the Most High, where they shall live, and flourish, and thrive, until the end of time; and when all is perfected and completed, then Christ will deliver up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when He shall have put down all rule and all authority, and power. All other rule is to terminate, righteous and unrighteous; for there is such a thing as righteous reigning and ruling on earth. Our Queen is our rightful sovereign, and, permit me so to express myself, the men in authority over us are in their proper places, but all authority, power and dominion shall be put down, and one kingdom, one King, and one throne only shall appear, and stand for ever, and be surrounded by the subjects of God's grace. That King, that kingdom, that throne, and the millions that are loved with an everlasting love, and are bought with the precious blood of Jesus, and constituted the temples of God the Holy Ghost, are God's, " who shall be all in all."

What is the origin of the kingdom of God? Why, God Himself is its Author: it originated in the mind and bosom of Deity. The whole of it was foreknown and fore ordained, all its subjects were perfectly and universally known by its great Proprietor and Ruler. This kingdom is gradually and progressively coming into actual existence, as it was originally conceived in the mighty mind of the great God. All the thoughts of His mind and the love of His heart are being really and truly actualized as time progresses, as generations rise and depart, as devils tempt, and as angels watch over the people of God; and as Jesus upon His throne, works and applies His word here, there, and yonder. His eternal thought comes up into fulfillment gradually and progressively as time advances. This is the origin of the kingdom. Then for the establishment of it in the world. It arises out of love, and it is founded on the blood of the covenant, even the precious blood of Jesus Christ. He came to lay its foundation, yea, He is the foundation itself. It is a Mediatorial Kingdom, being based on the mediation of Christ, which is inseparable from it; for to separate mediation from this kingdom would be to remove its foundation. The whole would collapse, fall and disappear, if Christ could be removed from it; for the kingdom of God is based upon His dear Son. " What shall one then, answer the messengers or ambassadors of the nation?" said the children of Israel, when they come and see us in such confusion and surrounded by hosts of soldiers, and having thousands of beings hostile to us, and being hated by all the world? Why, tell them that "the Lord hath founded Zion," notwithstanding the troubles that surround her, "and the poor of His people shall betake themselves unto it." In the infinite mind of God, the grand plan of the kingdom was formed, and the dear Redeemer putting away sin, and harmonizing the perfections of God, the kingdom was established. And where is its seat? Vitally, it is in the heart, locally it is in the world. "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." And we have it here in this little island home of ours among the nations of the Gentiles. But the kingdom of God is within you. It is not only near to us, visible to us, it is in contact with, yea, in vital connection with us. If there is nothing of grace in us here, we are not subjects of the Lord Jesus Christ, for the kingdom of God is in the heart.

What is the extent of this kingdom? I do not know. We are told, however, that when God's operations are completed, a number shall appear before His throne which no man can number. It appears to me that notwithstanding the restricted and limited views which some people seem to take, God's kingdom will be the largest, as it will be the best, the richest, and the noblest and the most glorious of all kingdoms. The kingdom of God will be the greatest of kingdoms, for in all things Christ shall have the pre-eminence. I will not speculate as to whether there will be more sheep on the right hand than goats on the left, nor as to the number of the subjects of this kingdom:

"Saviour, if of Zion's city,
I through grace a member am,
Let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in Thy name."

And then with regard to its duration. How long will it stand? Well, it will stand till all other kingdoms disappear; it will stand till the end of time; it will stand when the heavens are opened to receive the millions of God's people, and it will endure in heaven as long as God Himself endures, for Christ will be a King and will have subjects for ever. He will sway His sceptre and wear His crown for ever and He will for ever have happy worshippers before His throne. The kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and the dominion of grace shall never, never end.

"Grace, till the tribes redeemed by blood,
Are brought to know themselves and God,
Her empire shall maintain,
To call -when Ho appoints the day,
And from the mighty take the prey,
Shall grace triumphant reign."

"The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power." I might just say here, that I believe this kingdom is an aggressive one. Infinite benevolence is associated with it; but whilst it is here, it is in a militant condition. It is by means of His kingdom on the earth that God is spreading abroad the knowledge of Himself. Some of you are aware that I am officially connected with a little Society, called the Strict Baptist Mission, which has stations in India and Ceylon, in which the ordinances of God's house are observed, and the truth of Jesus Christ is preached; and when I think that Christians are disseminating the word and endeavoring to spread abroad a knowledge of the plan of salvation and of the Saviour s name and that God is blessing these efforts, I see an illustration of this fact, that the kingdom of God is aggressive. The Word of God is in this kingdom, and His grace is seated there for it is the creation of His grace and the exponent of His eternal truth. The grace that has made us what we are should evermore appear in our character, our course, and our conversation; for in bringing the kingdom of God into the world, and giving it a visible existence here, grace has appeared to all men, as to its power and effects. If you want proofs of the grace of God, look at God s kingdom in this hostile world. If you want proofs of its sovereignty, look at a saint going home to heaven, against wind and tide, being carried along by an unseen influence which enables him to persevere in a course of holiness against himself, and the world, and the devil. The perseverance of a saint proclaims the sovereignty of grace and the nature of true religion.

Let me now notice a few things in connection with the power of the kingdom. First the Author of this power. The Apostle puts it negatively and positively. It is not in word, but in power. Not in the word or words of any creature, angels, great men, ministers of the gospel, nor the Apostle Paul himself; for he says "I have planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase." If the Apostle Paul could do nothing more than sow the seed, and could not cause it to grow, what should be said of myself and other ordinary ministers of the Gospel? Not in word; and yet the Apostle's words, were righteous, scriptural, and forcible; they fell from sanctified lips, and expressed the faith and feelings of a sanctified heart; but the kingdom of God is not in word, but in the power of God. Look at creature power. We have political, civil, and intellectual power; but these powers can never vitally Christianize an immortal mind. We have many Christians who are made so by words, or by a few drops of water sprinkled upon the faces of little helpless and unconscious babes, which are said to constitute them Christians! That, however, is not how God makes Christians, not how grace gets her subjects; for the kingdom of God is neither in word, nor in human or any creature power. The power of eloquence is great, and an eloquent preacher brings together hundreds, perhaps thousands of hearers; and religion is so superficial in these days, that the thousands who surround him, are in the opinion of the public" the sons and daughters of God. May it not be said (and I am not bitter) that in a very great measure the faith of many such persons "stands in the wisdom of men, and not in the power of God?" Let the eloquence of the preacher leave him, or let the eloquent preacher leave the congregation, and it will as a rule melt away as snow melts before the sun. Salvation by grace is not in word but in power, and its author is God Himself. And He continues to work without weariness. Under shepherds are weary, tired and get worn out, and all human power becomes exhausted; but God goes on working without weariness, for He "fainteth not, neither is weary; there is no searching of His understanding." The mother says, especially if she has twins and brings them up herself, "I am faint," and well she may, having two strong children sucking her breasts from day to day. She is faint and weary. God's breasts of consolation, however, are sucked by millions of His people, but "He fainteth not neither is weary." His breasts are always full, His arm is always strong, His fullness is always the same, and He fainteth not. "I will work, and who shall let it What a blessing it is to be interested in a God whose arm never aches, whose eye is never dim, whose supplies can never fail, whose love can never change, whose ear can never become heavy, and whose watchfulness is incessant, divine, and perfect like Himself! The kingdom of God is in Divine power. It is a new creating power. It was a marvelous act by which matter was brought into existence, and various shapes and forms were given to it, and which vitalized the creatures made. God completed His work in six days, and reviewing the whole He was satisfied and pleased, for it was good. Now, there is another act of power in progress by which the new creation of God is gradually coming into existence. God brought the old creation into existence in six days, and He is now proceeding with His new creating work, and will not finish it until the last day, when the bodies of His people shall be raised and reunited to their spirits, and the heavens shall be filled with the subjects of His grace. Was the whole creation satisfactorily completed when it was finished? He will complete His new creation, and be infinitely pleased and delighted then with His work.

"When God makes up His last account,
Of natives in His holy mount;
'Twill be an honor to appear
As one new-born and nourished there." May you and I be found in the kingdom of God as the subjects of His grace.

Thirdly, the nature of this power. If God is its Author, it is Divine, you say. Well, just one or two thoughts here. If God is the source of this power, it is sovereign; or if you like it in another form, it is Divine power Sovereignty displayed, as to places and persons. There are dark corners in the world, and even in this land of ours, notwithstanding that it is called a Christian country. 1 have some villages in my thoughts now, in which there are churches and preachers, and large incomes, where the parishioners are without knowledge, and I grieve over it. Many years ago I labored not far from the places I am now alluding to, and the people were, and still are, as to divine and eternal things, almost as ignorant as Hottentots, not knowing their right hand from their left, as to the character and government of God. God is a Sovereign, and does not always send a flood of gospel light all over the world. How is it that when one stands up in His name to preach the Gospel, God does not call every hearer under the word? I do not know. He puts His fear into this heart, and that, and the other, and He giveth no account of any of His matters. And then you sometimes come to the house of God dejected and depressed, and go away in the same state; and another time you come depressed and faint, and cast down, and you get a blessing. How is it you are not always blessed, and always fare and feel alike? Oh the kingdom of God is not in word, but in the power of God, which He displays as He pleases. If God will help me, I can preach a little; but I have no power to apply the Word; for if I had, I love the Word and your souls so well, that I would always lay the promises on your hearts, and give you the grace of the Word. I would always sweep away all your doubts and fears, and break your unbelief, and give you faith; but power belongeth unto God, and His kingdom is not in word, but in power, which is sovereign in its operations. And then is it not irresistible power? It is said that we resist the grace and Spirit of God. Well then, if we admit the word "resist," let us follow it by another—"frustrate if we resist, can we frustrate the will and defeat the purposes of God? You walk in the field, or in the road, and a hundred ants crawl upon your boot, all possessing stings. You take your handkerchief, and wipe the little resisting things away, and do not feel their resistance. The sinner resists God's grace, and the poor lost rebel resists His power. And does God stop because He is resisted? Does power divine hesitate or falter, because the rebel means, if possible, to continue in rebellion? God says, " I will work;" and He takes the heart, and turns it, I had almost said, inside out; and, according to the good pleasure of His will, He discovers the guilty sinner to himself, who then says, " God, be merciful to me a sinner." The kingdom is in divine, sovereign, irresistible power. I should like, however, to say, since we are living in stirring times, that this power is silent in its operations. You know what I mean. People in the present day appear to me to have an idea that there is no religion without noise and show; hence we have pipes, and fiddles, and drums, and banners, and I don't know what, as if true religion and the kingdom of grace consisted in noise, and pomp, and show. But "the kingdom of God cometh not with observation." Paul was in the city of Corinth; and God said, "Be not afraid, but speak, and hold not thy peace, and no man shall set upon thee, to hurt thee; for I have much people in this city." Ordinary observers would not have thought that God had much people there; but Paul preached, and God applied the Word that was spoken, without the use of banners and musical instruments. God does not require them; they are altogether foreign to the simplicity of the Gospel, and the salvation of heaven; for the kingdom of God cometh not with observation, but with a power which nobody sees, for its operations are silent and internal. The power is represented as being the power of life. You cast a grain of wheat into the ground, and if the vital principle be good and perfect, the influences of nature being favorable, it will take root downwards, and spring upwards, and though the first little blade be so tender that you could scarcely take it between your finger and thumb without injuring it, yet notwithstanding its softness and tenderness it will force its way through the hard soil towards the sun, which influences it, though a weight of soil lies upon it, for there is wonderful power in life. It is neither a mechanical power nor a dead weight, but a vital power which grows. The power of the Spirit is compared to fire, which warms, consumes, and melts; to wind, which is sovereign and irresistible, and to oil, which dropped upon the soul silently permeates the mind, and sanctifies its recipient.

The operation of this power. Take this one thought. It is a transforming power; it changes the sinner towards God, but not God towards the sinner. Repentance is a change, but not a change in God towards the penitent. This power of God changes the sinner towards God, towards the Bible, towards the church, towards the world, towards sin, towards the devil, towards the saints, and towards heaven. It transforms him in all these respects. It finds him hating God; it leaves him loving Him, or desiring to do so. It finds him at a distance from God; it brings him near. It finds him neglecting the Bible, it leaves him a prayerful Bible student; it finds him sneering at the saints, and persecuting them, it leaves him singing—

"With them numbered may I be,
Now and through eternity."

It finds him loving sin, it leaves him hating it, and loving holiness. Yes, the power of God, in which this kingdom stands, is a transforming power. And then as to one's experience of this power, how blessed it is to receive pardon from God, and to be led into liberty by God the Spirit! To receive an application of atoning blood, and of the promises. Have you not sometimes been in the house of God, overflowing with holy feeling, your eyes and your hearts, and your mouths being filled, when the last hymn was sung? Oh there is a secret joy connected with God's reign of grace in the heart, a secret power which cannot be resisted, which melts the soul, fills the eye, makes the man stronger than his enemies, and carries him out of and beyond himself. Yes—

"The hill of Zion yields
A thousand sacred sweets,
Before we reach the heavenly fields,
Or walk the golden streets."

The kingdom of God is in power, and not in word. The medium through which this power is communicated is the Word of God. You know efficiency is never owing to the adaptability or excellence of the instrument. The pen on your desk may be a perfect one, but it requires a hand to use it, and the writing then will not be good, notwithstanding the excellence of the pen, unless the agent be a good writer. Efficiency is always owing to the agent, and not to the instrument. Bad work may be done with a good instrument, and good work may be done with an indifferent one; but when the instrument and the agent are both perfect, the work will surely be satisfactory. The instrument is the Gospel, the Agent is the God of the Gospel, and when God uses His own Word by His own hand a wondrous change is effected, a change that is worthy of Himself, and over which angels rejoice and sing. "The kingdom of God is not in word, but in power." The Lord add His blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen,

10 The Right Hope

THE RIGHT HOPE.

Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET,
CLERKENWELL,

ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, 2nd MAY, 1886.

"And hope maketh not ashamed" (Ro 5:5).

This is one of the most comprehensive chapters in the Word of God; an epitome of the glorious gospel or of the covenant of grace. It is impossible to over-estimate the glorious doctrine of justification by faith. A very important question occurs in the Scriptures, "How can man be justified with God? or, how can he be clean that is born of a woman?" Yet God justifies the ungodly, and He is just in doing so. His glory is not tarnished, and none of His attributes and perfections are concealed; but the whole of His character stands out most gloriously in the justification of sinners. The chapter opens with the word "therefore," which directs our attention to what the Apostle had previously written. The last verse of the preceding chapter reads thus:—"Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification." Surely this is the very marrow of the gospel, and the very spirit of the new covenant. Jesus Christ, who was delivered to death, was the Son of God. All the brightness, greatness, and glory of the Godhead are in Him; therefore all the perfections of Jehovah are inseparable from His great sacrifice, so that their is more in the sufferings of Christ to put away sin, than there is in sin itself to put away the sinner; and we sing of the blood of our Lord :

"It rises high and drowns the hills,
Has neither shore nor bound;
Now if we search to find our sins,
Our sins can ne'er be found."

It is the Spirit's work to glorify the Son of God, the dear Redeemer, in the heart, by exalting His person and His precious blood above all the sin, iniquity, and guilt of the sinner. Yes, the Son of God was delivered to death for our offences; and as He did not die in vain, but fulfilled the great purpose which He came to accomplish, He returned to heaven with those honors which He gloriously and justly won for Himself. "He was raised again for our justification." It is perhaps impossible to say which of the two branches of eternal salvation is the more important; the death of Christ, or His resurrection from the dead. Our great Lord died to put away sin, and it was put away when He said, "It is finished!" but He was afterwards buried. He is risen, however, from the dead, and is seated at His Father's right hand, and all His people are risen with Him; and if He, as the Head of the church, is justified, they are justified in Him, and for His sake. Therefore, says the Apostle; "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Oh the blessedness of standing before God clothed with the righteousness of His Son, having received it by faith; and how happy are they who can say for themselves, He loved us, and gave Himself for us. It is a great thing to be all right, to stand before the throne of God without fault, and to be passed on for eternity, and for heaven itself, by the infinitely holy Jehovah. If, my brother, you are clothed with the righteousness of the Saviour, you are for ever justified, and in that respect, you are before God all perfect and complete; for "ye are complete in Him." Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace with God. What a privilege is this peace, not only on the earth, and in our hearts, but in heaven also. Peace with God Himself, being in harmony with all His perfections. We are rather prone, I imagine, in contemplating this subject to feel that we and mercy only are bound together. My dear friends, if we are justified ones, we have peace with God's justice, and righteousness, and holiness also. We do not more deeply adore and reverence divine mercy, than we reverence divine equity and truth. All the attributes of God concur and for ever agree in our salvation, and they all appear in everlasting harmony in the formation of our character, and in our eternal inheritance of a better world. Hence we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ. Not only so, the Apostle says, "By Him also we have access by faith into this grace wherein we stand." Wonderful arrangement! And glorious indeed is the plan of salvation. The righteousness of Jesus is put upon the sinner, who now appears before the Lord who wrought it out. And the Saviour introduces him into the presence of His Father, and our Father, who accepts him therein, and for the sake of that High Priest who introduces him into His presence. "We have access into this grace wherein we stand," as righteous persons, as individuals who are free from guilt and condemnation, "and rejoice in hope of the glory of God." And such is the influence of the grace of justification upon the heart of the justified one that the Apostle proceeds to say: "We glory in the tribulation also, knowing that tribulation worketh patience." Glorying in grace, and in the Lord Jesus Christ, is something that we can understand; but where is the man that can glory in tribulation? He that can say for himself, "I am justified by faith in Christ, and the love of God is shed abroad in my heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto me;" can say also, "I glory in tribulation, knowing that tribulation worketh patience, and patience experience, and experience hope, and hope maketh not ashamed." Having preached from the latter part of this verse, I have not read the whole of it for my text this morning. Let us for a few minutes look at this portion, and try to express a few thoughts and feelings upon it. "And hope maketh not ashamed."

I should like, in the first place, to try to show you what the believer's hope implies. I desire to dwell upon the nature and operations of this grace this morning, because we are living in a day when some very strange things are said concerning the hope of God's people. Well, what does the believer's hope imply? It implies this fact among others that more has been promised than we have yet received. So long as promises remain unfulfilled, the believer will be in a hoping condition. This is important, because there are persons, and their number is considerable, who wish to be thought very good people; and doubtless some, or many of them are so, who have some strange notions concerning the hope of God's children. They ask how you are getting on in relation to the things of God, and if in the simplicity of your minds, you answer that you hope you are right, or that you are the Lord's, or that you are a saved sinner; they stop you very suddenly, as if they were half-angry with you, with, " Hope! Hope! have you not yet got beyond hope?" You are a professor, and have been one for many years, and you ought to be able to express yourself now more confidently. Well, my dear friends, I love the grace of hope and its operations in my heart, and I find that the Holy Spirit in the Word has been pleased to honor that grace; and therefore I cannot speak contemptuously of it, nor of any person you says in the simplicity of his heart, "I hope that my soul is right in God's sight." Now let us look at this point for a few minutes. The promises of God are numerous and great and such is their nature, that very many of them cannot be perfectly fulfilled unto us in this world. Since the promises are revealed and recorded in the Bible, and cannot be perfectly fulfilled unto us here, we must be the subjects of hope, looking into the future, and expecting something more than we already possess. The promises of God go right into the future; they go into death, and pass quite through its valley, and enter into heaven itself, and cover all eternity. So long as there are unfulfilled promises, believers will look and hope for the promised good. The child of God cannot in the nature of things be satisfied on the earth. This is not his rest. The Lord did not create this world to be the home and the resting-place of His dear people. I do not think that our God will ever do anything to, or in the world for the purpose of constituting it the final home of His family. "Where I am, there shall ye be also." Well, Christ is at the Father's right hand, He is in that better country. "This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise." Our Lord, therefore, is in paradise, the perfect and un-losable Garden of Eden, in the kingdom of eternal bliss and glory; and where He is, there His people must be also. If this world is not their home, if it is not to be their final resting-place, if they cannot possibly find all they require here, the grace of hope in the heart is given for the purpose of keeping them, as it were, on the look-out. They are sending their thoughts and expectations into the future, into that rest which is prepared for them in heaven, and which remains for the people of God. The strongest saint, and the most vigorous believer that has ever lived, was imperfect, and the most fruitful believer now on the earth is so also; and so long as there is a sense of imperfection, there will and must be hope. If we were brimful, and could hold no more, we should cease to hope. If we were perfectly satisfied, and required nothing more, then we should cease to hope; but although we have something in hand, we are not yet in possession of all that God has promised. Although we are saved sinners, we are not yet perfect. Therefore we are saved by hope, which maketh not ashamed. No, the child of God cannot be satisfied with his present attainments. Those persons to whom I have referred have not got beyond hope themselves, or if they have, they are living presumptuously. A humble hope in God is better than a whole heap of fleshly hollow confidence and presumption. I do not want, so long as I am here, to get beyond a good hope. I hope for help, and help comes; and I shall hope on, and on, until I am helped for the last time, which will be in death, and then I shall enter into the hoped for bliss and glory. My hope will then expire in full fruition, and I shall look forward with expectation no more. We are saved by hope which maketh not ashamed. Is it not thus with you? Am I not giving expression in a humble manner to your thoughts, and feelings, and experience? Can the child of God while he is here, and the subject of indwelling sin, be in a position in which it may be correctly said of him, that he is beyond hope. So long as there is sin in us, we shall hope for the time when it will be removed. So long as we are conscious of imperfection, we shall hope for that period when we shall be made perfect. So long as we are not perfectly like the Lord Jesus Christ, we shall hope for that change when we shall see Him as He is, and be for ever with and like Him. The hope of the child of God implies the fact that he is not yet satisfied, that he needs more that God has promised to give him more than he has yet received, and that he is to be what he never yet has been. For,—

"It doth not yet appear
How great we must be made;
But when we see our Saviour here,
We shall like our Head."

Again; the believer's hope implies righteousness on the one hand, and spiritual relationship on the other. It implies righteousness. What is before and behind the child of God? His sin, his guilt, his transgression? Then he cannot hope. If sin has not been put away, if guilt has not been expiated, if God, in relation to transgression, has not been atoned, then there is no ground whatever for a sinner to hope for God and for heaven. But what is really behind and before the child of God? The atonement of the Saviour. His well done and finished work. Then he may and will hope. If sin has been carried out, and righteousness brought in, if the offence has disappeared, and that which is infinitely pleasing to God has taken its place, then one says, who can tell? I am a guilty sinner, but I venture to hope that God will have mercy on me. He can be merciful to sinners without injuring Himself, or dimming His character and glory; and since he can show mercy to the guilty, I will hope for mercy, and,

"I'll go to Jesus, though my sins
Have like a mountain rose;
I know His courts, I'll enter in,
Whatever may oppose."

Well, here is the atonement, trembling sinner, and you who have recently been convinced of sin may cast yourself upon it. The Lord help you to build your hopes for pardon and for heaven, upon the precious blood and glorious righteousness of God's dear Son. But I said, there must, be righteousness on the one hand, and relationship on the other, before there can be true comfort in connection with our hope. Where are you, and what are you doing? You are resting upon the atonement of Jesus. But what are you hoping for 1 Heaven, the inheritance? The heavenly inheritance goes to the heirs of God, even the joint-heirs with Christ j all these heirs are God's sons and daughters. If you are His child, hope for the heavenly inheritance; but if you are not spiritually related to Him, there is no ground whatever upon which you may hope for heaven. "Ah sir, Jesus died for me, and I stand there! The Holy Ghost bears witness with my heart, not only that Jesus died for me, but that I am a son of God, and joint-heir with Jesus Christ." Then, hope for all God has promised, and for all He has prepared. In the first place, your guilt has been expiated, and God will never curse you. In the second place, you stand related to God as a son or a daughter, and He will for ever bless you. Such a hope maketh not ashamed. Again, this hope implies faith fullness and fullness on the part of God. Suppose God should alter His mind? If that were possible, our hope would shake and give way. If His nature and love could change, we could not confidently hope; but He is in one mind, and none can turn Him. He loves with an everlasting love, and will never cease to be our Father, and we shall always be His children. He is the ever faithful God, and here you may build your hopes. But you are hoping for so much; yes, but not for more than there is in God. He is faithful to His promises and faithful to His children; and He has not surpassed or gone beyond His fullness with His promises. They are large, but His resources are infinite, and therefore we hope for great things, and for the best, even for the best world, and the richest bliss and joy, all of which shall be everlasting. "And hope maketh not ashamed." I have made these observations on this point for the purpose of attempting to comfort the little ones in the family of heaven. Do not be cast down, my brethren, if you meet some of those strong and gigantic Christians who are always on the mount, always above doubt and fear, and who have got beyond hope. If you meet them, and they condemn you for your hope, do not be dejected. Look at the great man David. "Why art thou cast down, 0 my soul? And why art thou disquieted within me? Hope thou in God; for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance and my God." Yes, we rejoice in hope of the glory to God. We have not yet received all; we have much in hand, and much in possession, but there is more in hope and in the future. Hope, therefore, for the perfect fulfillment of the whole Bible; for this grace must abide and prevail until the whole volume of heaven is divinely fulfilled. So much for the implication which the existence of a good hope carries with it. In the second place, let us say a word or two upon the nature of this hope. The germ of it comes into the heart in regeneration or the new birth, and it is inseparable from that principle of divine life, the possession of which constitutes one a Christian. The new birth is a perfect birth. The infant, notwithstanding its smallness, is perfect, and possesses all its parts and members at once. Development and growth will follow the birth. Its little arms and legs will become larger. And as it is in nature, so it is in grace in this respect. The new-born child of God is perfect as to his nature and parts, though not as to his strength and development. Therefore when the new birth has taken place, the germ of hope, and faith, and love, and patience, and joy, is in the heart. These graces are all latent, if I may so speak, in the principle of grace which the Holy Ghost at first communicates to the soul, and circumstances and facts will, under the influence of the Holy Spirit, developed them. A new-born child of God sees and feels he is a guilty sinner, and a sense of guilt makes way for hope; and in proportion as the character and nature of sin are felt, hope, is intensified, and as God reveals His mercy in harmony with His justice, faith rises high, and the soul becomes hopeful and sings,—

"/ can but perish if I go;
I am resolved to try;
For if stay away, I know
I must for ever die.

"But if I die with mercy sought,
When I the King have tried,
That were to die—delightful thought!
As sinner never died."

And therefore, if I perish I will perish at the feet of Christ; if I die, I will die in His presence; and if I am cast into hell, I will humbly hope until the last. Delightful thought! No sinner with this hope was ever lost. This is the nature of this hope. But I want to tarry a moment or two on a point which I feel is important, viz., that this hope is sure and steadfast. I have reached the conclusion that this is the only hope in the universe, so far as we know what is in the universe that is absolutely sure and certain. When I speak of the believer's hope, I do not refer to something uncertain, but to that which can never be lost. There is no room for doubt as to the final fruition of the believer's hope, and I am speaking solemnly; the believer must sooner or later possess, as the Lord liveth, all that God teaches his heart to hope for.

Our God is the God of hope, and it is not like Him to induce a heart to hope for that which He does not absolutely intend to give. It is not like Him to bring us to expect blessings which we shall never receive. It is not like Him to create a desire and then to quench it; for "He shall fulfill the desire of them that fear Him." It is sure and certain. What other hope is so? "I hope I shall live and see certain things." But you are not sure that you will live to see them, for life is uncertain. You hope for health and strength, but you are not sure of them. You hope when you commence a journey that you will reach your destination, whether it be by land or sea; but that is uncertain, for you may die before the end is reached: you may, and you may not. These are words which will not apply to the believer's hope. One is going to Australia, the captain of the vessel is an experienced man, the vessel is said to be a faultless one, and there seems to be no human reason why Australia should not be reached. The voyage is commenced, and hope fills the breast; but it is an uncertain one. Now look at the believer, the child of God, in whose heart there is a heavenly hope. Grace has turned him, and hell and the world are behind him, and heaven and glory are before him. May there not be some failure? No. May there not be some disappointment? Certainly not. God has started him for heaven, and heaven must be reached, for his hope is sure and steadfast. God has set him in the way, and given him to hope for grace until the end of the journey, and has said to him, "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee, until I have done that good thing which I have spoken to thee of." Walk on, my brother, and let us travel together. The way is straight and safe, and our Leader is infallible, and perpetually with us, while the hope He has given us is inseparably connected with God's honor. Nothing can quench it, nothing can disappoint it, for it is the hope mentioned in my text; it maketh not ashamed, but is sure and steadfast. "But all hopes are not uncertain, are they?" Yes, all are. You have a dear brother, on whose love and resources you are resting important hopes. Have you never known brothers to become helpless or treacherous? Ah, but there is the wife or the husband, and we may confidently hope in such relations. But have you never heard of a husband or a wife, after living in peace and pleasure a number of years, becoming changed? There is no absolute certainty, no absolute fixedness connected with any hope, but that which is heavenly and Divine. Yet natural hope is a pleasure, and we could not live without it. The world would be dark and miserable indeed, if it were a hopeless world; yet the hopes of the world are all of them, more or less, uncertain, unfixed, and unsteady. This is the only hope that maketh not ashamed, I had some important hopes a few years ago, but I have lost them; I will not tell you what they related to, but they were strong, and I felt as sure and certain about them as any person can feel about earthly matters. Disappointment has taken place. Oh! hope thou in God, for I shall yet praise Him, who is the health of my countenance and my God. First, then the implication which hope carries with it, and secondly, the nature of this hope.

Thirdly, the objects of it. The objects of hope are unseen as we read at the commencement of the service this morning. "For hope that is seen is not hope, for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for? If we hope for that we see not, then do we with patience wait for it." The hope of a believer goes through clouds, and beyond death, and the grave, and time. In the nature of things, the believer's hope must get into some bright place, and it remains on the wing until some fixed point is reached, or some desirable position appears. Hope cannot sit quietly and calmly in the midst of darkness and danger. One may be in these circumstances, but hope goes forward into the future; through the fog, and the cloud, and time, and out of this world into heaven, and rests in God, the invisible Jehovah. Guided by His word and directed by His Spirit, hope finds God and rests in Him. Faith believes the Word, and hope stands upon the threshold and looks out for the fulfillment of it. The soul sends its expectation forward into heaven, and into the future, beyond impossibilities and possibilities, into the omnipotence of God, and says, "I shall yet praise Him."

Fourthly, the influence of hope upon its possessor. Now you know, the object of hope is always desirable and attractive. We may expect evil, but we cannot hope for it. Hope longs for that which is good, excellent, valuable, necessary, precious; and this hope has an influence upon its possessor. In proportion as the attractions of the objects of hope are great and powerful, the heart is drawn towards them. God in Christ is the object of hope and heaven; and heavenly glory are the objects of our hope. Christ draws hope; for souls are neither driven nor dragged to God. "Draw me: we will run after Thee." The beauties of the Saviour, and the attractions of heaven draw and influence our spirits. Then the very spirit and character of the object of hope are impressed upon hope itself. I beg your attention to this point, which I trust I have clearly put before you, Hope imbibes the spirit of its object, is impressed with it. If the object of hope is something earthly, the hope is an earthly one, and if something sinful and vile, the hope is an impure one. Thus if Christ is the object of hope, He is stamped upon the hope itself; and hence "every man that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as He is pure." As the object of the believer's hope is a pure Christ, so the person that hopes in Christ would be perfectly holy, and he is hoping for the period when all his impurity and imperfections will be lost, and he will be for ever like his Lord. Do not think that a hope so much Divine, so good, and so excellent, can be unclean or impure. Imperfect it is as to its operations and influence; but it is a pure hope, like its object, Jesus Christ. He who possesses it is not a perfectly pure character; but the grace itself, like its Author and object, is holy.

I thought I would say in the fifth place, a word or two, if time permitted, on the final fruition of this hope. It must be swallowed up, absorbed, and lost in perfect and full fruition; but I cannot now attempt to go into that subject. The last point is that which is so prominent in the text, viz., the fact itself, "Hope maketh not ashamed." Adam was ashamed when he fell, in the Garden of Eden. Jesus Christ, however, was not ashamed, though He gave Himself up to shame and ignominy; and he who hopes in the suffering dying and risen Saviour shall never be ashamed. The believer can never be ashamed of the foundation of his hope, who is Christ; nor of the object of his hope, who is God; nor of the company which hope carries him into, which is good company; nor of the loss which his hope may involve him in.

"For why should I complain
Of want or distress,
Temptation or pain,
He told me no less."

"Blessed are they that are persecuted for My name sake." Paul says, I am not ashamed of the gospel." Though I am a prisoner, I am not ashamed of this chain, for I wear it for Christ's sake. No, this hope maketh not ashamed, because the love of God is shed abroad in the soul. And not ashamed of its fruition at last. My brother, the believer's hope is not greater than its object, and hence he will never be ashamed. You and I often hope as creatures for more than we get. Our hope is larger than the object when it is obtained. But our God is the object of this hope, and He infinitely exceeds the hope He gives. Methinks when we get to heaven we shall be constrained to say with the Queen of Sheba: I heard of Thy glory in my own land, and believed it not; but now I see it all with my own eyes, behold, the half of it was not told me. "Now unto Him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we can ask or think." Brethren, we shall be surprised when we get to heaven. We believe a little that heaven is a wonderful world, and that Christ is a wonderful person, and that the pleasures and glories of Jerusalem above are truly great, but when we see heaven, and our Lord and enter into that bliss, perhaps we shall feel, as I said just now, that we did not half-believe it, nor half hope for it, and that the half of what God has provided for us was never told us. The Lord command His blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen.

11 THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS, THE JOY OF THE CHURCH

THE CONVERSION OF SINNERS, THE JOY OF THE CHURCH.

 A SERMON ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Preached by Mr. HAZELTON, ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET, CLERKENWELL, ON LORD’S-DAY MORNING, 6th JULY, 1884.

“And being brought on their way by the church, they passed through Phenice and Samaria, declaring the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.”— {Ac 15:3}.

In connection with the text which I have read this morning, we are informed that Paul and Barnabas were sent to Jerusalem, in consequence of a vexatious question which had arisen in the church in the city of Antioch. The devil is ever busy, and a false Gospel is always introduced wherever God is pleased to send the true Gospel of His grace. If God will have a true church, the devil will have a false one; and if God will have ministers of the truth to preach His word, the devil will sometimes transform himself into an angel of light, and become a preacher too; for the devil can preach, and does so whenever he is permitted. Well, Satan got into the church of Christ at Antioch, through a number of Pharisees who said, “Except ye be circumcised after the manner of Moses, ye cannot be saved.” And this spirit is still in existence, it originated very early, and ever mixes up law and gospel, duty and faith, and works and faith. This occurrence, we are told, caused no small dissension and disputation, and the church “determined that Paul and Barnabas and certain other of them should go up to Jerusalem unto the apostles and elders about this question;” and being brought on their way by the church—I suppose the meaning of this is, that the church at Antioch furnished them with means,— they passed through Phenice and Samaria. They had to do so in travelling from Antioch to Jerusalem; but in going through these two places, they would visit the Christian churches which existed in them both. You remember that our Lord preached the word in Samaria, and the woman at the well of Samaria was in all probability at this time a member of the church in this place. A number of men followed the woman at the well, and they believed and said, “Now we believe, not because of thy saying; for we have heard Him ourselves;” and therefore we have reason to suppose that a considerable church had been formed in the city of Samaria. And then with regard to Phenice, history informs us that Christian churches existed in that place until the sixth or seventh century. Well, at this period of time those churches were comparatively pure, and Paul and Barnabas passed through, “declaring the conversion of the Gentiles; and they caused great joy unto all the brethren.”

Having thus arrived at the text, let us make some observations on a few important points which appear to me to arise out of it. In the first place, the conversion of sinners is a matter of joy on Christ's account. They caused great joy unto all the brethren by declaring the conversion of the Gentiles. And what was it that led them to rejoice in the fact that Gentile sinners had been called by grace and saved with an everlasting salvation?  They rejoiced, I say, in the first place, on Christ’s account. We must have Christ everywhere in the church, everywhere in the Christian ministry, and in the ordinances of His house; for He is “all and in all.” That organization is not a Christian church, if Christ is not there; and that sermon is not a gospel sermon if Jesus is not in it; and that heart is not a Christian heart, whatever its pretensions and profession may be, if Christ has not been formed there, the hope of eternal glory. The disciples at Phenice and Samaria rejoiced at the conversion of the Gentiles, on the Saviour’s account. There is something to our minds as Christians and saved sinners exceedingly sweet in the fact that our dear Lord is in heaven; that He is seated as the Lamb in the midst of the throne ; that He is at the Father’s right hand, at the right hand of majesty and power; and that there are unceasingly flowing from His glorious person and His boundless resources, streams of Divine grace and mercy for poor, lost, and ruined sinners here. Try to realize the fact that there is never a moment but grace is descending from the Lord; for He has thousands of saints down here, as well as millions of happy glorified spirits before His throne; and every glorified mind there would cease to be happy, if influences failed to emanate from their Lord. Every saint down here would cease to be a saint, if grace Divine ceased to flow from our great and glorious Emanuel; and as for the work of conversion, whether it takes place in the Sabbath-school, or in the ordinary congregation, or whilst one is reading the word, or owing to a letter one has received,—the hearts of sinners would never be savingly affected or influenced, if grace did not descend from the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven; and, therefore, when a sinner is smitten, and falls before God beneath the blow—for this is how we must be saved, salvation does not consist in gliding into a public profession of religion,—the church praises God. When the sinner falls beneath the hand, and at the feet of Him that smote him, and this becomes known to ministers and deacons and members of a Christian church, there is joy, and there are expressions of thankfulness to the God of heaven and earth on Christ’s own account. The conversion of a sinner is an evidence of the reign of Christ, and of the operations of Jesus; it is an evidence of the indwelling Spirit of God, and of the fact that something out of Christ has fallen upon the heart of that individual who is in the dust of self-abasement before the Lord. Oh I wish prayerfully, deeply, and with all my heart, that this great matter in connection with the religion of heaven, were insisted upon earnestly and strenuously by every man who professes to preach the gospel of God’s grace. Religion is something more than notion, something must be known and felt; and as the Lord liveth—and I have said those words with some solemn feeling—you have nothing in your hearts for heaven, or for God, unless Christ, from His own inexhaustible fullness and resources, has communicated a drop of grace to your minds; for this, and this only, is the religion of heaven. This and this only, constitutes a meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. “God be merciful to me a sinner,” the penitent who never prayed before, is heard to say. All the saints of God rejoice for Christ’s sake: another victory won, another captive rescued, and the prey taken out of the hands of the mighty. The influence of Christ’s death is again felt, and owing to the pleading and intercession of the Saviour, the Holy Ghost has fallen from heaven once more, upon another poor, lost and ruined one; so that in that saved sinner we see another added to the family, another gem, another pearl, another jewel for the crown of Him who is King of kings, and Lord of lords. Christ sees, in such a person, of the travail of His soul, and is satisfied. Is it not said in the fifty third of Isaiah, “He shall His seed”? He sees them before they are made manifest as His seed. He knows them before they know Him; but He shall see them born, He shall see them brought up, He shall see them educated and trained; He shall see them living in His service with pleasure, and satisfaction, and delight. He shall see them persevering in a course of holiness, He shall see them with the world under their feet, He shall see them finally with the devil himself under their feet; for “The God of peace shall bruise Satan under your feet shortly.” He shall see them conquer death, and pass victoriously through it; and He shall see them all arrive in that glory world, which God has prepared for His dear people. And is not this matter for joy? They declared to the saints at Phenice and Samaria, the conversion of the Gentiles, and they thereby caused great joy to the brethren in those places. Every conversion says, The Saviour lives. Every regeneration that takes place says, The Saviour reigns. Every poor soul that is rescued from the devil by an unseen, mysterious and powerful hand, proclaims the fact that Christ is a conqueror, that His conquests are progressing, and that He did not die in vain. Our dear Lord did not shed His blood fruitlessly, any more than He pleads and prays in heaven in vain. He shall see the purchase of His blood. He has rights which He will claim and maintain, and “He ever liveth to make intercession for all that come unto God by Him.” On Christ’s account, therefore, the Lord’s people rejoice when the cause of God and truth is extended. And then, in the second place, they rejoice on account of the converts themselves. Now let us tarry here. What is it that grace Divine does for the poor soul? It quickens it, and conveys a new life into it. I do not speak without thought, when I say, principles as holy in their nature as God, and as enduring as eternity, become rooted in the heart of the man who becomes a saved sinner. But may not these principles perish ? May not the man or the woman who becomes a convert and is brought to the Lord Jesus Christ, sink into hell? If so, my dear friends, I do not think we should rejoice before we get to heaven. But Paul and Barnabas gave an account of the work of God in the conversion of sinners, and the saints in Phenice and Samaria, believing in the final perseverance of the saints, proceeded to rejoice at once. Had there been any uncertainty about their future heaven, their joy would have been premature, and have ended in nothing. But “He which hath begun the good work in you, will perform it until the day of Jesus Christ and the good people of Samaria and Phenice very confidently believed that these Gentiles that had been approaching the Saviour, would be held fast by Him for ever and ever. Therefore they rejoiced on account of the converts themselves. Grace quickens the heart, and its possessor is a new creature: for “if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away, behold all things are become new.” And the grace that comes into the heart of a sinner liberates him; and liberty is an unspeakable blessing, whether it be spiritual, political, religious, or social. Every sinner is by nature held fast by a power from which he has no desire and indeed cannot release himself; it is a fact that the world is in the arms of the wicked one, and there is only one Being in existence that can liberate them, or take them out of those arms, and that person is our great Lord. He does it by His Spirit. “Deliver to Me that captive, and let that prisoner go free.” Satan is carrying the world down to hell, and the world lies calmly and comfortably in his hands. They love their tyrannical lord, and they love the reign of sin, and will not realize the awful nature of their condition until they reach the place where hope never cometh, unless grace divine should open their eyes, and bring them to see themselves as sinners. The dear Redeemer meets the devil, and He says concerning Saul of Tarsus, “He is Mine, I have redeemed him;” and Paul is as a firebrand plucked from the burning. He says, concerning Magdalene, “She is Mine: I have loved her with an everlasting love, and have engaged to take her to heaven, deliver her up,” and Magdalene is snatched from the tyrant’s hand. How wonderful was the operation of grace which took place in the heart of the thief! I can imagine that Satan felt sure of him, and also that there was but a step between him and hell, but at the eleventh hour the hand of Christ was stretched out, the thief was snatched as a brand from the burning ; and angels rejoiced, and so did the suffering Saviour. A dead sinner made alive, a captive set for ever free. Now, what is to be done with him? Why, the grace that has made him alive and unbound him exalts and dignifies him. It does not leave him in a state of degradation and disgrace. He is now honored by being made a child of God openly; he is taken into a state of nearness to his heavenly Father, and he falls before his ransoming and liberating Lord, with—

"Pause, my soul, adore and wonder, Ask, oh why such love to me?
Grace has put me in the number
Of the Saviour’s family.”

Surely devils see in that person a new creature, angels see in that character a new creature. A transformation, marvelous and wonderful indeed, has taken place; he has a new heart, he is a new man in a new position, and when these facts are set forth, the people of God rejoice.

Sinners saved by grace are elevated and enriched; and how sweet it is to realize the blessedness of the words, “Things present, or things to come, all are yours; and ye are Christ’s, and Christ is God’s.” The people of God are thus immensely and immeasurably rich. God has simplified matters wonderfully, having committed all things into the hand of His Son, and then He has given His Son, so that we have all things in Christ, and for Christ’s sake. And the grace that fills the soul and liberates and dignifies it, ties it fast. The poet says:—

“Impossible, a humble child,
That loves Thee with a flame so high, Should ever from Thy face exiled, Beyond the pity of Thine eye. Impossible ! for Thine own hands, Have tied my heart so fast to Thee, And in Thy book the promise stands, That where Thou art Thy friends shall be.”

And every such person possesses a meetness for the inheritance of the kingdom of God, and it is no small mercy to have been fitted for heaven, prepared for a better world than this. Why, if I possess the grace of God, I possess a meetness for the inheritance that is up there; and if I should fall down suddenly, and die in the streets, no matter as far as I am concerned. It might shock my family, and friends, for there is something exceedingly solemn in sudden death; but, “absent from the body, present with the Lord.” If I possess God’s grace, if Jesus is in my heart, I am in sympathy with heaven, my soul has been tied to the God of heaven, and I should die in the everlasting arms, and be safe, although I fell in the streets, and became immediately surrounded by a crowd, none of whom might know me. Oh how sweet it is to possess a meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light! I have sometimes thought that God’s dear people have the best of it in all respects, and under all circumstances. Why, he that is saved by God is saved from this present evil world, and it is impossible for me to say how much degradation, disgrace, and misery, physical and social, the grace of God has saved me from. I know of certain individuals who are steeped in sin, taking a delight in it, gradually ruining themselves, blasting their character, and blighting all the pleasures of those that are near and dear to them; and they delight in it, and persist in such a course, rolling sin as a sweet morsel under their tongue. Oh to be brought out of that vile condition, and to hate it! Why, my dear friends, this not only constitutes a meetness for heaven, it gives dignity, a kind of present glory, to the child of God. I see a drunkard staggering in the street, and feel that I have not a stone to throw at him. I might say concerning him, There goes Hazelton, but for the grace of God. I see another individual whose means were ample, and he might have been socially happy and comfortable, but brought through sin into wretchedness, and poverty, and ruin; and I say again, There goes Hazelton, but for the grace of God. Oh, the disciples had abundant cause to be glad, when Paul and Barnabas told them that the Lord had saved Gentile sinners. We owe perhaps our health and strength, to the fact that we are saved. We owe our friends to the fact that we are interested in the Lord. And if we have a coat to wear, and some comforts at home, look at them all in connection with the goodness and the grace of the Lord. Had it not been for grace, you might have been in degradation and disgrace, a burden to yourself, and to those that love you, a burden to society, and a pest to the world. Oh, how great is the salvation of our God! And so Paul says in his Epistle to Titus, “For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared to all men, teaching us that we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world.” This present world is an evil one, morally considered; but there is a worse world than this; and the grace that saves from hell saves from this present evil world, and it gives its possessor a meetness for a better place. Thus thinking of the converts themselves “caused great joy unto all the brethren.”

Then in the third place, they rejoiced on their own account; and if you and I have proper and scriptural feelings in relation to this matter, we shall rejoice in the salvation of our fellow-men. I know I can do nothing efficiently towards saving sinners. I am like the apostle Paul and his brethren in this respect, I am nothing. And yet, having gown the seed of the kingdom, we should look to see it grow. “ First the blade ” then the ear, after that the full corn in the ear and there are not many letters I receive more consoling, cheering, and helpful, than those Which tell me that I have been made useful to my fellow-creatures. It does my heart good to receive a letter informing me that at such a place, and such a time, having taken such a text, the word of God was divinely blessed, received into the heart, the eyes were opened, and the sensibly guilty sinner felt himself in the presence of his Maker. I do not think a minister of the gospel, who has been called to preach the Word, and whose heart is in the right place, will regard this department of his work with indifference. That man would be indeed foolish who never looked for results from his operations. In all common and ordinary matters results are expected, and by God’s people they are prayed for : and I am looking for results; and if you are in sympathy with me, and you are, as a church and congregation, well then, I may say, we are looking for results ; and we have been cheered and helped at our church meetings, when friends have come forward and told us how God met with them, and saved them, and the workings of their minds passing under the law, and then the workings of their minds under the Gospel, and how God laid His hand upon them and drew them from under the dominion of sin. They felt that sin held fast their minds; how’ they longed for forgiveness, how they drank in the pardoning love of their God, When the precious blood of Jesus was first applied to their souls! You have looked at one another and at that brother or sister as the case may be, and rejoiced, and that on your own account, as well as on theirs; for the love you felt was brotherly, and emanated from the love shed abroad in your own hearts. You knew what there was before that friend, because it was a portion of your own experience which was related. The honey which you have tasted, and the liberty you have enjoyed, it gives you pleasure to know that others have partaken of and been introduced into. The religion of heaven is diffusive, the child of God does not care to shut himself up within himself, to draw a circle, to step into it, and to resolve that he will never leave it. Oh no, going to heaven myself, and occasionally happy on the road, I am so glad when another friend is brought in, and comes to me and asks the way to Zion with his face thitherward. They caused great joy to the brethren when they related what great things the Lord had done for the Gentiles. That good brother, who has just been called by grace, we shall meet in heaven, and the prospect is cheering and does us good. Ah! He does not yet know that he is going to heaven, but you and I know he is. We rejoice in his sorrow, we see him weeping, and he tells us a tale of suffering, and we rejoice. We thank God because his sorrow will lead to joy and his suffering end in the possession of the peace of God which passeth all understanding.

And fourthly, they rejoiced on account of the devil; for is he not a tyrant, and is it not a matter of joy when he is defeated, and his works destroyed? If England were invaded, and an army came into this London of ours, or near to it, and bombarded it, and knocked half of it down, and threatened to destroy the country, would it not be matter of joy and pleasure to hear that some friendly power had appeared upon the scene, and opposed that foe and destroyed it ? It would give all London joy, even though half of it had been blown down. It would give all England pleasure, and excite feelings of gratitude in the heart of every Englishman and English-woman. Hell is opposed to God and to God’s church, and would overturn it if it could; but Zion’s bulwarks are divine, and her foundation is a rock. But hell holds fast the souls of all men by nature. Have you heard of young friend So-and-so? Yes. Well, they tell me that he has become converted. He went to such a place, and heard a sermon, the Lord met with him, and applied the word, and he is altogether another creature. I am glad of it, for Christ’s sake, for his own sake, for my sake, and for the devil’s sake. Jesus has brought to Himself another of His brethren, taken him out of the tyrant’s hand, defeated the foe, and destroyed the works of the devil, a For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that He might destroy the works of the devil.” My time is nearly gone, and therefore I will hasten to the close.

It affords joy on account of the word of God. The conversion of sinners is the fulfillment of the word. My word “shall not return unto Me void; but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it and as God Himself lives to fulfill His own promise, when you hear a guilty sinner in all sincerity pour out of his heart the prayer, “God be merciful to me a sinner,” rejoice in that fact as a fulfillment of the word of the eternal God. Now there is a vital power in the word of God, it strikes; a converting power, it changes; a conforming power, it makes the child of God like God Himself, it makes the Christian like Christ Himself. And what a transformation is this, the ungodly converted into a godly being; the vile, black, polluted sinner becomes like the lovely Christ of God, in character, in nature, in holiness, and in purity. Although sin is in his nature, and depravity, there is purity in his heart and he is longing for absolute deliverance from all defilement and sin. The word of God is fulfilled, and we rejoice. Then in the next place, look at the subject in connection with the consummation of all things. I rejoice that Christ is at work, that the Holy Ghost is at work, that angels are at work, and that God's great plan is being carried forward towards the consummation of all things. The vine is spreading, the family of heaven is increasing, new births are taking place, there is a new-born babe there, a spiritual youth yonder, a young man up there, and a father or a mother in Israel sitting at the threshold of heaven, and whilst the old saint sits there new births take place here, and the intelligence is taken to that old saint near to glory. He says, “ Bless God for that; I have prayed for that youth, I believed that the Lord would hear my prayer and save his soul, I feel as if I should die all the happier now I know that friend has been called by grace. Paul and Barnabas caused great joy to the brethren when they narrated the dealings of the Lord with the Gentiles in connection with their labor.

What does all this imply? Father, Son, and Holy Ghost rejoice; Angels rejoice; ministers rejoice, and saints rejoice—we all rejoice together. The Holy Spirit,

“takes delight to view
The holy soul He forms anew.”

Jesus is glad when He sees His seed, and the Father rejoices with all His heart to embrace the son. He sees the new-born child, and the Spirit bringing him to Christ: Christ receives him with delight, and brings him to His Father; God the Father receives him into His arms, and puts him into His bosom, and there is joy in the Trinity, there is joy among the angels, and joy down here. Paul and Barnabas who were of those who were said to be turning the world upside down, went to Phenice and Samaria, and declared how wonderfully God was working, and a number of Spirit-taught believers said, God be praised. On what I have said may the Lord command His blessing, for Christ’s sake? Amen.

12 THE REIGN OF THE RISEN SAVIOUR

THE REIGN OF THE RISEN SAVIOUR A SERMON ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,
~~~~~~~~~~~~ AT
NORTH ROAD CHAPEL, BRENTFORD, ON EASTER MONDAY MORNING, 6th APRIL, 1874.

“For He must reign, till He hath put all enemies under His feet”—{1Co 15:25}.

The doctrine of the resurrection of the body is unspeakably important. I am not sorry that the Corinthian Church disagreed about it, though I am constantly praying that the Lord will heal the breaches of Zion, and give His people one heart and one way in relation to the great gospel of His grace; but I am rather glad that there was a contention about this doctrine; for, humanly speaking, had it not been so, we had never had this fifteenth chapter of the 1st of Corinthians. “ Now if Christ be preached that He rose from the dead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead ?” Ah! error is old-fashioned, almost as old as truth, but not quite ; error did not begin with time, and it shall be annihilated just before the end of time; for truth was first in the field ; and will retain the field, and will be last in the field, as the Lord liveth. Are we not thankful for the marvelous revelation which this chapter contains concerning the resurrection of these bodies of ours; is there not something exceedingly cheering in the fact that they are purchased property; that they are the temples of the Holy Ghost, and that the period is coming when they shall be as spiritual as the Spirit of God can cause them to be; and the time is coming when they shall be as thoroughly pervaded by the Spirit of God as our souls will be. We often lose sight of the fact that the Holy Ghost will have much to do in the resurrection of our bodies. “But if the Spirit of Him that raised up Jesus from the dead dwell in you, He that raised up Christ from the dead shall also quicken your mortal bodies by His Spirit that dwelleth in you.” The Holy Ghost will, therefore, enter into the dust of every saint, and fill it in every part with life, and the body will be raised from the grave filled with the Holy Ghost; and the immortal eyes, (for the eyes which are now mortal will be immortal,) will be turned towards the reigning Saviour, the descending Head of the Church, and a transformation will follow; and immortality and spirituality, such as I cannot describe, will be the grand outcome of all. We shall see Him; we shall be like Him, for we shall see Him as He is. The Apostle Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, here dwells gloriously and comprehensively upon the resurrection of the body, and reasons in a manner which is almost peculiar to himself—for he was a wonderful logician, and his reasoning’s in this chapter are very masterly and comprehensive, and such as can never be successfully controverted. “If there be no resurrection of the dead, then is Christ not raised; and if Christ be not risen, then is our preaching vain, and your faith is also vain.” “And if Christ be not raised, ye are yet in your sins.” But he says, to sum it all up in a word or two, it Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept: for since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead ; for as in Adam all die, even so in Christ shall all be made alive.” How disappointing this must be to hell! The very nature that was ruined is the nature that restores again; the very nature that brought in sin is the very nature that carries it out; and the very nature that brought in death is the nature that shall destroy death: “for since by man came death, by man came also the resurrection of the dead.” Thus the Apostle proceeded to reason, until He said, “But every man in his own order; Christ the firstfruits, afterward they that are Christ’s at His coming: then cometh the end, when He shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father, when He shall have put down all rule and all authority and power; for He must reign until He hath put all enemies under His feet.”

Let us look at the three branches into which our subject naturally divides itself. First, the nature; secondly, the necessity; and thirdly, the results of the reign of Jesus Christ our Lord. He must reign; how will He reign, and what is the nature of His reign? He must reign—then it seems that there is a necessity for it. He must reign, and what shall be the results? All enemies shall be put under His feet. First, the nature of the reign of King Immanuel, our dear and blest Redeemer. I may say, by way of preface, that Christ’s right to reign is a native right, a delegated right, an acquired right, and a universally acknowledged right. First, Christ’s right to reign is a native right; for He is essentially over all God blessed for ever. But His right to reign is a delegated right. The Father, addressing His Son as man and mediator, said, ‘‘Yet have I set my King upon My holy hill of Zion;” so that the Lord Jesus Christ, in relation to His manhood, and in relation to His mediation, is the appointed and delegated King. A throne was, if I may so speak, erected for Him, and He was appointed by God to occupy it; but that throne, and its occupant relate to the covenant of eternal grace, and the salvation of sinners. Our Lord’s right to reign is also an acquired right. If I may so illustrate it, yonder was His throne in the highest heavens, and upon that throne were His royal robes, and crown, and sceptre; down here, under a broken law, was Jesus Christ Himself, bearing the sins of His people in the depths of humiliation, as a sufferer under the curse of a broken law; and His business was to honor the law that He was under, to annihilate the sin that was upon Him; to expiate the guilt that He came to save His people from, and to bring into everlasting harmony all the attributes and perfections of God; and then, having done that, to go to His throne, and put His hand upon it, and say, “I have a right to sit here, and a right to reign over all for ever and ever.” There were between Christ and His throne rivers of curses, there was an ocean of damnation, and all the fires of hell due to the Church of God, and Jesus Christ’s way to His throne lay straight through all; and He did not in order to avoid the way go by a circuitous route to reach His throne. Had He done so, justice would have barred the gates of heaven against Him, and those royal robes and crown He had never worn on high ; but He went straight to His throne, and bled His way thereto, and put out the fires of hell as He travelled on and expiated guilt, and at the very end of a broken law the cross was set up, and the triumphant Conqueror hung there, till He said, “ It is finished !” and died; and thus He acquired a right to sit upon that throne, and be King of kings, and Lord of lords, and the only Ruler of princes. It is a universally acknowledged right. Hell acknowledges it, and gnashes its teeth, whilst it does so, wishing there were something wrong in the reign and sovereignty of Jesus Christ on the throne; but though “ clouds and darkness are round about Him, righteousness and judgment are the habitation of His throne,” and angels look with pleasure and delight, and proclaim the sovereignty of our Lord. And we with our poor little powers pass on through troubles and trials, rejoicing in the fact that the Lord reigneth, and that He has a right to reign over all for ever and ever.

I notice that the reign of the Lord Jesus Christ is a glorious demonstration of a glorious fact. The fact which it demonstrates is, that salvation is a finished work. This just suits me. It seems to be the very best thing in connection with the government of Cod, that having resolved to save sinners, and people the heavens, he has done it effectually and completely, and in a God-like manner. I am so satisfied concerning the perfection of the work of Christ, and the necessity for that perfection, that I am quite prepared to say, that if a single stain of guilt had been left un-removed, or a single spot had been unwashed away, since God requires perfection in all that are saved, that spot 'would have been the cause of my ruin for ever and ever. 

“Could my tears for ever flow,
Could my zeal no respite know;
All for sin could not atone:
Thou must save, and Thou alone.”

The reign of Christ is a glorious demonstration of this glorious fact. The question is this: Where is Christ? The answer is: In heaven, on the throne. Then the conclusion that necessarily follows is this:—If Christ, Immanuel, as a Saviour, is in heaven, and on the throne, the great business of salvation is finished, and God is honored, and the Church is saved ; for the enthronement of Immanuel is a conditional matter viewed in certain relations, and justice would not have consented to it, and equity and righteousness would never have put the crown upon His head, if He had not fulfilled the Mediatorial conditions which were presented to Him by His Father. And therefore, dear friends, since Jesus Christ is on the throne, the fires of wrath are quenched, its vials are empty; for Cod poured them all upon the head and heart of His dear Son. The curses of a broken law are all spent, and hell is an impossibility. To send a sinner to hell for a debt which was paid by Jesus Christ, would be un-Godlike, and such conduct would un-deify Jehovah Himself. No, my friends, Christ is on the throne: the inference is this, —He has a right to be there, and that right is an acquired one. He has paid the debt, and fulfilled His engagements, and the conditions of His enthronement; and in the fulfillment of those conditions there are a ransomed church, a perfected bride, and harmonized perfections on the part of Cod; and 6 there is a law in the ark of the covenant, and not on Mount Sinai, and covering the law is a lid called the mercy-seat, and on that lid is Jehovah Himself,—the mute and satisfied law constituting a part of the very throne upon which He sits. Since Christ is on His throne, there is at Golgotha, once the place of a skull, where death and damnation raged and prevailed, a fountain opened, and that fountain diffuses a fragrance everywhere, penetrating heaven itself; and the sweet sacrifice of Jesus Christ has created a new atmosphere for heaven, and for God, and the sinner; not such an atmosphere as God and Adam met in, and conversed in, or as God and angels live in ; but an atmosphere whose qualities are such as are required by a pardoning God, and sinners that deserve to go to hell, but are saved sovereignly with an everlasting salvation. O brethren, it will take us a whole eternity to explore or to contemplate these great mysteries! He is on His throne, and He wears the brightest crown, and not a crown is too bright for Him. If I had a hundred hearts, He should have them, if He would, and wash and save them all; and if my fears were ten thousand fold more numerous than they are, so deeply indebted to Him am I that every one of those fears should crown Him Lord of all. And therefore yon see, in the coronation and enthronement of our dear Lord, that there is a fountain for sin, or He would not be on His throne; you see that there is a wardrobe full of the garments of salvation; were it not so, He would not be on His throne. The wardrobe is not empty, the robes are there, and they are made to fit sinners such as Magdalene and Saul, and you and me, and all the ransomed throng. Christ having done all that justice, and equity, and truth required Him to do.

“They brought His chariot from above,
To bear Him to His throne;
Spread their triumphant wings, and cried,
The glorious work is done!”

And He is there, and must reign, “until He hath put all enemies under His feet.”

Notice next, that the reign of Jesus Christ is an allcomprehending reign. What is there in heaven that lies beyond the reach of His regal power, His royal and His reigning authority? There is not an angel there but whom He governs, and there is not a thought there but what He directs. There is not a thought here on the earth, but what he understands and over-rules; and bless His name! there are millions of thinkers, and millions of thoughts here, which are directed by Jesus Christ; but it would not be right to say, that there is not a thought on earth but what is directed by Him, for some of my thoughts are directed by sin and the devil; but in that world up there, where our Lord is enthroned in glory, every thought is directed by King Jesus. And what thinkers there are there! I love thought, especially when my mind is a little free, and when my thoughts fly out a little; and I love thinking, and I have sometimes peculiar ideas of the happiness of heaven, in relation to the activities of the mind. Heaven is a world of thought, a world of thinking minds, and every mind is baptized, immersed in divine light, and there is not a streak of error in the light of that glorious world. Above all those thinkers, above all those minds, there is another mind, and above all those shining 8 crowns there is a brighter crown than all, and that is the mind of Christ, the thought of Christ, and the crown of the dear Redeemer. Oh, He governs every angel’s thought, and the thought of every spirit that is made perfect there, and every feeling and every motive in that glory world serves King Immanuel; and then He reigns in heaven over all the grace that is laid up for sinners on the earth. No parcel, if I may so speak, leaves heaven without the permission and knowledge of King Jesus ; and we have grace in parts, a little yesterday, a little today, and a little to-morrow ; a sermon here, and a sermon there—and all this grace comes from heaven—not a single stream but what proceeds from His throne, and not a single parcel but what comes by His authority; and if you could only look,—but we seize it as soon as it comes, and take time no to reflect: if you could only look at the comfort that Jesus sends you, you would see that it is stamped with His dear name, and has the authority of Heaven upon it. Angels stand before Him, and are ready to fulfill in the twinkling of an eye—Oh how they love Him !— His high commands. They fly at His nod ; the look of His eye directs them; and whilst they are before the throne, His charms and beauties evermore allure them, and the angel that is sent to attend a crossing sweeper all the day long, is as happy in his work as that one who stands before Immanuel’s throne. They find their heaven in obeying the behests of King Jesus there. And then what shall we say about the Gospel? Where is it? Between the two covers of this book. Jesus Christ’s name, influence, power, and authority, appear everywhere. Take the promise that was very sweet to your hearts twenty years ago, and come to it to-day, and read it, and 9 analyze it, and try to apply it. Perhaps it yields no comfort now; and yet you say it was so applied to me twenty years ago, that I remember it well even now. I was so carried away that I thought of Paul’s words, “Whether in the body I cannot tell, or whether out of the body, I cannot tell but now these words yield no comfort. What is the reason? Jesus reigns, and He must reign; and He reigns in, and by, and over the Word, and over every minister of the Word. I wish He reigned more experimentally in this poor heart of mine. A brother said to me last Friday, “You are not your own master, John.” If I were, it would be such a fertile mind, and be so full of thought, and never be otherwise than at liberty in the pulpit. I would never be shut up, I would preach, oh yes I would! But the fact is, I am not a good judge of what is best for the people. If I had the reins for a quarter of an hour, I should do more mischief than a little. You are driving a trap through Fleet-street, and beside you sits you little son, and it requires all your attention to guide the horse amidst the hundreds of vehicles, and the child wants the reins—he could manage the matter, to be sure he could: but you know better than to put them into his hands, although you love him, and because you love him, you deny his request. No, Jesus reigns, and He says, No, my child, I will hold the reins, and the whip too. I will guide you with my counsel, and afterwards receive you to My glory. You are passing through ten thousand dangers to glory, and if you had the reins, you would run into the first one that comes. And what is it in connection with providence that He does not preside over? Oh bless His name, His Almighty arm is long enough to reach the circumference of Divine providence; His throne is its centre, and 10 as he sits upon it, His omnipotence reaches the utmost limits of the circle, and

“All shall come, and last, and end,
As shall please our heavenly Friend.”

With regard to Zion, He reigns there; and with regard to hell, yes, He has His bits in the jaw’s of the devil himself. I thank Him for revealing that fact. The devil is chained. “ I will put My hook in thy nose, and My bridle in thy lips, and I will turn thee back by the way by which thou earnest.” King Jesus thus holds Satan with bit and bridle. I was thinking the other day in relation to the power of Satan, and the superior power of the Saviour, that without the reign of the Saviour we could not lie in our beds at night, and without the providential reign of Christ we could not walk with safety in the streets, nor in the beautiful country lanes here. There are latent forces enough in the world to burn it up in a few hours, but there is a very strong hand upon them, and that is the hand of Him about whose reign we are trying to speak this morning.

His reign is also an all-fulfilling reign. What is He fulfilling by His operations on the throne? “I wept much,” said John, {Re 5}. “because no man in heaven, nor in earth, neither under the earth, was found worthy to open and to read the book, neither to look thereon. And one of the elders saith unto me, Weep not, behold the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the root of David hath prevailed to open the book, and to loose the seven seals thereof.” And I beheld, and lo, instead of seeing a lion, I saw a lamb—for Jesus is a lion as to His reign over His enemies, and a lamb as to His sacrifice for the sins of His people. John says, “There stood a lamb as it had been slain, and he came and took the book out of the right hand of Him that sat upon the throne, and proceeded to open the seals thereof.” Christ has that book of divine purposes and decrees before Him, and King Jesus on the throne opens its seals, and,

“Here He exalts neglected worms,
To sceptres and a crown;
And there the following page He turns,
And treads a monarch down.”

All that, my dear friends, is the result of the fact that Jesus holds the reins, and as He moves a particular rein, an empire falls or rises, an emperor falls from his throne, or a beggar is raised from the dunghill. Then again, by His reign, He fulfils the demands of His own blood, for our Lord listens to Himself. The blood of Christ speaketh better things than that of Abel. And the blood of Christ demands at least two things; first, everlasting honors to Him that shed it; and secondly, eternal honors and everlasting crowns for you and me, and Jesus sits upon the throne to fulfill the demands of His own blood. But then again, our Lord has the Bible before Him, and I mean by that, that He keeps in view all the great facts of the Gospel, and all the precious promises of God; and as He reigns, He is fulfilling the Bible, and making good the Word that He and His Father have spoken. God is not a man that He should lie, said the wizard Balaam. “Hath He said, and shall He not do it? or hath He spoken, and shall He not make it good ?” How does He make it good?” The Word that fell from His lips as a promise shall be made good by the operations of His hands, for what the rails are to the locomotive that the purposes of God are to the operations of His power. The Lord’s purposes are laid down right through eternity, and King Jesus is travelling on them. “He must reign till He hath put all enemies under His feet.” This is an object of the most unbounded faith on the part of His people. He will be trusted, not traced; for He giveth no account of any of His doings. Lord, what will happen tomorrow? What is that to thee? Follow thou Me. Lord, what shall this man do? What is that to thee? Leave it to Me; I am on the throne; I am too wise to err, and too good to be unkind.

“O that I had a stronger faith,
To look within the veil;
To credit what my Maker saith, Whose word can never fail.”

A few remarks on the remainder of the subject,—the necessity for the reign of Christ. “He must reign.” In the very nature of things, the providence and the grace of God must have a head, and the universe must have a head. God did not make the world, and leave it in a state of anarchy. The world is governed by natural laws. Who presides over them? And who made them? And what is behind the laws of nature? We are bound to declare that there is a vast amount of infidelity in connection with much of the teachings of natural science in these days. No God presiding over the world or no God presiding over the laws that govern the world! A world without a God, a ship like this without a captain or a pilot, a work like this without an author! Supreme, prodigious infidelity! He must reign, to say nothing for a moment about His Mediation, He must reign to govern the universe. He must reign to perpetuate His cause. If He vacated the throne, or left the operations of His omnipotent grace for an hour, the church of God would collapse and sink into ruin, for we are not selfsupplying or self-sufficient, or self- supporting. Look at the cause of Christ, and see the necessity for His reign. Consider its weight. Who but an omnipotent being could sustain the weight of an interest like that of Christianity. The weight of popery is mighty; but it rests upon its own basis, and will crush its own foundation by-and-bye, and sink into everlasting ruin. Lord, hasten it in Thy time. But we have in relation to Christianity this fact, “On this Rock will I build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.’’ Look at the weight, then, of the interest of Christ; it requires an omnipotent King to sustain it. Look at the worth of it. Who can preserve so valuable an interest but an omnipotent reigning Monarch? Look at the connections in which it stands, and at its destination. The church is destined for the highest honors. She must, she will attain that position, and wear those honors as the grand result of the fact that Jesus reigns. He must reign and complete His own mediation. He died to save, and lives in heaven to convey the benefits of His own death. He died to pay the debts of His people, and lives in heaven to receive all whose debts He paid; and hence, if we were saved by His death, we shall be much more saved by His life. O my dear brethren, we have salvation from both the crowns of Jesus; salvation from the thorny crown, and salvation from the golden one. Yes, we have our 14 hope of heaven from the fact that He was crowned with thorns, and we shall have the heaven we hope for from the fact that He is crowned with glory; salvation comes from the cross and throne.

Let us notice very briefly the results of Sis reign: “till He hath put all enemies under His feet.” Every saved sinner is in a certain sense brought to His feet, but not put beneath them. They lie at His feet in the dust of self-abasement for pardon and forgiveness, and when they are pardoned and forgiven, they are put into His bosom; for this is how He deals with His people; He takes their sins in one hand, and their persons in the other, for He can separate the sinner from his sins, and casts the sin behind His back, and puts the sinner into His bosom. This is how He saves His people. But the enemies put beneath His feet, who are they? The time is coming when popery shall be there. Made by hell, Rome shall be taken and destroyed. The nations of the Continent are shaking off its yoke to a considerable extent, but the monster of iniquity seems to be finding a refuge and a home in this beautiful and blessed country of ours. O that the Lord would open our rulers’ eyes and the eyes of the nation generally! The locust army of Jesuits are finding an asylum and home here. Blessed be God, the system is doomed, and Antichrist shall be destroyed, and heaven and earth shall say, “Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen!” Where is she? Underneath the feet of King Jesus. He must reign, till philosophy, mere intellectuality—so far as it opposes His truth—and everything that is worldly and sinful, are put beneath His feet.

Finally, there is death itself, and that was perhaps the leading idea of the Apostle; the last enemy that shall be destroyed is death. Now, when our dear Lord put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself, He did not annihilate death, but spoiled it and its power, and changed its nature, and altered its position; He took the sting from it, and so changed it, that it is now the believer’s road to heaven. King Jesus will demand all death’s prey; and then He will take possession of all the territories of death; and when death has disgorged its prey, and its territories are in the hands of Jesus, then Christ will smite death, and hurl it beneath His feet, and the last enemy shall be destroyed; and then shall come the end. And when worlds thus surround the throne of Jesus, and death and hell are overcome, and ransomed millions are entering everlasting perfection and glory, may you and I be there; for

“How can we bear that piercing thought,
What if our names should be left out,
When Thou for them shalt call “

May the Lord command a blessing on what we have said, for His own name’s sake. Amen.

13 THE CITY OF GOD: ITS PEACE AND PROSPERITY,

THE CITY OF GOD: ITS PEACE AND PROSPERITY,


A SERMON
Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,


AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET,
CLERKENWELL,


ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, 20th NOVEMBER, 1887.

"Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces." —  (Ps 122:7).

The God of heaven and earth has been sovereignly pleased to become a gracious and merciful God. As God, He is the only proper object of the worship of His creatures, and as a gracious and saving God, He is the only object of the spiritual worship of spiritual men and women. God, however, will be worshipped in His own way. He was worshipped so under the patriarchal dispensation, and under the ceremonial dispensation, and He is being worshipped in His own way by spiritual men and women under the Gospel dispensation. As for the future, we desire to leave that in the hands of our gracious God, who will be worshipped in heaven for ever by all His ransomed people in His own way, and according to the good pleasure of His will. Our views of heaven are necessarily imperfect, and in some respects unsatisfactory. We do not quite know how the saints in glory worship their glorious God, but we are taught to believe that the eyes of their souls are steadily and perpetually fixed upon the great object of spiritual worship, and that all the glorified before the throne are engaged in singing the praises of God. We have some faint idea of what it is for souls to sing, but of course there can be no vocal music before the throne of God, when souls, and souls, only are worshippers there. I do not know whether there will be vocal music or not when our bodies are raised, and we are seated before God and the Lamb; perhaps these tongues of ours will for ever sing : but before the resurrection takes place our souls will be found in the presence of God, and we shall be there as worshippers. Our worship will be spiritual and heavenly, whatever its forms may be.

Under the ceremonial dispensation the worship of God was sometimes very peculiar as to its rules and forms. The males of the children of Israel were required to appear three times a year, before the Lord in Jerusalem, and never to come before Him empty. It must have been a wonderful sight; those that lived on the borders of the land started first, and they sang as they travelled; as they passed through villages and towns, their praise increased and multiplied; and onward they went, going "from strength to strength, until every one of them in Zion appeared before God." This was the case from the north, and south, and east, and west, and from every point between those four quarters; the whole country was astir, the women and children were left at home, and God had undertaken to preserve and protect them, and also the land, during the absence of the men. Thus, as they travelled towards Jerusalem they sang, and some of their psalms are recorded in the Word, and are called " Songs of Degrees," and one of them opens thus, " I was glad when they said unto me, let us go into the house of the Lord." They entered a village and enquired of the men, Are you ready? We are on the way to Jerusalem, "Let us go into the house of the Lord and the inhabitants severally responded. " I was glad when they said unto me, Let us go into the house of the Lord." They were waiting for the company, and when the first ranks of the travellers appeared, the people in the place which they were about to pass through were glad to join them on their pilgrim way. "Our feet shall stand within thy gates, 0 Jerusalem. Jerusalem is build as a city that is compact together, whither the tribes go up;" that is, the tribes of Israel. One company united in Jerusalem or the temple. So the church of God is one church, one family, one vast body, one great and glorious army; but that body is in some respects exceedingly diversified. There are some that are tried, others that are tempted, others that have never been led into liberty, others that are rejoicing in God their Saviour; there are some who are young in years, others who are more advanced in life and experience; then there are old believers. "Whither the tribes go up, the tribes of the Lord, unto the testimony of Israel, to give thanks unto the name of the Lord." Taking this view of the Psalm, and also of the other Psalms connected with it, we have a very interesting illustration of the manner in which God was worshipped under the ceremonial dispensation; and among other words on behalf of Jerusalem, the place and city of worship, was this, "Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces."

Now, if the Lord be pleased to give me strength for a few minutes, I will do the best I can in directing your attention to some matters suggested by this interesting portion of the Word. In the first place, I should like to say a few words upon the city itself—Jerusalem. I suppose our brother who gives out the hymns, thought that I was about to preach on the church of God; for he gave out, immediately after I had read and prayed, that very beautiful and comprehensive hymn upon this subject. By the city here, literally, understand Jerusalem; but mystically and spiritually understand the church of God as described in the chapter I read at the commencement of the service. {Isa 26}. "In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." While I was trying to meditate upon this portion of the word, I had some pleasing thoughts upon the condition of the church of God in this world. A city, divine and heavenly; a city of peace, and a city more or less prosperous in this stormy world. And only one city, and that the city of God; and concerning its condition your prayer and mine is, "Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces." Now we are told that the whole world lieth in wickedness, and in the midst of this wicked world, so to speak, there stands this glorious city, which will ever remain unlike the world, The world cannot change its own character, and the church cannot change its character, and there will be an everlasting difference between the two. There is nothing like this city of God in the world, and its contents, or its privileges and blessings are peculiar to itself. All round the city, hence the walls, are wickedness and slavery, misery and uncleanness, war and woe, devils and various forms of death and danger. Think for just a moment,—forgive me for adverting to it,—of what is about to take place in the course of this day; of the disorder and confusion in our streets. How strange are the motives and tastes of the people! And yet in the midst of all that commotion there is a city, the church of the living God, a body of men and women that belong to heaven; they are interested in the Saviour, and by the will of God there is a measure of peace and prosperity there. The waves of persecution and hatred roll against the walls, and the devil is looking on and attempting to enter. Within are hundreds and thousands of saints; men and women who have been born again, and separated from the world, breathing this petition before the God of heaven and earth, " Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces."

Now the people of God are social creatures, and the grace of God was never intended to destroy the social feeling in our nature; and therefore when a company of people have been called by grace divine they seek each other's society, they love one another for the Lord's sake, and are banded together upon the principles of eternal truth; and as they travel on towards heaven, others, and yet others say, " We will go with you; for we have heard that God is with you." The people of God, though living in the world are not of it; they are finding their way though the storms and vicissitudes, trials and troubles of life. Our God has made a beautiful and very important provision for His people. There is a city of peace in this world of war; there is a city of purity in this world of sin; there is a home here for the dear people of God, and hence we sometimes sing with holy feeling:
 
"Jesus, away from earth I fly,
And with Thy church unite;
Thy saints shall be my company,
Thy presence my delight."

When grace enters the heart of a sinner it renews his mind, changes his tastes, and awakens a thousand new desires in his soul, and he wants kindred minds. How odious in the estimation of a grace-saved child of God are the ways and customs of the world! Oh my friend, you could not very well have a deeper or darker hell, than that of being bound hand and foot, the whole of your persons, all the days of your life with the ungodly and the abominable. Grace saves the soul from this present evil world, and brings the saved mind into connection with kindred spirits, and such are found only in the city of the living God.

"Saviour, if of Zion's city
I through grace a member am,
Let the world deride or pity,
I will glory in Thy name."

It is a mercy to belong to the church. I do not mean, to have our names enrolled in the church-book merely, that too is a favor, but that is not all. I mean it is a mercy to be one with God's people; to be one with them as God's people; to see as they see; to feel as they feel; to walk where they walk; to work as they work; to lean upon that upon which they are leaning; to live upon that upon which they are living , to drink of the stream which they drink of from day by day; and to be able to say, a Thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God."

This city is walled, and is thus a well protected city: "Peace be within thy walls." Now with what are the churches walled? Let me give you a few views of the walls. In the first place, God says, "For I, saith the Lord, will be unto her, a wall of fire round about her, and will be the glory in the midst of her." We know what a brick wall, a garden wall, and other kinds of walls are, but we do not know anything, literally or naturally so, about a wall of fire. Here, however, round about the church of God we have a fiery wall. And what is it? It is God Himself with the fire of His grace, of His holiness, of His mercy, and His power, and that must be a daring foe who would attempt to place a ladder against this wall which is round about the church, separating it from the world; and yet we are told in the day in which we live, that there ought to be no separating wall between the two, that there ought to be no fences around the church of God. No, without are enemies, and within are the citizens of Zion, the children of the living God. God is a wall of fire round about His people, to consume the enemy, to burn up all their plans; to visit them, year by year, and day by day, with bitter disappointment, and a fire to warm and purify the city itself. And our God is not ashamed of His city on the earth; for a city generally speaking is more or less visible from a distance; but if a city could be supposed to exist having a wall of fire, it would be a most conspicuous object, and be visible for miles, and more conspicuous, if possible, in the night than in the day. Jehovah Himself is, as to His perfections and attributes, a wall of fire round about the city of Jerusalem. And again, "we have a strong city; salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." Not Acts of Parliament, nor military power; for the city of God requires no such protection as the material sword and worldly policy. Let the church of God stand where God has placed her. Let her be what God has made her: let her ever be satisfied with the protection which God has established for her. Let her not cringe beneath any earthly or temporal power; for "salvation will God appoint for walls and bulwarks." And the foundation of these walls is deep, and the superstructure is exceedingly high, for it is God's salvation. And powerful enemies can never enter, though they come against the walls to beat them down. All hell has been aiming at them and beating against them ever since they were erected, but the walls still stand. The bulwarks are where and what they were.

"0 let my soul in Zion dwell;
Nor fear the wrath of Rome or hell."

And then again, the perfections of our God, together with His providence, protect His Zion, the city of Jehovah. How sweet is the thought that all God's attributes, and all God's providence, even a special providence, are round about the church. Brethren, we have indeed a strong city. Let me just ask the question here, On which side of the walls are we? Are we inside or outside? Are we where all the peace is, or are we where there is no peace at all? For depend upon it, it is a truth, whether it be believed in or not, that there is peace nowhere but in the church of God. Sometimes the peace of churches is broken; but whether that be so or not, there is no peace to the wicked. There is no peace in the world. Go to the theatre. Peace is not to be found there. Pleasure for a few hours is perhaps enjoyed, as people express themselves; but no solid peace can ever be found there, for it exists not outside the walls that surround the city of the living God. "Pray for the peace of Jerusalem; they shall prosper that love thee." Thus Zion is a walled city, and its walls are the perfections of God, His Divine providence, His precious promises, and the perpetual operations of His hand.

Now let me pass away from this, to notice in the second place, the privileges mentioned: peace and prosperity. These are two great blessings, and every spiritual member of the church of God, is praying, I am sure, for these favors. Now I am not to preach at this time, peace by the cross of Jesus Christ, or not that exclusively. I want just to remind you of the several things that are essential to peace. In the first place, there must be righteousness: "And the work of righteousness shall be peace; and the effect of righteousness, quietness, and assurance for ever." "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God, through our Lord Jesus Christ." Nations sometimes come to an agreement between themselves, in connection with which peace is made, and apparently established; but often-times peace between nations is made upon false principles or upon no principles at all. And if national and political righteousness are ignored, there cannot be security against, war, or satisfactory assurance that it will not break out. Righteousness is the only foundation upon which peace can rest; the only root out of which it can grow. Let a church that has been divided come to an agreement, one yielding a little here, and another a little there; one giving up a doctrine here, and another giving up one there : soon such a peace will be disturbed and destroyed—a patched up peace is never lasting.

Now the peace of Jerusalem for which we pray, is founded on eternal Righteousness. That is not however, the principal idea; and therefore notice, secondly, that liberty is essential to peace, The city of Jerusalem might be paved with gold, its gates might be pearl, and its walls jasper, and the city wondrously rich, and its beauty and glory great; but if the inhabitants be slaves, the excellence and value of the city itself can never give peace to their hearts. Freedom is dear to men; and if there were not liberty in the city of Jerusalem, there would be no peace. God would be terrible; His worship under such circumstances would be bondage, and spiritual things would yield no pleasure. But to know not only that I am in Jerusalem, a citizen, but to know that I am free, that there is no legal bar between myself and God; that I am free to go up into the palace, and to kneel, and even sit before the mighty Monarch, free to open my lips before Him; free to ask Him for a loaf of bread for to-day, and for the pardon of all my sins at the same time, is a privilege indeed.

But that is not all, for safety is also essential to peace. There may be righteousness and liberty, but the person that is free may not be in safety. Many who are free, are in an insecure position, and although their cause is a righteous one, they have not peace, because everything shakes round about them. But it is not so here. The people are a righteous people, and a liberated people, for God has set them free. "If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. ' And they are also safe; for "as the mountains are round about Jerusalem, so the Lord is round about His people from henceforth, even for ever."

But that is not all. These excellencies are not sufficient to constitute a perfect peace. There must also be plenty; for there may be safety, and yet want may exist. The free may not have bread enough to eat, or water, to drink, or raiment to wear; and if that be so, there can be no peace. But the people of God are blessed with an everlasting plenty. All the fullness of God is theirs. "For all things are your's; and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's.

Health, too, is necessary to peace. Those who are free and safe may be sick. The child of God, therefore, is blessed with that description of health that is peculiar to himself. "And the inhabitant shall not say, I am sick; the people that dwell therein shall be forgiven their iniquity."

That is not all. In order to obtain blessed heavenly peace, there must be the communion of saints. The city may be full of citizens, all of them free, every one of them rich, all of them healthy and strong; and yet they may be comparative strangers to one another,—no communion between saint and saint, between one believer and another. Oh how sweet to meet together as saints, and unitedly and unanimously to take our seats at our heavenly Father's table in the royal palace, and to look upon all that is upon it, and to say to one another, It is all ours, it is provided for us. The poor man and the rich man are one here, all the fullness of grace is in Zion, and the poor come with the rich and commune together, in all the fullness of the grace of God.

That is not all; another excellency must he added, in order to the perfection of this peace; and that is, a cloudless prospect. The idea of losing it all by and bye, the possibility of it would disturb our hearts, and render peace impossible; but our prospect is blessed. "Looking for that blessed hope, and the glorious appearing of the great God and our Saviour Jesus Christ." Thus the peace is a heavenly and brotherly one; not a political peace, not an earthly peace, not the peace of servants, but the peace which prevails in a family, between brethren and sisters in the Lord."

The second excellency is, "prosperity within thy palaces prosperity of soul; prosperity as to numbers; prosperity as to the preaching and progress of the Word. There may be large numbers in a church, the congregation may be great, and yet there may not be any soul prosperity. What I want now more than ever, if possible, is soul prosperity. What I am looking and praying for is that my soul may prosper, and if I have little or no knowledge in that direction, I cannot set forth soul prosperity before you. Well I think of the Psalmist's words elsewhere, "Whatsoever he doeth shall prosper." What am I doing? Sometimes I pray— do I prosper in prayer? Sometimes I am cold, and my prayers are so— at other times my heart is warm—my soul is all alive : I soar; I mount on high, and I enter into the sweet meaning of the very wonderful words, " Concerning My sons, and concerning the work of My hands, command ye Me." I cannot use that word command in connection with prayer very frequently; but God says, "Command ye Me." Sometimes, therefore, I can say with Jacob, "and Thou saidst, I will surely do thee good." Have we prospered in prayer? Have we ever received anything from our heavenly Father in answer thereto? If we have ever received an answer from heaven, we know something of soul prosperity.

Let me say a word more upon prosperity as to the exercise of our graces. May the Lord be pleased to bless you with a growing faith; for your hearts will not prosper unless your faith is vigorous and strong. I would say a word to the young. Do not defile your minds with much of the general literature of the day. There is so much evil printed and published, that the young are ensnared everywhere. Many publications seem to take a pleasure in introducing matters which are exceedingly doubtful, and in connection with things which are free from mystery it is their desire to mystify them, so as to bring doubt into the minds of their readers. Come to the Bible; read the word upon the knee of prayer, if you would have your souls prosper with regard to faith; and my prayer is, as we have it in the text, "Peace be within thy walls, and prosperity within thy palaces." And then there is rising hope, which goes beyond the clouds, enters into a better world, and expects the crown that God has promised. Then there is love in the soul; the heart is warm therewith. Sometimes it breaks forth into a beautiful and glorious flame. There is a noise outside the avails, and we do not hear it; war and confusion outside, but we are not affected by them. The heart is warm, and filled with love, earnestness, and zeal.

Self-conquest is connected with soul prosperity. Oh, one says in the church, "I will, aye! That I will!" and the "I" there is a very tall one, and "I will" is spoken in a very forcible manner. Now in soul-prosperity self is conquered. It is not, I will this, and I will that, and I will the other; self is lost before Christ, and in nearness to Him, and in sweet fellowship and communion with Him. Lord, I am willing to be anything or nothing; I am willing to do what Thou wiliest. 0 for grace to enable all the members of the church, and of the churches, to overcome themselves! I must leave the subject, although I had other points to mention, but time forbids. May the Lord command, His blessing for Christ's sake. Amen.

14 THE GREAT PHYSICIAN

THE GREAT PHYSICIAN.

A SERMON
Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET,
CLERKENWELL,
ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, 30th MAY, 1880.

"But when Jesus heard that, He said unto them, They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick"—{Mt 9:12}.

The connection in which our text stands commences at the ninth verse of the chapter. In that and the following verses we have a view of a very interesting group of persons. How large the company was we cannot say, but a considerable number of persons were gathered together, and their different characters and dispositions manifested themselves under the silent operations of the omnipotence of Christ. In the ninth verse we are informed that as Jesus passed forth Pie saw a man named Matthew sitting at the receipt of custom, and He saith unto him, "Follow Me." In the first place, therefore, we have a very interesting character, viz., a new convert, a person that had just been born again, one that had recently been transformed by the quickening grace of God. Matthew was a publican, sitting at the receipt of custom when the Master passed forth and saw him. "Where the word of a king is there is power and therefore where the word of God the Almighty is there is omnipotent power. What the thoughts and feelings of Matthew were immediately before he was called by grace we do not know; we may say, however, that he was a publican and a sinner, and a few moments before the Saviour made His appearance he had no idea whatever of a change of heart or a transformation of his mind, and none whatever that he would become a recipient of that holy and heavenly life which constitutes Christianity. The Master, however, passed by, and directed a mighty word to his heart, saying, "Follow Me and we are elsewhere informed that Matthew arose, left all, and followed Christ immediately. He did not, however, follow Him very far, for probably his house was somewhat near, and he invited the Lord Jesus into it, and it came to pass as Jesus sat at meat in the house, behold, many publicans and sinners came and sat down with Him and His disciples. I have said that we have here a very interesting group. In the first place we have this new convert; in the second place, we observe the apostles of Jesus Christ; thirdly, there were many publicans and sinners, some of whom, perhaps, were serious, others probably were more or less spiritual, while perhaps others mocked and sneered whilst they sat and listened to the Master. Then we behold, not only publicans and sinners, the newly saved Matthew; the apostles of Jesus Christ, but a considerable number of Pharisees, persons who were righteous in their own conceit, having no idea that they needed the sovereign mercy of God, persons who had quite sufficient moral excellency of their own to carry them safely through this world, calmly through death, and triumphantly, as they believed, into the world to come. And, then, in addition to all these characters, we have before us the Lord of life and glory. Here, then, was a congregation, a mixed gathering; and when the Pharisees, whose hands were so clean, whose hearts were so pure, and whose character was so perfect, when they saw that the Master was particularly familiar with the publicans and sinners, they proceeded to find fault with Him, and said to His disciples, " Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners ?" But when Jesus heard that, he said unto them, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick."

Now, I shall not divide my subject this morning as I sometimes divide my discourses, but gather up a few points which, I think, the words suggest to our minds, and mention them as I proceed.

We may notice, in the first place, the very apparent fact mentioned by our Lord, "They that be whole need not a physician, but they that are sick." Now, although I do not suppose that the Lord Jesus referred to Himself when He spoke of persons that were whole, yet it may do us no harm if we for a few minutes look at the character of this Great Physician. Our blessed Redeemer is the Physician of souls as well as of bodies, and we are informed again and again concerning Him, "in Him is no sin." A Physician who is himself diseased from head to foot may cure another diseased person. A medical man of great weakness and feebleness, and suffering from a fatal disease may cure hundreds and thousands of his fellow-creatures, but our Great Physician is whole, He is perfectly free from disease. We can communicate disease to one another, but we cannot communicate our health. Our great and glorious Redeemer can do this. He cannot communicate sin, for He is perfectly free from it. He cannot, like Adam, communicate guilt and corruption, or a moral disease to others, for He is holy, but He can and does communicate spiritual health, and has been doing so ever since He was on the earth. And mark, my brethren, the health which He imparts is His own; for He is not producing a spiritual state of things in us different from His own. That life which He imparts is His own life, and that health which He communicates is His own health. If, brethren and sisters, we are Christians, we know something of this Great Physician; and if we are of the family of heaven, we have been made in some measure healthy. Our great and glorious Redeemer is seated on His throne, and showers and streams of Divine influence which create and promote holiness or health are perpetually falling or flowing from His person to diseased creatures; He is distributing blessings among the poor and needy, and this work He will continue to perform until the solemn end of time. Had our Lord been diseased Himself He could not have cured us. Had He been capable of becoming diseased He could not have become the Physician of souls. Had not the Redeemer been perfectly impeccable, or absolutely incapable of sinning, He could not have saved sinners from guilt, and therefore when He says, " The whole need not a physician," it is a most apparent, an obvious fact that He Himself needed no physician. There was nothing wrong in Him to correct. There was no disease in Christ to cure. There was no stain in His character to remove. There was no feebleness in His arm to incapacitate Him for the great work of saving sinners. He was whole in all respects, body and soul; and both being united to Deity, our great Redeemer was absolutely whole. I shall not, however, tarry on that point. I thought an observation or two on the personal perfection of Jesus might be more or less welcome to my friends.

Let us, therefore, in the second place, think of heaven and contemplate the angels of God's power and glory. Well, they are all whole, and need no physician. They never required the interposition of the blood of Jesus between themselves and God. The intervention of the atoning Mediator they never needed. Although poets, who have great license, speak not only of the feathers of angels' wings, but also of angels' tears, yet I believe angels never wept. They are perfect strangers to sorrow, and they never knew a pain. They were created for pleasure, and pleasure filled them the moment they came out of their great Creator's hands, There can be no pain in heaven, and heaven is their home, There can be no sorrow in the immediate presence of God, and that is where they dwell. There can be no woe in beings that are absolutely free from sin and absolutely perfect, and that is their exalted state and condition. They know millions of diseased beings, but they know not what it is to suffer themselves. They see the disease of sin in its nature, operations, and consequences, but they have no woeful experience themselves, and therefore we sometimes sing—

"Never did angels taste above,
Redeeming grace and dying love."

I would not be critical, because I do not think criticisms in the pulpit on ordinary occasions are profitable, yet permit me to say that mercy is a stream that angels never tasted. They taste the river of love and of eternal grace, but mercy is for the miserable, and they were never miserable. The blood of the dear Redeemer flowed, and they saw it, and they see it flowing still; they see diseased sinners washed therein, but they are never washed in that flowing fountain themselves. The whole need not a physician. Christ, therefore, needed none, and the angels of God's power and glory need none.

Now come down to the garden of Eden, and behold another interesting object. These observations are doctrinal, I know, yet they are true and scriptural. Enter Eden, the garden which was made immediately by God and planted by the great Creator's hand. There was every kind of fruit that man required, and every form no doubt of floral beauty existed there. In the midst thereof was the tree of life, and there was also the tree of knowledge of good and evil. Two pure and happy beings were also there, who were whole, and not diseased, for God did not make man a sinner. God made angels, but the fallen ones made themselves devils, and "God made man upright, but he has sought out many inventions." God is not the Author of sin, and He never can be. God cannot be the source of moral evil. That moral disease of which we are speaking is cured by God, but not created, caused, or originated by Him; and therefore Adam was physically, mentally, and morally whole. His body, I doubt not, was excellent, strong, vigorous, and beautiful, while it was untainted, untouched, and un-weakened by sin. His mind was all that the great Creator required it to be—all its essential faculties and powers were healthy or whole. He was morally perfect, for He was made in the image of God Himself, who said, "Let us make man in our own likeness," and in the likeness of God made He him; therefore Adam was whole when he stood in his primeval innocence, and he needed no physician. Had spiritual healing, medicine and balm, been presented to him, he would have been ignorant of their uses, having no pains nor wounds, being perfectly free from evil. He was whole and needed no physician.

Now, let us come to what I consider to be the literal meaning of the text. Jesus needed no physician, angels need none, and Adam before he fell needed not the interposition of a saving Mediator. Pharisees, however, were present on that occasion, and they were whole in their own conceit, and in their own opinion they were full of holiness. We have the character of one of them drawn by Jesus Christ Himself. He is represented as a petitioner, and yet, although he professed to pray, there was not a single petition in his prayer. "God, I thank Thee that I am not as other men are; I do this, and that, and the other, and I especially thank Thee that I am not like that publican." Now, that Pharisee was whole, and wanted no mercy. There was a Physician prepared by God, but he, being free from disease in his own estimation, needed or wanted Him not. "Why eateth your Master with publicans and sinners ?" But when Jesus heard that, he said, as it were, Where should the Physician go to but to the hospital? And whom should He visit but the diseased? These publicans and sinners are morally diseased, and I am the Physician; and, therefore, when He heard that, He said, "They that are whole need not a Physician but they that are sick." What a mercy it is to be conscious of our sickness!

Distinguish, my friends, between need and want. All need Christ, the Physician; all, however, do not want Him. Those who want the Saviour feel their need of Him. The Pharisees needed Him, but inasmuch as they were whole in their own conceit, they did not feel what they needed, and therefore we may say they did not want Him. They were independent of Christ, and His blood and His mercy they despised. To wear the robe of another was not to their taste, for they were well dressed, perfectly free from blot and fault, and all that was displeasing to God, and some of them thought that they had performed works of supererogation. They had not only enough of their own to take them to heaven, but somewhat more to please the great Lawgiver, God. Such persons, as a rule, the Saviour turned away from, and the despised publicans and sinners had His merciful attention and regard. Let me speak plainly and say, My dear hearer, you may be too good for God, but too bad they cannot be; you may be too rich, but too poor you cannot be. You may be too well or too strong, but— and let me go as far as to say—too thoroughly and offensively diseased you never can be. The dear Redeemer is making for Himself, as the great Physician, an everlasting name. The heavens of eternal glory are to be filled and peopled with healthy persons, all of whom were under the shadow and in the region of eternal death.

Having made these few remarks as to the general and apparent fact, let me notice in the next place that the text suggests Divine anticipation and provision. We have a God who anticipates us and all our need, and the natural requirements of all His creatures, and therefore He is never nonplussed, and can never be surprised. Our Heavenly Father is always prepared for all that arises in time, and for all that occurs in connection with His government of the universe. Had there not been physical disease in this world, we should never have heard of medical science, and we should never have needed physicians. Disease first came into existence, and that gave rise to the healing art, and suggested the necessity of medical practitioners. Now we must reverse this order of things in the government of God. The Physician was appointed before the patient existed. The medicine was prepared before the sickness commenced. The balm preceded the wound; for the precious blood of Jesus is said to be the blood of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. I believe these remarks will apply to all the offices and titles of our dear Lord. A person has a flock of sheep before he requires a shepherd, but our great and glorious God prepared or provided the Shepherd first, and then brought the flock into existence for him, or, rather, Christ brings the flock into existence for Himself. Our God anticipated and foresaw the fall and all its woeful, penal, terrible, and offensive consequences, and immediately after the crash, and the world had become a moral wreck, He came forth and said, "I have laid help upon one that is mighty, and I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David, My servant, with My holy oil have I anointed him. With him My hand shall be established so that when the world become universally diseased God was prepared with a Physician ; and when sin spread terribly and offensively, God brought out the grand provisions of His grace in the form of a divine and spiritual remedy, as it is written in Scripture—in the form of healing, fragrant ointment. "Thy name is as ointment poured forth." He revealed His anciently prepared balm. Hence, "Is there no balm in Gilead? Is there not a Physician there?" Indeed, in Christ Himself God had deposited all that guilty millions could possible require; for "It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." Here is a healthy Physician for an unhealthy family, or a Saviour, who cures sinners, who are His patients, in a manner that is peculiar to Himself. Not to anticipate myself, however, for we shall come to that presently ; therefore let us notice here that this disease is a moral one. Had it been merely mental, a schoolmaster or teacher might have healed us. Had it been physical, then ordinary physicians or medical men might have healed us. But the disease is a moral one—it is spiritual ruin—beyond the reach of teachers, beyond the reach of medicine, beyond the reach of philosophy, but not beyond the reach of blood, nor beyond the reach of the hand, the skill, and the wisdom of Christ, the great Physician. And this disease is universal. I do not mean to say that it breaks out alike in all. Every minister must in faithfulness to the Bible declare that all are diseased, and that the disease is universally fatal and absolutely incurable to all save one person, who is the blessed Christ of God. Some diseases are offensive, as well as painful and fatal; and permit me just to remind you here that sin, that great moral disease, is unspeakably offensive to God. It is that abominable thing which His soul hateth, and the only thing in the world that He abhors; this accursed evil, however, He loathes intensely and infinitely. He hates sin in all. It is offensive to His nature and perfections. I cannot explain the mystery, yet so it is, that whilst He hates the disease He loves the dying patient or the soul that is guilty and defiled. You have a dear child at home" or elsewhere suffering deeply, and you fear the disease will terminate fatally. You loathe the disease, but love the dear little sufferer; but you are quite helpless, being altogether unable to heal and cure the wasting beloved one. While, however, your God and Father hates the disease from which you are suffering, He has provided a Physician for you, and He comes and does what angels could not do; he separates guilt from the guilty, sin from the sinner, and death from the dying transgressor, and casts the sin, the disease, behind his back, and puts the sinner into His bosom. "I am the Lord that healeth thee? "By His stripes we are healed." Christian brethren, take another thought here. This Physician is making no experiments. I do not know whether medical gentlemen are present or not; if any should be here, perhaps they would not be offended if I ventured to say I have sometimes thought that medical men make experiments. I think that a great deal in connection with medical matters is but imperfectly understood. But our dear Lord makes no experiment, He never discovers like earthly physicians, that His medicine is a little too strong or too weak, and it must therefore be changed. No; our great Lord is divinely skilful and infallible. He is responsible for the health of all the family of God. I would not use the word "responsible" in connection with Jesus if the Holy Ghost in the Word had not authorized me so to do. The covenant engagements of Jesus give rise, I think, to responsibility. He did as He pleased about engaging to heal us, but having pledged His word and name to cure us and to give us eternal life, He is bound to fulfill His word. God—whilst the patient is being treated—keeps His eye on the Physician, and resteth in His love ; for He knows there will be no failure under His saving, healing hands. He has never yet failed, though some of the worst cases imaginable, cases indescribably and inconceivably bad, have been beneath His care. The dying thief was healed. Manasseh was cured, saved, and glorified. Mary Magdalene was made quite whole, and is as healthy as Abel, and as Enoch, who on earth walked and talked with God. Oh, this Physician is responsible for the health and for the life of all His patients. This is peculiar to Jesus Christ, who said in the days of His flesh, "I will come and heal him." Having received a description of the case, an ordinary physician would of course have said, "I will come and see him, or I will come and prescribe for him, and do all I can for him," but no one ever thought of holding an ordinary physician responsible for the health and life of his patient.

All heaven hold your Lord responsible for your health, your holiness, and your perfection; they were guaranteed by the Saviour's solemn word when He became the Mediator of the covenant of eternal grace,

"Infinite years before the day,
And heavens began to roll."

And what of all this? Why, since God anticipated your disease and made provision for your holiness, since heavenly balm, ointment, and antidotes were prepared for you, the healing is progressing according to the good pleasure of His will, and though half the professors of the day seem to be much alarmed, and fear lest God should not accomplish His purposes, I believe that our salvation is in good, because in Almighty hands; and therefore the Gospel affirms the fact that

"His eternal thought moves on
His undisturbed affairs."

Sometimes this Physician apparently defers His visit, I know not why, until the eleventh hour. I must not, however, say much on that point; but if He saves at the eleventh hour, depend upon it the salvation is perfect and complete. He can effect a cure in a few minutes as well as in a few hours. Our God brought all His wisdom to bear upon the great provision He made, and therefore our health and our heaven are sure. There is a better state of things than this. We are not yet quite well, if I may so speak, we are not quite healed, because sin is still in us. The Saviour, however, has engaged to present us before His glory without spot or wrinkle, or blemish, or any such thing. If He took us into heaven uncured, or imperfectly healed—and mark this—we should weep there, having sorrow and pain, but the Holy Ghost in the Revelation, anticipating everything of the kind, has been pleased to say, " There shall be no more pain, nor tears, nor curse, for the former things are passed away." We weep now, for we are occasionally in pain. Now we are burdened and distressed, but the sweet world to which we go is everlasting rest and day. Wonderful, truly wonderful, is the fact that of all the millions there, all are healthy, and all are whole. This was partly illustrated perhaps when Israel came out of Egypt, one of the greatest miracles recorded in the Old Testament, and yet a most important part of that miracle is too much forgotten. Perhaps there were two or three millions of persons—we cannot say how many, but a very large number—left Egypt in one night, they passed through the Red Sea, and entered the wilderness, and it is recorded by the Holy Ghost that there was not a feeble one among them. Think of London, with its millions, and suppose it contained three millions only, and all healthy, not a single diseased one among them! The Lord said to the people I am the Lord that healeth thee, and will bring none of the diseases of Egypt upon thee. The God of holiness is the God of health, and when He speaks, disease obeys his voice. The Lord heals and helps His people, and though they limp and halt now, and sometimes reel and stagger, like drunken men, being at their wits' end, they shall be perfectly healthy on passing over the threshold of glory, and entering into the world of eternal happiness and rest. But let us proceed.

The text suggests to my mind, in the third place, the necessity for the Saviour's mediation. The whole need not a Physician, but they that are sick. Jesus is the Physician, and I have spoken of Him as such; and now we notice the mediation of our Lord. For illustration's sake, imagine a diseased guilty, filthy, ruined sinner coming into the presence of unmediated Deity, or, to use a phrase which you frequently hear, and which you use yourselves—into the presence of a God out of Christ. What would be the consequence to the sinner? Torment. No blood, no mediation, no middle Person to stand between Deity and his guilty, filthy soul. Without Christ's mediation the sinner would want God to hide his face, to conceal His glories, or to permit him to leave His presence and the spot. All offensive and unclean, how tortured, how tormented he would be. No; there is one God and one Mediator between God and man. He ever liveth to make intercession—and mark the phraseology—he ever liveth to make intercession for all that come unto God by Him. We come to Him, to Jesus, first, with all our sins and grief, and filthiness, and wants, and wounds. In due time we are stripped, stripped of all supposed excellency, beauty, and glory, and come to Him just as we are. Think of a sinner coming into the presence of God out of Christ in that state. His mouth would be closed in hopeless shame and confusion, and His soul would be tortured and tormented, for the presence of the holy God would be a hell to him. Bless God for the system of mediation and for the Mediator, Jesus, who stands between, and is the Physician of souls. He heals and sweetens, and perfumes our souls, and then presents His patients to His Father and their Father, who accepts and approves them in Christ, and for His sake; and the glorious Gospel we preach assures us that we are complete in Him.

I pity the person making a profession of religion who ignores the mediation of our Lord. I cannot go into God's presence without Him, and I bless the God of infinite grace and wisdom that Jesus is where I need His presence, and is all I require Him to be for my acceptance. He received us when we came, and in due time He told us that our sins, which were many, were all forgiven.

Let us pass on, and ask, in the next place, how He heals His people. What is His method of curing sinners. Well, Himself took our infirmities, which is another wonderful proceeding; He took our sickness, and bare our sins in His own body on the tree. Other physicians have never done that. Christ cures by taking the guilt of the sinner upon Himself, and by carrying it away into the land of forgetfulness. And what else? He cures by imparting Himself to the sinner in peculiar conditions and forms. He obeyed the law and made it honorable. And what becomes of His obedience, which is perfect and divine? He does not need it for Himself, angels want it not. He spent a saving life on earth and under the law, and the obedience He brought in is imputed to His patients, made their own, and by this we are healed. Then there were His wounds, and blood, and what use does He make of them? We have healing from His balm-giving wounds, and purity from His blood. Indeed the Physician was Himself bruised, when what was in Him flowed forth, and the bruised Physician is laid upon the bruised patient, and by His stripes we are healed. Oh, this is God-like. The Healer comes into vital contact with the patient, and He draws from the patient that which God hates, and communicates to him all that God requires and loves; and if this is not His method of healing sinners, I am out of the secret.

The importance of the health of God's people we infer from the magnitude of the provision made for them. The arrangements God has made, His deep contrivance, and the vast expense He has been at to obtain for them eternal health and life, all proclaim the great importance of their perfection. Every faculty of the soul is to be healed and free from disease. The understanding is to be enlightened; the judgment is to be divinely corrected; the will is to be filled with grace and righteousness; the affections are to be separated from the world and sin, washed in blood and united to Jesus, and raised to heavenly things; the conscience is to be purged from dead works to serve the living God; and the memory, an essential part of the mind, which is now both a friend and an enemy, is to be sanctified. We often think of what we wish we could forget and what we would remember we cannot think of; and therefore the memory is, in a measure, diseased now. But the memory's operations in heaven will be perfect, complete, satisfactory, and pleasurable for ever and ever.. Health is important, else so wonderful a Physician had never been appointed. Our destination demands health. A world of holiness; and sin being a disease the slightest remains thereof would be a sore and a blot there. Our associations demand health. We are to associate with angels, and, what is more, with God Himself for ever and ever. Our employment requires health. Here I am indisposed frequently, and wish—and I tell you a secret, and may the Lord forgive me—I sometimes wish, when coming to chapel, that I had not to preach, for, feeling my incompetency and the emptiness of my mind, I occasionally, perhaps frequently, dread the pulpit, and wish I had been called to serve God in some other way. There will be no indisposition of that kind there. The song will be welcome, the worship will be sweet, and we shall never be indisposed in soul. Jesus is the Physician, and the cure He effects is perfect and complete.
 
Lastly, if Jesus thus heals, and the healing involves all this and infinitely more, what is the state of the healed sinner? Well, it is a spiritual one, and let me say he is better in some respects than he was before. Hence Watts beautifully sings—

"He raised me from the depths of death,
The gates of gaping hell,
And made my standing more secure
Than 'twas before I fell."

Adam was healthy, but his health was moral. The believer is healthy, and his health is spiritual and gracious. Adam had a perfectly holy life, but that life was loseable. "I give unto My sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hands." The health mentioned in the Word in relation to Christ is not a return of the sinner when cured to his primitive condition; he does not go back to Eden, nor return to his original state. If any man be in Christ, he is a new creature, and he stands where Adam did not stand, and feels as Adam did not feel. He is a new creature, for Christ has healed him.

Then, as to the present position of these patients, I should say, and I say it without fear, that a person whom Christ has cured is among the best of persons on the earth. Why, if Christ has cured you, you are a better parent, a better child, a better servant, a better master, a better sailor, a better soldier, a better politician, and better in all respects; for Jesus improves all He touches as a Saviour, He improves and elevates and dignifies all He comes into connection with, and when diseased souls come into contact with this great Physician, old things pass away, and all things become new. A celebrated preacher, as you are aware, used to say he would not give a straw, I think it was, for that man's religion whose cat and dog did not fare the better for it. Oh, Christ does cure effectually, and therefore if an uncured person, or an unregenerate person, is as such a good husband or wife, he or she is better still after grace has regenerated the soul. 0 may the Lord, the Holy Spirit, take the things of Jesus and show them to our minds, and realize to us the meaning of that quaint old saying of Quarles:

"He lays a wound upon a wound,
And makes the wounded whole."

A wounded Christ on a wounded heart heals the soul and prepares it for God. May God command His blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen.

15 THE RAINBOW ROUND ABOUT THE THRONE.

THE RAINBOW ROUND ABOUT THE THRONE.

A SERMON

Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET,

CLERKENWELL,

ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, 19th JUNE, 1887,

"And there was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto an emerald" (Revelations. 4: 31.

The book out of which I have taken my text is filled with Divine mysteries, which I do not profess to be able to explain. I have invari­ably felt that time is the best interpreter of the unfulfilled word of God. Our God will verify His own word and fulfill every one of His predictions, just as He will fulfill all His promises, in due time. We cannot look into the future; but we know all future events and circumstances are under the management and control of infinite wisdom.

The two chapters now before us, viz., the fourth and fifth, contain certain facts which may in some measure be understood. I take it that notwithstanding the figurative character of my text, it symbolizes and expresses very beautifully and sweetly a great and precious gospel truth.

Let me first say, that I take it that the Being that John saw sitting upon the throne here, was not the Lord Jesus Christ, nor the Holy Spirit, but God the Father; for in the following chapter we are told that there was in the right hand of Him that sat on the throne a book written, and that eventually the Lamb went to Him and took the book out of His right hand, and that He proceeded to open the seals, and to make known its concealed contents, which were the eternal purposes and decrees of God.

Let us limit our attention for a few minutes to the words we have read, and take the text as it stands before us. We have the throne, and the how, and its position, and its appearance; and if we have time we may close with one or two remarks upon the subject.

In the first place, let me look for a few minutes at the throne indicated in our text. A door was opened in heaven, and a throne was set there, and one sat on the throne. I love the idea of a Divine throne, and I desire to carry that idea with me everywhere. I cannot afford as a poor, trembling, and exposed creature, to lose sight of the fact that my God is on the throne. I was observing that such is our state and condition here that we cannot afford to lose sight of the fact that our God reigns. He holds the reins Himself, and has held them for 6000 years or thereabouts; and if the world should stand 6000 years longer, He will be found in the same position, reigning over all. Our God is interested in the preservation of the world; and especially so, in the preservation of His church on the earth. He is more deeply interested than I can describe to you, in every event that occurs, and in every circumstance that attends His people and His creatures generally. God's eye is everywhere , and so is His power, which is omnipotent; and we have to do with this great and glorious Being, who is our covenant God, seated upon His own throne, managing the affairs of the universe, and accomplishing the deep laid purposes of His will.

Observe, in the first place, that God's reign is absolutely necessary. Imagine that our God suspended or withheld Divine influences from the world for an hour, or that He withheld the Holy Spirit and the power of His grace from His church on the earth for an hour! If God absented Himself from His church, would not hell rush into it; and if He absented Himself from the world, or withdrew His influence and suspended His government of it, would not disorder, confusion, uproar, death and destruction everywhere prevail. If our God simply raises His hand, or gives an enemy a little more rein than usual, what terribly destructive work goes on and prevails! I cannot describe the nature, properties, and power of sin. It has disorganized and deranged everything, and infused the most diabolical spirit into the human heart; and if God did not restrain its power and operations, the world would become an Aceldama. As it is, there is much confusion and destruction continually raging; but God keeps His eye upon every movement, and never loses sight of one fiend, "Fiend, sir." Yes, fiends; call them evil spirits if you will, God never ceases to watch the enemy, nor the motions of enmity in the hearts of creatures, and,

"His eternal thought moves on,
His undisturbed affairs."

His moral government is absolutely necessary. God is a moral Governor, and will never cease to be so; and He is perfect in this respect. Looking at His moral government in connection with the mediation of your dear Lord, we have a very vivid representation of its immutability, spirituality, and infinite depth; and also of the fact, that God as the Divine Lawgiver cannot change. We live in a very evil day, as to the atonement of Christ. It is ignored, cast down, trampled upon; and some professors are so profoundly wicked, that they can and do sneer at the idea and fact of an atonement for sin by the shedding of the blood of Immanuel. Our God is a righteous Ruler, and will uphold and honor His moral glory, in spite of all the powers of darkness; therefore He would not and could not take sinners to heaven apart from the mediation of His Son. If you desire to see the moral grandeur of God, and the extent and power of His law, go to Gethsemane and to Calvary, and read the fact that the justice of God is inflexible and unchangeable in a suffering Christ, in the garden and on the cross. He that sweat great drops of blood was God incarnate; and what fell upon Him then, you and I shall never fully know, for it can never be measured. It was the wrath of God, and the punishment due to sin inflicted by His insulted justice. The bitter cup that was pressed to His lips was mixed by God, who was angry with sin, but who loved the sinner, and who because He could not otherwise con­sistently with Himself, save sinners, sent His Son and smote Him. Jesus fell beneath the weight of our guilt, and emptied the cup of wrath Divine, Yes, the moral government of our God is a fact.

Look at God's government in providence, and rejoice in the fact that He reigns everywhere; therefore,

"My life's minutest circumstance
Is subject to His eye."

Five sparrows are so insignificant that they are sold for two farthings, yet one of them cannot fall to the ground without our heavenly Father. "Some people," it was said the other day sneeringly, "believe that everything is arranged by God, and falls somewhere under the appointments of Jehovah." I am one of the men who believe in this; our God presides over the whole system of providence, over all risings and fallings, over all that is straight, and all that is crooked; over all that is pleasant, and all that is painful; over all that lasts a few weeks or months, and all that suddenly occurs and rapidly passes away. All is managed and controlled by Him who sits upon the throne, which was and is surrounded by the rainbow. A throne was set in heaven, and one sat upon the throne. Watch the operations of providence, and do not forget that the hand of God is always connected with them all. Chance and fortune have no existence anywhere in Divine providence. Our God's great mind superintends the whole, and His skillfully working hand manages and overrules all from first to last. All would otherwise be disorder and confusion. I repeat what I have often said, there would be no orderly or blessed connection between one day and another, and no consecutive and important connection between one event and another, if God Himself did not preside over the whole system. The great wheel of Divine providence has a ring so high that it is dreadful, and it is full of eyes, for there is no ignorance whatever connected with this work of God, who turns and guides the whole. He never allows another hand to hold the helm, or to direct a single motion. Our God is supreme, and will be everywhere and do what He pleases, and being everywhere and doing what He pleases; He is accomplishing the purposes of His will, and is saving sinners like you and me. God's providential reign is necessary.

But what shall we say about His spiritual reign? What is the character of the throne He sits upon? It is a throne, denoting the fact that His authority is supreme, and that He will never surrender it to another; but it is a throne of grace, as well as a throne of government. Let us come boldly to it, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need. If God in one respect, sits on that throne, and manages the affairs of all worlds, in another respect, there flows perpetually from His heart a river of water of life which indicates the riches of His saving grace. Bless our God, His throne is approachable. John was not far from it, the twenty-four elders and the four beasts were near to it. By the four-and-twenty elders I understand the heads or representatives of the whole church of God under the Old Testament and the New. They are near the throne, for God is approachable, and the rainbow of the covenant is perpetually visible. They are worshippers, hence they have harps, and golden vials full of odors, which are the prayers of the saints. Sometimes they pour out their hearts in prayer before God, for their souls swell and contract and they are burdened and distressed; and sometimes they are greatly favored, and having harps they sing the worthy praises of God and the Lamb. Thus our life is made up of prayer and praise, sorrow and joy, pain and pleasure, nights and days. Let us pray in the night, and not be cast down; and we will sing in the day when the Sun of Righteousness shines. Let us bless our God for any measure of joy, and when it is His pleasure to bring events to pass so as to fill us with sorrow and pain, may it be ours to look at the covenant bow, and accept His will as Divinely good. A throne is set in heaven, for God's reign is necessary. His reign is also internal and experimental for God dwells in the heart. It is our mercy, my brethren, that He reigns over every heart, if He does not reign in everyone in an experimental and spiritual manner. There is, therefore, no heart in this world that can do what it would. The heart of the wicked, the heart of Popery, the heart of Mahommedanism, and the hearts of Satan and his angels, are all under the reign of our God, who checks and restrains them as He pleases; but He reigns in a special, saving, and spiritual manner in the hearts of His dear people. And is it not sweet, precious and fertilizing to feel the reign of God's grace? Time then glides away very agreeably, and the troubles of life are not then magnified, but they are minified, and become less and less, and we become patient and sing—

"I can do all things, or can bear
All sufferings, if my Lord be there."

Do not talk about a religion that has little or nothing to do with the heart; do not talk about grace that does not reign in the soul, subduing sin, and that does not sometimes produce a holy state of things within. We are not quite strangers to heaven, nor to the joys of that celestial world. A drop of honey reaches us now and then, or a drop of holy unction falls occasionally upon one's heart. Then all is composed and tranquil, for all becomes calm and serene when God by His grace is felt to reign over all that we are the subjects of. The internal reign of God is necessary.

Notice in the next place, that God's reign is universal. "His dominion ruleth over all." I do not trouble myself now concerning the stars and heavenly bodies as to whether they are worlds or not. I do not know what they are; in the Bible they are called stars, and in one or two places we read of Him that made the worlds: "By whom also He made the worlds." Well, whether they be worlds or not, they are ruled by God, all being His creatures. And if, as we are told, there are thousands upon thousands of them, then with all my heart, I believe they all belong to God: "He bringeth out their host by number; He calleth them all by their names by the greatness of His might, for that He is strong in power; not one faileth." And the reign of God in distant worlds, is as necessary there as here. But we have now to do more especially with three worlds, with earth, hell and heaven. There is a world worse than this, which is hell, and we trust we have been saved for ever from that. There is a better world than this, even heaven, a place prepared for saints, the residence of our dear Lord, and the inheritance of the saints, and we have to do with that world and also with God the King thereof.

We have, however, to do at present with this world, and very much to do with it too. It is not all bad here, and it is not all good. There is here a large measure of that which is evil and hellish; but there is also, thank God, a measure of that which is heavenly. Sin rages here, and grace prevails here and there. It is a middle world between the other two, managed and controlled by God. It is connected with heaven by Jacob's antitypical ladder; and it is connected with hell also, alas! By a broken law and sin. If we are saved, our faces have been turned towards Zion, and we are going to that blessed place. But our Lord reigns over all the nations of the world, which mystery I cannot explain. What darkness, superstition, cruelty, and diabolical evil prevail in many of the nations of the earth! But we will leave this mystery for the present where it is. There is a throne, and One sits upon it; and all the nations of the earth are beneath His eye, and under His dominion. God reigns over worlds and nations, over cities and over villages; and I have known and still know some villages in our favored land which have been graciously blessed for years. You may go into some provincial towns and not find the gospel of God's free grace, but there are villages here, in which stand sanctuaries, and where the pure gospel of the grace of God is sweetly preached. But,

`All shall come, and last, and end,
As shall please onr heavenly Friend."

Well, His throne is approachable, and His reign is universal.

God's reign is gracious and everlasting. His throne will never be empty. Our good Queen has been seated on her throne for fifty years; but it must be left, for earthly monarchs are mortal, notwithstanding their grandeur, majesty, and glory; and the throne of England will be empty some day, so far as its present occupant is concerned. "And what are your feelings about it?" Why, God save the Queen! I can and do go as far as that, for I am loyal. Well, though the throne of England be empty, yet your royal Father will never die, nor be unseated, nor vacate His high seat of Divine and heavenly honor. "His dominion ruleth over all," and His kingdom shall stand for ever and ever. The purposes and decrees of God are both barriers and outlets. They are barriers, for He says concerning every enemy and every hostile power, Thus far mayest thou come, and no further , and here shall thy rage and power be stayed. Popery would rule the country, and the world, if it might and could; but there is a point beyond which its power cannot go. Whatever Mahommedanism may now be, there was a time, many centuries ago, when the false prophet would have prevailed over all the nations of the earth, if he might and could; but there was a point beyond which he could not go. And there are persons and systems in existence now which would swamp, drown and annihilate the great principles of Divine and eternal truth if they could; but there is a point beyond which they cannot go. Reading recently a paper concerning the Jubilee, the writer rejoiced in a good many things, regarding the fact that many great and important changes had taken place during the last fifty years ; and one thing in which he rejoiced was the removal of Calvinism from the Church of England, and in a great measure from the professing church altogether. He was so strangely out of order (not to use a harsher word,) that he said, that by the departure of Calvinism, life has been made sweeter, and the sting of death has been taken away. Only think, that the removal of Calvinism destroys the sting of death! That spirit, my friend, would cover the world, and drown the professing church if it might and could; but the God of truth is on His throne, and nothing can go beyond the barriers of which I am speaking. But if Divine decrees are barriers on the one hand, they are outlets on the other. The waves of opposition dash against the decrees of God, but they go no further. Through these decrees on the other hand, there flows the river of peace and grace, and truth and love, the streams whereof make glad the city of God. I do not wonder at John being in an ecstasy when he saw this. "And I was in the spirit, and heard a voice saying, Come hither, and I will show thee things which must be done hereafter." That is all I will say on this point. I am afraid I have taken too much time on this branch of our subject this morning.

In the second place, a word on the bow. "And there was a rainbow round about the throne." Not a military bow, not a weapon of war, not a bow with an arrow in it, and arrows did not appear lying upon the throne of Him that sat in the midst of the bow; but a rainbow, a sign of peace, a symbol of reconciliation, the covenant of grace was round about the throne. God said to Noah, "Behold, I do set My bow in the cloud." It is God's bow. The natural rainbow is His, and the mystical or spiritual rainbow of the covenant is also His. Just as the creature has not, and never had, the slightest hand in producing the natural rainbow, so neither has the creature the slightest hand in producing, arranging, or securing to himself the blessings of the covenant of grace. The natural rainbow is God's creature, both beautiful and grand, and it indicates the greater grandeur of its Creator. Well, as that is God's own work, and no hands but His made it, so this is God's eternal covenant with His well beloved Son, concerning the thousands and thousands that shall for ever be before His throne. Not to go into the matter naturally, how is this rainbow formed? We know that the natural rainbow is composed of various colors marvelously blended, and united very beautifully to one another. You cannot tell where one color ends and another begins. Each color, however, is visible, and the whole seven are essential to the perfection of the bow. How is the bow of the covenant formed?

With all the promises of God, and His great oath running through them all. All the blessings of the covenant, and the grace of all blended in a Divinely beautiful and glorious manner, with all the attributes of God, omnipotence, love, wisdom, grace, mercy, peace, truth, and eternity. All the perfections of God are blended wonderfully and gloriously in the covenant of His grace, by virtue of what our great Head is and has done. As there can be no natural rainbow without the sun and rain, or a watery cloud; so neither can there be any spiritual rainbow without the presence and the glory of the great Sun of Righteousness in heaven. Our dear Lord has done His work, and what work was that? The deluge in Noah's time drowned the world, and the deluge of divine wrath fell on Christ, and He bore it all, and now God says, sitting on the throne, "For this is as the waters of Noah unto Me; for as I have sworn that the waters of Noah should no more go over the earth, so have I sworn that I would not be wroth with Thee nor rebuke Thee. For the mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but My kindness shall not depart from Thee, neither shall the covenant of My peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on Thee." Hence, there is the bow : the deluge having fallen upon Jesus, and passed away for ever, God sitting on the throne says, Now I do set my bow here, Christ the glorious Sun is risen, the once suffering Son of God is ascended to heaven there to, shine for ever. And this forms the bow of the everlasting covenant, by which God resolves to do you good for ever. There was a rainbow round about the throne: this bow can never be broken.

I like the idea of Dr. Goodwin, for I am a lover of Puritans, notwithstanding all that is said against Calvinism. Goodwin, Owen, and such great and good men I dearly love. Dr. Goodwin says, "You are not to suppose that the bow appeared like a half-moon or semi­circle, like the ordinary rainbow, but that it surrounded and encircled the throne, for it was round about it, in sight unto an emerald." Why, that is such a rainbow as never was seen before! It is so, and the covenant of grace is unique; indeed, there is nothing like it, the rainbow of the covenant round about the throne. Will there ever be a storm there? No, God has sworn that he will not be wroth with us, nor rebuke us. No, the rainbow will never be removed, a breakage will never occur in it, and an opening will never happen; it is fixed round about the throne, and the covenant of grace will stand for ever.

Thirdly, its position round about the throne. Visible, fixed in its position, and never varying. "My covenant will I not break, nor alter the thing that is gone out of My mouth." It was visible to all alike. The natural rainbow is so ; it is not formed for private individuals, or to be seen privately merely, it is for the world to look at, and millions may and can see it, when it appears in the heavens ; and all the church of God are favored with a sight of this bow. Brother and sister, when you go to the throne to pray, look at the bow, it is always there, it is your privilege that God is a covenant God to you. Do not forget the bow, it is roundabout the throne, visible to all. Round about, so that in whatever way God comes to you, He comes as your covenant God, whatever He sends to you comes through the covenant bow and is a covenant gift, whether it be divine chastisement, divine direction, or a measure of divine honey. And if you go to God in prayer you are heard, because you are loved with covenant love, and your prayers ascend to heaven and are answered in accordance with the covenant arrangements and promises of God. Round about. On the right hand the bow appears, on the left it is seen, before and behind it is the same; and as to past, present, and future, the bow or covenant of grace surrounds all.

The appearance of the bow. "In sight like unto an emerald." Green is the prevailing color of the natural rainbow, and the emerald is a green precious stone. How shall we spiritualize this? I do not care much for spiritualizing; God's covenant is always fresh, always new, always agreeable to the eye. Perhaps it appeared like an emerald to indicate the fact that as green is probably the color which is most suited and agreeable to the human eye, so the covenant of grace is said to be like an emerald, because it is always agreeable, attractive, and acceptable to the true believer. What grandeur and what grace are here! What majesty appears in the ordinary bow, and what majesty and grandeur shine in God's covenant bow! What grace as well as grandeur is there, even about the throne! "I will not be wroth thee," come and "call upon Me in the day of trouble." But I have contracted guilt. "I will not be wroth with thee." I am suffering from the fact that I have fallen into trouble. "I will not be wroth with thee." Come and tell Me all, for I wait to be gracious. "Him that cometh I will in no wise cast out." So that we have the coming of the trembling, burdened, broken-hearted sinner, and God inviting him near. And notwithstanding the fears of that sinner God says, "I am not angry, fury is not in Me: I look at the bow, the promise I have given, and the covenant I have formed with My dear Son on your behalf. Come, therefore, and open your mouth wide, and I will fill it."

As for the remarks, I think I must leave them, except that I will just say that clouds and darkness are round about Him. Do you say I had forgotten that text? No, I have not. "Behold, I do set my bow in the cloud, and I will look upon it; "therefore, if clouds and darkness are round about Him, the bow of the covenant is there also, and may be seen in the cloud by a living and strong faith. Another thought strikes me. Great troubles were to follow, and did follow, as we read in this book; but all that followed was preceded by this marvelous arrangement for the comfort of John and of the church. There is the throne, and our God upon it and the rainbow of the covenant is round about it. There are the elders, and the four beasts before the throne, in peace and safety with God; so that all that subsequently happened was ordered, arranged, connected together, or permitted by the covenant love and wisdom of our gracious covenant God. And as Kent sings:

"Here, when thy fears begin to rise,
And hope in disappointment dies;
This cov'nant bow thy fears shall quell,
'Twas made for thee in all things well.'*

May the Lord add His blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen.

16 CHRIST'S DEPARTURE TO HEAVEN

CHRIST'S DEPARTURE TO HEAVEN.

A SERMON

Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET,

CLERKENWELL,

On LORD'S-DAY EVENING, JULY 26th, 1885.

"But now I go My way to Him that sent Me; and none of you asketh Me, Whither goest Thou — {Joh 16:5}.

"Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord delivereth him out of them all." It is said that the Lord delivereth him. The number of righteous persons on the earth is very considerable, and all of them are at times in trouble and affliction, but it is a fact that they shall be delivered out of them all. But our God has been pleased to express Himself in a peculiar manner, saying, "The Lord delivereth him not them, out of them all," indicating that every individual saint lives beneath the ever-wakeful and watchful eye of God. Every true believer shall be guarded and protected by Jehovah, and sooner or later the weakest and feeblest one shall emerge from trouble and sorrow, and take his seat in eternal rest. But why are the righteous tried, and why are their trials and afflictions many? God giveth no account of any of His matters; but "He knoweth our frame, He remembereth that we are dust." We are in the hands of infinite wisdom, as well as of everlasting love; and God is dealing with His people in a manner which will surely do them good, and promote His own honor and glory. Whilst we see the hand of God at work in connection with mysteries dark and deep, it well becomes us as purblind creatures to be silent in His presence. Many of the people of God,—and I think I may number myself among them,—have resolved to have a smooth path through life; for it is not in human nature to choose trouble nor to love it, on the contrary, the flesh kicks and rebels against it; and, therefore the saints are sometimes looking on the right hand and on the left for a level road. They resolve again and again to make their circumstances, if possible, agreeable , although our great reigning Lord has said, " In Me ye shall have peace,"—not in the world, not in your plans, or the manner in which you execute them. "In Me ye shall have peace "in the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer I have overcome the world." It is said, "In the world ye shall have tribulation and I think I have rejoiced in the position in which the Saviour was pleased to place that fact. Observe, it stands between two bright and blessed stars: "First, in Me ye shall have peace and then, "Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world;" and between those two lights we have the cloud of trouble,—"in the world ye shall have tribulation." The world, however, is a conquered enemy; and therefore, the believer, is not, strictly, speaking, correct when he says he is going to heaven through an enemy's country. This world does not belong to the devil. Hell was made for him, and for his slaves and followers; but he is not Lord of all, for our Jesus is upon the throne. Satan is permitted to go up and down in the earth, to tempt and try the people of God; but if our faith is strong, we shall see that the monster is chained, and that the hand of his great Conqueror holds the chain; hence‑

`All shall come, and last, and end,
As shall please our heavenly Friend."

Nevertheless, in the world the righteous shall have tribulation. Not a few of them are tried and afflicted in relation to their families. I have known during the three-and-thirty years I have been with you, many mothers and fathers with aching heads and broken hearts, in consequence of family disappointments and trials. Not a few of God's servants are in tribulation with regard to their business: but it is not for me in the pulpit to go into these matters; therefore, I will only say, we are in the world, and must have to do with it. Some of you have more to do with it than I have, and I know that some believers are sorely tried and troubled in relation to business matters. Again, some of God's people have been tried with regard to church affairs; and I speak experimentally when I say that church trials are among the bitterest troubles the child of God passes through. Some of us have known what it is to have sleepless nights, and days of restlessness and sorrow, in consequence of the state of things in the church or churches with which we have been connected. We are, however, greatly favored in this respect in this place ; for there has never been any very serious misunderstanding here. The Lord be thanked for His goodness towards us. Let us unitedly put the crown of praise upon the great Head of Zion. But if there are no business trials, and no family trials, and no church trials, there is always enough in the heart of every child of God to try him night and day. "In me," said Paul, a greater man than any of us now present, "that is, in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing; for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not." Indwelling sin is an enemy that is very near to us,—nearer in fact than our business, and to use a strong expression, nearer to us than our families are. Families dwell within in a certain sense, but our children, our wives and our husbands do not dwell within as sin dwells there; and so long as we are the subjects of indwelling sin, we shall experience affliction and trouble.

But many of the afflictions of the saints have arisen out of persecution. The Saviour in the chapter out of which I have taken my text, gives us several important predictions, and several precious promises, and much rich comfort and consolation. He gave the disciples certain important predictions: "These things have I spoken unto you, that ye should not be offended. " They shall put you out of the synagogues; yea, the time cometh, when whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." This was part of the prospect the Saviour opened before His apostles, which was not very attractive or cheering. Nevertheless, He would not deceive them. "I have spoken these things unto you, that you should not be offended. First, they will draw the ecclesiastical sword, and turn you out of the synagogue, or excommunicate you; and secondly, they will draw the civil sword and kill you. And this took place in the experience of most of the apostles of Christ, and this has been the experience also of thousands of God's people since their days. Oh the sham religion of persecuting Antichrist! And I could go a little closer too if I had time. Ecclesiastical judges sat upon certain cases, and condemned professors of religion for holding certain doctrines; and then handed them over to the civil power. They tried cases religiously, and found thousands guilty of heresy, and then handed them over to the magistrate to be executed. And this was a literal fulfillment of the words, "

They shall excommunicate you; and the time cometh when whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." Thus we are reminded of the fact that there was a measure of conscientiousness connected with all this. Be very careful when you hear people talk about acting up to their con­sciences, and that their actions should follow its dictates. Conscience may be wrong, and if there is no grace therein, it is not good. If there has been no blood applied, and one is not directed by the Holy Spirit, he will err in following the requirements and demands of his conscience. The persecutors that killed the apostles thought that by doing so they were doing God service. Was their conduct, however, approved by the God of heaven? "I speak these things unto you now, that when the time comes ye may not be offended." Sin and grace can never coalesce, and the church and the world cannot be united together. The two companies, the two societies, the two seeds are wondrously distinct from each other. The world will hate the people of God, and the saints will not be able to associate with the world. "If any man loves the world, the love of the Father is not in Him; and "whosoever will be a friend of the world is the enemy of God." Let us, therefore, shine as believers, and make up our minds to be persecuted if we do so. Thank God they can not draw the civil sword against us now, nor cast us into prison for the sake of Christ and His truth. Nevertheless, the spirit of persecution is still in existence; and if the restraints were removed from it, it would break forth in forms as cruel, and as bitter, as in days past and gone. Well, the Saviour predicted persecution, and then He gave them great and precious promises to comfort their souls. And now He says, "I go my way to Him that sent me." He had been with them three years, and during that period they had walked up and down the land with Him, and the hand of persecution had scarcely ever fallen upon them, but upon their Leader and Captain. "Now, I am no more with you, I am going my way to Him that sent Me," and it is expedient for you that I should do so.

The subject before us is the departure of our Lord from this world to His Father. I shall make no remarks upon the latter clause of this verse. a Now, I go my way to Him that sent me." The first thought that occurs to my mind, as requiring a like notice is, when did the Saviour depart to Him that sent Him '? "But now I go my way." Let me here observe in somewhat general forms that our Lord is perfectly punctual, and that Divine punctuality constitutes a branch of our eternal salvation and life. Time is of the utmost importance to God and also to His people. In my spirit I wish that God's saints felt more than they appear to feel in regard to this. A year or a month is a very important period, and so is a week or a day. How many minutes are lost! And yet a minute is important in the government of God. And I go further, for I am warranted to do so, and say that moments which are the smallest points of time are important in the providence and grace of God. "For a small moment have I forsaken thee; but with great mercies will I gather thee." "A vineyard of red wine: I the Lord do keep it, I will water it every moment" This vineyard must be an important one, and a very extraordinary place to require watering every moment. What is the meaning of the phraseology, "I will water it every moment Why, it means this, my friends, that the blessing of God never ceases to fall, that the enriching grace of God never ceases to distil upon the heads and hearts of His people on the earth. Our thoughts are very quick, for they spring up and travel in a moment, like a flash of lightning to the ends of the earth, and in a moment they are in heaven or hell. And how much has arisen from a thought! One may have given rise to an empire; for "Behold how great a matter a little fire kindled!" And if thoughts may be the seeds of such great results, they are matters of importance in the government of God, and He might well say, "I will water it every moment." But what has this to do with our text? My subject just now is Divine punctuality, and the Saviour was Divinely punctual in every branch of His work, and in every step He took as the Saviour of lost and ruined sinners. When the time was come, and He was due in this world, He appeared upon the scene; for He came in due time. Our gracious God never comes too early, or before He is needed, and, bless His name, He never comes to the help of His people too late. When Jesus Christ was due on earth, He appeared at the very hour, and an angel of God announced His advent, "Unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour which is Christ the Lord." And then, further, our Lord died at the appointed time. "These words spake Jesus, and lifted up His eyes to heaven, and said, Father, the hour is come." Our Lord referred to a particular hour that was agreed upon between Himself and His Father in the council of peace, before the foundation of the world. How much depended on that hour! It was the grand central point of time, out of which flowed, and still continues to flow streams of eternal life and salvation. When Jesus was due in Gethsemane, He appeared in the garden; and when He was due on Calvary, He appeared on the accursed tree. When He was due in heaven as the returning High Priest of our profession, He ascended to His God and our God, and to His Father and our Father. He went His way to Him that sent Him. Was it by chance that our Lord died during the time the Jews celebrated their Passover? No, it was a matter of pre-ordination, and Divine appointment. "Christ our Passover is sacrificed for us;" and it was right and proper that the antitype should answer to the type, and the substance to the shadow, and therefore, our Passover was sacrificed for us at a particular time. It was not a matter of chance that our Lord died at three o'clock in the afternoon. You are aware that in the former dispensation there were two daily sacrifices for sin, one called the morning sacrifice at nine o'clock, and the other the evening sacrifice, at three o'clock in the afternoon. Christ is our morning and our evening Lamb; and at the ninth hour, which was three o'clock in the afternoon, "He cried with a loud voice, and said, It is finished and gave up the ghost." And how striking was the fact that at that hour the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, even at the very moment the priest was standing before it offering the evening incense to the God of Israel. How it must have startled him! Well, all that was divinely arranged, and I put these historical facts before you, for the purpose of encouraging you to hope in the infinite and boundless mercy of that God who times all the operations of His hand and keeps all His appointments with His beloved people. "Jesus said, And now I go my way to Him that sent Me." It appears then that He went to heaven, or returned to His Father, after He had finished His work on the earth; and that He would not, and did not die until He had finished it; for His life was in His own hands: "I have power to lay it down, and I have power to take it again." He came to do a certain work in a certain time, and He went about it and through it like the great God- man and Mediator. He worked every day for three-and-thirty years, and when they were expired He was at the end of His sufferings and His labor, when He lifted up His eyes towards His Father in heaven, and said, " It is finished, and bowed His head, and gave up the ghost." Our Lord's work was completed before He died and went to heaven. How unlike you and me in our performances, even those which give us most pleasure and satisfaction. A finishing stroke or two is wanted here and there, and something extra is required to render it satisfactory. But here we have, or had, the great God man, the grand embodiment of Divine wisdom, love, and omnipotence, saving sinners, who proceeded with His work, sweating blood, and weeping and dying the curse away; and when it was' all gone, and the storm was all over, and millions were redeemed and saved, then He said, " Now. I go my way to Him that sent Me." Here, then in, the first place, we have the time when our dear Lord went to heaven.

In the second place, let us look at the point or the place from which lie departed. "I go my way to Him that sent Me." He was in this world. I do not know whether He has ever been in other worlds as He was in this. He is in other worlds with regard to His omnipresence, for as God He is everywhere; but whether He has visited other worlds as He visited this, I am not required to know. He has been here, and tabernacle on earth; and having saved sinners, and fulfilled His Father's purpose, He said, Now I shall leave the place; and He went from the scene of His labor. Now, I want to remind you of two or three things; first, that the bodily presence of Christ on the earth is not now needed; secondly, that it is not expedient; and thirdly, that it is not possible. In the first place, the bodily presence of Christ in this world is not now needed. The saints do not need it. When I say His bodily presence, my hearers understand me. I mean the real visible presence of Jesus Christ, as God-man. He is really and truly God, but He is man as well as God, and therefore, God and man in one great Person. As man He cannot be in two places at the same time, although as God He is everywhere. As man, however, He must be located somewhere, and the Scriptures represent Him as sitting at the Father's right hand. We need Him there, but we do not need Him here. His bodily presence, since He has saved His people from condemnation is in heaven. If we need it here, it must be to fulfill some purpose. Is it for revelation? Do we need Him here to reveal the things of God unto us? He has done that, and the revelation is written here, and it is sufficiently full and copious. Is it for the application of salvation to the heart? Does that require His presence here? The Holy Ghost does that: "He shall take of Mine, and shall show it unto you:" And if we have the Holy Ghost to apply salvation in this world, we do not require the presence of Jesus to do it. If Immanuel had not been here and bled, the Spirit would not now be here to apply anything. The Lord Jesus, however, came and bled and died, and then went to Him that sent Him, and now the Holy Ghost takes the blood that was shed, and applies it to the consciences of those whom He saved. We do not require, you see, the bodily presence of Jesus for revelation, nor for application. Neither is it required for consolation. Some of God's people have fancied that it would be very agreeable and pleasant to have Jesus personally here, that they might see Him and talk with Him, and have to do with Him every day. Well, we should want Him in our congregation, and other congregations of saints would like to have Him also. It is best that His bodily presence should be in heaven, and His spiritual presence here. "Lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world." "Now, I go My way to Him that sent Me." My bodily presence with you on earth is no longer needful, and I am going to My God and your God, to My Father and your Father.

Again, the bodily presence of Jesus Christ is not expedient. "It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you." His bodily presence is not expedient; for first, we are to live by faith, and not by sight; and if He were on the earth, we should, like His immediate followers and disciples, live by sight and not by faith; and this state of things was gently reproved by Christ in Thomas. "Thomas, because thou hast seen Me, thou hast believed. Blessed are they that have not seen, and yet have believed." It is blessed to see Christ and to believe at sight; but it is more blessed to believe without seeing: so said our great and glorious Saviour. We walk by faith, we live by faith, and we stand by faith. The world derides us, because we pray to a God that they and we cannot see, and sing psalms and hymns, and make a joyful noise unto a Being Whom we believe and declare to be in heaven. We do believe He is there; and more than that we believe He is our God, our portion and our all. Therefore,

"Come, let us join our cheerful songs
With angels round the throne

For we live by faith of joys to come, and are as confident of the existence of our God as if we had seen Him face to face. Not expedient that Christ should be here, for I do not think we could bear His glory. He would have to veil the splendor of His majesty, if He lived among us.

John saw a measure of His glory in the Isle of Patmos, and what was the effect thereof upon him? "I fell at His feet as dead." Why, surely it is not pleasure, nor joyful communion with Jesus to fall as dead and powerless as in a swoon at His feet. We shall not so fall before Him in heaven. We could not bear the glory here. I am, said the Master, about to be glorified, and "now I go My way to Him that sent Me." Again, ordinances would be superfluous if Jesus were bodily present with us now. Should I require the bread and wine if Jesus were before my eyes j He that shed His blood and saved my soul. What should I want the ordinance of believers' baptism for, if I had before me that dear Saviour, in whom was opened the fountain for sin and for uncleanness?

We said also that His bodily presence here was not possible. First, we do not need it, then it is not expedient, and thirdly, it is not possible. That is a great word to use. It is impossible on this ground. Were Jesus bodily present with us in this world, He could not complete our salvation and deliverance. Having made the atonement He was hound to take it into the holiest of all, and present it to His Father there. "If He were on earth, He should not be a priest; seeing that there are priests that offer gifts according to the law. Having magnified the law, and made it for ever honorable, He was bound as our law-fulfiller, to appear in the presence of the great Lawgiver there. We need Him there, and could not do without His presence where He is now, but we now need the Holy Ghost to reveal to us the things of Christ, and this we are favored with. The Spirit abides with us for ever, but Jesus dwells in heaven, and we are going to Him. He will not now come to us, only in a way of spiritual power; but by and bye when His mediatorial kingdom is completed, "He will come again the second time, without sin unto salvation. He is gone from this world to His Father.

Thirdly, how did He depart? "Now, I go My way to Him that sent Me." Did He go alone? No, angels attended Him:—

"They brought His chariot from above,
To bear Him to His throne;
Clapped their triumphant wings, and cried,
The glorious work is done!"

Was that all ? I think not, for many bodies of the saints that slept arose, and came out of their graves after His resurrection, and appeared unto many in Jerusalem. Did they die again, and were they again buried? As angels accompanied the great Conqueror to His throne, I apprehend our great Redeemer took those saints to heaven with Him; so that there was a kind of representative gathering composed of angels and risen saints, whom He presented, if I may so express myself, as a pledge and example of what the whole should be at the last great day. Nor did He go empty-handed to His Father. What did He carry with Him? A stainless character, and a great and new name. He took with Him a magnified law, and put it into the ark of the covenant which is the mercy-seat, and covered the whole with His own propitiation. Thus He magnified the law and made it honorable. He carried with Him the price of our redemption, and presented it to His Father, and Justice said, Loose them all and let them go: I am well pleased for His righteousness' sake. He carried with Him on His breast-plate, as our great High Priest all the names of His beloved people. He went to heaven bodily and officially. Our Surety was released and returned to Him that sent Him. He went as a Conqueror. He left behind Him all the powers of darkness conquered, the world overcome, death unstrung, and the grave consecrated and subjected to Himself; while before Him was the glory in which He now dwells. He is crowned with many crowns, His seat is at the Father's right hand, and He has an everlasting right to present the persons and the offerings of all His ransomed people. My dear friends, our Lord is now just where we require Him to be as a priest a prince, and a Saviour. He is on the other side of death. What should we do, if having passed through death, we met not there our Saviour the Lord Jesus Christ? Yes, He has passed through death, and waits on the other side to receive our souls when we arrive in that world. He is in heaven, and we on entering shall see Him face to face. People talk about entering heaven, and looking about for brothers and sisters, and deacons and pastors and so on; but I apprehend that the saint of God on entering his home will look for the Saviour. Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, Joseph, and others are there, and we are glad to know it; but "Whom have I in heaven but Thee? And there is none upon the earth that I desire beside Thee!" We require the presence of Christ before God, between Him and our poor souls. When Jesus went to Him that sent Him, there was nothing between Him and His Father; and we, having reached heaven, my brethren, shall find nothing between us and our Saviour. Sin is put away, guilt has been removed, and the devil is conquered and chained. No, we want no priest between Christ and our souls, and no creature to introduce us to Him. There is an open way for the sinner to the Saviour, as there was an open way for the Saviour to His Father. What is Jesus to you? The pearl of great price, the chiefest among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely. You say I could afford to lose this, and that, and the other friend, and this comfort and the other; but I could not afford to lose my Lord. Jesus is my all in all, and He is in heaven. Therefore, my heart and my affections are there; "for where the treasure is, there will the heart be also."

"Jesus, my all, to heaven is gone,
He whom I fix my hopes upon;
His track I see, and I'll pursue
The narrow way till Him I view."

The Lord command His blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen.

17 THE ACT AND TIME OF DIVINE DELIVERANCE FORGOTTEN

THE ACT AND TIME OF DIVINE DELIVERANCE FORGOTTEN.

A SERMON

Preached by Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET,

CLERKENWELL,

ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, 1st AUGUST,1886,

"They remembered not His hand, nor the day when he delivered them from the enemy —{Ps 78:42}.

Our Lord said to the children of Israel, through Moses His be­loved servant, "Thou shalt remember all the way in which the Lord thy God hath led thee these forty years in the wilderness." Those words are still fresh, and they are still in force. It well becomes the children of God even to-day, to remember the dealings of their Heavenly Father with their souls, and with their bodies also; but like the children of Israel, we are prone to forget our God, and to forget those great and gracious deliverances also, which he has so frequently wrought for us. God complains as it were of this in connection with the nation of Israel, in the psalm out of which we have taken our text to-night, saying, "Ye have turned back, and tempted God, and limited the Holy One of Israel." Have you and I never "limited the Holy One of Israel?" Have not thousands of the members of God's church limited God, the great Head of the church, in every age of time? And is it not the policy of the devil to tempt the people of God to limit the Holy One of Israel? Satan knows well that in proportion as we limit our God our hearts are barren, and a spirit of rebellion prevails within. We are, if one may speak for others, exceedingly prone to limit God with respect to time, for we want to bind Him in relation to this point. We want Him to hear us, and to hear us now. We want certain blessings, and we want them to-day. We desire to see His almighty hand, and we want Him, as it were, to put it out of heaven at the present time. God, however, will not be limited by His creatures as to time. He will, and He must work, for He has bound Himself to do so; but He will work in His own way, and also in His own time. The children of Israel, like God's dear people now, sometimes in impatience and unbelief, limited their covenant God in this respect. Then, again, they frequently limited Him as to the blessings they wanted. They not only desired His blessing, but they complained if this or the other particular blessing was not given, Notwithstanding that God's hands are full of mercies, they mention particular favors or manifestations of His goodness, which they believe are needful, and they would bind the Almighty God to grant them what they deem indispensable gifts. Thus they limited the Holy One of Israel. Again, they sometimes limited Him with regard to their position, and their path or paths in the wilderness. And have you and I never said, in relation to providential and perhaps, in relation to spiritual matters also, "Lord, not that way, lead us not in that path." We have tried, and have done our very best, or worst, to limit the Almighty One of Israel as to this matter. God, however, has marked out the path in which His people shall walk; for "it is not in man that walketh to direct his steps," therefore, their goings are of the Lord. Our God will do all His will as to the paths in which He leads His people, as to the blessings He confers upon them, and as to the times and periods of appearing unto and for them. But, perhaps, one of the worst features of our experience is, that of limiting the Holy One of Israel as to His work and His power; hence it is said in my text, to-night, "They remembered not His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy."

Having thus reached the subject, let me offer a few plain and simple remarks upon it. The text divides itself very easily into three parts: — First, the hand of God; second, the day on which that hand appeared; and third, the fact asserted,—Israel did not remember it.

In the first place, let us make a few observations on the hand of God. "They remembered not His hand." We are now to lose sight of times and circumstances, at least for a few minutes, and endeavor to meditate upon the glorious hand of our covenant God. Sometimes we try to preach His heart, and at other times we preach His eye, while when so directed we try to set forth His attentive ear which is ever ready to hear prayer, or we dwell upon His bowels of mercies: but to­night for a few minutes we are to direct our attention to His hand.

I notice in the first place, that we, like the children of Israel are sometimes forgetful of the oath of God. Do you say, What has that to do with His hand? I will tell you, for perhaps you have forgotten the fact, and we are very prone to forget very much that is of great importance, God's oath is connected with His hand. There are various methods of taking oaths, and different countries take them in different ways. The children of Israel, or the Jewish nation took oaths or swore in the presence of God by lifting up their hands. Hence Abraham said, " I have lifted up mine hand unto the Lord, the Most High God, the possessor of heaven and earth, that I will not take from a thread even to a shoe-latchet " from the people whom I have succoured and delivered, lest they should charge me with having been selfish and covetous. He deemed it a matter of importance to swear before God that in what he had done he was quite disinterested, and desired no material gain; hence, "I have lifted up my hand unto the Most High God." Well now, our God has in condescension to our weakness and darkness,—and I do beg attention to this,—in order that we may not forget His hand, in condescension to our feebleness, our God has said, "I lift up My hand to heaven and say, I live for ever, so that we have God's promise and God's oath, and we often forget them both, losing sight of them altogether. " They remembered not His hand," which God lifted up for Abraham their ancestor and swear two things; first, "Abraham, I will be thy God," and I confirm My promise by My oath. I lift up My hand to heaven and say, By My life, and My name, and My honor, I will be Thy God; and secondly, I lift up My hand and swear, that having become your God, I will give you the land of Canaan." And our God has promised that He will be our God; and as an oath for confirmation puts an end to all strife,—God, because He could swear by no greater, swear by Himself, that He would for ever be our God:

`Abram, I'll be Thy God," He said;
And He was Abram's God."

And what He said to Abraham in covenant, that He says to every believer in His own great name whether he be great or small. "I will be Thy God and, further, having promised and sworn that He would be our God for ever, He has also promised and sworn that He will give us the land of promised rest. Do you always remember this solemn act of Jehovah, these holy promises of your God, and this solemn oath of the great I AM ?

"His honor and His name's at stake, To save me from the burning lake."

To come down as low as I possibly can, I think of Nehemiah's words, "Who desire to fear Thy name." There are those in the family of God who cannot speak positively with regard to the nature and character of their fear; but you can speak positively with regard to your desire to fear God's name. That desire must be fulfilled, for God is its Author, and its root is His grace, and you are among those honored persons for whom God lifted up His hand, and swear by Himself that He would be your God for ever, and take you to dwell for ever with Himself. Now, as our time is limited, our remarks must be brief, and therefore, let that suffice for the first point. They remembered not His uplifted hand when He swear that He would save them.

In the second place, they remembered not the almightiness of His hand. They not only forgot how solemn it was, but they remembered not its strength. And if I may speak for you, you are very prone to forget the same fact. Our God, however, has said, "Behold, the Lord's hand is not shortened that it cannot save, neither His ear heavy, that it cannot hear." I would always hear the voice of my covenant God and heavenly Father asking me as it were the question, "Is anything too hard for the Lord Is there a rocky heart too hard for Me to break? Is there a knotty question too hard for Me to answer? Are there puzzling and perplexing circumstances too tangled for Me to unravel? Will you limit My wisdom? Will you regard Me as having an arm too short to reach you, or too unskillful to manage your affairs? They remembered not the strength of God's arm, and they forgot what He had done. They went back in their hearts, it is said, to Egypt, and remembered not what God had done for them there,—how He put His strong arm underneath the whole nation, and lifted them all out of the fiery furnace at once; and they forgot it all. They forgot also how marvelously He made a way for them through the sea and in the wilderness. They saw that great sight, the outstretched hand of God, in the fiery and cloudy pillar, they saw the whole host of Egypt behind them, and the rolling waters and dividing waters before them, and how God with His strong hand went before and opened a way for them all through the Red Sea. Having reached, however, the opposite shore of the sea, and seen all their enemies destroyed, it was not long before they began to talk about stoning Moses. You have brought us out of Egypt to perish here in the desert. Let us not pelt the children of Israel, for we are not better than they. Let us not cast stones at them; for, like them, we have most ungratefully for­gotten the strength of the arm of the Lord our God. He has done much for us, and in some respects more for us, spiritually, than He did for the children of Israel. Theirs was a temporal redemption, ours is a spiritual one. Theirs was a temporal deliverance, ours is a spiritual one; and the marvelous manner in which the Red Sea was divided, was a manifestation of Divine providence, and providence is in many respects inferior to, at least it is always subordinate to God's grace. They forgot what He had done, and we forget what He is doing now; whilst His everlasting arms are underneath us, and we are lying in them. Oh what provoking creatures are we! And what a merciful God is ours! We lie in His everlasting arms, and murmur and question His right to do what He is doing, or the wisdom of His dealings with us! "You may do this, sir, but we do not." I am glad if you do not; but my heart is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. I would have something in the church that I do not see in it, and something in this, that, and the other individual that I do not see in them, and a good deal in the circumstances of my life, that I cannot find in them; yet the church is not mine, but God's, and all souls are in His hands; and, therefore, it must be that,

"My life's minutest circumstance,
Is subject to His eye."

And yet, whilst everlasting arms are underneath me, and in my judgment and understanding I believe that I should sink into perdition were it not so, I complain of the conduct of My heavenly Father. They remembered not His hand, how strong it was, and how its omnipotence was displayed. Its omnipotence is being displayed now, and we forget what He has done, and also the strength of His arm with regard to the future. What have we to do with the future? Nothing, or not much at present, except this one important point which should not be lost sight of, "I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee." This is a thousand times better for us, than if we possessed the spirit of prophecy, and could look into the future and see what God's arrangements are. Grasp that promise with all your hearts if you can, and you may leave the future where it is, in the hands of your gracious and covenant God. They remembered not the omnipotence of His arm. They forgot the victories He had wrought for them, the way He had made for them, and how He had preserved them. The victories He had achieved for them. "His right hand and His holy arm hath gotten Him the victory." That high and strong hand and holy arm hath gotten us the victory until now; and I do not, brethren, go too far, for are you not something more than conquerors and overcomers here to-night. Have you been trampled on and destroyed as a Christian? No, not yet. Then Satan has not finally overcome you, but in fact you are hitherto more than conquerors through the blood, and power, and word of the Lamb. Forget not the victories He has wrought for you.

Again, I sometimes think we are prone to forget another important point in connection with the wonder-working hand of God; and that is, how He preserved us, before we knew His dear name. "Preserved in Christ Jesus, and called." We are ready enough to begin with those matters with which God began with us, or that is how we express ourselves. My brother, God did not begin with you in your regeneration; the new birth was not the commencement of God's power, and favor, and mercy towards you. In point of fact, God's mercy and favor had no beginning. But let me speak of the actual and active manifestations of His power. The moment you came into the world the arms of Divine providence received you, and you were preserved in Christ Jesus before you were called. Many of God's people have had hair-breadth escapes from death, before they were quickened by His grace. The late Mr. Gadsby used to say, as I have been informed, and I think I have read it somewhere, in relation to preservation before calling: "The people of God cannot die, while in a state of nature, for the life of them." Not that they were alive in themselves, but,

"He gave us grace in Christ His Son,
Before He spread the starry sky."

Saul of Tarsus could not die a Pharisee. The thief could not die before grace entered his heart, and sweetly forced him to say, (lord, remember me, when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." The jailor could not die before he was brought to say, "Sirs, what must I do to be saved?" Yes, we forget God's strong arm, which preserved and protected us when we cursed His name, and by which we have been supplied, and preserved, and blessed until now.

Again, they forgot the skillfulness of His Hand, as well as its strength. A person may have great physical strength, and yet not know how to use it; and if one be strong and ignorant, he may prove a very dangerous person. Our God's arm is an almighty one, and His wisdom is infinite and infallible. His great strength can never be employed against His people. He never guesses at anything, and He never chooses as we express it, the lesser of two evils. He is always right, and He always has been so. However mysterious His conduct may have been, and however deep the wonders of His providence may have proved, the keenest-sighted fiend has never yet detected a fault or a blemish in His character or His government. Hell has watched His hand, and would be glad to find an error in God's conduct and operations; but He goes on working in a sovereign manner, and almightiness pursues an infinitely wise course. Has it not been so in your experience and mine? As I said last Tuesday, when preaching on an anniversary occasion at Gravesend, had I been permitted to have my way, I should now have been at Meopham, and not have settled in London at all; but my ways are not the ways of the Lord, neither are my thoughts His thoughts. Could I have had my way and have frustrated the purposes of God in that particular, I should have done the people in that place no good, and they would have done me none. Oh! It is best as it is; and, therefore, let us not forget the skillfulness of the hand of the Lord our God. How marvelously He worked when the first rank of the children of Israel were at the edge of the water, at the Red Sea. Perhaps the feet of the foremost were almost in the water, when God said to Moses, "Wherefore criest thou unto Me? Speak unto the children of Israel that they go forward although at that moment there was no way for them to do so. They were to take God at His word, and as they went forward the waters were divided for them. Almighty power made a path, and infinite wisdom and skill guided the operations of God's hand and the people found a new way, a right way, an unexpected way, a safe way, a marvelous way, because it was made by the wonder-working hand of God : yet they remembered not His hand.

Again, they forgot the fullness of His hand. Not only its omnipotence and skillfulness but what was in it? What was in God's hand, then? And what is in it now? A sword was then in it, and a sword is there now. Joshua said, when a mysterious being appeared before Him with a drawn sword in His hand, "Art thou for us, or for our enemies?" and he soon received a satisfactory answer to his question. Your God has a drawn sword, not to smite you with, but your enemies. In another respect He is represented as having a sword girded upon His thigh. He has not done fighting yet, but has other blows to strike, other foes to destroy, other systems to cast down, and other conquering work to do. There is sword in God's hand, which He will bring down upon Idumea, and upon all the enemies of His church and people. Remember that He holds a sword. What else? He has a rod as well as a sword in His hand. "Hear the rod, and who hath appointed it. And who is the rod for? Not for the devil, but for the children of God; for whilst it is His intention to smite His enemies with the sword, it is His purpose to chastise His people with a rod. You do not believe this, perhaps. I have had hearers in this place occasionally, who were not believers in Divine chastisement. This I cannot help; for I do not consider when I enter the pulpit, or am in it, what my hearers believe or what they do not believe. I believe in Divine chastisement, and that God's hand holds a rod as well as a sword. I have some experience in this direction, for I have been chastised again and again, and I hope the Lord will never leave me to myself in this respect. Do not forget, then, the sword; and do not forget the rod. What else is there in His hand? "In the hand of the Lord there is a cup, and the wine is red, it is full of mixture." How large this cup is I cannot tell; but "He poureth out of the same; but the dregs thereof all the wicked of the earth shall wring them out, and drink them." But remember there was a cup in God's hand when the dear Redeemer was in Gethsemane; and the Saviour emptied it. Remember also the cup of salvation which is in God's hand. What shall I render unto Him? " I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the Lord." Remember His hands are full of blessing, and every morning He comes into our rooms and fills our cups. Day by day, we receive blessings undeserved. Do you always think of this? Israel remembered not that His hands were full of blessings.

Then again His hand is a 'bountiful one. It is ever open. "Thou openest Thine hand, and satisfiest the desire of every living thing." As the God of providence, He blesses the earth, and satisfies the desire of every living thing; for who can have temporal good without the goodness of God? And He has a right to supply from nature the ordinary wants of His people and others. And then, He supplies His people from that mediatorial fullness which it hath pleased Him should dwell in His beloved Son. From that immeasurably deep fullness have all we received, and grace for grace. Do not be afraid, for, Paul says, "My God shall supply all your need, according to His riches in glory, by Christ Jesus." Thus we have God's upraised hand denoting His promise and His oath, the almightiness of His hand, the skillfulness of His hand, the fullness of His hand, and His perpetual bounty.

Thus far we've proved the promise good,
Which Jesus ratified with blood."

Now, a word, and only a word, on the day indicated in the text. "They remembered not His hand, nor the day when He delivered them from the enemy." I have selected this text because I trust it was applied to my mind by the Spirit; but when it came to me these two points especially impressed my heart,—the hand, and the day. Both were forgotten by the children of Israel, and both are forgotten in a measure by the Lord's people now. The day they remembered not. Well, what is there in a day? Very much, for first, it was the appointed day, and they forgot that; you have not forgotten the portion I read at the commencement of the service to-night, {Ge 15}. Thy seed shall be a stranger in a land that is not theirs, and they shall afflict them four hundred years." A date was given, given by God, whose strong hand was forgotten. "They shall afflict them four hundred years; and I will judge that nation, and then bring out thy seed with great substance." Then mark in Ex 12 what the Holy Ghost says, "And it came to pass at the end of the four hundred years, even on the self-same day it came to pass, that all the hosts of the Lord went out of the land of Egypt." They forgot that day, and the hand that brought them out; and that very day, according to God's word, He delivered them. The deep affliction of Israel did not induce God to go there before He was due; and the hostility and opposition of Pharaoh did not prevent Him from going when He was due. When, therefore, the hands of the clock, as it were, pointed at the very time God had indicated, He was there, with His high hand and out stretched arm, and delivered His people. Our deliverances are appointed and God will come at the self-same time. Let us never forget what a hand we have to work for us, and that the operations of God's hand are all timed. Again, that day was their birthday, as a nation. "This month shall be unto you the beginning of months, it shall be the first month of the year to you." Their deliverance from Egypt changed the beginning of their year. They did not live until God brought them out of Egypt. Their national life then commenced. And you and I did not live before we were born again, and when the new birth took place we commenced to live for God, and to live for ever. Let us not forget that day, nor the hand that regenerated us, and the fact that when we were born again, we came forth as God's children and as new creatures, to live a new life for ever and ever. We then commenced our journey to Canaan, so did they? This was the morning of our spiritual life; and we sometimes sing,

"Thus far on our way to Zion,
We through grace divine are come;
And the God whom we rely on,
Soon will hid us welcome home."

Do not forget the time when you started for heaven, though like many of God's dear people, you may not be able to indicate the exact period when the work of grace was commenced ; and do not forget the strong almighty hand which was then raised for your defense.

And lastly, this was the day of Divine appropriation; for God said, The people in that iron furnace of Egypt are Mine, and I will go and deliver them, because they Mine. Relationship precedes deliverance, and deliverance proves our covenant relation to God.

Time will not admit of our entering upon the third point, the fact asserted, They remembered not the great deliverance the Lord wrought for them ; and although we also are prone to forget, can we not say and sing;

"0 bless the Lord, my soul;
Nor let His mercies lie
Forgotten in un-thankfulness,
And without praises die.
His wondrous works and ways,
He made by Moses known;
But sent the world His truth and grace,
By His beloved Son."

The Lord command His blessing, for Christ's sake. Amen.

18 GOD PRAISED FOR HIS WORKS AND WAYS.

GOD PRAISED FOR HIS WORKS AND WAYS.

A SERMON

Preached BY Mr. HAZELTON,

AT MOUNT ZION CHAPEL, CHADWELL STREET,

CLERKENWELL,

ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, 7th NOVEMBER, 1886.

"And the heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord; Thy faithfulness also in the congregation, of the saints." {Ps 89:5}.

The love of God was shed abroad in the heart of the Psalmist, when he penned this comprehensive and precious portion of the Divine Word. His spirit was warmed and fertilized with grace Divine, his faith in his covenant God was strong, and his hope was fixed upon the mercy of the Lord. Contemplating himself as a sinner saved by grace, and considering also the greatness of the salvation in which he was interested, he expressed this resolution, " I will sing of the mercies of the Lord (or Jehovah) for ever, with my mouth will I make known Thy faithfulness to all generations." The Psalmist was experimentally acquainted with the triune God; when, therefore, he mentioned the great and glorious name of Jehovah, he had reference to the mercies of the Father, of the Son, and of the Spirit. "I will sing of His mercies for ever." This implies that he believed the mercies of the Lord would never cease; for "the mercy of the Lord is from everlasting to everlasting unto them that fear Him." Mercy assumes many forms, and flows in numerous channels, and goodness and mercy are following us from day to day, even all the days of our life. We sing of the great Three entering into covenant engagements for the certain salvation of all the objects of God's love. We sing of mercy as it flows through the wounds of the Saviour, in streams of powerful, fragrant, and precious blood; and we sing of the mercy of the Spirit, which has opened our blind eyes, unstopped our deaf ears, and opened our hearts to receive the greatest boon that God can give,—the Divine nature, a new life, and the root of the matter. This also was implied on the part of the writer, that he verily believed he should live for ever and not finally fall from grace. But shall we not grow weary, and want some other subject to sing about in the presence of God? No, the mercies of God are ever full, and ever fresh and sweet, and their innumerable forms and expressions will engage the enraptured attention of all the countless millions of the redeemed and glorified for ever and ever. Heaven is a wondrous world, and our experience there will be marvelous, as I believe, and our song will ever flow from the sweetest joy that God can give. The pleasure will never become shallow or less than full and perfect. The Psalmist had referred more especially to the mercies of God, which are discovered and displayed in the covenant of grace. "I have made," says God, It a covenant with My chosen," I have ratified that covenant with an oath, for I have sworn unto David My servant. David was a type only, Christ is the Antitype. God made a covenant with David concerning his royal house, and He made a covenant with David's great Lord concerning all His own royal sons and daughters. "Thy seed will I establish for ever." If we only believe this, under the hallowing and helping influences of the Spirit of God, we shall pursue our pilgrimage with cheerfulness and delight. "Thy seed will I establish for ever." Do we belong to that seed? Are we among the purchase of the Saviour's blood? Have we been born again? Are our names registered in heaven? Are we among that large and mighty number concerning whom it is said, "He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in His hands?" Then let us take the comfort presented to us in these words, "Thy seed will I establish for ever, and build up Thy throne to all generations." And what then? "And the heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord; thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints."

Now having thus reached the text, I will endeavor, by the help of the Spirit, to make some observations upon it by gathering up a few points which it embodies. First, let us look at some of the Divine wonders indicated in the text: "The heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord. Our God is a wonder-working God, and has been so ever since He commenced working, and He will never cease to work wonders. Having begun to work, He will continue His wondrous operations forever. "I will work," whoever is idle, whoever opposes, whoever resists, and "who shall let it?" And what will He do?  "I will Do all My pleasure."

Nothing can be plainer, nothing can be more absolute than this, "I will do all My pleasure." We contemplate the powers of darkness, for there are such powers in existence and operation; and we are thankful that they are chained and restrained, and that there is not a fiend in existence who can say, I will do what I please, or I can do all my pleasure. We contemplate ministers of the gospel, and deacons of Christian Churches, and persons of influence, and we are thankful that none of them can say, I will do all my pleasure. We meditate for a minute or two upon God's angels in heaven, and although they are like their Maker, and are in perpetual sympathy with the Holy God, these words never fell from their lips; Gabriel has never said, "I will do all my pleasure." It becomes us therefore, on hearing these words from God Himself, to study the character of the Being who says He will do just as He pleases in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. You know there is a saying which embodies a very great truth, although it does not occur in the Bible, "God is too wise to err, and too good to be unkind." He cannot change, He cannot deny Himself, He cannot lie, He cannot do wrong. Injustice and iniquity can never be charged upon our God, He works mysteriously, but He works in holiness; He works in the dark, but He is never wrong, and we sometimes look on with wonder and consternation but He is never capable of making a mistake while doing all His pleasure. Seated on His throne, and surrounded by saints and angels, He is doing all His pleasure, and He will do all His pleasure on the earth. Our God would be unhappy if He were not able to do all He wills to do. His arm is strong enough to do all He pleases, and long enough to reach the most distant friend, and the most distant enemy in existence. His ear is not heavy, that he cannot hear the voice of His people, the groaning of the prisoner, and the unuttered, and unexpressed desires of them that put their trust in Him. His eye, unlike yours and mine, never becomes dim; for He is the same, and of His years there is no end. He is not affected by time nor by eternal ages, and the fact that He has existed from all eternity has never changed Him. He is ever omnipotent, and ever great and glorious. Therefore let us sit down at His feet, and watch His hand; for He has formed a great plan which He is executing, and His operations are ever worthy of Himself. He has a right to do as He pleases in the armies of heaven and among the inhabitants of the earth. Yes, God is a wonder-working God, and "the heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord." Now, if I were able I might try to go into the wonders of God in creation, in providence, and into His deeper and richer wonders expressed and revealed in His covenant of grace and mercy. I have neither time nor ability to set forth the wondrous works of God in creation; but I frequently think of one or two expressions in the fortieth chapter of Isaiah and elsewhere, " Who stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in." I always regard these words as most grand and sublime, The heavens over our head are stretched out by God's hand, not like an arch of granite, but like a curtain, and the hand that so stretched them out will roll them up and change them one day, as a garment that is worn-out to be laid aside. "And stretched them out as a tent to dwell in." Spread them out as a tent. And are the mighty visible heavens a tent only?

Why are they said to be a tent 1 A tent is not a permanent building, but one set up with a view of being removed at some future time. The purpose to be fulfilled by the setting up of a tent is a temporary purpose, and when it is fulfilled the tent is removed. What a wonderful tabernacle is this! Who dwells in it? For He spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in. Worlds dwell there; whether they are inhabited or not, I cannot say; and it is not for me to dwell upon such a subject in a sermon. This world is peopled, and we, its numerous inhabitants are dwelling in this great tent. There is, however, a more wonderful world than this, and a state of things far more substantial and glorious than the visible heavens. "In my Father's house are many mansions," —not tents. In my Father's house are many mansions, and they are all to be inhabited. I tell you the truth; "if it were not so, I would have told you." I am going out of and beyond this tent, to prepare a place for you and if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again into this tent, and take it down, and fold up the curtain, and swear that time shall be no more; and then, I will receive you unto myself, that where I am there ye may be also. "The heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord." In Thy works, Thy word, and Thy ways. The works of God are,

"Immensely great! Immensely small
Yet one strange work exceeds them all."

The wonders of God appear in a blade of grass, and in a common daisy; in mountains, and in grains of sand; in the hugest creature, and in the tiniest being. I pity the person who fails to see the name of God upon every creature; for He has left it indelibly impressed upon all the works of His hand. I am not, however, to go into these matters or the wonders of God in creation.

Since my text refers to the covenant of grace, and to David's great and glorious and reigning Son, let us limit our attention for a few minutes to the wonders of God in His grace and salvation. Can any­thing be more wonderful than the incarnation of the Son of God? Oh that my heart felt it more deeply, and my lips spoke it more freely! Can anything be more astonishing than the fact that the mighty God became a babe, that the infinite One appeared in a human form a few spans long? "The heavens shall praise thy wonders, 0 Lord." I am lost in this mystery, and can only mention it. I introduce it at this time to bring it before you as well as I can. "Unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given; and the government shall be upon His shoulders, and His name shall be called Wonderful, Counselor, the Mighty God, the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. Of the increase of His government and peace there shall be no end." Of whom speaks the prophet this? Of the Babe in Bethlehem, concerning whom the angels praised God in the visible heavens, and said to the shepherds, "Unto you is born this day, in the city of David, a Saviour which is Christ the Lord." The infinite God appears in the form of a babe. The immeasurable, the unsearchable Jehovah, assumed a limited form, in a limited locality, for suffering and saving purposes. I am not speaking of God's essential greatness, but of what He was sovereignly pleased to become and do; He became flesh, and dwelt among as, limited as to locality and form. That apparently helpless little one, whom Mary and Joseph looked at with wonder and astonishment, was the God that made the world, and upholds it by the word of His power.

"His shoulders held up heaven and earth,
While Mary held up Him."

Can you understand it? My text does not say, The heavens shall comprehend Thy wonders, or fathom them, or reach their bottom; for they are incomprehensible, unfathomable, and bottomless; but "The heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord; Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints." But that is not all. That Babe became a Man of sorrows, and yet He did not cease to be God. No, all the Godhead was in Him when He worked at the trade of a carpenter, when He was baptized of John in Jordan, and when He stood unmoved and opened not His mouth while they spat upon Him. "Oh," said the infidel, "if Jesus were God, He would have struck the wretch dead in a moment that spat in His face." Devils might have done that, but it required the mighty God to bear it all calmly and patiently. Angels looked on and wondered where the scene would end; when their Maker was thus insulted and degraded. "The heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord." The Man of sorrows born to enter into sorrow, to extract all the penal bitterness from it, to sanctify it, to preside over it, and to convert it into a blessing to His people. Yes, He was a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. Not only did the infinite One become a babe and a Man of sorrows, which was marvelous; He was made a curse for us. God made Him who knew no sin, to be—not sinful—but sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him. Our Lord was nailed to the cross, and all the terrible curses that were due to sin fell upon Him, and had He not been the mighty God as well as a suffering and sorrowing man, they would have withered and destroyed Him. He was strong enough, however, to bear it all, and to exhaust the wrath incurred by guilty men, and the heavens are still praising these wonders of our God. What followed? He became our salvation and our life. Oh that I might sit until I die, under the cross of this mighty and wondrous Sufferer, and experience the working of that wonderful power by which sin is pardoned, mortified and removed. I need not seclude myself in a monastery, or isolate myself from society in order to mortify sin. Under the shadow of the solemn cross of Jesus, and realizing my interest in this wondrous act of the Lord my God, my eyes fill with tears, my heart expands and melts, and my feelings become spiritual and holy. Brethren and sisters, we need more of that power which comes from God through the wounds, and sorrows, and sufferings of His dear Son. Well, the heavens shall praise Thy Mediatorial wonders, 0 Lord.

What shall I say about heaven itself? I have not been there otherwise than I trust I have been at the gate of heaven by a living faith in the Lord my God. I think I know what heavenly joy and pleasure are, and what it is to be so near to heaven as to look down upon this vain world through which we are passing, without the slightest wish to live in it for ever. To look down upon its pomp, and show, and toys, and all its empty bubbles, with that gracious and spiritual contempt which is felt by one who almost joins in the songs of heaven, knowing that he is an heir of the kingdom, and longs to be there. But what shall we say about the wonders of God in heaven? "The heavens shall declare Thy wonders, 0 Lord." You that are parents are, I imagine, doing the very best you can for your children, for it is natural so to do. And God has done the best He could do for His children, wherefore He is not ashamed to be called their God. Whose child is that h It is the child of So-and-so, and he has done for him all he intends to do. He should be ashamed; for he might have done much more for him, without injuring himself or others of the family. The character of that saint or that pilgrim is marvelous. Who formed it? God. In what relation does God stand to that character? A Father. What provision has He made for that child? All things are yours, whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come—all are yours, even all that God can give. "The heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord." The best world in the universe is our home; it was built by God, and fitted up and furnished by Him for His family, and all is ready for every child. It is a wonderful home, and the way to it is as wonderful as heaven itself. "I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life." We are going to heaven by faith in a bleeding Christ. All other ways lead to darkness, death, and destruction. He that is a simple believer in the dear Redeemer is in the way to heaven. "The redeemed shall walk there, and the wayfaring man, though a fool, shall not err therein." A wonderful way to a wonderful home, and God's dear people are gradually and perpetually arriving. Three of our dear friends went a few days ago, and were received; I have no doubt, into everlasting mansions.

"Ten thousand to their endless home This solemn moment fly;

And we are to the margin come,
And soon expect to die."

What wonders! a world of light, a path of blood unto it; redeemed and sanctified ones walking in that path, and gradually arriving there, and as they enter into bliss they are welcomed with an abundant entrance into the kingdom and glory of God. Hallelujah! "The heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord." I might go further into this part of the subject if I had time and ability, but the time is nearly gone.

Now, secondly, the text indicates the character of this wonder-working God, "The heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord; Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints." I take it that the faithfulness of God, my dear friends, preserves His glory and reveals Him as a worthy object of trust. Our God cannot be unfaithful, the thing is simply impossible. He is not faithful because He wills to be so, His faithfulness is not the result of His sovereignty; He is essentially so, and He must be faithful, since He is the glorious Jehovah. Well, His faithfulness guards His honor, and He is the only object of hope and trust. If He were not faithful, or if we or angels had a doubt concerning it, that very doubt would leave all the holy joy and happiness of all angels and men impossible. But whatever change or changes may take place, He remains the ever-faithful God. It is the Rock on which His church is built, and without it there would be nothing firm underneath your heart and mine, and no safe foundation for His church and kingdom. But there is His covenant of grace, and also His beloved Son ; God is ever faithful to His covenant; and to show that it is His fixed and unalterable intention to fulfill His promises, He has ratified His covenant with an oath. "Once have I sworn by My holiness, that I will not lie unto David." "On this Rock I will build My church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. His faithfulness sustains His word; for without this fact the gospel would not he glad tidings of great joy, since it would be based upon nothing trustworthy. The Bible, however, and every gracious promise, are sustained by the unchanging faithfulness of God. This is the resting-place of the saints, "Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee; hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpass." Into what chambers are we to enter but His attributes and perfections? And faithfulness is one of them. If I am blessed with a promise in the hand of my faith, and am permitted and enabled to enter as a poor pursued soul into the faithfulness of God, I can sit down and sing,

"My steady soul shall fear no more,
Than solid rocks when billows roar"

"Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints." God is faithful in His love. I have been loved, I think, by some few persons who have ceased to love me; I have not much to complain of in that respect however, for I have been highly favored; yet we have been loved by persons whose love has ceased, for creatures are fickle. That was perhaps our own fault, but we have a Divine Friend, and our faults before God are more numerous than they have been before our fellow men; yet He has not changed, though creatures have. He is faithful in His love, and faithful to His Son; He said He would send Him, and He did so. He said He would smite Him, and His faithfulness to Himself and to His church required Him to do so, and He smote the Substitute of sinners. He spared not His own Son, because He was and is the ever faithful God. He laid upon Him the iniquities of us all, and then poured the curse upon Him, because He was faithful; and Christ having finished His work presented it to His Father, who faithfully accepted it. Christ rose from the dead as the Head and Representative of ransomed millions and entered into the presence of His Father with, "Here am I and the children who are interested in my mediation." And the Father was faithful to accept the whole. Then Christ the Redeemer is first, and all Christians behind Him. The little ones, feeble ones, faint ones, and fearing ones, are all accepted by the ever-faithful God. And what will be the result of all this? Christ, who is gone to heaven as our Forerunner has left ,

"A way so broad, so unconfined,
That all His church may march behind."

Thirdly, we have the praising observers of all this. "The heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord, Thy faithfulness in the congregation of the saints." By heavens, understand not the visible heavens, the sun, moon, and stars. They can never praise God for His works of grace. By heavens, therefore, understand the inhabitants of that upper world ; as when we say London has done so and so, we do not mean the material city, but its inhabitants, so all the inhabitants of heaven shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord. The angels of God are students of His greatest work. They desire to look into the deep mysteries of redemption; "which things the angels desire to look into." Saints and angels constitute one vast congregation. There are two orders of beings, one of which is far more deeply interested in these wonders of God than the other; both orders, however, praise the great God for the wonders He has wrought. Angels will help us to sing the song of redemption up to a certain point, but they will be unable to go all the way through it: "Unto Him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins," and so on. Angels will be with us and hear our enraptured souls pour forth our spiritual, grateful praises before our wonder-working God and then they will join with us, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honor, and glory, and blessing." "The heavens shall praise Thy wonders, 0 Lord; Thy faithfulness also in the congregation of the saints."

Fourthly, the fact asserted. They will praise them, but not as we said a few minutes ago, comprehend them, not dive down to their bottom, for these works of our God are perpetual wonders and will never cease to be so. This great miracle, or combination of miracles, will never lose its freshness or its power. Praise is due to God. "Give unto Him the glory that is due unto His name." Who can do that? How can we pay the debt we owe, or angels either. Angels do their best, and their best perhaps is great; but when all God's angels and all His saints united, have brought their all and their best, God will be exalted above all blessing and praise. How sweet, how blessed is the thought, that you and I are destined to unite with countless thousands of angels in blessing and praising our wonder-working God. I almost wonder how it is we are so prone to cleave to this world, and to cling to our present life, when there is a better world than this which is our home and our heaven, and,

"Where we shall sing more sweet, more loud,
And Christ shall be our song."
But Watts has put it in the correct form when he says—
"But tim'rous mortals start and shrink,
To cross this narrow sea ;
And linger shivering on the brink,
And fear to launch away.
Could we but climb where Moses stood,
And view the landscape o'er, 
Not Jordan's stream, nor death's cold flood,
Should fright us from the shore."

Fifthly, there will be perfect unanimity in heaven. Saints and angels united in Christ, and united for ever in ascribing all majesty and glory to our wonder-working God. Brother, there will be no complaints, no doubts, and no fears there. We shall leave them all behind, with all trouble, turmoil, and care, and we shall be glad to leave them altogether with all our sins and imperfections and enter into that wondrous world which our God has prepared for us. We shall be at home in a moment there, and the spirit of eternal praise will instantaneously pervade us, and we shall unite with saints and angels in heaven at once, and with as much readiness as if we had been singing God's praises thousands of years.

The Lord command His blessing for Christ's sake. Amen.