Growth In Grace.
It is a mistaken notion for people to suppose that when they become saved, by accepting Christ, there will be nothing more for them to do, and no further provisions of divine grace for them to obtain. The reception of forgiveness through the blood of Christ, and justification by faith, are initiatory steps, which should be followed by continuous progress in the divine life, increasing conformity to the image of Christ, and daily growth in the knowledge and love of God.
Heaven Hushed To Hear The Sinner's Prayer.
The moment that Bartimapus heard it was Jesus of Nazareth who was passing by, he began to cry out at the top of his voice, "Jesus, Thou Son of David, have mercy upon me!" Some of those who went before rebuked him, thinking the Master was going up to Jerusalem to be crowned king, and did not want to be distracted. Ah! they never knew the Son of God when He was here. He would hush every harp in heaven to hear a sinner pray; no music would delight Him so much. But the blind man lifted up his voice and cried still louder, "Thou Son of David, have mercy upon me!" And the prayer reached the ears of the Son cf God—as prayer always will. They led the poor blind man to Him, and He gave to him his sight.
"our Father Which Art In Heaven."
"Our Father which art in heaven." Think of that word "Art." Yes, our Father is now at the present moment in heaven. It is no thing of the past—no old
story. No; He is there noic, making heaven bright with His presence, and glorious with the radiance of His majesty. He is there on high, waiting to bless and to save those who seek His salvation.
The Druneard's Hell.
It is written in the Scriptures that "no drunkard shall inherit the kingdom of God." Is not that terrible? Yet see the hundreds and thousands who are reeling their way down, not only to the drunkard's grave, but to the drunkard's hell. I would rather have a train run over my own son's body—I would rather have him die in early childhood, than have him grow up to manhood and die the drunkard's death, without God and without hope.
Patience In Labour.
Christian workers should never be in a hurry; they had better spend long care and anxiety over one soul to insure doing their work well. They need to remember they are working for eternity; and it is a great and solemn thing to work for Christ! We do not want to say Peace, peace, when there is no peace; nor do we want time to be spent in arguments. I believe that is a work of the devil, to take off attention and cause delay. If a man comes to argue, we should go on our knees, pray with him, and then let him go. Job never fell until he got into an argument with his friends; he could stand a scolding wife, and his boils, and other afflictions better than an argument. What we have to do is simply to point anxious souls to Christ; and people should point out the way just as they find it in the Bible.
The Feelings No Guide.
I Heard the other day in the inquiry-room, after they had prayed earnestly, a person saying to an inquirer, "Now do you feel happy 1" Oh! the very thing needed is to get inquirers away from their own feelings. God does not say anywhere, Do you feel this or that 1 The devil will change our feelings fifty times a day. No, we must just keep to the Bible. I believe that when a person is just coming up to the Eock of Ages, the devil sticks out a plank of feeling; and this may be considered the enemy's last resort.
How Christ Values The Soul.
The loss of a soul! Christ knew what it meant. That is what brought Him from the bosom of the Father; that is what brought Him from the throne; that is what brought Him to Calvary! The Son of God was in earnest. When He died on Calvary it was to save a lost world; it was to save your soul and mine!
The Eemedy For Sin.
We cannot overcome sin ourselves,—that is the work of the Lord Jesus; but if I receive Christ, and He is in me "the hope of glory," then I have a power in me that resists sin; and therefore, what I just have to do is to accept Christ in my heart. My life was forfeited in the first Adam, but I have got it again in the second Adam,—a life that will resist sin and overcome it. The moment I enter on this new life I put off the old man with his deeds, and put on the new man. But the great trouble is that men won't have the remedy; they won't understand it.
The All-sufficiency Of Christ.
On the night of the passover every man was to take a lamb for his house. "And if the household be too little for the lamb, let him and his neighbour next unto his house take it, according to the number of souls; every man according to his eating shall make your count for the lamb." The lamb was not too little for a household, but the household might be too little for the lamb. So Christ is enough for every household, enough and to spare, and we ought earnestly to pray that salvation may come to every member of our households.
The New Birth.
"God is a Spirit, and they that worship Him must worship Him in spirit and in truth." And before a man can so worship God he must be born of God; he must be born of the Spirit. Then with this new birth, with this new life, he can serve God. Then the yoke is easy; then the burden is light. A man may as well try to fly as to serve God before he has been born of the Spirit. It is utterly impossible. The natural man is at enmity against God; his natural heart is at war with God; it always has been so, and it always will be. And not only that, but you cannot make it better. Somebody has said that God never mends, He creates anew. Therefore don't be trying to patch up the old Adam nature. God says, "It shall never come into My presence." Therefore God has just set it aside. But He tells us how we are to come into His presence, and how we are to get into His kingdom; and this is worthy to be borne in mind. You cannot educate men into God's kingdom. That is what the world is trying to do. But he that climbeth up by some other way than the Lord's way the same is a thief and a robber. You had better be born into it in God's way.
A Testimony Worth Striving For.
"My boy," said a father to his dying son, "do you know you are dying, may die today 1" The boy looked up in his father's loving face: "Dying am I? Is this dying? Shall I die to-night?" The father was weeping for his son, the great tears rolling down his cheeks. "Oh, father, don't weep for me; don't cry, father. When I die I am going to heaven, and when I get there I will go right up to Jesus, and tell Him that it was through you I came there." Ah, my friends, I'd rather have my son bear a testimony like that to the throne of God than have all the riches, all the wealth, all the gold, or all the jewels this world ever saw—yes, ten thousand times rather! I'd rather have my son an heir of the kingdom of heaven, and joint heir with Christ, than have him heir of the grandest and proudest monarch the world ever knew. "Heir of God, and joint heir with Christ." Ah! that's an inheritance worth having, and it's what God offers to us.
Oh, fathers! oh, mothers! see that your children's names are written in heaven. Never mind whether they are written in this world's books or not; get them written up there in heaven, and then you'll have them bearing up to Jesus a testimony like what that son did. Is not that worth striving for 1
To Every Man His Work.
Christian people often ask me, "What is the work I am called upon to do 1" The first work of all is to believe on Him whom God hath sent. First of all we must be saved by faith in Christ, and then work not for salvation, but from salvation. There is no doubt that every believer can find something to do for Christ, if he is thoroughly in earnest, and ready to do that work to which God calls him. There is a peculiarity in the phraseology of Scripture, that God gives to every man not merely work, or a work, but Ma work.
Man Safer Out Of Eden.
God put a lamp of promise into Adam's hand before He drove him out of Eden, for He said, "The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." Did you ever think what a terrible state of things it would be if man were allowed to live for ever in his lost, ruined state? It was from love to Adam that God drove him out of Eden, that he should not live for ever. For this God put the cherubim there with a flaming sword. But now Christ has taken the sword out of his hand, and opened wide the gate, so that we can come in and eat. Adam might have been in Eden ten thousand years, and then been led astray by Satan; but now "our life is hid with Christ in God." So that man is safer with the second Adam out of Eden than with the first man in Eden.
How To Carry On The Work.
"Should Christian workers work beyond their strength?" I say No. But 1 do not think, as a general rule, you have to urge people not to work too hard. Still, it is better to wear out than to rust out. I know people to whom a little work has been as good as medicine. I know one man who did not think he could preach a sermon a week, and now he is preaching every day. If you think you are working too hard, just cast your burden on the Lord, and you will be able to carry as much again as before. Be of good courage, and God will use you ; and do not discourage others by doleful lamentations and lectures. It is a good deal better for Christians to say, " Let us do it," than to say, " You do it."
Study The Bible.
If you wish to possess love for God's word, study it diligently, and so become like an artesian well— over flowing with the water of life to refresh thirsty souls.
Satan At Church.
A Great many people think they have been born again because they go to church. They say, "Oh! yes, I am a Christian; I go to church every Sabbath." Let me say here that there is no one that goes to church so regularly as Satan. He is always there before the minister, and he is the last one out of the church. D
There is not a church or a chapel, but he is a regular attendant of it. The idea that he is only down in the slums and lanes and alleys, is a false idea. The idea that he is only in public-houses—I will confess I think he is there, and that he is doing his work very well, —but to think that he is only there is a false idea. He is wherever the word is preached; it is his business to be there and catch away the seed. He is with each and all. Some of you may go to sleep, but he won't. Some of you may not listen to the sermon, but he will. He will be watching, and when the seed. is just entering intosome heart, he will go and try to catch it away. May God rebuke Satan, and may the word of God fall deep into the hearts of many!
The Light Of The "world.
We ought to shine in this dark world as lights set upon a hill that cannot be hid. Christ is the true Light, and came to give light. But the world loved darkness and crucified Him, and thus strove to extinguish that light. Our Lord now says to us, " Ye are the light of the world." Let us then shine for Jesus who lives in us.
Women's Work In The Church.
1 Believe the best talent of our church lies dormant. We want the very best of our Christian ladies for missionaries. I was for many years a missionary, and visited from house to house. I always found the women at home and the men out, and I was often looked at in a strange manner, and I always used to think how much better a lady could do that kind of work. We want the very best female talent to work in visiting wives and daughters, and to get up little cottage prayer meetings. Let one lady missionary have about one hundred families. I believe the battle has got to be fought out in the homes of the working classes. We have got to cany the spirit of the Gospel to the people, and not be merely content with opening the church doors and saying, " If you stay out you will be lost." When the Son of man came, He came to seek and to save that which was lost; and if it is true that nine-tenths of the mechanics of England do not attend any church, it is time the Gospel was taken to them. A woman is ten times better qualified for this work than a man.
The A.B.C. Op Gon's Alphabet.
"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God," much less inherit it. He can't even get a glimpse of the kingdom of God except he be born again. I believe this to be the most important subject that will ever come before us in this world. I don't believe there is any truth in the whole Bible so important as this truth which is brought out in the third chapter of the Gospel of St. John. It is the ABC of God's alphabet. If a man is unsound on regeneration, he is unsound on everything. That is really the foundation-stone; and we must get the foundation right. If we do not, what is the good of trying to build a house 1 Wow Christ says plainly, "Except a man be born again."
If I am a child of God, and yet make an idol of my money, of my gifts, of my time, or of anything in this world, then I shall be sure to lose it. God will take it away in love to me—although I won't think it love at the time. But if I work for God, if I spend money, gifts, time, everything I have for Him, then I lay it up in heaven, and that's a very good bank. It won't fail, and I shall have a whole eternity to enjoy it. I shall have it there when I go. This is arithmetic which any one can understand.
The Token Of The Atoning Blood.
It is the blood of Christ that saves the weakest and the strongest. When Death came that passover night into Egypt with his sword, he entered the palace of the prince, and went into the houses of the great and mighty, and they all had to pay tribute to" death; for the firstborn throughout Egypt was smitten down that night. The only thing that kept death out was death itself. The only way that death can be met is by death. I have sinned, and must die, or get some one to die for me. The great question is, Have you got the token? If death should come after any one of us to-night, are we sheltered behind Jesus' blood 1 That is the point. It is that precious blood that atones. Not any good resolutions, or prayers, or position in society, or what we have done, but what has been done by another. God looks for the token.
God's Measure Of Blessing.
Bead the 103rd Psalm, and mark how the Psalmist bids us "forget not all His benefits." Some one has said we cannot remember them all, but we must not forget them all—they are too numerous to keep them all in mind, but let us keep some of them in mind. Observe five things in the 3rd, 4th, and 5th verses of this psalm:—(1) " He forgiveth all thine iniquities." (2) "He healeth all thy diseases." (3) " He redeemeth thy -life from destruction." (4) " He crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies." But there are very many crowned heads that are still not satisfied. God, therefore, does more,—(5) "He satisfieth thy soul." What more can we have than that?
The Greatest Insult To God.
It is considered you cannot offer a man a greater insult than to tell him he is a liar. Now, unbelief is telling Mi He is a liar. And is there any reason why you should not believe in God? Has God ever broken His word 1 I will defy any infidel to put his finger on any promise God has ever made to man that He has not kept. I can show you for 6,000 years how the devil has lied, and how he has broken every promise he has made. What a he he told Adam and Eve! And yet I can find a' thousand men who will believe one of the devil's lies quicker than I can find one man that believes God's truth. Men like to believe lies, but when it gets to real truth, then how few will believe the word of God! Why should not every man and woman have faith in God? Why should not every one put confidence in Him now, and trust God to save them 1 And let me say, if you are ever saved you will have to come to this one point of trusting to God for salvation. You never will be saved until you put your trust and confidence in God. Look at what is written (John iii. 33), " He that hath leceived His testimony hath set to his seal that God is true."
The Enemy Unbelief.
The greatest enemy of God and man is unbelief. Christ found it on both sides of the cross. It was the very thing that put Him to death The Jews did not believe Him, they took Him to Calvary and murdered Him; they did not believe God had sent Him, and so they murdered Him. And the first thing we find after He got up out of the grave was unbelief again. Thomas, one of His own disciples, did not believe He had risen. Jesus said, "Thomas, feel these wounds" and Thomas did, and believed and said, " My Lord and my God!" Now, those Christians that have learnt to trust God in past years, will bear me out in this, that the more they know of God, the more they feef like trusting Him. "Why? Because they have found God to be true. When man has failed, God never has failed; and when every one else has disappointed them, God has proved true.
Just What God Wants.
Some Christians say, I should like to work, hut I have no talent, no opportunity. Do not talk like that. Say out honestly, I have no disposition to work—so little grace in my heart. Or perhaps you say, you are too weak. Do you really think so 1 This is just what is wanted—just what God desires. "Weak worm ! weak worm! weak worm! it's you that God wants. He wants you to do His work oecawc you are weak: you, being weak and knowing it, and believing it, God can work in you, and by you, and have the glory. He is a jealous God, and will have the glory. Do you think He will give you that glory which He claims as His special prerogative? He says, / will not give My glory to another.
The Outward Look Op Faith.
Faith has an outward look, not an inward one. Hundreds of people spend time in looking at their own hearts, but Faith's is an outward look. We are|to have faith in God, and not in man. A great many people place their faith in men, and they pin their faith to other people's doctrines and creeds. There are a great many who believe what the Church believes; but they do not know what the Church believes. If their church teaches it, they believe it. But all the churches in the world cannot save a soul. It is not to have faith in this church or that church, this doctrine or that doctrine, this man or that man; but it is to have faith in the Man Christ Jesus at the right hand of God. That is the only faith that will ever save the soul.
I Nevek knew any one who began to feel the luxury of leading souls to Christ who wanted to leave off; and I never knew any one try to save souls who could d o it without looking to the Lord,
"more To Follow."
There is an anecdote told about Eowland Hill, that he had in his congregation a rich and a poor man. The man of wealth was touched with commiseration for the poverty-stricken circumstances of his poorer neighbour, and entrusted Eowland Hill with .£100 to minister relief to his necessities. Mr. Hill, who was gifted with considerable shrewdness, knew that it would be injudicious to give all the £100 at once, therefore he began by sending £5, with the words, more to follow. Now which was the man most likely to be pleased with, the £5, or the, promise more to follow, which opened to his expectation the vista of still greater supplies of money in the future 1 We can scarcely doubt but that the words of promise proved the strongest cordial and solace to him in his indigence. Thus we need continually fresh supplies of God's grace to uphold us in our Christian warfare and pilgrimage, even after we have passed from under condemnation, and have received everlasting life.
Necessity Of The New Birth.
"Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." I often rejoice Christ did not say this to that woman at the well, nor to that woman who was a sinner. If He had said it to them, people would have said, "Oh, that poor woman needed to be converted; but I am a moral character, I do not need to be converted. Eegeneration will do for harlots, thieves, and drunkards, but we, who are moral, do not need it." But who did Christ say this to 1 He said it to Nicodemus. Who was he 1 He belonged to the house of bishops. He would have been a bishop if he had been here. Nicodemus stood very high; he was one of the church dignitaries; he stood as high as any man in Jerusalem, except the high priest himself. He belonged to the seventy rulers of the Jews; he was a doctor of divinity, and taught the law. There is not one word of Scripture against him; he was a man that stood out before the whole nation as of pure and spotless character. And what does Christ say to him i "Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." I can imagine I can see a scowl on his forehead. He says, "What do you mean by being born again—born from above—born of the Spirit 1 Now I am old, can I a second time enter my mother's womb, and be born?" Jesus saith," Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water, and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God." He did not take back what He had said, but He just repeated it—" Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." And Nicodemus was like tens of thousands of men to-day. The moment you talk to them about regeneration or conversion, there is a scowl on their forehead. They say, "I don't understand it." Of course the natural man does not understand spiritual things. It is a matter of revelation. May God reveal Himself to your souL
Throw Out The Ballast.
When men go up in a balloon, they carry with them what they call ballast, that is, small bags of sand, and when they want to rise higher they just throw out some of the sand. So we, if we want to rise nearer heaven, must just throw out some of the sand, and cast aside every weight. We won't rise higher till we do so.
The Baptism Of The Spirit.
God is waiting to glorify Himself in you and by you. If you want to work for God effectively, you must get Him to qualify you. No man can qualify himself—no man can qualify another. Have you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit t Seek it in earnest prayer and faith, and you will find it. You must have the baptism of the Holy Ghost in order to be a successful worker for Christ. Ask then with prayerful importunity for it to be bestowed upon you.
Hope Fob The Drunkard.
The poor, poor drunkard! When he comes into his house, his children listen, and hear by the foot-fall that their father is coming home drunk; and the little things run away and hide from him as if he were some horrid demon. His wife begins to tremble. Many a time has that great, strong arm been brought down on her weak, defenceless body. Many a day has she carried about marks from that man's 'violence. He ought to be her protector, support, and stay; but he has become her tormentor. His home is like hell upon earth ; there is no joy there. But every such one may hear the good news that he can receive a new nature from heaven, that he can receive the Spirit of God. God can give him power to hurl the infernal cup from him. God will give him grace, if he asks for it, to trample Satan under his feet, and the drunkard will then become a sober man.
Go to that house three months hence, and you find it neat and clean. As you draw near that home you will hear singing; not the song of a drunkard,—that is gone; all things have become new. He has been born of God, and is singing one of the songs of Zion :—
"Rock of ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee."
Or perhaps he is singing that good old hymn that his mother taught him when he was a little boy,—
"There is a fountain filled with Wood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins;
And sinners plunged beneath that flood
Lose all their guilty stains."
He has become a child of God, an heir of heaven.
His children are climbing up his knee, and he has his arms round their neck. That dark home is now changed into a little Bethel on earth. God dwells there now. Yes, G-od has done all that, and that is regeneration. May God convert the poor drunkard! Christians, lift up your hearts for the poor drunkard. If such will try to lead a better life, One mighty to save, Christ the Lord, will give them the victory ; for strong as drink may be, Christ's grace is stronger.
The Greatness Of Little Works.
Never shrink from undertaking any work for Christ because it may seem insignificant or lowly. Those brought up in fashionable society, as it is termed, generally like to ally themselves with great affairs, and disdain those little works, the performance of which God so much delights to behold. Alas! that there are those among Christians who care not to stretch forth thehand of charity to endeavour to elevate the neglected and degraded, whose misfortune it may be more than their fault that they are wand ering in the ways of sin "The poor," says Christ, "have ye always with you."
Slaves Set Free.
I Was in Eichmond, in the South American States, when General Grant entered that city and proclaimed the abolition of slavery. Never did I witness a scene of rejoicing like it. "When one of the leading speakers among the slaves delivered an oration to two thousand of them, assuring them that parents would no longer have their children torn away to be doomed to oppressive servitude; that husbands and wives would no longer be sent to'the auction mart to be ruthlessly separated; and that their young men and maidens would no more be sold like lifeless goods and chattels to the highest bidder; but that the birthright of liberty, of.
which they had been so long defrauded, was now restored;—their shouts of rejoicing and exclamations of gladness re-echoed through the building, and baffled all powers of description. And so the jubilee trumpet of the Gospel now proclaims spiritual liberty and life to Satan's slaves, through faith in Christ, and the application to the sinner's heart of His purifying blood.
The Abiding Virtue.
"And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these is charity." Love is the greatest of God's gifts, and of all the Christian virtues. I don't think we shall require faith when we get to heaven. Before the throne of God we shall walk by sight, and not by faith. Nor will we need hope there, as we shall have attained to the full measure of possession. Faith and hope will be past, but love will still reign. Therefore love is called the greatest. Oh, may God give us this grace of love, and fill our hearts full of His own heavenly and divine love!
The Great Delusion Of Oub Day.
We are living in very strange days. Some people tell us it does not make any difference what a man believes in if he is only sincere. One church is just as good as another if you are only sincere. No greater delusion ever came out of the pit of hell than that,! It is ruining more souls at the present time than anything else. I never read of any men more sincere, or more earnest, than those men at Mount Carmel, the false prophets of Baal. They were terribly in earnest. Some people say, "Why, if men are holding, as you say, error, why should they be so in earnest?" Those prophets of Baal were the most earnest men I ever read of. You do not read of men getting so in earnest now that they take kes and cut themselves. Look at them leaping upon their altars; hear their cry, "0 Baal! 0 Baal! hear us." We never hear that kind of prayer now. They acted like madmen. They were terribly in earnest; yet did God hear their cry? They were all slain. You say, "I believe one religion is just as good as another, if you are only sincere in what you believe." It is one of the devil's lies! Have faith in God, not in man. I don't care how good a man is, don't you put your faith in him. His breath departs from him, he dies, and where is your helpl Our God never dies, our God never will disappoint us if we put our faith in Him.
The Unseen Glories.
"unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." There are many lands you can voyage to and see; but the land of Beulah your uncircumcised eye shall never see, unless you are saved. You may see ten thousand things in this world, you may see all the great cities in this world; but there is one city your uncircumcised eye shall never rest upon unless you are saved,—the City with gates of pearl, whose builder and maker is God. You may go to the Tower of London and see the crown of England, and you may glory in the sight; but the crown of life, which fadeth not away, your uncircumcised eye shall never rest upon, unless you are born again.
It is God that says it: *' Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of heaven." You may see the throne of England and all its splendour; but that great white throne on which the Lamb that was slain shall sit, your uncircumcised eye shall never see, unless you are washed in His blood. You may see many beautiful rivers in this world; but there is one river that flows by the throne of God, which your uncircumcised eye shall never rest upon, and none save those who have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb shall walk upon the banks of that crystal stream.
It is God that says it: "Unless a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God." You may cross the Atlantic and journey across America, and look upon those trees that have been growing there for centuries —many a man makes a long pilgrimage to look upon those trees;—but there is one tree which your uncircumcised eye shall never rest upon unless you are saved,— the tree which grows in the midst of the paradise of God, bearing twelve manner of fruits, and its leaves are for the healing of the nations. You may see the princes of this world; you may see them walking down the thronging streets; but the Prince of glory you shall never see, except when He comes to judge the world, with an iron rod in His hand. You may see the kings of this world in all their pomp and all their pride; but the Xing of kings you shall never behold in His glory, unless you are born again.
The Pkice Of Salvation.
Beau in mind that although salvation is as free as the air we breathe, it cost God the richest jewel He had in His possession—it cost Him the Son of His bosom.
Photographs Of The Heart.
Although when people have their photographs taken they send them by post to their friends, it is not likely if they could have their hearts photographed they would send them by post also. There is not a sound spot in the heart of man. The old Adam stock is bad and wicked. Job thought at one time he was a very good man, and probably he would bo a popular man in these days. But Job ceased to talk and think so well of himself when he was asked a few questions by God.
I Made a discovery the other day that humbled me very much. In Mark ix. 31—85, we find that Christ had been telling His disciples of His coming sufferings and death; they understood not the saying, and were afraid to ask more particularly. But what do we next find them occupying themselves about 1 "Why, as to who shall be greatest among themselves. Again, in Mark x. 33, Christ tells them of His coming sufferings. The disciples are no doubt deeply impressed; well they may be, though they did not show it in their demeanour. But immediately after Jesus had finished His sayings, up came James and John, the sons of Zebedee. "What do you desire I should do for you?" inquired the Master of them. "That we may be the greatest!" Ah! the same proud, selfish spirit. Then lastly, in Luke xxii. 10—26, we find after that solemn scene, the institution of the Lord's Supper, when Jesus had been talking of the events about to happen, " there was also a strife among them, which of them should be accounted the greatest." There is the sad discovery, that no less than three times Jesus had been talking of His sufferings, betrayal, and death, and His disciples were talking about which should be the greatest. The same spirit of strife and self-glorying is frequently to be seen even in these days. This spirit of "who shall be the greatest 1" is still one of the greatest hindrances to the Church of God to-day—the endeavour to win for ourselves honour and esteem. God grant us all grace to rise above this patty feeling of self-glorification.
Salvation Not Of Ordinances.
Baptism has nothing to do with salvation; no more has the Lord's Supper. I say nothing against them, both are right in their place, but neither is necessary for salvation. A man might be dead and buried before he could either be baptized or take the Lord's Supper, and yet be saved. Is a proof wanted 1 Look at the last man that Christ saved before He died on the cross. I have an idea that He just saved that man to establish this glorious truth. The man could not work for salvation; His hands and feet were nailed to the cross. He received it as a free gift. They could not nail his mind or his heart, and his heart laid hold on Christ, and he cried, "Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom." Did Christ say that when He was baptized He would save him, or when be had taken the Lord's Supper he would save him 1 There he was hanging between heaven and earth. It was impossible. The gracious answer came at once, " This day shalt thou be with Me in paradise." In the morning a felon; in the evening he was walking in the [paradise of God with his Saviour. There was no baptism and no Lord's Supper, and neither was necessary for salvation.
Salvation Not Of The Law.
The law never saved a man yet: the law was given that man might see how evil he was; it does not save, but makes men see their own sinfulness. "For there is no difference," none between lords, dukes, or beggars. The ministers of the gospel and the greatest drunkards that walk the streets of London are the same. The law is like a scythe that cuts them all down. It is only through Christ men can be saved.
The Proof Of Conversion.
When a man is converted, he wants to tell some one else. I wouldn't give much for a man who is not anxious to see others saved. The first words that are recorded to have fallen from the lips of Christ were, "Wist ye not that I must be about My Father's business?" Yes, and Christians must have that spirit. Wist ye not I must be up to the rescue and save some soul?
God Above Reason.
"I Can't comprehend Christianity, I don't understand the philosophy of it." That's how men talk now-a-days. But my God is above reason, and if you will not be saved till you can reason out who God is, I am afraid you will never be saved at all.
The Worth Of Good Kesolves.
"I Wish you would tell us how we are to become Christians," is the language of many, " for you say that we cannot be Christians by trying to do good and by making new resolutions." Ah! many a time you have resolved to turn over a new leaf, and you may now form another good resolution. But if you do, you will break it. I would not give a fig for all your resolutions. What are you going to do? If it is a new birth which it is necessary for you to have, you cannot create life. Can you bring life to a dead fly? All the wise men in the world cannot do it. God alone is the Author of life; and if you have a new birth, it must be God's work. You cannot save yourself. There is a man dying,—can you put new life into him? Or can you raise up a dead body by saying, "Young man, arise"? No, that is the work of God alone. Your soul is dead in trespasses and sin. May the Lord Jesus Christ speak life to it. God said, " Let there be light," and there was light. And if He says, "Let there be life," there will be life.
The Duty Of Thanksgiving.
We often set apart seasons and have meetings for prayer; I think it would be well for us to have special seasons also for thanksgiving, to praise God for what He is doing in our midst. Let those who have been redeemed from the hand of the enemy speak not of themselves, but of what God has done for them.
The Touchstone Of Love.
The thirteenth chapter of 1st Corinthians, is one of those chapters we ought to read very often I think there are some chapters in the Bible we ought to read on our knees, and this is one of them. What a lesson we learn from the very first verses! Though we
speak with tongues, though we give our goods to the poor, though we do this and that, it is no good unless we have charity. A good deal of our work goes for nought; much of our talk is like the wind—empty; there's nothing in it, it is like "sounding brass." Again, " Charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up." One of our greatest opponents in the spiritual life is the proud spirit of emulation—the inquiry, Who shall be the greatest? How that spirit has marred the church of God! and, alas! it is no new spirit.
Joining The Church.
There is a class of people professing Christianity that say, "I became a Christian when I joined the church—the day when I united with the church." Oh, but that is not being born again. What has that to do with the new birth—being united with the church on earth? There are a great many united with the church who are on their way to death and ruin. A great many have no hope of eternal life who, yet, are members of the church. One of the twelve whom Christ chose to follow Him turned out a hypocrite and a traitor; he was not loyal to Christ at heart. My friends, do not just build your hope of heaven upon some profession of your faith, but bear in mind that hope must depend upon your being born of God.
Temptation And The Tempted.
When Christians find themselves exposed to temptation they should pray to God to uphold them, and when they are tempted they should not be discouraged. It is not a sin to be tempted; the sin is to fall into temptation.
The Young Convert's Three Enemies.
The three great enemies of young converts, which they will carry to their graves with them, are the
world, the flesh, and the deviL But if they have three great enemies, they have three wonderful, all-powerful, all-loving friends—the Father, the Son, and the Hojy Ghost; and if they keep close to these friends, an(j look to them, they will have the victory day and nigjj*
The Sword Of The Word.
All the men who have been very much used of God have been well versed in the Scriptures. Moses rehearsed God's dealings with the children of Israel; Peter told it out on the day of Pentecost, and Stephen did the same. Christ conquered Satan by the sword of the Word.
The Shepherd And The Lambs.
I Sometimes meet people who are nourishing hard, bitter feelings against God because they ha ye been afflicted. A mother said to me the other day, "God has been unjust to me; He has come and taken my child away." Is it so, dear afflicted mothers 1 Eather has not God removed your children to a pure and happy life? You may not understand it now, but you will understand it by and by. He wants to lead you up there also.
A friend of mine, who had been in Eastern lands, told me he once saw a shepherd who wanted his flock to cross a river. He went into the water himself and called them, but no, they would not follow him into the water. What did he do? Why, he girded up his loins, and lifting a little lamb under each arm, plunged right into the stream, and crossed it without even looking back. When he lifted the lambs, the old sheep looked up into his face and began to bleat for them; but when he plunged into the water the dams plunged in after him, and then the whole flock followed. When they got to the other side he put down the lambs, and they were quickly joined by their mothers, and there was a happy meeting. My friend says he noticed that the pastures on the other side were much better, and the fields greener; and on this account the shepherd was leading them across. And our great Palestine Shepherd does that. Your child, whom he has taken from the earth, is but removed to the green pastures of Canaan, and the Shepherd means to draw your hearts out after it, to teach you to "set your affections on things above." "When he takes away your children, accept it as a call to look upward and beyond. Mother, weeping bitter tears for your little one, do not weep! Your child has gone to the place where there is neither weeping nor sorrow. "Would you have it return? Surely never.
The Faithful Promiser.
God is always true to what he promises to do. He made promises to Abraham, Jacob, Moses, Joshua, &c, and did He not fulfil them i He will fulfil every word of what He has promised; yet how few take Him at His word! When I was a young man I was clerk in the establishment of a man in Chicago, whom I observed frequently occupied sorting and marking bills.. He explained to me what he had been doing; on some notes he had marked B, on some D, and on others G; those marked B he told me were bad, those marked D meant they were doubtful, and those with G on them meant they were good; and, said he, you must treat all of them accordingly. And thus people endorse God's promises, by marking some as bad and others as doubtful; whereas we ought to take all of them as good, for He has never once brpken His word, and all that He says He will do, will be done in the fulness of time.
The Unlimited Promise.
The Lord Jesus Christ has said, in the 14th chapter of John, "And greater works than these shall ye do." Is that true? Then we ought to expect great things.
Christ himself is willing, for He has said, "Whatsoever ye ask the Father in My name, that will I do." Let us ask the Father, then, and ask for Christ's sake, not our own; and in doing so let us not forget that if we regard iniquity in our heart, the Lord will not hear us. If God gave His own Son to the world, what will He not give to His children 1
Christians Must Bk Workers.
Evert Christian, whether young or old, rich or poor, high or low, learned or illiterate, may do something for Christ, and ought to do something. For indolence in Christians there is no excuse, for neutrality there is no room.
Yotjng Converts Kept By God.
I Have great hopes of the young converts—not when I look at them and think what they are, but when I look into the Bible and find what God has promised regarding them. Take the passage, Komans xiv., verse 4, and remember that it is the word of the living God, and then see if there is not ground for confidence. —" He shall be holden up, for God is able to make him stand." Is not the great God who keeps this world able to keep them until that day when He shall present them faultless before His throne? When I was converted I thought I had to keep myself and Christ too. It was a long time before I found out that it was God who had to keep me. A great many converts are asked if they have got Christ. It would be better to ask if Christ has got them. It is the work of the shepherd to keep his sheep, and to take care of them.
The Worm That Dieth Not.
I Believe memory is the worm that will make hell so terrible. I was drowning once, and just as I was going down the third time I was rescued. In the twinkling of an eye my whole life came flashing across my mind. I cannot tell you how it was, I cannot tell you how a whole life can be crowded into a second of time; but everything I had done from my earliest childhood, it all came flashing across me. And I believe that when God touches the secret spring of memory, every one of our sins will come back; and if they have not been blotted out by the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ, they will haunt us as eternal ages roll on. We talk about our forgetting; but we cannot forget if God says, "Eemember." We talk about the recording angel keeping the record of our life. I have an idea when we get to heaven, or into eternity, we shall find that recording angel has been ourselves. God will make every one of us keep our own record; these memories will keep the record; and when God shall say, "Son, remember," it will all flash across our mind. It won't be God that will condemn us, it will be ourselves; we shall condemn ourselves, and we shall stand before God speechless. By and by God shall change our countenance, and He will send us away to read our own biography, to read our own record, and that will be what will condemn us.
Justification More Than Pardon.
Christ was raised from the grave for the justification of all who put their trust in Him, and such are not only pardoned men but justified men. Justification is more than pardon. It is said of an emperor of Russia, that he sent on one occasion for two noblemen who were charged with some conspiracy, and one he found to be perfectly innocent, so he sent him home justified; but the other was proved guilty, yet was pardoned. They both returned to their homes; but ever afterwards they would stand very differently in the estimation of their Sovereign and neighbours. From that may be seen the difference between pardon and justification. When a man is justified he can go through the world with his head erect. Satan may come to him and say, "You are a sinner;" but the reply would be, " I know that, but God has forgiven me through Christ."
The Bible The Christian's Vade Mecum.
For a number of years I have made a rule not to read any book that does not help me to understand the Word of God. I am a greater slave to my Bible than any man is to strong drink, and it does me a great deal more good too. If I go into a meeting without my Bible, I feel lonesome, and don't know what to do. But if I have got it, I am ready to get up and talk on any subject. Every Christian ought to have a good Bible—not so good that he is afraid to mark it—also a Cruden's Concordance, and a Scripture text-book—not a birth-day text-book, but a Scripture text-book.
Satan Vanquished By Christ.
Satan is stronger than any child of earth, and there is no match for him but Christ. The Lion of Calvary —the Lion of the tribe of Judah—He alone is stronger than the lion of hell. When Christ on Calvary said, "It is finished !" it was the shout of the conqueror over a vanquished enemy.
First Loved, Then Washed From Sin.
Many people try to come to Christ, but think they cannot come unless they first become good. But Jesus loves His people even before their sins are washed away. He loves them, and then washes them in His own blood, as it is written, "Unto Him that loved us, and washed us 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." Oh! it is wonderful love. To think that He loves them first, and then washes them in His blood free from their sins! There is no devil in hell that can pluck them out of His hand. They are perfectly safe, for they are washed in the blood of the Lamb.
Christ The Only Saviour.
We have all, everyone of us, tried to reform, and, as we call it, turn over a new leaf. Yes, we have all resolved at one time or another, that we would both be and do better. And it has so happened that the more we have resolved and tried, the worse we have become. Yes, that is the experience of everyone who has tried to save himself; and you might just as well try to leap from the earth to the moon as try to serve God of yourselves. It is utterly impossible that a man can serve God until Christ is in him the hope of glory. God knew what this sin-cursed earth needed and so He sent the message, "Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, for unto you is born in the city of David a Saviour." And if the world does not receive Christ as a Saviour it is not God's fault. God gave Him, and if man rejects Him he must abide the consequences.
The Touch Of The Saviour's Hand.
Let me ask you, poor backslider, did you ever feel the touch of Jesus' hand? If so, you will know it again, for there is love in it. There is a story told in connection with our war, of a mother who received a despatch that her boy was mortally wounded. She immediately went down to the front, for she knew that the soldiers told off to watch the sick and wounded could not watch her boy as she would. So she went to the doctor and said, "Would you let me take care of my boy 1" The doctor said," He has just gone to sleep, and if you go to him the surprise will be so great it may be dangerous to him. He is in a very critical state. I will break the news to him gradually." "But" said the mother, " he may never wake up. I should so dearly like to see him." Oh! how she longed to see him. Finally the doctor said, "Well, you can see him, but if you wake him up and he dies, it will be your fault." "I will not wake him up," she said, " if I may only go by his dying cot and see him." She went to the side of the cot. Her eyes had longed to see him, and as she gazed upon him she could not keep her hand off that pallid forehead, and she laid it gently there. There was love and sympathy in her touch, and the moment the slumbering boy felt it he said, "Oh ! mother, have you come 1" He knew there was sympathy and affection in the touch of that hand. And if you, oh! sinner, will but let Jesus reach out His hand and touch your heart, you, too, will find there is sympathy and love in the Saviour's touch.
Christians No Longer Their Own.
What a wonderful passage is that, "Who gave Himself for us." Gave Himself for us? How it ought to fire every Christian's heart! How it ought to wake us up! Talk about waking up the churches, why, it seems as if the love of Christ ought to set us all on fire! And see what it further says: "That He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Now if Christ has redeemed us with His own blood, then we no longer belong to ourselves, but we belong to Him; and, therefore, we cannot live to please ourselves, but to please Him.
Food For The Soul.
The children of Israel were to eat of the passover
lamb :—" And thus shall ye eat it; with your loins
(girded, your shoes on your feet, and your staff in your
and; and ye shall eat it in haste, it is the Lord's passover." The reason why many Christians have not got more power is because they do not feed on the Lamb; and this is why there are so many weak Christians. The Lamb of God not only atones for our sins, but we are to feed upon the Lamb. We have got a wilderness journey before us, as the children of Israel had. After we are saved we are to feed upon Christ; He is the true bread from heaven. If I do not feed this soul with the true bread from heaven I shall become sickly, and shall not have power to go and work for Christ. And that is the reason, I believe, why so few in the Church have power. Some people seem to think that if they get one glimpse of Christ it is enough. Many think much of their dinner; why should not God's children think a good deal of their spiritual food 1 We should no more think of laying in spiritual food to last for ten years than we should bodily food. A good many Christians are living on stale manna.
How To Understand The Bible.
"How am I to understand the word of God?" By studying it with the help of the Holy Ghost. As an American bishop said, not with the blue light of Presbyterianism, nor the red light of Methodism, nor the violet light of Episcopacy, but with the clear light of Calvary. We must study it on our knees, in a teachable spirit. If we know our Bible, Satan will not have much power over us, and we shall have the world under our feet.
Christ Our Redeemer.
The Lord Jesus not only saves us, but he redeems us—that is, buys us back. Thus He ransoms us from the power of sin. Not only does He save us from spiritual death, but He redeems us for ever, so that death can never touch us.
God Using Human Instrumentality.
If I have read my Bible aright, most of those whose conversion is recorded in the New Testament—with the exception of the Day of Pentecost, when there was a great gain of five thousand—have been brought to Christ by individual effort. God generally converts men by the aid of some human instrument.
Spurning The Remedy.
A Man said to me not long ago, " Do you think there is any justice in my being condemned because a man sinned six thousand years ago 1 I don't believe a word of it." Now let me say, there will be no one lost on account of Adam's sin. But I hear some one say, " That's a plain contradiction. You have said we would be, and now you tell me we shall not be."
Let me see if I can illustrate it. Suppose I am dying of some terrible disease, say consumption, and I am given up by the physicians, who say I must die; I am in the last stage of consumption, in a few days I shall be in the grave. But there comes a man whom I have known for years, and he says, "You are a dying man!" I say to him, "I know it; I don't want any one to tell me that." He says to me, " But there is a remedy." I say, "I don't believe there's any remedy; I have tried all the leading physicians, and they say there is no hope."
"I tell you there is a remedy!" says he; "twenty years ago I was as far gone as yourself, and I was given up by all the physicians to die, but I took that medicine (and he holds it out to me), and it cured me. Listen now—there is the medicine, it shall not cost you a farthing; just take it, and you will get well." But I do not take it, though I have every reason to believe the man is speaking the truth. Well, suppose the man says, "That medicine has cost me all I have got; take it and live." I take the
medicine from him and dash it to the ground. To be sure, I shall die of consumption, but that is not the reason why I die ; it is because I spurn the remedy. And if men die eternally it will not be God's fault, but because they have despised the remedy.
Salvation Not Limited By Election.
I HAVE no sympathy with those men who try to limit God's salvation to a certain few. I believe that Christ died for all who will come to Him. I have received many letters saying I surely don't believe the doctrine of election. I do believe in election; but I have no business to preach that doctrine to the world at large. The world has nothing to do with election; but has only to do with the invitation, "Whosoever will, let him take of the water of life freely." That's the gospel message. They are sent to preach the gospel to all. After men have received salvation, they can talk about election. It is a doctrine for Christians, for the Church-—not for the unconverted world. Our message is " good tidings, which shall be to all people; unto you is born this day a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." "All people," then, this Saviour is proffered to you. Accept Him, and God will accept you; reject Him, and God will reject you.
The Mourner's Friend.
Many of you have been in the house of mourning, and have been with your friends when they have gone to the grave and looked at the loved one for the last time, There is scarcely one who has not lost some beloved one. I never went to a funeral and saw a mother take the last look of her child but it has pierced my heart, and I could not keep back my tears at the sight. Friends, let me say to you whose hearts are aching, you need a friend like Jesus. He is just the Friend every poor bleeding heart needs. He will have
compassion on you, and will bind up ycur wounded, bleeding heart, if you will only come to Him just as you are. He will receive you, without upbraiding or chastising, to His loving D03om, and say, "Peace, be still," and you will be able to walk in the unclouded sunlight of His love from that time forth. Christ will be worth more to you than all the world besides. He is just the friend you need, and I pray God you may know Him thus as your Saviour and your Friend.