Decide For Christ.
"How long halt ye between two opinions? if the Lord be God, follow Him, but if Baal then follow him." Alas! it is now as it was then. There are hundreds who are now halting between two opinions, and I wish I could bring them to a decision. There is no reason why they should not decide at once. They must either be for Christ or against Him. There are but two classes, those who are on the way to hell and those who are on the way to heaven. Young man, young woman, do you think religion all a sham, a delusion? If not, change masters at once. Be one thing outand-out.
The Key To Bible Study.
I Think I have got the key to the study of the Bible—take it up topically. It is far better than reading a chapter every night and morning, and then forgetting what is read. Some have to put a mark in the Bible where they have read, so as to know where to begin reading next time. That's because they don't think much of what they read. Take up one subject at a time, that of '' love," for instance, and spend a month studying what the Bible says about love, from Genesis to Revelation. Then you will love everybody, whether they love you or not. In the same way take up "grace," "faith.," "assurance," "heaven," and so on. When you read the Bible be sure you always hunt for something.
Again, study each book separately; spend six months studying Genesis; it is the key to the whole. It speaks of death, resurrection, judgment,—it is the seedplant of the whole Bible. Read the same chapter over and over and over again, and don't leave it until you have understood it. About the twenty-eighth time you read a chapter you will see the Man Christ Jesus, who is on every page of Scripture.
Here is another way. Take up one word in a book, such as the "believes," of St. John's gospel. Every chapter but two in that gospel speaks of believing. So, also, look up the nineteen "personal interviews" with Christ recorded in that gospel. Take the "conversions" of the Bible. Take the seven "blesseds" and the seven "overcomes" of Bevelation. If you want to get the best book on "assurance," read 1 John iii. and the three things there worth "knowing." Take up the five "precious things" of Peter, or the "verilys " of St. John. Study the book of Job as a whole; and the "four things which are little, but exceeding wise." (Prov. xxx.)
The Voice From Heaven.
Some of our best Bible students think that the God of the Old Testament is the Christ of the New, and that during all those 4,000 years until Christ came, God the Father never spoke; and some think, further, that the first time God the Father spoke was when Jesus came up out of Jordan: then there was a Voice heard, and the silence of 4,000 years was broken by that Voice coming from the throne of God. Hark -what the Voice is saying: "This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." That is what God thinks of Christ. The moment the sinner is pleased with Christ, the sinner and God come together. The moment you come and say as the Father did, "I am well pleased with Him and accept Him," you are wedded to God.
Jesus took Peter, and John, and James up into a great mountain, and there came another voice, the same Voice again—" This is My beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him." And that Voice went echoing and re-echoing through Palestine and through the earth, and it is echoing still—" Hear ye Him!" Will you hear Him? Hark! what does He say ?— "Come unto Me all ye that labour, and are heavy laden. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me; for I am meek and lowly in heart, and ye shall find rest unto your souls." Will you reject His invitation? Will you refuse His rest and peace 1
Christ The Forerunner Of His People.
Christ alone knows the true way to life. He has gone through the dark wilderness for us up into the heavens, and has taken His seat at the right hand of God. And if we should ask Him what we shall do, He would say, "Follow Me." When men go off hunting in our country through the untrodden forest, they take a hatchet, and cut a chip off the bark of the trees as they go along, and they call that brazing the way. And so, if I may be allowed the expression, Christ has "brazed the way" for us. He has travelled the road Himself, and knowing the way, He tells us to follow Him, and He will lead us safe on high.
The Mission Of Christ To The World.
In those words which He read in the synagogue at Nazareth, shortly after His baptism by John, Christ tells us His mission to the world:—" The Spirit of the Lord is upon Me, because He hath anointed Me to preach the gospel to the poor, He hath sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." Our Saviour was reading from the passage in Isaiah, 61st chapter, 1st verse, and He ceased reading and closed the book in the middle of a sentence. The verse continues, "And the day of vengeance of our God." Christ came to preach the Gospel. By and by He will come again, and commence to read where He then left off. There is an awful day coming, when those who scoff and jeer now will hold a very solemn prayer meeting. Their prayer already stands recorded in Holy Writ. It is "Eocks, fall on us, hide us!" They will call upon the rocks and mountains to fall upon them and hide them from the wrath of God.
These verses read by our Lord are, perhaps, the sweetest in the Bible. The Spirit of the Lord came upon Samson, and he slew a hundred men; upon Moses, and he brought ruin upon Egypt; upon David, and with a sling and a stone he slew the Philistine; upon Elisha, and he locked up the heavens for three years and three months. But the Spirit of the Lord came upon Jesus, not to slay men, but to anoint Him to preach the Gospel to the poor, to heal the brokenhearted. Think of the brokenhearted in London only! Christ is just the friend they require; there is not a heart He is not able to heal.
A Good Exchange.
Odr Lord said on one occasion, "There is no man that hath left house, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for My sake and the gospel's, but he shall receive a hundredfold more in this present world, and in the world to come life everlasting." But Peter answering said, "Lo, we have left all, and followed Thee." So it always is. We make much of our sacrifices. What had the disciples left? A few old broken nets and some boats. What did they get in exchange? The kingdom of God!
Despise Not Small Things.
The most powerful sermon Christ ever preached was His discourse to Nicodemus. I believe there have been more souls born again b}' reading the third chapter of St. John's Gospel than by reading any other chapter in the Bible. And that beautiful and wonderful sermon was preached to one man only. Yet those wonderful words have lived eighteen hundred years, and now live perhaps more in the minds of the people than at any period of the world's history. And if we Christians have the same mind that Christ had, not despising the day of small things, but each one of us doing what we can to bring some one to the Saviour, we shall see a great work accomplished in the land.
God Worthy Of All Love.
I Will challenge any one on the face of the earth to find any reason for not loving God. You shall not find a spirit in the lost world who can give a reason for not loving God. It is only here on earth men think they have a reason for not doing so. In heaven they know Him, and they shout there, "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain." Oh, sinner, if you knew Him, you would have no wish to find a reason for not loving Him. He is "the chiefest among ten thousand, and altogether lovely."
The Compassionate Saviotjb.
If Christ were here in person, standing in my place, His heart would be moved as He looked down into your faces, because He could also look into your hearts, and could read the burdens and troubles and sorrows you have to bear. These are hidden from my eye, but He knows all about them. So when the multitudes of old gathered round about Him, He knew how many weary, broken, and aching hearts there were there. But although we cannot see Him with the bodily eye, He is ever present with us; and though each heart alone knows its own bitterness, that bitterness cannot be hidden from the eye of the Son of God. He knows all about it. There is not a sorrow, or trouble, or affliction which any are enduring but He knows all about it; and He is the same now as He was when here upon earth,—the same Jesus, the same Man of compassion. When He saw the multitudes, He had compassion on them, and healed their sick; and He will now heal the sin-sick souls, and will bind up the broken hearts. There is no heart so bruised and broken but the Son of God will have compassion upon if it will let Him. "He will not break a bruised reed, or quench the smoking flax."
Christ A Personal Saviour.
If we wish to know Christ, we must know Him first as our Saviour. If we would meet Christ, we must meet Him first at Calvary. The last time the world ever saw Him was upon the cross at Calvary. The last glimpse that this sin-cursed earth got of the presence of Christ, the last look at Him, was when He hung upon the cross. And we must see Him there first as our Saviour, and know Him to be so. We must have Christ in our hearts as a personal Saviour, not only delivering us from the pit of hell, but saving us from our sins.
Follow The Cloud.
All that the children of. Israel had to do in the wilderness was to follow the cloud. If the cloud rested, they rested; if the cloud moved forward, then they moved as it did. I can imagine the first thing Moses, or any of the people, did, when the grey dawn of morning broke, was to look up and see if the cloud was still over the camp. By night it was a pillar of fire, lighting up the camp, and filling them with a sense of God's protecting care; by day it was a cloud p
shielding them from the fierce heat of the sun's rays, and sheltering them from the sight of their enemies.
Israel's Shepherd could lead His people through the pathless desert. Why? Because He made it. He knew every grain of sand in it. They could not have had a better leader through the wilderness than its Creator.
And, sinner, can you in all your difficulties, or doubts and fears, have a better leader than Jehovah 1 Oh ! I like that good old hymn,—
"Guide me, 0 Thou great Jehovah,
Pilgrim through this barren land;
I am weak, hut Thou art mighty,
Hold me with Thy powerful hand;
Bread of heaven!
Feed me till I want no more."
Yes, that is the true prayer of the bewildered sinner. God is able, and still more, He is willing to lead us.
Ebdeemed From The Law.
The law of God must be kept: "The soul that sinneth, it shall die." Therefore the law of Christ comes and delivers us from the bondage of the first law. In Galatians, the 3rd chapter and 13th verse, we read, " Christ hath redeemed us from the curse of the law." Not that He is going to do it. Every one that has believed on Him is redeemed from the law, "He being made a curse for us: for it is written, Cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree."
Keep Your Eye On Christ.
Child of God, is your soul in darkness t "Well, then, if it is, it is your own fault. Do not charge it to God. "He that believeth in Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light." It is thoroughly impossible for a child of God to be in darkness. You have got away from the light and from Christ, and I will tell you how. You have got there by looking down here. I iiud nine out of ten Christians are occupied in themselves, looking to see if they have got the right kind of feelings and desires. They are looking to see if they act right and think right. That's not the way; you must keep your eye on Christ if you wish to go straight on. When I was a boy, I used to walk through the snow, looking across my shoulders to see if I walked straight; but I always walked crooked when I looked round to see how I was getting on. And so it is with Christ. If you keep looking to Him, you will go straight on. But if you turn to look behind, you will alway sget wrong. So, instead of looking to yourself, always look to the Master, and joy and peace will come.
Sold For Nought, Redeemed By Blood.
Christ hath redeemed us and brought us back to God from the hands of Satan, and from the hands of justice. We have sold ourselves for nought, and we shall be redeemed without money and without price. But we are redeemed not with contemptible things such as silver and gold, but by the precious blood of the Lamb :—" Thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation."
Christ Our Shepherd.
A Very sweet thought is that to me—" The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want." There is no one, except the very babes, who does not understand the work of a shepherd. He watches over his flock, protects them from danger, feeds them, leads them into the best pastures. In fact, the twenty-third Psalm is just a statement of the duties of a good shepherd: "The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want," &c.
Father, mother, will you claim Christ as your Shepherd? He is seeking to restore your soul, to lead you back to the paths of righteousness. Even to death will He lead you, and safely, through its shadow, guide you to a better land. He is the true Shepherd.
Young man, young woman, will you have Christ as your Shepherd 1 You want to be fed,—are you going to wander about seeking something to satisfy the cravings of your soul 1 Then I tell you, you never will find anything to satisfy the longings of your heart. The world cannot, and never could satisfy a hungry soul. The Lord Jesus can. He is the Good Shepherd.
My little child, will you have Jesus as your Shepherd 1 He will lead you gently, safely, softly. He is a tender, loving Shepherd. We all can,' if we will. For "God gave Him up freely for us all," that He might have us for His flock. Christ, our Shepherd, will lead us through life, down to the banks of the Jordan; He will lead us across the dark river into His eternal kingdom.
The Wilderness Journey Of Life.
We do not get right into heaven the moment we are converted. Some people have an idea that when they get to Calvary, and find a Saviour there, it's all done. That is not so. No, there is the wilderness journey before them. They will need Christ and His help all the way.
The Fire Of God's Wrath.
Out in our western country in the autumn, when there has not been any rain for months, sometimes the prairie graSs catches fire; there comes up a very strong wind, and the flames roll along twenty feet high, and go at the rate of thirty or forty miles an hour, consuming man and beast. When the frontiers-men see it coming, what do they do 1 They know they cannot run as fast as the fire can run. Not the fleetest horse can escape from that fire. They just take a match and light the grass around them and let the flames sweep, and then they get into the burnt district and stand safe. They hear the flames roar as they come along; they see death coming towards them; but they do not fear, they do not tremble; because the fire has passed over the place where they are, and there is no danger. There is nothing for the fire to burn. So there is one mountain-peak that the wrath of God has swept over; that is Mount Calvary, and that fire spent its fury upon the bosom of the Son of God. Take your stand there, by the cross, and you will be safe for time and eternity. Escape for your life, young man, young woman; flee to yon mountain, and you are saved this very minute. May God bring you to Calvary under the shadow of the cross! Then let death and the grave come! You will shout, " Glory to God in the highest!" For "there is no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus."
A "word The Devil Is Afraid Of.
You have all sinned and come short of the glory of God; but God comes and says, "I will pardon you. Come now, and let us reason together." That word "now " is one of the words of the Bible the devil is afraid of. He says, " Do not be in a hurry; there is plenty of time; do not be good now." He knows the influence of that word "now." "To-morrow" is the devil's word. The Lord's word is "now." God says, "Come' now, and let us Teason together: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow, though they be red as crimson, I will make them as wool."
"and thou shalt teach them diligently unto thy children." Here is a command to teach children diligently, but I have not known many parents who are truly diligent in teaching their children the Word of God; and for want of this many children wander away. We have warnings in the Bible which ought to come home to all our hearts. What a sad end and what a sad story is that of Eli, in 1 Samuel, 3rd and 4th chapters. May God help us to be faithful about our children!
David was a man after God's own heart, but he neglected his family; and how God had to punish him, we read in 2 Samuel, xviii. 23. Oh! it is better to have our hearts broken over our children now in prayer, than to have our hearts broken over them by sorrow in our old age.
"when it is dark and stormy here, strive to rise higher and higher, near to Christ, and you will find it all calm there. You know that it is the highest mountain peaks that catch the first rays of the sun. So those who rise highest catch the first news from heaven. It is those sunny Christians who go through the world with smiles on their faces that win souls. And, on the other hand, it is those Christians who go through the world hanging their heads like bulrushes, that scare people away from religion. Why, it's a libel on Christianity for a religious man to go about with such a downcast look. What does the Master say ?" My joy I leave with you, my joy I give unto you." Depend upon it, if our minds were stayed upon Him, we should have perfect peace, and with perfect peace we should have perfect joy.
Chbist's Death The Gospel.
Let Us get back to the simple Gospel—Christ died for our sins. We must know Christ at Calvary, as our substitute, as our Eedeemer; and the moment we accept of Him as our Saviour and our Eedeemer, then it is that we become partakers of the Gospel. The moment I believe on the Lord Jesus Christ as my substitute, as my Saviour, that moment I get light and peace. I know some people say, " Oh, it is not Christ's death, it is Christ's life. Do not be preaching so much about the death of Christ, preach about His life." Ah! my friends, that never will save any one. Paul says, "I declare unto you the gospel. Christ died "—not Christ lived—" Christ died for our sins; who His own self bare our sins in His own body, on the tree." Now, when I accept of Christ as my Saviour, as my substitute, then I am justified from all things which I could not be by the law of Moses.
The Secret Of Christian Success.
In the first chapter of Joshua we read about a successful man, and the secret of his success. He meditated upon God's law day and night, and being filled with the Word 'of God, no man was able to stand before him. Others who are mentioned in the Bible had been unsuccessful because they trusted in themselves. Many of the Bible characters fell just in the things in which they were thought to be strongest. Moses failed in his humility, Abraham in his faith, Elijah in his boldness, for one woman scared him away to that juniper tree; and Peter, whose strong point was boldness, was scared by a maid to deny his Lord.
What God Cannot Do.
In Ireland, some time ago, a teacher asked a little boy if there was anything that God could not do, and the little fellow said, " Yes; He cannot see my sins through the blood of Christ." That is just what He cannot do. The blood of Christ covers them all.
Pardon For The Sinner.
Scablet and crimson are two fast colours; you would not get the colour out without destroying the garment. And God says, "Though your sins are as scarlet and crimson, I will make them as wool and
snow." "I will do it,"—that is the way God reasons. He puts the pardon in the face of the sinner the first thing. That may appear a strange way of reasoning, but God's thoughts are not our thoughts; and so, sinner, if you want to be saved, though your sins be of deepest dye, the Lord says He will pardon you.
The Gospel Not To Be Trifled With.
I Beg of you, do not make light of the gospel invitation. God invites you to the marriage supper of the Lamb. It is a loving God that invites you to a loving feast; and God is not to be mocked. Go play with the forked lightning, trifle with any pestilence, any disease, rather than with God. God is not to be trifled with. It is God that invites you. Young lady, what will you do with God's invitation? Young man, what will you do vvith God's invitation J Will you accept of it % Oh, may God help you to say from the very depths of your heart, "By the grace of God I will accept it."
Christ Our Light.
"I AM the light of the world," said Christ; "he that followeth Me shall not walk in darkness, but shall have the light of life." He shall have the " very Light of life." Yes, it is the privilege of every Christian to walk in an unclouded sky.
But do we walk thus in an unclouded sky 1 No, every Christian is often in darkness. If I were to ask this congregation if they were all walking in light, I believe there is scarcely a Christian, if he spoke the true feeling of his heart, but would reply, ".No, I am often in darkness." Why is that? It is because we are not following Christ, and keeping close to" Him. We are much in darkness when we might be in the light. Suppose the windows of a building were all closed, and we were complaining of the darkness, what would any one say to us? Why, they would say, "Admit the light; open the windows all round, and you'll soon have plenty of light." Similarly, if we are in darkness, we must let in Christ, who is the Light, and open our minds to receive Him, and we shall soon walk in light. There is a great deal of darkness at the present time, even in the hearts of God's own people. But follow Him, and then you will have plenty of light. Christ will show to each of us that He is " the Light;" and He will do more, He will set us on fire with His light, that we also may shine as lights in this dark world.
Come Just As You Ark.
Paul said he was the "chief" of sinners, and if the chief has gone up on high there is hope for everybody else. The devil make3 us believe that we are good enough without salvation, if he can; and if he cannot make us believe that, he says, "You are so bad the Lord won't have you ;" and so he tries to make people believe because they are so bad Christ won't have anything to do with them. God invites you to come just as you are. I know a great many people want to come, but they are trying to get better and to get ready to come. Now mark you, the Lord invites you to come just as you are, and if you could make yourself better you would not be any more acceptable to God. Do not put these filthy rags of self-righteousness about you. God will strip every rag from you when you come to Him, and He will clothe you with His glorious garments.
Christians Reflecting Christ's Light.
If Christians want peace and joy let them look to their Sun, and they will walk in unclouded light. Many people seem to think there is a deal of virtue in their doubts,—they are always talking about their doubts. Why, it's dishonourable to God to be always doubting. Before Christ went away He said, "I will leave you as my witnesses; ye are the light of the
world." But we are only just the reflection of Christ's light, so that if a man does shine, he cannot boast,—he cannot take any credit for it,—it is borrowed light. Some one talking to a young convert said, sneeringly, "Oh, it's all moonshine." "Yes," said the young convert, "it is all moonshine. The moon borrows her light from the sun, and we borrow ours from Christ." It is only when the moon is high that the sun strikes it, and it is just the same with the Christian. What he has to do is to mount up and live in the clear light of heaven.
Salvation Not To Be Purchased.
Many people say, with respect to salvation, "I haven't anything to do." Well, you haven't. Salvation has been worked out for you by another. Many go all round the world in search of honour or possessions. Salvation is worth thousands of times more j but you don't get it that way. God has but one price for salvation. Do you want to know what it is? It is without money and without price. Eowland Hill said that most auctioneers found they had hard work to get people up to their price, but that he had hard work to get people down to his. The wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life."
The Christian's Seven New Things.
Seven new things should characterise the Christian. 1. The new birth: "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God." It may dawn on some like the morning light, and on others like a flash of lightning, but all must experience it, and this man's experience or that man's experience is not to be our test. 2. A new name, that is to say a new kind of character among men as well as in the sight of God. 3. A new creation (2 Corinthians v. 17). One evidence of the new heart is love to the brethren;—not only those who love us, but those who hate us. If there is a new heart there will be a new creation. 4. A new tongue. The talk of a man who is converted to God is altogether different from what it was before. He seems like another man. Instead of all his talk being about this world, he talks of Jesus and His love. 5. A new song. It is a good sign that a man is converted if be begins to sing. Whenever God is reviving His work, new hymns come out. Not many people now read John Wesley's sermons, but Charles Wesley's hymns are sung the world over. 6. A new way. Christ has brought us out of " the way of the transgressors," and put us into His'way; for He says, "1 am the way." Ask yourself, have you new tastes? Do you hate those things you used to love, and love those which you used to hate % Are you thus brought into the new way? Then, 7, a neio heaven and a new earth. "Old things are passed away, behold all things are become new."
Christ Misundebstood By The Wobld.
It is one of the greatest wonders in the world to see how bitterly men hate Christ without a cause. Why, no man ever lost his life through Him. He never brought misery on any man. On the contrary, "0 Israel," he said, "thou hast destroyed thyself; but in Me is thy help." No one on the face of the earth has been so much misrepresented as the Son of God himself. When He was here below no one appeared to understand how loviDg He was. Even His own disciples, who had been all along associated with Him, did not know how full His heart was of love and compassion for lost and fallen men. John, who ought to have known his Master better, said, " Lord, shall we call fire down from heaven to destroy those men 1" Why, it was not very likely that Christ would have done such a thing; He was too full of grace and truth, too eager to save that which was lost. He came to bring life, not to destroy life. But this could not have been said of any one who came before Him. It could not have been said of Abraham ; for when the people fleeing out of Sodom took Lot, Abraham's; nephew, captive, he armed himself and his household, and went out against them and slew them, and delivered his nephew. It could not have been said of Moses; for we read that ho turned aside and slew a man, he changed the waters of Egypt into blood, and he brought death upon the people. It could not have been said of David, or Samson, or of any of the eminent men we read of in the Old Testament who preceded Christ, for they did destroy men's lives. And if you search into history, quite apart from the Bible, you will still find no record of Christ having taken man's life at any time. But you will find that the great men of the world, the Caesars, and the Alexanders, and all the mighty conquerors of old who made themselves a name, took men's lives, and destroyed them abundantly. Not so the Son of God; He came not to take life, but to give it.
Sin Put Away By Christ.
The terrible name of sin! How it used to haunt me in my early years! I thought all my sins would be blazed out before the great white throne; that every sin committed in childhood and in secret, and every secret thought, and every evil desire, would be just blazed out before the assembled universe; that everything done in the dark would be brought to light. But thanks be to God, the gospel tells me my sins are all put away in Christ. Out of love to my soul, He has taken all my sins and cast them behind His back. That is a safe place to have our sins cast away—behind God's back. God never turns back; He always marches on. He will never see your sins if they are behind His back. That is one of His own illustrations. Out of love to my soul, He has taken all my sins upon Him. Not a part. He takes them all out of the way. "There is no condemnation to him that
is in Christ Jesus." You may just pile up your sins till they rise up like a dark mountain, and then multiply them by ten thousand for those you cannot think of; and after you have tried to enumerate all the sins you have ever committed, just let me bring in one verse, and immediately the whole of that mountain will melt away: "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin."
Slates To Sin.
The Lord Jesus can save, and save to the uttermost. And if there is one captive heart here bound by the devil hand and foot, I tell you upon the authority of God's own word, He has power now to snap your fetters and make you free in the liberty of the gospel. Are you a slave to lust, to drink, to any evil appetite, to some foul sin that is carrying you down to death? I bring you good news, my friend: the Son of man came to seek and to save those who were lost. Come just as you are; and with a word, a look, He will save you too.
No Best Here.
"If Jesus had given them rest, then would He not afterwards have spoken of another rest." Do you look for that rest here, Christian? There is none. If you are resting you are neglecting your duty, you are shirking your work, and will never enjoy heaven thoroughly. It's the weary only who know what true rest is. "Work while it is called to-day;" be up and doing. That which your hand findeth to do in your Master's vineyard do it with all your might. "Be not weary of well doing, for in due time ye shall reap if ye faint not." Blessed be God, "there remaineth a rest." No rest here below, nothing but toil and labour; but you will enjoy your rest all the more when you do come to the beautiful land above. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth; Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them."
Ah! but how can that be said of many ?—" They rest from their labours." They never had any labours. Or, again, " Their works do follow them." They have not got any works for Christ to follow them; they never did any. Alas! this promise is not for such; they have nothing to do with it: it is for those who are labouring to win souls to Christ; who are giving themselves no rest now, and are spending day and night in the Lord's service here on earth.
What Heaven Thinks Of Christ.
We have got on record what heaven thinks of Christ. Here on earth He was not known—no one seemed really to understand Him; but He was known in that world in which He had been from the very foundation thereof; for He was there before the morning stars sang together, before Adam was placed in this world. We are told that John was in the Spirit on the Lord's day, and being caught up, he heard a loud shout around him, and looking, he saw ten thousand times ten thousand angels, who were shouting, " Worthy is the Lamb that was slain, to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing!" Yes, Jesus is worthy of all this. That is what heaven thinks of Him; would that earth also would take up the echo, and join with heaven in singing, " He is worthy to receive power, and riches, and wisdom, and strength, and honour, and glory, and blessing!" Oh! come, Thou most high God, and help this poor sin-cursed earth to receive Christ as its Saviour, and to render praises to Him!
Paul The Conqueror.
Look at " Paul the aged," old and feeble, being led up the streets of Kome to his death. Ah! Rome never in all her days of triumphant warfare had knowu such a conqueror as this man, who is going quietly to his death ; faithful to God, eveu to death. "Paul, don't you tremble now? what has all your preaching done for you? for you are goiug to be put to death. Come, now, give it up, and perchance they'll let you off. Are not you afraid?" "Afraid?" says the aged apostle, "no indeed! I have had stripes, imprisonments, beatings with rods, stonings, shipwrecks three times, perils of fire, perils of sword, but none of these things move me. This light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh out for me a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory. Afraid? no! I press towards the mark of the prize of the high calling in Christ Jesus. What the world may or may not do to my poor body, matters not to me—the sooner the better; I press forward. When absent from the body I shall be present with the Lord." And what was the result? Why, on the page of history the name of Paul is written down as a good soldier of the Lord Jesus, who could endure hardness like a true soldier should. As one of God's faithful ones, who feared not the face of man, he could say, " I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith; henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day; and not to me only, but unto all them that love His appearing." Ah! he could say " I have kept the faith." Blessed be God! Paul is not dead, he lives up there; and at the day of Christ's appearing he shall receive an unfading crown of glory, beautiful, bright, and new, from his Saviour.
Struggling Against The World.
When a man is thought much of in this world, it is quite likely Christ won't have much to say for him in the next world. Christ's loved ones are despised and hated; "(of whom the world was not worthy); they wandered in deserts and in mountains, and in dens and caves of the earth." They have to put up with all kinds of contempt and contumely; that's what Christ's people have to endure here. Ah! and we'll have*to bless God for it all. It keeps us from linking ourselves with this world, from settling all our hopes and desires upon it.
If we are to serve Christ and to reach heaven, we must sail right against the world and its way. It's an old saying that a dead fish always swims with the current, and we can always tell the living fish when we see it swimming against the current; and in like manner, if you are dead, you will very likely be sailing smoothly enough with this world, and very well satisfied with yourself; but if you are alive in Jesus Christ, you will be struggling with might and main against the world, its sins, and temptations, and you will be seeking to win souls for Christ, regardless of the world's scofis, and sneers, and frowns.
Faith's Victory Through Christ.
Saving faith in the gospel delivers us from four enemies: 1. Death, which Christ has deprived of its sting, and now is as harmless as a stingless hornet. 2. The Grave, to which we may now say, "0 grave, where is thy victory V for Christ declares, " Because I live ye shall live also." 3. Sin, for though our sins are so many, yet Christ has atoned for them, and cast them into the depths of the sea. 4. Judgment; we shall not come into the judgment of condemnation, because Christ has come into judgment for us (John v. 24).
Israel, after promising to obey the commandments, worshipped the golden calf; and you would find many men now-a-days far more anxious to worship th« golden calf of mammon than Christ.
The Great Reward.
Be not discouraged, Christian, although the way be rough and weary; look up beyond, there is reserved for you a "great reward in heaven "—up in heaven, beyond the clouds, the sorrows, and the tears. Oh, my friends, if God calls that reward "great," how great must it be 1 We, perhaps, would call it great, even if it had not been very much, for we are accustomed to little things; but when God calls it "great," we may be sure it is something to look forward to. See, then, that you are looking to heaven for your reward.
Let Your Light Shine.
A Friend of mine out West was walking along the streets one dark night, when he saw approaching him a man with a lantern. As he came up close to him, he noticed by the bright light that the man had got no eyes. He went past him, but the thought struck him, "Surely that man is blind." He turned round and said, "My friend, are you not blind?" "Yes," was the answer. "Then what have you got the lantern for?" ".I carry the lantern," said the blind man," that people may not stumble over me." Let us take a lesson from that blind man, and hold up our light, burning with the clear radiance of heaven, that men may not stumble over us.
Value Of The World's Applause.
I Blush for much of the so-called Christianity of the nineteenth century. People must have the favour and applause of the world, and the patronage of the great, otherwise they count themselves unsuccessful. But what is the favour, the fame, the glory, the love of this world? I would have none of it. I desire none of its favours. The world is guilty of the blood of God's dear Son.
The Christian Principle Of Restitution.
"This man receiveth sinners," said the Pharisees of . Christ. Sinners, why Zacchaeus was not such a sinner as can be met with amongst the well-to-do people of London; he gave half his goods " to feed the poor." Look at that! And yet he felt humbled in the presence of His Saviour. Throughout the whole of Scripture you find one result of Christ's teaching, assuming a practical form, as it is exemplified in the Gospels, namely the operation of the principle of restitution. This seems to have been one of the fundamental principles on which the ancient Christians acted. It is all very well for one minister and another to tell you to do this and that, but Christ says to you, with a voice of entreaty and love, which you cannot resist, "If you love Me, keep My commandments." There, ye sinners and self-righteous men, look at that, —" If you love Me, keep My commandments."
Jesus As A Comforter.
See Jesus in the little home at Bethany, binding up the wounded hearts of Martha and Mary, and tell me what think ye of Him as a comforter? He is a husband to the widow, and a father to the fatherless. 0 ye mourning widows, take my advice, and make Jesus your Comforter. Dear fatherless children make Jesus your Friend. He is a Friend who never dies; He will cheer you in adversity, and will never leave, never forsake you.
Man's Grace And God's Grace.
A Banker's idea of grace is that he will give people a certain time to pay a bill or account, but if they do not pay up by then, woe betide them; but God presents men with interest, capital, and all, and gives it them as a free gift!
The Church A Place Of Work.
A Great many look upon the Christian church on earth as a place of rest. Never was a greater mistake. The church is no place of rest, it is a place of work. If the church is looking for her rest here, then, she cannot make a greater blunder: she will never get rest in this world. There are always trials and tribulations and labours here. The rest is up yonder, where Christ is. "There remaineth therefore a rest to the people of God."
The Way Out Of Infidelity.
If there is any one whose mind is filled with infidel thoughts, let him go honestly to God, and He will teach him the right way through the dark wilderness of infidelity. He won't leave him in darkness or doubt. It is the devil's own work to lead men into such doubts; well he knows if he once gets them there he has them pretty safe. It is Satan's work to keep men in ignorance or doubt. It is God's work to teach men. The Teacher is Christ; He is appointed by God for this work. God help us all to accept Him as our Teacher.
Would that there were more men now like Abraham, ready to obey God in the dark without asking the reason why. The old man took his son, and he told him the secret that he had hid from him all the journey—that God had told him to offer him up as a sacrifice; and he bound the boy hand and foot, and laid him all ready on the altar. But just as he was about to stretch forth his hand and slay him, he heard a voice from heaven calling to him, "Abraham, Abraham, spare thy son." God was more merciful U the son of Abraham than to His own Son, for He gavi Him up freely for us all.
The World's Treatment or Christ.
The world served the Son of God in the same way as it has His followers. He came to bless, and not to curse. For three years He went about doing all the good He could find to do—healing the sick, casting out devils, opening the eyes of the blind, making the lame to leap like a hart, raising the very dead out of their graves. Never a poor sick one came to Him but he was healed. Christ couldn't pass a poor beggar but His heart yearned for him. And yet. how did the world repay Him 1 Did it worship Him 1 build a fine house for Him? put up a statue in His honour 1 No; not so. It hung Him to a tree; it shouted, " Crucify Him! crucify Him!" It preferred the thief and murderer to Him, the Holy One. It yelled out, "His blood be on our heads!" And His blood rests there to this day!" He came to His own, and Hia own received Him not."
The reward Of The World.
Some Christians make a mistake in looking for their reward here below on earth, and they are disappointed becaiise they do not obtain it. This is a great blunder, for the apostle tells us, "Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, shall give me at that day." Not in this life, but in the life to come. At that great day, we shall receive the crown. So also Christ says, "Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven." You needn't be looking for it on earth; it is "in heaven." The world won't reward you. No; it will hate you, and curse you, and slay you, if it can, "for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you." Ah! if you are expecting a reward down here, you're sure to be disappointed, your hope will be frustrated. Sometimes a man relaxes in his work for the Lor4| and seems to lose his strength, and fails to speak for Christ as he used to do. Why?
Just because he has been looking for a reward in this world. And what has he received? Nothing but laughter and mockery. "What does the world care for him and his psalm-singing 1 Thus he falls back, and becomes discouraged; he begins to faint by the way. Such failure comes from looking for a reward in this world!
Dbparted Friends Watching Over Us.
Our dear departed friends are watching over us, waiting to see if we will come to them, if we will forsake the broad and easy way that leads to destruction, and march Zion-ward. Nor is it wonderful that they should rejoice over such an event; for surely it will give them a new thrill of joy to know they are to have the society in heaven of those whom they loved on . earth. Yes, the very angels are delighted to know we are coming—coming to walk the golden streets, to share with them the joys of eternity, to see the King in His beauty.
Earthly Treasure Not Wealth.
Men are always looking forward in thi3 world for something that is to yield them happiness; but when they get it they are disappointed. They exclaim, "Is this all 1 If I had thought it was like this, I wouldn't have worked so hard for it." How few of us can follow Christ's command—for it is a command!—" Lay not up for yourselves treasures on earth." What does it profit us to set our hearts on this world? Nothing; it is worse than vanity. Yet men go on living for this world, and setting their affections upon it, and when they come to be old and feeble, what good does it do them? They expected happin ess; they have none. Their hopes are frustrated, and they go down to the grave mourning.
When you come to die, what benefit will your riches be to your soul 1 None whatever. You will possess nothing: what you had belonged to this earth, and you must leave it behind you. The great question is, what have you in heaven? Alas for you if you have never laid anything up there! The world may indeed say, " Such a man has died worth so many thousands or millions ;" but in reality he is worth nothing at all, if he has not anything laid up in heaven. The world may call him rich and wise, but God calls him a fool: "Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee; then whose shall those things be 1" Not his own, anyway; but very likely they shall be possessed and lost by some spendthrift son.
Faith And Love.
The same scripture which tells us to be sound in faith tells us also to be sound in love. The true believer is like a glass quite full of water, so that directly it is touched it will flow over.
Grace Distinct From Works.
Grace is very distinct from works, for without grace works would be of no avail. A lady speaking about an uncle of hers who had given a lot of money for building churches, chapels, &c, seemed to think he could almost of right demand a seat in heaven. Oh! repudiate such an idea; God's grace is a perfectly free gift. If the Queen were to offer any one a splendid present free, it would be ridiculous to proffer a penny in exchange; and it is just as ridiculous to imagine that God would give His grace in exchange for good works.
The Christ Of God.
I Would like to take you to yon mountain-side to hear that wonderful preacher. Never man spake like this Man. This sermon on the mount is as fresh today as when Christ first uttered it. Thank God His teachings and preachings stand firm to-day. Eighteen
hundred years have rolled away, and yet Christ is thought more of to-day than at any other time in the world's history; and as years roll on His name shall be exalted above every other name, and the stone cut out without hands shall come in contact with the image set up by the man of sin, and break it to pieces like chaff on the threshing-floor.
Supplication With Thanksgiving.
One reason why we don't have more answers to our prayers is because we are not thankful enough. The divine injunction is, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known unto God." Some one has well said there are three things in this verse—careful-for nothing—prayerful for everything— thankful for anything.
More Than Was Expected.
The sick man of the palsy was let down to the feet of Jesus through the roof. Doubtless the Pharisees were outside waiting the result, to see whether they could find fault with Jesus. They came around just as a good many persons now go round the inquiry-room, to try to reason about it; but they forgot that God was above reason. The man who was sick was let in through the roof, and when he was come down, Jesus, seeing the faith of those that brought him—not the faith of the man himself—said, " Thy sins are forgiven thee." So that he got healed himself and his sins forgiven at the same time, which was more thanhe expected; and none ever came to Christ but got more than they expected.
What Will Make Heaven orra Home.
Once I heard of a little sick child, whose mother was also seriously ill; and so, in order that she might have quiet, and that the sick child might be no trouble to her, the little one was taken away to a friend's house, and placed in charge of a kind lady for a time. The mother grew worse, and at length died. The father said, "We'll not tell the child about it, she is too young to remember her mother; just let her remain where she is until the funeral is over." This was done, and in a few days the little girl was brought back to the house. No mention was made of her mother, or of what had occurred; but no sooner was she taken to the house, than she ran first into one room, then into another—into the parlour, the dining-room, and all over the house, and then away into a little room where her mother used to go to pray alone. "Where is mother 1" she cried; "I want mother!" And when they were compelled to tell her what had happened she cried out, " Oh! take me away, take me away; I don't want to be here without mother." It was the mother made it home to her.
And so it is in heaven. It is not so much the white robes, the golden crown, or the harps of gold; but it is the society we shall meet there that will make heaven our home. Who, then, are there 1 What company shall we have when we get there 1 Jesus is there, the Holy Father is there, the Spirit is there— our Father, our elder Brother, our Comforter. Who else is there? The angels are there; dear departed friends are there. And the little ones ;—ah! they are there too.
Crownless Saints In Heaven.
I Have an idea there are thousands of crownless saints in heaven. They just barely get in at the doors. They have, indeed, been redeemed by the blood of the Lamb, but there is no reward for them. They have sought their own ease in this world; they have not sought to work for Christ here below, therefore, though admitted to heaven, they enjoy no distinguished reward. "They that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness as the stars for ever and ever." But none of those that have lost heart and have given up working for the Master here will shine as the stats, or receive the great reward hereafter. For those careless ones there is no bright glory, no place near the throne; they have just got in at the gates—that's all!