GOD’S JEWELS A SHORT SERMON. BY C. H. SPURGEON.
“And they shall be mine, saith the Lord of hosts, in that day when I make up my jewels.” — Malachi 3:17.
THESE words were spoken in a very graceless age, when religion was peculiarly distasteful to men; when they scoffed at God’s altar and said of his service, “What a weariness it is! What profit is it that we should fear the Lord?” Yet, even these dark nights were not uncheered by bright stars.
Though the great congregations of God’s house were but a mockery, yet there were smaller assemblies which God gazed upon with delight; though tike house of national worship was deserted, there were secret conventicles of those who “feared the Lord,” and who “spake often one to another,” and our God, who regards quality more than quantity, had respect to these elect twos and threes. Tie “hearkened and heard,” and he so approved of that which he heard that he took notes of it, and declared that he would publish it. “A book of remembrance was written before him for them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon his name.” Yea, and he valued so much these hidden ones — “faithful among the faithless found,” that he called them his “jewels ;” and he declared that in the great day when he should gather together his regalia, the peculiar treasure of kings, he would look upon these hidden ones as being more priceless than emeralds, rubies, or pearls; and, “They shall be mine,” said he, “in the day when I gather up jewels into my casket to be there for ever.”
We will try to work out this metaphor of jewels. Our first point Shall be that God’s people are jewels; our second, the making up of the jewels; and our third, the privilege of being found among them.
I. THE LORD COMPARES HIS PEOPLE TO JEWELS.
From the remotest antiquity men have thought much of precious stones.
Almost fabulous prices have been paid for them, and there have been instances in which most bloody wars have been waged for the possession of a certain jewel renowned for its brilliance and size. Men hunt after gold, but the diamond they pursue with even greater eagerness. Five hundred men will work for a whole twelvemonth in the diamond mines of Brazil when the entire produce of the year might be held in the hollow of your hand: and princes will give whole principalities, or barter the estates of half a nation in order to possess one peculiar brilliant of rare excellence. ‘We wonder not, therefore, that the God who elsewhere likens the precious sons of Zion to fine gold should here compare them to jewels. However little they may be esteemed by men, the great Jewel-Valuer, the Lord Jesus Christ, esteems them as precious beyond all price. His life was as dear to him as life is to us, and yet all that he had, even his life, did he give for his elect ones. He counted down the price of his jewels in drops of bloody sweat in the gloomy garden of Gethsemane. His very heart was set approach, streaming with priceless blood in order that he might redeem his people. We may compare our Lord to that merchantman seeking goodly pearls, who when he had found the one pearl of his church, for the joy thereof went and sold all that he had that he might make it his own. Our God sets great value upon those whom he cars his jewels, as we may gather not only from theft costly redemption, but from the fact that all providence is but a wheel upon which to polish and perfect them. That great wheel which Ezekiel saw; and which was so stupendous that he cried out in astonishment, “O wheel!” is nothing but a part of the machinery of the great Lapidary by which he cuts the facets of his true brilliants and makes his diamonds ready for his crown, for is it not written that “All things work together for good to them that love God:, to them that are the called according to his purpose”? The Lord values his people very highly; not the rich among them only, not the most gracious among them alone, but the very least and most unworthy among believers are Jehovah’s jewels. To fear the Lord and think upon his name are very simple indications of piety, and yet if we only come up to the standard which these evidences indicate we are dear to God. ‘What though we may possess no singular gifts or eminent graces; what though our voice may never be heard among the crowds of populous cities, yet still, if we “think upon his name,” and our hearts are set towards the Lord Jesus, we are precious to him.
Jewels well portray the Christian, because they are extremely hard and durable. Most jewels will scratch glass; some of them will cut it, while they themselves will not be cut by the sharpest file, and many of them will be uninjured by the most potent acids. The Christian is such a one. He has within him a principle which is incorruptible, undefiled, and destined to endure for ever. In Pompeii and Herculaneum diggers have discovered gems in an excellent state of preservation, while statuary and implements of iron have been destroyed. Jewels will last out the world’s lifetime, and glitter on as long as the sun shines; the rust doth not corrupt them, nor doth the moth devour them, though the thief may break through and steal them. The Christian is born of an incorruptible seed which liveth and abideth for ever. The world has often tried to crush or consume God’s diamonds, but an the attempts of malicious fury have failed. All that enmity has ever accomplished has only been in the hands of God the means of displaying the preciousness and brilliance of his jewels. The sham Christian, who is but a paste gem, soon yields to trim; he evaporates into a little noxious gas of self-conceit, and it is all over with him. A little heat of persecution and the man-made Christian — where is he? But the genuine Christian, the true gem, the choice jewel of God, will survive the fires of time, and when. the last dissolving day shall arrive, he shall come forth from the furnace without a flaw.
The jewel is prized for its luster. It is the brilliance of the gem which in a great measure is the evidence and test of its value. It is said that the colors of jewels are the brightest known, and are the nearest approaches to the rays of the solar spectrum that have yet been discovered. Certainly there is no light like that which is reflected from the sincere Christian. The renewed heart catches the beams of the Sun of Righteousness and reflects them, not without some refraction, for we are mortal; but still with much of glory, for we are immortal, and ,God dwelleth in us. See how the diamond flashes and sparkles! It is of the first water when, with certain other conditions, it is also without cloudiness and without spots. And oh! when a Christian man is truly what a saint should be, what a luster, what a brilliance there is about him! He is like the Lord Jesus Christ, humble ;yet bold, teachable yet firm, gentle yet courageous; like his Master, he goes about doing the will of him that sent him, and though the wicked world may not love him, it cannot but perceive his brightness. Look at Richard Baxter, in Kidderminster, what a flashing diamond was he! he had some spots no doubt, but his brightness was most surprising; even swearers on the Me- bench coma not but know that he was a heaven-born spirit. We might quote honored names out of all Christian churches, which would be at once discerned by you as God’s flashing brilliants, because there is about them so little of the cloudiness of nature and so much of the brightness of grace that he must be blind indeed who does not admire them. Precious stones are the flowers of the mineral world, the blossoms of the mines, the roses and lilies of earth’s caverns. Scarcely has the eye ever seen a more beautiful object than the, breast-plate of the high-priest, studded with the twelve gems, each with its own separate ray melting into a harmony of splendor; and, albeit that the trickeries of pomp have but little influence over men of sober mind, I scarce believe that there exists a single person who is altogether impervious to the influence of a crown bedight; with ruby, and pearl, and emerald, and a bright array of other costly gems. There is a beauty, a divine and superhuman beauty, about a Christian. He may be, humbly dad and miserably housed, he may be poor, and his name may never be mentioned among the great; but jewelers value a rare stone none the less because of its ill-setting. Beloved, nothing so delights God, next to the person of his own dear Son, as the sight of one of those whom he has made like unto the Lord Jesus. Know ye not that Christ’s delights are With the sons of men, and that the holiness, the patience, the devotion, the zeal, the love, and the. faith of his people are precious to him? The whole creation affords no fairer sight to the Most High than an assembly of his sanctified people, in whom he sees the beauty of his own character reflected. May you and I have much of the “beauty of holiness” given us by the Holy Spirit! May the Lord look upon us with divine complacency, because he sees in as the rays of the solar spectrum of his own ineffable perfection!
Christians are comparable to jewels because of their rarity. There are not many precious stones abroad in the world. Of the smaller sorts there may be many, but of the rarer gems there are so few that a little child might write them, only six very large diamonds (called paragons) are known in the world; and so God’s people are but few compared with the unregenerate multitude who are as the pebbles in the brook. The Christian belongs, like the ruby, the diamond, and the emerald, to the choicest of created things. These stones are the aristocracy of minerals, and Christians are the aristocracy of men. They are God’s nobles. The roll of Battle Abbey — have you ever looked it through? Well, it is of little consequence.
There is a better roll by far, and if your name is written there it will be of infinitely more consequence to you. Domesday Book — is there a name there at all like yours? Never mind whether there be or not. There is a doom’s-day book which will be of more value in the day of doom than Domesday Book has over been among the sons of men. Not many wise, not many great and noble are there; but all who are written in heaven are, in another sense, both wise, and great, and noble, for God has made them so through his own grace. Not many are the gems which enrich the nations, and not many are the saints which shine among men. The gate of heaven is strait, and the Savior says sorrow- fully, “Few there be that find it.” There is a city where pearl, and jasper, and carbuncle, and emerald are as common things. O fair Jerusalem, when shall these eyes behold thy turrets and thy pinnacles? It is worthy of observation, too, that a jewel is the production of God. Diamonds have been burned, and other jewels have been resolved into their elements; but after the most laborious attempts no chemist has yet been able to make a diamond. Men can cut the Gordian knot, but they cannot tie it again. Lives have been wasted in attempts to produce precious stones, but the discovery is still unto and; they are the secret productions of God’s own skill, and chemists fail to tell how they were produced, even though they know their elements. So the world thinks it knows what a Christian is, but it cannot make one. All the wit in the world put together could not find out the secret of the heaven-born life; and all the sacraments, vestments, priests, prayers, and paraphernalia of Popery cannot create a Christian. “Yes,” says one, “we take a little water, and we make an ‘infant ‘a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of the kingdom of heaven.’“ Sir, you make yourself a liar and nothing better when you so speak, for it is neither in your power nor in the power of any man to regenerate a soul by any performance of yours, either with or without water. You may wash a flint long enough before you can wash it into a diamond. To make, jewels for Christ’s crown is God’s work, and God’s work alone. ‘We might preach until our tongues grow dumb and men’s ears grew’ deaf, but not a living soul would over receive divine grace by our talk; the Spirit must go with the word, or it is so much wasted breath. The Lord alone can create a child of grace, and a Christian is as much a miracle as was Lazarus when he rose from the tomb. It is as great a work of Deity to create a believer as it is to create a ‘world. It is worthy of remark, too, that jewels are of many kinds. Perhaps there is not a single ray in the spectrum which is not represented amongst them, from the purest white of the diamond, the red of the ruby, the bright green of the emerald, to the blue of the sapphire. So is it with God’s people. They are not all alike, and they never will be; all attempts at uniformity must fail, and it is very proper that they should. We need not wish to be one in the sense of uniformity, but only in the sense of unity; not all one jewel, but many gems set in one crown. It little matters whether we shine with the sapphire’s blue, or the emerald’s green, or the ruby’s red, or the diamond’s white, so long as we are the Lord’s in the day when he makes up his jewels. Jewels are of all sizes, and yet they are all jewels. One is a Koh-i-noor, a very mountain of light; but it is not any more a diamond because it is large, though it is more precious. The smallest dust of the diamond that comes from the lapidary’s wheel is made of the same material as the richest jewel that sparkles in the monarch’s crown; and even so, those Christians who have but little faith and little grace are still as much the divine workmanship as the brightest and most precious in the believing family, and what is more, they shall be in the casket when the others are there, for it is said of them all, “They shall be mine in the day when I make up my jewels.”
Once more, jewels a re found all over tar world. In the most frozen regions, on the tops of mountains, and in the depths of mines, jewels have been discovered; but they are said to be most numerous in tropical regions.
So Christians are to be found everywhere. Blessed be the name of God, the Esquimaux have sung the praises of Immanuel in the regions of eternal ice, and the Children of the Sun have learned to adore the Sun of Righteousness in the midst of the torrid zone; but in England, which is the tropical region of divine grace, the land where the gospel is preached in our streets, we find the most of believers, as also in a few other happy lands which, like our own fair island, lie upon the Equinoctial line of gospel privilege, where the grace of God has given the gospel in. its greatest purity. ‘Wherever the jewels have been found, though they differ in some respects, yet they are still alike in others, and kings delight in them, and are glad to use them as regal ornaments. So, wherever the Lord finds his precious ones, east or west, or north or south, he sees something in them in which they all agree, and he delights in them. Our Lord Jesus counts them to be his true ornaments with which he array of himself as a bridegroom adorneth himself with ornaments, and as a bride decketh herself with jewels. God delights in Christians, come from whatever part they may.
Although they may be of many tongues, and though the colors of their skins may vary, yet are they still very, very precious in his sight, and they shall be his in that day when he makes up his jewels.
II. In the second place, let us consider THE MAKING UP OF THEJEWELS.
All the jewels mentioned in the text are God’s own property, and he has not lost sight of them, for “the Lord knoweth them that are his;” but there is a day coming when they shall all be brought together into one place before the King, and shall all glitter in his crown. That day has not yet arrived. The jewels are at present scattered in all corners of the earth. The King has not yet read the schedule to see whether the list exactly tallies ‘with the brilliants that are before him. We have not come to the day of the making up of the jewels, for some of them are at this hour hidden and undiscovered. There is no doubt that many precious stones will be found out yet. Diamond-hunters are at this moment looking after them in the caverns of the earth, and washing the soil of the mines to find them. Many of the chosen of God are not yet manifested. The missionaries in heathen lands are toiling to discover them amid the mire of idolatry. My daily business and calling is that of a jewel-hunter, and this pulpit is the place where I try to separate the precious from the vile. Sunday-school teachers and other workers are diamond-hunters too, they deal with gems far more precious than millions of gold and silver. Oh that all Christians were seekers of souls:, for there is much need of all hands, and it is a work which well rewards the laborer. All the chosen are not saved yet. Blood bought multitudes remain to be ingathered. Oh for grace to seek them diligently! Because of the absence of so many of the Lord’s gems the “making up” of the jewels has not yet taken place, but the time is hastening on.
Many jewels are found, but they. are not yet polished. They are precious gems, but it is only lately that they have been uplifted from the mine. When the diamond is first discovered it glitters but little; you can see that it is a precious gem, but perhaps one-half of it will have to be cut away before it sparkles with fullest splendor. The lapidary must torment it upon his wheel, and many hundreds of pounds must be spent before perfection is reached.
In some cases two or thee thousands of rounds have been expended before the diamond has been brought to its full excellence. So it will be with many of the Lord’s people; they are justified, but they are not completely sanctified. Corruption has to be subdued, ignorance removed, unbelief cut away, worldliness taken off, before they can be set in the crown of the great King; for this also the King tarries, and his jewels are not “made up.” Many of the Lord’s gems are but partly polished; indeed there are none on earth perfect yet. This is not the land of perfection. Some persons dream of it; their pretensions are but a dream. We have heard some say that they were perfect, but they were not perfect in the virtue of humility, or they would not have boasted after so vainglorious a fashion. The saints are still in the Lapidary’s hand. The Master is taking off first one and then another, and rending away much which we have foolishly cherished; but through this cutting process we shall sparkle gloriously ere long, so that those who knew us on earth will wonder to see the difference in heaven. Perhaps it will be part of the joy of heaven to perceive our conquest over sin, to see how the divine hand has shed a glory and beauty upon the poor dull stones of earth.
The making up is delayed, because certain of the gems which have been partly perished are missing. “Oh!” say you, “does the Lord ever lose any of his gems?” No, not for ever, but for a time they may be missing. A certain blue diamond that was very greatly renowned was by some means lost at the time of the French revolution, and has never been heard of since.
It; is somewhere, however, and God knows where it is, and it is a diamond still; and so there are some of his people who go astray, and we cannot tell Where they are; but still “the Lord knoweth them ‘“ that are hid, and “the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Backslider, you were once a jewel in the church; you were put down in the book as a church member, but from the casket of the church Satan stole you. All, but you did not be, long to him, and he cannot keep you. You have agreed to be his, but your agreement does not stand for anything. You did not belong to yourself, and so you. could not give yourself away. Christ has the first and only valid claim to you, and will yet obtain his rights by the omnipotence of his grace. Because of these missing jewels the longsuffering of God waiteth; but the day is-coming, its axles are hot with speed, when sardius, and topaz, and. carbuncle, shall glisten in the sane crown with emerald, and sapphire, and diamond nor shall ligure, agate, amethyst, beryl, onyx, or jasper be wanting; they shall all be, “set in gold in their inclosings.”
III. Upon THE HONORABLE PRIVILEGE of being numbered with the crown jewels of Jehovah we will utter hardly more than a few. sentences, and we will preface them with words of self-examination. “They shall be mine.”
This does not include all men, but only “them that feared the Lord, and that thought upon, his, name. Standing in the midst of this immense assembly, and: remembering that a very large proportion of my hearer sire professors of faith in Christ, I am. happy to be in such a. great jewel house; but when I reflect that it is a very easy thing indeed to imitate a jewel so that the counterfeit cannot be detected except by the most skillful jeweler, I feel solemnly impressed with the desire that none of you may be deceived. It is not very long ago that a lady possessed a sapphire supposed to be worth £’10,000. Without informing her relatives she sold it, and procured an imitation of it so cleverly fashioned that when she died it was valued by a jeweler in order that the probate duty’ might ‘be paid upon it and the trustees of the estate actually paid probate duty upon it to’ our government on £10,000 for what was not really worth more than a few pence, for they imagined that it was the real sapphire. Now, if in examining material jewels men well skilled have been thus deceived, you will not wonder if in connection with the jewels of mind and spirit it is so difficult to detect an imposition. ‘You may deceive the minister, the deacons, and, the church; nay, you may easily deceive yourselves and even pay the probate duty; you may be making sacrifices and discharging duties on account of true religion as you think, but really for something which is not worth the name.
Beloved in the Lord, be zealous for vital godliness, hate hypocrisy, shun deception, and watch against formality. I will make a pause and give you time in a few minutes of silence to pray that ancient, and needful prayer, “Search me, O God, and know my heart, try me, and’ know my thoughts:, and see if ‘there be any wicked way. in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” All paste gems, and all the glass imitations, will surely be detected in, the day which will burn again oven. May we be found among the jewels in that dread testing day! If we shall be the Lord’s, then What privileges are ,ours? Then are we safe. If we. really pass the scales at the last there will. be no more questionings, suspicions, testings, weighings, or cuttings. the Great Valuer accepts us as being genuine, then we shall be secure for ever’ Nor is this all, beloved; we shall be honored. Remember where the ‘jewels are to shine for ever. Jesus himself shall wear them as his glory and joy. Believers will be unrivaled illustrations of the glory of divine grace throughout all ages. Can you see our glorious Well-Beloved? There he sits; the adored of angels and admired of men! But what are the ornaments he wears? Worlds were too small to be signets upon his fingers, and the zodiac too poor a thing to bind the sandals of his feet. But oh! how’ bright he is, how glorious! And what are the jewels which display his beauty? They are souls redeemed by his death from going down into the pit! Blood-washed sinners! Men and women who but for him would have been tormented for ever in the flame, but who now rejoice to sing — “ Unto him that loved us and washed us from our sins in his own blood, unto him be glory for ever and ever.” So that, once acknowledged to be Christ’s, you are not only safe, but you will be in the closest communion with Christ throughout eternity. It is a bliss the thought of which may well flash with vehement flame through your hearts even now, that you are one day to display the glory of Immanuel; that unto the principalities and powers shall be made known, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God. You are to be his “gold rings set with the beryl ;” with you as his reward his person will be “as bright ivory overlaid with sapphires.” You are so dear to him that he bought you with his own blood because you could not be “gotten for gold, neither could silver be weighed for the price thereof.” Your redemption by his death proves that your soul could not be valued with the gold of Ophir, with the precious onyx or the sapphire, and when the ever-glorious God shall exhibit your sanctified spirit as an illustration of his glorious character and work, no mention shall be made of coral or of pearls, for your worth will be above rubies; the topaz of Ethiopia shall not equal you, nor shall the precious crystal be compared to you.
But I hear a mournful voice crying, “All this is concerning the precious ones, but there is nothing for me; I was in hopes that there would have been something for a sinner like me.” Well, what are you then? Are you not a jewel? “No,” you cry, “I am not a jewel; I am only a common stone; I am not worth the picking up; I am just one of the many pebbles on the shore of life, and the tide of death will soon wash me into the great ocean of eternity; I am not worthy of God’s thoughts; I am not even worth his treading upon; I shall with multitudes be swallowed up in the great deep of wrath and never heard ,of more!” Soul, didst thou never hear this text? “I say unto you ‘that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham?” ‘What stones were they? They were ordinary loose stones in Jordan’s bed. John was standing in the river baptizing, and pointing to those worthless pebbles, not worth the picking up, he said, “God is able of these to raise up children unto Abraham.” Even so this night God is able of these stones around me in this vast throng to make gems which shall be his treasure in the day when he makes up his jewels. You cannot thus exalt yourselves, nor can I do it for you, but there is a secret and mysterious process by which by divine art the common stone is transmuted into the diamond, and though you are a stone black with sin, or blood-red with crime, though, you are a flinty stone with jagged edges of blasphemy; though you are such a stone as Satan delights to throw at the truth, yet God can new create you into a jewel. He can do it to-night, he can do it in an instant. And do you know the way? There is a wondrous red with which he works matchless transformations; that rod is the cross. Jesus Christ suffered that sinners might not suffer. Jesus Christ died that sinners might not die, but that “whosoever believeth in him should not perish but have everlasting life.” Sinner though you be, if you come beneath the cross, and trustingly look up to the sorrows of God’s dear Son, you shall be saved, and that salvation includes a complete change of nature, by which you shall fear the Lord and think upon his name, and mingle with those who speak often one to another, with the certainty of being the Lord’s when he makes up his jewels.
MORNING, NOON AND NIGHT OR THREE COURSES AT THE BANQUET OF MEDITATION.
“ I am the Lord, I change not.” — Malachi 3:6.
THIS day before I venture into the world I would listen to the voice of my Lord. While the dew is on the grass I would ask for dew upon my soul. I must look for changes, for I am in a world where nothing is fixed and certain. My outward circumstances, my bodily health, my home comforts, all these may undergo an entire change during the fleeting hours of this day. My spiritual experience will, in like manner, be sure to vary; I may this hour awake rejoicing in Christ and when I have for a little while mingled with the busy world, I may lose my joy and sink into doubts and fears. I am a poor fickle creature; the colors of a chameleon are not more changeable than the feelings of my unstable soul. Let me then listen with awe to the words of the Lord, my God. How far is he beyond my comprehension! his immutability is high; I cannot attain unto it. Teach me, 0 Holy Spirit, evermore to reverence the great and unchangeable Jehovah. But my soul sees an amazing beauty in these words, and I am filled with delight in reading them, especially when I mark the concluding sentence, “therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” Here is something for my hopes to rest upon; oh that I may have grace to stay myself upon it! The Lord Jehovah is the same in essence, for from everlasting to everlasting he is God. In his attributes, he suffers no shadow of a turning; he is ever full of wisdom, power, justice, love, and truth, and in none of these can there be a variation. If he loved me yesterday, I may rely upon him to-day; I need not fear that his power or truth shall fail me, for he is like the great mountains and abideth fast for ever. God of my past days, thou hast been my help. and since thou art ever the same, I securely trust in thee for days to come. My Lord is also unchanging in his plans. His mind hath from eternity settled the predestined order in which his purposes shall ripen, and the great result which they shall produce; from his intention he will never swerve, but perseveringly pursue his one undeviating course. And now, my soul, refresh thyself with another thought, which is sweeter than the droppings of the honeycomb; his promises abide sure. Are not all his promises, yea and Amen in Christ Jesus Which of them hath he broken? Blessed be his name, not one good thing hath failed, and. from this I encourage my faith, for since he is the same, none of them ever shall be violated; but all shall be fulfilled. And now I close my morning’s meditation with one more precious thought; he is not mutable in the objects of his love. He does not love to-day and hate tomorrow: “ he hates to put away.” His beloved church shall never cease to dwell in the center of his heart, and never shall the least of her members be allowed to perish. Oh what consolation! I cast my anchor of faith into the depth of this doctrine, and let everything earthly rock beneath my feet, this truth applied by the Holy Spirit shall hold me fast in the trying hour. May this be my sweet portion all the day — truly it is like “wafers made with honey” — “Unchangeable his will, Though dark may be my frame; His loving heart is still Eternally the same:
My soul through many changes goes, His love no variation knows.”
“I am my beloved’s, and my beloved is mine.” — Song of Solomon 6:3.
OH! for grace to remember in the midst of this day that I am my Beloved’s.
Blessed be the name of my adorable Lord, he is the beloved of my soul. I dare not deny that my heart is enamored of his beauties and enchanted by his glories. He is better unto me than all things in the world beside. Father, mother, wife or husband, children and friends, all these are dear, but Jesus is dearer far than these. He is my best beloved, the chief one of my heart.
How precious is that little word my how delightful to repeat it with the confidence which the gracious Spirit hath fostered in my soul! Yes, he is mine, by his own loving gift. “He loved me, and gave himself for me.” And I have taken him to be mine, my hope, my trust, my aim, my strength, my comfort, my heaven, and my all. Thou art my beloved, O thou lovely Jesus, and as such, my heart cleaveth fast unto thee.
The text reminds me, that not only is be mine, but I am his, and to this truth I give my hearty assent. I am his by his father’s gift, by his own bloody purchase, by his triumphant conquest of my heart, and by my own surrender to him. Remember, my soul, the solemn dedication which thou hast made, for thou hast publicly avouched thyself to be the Lord’s. Look back to the solemn hour when thou didst give thyself unreservedly to him, and confess how ill thou hast fulfilled thy promise and covenant. Adored be the grace which has had patience with an unworthy servant whose false heart has so continually violated the most solemn engagements, and forgotten the most pressing obligations. And now let me remind myself of the purport of my vow, or rather the measure of my duty. I am to be Christ wholly without any reserve. All that I am, and all I have, belong only to my Lord Jesus. I must not rob him of his righteous due, or defraud the king’s exchequer of the little reverence it claims from me. Then again, I am Christ’s alone. To one else can share with him, he is the sole owner of my entire being. Rivals he will not endure; let me therefore beware of setting up any idol in my heart, and let me daily pray that! rosy be preserved as a chaste virgin, having neither love nor look for any but my espoused Husband, Emmanuel, my Beloved. It will, under the divine influence of the Holy Spirit, be very useful for me to recollect that I am always the rightful property of my Redeemer. I pray that this day, I may acknowledge this truth in the shop, the market, the counting-house, the family, or wherever Providence may call me. My dedication must not end here, I must carry it further than my chamber and my closet. Whatsoever I d% whether! eat or drink, I must do all to his glory.
Have grace to acknowledge one more fact, I am his absolutely, without conditions or. limitations? Whatsoever he pleases to do with me! must not murmur, for I am so entirely his that if he slay me he has a right to do what he wills with his own.
Oh that I may henceforth live out these weighty truths, etc, especially let me seek to do so during the remainder of this day! What shall! do for him to prove my love? How much can I afford to, offer to him of my substance before the sun goes down? I will at this time pay a quit-rent-to my liege Lord as an acknowledgment, that; all my stock belongs to him and not to myself. If he be pleased to take away some of my treasures ere nightfall, I must endeavor to be resigned, for he does but take of his own, which he had graciously lent unto his servant, yea, if he removes all my comforts from me, it is my business to yield without a murmuring word, for only by so doing can I prove that I am my Beloved’s.
My soul, is this painful to thee? then chide thyself and remember who it is to whom thou resignest thyself. Does a wife weep because-she is her husband’s 1 Is it not her joy and delight! Surely, when the Spirit enables me to feel aright, I can. say, Jesus, I am thine, and it is my honor to be so, I would not be mine own if I could, for my heart’s highest ambition is to be thine, entirely thine for ever.
“Say to them that are of a fearful heart, Be strong, fear not.” — Isaiah 35:4.
Oh how precious is the Word of God! for it contains a cordial for every sickness, a balm for every wound, and here at the close of the day let me console myself with it. How often does a fearful heart weaken and vex the people of God! how well it is that the Holy Spirit has given this word to cheer them in their distresses!
Sometimes GREAT TROUBLES cause the heir of heaven to be much cast down. But why is it so? Are not our’ fears groundless? Do not our troubles work our lasting good? Why need we fear the issue when it is in Jehovah’s hands? Our fears grieve us more than our afflictions. Our greatest pains spring from our unbelief, not from our trials, for if we had more faith our trials could not make us afraid. Besides this, such fears weaken us, they cut the girdle of our loins and take away the staff of our support. We shall have need of all the strength we have; it is neither prudent nor right to allow the life-blood of that strength to flow away from the wounds of our fears.’ Do not our anxieties dishonor God, and cast a reflection upon his power, his wisdom, or his grace? Away with that which casts a slur upon the attributes of God, it is not fit that such a thing should be harbored by a Christian. Once more, Are not such fears very useless things? Who ever derived any advantage from them? Can fears fill an empty cupboard, or restore the health of a dying child? There is something reasonable in strong prayer and earnest activity, but of What value are our fears? When we can prove that they benefit us, we may be almost excused for indulging them, but till then, let us be strong and fear not.
GREAT DUTIES also have a tendency to alarm our poor timorous flesh and blood, but let us remember that the work is the Lord’s, we do not go a warfare at our own charges. Our Master will never set us upon a work which is too hard for us. When’ we have his command we are sure to have his assistance. BE STRONG,FEARNOT.C. H. S.
THE UNION MEETINGS THE gatherings of our brethren in Liverpool were unspeakably delightful. It The hospitalities of the Liverpool friends were beyond all praise. Nothing could exceed the cordial spirit of brotherly love which reigned among us.
There was about the whole affair a life of loving earnestness, which augured the happiest future for the Baptist body. It is our assured conviction that the time to favor us, yea the set time is come. Our days of bickering and jealousy have been repented of and left behind; we abjure all petty animosities and self-seekings, and by God’s grace we are banded together to build up for the Lord Jesus a firm bulwark for the defense of the truth. One felt when listening to the prayers and addresses of our brethren that it was no mean thing to be one of them; and when: the Holy Spirit’s presence, was distinctly manifest, one had hope for the future and joy for the present. We must now determine, as far as possible, to get all our churches into associations, and to stir up all the associations to labor both for home and foreign missions with greater zeal. If every one of our churches could endeavor to be the parent of another, it would itself be strengthened by the very process Which perhaps it dreads as the means of weakness. We ought to double our numbers in the next ten years, and by God’s blessing it may be done, and England’s needs require that it should be done. At home our principles are growing, and if we were more bold in proclaiming them, we might soon bring candid minds to decision upon them; abroad we have been honored in the past with most cheering success; let us put our hand a second time to the work, and expect a renewed blessing. True we are, little in Israel, but our time is coming, and as Neander once said, “there is a future for you, Baptists,” a future for which we only care because we believe that the, spread of our views would promote the purity of the churches, and the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.
DAY OF FASTING AND PRAYER A MOST remarkable blessing was vouchsafed by the great Head of the church upon a day of fasting and prayer which was solemnly kept by about 120 ministers and students at the Tabernacle in the month of September. It was such a season as few present, had ever enjoyed before — a time of melting penitence, and intensely earnest wrestling with God. The result has been felt by those present in the increased power of their ministry, and in a larger measure of success attending their labors. It gave the brethren so distinct an accession of spiritual strength that they long for such another season. Fasting was found to be a great help to prayer; and the devotions being unbroken by the necessary distractions occasioned by taking refreshment, grew more and more fervent, till around the table of the Lord all hearts appeared to glow. with love most vehement.
At a meeting of the London Baptist Association this great blessing was spoken of by several who had partaken in it, and the ministers and deacons of the Association were all intent upon setting apart another day, and meeting in a similar manner. The day fixed is one memorable in the history of British Christendom — the fifth of November, and the place selected is in the very heart of London teeming myriads, viz, Commercial Street, Whitechapel. From eleven to six is to be the season of prayer. The meeting is not public, but is purposely restricted, that only those believed, to be in harmony with the engagement and with ,each other may be present. The constant incoming and outgoing of strangers would mar the quiet solemnity so much desired. It is hoped that believers everywhere, who are aware of the meeting, will, at the appointed hour, as far as possible, join their prayers with ours, that a remarkable blessing may descend upon the whole church of our Lord Jesus Christ. A singular blessing is just, now resting upon many, if not most of the Baptist churches in London, and if the auspicious season be earnestly improved, who knows what may come of it? If the Lord would vouchsafe a real and lasting revival of vital godliness;, and not allow us to be satisfied with a delusive excitement, we should have new reasons for praising him to all eternity.