“Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” — 1 John 4:10.
GLORIOUS God, there are many of us who can bless Thee that we know Thee. There was a time when we lived in Thy world but had never known the Creator. We were partakers of Thy providence, but we did not know the Provider. We went up and down in the sunlight, but we were blind.
There were voices all around us, but we were deaf to all things spiritual.
And some of us lived in this way for years. Some in Thy presence are in that way this evening. They know not God; neither do they desire the knowledge of Thy ways. They can see and understand many things, but they do not desire to know Him in whom they live and move and have their being. It was a happy day for us when, in the infinite sovereignty of Thy love, Thou didst look upon us, and call us by Thy grace. Then did the dead heart begin to beat. Then did light enter the darkened eye, and then we turned to Thee. It was the best discovery we had ever made when we found that there was, after all, a God, ready to hear us, willing to listen to our cries. But, Lord, at the first this great discovery caused us much pain, for we found in our hearts an enmity to Thee, a natural alienation; and we found that we had grieved Thee, that we had vexed Thy spirit by sin. We admire Thee all the more for this, for we would not care for a God who did not hate sin. Oh, with what reverence we fell at Thy feet even when we heard Thee speak in tones of thunder, and say, “The soul that sinneth, it shall die.” When Thy Grace had really made us to know Thee, Thy justice, terrible as it was, had our submissive reverence. We felt that, if our souls were sent to hell, righteousness and justice would approve it well. O God, we remember how we lay at Thy feet. Our thoughts were as a case of knives cutting our hearts; and then didst Thou come to us, and Thou didst make known Thy love. O blessed day in which Thou didst reveal Thyself dressed in the silken robes of love! When we saw that Jesus died that we might live, that the cross was the best proof of divine affection, then we looked to Jesus suffering in our stead. We trusted in the great atonement, and we found a peace. O, what shall we say of it? Our very soul doth sing at the remembrance of the peace which has never been taken from us.
Many days have passed since first we knew it, and many changes we have seen, but we have never lost our hold on Christ; nor has He ever lost His hold of us; and here we are still, to weep to the praise of the mercy that we have found, and to tell to others, as we have breath to speak, that the Lord is a great sin-pardoning God. There is none like Him, passing by transgression, iniquity, and sin, and, for Jesu’s sake, receiving the vilest of the vile to His bosom, and casting out none that come unto Him; taking up even the blasphemer and the drunkard, yea, the very worst, and washing even these from their crimson sins and making them whiter than newlyfallen snow. O Lord, we sometimes wish that we could sing like cherubim and seraphim. Then would we praise Thee better. But as it is, human voices are all we have, but they shall be used to the praise of “free grace and dying love,” to which we owe all that we have, and all we ever hope to have.
Now, Lord, to-night bless this people. O my Lord, bless these dear friends from whom I have been separated for a while. Bless and prosper them. Let those that fear Thy name be happy in Thee while we are preaching tonight.
May those who are truly thine, have a joyous and happy season. May they rejoice in the great love of God, and feel their souls overflow with delight at their remembrance of it.
But, oh, we beseech Thee, especially save souls to-night. Make up for our ten dumb Sabbaths. Give us to-night ten times as much — nay, it must be eleven times as much we cannot afford to lose this one. Oh, give us eleven times as much blessing as we have ever had before. May many, many, many be brought out of darkness into marvelous light, and delivered from the prison-house into the liberty of Christ.
Lord, there are some here that have heard us many times, and yet Thou hast not spoken to their hearts effectually. Oh, speak to-night. Take them in hand, great Lord. They shall be made willing in the day of Thy power.
Oh, that this might be the day of Thy power! There are others who are quite strangers to this house, and perhaps to the gospel. May the new note strike them. From the silver cornet of the gospel may there come to them a sound unknown before, which shall reach their very soul; and may they answer to it. Bid them come to Christ and live to-night. O divine love, sweetly draw them. Cast the bands of love about them, and the cords of a man, and draw them to Thyself. Young men and young women, ay, and old men and old women, — draw them to Thyself, most divine Lord; and may there be many trophies to the power of the gospel to-night. All our prayer is now before Thee. We wish everybody in the house to be saved. The Lord grant it, for Christ’s sake. Amen. SUNDAY EVENING, Jan. 3Oth, 1887. SCRIPTURE: Genesis 22. HYMNS: 199, 782, 288.
KEEP IN MERCY’S WAY.
Let sermons and prayers be thy delight, because they are roads wherein the Savior walketh. Let the righteous be thy constant company, for such ever bring Him where they come. It is the least thing thou canst do to stand where grace usually dispenseth its favor. Even the beggar writes his petition on the flagstone of a frequented thoroughfare, because he hopeth that among the many passers, some few at least will give him charity; learn from him to offer thy prayers where mercies are known to move in the greatest number, that amid them cell there may be time for thee. Keep thy sail up when there is no wind, that when it blows thou mayest not have need to prepare for it; use means when thou seest no grace attending them, for thus wilt thou be in the way when grace comes. Better go fifty times and gain nothing, than lose one good opportunity. If the angel stir not the pool, yet lie there still, for it may be the moment when thou leavest, it will be the season of his descending.
Think it not possible to pray too frequently; but at morning, at noon, and at eventide lift up thy soul unto God. Let not despondency stop the voice of thy supplication for He who heareth the young ravens when they cry, will in due time listen to the trembling words of thy desire. Give Him no rest until He hear thee; like the importunate widow, be thou always at the heels of the great One; give not up because the past has proved apparently fruitless; remember Jericho stood firm for six days, but yet when they gave an exceeding great shout, it fell flat to the ground. “Arise, cry out in the night in the beginning of the watches: pour out thine heart like water before the face of the Lord. Let tears run down like a river day and night give thyself no rest; let not the apple of thine eye cease.” Let groans, and sighs, and vows keep up perpetual assault at heaven’s doors. “Heav’n’s never deaf, But when man’s heart is dumb.”
There is not a single promise which, if followed up, will not lead thee to the Lord. He is the center of the circle, and the promises, like radii, all meet in Him, and thence become Yea and Amen. As the streams run to the ocean, so do all the sweet words of Jesus tend to Himself launch thy barque upon any one of them, and it shall bear thee onward, to the broad sea of His love. The sure words of Scripture are the footsteps of Jesus imprinted on the soil of mercy — follow the track and find Him. The promises are cards of admission not only to the throne, the mercy-seat, and the audiencechamber, but to the very heart of Jesus. Look aloft to the sky of Revelation, and thou wilt yet find a constellation of promises which shall guide thine eye to the Star of Bethlehem. Above all, cry aloud when thou readest a promise — “Remember Thy word unto Thy servant, on which Thou hast caused me to hope.
From “The Saint and his Savior.”
SLEEP ON, BELOVED! SLEEP on, beloved, sleep, and take thy rest; Lay down thy head upon thy Savior’s breast: ‘We love thee well; but Jesus loves thee best — Good-night!
Until the shadows from this earth are cast; Until He gathers in His sheaves at last; Until the twilight gloom is overpast — Good-night!
Until the Easter glory lights the skies; Until the dead in Jesus shall arise, And lie shall come; but not in lowly guise — Good-night!
Only “good-night,” beloved — not “farewell!”
A little while, and all His saints shall dwell In hallowed union, indivisible — Good-night!
Until we meet again before His throne, Clothed in the spotless robe He gives His own, Until we know even as we are known — Good-night!