Page images

is another mode of representation tending to the same results : namely, that the finally lost will all be involved in one and the same degree of punishment; that there will not be any graduation in punishment corresponding to graduation in guilt. Under this teaching the sinner feels that, apart from temporal and social considerations, he has no motive for reformation, as, if he be not saved by the grace of God, his destiny will be the same whether he hear or whether he forbear, -a conclusion which I take to be quite opposed to truth.

In handling these important themes we need a bridled mouth-to be both restrained and guided in the right path. We need to ponder well the bearing of our teaching upon the unregenerate ; lest we burden them with responsibilities beyond the truth of the case, buoy them up with false hopes and presumptions, or leave them to riot in their sins without check or remonstrance. To preach the word so as to exhibit the gracious sovereignty of God, to clear the justice of God, and to secure all the glory to God in the work of salvation; and at the same time to bring home to the sinner's conscience the truth of God's eternal law, so as to stop his mouth, and constrain him to admit that his sin is his own and his punishment is due, is a work requiring a guidance superior to all human wisdom, caution or skill. Let us, then, ever implore the guidance of the Spirit of wisdom ; that we may speak the gospel as we ought to speak it, and be clear of the blood of all our hearers. A bridled mouth is needful for Christian men and

women in every sphere of life. We cannot escape from contact with the wicked. Their ears are quick to listen, and their judgments to discern. Ignorant indeed of spiritual things, as to the spirituality of them,

they are nevertheless able to detect an inconsistency in those that are spiritual. The development of one and the same spiritual life is moulded, to a great extent, by the different temperaments natural to men. By temperament some are disposed to gloominess, others to cheerfulness, even to wit, humour, and laughter; others to hastiness, anger, and severity. These distinctions are not totally eradicated in this imperfect condition. They may lead us into error. A bridled mouth is one grand means of prevention. I would that our mouths should be bridled, not by inflexible muscles that will not bend to either pleasure or pain, but by holy wisdom and love ; “ giving no offence in anything, that the ministry be not blamed; but in all things approving ourselves as the ministers of God,...... by pureness, by knowledge, by long-suffering, by kindness, by the Holy Ghost, by love unfeigned, by the word of truth, by the power of God, by the armour of righteousness on the right hand and on the left.” . (2 Cor. vi. 3—7). “If any man offend not in word, the same is a perfect man, and able also to bridle the whole body." “ The wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. And the fruit of righteouness is sown in peace of them that make peace.” (James üï. 2, 17, 18). Ringstead.


GLORYING IN THE LORD. An Extract from a Sermon preached in the Baptist Chapel, Rye-lane, Peckham, on

the Lord's-day morning, 28th February, 1869,


“Thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither the mighty man glory

in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches; but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”—Jeremiah ix. 23, 24.

All things come alike to all,” saith Solomon ;“ there is one event to the righteous, and to the wicked ; to the good and to the clean, and to the unclean; to


him that sacrificeth, and to him that sacrificeth not. As is the good, so is the sinner; and he that sweareth as he that feareth an oath" (Eccles. ix. 2). So that we must not judge of a man's state before God by his outward circumstances ; whether he is rich or poor ; whether he occupies a high or low position in the earth. We must not look through such a medium to judge of his state before God.

We have recorded in the word of God various degrees of men amongst the saints, some holding eminent positions, as David, Daniel, Jacob, &c., and in contrast we have the ungodly occupying great and exalted positions,—

-as Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, &c. We have also men of humble circumstances amongst the saints,-as there are those of humble position among the ungodly. Therefore we must not judge by, or look through the medium of outward circumstances. But . we must look at religion in its own glass, or, in a word, we must look at it through the mediation of Jesus Christ. Apart from Jesus, whatever we may have in this world, will profit us nothing.

"thus saith the Lord, Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches ; but let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment and righteousness in the earth ; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

There is in the language of the text two general and prominent features. The first, a Divine prohibition--that we are not to glory in anything appertaining to the creature. The second, a Divine instruction—that we are to glory in the Lord alone, and in what he delights in.

Let us take a glance at the first-the prohibition. What stands out with more attraction in the world than human wisdom-learning, art, science, literature, &c.; excellent in themselves, beautiful to contemplate ; but what have we been reading this morning, in the first chapter of the First Epistle to the Corinthians ? that “the world by wisdom knew not God.” Not all the learning it possesses, or knowledge it possesses, or education, or intellectuality it possesses. Bring all the honour and respect due to these, and when we have done so, we must come to the conclusion that the world by wisdom knows not God. Take it individually, or collectively, it is the same.

Look at Egypt, Greece, and Rome, all distinguished for great learning, for profound wisdom in the arts and sciences ; but what did all this wisdom do for them in respect to the religion and worship of God ? Nothing! What do we read : “Where is the wise ? Where is the scribe? Where is the disputer of this world? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ?" Read on to the end of the chapter, 1 Cor. i. 20.

No human wisdom has relation to things Divine. If you and I had all the knowledge of the world, it would not avail in the great matter of salvation, or help us to a right understanding, or apprehending of God, by which alone we can approach him, and make our wants known to him. We must have the Spirit of God to teach us, and testify to our hearts, “that Christ alone ” is the power of God, and the “wisdom of God.”

Health and strength of mind and body are great blessings, and ought to be highly valued ; but what are they without the grace of God-without the teaching of the Holy Ghost! And there is no dependance to be placed on either, for in a moment we may be brought down to weakness and death. Where was the strength of Goliath, when David went out to meet him ? How soon all his power and strength was gone! And as with individuals, so with nations ; for, when God is not the strength of a nation, all other influences are powerless ; Pharaoh and the Egyptians, for instance ; and in more modern times, Spain : she sends forth the Armada, but this little island had God with it. We had thrown off the yoke of Rome when this event took place. “If God be with us, who can be against us ?"

"Let not the wise man glory in his wisdom, neither let the mighty man glory in his might, let not the rich man glory in his riches,” &c.

Nothing will do to put in the place of God, neither wisdom, strength, riches, or honours. These can do nothing for the soul.

Rich men may build churches, and endow them, may build hospitals, and may bequeath large sums of money to various charitable institutions,—thinking, perhaps, to propitiate the mercy and favour of God; but there is no value in all this for the salvation of the soul.

Wisdom, strength, and riches, are three of earth's great attractions ; but they are all too weak and too perishing for the immortal soul to trust in, rest upon, or be satisfied with. Glory not in them, they pass away ; they cannot pacify a wounded conscience, they can impart no comfort to a dying soul; therefore, glory not in them. To you that know the Lord, that are taught of him, these truths are brought home.

When the Holy Ghost opens up to you Jesus, as your“ Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, and Redemption," then the world, with all its wealth, treasures, wisdom, and honours, will not do in the place of Him. Your “ heart and flesh will cry out for the living God.”

None but God can satisfy the desires of a heaven-born soul. How high, how noble, and how great are the faculties of the soul! What a reflection of the goodness of God, is the immortal soul! This should lead us to contemplate the value of the soul. “For what is a man profited if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul ? Or, what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?”

We come, secondly, to Divine instruction: “Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord which exercise lovingkindness, judgment, and righteousness, in the earth; for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

Here we have the greatest subject for learning and instruction, that can engage the powers of the mind, or the faculties of the soul. “Let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth me, that I am the Lord,—the Eternal, the Omnipotent, the Self-sufficient, the Almighty God! I am the Lord in covenant-Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost; the God of salvation, the Lord of loving-kindness and of mercy.

In Him we have a Father, in all his sympathy ; in Him we have a Saviour, made unto us wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption ; in Him we have a Divine teacher, who teacheth us to profit, who beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God, whereby we cry, “ Abba, Father;" in Him we are brought to say, “I shall be satisfied when I awake with thy likeness."

This made Paul say, “I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord ; for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ, and be found in him ; not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law; but that which is by the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith,” &c. Look to the passage, it shews us what the world was in his days.

Here lies, my dear hearers, a subject worthy the greatest consideration. When the eternal Spirit opens the eyes of our understanding,” and enables us to receive these truths into our hearts, then we may indeed“ glory in the Lord.” May you and I know the love of Christ,“ which passeth knowledge,” that we may“ be filled with all the fulness of God.” It is no mere theoretical knowledge that will enable us to apprehend these things,—that will enable us to understand and know the Lord. “God in nature is above us, God in the law is against us, but God in Christ is for us." “Therefore let him that glorieth, glory in this, that he understandeth and knoweth the Lord ; that he understandeth the Divine operation and influence of God on the mind and in the soul.

To understand the Lord, is to have a spiritual experience of how God exercises his loving-kindness and tender mercy towards us. Let us go to Calvary, and there we see how God exercises loving-kindness ; there we see that “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” “Not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. We love Him, because he first loved us."

How great, how wonderful is the loving-kindness of the Lord! Read it in every tear and sigh of Jesus ; read it in his poverty and humiliation ; read it in his cross and passion; read it in his expiring exclamation, “It is finished;" read it in all the sympathy of Jesus ; and in seeing Jesus thus, you see the Father."

Think of the power and influence brought to bear upon the heart before we can "understand and know the Lord.” It is like the operations of God in nature at the present season, seen in the bursting trees, and swelling buds. No human power, however great, can impart one spark of Divine life to the soul. Hear what the Lord says, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” This loving-kindness draws us to“ the bosom of the Father;" it dries our tears, soothes our sorrows, and “heals all our diseases."

Then the Lord exercises judgment and righteousness. His administrations, his dispensations may perplex and confound. He may cross you, bereave you, afflict you, and take from you what is near and dear to you, but loving-kindness is at the root of all.

Nothing comes to a child of God from any failure of God's loving-kindness. In all his dealings, loving-kindness is at one end, and judgment at the other. And when he exercises righteousness, he shews our need of the righteousness of Jesus ; he exercises righteousness when he brings that righteousness to our minds, and enables us by faith to appropriate it. It is in righteousness when he takes “the rod ;" it is in righteousness when he “pours in the oil and the wine;" and when he rebukes and comforts us, it is in “righteousness and judgment." All is worthy of the glory of God. I am the Lord which exercise loving-kindness, judgment, and righteousness in the earth : for in these things I delight, saith the Lord.”

Do you delight in what God delights in, my hearers ? and reflect it in your life, walk, and conversation? Do you delight in loving-kindness and mercy? Do you delight in the Lord ?-delight in his commandments ; delight in his ordinances; delight in his people? If so, then the Lord delighteth in thee. Talk about the learning, the riches, the strength, the wisdom, and the honours of the world, What are they? Nothing ! less than nothing !' in comparison with the "things that accompany salvation. Glory in these, triumph in these ; they are for ever ! And glory in the prospect of that inheritance which is incorruptible and undefiled, and that fadeth not away” (1 Pet. i. 4). God bless his own word for his name's sake. Amen.

Taken down by W. A. ADAMS, a Member of the Church.


"Yea, he loved the people; all his saints are in thy hand: and they sat down at thy feet; every

one shall receive of thy words."-Deut. xxxiii. 3.

THESE most blessed and comprehensive words form part of the blessing wherewith Moses the man of God blessed the children of Israel before his death, and were, therefore, primarily applicable to Israel as a nation, to the loved, and chosen, and peculiarly distinguished and honoured people of Israel ; yet, in the fullest sense, in a gospel sense they are, and can be applicable only to the spiritual Israel of God; for all were not Israel which were of Israel. And though the number of Israel be as the sand on the sea-shore, according to God's promise to Abraham, yet saith the sovereign Lord of all, a remnant shall be saved. “Except the Lord of hosts had left us à seed, we (the Jews, the national people of God) had been as Sodom, and been made like unto Gomorrah.” Therefore these blessed words will and do apply most blessedly to the whole election of grace, not only among the Jews, but also among the Gentiles.

The national people of God were in many respects a typical people. Abraham their head and root, in whom they were chosen, was typical of Christ the Head and Root of his church ; the covenant was made with Abraham, and his seed were blessed in him, according to the tenor of that covenant; and the church was blessed in Christ, with whom the covenant was made with his seed, according to the tenor of that covenant, which was not like the Abrahamic, a conditional covenant; but an absolute and unconditional covenant of grace, at least, as far as respected the covenant seed, for all the conditions of the covenant of grace were entirely with Christ our covenant Head. The Abrahamic covenant related to the earthly Canaan, and to temporal favours ; but the covenant of eternal grace relates to an eternal inheritance and spiritual favours. They were a typical people in the choice of God, which singled them out as a distinct nation from all other nations, not because they were many or mighty, for they were the fewest of all people, not because they were better than others, but simply because it pleased the Lord to set his love upon them, and make them his people. This was typical of his absolute sovereignty. Their state of bondage in Egypt was typical of the dreadful state of bondage which all God's elect are in, while in a state of darkness and alienation. Pharaoh, who held them fast as slaves, was a type of the devil, by whom all mankind are held in dreadful slavery and bondage. Sold under sin and led captive by him at his will, their employment typified the drudgery of those who are servants of sin and Satan. Their groaning and cries were typical of the spiritual groans and cries of the new-born soul, which always precede the listening ear and outstretched arm of a delivering God and Saviour. `Moses and Aaron were typical persons, and typified the instrumentality Jehovah is pleased to use ; and as Moses was sent to Pharaoh, so God has designed by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe ; and God by the instrumentality of a preached gospel, attacks the devil and his kingdom, which is set up in the soul ; the weapons of our warfare, said the apostle, are mighty through God, to the pulling down of strongholds. “When a strong man armed keepeth his palace, his goods are in peace; but when a stronger than he cometh, he first binds the strong man,” &c. Thus, as Moses had to do with Pharaoh, so God, by his almighty power, overcomes the devil, demolishes his throne, and takes away

all his armour ; Pharaoh made Israel's bondage more heavy and bitter, so Satan, till he is entirely expelled from the heart, stirs up all the 'evils within, and raises up all the opposition possible. But as Moses and Aaron could only deliver their messages, and exhibit their signs, without effecting deliverance, we have a lively representation of the fact that the treasure-the gospel-is in earthen vessels, that the excellency of the power may be seen to be entirely of God, and not of instruments ; therefore that almighty display of power, the outstretched arm of Jehovah, which brought Israel out at the set time, at the very moment promised, sets forth the almighty and invincible power of Divine grace, which brings the souls of God's elect out of nature's darkness into his marvellous light; it sets forth that wonderful change which is nothing less than a translation out of Satan's kingdom into the kingdom of God's dear Son; and the pursuit of Pharaoh and his host after Israel sets forth the malevolence and spite of the devil, who musters all his forces, and endeavours to bring the regenerate soul again into captivity. The Red Sea, which at once became the passage-way of the children of Israel, and the means of the utter overthrow and destruction of all their enemies, sets forth the precious blood of Christ, through which the regenerated soul passes into liberty, and into the wilderness, and in which all their sins are drowned, and all their enemies

The triumphant shout on the opposite shore is typical of that state of mind and joyful experience the saved sinner experiences when set at full and happy liberty by an application of pardoning love and blood. The wilderness, of course, is typical of that spiritual desert into which the child of God is brought to see and feel this world to be a wilderness indeed. The bitter waters of Marah are typical of the bitter sorrows and trials of the way. The tree cast into the waters, sweetly typical of the Tree of Life, a precious Christ experimentally known in the midst of affliction and sorrow. Their murmurings,wants, and rebellion are all figurative

and as


« PreviousContinue »