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all are brought to kiss the Son,-to bow to his gracious authority ; for “Except ye be converted and become as little children, ye cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. xviii. 3). “ As soon as they hear of me they shall submit themselves to me” (Psa. xviii. 44). Every high imagination is cast down by his almighty grace as King.--" Thine arrows are sharp in the hearts of the king's enemies, whereby the people fall under thee” (Psa. xlv. 5). “Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power” (Psa. cx. 3); for where the word of this King is indeed there is power, almighty and heart-dissolving loving power, that slays the enmity outright, and brings the haughtiest rebel and the most stubborn will to bow and yield to Immanuel's gracious sway. Yes,
“Grace made my stubborn will to bow,
Grace made my guilty eyes o'erflow;
And grace alone shall wear the crown.” And into this blessed position, omnipotent grace will assuredly bring all the loved and sanctified ones. “All that the Father giveth me shall come to me” (John vi. 37); “ They shall come with weeping, and with supplications will I lead them" (Jer, xxxi. 9). The salvation of our God is full of absolute certainties ; everywhere omnipotent love says, I will work. “And they shall come that were ready to perish,” and lay their weapons down at his victorious feet; for he goeth forth conquering and to conquer. Where did he ever go forth to conquer, and return defeated ? Witness, thou wilderness of temptation ! Witness, thou Gethsemane ! Witness, thou lovely, mournful Calvary! Witness, ye myriads of happy songsters round the eternal throne ! and witness, every one who at his dear feet can sit and sing
“ Thine is the power, behold I sit
In willing bonds beneath thy feet.” Is not his voice full of majestic sweetness ? What heart has ever been proof against the overcoming force of the Saviour's love ? Search the world through, and where shall we find a heart more fortified by the devil, and more determined to oppose the Christ of God, than the heart of Saul of Tarsus ; but that ravening wolf was changed into a lamb in a moment; and he that was but a minute before breathing out threatenings and slaughter against the disciples of Jesus, is now a breathing penitent, crying like a little child—“Lord, what wilt thou have me to do ?” And mark, dear reader, what the apostle says of this almighty conquest in writing to his son Timothy,—“Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on him to life everlasting ” (i Tim. i. 16); learned or unlearned--rich or poor-kings or peasants-Jews or Gentiles-all are brought to this solemn, sacred spot, at Immanuel's sacred feet, to bow as trophies of his victorious grace. They all come there first to confess sin and supplicate mercy, and then they come to his bleeding feet as Priest for pardon and cleansing. No soul taught of God thus would ever dream of going to a sinful mortal's feet to confess. Popish priests are of the devil, and are as truly abhorred by every grace-subdued soul.
“ They other priests disown,
And laws and offerings too;
The mighty work could do.
Hath loved, and lived, and died for me." They sit at his feet as Prophet, to learn. “All thy children shall be taught of the Lord ;” not one of them is left to die in ignorance ; none of the saints perish for lack of knowledge, for “they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest of them.” “Every man that hath heard and learned of the Father, cometh unto me.” They come to his feet with their load of sin and care, for pardon and rest. Sensible of their own ignorance, they come to him for wisdom: “ Learn of me, for
I am meek and lowly of heart." They come to his bleeding feet, not once or twice, but all their life time while here as sinners, for cleansing and forgiveness. With the fountain of his precious blood they must have to do: there is no other way of communion or peace from day to day; no other way of overcoming self, sin, Satan, and the world. Blood, precious blood, tracks all the path,—'tis blood before the throne,-blood upon the conscience,-blood in the Scriptures of eternal truth, that makes the word so precious, and the droppings of the Saviour's blood at the cross, realized by precious faith, that makes those seasons so precious, and that spot so sacred; that still, notwithstanding the sneer of worldly-minded professors, enables the saved sinner to sing
“Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
Which before the cross I spend;
From the sinner's dying Friend." “I sat down under his shadow with great delight, and his fruit was sweet to my taste." They sit down secure here and rest. They shall feed and lie down, as the sheep beneath the Shepherd's leading and feeding hand.
“Down they sit beneath his feet,
Soon as once they hear his voice;
All he wills becomes their choice.” They all love to sit with Mary at the Master's feet as ransoined sinners, -as pardoned criminals,-as debtors to-rich grace, precious blood, and almighty power. The greatest saint sits lowest here,- for the more grace, the more humility abounds. He that is greatest in the Saviour's school, is the least'; as he taught his disciples when he placed a little child in their midst. What a lively illustration of this fact we have in the apostle Paul! How truly great in grace and gifts ! how distinguished and honoured as a saint and servant of God! and yet how truly humble !-“Unto me who am less than the least of all saints, is this grace given.” Here was a scholar proficient in the school of Christ, less than the least of all saints, the chief of sinners, not meet to be called an apostle, who counted himself nothing. How low he sat! there was no mock humility here. It was the genuine fruit of the Spirit, produced by rich grace. If he was a pattern of how God saves sinners, sure he was a pattern saint, -one that was in the dear Redeemer's mighty moulding hand, and one that sat low at his precious feet; and what he learnt he tells us. Hearken,“Everywhere and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry ; both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ, which strengtheneth me.” Here was the secret,-strength and grace were derived from Christ, whilst he sat at his feet. O for more of that grace that characterized this great saint, who knew so much of Christ, and yet ardently longed to know more. “That I may know him," &c. ; “not that I have already attained;" “but this one thing I do, forgetting the things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before, I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” (Phil. iii. 3). Alas ! how many of our learned doctors of divinity there are who never took one lesson here ; but here the loved, the blood-redeemed, and grace-called saint, sits and learns lessons that could be learned in no other school. This is both the lowest and the highest ground that can be occupied. Here is health,—here is happiness, here is safety,-here is plenty,-here is heaven itself on earth,
“Low at thy feet my soul would lie,
Here safety dwells and peace divine; .
For life, eternal life is thine."
And this will constitute the highest happiness of the glorified, to bow at his once pierced feet, and gaze upon his glorious face, and cast our grace-secured crowns at his dear feet, and crown him Lord of all.
Now a word or two in the fourth place-As to the infallible nature of their instruction. This follows as a matter of course, as we have already seen. They are as saints in God's hand--they all sit down as saved sinners at Christ's feet, and every one, one by one, mark that--every individual shall receive of his words,-one and all are made participants and receivers ; they are all capacitated by the Eternal Spirit to receive, which no fallen sinner can do until he is born again. Spiritual things are only received by spiritual persons. They shall receive. Thus we see what these saints are,- they are all receivers. Vessels of mercy afore prepared to receive. What ? God himself, and all his rich grace. “I obtained mercy," said Paul. How so ? From whence did it spring? He tells us. “God who is rich in mercy, for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in sin, truth quickened us together with Christ. By grace are ye saved ” (Eph. ii). They are in the first place passive receivers of eternal life. Whoever asked for grace before he had it ? Not one. We might as well say a man wants and speaks, naturally before he lives. They receive all from Christ as a free gift. They are all taught that important lesson, which no Pharisee ever learnt,—“I will have mercy and not sacrifice ;" “ To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the bons of God, even to them that believe on his name ; which were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." These, and these only, are the receivers spoken of in the text. “They shall receive of thy words." They receive the word in its convincing power,-frequently in much affliction ; they receive heartily, without gainsaying, the whole of his word – his doctrinal word-his promissory word, and his preceptive word. “The words that thou gavest me,” said our blessed Lord, “I have given them, and they have received them, and have known surely that thou didst send me." They receive most implicitly the testimony of Christ. Every one is quickened to feel, and enlightened to see, the blessed harmony and adaptation of his precious word. They by faith receive the word and eat it, and prove it to be the joy and rejoicing of their hearts. In the reception of the word of Christ, the ministers of Christ, and the gospel of Christ, we receive the Christ of the Word, and the Father too, and that by the testimony and witness of the Holy Ghost. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them,, said Jeremiah. Ah, God's words are sweet to weeping, exercised souls, such as he was. “I have esteemed the words of thy mouth more than my necessary food,” said Job. “Thy word is sweet to my taste, sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.” It is a searching word, a reproving word, a wounding word, a healing word, a supporting word, a directing word, a comforting word, an adapted word to all the conditions of the saint, a most comprehensive word. O then what an honour it is to be a saint,—to sit at Jesus' feet, and learn of him. Let us then prize the privilege we possess ; we who have the word, let us read and meditate therein ; for of such it is declared, “He shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of waters, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season ; his leaf also shall not wither, and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper” (Psa. i. 3). Thus, then, we see who are the loved ones, the sanctified ones, the humble and contrite ones, and the instructed ones ; and in all we surely must conclude we see the safety and everlasting security of the saints of God.
With them numbered may we be,
Now and through eternity.” Islington, July 9th, 1869.
“When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”—Exodus xii. 13.
The period for Israel's deliverance from Egypt had now arrived. God was faithful to his word. But while he fulfils his promise, he instructs his people, and
through them he instructs his church in all ages. The first-born of Egypt are to be destroyed; but how shall Israel escape ? A lamb without blemish was to be selected, separated, and slain, his blood was to be caught in a basin, and to be sprinkled on the side-posts and lintels of their doors, and God said, “ When I see the blood, I will pass over you."
And God did pass over them, and they were saved. But why? Ah, it was because of the blood. But then, why should they be exempt from wrath any more than the Egyptians around ? Ah, it was because they were Jehovah's chosen. He would not choose them, and then disclaim, and lose them. They were his people, and because of his interest in them, love for them, and promise to them, therefore were they graciously and sovereignly saved.
Blood ! there is something repulsive in blood. Who can look upon it without a shudder? Yet blood is to be the means of Israel's safety. Beloved, God speaks to us. “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us." His blood is the blood of the new covenant,-it cleanses from all sin, and it secures all it cleanses. Let us look at
This attractive object. Justice demands blood. God acknowledges the equity of the demand ; but if the sinner bleed, his blood makes no atonement ; if, therefore he die once, his unatoned guilt demands that he suffer the second, or neverending punishment.
But here is blood that attracts the eye of justice, meets all its claims, and satisfies all its demands. Precious blood! It is the blood of the Lamb “which taketh away the sin of the world.” The Lamb of God, the accepted substitute for man; the Lamb of God, slain in the sinner's stead ; the Lamb of God, who becomes the food of all for whom he was slain. His blood is our safety ; sprinkled upon the door we are certainly and eternally safe.
Our safety is not in the door, however strong ; nor in the lock, however curious ; nor in the bolts, however numerous; but in the blood. No blood on the door-no safety for the inhabitants within ; no blood on the conscience-no safety from the messenger of death. Oh reader, see to it that the blood of Christ is thy confidence ; see to it that the blood of Christ is sprinkled on thy soul : for
God requires application. It was not enough that the lamb was slain, roasted, and eaten, or that his blood was in the basin in the house,-it must be on the doorposts and lintels. Nor is it enough for us that Jesus died,—that he is gone into heaven,—that his people feed upon him,—that his blood is in his church ; it must be applied to us, God looks for the blood. Every Israelite had blood on his door. God looked on every door and saw it, and then he passed over. My dear friend, God looks upon every heart, upon your conscience; but does he see the blood ?the blood of his own dear Son there? If he does, he is satisfied,-he is reconciled to peace. He will accept of no sacrifices, however costly; he will hear no prayers, however earnest ; he will regard no sufferings, however painful ; he will receive no services, however scriptural in outward form, if they are intended to be a substitute for the blood. You may give all the substance of your house, -you may pray until your knees become like beasts' hoofs,--you may inflict sufferings upon yourself until nature faints under them,--you may perform religious services without number and without end ; but except the blood of Christ be applied to you, all is in vain. God is fully satisfied with the blood of his dear Son, and he is fully satisfied with every one who places his dependence on it; but he is satisfied with nothing without this. Oh, see to it then, that your reliance is on the blood of Jesus alone. If any Israelite had substituted anything for the blood on the door, however costly, however beautiful, or however apparently reasonable, he must have perished ; the destroying angel would not have passed over him. Trust, then, in the blood of Jesus alone, and see
The beneficial result. There was danger, for the Minister of Justice was going through the land. There was danger of a violent death. So now, we are all in danger as sinners,-in danger of the second death. But when the blood was sprinkled, there was safety-perfect safety. So now, when the blood of Jesus is sprinkled on our consciences we are safe-eternally safe. God is then satisfied, for the law has received all its demands. He is pleased, for justice unites with mercy in our salvation. He is pledged to secure us, for his word is passed, and he is faithful to that word. He says of all on whom he sees the blood, “They shall never perish ;” “No weapon forined against them shall prosper ;" “ Ísrael shall be saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation ; they shall not be ashamed or confounded, world without end." The blood-sprinkled Israelite is safe, distinguished, and happy ; for when God sees the blood, he passes over him.
See then, beloved, first, What we all need—the blood, the precious blood of Jesus ; for it is the blood alone that maketh atonement for the soul. In Jesus we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of our sins.
See secondly, To what we should all look-to the blood. Do you want pardon ? Look to the blood. Do you want peace ? Look to the blood. Do you want victory over Satan? Look to the blood. Do you want perfect safety in life and death? Then look to the blood.
See thirdly, In what we should all trust—in the blood. Not in our convictions, not in our comforts, not in our prayers, not in our sufferings, but in the blood of Jesus only should we trust for access to God, acceptance with God, and safety from God.
See fourthly, of what we should boast - the blood. “God forbid,” exclaimed the apostle, “God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” “God forbid," exclaims every true believer, “God forbid that I should boast of anything, save the glorious person, perfect work, and precious blood of my Lord Jesus Christ.”
See fifthly, What we should teach—the blood. In the pulpit, in the Sundayschool, in the social circle, we should teach all who are seeking after Jesus, to trust in, and place entire dependence on, the blood of Jesus alone. Whether we speak, or whether we write, we should constantly say, “Not the crucifix, but the cross ; not Mary, but Jesus ; not men's works, but a Saviour's precious blood.
See finally, Of what we should beware—of neglecting the blood of Jesus, of substituting anything for the blood of Jesus, or of thinking lightly of the blood of Jesus. It is precious, it is invaluable blood. Without it no sinner can be saved; with it, any sinner may.
Oh my soul ! meditate on this blood ; plead nothing before God but this blood; teach nothing as the ground of acceptance with God, but this blood ; depend on nothing for comfort or salvation, but this precious blood ; look to nothing for peace in life or in death, but this precious, precious blood ! O Lord
“Wilt thou not a difference make,
Betwixt thy friend and foe;
And grace to Israel show ?
We on the Paschal Lamb rely;
And pass thy people by.”
AN AFFLICTED AND POOR PEOPLE.
Broad-street, Bilston, Staffordshire, June 13th, 1869,
(TAKEN DOWN IN SHORTHAND AT THE TIME.)
“I will also leave in the midst of thee an afflicted and poor people, and they shall trust in the
name of the Lord.”- Zeph. iii. 12.
ZEPHANIAH was contemporary with Jeremiah, and with Huldah, the prophetess. He prophesied in the reign of Josiah, king of Judah, and before the captivity,