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consecrated for his holy use and service, he throws into the fire of his word, that being there softened and melted, he may by his transforming Spirit cast them anew, as it were, into a holy oneness ; so that he who'before was divided from God, and lost among the creatures, and his lusts, that shared him among them, now, his heart is gathered into God from them all ; it looks with a single eye on God, and acts for him in all that he doth: if therefore thou wouldest know whether thy heart be sincere, inquire whether it be thus made anew."
5. Now, my last point is rather a strange one perhaps. Once upon a time, when one
o our kings came back from a captivity, old historians tell us that there were fountains in Cheapside that did run with wine. So bounteous was the king, and so glad the people, that instead of water they made wine flow free to everybody. There is a way of making our life so rich, so full, so blessed to our fellow men, that the metaphor may be applicable to us, and men may say, that our life flows with wine when other men's lives flow with water. Ye have known some such men. There was a Howard. John Howard's life was not like our poor common lives: he was so benevolent, his sympathy with the race so selfdenying, that the streams of his life were like generous wine. You have known another, an eminent saint, one who lived very near to Jesus: when you talked yourself
, you felt your conversation was poor watery stuff; but when he talked to you, there was an unction and a savour about his words, a solidity and a strength about his utterances, which you could appreciate, though you could not attain unto it. You have sometimes said, “I wish my words were as full, as sweet, as mellow, and as unctious as the words of such an one! Oh! I wish my actions were just as rich, had as deep a colour, and as pure a taste as the acts of so-and-so. All I can do seems but little and empty when compared with his high attainments. Oh, that I could do more! Oh, that I could send streams of pure gold into every house, instead of my poor dross.” Well, Christian, this should teach thee to keep thine heart full of rich things. Never, never neglect the Word of God; that will make thy heart rich with precept, rich with understanding; and then thy conversation, when it flows from thy mouth, will be like thine heart, rich, unctious, and savoury. Make thy heart full of rich, generous love, and then the stream that flows from thy hand will be just as rich and generous as thine heart. Above all, get Jesus to live in thine heart, and then out of thy belly shall flow rivers of living water, more rich, more satisfying than the water of the well of Sychar of which Jacob drank. Oh! go, Christian, to the great mine of riches, and cry unto the Holy Spirit to make thy heart rich unto salvation. So shall thy life and conversation be a boon to thy fellows; and when they see thee, thy face shall be as the angel of God. Thou shalt wash thy feet in butter and thy steps in oil: they that sit in the gate shall rise up when they see thee, and men shall do thee reverence.
But one single sentence, and we have done. Some of your hearts are not worth keeping. The sooner you get rid of them the better. They are hearts of stone. Do you feel to-day that you have a stony heart? Go home, and I pray the Lord hear my desire that thy polluted heart may be removed. Cry unto God and say, "Take away my heart of stone, and give me a heart of flesh;" for a stony heart is an impure heart, a divided heart, an unpeaceful heart. It is a heart that is poor and poverty-stricken, a heart that is void of all goodness, and thou canst neither bless thyself nor others, if thy heart be such. O Lord Jesus! wilt thou be pleased this day to renew many hearts? Wilt thou break the rock in pieces, and put flesh instead of stone, and thou shalt have the glory, world without end !
The Evening Sermon (Nos. 180 & 181) contains a fuller Exposition of the Means of Keeping the Heart.
HOW SHALL WE ESCAPE IF WE NEGLECT SO GREAT SALVATION ?
BY THE REV. R. W. DIBDIN, M.A.,
"How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation P”-Hebrews ii. 3. BEFORE I explain the text, let me say that I am very thankful to God for the complete success of the experiment which I have been making during the last three months. I am very thankful to see so large an attendance at these lectures. I hope, my brethren, you, who occupy, and have occupied these galleries for the last twelve weeks, will, for the future, CONSIDER THEM AS YOUR OWN, not only in the evening, but also in the morning. It may be a loss in a pecuniary point of view; but, neither conscience nor inclination will allow me to part with so large an addition to my congregation. I would rather see five hundred persons paying nothing for their seats, than fifty persons paying £50 for theirs. Take, then, the seats, and be welcome to them. I ask only one favour in return; it is, that you come as often as you can-twice a day, if possible; but, if that is impracticable, come once. And may God, in his infinite mercy, grant that it may lead to our dwelling together in glory in the Kingdom of our Lord and Saviour !
Before making a practical use of the text, let us take what I may call a strictly truthful view of its meaning. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?” The epistle, you perceive, is addressed to the Hebrews. It is written to Jews by a Jew; and the greater part of it is meant to show that the new and better covenant which God promised to make with that people was sealed with the blood of Jesus Christ. The old covenant of works, which was to insure them, as a nation, great temporal blessings that worldly and temporal covenant-was sealed by the blood of bulls and goats; but the everlasting covenant, the new covenant, was secured by better promises, and sealed by richer blood. The keeping of it was to rest, not with the Jews, but with Jehovah, not with man, but with God. "And so all Israel shall be saved." The old covenant, if it had been kept, wrought out salvation from worldly evils for the Jewish people; but the new covenant is intended to deliver them from sin, and its eternal punishment in the world to come. For, under the new covenant you read, they shall be all righteous and partakers of eternal happiness. When, therefore, the inspired writer says, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?” being a Jew and writing to the Jews, for the moment he identifies himself with his nation, and says “we;" in other words, “How shall the Jews escape if they neglect so great salvation ?” It is important to notice this; otherwise it might appear as if the inspired writer implied some doubt of his own salvation, and that it was possible for him not to escape, which is very far from being the case.
I apprehend that the text forms, in the minds of some preachers, a reason for a habit they adopt, when addressing the unconverted, of modestly saying, “We ought to repent and believe in Christ; we ought to leave off our worldly conformity; we ought to betake ourselves to prayer and to the observance of the Sabbath." Probably, such preachers find, or think they find ground for their practice in the language of the text. They therefore take this form of address rather than the more direct and the more offensive mode—“Repent you ; leave off your sins; forsake your evil companions.” They put it in the more soft and pleasing form of
-"Let us forsake our sins ; let us forsake our evil companions.” This is what many persons would consider to be charitable and right. Of course it gratifies drunkards and other sinners to hear the preacher classing himself with them; it is very agreeable to find themselves ranked in the best company, and, by implication, thought to be no worse than the very man who is preaching to him. I remember, many years ago, hearing a well-bred preacher of this kind go through a very able sermon, drawn up upon what an old writer calls, “this velvet-mouthed system of preaching." In the whole of his sermon he never presumed to say anything better of himself, nor of believers, than he did of the unconverted. It so happened that I sat in the same pew with a very wealthy gentleman, who was at the same time a very worldly-minded gentleman-one who, if there had been a distinction made between sinners and saints, could not have failed to class himself among the former. But no such distinction was made. While the courtly preacher spoke, indeed, words of truth as regards the Gospel of the living God, and pointed out the way of salvation, when he came to the application of the subject it was, we, we, we, from first to last—“We mnst repent, my brethren, if we will be forgiven ; we must believe if we wish to be saved.” When we left the church, my companion, who I hoped might have profited by hearing the Gospel of Christ, said to me these very words, “Now, that is what I call a godly sermon.” Well, in many respects, said I, it was. “Yes, and it is a charitable sermon." How so? “You notice how he speaks with true humility; he does not say, as some people (meaning me), you, you, you ; but he says, us, us, us." Well, said I, either what he says is true, or it is false. If it is true that we must repent, then he has not repented, and he has no business in the pulpit. If it is true what he says, that we must believe, then he has not believed, and he has no business to preach. If it is true that we must leave our wicked companions and our worldly ways, then he has not left those wicked companions and those worldly ways, and he has no business to preach. Let him learn to do himself what he recommends before he takes upon bim to recommend to others. But if, as I am well persuaded-for I know very well the preacher's character-if he has believed and is living a godly life, then I think he only ministers to your pride, and does not properly discharge his duty when he says, “We must repent;" he should have said to you and such as you, ought to repent.” With this, of course, my companion did not agree. Nor did I find, much as he liked the sermon, that it had any good effect upon him; not even by that coaxing way was he brought to forsake his sins or his worldly habits; nor, so far as I know, has he done it to this day.
As this is to be the last of this course of twelve sermons, the text is most suitable for general application, as a kind of windup to the whole. It speaks, you notice, of ESCAPE and NEGLECT :-"How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation p"
It speaks first of escape. “How shall we escape ?” Escape what? Let Christ himself give us from his own lips to understand what is to be escaped. In Matthew xxiii. 33, we read—“Ye serpents, ye generation of vipers, how shall ye escape the damnation of hell ?” I doubt not that such critics, as I have alluded to in the above anecdote, if they had heard the words of Christ, would have thought him a very uncharitable preacher, and that it would have been better if he had said-however profane we may think it—"How shall we escape the damnation of hell P” Bat Christ was a truth-telling man in all things, and so he says, "How shall ye escape ?” So the Apostle says,
“ How shall we escape if we neglect so
great salvation ?” He meant, to escape the wrath to come. It is, emphatically, wrath to come, for it will be to come for ever and ever ; when many ages are passed away, it will still be wrath to come; it will be the carrying out of that condemnation which is already passed upon every one of the sons and daughters of Adam, who are still in their natural state. This is to be escaped; but how? Some propose one method, some another, and some get rid of the subject altogether. Some of the “Broad Church” divines, get rid of it by saying, that eternal inishment does not mean endless punishment; and they quote some passages in the Old Testament where this word eterual is used in a qualified or modified sense, and thereby endeavour to show that, in the New Testament, when everlasting fire or everlasting punishment are spoken of, the Holy Ghost does not mean that it shall be an endless punishment. They misapply these passages of the Old Testament, and they endeavour to enforce their views by much of their own wisdom, by saying—“From the nature of the case, God, as a Father, is far too merciful to send people into endless torment, The thought is abhorrent to our feelings, repulsive to our cultivated understandings.” Therefore, these philosophical preachers set aside the words of Christ, and of his disciples, and put in the place thereof their own dogma. In answer to them, let any honest man read the words of Christ himself, in Matthew xxv. 46—" These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.” I do not find that these philosophical Broad Church writers maintain that the happiness of the righteous shall come to an end. It is only the punishment of the wicked
if punishment there be, for some of them doubt even that), which they deny to be endless. I ask, is it honest to take this passage, “ These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal,” and say that the same word used in the two clauses, has not the same meaning ? It is the same word in both clauses, although for some reason or other, the translators have given two English words-eternal is Latin, and everlasting is English. But the word in the original Greek is the same, “ These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into everlasting life.” Now, I ask, will any honest-minded man read these words and say, that Christ meant the righteous should have a reward that should never come to an end, but the wicked should have a punishment (if any) that should come to an end ? I should be very sorry to doubt the honesty of any man; but here I must either doubt a man's honesty or doubt his capacity, if he cannot come to the conclusion that the word “everlasting,” in both clauses, signifies endless. He may take his choice. If he is so weak-minded that he cannot see it, he is no guide for you nor me; and if he is so dishonest that he will not see it, he is still less fit to be a guide for you or me. This, then, is to be escaped-endless torment; the bottomless Abyss prepared for the devil and his angles. Here, then, is the Escape.
The second part of our subject speaks of NEGLECT. And what is it they are said to neglect ? Salvation. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation ?"
“How shall sinners escape ?” that is to say, for we now accommodate the words. The Holy Ghost is speaking by the mouth of the writer to the Jews, and he says, “How shall the Jews escape, who have crucified the Lord of Glory, who have set aside his pretensions, and yet he has risen again, and is at the right hand of God. How shall they escape as a nation, if they neglect so great salvation ?” They have not escaped up to this time. Generation after generation have perished in their sins, except such as, by the distinguishing mercy of God, have been brought to repent, and believe in that crucified and rejected Messiah. All the rest have perished in their sins. How could they escape when they neglected the great salvation ? We now apply the words to sinners amongst the Gentiles, and say to you, unconverted sinners, “ How shall you escape, if you neglect so great salvation ?"
But what is salvation ? The word salvation admits of three particular meanings. It hath many, but those with which you are particularly concerned are these :1. Salvation from hell fire ; 2. Salvation from the dominion of sin; and 3. Salvation from all evil of every kind. Now, this is the complete salvation which sinners
neglect. And when is it neglected? and how is it neglected ? It might seem strange that men should neglect such good things. We find it is not so in any other matter. Let a man have the opportunity of being wealthy, in most instances he will not neglect it. Although, sometimes, the allurements of vice, in the shape of drunkenness or of indolence, or of some bad passion, yielded to and followed, may draw him aside; yet, as a general rule, if a man hath a very great advantage put within his reach, rare for him to neglect the use of the means which will secure him that advantage. Not so with salvation. It is offered freely to all, inasmuch as the atonement was made for all. I believe they are mistaken who would narrow this subject, and say that Christ redeemed only the elect; I believe that they are right who say that Christ redeemed all mankind. In this, I only repeat the language of that church, of which I am an unworthy minister, the Established Church of England. It says, “I believe in God the Father, who hath made me and all the world ; in God the Son, who hath redeemed me and all mankind; in God the Holy Ghost, who hath sanctified me and all the elect people of God.” Remark, “redeemed me and all mankind”—“ALL MANKIND.” Now, I say, although it be true that Christ hath redeemed all men, you find that most men neglect that salvation which he has procured. How do they neglect it? By neglecting Christ himself. Christ is our salvation from first to last. So he was called, you remember, by holy Simeon, in Luke ii. 30, where it is said—“Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation.” What had they seen ? The infant Christ. That was God's salvation; a babe, then, but afterwards a man who died upon the cross. Christ is emphatically salvation. And not here alone, but in several other passages, he is called salvation, because he obtained salvation, and that too, in the three-fold sense which I have specified. To neglect Christ is to neglect salvation.
And what it to neglect Christ ? It is not to believe in him. Now, mark. There may be much in a man that seems like honouring Christ, and yet he is neglecting Christ. For instance, the Papists: they say much about Christ. Look at their Mass-houses, and you will see pictures of Cbrist, and images of Christ, in all directions. Look at their houses, and you will see figures of Christ crucified
upon the cross. Hear them talk, and they will speak of Christ when they are speaking of religion. And it might be said, can these people be said to neglect Christ. Yes, because they do not believe on him. Christ does not accept any sort of honour, or any sort of worship, if it is not according to his own appointment. These men divide the honour between Christ and Mary, between Christ and the saints, and between Christ and themselves. They are not satisfied with the merits of Christ for their justification, but they must add to these merits the merits of Mary, and the merits of the saints, and their own merits. Thus, they make the work of Christ insufficient for the salvation of his people. Now, whatever they may profess, as to paying the greatest honour to Christ, he considers that they neglect him altogether. So again, they neglect Christ who, like the Socinians, or as they call themselves Unitarians-Unitarians! I wish men would be honest. They know very well that we are Unitarians as well as they. This last week, I saw two men parading the streets with two large placards announcing lectures to be preached in defence of Unitarianism! Wly, I preach it myself. Unitarianism ! why Paul preaches Unitarianism. What is Unitarianism ? One God. We hold one God, and only one. And we hold Trinitarianism. What is Trinitarianism ? Three persons in one God. We hold both, Unity and Trinity. It is dishonest to speak of themselves, therefore, as Unitarians. They ought to call themselves non-Trinitarians, if they want a name.
would be Socinians, because Socinius was the founder of this detestable sect-detestable in doctrine, I mean. They deny the atonement of Christ, and the Godhead of Christ. These men neglect Christ. They may say what they will about the perfect beauty of the moral example of Christ. They may draw the most lovely pictures of that great man, who went about doing good. They may set forth the most endearing views of the goodness, tenderness, diligence, and fruitfulness in