Abbildungen der Seite
PDF
EPUB

thou canst do nothing to avert it. If, on the other hand, he chooses to save thee, lie is able to save thee to the very uttermost. But thou liest as much in his hand as the summer's moth beneath thine own finger. He is the God whom thou art grieving every day. Doth it not make thee tremble to think that thy eternal destiny now hangs upon the will of him whom thou hast angered and incensed? Dost not this make thy knees knock together, and thy blood curdle? If it does su I rejoice, inasmuch as this may be the first effect of the Spirit's drawing in thy soul. Oh, tremble to think that the God whom thou hast angered, is the God upon wliom thy salvation or thy condemnation entirely depends. Tremble and “ kiss the Son lest he be angry and ye perish from the way while his wrath is kindled but a little."

Now, the comfortable reflection is this:-Some of you this morning are conscious that you are coming to Christ. Have you not begun to weep the penitential tear? Did not your closet witness your prayerful preparation for the hearing of the Word of God? And during the service of this morning, has not your heart said within you, “Lord, save me, or I perish, for save myself I cannot?” "And could you not now stand up in your seat, and sing,

Oh, sovereign grace my heart subdue;
I would be led in triumph, too,
A willing captive of my Lord,

To sing the triumph of his Word”? And have I not myself heard you say in your heart—" Jesus, Jesus, my whole trust is in thee: I know that no righteousness of my own can save me, but only thou. () Christ-sink or swim, I cast myself on thee?" Oh, my brother, thou art drawn by the Father, for thou couldst not have come unless he had drawn thee. Sweet thought! And if he has drawn thee, dost thou know what is the delightful inference? Let me repeat one text, and may that comfort thee: “ The Lord hath appeared of old unto me, saying, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” Yes, my poor weeping brother, inasınuch as thou art now coming to Christ, God has drawn thee; and inasmuch as he has drawn thee, it is a proof that he has loved thee from before the foundation of the world. Let thy heart leap within thee, thou art one of his. Thy name was written on the Saviour's hands when they were nailed to the accursed tree. Thy name glitters on the breast-plate of the great High Priest to-day; ay, and it was there before the day-star knew its place, or planets ran their round. Rejoice in the Lord ye that have come to Christ, and shout for joy all ye that have been drawn of the Father. For this is your proof, your solemn testimony, that you from among men have been chosen in eternal election, and that you shall be kept by the power of God, through faith, unto the salvation which is ready to be revealed.

Næw VOLUME BY MR. SPURGEON.-Now ready.- Vol. II. of The Pulpit LIBRARY,

containing Twelve Sermons (Revised and Corrected) by the Rev. C. H. SPURGEON, hitherto unpublished; printed in large type, with Preface and Purtruil. Cloth, 3s,

Sermon

PREACHED ON SUNDAY EVENING, JANUARY 3RD, 1858,

BY THE REV. JEMSON DAVIS, VICAR, M.A.,

In the Parish Church of St. Nicholas, Leicester.

"I am Jehovah, I change not.”—Malachi iii. 6.

TIe sins and transgressions of Judah and Jerusalem, together with the Divine judgments thereby incurred, are the chief and almost the only subject-matter of this, the last of the ancient prophets. These sins are summed up under three particular heads-first, that they, the Jews, held in contempt and disdain the divinely instituted ordinances of worship, whereby, it is said, “they despised the name of the Lord.”—Mal. i. 6. Secondly, those evils, which were national evils, evils in their social and civil life-evils little dreamt of as evils, yet denounced by Jehovah as amongst the sorest and greatest of all evils-evils for which the land was stigmatised as the “ border of wickedness, and the people against whom the Lord had indignation for ever;" Mal. i. 4: for they “ defrauded the hireling in his wages, the widow and the fatherless, and turned aside the stranger from his right, and fear not Me, saith the Lord.”—Mal. iii. 5. As elsewhere, it is said, “He that oppresseth the poor reproacheth his Maker”reproaches him who, in his Sovereign will and good pleasure, made the poor man, poor.—Prov. xiv. 31. It is a calling in question the prerogative of Jehovah as Creator, his truth, wisdom, and goodness. When examined upon Scriptural principles, we cannot but perceive that it is a clear and unmistakable sign of wide-spread and deep-rooted infidelity, only to be exceeded by the stupidity and ignorance by which men are blinded as to its nature, as evil. And I beseech your profound attention to this plain fact—that under the Gentile dispensation, under which

you

and I live, the oppression of the poor is set forth as the greatest of sins ; it is held up as the last grand demonstration of the enmity of the creature's mind against God, and as the reason or ground-and, be it observed, the only reason adduced—for the hastening on the close of the Gentile dispensation ; the only reason for which the nations are arraigned at the bar of Divine judgment, and sentence of “guilty” is pronounced and executed upon them. Matt. xxv. 41–46. “Inasmuch as ye did it not unto the least of these my brethren, ye did not to Me." It is a sentence positively of the want of love to their fellow-men; yet is it not, negatively, for their oppression of their fellow-men ?

Thirdly—Their fondness for and addictedness to the idolatrous practices and manners of the nations around them, which they had then adopted and in.

corporated with their own Divinely instituted ordinances of worship; practices and forms, which, although they might powerfully affect the feelings and excite the passions-yet were nothing else than sensualising practices. Man, by nature and constitution, is a sensualist. Jude tells us this, v. 19. James tells us this, ch. iii. 15. But he shows it in its most odious form, in religious matters and worship, substituting things visible and sensible for the things invisible and spiritual.

Malachi is the last of the prophets. Jehovah's voice is no more heard in the language of prophecy—“Giving line upon line, and precept upon precept, “ speaking by parcels or piece-meal, and in manifold ways.” Heb. i. 1. The voice of prophecy passes away; a dead silence ensues; for four hundred and fifty years not a faint whisper orecho, even, is heard. From these facts and circumstances, we must conclude that these national sins were damning sins, and wherever they prevail, they still are damning sins; there can be none greater. By these the Jews set the seal to their national apostacy, they hurried on God's sore judgments and plagues, who gave them up to follow their own devices :-"Ephraim is joined to idols, let him alone;" and left them to fill up the measure of their iniquities, not only by the blasphemy and denial of the Lord Jesus, as the Christ of God; but more especially by their blasphemy and denial of the Holy Ghost, which they consummated in their rejection of the preaching of the Gospel by the Apostles for the space of forty years; their denial of the fact of the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and thereby, also, their rejection of eternal life, as the free and unconditional gift of God the Father. And this is the great sin of our own day! But still, in the midst of these sore and heavy judgments—there are, in this closing prophecy—this farewell Word of the Lord, sɔme very sweet-some most touching words and gracious promises, in which, doubtless, the saints of God of those and subsequent years, the Simeons and Annas, the Zechariahs and Elizabeths, must have found, in the midst of the darkness and infidelity that enveloped them, “ ever lasting consolation and good hope through grace.” Amongst these promises, that of our text is very conspicuous; proclaiming amidst all sin, rebellions, backslidings and transgressions --whether collective, as of nations, or individually, as of persons -the immutability of Jehovah.

You and I, beloved, have much need of inward prayer, both for ourselves and for each other—that the good Lord would at this moment be pleased, in pity to our ignorance and infirmities, to vouchsafe to me great enlargement and spirituality of mind ; and to you—the hearing ear, the seeing eye, and the opened understanding that the spiritual things he may graciously give to me to utter may be fitted for you, as spiritual persons, to receive. Take these words first

I. “I am Jehovah, I.” Now, just let me point out, before I proceed further, that the word "am" is in Italics; it has been introduced by the translators. It was thought, I suppose, that its introduction would make the passage more intelligible ; but I believe that, if you will leave ont the verb “ am" for a moment, you will perceive a still greater beauty and force in the passage. “For, I, Jehovah, I;" what a fulness and emphasis ! what great simplicity, and yet what a marvellous grandeur and majesty breaks forth from it! My soul is filled with holy fear and reverence whilst reading this great and glorious name, in which my God is pleased to reveal himself. I am bowed down in the deepest humiliation and self-abase ment whilst I contemplate in this name the glorious Majesty of the self-existent Godhead-the glorious Majesty of the Lord our God, but in his Trinity of Persons, together with the infinite and incomprehensible perfections of the Godhead ! For it will be very plain, and readily admitted, that we are not at liberty to construe this great, this wonderful name, except in strict consistency with the whole Scriptural record. We may not take it as the name of any one of the Persons in the Godhead to the exclusion of the rest ; but of Jehovah, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost—Jehovah as subsisting and acting according to his eternally predestinative Will, and according to those eternal covenant engagements, and in those distinct and supercreation Relationships in which they, the Persons in the Godhead, are revealed as standing, and as having ever stood, from all eternity and before all worldsfirst with respect to each other, and then with respect to those who, through God's free, sovereign grace, have been constituted the covenant and elect seed. God the Father, one with his Christ, in the essential nature of the Godhead, willing, decreeing, fixing, and settling all things for the manifestation of his own Glory in Christ Jesus, and the salvation of his Elect, in the sight of all creatures and world without end ; the Lord Jesus, one in the essence of the Godhead-also one with the creature by virtue of the assumed human nature, for he is our Immanuel executing, falfilling, and accomplishing all things for the glory of the Father, by his loving and all-sufficient obedience to the Divine and perfect law of God; which obedience no mere creature, either of men or angels, could ever render-which no mere creature was ever required to yield—which none but a Divine Person could ever yield- for a Divine nature only could be all-sufficient for perfect obedience to a Divine Law; and, at last, setting to his seal by freely and voluntarily yielding up his pure, spotless, and sinless nature unto death-unto all kinds of death--becoming obedient even unto the death of the cross; God the Father testifying, by resurrection, to the perfection of his obedience, as well as to the truth and reality of his Divine person and nature, and the completion of his mediatorial work of salvation, that “he was the (Geber) Mighty One to save”—Ps.lxxxix, 19. Lastly, God the Holy Ghost, in conformity with his everlasting covenant engagement, personally indwelling and almightily inworking and bearing witness as heretofore, in the life and death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus, so afterwards, in time, with respect to the elect and re. deemed ones, revealing to them personally, particularly, and individually, and realizing in their hearts and consciences, “that eternal life which God the Father had given them in Christ Jesus," overcoming all the guilt and fear arising from the convictions of sin, and of a sinful nature by the great fact revealed to them, that in the death and sacrifice of the Lord Jesus all their sins and transgressions, iniquities and corruptions had been “blotted out,” and “ destroyed,” and “put an end to.” Nay more, that they themselves, by virtue of his divine righteousness had been established unalterably and everlastingly righteous before God; and that as to death, and the grave, or hell, these were no longer enemies, and to be dreaded, for that they had been swallowed up in His victory and triumph over them; and by virtue of His resurrection unto the life eternal, they, the redeemed and saved, had been established unalterably and immutably and everlastingly in Christ, a living people to God, over whom death and condemnation has no power-can have no power, for they live unto God; they never die; but they live unto the age, and for the ages of ages. Thus is he Jehovah ! Thus is He Jehovah in his covenant persons and engagements, as related to and engaged for us. Oh, these Divine relationships, these supercreation relationships, these most glorious and blessed engagements! This is our foundation ; this is our standing place, our resting place, our strength and everlasting security! God in Christ Jesus by his Holy Spirit within us! This is the Lord our God; this is Jehovah, and blessed be his glorious name, who is everlastingly and immutably one for us, and in us and with us !

And there has been no change in the Godhead; no-nor in the everlasting covenant; no, nor in the Persons in the Godhead; no, nor in those Divine relationships, which have been sealed to us in the Death and Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, there can be no change ; for if such a change were possible, you would undo the Death and Sacrifice of the Lord Jesus, and make it as though it had never taken place; and if you undo his work, you undo his Person and Being, and then, "you are yet in your sins," and under the curse and condemnation; and death has its sting, and the grave has its victory; and if so, then God the Father must cease to be God-for if he be God that is capable of change, he must be a God of infirmity, and therefore no God at all. Why then, as one has beautifully but quaintly ex. pressed it, “ You have taken away my God, you have taken away my faith, and where is the glory that is hoped for p” But no, not so! Also, I take these words as expressive of the full, resolved, the unaltered and immutable will of Jehovah, engaged to carry out, and throughout all ages to carry out and maintain his divine and everlasting purposes. Ps. xxxiii. 11, “The counsel of the Lord standeth for ever, the thoughts of his heart to generation and generation.” “I am God and there is none like Me. My counsel shall stand and I will do all my pleasure." Isaiah xlvi. 9, 10. In the words of one of our most accomplished poets, he ever does and he ever will pursue

"The smooth and equal course of his affairs."

If these things be so, then there can be no room for contingency. Jehovah foresaw, fore-ordained, and resolved to accomplish all that he had eternally decreed in himself and in the councils of the ever-blessed Trinity! What a crushing thunderbolt this, as Luther says, to poor free will! How it gives the lie to every one who falsely and impiously advocates salvation as doubtful, uncertain, incomplete, and conditional upon anything, whether of faith, or repentance, or good works !--salvation itself being already an accomplished fact! But, oh, on the other hand, to the poor, humbled, broken-hearted, and penitent sinner, what a rich storehouse and in. exhaustible fund of sweetest consolation !

II. “I, Jehovah, I change not.” Upon this point the Scriptures are full of in. struction, and abound in the most striking illustrations. I do not allade to more than one or two of them. In James i. 17, we read of “The Father of Lights with whom there is no variableness, or shadow of turning." How beautiful! The Sun in the heavens has his yearly changes and variations. He ascends from the Equator until he reaches his zenith, producing the highest degree of heat, the most intense

« ZurückWeiter »