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then let thy spirit dare to think, if it can, that there is not sufficient in the blood of Christ, to enable God to vindicate his justice, and yet to have mercy upon sinners.
But I know you say, “My doubt is not of his general mercy, nor of his power to forgive, but of his willingness to forgive me.” Now I beseech you, by him that liveth and was dead, do not this morning look into your own heart in order to find an answer to that difficulty ; do not now sit down and look at your sins; they have brought you into the danger-they cannot bring you out of it. The best answer you will ever get, is at the foot of the cross. Sit down, when you get home this morning, for half-an-hour, in quiet contemplation, sit at the foot of the cross, and contemplate the dying Saviour, and I will defy you then to say, “I doubt his love to me." Looking at Christ begets faith. You cannot believe on Christ except as you see him, and if you look to him you will learn that he is able to save; you will learn his loving-kindness; and you cannot doubt him after having once beheld him.
Dr. Watts says,
“ His worth, if all the nations knew,
Sure the whole world would love him too;". and I am sure it is quite true if I read it another way
“ His worth, if all the nations knew,
Sure the whole world would trust him too." Oh, that you would look to him now, and your doubts would soon be removed; for there is nothing that so speedily kills all doubt and fear, as a look into the loving eye of the bleeding, dying Lord.“ Ah," says one, “but my doubts are concerning my own salvation in this respect; I cannot be so holy as I want to be.” “I have tried very much,” says one, “ to get rid of all my sins, and I cannot; I have laboured to live without wicked thoughts, and without unholy acts, and I still find that my heart is deceitful above all things;' and I wander from God. Surely I cannot be saved, while I am like this?” Stay! Look to him, and be lightened. What business have you to be looking to yourself? The first business of a sinner is not with himself, but with Christ. Your business is to come to Christ; sick, weary, and soul-diseased, and ask Christ to cure you. You are not to be your owa physician, and then go to Christ, but just as you are; the only salvation for you is to trust implicitly, simply, nakedly, on Christ. As I sometimes put it-make Christ the only pillar of your hope, and never seek to buttress or prop him up. “ He is able, he is willing." All he asks of you is just to trust him. As for your good works, they shall come afterwards. They are after-fruits of the Spirit: but your first business is not to do, but to believe. Look to Jesus, and put your only trust in him. “Oh," another cries, “ Sir, I am afraid I do not feel my need of a Saviour as I ought.” Looking to yourselves again! all looking to yourselves you see! This is all wrong. Our doubts and fears all arise from this cause—we will turn our eyes the wrong way—just look to the cross again, just as the poor thief did when he was dying; he said, “Lord, remember me when thou comest into thy kingdom.” Do the same. You may tell him if you please, that you do not feel your need of him as you ought; you may put this among your other sins, that you fear you have not a right sense of your great and enormous guilt. You may add to all your confessions, this cry, "Lord help me to confess my sins better; help me to feel them more penitently." But recollect, it is not your repentance that saves you; it is just the blood of Christ, streaming from his hands, and feet, and side. Oh! I beseech you by him whose servant I am, this morning turn your eyes to the cross of Christ. There he hangs this day; he is lifted up in your midst. As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so is the Son of Man lifted up to-day in your eyes, that whosoever believeth in him may not perish, but have everlasting life.
And you children of God, I turn to you, for you have your doubts too. Would you get rid of them? Would you rejoice in the Lord with faith unmoved and confidence unshaken? Then look to Jesus; look again to him and you shall be lightened. I know not how it is with you my beloved friends, but I very often find myself in a doubting frame of mind; and it seems to be a question whether I have any love to Christ or not. And despite the fact that some laugh at the hymn, it is a hynin that I am forced to sing :-
“ 'Tis a point I long to know,
And really I am convinced that every Christian has his doubts at times, and that the people who do not doubt are just the people that ought to doubt; for he who never doubts about his state perhaps may do so when it is too late. I knew a man who said he never had a doubt for thirty years. I told him that I knew a person who never had a doubt about him for thirty years. “How is that?" said he "That is strange.” He thought it a compliment. I said, “I knew a man who never had a doubt about you for thirty years. He knew you were always the most confounded hypocrite he ever met; he had no doubt about you.” But this man had no doubt about himself: he was a chosen child of God, a great favourite of the Most High; he loved the doctrine of Election, wrote it on his very brow; and yet he was the hardest driver and the most cruel oppressor to the poor I ever met with, and when brought to poverty himself, he night very frequently be seen rolling through the streets. And this man had not a doubt for thirty years; and yet the best people are always doubting. Some of those who are just living outside the gates of heaven, are afraid of being cast into hell after all, while those people who are on the high road to the pit are not the least afraid. However, if you would get rid of your doubts once more, turn to Christ. You know what Dr. Carey had put on his tomb-stone-just these words, for they were his comfort;
“A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
Into Christ's arms I fall;
My Jesus and my all.” Remember what that eminent Scotch divine said, when he was dying. Some one said to him, “What, are you dying now?” Said he, “ I am just gathering all my good works up together, and I am throwing them all overboard; and I am lashing myself to the plank of free grace, and I hope to swim to glory on it." So do you do; every day keep your eye only on Christ; and so long as your eye is single, your whole body must and shall be full of light. But if you once look cross-eyed, first to yourself and then to Christ, your whole body shall be full of darkness. Remember, then, Christian, to hie away to the cross. When that great black dog of hell is after you, away to the cross! Go where the sheep goes when he is molested by the dog; go to the shepherd. The dog is afraid of the shepherd's crook; you need not be afraid of it, it is one of the things that shall comfort you. “Thy rod and thy staff they comfort me.” Away to the cross, my brothers! away to the cross, if thou wouldest get rid of thy doubts. Certain I am, that if we lived more with Jesus, were more like Jesus, and trusted more to Jesus, doubts and fears would be very scarce and rare things, and we should have as little to complain of them as the first emigrants in Australia had to complain of thistles; for they found none there, and none would have been there it they had not been carried there. If we live simply by faith on the cross of Christ, we live in a land where there are no thistles; but if we will live on self, we shall have plenty of thistles and thorns, and briers, and nettles growing there. “They looked unto him, and were lightened."
III. And now I invite you to a glorious scene-CHRIST'S RESURRECTION. Come you here, and look at him, as the old serpent bruises his heel !
“ He dies ! the friend of sinners dies,
And Salem's daughters weep arvund.” He was wrapped in his grave clothes and put into his grave, and there he slept three days and nights. And on the first day of the week, he, who could not be holden by the bands of death, and whose flesh did not see corruption, neither did his soul abide in Hades-he arose from the dead. In vain the bands that swaddled hiin; he unfolded them by himself, and by his own living power wrapped them in perfect order, and laid them in their place. In vain the stone and the seal; the angel app?ared and rolled away the stone, and forth the Saviour came. In vain the guards and watchmen; for in terror they fled far away, and he ruse the conqueror over death—the firstfruits of them that slept. By his own power and mignt, he came again to lire. I see among my congregation, not a few wearing the black weeds of sorrow. You have lost, some of you, the dearest of your earthly relatives. There are others here, who, I doubt not, are under the constant fear of death. You are all your litetime subject to bondage, because you are thinking upon the groans, and dying strife, which fall upon men, when they near the river Jordan. Come, come, I beseech you,
ye weeping and timid spirits, behold Jesus Christ risen! For remember, this is a great truth—“ Now is Christ risen from the dead, and become the first-fruits of them that slept.” And the verse of our song just embodies it :
“What though our inbred sins require
Our flesh to see the dust,
So all his followers must.” There widow; weep no longer for your husband, if he died in Jesus. See the Master he is risen from the dead; no spectre is he. In the presence of his disciples he eats a piece of broiled fish and part of an honeycomb. No spirit is he; for he saith, “ Handle me and see; a spirit hath not flesh and blood as ye see me have.” That was a real resurrection. And learn then, beloved, when you weep, to restrain your sorrows; for thy loved ones shall live again. Not only shall their spirits live, but their bodies too.
“Corruption, earth, and worms,
Do but refine this flesh;
We put it on afresh.” Oh! think not that the worm has eaten up your children, your friends, your husband, your father, your aged parents-true, the worms seem to have devoured them. On: what is the worm after all, but the filter through which our poor filthy flesh must go? For in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump, we shall be raised incorruptible, and the living shall be changed; you shall see the eye that just now has been closed, and you shall look on it again, you shall again grasp the hand that just now fell motionless at the side. You shall kiss the lips that just now were clay-cold, and white, and you shall hear again the voice that is silent in the tomb. They shall live again. And you that fear death-why fear to die? Jesus died before you, and he passed through the iron gates, and as he passed through them before you, he will come and meet you. Jesus who lives can
“Make the dying bed
Feel soft as downy pillows are." Why should you weep? for Jesus rose from the dead; so shall you. Be of good cheer and confidence. You are not lost when you are put into the tomb; you are but seed sown to ripen against the eternal harvest. Your spirit mounts to God; your body slumbers for awhile to be quickened into eternal life. It cannot be quickened except it die; but when it dies it shall receive a new life; it shall not be destroyed. “They looked to him, and were lightened.” Oh! this is a precious thing to look to—a risen Saviour. I know of nothing that can lift our spirits higher than a true view of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. We have not lost any friends then; they have gone before. We shall not die ourselves; we shall seem to die, but we shall begin to live; for it is written
“ He lives to die; he dies to live;
He lives to die no more." May that be the lot of each one of us!
IV. And with the greatest possible brevity, I invite you to Look At Jesus Christ ASCENDING INTO HEAVEN. After forty days, he takes his disciples to the hill, and while he discourses with them, on a sudden he mounts upward;
and he is separated from them, and a cloud receives him into glory. Perhaps I may be allowed a little poetical license if I try to picture that which occurred after he ascended into the clouds. The angels came from heaven
They brought his chariot from on high,
To bear him to his throne;
The glorious work is done.” I doubt not, that with matchless triumph he ascended the hill of light and went to the celestial city, and when he neared the portals of that great metropolis of the universe, the angels shouted, “ Lift up your heads, 0 ye gates, and be ye lift up ye everlasting doors,” and the bright spirits from burning battlements, cried out, * Who is this King of Glory—who?” And the answer came, “the Lord mighty in battle, and the Lord of Hosts; he is the King of Glory.” And then both they upon the walls, and they who walk with the chariot join the song once more, and with one mighty sea of music, beating its melodious waves against the gates of heaven and forcing tirem open, the strain is heard, “ Lift up your heads, O) ye gates, and be ye lift up ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may come in”-and in he went. And at his feet the angelic hosts all cast their crowns, and forth came the blood-washed and met him, not casting roses at his feet, as we do at the feet of conquerors in our streets, but casting immortal flowers, imperishable wreaths of honour that never can decay; while again, again, again, the heavens did ring with this melody, “ Unto him that hath loved us, and washed us from our sins in his blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Fatherunto him be glory for ever and ever." And all the saints and all the angels said, " Amen.” Now, look ye here, Christian, here is your comfort; Jesus Christ won the victory, and he ascended to his throne of glory. You are fighting to-day, and wrestling with spiritual enemies, not with flesh and blood, but with principalities and powers; you are at war to-day, and mayhap the enemy has thrust sore at you, and you have been ready to fall; it is a marvel to you, that you have not turned your back in the day of battle, for you have often feared lest you should be made to fly like a coward from the field. But tremble not, your Master was more than conqueror, and so shall you be The day is coming when with splendour less than his, but yet the same in its measure, you too shall pass the gates of bliss; when you are dying, angels shall meet you in the mid-stream, and when your blood is cooling with the cold current, then shall your heart be warming with another stream, a stream of light and heat from the great fountain of all joy, and you shall stand on the other side of Jordan, and angels shall meet you elothed in their immaculate garments, they shall attend you up the hill of light, and they shall chant the praise of Jesus, and hail you as another trophy of his power. And when you enter the gates of heaven, you shall be met with Christ your Master, who will say to you—“Well done, good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord.” Then will you feel that you are sharing in his victory, as once you shared in his struggles and his war. Fight on, Christian, your glorious Captain has won a great victory, and has secured for you in one and the same victory, a standard that never yet was stained with defeat, though often dipped in the blood of the slain.
V. And now once more, “Look unto him, and be lightened.” See there he sits in heaven, he has led captivity captive, and now sits at the right hand of God, for ever making intercession for us. Can your faith picture him to-day? Like a great high priest of old, he stands with outstretched arms: there is majesty in his mien, for he is no mean cringing suppliant. He does not beat his breast, nor cast his eyes upon the ground, but with authority he pleads enthroned in glory now. There on his head is the bright shining mitre of his priesthood, and look you, on his breast are glittering the precious stones whereon the names of his elect are everlastingly engraven; hear him as he pleads, hear you not what it is?-is that your prayer that he is mentioning before the throne? The prayer that this morning you offered ere you came to the house of God, Christ is now offering before his Father's throne. The vow which just now you uttered when you said, “ Have pity and have mercy," -- he is now uttering there. He is the Altar and the Priest, and with his own sacrifice he perfumes our prayers. And yet, mayhap, you have been at prayer many a day, and had no answer; poor weeping suppliant, thou hast sought the Lord and he hath not heard thee, or at least not answered thee to thy soul's delight; thou hast cried unto him, but the heavens have been as brass, and he hath shut out thy prayer, thou art full of darkness and heaviness on account of this, “Look to him, and be lightened.” If thou dost not succeed, he will; if thy intercession be unnoticed his cannot be passed away; if thy prayers can be like water spilt on a rock which cannot be gathered up, yet his prayers are not like that, he is God's Son, he pleads and must prevail; God cannot refuse his own Son what he now asks, he who once bought mercies with his blood. Oh! be of good cheer, continue still thy supplication, “Look unto him, and be lightened,”
VI. In the last place, there are some of you here, weary with this world's din, and clamour, and with this world's iniquity and vice. You have been striving all your life long, to put an end to the reign of sin, and it seems as if your efforts have been fruitless; the pillars of hell stand as fast as ever, and the black palace of evil is not laid in ruins ; you have brought against it all the battering rams of prayer,
and all the might of God, you have thought,---and yet the world still sins, its rivers still roll with blood, its plains are still defiled with the lascivious dance, and its ear is still polluted with the filthy song and profane oath. God is not honoured; man is still vile; and perhaps you are saying, “ It is vain for us to fight on, we have undertaken a task which cannot be accomplished ; the kingdoins of this world never can become the kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ." But, Christian, “Look unto him, and be lightened." Lo! he cometh, he cometh, he cometh quickly; and what we cannot do in six thousand years, he can do in an instant. Lo! he comes, he comes to reign; we may try to build his throne, but we shall not accomplish it. But when he comes, he shall build his throne himself, on solid pillars of light, and sit and judge in Jerusalem, amidst his saints, gloriously. Perhaps to-day, the hour we are assembled, Christ may come—“For of that day and hour knoweth no man; no, not the angels in heaven.” Christ Jesus may, while I yet speak, appear in the clouds of glory. We have no reason to be guessing at the time of his appearing; he will come as a thief in the night; and whether it shall be at cock-crowing, or broadday, or at midnight, we are not allowed to guess; it is left entirely in the dark, and vain are the prophecies of men, vain your " Apocalyptic Sketches," or ought of that. No man knoweth anything of it, except that it is certain he will come; but when he comes, no spirit in heaven or on earth should pretend to know. Oh! it is my joyous hope, that he may come whilst yet I live. Perhaps there may be some of us here who shall be alive, and remain at the coming of the Son of Man. Oh, glorious hope! we shall have to sleep, but we shall all be changed. He may come now, and we that are alive and remain shall be caught up together with the Lord in the air, and so shall be for ever with him. But if you die, Christian, this is your hope. "I will come again, and receive you to myself, that where I am, there ye may be also." And this is to be your duty, "Watch, therefore, for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of Man cometh." Oh, will I not work on, for Christ is at the door! Oh! I will not give up toiling never so hard, for my Master cometh, and his reward is with him, and his work before him, giving unto every man according as his work shall be. Oh, I will not lie down in despair, for the trump is sounding now. Methinks I hear the trampling of the conquering legion, the last of God's mighty heroes are even now, perhaps, born into the world. The hour of this revival is the hour of the turning to the battle; thick has been the fight, and hot and furious the struggle, but the trump of the Conqueror 1s beginning to sound, the angel is listing it now to his lips. The first blast has been heard across the sea, and we shall hear it yet again; or if we hear it not in these our days, yet still it is our hope. He comes, he comes, and every eye shall see him, and they that have crucified him shall weep and wail before him, but the righteous shall rejoice, and shall magnify him exceedingly. “They looked unto him,
and were lightened.” I remember I concluded preaching at Exeter Hall with these three words, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus !” and I think I will conclude my sermon of this morning with the same words, but not till I have spoken to one poor forlorn soul who is standing over there, wondering whether there is mercy for him. He says, “ It is well enough, sir, to say, Look to Jesus ;' but suppose you cannot look ? If your eye is blind—what then ? Oh! my poor brother, turn your restless eyeballs to the cross, and that light which gives light to them that see, shall give eyesight to them that are blind. Oh! if thou canst not believe this morning, look and consider, and weigh the matter, and in weighing and reflecting thou shalt be helped to believe. He asks nothing of thee; he bids thee now believe that he died for thee. If to-day thou feelest thyself a lost, guilty sinner, all he asks is that thou wouldest believe on him; that is to say, trust him, confide in him. Is it not little he asks? And yet it is more than any of us are prepared to give, except the Spirit hath made us willing. Come, cast yourselves upon him; fall flat on his promise; sink or swim, confide in him, and you cannot guess the joy that you shali feel in that one instant that you believe on him. Were there not some of you impressed last Sabbath day, and you have been anxious all the week? Oh! I hope I have brought a good message to you this morning for your comfort. “Look unto me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth,” saith Christ, “ for I am God, and beside me there is none else." Look ye now, and looking ye shall live. May every blessing rest upon you, and may each go away to think of that one person whom we love, even Jesus-Jesus—Jesus!