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gospel now. “To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.” This day look to him that hung upon the cross. This day believe and live.
And now to illustrate the manner in which rebellious sinners are reconciled to God, I will relate to you an interesting anecilote from the life of a soldier. It may picture to your minds the majesty of God in shewing grace, and the humbling experi'nce of the sinner in receiving it, and help us to answer that solemn question—“What must I do to be saved ?” My author says, that himself and his comrades of a certain regiment serving in India, had been without pay for about six months, and there was strong suspicion throughout the ranks that their commanding officer had embezzled the money : he was a great gambler, and they thought it most likely that he had gambled away their pay. They were determined to seek redress ; so all the private soldiers (with the exception of non-commissioned officers,) agreed that on a particular morning, when on parade, they should not obey the word of coumand. The day arrived, and they carried their design into execution. The regiment was assembled ; the men in companies, headed by their respective officers, proceeded to the parade ground, and formed into open column. The commanding officer took his station in front and gave the word of command. Not one, however, of the privates obeyed. This being the conduct of the regiment, the commanding officer, with great self-possession, ordered every tenth man to be confined in the guard-house. It was done without a show of resistance. After which, all the privates fixed bayonets, shouldered arms, and marched off the band playing and the drums beating alternately -all the way to the residence of the general, about a mile distant. There they halted, and formed in line fronting the house, in a most orderly manner. One man from each of the ten companies then stepped forward, and they proceeded to lodge a written complaint against the colonel. Having thus fulfilled their purpose, they marched back, and dismissed; but the next thing was to release the prisoners, and this they did without any violence being offered by the guard. Whatever extenuations we may conceive for such conduct, according to military law it was a heinous crime. The soldier's duty is to obey ; he must not think for himself, but he must be as a tool in the hands of his superior officers, to do as he is told, and not to complain. Shortly after this, to the surprise of these soldiers, the general was seen approaching with a large army of Sepoys, infantry and cavalry, with field pieces in front. The regiment went out and respectfully saluted him, forming in line. But this was not what the general came for. They saw the storm brewing and prepared to fight. After the two lines had been formed, facing each other, the General moved out on horseback, and said, “Twenty-second, take the command from me.” They obeyed. He then said, “ Order arms." Next—" Handle arnis;" -and last, which was most disgraceful to them—“ Ground arms.” Having thus disarmed, he ordered his black cavalry to charge upon them, and drive them from their arms. One more order he gave to those disaffected men, that they should strip off their accoutrements and lay them on the ground, and be off to their cantonments. When he had thus disarmed and dishonoured the men, he forgave them,
And now will not this incident fitly represent the manner of God with sinners, when according to the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ, he brings terms of peace and reconciliation to us who are in revolt against him? He says, “Ground arms, give up your sins, take off your self-righteousness." He disarms us, dishonours us, and strips off all our comely array, and then says, “ Now I will forgive you." If there be any one here who has thrown down his weapons of rebellion, ard whose fine ornaments of beauty are stained with shame, let him believe that God will now forgive him; lie forgives those who cannot forgive themselves. The great Captain of our salvation will pardon those whom he has humbled. He will have you submit to his will, and though that will may at first seem imperious to drive you from your quarters, and visit you with punishment, you shall presently find that his sovereign will is gracious, and he delighteth in mercy. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved," for thus saith the Word, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved, but he that believeth not shall be damned."
Just Published, in a neat wrapper, price ld., “A CALL TO THE UNCONVERTED;” by the Rer.
C. H. SPURGEON. Also, in a neat wrapper, price ld., “THE SECOND COMING OF CHRIST;" with a Brief Preface, by the Rev. C. H, SPURGEON.
"THE ONLY RIGHTEOUSNESS."
(Rector of Winchelsea, Sussex.) AT THE CHURCH OF ST. MARY SOMERSET, THAMES STREET,
« Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man, unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Blessed they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin."-Romans iv. 6, 7, 8.
Now, my hearers, you have already heard read by the rector, in the desk, the Psalm in which a portion of my text stands. The 32nd Psalm is the one to which the Apostle refers in the two verses that I have read to you as a text; the material upon which I, as God's workman, desire rightly to divide the Word of Truth, by His Holy Spirit teaching me. I cannot imagine to a serious minded man or woman-who has been rescued from a vain course, either of dead worldliness or dead profession—any subject more full of blessed realities, for the Church to contemplate than this which the text contains.
Now, no man was better able (by an experimental path) to describe what he spoke of than David. We know how grievously David sinned, how tremendously David fell, how cold-blooded and premeditated his sin was—that he had not the mere excuse of being drawn into a sly snaie, or by a sudden temptation ; but the sin of the man after God's own heart was a cold blooded and deliberately premeditated act; and, therefore, I can understand how David's heart must have been melted under the mercy of that God whom the Apostle describes to be “rich in mercy," when, by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, David knew that there was pardon for the worst of crimes.
I will take two or three points to preach upon from the great subject which the text contains.
First of all, the peculiar blessedness of that man or woman who knows experimentally in his or in her soul the reality of the fact that “ God imputeth righteousness" without any work of ours. Now, in preaching upon that great doctrine-I believe I shall have the sympathy of every Christian before me, when I say that creature, or self-righteousness, is a great snare. Look at one great memorable example in the Book of God; look at Job, see how he clung almost to the very last to his self-righteousness, till Almighty God wrought in him that wonderful work, and compelled the proud sinner to declare, “I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear;" (and so have all the professors of London)" but now mine eye seeth Thee "-(no mere
professor can say that)—“wherefore I abhor myself and repent in dust and ashes."
There is nothing, I say, that sticks to us so close as self-righteousness. Now mark the text. “God imputeth righteousness without works" —and I conceive it to be a most important point in every pulpit in these days, when we have so much of a yea and nay Gospel, to distinguish between grace and works—to discriminate between Church and world—to distinguish between mere profession and real possession--that we may ascertain the mighty and important fact, whether we are of the Church or whether we are of the world.
And here is the sovereignty of God, (as I was preaching to my own flock on Sunday)--that wonderful way in which the grace of God discriminates between the two seeds in Rebecca's wombin her twin sons, Jacob and Esau ; that "the children, being not yet born," (mark me!) -neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to "election might stand, it was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger,” as it is written, “Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated.” If there was no other verse in the Bible, that wonderful verse would be quite amply sufficient to cut up the false doctrine of salvation by works. But while, perhaps, there are several before me who would not positively assert that any man could go to heaven by good works, yet there may be many here, in this large attendance, who think that there must be something done by the sinner in order to attain to heaven's happiness. Let me read to you upon that subject (not to use words of my own) a decisive passage in this same epistle, in chapter eleven :-“Even so then at this present time also there is & remnant according to the election of grace.” It was so at Rome. It is so now in London. It is a "little flock” amid the masses of your populous city; it is a "little flock," comparatively speaking; but there is in London now, as in the Apostle's time at Rome, a remnant according to the election of grace." A draper knows the meaning of a remnant; it is not a whole piece!! Now see how this passage proceeds :—“If by grace, then no more of works : otherwise grace is no more grace.
But if of works, then is it no more grace: otherwise work is no more work." There is the doctrine, my hearers, and I am satisfied in my own conscience that if you never hear doctrines again, you have heard ample to-night, if the Holy Spirit sanctify in your hearts the truth of the Gospel.
I want to get into the experimental reality of the words before me the blessedness of that particular individual who is favoured by God to have a righteousness, (and without a righteousness he cannot be saved-not a righteousness of his own)-a righteousness without works. Now, then, my brother and sister in Christ Jesus, what is the Righteousness which the Apostle is speaking of in the text before me? It is the finished work of the Lord Jesus Christ; it is a righteousness with which the creature has nothing to do, except to be the recipient of it; it is imputed to him by the Holy Spirit, by which he is put into a position as if he had never sinned, by which, (as he stands in Christ and is received in Christ,) he is as perfect as God is perfect, as holy_as God is holy. Christ (mark me !) is the believer's Righteousness. Do you remember a tremendous parable in the Gospel of Matthew, that when the King came in to see the guests, " he saw there a man which had not on a wedding garment P” Do you know that parable? The address to that man was, “Friend, how camest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment ? and he was speechless." " Then said the King to the "servants, Bind him hand and foot, and cast into outer darkness; there "shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” And that, simply and entirely because the man had not on a wedding garment. Now, the text describes and speaks of “the blessedness of the man unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works." The solemn point is this (and
this is the way to preach the Gospel profitably, and this is the way to hear the Gospel, if the Holy Spirit apply it)-have we got this Righteousness ? Have we received that faith in Christ by which we feel that we stand before God in a righteousness not our own ! I cannot conceive a sweeter evidence that we are so arrayed than having a sense of our entire nothingness before God-2 deep, inward-felt sense, that we are nothing but sin and vileness—that we are deeply impressed, and abidingly so, with a sense of our own hell-deservings, and that nothing can save us from the hell that we each deserve but that finished and complete work which has been effected on the cross by the GLORIOUS SON OF GOD. We are told in the Epistle to the Ephesians :“ Christ loved the Church and gave himself for it (now mark !), that He might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the Word, that He might present it to Himself, a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle, or any such thing, but that it shonld be holy, and without blemish.” Do you feel your sins? Do you grieve on account of your sins? Have you a heart exercised day by day because of the atrocity of your nature ? Do you hear what the Word says? The work of CHRIST, the effect of His love, was to present such a sinner as you are before His FATHER, and to HIMSELF, “ without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing ;" that you “should be holy and without blemish.” Not holy in yourselves—full of blemishes in yourselves ; but holy in HIM, perfect in the REDEEMER'S RIGHTEOUSNESS. I may quote a sweet idea in Kent's hymn :
“ 'Tis His own, HE dearly bought her,
What she cost He only knew ;
Paid in blood her ransom too." The Church is the property of Christ ; His finished work has sufficiently and entirely satisfied all the wrath of the Trinity against sin. He has run the gauntlet, if I may so speak, of Jehovah's vengeance. HE, the just, the holy, the sinless Christ, has entirely, completely, and sufficiently atoned for all the guilt and all the atrocity of ELECT men and women. He has atoned for David's murder and David's adultery, for Peter's oaths and Peter's lies; and, blessed be God, I have a little hope in my own soul that He has pardoned the mass of sins that I have been guilty of ever since I was born. David describeth the blessedness of the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works. Newton says :
"Thus though a sinner " Listen to me! fellow sinners. Look how Newton exulted in the very fact I am preaching on to you; and in early life great had been the sins of the afterwards Vicar of Olney :
"Thus, though a sinner, I am safe;
He pleads before the throne
And calls my sins His own.
* In this appointment shine;
And His obedience mine!” We are told in the book of Isaiah, “He shall bear their iniquities.” Now, we churchmen, as you have already heard in the desk, celebrate to-day what we term, in our Prayer-book, the Epiphany !! the word in the Groek signifies appearance, or manifestation. We read in Paul's Epistle to Timothy, "Great is the mystery of godliness; God was manifest in the flesh." I take that meaning in all senses. I taķe it as applicable to His wonderful incarnation; I take it as applicable to Him as God and Man in ONE CHRIST. But, my hearers, has the Christ of God, has the Holy Ghost manifested this
precious Christ in your heart? Have you seen Him! Let me read you a passage that, perhaps, is not wholly inapplicable to the subject I am speaking on—" There was a man in Jerusalem whose name was Simeon, and the same man was just and devout waiting for the consolation of Israel."-(Who is the consolation of Israel-Christ! He is the consolation); and “the Holy Ghost was upon him.” Here is an account of a man just as hell-deserving a wretch as I am ; but the Holy Ghost was upon him, and therefore, hell could not have him. And you will mark the position of the man: he was “WAITING for the consolation of Israel." I wonder how many waiters there are in this church to-night? What do you come to church for: As I ask my home hearers sometimes-do you come to church, as many people do (bear with my plain English)-for mere form only ? Or do you come, as Simeon came, into the temple, led by the Spirit of God ? Mere parish form won't do! The right way to come into the temple of God is by the leading of the Holy Spirit of God, and there to wait for “the consolation of Israel.”
“The Holy Ghost was upon him." Mark, Epiphany! you know the meaning of that word—“ and it was revealed unto him by the Holy Ghost that he should not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ." There's an Epiphany! O! you little ones before me that are waiting, longing, wrestling, striving, afraid to die, frightened out of your senses at the idea of going into the presence of God; it was revealed unto Simeon that he should “not see death before he had seen the Lord's Christ.” There's a sight to see before we die. My hearers, do we emulate the example of Simeon? It was revealed to him, People say we are enthusiastic. People may call as what they like, but we say that it is still true that these things must be revealed unto us by the Spirit of God. That is as essential to you and to me in 1857 in order rightly to understand anything of the Saviour as it was in the period when Simeon was waiting for Jesus Christ in the temple.
But I must go further into this subject. “He came by the Spirit into the temple: and when the parents brought in the child Jesus, to do for Him after the custom of the law, then took he Him up in his arms, and blessed God, and said, Lord, now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word : for mine eyes have seen Thy salvation.” Imagine this picture by faith ; imagine the venerable and honoured Simeon waiting for Christ.
-See Joseph and Mary enter the temple doors—see them bringing in their arms THE INFANT BABE—that Babe which, as Mary held him, was God and man in one eternal Christ. And then look at Soneon—“Then took he Hum up in his arms"-(he clutched the Christ from His mother's arms, and breathed up his prayers to God)—“Lord now lettest Thou Thy servant depart in peace, according to Thy word; for mine eyes have seen THY SALVATION." That's the Epiphany, and there's no other; and if you have not seen Cbrist by faith, and been brought to wait for Him, you know nothing of the reality of these things. At present you may not have attained to this, but there is a set time of favour for all God's people. There may be many here astounded at what I am preaching to them, and they may call it enthusiaism, or Calvinism or anything else, but if you are a child of God, though you may be now as dead as the seats you sit on, the grace of God will be revealed unto your souls, and you will have no peace till you have an Epiphany of JESUS CHRIST as your SAVIOUR in your soul.
Now the description that David gives of the blessedness of the man to whom God imputeth righteousness without works, mark how it empties the creature--how it leads us to the Son of God-how it takes us out of self, and fixes the eye of faith upon Him who is "mighty to save"_" the just for the unjust (as Peter says), that He might bring us to God;" and sets forth the finished and complete work of the Saviour. Now the text goes on, my hearers --" blessed are they whose iniquities are