« ZurückWeiter »
forgiven, whose sins are covered." There can be no desire for the pardon of sin till we are brought under condemnation on account of the guilt of sin, and hence the Apostle's argument is so blessed—“I was alive without the law once; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died.” This great verse brings us to a right understanding of the truth I desire to set before you. The previous state of the Apostle “ I was alive without the law once (or as it is in the Greek, formally). When Paul was in his bloodwhen he was not born of the Holy Spirit, he was alive without the law," but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died”—Paul felt himself a dead man then!
It is quite impossible that any one of you, or that I, can either desire, or value, or wish for, the salvation that is in the Son of God till we have been brought, as I suppose I have preached to you often before, under a law work, until we have been condemned, and not merely condemned, but shut up in the condemned cell, out of which it is impossible to get, till the door is opened for you.
Know that the law-those ten commandments-demands the most implicit obedience. It admits of no flaw. It takes us (as it were) " by the throat," and the demand is, “pay me that thon owest.'
Hence a sinful thought is sufficient to condemn any man. For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all.” Now, will you just contemplate what I say; and hence (Romans iii. 19, 20) “What things soever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law, that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God; therefore, by the deeds of the law, there shall no flesh be justified in His sight, for by the law is the knowledge of sin.” Now, till this has been worked in us and upon us by the Holy Spirit of God, we shall never value the precious Saviour, nor have a desire to be saved in the way JEHOVAH saves His people. And so the Apostle speaks of his own experience—“when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died;" and here is the advantage from preaching these things. I remember in my own church a striking instance of it in one who, if not now dead, is upon a bed of death. That woman had been a devoted follower of the sect called Wesleyans, and she had fallen in with their heresies ;
but on one occasion, some years ago, she came over to hear me from an adjoining parish, and just as she entered the church I gave out as a text—"For I was alive without the law once, but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died." That dropped into the woman's soul; there was immediately & something she had not seen before, and she is now a believer of free grace doctrines. She doubts about herself as to being a Christian, for she knows what darkness of soul is-she has her many doubts and fears. But this is the way in which God works and applies His truth to the heart with power! she had always before been taught to make (as it were) a ladder of her own-to get to heaven by her own works; but, as Kent says, then
“ The Lord revealed my desperate case
And down my Babel fell." So you and I must be brought simply to the blood of the atonement; and here is the truth which we are to declare from our pulpit tops, “ Blessed are they whose sins are covered.” It is in the past tense you observe ! the thing was done and finished when the Redeemer bowed His head upon the cross and gave up the ghost. O the riches of His MERCY ! O the love of GOD! “Who is rich in mercy for His great love wherewith He loved us"—(that is His people)—"even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ.” By grace ye are saved."
Now, my hearers, the point for me to speak upon here is the pardon of sin -“Blessed are they whose sins are covered." All your sins, all that you have
ever done, (if you are a child of God,) and every thing you have done against God in thought, word, or deed, is blotted out. See that wonderful statement in Jeremiah's prophesy—“ In those days, and at that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for and there shall be none, and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found, for I will pardon them whom I reserve."
And mark, for your encouragement, poor distressed one ! it is sin—all sin ! There is a gradation scale of sins in a moral sense between man and man; but in God's sight everything that savors of sin, is sin. We know what we understand by murder, but the Word of God defines hatred of a brother to be murder.–And mark me, adultery does not consist merely in the very actfor “he that looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart.” Now, how can we escape ? But, my fellow-sinners, here is the blood that cleanseth THE ELECT from all sin, sins of all kinds and sorts and sizes—little sins and great sins ; sins at school, sins of boyhood, sins of manhood and womanhood, and sins in old age the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us from ALL SIN. is not this good news to you who have been made sensible sinners—to you_who know the meaning of that sweet word which we heard in the desk="This poor man cried, and the Lord heard, and saved him out of all his troubles." (I longed to take that as a text.)
And what is your trouble my brother and sister ? Very great is the trouble you feel under a sense of sin when you are condemned and shut up in the condemned cell and cannot get out; the cry of the broken heart then is, “Lord, save me or I perish." Well, now, here is the mercy set before us in the Gospel. And look what it cost. Have you ever counted the cost ? I was much struck with reading in the Times the other day the account of the execution of a man at your Old Bailey. The thing that touched my heart was this, that when the hangman was performing the process of pinioning the felon he looked up into the convict's face with a look of pity and said, “ do I hurt you ?” Here was a tenderness of feeling even for a murdererbut when the Jews nailed Christ to the cross there was no pity felt—no desire even to mitigate but rather to add to the sufferings of Jesas" Crucify Him, crucify HIM” was the cry!“ not this man but Barrabas.” In addition to His anguish and suffering they mocked Him, spit upon Him, they tortured Him, and all this ! what for ? To save such a wretch as I am; and (if you are elected), every one of you. Well does Isaiah describe Him by the Spirit of God, as "À MAN OF SORROWS AND ACQUAINTED WITH GRIEF!" That is full of meaning !
And now look at the pardon of sin, my hearers, look at the blotting out of iniquity—" whose sins are covered." How covered ? In the precious blood of the Saviour. Well does the hymn declare :
" There is a fountain filled with blood
Drawn from Emanuel's veins,
Lose all their guilty stains." Have you been washed at that fountairi ? Ah, listen to me while I read to you, (on the covering of sin-a passage in Micah)—“Who is a God like unto THEE that pardoneth iniquity, and passeth by the transgression of the remnant of His heritage ? He retaineth not His anger for ever because He delighteth in mercy. He will turn again, He will have compassion upon us ; He will subdue our iniquities ; and Thou wilt cast all their sins into the depths of the sea.” Observe that expression, “ the depths of the sea," that is the particular spot in the sea where the tide has no power to wash anything up again. There's the force of the expression! If you throw anything from the seashore into the sea within the power of the tide it will be cast back
again.-But observe the simile in the Bible--"THE DEPTHS OF THE SEA! 80 that they can never rise up in judgment against us. Oh, my hearers, you who have a feeling sense of sin-you who know what you have been guilty ofis not this therefore a mercy. And I cannot conceive a sweeter test that our sins are covered in God's sight, than that they are continually conspicuous in our own. David says, “ my sin is ever before me.” But look; it is covered sin, blotted out; and so I may quote the thought in one of the hymns :
"The Holy Ghost this witness bears ;
He stands in Jesus still cemblete." Covered sin ! Iniquity blotted out! never to be brought in accusation against us in that tremendous hour when you and I must all stand before God in judg. ment. Then can we not, in some degree, sympathise with the reality of David's words, when he describes the blessedness of the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and whose sin is covered? Blessedness indeed !!
Look at the lovingkindness of God in this ! It does not say blessed is the man in whom there is no sin. You cannot find such a man, except the God. man. What were the prophets and apostles of old time better than I am ? Not one jot! Where can you find a man or a woman without sin ? yea, we are full of sin. But the word is—“ Blessed is the man to whom Jehovah (for that ought to be the word, as it is in the original) Jehovah Father, Son, and Holy Ghost-to whom the Triune God will not impute sin. He will not allow it to be imputed ; and so the word says of all saved sinners, “ They are without fault before the throne of God.” Now is not this good news to every poor wretched sinner who feels bowed down as a bullrush under a sense of sin. But this is not so to all men. There is a limitation, “ Come unto Me all that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." There's the qualification-LABOURING UNDER A SENSE OF SIN! How many are there in this church now really worn down under a sense of sin ? You are in the very state to hear the invitation, “ Come unto Me,"--and the promise, “I will give you rest." Or again, in the words of the 55th of Isaiah “ Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye buy and eat; yea come buy wine and milk without money and without price." Blessed is the man then-(do you follow me, my hearers ?)—to whom the Jehovah will not impute sin.
Now, for a passing instant, as I finish preaching to you, think upon the day of judgment! The word in the Ephesians is, “ Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ, according as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him." We read also in a passage in Jude, “Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of his glory with exceeding joy." That may be a word for some of you, "able to keep you from falling." We are all liable to fall ;
“Sly snares beset the traveller's feet
And make him often halt." But look at the description of our God—“He is able to keep you from falling." What was the Apostle's confession in the Acts of the Apostles, “ HAVING THEREFORE OBTAINED HELP OF GOD I CONTINUE UNTO THIS DAY!” And what, my brother, is there so blessed as to be able to say that the Lord has kept us in possession of the truth and in His Fear ever since he brought us to HIMSELF! You know the account of the father who had the lunatic son, -" he oftimes fell into the fire and oft into the water," and the word is, " I brought him to Thy disciples and they could not cure him.” -But Christ said, “Bring him hither to Me.” Then He healed him and cured him. And this is the God whom I preach to you, and he is able to keep you from falling. Hence then your privilege to call upon God; (and nobody can have said it more experimentally than David,)“ Hold thon me up and I shall be safe.” What said Bradford when he saw a man taken to the gallows — • There goes John Bradford, but for the grace of God!” Wonder, oh, heavens! the blood of Jesus Christ cleanseth us, and we shall be presented (if we are His people) “ faultless before the presence of His glory with exceed. ing joy."
But, my hearers, you must expect trials and troubles. You must expect to be cast out as evil—“ Blessed are ye when men shall revile you and persecute you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for My sake.” And we read in a striking passage these words :-“ And in nothing terrified by your adversaries : which is to them an evident token of perdition, but to you of salvation, and that of God. For unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Him, but also to suffer for His sake." Now the church is surrounded by adversaries! Is there one enemy of the Church of God before me? Then listen to the word of God. It is to you an evident token of perdition, and if you die in that state you will be damned to all eternity. Bear with my plain speaking. I preach not to please men, “For if I yet pleased men I should not be the SERVANT OF CHRIST."
But look at the other side of the picture, “ BUT TO YOU OF SALVATION AND THAT OF GOD.
What did Paul say? How Paul exulted when he addrest the church of Corinth. “For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries." And if there is no enemy there is no Gospel. If there is no opposition there is no truth.—"But unto you of salvation and that of God, “ for unto you it is given in the behalf of Christ, not only to believe on Hiv “but also to suffer for His sake, having the same conflict which ye saw in Him " and now hear in me."
May the GREAT and GLORIOUS SUBJECT that in weakness I have endeavoured to set before you, abide by you and in you-at your bedsides to night and when you lie down upon your beds may the Holy Ghost whisper the reality of this great text into your hearts, that you may have the solemn question applied by power-Do I know anything of the blessedness of pardon ? Am I amongst the blessed ones that I heard the preacher speak of? There may be many here quite unable to get up so high as that, but if you really DESIRE to attain that blessedness, wait for it till it comes; wait for an Epiphany in your souls ; wait like Simeon; and you cannot wait unless God gives you a waiting soul. But what says the promise ? “ He that waiteth on his Master SHALL be honoured.” May a great blessing follow the preaching of the word in this house of God. And now I will read the text.--" Even as David also describeth the blessedness of the man"-(and the only man that is blessed, and the only blessedness—Think of death! think of eternity !-of the blessedness of dying in Jesus !)—"unto whom God imputeth righteousness without works, Blessed are they whose iniquities are forgiven, and whose sins are covered. Blessed the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin. May God bless the Gospel for Christ's sake.
"And they brought up an evil report of the land which they had searched unto the children of Israel, saying, The land, thr which we have gone to search it, is a land that eateth up the inhabitants thereof; and all the people that we saw in it are men of a great stature."-Numbers xiii. 32.
" And Joshua the son of Nun, and Caleb the son of Jephunneh, which were of them that searched the land, rent their clothes. And they spake unto all the company of the children of Israel, saying, The land, which we passed through to search it, is an exceeding good sand."-Numbers xiv. 6. 7. The unbelief of the children of Israel, prompted them to send spies into Canaan. God had told then that it was a good land, and he had promised to drive out their enemies; they ought therefore to have marched forward with all confidence to possess the promised heritage. Instead of this, they send twelve princes to spy out the land, and “ alas, for human nature,” ten of these were faithless, and only two true to the Lord. Read over the narrative, and mark the ill effect of the lying message, and the holy boldness of the true spies.
Now I must take up my parable. The land of Canaan is a picture of religion; I do not think it was ever intended to be picture of heaven, for there are no Canaanites in heaven; certainly in heaven there are no sons of Anak, no giants to be driven out, no walled cities, and no kings with chariots of iron. Canaan is, however, a very excellent picture of religion. The children of Israel must stand this morning as the representatives of the great mass of mankind. The great mass of mankind never try for themselves what religion is; they neither search our sacred books, nor taste and try our religion. But this is what they do; they consider those who make a profession of religion as spies who have entered the land, and they look upon our character and our conduct as the message which we bring back to them. The ungodly man does not read his Bible in order to discover whether the religion of Christ is holy and beautiful; no, he reads the living Bible-Christ's church-and if the church is inconsistent he condemns the Bible, though the Bible is never to be accountable for the sins of those who profess to believe it. Ungodly men of course do not come and by repentance and faith make a trial of the love of Christ; they do not enter into covenant with the Lord Jesus, or else they would soon discover that it is a good land that floweth with milk and honey; but instead thereof they stand still, and they say, “Let be, let us see what these Christians make of it. Do they find it to be a happy thing? Does it succour them in their hour of trouble? Does it comfort them in the midst of their trials?” And if they find that our report is a gloomy or an unholy one, they turn aside, and they say, “ It is not a good land; we will not enter into it, for its difficulties are great, but its enjoyments are few."
Beloved brethren and friends, to put the parable as simply as I can, I am about to make out every Christian man and woman here to be a spy who has entered into the good land of religion, and who by his conduct and conversation brings either an evil or a good report of this good land, and either moves the world to murmur at and to despise religion, or else inspires it with a holy dread of goodness, and something of a longing after a portion therein.
But I shall begin with a word of caution. In the first place I shall notice that the men of the world are not to be excused for their folly in trusting to mere report from No. 197.
Penny Pulpit, No. 2,953.