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hour, when you pour out all your spirit in the prayer, “Save, Lord or I perish," may it be given to you to behold Jesus coming to you as to his disciples-walking on the sea.
3. And, once again, Jesus walks on the Sea of Circumstantial Affliction. I have already given to you those golden promises“When thou walkest through the rivers, they shall not overflow thee; surely in the floods of great water it shall not come nigh thee." Jesus does not take his disciples from the waves; but, if he makes their roughness a pathway for his calm presence, and the light afflictions, which are but for a moment, to be the winds which waft them into eternal habitations, who can complain? Thus Jesus is always, every day, and every hour of every day, meeting his chosen ones. Have we not heard him and seen him ? What shall we, what can we do now? Our property has left us, and we seem likely to be ruined; our health has left us, and we shall soon leave our family shelterless; our foes have been mighty. We said,
we shall surely fall by the hand of this Saul.” Our darlings have left us and gone to their rest. “All these things have been against us.” But, then, we heard him—his voice piercing through the night air, his hand pointing to the rising sun, and his robes making a glory over the gloom-say “It is I, be not afraid."
4. And finally there is a wide black sea over which we all must spread our sail.—Yes, Jesus will constrain us to put to that sea“How wilt thou do in the swellings of Jordan ? ” How will your boat rock then upon the troubled waves ? Dreadful! if Jesus comes not; but if he, coming over those black waters, crimsoning them with his blood; and if he shall draw nigh to us, then the storm fiend that rides the billow will have no power over us. Immediately we shall be at the land.” And then they “steer into port, the storm all weathered and the ocean crossed!" The time will indeed come when life will lose for all of us all its rainbow lights. We shall remember the calm of our early days, and shrink and shiver in the storm. Then, in the last water of Time, may we see Jesus coming by his own mighty and all prevailing death walking on the waves of Death, and pointing to the dawning day. Be sure if in every trial you see Jesus walking on the sea, you will not fail to see him then.
BY THE REV. EDWIN PAXTON HOOD.
(EXTRACT.] INFERIOR men, who can think, and survey, but never feel, will last, when the sensitive spirit breaks down beneath the force and pressure of its own convictions. But to us he will seem, and to fame he will seem, ever young. Death sets the seal upon the man; hence from of old came the lesson-Call no man happy till he is dead. The last moment of life seals a man's reputation. How illustriously closed that evening! Amidst storm and lightning he made his transit to heaven, Elijah-like, in his chariot of fire. He left to earth his wasted body, tired by age, by toil, by watching, and drenching, and thirst, and famine. There, in future ages, on that soil, pilgrim feet shall turn reverently to the spot where the monumental marble shall lock within its gates all that the tomb can claim as its trophy. Meantime, “I heard a voice from heaven saying to
- Write, Blessed are the dead that die in the Lord. Yea, saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours, and their works do follow them.” That grave needs but little to hallow it as a martyr's shrine. Rest, venerated body, rest! Rest, beautiful and beloved spirit, too! Rest, thou saintly soldier—"Behold, we count them happy which endure." Posterity will twine for thy memory the unfading palm ; and history, with reverent finger, pause to notice where the descendant of the lion-hearted, heavenly-minded puritans fell on India's plains. But what is that to thee? Thou hast already entered on thine inheritance of "glory, honour, immortality, and eternal life.” Henceforth, there is laid up for thee a crown of righteousness, that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for thee." Farewell! thou great heart. Rest, saintly Soldier; ręst, Warrior; rest, Missionary, and Hero, and Warrior in one. Denied the jewelled sword, the triumphal arch, a grateful people might have awarded thee, thou hast "entered through the gates into the city." Denied the coronet, thou hast the crown-the fadeless and incorruptible crown.
THE HEAVENLY RACE,
REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
GRAND STAND, EPSOM RACE-COURSE.
“So run, that ye may obtain."-1 Cor. ix. 24. We are continually insisting upon it from day to day, that salvation is not of works, but of grace. We lay this down as one of the very first doctrines of the gospel. “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” “By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God.” But we find, that it is equally necessary to preach the absolute necessity of a religious life for the attainment ot heaven at last. Although we are sure that men are not saved for the sake of their works, yet are we equally sure that no man will be saved without them; and that he who leads an unholy life, who neglects the great salvation, can never inherit that crown of life which fadeth not away. In one sense, true religion is wholly the work of God; yet there are high and important senses in which we must ourselves“ strive to enter in at the strait gate.” We must run a race; we must wrestle even to agony; we must fight a battle, before we can inherit the crown of life. We have in our text the course of religion set down as a race; and inasmuch as there be many who enter upon a profession of religion, with very false motives, the apostle warns us that although all run in a race, yet all do not obtain the prize: they run all, but only one is rewarded: and he gives us, therefore, the practical exhortation to run that we may obtain; for unless we are the winners we had better not have been runners at all; for he that is not a winner is a loser; he who makes a profession of religion, and does not at last obtain the crown of life, is a loser by his profession; for his profession was hypocrisy or else formality, and he had better not have made a profession, than fall therein.
And now, in entering upon the text, I shall have to notice what it is we are to run for: "So run that ye may obtain;" secondly, the mode of running, to which we must attend—" So run that ye may obtain;" and then I shall give a few practical exhortations, to stir those onward in the heavenly race who are flagging and negligent, in order that they may at last “obtain."
I. In the first place, then, WHAT IS IT THAT WE OUGHT TO SEEK TO OBTAIN?
Some people think they must be religious, in order to be respectable. There are a vast number of people in the world who go to church and to chapel, because everybody else does so. It is disreputable to waste your Sundays, not to be found going up to the house of God; therefore they take a pew and attend the services, and they think they have done their duty: they have obtained all that they sought for, when they can hear their neighbours saying, “Such-and-such a man is a very respectable person; he is always very regular at his church; he is a very reputable person, and exceedingly praiseworthy." Verily, if this be what you seek after in your religion, you shall get it; for the Pharisees who sought the praise of men "had their reward.". But when you have gotten it, what a poor reward it is! Is it worth the drudgery? I do not believe that the drudgery to which people submit in order to be called respectable, is at all compensated by what they gain. I am sure, for my own part, I would not care a solitary rap what I was called, or what I was thought; nor would perform anything that was irksome to myself for the sake of pleasing any man that ever walked beneath the stars, however great or mighty he may be. It is the sign of a fawning, cringing spirit, when people are always seeking to do that which renders them respectable. The esteem of men is not worth the looking after, and sad it is, that this should be the only prize which some men put before them, in the poor religion which they undertake.
There are other people who go a little farther: they are not content with being considered respectable, but they want something more; they desire to be considcred pre-eminently saints. These persons come to our places of worship, and after a little time they venture to come forward and ask whether they may unite with our churches. We examine them, and so hidden is their hypocrisy that we cannot discover its rottenness: we receive them into our churches; they sit at the Lord's Supper; they come to our church-meetings: mayhap, they are even voted into the deacon's office; sometimes they attain to the pulpit, though God has never called them, and preach what they have never felt in their hearts. Men may do all this merely to enjoy the praise of men; and they will even undergo some persecution for the sake of it; because to be thought a saint, to be reckoned by religious people to be eyerything that is right and proper, to have a name among the living in Zion, is to some persons a thing exceedingly coveted. They would not like to be set down among the chief of sinners,” but if they may have their names written among the chief of saints they will consider themselves exceedingly exalted. I am afraid we have a considerable admixture of pers ns of this sort in our churches who only come for the mere sake of keeping up their religious pretensions and obtaining a religious status in the midst of the church of God. ** Verily, I say unto you, they liare their reward," and they shall never have any but what they obtain here. They get their reward for a little time; for a short time they are looked up to; but perhaps even in this life they make a trip, and down they go; the church discovers them, and they are sent out like the ass stripped of the lion's skin to browse once more among their native nettles, no longer to be glorious in the midst of the church of the living God. Or mayhap, they may wear the cloak until the last day of their lives, and then death comes, and strips them of all their tinsel and gewgaw; and they who acted upon the stage of religion as kings and princes, are sent behind the stage to be unrobed and to find themselves beggars to their shame, and naked to their eternal disgrace. It is not this which you and I would seek after in religion. Dearly beloved, if we do run the race, we would run for a higher and more glorious prize than any of these things.
Another set of people take up with religious life for what they can get hy it. I have known tradespeople attend church for the mere sake of getting the custom of those who went there. I have heard of such things as people knowing which side their bread was buttered, and going to that particular denomination, where they thought they could get the most by it. Loaves and fishes drew some of Christ's followers, and they are very attracting baits, even to this day. Men find there is something to be gotten by religion. Among the poor it is, perhaps, sonje little charity to be obtained, and among those that are in business, it is the custom which they think to get. “Verily, I say unto you, they have their reward;" for the church is ever foolish and unsuspicious. We do not like to suspect our fellow creatures of following us from sordid motives. The church does not like to think that a man would be base enough to pretend to religion for the mere sake of what he can get; and, therefore, we let these people easily slip through, and they have their reward. But ah! at what a price they buy it! They have deceived the Lord's servants for gold, and they have entered into his church as base hypocrites for the sake of a piece of bread; and they shall be thrust out at last with the anger of God behind them, like Adam driven out of Eden, with the flaming Cherubim with a sword turning every way to keep the tree of life; and they shall for ever look back upon this as the most fearful crime they have committed--that they pretended to be God's people when they were not, and entered into the midst of the fold when they were but wolves in sheeps' clothing.
There is yet another class, and when I have referred to them I will mention no more. These are the people who take up with religion for the sake of quieting their conscience; and it is astonishing how little of religion will sometimes do thai. Some people tell us that it in the time of storm men would pour bottles of oil upon the waves, there would be a great calm at once. I have never tried it, and it is most probable I never shall, for my organ of credulity is not large enough to accept so extensive a statement. But there are some people who think that they can calm the storm of a troubled conscience by pouring a little of the oil of a profession about religion upon it; and it is amazing how wonderful an effect this really has. I have known a man who was drunk many times in a week, and who got his noney dishonestly, and yet he always had an easy conscience by going to his church or chapel regularly on the Sunday. We have heard of a man who could * devour widows' houses”-a lawyer who could swallow up everything that came in his way, and yet he would never go to bed without saying his prayers; and that stillet his conscience. We have heard of other persons, especially among the Romanists, who would not object to thieving, but who would regard eating anything but tiada
on a Friday as a most fearful sin, supposing that by making a fast on the Friday, all the iniquities of all the days in the week would be put away. They want the outward forms of religion to keep the conscience quiet; for Conscience is one of the worst lodgers to have in your house when he gets quarrelsome: there is no abiding with him; he is an ill bed-fellow; ill at lying down, and equally troublesome at rising up. A guilty conscience is one of the curses of the world: it puts out the sun, and takes away the brightness from the moonbeam. A guilty conscience casts a noxious exhalation through the air, removes the beauty from the landscape, the glory from the flowing river, the majesty from the rolling floods. There is nothing beautiful to the man that has a guilty conscience. He needs no accusing; everything accuses him. Hence people take up with religion just to quiet them. They take the sacrament sometimes; they go to a place of worship; they sing a hymn now and then; they give a guinea to a charity; they intend to leave a portion in their will to build alms-houses; and in this way conscience is lulled asleep, and they rock him to and fro with religious observances, till there he sleeps while they sing over him the lullaby of hypocrisy, and he wakes not until he shall wake with that rich man who was here clothed in purple, but in the next world did lift up his eyes in hell, being in torments, without a drop of water to cool his burning tongue.
What, then, is it, for which we ought to run in this race? Why heaven, eternal life, justification by faith, the pardon of sin, acceptance in the beloved, and glory everlasing. If you run for anything else than salvation, should you win, what you have won is not worth the running for. Oh! I beseech every one of you, make sure work for eternity; never be contented with anything less than a living faith in a living Saviour; rest not until you are certain that the Holy Spirit is at work in your souls. Do not think that the outside of religion can be of use to you: it is just the inward part of religion that God loveth. Seek to have a repentance that needeth not to be repented of--a faith which looks alone to Christ, and which will stand by you when you come into the swellings of Jordan, Seek to have a love which is not like a transient flame, burning for a moment and then extinguished; but a flame which shall increase and increase, and still increase, till your heart shall be swallowed up therein, and Jesus Christ's one name shall be the sole object of your affection. We must, in running the heavenly race, set nothing less before us than that which Christ did set before him. IIc set the joy of salvation before himself, and then he did run, despising the cross and enduring the shame. So let us do; and may God give us good success, that by his good Spirit we may attain unto eternal life, through the resurrection of Jesus Christ our Lord!
II. Thus have I noticed what it is we are to run for. And now the Apostle says, “So run that ye may obtain.” I shall notice some people who never will obtain, and tell you the reason why, and in so doing, I shall be illustrating THE RULES OF THE RACE.
There are some people who certainly never will obtain the prize, because they are not even entered. Their wames are not down for the race, and therefore it is quite clear that they will not run, or if they do run, they will run without having any warrant whatever for expecting to receive the prize. There are some such here this afternoon: who will tell you themselves, “We make no profession, sir--none whatever.” It is quite as well, perhaps, that you do not; because if you did, you would be hypocrites, and it is better to make no profession at all than to be hypocrites. Still, recollect, your names are not down for the race, and therefore you cannot win. If a man tells you in business that he makes no profession of being honest, you know that he is a confirmed rogue. If a man makes no profession of being religious, you know what he is-he is irreligious—he has no fear of God before his eyes, he has no love to Christ, he has no hope of heaven. We confesses it himself. Strange that men should be so ready to confess this. You don't find persons in the street willing to acknowledge that they are confirmed drunkards. Generally a man will repudiate it with scorn. You never find a man saying to you, "I don't. profess to be a chaste living man.” You don't hear another say, "I don't profess to be anything but a covetous wretch.” No; people are not so fast about telling their faults: and yet you hear people confess the greatest fault to which man can be addicted: they say, "I make no profession"—which means just this-that they do not give God his due. God has made them, and yet they won't serve him; Christ hath come into the world to save sinners, and yet they will not regard him; the gospel is preached; and yet they will not hear it; they have the Bible in their houses, and yet they will not attend to its admonitions: they make no profession of doing so. It will be short work with them at the last great day. There will be no need for the books to be opened, no need for a long deliberation in the verdict. They do not profess to be pardoned;