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Have our tongues lied ? Have not each of our souls prompted our eyes, our hands, and our feet, and our whole body to run in the ways of sin ? May we not say, with the Prophet, “Our whole head is sick, and our hearts faint ; from the crown of the head to the sole of the foot, we are full of bruises and putrifying sores ?" Yes, my brethren, let us be honest with ourselves ; for it is with the lost, the depraved, and the fallen, that the minister of Christ has to deal. These are the persons to whom this verse appeals ; "for it is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Let us not, therefore, lay it on our hands, or our heads, or our feet; for if you will go to the New River, one of the great sources of the water supply of this metropolis, and fill it up with ink, ink will be communicated to every one of your houses, by the means by which water is at present supplied. So it is with the human heart. Its wickedness is exhibited by means of the various members of the body; it is displayed in a man's lusts, his thoughts, his words, and his deeds. It all comes from the internal source—the heart; the soul moves the whole, and atonement is required, which you cannot give. You cannot go now into the presence of God, with all your sins of word and deed, since you were cradled in your mother's lap! Which of you dare go now into the presence of the Deity, and say, “Here am I ?” Nay, would you not rather place your mouths in the dust, and cry, "Guilty! guilty," before God? Would you not say, “ Wherewith shall I come before the Lord, and bow myself before the high God ? Shall I come before him with burut offerings; with calves of a year old ? Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil P” Shall I give my first-born for my transgression; the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul ?” No ! this is not required. “We have all sioned, and come short of the glory of God.” Atonement is necessary, because we have broken God's law. * In the day that thon eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” We have sinned ; and we must pay the penalty of that sin-DEATH.
This, my friends, is a fearful view of things, but it is a God-inspiring view of things, and humbling to self. It is the case, and it has been the case ever since the fall. God in His wisdom has treated man as fallen and requiring an atonement, and that atonement must be made by death, and nothing short of it; and unless you and I can give God "death" for our sins, we shall never enter heaven; but we shall descend to hell, the place prepared for the devil and his angels ! Atonement required of God is death. Then let us consider
And now, my friends, I come to a subject which has long interested my heart, because I never found peace with God till I found blood. I remember once preaching at the Obelisk, on the other side of the water, and after addressing a large number of people, one of the men rejected the Bible, as he said, “If you open the Bible anywhere, you will find nothing but blood! blood !! blood!!!" Yes, when the Spirit of God enters that man's heart, and he is born again, he will then know the spirit of that of which he then only knew the letter. May God lay hold on that man! He was right; for the Scripture is made up of this word, blood! blood l blood !
This subject may be illustrated, in a threefold aspect, by a tree, of which there are 1. Roots ; 2. Truuk; 3. Branches. The tree represents the whole Word of God, which may be divided into three parts. It has-1. Patriarchal Roots ; 2. A Judaical Trupk ; and, 3. Christian Branches. Whichever you examine-roots, or trunk, or branchesyou will find oue sap, one life-giving power pervading the whole-BLOOD. If you examine the patriarchal system, you will find blood in the root; if you examine the Jndaical system, you will find blood in the trunk; and if you examine the various branches of New Testament Scriptures, you will find there the blood, which is the life. It is not the letter, it is the spirit which giveth life; it is the BLOOD of Jesus which washes away our sins.
Let us take these three points as they are given in the Bible: Cain and Abel were patriarchs—members of the first human family. Each offered a sacrifice. Cain brought of the first fruits of the earth, for he was a tiller of the ground; Abel brought of the firstlings of his flock, for he was a shepherd; and we are told that God had respect to Abel, and to his offering, but to Cain's he had not respect. No; his was not a bloody sacrifice; and it was the bloody sacrifice which the Lord accepted ; for we are told, “ By faith Abel offered nnto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain.” We find, therefore, in the patriarchal acceptance with God, that the atonement of Abel was a sacrifice of blood.
Secondly. There is the Jewish view of trae religion made kzown in the Word of God. And now we pass from the roots to the trunk ; they are not different religions; the tree, to give forth branches, must have roots, and must have a trunk. The Word of God did not introduce a new religion ; it was only a growing out of the old root; we find the Jewish religion brings the subject of sacrifice more and more clearly before our view. There we find a morning and evening sacrifice; there was a lamb there which was the sacrifice, for a sin offering; the atonement was by BLOOD ; and the great day of atonement was the only day the High Priest was allowed to enter within the veil, and he dare not go in without blood-blood for himself, blood for the people. And on the day of the great atonement, when our Saviour died upon the cross, that veil which had never been set aside without blood, was when Jesus gave up the ghost, “rent from the top to the bottom.” So truly was it that the Jewish religion centered in blood, and that the Jewish religion being simply the trunk of the tree, introduced us to a new order of things~Jesus “the BRANCH,” which was spoken of by Isaiah, Zechariah, and many other prophets.
Thirdly. Blood is the centre of the Christian religion. “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.” Jesus lived holily and godlily in the world; he lived for the benefit of others; he died in their behalf; and His blood cleanseth from all sin. "Being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” “ God forbid that I should glory save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ.” The centre of St. Paul's teaching was the blood of Christ following the blood of the Jewish and patriarchal dispensations. "Christ and Him Crucified,”-that is, “ Christ and Christ Crucified."
You may have heard of Jesus, but have you heard of the blood ? You may have heard of Jesus, but have you been to the fountain which is open for sin and for unclean. ness ?
Have you heard of the invitation that “ though your sins be as scarlet, they they shall be made white as snow; and though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Have you heard of this cleansing power which the blood of Christ pos. gesses? In the day you see Christ pouring out his soul unto death for your soul, ye are His; for He says, “Look unto me and be ye saved." Plead the death of Jesus with God, for that is what God reqnires. In Him you will find peace. In Him you will find that which you require-death, atonement, and immortality. “This is life eternal, to know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.” Is there a converted character who knows nothing of the blood of Christ ? A man may be re
pentant and say, “I will arise, and go to my Father," but this is not salvation : it is the man who can say, “I know in whom I have BELIEVED ;” “ I have a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.” The man who knows that Jesus died for himthat he now pleads in the holiest of the holies for him ; that man who sees his sins nailed to the cross of Jesus. God grant that you may, by the blessings of His Holy Spirit, see that it is by the blood of Christ that you can be cleansed !
In conclusion, I would indeed exhort you to watch and pray; to be conformed to Jesus, who has done so much for you. Will you hear of his living and dying, and still go to the grave without this atonement ? When His word is put into your hands, will you still cast it aside ? When he knocks, will you still keep the door shut? When the fountain is opened in Jerusalem, and flows to the various nations of the earth, and has forced its way now to the steps of the Royal Exchange, will you allow the cross of our Redeemer to be erected here, and yet not exclaim, “Lord, I believe; help thou my unbelief p" The whole atonement spoken of in the Word of God, is centred in Him. Eternal life is centred in Him. “I am the door,” He says, “and no man cometh to the Father, but by me.” “It is the blood that maketh an atonement for the soul.”
Then when you and I have passed, it may be, but a short time in the grave, should we arrive in heaven, the theme will still be "blood," Yes, my friends, read the fifth chapter of the book of Revelation, and you will find that those who are around the throne of God give praise unto the Lamb who redeemed them to God by his precious blood. Read also the seventh chapter of Revelation, and you will find that those who are in heaven are dressed in white. And who are they? Those who came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Our Saviour is represented as differing from them, as His vesture is “ dipped in blood.” He is alone in this. The whole Church is arrayed in white, while the Saviour's robes are red with blood-dyed garments from Bozrah ; blood that cleanseth from all sin. When you reach heaven, you will still continue your song of praise, commenced on earth
“ Jesus, thy blood and righteousness,
My beauty are, my glorious dress;
With joy shall I lift up my head.”
(TUNE— Rousseau's Dream.)
Let me hide myself in thee;
Cleanse me from its guilt and power.”
It was announced that these services would be repeated (D.V.) every Sunday afternoon, at half-past five o'clock, until further notice.
W. H. Collingridge, City Press, Long Lane, and Aldersgate Street, E.C.
THE CONVERSION OF SAUL OF TARSUS.
REV. C. H. SPURGEON,
"And when we were all fallen to the earth, I heard a voice speaking unto me, and saying in the Hebrew tongue, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks."
Acts xxvi, 14. How marvellous the condescension which induced the Saviour to take notice of such a wretch as Saul! Enthroned in the highest heavens, amidst the eternal melodies of the redeemed, and the seraphic sonnets of the cherubim and all the angelic hosts, it was strange that the Saviour should stoop himself from his dignity to speak to a persecutor. Engaged as he is both day and night in pleading the cause of his own church before his Father's throne, it is condescension indeed which could induce him, as it were, to suspend his intercessions, in order that he might speak personally to one who had sworn himself his enemy, And what grace was it that could lead the Saviour's heart to speak to such a man as Saul, who had breathed out threatenings against his church? Had he not haled men and women to prison; had he not compelled them in every synagogue to blaspheme the name of Jesus Christ? and now Jesus himself must interpose to bring him to his senses! Ah, had it been a thunderbolt which quivered in its haste to reach the heart of man, we should not have marvelled, or had the lips of the Saviour been heaving with a curse we should not have been astonished. Had he not himself in his own lifetime cursed the persecutor? Did he not say, whosoever shall offend one of the least of these my little ones, it were better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and that he were cast in the sea? But now the man that is cursed by that language, is yet to be blessed by him whom he had persecuted: who though he had stained his hand in blood, and had now the commission in his hands to drag others to prison, though he had kept the clothes of those who had stoned Stephen, yet the Master, the King of heaven, must himself speak from the upper skies to bring him to feel the need of a Saviour, and to make him partaker of precious faith. I say this is marvellous condescension and matchless grace. But, beloved, when we come to recollect the Saviour's character, it is but little wonderful that he should do this for he has done far more than this. Did he not in person leave the starry thrones of heaven, and come down to earth to suffer, and bleed, and die? But when I think of Bethlehem's manger, of the cruel garden of Gethsemane, and the yet more shameful Calvary, I do not wonder that the Saviour should do any act of grace or condescension. That being done, what can be greater? If he hath stooped from heaven into hades, what greater stoop can he accomplish? If his own throne must be left empty, if his own crown must be relinquished, if his Godhead must be veiled in flesh, and the splendours of his deity clothed in the rags of manhood, what wonder, I say, that he should stoop to speak even to Saul of Tarsus, to bring his heart to himself? Beloved, some of us do not wonder either, for although we have not had greater grace than the apostle himself we have had no less. The Saviour did not speak out of heaven to us with a voice that others might hear, but he spoke with a voice that our conscience heard. We were not blood-thirsty, it may be, against his children, but we had sins both black and heinous; yet he stopped us. Not content with wooing us or with threatening us, not content with sending his ministers to us and giving us his word to warn us of duty, he would come himself. No. 202,
Penny Pulpit, No. 2,961.
And you and I, beloved, who have tasted of this grace, cau say it was matchless lore that saved Paul, but not love unexampled; for he hath saved us also, and made us partakers of the same grace.
I intend, this morning, to address myself more particularly to those who fear not the Lord Jesus Christ, but on the contrary, oppose him. I think I may be quite certain that I have none here who go the length of desiring to see the old persecution of the church revived. I do not think there is an Englishman, however much he may hate religion, who would wish to see the stake again in Smithfield, and the burning pile consuming the saints. There may be some who hate them as much, but still not in that fashion; the common sense of the age reviles against the gibbet, the sword, and the dungeon. The children of God, in this country at least, are quite safe from any political persecution of that kind; but it is highly probable that I have here this morning -ome who go to the full length of their tether, and who endeavour as much as lieth in them to provoke the Lord to anger by opposing his cause. You will perhaps recognise yourselves if I try to paint a picture. It is seldom that you ever go into the house of God, in fact you have a contempt for all the gatherings of the righteous; you have a notion that all saints are hypocrites, that all professors are cants, and you do not at times blush to say so. However, you have a wife, and that wife of yours has been impressed under the sound of the ministry; she loves to go to the house of God, and heaven and her heart alone know what grief and agony of mind you have caused her. How often have you taunted and jeered her on account of her profession! You cannot deny but that she is a better woman for it; you are obliged to confess that although she cannot go with you in all your sports and merriments, yet as far as she can go she is a loving and affectionate wife to you. If any one should find fault with her, you would right manfully defend her character; but it is her religion that you hate; and it is but lately that you threatened to lock her up on Sunday. You say it is impossible for you to live in the house with her if she will go up to the house of God. Moreover there is a little child of yours; you had no objection to that child going to the Sunday-school, because she was out of your way on the Sunday when you were smoking your pipe in your shirt sleeves; you did not want to be bothered with your children, you said, and therefore you were glad to pack them off to the Sunday-school; but that child has had her heart touched; and you cannot help seeing that the religion of Christ is in her heart, therefore you do not like it; you love the child, but you would give anything if she were not what she is; you would give anything if you could crush the last spark of religion out of her. But perhaps I can put your case yet. You are a master; you occupy a respectable position, you have many men under you, you cannot bear a man to make a profession of religion. Other masters you know have said to their men, “ Do as you like, so long as you are a good servant, I do not care about your religious views." But mayhap you are a little the reverse; although you would not turn a man away because of his religion, you give him a jeer every now and then, and if you trip him up in a little fault, you say, “ Ah! that is your religion, I suppose you learned that at chapel;” grieving the poor man's soul, while he endeavours as far as he can to discharge his duty to you. Or, you are a young man, employed in a warehouse or a shop, and there is one of your shopmates who has lately taken to religion; he is to be found on his knees in prayer—what fine fun you have made of him lately, haven't you? You and others have joined in like a pack of hounds after a poor hare, and he being of rather a timid turn of mind, perhaps is silent before you, or if he speaks, the tear is in his eye, because you have wounded his spirit. Now this is the selfsame spirit that kindled the firebrand of old; that stretched the saint upon the rack; that cut his body in pieces, and sent him to wander about in sheep skins and in goat skins. If I have not exactly hit your character yet, I may do it before I have done. I wish to address myself especially to those of you, who in word or deed or in any other manner, persecute the children of God; or if you do not like so hard a word as “persecute,” laugh at them, opposing them, and endeavour to put an end to the good work in their hearts.
I shall in the name of Christ, first put the question to you, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me?” In the second place, I shall in Christ's name expostulate with
" It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks ;” and then if God shall bless what is said to the teaching of your heart, it may be that the Master shall give you a few words of comfort, as he did the apostle Paul, when he said, “ Rise and stand upon thy teet: for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, to make thee &