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sea; Though the waters thereof roar, and be troubled, and though the mountains shake with the swelling thereof.” Ah, in your hosts ye have not prevailed, and think ye, ( puny man, that one by one, ye shall be able to conquer? Your wish may be strong enough, but your wish can never be accomplished. You may desire it anxiously, but you shall never attain thereto.
But put it as a personal matter, have you ever succeeded in stopping the work of grace in the heart of any one? You tried to laugh it out of your wife, but if she really was converted, you never would laugh it out of her. You may have tried to vex your little child; but if grace be in that child, I defy you and your master the devil to get it out. Ay, young man, you may laugh at your shopmate, but he will beat you in the long run. He may sometimes be abashed, but you never will turn him. If he is a hypocrite you will, and perhaps there will be no great loss; but if he be a true soldier of Christ, he can bear a great deal more than the laugh of an emptyheaded being like yourself. You need not for a moment flatter yourself that he will be afraid of you. He will have to endure a greater baptism of suffering than that, and he will not be cowed by the first shower of your poor, pitiful, malicious folly. And as for you, sir merchant, you may persecute your man, but see if you will get him to yield. Why, I know a man whose master had tried very hard to make hiin go against his conscience; but he said, “ No, sir.” And the master thought, " Well, he is a very valuable servant; but I will beat him if I can." So he threatened that if he did not do as he wished he would turn him away. The man was dependent on his master, and he knew not what he should do for his daily bread. So he said to his master honestly at once, “Sir, I don't know of any other situation; I should be very sorry to leave you, for I have been very comfortable, but if it comes to that, sir, I would sooner starve than submit my conscience to any one." The man Jeft, and the master had to go after him to bring him back again. Aud so it will be in every case. If Christians are but faithful, they must win the day. It is no use your kicking against them; you cannot hurt them. They must, they shall be conquerors through him that hath loved them.
But there is another way of putting it. When the ox kicked against the goad, he got no good by it. Kick as he might, he was never benefited by it. If the os had stopped and nibbled a blade of grass or a piece of hay, why, then he would have been wise, perhaps, in standing still; but to stand still simply be goaded and to kick, simply to have iron stuck into your flesh, is a rather foolish thing. Now, I ask you, what have you ever got by opposing Christ? Suppose you say you don't like religion, what have you ever got by hating it? I will tell you what you have got. You have got those red eyes sometimes on the Monday morning, after the drunkenness of the Sunday night. I will tell you what you have got, young man. You have goi that shattered constitution, which, even if you had now turned it to the paths of virtue, must hang about you till you leave it in your grave. What have you got? Why, there are some of you who might have been respectable members of society, who have got that old broken hat, that old ragged coat, that drunken, slouched manner about you, and that character that you would like to let down and run away from, for it is no good to you. That is what you have got by opposing Christ. What have you got by opposing him? Why, a house without furniture-for through your drunkenness you have had to sell everything of value you had. You have got your children in rags, and your wife in misery, and your eldest daughter, perhaps, running into shame, and your son rising up to curse the Saviour, as you yourself have done. What have you got by opposing Christ! What man in all the world ever got anything by it? There is a serious loss sustained, but as for gain, there is nothing of the sort.
But you say, though you have opposed Christ, still you are moral. Again I will put it to you—Have you ever got anything even then by opposing Christ? Has it made your family any the happier, do you think? Has it made you any the happier yourself? Do you feel after you have been laughing at your wife, or your child, or your man, that you can sleep any the sounder? Do you feel that to be a thing which will quiet your conscience when you come to die? Remember, you must die; and do you think that when you are dying, it will afford you any consolation to think that you did your best to destroy the souls of other people? No, you must confess it is a poor game. You are getting no good by it, but you are doing yourself a positive injury. Ah, drunkard, go on with your drunkenness, remember that every drunken fit leaves a plague behind it—that you will have to feel one day. It is pleasant to sin to-day, but it will not be pleasant to reap the harvest of it tomorrow; the seeds of sin are sweet when we sow them, but the fruit is frightfully bitter when we come to house it at last. The wine of sin tasteth sweet when it goeth down, but it is as gall and vinegar in the bowels. Take heed, ye that hate Christ and oppose his gospel, for as certainly as the Lord Jesus Christ is the Son of God, and his religion is true, you are heaping on your head a load of injury, instead of deriving good. “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou me? it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”
But kick as the ox might, it had to go forward at last. We have seen a horse stand still in the street, and the driver, who liad not very much patience with him, has so belaboured him, that we wondered how the poor horse could stand still under such a torrent of blows; but we have observed at last that the horse is obliged to go on, and we wondered what he got by standing still. It is just the same with you. If the Lord means to make a Christian out of you, you may kick against Christianity, but he will have you at last. If Jesus Christ intends your salvation you may curse him, but he will make you preach his gospel one day, if he likes to do so. Ah, if Christ had willed it, Voltaire who cursed him, might have made a second apostle Paul. He could not have resisted sovereign grace, if Christ had so determined. If anyone had told the apostle Paul when he was going to Damascus, that he would one day become a preacher of Christianity, he would, no doubt, have laughed at it as ridiculous nonsense; but the Lord had the key of his will, and he wound it up as he pleased. And so it will be with you—if he has determined to have you as one of his followers
“ If, as the eternal mandate ran,
Almighty grace arrest that man," — Almighty grace will arrest you; and the bloodiest of persecutors will be made the boldest of saints. Then why persecutest thou me? Perhaps you are despising the very Saviour you will one day love; trying to knock down the very thing that you will one day try to build up. Mayhap you are persecuting the men you will call your brothers and sisters. It is always well for a man not to go so far that he cannot go back respectably. Now do not go too far in opposing Christ, for one of these times it may be you will be very glad to come crouching at his feet. But there is this sad reflection, if Christ does not save you, still you must go on. You may kick against the pricks, but you cannot get away from his dominion; you may kick against Christ, but you cannot cast him from his throne; you cannot drag him out of heaven. You may kick against him, but you cannot prevent his condemning you at last. You may laugh at him, but you cannot laugh away the day of judgment. You may scoff at religion; but all your scoffs cannot put it out. You may jeer at heaven; but all your jeers will not take one single note from the harps of the redeemed. No, the thing is just the same as if you did not kick; it makes no difference except to yourselt. Oh how foolish must you be, to persevere in a rebellion which is harmful to none but your own soul; which is not injurious to him whom you hate, but which, if he pleases, he can stop, or if he doth not stop, he can and will revenge.
III. And now I close up by addressing myself to some here, whose hearts are already touched. Do you this morning feel your need of a Saviour? Are you conscious of your guilt in having opposed him, and has the Holy Spirit made you willing now to confess your sins? Are you saying, “Lord, have mercy upon me a sinner?” Then I have GOOD NEws for you. Paul, who persecuted Christ, was forgiven. He says he was the very chief of sinners, but he obtained mercy. So shall you. Nay, more, Paul not only obtained mercy, he obtained honour. He was made an honoured minister to preach the gospel of Christ, and so may you. Yes, if thou repentest, Christ may make use of you to bring others to him. It strikes me with wonder when I see how many of the very greatest of sinners have become the most useful of men. Do you see John Bunyan yonder? He is cursing God. He goes into the belfry and pulls the bell on Sunday, because he likes the bellriuging, but when the church door is open, he is playing bowls upon the village green. There is the village tap, and there is no one that laughs so loud there as John Bunyan. There are some people going to the meeting house; there is no one curses them so much as John. He is a ringleader in all vice. If there is a hen roost to be robbed, Jack's your man. If there is any iniquity to be done, if there is any evil in the parish, you need not guess twice, John Bunyan is at the bottom of it. But who is it stands there in the dock before the magistrate? Who is it I heard just now"If you let me out of prison to-day, I will preach the gospel tomorrow, by the help of God?” Who was it that lay twelve years in prison, and when they said he might go out if he would promise not to preach, replied, “ No, I will be here till the moss grows on mine eyelids, but I must and will preach God's gospel as soon as I have liberty?” Why, that is John Bunyan, the very man who cursed Christ the other day. A ringleader in vice has become the glorious dreamer, the very leader of God's hosts. See, what God did for him, and what God did for him he will do for you, if now you repent and seek the mercy of God in Christ Jesus.
“He is able, he is willing, doubt no more." Oh! I trust I have some here who have hated God, but who are nevertheless God's elect; some that have despised him, but who are bought with blood; some that have kicked against the pricks, but yet almighty grace will bring them onward. There are some here, I doubt not, who have cursed God to his face, who shall one day sing hallelujahs before his throne; some that have indulged in lusts all but bestial, who shall one day wear the white robe, and move their fingers along the golden harps of the glorified spirits in heaven. Happy is it to have such a gospel to preach to such sinners! To the persecutor, Christ is preached. Come to Jesus whom thou hast persecuted.
“Come, and welcome, sinner, come.” And now bear with me one moment if I address you yet again. The probability stares me in the face that I may have but very few more opportunities of addressing you upon subjects that concern your soul. My hearer, I shall arrogate nothing to myself, but this one thing—“I have not shunned to declare the whole counsel of God," and God is my witness with how many sighs, and tears, and prayers, I have laboured for your good. Out of this place I believe thousands have been called; among you whom I now see there is a large number of converted persons; according to your own testimony you have had a thorough change, and you are not now what you were. But I am conscious of this fact, that there are many of you who have attended here now almost these two years, who are just what you were when you first came. There are some of you whose hearts are not touched. You sometimes weep, but still your lives have never been changed; you are yet “in the gall of bitterness, and in the bonds of iniquity." Well, sirs, if I never address you again, there is one favour that I would crave of you. If you will not turn to God, if you are determined to be lost, if you will not hear my rebuke nor turn at my exhortation, I ask this one favour; at least let me know, and let me have this confidence, that I am clear of your blood. I think you must confess this. I have not shunned to preach of hell with all its horrors, until I have been laughed at, as if I always preached upon it. I have not shunned to preach upon the most sweet and pleasing themes of the gospel, till I have feared lest I should make my preaching effeminate, instead of retaining the masculine vigour of a Boanerges. I have not shunned to preach the law; that great commandment has wrung in your ears, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God, and thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” I have never feared the great, nor have I courted their smile; I have rebuked nobility as I would rebuke the peasantry, and to everyone of you I have dealt a portion of meat in due season. I know that this much can be said of me—" Here stands one that never feared the face of man yet;" and I hope never will. Amidst contumely, and rebuke, and reproach, I have sought to be faithful to you and to my God. If then, you will be damnerl, let me have this one thing as a consolation for your misery, when I shall think of so frightful a thought—that you are not damned for the want of calling after; you are not lost for the want of weeping after, and not lost, let me add, for the want of praying after. In the name of him who shall judge the quick and dead according to my Gospel, and of him that shall come in the clouds of heaven, and by that fearful day when the pillars of this earth shall totter, and the heavens shall fall about your ears—by that day when “Depart, ye cursed," or "Come, ye blessed," must be the dread alternative, I charge you, lay these things to heart, and as I shall face my God to account for my honesty to you, and my faithfulness to him, so remember, you must stand before his bar, to give an account of how you heard, and how you acted after hearing; and woe unto you if, having been lifted up like Capernaum with privileges, you should be cast down like Sodom and Gomorrah, or lower still than they, because you repented not. Oh! Master! turn sinners to thyself; for Jesus sake! Amen.
THE TWO DISCIPLES' JOURNEY TO EMMAUS.
PREACHED on Sunday MORNING, APRIL 11, 1858,
BY THE REV. J. F. S. GORDON, D.D.
IN ST. ANDREW'S CHURCH, GLASGOW.
“And they drew nigh unto the village, whither they went: and he made as though he would have gone further. But they constrained him, saying, Abide with us: for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent."--Luke xxiv, 28, 29.
On the day of the resurrection of our blessed Lord, two of the disciples were on their way to Emmaus, a village some short distance from Jerusalem. In what frame of mind they journeyed, we can be at no loss to discover ; for when our Lord appeared to them, we are told they were engaged in communing and reasoning together of all the things which had happened so recently at Jerusalem-and that his first question to them was, in these words, “What manner of communications are these that ye have one to another, as ye walk, and are sad ?" Their answer showed their doubts and their suspense. Their minds were full of Him, whom they acknowledged as mighty in word and deed, before God and all the people,” yet, nevertheless they could not bring themselves to speak of Him as “more than a prophet;" they manifest their astonishment at the tale of the reported resurrection, yet never seem to call to mind the many predictions which had been uttered on the subject. No sooner, however, does the Saviour begin to expound to them the Scriptures concerning Himself, than their hearts “burn within them,”-they listen with the deep interest of men whose thoughts are all centred in one absorbing subject ; who honestly seek for more light and knowledge, who desire to be convinced, and to be led into the way of truth. Their hearts revive as they listen to the teaching of the unknown Companion; they feel that it is good to be in his company ; and when he seems disposed to part from them, (just as the dove often moves its wings ere it takes flight,) they constrain him to continue with them—" Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent.”
Our own condition, in this our state of earthly trial, is not wholly unlike that of the disciples of Emmaus. At least, like them, we tread a path of sorrow, with blinded eyes, and uncertain steps ; like them, we wander forth, desolate and lonely; like them, we have to learn the extent of our own infirmities and incapacities ; like them, as we commune together, we are "sad," and, in truth, have much to make us so. Why, then, should we not betake ourselves to the same Friend in whom they found solace? Why should we not address our prayer deliberately and habitually to that Saviour whom they invoked unconsciously? Why should we not say to him as they said, " Abide with us; for it is toward evening, and the day is far spent."
“ Far spent,” indeed it is, even to the youngest, and healthiest, and strongest, among us :-“Far spent,” inasmuch as by every one of us, time has been wasted which can never be recalled, opportunities neglected, which will never be vouchsafed again; talents abused or frittered away, not one of which can be so treated with impunity; and means of grace despised, not one of which, but if duly improved, would have shown itself of inestmable value. “ The day is far spent.” To some among us, it may be, that few more work. ing hours remain. Some may be conscious of this by their own sensations ; they may feel the inroads of time, the ravages of care and sorrow, the weari. ness of lengthened toil. The infirmities of advancing age, and the failure of the powers of life may unequivocally warn them that night is coming on ; that before long they shall be able to work no more; that "the years draw nigh, when they shall say that they have no pleasure in them." To none of us is there any assurance that the day is not far spent, for even though in respect of the usual length of years allotted to man, we may not have yet lived out half our time, who can tell that his sun shall not go down while it is yet day? Who can tell how near, or how far distant, that night may be in which his soul may be required of him!
“ It is toward evening !" Hour after hour has passed away ;-the early dawn,-the fresh and joyous morning,—the scorching noontide with its heat and burden,--the afternoon with its weariness and exhaustion, each in turn have departed; and change, and chance, and sin, and sorrow, have been the companions of each. The brilliant hopes which we conceived, have shrunk and withered: the schemes which were to have ripened, have, for the most part, ended like untimely fruit, in rottenness aud decay. Yea, whether in the main, success or disappointment has been the result of our exertions, the closing day must elicit from every one of vis the same confession, that "all is vanity.” Pleasure, riches, power, rank, youth, strength, beauty, health, all perish in the using." Vanity of vanities, all is vanity.”
“ It is toward evening !" Hour after hour has passed away ; and though we have laboured on to the last, not an hour has elapsed but some one of our fellow-labourers has been called from our side to go home, and wait to receive his wages from his Master's hand. When we were children, the