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Now, my hearers, it is a great comfort to me, and so it must be to every one who has received “the gift,” to know that God has determined in his own “eternal purpose” that all his people shall know the truth.
Sweet as is the word GOSPEL-blessed as it is in all its length, and depth, and breadth, and height of meaning-yet, to my mind, there is something much stronger in the word, TRUTH, it seems more discriminating.
Now, what is the truth? Listen to me! ELECTION—PARTICULAR REDEMPTION and PERSONAL CONVERSION by the Holy Ghost! and the truth of each and of all these cardinal doctrines, carried out practically and experimentally by the power of God in every believer's soul, and by which the Christian stands distinguished from the whole scheme of Popish and Arminian errors. And then the mercy of knowing further as the TRUTH, that every ELECT and every REDEEMED man must be “born again," of the Holy Spirit at the set time of farour. And hence (as I am continually insisting on to my own home flock), there is no doubt about the conversion of souls! There need be no anxiety about it—the work of God is absolute; the mandate of the written word is—and the poor sinner gains consolation from it as written in the book of Psalms—"THOU HAST GIVEN COMMANDMENT TO SAVE ME;" and who can alter THAT COMMAND ? And there is not a man, nor a woman, nor a child in London—there is not one amid the masses of this densely-peopled city--the greatest city upon the habitable earth, the most favoured city, certainly, in a temporal sense, in all the world-there is not, I say, a man nor a woman, nor a child in London, loved by God before all worlds, given by the Father, the Son, and the Spirit, as the triune God, to God the Son, to be redeemed by his precious blood, upon Calvary's cross——there is not one such, despite all the devil's power, and despite all his own personal guilt and sin, but shall be “born again," of the Holy Spirit at the appointed time, and become a new creature in Christ Jesus; and then the personal and experimental test of this will be the cry of the soul—under a feeling sense of guilt and sin—and the reality will be known, as was the case with Paul, as declared by him to the Corinthian church : “When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child; but when I became a man, I put away childish things.” (1 Cor. xiii. 11.)
" Thy people willing in the day of Tuy power!” is God's word and God's decree.
I can hear of people anxious and frightened that such and such a person should not be saved! afraid that this one and the other should not experience salvation by Christ's blood. But there is no doubt, no uncertainty about it-all is settled ! all decreed! But say not this is fatalism! God acts on covenant arrangements, and according to his own eternally decreed purpose-and the knowledge of this encourages and animates us with earnest desire and zeal, as preachers of the everlasting gospel. The knowledge in our own hearts that none but “the election of grace are saved, urges us on to obey the command of my blessed Master—a command as positive to me now as it was in the apostolic age,—“Go ye into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature "--mark the emphatic word of command ! * Preach the gospel to EVERY creature"—that is, proclaim, declare, make it known to all, wherever we may "go"-but OFFER it to none.
Ministers must preach it! It is the Holy Ghost alone who can, and who does, and who will apply it in and to the hearts of his own prepared people!
This is a most important distinction, and essential specially in these days! and hence the blessedness of the word, “ Ye shall know the truth.” Now I have endeavoured to show you what THE TRUTH is in its doctrinal sense. In John xiv. 6, we have this truth brought before us in a very small compass—" Jesus saith unto him, I am the Way, the TRUTH, and the LIFE; no man cometh unto the Father but by Me.” Now there is the whole truth, and all contained in one little verse, and this simply setting forth that CHRIST is ALL! This is the TRUTH which ALL His own people shall know, and knowing shall BELIEVE! Herein is God's sovereignty set forth and declared!
Now my first point has been on the Doctrine, showing what TRUTH is. You
may say you knew it all before. But ministers of the gospel are also remembrancers! Many of you may know it, but you need reminding of it, as Peter says, " to stir you up by putting in remembrance ;” and is not this a mercy, the being reminded of these important realities ? to be brought, by my now stirring you up, to think on what you have not been thinking on, it may be, all day before !-even the grand and the great fact, that there is for the sinner an all-sufficient Saviour in Christ, yea, salvation in Him, and through Him, and by Him for the worst, for the chief of sinners, yea, that “ the blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanseth us from all sin.”
Now, the second point in the text is the promise to the Church, “ Ye shall know the TRUTH." *" All the promises of God in Him are yea and amen, unto the glory of God by us." "Is not this an encouraging word to a seeking and inquiring soul? The promise of God to his own children that they “shall know the TRUTH,” and understand what the truth is? And is not that a great mercy, my hearers ?. I am preaching to several who can understand what I say, in the feeling of their own experience, who have been taught the TRUTH as it is in Jesus.
Do you know practically and experimentally that word of Paul to the Corinthian church, “God who commanded the light to shine out of darkness, hath shined in our hearts to the light of the knowledge of the glory of God, in the face of JESUS CHRIST ?" We read in one of the first verses in the Bible, “God divided the light from the darkness.” He has done it as a God of nature. Has He done it in you and to you as a God of GRACE? Do you know the difference between light and darkness—TRUTH and ERROR ? Do
you know the difference between real truth and everything that falls short of it? I am purposely pausing that you may think upon what I ask ! It won't do to go a great way in truth unless you go the whole way? I should be useless to you in the pulpit if I stopped at a point. I should be of no use to you in the ministry of the everlasting, gospel if I began with free grace, and preached the Saviour up to a certain point, and then at the end preached free will. That won't do. It must be the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. It must be the unadulterated gospel-the gospel of the grace of God—the only real joy and comfort of a poor brokenhearted sinner's soul.” “YE shall know the truth;" and I defy sin and Satan, and the whole league of enemies ranged against the church to stop the truth. David says, " The entrance of The words giveth light; it giveth under-tanding unto the simple ;” and nothing can realize this but God's sovereign power. It is then the word of a King with power;" that only can make a man, a sinful, hell-deserving wretch, understand the mystery of the TRUTH.
But then we see from the text the effect which the truth produces—"and the truth shall make you free.” And here I must preach to you before I go further, where the truth brings a man, or rather where every man is brought before he can experimentally feel the truth fully. Now, I believe that it is an experimental fact, that the first work of the Holy Spirit is to bring the soul into bondage. We prove this by Scripture-—" When He is come He
will convince the world of sin;" and whenever a man is convinced of sin by the Holy Spirit, there must be contrition for that sin.
When we are inwardly convinced of sin there must be sorrow for it, and a desire to get pardon ; and that shuts us up in bondage till we get free from it. Now, what a blessed promise it is to all such persons, “ Ye shall know the truth," and that the effect of that truth shall be, "and the truth shall make you free.” My hearers, we grow in the knowledge of these things. Every day we live, every sin we feel, and every exercise we are under teaches us more and more!
Now, observe here, what a nice distinction there is in this : “Knowledge puffeth up:" mere head knowledge puffs up. But when the heart is broken, we know the meaning of the Psalmist's words, “ This poor man cried, and the Lord heard and saved him out of all his troubles.” Now, whenever a child of God is brought to a sense of sin, to feel his guilt, to see his corruptions, to mourn over his own wretched depravity, I defy him to get any peace and any comfort, till he sees his own personal salvation wrought out by the finished work of the Saviour. We have a remarkable statement in the eighth chapter of the epistle to the Romans. Listen to me as I read it to you, and mark every word. We have in the first verse of that chapter, " There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh, but after the Spirit." Mark the words, “ no condemnation ;” and as there is "no condemnation, to them which are in Him," so also there shall be no separation from Him.
“ Who shall separate us from the love of Christ ?" It is love. His love to His people that forms the firmness of the bond of union. Do you know - do you believe in the doctrine of union ? Have you been melted down under à sense of His boundless love? Has the soul been warmed by it, as the body has to-day felt the overpowering heat of this weather? Have you a hope in a broken heart that you are in union with Christ ? that your
“life is hid with Christ in God."
Do you know anything of the experience of the apostle, “ Who shall separate us (O, that pronoun “ us ") from the love of Christ ? " “ Tribulation ?" shall that separate us? It tries us, galls us, it makes existence sometimes almost unbearable; it puts us, at times, at our wits end, and makes us
stagger like a drunken man. But there is a little gleam of sunshine amid all the surrounding darkness. The Lord will not leave us to the power of
enemy -"When the enemy cometh in like a flood, the Spirit of the Lord shall lift up a standard against him." Do you know anything of a flood ? Your own city has lent a liberal hand to assist the distressed sufferers from the recent inundations in France ;-but no human aid can assist you when the flood, which I am speaking of, comes upon you. It is the Spirit of the Lord alone that can lift up (as he has done for me, again and again,) an effectual standard against the enemy.
The love of Christ is such that nothing can ever separate ; nothing can divorce the Church from Him.
You have lately had a divorce bill brought into the House of Lords ; but as regards Christ's church, no divorce can ever take place. “What, therefore, God hath joined together, let not man put asunder.”
Nothing can ever do that. Is the ring on the finger? Is the wedding garment put on? In Solomon's Song, it is written "Thy love is better than wine.” But it is only as lle speaks the word, and applies the truth with unction and with power, that we can experience peace and comfort.
It is the truth of the ever living God, that nothing can ever separate “ His own elect” from Himself, The Church is for ever one. His love is like Him
self, unchangeable, and that“ love covereth all sins.” It is the same love which makes the really poor sinner in the deep pit, and in the hot furnace to cry,
-“ God be merciful to me a sinner.” Do you know what trouble is ? what distress of soul is? what persecution is? Have you ever experimentally cried, “Save me, O God; for the waters are come in unto my soul. I sink in deep mire, where there is no standing; I am come into deep waters, where the floods overflow me. I am weary of my crying; my throat is dried : mine eyes fail while I wait for my God.” If you have ever been in that spot you will know, and well know, that God alone can give the help you need! You cannot be born again without soul agony
“ The needy know
It must be so,
It is the way.” There is no other! When in the deep waters—when in the well nigh overwhelming flood-when sinking, and, as it were, “ ready to perish,” man cannot help you—ministers cannot assist you-help is in God alone, “I was brought low, and He helped me."
“ All my trust on THEE is stay'd,
All my help from Thee I bring;
With the shadow of Thy wing." The Christian sees and knows something beyond mere doctrine in these realities! He learns much, and he learns safely in the school of tribulation, distress, and persecution ; troubled we must be, distressed we must be, persecuted we shall be! but, “ Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad; for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.” (Matt. v. 10, 11, 12.) How many of my hearers now in this Church know what these things mean? “Think not that I am come to send peace on earth: I came not to send peace, but a sword. For I am come to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law. And a man's foes shall be they of his own household.” (Matt. x. 34, 35, 36.) And those words, “ A man's foes shall be they of his own household,” 'we may take in a twofold sense, not only as applicable to every carnal and professing member of our families or households, but also as referring to our own vile, carnal nature. In that old Adam nature, we have within ourselves (when new born) foes ! and hence the conflict between flesh and the spirit. The old nature and the new heart oppose each other and cause exercise, conflict, a battle within ! and hence peace is only realized in Christ as our all! As regards men, Paul's injunction is, “ If it be possible, as much as lieth in you, live peaceably with all men"-observe, “ if it be possible"-with some it is quite impossible !" the friendship of the world is enmity with God!” And as concerns the carnal mind—“Because the carnal mind is enmity against God; for it is not subject to the law of God, neither indeed can be.” That carnal mind, the old Adam nature, never improves at all; it is always enmity against God; and hence we are made to know something of, "For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter." But now the third point in the text is, the effect and the power of the TRUTH,_" the TRUTH shall make you FREE!" Here then, is the liberty the freedom of the gospel-not that only, but the liberty of the truth known, and realized, and experienced! It has been sweetly and truly said
“ He is the free man whom the TRUTH makes free,
And all are slaves besides." What a mercy to have been made to know that in CHRIST is perfect freedom! and so Paul exhorts the Galatian Church—“ Stand fast, therefore, in the liberty wherewith Christ has made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold, I Paul say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing.” (Gal. v. 1, 2.) That is, as I understand his meaning, if we depend on circumcision or on any mere form or ceremony, duty-faith, or anything of creature doing, all is vain, and profitless. It must be
"Nothing in my hand I bring." “ Stand fast in the “ LIBERTY!” What a word of command! and when given by the great Captain of our salvation, and ordered into the hearts of His made willing people, our bonds are loosed, and we are made free indeed! “For I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law; ye are fallen from grace.” (Gal. v. 3, 4.) One word on that expression, “ye are fallen from grace"—that is (mark me) from experiencing the favour, and the blessing, and the enjoyment of the gospel; not fallen FINALLY from grace once bestowed. The Church of God in Galatia had fallen into error, fallen away from the profession of the true gospel of free grace! They had been 'led away by hearing legal, and Arminian preachers; and so Paul rebukes them—"o foolish Galatians, who hath bewitched you, that ye should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ hath been evidently set forth, crucified among you? This only would I learn of you, Received ye the Spirit by the works of the law, or by the hearing of faith?". (Gal. il. 1, 2.) Legal preaching always brings the sinner into bondage, misery, and distress of soul; error will always do this, whereas," the TRUTH shall make you FREE.” Beware, then, of this ! Now
my hearers, when we are tried, when we are exercised, when we are under the dominion of some lust, tempted to some besetting sin, and we feel that if left to ourselves we have no power to escape, the truth coming with power gives liberty, and deliverance, and sets us free! It is thus that we taste, as it were, a something of the graciousness of our God! and get an evidence of our sonship. What a mercy to know something of Christ! of HIS TRUTH! of His word! It is the poor, and the needy only who realize these things! “For thou hast been a strength to the poor, a strength to the needy in his distress, a refuge from the storm, a shadow from the heat, when the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall.” (Isa. xxv. 4.) Observe that wonderful expression, “When the blast of the terrible ones is as a storm against the wall,” so that there can be no escape from that “ blast of the terrible!” it beats back again, as it were, with redoubled force and violence-as from the wall.
“Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." Here is the LIBERTY of the gospel, and there is no other gospel. I am preaching here to a large assembly of people, and generally speaking of your state I know nothing. I am drawing, as
gospel bow at a venture. May God aim and drop his arrows into your liearts. How many amongst you, my hearers, know anything of this great subject