July 11: That We Would Bear Fruit

“I have surely heard Ephraim bemoaning himself thus; You have chastised me, and I was chastised, as a bullock unaccustomed to the yoke: turn you me, and I shall be turned; for you are the Lord my God. Surely after that I was turned, I repented; and after that I was instructed, I smote upon my thigh: I was ashamed, yes, even confounded, because I did bear the reproach of my youth.” Jeremiah 31:18, 19

The divine life in the soul of man is indestructible—it cannot perish; the seed that grace has implanted in the heart is incorruptible—it cannot be corrupted. So far from trials, and conflicts, and storms, and tempests impairing the principle of holiness in the soul, they do but deepen and strengthen it, and tend greatly to its growth. We look at Job; who of mere man was ever more keenly tried?—and yet, so far from destroying or even weakening the divine life within him, the severe discipline of the covenant, through which he passed, did but deepen and expand the root, bringing forth in richer clusters the blessed fruits of holiness. Do you think, dear reader, the divine life in his soul had undergone any change for the worse, when, as the result of God’s covenant dealings with him, he exclaimed—”I have heard of You by the hearing of the ear, but now mine eye sees You: why I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes?” No, the pruning of the fruitful branch impairs not, but rather strengthens and renders more fruitful the principle of holiness in the soul.

It is the will of God that His people should be a fruitful people. “This is the will of God, even your sanctification,”—the sanctification of a believer including all fruitfulness. He will bring out His own work in the heart of His child; and never does He take His child in hand with a view of dealing with him according to the tenor of the covenant of grace, but that dealing results in a greater degree of spiritual fruitfulness. Now, when the Lord afflicts, and the Holy Spirit sanctifies the affliction of the believer, is not this again among the costly fruit of that discipline, that self has become more hateful? This God declared should be the result of His dealings with His, ancient people Israel, for their idolatry—”They shall loathe themselves for the evils which they have committed in all their abominations.” And again—”Then shall you remember your ways, and all your doings wherein you have been defiled; and you shall loathe yourselves in your own sight, for all your evils that you have committed.”

To loathe self on account of its sinfulness, to mortify it in all its forms, and to bring it entirely into subjection to the spirit of holiness, is, indeed, no small triumph of Divine grace in the soul, and no mean effect of the sanctified use of the Lord’s dispensations. That must ever be considered a costly mean that accomplished this blessed end. Beloved reader, is your covenant God and Father dealing with you now? Pray that this may be one blessed result, the abasement of self within you, the discovering of it to you in all its deformity, and its entire subjection to the cross of Jesus.

April 18: The Gospel In Power

For our gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Spirit, and in much assurance; . . . And you became followers of us, and of the Lord, having received the word in much affliction, with joy of the Holy Spirit. 1 Thes. 1:5, 6

THUS does the Spirit of God empty the soul, preparing it for the reception of the grace of Christ. He ‘sweeps and garnishes’ the house. He dislodges the unlawful inhabitant, dethrones the rival sovereign, and thus secures room for the Savior. He disarms the will of its rebellion against God, the mind of its ignorance, and the heart of its hatred. He prostrates the barrier, removes the veil, and unlocks the door, at which the Redeemer triumphantly enters.

In effecting this mighty work, He acts as the Divine Forerunner of Christ. What the Baptist was to our Lord, “crying in the wilderness, Prepare you the way of the Lord,” the Holy Spirit is, in heralding the entrance of Jesus to the soul. He goes before, and prepares His way. The Divinity of the Spirit furnishes Him with all the requisites for the work. He meets with difficulty, and He removes it—with obstruction, and He overcomes it—with opposition, and He vanquishes it. His power is omnipotent, His influence is irresistible, His grace is efficacious. There is no soul, however filled with darkness, and enmity, and rebellion, which He cannot prepare for Christ. There is no heart of stone which He cannot break, no brazen wall which He cannot prostrate, no mountain which He cannot level. Oh, for more faith in the power of the Holy Spirit in the soul of man! How much do we limit, and in limiting how do we dishonor, Him in His work of converting grace!

The providential dealings of God are frequently instrumental in the hand of the Holy Spirit of accomplishing this emptying process, thus preparing the soul for the reception of Christ. The prophet thus strikingly alludes to it: “Moab has been at ease from his youth, and He has settled on his lees, and has not been emptied from vessel to vessel.” It was in this way God dealt with Naomi. Listen to her touching words: “I went out full, and the Lord has brought me home again empty.” Thus it is that the bed of sickness, or the chamber of death, the loss of creature good, perhaps the loveliest and the dearest, has prepared the heart for Christ. The time of bereavement and of solitude, of suffering and of loss, has been the Lord’s time of love. Providence is the hand-maid of grace—and God’s providential dealings with man are frequently the harbingers of the kingdom of grace in the soul.

Ah! how many whose glance falls upon this page may testify “Even thus has the Lord dealt with me. I was rich, and He has impoverished me. I was exalted, and He has laid me low. Not one cup only did He drain, not one vessel only did He dash to the earth, but many. He has emptied me ‘from vessel to vessel.’ ” Happy shall you be if the result of all this emptying and humbling shall be the filling and enriching of your soul with larger communications of grace and truth from Jesus. A cloud of witnesses around you testify to this invariable principle of the Lord’s procedure with His people—that He enriches by impoverishing them; strengthens by weakening them; replenishes by emptying; and exalts by laying them low.

The Offense Of Christ And His Cross

Our Lord’s was a chequered history. Lights and shadows thickly blended in the marvelous picture of His life. The lights were but few; the shadows predominated. He did not come into the world to be joyful and happy, but to make others so. Hence the portrait, “He was despised and rejected, a man of sorrows, acquainted with bitterest grief.” We have just looked upon one of the earthly lights thrown upon the picture; we are now to contemplate one of its dark shadows. From viewing Him as for the moment favored with the adulation of the multitude, we turn to behold Him the object of their bitter scorn and rejection.

Continue reading “The Offense Of Christ And His Cross”

November 24: The Foolishness Of Preaching

“And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power: that your faith should not stand in the wisdom of men, but in the power of God.” 1 Corinthians 2:4, 5

True wisdom has been defined as that power which accomplishes the greatest results by the simplest means. Then, here is wisdom! To save souls from eternal death, by the “foolishness of preaching,” must be regarded as the highest point to which wisdom can soar.

It is recorded of the apostles, that they “so spoke, that a great multitude, both of the Jews, and also of the Gentiles believed.” They presented Christ so prominently—they divided truth so skillfully—they preached with such power, point, and simplicity, that “multitudes were added to the Lord.” See with what contempt they looked down upon the unsanctified wisdom and lore of this world.

Addressing the Corinthians, their great leader could say, “My speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but in demonstration of the Spirit and of power.” By the influence of his preaching, pagan altars were destroyed, senseless idols were abandoned, the Pantheon and the Lyceum were forsaken, and “a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith;” but it was not with the “wisdom of this world,” in order that their “faith should not stand in the wisdom of man, but in the power of God.”

And why may not the same results in the employment of the same means be ours? Preach we not the same gospel? Deal we not with the same intelligent and deathless minds? Draw we not our motives and our appeals from the same eternity? True, we possess neither the spirit of prophecy nor the gift of miracles. We need not. Nor did they in their grand work of converting men to God. They never, in a single instance; quickened a soul by the power of a miracle.

The extraordinary gifts with which they were endowed were bestowed for another and a different purpose. The cases of our Lord and of His fore runner are strikingly in point. The ministry of Jesus, although attended by a succession of miracles the most brilliant and convincing, resulted in fewer conversions than the ministry of John, who did no miracle.

To what divine agency, then, did the apostles themselves trace the extraordinary result of their preaching? To what, but the “demonstration of the Spirit”? Oh for tongues of fire to proclaim the glad tidings of the gospel! With such a Savior to make known—with such revelations to disclose—with such souls to save—with such results to expect—is it not marvelous that we should speak with any other?

The true preacher of the gospel, then, is so rightly to divide God’s word, as not to confound truth with error—so discriminatingly to proclaim it, as to separate the precious from the vile— and so distinctly and prominently to hold up the cross of Christ, as to save immortal souls. The cross, the cross, must be the central exhibition of our ministry, to which every eye must be directed, and before which all the glory of man must fade.

The Holy Spirit, too, must be more honored—His anointing more especially sought—His influence more earnestly insisted upon. Apart from this, no ministry, be its character in other respects what it may, has any real power. How poor a thing it is, distinguished only by its learning, genius, and eloquence; and destitute of the vital warmth, and impassioned earnestness, the soul-subduing and heart-awakening energy of the Holy Spirit! Weighed in the balance of the sanctuary, it is as light as air; estimated in view of the judgment, it is an awful mockery.

November 22: Freedom From Law

“For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me free from the law of sin and death.” Romans 8:2

The interpretation we propose for the adoption of the reader is that which regards the “law of the Spirit of life,” as describing the gospel of Christ, frequently denominated a “law”—and emphatically so in this instance, because of the emancipation it confers from the Mosaic code, called the “law of sin and death,” as by it the knowledge of sin, and through it death is threatened as the penalty of its transgression. But in what sense is the believer free from this deadly law?

As a covenant he is free from it. The believer’s union to Christ frees him from the condemnatory power of this law. He looks not to it for life; he rests not in it for hope; he renounces it as a saving covenant, and under the influence of another and a higher obligation—his union to Christ—he brings forth fruit unto God. Was ever liberty so glorious as this—a liberty associated with the most loving, cordial, and holy obedience?

Not a single precept of that law, from whose covenant and curse he is released by this act of freedom, is compromised. All its precepts, embodied and reflected in the life of Christ—whose life is the model of our own—appear infinitely more clear and resplendent than ever they appeared before. The obedience of the Lawgiver infinitely enhanced the luster of the law, presenting the most impressive illustration of its majesty and holiness that it could possibly receive.

The instrument to whose agency this exalted liberty is ascribed is the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” The term law is forensic; though not infrequently used in God’s word to designate the gospel of Christ; indicating it in the text, as the great instrument by which this freedom is obtained. The gospel is the law which reveals the way of salvation by Christ. It is the development of God’s great expedient of saving man. It speaks of pardon and adoption, of acceptance and sanctification, as all flowing to the soul through faith in His dear Son. It represents God as extending His hand of mercy to the vilest sinner; welcoming the penitent wanderer back to His home, and once more taking the contrite rebel to His heart. It is also a quickening law—emphatically the “law of the Spirit of life.” What numbers are seeking sanctification from the “law of sin,” and life from the “law of death”!

But the gospel speaks of life. Its doctrines—its precepts—its promises—its exhortations—its rebukes—its hopes—are all instinct with spiritual life, and come with quickening power to the soul. “The words that I speak unto you,” says Jesus, “they are spirit and they are life.” Oh, there is life in the gospel, because it is the “law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus.” It testifies of “Christ who is our life.” It declares that there is no spiritual life but in Him. And although “the letter kills,” working alone, yet in the hands of the Spirit it gives life. Thus clothed with the energy of the Holy Spirit, the gospel proves a “savor of life unto life,” to all who believe in it to the saving of the soul.

Believer; a holy, filial, joyful liberty is your birthright. It is the liberty of a pardoned and justified sinner; of a reconciled, adopted child; of one for whom there is “now no condemnation.” Yet how few of God’s people walk in the full enjoyment of this liberty! How few pray, and love, and confide, as adopted children! Oh, sons of God, rise to this your high and heavenly calling! Your freedom was purchased at a high price—undervalue it not. It is most holy—abuse it not. It binds you by the strongest obligations to yield yourselves unto God, as those that are alive from the dead. Be these the breathings of our soul: “Lord! my sweetest privilege is obedience to You; my highest freedom wearing Your yoke—my greatest rest bearing Your burden. Oh, how love I Your law after the inward man! I delight to do Your will, O my God!”

November 9: Oh What A Savior

“Him has God exalted with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.” Acts 5:31

How glorious an object is this Savior, whom the gospel thus reveals! It is true His essential greatness, like the peace which He Himself gives, “passes all understanding;” yet, like that peace, He may be known, though He cannot be measured. “We may know experimentally,” as Owen beautifully remarks, “that which we cannot know comprehensively; we may know that in its power and effect, which we cannot comprehend in its nature and depths. A weary person may receive refreshment from a spring, who cannot fathom the depth of the ocean from where it proceeds.” That this is true of the “love of Christ, which passes knowledge,” is equally true of the person of Christ Himself, whom “no man knows but the Father.”

Do not think that all His beauty is concealed. They, in whom it has pleased the Father to reveal His Son, “behold His glory;” they “see the King in His beauty;” the discovery of His excellence often captivates their soul, and the sense of His love often cheers their hearts; while in lively faith and joy they exclaim, “I am my Beloved’s, and my Beloved is mine.”

Take one more view of Him, who is the “chief among ten thousand.” Look at His sinless yet real humanity; without a single taint, yet sympathizing with all the conditions of ours: afflicted in our afflictions; tempted in our temptations; infirm in our infirmities; grieved in our griefs; “wounded for our transgressions, bruised for our iniquities;” and now that He is in glory, still cherishing a brother’s heart, bending down His ear to our petitions, ever standing near to catch our sighs, to dry our tears, to provide for our needs, to guide us by His counsel, and afterwards to receive us to glory.

Oh what a Savior is Jesus Christ! Wonder not, my readers, that when He is known, all other beings are eclipsed; that when His beauty is seen, all other beauty fades; that when His love is felt, He becomes supremely enthroned in the affections; and that to know Him more is the one desire of the renewed mind, and to make Him more known is the one aim of the Christian life.

What glorious tidings, too, does the gospel announce! Take the doctrine of pardon, the very mention of which thrills the soul with gladness. Pardon through the blood-shedding of God’s dear Son; for “all manner of sin,” and for the chief of sinners! What myriads have gone to glory, exulting with their expiring breath in those melodious words, “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” Is there no music in this declaration, to the ear of a sin-burdened soul? And when the called children of God behold in that blood of Immanuel the sea which has drowned all their sins, the fountain which has cleansed all their guilt, the source of their reconciliation, the cause of their peace, and the ground of their access—is not the gospel a joyful sound to their ears?

And yet how few live in the full enjoyment of this truth—”You will cast all my sins behind Your back.” “You have forgiven all their iniquity.” “I have blotted out as a cloud your transgression, and as a thick cloud your sins.” Precious truth! Since God has spoken it, faith exclaims, “I believe it. On this I can live holily, and on this I can die happily.”

October 22: Sanctified By The Word

“Sanctified by the word of God.” 1 Timothy 4:5

It is the natural tendency of Divine truth, when received into the heart, to produce holiness. The design of the whole plan of redemption was to secure the highest holiness and happiness of the creature; and when the gospel comes with the power of God unto the salvation of the soul, this end is preeminently secured.

The renewed man is a pardoned man; the pardoned man becomes a holy man; and the holy man is a happy man. Look, then, at God’s word, and trace the tendency of every doctrine, precept, promise, and threatening, and mark the holy influence of each. Take the doctrine of God’s everlasting love to His people, as seen in their election to eternal life. How holy is the tendency of this truth! “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ; according as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love.”

Let not my reader turn from this glorious doctrine, because he may find it irreconcilable with others that he may hold, or because the mists of prejudice may long have veiled it from his mind; it is a revealed doctrine, and therefore to be fully received; it is a holy doctrine, and therefore to be ardently loved. Received in the heart by the teaching of the Holy Spirit, it lays the pride of man in the dust, knocking from beneath the soul all ground for self-glorying, and expands the mind with the most exalted views of the glory, grace, and love of Jehovah. He who receives the doctrine of electing love in his heart by the power of the Spirit, bears about with him the material of a holy walk; its tendency is to humble, abase, and sanctify the man.

Thus holy, too, is the revealed doctrine of God’s free, sovereign, and distinguishing grace. The tendency of this truth is most sanctifying: for a man to feel that God alone has made him to differ from another—that what he has, he has received—that by the free, distinguishing grace of God he is what he is—is a truth, when experienced in the heart, surely of the most holy influence.

How it lays the axe at the root of self! how it stains the pride of human glory, and hushes the whispers of vain boasting! It lays the renewed sinner where he ought ever to lie, in the dust; and places the crown, where it alone ought to shine, bright and glorious, upon the head of sovereign mercy.

“Lord, why me? I was far from You by wicked works; I was the least of my Father’s house, and, of all, the most unworthy and unlikely object of Your love and yet Your mercy sought me—Your grace selected me out of all the rest, and made me a miracle of its omnipotent power. Lord, to what can I refer this, but to Your mere mercy, Your sovereign and free grace, entirely apart from all worth or worthiness that You did see in me? Take, therefore, my body, soul, and spirit, and let them be, in time and through eternity, a holy temple to Your glory.”

All the precepts, too, are on the side of holiness. “If you love me, keep my commandments;” “Be you holy, for I am holy;” “Come out of the world and be you separate, and touch not the unclean thing.”‘ “God has not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness;” “That you might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God.” Holy precepts! May the eternal Spirit engrave them deep upon our hearts.

Not less sanctifying in their tendency are the “exceeding great and precious promises” which the word of truth contains. “Having, therefore these promises, dearly beloved, let us cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, perfecting holiness in the fear of God.”

Thus holy and sanctifying are the nature and the effect of Divine truth. It is in its nature and properties most holy; it comes from a holy God and whenever and wherever it is received in the heart, as the good and incorruptible seed of the kingdom, it produces that which is in accordance with its own nature—HOLINESS.

As is the tree, so are the fruits; as is the cause, so are the effects. It brings down and lays low the high thoughts of man, by revealing to him the character of God; it convinces him of his deep guilt and awful condemnation, by exhibiting the Divine law; it unfolds to him God’s hatred of sin, His justice in punishing and His mercy in pardoning it, by unfolding to his view the cross of Christ; and taking entire possession of the soul, it implants new principles, supplies new motives, gives a new end, begets new joys, and inspires new hopes—in a word, diffuses itself through the whole moral man, changes it into the same image, and transforms it into “an habitation of God through the Spirit.”

July 28: Through The Lattice

“Showing himself through the lattice.” Solomon’s Song 2:9

This is a clearer and more glorious discovery of Christ, inasmuch as it is the manifestation of Christ in the revealed word. Our Lord cares not to conceal Himself from His saints. He remembers that all their loveliness is through Him, that all their grace is in Him, that all their happiness is from Him; and therefore He delights to afford them EVERY MEANS and occasion of increasing their knowledge of, and of perfecting their resemblance to, Him. The “lattice” of His house is figurative of the doctrines, precepts, and promises of His Gospel. Through these the Lord Jesus manifests Himself, when we come to the study of the word, not as self-sufficient teachers, but as sincere and humble learners, deeply conscious how little we really know, and thirsting to know more of God in Jesus.

The Lord Jesus often shows Himself through these “lattices,”–perhaps some type, or prophecy, or doctrine, or command–and we are instructed, sanctified, and blest. It is the loss of so many readers of the Bible that they do not search it for Christ. Men will study it with the view of increasing their knowledge of science and of philosophy, of poetry and of painting; but how few search into it for Jesus! And yet in knowing Him the pavilion of all spiritual mystery is unlocked–all that God designed to communicate in the present world. To know God is to comprehend all knowledge; God is only truly known as revealed in Jesus; therefore he who is experimentally acquainted with Jesus, holds in his hand the key that unlocks the vast treasury of God’s revealed mind and heart.

Oh, search for Christ in the lattice of the word! The types foreshadow Him, the prophecies unfold Him, the doctrines teach Him, the precepts speak of Him, the promises lead to Him. “Rejoice in the word, but only as the wise men did in the star, as it led them to Christ. The word of Christ is precious, but nothing more precious than Christ Himself and His formation of the soul. Rest not in the word, but look through it to Christ.”

Blessed Lord, I would sincerely open this box of precious ointment–Your own word–that the fragrance of Your grace and of Your name might revive me. It is Your word, and not man’s word, that can meet my case, and satisfy my soul. Man can only direct me to You; Your word brings me to You. Your servants can at best but bring You in Your Gospel to my heart; but Your Spirit of truth brings You through the gospel into my heart. Oh, show Yourself to me in the gospel “lattice” of Your word, and I shall rejoice as one that has found great spoil–in finding You.

May 21: Come Unto Your Precious Physician

“Is there no balm in Gilead? is there no physician there?” Jeremiah 8:22

There is! The physician is Jesus, the balm is His own most precious blood. He binds up the broken heart, He heals the wounded spirit. All the skill, all the efficacy, all the tenderness and crucial sympathy needed for the office meet and center in Him in the highest degree.

Here then, disconsolate soul, bring your wounded heart. Bring it simply to Jesus. One touch of His hand will heal the wound. One whisper of His voice will hush the tempest. One drop of His blood will remove the guilt. Nothing but a faith’s application to Him will do for your soul now. Your case is beyond the skill of all other physicians. Your wound is too deep for all other remedies. It is a question of life and death, heaven or hell. It is an emergency, a crisis, a turning point with you.

Oh, how solemn, how eventful is this moment! Eternity seems suspended upon it. All the intelligences of the universe, good spirits and bad, seem gazing upon it with intense interest. Decide the question, by closing in immediately with Jesus. Submit to God. All things are ready. The blood is shed, the righteousness is finished, the feast is prepared, God stands ready to pardon, yes, He advances to meet you, His returning child, to fall upon your neck and embrace you, with the assurance of His full and free forgiveness.

Let not the simplicity of the remedy keep you back. Many stumble at this. It is but a look of faith: “Look unto me, and be saved.” It is but a touch, even though with a palsied hand “And as many as touched him were made whole.” It is but a believing the broad declaration, “that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners.” You are not called to believe that He came to save you; but that He saves sinners. Then if you inquire, “But will He save me? How do I know that if I come I shall meet a welcome?” Our reply is, only test Him.

Settle not down with the conviction that you are too far gone, too vile, too guilty, too unworthy, until you have gone and tried Him. You know not how you wound Him, how you dishonor Him, and grieve the Spirit, by yielding to a doubt, yes, the shadow of a doubt, as to the willingness and the ability of Jesus to save you, until you have gone to Him believingly, and put His readiness and His skill to the test.

Do not let the freeness of the remedy keep you away. This, too, is a stumbling-block to many. Its very freeness holds them back. But it is “without money, and without price.” The simple meaning of this is, no worthiness on the part of the applicant, no merit of the creature, no tears, no convictions, no faith, is the ground on which the healing is bestowed. Oh no! It is all of grace- all of God’s free gift, irrespective of any worth or worthiness in man. Your strong motive to come to Christ is your very sinfulness.

The reason why you go to Him is that your heart is broken, and that He only, can bind it up; your spirit is wounded, and that He only can heal it; your conscience is burdened, and that He only can lighten it; your soul is lost, and that He only, can save it. And that is all you need to recommend you. It is enough for Christ that you are covered with guilt; that you have no plea that springs from yourself; that you have no money to bring in your hand, but have spent your all upon physicians, yet instead of getting better you only grow worse; that you have wasted your substance in riotous living, and now are insolvent; and that you really feel a drawing towards Him, a longing for Him- that you ask, you seek, you crave, you earnestly implore His compassion- that is enough for Him.

His heart yearns, His love is moved, His hand is stretched out- come and welcome to Jesus, come.

November 30

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes.” Romans 1:16

TO what but the divinity of its nature are we to attribute the miraculous success which has hitherto attended the propagation of the gospel? Systems of religious opinion have risen, flourished for a while, then languished and disappeared. But the gospel, the most ancient, as it is the most sublime of all, has outlived all other systems. It has beheld the rise and the fall of many, and yet it remains. What religion has ever encountered the fierce and persevering opposition which Christianity has endured? Professed friends have endeavored to corrupt and betray it. Avowed enemies have sworn utterly to annihilate it. Kings and legislatures have sought to arrest its progress, and to banish it from the earth. The fires of persecution have consumed its sanctuaries and its preachers; and behold! it yet lives! The “divinity within” has kept it. He who dwelt in the bush has preserved it.

Where are the French Encyclopedists—the men of deep learning and brilliant genius, of moving eloquence, caustic wit, and untiring energy, who banded themselves together with a vow to exterminate Christ and Christianity? Where is the eloquent Rosseau, the witty Voltaire, the ingenious Helvetius, the sophistical Hume, the scoffing D’Alembert, and the ribaldist Paine? Their names have rotted from the earth, and their works follow them. And where is the Savior, whom they sought to annihilate? Enthroned in glory, robed in majesty, and exalted a Prince and a Savior, encircled, worshiped, and adored by countless myriads of holy beings, the crown of Deity on His head, and the scepter of universal government in His hand, from whose tribunal they have passed, tried, sentenced, and condemned, while He yet lives, “to guard His Church and crush His foes.” And where is the gospel, which they confederated and thought to overthrow? Pursuing its widening way of mercy through the world; borne on the wings of every wind, and on the crest of every billow, to the remotest ends of the earth, destroying the temples and casting down the idols of heathenism, supplanting superstition and idolatry with Christian sanctuaries and Christian churches; softening down the harshness of human barbarism, turning the instruments of cruelty into implements of husbandry; above all, and the grandest of all its results, proclaiming to the poorest, neediest, vilest of our race, salvation—full, free salvation by Christ—the pardon of the greatest sins by His atoning blood, the covering of the greatest deformity and unworthiness by His justifying righteousness, and the opening of the kingdom of heaven to all that believe.

Thus is the glorious gospel now blessing the world. It goes and effaces the stains of human guilt, it gives ease to the burdened conscience, rest to the laboring spirit, the sweetest comfort under the deepest sorrow, dries the mourner’s tear, exchanges the “garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness,” and all because it speaks of Jesus. Oh, this gospel were no glad tidings, it were no good news, did it not testify of Jesus the Savior. He that sees not Christ the sum, the substance, the wisdom, the power of the gospel, is blind to the real glory of the word. He that has never tasted the love of Jesus is yet a stranger to the sweetness of the truth.

Yes! the gospel is divine! it is of God’s own creation. He gave the word, and great is the company of those who preach it. Infidelity may oppose, and infidels may scorn it; false professors may betray, and sworn enemies may assail it; yet it will survive, as it has done, the fiercest assaults of men and of devils; like the burning bush it will outlive the flame, and like the rock of the ocean it will tower above the storm—God, who originated and who guards it, exclaiming to all their rage, “Hitherto shall you come, but no farther; and here shall your proud waves be stayed.”