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Negro in the Christian Pulpit; 





By J. W. HOOD, 


.sivop of tl^e .&.- 2^. 33. Zican. Cli.-o.rcli. 



B> Rev. A. G. HAYGOOD, O. O., 

Author of "Our Brother in BLAfiK^&ftgr* 

f JAN 2 !J^ 




Entered according to Act of Congress, in the year 1884, by 

J. W. Hood, 

In the Office of the Librarian of Congress, at Washington, D. C. 


At the request of Bishop Hood, I cheerfully write this 
brief introduction. His long, faithful, able and useful 
work among his people commend him to the respect and 
confidence of those who have knowledge of him. In ad- 
dition to what I have learned of the author of this volume 
of Sermons from the public prints, I have both from 
Southern and Northern men of high character the most 
unreserved expressions of approval. It seems to me that 
we understand a book better when we know something 
of the man who wrote it. It is in order to present at this 
place a few facts concerning the life of the preacher who 
speaks to us in this volume of Sermons. 

James Walker Hood was born in Kennett township, 
Chester county, Pennsylvania, May 30, 1831. His father, 
the Rev. Levi Hood, and his mother, Harriet Hood, were 
Methodists, and were among the thirteen families that, in 
1813, founded a separate colored Methodist church in 
Wilmington, Delaware. Some years after their marriage 
and settlement in Wilmington, the parents of the future 
Bishop moved to a farm nine miles from the city and 
situated on the line between Delaware and Pennsylvania. 
Here several of their twelve children were born — among 
them the subject of this sketch. The farm belonged to 
Ephraim Jackson. The Jacksons were numerous in that 
neighborhood and several of the Hood children were 
brought up in their service. The preacher's father was 
opposed to '" binding " his children to service, as being too 


much like slavery. But, accepting his word as sufficient, 
the children were taken on verbal agreements that they 
should work for "food, clothing and six week's school- 
ing annually till they were sixteen years old." The Jack- 
son, into whose hands James Walker fell, retired from 
business soon after his semi-apprentice came to his family. 
The lad was thrown out of employment and, as it turned 
out, grew up with very limited educational advantages. 
In Philadelphia and New York the youth spent several 
of the following years, doing such work as opportunity 
allowed. He was fortunate enough to escape, during this 
period, an attempt to kidnap him; he was also brought 
under religious conviction, and at the age of eleven ex- 
perienced, as he now believes, a true change of heart. 
The extravagant pretensions and superstitious conceits 
of many of his race, with whom he had religious associa- 
tion, had the effect of bringing the young convert into 
much doubt and spiritual distress. God's blessing on the 
common sense and steadfast piet}^ of his parents delivered 
him from the plague and peril of this sort of unbelief, and 
in his eighteenth year, " resting in the doctrine of justifi- 
cation by faith," he found true and lasting peace. 

When he was twenty-five years old, he realized his call 
to preach, and his unfitness for the work upon which he 
was about to enter. But he was " licensed to preach," and 
began to do what he could both to preach and to improve 
himself. These Sermons show that, considering his op- 
portunities, he surpassed many who have had every 

In 1859 he was " received on trial " into the New Eng- 
land Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Zion 


Church. In 1860 he was ordained deacon, and sent as a 
Missionary to Nova Scotia. In 1862 he returned to the 
session of his Conference, was ordained Elder, and returned 
to the Nova Scotia Mission for another year. In 1863 he 
was stationed in Bridgeport, Connecticut. During this 
year he was sent to North Carolina " as the first one of 
his race appointed as a regular Missionary to the freed- 
men in the South." During the following eighteen years, 
North Carolina, the southern counties of Virginia, and 
the northern counties of South Carolina, have been the 
field of his chief labors. During that time in this field 
nearly 600 churches have been formed and about 500 
church buildings erected. 

Mr. Hood was elected a Bishop in his Church by the 
General Conference which met in Charlotte, N. C, in 1872. 
As one of the "General Superintendents" of his widely 
extended Church, Bishop Hood has travelled the Con- 
tinent to and fro. His ability, his eloquence, his zeal and 
his usefulness, have commanded the respect and confi- 
dence of the best people of both races. As one of the 
members of the Ecumenical Conference that met in Lon- 
don in 1881, Bishop Hood made a lasting impression. 
These sermons speak for themselves. Their naturalness, 
their clearness, their force, and their general soundness of 
doctrine, and wholesomenessof sentiment, commend them 
to sensible and pious people. I have found them as use- 
ful as interesting. 

Those who still question whether the negro in this 
country is capable of education and " uplifting," will 
modify their opinions when they read these sermons, 
or else will conclude that their author is a very striking 


exception to what they assume is a general rale. Bishop 
Hood entertains many broad and important views as to 
the wants and duties and future of his people. He be- 
lieves that their best interests are to be conserved in pre- 
serving the race from admixture of other bloods. They 
should, lie thinks, hang together, and he is persuaded 
that if his people are to succeed permanently and broadly 
in this country, they must largely " work out their own 
salvation." Men like Bishop Hood deserve encourage- 
ment in their good work. They have a great work to 
do in the United States. May we not believe that in do- 
ing that work they are being trained for the yet greater 
work of redeeming Africa? 


Emory College, Oxford, Ga., ) 
October 16, 1884. ) 


And why should there be an apology for publishing a 
book of sermons? New publications are continually 
appearing. It is, however, customary to give a reason for 
the appearance of a new work. There are extraordinary 
reasons for the appearance of this work : 

First. The absolute absence of such a work from the 
pen of a colored Methodist minister. This class of min- 
isters is numbered by thousands, and their ministry has 
covered a period of nearly one hundred years. It seems 
time that a sample of their pulpit deliverances was put 
in the form of a book for public criticism. A single sermon 
from some distinguished one of them has occasionally 
appeared, and more frequently a short sketch, but some- 
thing more than this seems to be demanded. 

Secondly. In the course of studies laid down for our 
candidates for the ministry, the reading of sermons is in- 
cluded. It seems to me that if we require our young men 
to read printed sermons, we ought to produce them. 

Thirdly. I have been urged, for several years, by the 
ministers among whom I have labored to publish tny 

With a single exception, the sermons herewith pre- 
sented were written befoie the title of the book was 
selected. The harmony, therefore, of a course of sermons 
written upon a single topic may to not be expected, as 
they are selections from sermons prepared for ordinary 


pulpit effort. This fact will also prepare the reader to ex- 
pect a more frequent repetition of the same illustration 
and scripture quotation than would be expected in a 
course of Sermons written for publication. My constant 
travels, connected with Episcopal duties, have forbidden 
my reading the proof with as much care as I desired. I 
notice some errors which were corrected in reading the 
proof, hut still appear. 

On page 22d, line nine, " could " is erroneously repeat- 
ed ; on page 40, sixth line from the bottom, " state " 
should be "change"; on page 56, line eight, "their 
friendship " should read : " these friends," same page, 14th 
line, should read, " It was mysterious love " ; on page 61,. 
the first line of poetry should begin with "In," not 
"And"; on page 83, line six, "of Luther" should read 
" by Luther ".; on page 90, seventh line from the bottom, 
instead of "those days" it should read " — day 
which"; on page 101, ninth line from l he' -bottom, 
"trembling " should. read " tumbling " ; on page 110, fifth 
line from the bottom, " light" should read "life"; on. 
page 150, after the word "torch." in line seveenteen, 
" for "should be inserted; on page 165, sixth line from 
the bottom, after speaker, "of "should read ''in "; on 
page 1&% fifth line of poetry, instead of " unfathomless " 
it shouldfread "unfathomable." These are some of the 
more vexing errors. Critical readers will discover others, 
the true reading ofwhich will be apparent at a glance. 

I requested contributions from my colleagues, threeof 
whom furnish a sermon each, and the fourth two ser- 
mons. These productions present a rich variety of doc- 
trine, of style and of thought ; which add much to the 
value of the work. 


The introduction by Dr. Haygood is another evidence 
of the interest which that great philanthropist feels in 
advancement of the interests of the Black Brother, by 
which he has placed us under lasting obligations. He 
has our best thanks. For suggesting the idea of soliciting 
Dr. Haygood to write the introduction, and for opening 
correspondence on the subject, I am indebted to Rev. J. 
C. Price, M. A. I am also indebted to Rev. L. S. Burk- 
head, D. D. (of the M. E. Church, South), and Hon. A. W. 
Tourgee of "The Continent/' published in New York, for 
letters to Dr. Haygood, commendatory of myself and 
work. These, with the Bishops who have furnished ser- 
mons, will please accept grateful thanks. 



Introduction — By Rev. A. G. Haygood, D. D., Author of " Our 

Brother in Black," &c, 3 

The Author's Apology, 6 

The Claims of the Gospel Message, _ 9 

Personal Consecration, 20 

Exemplified Attachment to Christ and the Reward, 33 

Divine Sonship the Sequence of Wondrous Love, 49 

Why was the Rich Man in Torment, 61 

The Marvelous Vitality of the Church, . 79 


On Easter, 90 

Creation's First-born, or the Earliest Symbol of the Gospel, 105 

The Soul's Anchor, ._ 122 

The Loss of the Soul, . 136 

The Two Characters and Two Destinies, 148 

Man's Natural Disinclination to turn in his Distresses to his Maker,.. 165 

The Streams which Gladden God's Citv, 1 73 



The Perfect Felicity of the Resurrected Saints a Result of Conformity 

to the Divine Likeness, ._ 190 

The Doom of the Hypocrit's Hope, 205 

The Glory Revealed in the Christian Character, 222 


A Desirable Consummation, — 236 

Loss of First Love, 247 

The Helplessness of Human Nature, -. 262 

The Christian Characteristics, _ - - - 27S 

David's Root and Offspring, or Venus in the Apocalypse, 290 


The Unpardonable Sin, by Bishop J. J. Moore, D. D 307 


The First Pair Banished, by Bishop J. P. Thompson, M. D.,_. 315 

The Love of God — Its Objects, Gift and Design, by Bishop Thomas 

H. Lomax, _._ -'- 322 

A Farewell, delivered before the Kentucky Conference by Bishop S. J. 

Jones, D. D. , . . . . 335 


The Good Samaritan, by Bishop S. J. Jones, D. D.,.._ 353 

Electrotypes of Bishops contributing Sermons, in a group, 304 



"Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the 
things that we have heard, lest at any time we should let them 
slip." Heb. ii, 1. 

The object of writing the Epistle to the Hebrews seems 
to have been, to confirm the faith of those who had em- 
braced the Gospel, to prevent them from being drawn 
away, and apostatizing therefrom, and to convince the 
unbelieving of the importance of the Gospel message. 
The apostle, at the opening of his discourse, set forth 
the fact that the Gospel economy was more excellent 
than the Jewish, which it was wholly to supersede, and 
that it was a more complete revelation of the mind and 
will of God, than he had ever before communicated to 
man — a revelation which proclaims, in all its richness, 
fulness and efficiency, the plan of salvation, secured 
through the suffering of the Son of God, for the perishing 
millions of the human race. 

In the text we are reminded of the attention which 
the subject demands. Being more excellent and more 
important than an} 7 former message ever sent from 
God to man, it demands more earnest heed. The 
apostle desired that his Hebrew brethren should enjoy 
all the abundant blessings which it affords, and to 


this end he urged that they should give it the necessary 
attention — -that they should grasp, and hang on to the 
subject, as one upon which their eternal interests hinged. 
He unites himself with them to avoid appearing invid- 
ious, or suspicious of any special indifference on their 
part It has been remarked that people are not so ready 
to receive exhortations, which they suspect are urged 
upon the ground of undeserved blame. He therefore 
expressed himself in such a w T ay as to indicate that the 
duty urged was of general concern, and not singular to 
them ; but because the Son of God, by whom the Father 
lias sent this great message of mercy to the human race, 
is a person so infinitely more excellent and glorious than 
any by whom he has ever spoken to man before; because 
the message he brings is so vastly more important than 
any former message communicated to man, and because 
this great and glorious messenger suffered so much to 
secure to us the blessings offered in this message, "there- 
fore we ought to give" it " the more earnest heed" ; more 
than was given to any former message, yea, more than for- 
mer messages (which were less important) deserved, and 
more than we have hitherto given to this. Not being duly 
impressed with its importance, we have not, hitherto, 
given it the attention we should. Let us, therefore, cease 
this indifference and heedlessness, call in the wanderings 
of our minds, and turn them to the contemplation of 
this great and all important subject of the soul's eternal 
salvation, contained in the words spoken by the Son of 
God. Such in brief is the of the text. 

Let us enter into the spirit of the apostle, endeavor to 
grasp his theme, and make it our own. There is no sab- 


ject of so much importance to us, as this, and hence none 
which has so strong a claim upon us. The Gospel offers 
to all, who will embrace it, blessings rich, abundant and 

Our theme is, The Claims op the Gospel Message. 
And our thoughts first revert to the grounds upon which 
these claims rest. Why ought we to give heed to the 
things which we have heard respecting the Guspel mes~ 
sage ? There are several points from which we may urge 
attention to this subject : 

I. Its source, origin, author. 

The message is divine, it is from God. This is the point 
at which the apostle begins. Indeed it was necessary for 
him to settle this point, else he could not hope to induce 
the Hebrews to embrace it. Hence, he starts off with the 
following declaration : " God, who at sundry times and in 
divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the 
prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by his 
Son." Thus he shows that the Gospel message is from 
God, the only living and true God, the same who spoke 
to the fathers by the prophets, the God of Abraham, of 
Moses and JDlijah. This was the first great fact to which 
the apostle admonished the Hebrews to give heed. He 
was not calling upon them to renounce the God of their 
fathers, nor to embrace a new religion, but declares that 
the same God, who had for ages been revealing his will 
unto the fathers at sundry times and in divers manners, 
had now at one time, by one whole message, in a more 
complete manner, and by a more glorious meesenger than 
was ever before employed, revealed himself to the sons of 
inen in a new and living way. It was, therefore, not lab 


purpose to lead them away from the God of their fathers, 
but to lead them to him, by his own better way of ap^- 
proach, which he had revealed by his Son. By this we 
are reminded that as to authority, the Gospel message is 
fully equal to any former message, and, as we shall see, 
it is in all other respects superior. 

1. It is superior in its completeness. 

God h#d never given a complete revelation of his mind 
and will to man before. He had gradually unfolded his 
benevolent purposes, but had not fully revealed the mys- 
tery of redemption, in any of the messages'given by the 
prophets to the fathers. 

The former revelations were given by degrees, a part 
at a time— "at sundry times." The order and extent of 
creation was revealed in Adam's time. The general judg- 
ment and future rewards and punishments were made 
known to Enoch. To Adam, it was also made known 
that victory over the enemy of man should be obtained 
by the seed of the woman. To Abraham, it was made 
known that in his seed ail the nations of the earth should 
be blessed. Jacob, looking down the line of the tribe of 
Judah, saw the promised seed of the woman and of Abra- 
ham, as a peaceful prince, to whom should the gathering 
of the people be. To Moses, it was revealed that Messiah 
should be a prophet, whose predictions would claim uni^ 
versal attention. To Isaiah and other prophets, many 
important truths were revealed. Among other visions of 
Isaiah, he saw the world's Redeemer as a mighty con* 
queror, coming up from Bozrah, meeting man's enemy, 
single handed and alone, and vanquishing him, staining 
his gaiinejits with the blood of the vanquished, and e&* 


ulting in his power to save. Isaiah viewed him, until, by 
his suffering and triumph, he secured man's redemption, 
and obtained victory over death. Thus gradually and 
in parts, had God formerly revealed his mind and will, 
and the progress, triumph and victory of his kingdom, 
unto men. Not only had he given his former revela- 
tions at sundry times, but in divers manners, by dreams, 
by visions, by audible voices, and by the appearance of 
angels. Now the Gospel is God's last message to man, 
complete in itself, and delivered in all its fulness and 
completeness, by one messenger.; not in dreamsor visions, 
not in types, shadows or dark sayings, as in the past, but 
in plain and popular language, which carries conviction 
to the heart, fills the understanding with knowledge and 
the heart with hope .; not in words of terror, (as that voice 
which caused Sinai to quake, and filled the Israelites 
with mortal dread, so that they desired u that God should 
not speak to them any more,") but with a voice of infi- 
nite tenderness, with words that contain eternal life. 
" Therefore, we ought to give " it " the more earnest 

2. But the apostle refers to the medium through which this 
message comes to us, the exalted character of him who brings 
ii, the sacrifice he made, and the suffering he endured to obtain 
man's redemption. 

" By his Son." This is the second point from which 
he would have us view the importance of the Gospel, 
namely, that God regarded it so highly, that he would 
entrust it to no less person than his Son. That which is 
of little worth, we will intrust to any one; not so with 
that which we regard as of great value. The necessary 


conclusion is, that a message which God regarded so 
highly, must be of infinite importance. 

The apostle stops not here, but to heighten our ad- 
miration, and to carry our thoughts up to the loftiest 
summit where we can view the subject in all its gran- 
deur and glory, and have a full realization of its momen- 
tous consequences to man, he proceeds to portray the 
characteristics of the Son of God. " This is he whom he 
hath appointed heir of all things, by whom he made the 
worlds." The saints are sometimes called sons of God, 
but on none of the saints hath he conferred the title of 
creator, or the honor of universal inheritance or empire. 
Angels are called sons of God, but " unto which of the 
angels said he at any time, Thou art art my Son, this day 
have I begotten thee." " And again, when he bringeth 
his first begotten into the world, he saith, And let all the 
angels of God worship him. 5 '' Ileb. i, 5, 6. He is the Son 
of God in a sense that no other being can claim sonship. 
All other beings are the work of his fingers, or breath 
of his nostrils, but the Son is the product of his redeem- 
ing love, his first and only begotten Son — his second self, 
the offspring of his bowels of compassion, the eternal Son, 
his Son from all eternity, co-equal, co-essential and co- 
eternal with the Father. He is not only a Son in a sense 
that no other being can be, but he occupies an honor 
that no other being has attained to. "To which of the 
angels said he at any time, Sit thou on my right hand 
till I make thine enemies thy footstool." Jesus, as the 
Son of God, has by inheritance a right to sit at God's 
right hand. 
But there was a further fact in connection with this 


Gospel message to which the apostle had especially re- 
ferred, namely, the sacrifice made by the Son of God, to 
meet all the exigencies of tho sinner's case. That man 
might enjoy the benefits of the Gospel economy, much 
needed to be done for him. He had lost the power to do 
anything toward delivering himself, as completely as a 
man shut up in an iron prison, or in a grave, hence he 
is said to be dead and buried ; therefore he that brought 
to him the message of mercy, had also to give him power 
to receive it. Man by disobedience had dishonored God, 
broken his law, and made himself a transgressor. This 
separated him from the divine favor, involved him in 
spiritual death, and condemned him to natural and 
eternal death. To meet man's condition, and deliver him 
therefrom, Jesus offered himself a sacrifice. For man's 
disgraceful conduct, he deserved to be put to shame, and 
for his transgression to suffer pain ; hence Jesus, as his 
ransom, suffered both shame and agony on the cross. But 
man also deserved death, and Jesus died for him. Thus 
Jesus met all the necessities of man's helpless condition, 
and hence it is written, " the chastisement of our peace 
was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed." He 
rendered unto God an acceptable sacrifice, God himself 
bearing witness to its acceptance by sitting him at his 
-own right hand — " when ho had by himself purged our 
sins, sat down at the right hand of the majesty on high." 

" He ever lives above 
For me to intercede, 
His all redeeming love, 
His precious blood to plead : — 

Forgive him, oh forgive, they cry, 
Nor let the ransomed sinner die." 


II. Let us consider the exhortation. 

We are exhorted to give heed, earnest heed, yea "more 
earnest heed " to the things that we heard respecting the 
gospel message, and its claims upon us, and thus avoid 
the danger of letting the things, which make for our peace, 
slip from us, or, in other words, avoid the danger of loos- 
ing our interest in them. Thoughtlessness and heed- 
lessness are most prevalent, and also most dangerous 
evils. Those misquote God's word, who say, "he that 
runs may read." They put it wrong end foremost. It 
should be, " he that reads may run." You must stop and 
read, and then run. You cannot read while running. 
Coming to the point at which two roads meet, if you rush 
on, you are as likely to take the wrong road as the right 
one, but if you stop and read the direction on the sign- 
post, and thus learn the right way, you may then go for- 
ward with all possible speed. That saying, " Be sure you 
are right, and then go ahead," is a wise one. 

The admonitions to take heed are numerous, and are 
found in almost every part of the sacred volume. Moses 
thus writes: "Only take heed to thyself, and keep thy 
soul diligently, lest thou forget the things which thine 
eyes have seen, and lest they depart from thy heart all 
the days of thy life." Deut. iv, 9. Again, "Take heed 
unto yourselves, lest ye forget the covenant of the Lord 
your God, which, he made with you." Verse 23. Solo- 
mon admonishes us to ponder the paths of our feet, and 
Jesus frequently gives this solemn injunction, " He that 
hath an ear to hear, let him hear." To his disciples, after 
he had explained the parable of i he sower, he said, "Take 
heed what ye hear," Mark iv, 24 ; and in another place 


he said, " Take heed, therefore, how ye hear." These 
passages indicate that inattention to the soul's interests is 
a prevalent evil, and that the tendency of the mind to 
drift away from the things that pertain to our eternal in- 
terests is so strong, that it needs to be held up to them, 
as a ship needs to be held up by its helm, in order to 
make head against a contrary wind. When the wind is 
contrary, but little head is made, if the man at the helm 
is careless or neglectful of dut} r . In our voyage across 
time's billows, the wind is always contrary, and nothing 
but the most caieful attention to duty, the most ceaseless 
energy and watchfulness, will enable us to make head. 
This steadiness of purpose, energy of soul, unceasing 
watchfulness, and constant holding of the mind and at- 
tention up to the things which most concern us is, what 
so many, even professing christians lack. Many are 
wholly thoughtless, heedless and indifferent. They are 
warned that they are in the broad road to ruin, that 
their way is dark and leads to hell ; but they don't take 
heed. The charming sound of the Gospel fills their ears, 
the wrath and indignation of Almighty God is pro- 
claimed in thunder tones, the brink upon which they 
stand is pointed out by the solemn and sorrowful warn- 
ing voice of faithful ministers, but all to no effect; they 
don't take heed ; along the downward road they pursue 
their dark and woful way. heedless mortal ! we appeal 
to you on this first Sabbath morning in the new year. 
stop and think! Give heed and hear, turn to God, 
and your souls shall live. 

But the text is especially addressed to those who are not 
wholly heedless — those who have heard. It is to the 


things that we have heard, that we are exhorted to give 
heed, lest at^any time we should let them slip. It is our 
duty to hold what we hear, but by heedlessness we let go 
that which we ought to hold on to. In the revised ver- 
sion of the New Testament it is rendered, " Lest haply 
we drift away from them." The sense is about the same. 
The idea is, that if the things are not retained, it is our 
own fault. Mr. Benson thinks "run out" would be a 
better rendering, that it alludes to a leaky vessel, which 
lets out the water many ways, which is poured in one 
way. Preaching is represented as watering men with 
the word, and receiving the word by faith is represented 
as drawing water from the wells oi salvation. If we do 
not retain what is poured into us by preaching, and re- 
ceived through faith, we may be charged with letting it 
run out, or slip from us. 

But our attention is called to time. " Lest at any time." 
Some persons would hold on to and reap the full 'benefit 
of what they have heard, if all seasons were favorable. 
When they have no cross nor vexation, and are enjoying 
the flood tide of divine blessings, both spiritual and tem- 
poral, they run well. But we shall not reach a state here 
on earth that is free from vexations. Vexations are the 
natural products of time's soil, and so long as we are 
creatures of time, we shall be subject to various, chang- 
ing seasons and circumstances, and therefore in danger 
of letting the good things we have heard slip from us, 
or of drifting away from them. 

Some drift away under the soft and balmy breezes of 
worldly prosperity, some are driven by the storms of ad- 
versity, some are the subjects of peculiar temptation 


God sometimes suffers bis people to be severely tried, 
that they may be confirmed to the Captain of our salva- 
tion, who was made perfect by suffering. Jesus himself 
was led up by the Spirit into the wilderness that he 
might be tempted b}^ the devil, and no mortal can tell, or 
even conceive, what he endured during those forty days. 
We are taught to pray, " Lead us not into temptation.' 7 
While God tempts no man, yet he leads us in the path of 
duty, and Satan lays his snares in that very path, and 
unless we can prevail with the Lord to lead us to duty 
by some other path, we shall have sore trial. In these 
trying times many are drawn away from their steadfast- 
ness, let their grace leak out, make shipwreck of faith 5 
let slip the things which they have heard, lose all the 
good effect of the word, and drift away from the truth. 
Such is the result of heedlessness. This evil effect is 
sometimes suddenly produced, but more frequently like 
water from a leaky vessel, the good effect of the word 
gradually runs out of the soul, till it becomes empty. 
The only sure preventative against this evil is to take 
heed. " Therefore we ought to give the more earnest 
heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time 
we should let them slip." 




11 And who then is willing to consecrate his service this da^ 
tinto the Lord ?" 1 Chronicles xxix, 5. 

Our text is associated with the effort, which David put 
forth to induce his people to supply the material neces- 
sary for the erection of the Lord's house, which Solomon 
his son was ordained to erect. It was in David's heart to 
build this house himself, but it was not God's will that 
he should. There was no objection, however, to his 
gathering together such materials as he could, and David 
was quite content to do such part of the work, as it pleased 
the Lord that he should do. There are some men who, 
if they can't do what they choose, won't do anything. Not 
so with David, he was so deeply interested in the Lord's 
work, that he was ready to do whatever part God would 
permit him. Finding that it v/as notGod's pleasure that he 
should erect the building, nor even know the plan of it, 
yet being permitted to do so, he went to work, with all 
his might, to collect the materials ; some of his collections 
being the most costly, jpf which that magnificent structure 
was composed, namely, silver, gold, even the gold of 
Ophir, and stones most precious. In collecting the ma- 


terials, he drew both upon his own private resources, and 
the public resources of his kingdom. Yet all of this he 
considered not enough, but believed that a work of so 
much importance should be engaged in by all of the 
people. He therefore made a personal appeal, in the 
language of the text, to each individual. He prefaced 
his appeal with a statement of the grounds upon which 
it was made: 

(1). The youthfulness of his son, whom God had chosen 
to erect this building. (2). The vastness of the work. 
(3). The grandeur and glory associated with it. The pal- 
ace was not for man, but for the Lord God, who was to 
dwell therein, or be therein represented by a glorious 
splendor, the bright symbol of his divine presence. It 
w r as therefore a work worthy of their best effort, to push 
it forward. The more rich, costly and abundant their 
gifts, the more splendid would be the adornment, and 
the more suitable would be the house for its divine occu- 
pant. (4). He referred them to his own example. He 
had contributed of his most costly and precious posses- 
sions, had given the best he had, not for show or any 
vain or selfish motive, but from love toward's God's 
house. " Moreover, because I have set my affection to 
the house of my God, I have of mine own proper good, 
of gold and silver, which I have given to the house of 
my God, over and above all that I have prepared for the 
holy house." When what we do for God springs from 
love toward him, we may be sure that both our person 
and work are accepted. 

Having presented the grounds, David makes his ap- 
peal direct and personal. " Who then is willing to con- 


secrate his service this day unto the Lord?'' I repeat, 
this appeal was direct and personal. It went directly 
home to each and every one, to whom it was addressed. 
No one could feel that he was not included, that it did 
not mean him ; but each one must have felt that he was 
required to respond for himself. There could have been 
no looking about to see who was referred to, but each 
must have felt a personal responsibility, that he could 
could not shirk or shake off. 

In like manner, direct and personal, does the text come 
home to each of us to-day. I wish that each one present 
would regard the text as a personal appeal to himself. 
" Who then is willing to consecrate his service this day un- 
to the Lord?" Not merely a little seriousness, which might 
be produced by a thunder-storm, a hurricane, or a sudden 
death ; not a little amendment of our ways, the breaking 
off of our viler habits merely ; but a consecration is called 
for — a consecration of our service unto the Lord. Conse- 
crate is from the Latin con and sacra, to make or declare 
sacred, to separate from a common to a sacred purpose, to 
set apart, to dedicate, to devote to the service and worship 
of God. It carries with it the idea of perpetuity. He 
that comes to consecrate his service unto the Lord, should 
come with his mind fully made up, never to separate 
himself from the divine service, but to say with the poet, 

' ' The covenant I this moment make, 

I'll ever keep in mind, 
I will no more my God forsake, 
Nor cast his word behind." 

There is peculiar wickedness attached to the desecra- 
tion of sacred things, and those who are thus guilty are 


sure to feel the divine displeasure. The ark of God so 
plagued the Philistines that they were glad to get rid of 
it : and Belshazzar was punished with death, for profan- 
ing the sacred vessels taken from the temple of the Lord 
at Jerusalem. 

Now we are called upon to consecrate our service unto 
the Lord ; to do it this day. All Scripture appeals are 
put in the present tense. " To-day " and " this day " is 
the language inwhich appeals are made. Such is the lan- 
guage of the Psalmist, " To-day if ye wiil hear his voice," 
Psa. xcv, 7. And Paul reminds us that this was not 
merely the language of David, but of the Holy Ghost : 
" Wherefore as the Holy Ghost saith, To-day if ye will 
hear his voice." Heb. iii, 7. Joshua thus addressed Israel, 
" Choose ye this day." Joshua xxiv, 15. Likewise Moses 
said unto Israel, " See, I have set before thee this day 
life and good." There is no intimation that another day 
will be given, or that this offer will ever be made again. 
The text, it seems to me, has a peculiar force to-day. This 
is the first Sunday in the new year, and it happens upon 
the first day of the year. Some of you have no recollec- 
tion of new year's day falling on the Sabbath before. 
The periods that elapse between the times that the first 
of January falls on the Sabbath, are five, six, and eleven 
years. We have just passed the longest period, which 
occurs only once in twenty-eight years. Many of us will 
never see this long period elapse again. Some wiil never 
see the first of January come on the Sabbath again. Some 
will never see another new year's day. Some, perhaps, 
will never see another day. How solemn the thought ! 
Even before this day is gone we may go to eternity, be- 


fore this day is closed we may close our eyes in death. 
How important, then, that we should consecrate our ser- 
vice unto the Lord to-day. 

I. Let us notice what this consecration implies. 

It is a complete and entire separation from every other 
service, and includes a surrender of all our physical and 
mental powers to God, to serve him with our bodies which 
are his, to esteem him as the chief good, and to render 
unto him the adoration of the whole heart. 

1. We must abandon Satan's service entirely. 

Our consecration to God's service will not be complete 
so long as we do any work for Satan, nor will God accept 
our service so long as Satan has a share. We cannot 
serve two masters, and the attempt to do so will prove 
fatal to our spiritual prospects for the future. We must 
not only abandon Satan's service, but must live at the 
greatest possible distance from his dominion. Thousands 
are ruined by settling too near to the border of Satan's 
kingdom. They complain that Satan troubles them. 
They can expect nothing else, while they live so near to 
him. If you don't want to be troubled by him, you 
must move further from him. If we live near to Christ, 
the devil can't harm us. If we are constantly employed 
in divine service, the devil will have no opportunity to 
entice us. 

2. We must abandon creed service. 

The sum total of some men's religion is their church 
and its peculiar forms, ceremonies and doctrines. You 
would never know that they made any pretense to piety, 
were it not for their activity in the sanctuary on the 
Sabbath day. Their zeal would be a good thing, if it was 


for God's glor\ r , if it were God's work in which they en- 
gage ; but it is not. It is not the kingdom of Christ 
they are laboring to build up, but a kingdom of their 
own fancy. Whether souls are saved or not is not their 
concern, but the enlargement of what they are pleased to 
style "the church," and the means employed, like Peter's 
words, savor more of the things that be of men than the 
things of God. There is much more of earth than of 
heaven in all their labor and toil ; much more of the 
wisdom of this world, than of that which cometh from 
above, which the apostle tells us, " is first pure, then 
peaceable, gentle and easy to be entreated, full of mercy 
and good fruits, without partiality and without hypoc- 
ricy." James iii, 17. 

3. We must abandon self service. 

We are naturally selfish. Self seeks to be gratified, 
to be indulged, to be extoled and exalted. We are self 
willed, self opinionated, self conceited. God demands the 
sacrifice of self, and reminds us that without it accepta- 
ble service to him is impossible. " If any man will come 
after me, let him deny himself." Matt, xvi, 24. To sac- 
rifice self requires the greatest possible effort; it is repre- 
sented as the cutting off of a hand and the plucking out 
of an eye. The poet also reminds us how unwilling man 
is to make this sacrifice : 

"If self must be denied, 
And sin forsaken quite, 
They'd rather choose the road that's wide, 
And strive to think it's right." 

Men persuade themselves that their way is right, be- 
cause it is congenial to their selfish inclination. Some 


mistake self will fur divine impulse, and claim to be in- 
spired to do that, to which they are induced by naked 
selfishness. We have an instance of this in the man who 
is now on trial for the assassination of President Garfield. 
He would have us believe ihat he was led to the commis- 
sion of that most heinous crime by divine inspiration; 
and it appears that he had worked himself up into the 
notion that it was all right, before he could nerve him- 
self to commit the crime. There are thousands of evil 
deeds of less magnitude, to the commission of which men 
work themselves up in the same ^ay, and selfishness lies 
at the root of the evil. We serve self. Be assured that 
if we would consecrate our service unto the Lord, self 
must be sacrificed, crucified, die and be buried. 

3. We must abandon our sinful state. 

By nature we are sinners, and we cannot serve God in 
our sins. The heart, the carnal mind, is enmity against 
God, is not in subjection to his will, and cannot be, there- 
fore the carnal mind must be removed. The old man 
and his deeds must be cast out. We must have a new 
nature. You might as soon expect a stream to run up 
hill, or a fish to live on dry land, as to expect a sinner to 
serve God in his sins. Remember the language of Christ 
to Nicodemus, " Except a man be born again, he cannot 
see the kingdom of God." If we had not had our natu- 
ral birth, we would never have seen the light of this 
world, likewise except we are born into the kingdom of 
Christ, we can know nothing of it. We must be born 
into the kingdom of God, in order to live and move and 
act our part in it, and we need the divine nature to qual- 
ify us to render service acceptable to God. 


4. Finally \ iye must make a public entrance upon the divine 

We must get up boldly and leave the devil's camp, 
renounce our allegiance to him and. publicly declare our- 
selves the servants of the Lord. Why not? we have 
served the devil publicly, why not forsake his service 
openly? Otherwise, Satan may charge us with sneak- 
ing away from him. He may claim our service on the 
ground that we have not given him proper notice that 
we have quit him. All work for God must be done in 
his vineyard. To render acceptable service to him, we 
must unite with those who are in his service. 

II. Let us notice the nature qp acceptable service, 

L It must be voluntary. 

Hence the language of David, "Who is willing e?n 

Revelation lays great stress on the will. " Whosoever 
will, let him take the water of life freely." The will is 
the fountain whence ail our moral actions flow. The 
will determines our course, and is responsible for every 
act of ours. We may be acted upon against our will, but 
if we act at all, our will consents. To consecrate our 
service unto the Lord, therefore, it is only necessary to 
get the consent of the will. "Who then is willing?" 
God will not have the service of constraint, lie demands 
the free consent of the will. Inanimate matter is gov- 
erned by fixed laws, laws that it caqnot resist, in con- 
nection with which there can be no will but that of him 
who governs it. The inferior creatures are governed by 
instinct, but man is a moral free agent, and therefore 
responsible. He has the power of reflection and the fac? 
qlty of reason, He cau .bring matters to the scales of hi§ 


judgment and weigh them. He can think and form con' 
elusions. He can form resolutions and act upon them. 
He is, therefore, morally free and responsible. God de- 
clares, " He hath showed thee, O man, what is good ; and 
what doth the Lord^ require of thee but to do justly, love 
mercy and walk humbly with thy God?" The right 
way is made plain, and if we walk not in it, it is because 
we will not. 

The fatalist would rob man of his moral free agency s 
and make him a mere machine, incapable of doing good 
or evil, and hence not responsible. This doctrine would 
exclude the necessity, or even the possibility of a judg- 
ment. There would be no virtue to reward and no vice 
to punish. But God, in his Word, declares that there 
will be a judgment, both of the just and the unjust. He 
has been reiterating it ever since (he days of Enoch, that 
men will be judged according to their deeds, and that 
whether we are rewarded or punished depends upon our 
conduct in this life; that good and evil are set before us, 
and that grace is given us to reject the one and choose 
the other. Such is the import of the text, " Who then is 
willing to consecrate his service unto the Lord this day?" 

And this language stands not alone, as we have seen, 
but besides the passages we have quoted, the following 
are of equal force: "They hated knowledge, and did not 
choose the fear of the Lord. * * Therefore, shall they 
eat the fruit of their own Vay, and be filled with their 
own devices." Prov. i, 29 and 31. 

There are two ways set before the sons of men, and 
they are permitted to choose which they will. Our des- 
tiny and happiness depend upon our choice, Jesus said 


of Mary, she " hath chosen that good part/' Fate has not 
made it hers, but she has made it her choice; she has 
not possessed it by the force of necessity, but by her own 
free will. Thank God, He adds, " it shall not be taken 
from her." It was not forced upon her, and it shall not 
be forced from her. God will see to it that none shall 
take us out of his vineyard by violence. We are free to 
consecrate ourselves unto his service, and free to continue 
in his service, for none can pluck us out of his hand. 
Having been made free from sin, we become the servants 
of God, have our fruit unto holiness, and the end ever* 
lasting life. All of this is offered to us freely, but we 
must accept it freely. There are many reasons why we 
should fly from the road to death, and seek that which 
leads to life, yet, we are free. A gaping hell, with howling 
demons, making it hideous with more than ten thousand 
•terrors, awaits the sinner in the road to death, but you 
are free. You can force your way, if you will, down to 
that burning lake, over the prayers of a loving mother» 
a faithful minister, over the blood of a crucified Saviour' 
and all the means employed to keep you back from the 
pit. This you can do, because you are morally free. 

Heaven with all its glories awaits you at the end of 
the road to life. There the enraptured host of glorified 
saints await to welcome you to the blissful regions of 
God's eternal domain, and to the joys of eternal day* 
There that darling babe that angels rocked to sleep, is 
waiting to meet and embrace you. and to fill your ears 
with such music as heaven alone can afford. All these 
anc| untold millions of charms, unknown to mortals here, 


await you in the glory world, and invite you there; but 
you are free; you can reject them if you will; you can 
have them if you will. Who then is willing? Who will 
close in with the offered blessings this day ? 

2. This is a pleasant service. 

I am aware of the fact that some professed christians 
complain and whine about their troubles and vexations. 
They will have it that their lot is a hard one. I am quite 
sure that a sinner would find it hard work to serve God 
jn his sins. Yea, impossible. A hypocrite would make 
no better head, and it is possible that there may be some 
sincere seekers after the right way, who are so weak and 
feeble, that duty may seem a load and worship a task. 
But to the sound, healthy christian, the service of God is 
really delightful. It must be so, for the true christian 
loves the Lord with all his heart, and can it be hard 
work to serve one we love with all the heart? Does the 
lover f]nd it hard work to serve his spouse? Does the 
bridegroom find it hard work to serve his bride? Does 
the loving mother find it hard work to serve her helpless 
infant? I anticipate the answer, there can be but one. 
In all these cases love makes the service delightful, and 
the more that can be done, the more happiness there is 

It is midnight! The cloqd hangs heavy and darl^. 
Heaven's artillery shakes the earth. Lightning flash 
chases lightning's flash. Yet, in the midst of this storm 
and darkness I see a man leave his bed, dress himself 
and prepare to brave the storm. Where goes that man 
|n tlae storm and darkness reigning without ? Why does 


he leave his comfortable bed, and comfortable room, and 
go forth to grope his way in the dark ? He is a loving 
husband, his wife is suddenly ill, he goes for the doctor 
who is five miles away, the streams are swollen, bridges 
are afloat, so that crossing would be dangerous in day 
light, yet the husband ventures. Love lends speed to 
his pace, which he slacks not until the desired object is 
reached. Was it hard work to get that man out of his 
bed ? It would have been hard work to have kept him 
in it. It would have taken chains, and strong chains, to 
have held that man back. Why ? Because he loved 
his wife. 

Now if we love God with all our heart, it will be our 
chief delight to serve him. The angels don't find it hard 
work to serve God, it is their delight. Jesus says: " My 
yoke is easy, and my burden light." Solomon says, 
" her ways are ways of pleasantness." If we have on a 
heavy yoke, it is not the yoke of Jesus ; if your way is 
not pleasant, it is not the way to heaven. There is a 
kind of good and evil equal bent, more a devil than a 
saint state, that some get into, and it's a hard road. 
get out of it to-day. if any of you have gotten into it; 
and you may be sure that you have, if you find it hard 
work to serve God. The truly pious find it joyful work 
to serve God ; hence they sing, " Let the children of Zion 
be joyful in their king," and again, '-'Rejoice in the Lord 
alway, and again I say rejoice." 

3. Bid this is a profitable service. 

The devil, in his attempt to slander Job, by mistake 
uttered a very important truth. He said that Job did not 


serve God "for nought." It is true. The christian does 
not serve God for nought. He that serves God has 
the assurance of an abundant reward. Godliness, says 
the apostle, is profitable. The sinner toils in vain, and 
labors all his day to reap eternal woe. But he that serves 
God is assured of an inheritance with the saints. God 
grant you grace to " consecrate your service unto the 
Lord this day." 




"Behold, we have forsaken all, and followed thee; what shall 
we have therefore ? " Matt, xix, 27. 

I have thought, that, if the advantages which Chris- 
tianity offers to its votaries, were sufficient to overcome 
Peter's extreme selfishness, and induce him to forsake all 
and follow Christ, there is no good reason why any other 
heart should not yield to its influences. Selfishness was 
one of the most prominent features in Peter's nature : to 
this our attention is directed on several occasions. First, 
at his call. On other occasions, Jesus simply said," Follow 
me," and was obeyed. I am not certain that Peter would 
have left his nets, if nothing more than this had been 
said to him. Knowing his natural selfishness, Jesus 
added the promise : "I will make you fishers of men. 
And they straightway left their nets and followed him." 
Matt, iv, 19, 20. Andrew, it is true, was wTth him, but it is 
my notion that it was to meet and overcome Peter's selfish- 
ness, that the promise was added in this case, which we 
find in no other. The second occasion was that on which 
Jesus began to show his disciples, how he must go unto 


Jerusalem, and suffer many things of the elders, chief 
priests and scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the 
third day. Matt, xvi, 21. Here Peter's selfishness over- 
leaped all bounds, so that he took Jesus and began to 
rebuke him, saying, " Be it far from thee, Lord : this shall 
not be unto thee." For this, he received the most severe 
rebuke that ever a disciple of Jesus received from his 
master, " Get thee behind me, Satan : thou art an offence 
unto me: for thou savourest not the things that be of 
God, but those that be of men." Matt, xvi, 23. The 
third occasion was that of the transfiguration, on which 
Peter, having got into a good place, wanted to build and 
stay. He held a commission to gather the lost sheep 
who were perishing in the valley, yet he was so filled 
with thoughts of his own comfort, that he was ready to 
let them perish in the valley, if he could but continue to 
enjoy the rapture of the mount of divine glory. These 
passages most clearly indicate that Peter was naturally 
a most selfish man; and would not have embraced the 
religion of Jesus, had he not had the bes.t reason to believe 
that it was most advantageous to do so. Nor was a mind 
like his likely to be deceived ; he was never satisfied with 
a cursory view of a matter, but sought to fully inform 
himself. When he, with John, came to the sepulchre on 
the third morning, John outrunning Peter, reached the 
tomb first, and simply stooped down and looked in ; but 
Peter, coming a little later, went in and carefully exam 
ined the grave clothing. John xx, 5, 6. This same de- 
sire to know it all, appears also in the text. 

If, however, there is any selfishness exhibited in t lie 
text, it is a commendable selfishness, la this he is not 


rebuked, nor is there any hint that his interrogatory 
savors of any thing not commendable. So far from this, 
Jesus gave a full and complete answer to the question 
propounded. An answer that seemed to allay all anxiety, 
even in Peter's mind, 

We conclude, therefore, that it is quite in accord with 
the divine will, that we should consider the benefits of 
religion ; ' that we are encouraged to inquire and act 
upon a well matured judgment. And, blessed be God ! 
the religion of Jesus will bear the most careful scrutiny, 
the most rigid examination, and when subjected to the 
severest ordeal, every grain of it will stand as pure gold ; 
and confirm the apostle's declaration, that godliness is 
profitable unto all things, not only for the life to come, 
but also for this life. Genuine attachment to Christ, 
secures blessings, rich, abounding and eternal. 

I. But the text leads us to contemplate the nature 


It is exclusive and self-denying. The language of the 
text grew out of the refusal of a wealthy young man to 
give up his earthly possessions, as a prerequisite to his 
possessing treasures in heaven. I don't understand that 
he was required to sell his property and scatter all of his 
money without care. He was simply required to exchange 
his property for money, that he might have it in a con- 
venient shape to give as occasion required. I don't think 
that there is much virtue in giving thoughtlessly. It is 
our duty to see to it that our gifts are bestowed where 
they will do good. This young man was unwilling to 
trust the Lord, which is the fruitful source of disobedience, 
and, at least, one great reason why there are not more 


genuine, wholesouled christians. A confidential reliance 
upon God enables us to turn loose the things which are 
seen and to lay hold of those things which are not seen. 

All systems of religion are connected with sacrifice. 
The worshippers of Moloch caused their children to pass 
through the fire. As a test of Abraham's faith and 
obedience, he was required to give up his sorr, the son 
through whom the promised seed should come. I do not 
believe that this young man would have been any more re- 
quired to render himself penniless, than Abraham was to 
render himself childless. If he had shown his willingness 
to obey, Jesus, no doubt, would have said," it's enough." 
The consent of the will is what he demands. An entire 
surrender of soul and body to him, a sacrifice of self. 
The Jewish economy was connected with many sacrifices. 
The blood of beasts, and of birds, the burnt offerings, the 
sin offerings, the wave offerings, and many others. 

Jesus, by the sacrifice of himself, has superseded the 
necessity of these. Neither the blood of beasts, nor 
human beings, is required under the christian dispensa- 
tion. And yet there is a sacrifice required. I repeat, a 
sacrifice of self, self-will, self-indulgence, self-gratification, 
self exaltation, self-conceit, and self-adoration must be 
sacrificed. We must sacrifice everything that hinders a 
full reliance upon the divine promise. This sacrifice is 
not made without pain to the natural man ; to make it 
does violence to the carnal inclinations. It is represented 
as the plucking out of an eye, or the amputation of a 
member. But who would not sooner lose an eye, hand 
or foot, than to lose the whole body. 

This young man who had kept the whole law, so far 


as he had learned it, up to that time, asks: " What lack 
I yet? " Only one more test was required, and he would 
have been perfect, namely, a sacrifice of his property. 
When he heard that saying, he went away sorrowful ; for 
he had great possessions, in which, it seems, he had more 
confidence than he had in the promised possession. 
None who forsook Jesus ever went away happy. 

Jesus said unto his disciples: " How hardly shall they 
that have riches, enter into the kingdom of God — it 
is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, 
than for a rich man to enter into the kingdom of God," 
that is, if he trusts in his riches. The disciples, in their 
astonishment, asked, who then can be saved. 

Men have tried to whittle away this passage, and try 
to make it appear that Christ did not mean what he said. 
The trouble is, they overlook what he did say, and try to 
fix up a plausible meaning in accordance with their own 
shortsightedness. If we read enough of God's word to 
understand it, we won't have any need to exhibit any 
such bungling attempts at fixing it up ; it is already fixed. 
We have been told that Jesus did not mean a needle's 
eye, but a gate in Jerusalem, called by that name. This, 
seems to me to be far fetched. I have never been able to 
accept it. Whatever he meant was something impossi- 
ble with man. The doctors seem to have overlooked this 
fact, and try to get up a possibility: hence they manage 
to get their camel through their needle's eye, after getting 
him clown on his knees, and his burden off his back. 
This interpretation finely illustrates the importance of 
humility, but humility was not just the point that Christ 
was illustrating at that. time. He was showing the folly 


of trusting in riches, and the impossibility of any one 
getting to heaven, who trusted in riches, or who, like this 
man, had more confidence in riches than he had in Christ. 
The record in St. Mark makes it clear that stress was laid 
upon the trust. "Children, how hard it is fcr them that 
trust in riches, to enter into the kingdom of God." 
Mark x, 24. While all things are possible with God, all 
things are not consistent, nor in accord with the established 
order of his government. It would be inconsistent for 
God to lie, to deny himself, or to change the arrangement 
of his own plan of salvation. He could take a camel 
through a needle's eye, with more consistency and less 
difficulty, than he could take a man to heaven, who had 
more confidence in his own possessions than in God's 
goodness. The camel and needle being irrational crea- 
tures, he could do what he would with them, without 
corning in conflict with any of his own laws or purposes. 
To send a camel through a needle's eye would simply be 
to work a miracle. But man is a moral free agent. God 
himself has devised the plan of salvation, which includes 
trust in him; and, whosoever will go to heaven in that 
way, enters, and he only. This plan includes a willing- 
ness to renounce all things for Christ's sake. This man 
was not willing to do that. It includes a faith to let go 
the things we see and grasp those things which are not 
seen. This man had no such faith, and it appears that 
the love of riches deceived him and kept him from it. 
Jesus had announced that to be his disciple a man must 
deny himself. This man was unwilling to do that. I 
think, therefore, while with God ail things are possible, 
it must be clear to any thoughtful mind, that there are 


almost insurmountable difficulties in the way of taking 
a man to heaven, who won't give up his trust in riches. 
God would have to get him in on some new plan, not 
contemplated in his own plan of salvation. The mediator 
of the new covenant made no arrangement for any except 
those that embrace the plan proposed. It must be equally 
clear, that there would be no such difficulties for him to 
overcome in getting a camel through a needle's eye. 
He, to whom all things are possible, could easily pass a 
camel through a needle's eve. 

The language of Jesus and of Peter indicates that the 
disciples understood that he required a willingness to 
give up all things, if necessary, to do service for him. 
Peter answered: "Behold, we have forsaken all and 
followed thee; what shall we have therefore?" And the 
answer which follows indicates the same: "Verily, I 
say unto you, That ye which have followed me, in the 
regeneration when the Son of man shall sit on the throne 
of his glory, ye also shall sit upon twelve thrones, judg- 
ing the twelve tribes of Israel. And every one that hath 
forsaken houses, or brethren, or sisters, or father, or 
mother, or wife, or children, or lands, for my name's sake, 
shall receive a hundredfold, and shall inherit everlasting 
life." If this does not show that Christ demands a total 
surrender of all things, then words are useless to convey 

To be a follower of Jesus, we must be willing to en- 
dure any pain for conscience's sake. Christianity, or at 
least the form of it, has become so popular that it is very 
seldom that we have to resist unto blood, striving against 
sin; and yet many have not counted their lives dear, if 


spent in the vindication of the truth, and if they were 
thereby able to finish their course with joy. 

To be followers of Jesus, we must leave our sinful state. 
We were shapen in iniquity and born in sin. We are 
by nature heirs of death. We have no good in us, are 
corrupt and alienated from God, without hope and with- 
out God in the world. No amendment will help our 
case. Our old nature cannot be purified. We must be 
formed anew. We must be killed and made alive again. 
There must be a complete transformation, a complete com- 
ing out of our old nature, and the entering into a new. 
Like Abraham, we must cross the flood and come out of 
of Chaldea, and like Ruth we must leave the land of 
our nativity. We must be changed from nature to grace ; 
must "put off the old man with his corrupt deeds, and 
put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge, 
after the image of him that created him." We must 
die unto sin and be raised again unto righteousness; or, 
in the language of Jesus, we " must be born again," not 
naturally, as Nicodemus supposed. A second natural 
birth, nay, a thousand natural births would not help our 
case. That which is born of the flesh is flesh, no matter 
how often so born. We must be born of the Spirit, to 
become spiritual. "That which is born of the Spirit is 
spirit." A natural figure is taken to represent a spiritual 
state. The change is one that no man can explain to 
the natural understanding. Jesus would not undertake 
to explain it, except by the natural figures he employed, 
and great fool would I be should I attempt it. It would 
be folly to expect an unborn child to understand the 
things of this world, and equal folly to expect one not 


born of the Spirit to understand spiritual things. Much 
ignorance prevails respecting scriptural doctrines, because 
we fail to realize that many expressions are figurative. 
The figure is not the fact, it is only a way of representing 
the fact. ' A natural birth in this case is not the change 
which must take place, but a way of representing it, and 
yet falls as far short of the thing represented, as the pic- 
ture of a man falls short of being a man, or the shadow 
falls short of being the substance. A good picture bears 
some resemblance to its original, and likewise this figure 
bears some resemblance to the fact, but we must bear in 
mind that it is not the fact. If Nicodemus had been 
mindful of this, he would not have asked : " Can a man 
enter a second time into his mother's womb and be 
born ?" he would not have persisted in his demand for 
an explanation, "How can these things be?" We need 
not expect a change visible to the eye of sense. It is not 
seen except in its effect. "The wind bloweth where it 
listeth." No man has ever seen the wind, no more can 
you see God's Spirit. You see light matter flying before 
the wind, houses blown down, trees torn up by the roots, 
and the ocean's billows lashed to fury, but you don't see 
the power effecting it. We likewise see wonderful changes 
effected in human nature. A persecuting Saul of Tarsus 
becomes the most abundant laborer in the vineyard of 
the despised Nazarene. A vile, degraded, miserable, 
poor, blind and naked sinner is transformed, clothed with 
garments of righteousness, and occupies a place among 
the saints; the drunkard leaves his cups, the gambler 
burns up his cards; he that delighted in vulgar jargon 
for song, or low sentimentalism, has learned the musicof 


Zion ; the swearer prays, and the maniac sits at the feet 
of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind. We see all thi9 
accomplished, but not the operation of the Spirit in work- 
ing the wonderful change. By our spiritual birth we 
are brought out of our natural state. We leave the City 
of Destruction and come out of spiritual Egypt. We are 
no more strangers, aliens, nor outcasts, but are fellow- 
citizens with all the saints. 

But to follow Jesus, we must leave our former associ- 
ates. We cannot be the companions of worldlings and 
the friends of Jesus. The influence of the world is chil- 
ling. " Blessed is he that walketh not in the counsel of 
the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sit- 
teth in the seat of the scornful." I cannot understand 
how it is that one delivered from spiritual death, should 
deliberately return, but such is the case; and I have 
noticed that association with the dead leads to death. In 
other words, association with sinners leads those who have 
been delivered, back into sin. Two years ago when we 
were trying to ratify an act prohibiting the sale of intox- 
icating drinks, there were many professed christians who 
took counsel of rumsellers in preference to that of God's 
own chosen ministers, yea, they took up their stand with 
them, and to day they are sitting in the seat of the scorn- 
ful. To grow in grace, to maintain the divine favor, to 
be truly followers of the meek and lowly Jesus, we must 
choose the people of God as our companions. Not the 
theatre nor ball-room, but the assembly of the saints must 
be our delight. Those people who find it too warm or too 
cold to go to church, but not too unpleasant to go to 
places of amusement, are not following Jesus closely. 

But we must abandon our way of living. Our sinful 


habits must be forsaken. There is no better evidence of 
a change of heart than a change in our conduct— our man- 
ner of life. "If ye know that he is righteous, ye know 
that every one also that doeth righteousness is begotten 
of him." The life is the best evidence of our spiritual 
state. To be a follower of Jesus we must forsake all sin. 
" Behold, we have left all." This was literally true 
of the apostles; they had literally left all. James 
and John were in the boat with .their father, mending 
their nets; but at the command of Jesus they left their 
nets with their father, and followed him. Levi was sit- 
ting at the receipt of custom; but at the command of 
Jesus he left that lucrative employment, and engaged in 
gathering revenue for heaven's treasury. Peter and An- 
drew were fishing; but at the call of Jesus they took up 
the Gospel net, and went fishing for the souls of men. 
And thus, they had been employed from the day that 
they were called. This is still required of the ministry; 
they have no business with secular employments, except 
in a case like Paul's, in which it may be necessary to 
show a little independence. But it is not meant that the 
mass of mankind shall thus give up their lawful and 
necessary business engagements, and yet they must to- 
tally abandon the world as the object of their affection and 
trust, and must forsake all sin. "Whosoever is born of 
God doth not commit sin ; for his seed remaineth in him." 
We know that seed will produce its own. If therefore 
the seed of righteousness is sown in the heart, and it pro- 
duces anything, it will be righteousness. If sinful 
words, tempers and actions appear, after a profession 


of righteousness, we have good reason to fear that such 
professors are mistaken. The chains of habit are strong, 
and it sometimes requires very great effort to break them; 
yet I have seen some very complete revolutions. The 
gambler, drunken and profane, have forsaken all at once 
so completely, that the thought of indulging in either 
would cause a shudder. It is those who don't see any 
need of so much strictness, who make a compromise with 
sin, and live a slack-twisted christian life, that are not 
able to overcome their wicked habits and needless self 
indulgences. By a determined effort, with divine assist- 
ance, w r e can wholly overcome longstanding wicked hab- 
its, and follow Jesus fully. 

" Behold, we have forsaken all and followed thee." 
We must find the paths he trod, and walk therein. It is 
the path of humility. He humbled himself. It is the 
path of purity ; there was no guile in his mouth. He 
has given us a perfect example and requires that we shall 
work by the pattern he has given us. 

II. But the text leads us to consider the reward of 


" What shall we have, therefore?" Dominion, honor 
and glory, are among the things that are promised 
" Shall sit upon twelve thrones judging the twelve tribes 
of Israel." This idea seems to be borrowed from the 
reign of Solomon, in whose time the kingdom of Israel 
reached the zenith of its glory. Solomon enjoyed a peace- 
ful reign over the twelve tribes of Israel. The grandeur 
of his throne and the glory of his kingdom exceeded any 
thing ever seen on earth. We are told that the great 


Ethiopian queen heard, in her far-off country, of the fame 
of Solomon, and came to see his wisdom as displayed 
in his kingdom; and when she came, she was unuttera- 
bly astonished, and declared that all that she had heard 
was true, but that the half had not been told her ; that 
his glory far exceeded the fame thereof. This exceeding 
grand earthly kingdom is taken by the Savior to repre- 
sent the glory of his saints above. But their glory shall 
be twelve times greater; they are not only to judge twelve 
tribes, but are to sit upon twelve thrones, each represent- 
ing twelve tribes, making a hundred and forty-four tribes. 
But twelve is a figurative number; it signifies complete- 
ness, or perfection, and indicates that the glory of the 
saints will lack nothing ; that they shall be possessed of 
all their hearts' desire. This figure reminds us of the 
dignity of the christian character ; that it far exceeds any 
thing that earth affords. 

1. There is dignity of birth. 

Men are wont to boast of high birth and of their line- 
age. The Jews boasted of their descent from Abraham. 
" The first families of Virginia " is proverbial. Well, the 
christian is born high — born of God, born from above, 
born of the Spirit, born of incorruptible seed. No honor 
that earthly descent can confer can be compared with 
what is meant by these expressions. The saints are sons 
of God, children of the heavenly king, the divine pro- 

2. Then wealth affords dignity, and the children of the 
kingdom are rich. 

They are born rich. "Ye," says the apostle, "are be- 


gotten unto an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and 
that fadeth not away." An incorruptible inheritance is 
not vouchsafed to the children of this world, nor have we 
any unfading portion here. All is fading here ; the trees, 
which in the spring and early summer appear so flour- 
jshing and gay in their green dress, with beautiful, yel- 
low, white, red, blue and purple spots, appear in autumn 
ragged, and in winter naked ; the flower faded, the leaf 
withered, dried, and fallen to the ground ; and thus giv- 
ing to thoughtless mortals the sad and solemn lesson, 
that we soon, like them, must wither and decay ; that 
all our earthly possessions will likewise fade, and that 
we have no enduring riches here. But those who forsake 
all these sublunary things and follow Jesus, are assured 
of riches that are fadeless, incorruptible and eternal. 

3. There is dignity of association also. 

It is regarded as a great and desirable honor to enjoy 
the association of wealthy, noble, great and good people. 
I have known persons who were utterly wretched because 
they were not admitted into what was regarded as the 
best society. Those who leave all and follow Jesus, rank 
and associate with the first and noblest of all created be- 
ings. Paul in Hebrews xii, 22, 23, 24, expresses the dig- 
nity of association to which the followers of Jesus have 
come, as follows: "But ye are come unto mount Sion, 
and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jeru- 
salem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the 
general assembly and church of the firstborn, which are 
written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to 
the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the 


mediator of the new covenant." All earthly social cir- 
cles dwindle into insignificance, into nothing, in compar- 
ison with this celestial array of divine majesty, eternal 
honor, infinite dignity, unlimited power, incomprehensi- 
ble grace and beauty, matchless worth, immutable gran* 
deur, unfading glory, and innumerable multitude of 
charming associates, with whom the followers of Jesus 
shall assemble ; not to mingle for a moment merely, or 
just long enough to learn that the anticipated cupful of 
blessing is never realized, as is the case with earthly 
pleasures, every sip of which is mixed with poison, and 
within every sugar-coat, a pill, most bitter : but there we 
shall drink in the divine presence from a cup full of un- 
mixed joy. 

" What shall we have ?" A hundred fold for each and 
every loss we have sustained as a follower of Jesus here. 
For the land we have forsaken, we shall have unlimited 
area; for the houses we have left, we shall have innu- 
merable mansions ; for the friends we have lost, we shall 
enjoy the association of the whole of the blissful inhabi- 
tants of heaven. But we shall have everlasting life, 
which includes victory over death ; for the last enemy 
that shall be destroyed is death. We shall be strength- 
ened to meet this last enemy. Many have feared the 
conflict, have trembled at the thought of it, and yet have 
been astonished at the ease with which they got the vic- 
tory at the trying hour. It is our duty to make all pos- 
sible preparation for death, to be ever on our watch look- 
ing for the coming of the Lord daily, and yet I never 
expect to feel just like dying till death comes. Then, if 


faithful till then, we are assured of victory. We shall 
not shrink back from, nor fear the approach of, the grim 
monster, but shall welcome his approach, and 

"Dying, find our latest foe 
Under our feet at last." 

This will end the conflict, and then we shall grasp the 
victor's wreath, and seize and wear the victor's crown, 
and with the victor's palm in hand, raise the triumphant 
shout, "0 death, where is thy sting? grave, where is 
thy victory?" 




" Behold, what manner 01 love the Father hath bestowed upon 
us, that we should be called the sons of God; therefore the world 
knoweth us not, because it knew him not. Beloved, now are we 
the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what Ave shall be, 
but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him ; 
for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope 
in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure." 1 John hi, 1 — 3. 

The text directs our attention to the love of God, as ex- 
hibited in the results of that redemption, by which guilty 
and wretched sinners are delivered from the thraldom of 
sin, and the penalty of God's violated law, restored to the 
divine favor, and brought into the enjoyment of all the 
blessings of divine sonship. 

"Behold, what manner of love." What love, both in 
kind and degree! The text suggests the idea of amaze- 
ment, and well it may. for it is love surpassing far the 
love of all beneath. In kind, it is most tender. When 
w T e consider our natural depravity and worthlessness, 
w T hen w r e consider our ungratefulness, and what vile and 
rebellious sinners we have been, we may well be amazed 
at the divine display of that more than fatherly tender- 


ii ess, which, disregarding our vfleness and rebellion, 
adopts us as his own dear children, and puts within us a 
spirit which cries, " Abba, Father." It is love of the 
■highest degree. The love that adopts a poor, friendless 
orphan, and gives him a home, a parent's affection and 
care, is the highest degree of love that mortal beings 
can exhibit to the friendless. It is love far surpas- 
sing this that God is constantly presenting to the as- 
tonished gaze of both angels and men. To this aston- 
ishing exhibition the apostle invites our attention. " Be- 
hold, what manner of love!" Let us notice, 

I. What divine sonship implies. 

Men are wont to boast of their lineage, the royal an- 
cestors, or noble stock from which they are descendants. 
But from what ancestry can come such honor as divine 
sonship implies? Earthly honors, titles, distinctions, 
connections and inheritances, are valueless in comparison 
to wdiat is implied in divine sonship. To be called sons 
of God implies, 

1. A transformation. 

By nature, we are children of the wicked one, sons of 
Belial; aliens, strangers, outcasts, without hope and with- 
out God in the world. This is the natural condition of 
the whole of Adam's posterity. To become sons of God, 
our nature must be transformed. The image which Sa- 
tan has fixed upon our nature must be defaced, the heart 
of enmity must be taken away, and the carnal mind re- 
moved. The apostles speak of this transformation under 
various terms. It is called passing from death unto life, 
a resurrection from the dead, the washing of regenera- 
tion, and being born again. We frequently call it con- 


version, and, it includes all that this word embraces—- 
change of feelings, change of front, change of state. We 
are brought out of darkness into the marvelous light of 
the gospel. The rebellion and stubbornness of the will is 
removed, and it cheerfully bends in submission to the 
divine will. The pollution is removed from the affec- 
tions, and they are made pure. The guilt is removed 
from our conscience, and its burden no longer distresses 

2. It implies the abandonment of the world as the object of 
our affection. 

" If any man love the world, the love of the Father is 
not in him." "The world ' knoweth us not, because it 
knew him not." We have nothing in common with the 
world. Our aspirations, habits of life, manner of conver- 
sation, objects of pursuit, sources of pleasure, hopes and 
fears are all different. But in nothing, is this difference 
more conspicuous than in the objects of our affection, and 
the more complete our sanctification, the more marked 
will this difference appear. We are thus admonished, 
" Be not conformed to this world, but be ye transformed." 
Let your transformation be complete. There is no better 
mark or evidence of our real state than the objects of our 
affections." " Where your treasure is, there will your 
yeart be also." If our hearts are set upon the world, it 
is evident that the world is our treasure, our trust, 
our hope, our all, and that we are not sons of God. If 
the frivolities of earth charm and delight us more than 
the solid and important concerns of the soul and eternity, 
it is evident that we are essentially worldly. 

The sons of God have set their affections on the things 


which are above. Secret communion with God, a devo- 
tional spirit, a love for the assembling of the saints, attach- 
ment to the house of God, a delightful attention to all the 
exercises of the sanctuary, and a reverential regard and 
longing for its privileges, are all distinguishing char- 
acteristics of the sons of God. They are in the world, 
but not of it ; they are passing through it, and making all 
needed use of it, but they realize that it is not their home; 
hence, their hearts are not set upon it. With the eye 
fixed upon the better land, they sing, 

' ' Yonder's my house, my portion fair, 
My treasure and my heart are there, 
And my abiding home." 

3. It implies that we have the spirit of Christ. 

" If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of 
his." " Hereby know we that we dwell in him, and he in 
us, because he hath given us his spirit." By " spirit" we 
understand motive, that by which we are actuated. The 
Savior applied it to that, in his disciples which induced 
.them to ask, if they should burn up the Samaritans with 
fire from heaven. He replied, " Ye know not what man- 
ner of spirit ye are of" He intimated that they were 
actuated by a wrong spirit, that it was not the vindica- 
tion of his offended dignity that they were seeking, but the 
gratification of their own malice. They hated the Samar- 
itans, and therefore were glad of an opportunity to vent 
their spite. This was not the spirit of Christ. He could 
never have redeemed the world with such a spirit. 
" Fury was not in him ;" he prayed for his enemies, those 
who set at naught and sold him, pierced and nailed him 
to the tree, even for them he prayed, " father, forgive 


them, they know not what they do." A meek and lowly, 
tender, kind and forgiving spirit, were eonstanth r mani- 
fested in him. If we are the sons of God, we have the 
same spirit. 

4. It implies participation in all the divine blessings. 

For if we are sons, we are heirs, joint heirs with Christ 
of " an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fa- 
deth not away." This inheritance includes all temporal 
needs. " No goo.d thing will he withhold from them that 
walk uprightly." Having committed our all to him, we 
may rest assured that he will keep what we have com- 
mitted to his care. It includes a constant supply of 
needed grace. Without this, our spiritual life could not 
be maintained. The great enemy would overcome us. 
Jesus reminded Peter that Satan had desired to have him, 
that he might sift him as wheat, but he had prayed for 
him. Peter warned the christians of his time, that their 
enemy, the devil, was going about seeking what soul he 
might devour. All this indicates that there is a fearful 
influence, constantly employed to separate us from our 
relationship to the Father, to draw us away from God. 
Indeed, we do not need to look into the Bible to see this, 
we have only to consult our own feelings. We shall find 
in our every -day experience temptations and inclinations 
to evil. We shall have them while we remain in this pro- 
bationary state. No amount of piety can exempt us from 
them. It is the devil's business to tempt, a business to 
which his nature impels him, a business in which he will 
continue to engage so long as God permits him. We need 
not, therefore, expect exemption from temptation, nor 
need we desire it. We can get along as well with, as 


without temptation, if we will, for in the time of the most 
severe temptation, if we will listen, we will hear Jesus 
say, " My gra^e is sufficient for thee," "he not afraid, it 
is I." It is not, therefore, exemption from temptation 
that we need, hut the grace of God to sustain us under 
temptation, and this we can have, in all its overflowing 
abundance, sufficient fcr all our need, both for living 
and for dying. 


The love of God. "Behold, what manner of love." 
Love moved God to give his only begotten Son to die for 
the redemption of the world. 

What wondrous love is this, 

How passing great, beyond degree, 
That God should give his only Sou 

To bleed anot die for me. 

Of all wonders, the love of God in Christ is the sum 
total. When it reached its culminating point, in his 
death upon the cross, angels, struck with wonder, gazed 
upon the scene, nature stood aghast, the rocks asunder 
rent, the sun withdrew his beams, and in darkness veiled 
the earth. The love of God in Christ constitutes the song 
of the ransomed millions, who move in shining ranks, 
and, sweeping through the gates of the new r Jerusalem, 
gather beneath the bows of the tree of life, and cease not 
to sing that enrapturing song, " Unto him that loved us 
and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath 
made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to 
him be glory and dominion forever and ever," The 


apostle rejoiced in this theme, r ' He loved me and gave 
himself for me." " Behold, what inanner of love." 
1. It w 

It was love springing from pure generosity, and be- 
stowed upon objects who were wholly unworthy of it; 
love flowing from the inexhaustible fulness of divine be- 
nevolence: love reaching as deep as the sinners guilt, 
and extending to every child of man. " Herein is love, 
not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his 
Son into the world to be a propitiation for our sins." 1 
John iv, 10. We were not in a state in which favor could 
be -expected, but the opposite. If we had loved and 
obeyed him, we might have expected love from him, but 
so far from this, we hated him without a cause, and did 
not even desire his favor. In this is the nature of divine 
love displayed, as writes the great apostle, " God com- 
niendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet 
sinners, Christ died for us.'"' Romans v, S. The extent of 
human love is reached when a man lays down his life for 
his friend. So He. that knpweth the heart of man, hath 
declared, " Greater love hath no man than this, that a 
man lay down his life for his friends." John xv, 13. A 
instances are recorded in which men have laid down 
their lives for their friends, yet this has very seldom oc- 
curred, and its occurrence marks the purest friendship 
and highest benevolence of which the human heart is 
The apostle thus refers to the rarity of such 
ence : " For scarcely for a righteous man will one 
•t, per ad venture, lor a good man some would even 
- : between Jonathan and 

.David was so strong that one would, probably, have been 

i ne 


willing to die for the other. Then we have the case of 
Damon and Pythias. Damon had been condemned to 
deatji. Promising to return at the hour appointed for 
his execution, he got permission from the tyrant Dio- 
nysius to go and settle his affairs, Pythias becoming his 
surety. He returned just in time to save his friend from 
being executed in his stead. The tyrant was so struck 
with the fidelity of their friendship that he remitted the 
punishment and desired to share their friendship. The 
sacrifice that Pythias was willing to make, was for his 
friend, and this, I repeat, is the extent of human love. 
But the love of Christ goes beyond this, he died for his 

2. It was a mysterious love. 

Wondrous, incomprehensible love ! it constituted the 
great mystery that the angels desired to look into. Yea, 
passing by all the wonders of creation, the holy and 
happy, bright and intelligent host of heaven become the 
students of the cross, and exhaust the force of their celes- 
tial powers in the attempt to sound the depth of redeem- 
ing love — the love of God to man. Why such love to 
sinners, to beings so entirely unworthy and worthless? 
God did not need us, his happmess was complete with- 
out us. He could have sent us all to the world of w T oe. 
He could have blotted us out of existence, and created 
beings every way more worthy in sufficient numbers to 
have filled every throne in heaven. Why, then, such love 
to sinners? Simply because he delights in mercy. He is 
"The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, 
and abundant in goodness and truth, keeping mercy for 
thousands, and forgiving iniquity, transgression and sin." 


Exodus xxxiv, 6. Isaiah tells us that the Lord " will 
wait, that he may be gracious unto you, * * that he may 
have mercy upon you." Isaiah xxx, 18. What a grand 
idea of divine goodness ! He keeps mercy, and waits, 
not to pour out his wrath upon the guilty, but to see a 
motion in the sinner's heart, indicating his willingness 
to receive mercy. He waits and watches for a sympa- 
thetic cord in the sinner's heart, that he can touch and 
melt his hardness into love. O sinner! he waits on you 
to-day, he waits to see in you a desire for his favor and 

1 ' Has waited long, is waiting still, 
You treat no other friend so ill." 

3. It is all victorious love. 

It overcame all obstacles in the way of man's redemp- 
tion. The enmity of the human heart, the malice of the 
devil, and the terrors of death and hell. 

' ' Sink down, ye separating hills, 
Let sin and death remove ; 
'Tis love that drives my chariot wheels, 
And death must yield to love." 

Love was the moving power in the Father's breast 
when he exclaimed, "Deliver him from going down to 
the pit; I have found a ransom." And this his only 
begotten Son, the darling of his bosom, the Father gave 
in sacrifice for the sins of the world. It was love that 
moved the Son to respond to the Father's merciful in- 
clination, " Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it 
is written of me, I delight to do thy will, my God : 
yea, thy law is within my heart." Psa. xi, 7, 8. Im- 



pelled by. a burden of redeeming love, he left those bright 
regions of glory and bliss to dwell in human flesh. 

' ' O for this love, let rocks and hills 
Their lasting silence break, - 
And all harmonious human tongues 
The Saviours praises speak." 

But mortal tongues can never speak his matchless 
worth, nor can they give the praises due Jehovah's love. 
Words are inadequate, language utterly fails to meet the 
demands of the divine theme; earth has no song, nor 
songster, sufficient to do it justice, hence the poet leaves 
earth and draws his requisition upon heavens's store: 

" Angels, assist our mighty joys, 
Strike all your harps of gold ; 
But when you raise your highest notes, 
His love can ne'er be told." 

Love led him to endure a forty days' fast and tempta- 
tion in the wilderness; over the valleys and mountains 
of Judea on errands of rnercyr, through hunger, scorn and 
reproach, and at last to the judgment hall, to Pilate's bar, 
and to the cross! Here, amid untold and incomprehen- 
sible agonies, he expiated the sins of the world, satisfied 
all the demands of justice, and made it possible for God 
to be just and yet the justifier of the ungodly. Only the 
lost soul in torment will ever know what agony Jesus 
bore, and God forbid that any one who. hears me this 
day shall ever know or feel such pain as he endured. 
You may expect to feel something of pain in conviction 
and conversion. The great change will hardly be effected 
without pain; it is not well for us that it should be; as 
our experience will be all the brighter, by reason of the 


pain endured. Thousands are weak and puny because 
their experience has not been more vivid. You should 
not, however, be discouraged if your winter has passed, 
and your spring ushered in, you will know it by the 
budding of holy desires, by the putting forth of the 
flowers of love, even though the March winds failed to 
blow. The warmth of Christian love in the heart is the 
best evidence of summer in the soul. 

III. Now let us glance at the benefits of divine 


1. We have the divine favor and love. 

And his favor is life, his loving kindness better than 
life. The present portion of the sons of God is princely 
and abundant, but the future will fill all our soul's desire. 
We are not permitted to know just what we shall be in 
the future state. " It doth not yet appear what we shall 
be." But we have this much revealed, that we shall be 
like him, and it is intimated that this likeness shall re- 
sult from beholding him; hence, the apostle adds, "For 
we shall see him as he is." Our bodies shall be raised in 
the likeness of his glorious body, and our souls shall be 
filled with all the fullness of divine knowledge. 

Finally, there are the duties involved in divine sonship. 

" Every one that hath this hope in him purifleth him- 
self even as he is pure." Purity of thought, heart, soul 
and life is the best evidence of divine sonship, and also 
necessary to divine acceptance. 

How bright and beautiful young people bud and bloom 
forth into manhood and womanhood—fair as the first 
rose that bloomed in Eden ; the joy of their parents, in- 
spiring hope that they will become examples to society, 


gems in the church, and useful to humanity. But, alas I 
how soon all our expectations are blasted, and our hope 
faded. Impure thoughts arise out of impure hearts ; im- 
pure actions follow; and the result is, a shipwreck of 
good character, and the loss of happiness and hope. 

Forget all that I have said in this discourse, if you will, 
but don't forget the words of the apostle, " Every one 
that hath this hope in him, purifieth himself even as he 
is pure." To the same effect are the words of Jesus, 
" Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God," 
To have, to retain this hope, we must be pure. 




" But Abraham said, Son, remember that thou in thy lifetime 
receiveclst thy good things, and likewise Lazarus evil things; but 
now he is comforted, and thou art tormented." Luke xvi, 25. 

Our text is a part of the only conversation we have any 
account of, between a spirit in hell and a spirit in heaven. 
The picture presented is that of the condition of the souls 
of two beings, who were once mortal and dwelt upon earth; 
one vastly rich, the other miserably poor. One fared 
sumptuously every day, the other begged crumbs at the 
rich man's gate. Both died, and after death found them 
selves in circumstances the opposite of what they were on 
earth. The rich man lifted up his eyes in torments, the 
beggar was lodged in Abraham's bosom. The poet thus 
describes the variety of scenery in the two states : 

' ' And what confusion earth appears, 
God's dearest children bathed in tears, 
While they, who heaven and earth deride, 
Riot in luxury and pride. 
But, patient, let my soul attend, 
And, e'er I censure, view the end : 
That end, how different ! Who can tell 
The wide extremes of heaven and hell ? 
Bee the red flames around him twine, 


Who did in gold and purple shine, 
Nor can his tongue one drop obtain, 
To allay the anguish of his pain. 
While round the saint, so poor below, 
Full rivers of salvation now, 
On Abram's breast he leans his head, 
And banquets on celestial bread." 

The rich man desired that Lazarus should be sent to 
dip the tip of his finger in water and cool his tongue. 
Our text is the response. The doctors differ as to whether 
this is a statement of facts, or a mere parable. Mere 
opinion is all that any one can give, and under the cir- 
cumstances, mine would naturally be expected. I incline 
to the opinion that the characters are real. I will simply 
give one reason, viz.: the fact that Jesus did not give the 
rich man's name. I suppose that people in his day were 
much like they are now. With us, it matters not how a 
man lived, if we speak of him after he is dead, we are 
expected to put him in heaven ; and if we are not prepared 
to do that, we had best not speak of him at all in the 
presence of those who loved him. 

Now, the care that Jesus took to avoid giving unnec- 
essary offence, would suggest that in speaking of a man 
in torment, who had lived and been highly respected in 
Jerusalem, he would withhold his name. This is just 
what he did in the case before us, while the name of the 
man who had gone to heaven is given. If we regard it 
as a mere parable, this difference cannot well be accounted 
for. But if we regard the discourse as a narration of 
facts, the reason for the difference is obvious. 

It is not at all necessary, however, to any purpose of 
mine, on the present occasion, to view it in this light. It 


matters not which way we understand the passage, the 
doctrine, the lesson taught, is the same. If a history, it 
is a statement of what has been ; if a parable, it is a pic- 
ture of what may be. It is, at least, a picture of possibili- 
ties. It sets forth the fact that a man may be in the en- 
joyment of the very fat of the land, esteemed and hon- 
ored by his neighbors, and regarded as among the very 
best on earth, and yet die and go to the world of woe. 

Taking into consideration this whole narrative, or par- 
able, (whichever we understand it to be,) as recorded 
from the nineteenth verse to the end of the chapter, I 
want us to think on this important question: Why was 
this man in torment? Perhaps you will say, " I never 
thought about that before" If so, I think it is time you 
had. Jesus certainly meant that we should think about 
it, or he would not have taken such pains to tell us about 
•it. But I have a special reason why I want this question 
to engage our thoughts; it is this: there are so many 
people who don't think they are in any danger of tor- 
ment, because they don't consider themselves great sin- 
ners; hence, when urged to flee the wrath to come, they 
ask, "Why? what harm have I done? I don't think I 
am a great sinner; I am honest, I pay all my just debts, 
(and I suspect they have forgotten their greatest debt, 
what they owe to their Maker,) I don't swear, nor gamble, 
I don't rob any one, I am not a drunkard, extortioner, 
nor libertine." Well, suppose you are not guilty of any 
of these things. Suppose you are what the world calls a 
good, honest, upright man ; or, to go a step further, sup- 
pose you have done no harm, as many are wont to say, 
will that free you from condemnation ? Take the twenty- 


fifth chapter of Matthew, and you will find three classes 
of characters that were condemned, neither of which had 
done any harm. One had failed to take oil in their ves- 
sels, but what harm was that? Another had not im- 
proved his talent, but what harm was there in that? he 
had not asked his lord to loan him the money, and he 
was careful to return just what he received. The third 
had not exercised themselves in acts of mercy, such as 
feeding the hungry, clothing the naked, &c. The com- 
plaint against them was, not that they had done harm, 
but that they had done nothing; and for this they were 
condemned. Then, if you are prepared to show that you 
have done nothing, that will be your condemnation. You 
will be judged out of your own mouth, and condemned 
by your own testimony. We did not come here to do 

Coming back to the text, we ask, what harm had this 
man done? Whom had he injured? I know it is the 
custom to load him down with a great many crimes. I 
think it is Dr. Clark, who remarks, " That men do this, 
it seems, to justify the Almighty in sending him to tor- 
ment." God does not need any such help at our hands. 
We spoil his word by our bungling attempts to improve 
it. In some Bibles, the words " the rich glutton" are 
written over this chapter. Who dare write such a head- 
ing there ? There is no warrant for assuming that this 
man was a glutton. Jesus does not tell us that he was a 
glutton. He undertook to tell us what there was in this 
man's case; he had the ability to do it, and I claim that 
he told us whatever there was of any importance to 
us. He says nothing about gluttony. The nearest he 


comes to it is the statement that he had a daily sumptu- 
ous repast — plentiful, rich, costly and splendid ; well 
prepared and splendidly served by well trained servants. 
Bat I doubt whether any of his entertainments amounted 
to twenty-two covers, as did an entertainment given by 
our Secretary of State a few days ago. Might we not 
w 7 ith equal propriety call our distinguished Secretary a 
glutton ? 

Men have treated this passage as though the object of 
it was to show that a very wicked man went to torment. 
This fact is set forth in many passages, but the one before 
us is not one of them. That the notoriously wicked will 
be banished from the divine presence, is a fact generally 
recognized by those who take the Bible as their guide. 
But the passage before us goes furthert : i teaches us that 
not only those who are notoriously wicked, but others, 
who are very differently estimated by the human stand- 
ard, will also be banished from the divine presence. 
Here we see a man in torment, against whom nothing of 
a notoriously wicked character can be alleged. He was 
what the world would call, a splendid specimen of hu- 
manity ; a grand, good fellow; a gentleman of the first 
order. Why, then, was he in torment ? 

Well, we are told that he was rich ; but is that a good 
reason for his being sent to torment? If so, there are 
thousands who cannot hope to get to heaven. There are 
thousands who are rich, and thousands more who want 
to be, and I suspect it is as bad to want riches as to have 
them. It is not money, but the love of it, that is said to 
be the root of all evil. 

He also dressed well — " was clothed in purple and fine 


linen." Bat was this a sufficient reason for sending him 
to torment? If so, what will become of the people of 
this generation ? This might well be called the dressy 
age. When in London, a few weeks ago, I attended a 
reception given by the Lord Mayor, at which there was 
a large attendance both of English and American ladies, 
principally the wives, sisters and daughters of Methodist 
ministers. Among them I saw ladies who were not sat- 
isfied with the amount of dry goods they could carry on 
their backs, but had a lot beside, trailing on the floor, so 
that there was constant danger of getting one's feet tan- 
gled in their trails. A correspondent, describing one of 
the grand receptions at Washington City, would not 
think his work complete, if he failed to mention the 
style of dress in which the guests appeared, and a lady 
would make herself notorious by appearing in a plain 
dress. Nor is the desire for fine, costly, and extravagant 
dress confined to those in high life; we meet it every- 
where, in all our walks. The desire is almost universal, 
and the indulgence is limited only by the want of means. 
What, then, will become of us, if this man was sent to 
torment for wearing fine and costly dress? 

We have already mentioned the fact thai he fared 
sumptuously, but in this he was not an exception, as all 
who feel able to do so, enter largely into the enjoyment 
of the good things that God has provided for us. And 
there is no hint that anything beyond this was indulged 
in at this man's table. I have no idea that there were 
four or more different wine glasses, for a corresponding 
number of different kinds of wine at each plate, as I have 
seen on the tables of professing christians. Certainly no 

Why was the rich man in torment? 67 

such bacbanalian exhibitions, as are witnessed at both pri- 
vate and public dinners in many of our cities, was witnessed 
at this man's feasts, Why, then, was he in torment? 

It has been said that he was so mean and stingy that 
he would not allow Lazarus to have the crumbs that fell 
from his table. But there is no warrant for this state* 
ment, and a little reflection will make it clear that it is 
most erroneous. Jesus said that he was laid at the rich 
man's gate, and was desiring the crumbs. You see the 
desire continued ; if he had been denied the crumbs or 
cold pieces, he would not have been continually laid there 
Until the dogs become so well acquainted with him as to 
have compassion on him, and to do him those services 
which men neglected. Then it must be remembered; that 
that man was rich, that he had a daily feast, and would 
therefore not want the cold pieces returned to his own 
table. His appetite would only take that which was 
fresh. There are many crumbs which fall from the ta- 
ble of such persons; often much more than the servants 
can make use of, and whether the balance goes to the 
dogs or beggars, is a matter about which the wealthy 
don't concern themselves. There seems to be an inti- 
mation here that this beggar and the dogs were compan- 
ions, and fared alike. The fact that the rich man suffered 
this beggar to lay at his gate ; where he could receive lit- 
tle donations from his wealthy neighbor, as they passed 
in and out, may fee mentioned to his credit. There are 
some men so mean and cruel-hearted that they would 
not have suffered him to lay there. The fact that he 
knew him as soon as he saw him in Abraham's bosom, 
indicates that he was quite well acquainted with that 


countenance, and leads us to conclude that lie had fre- 
quently seen this man at his gate. Moreover, Lazarus is 
selected before all others in heaven, as the person most 
likely to be willing to do him the desired kindness. Can 
we account for this on the supposition that he had treated 
Lazarus rudely? On the contrary supposition, we can 
imagine the rich man, on beholding Lazarus, saying: 
" Why, yonder is Lazarus, that used to lay at my gate 
and receive the crumbs from my table. Surely if he can 
help me out of this misery, he will do it." Every cir- 
cumstance in the case points to the fact, and irresistibly 
leads us to the conclusion, that he received the crumbs. 
It may be said that the rich man might have done a lit- 
tle better than that for this beggar. Rich as he was, he 
might have done as the Shunamite woman did for Elisha, 
he might have made a little chamber on the wall for him, 
and had a bed and stool and candlestick put therein. 
See 2 Kings iv, 10. Yes, he might have done this, and 
we are assured that he would not have lost his reward. 
But there are thousands who don't put themselves to that 
much trouble to provide for poor beggars, especially when 
they are loathsome by reason of many sores, as this man 

After the study of years, I have not been able to see 
much difference between this man and the mass of 
wealthy worldlings: the difference is all in his favor. In- 
deed, there are many professed christians whose outward 
life is not better than his. Are they numbered with the 
people of God ? So was he. He addressed Abraham an 
"Father," and Abraham acknowledged the relationship 
by responding, " Son." He belonged to the favored race, 


and enjoyed their dispensation of grace. Why, then, was 
he in torment ? 

I think we shall find the answer in the words of our 
text. Abraham mentions two facts ; the first of which 
includes the reason for his being in torments, and the 
second, in addition thereto, gives the reason why he must 
remain there. " Son, remember that thou in thy life 
time receivedst thy good things. * * And beside all 
this, between us and you there is a great gulf fixed. " 

" Thou in thy life time receivedst thy good things." 
That which he esteemed good he had received. As a 
moral free agent, he had made his choice, which did not 
include heaven. He was admonished as to the better 
part, but did not regard the admonition. He thought 
he knew better than his Maker what was good for him. 
Such is the infirmity of human nature, that man sets up 
his judgment against that of his Maker. This man was 
urged to lay up for himself treasure in heaven, but he 
chose rather to lay it up on earth. He chose the things 
of this world as his portion, and pronounced them good. 
They were his good things, good in his estimation, and 
he had received them in his life time. He had made 
no choice, no provision, no arrangement for the here- 
after. No sensible man can expect to have that which 
he has rejected, and refused or thrown away. Now, in a 
word, this man was in torments, simply and solely be- 
cause he failed to prepare for heaven. He allowed the 
things of this world to so fully engage his attention, that 
thoughts of the more important concerns of the soul were 
excluded ; and hence the night w T as upon him before his 
work, for which the day was given him, had been begun. 


His time was out, before the work, for which time was 
given, was comixieneed. How many here to-day are 
copying his example? All who do, will cry in vain for 
relief, when lifting up their eyes in the world of woe. 
my dear, dying friends, listen to the voice of mercy. 

' ' Now God invites, how blessed the day, 

How sweet the Gospel's charming sound ; 
Come, sinners, haste, O haste away, 
% While yet a pardoning God is found." 

But possibly some of you have listened to the sophis- 
tries of latter-day skeptics, who are too good natured to 
believe in future punishment. We may punish men for 
their crimes, to maintain the majesty of the law and the 
safety of society, but God, the sovereign of worlds, may 
not. Is it quite safe to trust to this? Would it not be 
better to be on the safe side? Even skeptics admit, that 
genuine religion is a good thing, yea, even the best of all 
things. " Their rock is not like our rock, even uur ene- 
mies themselves being judges." 

What do we know, or can we know respecting these 
matters, except by what is revealed ? We don't know 
much about this world, except what we have gathered 
from the hints that have come out through divine reve- 
lation. Much is said of science, but scientists are indebted 
to revelation for every useful thing they have learned. 
Certainly, on the subject before us, we can know noth- 
ing except what we learn from revelation. 

What, then, are the statements of revelation ? We need 
only mention a few : " The wicked shall be turned into 
liell, with all the nations that forget God." Psa. ix, 17. 
"Upon the wicked he shall rain snares, fire and brim- 


stone and a horrible tempest, this shall be the portion of 
their cap." Psa. xi, 6. " It is better for thee to enter 
into life with one eye, rather than having two eyes, to be 
cast into hell fire." Matt, xviii, 9. If there is no place 
of punishment, what do these passages mean? The 
skeptic will tell you that the hell referred to is the grave ; 
that hell is translated from a Greek word which means 
the grave. I admit that it sometimes is, but not always. 
Our English word " hell " is translated from three 
different words. But I do not propose to attempt any 
thing like a learned argument. I think there is a better 
way. It would require a knowledge of the originals to 
enable each to appreciate a learned argument. We don't 
need a knowledge of the Greek and Hebrew, nor much of 
the English : it only needs a little good, hard, common 
sense, to enable us to see that hell is mentioned in con- 
nections in which the grave cannot be meant. Take 
Luke xii, 4, 5 : " Be not afraid of them that kill the body, 
and after that have no more that they can do. But I will 
forewarn you whom ye shall fear: Fear him, which after 
he hath killed hath power to cast into hell ; yea, I say unto 
you, Fear him." Does the Son of God thus solemnly warn 
us against the grave digger, or the man who puts the 
body in the grave? Is it the disposition of the body 
after death that concerns us most of all things? Are we 
to stand in mortal dread of those who put the body in 
the grave? If hell means no more than the grave, this 
must be the meaning. Can any man with common sense 
believe it? But it is said that the rich man lifted up his 
eyes, being in torments. Then, it is a place of torments. 
We are also told that there is "weeping and wailing 


and gnashing of teeth." Are these torments in the grave? 
Have you ever heard a wail coming up from the silent 
tomb? Where is your graveyard? Let us visit that 
solemn place. Let us listen all day, all night, if you 
will. Is any sound heard? In the grave the eye weeps 
not, the ear hears not, the heart heaves not, — all is silent 
there ! 

' ' The eyes that so seldom were closed, 
By sorrow forbidden to sleep; 
Now wrapped in their silent repose, 
Have strangely forgotten to Weep." 

Then the place of torments and of weeping cannot be 
the grave. There must be another place, if these pas- 
sages mean anything. Where is it, 0! where? But we 
read, that "Their worm dieth not, and the fire is 
not quenched. 5 ' Mark ix, 46. Weil, there are worms 
in the grave, but I suspect they die. But it is not 
worms, but " their worm" What is it? What is the 
worm that dieth not? It's the misery that shall prey 
upon the lost soul through all eternity. This was men- 
tioned three times by the Son of God in one discourse. 
He borrows these words from a prophecy in Isaiah : 
" They shall go forth and look upon the carcasses of the 
men that have transgressed against me: for their worm 
shall not die, neither shall their fire be quenched." 
Isaiah Ixvi, 24. The picture brought to our view here 
is the carnage of a battle-field — the carcasses of the slain 
eaten by worms; to heighten which 'the valley of Hin- 
nom, in which idolaters sacrificed their children to the 
god Moloch, is added. But the worms which ate the 
bodies of the slain eventually died, and the fire which 


consumed the flesh of infants went out ; but in the place 
into which those who transgress against God are con- 
signed, their worm dieth not and the fire is not quenched. 
I repeat, where is that place? It cannot be the grave, 
for as we have seen, there the worms die, and there is no 
fire in the grave. And if the fire mentioned refers to 
whatever it is that consumes the body in the grave, then 
it certainly means that the soul shall not be consumed 
as the body is. But the skeptic will say, these are figures, 
pictures, or shadows, only shadows ! Yea, this is the con- 
clusion to which I arrived at many years ago. Nor am 
I indebted to the skeptic for any light on the subject, 
This seems to me to be the natural construction to be put 
upon all such passages. It is impossible to convey the 
idea of invisible things to mortal beings, except by 
figures drawn from visible things. I have no idea that 
there is a real worm which shall gnaw the soul, or fire 
and brimstone that shall burn and torment the flesh in 
the future state, or that they shall eat wormwood and 
gall, or that actual smoke shall rise from a bottomless 
pit. Thus far I agree with the skeptic. I admit that 
these are figures, pictures, shadows, " only shadows" But 
it strikes me that the skeptic has failed to notice the 
natural and logical sequence of this admission. A shadow- 
is the lightest possible part of any thing. If these are 
figures, what are the facts that they represent? If pic- 
tures, what is the original from which they are drawn? 
If shadows, what is that fearful substance which sends 
forth such horrible shadows? If you see the shadow of 
a man on the wall, you know there is a man there, or 
there would be no shadow. Yes, these are "shadows, 


only shadows;" and that is what makes them- so fearful. 
" There their worm dieth not, and the fire is not quenched," 
and that is only the figure. What is the fact it represents ? 
" The smoke of their torment shall ascend up forever and 
ever," and that is only a picture ; what is the original 
from which it is drawn? "Death and hell shall be 
turned into a lake which burnetii with fire and brim- 
stone." This is only a shadow; what is the substance? 
Well, let us see if we can solve this fearful problem. 
What will constitute the torment of the lost soul ? I 
think it is intimated that memory will be a fruitful 
source of torment. Memory, I think, will constitute the 
undying worm. Memory will bring back to the mind 
all that has passed, no matter how unpleasant. We have 
said and done things, which, after a moment's reflection, 
we wished had not transpired, and the thought thereof 
pained us. But gradually the remembrance of such things 
dies away, until entirely forgotten. Now, in the world of 
woe, we have reason to believe that memory will bring 
back to, and retain in the mind, every unpleasant thing 
that ever passed through it. This alone, it seems to me, 
would constitute a burden too intolerable to be borne. But 
we shall see things then as they are, and realize what we 
have lost by the course we pursued, and memory will 
bring back to mind the opportunities we have thrown 
away, and the golden-moments we have wasted. We shall 
remember that we had the privilege of selecting»for our- 
selves a place among the blessed, where we should have 
been eternally happy. Possibly, we shall have to remem- 
ber that, at some period in our lives, we came very near 
to the turning point, were almost persuaded, felt the flame 


of love kindling in the soul, but suffered the /propitious 
moment to pass without seizing it. The remembrance of 
those things which have been in reach, and yet lost to us 
forever, because slighted or neglected until the opportu- 
nity to seize them passed, I think will constitute a weight 
of remorse which will sink ail who have been favored 
with Gospel privileges far beneath the Sodomites. 

Many will call to remembrance the prayers and plead- 
ings of sainted mothers, the sermons of faithful pastors, 
and the wooings of the Holy Spirit, all of which were 
employed in vain. The groans of agony and bloody 
sweat of Jesus in the garden, and the tragic scene of the 
suffering and dying Son of God on Calvary, will come 
back to the mind, and memory will testify that all this 
was endured for the lost soul. And why lost? Simply 
because of its own neglect. Yes, its own neglect will sink 
it dowm to mourn in endless woe. 

A second fruitful source of torment will be the sight 
of the saints in glory. Yea, the rich man saw Lazarus 
in Abraham's bosom. It seems impossible to escape the 
conclusion that those in torment will see the saints in 
glory. agony of all agonies, to be in sight of heaven 
and yet forbade to enter ! Looking out from the dark- 
ness of black despair into the noontide of heaven's glo- 
rious brightness, the soul in torment will see his mother 
in glory, mingling her songs with those of the saints of 
all ages, bathing her soul in seas of endless rest, and 
drinking from the living streams of bliss which burst 
forth from the throne of God, while he, condemned to 
endless woe, drinks of the wrath of God poured out with- 
out mixture from the cup of his indignation, and from 


the lowest regions of the burning pit, tormented souls will 
see the Lamb that was slain for sinners, and will exclaim : 

"Yonder stands the lovely Saviour, 

With the marks of dying love, 
O that I had sought his favor 

When I felt his Spirit move : 
Doomed, I'm justly, 

For I have against him strove. 

All his warnings I have slighted, 

When he daily sought my soul, 
If some vows to him I'd plighted, 

Yet for sin I broke the whole : 
Golden moments, 

How neglected did they roll." 

And turning their eyes toward the shining throng of 
enraptured saints who stand upon the sea of glass, dressed 
in robes of snowy whiteness, with crowns of gold upon 
their heads, and harps within their hands, the souls in 
torments will continue their w T oful poetic wail: 

" Yonder stand my godly neighbors, 

Who were once despised by me, 
They are clad in dazzling splendor, 

Waiting my sad fate to see : 
Farewell, neighbors, 

Dismal gulf, I'm bound for thee." 

And turning their eyes downward, and surveying the 
blazing ranks of frightful demons, foaming out their ma- 
licious rage, and making hell hideous with their fierce 
and fearful howls, while still descending the steps which 
lead to the fiery lake, they will again take up their poetic- 
lamentation ; 


''Hail, ye ghosts that dwell in darkness, 
Grovelling, rattling of your chains, 
Christ has now pronounced my sentence, 
Here to dwell, in endless pains, 
Down I'm rolling, 
Never to return again. 

Now experience plainly shows me, 
Hell is not a fable thing, 
Though I see my friends in glory, 
Round the throne they ever sing, 
I'm tormented 
By an everlasting sting." 

Lastly, we have here the declaration that the state of the 
tormented is endless. " Beside this, there is a gulf fixed 
between us and you, so that those who would pass can- 
not." The thoughts of woe to come will increase the 
torment. No matter how great our pain here, we have 
the consolation to feel that it will soon be over, but in 
torment, the eternal thought will be, wrath to come. 

Now, my beloved friends, there are three strong mo- 
tives presented in the Gospel to win us away from the 
world and to induce us to become the servants of God, 
namely : the love of God, the hope of heaven, and the fear 
of hell. He that takes away either of these, takes away 
a part of revealed truth and puts himself in danger of 
losing his part in the book of life and the holy city, Rev. 
xxii, 19. He that fails to present these three motives, 
fails to preach a whole gospel. 

It has been m} T endeavor to present these three motives 
with what force God has given me ability to command. 
The subject here considered is drawn from the most 
striking picture of the world of woe that is found on 


record. If the love of Christ has failed to draw you, and 
the hope of heaven has failed to interest you, certainly 
this fearful picture should at least alarm you. If not, 
then your wound is incurable — your case is hopeless ! 
But I hope better things. The thought of giving you 
up for lost moves my very soul. 0, that I knew what 
sentence, what line, what word, what syllable would move 
you. Tell me, my unconverted friend, how shall I win 
thee? Hast thou a tender spot, a sympathetic cord that 
I can touch — no, not I, but the Holy Spirit — and melt 
thy heart into love? Would weeping win thee, I would 
exhaust the fountain of tears. Oh ! repent and believe, 
turn now to the Lord and seek salvation, and thou shalt 
be able to fold thy arms and sing praises unto the Lamb 
that was slain for thee, 




' ' And there appeared a great wonder in heaven ; a woman 
clothed with the sun. and the moon under her feet, and upon her 
head a crown of twelve stars : and she being with child cried, 
travailing in birth, and pained to be delivered. And there ap- 
peared another wonder in heaven ; and behold a great red dragon, 
having seven heads amd ten horns, and seven crowns upon his 
heads. And Ins tail drew the third part of the stars of heaven, 
and did cast them to the earth : and the dragon stood before the 
woman which was ready to be delivered, for to devour her child 
as soon as it was born. And she brought forth a man child, who 
was to rule all nations with a rod of iron : and her child was 
caught up unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fied into 
the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, that they 
should feed her there a thousand two hundred and threescore 
days." Rev. xii, 1—6. 

Possibly an explanation of the text, at the beginning, 
will enable us more easily to comprehend the subject. 
By the woman, brought to view in the text so splendidly 
adorned, we have a beautiful figurative representation of 
the Christian Church. By the sun, with which she is 
clothed, we are reminded that the Church is invested 
with the rays of the Sun of Righteousness. The moon 
under her feet, indicates the exalted position of the 
Church ; and also that the moonlight of the Jewish 
economy is lost in the splendor of the rays of the Sun of 
Righteousness. The crown of twelve stars upon her 
heud, is a s\ mbol of the lives and labors of holy men, 


which have adorned the Church in all its ages, especially 
the twelve apostles. Her travail and pain fitly symbol- 
izes the persecution and suffering through which the 
Church has passed, while continuing to bring forth sons 
and daughters unto God. The man child she brought 
forth was Constantine, the Great. By the great red dra- 
gon, which stood before the woman, we understand the 
persecuting Roman Empire. By the wings which the 
woman received, we understand the Divine protection. 

I am quite sensible of the fact that this vision has re- 
ceived a very different interpretation at the hands of dis- 
tinguished authors. Some have applied it to Mary and 
the birth of Jesus. But they forget that prophecy con- 
cerns the future. John heard a voice which said, "Come 
up higher, and I will show thee things which must be 
hereafter." The birth of Jesus w r as not a future but a 
past event, and could not then be the subject of prophecy. 
Nor could it with propriety be said of Mary, that she was 
clothed with the sun and the moon under her feet. 
Neither was she the object of persecution, as was the 
woman in the text. Nor can the description of the great 
red dragon be well applied to Herod the Great. But in 
applying this vision to the Church, every figure will ap- 
pear to perfection, as we shall see hereafter. 

Keeping these points in view, let us notice : 

I. The grandeur and glory of the Christian 
Church, as symbolized by the metaphors in the text. 

It appeared to John as a great wonder, or sign in heaven 
We are not to understand that John was in heaven, or 
that there are really such things in heaven as appeared to 
him. John w T as on the Isle of Patmos; yet so enveloped. 


and filled with the divine Spirit, and his mind so occu- 
pied with the mystery of the triumph of God's kingdom 
on earth, that he was insensible to all material things. 
The thoughts of celestial things so filled up his mind 
that he entirely lost sight of his terrestrial connections 
and surroundings. The scenes which he beheld were not 
real, but imaginary : they were pictures, presented to the 
mind, of coming events. The events symbolized by these 
pictures were to transpire, successively on earth, through 
the whole period of time — till God's purpose respecting 
his church on earth should be accomplished. This suc- 
cession of events is indicated by the different degrees in 
which John was enveloped by the Spirit, the different 
openings he beheld, and by the deepening mystery of the 
revelation as it proceeds. When the Lord Jesus first ap- 
peared to John, he was simply in the Spirit. His medi- 
tations were heavenly and divine; his mind was occu- 
pied with spiritual things, and he may have been in a 
state of ecstacy, but not so much as to lose sight of ma- 
terial things. His physical senses were still performing 
their functions, and conveying to his mind a sense of his 
material surroundings; he was still sensible of his con- 
nection with the isle of Patmos. He was still in a state 
in which the divine appearance disturbed him — caused 
him to fear and tremble, and to fall at the feet of him 
that talked with him. After that, he became still 
more occupied with the divine vision, until finally he 
entirely lost sight of earth and of his connection there- 
with. The celestial scenery presented to his mind ab- 
sorbed his entire attention. What he was first commanded 
to write related to the things that then were, viz : the 


seven churches in Asia, and their condition. After that, 
he beheld a door open in heaven, and heard the com- 
mand : " Come up hither, and I will show thee things 
that must be hereafter." The things to which his atten- 
tion had been called before, had already transpired, or 
were then transpiring. But the things symbolized by 
the pictures as recorded from the fourth chapter onward, 
were evidently to transpire after the time of the vision. 
He obeyed the injunction and ascended, not in body, but 
in spirit. After that, he saw the temple in heaven open, 
and finally heaven itself was opened. First a door, then 
the temple, then heaven itself. In each of these open- 
ings the mystery deepens; just as our natural vision be- 
comes less distinct in the dim distance — indicating most 
clearly the great distance into futurity, to which he was 
permitted to extend his gaze. 

Our text is found under the second opening, the opening 
of the temple. The period in the history of the Church at 
which the special events here symbolized transpired, was 
the latter part of the third century. It was then that the 
Church brought forth a man child, in the person of Con- 
stantine the Great. Many snares were laid for his life, 
but he escaped them all, and ascended the imperial 
throne. It is called the throne of God, because God 
made it subservient to his holy purpose respecting his 
church. Constantine, having embraced Christianity, 
became a most zealous defender of the christian church 
and religion. Ke put a stop to the persecution of chris- 
tians, and proclaimed that Christianity should be the 
religion of his empire. 

At this point we notice a remarkable coincidence; that, 


so soon as the woman brought forth a man child, and he 
had ascended the throne, she was compelled to flee into the 
wilderness, where, in obscurity, she was protected of God 
for twelve hundred and sixty prophetic days — -literally 
speaking, twelve hundred and sixty years— from the time 
of Constantine till the reformation of Luther. " And 
she brought forth a man child, who was to rule all na- 
tions with a rod of iron : and her child was caught up 
unto God, and to his throne. And the woman fled into 
the wilderness, where she hath a place prepared of God, 
that they should feed her a thousand two hundred and 
three score days." Why did not this offspring of the 
woman protect her? He was enthroned; he ruled all 
nations with a rod of iron ; his pleasure was law ; and at 
his fiat she that brought him forth could have dwelt in 
safety in any part of his vast dominions. Yet, while he 
is receiving homage from all nations, she must flee from 
his presence and dwell in obscurity. 

We find the explanation of this singular circumstance 
in the text. He was a " man child." Constantine was 
not converted to Christianity by the ordinary means of 
grace. He had so little of the grace of God in the heart, 
that he was unwilling to be baptized until his last mo- 
ments, lest he should backslide and be lost. It was the 
name of Christianity that he embraced, and the form of 
the christian religion that he protected. It was not so 
much to secure treasure in heaven that he became a 
christian, as to secure dominion on earth. He embraced 
Christianity, because he believed he would thus insure 
the attainment of the end of his ambition. It is said that, 
as he marched at the head of his army, he saw, in the 


clouds the form of a luminous cross, on which were in- 
scribed words which signify " Conquer by this." He 
went forth and conquered ; and the cross being the sym- 
bol of the christian religion, he embraced the name — the 
shadow of that religion. He may have had something 
of the substance, but he was very far from using divine 
means to propagate the christian religion. As a " man 
child," he introduced human means to subjugate the 
world to the Church — the sword, the glitter of wealth, 
pomp and splendor, and all other means employed by 
men to extend and strengthen their dominions. 

Before the time of Constantine, all the victories of the 
Cross were won by the bow of truth. The word of God, 
or treasure of divine truth, conveyed in earthen vessels, 
(weak mortals,) had proved the power of God unto salva- 
tion to every one that believed it. In an earlier vision, 
John saw a rider upon a white horse, with a bow, going 
forth conquering — a picture which most beautifully sym- 
bolizes the peaceful and blissful effects of the Gospel tri- 
umph. This is God's means of evangelizing the world; 
but Constantine departed from this divinely appointed 
method. In his time, it is said that corruptions were intro- 
duced into the Christian Church, which did more to de- 
stroy genuine religion than all the fires that ever persecu- 
tion kindled. And from his time till the Reformation, (a pe- 
riod of about twelve hundred and sixty years,) the woman, 
the true Church, was nourished in the wilderness. Dur- 
ing all this period the reign of the beast and the false 
prophet, (Papacy and Mohammedanism,) the " witnesses 
prophecied in sackcloth," the truly pious worshipped God 
in obscurity. The Bible was closed, and true religion 


was only found among those who worshipped God in se- 
cret. The worship in the public assembly was mere 
form — a mixture of Judaism and Paganism, in the name 
of Christianity. 

We remarked, that in applying this vision to the Chris- 
tian church, every figure in the text appears to perfec- 
tion. For instance, the Church is frequently represented 
by the figure of a woman. In Isaiath lxiv, 1-7, Jehovah 
is represented as addressing the church, as his spouse, 
and calling upon her to sing for joy, in contemplation of 
the multitude of children that should be born unto her. 
Her Maker declares himself her husband; for a small 
moment she had been forsaken, but should be remem- 
bered with everlasting kindness. The Apostle tells us, 
Gal. iv,. 27, "The Jerusalem that is from above is Iree, 
and is the mother of us all." He also says to the Cor- 
inthian church; "I have espoused you to one husband, 
that I may present you as a chaste virgin unto Christ." 
2d Cor. xi, 2. In the forty-fifth Psalm the church is re- 
ferred to as the king's daughter, adorned with gold, and 
dressed in raiment of needle-work. When to the fore- 
going we add that the church is spoken of as the " bride, 
the lamb's wife," it seems impossible to conceive of any 
other interpretation of the text than that we have given. 

We are told that it was the custom with the ancients 
to represent their societies by the figure of a woman in 
some peculiar dress, as we find upon some of their coins. 
On one of the Roman coins a woman is seen standing 
upon a globe ; on another, the crown is ornamented with 
the moon and stars. The figures in the text are there- 
fore borrowed from the customs of the times in which 


this book was written, but exceed in grandeur anything 
before produced. 

Mr. Benson remarks : " That to stand amid a glory 
formed by the beams of the sun, to wear a crown set with 
the stars of heaven as jewels, and to stand upon a pave- 
ment formed by the soft rays of the silvery queen of night, 
is a scenery more grand and sublime than anything the 
ancients ever imagined/' This was the resplendent view 
of the Church presented to the gaze of the beloved disciple. 

I. Notice,* she was clothed with the sun. 

That is, invested with the rays of the Sun of Righteous- 
ness. Solomon, in his Songs, gives us a figurative rep- 
resentation of the Church, much like that in the text we 
are considering, as follows: "Who is she that looketh 
forth as the morning, fair as the moon, clear as the sun, 
and terrible* as an army with banners?" Sol. Songs vi, 10. 

In the first dispensation of grace, the gray dawn that 
broke over the deep darkness produced by sin and the 
fall, the Church looked forth as the morning. This dawn 
lasted for many ages. The Sun of Righteousness was 
expected, but did not make his appearance. Yet by his 
rays, dimly seen, believing patriarchs were able to find 
their way to the blissful regions of eternal day. In the 
second, the Levitical period, she appeared fair as the 
moon. In the Gospel period, she appears clear as the 
sun ; the dawn is superseded, the moon has gone down, 
or her rays are lost in the splendor of his from whom she 
borrowed them, for the Sun of Righteousness has risen 
with healing in his wings, and goes forth proclaiming, 
"I am the light of tne world : they which sat in darkness 

*It should be glorious. 


have seen the light thereof, and to them that were in the 
valley and the shadow of death, light has sprang up." It 
was this glorious Gospel light, which shines forth light- 
ing up the dark places of the earth and dispelling the 
gloom of sin's dark night, which John beheld, appear- 
ing as a garment upon the woman, and hence the lan- 
guage of the text, " clothed with the sun." 


There are three respects in which this figure will ap- 
pear appropriate : 

1. As representing the typical period, as a basis upon which 
the Christian dispensation rests. The blessed Saviour 
frequently referred to the fulfilment of the types, shad- 
ows and prophecies, as indispensable to the establishment 
of Christianity. 

2. As a symbol of Judaism, the moon may be said to be 
under her feet. The severest conflicts which the Church 
had in the early ages of Christianity were with Judaism. 
Abundant evidence of this may be found in the epistles 
of the apostles. The Judaizing teachers struggled hard 
against the establishment of Christianity, but she finally 
triumphed and put Judaism under her feet. 

3. As representing the exalted position of the Church. The 
Church, composed of true believers, rises above all sub- 
lunary things. They set their affections on things which 
are above. " Risen with Christ," their aspirations are 
heavenward. They rise in the scale of being, mount up 
as eagles, and dwell on high. 

Born by a new celestial birth, 
They scorn the vanities of earth ; 
Their hearts all taken up in love, 
They seek the blissful realms above. 


.Contemplating the joys already felt, the believer breaks 
forth in song : 

' 1 1 rode on the sky, 

Freely justified, I 
Did not envy Elijah his seat ; 

My soul mounted higher 

In a chariot of fire, 
And the moon was under my feet." 

III. She had a crown of twelve stars upon hek 


She had no need of stars to give her light when clothed 
with the sun. These were, therefore, simply ornaments 
in her crown, These allude to the twelve apostles ; but 
the symbol is not necessarily confined to them. The 
number twelve is figurative, signifying many; hence, the 
martyrs and confessors are included ; yea, all who let 
their light shine. Every man, who truly lets his light 
shine, is an ornament to the Church, a star in her crown ; 
especially those who turn many to righteousness, " they 
shall shine as stars forever." 


She was travailing in birth. The Church has suffered 
many persecutions, but has continued to multiply. Her 
most fruitful seasons have been the times of her se- 
verest persecutions. Forty days after the crucifixion 
of her founder, three thousand were added to her num- 
ber. And whenever persecutions scattered them abroad, 
they went forth bearing the light of truth, and sowing 
the seeds of righteousness, which took root in every 



She fled on eagle's wings to a place of safety. The 
wings of the eagle, which is the strongest, and soars the 
highest of all birds, bear her in triumph to a place of 
safety, where the everlasting arms are about her, the 
munition of rocks is her defence, and the shelter of the 
Eternal Rock protects her from all evil. 

What, though the elements shall melt, 
And stars their orbits leave, 
And nature's pillars be removed, 
And dried up be the seas : 
Yet, 'mid the crash of falling worlds, 
The Church of God shall stand, 
Surrounded by his arms of love : 
Protected by his hand. 

God grant each of us a place within her courts. 




" He is not here : for he is risen, as he said. Gome, see the 
place where the Lord lay." Matt, xxviii, 6. 

This is the day set apart by the Christian world to cele- 
brate the resurrection of the world's Redeemer. 

I fear that in our effort to steer clear of Romanism, 
and too much formalism, we have fallen into the oppo- 
site evil of neglecting some things which are of special 
importance. In avoiding the superstitions which attach 
too much importance to days, times and seasons, we seem 
to have lost sight of those eventful days which rightfully 
claim our deepest reverence. 

Beside the weekly Sabbaths which we are commanded 
to keep holy, there are three other days, upon which 
christians should bestow more than a mere passing notice. 
These days should be hallowed as Sabbaths, special Sab- 
baths. The events which transpired upon them deserve 
to be brought constantly before the mind ; and that we 
may be more deeply impressed with their importance, 
their annual return should be made use of, to instruct 
the ignorant, to call back the thoughtless wanderer, and 
to encourage and edify true believers. I refer to the 


birth-day of Jesus (Christmas), the day of his crucifixion 
(Good Friday), and the day of his resurrection (Easter 
Sunday). I don't know but I should have made it five 
days, adding the day of Ascension and the day of Pente- 
cost. The resurrection, it is true, is celebrated upon 
every Sabbath, and evidenced by the change of the Sab- 
bath from the seventh to the first day of the Jewish week; 
nevertheless, I think an annual celebration must be well- 
pleasing to God, and most beneficial to his people. It 
does not matter whether we have the precise day or not; 
it is not the day, but the event, we celebrate. Since, 
however, he was crucified at the time of the great feast 
of the Jews, we can hardly be far amiss as respects the 

But, as already remarked, it is the event with which 
we have to do — an event, than which nothing could be 
more wonderful, grand and sublime ; nothing so calcu- 
lated to inspire hope, and give to the believer the assur- 
ance of his own resurrection from the death of sin to a 
life of holiness. "And," says the apostle, "if Christ be 
not raised, your faith is vain, ye are yet in your sins." 
1 Cor. xv, 17. We shall notice, 

I. Some op the things necessarily involved in the 


Prominently among these we must consider his death 
and burial as essential to his resurrection. If he did not 
die, and was not buried, then he could not have risen. 
The apostle declares that the Gospel he preached em- 
braced these three facts, viz. : the death, burial, and res- 
urrection of Jesus. ° For I delivered unto you first of 
all that which I also received, how that Christ died for 


our sins, according to the Scriptures : and that be was 
buried, and that he rose again the third day, according 
to the Scriptures." I Cor. xv, 3, 4. Following the apos- 
tle's example, we must demonstrate his death and burial, 
as necessary to the resurrection. We refer, 

1. To his arraignment. 

He was arrested, tried, and condemned to die. His 
trial, it is true, was the most cruel mockery ever exhib- 
ited to mortal gaze. He was arrested without a warrant, 
placed on trial without an indictment, declared innocent 
by his judge, and yet sentenced to death I. When Pilate 
asked, " What accusation bring ye against this man?" 
they answered, " If he were not a malefactor, we would 
not have delivered him up unto thee." Did you ever 
hear such a response, in any other court, to the demand 
for a bill of charges against the defendant at the bar? 
Pilate is required to believe the prisoner guilty, to con- 
clude that he is guilty, to act upon that conclusion, and 
declare him guilty, and to order his execution, with no 
other evidence against him, except the fact of his having 
been arrested by his blood-thirsty enemies and delivered 
to the judge. He was taken from Pilate to Herod, where 
the same farce was enacted, and again back to Pilate, 
who, for the second time, declared that he found no fault 
in him, and then washed his hands of his blood. Yet, 
after all, because of the clamor of the multitude, and in- 
cited by the priests, scribes, and other rulers, Pilate de* 
livered Jesus to be crucified. The enmity of the Jews 
pursued him to the cross, and at last prevailed over all 
the other influences that were operating upon Pilate's 
mind, and thus he was condemned to die. 


2. We behold his crucifa 

This act was performed in the presence of a vast mul- 
titude of ever}" class of Jerusalem's inhabitants. The 

clamor of the Jews, the cries of " Away with him ! cru- 
cify him," having prevailed with Pilate, and he having 
delivered him into their hands, the} 7 hurried him away 
to Calvary, to Golgotha, the place of a skull — the place 
where the bones of criminals lay scattered over the 
ground. They mocked and insulted him in every possi- 
ble way ; they placed a crown of thorns upon his head, 
and saluted him, and bowed the knee in mockery; and 
when they had inflicted every other torture that Jewish 
malice could contrive, they lifted him up upon a cross, 
driving great nails through his feet and hands. There 
he hung for three hours, suffering the most intense agony, 
and finally expired ; gave up the ghost, committing his 
soul into the hands of his Father. Ail nature felt the 
shock, the vail of the temple was rent from top to bot- 
tom, the earth quaked, the rocks were rent, and the graves 
of the saints were opened ; (but they could not leave their 
tombs until Jesus had broken their chains and relieved 
their bodies from the power of the grave.)- When the Ro- 
man officer saw and heard these things, he feared greatly, 
and said, " Truly, this man was the Son of God." 

As the folio wing Sabbath was a high day, the Jews 
besought Pilate that the legs of the criminals might be 
broken, to hasten their death, that the bodies might be 
removed. The legs of the criminals which were cruci- 
fied with him were broken, but when they came to Jesus, 
they found he was already dead ; nevertheless, a soldier 
pierced his side with a spear, and forthwith came there 


out blood and water. His executioners pronounced him 
dead, and it was evident to all that he was dead ; there- 
fore, the evidence of his death was conclusive. It has 
never been denied, and for the very good reason, that it 
was so well attested that no one could deny it, with a 
hope of being believed. 

3. Then he was also buried. 

Joseph of Arimathea, a rich disciple of Jesus, went to 
Pilate and begged the body, and with the assistance of 
Nicodemus, John, and a few faithful women, he laid it 
in his own new tomb. When the sun went down on that 
eventful day, the Son of Man lay silent in the tomb. But 
he had said he would rise on the third day. Therefore, 
the Jews went to Pilate and desired that the tomb be 
made secure until the third day had passed. They were 
troubled in mind ; they had seen him perform so many 
miracles, that they expected him to fulfill this last en- 
gagement, and determined to provide against it, if possi- 
ble. Pilate gave them the desired band of soldiers ; the 
sepulchre was hewn out of a rock, and the entrance was 
closed with a large stone ; this was sealed, so that to open 
the sepulchre would have been an unlawful act. Every 
precaution possible having now been taken, the tomb 
was left to the care of the watch, who were responsible 
for the safe keeping of the body till after the third day. 
To have suffered the body to have been stolen, or to have 
left the tomb, by any negligence on their part, would 
have rendered each of them liable to the penalty of death. 
With such a charge, and -the danger of such a penalty 
hanging over them, it is not likely that any one would 
sleep while on duty. The occurrences of that day, no 


doubt, occupied the thoughts of the sentinel on his beat, 
and was the theme of discourse in the camp. The pos- 
sibilities of the near future would also constitute food for 
reflection, as also the character of the incomprehensible 
being whose body was resting in the tomb. If these did 
not afford sufficient matter to engross their attention and 
keep sleep from their eyes, it is impossible to conjecture 
what would. 

II. But let us notice the resurrection as attested 


1. We have the empty tomb. 

To this the text directs our attention : " He is not here ; 
* * Come, see the place where the Lord lay." This was 
the language of the angel who, seeing the disappointment 
of the women that came first to the tomb with sweet 
spices to anoint him, spoke unto them these words of con- 
solation. It appears that the women must have left the 
tomb on the day of his burial, before the setting of the 
watch and sealing of the stone, for they were saying 
among themselves, " Who shall roll us away the stone?" 
They would hardly have thought of this as their chief 
difficulty, if they had known that the stone was sealed 
and guarded. They found, however, every obstacle to 
their approach to the tomb removed, for the angel, with 
his wing, had pushed the stone aside, and by the bright- 
ness of his countenance, had filled the soldiers with such 
terror that they, at first, swooned away, and when they 
had sufficiently recovered, they w T ent in haste to their 
employers, to tell the wondrous story of the resurrection. 
Thus it happened that the women found nothing to ob- 


struct them iti their approach to the tomb ; but, on reach- 
ing it, they found not the object of their visit. The body 
was gone, the tomb was ernpt}\ John and Peter, having 
heard from the women that he was risen, also came in 
haste to the sepulchre, and found the grave clothing and 
the napkin, but they found not the body. I presume 
there were thousands who visited that empty tomb, but 
a thousand witnesses would make no impression upon a 
mind that could doubt the testimony of those already 
named. Peter and John, and at least three women, viz., 
the two Marys and Joanna, and an angel from heaven, 
six in all, or double the number that is required to es- 
tablish any fact — all these testify to an empty tomb. 
That the tomb had given up the sacred charge, there can 
be no doubt. What became of it? 

The enemies of Jesus were aware that this question 
would have to be answered, that the absence of the body 
would have to be accounted for, hence they invented and 
circulated the ridiculous story, that his disciples stole him 
away while the soldiers slept, and bribed the soldiers to 
assist them in circulating this report. 

No doubt the soldiers had reported the truth to many 
on their way, but they were now to contradict themselves 
as far as possible, cease to report the truth, and thus 
make way for the circulation of the falsehood. The sol- 
diers were promised security from blame or punishment 
for the pretended crime of sleeping while on duty, or 
negligence in suffering the body to be stolen, and thus 
the attempt was made to deceive the world, to prove 
Christ an imposter, and his disciples body snatchers. But 
let us examine this story bv the light of reason : 


(1). Is it likely that bis disciples, who all forsook a liv- 
ing Saviour, would have the courage to steal his dead 
body, guarded, as it was, by a band of Roman soldiers, 
the best in the world? The courage of Peter, which ap- 
peared great before Christ was arrested, forsook him when 
he saw his Master in the hands of his enemies. John was 
the only one of the eleven who ventured near the cross 
on the day of his crucifixion, and he alone, if any, was 
at the burial. There never was a man more completely 
deserted by his friends than Jesus. Had he not risen, 
his memory would have perished. What possible use 
could his disciples have made of his body ? A dead Sa- 
viour had no charms for them ; it grieved them, yea, put 
them out of patience to hear of his death. Peter rebuked 
him for speaking of his death, saying, "Be it far from 
thee, Lord, this shall not be unto thee." Matt, xvi, 23. 
No, all their interests were centered in a living Saviour: 
hence, so soon as they found him hopelessly in the hands 
of his enemies, they forsook him ; and during the period 
that he lay in the grave, they were the most dejected, 
heart-broken wretches ever beheld. And if he had not 
risen from the dead, they would have been, of all men, 
most miserable. Such, in substance, is the language of 
the apostle, "If in this life only we have hope in Christ, 
we are of all men most miserable." But if the body was 
stolen, why was not a reward offered for it? Why were 
not the apostles arrested ? Why were they permitted to 
declare publicly, without contradiction, his resurrection ? 
This they did in Jerusalem, in the presence of thousands, 
and they were not contradicted. Why were not the sol- 
diers punished for sleeping on their post, and thus suf- 


fering their charge to be taken out of their hands? If 
the soldiers had been thus guilty, the Jews would have 
prosecuted them to the bitter end. The very means that 
the Jews employed to hinder the fulfilment of Christ's 
predictions respecting his resurrection, proved to be 
among the best evidences of their fulfilment. The stone, 
the seal, the watch, are all witnesses of the resurrection : 
they testify with one voice against the absurdity of the 
story started by his enemies, that he was stolen while the 
soldiers slept. These witnesses are unimpeachable. Rea- 
son brings them to the bar, and justice, judgment, and 
truth are stamped upon their testimony, and their united 
declarations force the conviction of the fact that his dis- 
ciples had no hand in the removal of the body. 

(2). But if the soldiers slept, how could they tell what 
became of the body, or what took place during that pe- 
riod? Is not infidelity pretty hard pushed when it has 
to bring sleeping witnesses to the stand ? Would any 
judge in the land take the testimony of a sleeping wit- 
ness? You see that absurdity is stamped upon the face 
of this entire story. It is absurd to suppose that the dis- 
ciples, who forsook a living Saviour, would have the 
courage to steal his corpse. It is equally absurd to sup- 
pose that his enemies, believing such a thing, should 
have made no effort to recover the body. It is absurd to 
suppose that the soldiers, to whom were committed such 
an important trust, could neglect that trust, and not be 
called to account. I repeat, the whole story bears the 
stamp of absurdity upon its face ; and this absurdity is 
all that infidelity can offer against the testimony of the 
believers in a risen Saviour. 


2. We remark that his resurrection is attested by many 
creditable witnesses. 

Not, however, by those who saw him rise. It was not 
the will of God that one single human being should have 
advantage over another in this respect. No mortal being 
saw him rise. The truth of the resurrection is received 
by each and every one in the same way, namely, on the 
testimony of others. 

(1). The first witness is the angel. Whether angels saw 
him rise or not, is an unsettled question with me. Whether 
by the fact of seeing him rise, or by his absence from the 
tomb, or by seeing him after his resurrection ; it does not 
matter by what means the knowledge was obtained, the 
angel first bore testimony to the resurrection. Such is 
the record of three of the Evangelists. " And the angel 
answered, and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I 
know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified. He is not 
here: for he is risen, as he said." Matt, xxviii, 5, 6. 
" And entering into the sepulchre, they saw a young man 
sitting on the right side, clothed in a long white garment, 
and they were affrighted. And he saith unto them, Be 
not affrighted : ye seek Jesus of Nazareth, which was cru- 
cified : he is risen ; he is not here." ■ Mark xvi, 5, 6. In 
Luke xxiv, 5, 6, we read as the language of the angel, 
" Why seek ye the living among the dead ? He is not 
here, but is risen." It is seldom that w T e find a matter 
recorded by three authors, in so nearly the same language, 
as is this record. The expression of the angel as recorded 
by the three Evangelists is in substance the same, and a 
part of it in exactly the same words, yet there is sufficient 


difference in the manner of expression of the passage to 
show that one is not copied from the other. 

(2). The second witness was Mary. She received the 
information of the resurrection from the angel, which 
was confirmed to her by Jesus himself, and with her com- 
panions she reported this fact to the disoiples. Thus the 
angel was sent to tell Mary, (not the mother of Jesus, but 
Mary Magdalene,) and she was sent to tell the disciples, 
and they were sent to tell the world. 

Besides his appearance to Mary, on the morning of 
his resurrection, he appeared at sundry other times for 
the space of forty days. On the day of his resurrection, 
as two of the disciples were journeying to a village a few 
miles from Jerusalem, it is said that " Jesus himself drew 
near and went with them." But they did not know him ; 
he talked with them by the way, stopped with them at 
a village, and made himself known to them in breaking 
of bread. See Luke xxiv, 13 — 31. He appeared on the 
night of that same day to the eleven, who were together 
in a room with the door closed. Luke xxiv, 36; John 
xx, 19—25. On the following Sabbath evening, he as- 
sembled with them again, and after that, he showed 
himself to them at the sea of Tiberias. See John xx, 
26, and xxi, 1 — 14. 

Of the witnesses of his resurrection, the Apostle thus 
speaks : " And he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve. 
After that he was seen of above five hundred brethren at 
once; of whom the greater remain unto this present, 
but some are fallen asleep. After that he was seen of 
James; then of all the apostles. Last of all, he was seen 
of me as one born out of due time." I Cor. xv, 5--8. 


After showing that the whole christian fabric rests upon 
the resurrection, that if Christ be not risen, there is no 
resurrection, that preaching is useless, and faith vain, he 
concludes by the bold assertion : " But now is Christ risen 
from the dead, and become the first fruits of them that 
slept." I Cor. xv, 20. 

III. Let us indulge a few thoughts respecting the 


1. It ivas an event most necessary. 

The resurrection is the keystone of the arch in the 
plan of salvation. We have already referred to the Apos- 
tle's declaration, that without this both preaching and 
faith are vain, and that ye are yet in your sins. We may 
add that his triumph was not complete without this. 
" He must reign till he hath put all enemies under his 
feet. The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death." 
I Cor. xv, 25, 26. Therefore, to complete his triumph, 
he must place his foot upon the neck of this last enemy. 
He had met the great enemy on other battle fields and 
conquered. His first great battle is represented as hav- 
ing been fought on the shining plains of glory, beneath 
the shade of heaven's high dome. There he met the 
rebel host and sent them trembling over heaven's battle- 
ments down to regions of dark despair. His second en- 
gagement was in the wilderness, where he met the prince 
of the powers of disobedience and thrice repulsed him. 
His third great battle was in the garden ; and his fourth 
on Calvar}^. In all, he had been more than conqueror 
In all of these battles, however, he had appeared as on the 
defensive. The contest appeared, so to speak, as forced 
upon him. The field, the time, and the manner of attack, 


seem all to have been chosen by the enemy. But in this 
last great conflict, the scene changes : the victor selects 
the field of battle ; he carries the contest into death's do- 
minions. The choice of weapons are now his, and he 
appoints his own time: "Tear down this temple, but 
in three days I will raise it up again." He had pro- 
claimed victory by the mouth of the prophet, saying: "I 
will ransom them from the power of the grave; I will 
redeem them from death: death, I will be thy plague; 
grave, I will be thy destruction." Hos. xiii, 14. He 
is described in the book of Job as thirsting for the con- 
flict, impatient to engage the enemy, scenting the battle 
from afar, swallowing the ground with fierceness and 
rage, so that the distance between him and his enemy is 
as nothing. We must remember that this is Jehovah's 
description of the contest, for it was he that spake to Job, 
in person, as follows: "Hast thou given the liorse 
strength? Hast thou clothed his neck with thunder? 
Canst thou make him afraid as a grasshopper? The 
glory of his nostrils are terrible. He paweth in the 
valley, and rejoiceth in his strength : he goeth on to 
meet the armed men. He mocketh at fear, and is not 
affrighted ; neither turneth he back from the sword. The 
quiver rattleth against him, the glittering spear and the 
shield. He swalloweth the ground with fierceness and 
rage : neither believeth that it is the sound of the trum- 
pet. He saith among the trumpeters, Ha ! ha ! and 
he smelleth the battle afar off, the thunder of the cap- 
tains, and the shouting." Job xxxix, 18 — 25. With his 
eye fixed upon this tremendous conflict, and with full 
assurance of victory, he exclaims : " Now is the judgment 


of this world, now shall the prince of this world be cast 
out." Thus, with pressage of victory sitting upon his 
brow, he enters death's dominions, attacks Satan in his 
own territory, meets the hosts of the powers of darkness 
and conquers. He breaks the bands of death, and draws 
out his sting; bursts wide the grave, and robs it of its 
victory. Bearing away the gates of death, and standing 
with his feet upon the neck of his vanquished enemy, he 
exclaims: " I am he that liveth, and was dead, and be- 
hold, I am alive forever more." 

2. Ihe resurrection ivas necessary to fulfill the types and 
'prophecies of the Old Testament 

They all represent him as rising. Joseph was brought 
up out of prison, Daniel out of the lion's den, and Jonah 
out of the sea. Peter quotes the language of the Psalm- 
ist, and shows most conclusively that it was a prediction 
of the resurrection of Christ. " Thou wilt not leave my 
soul in hell, nor suffer thine holy one to see corruption." 
See Acts ii, 25 — 31. When Jesus fell in with two of the 
disciples on the day of his resurrection, and they spoke 
of that event as an astonishing thing, he exclaimed, " 
fools, and slow of heart to believe all that the prophets 
have spoken : ought not Christ to have suffered these 
things, and to enter into his glory?" Luke xxiv, 13 — 27. 

3. This grand achievement was surrounded with circum- 
stances of peculiar glory. 

" And behold," says the Evangelist, " there was a great 
earthquake" — a mighty sbaking of the earth. And an 
angel descended from heaven, whose majestic counte- 
nance flashed forth as lightning, and his raiment glit- 
tering with a snowy whiteness, the lustre of which no 

104: ON EASTER. 

mortal eye could bear, and for fear of him the keepers 
did shake and became as dead men — that is, they swooned 
away. When they returned to consciousness, the stone 
was rolled away, and the tomb was empty. They were 
there prepared to resist the attempt of mortal beings to 
remove the body, but they had not contemplated an en- 
counter with an angel, who had power to shake the earth ; 
therefore, seeing that the tomb was empty, they fled, and 
reported what had happened. 

4. This ivas the grandest of all Christ's achievements. 

He exhibited extraordinary power in his former mira- 
cles. To raise another was -an act of stupendous power, 
but having, after being delivered unto death, loosed the 
pains or cords thereof, because it was not possible for 
them to hold him, he showed himself the Prince of life, 
the Plague of death, the Spoiler of hell, and the Captain 
of eternal salvation. In Him, death has lost its terrors, 
for those who sleep in Jesus will God bring with him. 
Through Him, we are assured of our own resurrection, 
which assurance removes the gloom from the grave. 


Believer, this is your Savior. He has gone to prepare 
a place for you, that where he is, you may be also. 

Sinner, we offer him to you. He died for } 7 our sins, 
and rose again for your justification. Seek him while 
he may be found, call upon him while he is near. 

The grace of God be with you all. Amen. 




"And God said, Let there be light: and there was light." 
Gen. i, 3. 

This opening passage, in Jehovah's own account of his 
own creation, written by the inspired pensman, is a most 
striking illustration of his divine power. Men have ex- 
hausted their best efforts to account for the existence of 
the things which do appear, in some way different from 
that recorded in the book divine. Infidel scientists have 
set up their theories, one after another, but have failed 
to produce one that will bear the light of reason, or any 
favorable comparison with the plain and simple state- 
ment of the inspired historian. Nor can they agree upon 
any theory to which they will stick. In. their last great 
effort they have led us back to protoplasm, and there left 
us to grope our way in eternal darkness. Can that be 
considered a high order of intellect, which is willing to 
lose itself in a little speck of matter ? which finds its crea- 
tor in what can be handled by the creature? Infidels 
have not made much progress since Isaiah's time, and 
what motion they have exhibited, is in a retrograde di- 
rection, from gold backwards to protoplasm. " They lav- 


ish gold out of the bag, * * * and hire a goldsmith ; and 
he maketb it a god: they fall down, yea, they worship. 
They bear him upon the shoulder, they carry him, and set 
him in his place, and he standeth." Isaiah xlvi, 6, 7. 

It does seem to me that this boasted age of science and 
research ought to be able to find a god who can move 
out of his tracks. But excepting the God of the author of 
the book of Genesis, none can be found who has exhibited 
less helplessness than the one described by the prophet. 
In adopting the account of creation, as given by Moses, 
as our theory, we are not hard pressed to make it appear 
plausable. When we accept as a fact the statement of 
revelation, that there is one only living and true God, 
who is the Creator, the great First Cause of all things, 
himself uncaused and eternal, we stand at once upon 
solid ground ; yea, upon a rock, in comparison with which 
all else is as sand. By this method of solving the mys- 
tery of the origin of the material universe, we steer clear 
of a thousand difficulties that meet us on any other line. 
You must find bottom some where. You must find a 
foundation upon which to build any theory you may 
be inclined to set up. You must get back to first prin- 
ciples, must find a first cause. We find the Intelligent, 
Eternal, Almighty God to be that First Cause, and our 
theory is, that he is the author of all things, and we as- 
sert that for any other theory you have nothing but con- 
jecture. Is it said that ours is conjecture, we answer, it 
is supported by what purports to be a divine revelation, 
and until it can be demonstrated that it is not, we have 
something better than conjecture. We are not left to 
wander in the darkness of unsanctified human reason, 


but bask in the sunbeams of divine truth, revealed in 
connection with such evidences as leave no room for dis^ 
belief or doubt. 

The evident and indisputable fact is, that we find 
ourselves surrounded by a vast creation — how vast, the 
mind of man is inadequate to conceive. We live in a 
period, by all accounts, not much less than six thousand 
years from that in which Jehovah spake and said, "Let 
there be light;" and yet, in all these years no substantial 
progress has been made by unassisted human reason in 
solving the mystery of creation. We are amazed at the 
small attainments of man in his effort to find the origin 
of the material universe. Suppose you could collect the 
knowledge of all the doctors and professors in the land, 
unless I am mistaken, (and no one can prove that I am,) 
it would not all amount to what our father Adam knew 
on the day that he was created. He was made in the im- 
age of his Creator, who is the fountain of knowledge, 
And for what little we do know, we are largely indebted 
to divine revelation. The key to the knowledge of astron- 
omy seems to have been borrowed from that sublime dis- 
course which God delivered to Job out of the whirlwind, 
as recorded in chapters thirty-eight to forty-one inclusive 
of the book of Job. 

Who had been able to solve the question, " Whereupon 
are the foundations of the earth fastened?" Job xxxviii, 6. 
The ancients had their notions, but we know how ridic- 
ulous and absurd many of them were. Who had demon- 
strated, or even hinted that a line was stretched over the 
empty place, and the earth hung upon nothing until God 
declared it. "Who, even at this day, can give a satisfac- 


tory answer to all the questions propounded in that in- 
imitable discourse? On the question, " Canst thou bring 
forth Mazzaroth in his season ?" much has been written ; 
but even the learned admit that they do not certainly 
know the meaning of the term. And the fact that those 
who profess to know, differ, makes it evident that none 
know to a certainty. On the question, " Canst thou bind 
the sweet influence of Pleiades?" much had been written, 
and ages had elapsed before even astronomers had any 
idea that that interesting group had any special influ- 
ence.* Taking a hint, however, from the question pro- 
pounded by Jehovah, their investigations have led them 
to conclude, pretty generally, that Alcyone, the central 
star in that group, is the great central sun of all systems, 
that all other suns and systems roll around it, and that 
it holds the universe in poise. This is truly a sublime 
idea; but it is borrowed from the book divine. It was 
he whom we call God that gave out the hint, which 
turned the astronomer's mind into the line of thought 
which led to this conclusion. The hints thrown out in 
that wonderful discourse afford themes for thought, and 
lessons of instruction sufficient to keep the world's stu- 
dents employed for many ages yet to come, before they 
will have learned them all. We commend these hints 
to the consideration of skeptics. 

We may ask, How shall we account for the fact that 
He, whom we acknowledge and adore as God, knew so 
much more, over three thousand years ago, than the 
wisest know even at this day ? If our notion of his be- 

*What we call the " seven stars," There are only six visible to 
the natural eye, 



ing, and estimate of his character be correct, the mystery 
is solved. If we accept the language of the text as our 
guide, and admit the declaration of divine revelation, 
that God is the author of all things, our vision becomes 
clear, every difficulty vanishes. Our soundings are no 
longer fruitless, our thoughts no longer sink into a bot- 
tomless abyss, but fly back until they reach and find a 
substantial lodgement in the Eternal Source of all things, 
the Almighty Maker, and are swallowed up in the glory 
of his divine perfections. 

The characteristics that revelation ascribe to him, ren- 
der him fully competent to be the author of all things. 
A God of unlimited duration, wisdom and power, could 
easily accomplish the work of creating all that we behold, 
yea, infinitely more than we can conceive of; and with- 
out such a being, we are left to grope in the darkness of 
human conjecture, with the feeble taper of superstition, 
which only tends to make the darkness more visible. 

The account of creation found in the book before us, is 
the only tangible account we have, or can have. What 
a grand and sublime opening the inspired pensman gives 
us! There is no labored preface, no apology for writ- 
ing no introduction ; but the stupendous subject bursts 
forth upon us from the inspired mind, and is at once set 
forth in all its grandeur and immensity. " In the be- 
ginning God created the heaven and the earth/' Then 
follows a statement of the original state of matter; it was 
a without form and void; and darkness was upon the 
face of the deep." The Almighty determined to bring 
this world of ours into being, he stepped forth in the 
majesty of his might, and brought his creative energies 


to bear upon the void immense ; the latent caloric heard 
his voice, and to the astonished gaze of the morning stars, 
light, creation's first born, leaped from the womb of chaos. 
"God said, Let there be light: and there was light." At 
his mandate that brightest and most beautiful image of 
its Almighty Author burst forth into being. Infidel and 
skeptical philosophers are wont to treat with derision, 
what they consider a great blunder on the part of the 
inspired pensman, in representing the creation of light 
as taking place before the creation of the sun, moon, and 
other luminaries. But they betray their own amazing 
stupidity, in failing to comprehend the fact that he who 
had the power to create the sun, moon and stars to give 
light, could as easily have created light independent of 
them as with them. He is not dependent upon any sec- 
ond cause; his resources are infinite; he doeth what he 
will in his own way, according to his own pleasure. He 
is the great fountain of light, and in him is no darkness, 
but light ineffable and eternal. He could not, therefore, 
give an exhibition of himself without producing light. 
And because he is in everything that exists, latent or 
hidden heat, by which light is produced, exists in all 
things. Hence the Apostle says he " was the true Light, 
which lighteth every man that cometh into the world." It 
shineth, or existeth in the darkness, even though not seen. 
I have chosen the text with the view of considering 
that system by which light and immortality are brought 
to light in the Gospel. It is Gospel light we wish to il- 
lustrate. We can conceive of no symbol of the Gospel 
more striking than light. I may also remark, that the 
idea of a resemblance between light and the Gospel is 


frequently presented in the Scriptures, and the effect of 
natural light is taken to illustrate that of the Gospel. 
Thus the great Teacher illustrates it: " The people that 
sat in darkness saw preat light; and to them which sat 
in the region and shadow of death, light is sprung up." 
And the evangelical prophet employs this samo figure to 
represent the Gospel day, and the effect of the Gospel 
light upon this benighted world. " Arise, shine; for the 
light is come, and the glory of the Lord is risen upon 
thee'. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, 
and gross darkness the people ; but the Lord shall rise 
upon thee, and his glory shall be seen upon thee. And 
the Gentiles shall come to thy light, and kings to the 
brightness of thy rising." Now, the prophet did not mean 
that the sun, moon and stars should cease to shine, and 
that natural darkness should prevail, but that there w r ould 
be a time of gross spiritual darkness, and that over this 
darkness should the Sun of Righteousness arise and send 
forth the rays of Gospel light into all the dark places of the 
earth; and that the Gentiles, yea, even kings of the 
earth should be lightened by its gentle rays. I need not 
to remind you that this prophecy has been largely ful- 
filled in the spread of the Gospel. Paul, in his second 
epistle to the Corinthians, gives substantially the same 
illustration: " For God, who commanded the light to 
shine out of darkness, hath sinned in our hearts, to give 
the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the 
face of Jesus Christ." 

Now the Gospel resembles light in its source. 

Light ia the offspring of Deity, the product of his in- 
finite wisdom and almighty power. He spake, and it 


heard his voice ; he commanded, and it came forth. Like- 
wise, is the Gospel the offspring of Deity. The Gospel, 
says the apostle, is not " cunningly devised fables" : it is 
not the invention of human imagination, or the product 
of human ingenuity, but it is the glorious Gospel of the 
Son of God. It bears his image and reflects his glory in 
every line : in it all his attributes shine forth. Here, 
mercy and truth meet, righteousness and peace kiss each 
other, and wisdom, power and almighty love shine forth 
in all their divine splendor. 

But the Gospel resembles light in its design. 

The light makes manifest. By it, we behold things of 
which we would ever have remained ignorant without it. 
There might be innumerable beauties around us, and 
our organs e*f vision might be in their perfect state, but 
without light we could never enjoy the pleasure of be- 
holding them, but should remain ever ignorant of their 
existence. Paul, with all his learning, was ignorant of 
his natural depravity and the deceitfulness of his heart, 
until the Gospel light shone around him, and the scales 
of ignorance fell irom his eyes. He thought he was of- 
fering acceptable service to God, when he was persecu- 
ting the saints, and opposing the doctrines of the despised 
Nazarene, until the Gospel light revealed to him the 
beauty and saving power of the religion of Jesus. This 
is the great object of the Gospel — to make manifest; to 
throw light into our dark understanding; to point out 
our danger, and our refuge ; to show us our disease, and 
the remedy ; to show us the pit into which we are sink- 
ing, and the benevolent hand that is stretched out to de- 
liver us. By the Gospel light, we see our sinful state, 


our lost and undone condition ; in it we also see our Sa- 
viour. It lights up our path from earth to glory; it is a 
lamp to our feet, and a "light to shine upon the road 
that leads us to the Lamb." It lights up the valley and 
shadow of death, throws a divine radiance over the tomb, 
and bright rays of joy and hope into the dying chris- 
tian's eye, by which he has strength to exclaim, iu the 
expiring moment: 

" Come, welcome death, the end of fear, 
Thy terrors I regard no more." 

But the Gospel resembles light in the mildness of its 

There is nothing so mild in its motion as light. All 
other bodies, when put in rapid motion, are more or 
less destructive. The stream, when swollen to a flood, 
sweeps away all before it. The air, which is balmy and 
health-giving in its quietude, yet, when agitated, it tears 
up trees by the roots, levels costly structures with the 
earth, rolls up the waves of the sea, and engulfs majestic 
ships beneath the swelling billows. We have heard of 
hurricanes, which have swept away whole trains of cars, 
including massive locomotives. Not so with light: 
though it travels at the rate of twelve millions of miles a 
minute, yet it falls upon the eye with a mildness truly 
pleasant. So with the Gospel, in which there is neither 
lightning, nor thunder, nor tempest, nor smoke, and 
nothing to frighten or drive us away. It simply says, 
"Come!" "Come unto me, all ye that labor and are 
heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Matt, xi, 28. 

When the law was thundered forth from Sinai, the 
trembling Israelites moved back from the mount, and 


besought God not to speak to them any more, except 
through Moses, in whose voice there was no thunder. 
The law proclaimed the terrors of the Lord, his wrath 
and indignation, which those, who obey not his voice, 
shall feel through the endless ages of eternity. " Cursed 
is every one that continueth not in all things which are 
written in the book of the law to do them." " The soul 
that sinneth, it shall die." 

" When to the law I trembling fled, 
It poured its curses on my head, 
I no relief could find : 
This fearful truth increased my pain, 
The sinner must: be born again, 
Overwhelmed my troubled mind. 
Again did Sinai's thunder roll, 
And guilt lay heavy on my soul, 
A vast, oppressive load : 
Alas ! I read and saw it plain, 
The sinner never born again, 
Must drink the wrath of God. 
But while I thus in darkness lay, 
Jesus of Nazareth passed that way ; 
I felt his pity move ; 
A sinner, by his justice slain, 
Now by his grace is born again, 
And sings redeeming love. 
To heaven the joyful tidings flew, 
And angels tuned their harps anew, 
And loftier strains did raise, 
All hail ! the Lamb that once was slain, 
Unnumbered millions born again, 
Shall sing thine endless praise." 

The Gospel is a message of mercy : it comes to cheer 
us. Like light, it is al} tenderness, mildness, and heay- 


enly softness. It tells us, that " God so loved the world, 
that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever be- 
lie\teth in him should not perish, but have everlasting 
life ;" that " It is a faithful saying, and worthy of all ac- 
ceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save 
sinners ;" and that " Jesus stood and cried, If any man 
thirst, let him come unto me, and drink." What gra- 
cious words, what heavenly tenderness, what enrapturing 
mildness! I repeat, there is nothing in the Gospel to 
frighten us ; its light is sent to cheer us. So said the an- 
gel, who first proclaimed the Savior's birth : " Fear not: 
for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which 
shall be to all people." 

But the Gospel resembles light in its purity. 

How beautifully transparent is light ! There is no foul 
mixture in it. It may pass over districts infected with 
disease ; but, unlike the air, it inhales no contagious 
matter; unpolluted, it sweeps on through space, dispens- 
ing joy and gladness, but nothing hurtful or unpleasant. 
The Gospel is likewise pure; it is a system of purity: its 
purifying influence is called the "washing of regenera- 
tion." It removes sin's guilt and pollution, and diffuses 
purity: it sanctifies and makes holy. It has come in 
contact with every foul system — heathenism, paganism, 
Mohammedanism, and all the corrupting influences that 
have operated against the Christian Church, and yet it is 
pure. Stripped of the garmentsjn which sectarians have 
tried to conceal the beauty of many of its passages, it still 
remains the pure Gospel word, the sincere milk of which 
gives strength to the bodies and souls of men. It is heal- 
ing and invigorating. 


The Gospel resembles light in its effect upon our happi- 

Solomon says, " Truly the light is sweet." It is only 
those whose " deeds are evil " that " love darkness more 
than light." To all others, light is more desirable,and con- 
ducive to their happiness. See that poor blind man, how 
timid and doubtful his motion. The sun pours forth his 
rays ; but the unhappy man gropes his way at noon. 
The beauties of nature surround him, but he knows noth- 
ing of their charms. See that poor, benighted traveller, 
lost in the lonely desert, exposed to the wild beasts of 
the forest, the hissing serpents, and the howling tempest. 
See that tempest-tossed mariner, who has lost his reckon- 
ing. No star in the heavens, nor lighthouse on the shore, 
warn him of danger, or cheer him with hope. What joy 
would light bring to such distressed mortals ! Such is 
the sinner. He is blinded by the god of this world, is 
in the darkness of his lost state, and in the road to death. 
He is tempest-tossed upon the billows of his guilty con- 
science, and exposed to the breakers of divine wrath. He 
is lost in the wilderness of sin, and is " without God and 
without hope in the world." To this blind, bewildered, 
tempest-tossed wretch, the Gospel brings light. It opens 
his blind eyes, to behold wonderful things in the king- 
dom of grace. It dispels the gloom of sin's dark night, 
and ushers in the light of Gospel day. It calms the rag- 
ing billows, drives away, the clouds of despair, raises the 
star of hope, and brings to view the lighthouse on the 
shore. The Gospel fills the understanding with the light, 
of knowledge, the conscience with the light of peace, the 


heart with the light of joy, and the expectation with the 
light of hope. 

" It scatters all the guilty fear, 
And turns the hell to heaven." 

Now it is Jehovah's mandate that the Gospel light shall 
shine in all the dark corners of the earth. " Go ye into 
all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature." 

Let us notice the means by which the Gospel light 


By the Church, which is the visible kingdom of God on 
earth, he designs to accomplish his purpose of filling the 
world with the light of divine knowledge. In solving 
the mystery of the seven candlesticks, in the midst of 
which John saw him standing, Jesus said, " The seven 
candlesticks which thou sawest are the seven churches." 
As the candlestick holds, and thus displays the light, so 
does the church. 

By the life and labors of the ministry. " The seven stars," 
said Jesus, "are the seven angels of the seven churches;" 
that is, the ministers, like stars or planets, reflect the 
rays they receive from the Sun of Righteousness. It is 
their work to diffuse light, as burning luminaries, to 
chase away the gloom of hellish night. Their mission 
extends to earth's remotest bounds; and they are encour- 
aged by the assurance of the divine presence. " Lo, I am 
with you alway, even unto the end of the world." The 
ministry is God's great agency in the work of diffusing 
Gospel light. He has chosen them as his special instru- 
ments, weak and frail, it is true, in themselves, but 
mighty through God, in the accomplishment of his pur- 


pose, to fill the world with Gospel light. Take a com- 
munity, sunk in the very depths of darkness, sin and 
degradation ; let a live, whole-soul Gospel minister go 
among them, and walk out and in before them, and you 
will soon see a change in that community. The deep 
darkness will disappear, and light will spring up and 
continue to shine* so long as the man of God is among 
them. Gospel light shines forth from a holy member- 
ship. It was Christ's command : " Let your light so 
shine before men, that they may see your good works, 
and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Brethren, 
we are to be lights in this benighted land. To each and 
to every one of us he says, " Let there be light." If we are 
not letting the light shine, we are not fulfilling our mis* 

A few weeks ago in the town of Charlotte, N. C, they 
held an election to decide whether or not license should 
be granted to men, to deal out to that community " liquid 
damnation." At this election, there were a number of 
persons, who professed to be christians, that voted what 
*they called " the wet ticket "—that is, they voted to license 
the sale of intoxicating drinks. I heard of one class- 
leader, who voted the wet ticket. What shall we say of 
such a leader? Where is he leading the people to? Cer- 
tainly, not into the true Gospel light, but into the dark- 
ness of intemperance. We would not sit in judgment 
upon the christian character of our neighbors; but how 
a man, who supports the whiskey traffic, can imagine 
himself a christian, is a mystery beyond my comprehen- 
sion ; and as a watchman upon the walls of Zion, I feel 
in duty bound to warn the people of the evils of the pres- 


ent day. I know of no evil. so destructive to every inter- 
est of both soul and body, so wide in the extent of its 
ravages, so exacting in its demands, or so fearful in its 
consequences, as the evil of intemperance. We, as a 
race, have lately escaped from a bondage most oppressive, 
degrading, and evil in its consequences — a system de- 
nounced by a great and good man as the "sum of all 
villainies." Whatever were the evils of that system, (and 
they were never half told), and whatever were the horrors 
to the enslaved class, or the curses upon the slaveholder, 
yet the victims of that system were in no such evil 
case as are the victims of intemperance ! These are en- 
slaved, both soul and body. Death released the victims 
of our late system of slavery, and we have no doubt that 
thousands of them were conveyed by angels to Abraham's 
bosom. We have no such hope respecting the victims 
of intemperance. Death sinks them deeper. The Apos- 
tle reminds us that the drunkard shall not inherit the 
kingdom of heaven, and Jesus warns us that there is a 
danger of having our hearts overcharged with drunken- 
ness, and that day come upon us unawares. Drunken- 
ness seems not to have been a prevalent evil in his day. 
Very little is said of intemperance among the people of 
God at that period. No doubt there was drunkenness in 
that day, but it was among those who made no profes- 
sion of righteousness. The wickedness of intemperance 
was so generally acknowledged, it was not necessary for 
Jesus to say much about it. It is the sin of all sins of 
our day. It is the fruitful promoter of every evil under 
the sun. Like the grave, it never says enough. Like 
bell, it is never satisfied with the number of its victims. 


Like the great red dragon that stood before the woman, 
this monster seems to have been waiting the results of 
the emancipation proclamation, that it might seize upon 
the freed people and enslave them again, before they 
were strong enough to resist its power. Our penitentia- 
ries are filled with its victims; and the auction block has 
often been surrounded by horses, mules, cows, and all 
manner of implements of husbandry, the property of one 
who had a fair start and was doing well, before he fell 
under the power of the whiskey traffic. The wretched- 
ness and woe so fearfully prevalent, the ragged and half- 
starved children, the heart broken wives and mothers, 
the empty school benches, the half-finished churches, the 
half-supported preachers, and the vast and untold num- 
bers that are crowding the downward road, all go to show 
how completely this monster has, in many cases, wholly 
nullified the intended effect of the freedom proclamation. 
And yet, there are men among us, professing christians 
too, even ministers, who indulge in the intoxicating cup, 
and who oppose the efforts that are put forth to remove it 
from the land. Some even go so far as to threaten to 
withhold their support from ministers who speak against 
this evil. The minister who would swerve one hair's 
breadth from his duty for fear of men, is not worthy of 
support. They forget that he who opens and no man can 
shut, has said, " Your water is sure, and your bread shall 
be given." 

What then is he whose scorn I dread, 
Whose savage threat makes me afraid, 


A bubble on the drunken wave, 


If we are to wander forty years in this wilderness, I 
can see no cause for it but intemperance. Now God says, 
"Let there be light." Let the light of temperance shine 
in all our dwellings. Let us drive out King Alcohol, 
and thus make way for the blessed reign of King Em- 

God grant us grace to diffuse light by a holy example, 
and thus hasten the day when the kingdoms of this 
world shall become the kingdoms of our God. 

122 the soul's anchor. 




" Which hope we have as an anchor of the soul, both sure and 
steadfast, and which entereth into that within the vail : whither 
the forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest 
forever after the order of Melchisedec." Heb. vi, 19. 

At the commencement of the chapter, of which our 
text is a part, the Apostle intimates his purpose of ad- 
vancing to the consideration of sublimer truths, and ex- 
horts his Hebrew brethren to leave the first principles, 
and advance with him. He exhorts them to aspire after 
greater proficiency in the knowledge and practice of Gos- 
pel principles, as a means of preventing their backslid- 
ing and final apostacy, which would result in their 
eternal ruin. Verses 1 — 8. He expresses a hope that 
they would persevere in the good way on which they had 
entered, and thus secure the reward of faith and obe- 
dience, in the complete salvation of their souls. Verse 9. 
By pointing to the life and labors of those who had al- 
ready obtained the promise, he endeavored to urge them 
on to greater diligence. He would comfort believers with 
a view of God's goodness, in the engagements he had con- 
descended to enter into, and which he had confirmed by 
an oath : " Wherein God, willing more abundantly to 

the soul's anchor. 123 

show unto the heirs of promise the immutability of his 
counsel, confirmed it by an oath ; that by two immutable 
things, in which it was impossible for God to lie, we 
might have a strong consolation, w 7 ho have fled for refuge 
to lay hold upon the hope set before us." Then follows 
the text: "Which hope we have," " We," that is, the 
Apostle and every other believer, who, having been awak- 
ened to the sense of a lost and undone condition, have 
fled to and laid hold of the promises of God, and made 
them our refuge, or, as the Apostle puts it, are heirs or 
inheritors of the promises, " have this hope as an anchor 
of the soul." All we, who conscious of our natural de- 
pravity, weakness, guilt and wretchedness, have, for safety 
from deserved wrath, laid hold upon the promises set 
forth in the Gospel, have a strong and consoling assur- 
ance that our confidence is w T ell placed, and that our 
refuge is sure. The Apostle mentions two rocks, or solid 
foundations, upon which our confidence rests, and inti- 
mates a third. " That by two immutable things, in w 7 hich 
it was impossible for God to lie, we might have a strong 
consolation." One immutable thing would have been 
sufficient to have sustained all who would confide in it, 
hut in the inexhaustible abundance of God's goodness, 
he gives beyond measure. He presses it dowm in the 
measure, shakes it together, and then runs it over; yea, 
more, he doubles and trebles his blessings. 

The two immutable things, of which the Apostle speaks, 
are, first, the promise of God, (and his promise is sure); 
and second, the oath by wdiich the promise is confirmed, 
''The oath," says the Apostle, "is the end of strife." It 
puts an end to all contradiction. That which is sworn 

124 the soul's anchor. 

to, is regarded as settled, unless there is strong counter- 
vailing testimony. And there can be no testimony 
against the declarations of him that cannot lie, there can 
be no oath to rebut his; and because he could swear by 
no greater, he swore by himself. Therefore, we have as 
a ground for our hope the promise of God, who cannot 
lie, and the oath of God, which cannot be broken. In 
addition to this, the Apostle mentions the further fact, 
that Jesus, our forerunner, has entered also within the 
vail, and there abideth forever a high priest. A fore- 
runner is one who goes before to prepare the way for 
others to follow. Jesus said to his disciples, " I go to 
prepare a place for you." Into this prepared place, 
he received the penitent thief, whose faith pierced the 
vail of ignominy which enveloped the crucified Nazarene, 
and beheld in him the King of saints, and trusted in 
him as such. The Apostle here claims him as the fore- 
runner, who has entered heaven for us. He has taken 
possession of heaven, and prepared it for the accommo- 
dation of his people. He has prepared a highway lead- 
ing to it, and has engaged to conduct us safely, and afford 
the assistance of his grace, to enable us to finish our 
course, to fight the good fight of faith, and to lay hold 
upon eternal life. 

I. Let us notice the characteristics of the chris- 
tian's HOPE. 

The Apostle calls it the soul's anchor — " Which hope 
we have as an anchor of the soul." The anchor is thai 
which, when cast, holds the ship steady amid the storms 
and keeps it from being blown upon rocks and dashed to 
pieces, or drifting off with the tide. There are times 


when sailing becomes dangerous ; when the black tem- 
pest sweeps the swelling billows, the boiling surges mix 
with the clouds, death rides upon the storm, and the 
mariner fears destruction upon the rocks; the anchor is 
then his only hope; if it fails him, his ship is lost. 

Amid the storms of life, hope is the christian's anchor. 
When friends all fail and foes all unite; when subjected 
to cross providences, or strange afflictions; when the 
enemy comes upon us as with a flood, all things seem to 
be against us; and, like old Job, we are constrained to 
cry out in the bitterness of our soul : " Oh ! that my grief 
were thoroughly weighed, and my calamity laid in the 
balances together; for now it would be heavier than the 
sand of the sea: therefore my words are swallowed up. 
For the arrows of the Almighty are within me, the poison 
whereof drinketh up my spirit: the terrors of God do 
set themselves in array against me." In such an hour, 
hope holds the soul steady, and sweetly whispers: 

" Peace, troubled soul, thou needest not fear, 
Thy great deliverer still is near, 
His tender love protects thee still, 
Be calm, and sink into his will." 

Thus encouraged, the confiding soul exclaims: "All 
the days of my appointed time will I wait till my change 

The Apostle calls this a "sure" hope. It is not every 
hope that is sure. We read : " The hypocrite's hope shall 
perish, whose hope shall be cut off, and whose trust shall 
be a spider's web." But the christian's hope, like David's 
covenant, is ordered in all things and sure. It is a hope 
that sustains him in every discouragement in life, and 


forsakes him not in death—a hope full of immortality 
and eternal life. 

It is " steadfast " — unyielding, unmoved. The violence 
of the storm can neither break it nor drag it from its 
moorage. The thunders roar, the lightnings play among 
the clouds, the winds howl, the waves lash themselves to 
fury, but the sheet anchor of hjpe holds on, and safely 
keeps the soul until the storm of life has passed — 

Till hope in fruition dies. 
And faith is lost in sight, 

Finally, the Apostle refers to the celestial anchorage. 
"It entereth into that within the vail." Within the vail 
of the temple, which separated the holy from the most 
holy place, was the ark of the covenant resting upon the 
mercy seat ; the two tables of stone, upon which was the 
law written by the finger of God; the pot of manna, 
and Aaron's rod that budded; all of which were over-" 
shadowed by the cherubim, wrought by the hand of a 
cunning artificer. Into this holy place the high priest 
entered once a year to offer sacrifice, first for himself, and 
then for the people. Behind this vail, except that of the 
high priest, mortal eye was never to look. This sanctum 
sanctorum was a type of heaven, the holiest of all, where 
God sitteth upon his glorious throne, over which Isaiah 
beheld the six winged seraphs praising the divine Maj- 
esty. Here, Jesus, our forerunner, sits at God 5 s right 
hand, and from this divine presence the Holy Spirit 
comes forth to bear witness with our spirits, that we are 
the children of God. Within this vail our anchor of 
hope is cast; the divine Triad is our anchorage, and faith 

the soul's anchor. 127 

is the strong cable that holds US' fast. The Son of God 
offered himself, as a sacrifice for us, the Father accepted 
the sacrifice, and the Holy Ghost bears witness that we 
are accepted in the Beloved. 

II. Let us consider the grounds of the christian 

Keeping in view the Apostle's metaphor, the anchor, 
we are reminded that to hold a vessel steady in the 
storm, the anchor must be cast, and must take hold upon 
good, solid ground. If the ground yields, the anchor 
will drag, and the ship will be cast upon the fatal break- 
ers. Likewise hope, to sustain us amid the storms of 
life, must be an active, well-grounded hope. Such is the 
christian's hope. It is a lively hope. The anchor is not 
carried as an useless encumbrage on the vessel's deck, 
but it is there to be employed, to be used, to be cast on 
good and solid ground. And the anchor of hope should 
not be cast on the shoals of formality, nor in the deep sea 
of philosophy, nor amid the rocks of heterodoxy, nor in 
the quicksands of superstition ; but upon the good and 
solid grounds of intelligent, heartfelt, practical, pure and 
undefiled religion. 

Now, the believer's hope is grounded upon divine be- 
nevolence. " God so loved the world that he gave his 
only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him 
should not perish, but have everlasting life." This was 
the Apostle's boast./' He loved me and gave himself for 
me." Surely, the amazing exhibition of divine love, as 
displayed in the mystery of redemption, affords ground 
upon which the christian's hope may safely rest, and bid 
defiance to the tempest's rage. 

128 the soul's anchor. 

, The believer's hope rests, also, upon the finished work cf 
Christ. He has wrought out for us a complete salvation. 
By his suffering, death and resurrection, he has procured 
the right and the power to present us without fault be- 
fore the throne. The sacrifice he offered met all tho de- 
mands of insulted divine majesty: in him mercy and 
truth met, righteousness and peace kissed each other; 
and through him God can be just, and yet the justifier 
of the ungodly. Divine truth demanded the infliction 
of the death penalty, as an atonement for the broken law. 
Divine mercy, in the person of Jesus, by the oblation of 
himself once offered, rendered full and complete satisfac- 
tion for man's disobedience and sin. He said: " I will 
magnify the law and make it honorable;" I will restore 
to it all that man's disobedience has taken from it. By 
man's rebellion, peace had departed from the sons of 
men, divine indignation was kindled, and wrath was 
threatened. To appease the divine anger, an atonement 
made by the nature that had rebelled was required, and 
it was also required that the atonement should be per- 
fect ; but there was not a just man upon earth. Divine 
mercy, in the person of Jesus, interposed. " A body thou 
hast prepared me, it will I offer." Dost thou demand 
obedience? " Lo! I come, in the volume of the book it 
is written of me, 1 delight to do thy will, God; yea, 
thy law is within my heart. I will declare thy right- 
eousness in the great congregation, and thy loving kind- 
ness unto the sons of men. By his righteousness he hath 
justified many; he has reconciled man to his Maker, re- 
stored peace to earth, and good will to man. By the sac- 
rifice of himself, he gave glory to God and peace to man, 


and also a glorious exhibition of his loving kindness and 
tender mercy. By his death upon the cross, by his res- 
urrection and ascension to glory, he finished his en- 
gagements, put an end to the power of sin, made rec- 
onciliation for iniquity, brought in an everlasting right- 
eousness, and gave to his ministers the mystery of recon- 
ciliation. I repeat, the believer's hope rests upon this 
finished work of Christ. 

But it rests also upon his mediatorial intercession. Hav- 
ing offered himself a sacrifice for sin, he entered death's 
dominion, spoiled principalities and powers, broke the 
fetters of death, robbed the grave of its victory and death 
of its sting, ascended to his Father's throne, and ever 
liveth to make intercession for us. "A priest forever 
after the order of Melchisedec," not after the order of 
Aaron, which was changeable, descending from father 
to son, "because they were not permitted to continue by 
reason of death," but like that of Melchisedec, his abides 
in himself. Like Melchisedec, there was none of his line 
who filled the office before him, and none will succeed 
him. Like Melchisedec, there was a mystery hanging 
over both his birth and his death ; and yet, like his type, 
lie was born and also died. He did not receive his priest- 
hood by descent like the sons of Aaron, but by an oath 
like Melchisedec. Hence, the language of the Psalmist, 
quoted by the apostle: " The Lord hath sworn, and will 
not repent, Thou art a priest forever." The apostle con- 
tinues, " By so much was Jesus made a surety of a better 
testament. And they truly were many priests, because 
they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: 
but this man, because he continueth ever, hath an uu- 

130 the soul's anchor. 

changeable priesthood. Wherefore he is able also to save 
them to the uttermost that come unto God by him, see- 
ing he ever iiveth to make intercession for them." The 
believer's hope rests firmly upon this intercession, and he 
is encouraged, with the immortal Charles Wesley, "To 
bid his soul arise, shake off its guilty fear, and behold the 
bleeding sacrifice in its behalf appear." 

' ' He ever lives above, for me to intercede, 
His all redeeming love, his precious blood to plead, 
Which blood atoned for all our race, 
And sprinkles now the throne of grace. 

Five bleeding wounds he bears, received on Calvary, 
They pour effectual prayers, they strongly speak for me : 
Forgive him, O forgive, they cry, 
Nor let the ransomed sinner die. 

The Father hears him pray, his dear anointed one, 
He cannot turn away the presence of his son, 
His Spirit answers to the blood, 
And tells me I am born of God." 

Upon this God-blessed assurance of the effectual inter- 
cession of our high priest above, the believer's hope rests, 
and ali the mad billows rage and foam and lash them- 
selves to fury in vain. 

"For still the Christian's bark outrides 
The blustering winds and swelling tides. " 

He who intercedes for us knows our weakness/the se- 
verity of the'temptation to which we are exposed, and 
also the enmity and subtlety of the enemy of our souls. 
He once dwelt in a frail tenement like ours, and was in 
all points tempted as we are. He passed through a. fiery 
ordeal, a bloody sweat, a painful agony and exceeding 


sorrow of soul — " he trod the wine press alone, and of 
the people there was none to help him ; " yet he triumphed 
through it all and thereby secured for us the blessing of 
divine favor, and the assurance of divine sympathy. 

( ' Touched by a sympathy within, 
He knows our feeble frame ; 
He knows what sore temptations mean, 
For he has felt the same." 

But the believer's hope rests also upon his own personal 
experience. His knowledge of the forgiveness of his sins, 
his acceptance with God, his justification by faith, the 
peace he enjoys within, and the sustaining grace by 
which he is enabled to stand, and maintain the conflict, 
and after all to stand ; are all connected with a sure hope. 
Divine love, the finished work of Christ, and mediatorial 
intercession, will all go for nothing, unless they are con- 
nected with a personal experience, a knowledge that the 
kingdom of God is within us— that he reigns in our 
hearts. We must have the Spirit of God in us, bearing 
witness with our spirits that we are the children of God. 
We must know by God-blessed experience, that we 
have passed from death unto life — that the old man 
with his deeds have been cast out — that our nature has 
been changed and the new creation formed within. We 
must be able to say with our favorite poet : 

' ' My God is reconciled, his pardoning voice I hear : 
He owns me for his child, I can no longer fear ; 
With confidence, I now draw nigh, 
And Father, Abba Father, cry." 

To have a sure and steadfast hope, each must know 
for himself, that these blessings are his. He must have 


the witness in himself, must know the time and place of 
the shaking of his dungeon, and the falling off of his 
chains. A mere hope that he is a christian is not suffi- 
cient ; he must " knoiu" He must know that the burden 
of sin has been removed, that its heavy load has passed 
from his back, and that he is no longer oppressed by its 
weight. He must know that the gloom, distress and fear 
of sin's dark night have been cleared away, and that 
they have been superseded by the light of liberty, peace 
and joy, which are the fruits of justification by faith. 
If we have them not, we cannot have a sure hope of 
heaven. The ship, the cable, the anchor cast, are all im- 
portant, but their utility depends upon their connection. 
The kingdom of grace set up in our hearts, is the sub- 
stantial sea-worthy craft, which alone will convey us 
safely across the tempestuous ocean of time; faith is our 
strong cable, which must be made fast to the anchor of 
hope, cast within the vail ; and while this connection is 
maintained, we are safe. y 

"Though by winds and waves we are tossed and driven, 
Yet while freighted with grace we are bound for heaven." 

Now if we are in deed and in truth believers in Christ 
Jesus, if we have made the promise of God our trust, if 
we have fled thereto for refuge, if we have laid hold upon 
the hope set before us in the Gospel, and are holding on 
thereto, we have the strong consolation these blessings 
afford, and may unite with the Apostle in appropriating 
the language of the text : " Which hope we have as an 
anchor of the soul, both sure and steadfast, and which 
entereth into that within the vail, whither the forerun- 

the soul's anchor. 133 

ner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a high priest for 
ever after the order of Melchisedec." 

Finally, the believer's hope is grounded upon his long- 
ings for home. These are the Spirit's implanting ; they 
lead us homeward and make us pant for the living 
streams of bliss. 

' ' I cannot, I cannot forbear 

These passionate longings for home ; 
O when will my spirit be there, 
O when will the messenger come ?" 

He who has his anchor cast within the vail, has his 
affections set upon things above, where Christ sitteth at 
the right hand of God— his heart and his flesh crieth out 
for the living God. His desires go onward and lead him 
toward his home, and while standing upon some lofty 
peak, the heavenly breezes bear to his enraptured soul 
the fragrance of Eden's flowers, and while his eye feasts 
upon the golden beams of thatglorious light which flows 
through the city of God, he exclaims: 

' ' Yonder's my house, my portion fair, 
My treasure and my heart are there, 
And my abiding home." 

III. But notice the consolations of the christian's 


11 That by two immutable things in which it was im- 
possible for God to lie, we might have strong consola- 
tion." The promises of God, and the oath by which 
they are confirmed, are consoling ; they afford strong con- 
solation. There are many and sore trials through which 
most of God's people have to pass in this howling wil- 
derness. Afflictions arise from the temptations of the 

134 the soul's anchor. 

devil — he will vex, if he can do no more— from the frailty 
of our nature, and from our business, social or domestic 
cares. Under the burden of these afflictions, distresses 
and cares, we are oonsoled by the hope of future and eter- 
nal felicity. We are consoled by the assurance, that "our 
light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for 
us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory, 
which shall be revealed in us." 

We are consoled by the assurance, that whatever our 
trials and difficulties, whatever dark nights of sorrow 
and affliction, whatever dark paths duty compels us to 
pass through, a hand divine is leading us, and will cheer 
us, (for he " giveth songs in the night,") and will lead us 
safely and with rapture to the city of everlasting habita- 

We are consoled by the assurance, that however we are 
buffeted by the enemy, whatever sore conflicts we may 
have, whatever wounds we may receive, however hard 
pushed we may be, however numerous, or strong, or ma- 
licious our enemies, however long the conflict may last—* 
in a word — whatever the nature of the engagement, we 
shall more than conquer through him that loved us and 
gave himself for us, 

We are consoled by the assurance, that however strange 
and unaccountable the dispensations of Providence, yet 
all things shall work together for the good of those that 
love the Lord, that — 

" Behind a frowning providence, 
He hides a smiling face," 

Consoled and strengthened by such invigorating and 
soul-stirring assurances, we are enabledj not only to stem 

the soul's anchor. 135 

the current ourselves, but also to encourage the weak 
ones, and cheer them by our songs. 

" Come on, my partners, in distress, 
My comrades through the wilderness, 

Who still your bodies fill, 
Awhile forget your griefs and fears, 
And look beyond this vale of tears, 

To that celestial hill. 

Beyond the bounds of time and space, 
ILook forward to that heavenly place, 

The saints secure abode ■; 
On faith's strong eagle pinions rise, 
And force your passage to the skies, 

And scale the mount of God. 

Who suffer with our Master here, 
They shall before his face appear, 

And by his side sit down ; 
To patient faith the prize is sure, 
And all that to the end endure 

The crosSj shall wear the crown. w 




"For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, 
and lose his own soul ? or .what will a man give in exchange for 
his soul ?" Matt, xvi, 26. ' 

Jesus having entered the coast of Cesarea Phillippi, 
inquired of his disciples as to what were the sayings re- 
specting him, " Whom do men say that I, the Son of 
man, am ?" They answered that there were a variety of 
sayings respecting him. Some said he was John the 
Baptist, risen from the dead. This, it is said, was Herod's 
opinion. I have a notion that Herod hatched this opinion 
to quiet his conscience. To satisfy his brother Phillip's 
wife, whom he had unlawfully taken to himself, he had 
John beheaded. John had rebuked this wicked couple 
for their unlawful conduct, and the woman planned for 
his destruction ; the king falling in with, and executing 
her plan, became responsible for the deed. Wicked as 
he was, he had not quite sold himself to the devil, hence 
this act of wickedness disturbed his conscience. There- 
fore, he would find relief in persuading himself that this 
was John, risen from the dead ; as, in that case, he could 
console himself with the idea that he had not done him 
much harm, after all. It often happens that men regret 


the consequence of their own doings, when it is too late 
to undo them ; but they foolishly fall back upon the hope 
that God may overrule in such a way as to, at least, nul- 
lify the effect of their misdoings. Suppose he should ? 
That won't help their case. No matter what God may 
do for his own glory, their sin remains the same, until 
they repent. Repentance and faith alone will remove 
guilt and give substantial peace of mind. The more ex- 
cellent way, however, is to do only that which an enlight- 
ened conscience, on calm reflection, will justify. 

The disciples further told Jesus, that some said he was 
"Elijah; and others Jeremias, or one of the prophets." 
He then asked, "But whom say ye that I am? And 
Simon Peter answered and said, Thou art the Christ, the 
Son of the living God." After assuring them that that 
profession of faith was the rock upon which his church 
should be built, and securely stand, he proceeded to in- 
form them of what should soon transpire respecting him- 
self. " From that time forth began Jesus to show unto 
his disciples how that he must go unto Jerusalem, and 
suffer many things of the elders and chief priests and 
scribes, and be killed, and be raised again the third day." 
At this Peter took him and began to rebuke him, saying, 
" This shall not be unto thee." But Jesus said, •' Get thee 
behind me Satan ; thou art an offence unto me, for thou 
savourest not the things that be of God, but those that 
be of men." Peter had learned his christian lessons but 
poorly; he had been taught the importance of self- 
denial; that it is the basis upon which discipleship 
must rest: he, on the contrary, had exhibited selfish- 
ness as a most prominent feature in his character, and 


which controlled his action ; yea, it was the corner and 
capstone thereof. He is here taught that this foundation 
must be dug up, and a new one laid, from which every 
particle of selfishness must be removed. And for this, 
the following reason is given ; " For whosoever will save 
his life, shall lose it.' 7 He that would save his life by 
shrinking from his duty, shall lose it. " And whosoever 
will lose his life for my sake, shall find it." He that, for 
love to Christ, does his duty regardless of consequences, 
and thereby loses his life, shall find it again in heaven. 
He shall find in the end that he has really lost nothing. 
Then follows the text; " Fcr what is a man profited, if 
he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? 
or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul ?" 

To impress them with the importance of the subject, 
he employs a method with which men engaged in mer- 
cantile pursuits are well acquainted, namely, loss and 
gain. The merchant who does not pay attention to this 
rule, will be most likely to suffer loss. If he does not see 
to it that something is gained by all his transactions, he 
had best close up shop. If he pays more for what he 
buys, than it will bring when sold, if the outlay is more 
than the income, it is clearly a losing business; and if 
he continues thus, all eventually will be lost. To ascer- 
tain the value of any business in whieh we are engaged, 
^e must consider the entire outlay. If this subtracted 
from the income, leaves a balance, then it is evident that 
the business pays. But if the outlay is the larger of the 
two, he is admonished by the rule that he cannot sub- 
tract a larger number from a smaller, that it is a losing 
business, and if cpnfintfed failure will be inevitable. The 


text leads us to apply this rule of profit and loss to the 
eternal interests of the soul. 

I. Let us consider the imaginary gain. 

I say imaginary, for it is not real. He that embraces 
this world, or sublunary things as substantial good, is 
deceived. Let us suppose a case in which a man goes 
into the stock market and a picture of great wealth is 
held up before his eyes, to be the result of making a cer- 
tain investment. He is carried away by the promise of 
great riches; he is encouraged by old stock gamblers, 
and enraptured with the view of the splendid air castles 
formed in his mind, and is intoxicated with the idea 
that he will soon be a millionaire. He at once resolves 
to invest all his available cash. But this does not satisfy 
his ambition : "Ventures make millionaires as well as 
merchants," and he feels a desire to sink his bottom 
dollar in this one great effort. He, therefore, mortgages 
all his property, raises all he can thus, and invests it, 
also. Well, he has spent all, and while he awaits the 
moment at which he is to realize the expected fortune, 
he buys on credit, and borrows from his neighbors, until 
his credit is exhausted and he can borrow no more; 
because his failure to meet his payments promptly, has 
shaken the confidence of his creditors. He is surprised 
that those who had alwa\\s trusted him should be unwil- 
ling to make him further advances. He has not realized, 
as yet, what he expected from his investments, but has 
no d^ubt of their soundness and great productiveness in 
the end. But the conduct of his neighbors renders him 
unhappy ; he is vexed at the idea of their lack of confi- 
dence, and he says to himself, I will wait no longer; I 


will sell my stock at what it will bring; I will pay my 
debts, lift my mortgages, and if I have not reached the 
object of my ambition, I will yet have comfort and ease, 
and I will make my neighbors ashamed of the want of 
confidence they have shown. Thus musing, he goes into 
the stock market to offer his stock for sale; but he there, 
to his astonishment, learns that it is not worth a cent. 
He has spent all, and lost all. Can you imagine a more 
wretched being than that man, when he awakes to the 
full sense of his situation ? I repeat, be has invested all, 
and lost all. He has lost his expectation, his valuable 
property, his money, his credit and standing in society-^ 
yea, hope and all is gone. He is poor and penniless witli 
a helpless family on his hands, a family refined and edu- 
cated ; but they have learned only the livery of high life, 
of labor they know nothing. They have known nothing 
of his financial transactions, and consequently nothing 
of his financial ruin ; but they must know it. How can 
he face that loving wife and those darling children, and 
break to them the doleful story of their poverty and dis* 
grace 9 The shock is too great, the shadow of despair 
hovers over him— it falls ! and reason leaves its throne, 
the vacant stare of the lunatic settles upon his counte- 
nance, the last sad act, self-destruction, follows, and all is 
over; no, not all, he has changed lives, but not states. 
The hell from which he flees, when he cuts his throat 
and leaves this world, meets him in another, intensified 
a thousand fold. 

Such is the wretch, who barters away his soul for the 
things of this life, or setting too great value upon them, 
pursues them to the neglect of his soul — in the end ho 


loses all. What if he has gained much? Suppose he 
has accumulated wealth, honors, titles, dominion and 
glory ; has seen many years of prosperity, has flourished 
as the green bay tree? Suppose he has gained the world, 
ten thousand worlds, if possible, what will it all amount 
to in the dying hour, when he is brought to face the stern 
realities of eternity ? Alas, it won't purchase for him 
one poor drop of water to allay the anguish of his pain, 
or cool his scortching tongue ! It is like the worthless 
stock in the hands of a broken gambler; it will yield 
him nothing of any value in the dying hour. 

But let us consider this imaginary gain a little more 
critically in the light of the text. 

"If he shall gain the whole world." Then, it is not 
certain that the whole world can be obtained, even at 
that fearful price. The " if" implies a doubt; but it is 
more than doubtful ; it is certain that we cannot gain the 
whole world. No man ever did gain the whole world; 
and if one had it, he would not know what to do with it, 
or with himself after he had possessed it. It is said of 
Alexander, (sur-named the Great!) that when he sup- 
posed he had conquered the world, he sat down and wept 
because there were no more worlds to conquer. Alas! 
poor man ! he was not happy after all, in his fancied 
possession of the world. But suppose he did possess the 
whole world, what does it avail him now? Where is 
Alexander the Great, the mightiest conquerer that ever 
led armies to victory — the " He goat" of Daniel's proph- 
ecy, that is described as going forth from conquest to 
conquest with such rapidity that he touched not the 
ground — he who snatched laurels from conquerers and 


placed them upon his own brow — who made toys of the 
crowns of kings, and seized upon the gold of Ophir as 
his treasure — I repeat, where is Alexander the Great? 
The world he conquered and seized upon as his own, no 
longer affords him a home. He has passed away. Let 
us follow him to that eternity to which he has gone, and 
ask him to instruct us on the momentous interrogatories 
of the text. Supposing that he lost his soul, he has now 
endured the agonies of the lost for more than two thou* 
sand years. Suppose we draw aside the curtain, raise the 
hatches of hell, and getting assurance from the angel 
Gabriel of a safe return, we descend that dark abode, and 
inquire of Alexander the Great, " what is a man profited 
if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul ? ,? 
What, think you, will be his answer ? Yonder he sits 
upon the bosom of a burning lake. His mighty captains, 
too, are there, companions of his woe. I see no laurels 
now upon his brow, no crown upon his head, nor sceptre 
in his hand ; neither are there any marks of conquest, 
nor tokens of victory, He no longer sighs for other 
worlds to conquer. He looks not like a conqueror, but 
wears the visage of one that has been conquered. He 
looks dejected and hopeless. An angry scowl rests upon 
his brow, woeful sadness fills his eye, and anguish wrings 
his soul. He is terrible to behold and fearful to approach ; 
but I accost him from a point beyond which Gabriel 
warns me not to venture. I ask, " Alexander, what is a 
man profited who gains the whole world, and loses his 
own soul?" Hark, his answer: "Profit! profit!! there 
is no such word in hell's vocabulary. It is all loss here — ■ 
loss, loss, eternal loss I " " What, then, will a man give 


In exchange for his soul ? " To this he answers ; " When 
I was on earth, I was a fool ; I grasped at shadows and 
missed the substance. I thought there was value in 
crowns and kingdoms — in earthly honors, titles and do- 
minion, but I have learned by sad and woeful experience, 
that there is but one thing of real value to man — that is 
his soul. Go back ! go back ! and bear from me this 
solemn message to the sons- of men, yet in time : Forget 
the imaginary value of wealth, honors and titles; forget 
everything else— but don't forget that no price set upon the 
soul can mark Us value/ Its value is beyond computation- 
it is priceless. Disregard this truth if you will ; trifle 
with it, treat it derisively and contemptuously, or break its 
force'upon the mind by sophistry or ridicule; crowd it 
out by worldly amusements, or whatever the w r orld can 
offer you — but learn as I have learned, that the one re- 
gret that will eternally gnaw as the undying worm, will 
be the regret that the soul's value was not learned in the 
season of salvation." 

II. Let us now consider the loss of the soul. 

What is it? What is the loss sustained by those who, 
setting too much value upon material things, pursue 
them to the neglect of the soul's eternal interests, or barter 
away their souls to obtain them ? I repeat, what is the 
loss of the soul? What mind can solve the fearful prob- 
lem ? I confess my inability to grasp the mighty theme. 
The mind staggers at the thought of attempting to pene- 
trate the momentous meaning of the five following w r ords : 
Eternal loss of the soul. If there are five words in any 
language more expressive of all that is to be feared, 
their sound has never fallen upon my ears. 


There are two thoughts involved. First, of " the soul." 
What is it? It is the life, the product of God's breath. 
" God breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and 
man became a living soul." Elihu tells us that it is the 
spirit in man which receiveth instruction from the Al- 
mighty. The soul in its purity is the divine image, and 
possesses kinship to Deity ; is capable of feeling Jehovah's 
touch, as a man the touch of his fellow. It is undying in 
its nature, must eternally exist somewhere; hence its loss 
cannot mean annihilation. Socrates, who came nearer 
to the knowledge of the truth than any other heathen 
philosopher, arrived at this truth from the light of reason. 
He will most certainly arise in the judgment to the con- 
demnation of many who have refused to walk in the light 
of revealed truth. Revelation most plainly teaches thi3 
truth: "These shall go away into everlasting punish- 
ment, but the righteous into life eternal." Yes, we must 
eternally exist somewhere, but where ? " Man dieth and 
wasteth away, yea, man giveth up the ghost, and where 
is he ?" Such was the cogitation of Job's mind ; and the 
thought equally concerns us. And the language of the 
poet may well be sung in every land by every tongue: 

' ' Soon as from earth I flee, 
What then will become of me V 

This brings us to the second thought referred to, viz., 
the " soul's loss." What is it to lose the soul ? It evi- 
dently iucludes the loss of every kind of pleasure. If the 
soul is once lost, we shall never know another moment's 
ease or comfort while eternal ages roll. To lose the soul 
is to lose whatever of bliss God has reserved for his loved 
ones.. It is to endure whatever of pain God will inflict 


upon the disobedient. We know nothing of what either 
is, except by the pictures in which God, by 'his Spirit, 
has painted them in the book of revealed truth, and upon 
the tablets of our hearts. We know by experience some- 
thing of joy, of grief, and of pain, and by these we may 
be instructed. We have live avenues through which 
either comfort or misery are poured into the soul — hear- 
ing, seeing, feeling, smelling, and tasting. If we have 
only so many in the future state, the pictures we have 
seen of heaven lead us to the thought that the blessings 
are sufficient in quantity and variety to keep all the ave- 
nues continually crowded. The loss of the soul is the 
loss of all this. 

There are in heaven innumerable beauties, such as 
mortal eyes never saw. It is represented as a four-square 
city, with gates of pearl, and streets of gold. There are 
gardens and pleasant walks, and heavenly music most 
charming to the ear. We love to hear the music of a 
well-trained choir, but oh ! when the music of heaven's 
songsters bursts upon our ears, mingled with the music 
of millions of harpers, the sweetest songs of earth will 
cease to be remembered as music. The pictures of heaven 
include abundant provision of most delicious fruits, the 
product of the tree of life, standing upon both sides of 
the river, which flows out of the life-giving fountain. 
Then there are fragrant flowers which fill the heavenly 
atmosphere with a rich perfume, so that every breath in- 
haled will be pure and sweet. Then, our hearts shall be 
filled with a fullness of joy unmixed and eternal. The 
loss of all this is included in the loss of the soul. 

Then hell is the opposite of heaven in every thing but 


duration. All the faculties, which in heaven form avenues 
through which pleasure is conveyed to the soul, will, in 
torment, be the avenues through which wretchedness 
and woe will be poured into it forever. Instead of 
heavenly music, will be sounds of agony and woe. Out- 
bursts of angry demons will make hell hideous. Chil- 
dren will be heard cursing their parents, and charging 
them with their damnation. Then, there will be the wails 
of lost souls, and these sounds of agony, woe and sorrow, 
together with the angry outbursts, will be continual and 
eternal ; for they that worship the beast shall never have 
rest. Then there will be soul-sickening sights, from which 
the eye can never turn — gastly and horrid forms, " if form 
that can be called, which neither shape nor form presents, 
in member, joint or limb." And, from that sink of all 
filth and corruption, will constantly arise a stench more 
obnoxious than that emitted from the most filthy cesspool 
of earth. And from this sickening odor the nostrils can 
never turn. Y/e sometimes pass by filthy places in large 
cities, from which we hasten away, holding our breath 
to avoid the inhalation of unwholesome and unendura- 
ble odors; but there will be no getting away from this 
offensive odor in the world of woe. Unendurable it may 
seem, but must be endured. And of this there is no ces- 
sation — no interval in which an agreeable or wholesome 
breath is breathed. No, the inhabitants of torment will 
never enjoy a sweet or pleasant breath. But the pictures 
by which the meat and drink furnished for the inhabi- 
tants of torment are represented, are extremely uninvit- 
ing — wormwood and gall — a most bitter repast. We 
are also told that " they shall drink of the wrath of God, 


which is poured out without mixture in the cup of his 

And finally, the entire being will be tortured with most 
excruciating pain — pains such as never racked the mor- 
tal frame. In Rev. xiv, 10, 11, we find the following; 
" The same (the lost) shall be tormented with fire and 
brimstone in the presence of the holy angels, and in the 
presence of the Lamb: and the smoke of their torment 
shall ascend up forever and ever, and they have no rest 
day nor night." This is only the shadow, what then 
must be the substance which sends forth such fearful 
shadows? This is the picture only ; what must be that 
fearful reality from which it is drawn? Deep and dread- 
ful must be that condemnation which requires such fear- 
ful figures to represent it. • 

I repeat, the loss of the soul is the loss of every kind of 
enjoyment. It is more: it is to feel every kind of misery 
of which the soul is capable. The loss of the soul shuts 
out from it every ray of joy, so that it will never feel a 
moment of peace any more. " What then is a man prof- 
ited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own 
soul ? or what will a man give in exchange for his soul ?" 

A proper appreciation of this subject is calculated to 
induce us to lay the axe at the root of our own selfish- 
ness, to unhinge our affections from the things of this 
world, and hang them on the things that make to our 
eternal peace, 




' ' And these shall go away into eternal punishment ; but the 
righteous into life eternal." Matt, xxv, 46. 

The words of our text were uttered by the Son of God, 
the Saviour of the world, and are found in one of his 
latest discourses — a private discourse delivered to his dis- 
ciples. He had administered that fearful rebuke to the 
hypocritical scribes and Pharisees, in the temple, which 
is recorded in the 23rd chapter of Matthew, in which he 
intimated that their sins would eventually bring upon 
them the destruction of their temple and government. He 
closed with the following lamentation : "0! Jerusalem, 
Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets, and stoneth them 
that are sent unto thee ! how oft would I have gathered thy 
children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens 
under her wings, and } r e would not! Behold your house 
is left unto you desolate." 

As he passed out from the temple, his disciples called 
his attention to the grandeur of the buildings, but he 
said, they should be utterly destroyed, so that not one 
stone should be left upon another, which should not be 
thrown down. As he sat upon the Mount of Olives, his 
disciples came to him privately, and said : " Tell us, when 


shall these things be? and what shall be the sign of thy 
coming, and of the end of the world?" After giving 
them suitable instruction, by which they might escape 
the horrors of the destruction of Jerusalem, and by at- 
tention to which, thousands of christians did escape 
them, he turned to the consideration of the last question 
they had propounded — that respecting the general judg- 
ment, or the end of all material things — when shall the 
end come? What he had to say on this subject, begins 
with this 25th chapter, runs entirely through it and ends 
in the words of our text. We remark, that he did not 
answer their question directly. He did not tell them 
when the end would come. It has not pleased the Lord 
to tell us when the end will come. That is a secret which 
he has hid in his own heart; and it is folly for man to 
attempt to search it out, as God has determined not to 
reveal it till the time comes. Silly men have attempted 
to fix the time, but their followers have found their 
prophecies delusive. In 1848, they had a day fixed, and 
some went out and sat on the hill sides, but they might 
have sat there till now, if they had lived so long and 
been foolish enough, and yet not realized their expecta- 
tion. Indeed, I cannot see what .good a knowledge of 
the time would do the world. I suppose, if it were re- 
duced to a certainty that the judgment would come to- 
morrow at twelve o'clock, scores of people would not 
think of commencing to get ready till half-past eleven; 
so much is mankind disposed to put off till the last mo- 
ment that which ought to be attended to first. For this, 
or some other good reason, God has kept this matter to 
himself. He tells us that he will come at an unexpected 


hour — at midnight, (figuratively,) the hour at which peo- 
ple sleep most soundly. While he did not tell them 
when the end would come, he did tell them what would be 
the condition of things, in respect to his kingdom, and 
the relation of mankind to it. Under three figures, he 
presented the human family into two classes. One class 
received favor, reward, and eternal enjoyment; the other 
disappointment, punishment, shame and everlasting 

First, he described them under the figure of two classes 
of virgins, one wise and the other foolish. They all went 
forth at night with lamps to meet the bridegroom, but the 
foolish neglected to take oil to recruit their lamps. This 
was truly foolish, for the time- of his coming was not 
fixed, and such feasts were often attended at a very late 
hour. I may here remark, that the lamps were not such 
as we use. It was a lamp, or torch — what we w T ould call 
an outdoor, torchlight procession. When I was a boy, 
we used to go fire fishing, for which we made a torch of 
broken flax — a good bunch of which we wrapped tightly 
around the end of a stick, and soaked it well with oil. 
This made a good light and burned a long time; but 
when the oil was exhausted, our lamps went out and left 
us in darkness. To provide against this, we carried a 
vessel of oil to recruit them when we had need to do so, 
that is, when we intended to stay out till a late hour. As 
one of the Evangelists speaks of smoking flax, I am in- 
clined to the opinion that it was a torch of this kind 
that was carried by these virgins; if so, it is easy to un- 
derstand how important the vessel of oil was. During 
the delay of the bridegroom, the virgins all fell asleep. 


While Jesus delays his coming, many generations of 
both classes have fallen asleep in death, but he will come, 
by and by, and awake them. It was at midnight that 
the virgins were summoned to arise and meet him; and 
those whose lamps were trimmed and burning, went 
in to the marriage, but the others were shut out. He 
next described them under the figure of servants, among 
whom their lord distributed talents. Some improved 
them ; one did not. Those who improved their talents, 
represent the practical christian, who works out his own 
salvation, while God works in him, both to will and to 
do of his own good pleasure. The other represents 
the fearful and unbelieving. He brought the talent back, 
and told his lord that he knew him to be hard to please, 
and that he was afraid. There are many of those who 
tell us that they are afraid to make a start, lest the work 
should be too hard for them, and they should not be able 
to hold out. wretched, shameful cowards! Is it manly 
or womanly to be afraid to undertake what thousands 
are accomplishing with apparent ease? The want of 
courage and energy on this man's part consigned him to 
endless weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth ; and 
those, who, like him, are afraid to make an effort, in 
hope for nothing better. 

The final representation of the two classes of charac- 
ters, into which the world is divided, is that which closes 
with the text. He draws a picture of the Judge of all, 
seated upon a glorious throne, the nations of the earth 
assembled before him, the separation line drawn, the 
character of each declared, and the sentence pronounced. 
At this point the righteous, astonished at the commenda- 


tion for good works, inquired when the} 7 were performed. 
"Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, and fed thee? or 
thirsty, and gave thee drink? When saw we thee a 
stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee? 
Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto 
thee ?" He answered, " Verily, I say unto you, Inasmuch 
as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my 
brethren, ye have done it unto me." Every deed of 
charity he acknowledges as work acceptable to him. On 
the other hand, those who were condemed for the neglect of 
charity, also asked, " Lord, when saw we thee a hungered, 
or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, 
and did not minister unto thee?" He answered, " Verily, 
I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the 
least of these, ye did it not to me." To neglect the hum- 
blest mortal in his distress, affliction, or want; to disre- 
gard the poorest beggar at the gate ; to refuse relief to the 
raggedest urchin in the street — is to slight the Saviour, 
incur his displeasure, and risk his condemnation. 

Then follows the text : " These shall go away into 
eternal punishment, but the righteous into life eternal." 
"These," who have no oil in their vessel, (grace in the 
heart); he, who has not improved his talent, (has not 
worked out his salvation by repentance, faith, and prac- 
tical godliness); and "these" who have neglected the 
demands of charity, shall depart from the divine presence, 
and abide in perpetual distance ; shut out from the mar- 
riage supper of the Lamb, forsaken, abandoned, and cry- 
ing in vain for admission — shall be taken away from the 
palace, and bound in prison, in outer darkness, where 
there is weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth : they 


shall be separated from the company of the blessed ; feel 
the infliction of divine wrath, and the punishment pre- 
pared for the devil and his angels. 

" Far on the left with, horror stand, 
And doomed to endless woe." 

" But the righteous into life eternal." " The righteous." 
Those who have the lamp of profession in full blaze — are 
letting their light shine, have the oil of grace in their 
hearts, go forth in the practice of every duty; are using 
the talents which God has given them, embracing every 
opportunity to do good, and waiting patiently on the 
Lord, who in his own good time will reward them: such 
shall have an eternal life, in fulness of joy, and pleasure 
in God's glorious presence forever more. Such, in short, 
are the two characters, and the two destinies, as set forth 
in the text, and in the discourse of which the text is the 

But the fact that there are two characters and two des 
tinies is not alone supported by the passage before us, 
but is also taught in many other portions of revealed 
truth. In Proverbs it is written, "The righteous hath 
hope in his death, but the hypocrite's hope shall perish." 
In the midst of the wickedness, and consequent famine, 
oppression and anarchy in Jerusalem, Isaiah delivered 
this message: " Say ye to the righteous, that it shall be 
well with him : for they shall eat the fruit of their do- 
ings. Woe unto the w T icked : it shall be ill with him : 
for the reward of his hands shall be given him." What 
can be more reasonable, or just, than that a man should 
enjoy the benefits of his own crop ? Here we are assured 



that if one produces righteousness, he shall enjoy it. If 
wickedness, he can only expect a reward of wickedness, 
the natural product of that state. Finally, the Apostle 
Peter, in his first general epistle, propounds the solemn 
interrogatory, " If the righteous scarcely be saved, where 
shall the ungodly and sinner appear?" If those who make 
it their business to serve God, that they may be accepted 
of him ; and thus manifest their affection for, and confi- 
dence in him, and their obedience to his commands, and 
declare themselves strangers and pilgrims here, are 
scarcely saved, what shall become of those who, so far 
from making any effort to please God, are at enmity and 
in rebellion against him, and treat his offer of mercy 
with contempt? If his own dear, loving children are 
scarcely saved, what shall become of those who hate him ? 
Those who 

" Set at naught and sold him, 
Pierced and nailed him to the tree ?" 

If, in the light of the foregoing passages of Scripture, 
chosen as illustrations to enforce the theme under con- 
sideration, there is one mind that can doubt the truth 
set forth, to-wit: that there are two distinct characters, as 
widely different as light and darkness, and that in the 
future they will occupy states and conditions as different 
as are their characters, that mind is beyond the reach of 
reason, and beyond the persuasive power of the Gospel. 

But I have good hope that many are so far convinced, 
that they will follow us prayerfully as w r e advance in the 
further illustration of this important truth* 


I. Let us consider a little more fully the two char* 


Whatever lines men may draw, whether social or sec- 
tarian ; however men may class themselves as to wealth, 
lineage, or intellectual development, God regards them 
only as belonging to one or the other of two classes, 
Jesus says, " He that is not with me is against me." I 
said to a young man once, " Are you on the Lord's side?" 
He answered, " No." "Why?" I further asked, "what 
has the Lord done to you that you are against him ?" 
" Oh," he said, " I am not against him." This man fan- 
cied he was occupying a middle ground, and was neutral, 
but the declaration of Jesus is, that there is no middle 
ground upon which a single mortal can stand; that the 
line is sharply drawn, and that each occupies a position 
on one side or the other, either for Christ or against him. 
And there is another delusion which Jesus exposes in 
the same ' passage, viz; the notion that you are doing 
nothing. Some say, " Though I am not with you, I am 
not doing anything against you." That is to say, I am 
not at work on either side. The following words of Jesus 
knock the props from under this position : " He that 
gathereth not with me, scattereth abroad." Matt, xii, 30. 
This passage teaches most clearly that each and every 
one is either with Christ or against him, and at work on 
one side or the other. Each one is doing something in 
the work of gathering to Christ, or scattering from him. 
There is no neutral ground, and no idlers in this strug* 
gle between Christ and Beelzebub: all are engaged in 
the conflict, and each soldier has the mark of his sover- 
eign, which fixes his character. Those who are with 


Christ are righteous, those who are against him are not, 
Whatever they may think of themselves, or whatever we 
may think of them, they are not righteous in the eye 
of Jehovah, as is evident from revelation. And we can 
know nothing of what is righteousness in the sight of God, 
except by what he has revealed in his word. We may fix 
up a righteousness in our own fancy, but it won't amount 
to anything when we come to stand before God. The 
Scribes and Pharisees had what they supposed to be a 
very excellent righteousness. And it must be admitted 
that it was in many things highly commendable. They 
fasted twice in a week, had eighty forms of prayer, 
never entered a house without praying, prayed in the 
streets and in the market places, paid tithes of all they 
possessed, were strict in the observance of the written law 
and the traditions of the elders; so strict were they that 
there was a generally accepted adage, that if but two per^ 
sons were saved, one would be a Scribe and the other a 
Pharisee; and yet Jesus made, to the multitude upon 
the mount, the astonishing announcement; "Except 
your righteousness shall exceed the righteousness of the 
Scribes and Pharisees, ye shall in no case enter into the 
kingdom of heaven.' 1 Bear in mind, it was not their 
wickedness that he was finding fault with, but their right- 
eousness. It was not the hypocritical Scribes and Phari- 
sees he was finding fault with on this occasion, but the 
sincere ones. It was not their badness, but their good- 
ness, he was condemning; their goodness was not good 
enough. We need not to look into the Bible to discover 
that there are two separate, distinct, and widely different 
characters in every community of this christian country, 


There are those who profess to have passed through a 
spiritual change, or transformation, figuratively spoken of 
as a new birth, by which they are enabled and obliged to 
lead a new life. In consequence of this change, they claim 
to enjoy peace with God, and to have a sure hope of a 
blessed immortality. Then there are those who make 
no such profession, and claim no such hope. The great 
majority of those who make this profession, are members 
of the christian church, in its various branches ; while the 
great majority of those who do not make this profession, 
are not members of the christian church. There is very 
great variety in both of these characters. Among chris- 
tian professors there are some who are bold, fearless, 
strong, active christians; full of good works, of self-sacri- 
fice, of love to God, and love to man : you have no room 
for doubt that they are, at least, thoroughly in earnest, 
think what you may of their wisdom or intellectual bal- 
ance. Then there are those whose faith is so weak, grace 
so small, good works so few, and love so cold, that it 
would require a microscope to discover any christian life 
in them. Yet, if they really have any faith, any grace, 
any genaine good works, any love to God and to the souls 
of men, they are on the Lord's side: however young, if 
babes only in Christ, they are numbered with the right- 
eous, and are on their way to heaven : however weak, 
sickly, or puny, if christians at all, they are on the Lord's 
side, and are numbered with the righteous. 

It is the transformation, the new birth, which changes 
the nature and forms the christian character. It is the 
grace of God, poured into the soul, through justifying 
faith, which, working by love, purifies the heart, produces 


the transformation, and begins the life of righteousness. 
"By grace are ye saved, through faith, and that not of 
yourselves, it is the gift of God." Ephes, ii, 8. It is 
evangelical obedience, and practical godliness which 
maintains and continues the reign of righteousness in 
the soul. That there are persons who make such pro- 
fessions, and whose life and labors testify to their honesty, 
no candid individual will deny. On the other hand 
there are those who make no such profession ; they 
know nothing of the new birth, for the reason that 
they have not been born again. An unborn child is 
not expected to know anything of this world ; nor can 
we expect a person not born of the Spirit to know 
anything of the spiritual nature. They know nothing 
of justification by faith, they doubt the reality of such a 
thing. They know nothing of divine grace as a means 
of justification, through faith, they have not tasted that 
the Lord is gracious, and in their notions of the suffi- 
ciency of human nature, they can feel no need of grace. 
They know nothing of the Holy Spirit, or of his sancti- 
fying influences: they have no faith in his operation. 
They don't hunger and thirst after righteousness, and 
therefore are not filled. The bread and water of life is 
spurned; the invitation to the great feast of oxen and 
fatlings is slighted, and the inviting messengers are put 
off with vain excuses. The broad way and its many 
travellers are preferred to the narrow way and the pil- 
grims journeying therein— who acknowledge themselves 
strangers and sojourners, as their fathers were ; and that 
they can tarry but a night. They love the world su- 
premely : it is their portion, their trust, their hope, and 


their all. Its wealth, its fashions, its titles, its lionors,and 
glory are their good things, in which they trust, and for 
which they labor. That this class of characters exist is 
evident, and that these two classes make up the human 
family is equally evident, from our daily experience 
with thope around us. 

To consider the character of the righteous a little 
more definitely, we may remark, 

1. That it is an imputed righteousness. 

It is the righteousness of Christ, freely offered to all 
who will accept it " in faith, believing on him who raised 
up Jesus from the dead, who was delivered for our offences, 
and raised again for our justification." Connected with 
the imputation of Christ's righteousness, is the non-im- 
putation of our own iniquity. When Christ's righteous- 
ness is imputed to us, that which had been crooked in 
our conduct is not imputed, what was amiss is not held 
against us, we are treated as though there never had been 
any wrong in us, but as obedient children, beloved of the 
Father. Also, in connection with imputed righteousness 
is the forgiving of transgression, the putting away, cov- 
ering or hiding of sin, and the emptying the heart of all 
its guile. To transgress is to pass over a boundary, to do 
what is forbidden. All have transgressed, and hence all 
need forgiveness. Hence, also, it is written, that by the 
deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified, because in the 
flesh the law has been violated. A citizen who has never 
violated the law is eutitled to all the rights of citizenship, 
but so soon as he becomes a violator, his condition is 
changed. Let us suppose that a man has lived in a com- 
munity for fifty years, as a most upright citizen, with 


not a stain upon his character; but at the end of 
his fiftieth year, he breaks open a neighbor's house 
and steals his goods ; is not that man, in the eye of the 
law, as much deserving of punishment as any other 
criminal ? Has he not spoilt the whole fabric of his fifty 
years' righteousness? This is the meaning of the pas- 
sage which asserts that the man who misses the hundredth 
only, is guilty of the whole. I think we would under- 
stand it better, if we should simply say, he is guilty, not- 
withstanding his former correctness. He has no power 
to redeem himself; the law holds him for punishment. 
If the penalty was death, " Even a great ransom could 
not deliver him." Such was the condition of human na- 
ture; righteousness was lost, through disobedience; man- 
kind stood guilty before God, and justice cried for the in- 
fliction of the penalty, which was death — temporal, spir- 
itual, and eternal. It was when man was in this condi- 
tion, in his extremity, that mercy interposed, and God 
cried, " Deliver him from going down to the pit: I have 
found a ransom." I have found one who, by his right- 
eousness, hath the right and power to redeem, and to 
proclaim righteousness in the great congregation, for the 
law of his God is in his heart. He also hid, covered, 
or put away sin out of sight. We have no power to put 
away sin, we must not attempt to hide our sins, and yet 
they must be hid. This fact v was set forth in the type of 
the scapegoat, over whose head the priest confessed the 
sins of the people, after which it was led away to a land 
not inhabited. To put away our sins, and to bring in 
an everlasting righteousness, Christ, the antitype, ap- 
peared. Upon him God laid "the iniquity of us all," 


and through him the multitude of believers have escaped 
the consequences of sin, and have been made righteous. 
With the heavy load of human guilt upon him, he was led 
away to Calvary, a land not inhabited by the living — to 
" Golgotha, the place of a skull." Accepting the pardon 
offered in his blood, our sins are no more remembered 
against us ; and, so long as the divine injunction, " Look 
not behind thee," is obeyed, they will no more trouble 
us. The Holy Spirit removes the guile from the soul, 
bears testimony to the new creation formed within, and 
gives to the believer a realization of the blessedness 
spoken of by the Psalmist : " Blessed is he whose trans- 
gression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the 
man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in 
whose spirit there is no guile." Psa. xxxii, 1, 2. 

2. It is the righteousness of faith. 

" Not of works, lest any man should boast." It is said 
that Abraham believed God, and his faith was counted 
unto him for righteousness. We quoted, a while ago, the 
passage which represents grace as being received through 
faith. In that passage faith is represented as the medium 
through which grace is poured into the heart of the be- 
liever. We have sometimes illustrated the idea here pre- 
sented by the New York aqueduct. The people of that 
city found themselves in want of sweet, fresh water. Now 
there was an abundance of pure water in the Croton 
river, which, however, was many miles distant from the 
city. To overcome this difficulty an aqueduct was built, 
through which the water is conveyed all that distance, 
emptied into a great reservoir, and from thence conveyed 
to all the hous2s in the city, through pipes prepared for 


the purpose. Now, it was pure water that they needed, 
but they could Dot have had it without the aqueduct. 
And no more can we have grace without faith. What if 
there was an abundance of water in the Croton river? It 
would not have benefited the people; without the aque- 
duct, its waters would have flowed on in their God-ap- 
pointed channel. And what if God's grace is abundant? 
It cannot benefit us except it can reach us, and it can 
only reach us through faith. If, therefore, we have no 
faith, we can have no grace. Faith is a confidential re- 
liance upon the divine promises. The Apostle only made 
a common-sense statement, when he said, " Without faith 
it is impossible to please God." No man is pleased with 
you, when you disbelieve his solemn statements. I do 
not suppose you could vex a man more, in any way, than 
by showing that you did not believe a word that he said, 
especially if he was deeply in earnest, and regarded his 
message as important. How then can God, who can 
neither trifle nor lie, feel toward one who will not believe 
him? Faith is what God demands, and when he sees it 
in us. he imputes it unto us for righteousness. 

Finally, the righteousness which is accepted of God is com- 
plete. It must enter into every fiber of our nature, and 
run through the warp and woof of our lives. The Apos- 
tle speaks of this completed character as a soldier, stand- 
ing, clothed in his full armor ; with salvation for his head- 
piece, righteousness his breastplate, his loins girded 
with truth, his hand grasping the sword of the Spirit, his 
feet shod with the Gospel; and the great shield of faith 
completely covering him, and protecting him from the 
poisoned arrows of the devil. It was in this complete 


armor that the poet represents the pilgrim standing when 
Satan met him. He was just from the armor-house, too, 
and every piece was shining brightly. Satan eyed him 
for a while, and finally thus addressed him : 

' ' Good morning, brother Pilgrim : 
Pray tell to me your name ? 
And whence it is you are travelling to, 
Likewise from whence you came ? 
Pray, what is that upon your head, 
Which shines so clear and bright? 
Likewise the covering on your breast, 
Which dazzle so my sight? 
What kind of shoes are those you wear, 
On which you boldly stand? 
Likewise that flaming instrument, 
You hold in your right hand ?" 

To which the undaunted pilgrim responded : 

' ' My name ! It is bold pilgrim, 
To Canaan I am, bound, 
I 'm from the howling wilderness, 
And the enchanted ground. 
With glorious hope upon my head, 
And on my breast a shield, 
With bright sword I mean to fight 
Until I win the field. 
My feet are shod with gospel grace, 
On which I boldly stand ; 
I mean to fight until I die, 
And gain fair Canaan's land." 

In conclusion, let us spend a few further thoughts upon 
the concluding words of the text, "The righteous into 
life eternal." The love of life is deeply seated in human 
nature, indeed in all animate nature. All things love 


life, and cling to it. This feeling, no doubt, is divine in 
its origin ; it is of the hand planting of Deity. But love 
this life as we may, we cannot keep it. 

1 ' Our wasting lives grow shorter still, 
As days and months increase, 
And every beating pulse We tell, 
Leaves but the number less." 

The withering grass, the falling leaf, the fading flower* 
all testify that our days on earth are but a shadow, and 
there is none abiding. To the lovers of this world, this 
is a gloom-producing truth, Thousands of young people 
refuse to permit their thoughts to stoop, linger, and con* 
verse with death. With what rapture such persons 
would receive the assurance that they should never get 
old, and never die. Such an assurance cannot be given 
to mortals here; the experience of all ages is against it. 
But the righteous have a far better assurance. It is this* 
that mortality shall be swallowed up of life, that when this 
earthly house of our tabernacle is dissolved, we shall have 
a building of God, an house not made with hands; that 
this corruptible state shall end, and that a state of incor- 
ruption, of immortality, of eternal life, shall succeed it — a 
life of undisturbed peace, of uninterrupted enjoyment, of 
unclouded and unending day, of unmixed blessedness, of 
endless delights. 

Give joy, come grief, give ease or pain, 

Take life or friends away, 
But we shall find them all again 

In that eternal day. 

Man disinclined To turn to his maker. 165 



11 By reason of the multitude of oppressions they make the op- 
pressed to cry : they cry out by reason of the arm of the mighty. 
But none saith, Where is G-od my maker, who giveth songs in the 
night ; who teacheth us more than the beasts of the earth, and 
maketh us wiser than the fowls of heaven ?" Job xxxv, 9 — 11, 

I know of no history more replete with sublime sen- 
tences than this truly wonderful book contains. So tran- 
scendency wondrous are the scenes which are brought 
to view in rapid succession, that many have been inclined 
to set the whole book down as an allegory. I think there 
is no necessity for such a conclusion: fact is stronger 
than fiction, and what the human mind is capable of 
imagining, God is much more than capable of bringing 
to pass. 

There are several interesting characters brought to view 
in this book, but none more so, I think, than Elihu, the 
speaker of the text. He is the last actor brought upon 
the stage: he does not close the scene, but he plays his 
part among the closing exercises. He seems to be a puz- 
zle to many learned commentators. Who was he? is the 
question upon which much thought has been spent. A 
very sensible writer remarks : " He was the son of Barachel 


the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram. Neither Scripture 
nor history tells us more respecting him, and to push our 
inquiry further, is timply a waste of time to no purpose. )f 
All beyond this is mere conjecture. He appears to have 
been a man of fine talents, and of great candor. He was 
much younger than either Job or his three friends. Ac- 
cording to the custom of that age, his youthfulness kept, 
him from taking any part in the controversy, until his 
seniors had, by their silence, indicated that they had ex- 
hausted their store of arguments, and had nothing fur- 
ther to say. The silent attention he had given to their 
discourses was of much benefit to him, and gave him de- 
cided advantages, as he was thereby enabled to discern 
the weak points on both sides, and to profit by the strong 
ones. Notwithstanding he was younger than they, he 
was prepared to rebuke them all. This he did, however, 
in a fair and most respectful manner. 

It is remarkable that, though God rebuked Job for his 
rashness of speech, and declared that his wrath was kin- 
dled against his three friends, yet (unless his first remark, 
" Who is this that darkeneth counsel with words without 
knowledge?" can be so considered,) he does not utter a 
word of rebuke to Elihu. The words of the Almighty 
seem to be addressed to Job, and not to Elihu. "Then 
the Lord answered Job. 7 ' 

I have long held to the opinion that Elihu was the 
writer of this truly interesting history ; and notwithstand- 
ing the many arguments that 1 have read to the con- 
trary, and especially the plausableand forcible arguments 
of Mr. Barnes in his introduction to the book of Job, yet 
I have not given up my opinion. Like others, mine is 


only an opinion, and one that the limits of a sermon is 
too short to discuss, yet I think it a well founded opin- 
ion. He certainly had all the advantages necessary to 
the performance of the work. He was a silent listener 
to, and I think the recorder of, the discourses of Job and 
his three friends. He was, no doubt, acquainted with 
both the former and latter history of Job's life. Seven- 
teen discourses had been prepared and delivered in his 
hearing, during which time he said nothing and did noth- 
ing, unless, as I suppose, he was taking notes, or record- 
ing the discourses. Mr. Barnes doubts Eiihu's ability, 
and remarks that in the discussion he advances but one 
idea. That is true ; but that idea was nearer to the point 
than any other that had been advanced ; it was an idea that 
nearly solved the question at issue. But I would call the 
attention of the learned to Job xxxii, 15 — IT. To whom 
was Elihu speaking, when he said, " They were amazed,' 7 
&c? verse 15. Certainly not to Job or his three friends. 
Hardly to by-standers, I should think, for they would not 
need thus to be informed. To whom, then, if not to those 
who should read the book or history he was writing ?' 
To whom was he speaking, when he saidj " When I had 
waited, (for they spoke not, but stood still, and answered 
no more.) I said, I will answer also my part ; I also will 
shew you mine opinion "? Twenty years ago I first care- 
fully observed these verses, and I thought I had found 
the author of the book of Job ; and I have seen nothing' 
since to change my opinion. 

In the chapter in which our text is found, Elihu criti- 
cises Job's rashness of speech : u Thinke^t thou this to 
be right, that thou saidst, My righteousness is more than 


God's ?" Verse 2. Job had not said this in so many 
words, but his expression was capable of this construc- 
tion. He had insisted upon his own righteousness, and 
yet charged God with multiplying his wounds without 
cause. Chapter x, 17. Thus it would be inferred that 
he was more righteous than God. Indeed, God tnrnself 
intimates the same complaint ; " Wilt thou disannul my 
judgment? Wilt thou condemn me, that thou mayest 
be righteous?" Chapter xl, 8. 

Under severe trials, we need to be especially careful 
not to so express ourselves as to appear to impeach the 
goodness of God. Elihu reminds Job of the infinite dis- 
tance between God and himself, and that neither his 
righteousness nor his wickedness could affect the Al- 
mighty: his conduct might benefit or injure mortal be- 
ings, but not the Great Immortal. Then follows the text, 
in which it is declared that the great reason why men do 
not find consolation under affliction, is because they do 
not apply to the right source. If Elihu meant to apply 
this to Job's case, he was certainly wide of the mark ; yet, 
applied to mankind in general, his declaration is entirely 
correct. " They cry out by reason of the arm of the 
mighty." They cry, but not to the Lord. " None sayeth, 
Where is God my maker?" God alone can give relief to 
those in trouble, but men will not apply to him. In him 
is light, elsewhere is darkness; in him is life, without 
him is death. In him is joy and peace, out of him is 
endless woe. God says, u O Israel, thou hast destroyed 
thyself; but in me is thine help." Yet, men go to dream- 
books, fortun-tellers, and everywhere else, rather than to 


the only source of consolation. " None sayeth, Where is 
God my maker, who giveth songs in the night?" 


" Nights," seasons of distress, sorrow, wretchedness and 
woe. These are common to humanity: few are exempt 
from distress of some kind. 

1. They arise often from the oppression of the mighty. 

Those who are in power, or those who are so situa- 
ted that they can oppress or afflict others. " The arm of 
the mighty." Those who are strong or mighty, and who 
are thus able to oppress such as they choose to render 
the victims of their malice or covetousness. The dispo- 
sition in man to oppress his fellowman seems to be of 
long standing, and deep-seated. Cain appears upon his- 
tory's page as the progenitor of the long line of oppres- 
sors, and Abel as the first victim of persecution unto 
death. Since their time, the lines of the oppressed and 
the oppressor have run parallel. On the one side, the 
head, heart, and hands have been engaged in the inven- 
tion and employment of means of oppression. On the 
other side, the head is dizzy with pain, the heart with 
anguish wrung, and bleeding at every pore; and the 
hands with fetters torn. 

Of the seasons of darkness and distress through which 
mortal beings have been called to pass, the history of 
Joseph forms a most striking illustration. What a night 
that ancient servant of God was caused to pass through ! 
How long and dark ! . Torn away from a happy home, 
deprived of a loving father's affectionate care, sold into 
bondage in a strange laud, falsely accused of a most hein- 


ous crime, and finally lodged in prison with no prospect 
but an ignominious death; and all this by reason of the 
arm of the mighty. He was the victim of the oppressor's 
scorn and hate. 

The history of Israel in Egypt, in Babylon, and else- 
where in captivity; indeed, the history of the world, on 
almost every page, is full of illustrations of the text. This 
world from its infancy has presented a vast " Valley of 
Baca" in which the tears of the oppressed have been 
poured out in streams. Look at Micaiah imprisoned in 
the days of Ahab, Jeremiah in the pit, Daniel in the lion's 
den, Paul and Silas in Phillippi's prison, Peter, and many 
others, suffering martyrdom, and you behold a most mel- 
ancholy picture of the victims of oppression and the arm 
of the mighty. 

2. Then there are nights, or seasons of darkness, which 
come upon men from notural causes. 

There are seasons of disease, sickness, and bereavement, 
which are common to man, from which few are exempt. 
"Peter's wife's mother lay sick of a fever;" the centu- 
rion's servant is sick ; the daughter of Jairus is dying ; at 
Bethesda a multitude of sick people are assembled; the 
widow of Nain follows her son to the tomb, and Lazarus 
has " lain in the grave four days already." But why 
need we select instances from Holy Writ? Where is 
there a family that disease has passed by? Who has 
not lost a friend ? And there are few who have never 
been sick. 

3. Then there are nights of strange providences. 

There are unaccountable afflictions through which 
many are called to pass. Such were the afflictions of 


Job : these followed one another in rapid succession, 
The sound of the voice of one messenger had hardly 
ceased to fill the ears of Job, when the feet of the second 
were heard, and a third, and a fourth came, each bring* 
ing a more heart-rending message than the former— the 
last bringing the doleful tidings of the terrible death of 
all his children. But his distress did not end here: he 
was afflicted in his own person with a most loathsome 
disease; his wife, instead of trying to comfort him, gave 
him the most wicked counsel — " Curse God and die;" and 
to fill his cup of bitterness to the brim, his confidential 
friends became his accusers, and charged him with by* 
pocrisy. What a long and dark night was his ! 

We have seen persons strangely afflicted — one trouble 
has followed another, until they have been brought to 
the lowest depths of grief. Strange diseases, too, have 
been the lot of some— diseases that have baffled the skill 
of the best physicians, who, for weeks, months, and even 
years, have labored in vain to find their seat and effect 
a cure. These seasons of darkness and distress extort a 
cry from the afflicted. 

II. This brings us to consider the natural disincli* 


" None sayeth, Where is God my maker, who giveth 
songs in the night?" The mind of man does not natur- 
ally turn to God. Without the aid of divine revelation, 
he knows not God. The most enlightened mind knows 
not God, except by supernatural agencies. 

I. We notice that distressed human nature turns to self, and 


that self-sufficiency and self-conceit are predominant feelings in 
the human heart. 

It is the nature of man to exhaust all the resources in 
himself before he turns to any other source. Men love 
to boast of what they are, what they have done, and what 
they can do. Listen at the boasting of the king of Baby- 
lon : " The king spake, and said, Is this not great Baby- 
lon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by 
-the might of my power, and for the honor of my maj- 
esty?" Daniel iv, 30. Now this haughty uplifting of self 
keeps the soul from God, hence Christ declares the re- 
nunciation of selfishness to be essential to discipleship. 
"If any man will come after me, let him deny himself." 
It is said of the proud Pharisee, that he stood by himself 
and prayed, and thanked God for his own goodness: 
"Lord, I thank thee that I am not as other men are." 
He was so full of himself, that he forgot what he went 
up to the temple for. Instead of praying for needed grace 
and blessings, he occupied his devotional hour in telling 
God how much better he was than his neighbors. The 
result was he failed to obtain a blessing, for the very good 
reason that he had not sought one. He had gotten into 
the habit of calling on the name of God like thousands 
of others, who think not upon the sacred name they are 
taking in vain, but self really crowded the Lord out of 
his mind. 

2. Distressed human nature turns to its fellow. 

When self fails him, man turns next to his fellowman. 
Hence, we have the Magi, witches and wizzards of an- 
cient times, and the astrologers and fortune-tellers of 


every grade of the present. In ancient times even mon- 
archs consulted those who had familiar spirits ; that is, 
those who professed to talk with the dead. We well re- 
member what a hold spiritualism had upon many a few 
years ago; and there are thousands now who depend 
upon dream-books and fortune-tellers, for almost every- 
thing they want to know — especially, if they have afflic- 
tions that they cannot account for. They seek relief, but 
not from the Lord, who invites us to bring our burdens 
to him. The whole system of soothsaying grew out of 
this inclination in man to turn to his fellowman, when 
burdened with unaccountable distresses. The cunning 
and crafty learned to practice upon and make money out 
of the superstitions of the ignorant and credulous. What 
a fearful hold these have upon the human mind ; how 
they keep the mind from God. Men have even turned 
to devils. Isaiah tells of some who had made a league with 
hell and a covenant with death. It thus appears that man 
turns everywhere but to his Maker for solace in affliction, 
This Elihu gives as the reason why relief is not found ; 
" None sayeth, Where is God my maker?" 

III. Let us notice the attributes Elihu ascribes to 
the Almighty, to whom men refuse to bring THEm 


" God, my maker, who giveth songs in the night." 
<; God," the supreme Being, the infinite and eternal Spirit, 
the Sovereign of the universe. "My maker. 5 ' He that 
formed me of the dust, breathed into my nostrils the 
breath of life, and made me a living soul. The great 
First Cause of all things, himself uncaused and eternal; 
the Creator, who gave me an upright form and a reason* 


able mind, and thus distinguished me from the rest of 
the animal creation: making me, indeed, liable to sor- 
row, but capable of possessing and enjoying the endless 
bliss of which He himself is the fountain. 

1. Elihu refers to God as maris Maker. 

The Author of our being. This idea includes wisdom 
and might, for I am "fearfully and wonderfully made." 
It also supposes his pre-existence; he that created all 
things that had a creation, must himself have had an 
eternal existence. He was before all things which had a 
beginning, or was brought into being. He alone inhab* 
iteth eternity, he is the Ancient of days. He existed in 
himself and by himself, before time was, before the wheels 
of nature were set in motion ; before the north was 
stretched out over the empty place, and the earth was 
hung upon nothing; before the pillars of nature were 
hewn out, or the corner stone of earth's foundation was 
laid ; before the Master's trestle-board received the impres- 
sion of creation's plan ; before the blue canopy, decked 
with shining orbs, was stretched out; before the void im* 
mense in astonishment awoke at the sound of Jehovah's 
hammer, beating crude matter into form, or chaos felt 
the pang that pierced her when light, creation's first 
born, leaped from her womb ; 

4 ' Before the hills in order stood, 
Or earth received her frame, 
From everlasting thou art God, 
To endless years the same," 

The mind staggers at the thought of attempting to 
trace this eternal, unsearchable Being back through the 
unsurveyed regions, into that eternity where he conceals 


himself with curtains too thick for mortal thoughts to 
pierce. We shall not attempt it. But we rejoice to be- 
hold his wisdom as displayed in his works. Job says, 
" He is wise in heart 7 '; Elihu says, " He is mighty in 
wisdom"; and the Psalmist says, ''The heavens declare 
his glory, the firmanent sheweth his handywork." 

But nowhere is his wisdom more fully displayed than 
in the constitution of man. A minute description of the 
human body alone would afford much more than enough 
material for a sermon, to say nothing of the soul, which 
constitutes the real man. Solomon, however, in the 12th 
chapter of Ecclesiastes, gives an interesting synoptical 
description of those parts of the human structure, which 
most sensibly mark the approach of dissolution and decay 
— careful attention to which will serve to illustrate the dis- 
play of divine wisdom in the formation of the human body. 
"The keepers of the house " — the shoulders, arms, and 
hands, the principal means of subsistence and protection. 
" The strong men " — the back, thighs, arid legs, in which 
the main strength of the body consists. " The grinders" 
— the teeth, which grind the food. " The lookers out of 
the windows " — the eyes, the lids of which, like window- 
shutters, are either open or closed. " The doors " — or lips 
through which the food passes into the throat. "The 
streets" — which lead to the stomach. " The daughters 
of music " — the vocal organs, which are exercised in mak- 
ing music. " The silver cord " — the spinal column which 
goes down the backbone, having a white and silvery ap- 
pearance. " The golden bowl " — the brain, which has a 
yellow and golden appearance, and formed in shape like 
a bowl. " The fountain " — the right ventricle of the 


heart, which is understood to be the spring or fountain 
of life. " The pitcher " — the great vein which carries the 
blood to the " fountain." "The cistern" — the left ven- 
tricle of the heart. " The wheel " — the great artery which 
receives the blood from the " cistern," and distributes it 
throughout the body, fitly called the " wheel," because it 
is the grand circulating medium. When it ceases to per- 
form its wonted functions, the lamp of life goes out, and 
the dust returns to the earth as it was. The study of this 
fearfully and wonderfully wrought structure, in connec- 
tion with divine revelation, and under the influence of 
the Holy Spirit, necessarily forms within the mind a de- 
sire to know more of him who formed it, and should pro- 
duce faith in, and reliance upon, him. 

2. Bui to his benevolence are our thoughts especially directed. 

" He giveth songs in the night." He is the God, or 
source, of all consolation. He succors the distressed, 
banishes fear, chases away the gloom of night, and gives 
peace to the troubled breast. " He giveth songs." Freely, 
without money and without price, it is his pleasure to 
give. " In the night." In the season of darkness through 
which many are called to pass, those who take their 
troubles to him, will enjoy a full realization of this truth. 
It is the experience of all who have carried their bur- 
dened souls to him, they have received songs, yea, songs 
for joy. He gives songs when they can be obtained from 
no other source. "When mother forsakes me, if ever, 
then will God care for me." "Songs in the night." He 
not only made me capable of enjoying happiness, but if 
I will apply to him, when in distress ever so deep, or 
however dark tlie season may be, he will not only relieve 


me of my distress, but he will fill my soul with melody, 
and put songs into my mouth. Or, as the Psalmist has 
it, will "compass me with songs of deliverance." — will 
give me songs in the night. What can be more cheering 
than the sound of a choir of sweet singers breaking upon 
the ear at the midnight hour! There might have been 
fear and trembling, anguish and wretchedness of soul, 
but the songs would dispel the gloom, and drive away 
the fear. Such is the relief that God gives to those who 
apply to him in their night of sin, ignorance, or calamity. 




' ' There is a river, the streams whereof shall make glad the city 
of God." Psalms xlvi, 4. 

In this Psalm, we have an expression of the confidence 
which the church has in God. The Psalmist declares 
what God is to the church : " God is our refuge and 
strength, a very present help in trouble." Therefore, we 
have no need to fear : no matter what changes or calami- 
ties there may be, we are safe. Though there should be 
a removal of the earth, and carrying away of the moun- 
tains, by such a swelling of the. waters as was seen at the 
deluge,yet, the true people of God should still enjoy a situ- 
ation so highly favored, so completely encompassed by the 
everlasting arms, that no evil could approach them. 
While the inhabitants of the earth may be destroyed by 
the unusual swelling of the waters, yet that river, which 
supplies the inhabitants of God's city, shall flow on in its 
usual peaceful way, unrippled and undisturbed. Though 
all other waters may be agitated and swollen, until the 
rivers are lost in the general upheaval, yet there is one river 
which is not agitated by the flood, its streams pour out 
the wonted supply — not foaming with madness, nor an- 
gered by the storm, but clear and calm as usual. Hence, 



"Its streams make glad the city of God. Such, in short, 
is the declaration of the text ; the obvious meaning of 
which is, that it matters not what troubles there be in 
the world, the Church, the body of believers in Christ 
Jesus, shall still enjoy abundant peace, consolation, joy, 
and gladness. 

I. We notice the city designated — "the city op God." 
Not his invisible, celestial metropolis; not his holy 
habitation on high, where he dwells in uncreated light, 
and receives homage from the six- winged seraphs, which 
continually surround his throne with anthems of praise ; 
but his visible city, the city of his saints on earth : the 
Church, in its universal aspect, composed of all who have 
repented, and truly believe. " The city of God, the holy 
place of the tabernacle of the Most High." His earthly 
abode, his terrestial residence. Every true believer is a 
tabernacle of the Most High, in which he dwells, is hon- 
ored, loved and praised. " Know ye not," says the Apos- 
tle, " that ye are the temple of the living God, and that 
his Spirit dwelleth in you?" 1 Cor. iii, 16. And again, 
" What! know ye not that your body is the temple of the 
Holy Ghost, w 7 hich is in you?" 1 Cor. vi, 19. And again, 
" For ye are the temple of the living God ; as God said, I 
will dwell in them, and walk in them." Jesus pronounces 
a blessing upon those servants who are found watching 
when their Lord cometh, that openeth the door immedi- 
ately when he knocketh." Luke xii, 36, 37. To John 
on Patmos, he said, " Behold, I stand at the door, and 
knock : if any man hear my voice and open the door, I 
will come in to him." Rev. iii, 20. These and other 
passages represent the heart of the believer as the habi- 


tation of God ; and the church, or association of believers; 
the bulk, body, or collection of these divine dwellings, or 
tabernacles, constitute the city of God, his earthly me- 
tropolis, the centre of his grandeur and glory — the 
place where his light shines forth, and his perfections are 
visibly displayed. The Church, then, is fitly styled " the 
city of God," because it is composed of divine habitations. 
The Apostle speaks of christian believers as fellow citi- 
zens with the saints, fitly framed together, and built up 
for a habitation of God. " Now, therefore, ye are no more 
strangers and foreigners, but fellow citizens with the 
saints, and of the household of God ; and are built upon 
the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ 
himself being the chief corner stone, in whom all the 
building fitly framed together, groweth up into a holy 
temple in the Lord, in w 7 hom ye also are built together 
for a habitation of God through the Spirit." Ephesians 
ii, 19—22. It may fitly be called " the city of God," be- 
cause he is the chief ruler. Paul tells us that he is the 
chief Shepherd and Bishop of souls. John saw him with 
a crown, and again with many crowns upon his head. 
He introduced himself to Joshua as the " Captain of the 
Lord's host." Paul says, " He is the head of the body, of 
the church, who is the beginning, the first born from the 
dead, that in all things he might have the pre-eminence." 
And again, " And hath put all things under his feet, and 
gave him to be head over all things to the church." The 
church also reflects and displays the divine glory : it is 
a city whose light emanates from him : its inhabitants 
walk in his light, and show forth his glory. 



By this we understand the Gospel dispensation. The 
Gospel is called glad tidings, tidings which produce joy, 
a message of reconciliation. " With joy shall ye draw 
water from the wells of salvation." " I will pour water 
upon him that is thirsty, and floods upon the dry 
ground." " Ho ! every one that thirsteth, come ye to the 
waters." " And let him that is athirst come. And who- 
soever will, let him take of the water of life freely." All 
these beautiful passages, with many others like them, 
evidently refer to the Gospel, and chime in with the 
music to which the Psalmist's harp was tuned, when lie 
expressed the language of the text. 

1. The Gospel, like a river, cleanses thoroughly all who are 
subjected to its power, without losing any of its clea,nsing effi- 

The flowing of a river keeps its waters pure ; thousands 
may wash, and yet a pure stream is flowing. Likewise, 
the Gospel removes all impurity, and washes away all 
pollution. Its cleansing process is called the washing of 
regeneration, and the renewing of the Holy Ghost. It is 
said that " Christ gave himself for the Church, that he 
might sanctify and cleanse it, with the washing of water 
by the word ; that is. the Gospel word." The evangelical 
prophet utters these soul-cheering words : " Though your 
sins be like scarlet, they shall be white as snow ; though 
they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool." The 
Gospel cleanses thoroughly, and still retains its cleansing 
power undiminished. Though millions of filthy mortals 
have plunged into its crystal waters and been washed. 


yet those waters are clear, sweet, and pure as ever; and 
when millions more have washed their stains away, its 
waters still will be pure. Like the water of a nver, the 
Gospel removes the poison as well as the pollution of sin. 
A most sure cure for the bite of a venomous reptile, is to 
stand in a flowing stream, and keep the wound open, and 
the blood flowing freely. The poison will soon thus run 
out, and be washed away. Sinners are bitten by that old 
serpent, the devil ; his deadly poison is infused into the 
life-blood, and has affected the entire nature ; but the 
Gospel stream is all-healing, all-cleansing, all-invigora- 
ting, and also an all-sufficient antidote for the most fatal 
virus from satan's fang. 

2. Like a river, the Gospel is inexhaustible. 

Its supply is abundant, its resources never-failing. 
Springs go dry, the waters of a well are soon exhausted, 
and small streams fail ; but an army may drink from a 
river without perceptibly diminishing its waters. Like- 
wise, the Gospel affords a supply sufficient for the human 
race. It flows through every land, causing the wilder- 
ness and the solitary places of the earth to rejoice, the 
parched ground to become a pool, and the desert to bud 
and blossom as a rose. 

"Its streams the whole creation reach, 

So plenteous is the store : 
Enough for all, enough for each, 
Enough forever more." 

3. Like a river, the Gospel is peaceful 

A river, in Scripture, is a symbol of peace. " His peace 
shall be as a river." Seas are ever in motion — " cannot 
rest, whose waters cast up mire and .dirt"; but a river 


flows peacefully on. Likewise, the Gospel: it is called 
the Gospel of peace. " How beautiful upon the moun- 
tains is the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that 
publisheth peace." The Apostle quotes this beautiful 
language of the evangelical prophet, and applies it to the 
preaching of the Gospel : " And how shall they preach 
except they be sent, as it is written, How beautiful are 
the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, that 
bring glad tidings of good things." Romans x, 15. The 
Gospel brings peace with God. God is angry with the 
wicked, and the heart of the wicked is enmity against 
God. The carnal mind is not in subjection to the will of 
God, but rebellious, striving, yea, righting, against God. 
Foolish as is this warfare, ruinous as its final results will 
be to the sinner, yet it is continued, and would be con- 
tinued until the sinner was crushed by the hand of Om- 
nipotence, were it not that the Gospel brings peace. It re- 
moves the enmity, subdues the carnal mind, puts down 
the rebellion, proclaims the Saviour's love, offers mercy,, 
brings about reconciliation, and makes peace — yea, " the 
peace of God which passeth all understanding." The 
rebel grounds the weapons of his rebellion, sits at the 
feet of Jesus, and sings, " Oh Lord,! will praise thee, for 
though thou wast angry with me, thine angry is turned 
away, and thou comfortest me." 

(1.) The Gospel brings peace of mind. It puts down the 
war in the members. The sinner is not at peace with 
himself. The conscience, the will, the judgment, and the 
affections, are constantly at war. The Gospel makes the 
conscience tender, breaks down the stubborn will, en- 
g htens the judgment, purifies the affections, and thus 


establishes peace in the soul — a peace which the world 
can neither give nor take away. It brought the raving 
maniac to sit peaceful at the feet of Jesus. 

(2.) Finally, it brings peace among the brethren. It may 
not bring them all to see alike in all things : however 
desirable this may be, it is not at all essential to christian 
harmony. There is harmony in music, composed of dif- 
ferent parts ; harmony in a rainbow, of different colors; 
and harmony in an army, composed of different regi- 
ments, with different kinds of arms, and different modes 
of warfare. Likewise, there may be peace and harmony 
among christian men, differing from each other in many 
things. The Gospel makes men respect the opinions of 
good men who differ with them : it teaches them that 
God made men to differ. It enforces peaceableness, and 
proclaims a blessing upon the peacemaker, declaring such 
to be the children of God. An angry broiler does not 
adorn the doctrine of our profession, but peaceableness 
bears excellent testimony to the professor's sincerity. 


"The streams whereof make glad the city of God." It 
differs from all others in that, it has no tributaries, no 
contributing branches. It flows from one source only — 
it rises out of one fountain alone. Other rivers are made 
up from different sources : springs, lakes and small 
streams. Our beautiful Cape Fear is made up of many 
waters; nearly a dozen smaller rivers empty their waters 
into it. Not so with this river, the streams whereof 
gladen the inhabitants of God's city : it borrows noth- 
ing, save from the one original source. It springs up 


from the exhaustible fountain of divine benevolence: it 
is poured out of the bowels of God's infinite compassion ; 
it flows from the fullness of redeeming love — the love of 
God to man. The love of God is the only source of this 
Gospel river. John, in Revelation, calls it the river of 
life, and says he saw it proceeding out of the throne of 
God, and the Lamb. This was not his judicial or great 
white throne, from the presence of which the heavens 
and earth shall flee away, and from the glorious radiance 
of which sinners shall seek in vain for a hiding place; 
nor was it that throne from which he displays his sov- 
ereign power, in superintending innumerable worlds; 
but, his throne of grace ; hence the Lamb's connection 
with it — "the throne of God and the Lamb." Out of 
this throne of divine grace, pity, loving-kindness, and 
tender mercy ; this life-giving, this health-infusing, soul- 
invigorating, heart-cheering river, gushes. " Its streams 
make glad the city of God." While the Gospel river, 
which rises in the love of God, has no tributaries, yet 
there are streams running out from it. While it borrows 
not, it lends; nay, more, it gives to a thirsty and perish- 
ing world streams of living waters, which overflow the 
parched soil, causing the wilderness and the solitary 
places to rejoice, and the desert to blossom as a rose. 
" Whose streams," &c. In countries where it seldom 
rains, the land is sometimes watered by streams running 
out from the river. Thus Egypt was watered from the 
river Nile, and thus some of our cities are supplied with 
water by outlets from rivers. I presume the idea in the 
text is borrowed from the manner in which the land of 
Egypt was watered, by streams from the river, or, possibly, 


from the manner In which some city was supplied by 
a stream from a river. There are many streams flow- 
ing out from the Gospel river, u which make glad the 
city of God." The Gospel is glad tidings. It is good, 
wholesome, and soul-cheering news, a gladening message : 
tidings which are productive of joy in the highest degree. 
Takeaway the Gospel message from the church, and all is 
dull and cheerless. It was the dawn of Gospel day — a ray 
of Gospel light, dimly seen through the telescope of 
prophecy, that cheered the believing patriarchs while on 
their pilgrimage. Faithful Abraham saw it, and rejoiced ; 
and David, the sweetest singer of Israel's tribes, his harp 
to sweetest note did tune, and highest strain did raise — 
but even he, of cunning, great beyond degree, had neither 
word, nor tune, nor skill, to match the thrill of joy that 
pierced his soul, as rising on the ft ings of faith, he saw 
the gladdening stream of Gospel grace. 

Idolatry, Mohammedanism, and infidelity are systems 
dark and cheerless, because they have no wells of salva- 
tion, no living waters of grace, no river of life ; sending 
out streams of loving kindness and tender mercy, to over- 
take the perishing, and relieve their thirsty souls with 
draughts from an ever-flowing fountain. But this is the 
glory of the Gospel ; it gladdens ; its streams make glad 
the inhabitants of God's city. There are many streams 
flowing out from the Gospel river, which make glad the 
city of God. We cannot enlarge upon them; the limit 
of this hour's service forbids more than the mention of 
a few, and a few hints upon the thoughts suggested. 

1. There is a stream of divine illumination. 

Of spiritual enlightenment, of heavenly influence, of 


experimental knowledge, of God-blessed assurance of di- 
vine acceptance. " Ye shall know the truth and the truth 
shall make you free." Ail who accept in their hearts, in 
faith believing the stream of Gospel truth which is poured 
into their ears, have the soul- cheering, thejoy-kindling, the 
enrapturing assurance, that they are freed from sin, 
are accepted in the Beloved— that they have passed 
from death unto life, that they are new creatures, that 
old things have passed aw T ay and all things become new r . 
The Spirit, which Jesus promised to send forth, testifies 
within them, bearing witness with their spirits that they 
are born of God. They know in whom they believe, 
on what their hope rests, and have a foretaste of joys im- 

"Rejoicing now in glorious hope, 
They stand, and from the mountain's top 

See all the land below : 
Rivers of milk and honey rise, 
And all the fruits of paradise, 

In endless plenty grow." 

2. There is a stream of sanctifying influence. 

The Gospel is a complete system of redemption ; it is 
the power of God unto full salvation. It is the divine ar- 
rangement for the salvation of, and restoration to man, of 
all that w T as lost by the fall. Jesus prayed — "Sanctify them 
through thy truth." Then there is the declaration, that 
God wills our sanctification. If our will accords with his, 
there is nothing to hinder our sanctification at any time. 
The apostle tells us that Jesus suffered without the camp 
to secure our sanctification by his blood. He also reminds 
us, that if the blood of beasts put away the filth of the 


flesh, much more shall the blood of Christ cleanse us from 
all sin. The stream of sanctifying influence is destined 
to sanctify, and make holy all who are subjected to its 
power, and to bring them into that state of perfection, 
in which they shall feel the fulness of divine love, and 
be wholly freed from sin. This is God's will, and to this 
end he pours out his Spirit, sends out a stream of sancti- 
fying influence, gives his all-sufficient grace — not by 
measure, but in all its overflowing abundance. Hence, 
we sing : 

" Oh joyful sound of Gospel grace, 
Christ shall in me appear, 
I, even I, shall see his face : 
I shall be holy here." 

If we seek holiness of heart, we shall obtain it, and he 
that is holy must be happy. 

3. There is a stream of joyful consolation. 

The author of the Gospel is called the God of all con- 
solation. And the consolations which stream forth from 
the Gospel are numerous, rich and cheering. The world 
through which the believer journeys is a wilderness, of 
dark nights and clouds, and gloomy fea;s — but the Gos- 
pel is full of consolation. Listen to the voice of Jesus: 
"Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's good pleasure 
to give you the kingdom." 

Paul reckons that the sufferings of the present time 
are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall 
be revealed in us. There is one expression which, it 
seems to me, should quiet all our fears. It is this: "All 
things work together for good to them that love God." 
It matters not, then, what trials, what afflictions, what 


disappointments, what losses, what pain, what suffering, 
toil, labor, sorrow, persecution or distress we may have to 
endure; it is all a part of the divine arrangement, on our 
behalf, and to result in our eternal good — our highest 

' " God moves in a mysterious way. 

His wonders to perform : 
He plants his footsteps in the sea, 

And rides upon the storm. 
Deep, in unfathomless mines. 

Of never-f ailing skill. 
He treasures up his blight designs, 

And works his sovereign will : 
Ye fearful saints, fresh courage take — 

The cloulds you so much dread. 
Are big with mercies and shall break 

In blessings on your head. 7 ' 




"As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness : I shall be 
satisfied, when I awake, with thy likeness." Psa. xvii, 15. 

There is nothing more evident than the fact, that this 
world does not afford an adequate supply of bliss to meet 
the cravings of the human mind. The eye is not satis- 
fied with seeing, nor the ear with hearing; neither is the 
heart filled with joy. Solomon was wise above all that 
were before him : he piled up gold, until it lost its en- 
chantment and became a burden. He feasted upon good 
things, until his soul loathed the honey-comb. He drank 
from earth's fountain of bliss, until it became insipid and 
nauseating. He inhaled the fragrance of flowers and 
feasted his eyes with their beauties, until their very love- 
liness was a burden to his soul. He plunged into sensual 
indulgences, until nature revolted against itself. And 
yet, when he could take in no more of earth's bliss, he 
was not satisfied. He wrote upon it all, " Vanity of van- 
ities, all is vanity." 

The soul that can be filled with earthly good, must be 
miserably small. Good men of all ages have realized 


that ; Is not a j srfect satisfying ~ ::tion for the 

" This world can never give 
The bliss for which we sigh." 

The Psalmist fully realized this, and living in an at- 
mosphere nearly akin to that purer state, his soul thrilled 
with rapture at the thought of perfect satisfy :;::n in the 
glorified state. ;i I shall be satisfied, whe:: I awake, with 
thy likeness." In the verses which precede the text, the 
prays for deliverance from his enemies, whom 
he calls the sword of the Lord. God frequently .1: >ys 
the wicked to punish his people for their sins : hence 

language, "Deliver my soul from the wicked, which 
is thy sword.*'" He characterizes them as men of the 
world — men whose hearts are set upon the world, whose 
thoughts are occupied with its vanities, whose time is 
spent in the pursuit of them, and who. though merely 
passengers through a world that is swiftly passing away, 
are content to enjoy its beggarly portion, and seize upon 

ealth, honors and pleasures, a3 the best objects of 
human aspiration. He had previously refined to his 
own integrity in verse 3, " Thou hast proved mine heart." 
Thou knowest exactly what manner of man I am, for 
thou hast searched and discovered the secrets of my soul. 
By temptations, afflictions and vexations, thou hast tested 
my sincerity. u Thou hast visited me in the night," 
when no other eye could pierce the darkness — when others 
:. In the season when wicked men do their dark 

3, thou hast watched and found no wickedness in 
me. And having passed the ordeal of divine scrutiny 


and not found wanting, I ana determined that my future 
life shall be pure. " I am purposed that my mouth shall 
not transgress." However much I may be persecuted, I 
will keep a strict watch over all my words and actions. 
" I will keep my tongue from evil, and my lips from 
speaking guile." And while the wicked are before me, 
vexing and tempting me to sin, "I will keep my mouth 
as with a bridle." After thus expressing his assurance 
of the perfect work of God in his soul, he, in the language 
of the text, expresses the hope naturally arising there- 
from : " As for me, I will behold thy face in righteous- 
ness: I shall be satisfied, when I awake, with thy like- 
ness." I do not envy the wicked their portion, nor men 
of the world the felicity they may hope to reap there- 
from. They may, if they will, cleave to these fleeting 
vanities; but as for me, my hopes are bent in a very dif- 
ferent direction: My hopes centre in the felicity I ex- 
pect to enjoy in the glorified state, when in my resurrected 
body I shall appear in the likeness of my Redeemer. 
Temporal things are not my portion ; the vanities of 
earth cannot fill the desire of my soul : I have laid hold 
upon the hope set before me, of joys which are immortal 
and eternal ; and to these I shall cleave. 

"As for me, I will behold thy face in righteousness." 
I will labor to maintain that imputed righteousness which 
will qualify me to see thy face. " Blessed are the pure in 
heart, for they shall see God." The wicked, if they will, 
may labor for the meat that perisheth ; but I will labor 
to maintain that purity and meetness in which I shall 
behold thy face, and appear in thy likeness. 


Our theme is the perfect satisfaction of the saints 


And we may remark, thai perfect satisfaction can only 
be enjoyed as the sequence of perfect conformity to the 
divine likeness. We shall not be satisfied until all that 
was lost in the fall is restored, and all will not be restored 
until we awake with God's likeness on the resurrection 
morning. Hence, our happiness will be complete then, 
and then only. 

I. We observe that God's work in us is designed to 


This was man's original state. "And God said, Let us 
make man in our own image, after our likeness." The di- 
vine likeness shone forth in every faculty of man's original 
nature. Like his Maker, he was holy, and consequently 
happy. He was God's vicegerent, his visible representa- 
tive, the visible head of his creation, and monarch of all 
below the skies. Sin robbed man of his purity, defaced 
the divine image, stripped him of his glory, tore the 
crown from his head, sowed the seeds of disease in his 
nature, and exposed him to death and decay; yea, to 
eternal death. Now the design of the work of grace in 
us is to restore all of that, of which sin has robbed us, 
namely, holiness, happiness, and eternal life. 

1. For this, was the Son of God sent into the world. 

That, " As we have borne the image of the earthy, we 
shall also bear the image uf the heavenly." This was God's 
eternal purpose. Knowing from all eternity, even before 
man was created, that he would fall, he arranged in the 


counsel of his grace for his deliverance and restoration. 
So wrote the great Apostle of the Gentiles : " For whom 
he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed 
to the image of his Son." Romans viii, 28. It was God's 
eternal's purpose, appointment, determination, will and 
pleasure, that all those, whom he knew would truly re- 
pent and believe, should be conformed to the likeness of 
his Son, should bear his image and be like Christ, viz., 
" holy, harmless, and separate from sinners " — that we 
should have the mind that was in him, and walk as he 

2. To this work, of bringing us to a conformity to the divine 
likeness, is the Holy Spirit appointed. 

He will not only teach us all things, and guide us into 
all truth, but will make us every whit whole. The influ- 
ence of the Holy Spirit, operating upon us, leads us to 
holiness. Jesus says, " It is the Spirit that quickeneth." 
We are raised from the death of sin to a life of holiness 
by the power of the Holy Spirit, which quickens our dead 
nature, and testifies within us that we are born again. 
The Apostle Paul speaks of the Holy Spirit as the grand 
agent in bringing about this change in our nature. "But 
we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of 
the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory 
to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." 2 Cor. iii, 
18. Here we are represented as "beholding" the divine 
"glory," and being "changed into the same image." But 
the Spirit of the Loid is the efficient agent by which this 
wonderful change is effected. The Spirit is He who has 
prepared the glasses, through which we behold the glory 
of the Lord. The Gospel is one of those glasses, and this 


was written by the Spirit's inspiration. The human na- 
ture of Christ is another glass, and this the Spirit formed 
in the womb of the blessed virgin. The Spirit tears the 
vail away from our eyes, opens our understanding, trans- 
forms our nature by his renewing and sanctifying power, 
and thereby fixes upon us the divine likeness. 

II. But we notice that perfect conformity to the 


And here we must distinguish between things that 
differ. Christian perfection is one thing, but the perfect 
conformity of the resurrected saint, in the glorified state, 
to the divine likeness, is another, and a very different 
thing ; yet, if we attain to the former, and live and die in 
it, we are sure of the latter. Christian perfection is a 
characteristic of the saint on earth ; but perfect conform- 
ity to the divine likeness is a characteristic of the saint 
in glory. The sanctified state is a degree of that con- 
formity, but not that perfect fullness of it that we shall 
possess in our resurrected bodies — ivhen we shall awake 
with the divine likeness. 

Perfection under the Mosaic dispensation fell far short 
of that under the Christian dispensation, for Jesus tells 
us that John the Baptist, who was the greatest of the 
prophets, was less than the least in his kingdom. Likewise, 
christian perfection falls short of the state of the glorified 
saints. Christian perfection is an attainment belonging 
to this state. The perfect likeness and consequent hap- 
piness contemplated in the text belongs to the future 

There is, however, a degree of conformity to the divine 
likeness attainable here; and to possess, and live in this 


state was the fixed purpose of the Psalmist, as declared in 
the text. " As for me, I will behold thy face in righteous- 
ness." I am resolved to possess and maintain that right- 
eousness, in which I shall behold thy face. This righteous- 
ness no man possesses by nature, nor is it acquired by edu- 
cation : men are not trained into it. It is called the right- 
eousness of Christ, and we receive it from him as an un- 
speakable gift; also the righteousness of faith, and is re- 
ceived through faith — " not of works, less any man should 
boast." Ii ts experimental: he that possesses it, knows it. 
He is not left to guess that he is righteous, but he has the 
God-blessed assurance of it. He knows the time when* 
and the place where, " his dungeon shook, and his chains 
fell." He knows when he was relieved of his burden, 
when the load was removed from his back, and his soul 
went skipping up Zion's hill. He knows when the night 
of sin ended, when the darkness £ave way, when the 
morning star arose, and the light of day broke into his 
soul. The change from darkness to light is so great that 
all who really pass through the transformation, are sen- 
sible of it. All will not have exactly the same kind or 
same degree of emotion. The emotions may be as great 
in variety as the number of the redeemed. With some, 
the change may be sudden and violent, and accompanied 
with much distress. Some may be so powerfully wrought 
upon, as to imagine that they had a bodily sensation. 
Paul had the impression of a voice, and a light shining 
round him. With some, the experience is less vivid : 
their winter passes out so mildly and the spring comes in 
so gently, that they need to consult their spiritual chart, 
or calendar, to tell just when the change did take place. 


While the experiences through which believers pass, in 
being made righteous, differ, yet in some things there is 
an agreement. Each one can say, " whereas I was blind, 
now I see.'' I know that which no man could teach me, 
which the n n regenerate mind has never grasped, and can- 
not: u For except a man be born again, he cannot see 
kingdom of God." He that is made righteous is sensi- 
ble of the relief from the burden of sin, and can testify 
that he has peace with God. All who are made right- 
eous also feel their relationship to the Father, for into the 
hearts of the sons of God he sends the Spirit of his Son, 
which cries, " Abba Father." 

But righteousness is practical as well as experimental, 
and capable of being demonstrated. There is an out- 
ward as well as an inward righteousness; a righteousness 
in the life, conduct and conversation, as well as in the 
heart of the believer. That in the heart is the vine or 
branch ; that in the life is its fruit. If the branch is 
righteous, it will bear the fruit of righteousness, nor can 
it retain its relation to the vine in a fruitless state. For 
Jesus says : " Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he 
taketh away." Our righteousness must conform to the 
pattern given. It must be Christ's righteousness, work- 
ing in, running through, and governing all our thoughts, 
words, and actions. To be like him in the resurrection, 
we must be like him in the regeneration. The trans- 
formation effected in the regeneration is the prelude to 
the transformation effected by the resurrection. We 
need the resurrection from the death of sin to a life of 
righteousness, to have a sure hope of a future resurrect- 


tion ; and the fruit of righteousness is the best and only 
sure evidence of a regenerate nature. 

1. We must have all the characteristics of Christ's humanity. 
Be like him as a man, follow his steps, walk in his 

ways — in a word, our life and conduct must be like his. 
He was distinguished for meekness and humility, and 
he said : " Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for 
I am meek and lowly in heart." And again : " Tell ye the 
daughter of Sion, behold, thy King cometh unto thee, 
meek, and sitting upon an ass, and a colt the foal of an 
ass." As an example of humility, he washed his disci- 
ples' feet. And the Apostle tells us that he humbled him- 
self, that he made himself of no reputation, and took the 
form of a servant, notwithstanding his equality with the 
Father. The Apostle, therefore, urges lowliness and hu- 
mility of mind. He was distinguished for great self- 
denial. He demands this of us, and lays it down as the 
basis of acceptable discipleship. Our conformity must 
include filial obedience — a loving, cheerful obedience; 
an obedience which is the fruit of a right state of heart. 
Jesus is represented as saying, to the Father, " I delight 
to do thy will ; " and again, " Not as I will, but as thou 
wilt." To his parents, who had sought him for three 
days, and who complained of the trouble and anxiety 
he had caused them by his absence, he said : " Wist ye 
not that I must be about my Father's business?" Thus, 
must we render unto God a hearty and cheerful obedience 
in all things. 

2. We can possess some of the characteristics of his divine 

We can be just, in such degree as we have light. The 


good man walks in the light of the knowledge he pos- 
sesses. He deals justly, just in proportion as his mind 
is enlightened. A good man may mean well, and yet do 
a great injury to one whom he desires to serve, because 
he lacks an enlightened judgment. In order that a 
judge may dispense exact justice in every case that comes 
before him, he must know the merits of every case. Yet 
he has done his duty, when, after giving due attention to 
the case, he decides it according to his honest convictions- 
Still persons mightgo from the bar of a judge, who was per- 
fectly honest, unjustly condemned, on account of the want 
of better knowledge on the part of the judge. God can 
dispense perfect justice, because he has perfect knowl- 
edge. Human justice, though not exactly equitable, 
if the intention is pure, and every possible means to 
obtain information has been exhausted, is perfect. This 
is christian perfection in judgment. But if the light 
that is in you be darkness, you must stumble ; that is, if 
your judgment be at fault, you are likely to err, no mat- 
ter how good your intention. The intention, however, is 
what God regards: if that is pure and holy, we are ac- 
cepted of him. To this extent, we can possess the like- 
ness ot divine justice here. 

We can also be holy here, and must, 'for without ho- 
liness, no man shall see the Lord." None but the pure in 
heart have the promise that they shall see him ; and, 
therefore, to have a well-grounded hope of this unspeak- 
able privilege, we must purify ourselves, as he is pure. 
Our affections must be pure, our thoughts pure, our 
words and actions pure. 


Finally, we must have divine love. 

Human love extends to its own, and to thern only. 
" If ye love them which love you, what reward have ye?" 
The love that God commends, takes in those that hate 
us. " Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do 
good to them that hate you, and pray for them which 
despitefully use you, and persecute you, that ye may be 
the children of your Father which is in heaven." This 
is divine love: he that has it, has this feature of the di- 
vine likeness. The great commandments are, " Thou 
shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and 
with all 'thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with 
all thy strength. This is the first commandment, and 
the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neigh- 
bor as thyself." "Love is the fulfilling of the law, and 
perfect love casteth out fear." He that loves God with 
all his heart, will serve him with all his might. He 
that loves his neighbor as himself, will treat his neigh- 
bor as he would wish his neighbor to treat him. He that 
keeps these two commandments is a perfect christian — is 
perfect, so far as perfection can be obtained here. What 
a happy world this will be, when all humanity comes up 
to this standard of perfection. For this all true christians 
are praying daily, " Thy kingdom come, thy will be done 
on earth, as it is in heaven." This prayer will event- 
ually be answered, for at the sounding of the seventh 
angel, there were heard great voices in heaven saying, 
" The kingdoms of this world are become the kingdoms 
of our Lord and his Christ." But even this state of things 
on earth would not give entire satisfaction. I repeat, 

" This world can never give 
The bliss for which we sigh." 


No matter what our condition here, either temporal or 
spiritual ; no matter what temporal wealth, social stand- 
ing, or official honors we may enjoy ; no matter what 
attainments of grace or spiritual rapture we may reach, 
we shall still be affected with the impression that this is 
not our home. We shall still feel that, 

"Beyond this vale of tears 
There is a life above ; 
Unmeasured by the flight of years, 
And all that life is love." 

For this happy state the christian sighs. He longs to 
put off mortality, and be swallowed up of life. To this 
gratifying state of perfect felicity the text directs our 


" I shall be satisfied, when I awake, w T ith thy likeness." 
All our desires will then be met, ail our expectations 
more than realized, and every aspiration of the soul en- 
tirely satisfied. 

1 ' Of all my heart's desire 
Triumphantly possess'd ; 
Lodged in the ministerial choir, 
In my Redeemer's breast." 

In what state the saints shall be, from their departure 
from time till the resurrection day, is not part of our 
present inquiry. There are different opinions advanced 
by the learned, which we have not time now to consider. 
The text bears us across that period, without permitting 


us to linger for a moment, and lets us- at once behold the 
light of the resurrection morn. " I shall be satisfied, 
when I awake, with thy likeness" — when I arise from 
the dead, with my glorified body; with the image of 
Christ indellibly fixed upon my entire nature — (for " as I 
have borne the image of the earthy, I shall also bear the 
image of the heavenly.") 

1. We shall be satisfied, because our souls and bodies, 
which were separated at death, will be united again. 

It is written, " All that are in their graves shall hear 
the voice of the Son of God, and shall come forth ;" " the 
trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incor- 
ruptible," " and we (who are on the earth) shall be 
changed in the twinkling of an eye" — " mortal shall put 
on immortality." The glorified body, with which we 
shall be clothed, will be a source of great and endless 
satisfaction. The old body was a burden — a body of 
death. It was afflicted with disease, sickness, infirmity, 
pain, age, decrepitude, death and decay. But when we 
awake with our glorified body, these will all have passed 
away. Not an ache, nor pain ; no infirmity, deformity, 
nor age : these terms are not found in heaven's vocabu- 
lary. Youth, health, vigor, and beauty, will be among 
the characteristics of our glorified body. 

2. We shall be satisfied, because we shall be in the likeness of 
our Redeemer. 

This is spoken of as one of the unspeakable blessings 
secured by the surpassing love of God. "We shall be 
like him, for we shall see him as he is." " If we have 
been planted together in the likeness of his death, we 
shall be also in the likeness of his resurrection." Our 


souls shall be completely conformed to his, and our bodies 
transformed and made like unto his glorious body. So 
wrote the Apostle. " * * The Lord Jesus Christ, who 
shall change our vile body, that it may be fashioned like 
unto his glorious body," &c. 

3. We shall be satisfied, because ive shall be 'permitted to gaze 
upon his divine perfections. 

" I will behold thy face." There were certain Greeks 
(who, having heard of Jesus, in the days of his incarna- 
tiou, when only occasional rays of his glory shone out,) 
came to the disciples, saying ; " Sirs, we would see Jesus." 
If a sight of him in the days of humility was so much to be 
desired, with what rapture will the saints gaze upon him, 
when they shall see him as he is! When they shall 
see his glory — the sight for which Moses longed but 
could not behold. He was permitted only to stand in 
the cleft of the rock, while God caused his glory to pass 
by, he being hid, by the Almighty hand, from the over- 
whelming rays of his glorious face; yet, this mere glimpse 
of Jehovah's glory, gave to the face of Moses a radiance 
upon which the Israelites could never look. Ever after- 
ward, he appeared before the congregation only with a 
veiled face. If, by chance, a ray from his naked face 
beamed forth, its incomprehensible radiance filled them 
with awe. But when we awake with the divine likeness, 
we shall not only behold the unveiled face of Moses, but 
we shall see Jesus — we shall behold him that sitteth upon 
the throne ! We will not need to be covered by the di- 
vine hand, or that he turn his face from us, or give us 
merely a transient view ; but we shall gaze upon him, 


have an abiding view — see him just as he is. We shall 
neither be afraid, nor ashamed, to fix our gaze upon him. 

4 We shall he satisfied, because we shall know all we want to 

One of the most vexing things of this state, is the want 
of knowledge. And the more we know, the more fully 
we realize how little we do know. When we awake with 
the divine likeness, there will be no more mysteries. Ig- 
norance will not vex us in the gloried state — " we shall 
know." Our knowledge will be unlimited. We shall 
sit at the fountain whence streams of knowledge flow, 
and drink ; and to enable our intellectual capacities to 
receive the never-ceasing stream, which will flow from 
the living fountains, to which the Lamb shall lead 
us— they will be continually expanded and enlarged. 
We shall never feel the w r ant of knowledge, for the mo- 
ment the desire arises, the supply will meet it. Before 
this unceasing flow of knowledge, all mysteries will fade 
away forever, and we shall dwell in the noontide of celes* 
tial light. 

Beloved brethren, have you a sure hope of enjoying 
this endless felicity of the glorified saints? I don't ask 
do you sometimes think about it? I don't ask, would 
you like to be there?— but can you say with the Psalmist, 
" I will behold thy face in righteousness: I shall be sat- 
isfied, when I awake, with thy likeness?" 





"He shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand: he shall 
hold it fast, but it shall not endure." Job viii, 15. 

The afflictions which passed upon Job, in rapid suc- 
cession, and the depths of wretchedness into which he 
was suddenly plunged, were a puzzle to his neighbors. 
They could not understand why the most wealthy of all 
men among them, and possibly the wealthiest man then 
living, should in so short a period be reduced to poverty, 
and become the most miserable of all on earth ; and their 
astonishment was heightened by the fact, that he was re- 
garded as the most righteous of all men. 

11 Job's substance was seven thousand sheep, three thou- 
sand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen, and five hundred 
she asses." Besides this, it is said that he had "a very 
great household; so that this man was the greatest of all 
the men of the east." His wealth, together with his seven 
sons and three daughters, was all swept away, as with a 
besom of destruction, and the news thereof reached him 
by four messengers, one following the other as rapidly 
as they could tell the doleful story. 

But this was not all: he he was afflicted with sore boils 

206 the hypocrite's hope. 

from his crown to the sole of his feet, so that he was a 
mass of putrefaction, and his breath was corrupt. His 
neighbors hearing of his affliction, came to comfort him; 
but they were so astonished at the wretchedness in which 
they found him, that they sat for seven days, regarding 
him in silent amazement. Nor was the silence broken* 
until, in the depths of agony, Job opened his mouth, and 
in doleful accents expressed the bitterness of his soul. 
During the long silence, those who came to comfort him 
had been casting about, in their minds, to fix upon the 
cause of his affliction; and three of them seem to have 
arrived at one conclusion, namely, that Job had been 
guilty of some great wickedness, unknown to them, but 
known to the all-wise God, and for this God was punish- 
ing him. They believed that only by the acknowledg- 
ment of his sin, would he be restored to the divine favor; 
and hence, they undertook, by arguments, to lead him to 
conviction, repentance and confession. No doubt they 
set out with the good intention of breaking unto Job 
their suspicion by gentle words, and thus to lead him to 
repentance; but, the first speaker had not uttered half a 
dozen sentences, before he had waxed warm, and was de- 
livering himself in language which must have pierced 
Job's very soul : and the second, at his opening, indicated 
most clearly his belief that Job was a hypocrite. The 
third charged him with falsehood and mockery; and thus 
they continued, with argument, ridicule, sarcasm and 
irony, to express the thoughts of their hearts. Bildad, 
the speaker in the text, attempted to draw an argument 
from the prevailing opinion, that worldly prosperity was 
an evidence of divine favor, and that afflictions were a 


sure token of God's displeasure. It will be remembered 
that the prosperity of the wicked almost caused David to 
stumble. When he saw the wicked flourishing as a green 
bay tree, his feet were well nigh gone. 

While Bildad's premises were false, and while he wholly 
misunderstood Job's case, and therefore misapplied his 
illustrations; yet he, as it were, stumbled upon a very 
important truth. It is this : that our happiness — our real 
well-being, depends upon our being in our right and 
proper element. All creatures have their own element, 
or a state in which they perfectly enjoy their existence. 
Some creatures cannot live at all out of that condition : 
birds thrive in their native air; but, caged up, where 
the air is impure and unwholesome, the} 7 soon die : water 
is the element in which the fish lives; remove it there- 
from, and it perishes. Now man's true element is to enjoy 
the love and favor of his God : in this he must dwell, if he 
would be happy: out of this, no matter what his circum- 
stances, he cannot be happy. The divine favor will con- 
stitute our happiness here, and will be the source of our 
enjoyment hereafter. 

u To dwell in God, to taste his love, 
Is the full heaven enjoyed above : 
The real bliss of christians now, 
Is heavenly love enjoyed below." 

This is the truth which, it seems to me, Bildad stum- 
bled upon; for he does not seem to have fully realized 
the force of his own illustrations. The first is drawn 
from plants: " Can the rush grow up with mire? or the 
flag without water?" Verse 11. Can that kind of plants, 
which are the peculiar product of miry and watery sec- 


tions, still live and grow, if transplanted on high and 
dry land ? " Whilst it is yet in its greenness, and not 
cut down, it withereth before any other herb." Verse 12. 
While the high land herbs all around it flourish, the 
transplant from the miry and watery soil withers and dies, 
because it is out of its native element. 

" So are the paths of all that forget God." Such is the 
end to which the paths of all that forget God leads. They 
will perish: their path leads to destruction. " And the 
hypocrite's hope shall perish ; whose hope shall be cut off, 
and whose trust shall be a spider's web." All who trust 
in anything, except in the living God, will miss their 
expectation, will lose their hope, will meet with disap- 
pointment, will come to grief; and will find that in which 
they trusted, as frail and flimsy as a spider's web. " He 
shall lean upon his house, but it shall not stand : he 
shall hold it fast, but it shall not endure." 

When the spider has finished, first its outer wall, and 
then its dwelling, in one corner of the enclosure, it goes 
over every part of it, and tries its strength. When it is sat- 
isfied therewith, it goes into its little house, and standing 
upon its hind legs, it holds on with its fore legs, and thus 
leans upon its house, and holds it fast; but woe be unto 
it, when the housekeeper comes along with her broom : 
just when it feels most comfortabty situated, this spider- 
web destroyer sweeps the spider, its web and all its hopes 
away. Such will be the end of the hypocrite, and of all 
who forget, or fail to put their trust in God. He is the 
only sure refuge, and out of him there is no safety. He 
is the rock, all else is sand. He that builds upon this 
rock shall not be confounded ; but he that builds upon 


any other foundation will, with his house, be swept away 
by the relentless flood of divine displeasure, that will 
gather around the wicked, when God pours out his wrath 
and indignation upon them. 

The subject before us embraces two classes of hetro- 
doxy. The atheist who forgets God or leaves him out of 
his calculations entirely, and the hypocrite who admits 
that there is a God, but comes short of the duty which 
that admission necessarily involves, namely, that they 
should worship him as God. 

The text leads us to contemplate some of the structures 
which men build for themselves, and upon which they 
lean ; or, in other words, the false premises upon which 
men base their hopes ; and the frail material of which 
they erect that in which they trust. There are three 
things of importance in erecting a building : first, a good 
foundation ; secondly, good material ; and thirdly, to con- 
nect the entire building with the solid foundation. The 
text especially directs our attention to the materials. The 
spider's web is very frail material to build a house of. 
The Apostle cautions us as to the material of which we 
build, even on a good foundation. After declaring Christ 
to be the only foundation, he says : " If any man buildeth 
on the foundation ; gold, silver, costly stones, wood, hay, 
stubble; each man's work shall be made manifest: for 
the day shall declare it, because it is revealed by fire ; 
and the fire itself shall prove each man's work, what 
sort it is." (I Cor. iii : 12, 13. Revised Version.) Gold, 
silver, and a certain kind of stone will stand the fire; but 
wood, hay and stubble will soon be consumed by the 


We remark, that a sense of divine displeasure and of 
the indispensable necessity of a means of escape from 
impending wrath, naturally forces itself upon the human 
heart. Man would drive away this impression if he 
could, but he cannot. Sometimes daring ones exhibit 
their pride, and their ambition to be gods, themselves, 
and to usurp prerogatives which they do not possess ; but 
ere long they are made to feel their littleness. The king 
of Babylon, who boastingly " spoke, and said : Is not this 
great Babylon, which I have built by the might of my 
power, and for the honor of my majesty?" (Daniel iv, 
3.0,) was brought, by power divine, to realize his weak- 
ness and insecurity, and the need of something in which 
to trust, more substantial than any power he possessed. 

Now, God has a variety of means by which he awakens 
in the minds and hearts of men a sense of human help- 
lessness. Sometimes he unfolds his strange providences, as 
in the case of the king just mentioned, who was driven out 
from among men, and ate grass as an ox: his body was 
wet with the dew of heaven ; his hair became as eagle*s 
feathers, and his nails like birds' claws; until seven times 
(seven years) passed over him, and until he knew and ac- 
knowledged the power of the Most High. He then lifted 
up his eyes to heaven and praised and honored Him that 
liveth forever. 

Sometimes, ordinary afflictions are the means of lead- 
ing men to reflect, and to seek a refuge for the soul. Men, 
who are thoughtless and indifferent, yea, even hardened 
and scornful in health, are brought to repentance in sick- 
ness, and tremble at the approach of death. Indeed, af- 
fliction seems to be a challenge from the Almighty, a call 


to man to give an account of his stewardship ; and many 
are thus awakened, and brought to repentance. 

Sometimes, the motion comes from an internal sense 
of guilt. At the hour of midnight when no other, but 
the Eye that never sleeps, sees them, men are troubled, 
and lie in sensible recognition of the heart's palpitations. 
Sometimes, the mental excitement is so intense, that the 
flesh is moistened with perspiration produced by fear. 
Such is a most critical moment — it is sometimes the 
last effort of the Holy Spirit to obtain entrance into the 
heart. If a genuine sigh for relief ascends to heaven, as 
the result of this final wooing of the Spirit, he draws 
nearer and knocks ; if he finds an open door he enters, 
drives out the foes and fills the soul with peace, love and 
joy. But sometimes the Spirit 'is insulted, is driven 
away, and never returns ! More frequently, however, the 
struggle is continued until some kind of a compromise 
is effected — a compromise suggested by the evil one; and 
one which involves the erection of such a structure as 
he shall suggest. Knowing the peculiar turn of mind 
with which he has to deal, he, in every case, suggests 
what is most likely to be adopted. Whatever he sug- 
gests, you may be sure is a refuge of lies. 

With the text in view, let us notice some of the spider- 
web houses on which Satan induces men to lean; and to 
which they hold fast, to the neglect of the sure refuge. 
I say some, for they are too numerous to mention, even 
if we knew them all. And they are all Satan's devices, 
and all equally delasive. They are all frail and flimsy 
as the spider's web. You may lean upon them, but they 


will not stand ; you may hold them fast, but they will 
not endure. 

First among the false systems, (if system it may be 
called) is Atheism. But, if we follow the example of the 
inspired pensman, we shall not attempt to argue with the 
Atheist. The folly of the man, who can look abroad and 
behold the vast universe which surrounds him, and the 
evidence of design upon every hand ; who can contem- 
plate the harmony and regularity in the motions of the 
heavenly bodies, rolling through the vast expanse— con- 
ducted, as they evidently are, by an unseen but unerring 
hand; each in its appointed path, from age to age: who 
can mark the accomplishment of events, wholly out of 
the range of the means which appear to be employed 5 
who can contemplate his own body, fearfully and won* 
derfully made, and yet deny the existence of an All- 
wise and Almighty Creator, can only be fitly characterized 
by the language of the Psalmist: " The fool hath said 
in his heart, There is God." I suspect that the character 
mentioned by the Psalmist was ashamed to utter such 
an idea with his lips, and hence is described as saying 
it " in his heart." The Apostle Paul declares Atheism to 
be inexcusable folly: "For the invisible things of him 
from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being 
understood by the things that are made, even his eternal 
power and. Godhead ; so that they are without excuse." 
Romans i, 20. With these examples before us, of the 
manner in which the inspired writers treated Atheism, 
we feel justified in dismissing all who trust in this frail 
structure, with the solemn words of our text: "He shall 


lean upon his house, but it shall not stand : he shall hold 
it fast, but it shall not endure." 

Infidelity is another frail tenement to which men cling, 
which we don't think deserves more than a passing no- 
tice. The man who rejects the Bible, is not likely to pay 
much attention to anything we can say. We should 
have more faith in Infidelity, however, if its advocates 
would hold out to the end; but they do not. They do not 
die Infidels. We have never known nor heard of one who 
did. The testimonies of dying Infidels are all against 
the system. Doleful and distressing have been the last 
words of many Infidels. They have been known to 
tremble at the approach of death— what then, must have 
been their horror, when they entered the dark valley and 
shadow! Ii their confidence failed them on the banks, 
how did they fare in the billows of Jordan? A system 
that only sustains you when you don't need it, is not 
worth the name. 

We have touched upon fatalism in another discourse, 
and need not enlarge upon it here. 

But the text leads us especially to consider the hypocrite's 

"The hypocrite's hope shall perish." I doubt whether 
the Atheist, or Infidel, has much hope. It is more an 
exhibition of bravado — an effort to appear daring. But 
there are hypocrites who suppose themselves to be what 
they are not, and therefore have a hope, which their real 
state does not warrant. This seems evident from what is 
said to the church at Laodicea, Rev. iii, 17: "Because 
uiou sayest I am rich," <&c, "and knowest not," &e. 
These were evidentlv deceived, and did not know their 

214 the hypocrite's hope. 

wretchedness. I fear there are thousands just in this 
condition. They have a name that they live, but are 
dead. They are among God's people, but not of them. 
They say, " Lord, Lord," but do not the things which God 
requires. They have the form, but not the power of god- 
liness; they have entered the vestibule, but not the temple 
of grace. Their affections are on the world ; and they 
have much more love for theaters, balls, parties, and other 
worldly amusements, than they have for the services of 
the sanctuary. A little rain, or cold, or heat, is sufficient 
to keep them from church ; and when there, they can't en- 
dure to be crowded — must have plenty of room ; but to the 
theater they can go in heat, cold, or storm, and crowd 
into uncomfortable seats without a word of complaint. 
In church the services are too long and dry, especially if 
the minister repeats himself; but they can sit for hours 
in a theater, and enjoy the stale nonsense, which they 
have heard over and again. If collections are frequent 
for church expenses, or charitable purposes, there is much 
complaint in consequence. "Its money, money, all the 
time money: I don't see what they do with so much 
money." But they can go to the theater, and pay money 
every night. Now Jesus says, " Where your treasure is, 
there will your heart be also." Is it not pretty evident 
that the hearts of such people are set on the world, and 
that the world is their portion, their treasure, their all? 
If their treasure was in heaven, would they not have 
more interest in heavenly things? Can such persons be 
genuine christians? If not, they must be hypocrites— - 
;< lukewarm." Jesus says, U I would that thou wert cold 
or hot, * * because thou art lukewarm, I will spew thee 


out of my mouth." I imagine some of my congregation 
are saying, " That don't fit me, I am not a professor." 
Some people think that there are no hypocrites but such 
as are members of the church. There could be no greater 
mistake. There are thousands who imagine themselves 
not far from the kingdom ; but if they are not in it, 
they are as far from being acceptable to God as the 
most wicked. They are " lukewarm." I said once to a 
lady friend, " I fear you are lukewarm." She was decid- 
edly amiable, and might have passed for a right good 
christian ; but she had not embraced the Saviour, nor 
had she united with God's people. To my remark, she 
answered, " 0, I hope I am not in that disgustful state/' 
"Very well, let us see," I replied. "There are three 
states — cold, hot, and lukewarm. Which is yours ? Are 
you cold ? Have you no interest in religion ? Do you 
hate the people of God ? Do you believe them all a set 
of miserable hypocrites? Is that your state ?" I asked. 
With a discouraged look, she answered, " No." I con- 
tinued, " Have you then the heat of divine love in your 
soul? While musing, does the fire burn? Is there a 
flame of heavenly rapture kindled in your heart by the 
assurance of your acceptance in the Beloved ? Can you 
say, ' I know that my Redeemer liveth,' that ' my name 
is in heaven — my record is on high ?' Is that your state ?" 
I asked. With an effort to maintain her composure, she 
answered, " No." " What then ?" After a few moments' 
silence, she answered, " I suppose I must be lukewarm." 
And this would be the answer of very many, if they would 
acknowledge the truth. This is, as she characterized it, 
a very "disgustful state." There is no state more so in 


the sight of God. Men ought to be one thing or the 
other. If they believe in religion, they ought to embrace 
it. If they don't believe in it, they ought not to encour- 
age it, by their presence in the sanctuary, nor their gifts 
at the altar. Every time you contribute to the cause of 
God, you testify that you are not cold. Religion is dither 
a grand and glorious reality, or a most detestable fraud. 
If a fraud, it deserves to be exposed, and voted out of so- 
ciety ; if a reality, it has claims which we can only with- 
hold at our peril — claims that no honest man can with- 
hold ; and he that hopes to escape the hypocrite's doom 
by refusing to enroll himself with the people of God, 
will find in the end that his trust is a spider's web, and 
utterly useless. 

But " time enough" I suspect, has a large and heavy 
burden of souls leaning upon it; and, oh, what a fearful 
sweeping away there will ultimately be, of souls that are 
leaning upon " time enough !" You admit that you know 
that you must die, and that a preparation for death is 
necessary, and that it must be made in time; but still 
you put it off. Is this wise? Is it in accordance with 
our practice in other matters? If we were promised a 
million of dollars in gold, which we could get by simply 
going to the bank and asking for it, would we say, " Its 
time enough?" I think not. Why, then, put off this 
matter in which the eternal interest of a priceless soul is 
involved? — a soul that must forever live in raptures or 
in woe? "Time enough," was the language of a young 
man who lived in New Berne, N. C, some years ago. He 
was greatly respected, and worthily so, too ; for he was 
genteel, good-natured, and free from the grosser vices of 


youth. But like the young man in the Gospel, he lacked 
the one thing most needed. Hasty consumption seized 
upon his vitals, and in a few days he was at death's door. 
I approached him, as his feet touched the waters, and 
asked him if it was well with his soul? He answered: 
" You know it is no time to talk upon that subject now." It 
was all that I could get out of him, and soon after that 
he dropped into eternity. My brethren, time is flying, 
and with it we are being hurried on to the house ap- 
pointed for all living. 

" Our wasting lives grow shorter still, 
As days and months increase, 
And every beating pulse we tell 
Leaves but the number less." 

What if our pulse should cease to beat before our work 
is done? ''Time enough I" If you could have seen that 
young couple sitting in church at Edenton, on a Sunday 
night, as I saw them some moths ago ; if you had heard 
their merry voices as they returned to their home at a 
late hour, (for the services were protracted,) you would 
have thought there was plenty of time for either of them 
to prepare for death. The husband was, to all appearance, 
in perfect health when they retired and fell asleep; but 
sometime before dfy the wife awoke and found the life- 
less form of her husband lying by her side! " You may 
lean upon that house, but it sliall not stand" 

We shall mention but one more of these flimsy struct- 
ures, upon which men lean, and to which they hold fast. 
It is near of kin to the one last considered. I refer to 
death-bed repentance. I presume that in this christian 
land, there are more people depending upon death-bed 


repentance than upon any other delusion. They say 
they don't mean to be lost; they expect to get to heaven ; 
they mean to attend to their soul's interests, but when? 
To-day? "No." To-morrow? "No." Next week? "No." Next 
year? " No." No, they have not fixed upon any time to 
commence this work, but expect to be ready when death 
comes. There seems then to be nothing left but death- 
bed repentance. I have not the greatest faith in death- 
bed repentance. I will not say that none are saved on 
their death-bed : but it is not the most satisfactory expe- 
rience. I have known persons who thought they got re- 
ligion, on what they thought would be their death-bed: 
it proved otherwise, and they found afterward that they 
had no grace. What if they had died with what they 
afterwards found was not religion? I would not dis- 
courage the effort, even in the last moment, for there is 
too much at stake to think of giving up while there is a 
single ray of hope. Especially may they be encouraged 
who, like the dying thief, have not had favorable oppor- 
tunities before. But after all is said, now is the best time. 
" Behold, now is the day of salvation." 

il Now God invites, how blest the day, 
How sweet the gospel's charming sound." 

Much is said about quiet deaths. " I think he died all 
right," says one, " he died very quietly, just as though he 
had dropped asleep." What if he did drop off quietly, 
what does it signify ? Would it be a strange thing, that 
a person who had not enough mental and moral energy to 
raise a sigh to heaven while in health, should be too lazy 
to raise a groan when dying? The testimony of one life 


spent in the service of God is worth a thousand quiet 

But you may not have any death-bed. You are, per- 
haps, anticipating a long spell of sickness; during which 
time you will have nothing else to do but to get ready 
to die; you will then repent, give God your heart, and 
thus prepare to die. But you may not have this linger- 
ing illness. You may not be confined to your bed for a 
long period. You may be suddenly cut off. I could tell 
of numbers who died suddenly. Some time ago, a friend 
came to convey me to one of my appointments, and on 
his way he stopped at a neighbor's gate, talked with him 
a few moments and started on ; he had not driven but a 
little way when a cry arrested his attention, and looking 
back, he saw his neighbor's wife trying to raise the life- 
less form of her husband, to whom he had just before 
been talking ! Oh, how uncertain is life ! We know not 
what a day may bring forth— not even what an hour may 
bring forth ! 

4 • And yet how unconcerned we go, 
Upon the brink of death," 

But I admit that the chances are that you will die in bed; 
most people do. But you are not sure that you will be 
granted repentance at the last hour, or that you will have 
the grace given you to call on God for mercy. Remember 
you cannot come unless God draws, also that he says: 
" My Spirit shall not always strive with man." And again : 
" Woe also unto them, if I depart from them." We are 
also reminded that if once the good man of the house 
rises up and shuts the door, our crying without will be 

220 the hypocrite's hope. 

in vain. Remember also the young man who said, that it 
was no time to talk about the soul's interests at the dying 
hour. Sometimes the mind loses its balance, and the 
light of reason goes out, before the lamp of life ceases to 
burn. My unconverted friends, don't lean upon death- 
bed repentance. It is one of Satan's delusions ; it is a 
spider web refuge; it is one of those frail and flimsy 
structures which will eventually be swept away. As we 
have already intimated, they may be swept away before 
we have passed from time. We may realize their worth- 
lessness when it is too late to lay hold of anything 
stronger. However this may be, they surely will be 
swept away in the floods of Jordan. 

But blessed be God, there is one sure refuge— the Gos- 
pel This is not only God's great means of showing men 
their danger, but it also points to the only ark of safety. 
It throws a full flood of light upon the subject of the 
weakness and helplessness of human nature; it also tells 
us in whom is our help. He who trusts his soul upon the 
Gospel promises, will find that they will sustain him. 
The Gospel establishment will stand when all else fails. 
The rains may fall, the desolating floods may beat upon 
it; the thunders of God's wrath may shake the pillars of 
nature out of their sockets, and his fiery indignation 
burn the seas; yet amid the crash of falling worlds, the 
Christian edifice will stand. Yea, 

Those who make the Lord their trust, 

And faithful to the end endure, 
Shall stand in Jesus' righteousness— 

Stand as the rock of ages, sure. 


Yea, with folded arms, they may stand and sing 

Hail, sovereign love, that first began, 
The scheme to rescue fallen man ; 
Hail, matchless, free eternal grace, 
Which gave my soul a hiding place ! 

Enraptured in dark, Egyptian night, 
And fond of darkness more than light, 
Madly I ran the sinful race, 
Secure without a hiding place, 

Vindictive justice stood in view, 
To Sinai's fiery mount I flew ; 
But justice cried, with frowning face, 
This mountain is no hiding place J 

But, lo ! a heavenly voice I heard, 
And Mercy to my soul appeared, 
She led me on, with pleasing face, 
To Jesus Christ, my hiding pla 3 3. 

And now I feel the heavenly flame, 
My trust is all in Jesus' name ; 
I all his sovereign truths embrace, 
And find in him my hiding place. 

And shake the globe from pole to pole ; 
No thunder-bolt would daunt my face, 
For Jesus is my hiding place. 

A few more rolling suns at most, 
Will land my soul on Canaan's coast • 
There, I shall sing the song of grace, 
Safe in my glorious hiding place, 




[An Eulogy, by Bishop J. W. Hood, on the life of Robert 
Harris, late Principal of the State Colored Normal School, 
delivered at Evans' Chapel, Fayetteville, N. C, Novem- 
ber 14, 1880.] 


< ' For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not 
worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in 

If the Apostle Paul, under the many afflictions, perse- 
cutions, trials, pains, and labors that he passed through, 
could use this language; if, after carefully calculating 
the difficulties attending the labors of the pioneers in 
God's cause, he could come to the conclusion that those 
sufferings were " not worthy to be compared with the 
glory which shall be revealed in us," it seems to me that 
there is scarcely a mortal being who ought to complain 
of suffering. 

Paul knew what suffering was. He was caused to 


suffer from various causes : from false brethren ; from 
being misunderstood by his own brethren — those who 
were connected with him in the ministry — in the cause 
of God ; yea, even by these was he caused to suffer. 

The present state of mankind is one in which there 
are few exempt from suffering. "Sickness and sorrow, 
pain and death," are the common lot of humanity. I 
doubt whether a man has ever lived on this earth that 
never felt pain. 

But, I presume, in the passage before us, the Apostle 
had special reference to the sufferings peculiar to good 
men. While all suffer, tkere are some sufferings which 
are peculiar to the people of God — sufferings which they 
have to endure, that others are exempt from ; trials 
through which they have to pass, that others know noth- 
ing of. And as the Apostle had been pointing out the 
characteristics of a perfect man, and the blessings con- 
nected with that state, it is fair to conclude that his mind 
was still occupied with that character. Now, the suffer- 
ings of a good man arise from various causes, among 
which we notice — 

1. From the envy of the ivicked. 

I place this first, because it stands first in the history of 
a good man's sufferings. The envy of the wicked stands 
recorded as the source of the first attack ever made upon 
a human being. Il was envy that caused Cain to kill 
his brother Abel. Abel had done nothing to him ; he 
had simply offered sacrifice in accordance with the di- 
vine command, and had received the commendation of 
his God. That was all there was against him — all the 


provocation he had given his brother, if that can be called 
a provocation. If to be good— to serve God, fulfill the 
divine requirement, is sufficient to provoke envy, then 
Cain had a provocation; and that was the only provoca- 
tion for the first murder. It was envy that moved the 
sons of Jacob to destroy Joseph ; it was envy that caused 
Hainan to scheme for the destruction of all the Jewish 
nation, in the kingdom of Ahasuerus; it was envy that 
caused the princes of the Persians to plot against Daniel's 
life; and last, but not least, it was envy that caused the 
Jews to crucify the Son of God. 

2. Then there are sufferings arising from " the ignorance of 
good men's contemporaries,^ — the ignorance, or want of in- 
formation in those that surround him. 

A really good man desires, and labors for, the good of 
his fellow men. Many around him content themselves 
with the false notion that they have done no harm, while 
he is distressed because he has done so little good. He 
fully realizes the fact that he did not come here simply 
to do no harm, but to do good ; and he is anxious to ful- 
fil the end of his being, to serve mankind and to glorify 
God. This desire on his part leads him to consider, to 
investigate and find out in what way he can best accom- 
plish his desire, to benefit his fellow men. His turn of 
mind, his habit of study, his deep-toned piety are re- 
warded in a large expansion of his intellect. His mind ex- 
pands and goes out to grasp the duties that are before him. 
He is enabled by his investigations to see what he can 
do, where he can begin that work, and how best complete 
it. The way of duty is made clear to him. He lives 
five, ten, twenty, even forty years ahead of his genera- 


tion. William Lloyd Garrison was full forty years ahead 
of his generation, and he was a martyr to the principles 
he taught. 

So it has ever been with men who are good and great. 
They are frequently so far ahead that they are out of 
sight of the multitude, like Moses when he went up into 
the mount, into the presence of God. During this period, 
some who were between him and the multitude, took ad- 
vantage of their position to poison the minds of the mul- 
titude against the good man, and make them believe he 
was not what he pretended to be. " As to this Moses, we 
do not know where he has gone; let us make gods to our- 
selves." These men were so much nearer the multitude, 
both in lack of intelligence and piety, that for the time 
being they had the advantage; but it does not last. 
After awhile the multitude comes up higher; the light 
shines so clearly on the good man's way that if they were 
disposed to blame him before, when they catch up with 
him, as they do, those who honor Christ acknowledge 
themselves in the wrong. The good man is not under- 
stood — if better understood the multitude would not unite 
against him ; yet because he has no time to go back and 
explain, his enemies hang upon his rear and harass him. 
Although he has no use for the bridges which his ene- 
mies burn behind him, as he never intends to retreat, yet 
it grieves him to see that mode of attack. 

It is the lot of the good man, however, to be bush- 
whacked and attacked in every way except from the front. 
How mean the attack on Daniel ! Hear the language of 
his enemies: "We shall not find any occasion against 



this Daniel, except we find it concerning the law of his 
God." We shall not find anything against him unless 
we attack his righteousness. What a strong testimony 
this is to Daniel's rectitude! He was chief of the presi- 
dents, the affairs of the empire were in his hands, and 
yet his enemies testify that his management of these af- 
fairs was without fault — his rectitude was absolutely per- 
fect, and therefore they could not attack him upon his 
character. They could not find any thing amiss with 
his management of affairs. They could bring no charge 
against him in this. So they could only attack him upon 
the point where his conscience would not give way. 

This Is ofttimes the case. A man's enemies seek to 
find out his opinions on some point, and knowing he is 
honest, straightforward and unyielding, they seek on that 
very point to attack him. They know that the multi- 
tude are not in that way of thinking, and therefore find- 
ing out his opinions they prepare to attack him upon his 
righteousness, and to condemn him because he is right. 

The enemies of Daniel, however, were angels in com- 
parison with men who lived since their time, They 
would have scorned to raise a false report about Daniel. 
They might have gotten together and hatched up some 
nice story; the}' might have outsworn Daniel, as 
they were in the majority — being many against one? 
and with a large crowd of followers, they might have 
maintained a falsehood against Daniel. But they would 
have disdained to do it. Men do not scruple in this day 
and time to coin lies out of nothing, for the purpose of 
attacking good men, and by misleading the multitude, 
make them believe that good men are bad men, and that 


black is white, because the multitude are ofttimes not 
well informed. 

But I must not dwell longer upon these things. And 
I stop not to make applications. You must make your 
own applications. I have referred to these events, to 
these attacks upon good men in former ages, for the pur- 
pose of illustrating the Apostle's declaration respecting 
his sufferings; to show that there are sufferings peculiar 
to good men. The good men of all ages have had to suf- 
fer from these sources ; from the envy of the wicked, and 
from the want of information on the part of those by whom 
they have been surrounded. Ofttimes because a man's 
real worth is not understood, because he is not known — 
he lives among people who do not know him — don't know 
the depth of his knowledge, nor the breadth of his intel- 
lect, the purity of his heart, the honesty of his purposes : 
and for these reasons good men are caused to suffer; their 
hearts are pained. It is not pleasant to go through this 
world, and have the world against you ; but the good 
man must expect this; the world is no friend of his. 

But I repeat, we must not dwell longer upon these things. 
The? Apostle declares that they are " not worthy to be 
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." 
They are not worth taking into account — they are of lit- 
tle consequence, because they last, such a short time. 
" What will all my sufferings amount to, if I can but join 
that raptured host above ?" " 1 can tarry here but a night." 
" The sufferings of this time will soon end." Only a few 
days, a few moments. Our life is as a span, a bubble on 
the wave, and when brought down to the smallest calcu- 
lation, it is nothing — it is only momentary. What are 


ten, twenty, or fifty years, compared with the endless life 
above? Suppose you should have to suffer; suppose 
things should go contrary to you here; suppose neigh- 
bors, friends and relatives should turn against you in 
this world, what does it amount to? God will reward 
you. It " is not worthy to be compared to the glory 
which shall be revealed in us." 

" The glory which shall be revealed in us." There is a 
revelation of glory in the child of God. Not simply the glory 
after awhile; not simply the glory of God in Heaven— 
the glory of the sanctified host, the glory of the angelic 
army around the throne of God ; but the " glory revealed 
in us." God's glory is revealed in the good man's life. 
And this is the command, "Let your light so shine be- 
fore men, that they may see your good works, and glorify 
your Father which is in heaven." 

This glory is revealed in the life of a good man. 

His life testifies for God. A good man is a walking 
evidence, a walking monument of the divine character — ■ 
the character of God is displayed in the good man's life. 
Well, how is it displayed ? A good man " loves his ene- 
mies, blesses them that curse him, does good to them that 
despitefully use him, persecute him, and say all man- 
ner of evil against him." Have you not thought it very 
strange, sometimes, when you have seen a man who had 
been abused and Jied about, go up to his enemy and give 
him a kindly hand and indicate that after all he did not 
mind it, but was ready to forgive it, and say to that very 
enemy, " Come and go with me to heaven ?" He is ready 
to ask God's blessing upon him. He won't take down 
his flag, he won't pull down his standard ; he will dis- 


charge his duty if the heavens grow black ; but he will 
discharge it in such a manner as not to hurt any body 
else if he can help it — in such a manner as to indi- 
cate that he Joes it because he loves to do good — because 
conscience leads him, because he is guided by the hand 
of God. He goes on boldly, determinedly, yet lovingly. 
He indicates his love for mankind, and thus glorifies 

11 God sends his rain upon the just and the unjust." S»» 
the good man treats his enemies with the same dealing 
as his friends. He discharges his duty toward them and 
theirs in the same way as toward his best friends. There 
is a glory revealed in such a character. Is not that a 
glorious character? The character of that man who, 
notwithstanding all that is said or done against him, 
threatens not ; but led as a lamb to the slaughter, he goes 
on his way; he does not turn around to murmur and 
complain, but puts his trust in God, and indicates that 
he feels it his duty to take care of God's cause and let 
God take care of his character. It is glorious to see such 
men ; such a course *>f conduct is glory revealed in us — 
it is God's work within us. A man cannot do this unless 
he has God in him; unless he has the Divine hand to 
lead him. If this were all, it would be enough — to know 
that we are able to show forth the glory of God in our 
lives, would be enough to induce us to bear patiently all 
the sufferings of this life. 

But there is also a revelation of God's glory in the good 
maris perseverance. 

It is said that " theVighteous shall hold on his way ; 
he shall persevere; he shall not stop." He knows he 


must fight — he must meet the hosts of night. He counts 
the cost, makes up his mind, puts on his armor, goes out 
for the fight, and is not satisfied if he does not get into a 
fight. V/hen soldiers are well drilled they burn for a 
fight; their swords are well rubbed up, their ammunition 
is in good order, and everything is ready for the fight. 
" Hast thou given the horse strength? Hast thou clothed 
his neck with thunder? The glory of his nostrils is ter- 
rible. He scenteth the battle afar off." And the good 
man, like Job's war horse, wants to fight. He goeth out 
to the battle ; he holds on his way, perseveres ; and he 
cares not how many enemies he has, so long as they are 
in his front. They harass him some, but if they will 
stay in front of him, he is always ready ; he does not 
fear an open enemy ; he expects them, he is ready to meet 
them. God's glory is revealed in him, in the manner in 
which he stands the contest. He throws himself in the 
battle; he says, " I must fight, if I would reign ; " and if 
he feels any weakness, he cries, " Increase my courage, 
Lord." He glorifies God in overcoming the world ; he 
shows in his life and character that God has power to 
bring his saints out " more than conquerors." The man 
of God will go on his way ; you cannot stop him. 

But I must pass on. The glory of God is revealed in the 
death of a good man. 

He dies in triumph ! He more than conquers death. 
Having lived a righteous life, meeting his last enemy, he 
is not afraid. He says : " Come, welcome, death ; the end 
of fear — I am prepared — I am standing joyful on the mar- 
gin of Jordan. The golden bowl will soon be broken, the 
silver cord loosed; the doors shut in the streets; the 


sound of the grinding is low." In that hour, the death 
of the child of God is a revelation of glory. Have you 
ever stood by the bedside of a dying Christian? There 
may be no rapture — sometimes there is ; but there is a 
peace, a calm, which even death cannot distrub. In the 
hour of dissolution, when death is untying the heart 
strings, breaking the pitcher at the fountain, and the 
wheel at the cistern, I hear the departing spirit ask : 
" What, what is this that steals upon my frame? Is it 
death ? 

If this be death, I soon shall be, 
From every pain and sorrow free ; 
I shall the King of glory see : 
All is well ! 

» Weep not, my friends, weep not for me, 

My sins are all pardoned — I am free • 
There's not a cloud, that doth arise, 
To hide my Jesns from my eyes, 
I soon shall mount the upper skies : 
All is well!" 

And, while standing upon the banks of the mystic Jor- 
dan, awaiting the coming of heaven's chariot, the dying 
saint beholds the heavenly host moving up the shining 
avenues of the golden city; heaven's armies on dress pa- 
rade upon the sea of glass, and the harpers near the 
throne, and, filled with rapture he exclaims: 

* ' Tune, tune your harps, ye saints in glory, 
I soon shall join your pleasing story; 
The angels are from glory come, 
They are 'round my head, they are in my room, 
They 've come to bear my spirit home : 
All is well!" 


And as the pearly gates of the celestial city open to re- 
ceive the triumphant saints, he salutes the heavenly 
hosts : 

" Hail! all hail! ye blood- washed throng; 
I've come to join your rapturous song, 
Now all is peace and joy divine, 
Heaven and glory now are mine, 
O, hallelujah to the Lamb : 
All is well! 

Now permit me for a moment to refer to the experience of 
our departed brother. 

During his illness some months ago, he had, as he after- 
ierwards informed me, a most joyful and glorious expe- 
rience ; a happiness so great, a joy so complete, a fullness 
of glory which is the result of holiness of heart. As he 
expressed it — "I had got to Beulahland; that happy 
place where the Christian rests after his labors. He had 
connections here, friends here, that were pulling him 
back; but his mind was going after God." If he had 
departed in that state at that time, he would, he said, have 
been perfectly happy. He was sanctified then, but he 
stayed here eight or nine months longer. He was one 
sanctified soul who remained upon earth after sanctifica- 
tion. And that is better than all argument — the testi- 
mony of a living witness, one who feels that perfect rap- 
ture. What complete resignation he showed to the will 
of God ! and that I claim as the key-stone in the arch of 
sanctification. This state of resignation which comes from 
a complete yielding of everything, body and soul to the 
will of God, brings with it a peace which we generally 
call sanctification ; and you must get there before you go. 


Blessed be God ! brother Harris had got there. I have 
his testimony — the testimony of a dying man — that he 
had gotten there ; a testimony from the gates of death. 
" Lord," he said, "I am willing to go now up to heaven, 
or to stay here, as thou seest fit." 

Then there is a revelation of the glory of God in a good man 
at the judgment. 

I had almost said that this would be the most complete 
revelation. There is a revelation of glory at the judg- 
ment in the fact that the good man shall be entirely vin- 
dicated. It is said that "a lie will go a thousand miles 
while truth is getting its boots on." But at the judg- 
ment, truth will catch up. And that is one great pur- 
pose of the judgment — that all wrongs may be made 
right, and that a good man may be vindicated before all 
who ever heard of him. Slander can outrun the truth; 
and, therefore, if there were no judgment at which all 
nations should be called together, the truth would never 
be made known to all — the falsehood would never be ex- 
posed. But we shall all be at the judgment; all who 
did, and ail who did not hear of us, will know the truth, 
and the good man's character will then shine. We shall 
then see the heart, the motive, the intent, as God sees it. 
" Then we shall be like Him ; we shall see Him as he 
is;" "we shail know even as we are known." As the 
Apostle says, "We shall no longer know in part," but 
absolutely. We may not know all that God knows — we 
may not be able to grasp the infinite — but everything 
that our minds shall come in contact with, everything 
that is necessary to make us happy, we shall know. 
There will be no mysteries then. Our knowledge will 


be ever increasing. I do not knpw when we shall get to 
it all, but when we come to it, we shall know it. And in 
seeing the real character of every man that is born of 
God, we shall see the real glory of the christian character. 

Finally, there is a revelation of glory in the christian char- 
acter through all eternity. 

We shall be constantly entering into new revelations 
of divine glory. " These sufferings are not worthy to be 
compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us." 
God's glory shall be revealed in us throughout all eter- 
nity ! We shall outshine the sun ! We shall have palms 
of victory, crowns of glory ! We shall there never hun- 
ger, there never thirst ! We shall have no sickness there; 
we shall bathe our souls in the river of eternal pleasure ; 
and through endless ages we shall sing " the song of 
Moses and the Lamb." 

Oh, may God lead us to seek this glory: to seek to ex- 
hibit what belongs to us in our lives. Then like our be- 
loved brother, who is departed, we shall be able in the 
dying hour, to fold our arms in peace and die the death 
of the righteous. 

Let me say to the Conference, we have often met Bro. 
Harris in our assemblies; we have loved to have him 
with us; we have enjoyed his talents; we have received 
instruction from his counsels. He was an honor to the 
connection, and to the General Conference of which he 
was a member; an honor to Christianity. 

Adieu, my brother. We shall soon meet where part- 
ing shall be no more. 

As I said of him the other day, of all men whom I 
have met, there was never one whom I would have been 


more willing (o call " Master. 5 ' When in his presence I 
felt the shadow of a great man resting upon me; I-felt 
little. I have never been able to sound his depth, to 
measure the breadth of his mind, and I do not know the 
man who has. 

We do not know the extent of our loss, in the State, in 
the community, in the church. But, blessed be God ! 
our loss is his eternal gain ; and He that knoweth all 
things, and doeth all things well, knows what is best for 
us. No doubt he had some good purpose in taking him 
away from us. Let us imitate his virtues, and seek to 
conform to the will of that Saviour he loved and cher- 
ished. So that when our days are numbered here below, 
we may meet him on the shining shore. 

To his weeping relatives I would say, weep no more ; 
dry up your tears. He is gone where 

' ' Sickness, sorrow, pain and death, 
Are felt and feared no more." 

He will have no more distresses, no more dark nights, 
no more burning fevers. But in the presence of God, he 
shall shine forevermore. May God help us to live right, 
to die right, and we shall then, like him, be saved to all 
eternity 1 




" Made ready before it was brought thither." 1 Kings vi, 7. 

It will be seen that the text is not a complete sentence. 
It is taken out of its connection, in such a way, that its 
full import is not apparent. This is done for the purpose 
of presenting, forcibly, the points we wish to illustrate. 
The text suggests the idea cf a preparation, for an end in 
view — " made ready." It also indicates the time and place 
in which this preparation must be made, if made at all, 
" before it was brought thither." The whole verse reads, 
" And the house, when it was in building, was built of 
stone made ready before it was brought thither: so that 
there was neither hammer, nor axe, nor any tool of iron 
heard in the house, while it was in building." The house 
referred to was the temple built by Solomon at Jerusalem, 
which was erected according to the divine plan as a place 
of divine worship and service; wherein God might dwell 
among his people in visible appearance. This was the 
most interesting and beautiful structure ever erected by 
mortal hands, and was a type of that building not built 
by man, but eternal in the heavens. We shall not at- 
tempt anything like a minute description of the temple, 
but will speak only of a few of its features. It was three- 


score cubits long, thirty in height and twenty in breadth. 
The common cubit was about eighteen inches — about 
the distance from the elbow to the extremity of the mid- 
dle finger, or the fourth part of a well proportioned man's 
structure. Its length was, therefore, about ninety feet, 
its height forty-five and its breadth thirty. There were 
towers extending up to the height of a hundred and 
eighty feet. Its length was from east to west, and its 
breadth between north and south ; and represented what 
was anciently supposed to be the shape of the world, viz: 
an oblong square. There was a porch extending across 
one end, ten cubits broad and thirty high. Besides the 
supporting columns of this porch, there were two massive 
pillars set up as monuments, or ornaments, or both. 
There has been a question in controversy respecting the 
height of these columns, as in Chronicles, they are said 
to have been thirty-five cubits high, in Kings eighteen. 
It is possible, however, that they were cast in one piece, 
and then cut in two, and that in Chronicles, the length 
of the whole piece is given. The statement in Kings is 
best supported by other facts. It is accepted by the great 
Jewish historian, Josephus, and to say nothing of chapi- 
ters and globes, a column of thirty-five cubits could not 
be set up under a porch only thirty cubits high. 

There w r as some reason, I have no doubt, for the mas- 
sive proportions of these columns. Of an ordinary well- 
proportioned column, the height is supposed to be about 
nine times its diameter. The diameter of these was four 
cubits, indicating a column of thirty-six cubits. Their 
names seem also to indicate extraordinary proportions. 
The name of the one on the left hand w T as Boaz, which 


denotes strength, the name of the other Jachin, signify- 
ing, "It shall be established;" hence the worshippers, 
coming up to the temple, beholding these massive pillars 
and calling to mind the signification of their names, 
would exclaim : "In strength is this house established." 
And to us, there is in them a typical signification of the 
strength which God will put forth to establish his church 
and to defend his people, against all the assaults of the 
powers of darkness. Some suppose that the object of 
Solomon, in setting up these columns, was to represent 
the two imaginary pillars that the ancients supposed 
were placed at the equinoxes to support the heavens: 
this would account for their massive proportions. But 
if tradition should be admitted into consideration, we 
should prefer to conclude that they were erected to com- 
memorate the two pillars, said to have been set up by 
Enoch before the flood. Enoch enjoys a most honorable 
distinction among the antideluvians. Jude informs 
us that he was a prophet, and that he foretold the de- 
struction of the world by fire, and a judgment, to be fol- 
lowed by an eternal state, either of happiness or misery. 
Tradition informs us that Enoch, vexed by the wicked- 
ness of his time, assembled those in w 7 hoin he had confi- 
dence, (including Adam, Seth, Jared and Methuselah) 
and implored their assistance in stemming the tide of 
wickedness, which w r as "overflowing the world. 

It is said, that at this time he communicated to them 
the terrible prophecy of the destruction of the w T orld by 
either fire or water, and that to preserve the sacred mys. 
teries, committed to his charge, he built two great col- 
umns on a high mountain. Not knowing whether the 


destruction would be by rcater or fire, be built one of a 
kind of granite, which is said to resist the fire, and the 
other of brass, which he supposed would resist the force 
of a flood. We are told that the granite column was 
overturned, swept away, and washed into a shapeless 
mass by the force of the flood; but the other, by the 
providence of God, stood firm. If this tradition is true, 
the mystery of these columns is solved. They were two 
in number, to commemorate the original two, and com- 
posed of brass, to commemorate the one which withstood 
the force of the flood. They were cast hollow, and were 
the depository of the archives. The chapiters were 
adorned with wreaths of net work, lilly work and pome- 
granite, symbolizing the unity of the three master minds 
engaged in the work (Solomon, King of Israel ; Hiram, 
King of Tyre; and Hiram, the architect and beautifier 
of the temple) ; and also the peace, plenty and prosperity 
which the people enjoyed under their direction and care. 
Upon one of the balls, which surmounted the columns, 
was traced maps of the earth's surface ; upon the other, 
a view of the heavenly bodies. 

The temple was built of stone so completely squared, 
that it was difficult to find the joints, and so white, says 
one writer, that it resembled a large snow-bank. Its 
gold-covered top, when viewed in the sunlight, presented 
a brilliancy which dazzled the eyes of beholders. Grand 
and complete as this building was, it is said to have been 
erected without the sound of any iron tool being heard 
on it while it was being constructed. Iron was considered 
polluting. In Deuteronomy xxvii, 5, we read that God 
commanded Moses to build an altar of stone, but not to 


lift an iron tool upon it. Also, in Exodus xx, 25, we 
have the following : " And if thou wilt make me an altar 
of stone, thou shalt not make it of hewn stone: for if thou 
lift thy tool upon it, thou hast polluted it." For this, 
with other reasons, no iron tool was used in the erection 
of the temple. But how could such a splendid structure 
be erected without the sound of some iron tool being 
heard? The Hebrews are said to have a tradition that 
the stones were not formed and polished by human in- 
dustry, but by a worm called samir, which God prepared 
for that purpose; and that the stones come together of 
their own accord, and were erected by angels. We have 
also read a Mohammedan tradition, that Solomon, being 
annoyed by the noise made by the workmen in prepar- 
ing the materials, offered an imprisoned genii his liberty 
if he would inform him how the hardest materials could 
be worked without noise. The genii admitted that he 
possessed no such knowledge, but said it might be learned 
from the raven. Take (said he) the eggs from a raven's 
nest and cover them with a crystal bowl, and thou shalt, 
see how the mother bird will cut it through. Solomon 
followed the instruction, and soon a raven came and flew 
about the bowl, but finding that she could not get at 
her eggs, she flew away, but soon returned with a stone 
in her beak, called sarnur, with which the bowl, being 
touched, fell into two halves. Solomon procured a num 
ber of these stones and divided them among the work- 
men, who were thus enabled to continue their work 
without the slightest noise or confusion. From these 
fabulous traditions, it is evident that it was geneially 
known that the temple was erected without noise or con- 


fusion — which fact is attempted to be accounted for 
by the putting forth of these traditions. But respecting 
this and everything else in the history of God's ancient 
people, the Scriptures are the most satisfactory — most 
certain, full and complete source of information. In re- 
gard to the matter under consideration, the text supplies 
a most reasonable solution: "The house was built of 
stone made ready before it was brought thither." The 
preparation of the stone only, is mentioned ; but the ex- 
pression is hyperbolic, in which a part is mentioned for 
the whole. The preparation of all the material is in- 
tended to be included. There were three places in which 
the materials were prepared. The stones were prepared 
in the quarry, the wood in the forest, and the metals in 
the clay ground, on the banks of the river, between Suc- 
coth and Zeredatha. 

The statement of the text is given for our instruction, 
to remind us that in order to our being admitted as a 
living stone for that spiritual building, a preparation 
must be made before we cross the narrow stream of death. 

We have remarked that this Jerusalem structure was a 
type of the temple of the saints on high — composed of glo- 
rified believers. To prepare us for a place in the temple 
not made with hands, is the purpose of the arrangements 
of grace in the plan of redemption. 

1. There is an external preparation. 

We some times call it a professional preparation. It is 
our duty to make a public profession of faith in Christ. 
We should neither be ashamed nor afraid to stand up for 
Jesus, to tell the world that we are no longer in love 
with it; that it has no charms sufficient to hold us longer. 


This we. can do, and this God requires of us. He never 
does what man can do; hence he did not take away the 
stone from the grave of Lazarus. He wanted to teach 
them that they had a work which it was their duty to 
do. They could not bring Lazarus back from the dead: 
he did that himself; but they could take the stone away, 
and that he required them to do. The joining of the 
church, like the taking away of the stone, is our part. 
We cannot ungrave ourselves, and come forth from our 
death of sin to a life of righteousness: that is God's work. 
We must break away from our sinful habiis, and strip 
ourselves of all dependence in anything we have or can 
have, growing out of ourselves. No matter what we have, 
whether a favorable lineage, wealth, honors, titles, or any- 
thing else of a worldly nature, it will not give us admis- 
sion to the enjoyment of the saints in light. We shall 
be stripped of all these in the ante-chamber of death, and 
if we enter heaven, it will be without them ; and the 
work of stripping from our affection the love of the 
things of this world, is a most important part of the work 
of preparation for heaven. "Love not the world," says 
lie that spake as man never spake, " for if any man love 
the world, the love of the Father is not in him." So long 
as we love, and trust in, the things of this world, we 
shall not be prepared for that which is to come. We 
must wear this worid as a loose garment, and be ready to 
drop it off at any time. We must be ready and willing, 
if necessary, to part with all things here to obtain an 
eternal inheritance. This is most frequently taught, and 
yet what dull students we are: how slow we learn that 
the life is more than meat, and the body more than rai- 


ment; that we mast put off the filthy rags of unright- 
eousness, and be clothed with the garment prepared for 
us — the wedding garment, the garment of salvation, 
which constitues our vital union with Christ, and gives 
us a title to, and a meetness for all the blessings of the 
marriage supper of the Lamb. The outward sign of this 
vital union with Christ, is a public declaration of our 
having accepted the offered grace by uniting with the 
church — the people of God. To refuse to make this pub- 
lie profession is rebellion: it is sin — it is robbery. It robs 
God of the affectionate homage and honor due him. It 
robs the soul of the peace this secures, and robs the church 
of the influence that we should exert in its behalf, 

2. There is an internal preparation. 

A preparation of the heart. The heart, by nature, is 
deceitful and desperately wicked. The guile thereof must 
be removed, the stony nature must be taken out — its hard- 
ness must be melted, and its coldness consumed by the 
flame of divine love. The rough and unpolished state 
of the stone in the quarry, the timber in the forest, and 
the metal in the quartz, is a fit emblem of human nature 
in its fallen and depraved state. There is much rubbish 
of sin to be removed from our nature, much earth to be 
shoveled off from our affections, and much dross to be 
burnt up, before we shall appear as stones squared, pol- 
ished and numbered for the building, or as sparkling 
gems, or as gold tried by fire. This transformation from 
our natural deadness to the enjoyment of spiritual life, is 
a most important part of the preparation for a place in 
the heavenly structure. 


3. There is a "practical 'preparation. 

There is work to be performed — not meritorious work — 
not work which produces righteousness, but work which 
is the fruit of righteousness, by which our righteousness 
is evinced. "By their fruits ye shall know them," said 
the great Teacher. The secrets of the heart may be read 
in the conduct — in the life an individual lives. Men im- 
agine that they pass through the world unknown, but it 
is a mistake : those who are observing, read the charac- 
ter of their neighbors in their manner of life. Indeed, 
there are many who wear their marks so prominently, 
that none need be deceived. However well the cautious 
ones may conceal their defects, there is one Eye from 
which none can hide; and because it is the eye of the 
Inspector General, under which we must pass, it is of the 
utmost importance to us that our works are such as will 
bear inspection: only such as spring from love to God 
and humanity will be accepted. 

We remarked that there were three places in which 
the material for the Jerusalem temple was prepared. 
There are also three places in which the material for the 
New Jerusalem temple is being prepared, viz: the family, 
the social circle, and the church. We must not forget 
that children have souls as well as bodies, which must 
be fed and clothed. While we are trying to outdo our 
neighbors in providing fine dress for our children, we 
must not neglect to endeavor to secure for them the gar- 
ment of salvation which is freely offered. Then there is 
the social circle, in which much work is to be done, or 
great loss will be sustained. Brotherly love and relief 
are used as motors in society ; but their demands are not 


fully met by administering to the wants growing out of 
bodily afflictions. There are distressed, afflicted, and 
perishing souls, which must be relieved, and clothed 
now, or being found naked at the judgment, will be 
ashamed. Whatever is done by us to advance the hap- 
piness of others, is a help to prepare ourselves for the tem- 
ple above; for, in watering others, our own souls shall 
be watered also. 

4. There is the church, and its circles, which constitutes the 
chief place of preparation. 

All its energies are put forth to the end that there may 
be no lack of material for completion of the building. 
The mateiial from the quarry and the forest was all pre- 
pared before it went down to the sea. Likewise, the ma- 
terial for the heavenly structure must be prepared on this 
side of the waters of death. 

5. Let us notice briefly the end in view. 

This is a place in the building. And about this, we 
need not concern ourselves, if we are prepared. Every 
stone prepared will find its place in the building. In 
Psalms we read that, "the stone which the builders re- 
fused became the head of the corner." This suggests the 
idea that a stone must have been carried up for inspec- 
tion, which, owing to the ignorance of the inspectors, was 
refused, but afterwards had to be accepted, as it proved 
to be the key-stone to a principal arch in the building, 
without which it could not have been finished. The 
Master overseer of the heavenly building will make no 
such mistake : he knows the place for every piece, whether 
corner or cap-stone. Just here I may remark, that this 
passage has been sometimes taken as a foundation of dis- 


courses delivered to benevolent societies, which have 
been greatly praised as promoters of human happiness. 
Whether they are or not, depends largely upon their sub- 
ordination to evangelical religion. If they claim soul- 
saving efficienc3 T , encroach upon religious duties, or 
claim the time or talents which belong to the church, 
they are guilty of userpation, and are a curse to man- 
kind. From such I would say, "Arise and depart; for 
this is not your rest." Only that which tends to fit us 
for heaven, is really useful to us. God grant that our 
preparation may be perfected in due season, and then we 
shall be admitted, as lively and living stones in His spir- 
itual temple, 




"Nevertheless, I have a few things against thee, because thou 
hast left thy first love. Remember, therefore, from whence thou 
art fallen; and repent,, and do the first work: or else I will come 
unto you quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his 
place, except thou repent." Rev. ii, 4, 5. 

Our text is a part of the message which God gave unto 
his servant to write in a book, and send unto the seven 
churches in Asia. 

John, the beloved disciple of Jesus, having survived 
all his companions, became the special object of the per- 
secuting enemies of the christian church and worship. 
Other attempts having failed to silence him, he was 
finally cast upon the isle of Patmos by the Emperor Do- 
initian (it is generally believed). While thus in exile on 
account of his testimony to the truth, it pleased the Lord 
to give him a prophetic view of the conflicts and triumph 
of his kingdom on earth. The things which he beheld 
in this vision, he was commanded to write in a book and 
send unto the churches, over which he is supposed to 
have been the presiding Bishop. 

God sometimes permits men to remove his servants 
from a particular field of usefulness, but not to hinder 
them from doing good. Indeed, it has often happened, 


that the very means employed by men to hinder, God has 
overruled to accomplish his purpose. If a man wants to 
he usefully employed, God will find means to employ 
him, let men do what they may to prevent it. John 
Bunyan was cast into Bedford jail, to keep him from 
preaching and comforting true believers, but while there, 
he wrote a book that has gone forth preaching in all the 

Likewise, while John, the disciple, was in exile, God 
employed him in writing a work, which will carry com- 
fort to (he persecuted followers of Jesus, through all ages, 
till time shall be no more. Before entering upon his 
prophetic vision, John was instructed to write a special 
message to each of the seven churches named. The 
epistles, each begin with some attribute of the Redeemer. 
Thus, "These things sayeth He, that holdeth the seven 
stars in his right hand" — " These things sayeth the Amen, 
the Faithful and true witness." Then follows the decla- 
ration, " I know thy works." After xhis there is a state- 
ment of the condition of the church designated, a com- 
mendation of that which was good, and a condemnation 
of that which was bad. In two of the churches, Smyrna 
and Philadelphia, there was nothing to condemn: in one, 
Laodicea, there was nothing to commend. The other four 
was a mixture of good and bad. To three of them there 
is an exhortation to repentance. 

Ephesus, to which the language of our text is addressed, 
was not in quite so bad a condition as Laodicea or Sardis, 
yet we have no account of its improvement, by reason of 
the exhortation sent, and its total extinction affords a strik- 
ing evidence of the infliction of the punishment threatened 


in the absence of repentance. For many ages there was 
not a single christian in the city, indeed the place itself 
was for ages without an inhabitant. To this church, 
John was told to write thus, " I know thy works, and thy 
labor, and thy patience, and how thou, canst not bear 
them which are evil, and thou hast tried them which 
say they are apostles, and are not, and hast found them 
liars, and hast borne and hast patience, and for my 
name's sake hast labored and hast not fainted. Never- 
theless I have somewhat against thee," etc. 

Notwithstanding there was much in this church to com- 
mend, there were also a few things amiss, and we have 
reason to believe that the evil finally predominated, to 
the exclusion of every thing that was good. Such is the 
prevailing and growing nature of sin that, unless it is 
rooted out by repentance, faith and obedience, it will 
eventually root out every good desire, and leave its vic- 
tims in a state of entire destitution. 

I wish upon this occasion to apply the text to the con- 
dition of this church. 

A little over a month ago, while steaming down the 
Tar river, on board the steamer Greenville, I w r as studying 
this passage, not with a view to preaching from it at any 
time, but simply for my own edification. I was suddenly 
impressed, however, with the idea that I was called upon 
to bear the message contained in the text to this church. 
This church, or its condition, had not been in my thoughts 
during that day, or for days, until that moment, but the 
impression was so vivid, that I felt it my duty, if called 
upon to preach here during the meeting of the Bishops* 
to discourse from this subject. I confess that a very dif" 


ferent subject would have been ray choice, had I been left 
to select without any special inspiration. Nevertheless, 
I think it best to follow the dictates of the Holy Spirit. 
A God-called ministry have no business with the conse- 
quences: they have only to follow the direct! ions of the 
Spirit and word of God, in the use of such means as God 
gives them ability to command. The more I thought 
upon this subject, the more I felt the burden of the mes- 
sage resting upon me. Nor did I feel relief until I began 
to write down the cogitations of my heart. 

There is certainly some resemblance between the situa- 
tion and history of this church and the church at Ephe- 
sus. That was the first church named among those to 
whom a message was sent — -most likely the first one formed, 
and the chief of those over which the Apostle presided. 
Ephesus was a flourishing maritime city, possibly the 
most flourishing of its time. Likewise, this church is 
situated in the first of American cities, and was the first 
African Methodist Episcopal church formed upon earth. 
It stands forth as the great pioneer in the contest, in 
which the race has had to engage against caste — preju- 
dice. Before the foundation of any other of the early 
African M. E. churches was laid, her walls were towering 
up toward the heavens, and her sons and daughters were 
frequenting her courts. When Richard Allen, the foun- 
der of the Bethel connection, was, according to their own 
history, a local preacher in the M. E. Church, Zion's lay 
preachers were upon her walls raising the horn of salva- 
tion, and declaring their determination to enjoy the 
blessings of religious liberty. 


But the context refers to the characteristics of the church 
at Ephesus. 

"I know thy works, labor and patience." This was 
also once a working church. Some of you can remember 
her labors of love in years gone. Both the ministry and 
the laymen were untiring in their efforts for the salvation 
of souls. Young men united in bands to attack the pow- 
ers of darkness in their strong holds, and by their per- 
suasions and prayers brought sinneis out from their 
haunts of iniquity, and gave them no rest until they found 
rest in Jesus. Night after night. w 7 eek after week, and 
month after month, they were found at the sanctuary. 
The word "tire" was not -known to them. And the sis- 
ters — the daughters of Conference and daughters of Zion 
connected with this church, made sacrifice and performed 
labor, the far-reaching results of which will only be fully 
known, when they are read in the light of eternity. Many 
a poor minister, dispirited and ready to give up a poor 
field, received such substantial encouragement from the 
charitable sisters of this church, that they were caused to 
return with joy to their labor, and thus church after 
church was planted, and the borders of Zion were extended 
East, North, West, and finally South. 

Ephesus was commended for her patience, under the 
reproaches and persecutions. Certainl} r , no church ever 
bore her persecutions with more patience than Zion has. 
I have thought at times that her patience had ceased to 
be a virtue. The slanders of her enemies have passed 
into proverbs, and are believed because not contradicted. 
Every misrepresentation that malice could set afloat, has 
been kept in circulation for nearly a century, and she has 


suffered them to take their rounds unchecked by even a 

The church at Ephesus was commended for its aversion 
to evil-doers: "And how thou canst not bear them that 
are evil." Likewise this church has been fearless in its 
opposition to evil-doers. Our fathers opposed every kind 
of evil, so far as they had light on the subject of evil. 
Some of our ministers refused to administer the sacra- 
ment to persons who came to the table with rings on 
their fingers, or in their ears, or with flowers in their 
bonnets. You may call this "old fogy ism," but it was 
their idea of what religion required. Plainness of dress 
was a part of their religion, and, to their notion, there 
was no religion without it ; hence, the}' insisted upon it. 
As they opposed vanity, so they opposed whatever else 
seemed to them evil. 

The church at Ephesus was commended for its acute- 
ness and faithfulness in detecting imposters. " And thou 
hast tried them which say they are apostles and are not, 
and hast found them liars." Likewise has this church 
been rigid in its examination of those who claimed to be 
called to the ministry. She has admitted none but such 
as gave evidence of a divine call. 

Such is the favorable — the bright side of the picture we 
have to present. I w T ould that there was no other side to 
it; but alas! there is, and the text leads us to contemplate 
it : " Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because 
thou hast left thy first love." Notwithstanding the gen- 
eral commendation of the church at Ephesus, there were 
some things that were not approved. And I fear that if 
judgment was laid to the line, and righteousness to the 


plummet, the same complaint would truly be brought 
against old Zion. Come now! you have been with me 
thus far, you must go with me to the end. Face the 
truth : if it is unpleasant, the fault is not in God or his 
word, but in us, If we are not wholly acceptable with 
God, the lack is not in him, but in us, and the sooner wo 
know it, the better. I told you in the beginning that I 
was not following the line of my choice, but of duty. 

Notice the complaint. 

" Thou hast left thy first love." Literally, thou hast 
lost, remitted or let down thy first love — thy early affec- 
tion. It has become less glowing and ardent than at first: 
love to Christ and to the souls of men has declined. The 
doctrines of religion probably are still maintained and 
error still opposed, but that glowing zeal which moved 
thee to make any reasonable sacrifice in the interest of 
the Redeemer's kingdom, thou hast lost. There is still 
an attendance upon divine worship, but it is cold and 
formal. There is little of that holy, burning Christian 
love which fills the heart with joy at the thought of en- 
tering the sanctuary — a joy which was once so overflowing 
that it broke forth from the lips, in the language of the 
Psalmist, " I was glad when they said unto me, let us go 
up into the house of the Lord — our feet shall stand within 
thy gates, O Jerusalem." 

It is not an uncommon thing, either with individual 
christians or with churches, to lose their first love. You 
have often seen young converts start out so full of zeal 
and good works, as to throw old christians in the shade; 
and the same may be said of churches. They are formed 
under the influence of a great revival, or a godly zeal, 



which takes possession of a portion of the members of an 
old organization, and causes them to break away from 
their cold and formal associates, and form a new organi- 
zation for the promotion of holiness. Such were the cir- 
cumstances under which the Methodist Church was 
formed. Sometimes larger religious liberty is desired. 
This desire gave birth to the A. M. E. Zion Church. These 
young organizations, like young converts, usually show 
great activity; but after a time, they lose the fire of their 
zeal, and become as formal and dead as the older bodies 
from which they sprang. This is seen in the Wesley an 
church in England ; it is seen in the Methodist Episco- 
pal Church ; it is seen in our own church. This declina- 
tion of love is the result of various causes. With indi- 
viduals, it is often the result of neglect of God's house, 
and the various means of grace — sach as reading the 
Scriptures, fasting, meditation, prayer, and other holy 
exercises. The enemy is so deceptive and crafty, and 
leads men away so gradually, that his influence is not 
discovered until one finds himself cold, and almost with- 
out hope. Awakening to a sense of bis condition, he 

' ' Ah where am I now ! 

When was it, how 
That I fell from my heaven of grace ? 

I am brought into thrall, 

I am stripped of my all, 
I am banished from Jesus' face. 

Hardly yet do I know 

How I let my Lord go, 
So insensibly led from his love." 


Worldly association, and the indulgence of the inclina- 
tion to worldly pleasures, have a chilling effect, and tend 
to the declension of love. 

Some are led away by temporal prosperity. Abundant 
blessings from our. Heavenly Father ought to fill our 
hearts with gratitude, and lead us to greater devotion 
and thankfulness; but alas! the opposite is too often 

Sometimes people ggt too respectable to have much 
love to God, or for the souls of men. As churches are 
composed of individual members, whatever tends to the 
declension of love in the members, affects the entire body. 
There is such a thing as a church being ate up with re- 
spectability—too respectable to be a working church. 
Wrapped up in old moth-eaten garments of self-righteous- 
ness, they imagine themselves well dressed, in old-fash- 
ioned finery — than which nothing looks worse. There is ' 
such a thing as a church wearing its old clothes, till they 
are entirely out of fashion and threadbare; or, in other 
words, living the past — what it has been — old-time re- 
spectability. Sometimes the members of a church get so 
respectable, that they don't want anybody in church but 
themselves. They are especially opposed to new comers. 
They' can pay the minister themselves, if they can have 
one to order; and what is the church for, but for their 
comfort, and credit, and glory ? 

Sometimes a set of old officers cling to the offices long 
after their usefulness as such has ceased, and think it 
w 7 ould be sacrilege to diffuse any fresh blood into the body ; 
and the result is, the church goes to seed. It loses all 
healthful growth and vigor; and from its scattered seed, 


there springs up around it a number of young and vig- 
orous plants, whose branches shoot out and cover all the 
ground, leaving the old respectable stock in the shade. 
Is this picture too striking? If so, I would have you 
view it until it disgusts you beyond endurance — until 
you resolve to shake off that spell of lethargy that has 
dwarfed your efforts, and rise up in God's might and en- 
graft into the old stock a sufficiency of youthful energy to 
reproduce the healthful growth wjhich distinguished the 
early days of Zion. 

II. This brings us to consider the exhortation. 

The duty or exercise required as an antidote for the 
evil complained of is — 

1. Remembrance. "Remember, therefore, from whence 
thou art fallen." Call to mind the eminence Old Zion 
once occupied, when her gates were crowded with happy, 
enthusiastic worshippers, coming up to the sanctuary to 
worship the God of Jacob. Think of the influence Zion 
once wielded in this city. She was the great centre of 
attraction : the other little bodies exh ibited only a reflected 
light, borrowed from the refulgence of her poured-out 
splendor. She was the queen of christian beauty, send- 
ing out her rays to enlighten the dark places of the earth. 
When her sister churches were struggling for existence, 
she was floating on the bosom of prosperity. We are 
urged to recollect — to remember, to bring up into our 
minds a remembrance of our former state; to think of the 
warmth of love, the ardor and zeal that once character- 
ized this church. Such a recollection of our former state, 
when religion has declined in our hearts, or in the church, 
will most likely produce a good effect. Nothing is better 


suited to produce a good effect upon a backslidden chris- 
tian, or a backslidden church, than to get them to think- 
ing about the former happy days, until their thoughts 
burst forth in song — till they sing: 

4 'What peaceful hours I once enjoyed! 
How sweet their memory still ! 
But they have left an aching void, 
The world can never fill." 

As our thoughts rest upon the blessedness we knew 
when the love of God was blown to a flame in our hearts, 
by the soul-refreshing view of Jesus and his word; holy 
desires spring up, and holy resolutions are formed, — and 
by the aid of divine grace, we are encouraged to call back 
the insulted Spirit. 

"Return, O! holy dove, return 
Sweet messenger of rest : 
I hate the sin that made thee mourn, 
And drove thee from my breast." 

We will then feel a desire to have Jesus reign in the 
soul, and to this end — ask help from on high. 

1 ' The dearest idol I have known, 

What e'er that idol be, 
Help me to tare it from thy throne, 

And worship only thee. 

So shall my walks be close with God, 

Calm and serene my frame ; 
So purer light shall mark the road 

That leads me to the Lamb." 

A remembrance of former happy days will remind the 
backslidden of what they might have enjoyed, had they 
continued as they began — how much good they might 


have accomplished, and how great attainments, they 
might have reached. Think of what vast results this 
church might have accomplished, if she had continued to 
weild the influence she once wielded: she might have 
been sitting here in the garden of prosperity, with a large 
number of full grown and flourishing daughters in this 
and neighboring cities. We have sent you from the 
South hundreds of promising lambs, but you have suf- 
fered them to be gathered into other folds. 

2. We are exhorted to repentance. " Repent and do thy 
first works." Let there be in you a change of mind, pur- 
pose and action. All of this is included in the word " re- 
pent" — a godly sorrow for sin, disobedience and slothful- 
ness — a fixed purpose, a firm and active resolution to for- 
sake sin, and engage in the practice of every virtuous and 
benevolent work. Sometimes there is a desire in the heart 
of backsliders to return to the practice and enjoyment of 
religion, but they don't know how. And there may be 
those who long for the prosperity of Zion, but they don't 
know where to begin. The text directs us: "Do thy 
first works." God has done his works once and for all. 
The work now is ours: you will not be happy now until 
you work. It is not so much the loss of faith that causes 
people to backslide as it is the neglect of duties. It is 
work that has been neglected, and work that is required. 
The unregenerate are justified by faith, but believers can 
only feel the evidence of divine reconciliation, by actively 
and continually engaging in works of righteousness, which 
are the fruit of the Spirit. If you have backslidden, and feel 
cold and lifeless, and desire to feel the joy of former days, go 
to work for the Lord, for the salvation of souls, for the up- 


building of the church; and you will soon feel the flame 
of love re-kindled in the bosom. Don't sit in silent med- 
itation, waiting for some supernatural influence — some 
special visitation from above, to call you back and restore 
you to the joys of better days, but get up and go to work. 
The counsel of the Savior to those who have left their first 
love ; is, " To do. their first works,"— -to engage themselves 
at once in doing what they did in the days of their early 
piety, the days when the light of heaven shone upon their 
path, when they went about doing good — when no kind 
of weather, and no kind of amusement kept them from 
the prayer-meeting, or class-meeting. "The day of thy 
espousal." Do you wish to see the borders of Zion en- 
larged ? Go to work as our fathers did in the early days 
of the church, and as you did when in the enjoyment of 
your first love. Bring in the stragglers, call back the 
wanderers, raise up the fallen and gather the lost sheep, 
and let Zion's gates be crowded with a throng of happy 
worshippers. We can not regain all that has been lost by neg- 
lect, but there is much ground that can yet be occupied, and 
cheered by the hope of future possibilities: let us live, and 
work for God and Zion. Let us emulate the holy deter- 
mination of the evangelical prophet. " For Zion's sake 
will I not hold my peace, for Jerusalem's sake will I not 
rest until the light thereof goes forth as the brightness, 
and has glory as a lamp that burnetii." 

III. Notice the fearful consequences of neglecting 


" Or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove 
thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." The 
church at Ephesus was the spiritual light-holder for that 


city — the means of dispensing light; which, if removed, 
darkness would prevail. This was the punishment that 
God threatened to inflict, if they repented not: He would 
put out the light and leave them in darkness. The ob- 
vious meaning is, that the church in that place should 
cease to exist— the light go out, to be lit no more. We 
have already remarked how fully this judgment was 
inflicted. Mr. Gibbon, though not a believer in revelation, 
bears testimony that will show with what exactness the 
prediction in regard to this church has been accomplished. 
Speaking of the conquests of the Turks, he says : " In 
the loss of Ephesus, the Christians deplored the fall of 
the first angel, the extinction of the first candlestick; the 
desolation is complete; and the temple of Diana, or the 
church of mercy, will equally elude the search of the 
curious traveller." Thus it appears that the heathen tem- 
ple of Diana, at Ephesus, and also the Christian church 
there, have both passed away, and nothing remains but 
unsightly ruins. What God did in Ephesus in the ful- 
fillment of his word, he has frequently done, both to 
individuals and to churches. He has removed the light, 
and left them in darkness. During the last ten years I 
have frequently seen church buildings in which a sermon 
has not been preached for years. Others have been turned 
into barns and dwellings, and not a member to be found 
who will own the name — "Christian." God forbid that 
his light should ever go out in this church or city, or that 
any backslider should be left in eternal darkness. But 
fruits meet for repentance is the only preventative. 

Perhaps some will feel discouraged, as so much time 
has been lost. You have no need to be. Let each do 


his part now. Whining over the past will avail nothing. 
We have nothing to do with the past, except to be admon- 
ished and instructed by its experience. To the future we 
must look. Thank God there is a future — a bright and 
glorious future — a future for the Church on earth— a 
future for old Zion, I fully believe. A future in which 
the youth, whose eyes are now sparkling with delight, 
will take the helm, and man the old ship Zion, and steam 
her across the pitching and tossing waters of prosperity, 
and bring her into port laden with a full Christian cargo. 
Then there is another future, an eternal future, for the 
promise is, "To him that overcometh will I give to eat 
of the tree of life, which is in the midst of the paradise 
of God." The fruit of this tree is eternal life. 

' i O what are all my sufferings here, 

If Lord thou count me meet 
With that enraptured host to appaar, 

And worship at thy feet. 
Give joy, give grief, give ease or pain, 

Take life or friends away ; 
But let me find them all again, 

In that eternal day." 




' ' No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent 
me draw him." John vi, 44. 

Jesus, having heard of the death of John the Baptist, 
left Nazareth, passed over the sea of Galilee, and retired, 
with his disciples, to a desert belonging to Bethsaida. To 
this place the multitude followed him, received his in- 
structions, and many were healed of their diseases. His 
miracles, and the force of his doctrines, held the atten- 
tion of the people so long, that the disciples thought 
they needed rest and refreshment, and they suggested 
that for this purpose he should dismiss and send them 
away. The Lord Jesus, however, had compassion on the 
people, and said to Philip, (who was a native of that 
country), "Where shall we buy bread that these may eat? 
And this he said to prove him : for he himself knew what 
he would do. Philip answered him, Two hundred pen- 
ny worth of bread is not sufficient for them, that every 
one of them may take" a little." Andrew remarked that 
there was a lad present with five barley loaves and two 
fishes, but that these would go but a little way among so 
many. Jesus commanded the multitude to be seated 
upon the grass : he gave thanks, broke the bread, gave it 


to his disciples, and they gave it to the multitude. After 
all were satisfied, they took up twelve baskets full of the 
fragments that remained. This miracle convinced many 
of them that Jesus was the Messiah promised them, and 
they were desirous to crown him and proclaim him king ; 
which, when he perceived, he retired to a mountain alone. 
After his mysterious departure, his disciples took ship, 
and returned to Capernaum ; but as Jesus went not with 
them, the multitude remained. The next day, however, 
when other ships passed by, they also crossed the lake. 
To their astonishment, when they reached Capernaum, 
they found Jesus there. As he did not embark with his 
disciples, nor go in any of the ships which followed, they 
could not imagine how he had reached that shore. It 
had not occurred to them that he, who could multiply a 
few loaves and fishes into a meal sufficient to feed thou- 
sands, could also walk upon the bosom of the deep. 
Hence, they asked : "Rabbi, when earnest thou hither?" 
He refused to gratify their curiosity by giving them an 
account of his passage over the water, but proceeded to 
criticise their motive in following him, and to teach them 
the lesson they should have learned from the miracle he 
had wrought the day previous. "Verily, verily, I say 
unto you, Ye seek me, not because ye saw the miracle, 
but because ye did eat of the loaves, and were filled. 
Labor not for the meat which perisheth, but for that meat 
which endureth unto everlasting life, which the Son of 
man shall give unto you : for him hath God the Father 
sealed." They had not been duly impressed with the 
purpose for which the miracle had been wrought; he, 
therefore, took the occasion to teach them, that they 


should not make it their chief object to obtain nourish- 
ment for the body, or temporal blessings, which perish 
with the using of them, and at most can only give mo- 
mentary satisfaction, but that their chief object should be 
to obtain that spiritual food which gives eternal life, and 
secures to us those blessings which are lasting, and that 
felicity which is eternal. "Then said they unto him, 
What shall we do to work the work of God? Jesus an- 
swered and said, This is the work of God, that ye believe 
on him whom he hath sent," All the work required of 
a truly penitent enquirer after righteousness, is faith in 
Christ. It is this work — the exercise of faith — that God 
is well pleased with ; nor do we begin the work, which 
he requires, until we believe on his Son. The perverse- 
ness of the hearts of most of his hearers, however, caused 
them to reject this way of salvation : not all, for some 
believed on him, and of them he declared that all those 
whom his Father gave him should come to him, and that 
he would not cast them out. But the Father, according 
to his own plan could only give him such as believed on 
him, for they alone are acknowledged as bis. All who 
remain in unbelief are children of the wicked one. Some 
of his hearers, notwithstanding they had seen his latest 
miracle, yet desired a sign as evidence of his Messiahship. 
They intimated that, in comparison with the miracle by 
which Moses had fed their fathers for forty years in the 
wilderness, the one he had performed was but a small 
thing. " Our fathers did eat manna in the wilderness, as 
it is written, He gave them bread out of heaven to eat." 
But he answered, " I say unto you, Moses gave you not 
that bread from heaven ; but my Father giveth you the 
true bread from heaven." That was not the gift of Moses 


but of God ; it came not out of heaven, but out of the air. 
The Psalmist spake of manna simply as a type of the 
true bread, which God has now given out of heaven, and 
which giveth life to the world. When Jesus declared 
himself this bread out of heaven, which God had given 
to the world, some of the Jews were displased, and said : 
"Is this not Jesus, the son of Joseph?" To this Jpsus 
answered, " Murmur not among yourselves." Don't mur- 
mur at my sayings, as though they were incredible, or 
hard to be believed: it is not the want of truili in 
them, but your prejudice against me, and the perverse- 
ness of your will, which cause you to reject them. 
For such is the degeneracy of your nature, such the 
hardness of your hearts, such the stubbornness of your 
will, and such your depraved and helpless condition, that 
nothing but the power of grace divine can prevent your 
eternal ruin. " No man can come to me, except the 
Father which hath sent me draw him." The text is one 
of those passages which emphatically declare the univer- 
sal degeneracy and helplessness of human nature, and 
the absolute impossibility of restoration, without divine 
aid. Mankind is so weak and helpless, so under the 
reigning power of sin, that he cannot come to Christ until 
drawn by cords divine. He cannot savingly believe until 
God helps his unbelief. He cannot open his eyes to be- 
hold the light of the glory of God, in the face of Jesus 
Christ, unless God gives him strength to do so. Hence 
the language of the poet : 

"How lost was my condition, 
Till Jesus made me whole ; 
There is but one physician, 
Can cure the sin-sick soul." 


A figure, however, representing a more helpless state 
than that of sickness, is frequently employed to represent 
the soul's condition, namely, death. It is dead — dead in 
sin. Hence the Apostle exclaims, " Arise from the dead." 
And the change is spoken of as passing from death unto 
life, and also as a resurrection from the dead. If these 
figures do not express a state of uiter helplessness, none 
could. The sinner is spiritually dead — destitute of spir- 
itual life, of the image of God, which is the essence of 
vital union with him; of his favor, which is life, and his 
loving kindness, which is better than life. The sinner 
is judicially dead — dead by sin through the law. " Sin," 
says the Apostle, " finding occasion through the com- 
mandment, beguiled me, and through it slew me." (Re- 
vised version.) The sinner is doomed to natural death, 
and exposed to the danger of eternal death. 

I. But the text reminds us of the spiritual and moral 


his Maker. 

Sin has separated man from the Author of his being, 
caused man to take his departure from his God, to go 
away from him — not out of his sight ; for if I borrow the 
wings with which the rays of morning light fly across 
creation with incomprehensible speed ; and with them fly 
— and dwell in the uttermost parts of the earth, his all- 
seeing eye shall follow me: not beyond his power; for if 
I take up my abode in hell, that is his prison, and his 
hand shall hold me there: but away from his holiness, 
away from' his reconciled love; away from that vital 
union with him, which constitutes our spiritual life and 
joy unspeakable, — 


"Away on the mountain wild and bare, 
Away from the tender Shepherd's care." 

Now the object of Christ's visit to this world was to 
bring man back to God. " He came to seek, and to save 
the soul which was lost." 

. "We all like sheep had gone astray, 
We had left the fold of God : 
Each wandering in a different way, 
But all the downward road." 

We had all departed from God, and the distance was 
continually growing greater. Christ left heaven to bring 
us back to God. By the sacrifice of himself, in the humil- 
ity, poverty, shame, and the agony of his incarnation ar.d 
death ; and by His resurrection; He has made an atone- 
ment, which meets all the demands of divine justice- 
"He was bruised for our iniquity, the chastisement of 
our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed.'' 

But in order to our being brought back to God, we must 
come to Jesus. We can approach God only through him. 
He is the way, and there is no other. He is the door ; 
and there is no other entrance: by him, if any man en- 
ters, he shall be saved. He is the true way; all else is 
deceptive — is false. He is the life; without him is death- 
He invites us to come to him: " Come unto me all ye that 
labor and are heavy laden." He urges us to come — ex- 
hibiting his wounds — his pierced hands, his feet, his side 
his temples torn by a crown of thorns, and his back fur- 
rowed by a wire whip. He dwells upon the easiness of 
the terms : " Without money and without price." He 
proclaims the richness and costliness of the provisions- 
" My oxen and my fatlings are killed, all things are ready > 


come !" And when every effort has been exhausted in 
vain, he complains: "Ye will not come to me, that ye 
may have life." (Rev. Version.) It is our interest to 
come to Christ : our well-being in this present life hinges 
upon our coming to him; nor can there be any present 
peace, security, or real happiness here without him. That 
we may be truly happy here, 

' ' Christ must be the sea of love, 

Where all our pleasures roll ; 
The circle where our passions move, 

The center of our feoul." 

Then, our future well-being depends upon our coming to 
Christ: all the immortal concerns of eternity are involved 
—heaven, with all its glories; and hell, with all its ter- 
rors, urge us. [fc is our duty to come to Christ; to refuse, 
is rebellion— is sio, yea, sin unto death — temporal, spirit- 
ual and eternal. Hence, finally, we must come to Christ, 
or be forever lost and undone — " For there is none other 
name under heaven given among men, whereby we must 
be saved." 

II. This brings us to notice that while vve are invited 
to come to Christ — it is our duty and interest to come 
TO him. and we must come or perish eternally. 

Yet, such is the helplessness of human nature, that no 
man can come to Christ except the Father draw him. Such 
is the language of the text, and it was uttered by the Son 
of God. "Then," says the sinner, "if I am not divinely 
drawn, I am lost." Precisely so. If God should pass 
you by, you are forever lost. "Then my case is both 
helpless and hopeless, unless the Lord be pleased to draw 
me?" It is verily so. "Then I have nothing to do, but 


to wait God's time?" This is a false suggestion of the 
devil, in which, as usual, he mixes a little truth with his 
falsehood. It is true that we must wait God's time, but 
it is not true, that we have nothing else to do. If you 
were expecting a very dear friend by a particular train — 
one you loved more than all others — you might have to 
wait the arrival of that train, but you would hardly be 
doing nothing, while waiting. If nothing else, you would 
be wishing the train might come on time; notwithstand- 
ing, this wish might be fruitless. But we have the assu- 
rance that a sincere desire for the Saviour's love is 
never breathed in vain. Yours would be an anxious 
waiting ; it would not be regarded as a marvellous thing 
for you to go to the railroad station and wait there. 
I repeat, it would be an ansious waiting — something 
like that expressed by the Psalmist, when he says: "My 
soul waiteth for the Lord more than they that watch for 
the morning: I say, more than they that watch for the 
morning." He repeated it to exhibit the force he wished 
to throw into it. You can imagine how a shipwrecked 
mariner, alone upon the bosom of the deep, would watch 
for the morning — for light, by which his signal of dis- 
tress could be seen. The Psalmist declares that his wait- 
ing for the Lord had in it an energy of soul, an agony, a 
thirsting, yea, a longing for the Lord, more intense than 
the agony of any distressed, benighted mortal, who 
watches for the morning. It was said of Simeon that he 
waited for the consolation of Israel, but he was found 
waiting in the temple. He had drawn as near to the 
Lord as he could get. This is a waiting in which there 
is no folding of the arms, no indifference, but am energy 


of longing, which sets every fiber of the soul in motion. 
Yes, you must wait God's time; but that is now. He 
proclaims it, "Behold now is the day of salvation." 
Hence, you need wait no longer, but come! Come now, 
while he is drawing you ; for, blessed be God, he passes 
none by: he leaves no soul to perish in its sins — not until 
love's utmost efforts, in its behalf, have been exhausted in 
vain. While power is given to the Son to save all who 
come to God through him, yet the Father is not an idle 
spectator of the glorious work. He is not only watching 
the process through which sinners are passing in the 
washing of regeneration, but is also engaged continually 
in drawing souls to Christ, that they may be saved. Do 
you say you don't understand the divine drawings ? You 
must remember that the instrumentalities by which ob- 
jects are drawn, are as various as are the objects to be 
drawn. An apple is drawn from the limb of a tree to the 
ground by the power of gravitation : that is, when the 
hold, by which it was held to the twig, has relaxed, then 
the power of gravitation, takes hold of it, and draws it to 
the ground. Till then, the power of gravitation is not 
strong enough to bring it down. Likewise, when our 
affections relax their hold upon the things of this world, 
we are easily drawn to God by the cords of divine love. 
This earth, with all its sattellites is drawn around the sun 
by the joint action of the centre-seeking and centre-flee- 
ing forces. The one keeps the earth from flying off into 
unlimited space, the other keeps it from tumbling into 
the sun. A train of cars is drawn by the power of steam, 
and a wagon is drawn by horse-power — brought to bear 
upon traces attached to it. .Thus you see that matter is 


drawn by forces sailed to its nature. But there is some- 
thing in man that is not matter, and in that something 
is the spring of all his moral actions. We call it the 
soul. As the body has a heart, or fountain out of 
which life's blood flows, so has the soul a heart, 
centre, or mainspring of all its action. This main- 
spring of the soul, I am inclined to believe, is the 
will. I have heard men speak of doing things against 
their will, than which there could be no greater mis- 
take. »We. act only when the will acts: that which is 
done against our will, is not our act, but the power of 
forces "which we either cannot or will not control. To 
make the matter plain : Suppose I lay my hand upon 
this Bible, a desperado rises up before me and shouts 
out, "Take that hand up!" I answer, "No, I won't." 
" Take that hand up, or I will blow your brains out !" he 
exclaims. Now, if my will does not yield to the force of 
the danger before me, my hand will still remain un- 
moved. If I don't say it, in so many words, my act says, 
" Crack away ! I won't move my hand." But if I am 
not willing to risk having my brains blown out, or am 
more willing to take up my hand than to take that 
chance, my will runs down into that hand and it comes 
up. It comes up by the consent of my will too. That 
the force operating upon the will was strong, I grant; it 
had to be stronger than the will, in order to make it 
yield. Likewise the will must yield to the divine influ- 
ence ; hence, the cords by which men are drawn, are such 
as can be brought to bear upon the will. Jehovah says, 
I draw them by bands of men. There are peculiar cords 
by which human nature is drawn, and which operate 


upon the will, which I have declared to be responsible 
for every moral act. And I may here remark, that God 
lays great stress upon the will. It is, " whosoever will/ 
To the man who had laid thirty-eight years at the pool, 
Jesus said, " Wilt thou be made whole?" The consent of 
that man's will was all that was required. And that is 
all that is required of many here, this day. There are at 
least three strong cords, which operate upon the will and 
draw men to Christ — the cords of fear, the cords of inter- 
est, and the cords of love. The fear of hell, the hope of 
heaven, and the love of God, are the three grand motives 
prominently set forth in the Book Divine, and they are 
designed to draw men to Christ. Man is an intellectual 
being: he has understanding ; he can think, he can rea- 
son, he can take subjects into his judgment, (the mind's 
balances,) and weigh them. He can reflect, consider, de- 
cide, and act. He has conscience capable of emotions, 
and affections which can feel the touch of love, and are 
moved in response to its influence. There came once a 
man to church, filled with his notions of his own impor- 
tance: it was during a revival season. I said to him, 
" Would you like to go forward to the altar for prayer ?" 
He gave me a look, which seemed to say, " I don't want 
your prayers !" Now, I might have talked with that man 
for a month, while he was in that state of mind, without 
moving him. To have gotten that man to the altar, I would 
have had to apply physical force, and then only his body 
would have been there. But the services continued, the 
Spirit of God touched that man's conscience, tears stole 
down his cheeks, his head was bowed, and finally he arose 
and went to the altar, and found peace. That man's con- 


science was touched, and through his conscience his will 
was reached, and caused to yield to the divine influence; 
and it would have taken strong chains to have held him 
back from that altar, to which he could only have been 
dragged, a little while before. Some months ago, there 
came a man to church, who was an unbeliever. He lis- 
tened to a sermon in the mornings in which human help- 
lessness was set forth. In the afternoon the minister 
presented an argument, in which the way of salvation, 
through faith in Christ, was made plain. Before the 
services closed for the day, that man, who had come in 
the morning a thoughtless unbeliever, found that peace 
which he had never before thought of seeking for. His 
understanding grasped the truth, which he thought had 
never before been so plainly set forth, and reason said, 
" Why not accept the Saviour now?" That man's will 
yielded to the force of reason, and he was thus drawn to 
Christ, and saved. Let us suppose a lady, who is a mil- 
lionaire, is approached with the request that she take the 
place of a servant and become a child's nurse. What is 
the result? You have kindled the wrath of that lady, 
until she could burn you up with her auger, if such a 
thing were possible. What! she descend to the position 
of a servant ! She scorns the thought. But let that lady- 
be a loving mother, and let her child be at the point of 
death, and where will you find her? Clothed in scarlet 
robes, decked with jewels of gold, and entertaining the 
gay and thoughtless mortals who delight only in exhibi- 
tions of sublunary grandeur? No! Where then? You 
will find her near that sick child, watching and waiting, 
and serving — a servant of the child. That lady has come 


down from her high notions — her scorn of labor, toil, and 
service. What brought her down? She was drawn down 
by the cords of affection for that child. Her will was 
reached through her affections, and yielded to the force 
of love. God says, " I draw them with cords of love;" 
and again, " With everlasting kindness have I drawn 
thee." You were all drawn to church this day, as you 
have often been, but I see not the cords by which you 
were drawn: and yet some of you were drawn so hard, that 
it would have caused you pain to have stayed away. You 
would have been unhappy at home, on account of your 
great desire to be here. Some were not drawn so hard, 
but they are here. A little rain would have held some 
back, because they were not drawn by the kind of cords 
which draw people through all kinds of weather. You 
were drawn here by a variety of forces. Some were drawn 
by the cords of affection for the house and worship of 
God. Like the Psalmist, you were glad when they said 
unto you, "Let us go up unto the house of the Lord." 
You said with heart-felt love, with glowing rapture, "Our 
feet shall stand within thy gates, Jerusalem." Some 
were drawn by the cords of duty: though you felt not 
that burning desire which at times has drawn you, yet 
there was a sense of duty impelling you. There may be 
a sorrowing soul, who has come seeking comfort, or a sin- 
sick soul may have come to inquire for the Great Physi- 
cian. Of such, the Matchless Speaker has said, "Blessed 
are they that mourn, for they shall be comforted." Per- 
haps some have been drawn by the cords of curiosity ; 
possibly, some by the cords of vanity — something new to 
exhibit. " The bands of men," or cords by which they arc 


led about, are truly various, and there are very many ways 
by which the Father draws souls to Christ. The danger, 
therefore, is not that we shall not be drawn, but that we 
may suffer the divine influence to be employed in vain. 
For, I repeat, it is a blessed truth, that God passes none 
by. He leaves none to perish, until all the cords by 
which he draws men to his Son have been employed in 
vain. Do you say, "I have never felt the divine draw- 
ings?" Possibly they were so gentle and tender, and you 
so thoughtless and indifferent, that you failed to notice 
the heavenly influence. If you had been like the Psalm- 
ist, waiting for him more anxiously than they that wait 
for the morning, you would have felt the divine opera- 
tion. Many are brought to Christ through a painful pro- 
cess, because they will not yield to the milder means. 
With some, severe providential interpositions have to be 
employed, before they will yield — such as the furnace 
of afflication, bereavements, and other domestic troubles. 
Are you inclined to hang back until the strongest and 
most severe cords are employed to draw you ? Is it not 
more reasonable to yield to the milder influences? Is it 
not unfeeling to put the Father to so much trouble to 
bring us to Christ? No man can truly say, he has never 
felt the divine drawings. Have you ever felt guilty, or a 
moment's remorse of conscience? Have you ever felt 
sorry for sin, or wished yourself better? Such feelings 
only come through the divine influence; they are his 
drawings : if yielded to, they will bring us sweetly and 
joyfully to Jesus. I once knew a man who said he lived 
to the age of thirty years without having one good impres- 
sion, or the least remorse of conscience. I never expect 


to meet another, who can truthfully say the same. Is 

there one here who can? If so, let him now stand up 

I conclude there is none. Then you have all been drawn — 
perhaps time and again. Don't you remember a time in 
which you were aroused at midnight— a night so dark 
that it seemed as though every star had been blotted out, 
and the stillness was so profound that it appeared as 
though all creation was at silence for a while? And 
don't you remember that, notwithstanding the stillness, 
you felt a horror as though 'you were in some dreadful 
presence? That was God drawing you by filling your 
conscience with tormenting fear? Have you at times, like 
Agrippa, felt that you were almost persuaded to be a 
christian? God was then drawing you by the cords of 
reason. Were you almost ready to accept the Saviour, 
while urged to do so by your dying mother ? He w r as 
then drawing you by the cords of tenderness which you 
felt toward that sainted parent. If you have yielded to 
these influences, you are happy in the Saviour's love; if 
not, you have resisted the strivings of the Spirit: and God 
says, " My Spirit shall not always strive with man." 

The time will come, and you know not how soon, when 
God will cease to draw you, and then you will be forever 
undone. yield now, while you are under the divine 

' ' Almost persuaded" now to believe ; 
" Almost persuaded" Christ to receive ; 
Seems now some soul to say, 
' ' Go, Spirit, go Thy way, 
Some more convenient day 
On Thee I'll call." 


" Almost persuaded," Coine, come to-day; 
" Almost persuaded," turn not away; 
Jesus invites you here, 
Angels are lingering near, 
Prayers rise from hearts so dear : 
O wanderer, come! 

" Almost persuaded," harvest is past! 
" Almost persuaded," doom comes at last! 
" Almost" cannot avail; 
"Almost" is but to fail! 
Sad, sad the bitter wail — 

" Almost— but lost!" 




1 'And in the midst of the throne, and round about the throne, 
were four living creatures full of eyes before and behind. And 
the first creature was like a lion, and the second creature like a 
calf, and the third creature had a face as of a man, and the 
fourth creature was like a flying eagle." Revelation iv, 6, 7. 
(Revised Version.) 

In the three chapters of this book which precede the 
one in which our text is found, we have a description of 
the state of the Christian Church as it existed in John's 
time, as revealed to him by the Son of God. This descrip- 
tion is called the things that then were. After giving 
suitable direction and encouragement to the churches and 
their pastors, his attention was directed to a second vis- 
ion, in which things were revealed which should trans- 
pire after that time — that is, things that should succes- 
sively come to pass from the time of the vision until the 
mystery of God, respecting mankind on earth, should be 
accomplished. In this vision God is represented as seated 
upon his heavenly throne in the midst of his saints. His 
glorious majesty and infinite perfection are set forth in 
the most lively, beautiful, and expressive images that 
finite mind could possibly imagine. The picture includes 


a view of the church triumphant before the throne en- 
gaged in unceasing adoration and praise. 

As no language of mine can equal that in which the be- 
loved disciple paints this sublimely glorious and heavenly 
scenery, I transcribe his language : " After this I looked, 
and, behold, a door was opened in heaven; and the first 
voice which I heard was as it were a trumpet talking 
with me; which said, Come up hither, and I will show 
thee things which must be hereafter. And immediately 
I was in the Spirit: and, behold, a throne was set in 
heaven, and one sat on the throne. And he that sat was 
to look upon like a jasper and a sardine stone: and there 
was a rainbow round about the throne, in sight like unto 
an emerald. And round about the throne were four and 
twenty seats : and upon the seats I saw four and twenty 
elders sitting, clothed in white raiment ; and they had on 
their heads crowns of gold. And out of the throne pro- 
ceeded lightnings and thunderings and voices: and there 
were seven lamps of fire burning before the throne, which 
are the seven Spirits of God. And before the throne 
there was a sea of glass like unto crystal : and in the 
midst of the throne, and round about the throne, were 
four beasts full of eyes before and behind. And the first 
beast was like a lion, and the second beast like a calf, and 
the third beast had a face as a man, and the fourth beast 
was like a flying eagle. And the four beasts had each of 
them six wings about him ; and they were full of eyes 
within : and they rest not day and night, saying, Holy, 
holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, which was, and is, and 
is to come. And when the beasts give glory and honor 
and thanks to him that sat on the throne, who livetli 


for ever and ever, the four and twenty elders fall down 
before him that sat on the throne, and worship him that 
liveth for ever and ever, and cast their crowns before the 
throne, saying, Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory 
and honor and power : for thou hast created all things, 
and for thy pleasure they are and were created." 

In this vision John beheld a door opened in heaven . 
so it appeared to him ; and he had the gratifying promise 
of a further insight into the divine mystery. There are 
several of these openings mentioned in this book, by each 
of which John gained a new and more extended pros- 
pect. Here a door was opened, afterward the temple of 
God in heaven (chaps, xi, 19 ; xv, 5), and still later heaven 
itself was opened (chap, xix, 11). John was bidden to 
ascend, which it appears he did immediately, not in body 
but in spirit. " He beheld a throne sat in heaven." We 
are not to understand this description as literal, but fig- 
urative. His mind received the impression of a picture 
of Jehovah seated on a throne of majesty, arrayed in 
robes of glory, as a king, governor, and judge. The ap- 
pearance of three precious stones, connected with the rain- 
bow, the lustre of which attracted the attention of the 
evangelist, seem indicative of his purity, or righteous- 
ness, justice, mercy, and truth: and show, that in him 
mercy and truth are met together ; righteousness and 
peace have kissed each other. The jasper is white, signi- 
fying his purity and righteousness. The sardine stone 
is red, and denotes his justice, in executing vengeance 
upon his enemies. The emerald is green, and betokens 
mercy to the penitent. The rainbow signifies his truth 
in keeping his covenant: he is true to all his engage- 


tnents. Around the throne, in a circular form, were four 
and twenty seats, upon which sat four and twenty elders. 
These, I think, represent the Old Testament church. 
Their robes seem to correspond with the patriarchal and 
Jewish costume, especially that of the Jewish priests : their 
harps and golden vials seem to indicate their connection 
with the tabernacle and temple worship. Their golden 
crowns indicated that they were made kings and priests 
unto God. Understanding the elders to represent the 
Old Testament church' I think we must regard the four 
beasts as a representation of the Christian Church. 

Dr. Doddridge remarks, that it was a very unhappy 
mistake in our English translators to translate this word. 
beasts : it should have been translated " living creatures," 
as it is in the Revised Version. One had wings, and an- 
other the face of a man, neither of which belong to beasts. 
I, therefore, adopt the term " living creatures ;" and shall 
consider them as representing the Christian Church. 
These were nearest the throne. Their number indicates 
universality, and corresponds with the Christian Church, 
which is to extend to all nations. The new song which 
they sang — "Thou hast redeemed us out of every kindred, 
and tongue, and people, and nation," would not well ap- 
ply to the Jewish church, for it was composed of one na- 
tion only; much less to angels, who were not redeemed. 
The elders sang of creation, with which the ancient 
church was best acquainted, the living creatures sang of 
redeeming love. 

I. Let us consider the characteristics of the Chris- 
tian Church, as set forth in the description of 
these living creatures. 


Some think that by the living creatures, the charac- 
teristics of the Christian Church at different periods is 
intended to be set forth ; that in the first age, the Church 
was distinguished for undaunted courage; that in the 
second age, when the people of God were slain. like sheep 
for the slaughter, the Church was distinguished for un- 
wearied patience ; that further on in its history, intelli- 
gence was its peculiar characteristic ; and, finally, when 
all the enemies are overcome, and every obstacle re- 
moved, she will go forth upon wings as an eagle, extend- 
ing her conquests to earth's remotest bounds. I think, 
however, that the picture is intended to represent the 
complete christian character : that the creatures named 
include a combination of characteristics, which should 
adorn every disciple of Christ. 

1. The idea of undaunted courage is set forth, 
" The first living creature was like a lion." How fre- 
quently this lion-like courage has been exemplified in 
the life and character of the people of God : undaunted 
they have gone forth, as it were, with their lives in their 
hands — few in number, but facing thousands. Forty days 
after the crucifixion of the Founder of the Christian re- 
ligion, Peter stood up, in the city of His death, and boldly 
charged His death to the enmity of the Jews; and de- 
clared that God had raised Him from the dead. Kings, 
princes, and potentates forbade the disciples to speak in 
the name of Jesus ; but they answered, " We should obey 
God rather than men," and continued to speak in his 
name. While in all civil matters, they both taught and 
practiced obedience to the ruling powers, yet in matters 
of religion, they regarded not the edicts of sovereigns. 


Paul stood before Felix, Festus and Agrippa, and fear- 
lessly professed his faith in the despised Nazarene. The 
disciples faced danger and death in the cause of their 
Master, and counted not their lives dear if spent in de- 
fence of the truth. Paul at Athens, the seat of science, 
charged the learned Grecians as being in the darkness of 
ignorance and superstition, and urged them to repent 
and embrace the light which is revealed in the Gospel. 
To king Agrippa, associated with his beautiful sister 
Bernice, he put truth so pointed that he drew from the 
king's lips the acknowledgment that he was almost per- 
suaded to be a Christian. 

To-day we see men and women of God, going forth as 
missionaries in foreign Jands, bearing the lamp of truth 
into the dark regions of heathenism, regardless of dan- 
ger — not with carnal weapons, but with weapons that are 
mighty, through God, in pulling down the strongholds 
of the devil : not by secret stratagem, but with open 

2. The picture reminds us that Christianity includes pa- 
tience — unwearied patience. 

" The second creature was like a calf," (or ox.) Horses 
are sometimes balky, and mules grow stubborn ; but not 
so with the ox : I have seen him when the load was 
heavy get down on his knees, and hang to it, until his 
eyes seemed ready to start from their sockets. There is 
also a quiet submissiveness in the well trained ox, that is 
not seen in other beasts of burden. Now patience is a 
most commendable virtue. We are thus admonished by 
the Apostle James : " Let patience have her perfect work, 


that ye may be entire, lacking nothing." He also refers 
us to the prophets, as an example of suffering and pa- 
tience ; and to Job, who endured to the end, and thereby 
secured the gracious favor of God. James v, 10. 11. Also, 
the Apostle Paul exhorts us to be imitators of those who, 
through faith and patience, inherited the promises- 
Speaking of the suffering and endurance of the Old Tes- 
tament saints, he says, " they were stoned, they were sawn 
asunder, were tempted, were slain with the sword ; they 
wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being des- 
titute, afflicted, tormented; of whom the world was not 
worthy : they wandered in deserts, and in mountains, and 
in dens and caves of the earth. 5 ' Hebrews xi, 37. Yet 
through all of this they possessed their souls in patience, 
and obtained a good report — were faithful to the end. 
These things being said of them, reminds us that patience 
especially becomes us as christians. How fully this virtue 
was displayed by the early christians is plainly seen in 
the history of the martyrs. Patient resignation to the 
will of God, under every dispensation of his providence, 
is, in our judgment, the capstone of christian perfection. 

i l Who suffer with our Master here, ■ 
They shall before his face appear, 
And by his side sit down ; 
To patient faith the praise is sure, 
And all that to the end endure 
The cross shall wear the crown." 

The Captain of our salvation was made perfect by suf- 
fering; and we, to be conformed to him, must patiently 
endure our sufferings. 


8. The figure in the text reminds us that Christianity 
bears the marks of intelligence. 

The third living creature had the face of a man. The 
religion of Jesus is not a system of dark sayings, nor a 
mass of ambiguities, as were the responses of the heathen 
oracles: it is not superstition, nor fanaticism, nor cun* 
ningly-devised fables. It is truth capable of being dem- 
onstrated, and worthy of the deepest meditation, and the 
profoundest thought of the highest order of intelligence. 
We are told that the angels desired to look into it : yea, 
breaking off from the contemplation of every other ob- 
ject in God's dominion, they exhaust the utmost effort of 
their celestial powers in studying the mystery of redemp- 
tion. It is the true wisdom, which cometh down from 
heaven — from God, the fountain or source of all knowl- 
edge. They who embrace it are not mad, as Festus sup- 
posed Paul to be. He, who had been so mad that he 
dwelt among the tombs in a nude state, cutting his flesh 
with stones and could not be held with chains, was 
brought by its power to sit at the feet of Jesus, clothed, 
and in his right mind. " Then shall we know," says the 
prophet, "if we follow on to know the Lord." There is 
no limit to the knowledge secured through the religion 
of Jesus: we shall reach the source whence knowledge 
flows in streams divine. The idea of intelligence is not 
only expressed by the face of a man, as a characteristic of 
one of the living creatures, but "they were full of eyes." 
It would be impossible to present the idea of intelligence 
more forcibly than by the representations in this vision. 
They were full of eyes round about and within. They 


had not only eyes without, but within also — to see them- 
selves. Those who only have eyes without, cannot see 
themselves. They can see everybody else, can detect the 
smallest defect in the character of others; butnot in their 
own — can see a moat in their brother's eye, but not the 
beam in their own eye. The genuine christian has large 
self-knowledge: he discerns his own faults; can see 
wherein he is wrong; discovers evil in his own nature ; 
studies and knows himself; finds the plague in his own 
heart, and rests not until it is removed. Light and 
knowledge, and their natural product— joy and peace, 
increaseth, wherever the religion of Jesus prevails. Ev* 
eryerything beastly in humanity vanishes, as Christian* 
ity goes forth bearing on its face the beams of angelic in* 

4. But the representation also includes the idea of 
unceasing activity. 

" The fourth creature was like a flying eagle/' It is 
also said of the creatures, that they " rest not day and 
night, saying, Holy, holy, holy, Lord God Almighty, 
which was, and is, and is to come." They also had each 
six wiogs. It must be a dull mind that does not perceive 
the idea of activity in this three-fold figurative representa- 
tion. Activity is the general order of created things. The 
subordinate planets cease not to perform their stupen* 
dous revolutions, and the burning orbs, which are suns 
and centers of planetary systems far from us, have each 
their path in unlimited space, over which they never cease 
to travel. Even Satan's crew are always busy. For it is 
written, " They have no rest that worship the beast." 
Mark the difference. The hosts of heaven rest not, but 


those who worship the beast have no rest. The heavenly 
hosts employ themselves in the delightful service of holy 
adoration. The hosts of hell are kept busy : they cannot 
rest ; their agony forbids rest ; tossed upon the bosom of 
a burning lake, they shift and turn, like one upon a bed 
of thorns, seeking ease or rest, but find it not. Even 
here on earth they have no rest; their master, the devil, 
keeps them busy. Some he employs in useless vanities- 
such as going to the circus, card-playing, dancing, and 
other vain amusements; others he employs on coarser, 
baser, and more daringly wicked work — such as slander, 
adultery, robbery, drunkenness and murder. They are 
not only kept busy, but they are kept in pain. 

" In pain they travel all their days 
To reach eternal woe/' 

If the wicked cannot rest on earth, or in the world of 
woe, and saints in heaven will not rest/or cease their holy 
exercise ; surely saints on earth, or those groaning to be 
such, ought not to let their hands hang down, until they 
have done all in their power to bring themselves, and all 
others within their circle, into that meetness and perfect- 
ness of heart and life, which will insure the divine ac- 

We are urged to activity by the flight of time. "My 
days," says Job, " are swifter than a weaver's shuttle.'' 
David says, " Thou hast my days as an hand breadth" — 
only four inches of time, but he reduces it still — " Mine 
age is as nothing before thee." But we are admonished, 
by the vast concerns that hang upon these fleeting mo- 
ments. The imfiprtal poet shall tell it : 


" Lo ! on a narrow neck of land, 
Twixt two unbounded seas I stand, 
Secure, insensible, 
A point of time, a moment's space, 
Removes me to that heavenly place, 
Or shuts me up in hell." 

Short as time is, our souls, if saved at all, must be saved 
while time lasts. Our eternal interests, if secured at all, 
must be secured while time lasts. We conclude with the 
following lines of poetry, which speak volumes: 

1 ' No room for mirth or trifling here, 
For worldly hope, or worldly fear, 

If life so. soon is gone; 
If now the Judge is at the door, 
And all mankind must stand before 
The inexorable throne! 

O God, mine inmost soul convert, 
And deeply on my thoughtful heart 

Eternal things impress : 
Give me to feel their solemn weight, 
And tremble on the brink of fate, 

And wake to righteousness. 

Before me place in dread array, 
The pomp of that tremendous day, 

When thou with clouds shall come 
To judge the nations at thy bar ; 
And tell me, Lord, shall I be there, 

To meet a joy doom? 

No matter which my thoughts employ, 
A moment's misery or joy, 
But, O ! when both shall end, 


Where shall I find my destined place? 
Shall I niy everlasting days 
With fiends or angels spend? 

Nothing is worth a thought beneath, 
But how I may escape that death 

That never, never dies ! 
How make mine own election sure, 
And when I fail on earth, secure 

A mansion in the skies. 

Jesus, vouchsafe a pitying ; 

Be thou my guide, be thou my way 

To glorious happiness. 
Ah ! write the pardon on my heart, 
And whenso'er I hence depart, 

Let me depart in peace." 




"I am the root and offspring of David, the bright, the morn- 
ing star." Revelation xxii, 16. (Revised Version.) 

The human vocabulary has been exhausted in vain 
attempts to find language, sufficiently expressive, to set 
forth the characteristics of the world's Redeemer. Words 
are too sparse, and language inadequate, to express the 
beauty, the glory, the wisdom, the power and the grace 
of this immutable and incomprehensible Being who ap- 
pears as our Daysman. The inspired penmen have em- 
ployed the most beautiful and expressive figures that 
heaven and earth afford, to aid our limited comprehen- 
sion ; and yet, they have failed, as all finite effort must 
fail, to grasp the Infinite. He is the " Branch," the " Day- 
spring," the " Plant of Renown" ; a " Rock," a " Refuge," 
a " High Tower," a " Shield," a " Hiding Place," a "Shel- 
ter from the Storm," a " Covert " ; the " Shadow of a Great 
Rock in a Weary Land," the " Way, the Truth and the 
Life," the " Rose of Sharon," the " Lilly of the Valley," 
the " Fairest among Thousands," and the " Altogether 
Lovely." In the text he is the " Root and Offspring of 
David, the Bright, the Morning Star." 



The figures in the text are used by Jesus himself. He 
had employed an angel to show many things unto his 
servant John, but he came forth himself to close up the 
prophecy. He introduces himself as the Alpha and 
Omega, but this language is not sufficiently broad and 
expressive: he, therefore, adds the figures in the text. 
"I Jesus have sent my angel to testify unto you these 
things in the churches. I am the root and offspring of 
David, the bright, the morning star." 

The first figure is expressive of the two-fold character 
of Jesus as God and man — " the root and offspring." If 
he possessed but one nature, and that the divine, he might 
be the root, but not the offspring of David. If he had 
but one nature, and that the human, he might be the 
■offspring, but not the root of David. In his divine na- 
ture, he is the root, the source, the first, the underlying 
principle; hidden from view, but upholding and sustain- 
ing all things. As a root, he sends forth the bough and 
branches of the visible creation — unseen, but as surely 
sustaining all things as the unseen root sustains the 
tree. He is elsewhere spoken of as God's fellow and 
companion; his possession in the beginning of his 
way, before his works of old-t-before the mountains 
were brought forth, before time was born, or light con- 
ceived. We feel back through countless ages, but can- 
not touch the beginning of his way : we throw our 
thoughts back through the mental telescope, back, back, 
back! and attempt in vain to survey the eternal regions, 
in which he hides himself with curtains too thick for 
mortal thoughts to pierce. He is the Everlasting Father 
and Eternal Son, the great First Cause of all things, 


Himself uncaused and eternal. He is also the offspring 
of David — sprang from David. This eternal, self-exist- 
ing Being condescended to appear in human form, as the 
descendant of a mortal. He, who in the beginning was 
with God, and was God, became flesh and dwelt among 
us in mortal form— was really and truly man, with all 
human infirmities, sin excepted. As a man, he was 
hungry, thirsty, and weary — as a man, he ate and slept. 
He had the human passions of love, desire, fear, sorrow 
and joy. He was really and truly man — had a human 
body, and a human soul and spirit; had a will of his 
own, separate from, but in all things yielding to that of 
his Father. He said to his Father, " Not as I will, but 
as thou wilt." That he might die for us, he took upon 
himself our nature in ail its weakness and infirmity, ex- 
cept sin. Like Adam, " sufficient to have stood, yet free 
to fall." Hence he is called "the second Adam." 

The other figure in the text, " the bright, the morning 
star," is a symbol of his subordinate character — the char- 
acter he assumed, in the form of a servant, to become our 
Daysman. In his divine nature, he is the Eternal Son. 
As such, the planet referred to would not fitly represent 
him : the sun would be a better figure. The star re- 
ferred to is the planet Venus, which, like our own planet, 
the earth, is a dark body, which shines only by reflection. 
If Venus is inhabited, (as is most likely,) to its inhabi- 
tants the earth appears as Venus does to us, except much 
brighter. In the first place, the earth is larger; and sec- 
ondly, it having an orbit outside of Venns, the inhabi- 
tants of that planet view its whole illuminated surface, 
when at its nearest point ; at which time it must reflect a 


light m0 st beautiful to behold. We only see the whole 
illumiuated surface of Venus when it is farthest from us : 
when it is on the other side of the sun, a hundred and 
fifty-six million miles away. "When at its nearest point 
to us, we only see its rim, like the new moon. Being be- 
tween us and the sun. most of its illuminated surface i s 
turned from us. 

This star, or planet, is a fit emblem of the human na- 
ture of Jesus. The beams which occasionally shone out 
from him were the reflection of the rays of his Father's 
glory. The true character of Venus is only seen when 
in transit across the sun's disc. Its illuminated side is 
then wholly turned from us, and it is seen in its true 
character as a dark body. Likewise, the human nature 
of Jesus was most clearly seen when he hung upon the 
cross, when the rays of the divine glory were wholly 
withdrawn from our view, and his lifeless body hung be- 
tween the heavens and the earth. His suffering and 
death were convincing evidences of his humanity, while 
his miracles testified of his divinity, especially the last 
great miracle by which he broke the bars of death, bore 
away its gates, spoiled principalities and powers, drew out 
death's sting, snatched victory from the grave, and came 
forth as the spoiler of hell and conqueror of death, and 
exulting in his possession of universal dominion. These 
reflected rays of the divine glory, however, were fre- 
quently displayed, in a greater or less degree, by the per- 
son of Jesus, through the whole period of his incarnation. 
It was the rays of the divine glory, reflected by him, that 
brightened the morning of his advent — amid which light 
angels broke the silence, and to the astonished ears of 


Bethlehem-shepherds proclaimed his birth in songs of 
praise : 

" Shepherds, rejoice, lift up your eyes 
And send your fears away ; 
News from the regions of the skies, 
{Salvation's born to-day." 

" For unto you is born, in the city of David, a Saviour, 
which is Christ the Lord." 

I cannot think that the manger and the swaddling 
clothes in which they were to find the child wrapped, 
were alone the sign to which the angel alluded ; but also 
the light — the divine glory, which he bid them not to 
fear — this, no doubt, illuminated their path, and guided 
them to the place where the young child was. It was 
the rays of divine glory reflected by him that caught the 
attention of the far-off eastern wise men, and guided them 
to Jerusalem, to which they came, saying, " Where is he 
that is born king of the Jews, for we have seen his star in 
the east, and have come to worship him." We are not to 
understand that they saw this star to the east of them ; 
but that they were in the east when they first saw it, 
westward from them. Looking toward the west, they 
discovered a light which appeared to them as a star, 
which they had never noticed before. The} 7 called it his 
star, and no doubt it was a brightness emanating from 
him : possibly the same that appeared \to the shepherds. 
It was a sure guide, designating the very spot where he 
dwelt. Just before they reached Jerusalem, its rays were 
withdrawn, that they might inquire, and thus announce 


bis birth to the reigning king. So soon as the divine 
purpose was accomplished, and they had started to Beth- 
lehem, they again beheld the light, which differing from 
other stars, to which you never seem to get nearer, it 
stood over the place where the young child was, and 
guided them to the very spot, which, when they reached, 
they found not a star, but the infant Jesus, amid the 
splendor of divine glory. The lustre of this brightness 
distinguished him so clearly, that, had there been a thou- 
sand children present, they would have known this one 
to be the Messiah, the Christ — the anointed of God. The 
divine rays were reflected by him, when at twelve years 
old, he sat in the temple among the doctors, asking and 
answering questions with such wisdom and grace that 
all who heard him were astonished. 

In the miracles of Jesus also, as before mentioned, his 
divinity shone forth. » Before the splendor of his divine 
power, darkness fled, and a flood of light rushed into the 
eyes of those who were born blind. Infirmities retreated 
at the approach of his rays; diseases sought in vain for 
a hiding place from his all healing power, and icy death 
itself melted away before the lustre of his brightness. 

A display of divine wisdom was exhibited in the an- 
swers of Jesus to those who attempted to catch him in 
his words. Behold the Scribes and Pharisees, with a 
woman, an adulteress; they have brought her for him to 
judge, that they may accuse him; but they find them- 
selves condemned, and the woman left without an accuser. 
They thought to place him, either in the attitude of con- 
tradicting Moses, which would have moved the enmity 
of all who revered the memory of that great prophet, 


historian and law-giver — or of assuming the functions of 
a magistrate, which would have brought the Romans 
down upon him — or of refusing to take cognizance of the 
case, which would have been inconsistent with his kingly- 
claims. They thought they had him completely cor- 
nered, and therefore pressed him for a decision. They 
declared the case to be a clear one, the woman was taken 
in the very act, and could make no defence. There was 
nothing left but to decide as to what disposition should 
be made of her. " Now Moses in the law commanded 
that such should be stoned, what sayeth thou ? " When 
he stooped down and wrote upon the ground as though 
he heard them not, they pressed him for an answer with 
an energy which seemed to be inspired by a feeling of 
assured triumph; but when he arose, he easily swept 
away the webs they had woven around him. He neither 
contradicted Moses, nor assumed the authority of a mag- 
istrate, nor denied his authority in the matter ; but he 
demanded that the innocent should begin the execution 
which they said the law required. " He that is without 
sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her," At 
this their guilty heads went down, and they retired, con- 
founded by his wisdom and penetrating power; and the 
woman was left, without an accuser ; alone with Jesus, 
to hear, in accents of matchless tenderness, the encour- 
aging words, " Go in peace and sin no more." In com- 
pany with the Herodians, the Pharisees made a second 
great effort to catch him in his words : they came with 
a question about the tribute money, and thought they 
had him securely cornered. " Is it lawful to give tribute 
to Csesar or not? " This, it seems, they thought was not 


sufficiently direct, as he might have simply referred them 
to the law, hence, they quickly added, "Shall we give, or 
shall we not give? " Mark xii, 14, 15. If he had said 
that they should give tribute, they would have said that 
he was a pretty king, teaching his subjects to pay tribute 
to another! The throne of David, which it was promised 
that Messiah should restore, would not be restored, in its 
former grandeur, so long as they were tributary to a for- 
eign power, and besides this, the people looked upon the 
tribute as a burden under which they groaned; and they 
held those in contempt who justified it. We our- 
selves know in what contempt our own revenue officers 
are held by many. On the other hand, if he had said 
they should not pay tribute, they would have accused 
him before the Roman court. It will be remembered, 
that this accusation was brought against him before Pi- 
late, but was not sustained. If they could have proven 
this, they would have had a case against him. Thus it 
will be seen that they felt sure of bringing him into dis- 
credit with either the Romans or the multitude. But his 
wisdom compelled them to decide the question them- 
selves, by acknowledging that the tribute money belonged, 
to Caesar; and it necessarily followed that Caesar must 
have his own : — " Render unto Csesar the things that are 
Caesar's, and unto God the things that are God's." In 
other words, if by. your wickedness you have fallen un- 
der Caesar's subjection, if you are reminded of that sub- 
jection by every financial transaction, if you have no 
currency but Caesar's, both the laws of God and man re- 
quire that you should support the power that protects 
you and provides the means of intercourse with your 


neighbors. But remember that, notwithstanding this, 
there are also duties which you owe to God, the perform- 
ing of which alone will relieve you of the burdens under 
which you groan. 

The Scribes, Pharisees and Herodians having been 
silenced by his wisdom, the Sadducees came next, with 
a question by which they thought to render the doctrine 
of a future state ridiculous. The Sadducees disputed the 
doctrine of the resurrection, and a future state, and held 
that there was neither angel nor spirit. Coming to Jesus, 
they recited the law of Moses, which required a man to 
marry the widow of his deceased brother, in case the 
brother died childless : they named a case, in which un- 
der this law seven brothers had married one woman, all 
of whom had died, leaving no children, and last of all 
the woman died also. They asked : "In the resurrection, 
when they shall rise, whose wife shall she be of them, 
for they all had her to wife?" They, no doubt, thought 
they had pictured a delightful heaven, where seven men 
would bequarreling over one woman ! But he answered, 
" Do ye not therefore err, because ye do not know the 
Scriptures, neither the power of God?" They had not 
known that in the world to come they don't need to 
marry. Here sickness wastes, and death depopulates, 
and marriage is necessary to maintain the human species. 
There death is unknown : sickness, sorrow and pain have 
no place ; for the heavenly atmosphere is untainted with 
disease, and marriage is unnecessary to maintain the 
population of the better country. Neither did they know 
the power of God. He who at the beginning made two 
natures out of one, can as easily transform them again, 


and give them an angelic nature, who neither marry, 
nor are given in marriage, " For in the resurrection they 
neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the 
angels of God in heaven." Matt, xxii, 30. He then 
turned upon the Sadducees, and said; " But as touching 
the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which 
was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of 
Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? 
God is not the God of the dead, but of the living." Then 
Abraham, Isaac and Jacob are living, and as they live, 
we shall live also. After this we are told, they asked him 
no more questions, and thus acknowledged themselves 
confounded by his wisdom. 

But he is the Bright and Morning Star. Venus is pre- 
eminently the bright morning star; appearing as such 
for months at a time, rising a little before the sun. Mer- 
cury is so near to the sun that it is seldom seen. Mars, 
Jupiter and Saturn, having orbits outside of the earth, 
arise at all hours of the night, and at times shine all night 
long ; their rising and setting, therefore, do not mark any 
particular period of the night. But Venus, having an 
orbit inside of ours, in making its journey around the 
sun, it never rises over about three hours above our hori- 
zon, and therefore never rises more than three hours 
ahead of the sun ; its average being only one hour and a 
half ahead of the sun ; hence, when it rises, we know that 
day is coming — that its dawn will soon appear. It is 
truly the certain harbinger of day. Other lights may 
mislead, deceive and disappoint us, but it, never ! When 
it arises, we know that the sunlight will soon follow. It 
is the forerunner, the usher, the introducer of day. Now 



Jesus may be called the Morning Star, because be intro- 
duced the first ray of hope into this sin cursed world. 
Man had lost the divine image and favor, the last ray of 
hope had faded from his soul, and there was nothing but 
a fearful looking for the blackness of eternal darkness — 
a darkness so dense that no star was seen, nor was there 
hope of a morning to follow. In the midst of this dark- 
ness the Morning Star of hope arose out of the promise: 
" The seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." 
This promise gave hope to a lost world: it was the har^ 
binger of the day dawn ; it ushered in the morning of re- 
demption; it introduced the day of salvation, and pro-- 
claimed the approach of the dayspring from on high. In 
its light the patriarchs walked : its rays illuminated their 
path, and cheered them on their journey to the Celestial 
City. As the Morning Star, Jesus ushered in the day of 
freedom from the rigor of the legal economy. What a 
burdensome system that was; what an almost endless 
round of ceremonies, of new-moon feasts, and many kinds 
of offerings, of fasts, affliction of soul, and long and te-* 
dious journeys to the place of worship. These were.types 
of the one offering for sin, of the intense agony of him 
who should be bruised for our iniquity, upon whom our 
chastisement should fall, and by whose stripes we should 
be healed. His coming in the flesh lifted the burden of 
these rites and ceremonies from our shoulders, and pro* 
claimed the day of Gospel liberty — a day in which we 
have no need to make a pilgrimage to some high mouh* 
tain, or to Jerusalem to worship, but wherever two or 
three are assembled % in his name, truly believing, there 


we may expect his presence, yea, wherever a holy aspira* 
tion ascends from a sincere heart, the answer of peace is 
assured • 

il Not heaven's wide range of hallow'd space 
Jehovah's presence can confine ; 
Nor angels' claim restrain his grace, 
Whose glories through creation shine. 

It beam'd on Eden's guilty days, 
And traced redemption's wondrous plan: 

From Calvary, in brightest rays, 
It glowed to guide benighted man. 

Its sacred shrine it fixes there, 
Where two or three are met to raise 

Their holy hands in humble prayer, 
Or tune their hearts to grateful praise.'* 

In this glorious day, we have no need to wait at the 
pool for the troubling of the water, but a physician awaita 
the approach of the impotent folk. 

" Free from the law, oh happy condition, 
The star hath appeared and there is remission, 
JJo burdensome rite henceforth on us laid, 
For Jesus the price of redemption hath paid." 

As the Bright and Morning Star, he ushers into the 
soul, the light of joy and peace. What darkness envel* 
opes and fills the soul of the sinner { He is represented 
by the Great Teacher, as sitting in darkness, in the val- 
ley and shadow of death— in gross darkness. And we 
who have been called out of darkness into God's marvel- 
ous light, can testify how dark that night of sin was 3 and 


with what rapture we beheld the rising of the Morning 
Star. As its glorious rays brightened the morning of our 
espousal, we sang : 

" In darkest shades, when he appeared, 
My dawning was begun : 
He is my soul's bright morning star, 
And he my rising sun,'* 

I can think of nothing more appropriate, with which 
to close this discourse, than the closing words of Jesus, 
to the beloved disciple— the prophetic valedictory : "And 
he saith unto me, Seal not up the words of the prophecy 
of this book; for the time is at hand. He that is right- 
eous, let him be righteous still : and he that is filthy, let 
him be made filthy still : and he that is holy, let him 
be made holy still. Behold, I come quickly ; and my 
reward is with me, to render to each man according as 
his work is. I am Alpha and Omega, the first and the 
last, the beginning and the end. Blessed are they that 
wash their robes, that they may have a right to come to 
the tree of life, and may enter in by the gates into the 
city. Without are the dogs, and sorcerers, and fornica* 
tors, and murderers, and idolaters, and every one that 
loveth and maketh a lie. I Jesus have sent mine angel 
to testify unto you these things for the churches. I am 
the root and offspring of J)avid, the bright arid morning 
star. The Spirit and the bride say, Come. And he that 
heareth, let him say, Come. And he that is athirst, let 
him come ; he that will, let him take of the water of life 
freely. I testify unto every man that heareth the words 
of the prophecy of this book ? If any man shall add UiUo 


them, God shall add unto him the plagues which are writ- 
ten in this book: and if any man shall take away from 
the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take 
away his part from the tree of life, and out of the holy 
city, which are written in this book. He which testifieth 
these things saith, Yea; I come quickly. Amen: come, 
Lord Jesus. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with 
all the saints. Amen." 








"Verily, I say unto you, All sins shall be forgiven unto the sons 
of men, and blasphemies wherewith soever they shall blaspheme : 
but he that, shall blaspheme against the Holy Ghost, hath never 
forgiveness." Mark hi, 28, 29. 

Upon this subject men and women's minds have been 
much exercised. The great difficulty that has attended 
a proper solution of this grave subject, has arisen from 
the confounding of passages of Scripture referring to other 
classes of sins, with this sin, to which the text refers, and 
from not properly understanding the nature of the sin 
as named in the text. 

There are three classes of sins in which men may put 
themselves beyond God's pardoning mercy in this life, 
beside the sin referred to m the text. 

I. There is the sin unto death ; as referred to in 1 John 
v, 16, " If any man see his brother sin a sin, which is not 
unto death, he shall ask, and he shall give him life for 
them that sin not unto death. There is a sin unto death : 
I do not say he shall pray for it." This same class of 
sins is alluded to in Numbers v, 27, 30, 31: "And if a 


soul sin through ignorance, * * the priest shall make an 
atonement for the soul when he sinneth by ignorance, 
before the Lord, and it (his sin) shall be forgiven him. 
But the soul that doeth ought presumptuously, * * that 
soul shall be cut off from among his people." In the 
passage in 1 John v, 16, the Apostle has no reference to 
the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, as allu- 
ded to by the Saviour in the text. Although it is, or 
was a sin that put the perpetrator beyond a chance of 
being forgiven, yet it was not the sin of blasphemy that 
Christ sealed with eternal damnation. This sin unto 
death, which many confound with the sin of blasphemy 
against the Holy Ghost, has an exemplification in the 
case of the prophet or man of God sent by the Lord to 
reprimand Jeroboam, the King of Israel, for his practic- 
ing idolatry at Bethel. See 1st Kings xiii, 17 — 24. This 
man of God sent to Bethel was instructed by the Lord, 
when he had delivered his message, not to tarry at Bethel, 
nor eat bread, nor drink water in the place, and not to 
return by the same way he came. There was an old lying 
prophet at Bethel, who heard of the man of God that had 
delivered the message to Jeroboam : his sons were pres- 
ent at the altars of worship or sacrifices at Bethel ; they 
saw all that had transpired, and told their father (the ly- 
ing prophet), all that had happened. The old lying 
prophet went to bring the man of God back to eat with 
him. The man of God disobeyed the divine injunctions 
given him by the Lord, not to eat bread nor drink water 
in that place, but he both eat bread and drank water. 
Thus disobeying the Lord, God prepared a lion, and ars 


the disobedient prophet started from the old lying proph- 
et's house to go on his way home, the lion met him and 
slew him in the highway. 

This sin of disobedience was immediately punished 
with death ; therefore it was a sin unto death, or a single 
sin that the Lord punished with death. In the case of 
Ananias and Sapphira, (Acts v, 1,) we have two other 
instances where a single sin was punished with immedi- 
ate death— their sin of lying unto the Holy Ghost. They 
told a wilful lie to God's apostles about their earthly pos- 
sessions. These Apostles were acting under the power of 
inspiration — were acting in Christ's stead, under the di- 
rections of the Holy Spirit, therefore in lying unto the 
Apostles, Ananias and Sapphira lied unto God, and the 
Lord punished them with death, and gave them no space 
for repentance. In the case of the man of God in 1 Kings 
xiii, 17 — 24, he was acting under the immediate influence 
of the Holy Spirit, yet disobeyed God, made the sin at 
once damnable, and visited immediate retribution upon 
the offender, not allowing mercy unto him. In the case 
of Ananias and Sapphira their lie was told, notwithstand- 
ing they were under the influence of the Holy Ghost, 
therefore it was a damnable sin, and beyond mercy; 
hence, none but such as were circumstanced as they were 
could sin the sin unto death. It required a person to be 
favored with the highest evidence of the influence of the 
Holy Spirit to sin the single sin unto death. 

2. There is another condition in sin, in which men may 
place themselves beyond God's pardoning mercy in this 
life ; which condition is sometimes confounded with the 
case of the sin of blasphemy against the Holy Ghost, or 


the sin referred to in our text, pronounced by Christ as 
unpardonable. This sinful condition, to which we here 
allude, or act of sin, is that of apostasy. This sin is 
treated by the Apostle in Hebrews vi, 4 — 8 : u For it is 
impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have 
tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of 
the Holy Ghost, and have tasted of the good word of God, 
and the powers of the world to come, if they shall fall 
away, to renew them again unto repentance." See Luke 
xi, 24, on this subject. As this condition of sin, spoken 
of by Paul in the Scripture just read, excites anxiety 
among many common backsliders, I would here say that 
there was a great difference between those apostates al- 
luded to by Paul, and common blacksliders of God's 
church in this day. Common backsliders now do not oc- 
cupy the position those Jewish converts did ; hence apos- 
tasy, or common backsliding now, is not attended with 
the impossibility of repentance as then. The Christians 
may now, as was the case of the Jewish converts, be " en- 
lightened" and they may have tasted of the " heavenly gift" 
and of the. "good word of God" and of the "powers of the 
world to come" as did the Jews when converted, but we are 
not made partakers of the Holy Ghost in the sense they 
were. Hence, we can't apostatize as they did, being dif- 
ferently circumstanced religiously. Apostasy with the 
Jew was the falling away of Christian converts, who had 
been favored with the miraculous demonstrations of God's 
power under two dispensations of his grace — a people who 
had been chosen to peculiar divine favors. Those whom 
the Apostle warns against the sin of apostasy, were fa- 
vored with the testimony of those who were the living 


witnesses of Christ's incarnation : they had seen and 
handled the Messiah before and after his death and res- 
urrection. They had witnessed the Church's miracle- 
working endowments. They had been invested with all 
the saving power with which the Christian Church is in- 
vested, even to the resurrection power. Upon them was 
bestowed heaven's highest gift, the special gift of the Holy 
Ghost, by the laying on of hands, which Christians now 
do not enjoy. Is it any wonder, if they wilfully fell 
away from this condition, that they could be renewed 
unto repentance again ? This was a very different state 
from that of common backsliding, which is not a state of 
sin on which the door of mercy is closed : the backslider, 
therefore, may find pardon, if he will return to his of- 
fended Saviour: he is not in a condition to commit the 
unpardonable sin, which Jesus seals with damnation in 
the text. " Turn, backsliding children, saith the Lord . 
Return, ye backsliding children, and I will heal your 
backslidings." Jeremiah iii, 14, 22. 

3. We come next to consider what is called the un- 
pardonable sin, or the sin of blasphemy against the 
Holy Ghost- — the sin which the Saviour declares in the 
text would never be pardoned. This is the sin that 
those that are solicitous about it, want explained. In 
considering this grave question, we must not simply take 
into account the mere act of blaspheming against the 
Holy Ghost, which was in itself, according to the com- 
mon meaning of the term, speaking irreverently of the 
Holy Spirit, or the Deity, or Holy One. So far as the 
simple act is concerned, persons might blaspheme against 
the Holy Ghost, or Holy Spirit, and yet be within reach 


of pardoning mercy. It was the nature of the act of blas- 
phemy, that caused Christ to seal it with eternal retribu- 
tion. By the nature of the act, we mean two things : 
first, the feeling, or disposition of heart, that prompts to 
do the act; and secondly, the circumstances with which 
the act stood connected. 

First, we notice the feeling or disposition that incited 
them to that act of blasphemy. 

(1.) The feeling of malevolence or extreme hatred: as the 
Scripture states, "They hated me without a cause." 

(2.) They were prompted by a spirit of arrogance or 
pride. They were too proud to admit the divine work of 
the Saviour. 

(3.) It was prompted by a deliberate, determinate obsti- 
nacy, to resist every evidence of Christ's being the Son of 

First, it was prompted by falsifying their convictions, 
declaring what, in their minds, they did not really believe 
and feel in their hearts — that the Saviour cast out those 
evil spirits by the prince of devils : their knowledge and 
conscience told them better. 

Secondly, let us notice some of the peculiar circum- 
stances connected with their religious experience, that 
added to the enormity of the act. 

(1.) They had been favored with the highest develop- 
ments of God's miracle-working power in their behalf. 
They had seen and confessed the works of the Holy Spirit 
—confessed His power in other instances, which they 
now blaspheme. 

(2.) They here blasphemously deny the highest attesta* 
tion of the divinity of Christ. 


(3.) No people ever have bad God's special and super- 
natural interposition in their behalf, as had the Jews, 
yet they presumed to pour out blasphemy in God's face, 
because it was uttered in the face of Jesus Christ. Those 
are the aggravations of that awful sin of blasphemy 
against the Holy Ghost, that Jesus sealed with eternal 
damnation. This sin none but a Jew was circumstanced 
to commit ; therefore, men and women need not be solic- 
itous about committing it now. 

But there is a condition, or state of sin, into which 
men may place themselves in this life, and put them- 
selves beyond God's pardoning mercy. That is the state 
of reprobacy. Men and women may reach this state in 
sin,~and still remain on earth for a time. This condition 
is alluded to in various passages of Scriptures. Prov. i, 
22 — 30 : " How long, ye simple ones, will ye love sim- 
plicity? and the scorners delight in their scorning, and 
fools hate knowledge? Turn you at my reproof: behold, 
I will pour out my Spirit unto you, I will make known 
my words unto you. Because I have called, and ye re- 
fused ; I have stretched out my hand, and no man re- 
garded ; but have set at naught all my counsel, and would 
none of my reproof. I also will laugh at your calamity ; 
I will mock when your fear cometh ; when your fear 
cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a 
whirlwind ; when distress and anguish cometh upon 
you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not an- 
swer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find 
me: for that they hated knowledge, and did not choose 
the fear of the Lord." Again we have this condition of 
sin referred to in 2 Thess. ii, 11, 12: " And for this cause 


God shall send them strong delusion, that they should 
believe a lie: that they all might be damned who be- 
lieved not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteous- 
ness." Again in Rom. i, 28: " And even as they did not 
like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them 
over to a reprobate mind." Again in 2 Cor. xiii, 5 : 
" Know ye not your ownselves, how that Jesus Christ is 
in you, except ye be reprobates?" Luke xiii, 34, 35 : " 
Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killeth the prophets, * * 
behold your house is left unto you desolate." 

This is a condition that sinners in these days can fall 
into. It is a state of sin that not only individuals have 
reached, but the antideluvian world of mankind reached 
this condition. It is a state of sin that nations have 
reached ; and there could be with them nothing but the 
certain fearful looking for of the fiery indignation of God. 
This is a state into which every sinner living can reach 
by often rejecting God's proffered mercy. Heb. x, 22. 
That men may not procrastinate their acceptance of 
mercy, and get beyond the reach of pardoning mercy, 
a warning is given them in Proverbs xxix, 1 : " He that 
being often reproved hardeneth his neck, shall suddenly 
be destroyed, and that without remedy." This is a loud 
warning voice to sinners to shun the sin of reprohacy, 
which is the sin that fills up their cup of iniquity, which 
seals their fate, putting them beyond God's pardoning 
mercy, as were those that blasphemed against the Holy 





*' He drove out the man." Genesis iii, 24. 

Never was there a sight so solemn, or a scene so mourn-* 
ful, as that displayed in the banishment of man from the 
garden of the Lord. The sentence bad been heard, but 
still they wereunapprized that banishment awaited them. 
They had learned that they were doomed to toil and to 
die, but they doubtless consoled themselves with the re^ 
flection that they might spend their Sabbaths amid the 
bowers of Eden and repose at night within the sacred en- 
closure, or rest at noon beneath its ample shades: but 
alas ! they discovered that they were soon to be hurried 
away to parts unknown. The preparations which were 
being made by Deity himself for clothing them with 
coats of skin, betrayed a purpose to send them forth to 
less salubrious climes to a rigor in which the fig-leaf cov- 
ering of Eden would not protect them. " Unto Adam 
and to his wife did the Lord God make coats of skin and 
clothed them." How changed their condition ! Thus 
rudely clad, they stood as silent spectators of this myste? 
rions work of Deity, whose wrath seemed strangely 


mingled with compassion. They queried the meaning ; 
what need of clothing beyond the fig-leaf, where chilling 
winds had never blown, and frost had never nipped the 
virgin flowers that bloomed on the plains or skirted the 
rivers of Eden ? They doubtless guessed as to the de- 
signs of God, and longed to know the worst. A hash 
most deeply solemn was in the garden-^a stillness per-? 
vaded the earth and the sky. No sound was heard save 
only a moan of distress, mingled with a sound of confu- 
sion in the breeze, which came over from the world of 
animals among the neighboring hills that seemed por-* 
tentous of evils before unknown. On the far-off sky the 
first dark clouds were seen. The first storm gathered 
thick and fasW-the lightnings, it may be, played on its 
bosom. New-born thunders shook the heavens, but in 
the garden all was calm. On golden pinions angels 
gathered among the trees while God in silence pre* 
pared to drive them forth into the world of tempests 
without the gates of Paradise, which was then to them 
forever lost. The man looked on the woman — her glory 
had departed : with anxious solicitude she returned the 
gaze upon the man, and he was a fallen monarch | How 
appalling the scene ! They fain would have talked of 
the thrilling scenes which were enacting around them ; 
but they were culprits and dare not speak. Indeed, no 
time had been allowed them for consultation, from the 
time they had first partaken of the forbidden fruit until 
the time of their condemnation. Step by step they had 
been hurried from their hiding place in the garden to 
their trial, their sentence and their banishment. 
JTew scenes were about to be revealed ; new trials 


awaited them, and new developments of wrath were soon 
to be disclosed, and still no time was afforded for consul- 
tation. Amid the trees a Trinity were seen in council 
as to the manner of disposing of the culprits, whose lives 
had been spared by the interposition of the promised 
seed. "And the Lord God said, Behold the man is be- 
come as one of us, to know good and evil ; and now, lest 
he put forth his hand, and take also of the tree of life, 
and eat, and live forever: therefore the Lord God sent 
him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground 
from which he was taken. So he drove out the man." 
Until then, perhaps, they had never ventured beyond the 
gates of Paradise, but now the Deity, with angels and 
cherubim who thronged the sacred place, prepared to 
conduct them to the world beyond. With despairing 
look they gazed upon the much loved spot, then turned 
away in all the agonies of despair, and slowly and with 
faltering step retired to the world of their future toil. 
The sun, perhaps, was just retiring from the western sky, 
when the guilty pair passed out of their native Paradise^ 
to return no more. How solemn their reflection as they 
cast a lingering look upon their forfeited inheritance, 
How lonely the spell that came over them, when they 
saw the glittering trains of the Almighty disappearing 
in the distance, while they, in solitude, were left upon 
the untented field, with no other covering than the deep 
blue sky ! A time for reflection had arrived, the culprits 
were alone in a state of banishment from their native 
home. No angel voice was heard ; no whispers of mercy 
were in the breeze ! They felt that they were banished 
in a strange land with none to help and none to pity. 


Never did solitude appear less charming, and yet no way 
of escape was seen. They fain would have ventured back, 
but God had driven them forth, and they knew they could 
not return, and to make the attempt would be to incur 
his greater displeasure. The night approached ; the 
beasts of the field were reposing in slumber; all nature 
was hushed in silence ; no sound was heard save tiow and 
then perchance the growl of the tiger as he passed, the 
howl of the wolf among the neighboring hills, or the 
lonely hoot or startling shriek of the owl of the wilder- 
ness. The world around them was desolate. Thistles and 
thorns were the product of the soil, and rank and abun* 
dant did they grow. No bowers of peace were there. 
No bow of promise was on the cloud. No gentle mur- 
murings of the brooks of Paradise were heard. The stars 
were brightly twinkling in the distant sky; but to them 
they had no charms, as they only disclosed the barren 
waste of the sin-cursed world, with which they were 
surrounded. Gloomy beyond description were their re- 
flections, as they mutely sat upon the ground. They 
remembered the pleasures of Paradise from which they 
had been driven— ^-their nightly rambles amid its bowers 
—their fearless star-light musings and unbroken slum- 
bers within its walls. But with respect to these, they 
were then as those who dreamed. They could scarcely 
realize, while retrospecting their former glory, riches, and 
power, that they were then reduced to poverty, toil, and 
peril, in a state of lonely exile from that glorious kingdom 
over which the Almighty had so recently given them 
dominion. They fain would have fancied it all a dream ; 
but alas! the anguish of spirit they felt, the goadjngs of 


conscience they endured, and the damp and chill which 
distressed them, demonstrated clearly that all was lost. 
With sleepless vigilance they watched the foes with which 
they were surrounded, and longed for the approach of 
day. Angels, it seems to us, might well have wept, when 
silently gazing on the banished pair, as they nerved 
themselves to resist the first pangs of their depraved 
moral nature, and the first sorrow of their fallen state. 
With sleep they struggled as with a foe, for they did not 
dare to slumber, as the moan of death to them, seemed 
sounding in every coming breeze, in the far-off heavens. 
The glittering spheres were wheeling, and glowing, then 
as now ; but that with them was not the moment for 
meditating upon nature's beauties. Their thoughts were 
turned upon themselves — reflections upon their own 
melancholy future held pre-eminence, and a burden of 
grief, almost intolerable, overwhelmed them. Bitter were 
their recollections of the past, and bitter the tears that 
were shed for the ruin they had wrought upon themselves 
and the unborn millions of the race for all ages then to 
come, ! what a night was that first spent beyond the 
gates of Paradise ! Crushed hopes and tormenting fears 
were blended with bodily pain, from fatigue and exposure 
to the damps of earth and the piercing chills of the night- 
winds of heaven. Among all the stars that twinkled in 
the dusky depths of the sky, there was to them no star 
of hope — no gleam of joy. They watched the seemingly 
slugglish movements of the spheres and longed for day, 
that they might see the worst of the untried theatre as- 
signed them, and seek some means of safety and support. 
The day dawn came ! With what tears of joy they saw 


the coming morn! as the sun's first beams gilded the 
eastern sky — as the king of day arose, and nature stood 
forth revealed to the eye of man. But oh ! how changed ! 
The earth was cursed ; weeds and briers sprang forth from 
the ground where once the lilly grew, and the guilty pair 
were compelled to eat the herbs of the field for their 
morning repast. They thought of the fruits of the gar- 
den, and resolved to return and risk the vengeance of 
God rather than perish in the wilderness world with 
which they were surrounded. Slowly and with anxious 
solicitude they retraced their steps. In the distance they 
beheld the garden of the Lord, and lo ! it was in full bloom 
as in days gone by. To it the curse had not extended. 
Its trees, as at first, were bending with fruits ; its foun- 
tains were gushing and flowing amid its bowers; in the 
east of the garden was the Tree of Life, and thither they 
bent their way, with joyful expectation of partaking of 
its fruit that they might live forever. But suddenly they 
paused, as though some danger threatened I A sentinel 
was there! Grim and terrible he appeared; a flaming 
sword was in his hand and fiery indignation in his eye* 
They retreated from this awful presence, and the last ray 
of hope was gone. 

This awful banishment is recorded for our instruction 
and improvement. This was the punishment inflicted 
for the first act of human disobedience. In it, God gives 
us the first picture of the exceeding sinfulness of sin — a 
picture painted by the hand of Infinite Purity, and dis- 
playing in fearful colors the evils of disobedience. If by 
this one sin, the original Paradise was forever lost, we have 
much cause for care, lest there should be in us a spirit of 


disobedience, producing presumption, which may rob us 
of the promised inheritance — the Eden on high, where 
the Tree of Life, laden with immortal fruits, nourishes 
on either side of the river. 

May God grant unto each of you grace to listen to the 
warning voice, to give earnest heed to the importance of 
obedience, as designed to be taught by the historical fact 
we have briefly delineated ; that you may finally be ad- 
mitted to the everlasting enjoyment of that Paradise which 
the second Adam has prepared for all who are partakers 
of His nature. 

Grace, mercy, and peace, be with you, and keep you 
in the love of God the Father. Amen. 







"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten 
Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have 
everlasting life." John iii, 16. 

Can this extraordinary announcement be received as 
actual truth ? Dare we credit it, or lift up our guilty 
hearts to comprehend its terms? It is so exceedingly 
strange and thrilling, that it seems to stunn us, and only 
on recovering from our amazement, are we able to grasp 
this blessed declaration. There is so much of God in it, 
that we recognize his awful presence, and fear, as we are 
entering " into the cloud." " God so loved the world." If 
I may use the expression, God created the world, or God 
preserves the world, or God governs the world. The lan- 
guage I employ is, to my mind, the symbol of infinite 
wisdom, power, and benignity. But when I repeat this 
statement, " God so loved the world," the apparently sim- 
ple clause reveals at once a depth of meaning at which 
the mind is almost startled into incredulity : and yet these 
precious words afford the true explanation of many mys- 


teries in God's providence. Why, for example, may the 
saint exclaim, I have been redeemed, I have been brought 
into the conscious possession of divine peace and joy— 
and the dark shadows that lay on my mind have all fled 
away ; or, Why does the throne of the universe now stand 
out as a throne of grace, to which there is for me daily 
access, continuous welcome, and rich response? or, W T hy 
are there in heaven the spirits of our human kindred, 
whose bodies are lying yet in the darksome pollution and 
thralldom of the grave ? Are net such changes, privileges 
and blessings to be traced upward and backward to the 
grand and ultimate fact, that God loved the world? 

Now, the introductory shows that this text presents 
itself as the reason for the previous statement. The ref- 
erence in it is to a remarkable incident in the history of 
ancient Israel. They had in one of their periodical fits of 
national insanity, so provoked their divine Protector, 
that he sent among them fiery serpents, and many of 
them were bitten and died. But, to modify the chastise- 
ment, and make its terror of salutary effect, Moses was 
commanded to frame a brazen figure of one of the poison- 
ous reptiles, and place it upon the summit of the flag-staff, 
go that any wounded Hebrew might be able to see it from 
the extremity of the camp, and every one, no matter how 
sorely he felt the poison in his fevered veins, if he could 
only turn his languid vision to the sacred emblem, he 
was instantly healed. 

It is then asserted that salvation is a process of equal 
simplicity, facility and certainty. Jesus Christ must be 
lifted up, and he that looks may live and be saved from 
death. This is a pledge of safety and glory to the be- 


liever. (l He that believeth shall be saved." The scheme 
of salvation is here presented to us in its origin, its 
means and its designs ; or we may contemplate the love 
of God, first in its object — the world ; secondly, in the 
provision he has made for its deliverance — the gift of 
his Son ; and thirdly, in the instrumentality by which 
this provided salvation is brought into individual pos^ 
session-— the exercise of faith. 

1. The object of God's love. 

Again we recur to the startling thought, if God so 
loved this guilty world, what an unplumbed depth of 
grace must be in his heart ! For the object of his love is 
not the world in its fairest condition, such as it was when 
his eyes resting on it with beaming complacency, he pro* 
nounced it "very good," but that same world ruined by 
sin, and condemned for its apostasy. There would have 
been no wonder had the divine Lawgiver assumed the 
stern functions of the Judge and doomed our guilty earth 
to the death which it deserved. Might it not have been 
enveloped in flames, which, gleaming far into other 
orbits, would have taught other creatures that " our God 
is a consuming fire"? But, though he had armed his 
law with a terrible penalty, and allowed the incipient 
elements of the menace to fall upon the sinner; though 
the holiness of his nature and the interests of his gov- 
ernment seemed to demand that punishment shall in* 
stantly and immediately follow transgression, yet, with* 
out any change in our claims or character, he loved us. 
And that love is not a mere relenting which might lead 
to a respite, or a simple regret which might end in a 
sigh, but } thrice blessed be his name, it is a positive af* 


fection. It is as true as his existence, as real as our sin. 
Now there is no merit in loving what is lovely, for by a 
necessity of our emotional nature, our affection throws 
itself out upon any object that presents an aspect of love- 
liness. Such an instinct within us is only the reflection 
of a similar law in the character and actions of God. 
He cannot but love what bears his image, and therefore 
the bright and happy essences who surround his throne 
are forever sunning themselves in his ineffable smile. 
But, ah! man has washed out and lost his moral loveli- 
ness; originally like God, he is now as unlike him as he 
can be, and there is nothing about him but his misery 
to attract the Divine attachment. Paradise loathed and 
expelled him, and the globe into which he was exiled 
out of Eden, has been cursed for his sake — " the whole 
creation groaneth and travaileth in pain together"; the 
bleak rock on which no seed can vegetate; the eternal 
snows where no animal breathe ; the blasted oak of 
the forest, stretching its leafless arms to the wintry sky; 
the beach spread over with the wreck and corpses of the 
hurricane; the desolations of volcanic fires and the rock- 
ing and chasms of the earthquake; the bed on which 
tosses the invalid, to whom wearisome days and nights 
are appointed ; the hand which the laboring man uplifts 
to wipe the perspiration from his brow ; and those mon- 
uments of victory that tell of thousands lying beneath 
them uncoffined and unknelled — these are tongues by 
which nature proclaims in melancholy emphasis that 
she has wandered from her God. And this sin of man 
is not his misfortune, but his fault. Sometimes those 
around us are overborne in providence; wave after wave 



breaks upon them, and„as they stagger and fall, they are 
more to be pitied than to be blamed. Alas ! on the con- 
trary, man is not only a ruined, but a self-ruined creatures 
he has lowered himself to what he is—the victim of his 
own pride and disobedience. 

I presume not to solve the mystery of the origin of 
evil. I cannot tell why, with God's possession of infinite 
power and purity and love, sin was ever permitted to 
find its way into our world ; but this I know, that amidst 
all subtile speculations on this dark theme — amidst all 
daring and devious attempts to climb these heights of 
eternal Providence — this one truth is Yery apparent:; 
"God made man upright, but they have sought out many 
inventions;" there is, therefore, no palliation for our 
crime. Our Master is not an "austere" one reaping 
where he had not sown, and gathering where he had not 
strewn. The law under which man was placed was holy, 
and just, and good; and he was furnished with power of 
perfect obedience. The test by which he was tried was 
an easy one, and he was, but for one restraint, lord of the 
world : besides, it was simply a respect for the divine will 
which could lead him to obedience. There was no com- 
mingling motives such as that which spring out of nat- 
ural relationship and originates moral obligations ; but 
man broke this simple covenant, and wantonly disobeyed 
the clear injunction not to eat of the tree. And yet that 
world, which has in this way made , itself so guilty and 
helpless through its perversity and disloyalty, is not 
thrown off by God — is not flung into oblivion by him, 
and covered with his frown— is not merely tolerated, or, 
like a condemned criminal, indulged with a few provi* 


dential and minor kindnesses ; but is really loved by him. 
The marvel is this, there is nothing he hates so much as 
sin, and yet no one he has loved so much as a sinner. In 
spite of our alienation and hostility ; in spite of our low 
and loathsome repugnance ; in the midst of so much that 
he hates and condemns and nauseates, God has loved, 
yes, has " so loved the world !" What infinite grace in 
this amazing love of God ! Let me sing, 

* ' Thou shalt walk in robes of glory ; 
Thou shalt wear a golden crown ; 
Thou shalt sing redemption's story 
With the saints around the throne, 
Thou shalt see that better country 
Where a tear-drop never falls, 
Where a foe may never enter, 
And a friend ne'er said farewell. 
Where upon the radiant faces 
That will shine on thee alway, 
Thou wilt never see the traces 
Of estrangement and decay." 

2. If God loved, and so loved this little world, surely his love 
ivas wholly disinterested in its nature. 

Should some large and important province of an em- 
pire rise in rebellion, the sovereign will use every means 
to induce it to return to its allegiance ere he proceed to 
arms against it; but should an insignificant region be in- 
volved in insurrection, summary vengeance will be taken 
at once on its folly. Now, our rebellious world was only 
a small portion of God's universe. What a melancholy 
thought did we look up to the sky and see in every orb 
a wreck and in every star a prison of ruined spirits ! 
The great unfallen universe is a vast territory on which 


its Creator can still look with complacency. If, therefore, 
worlds unnumbered roll around his throne, brighter in 
their glories of light and mass of structure and motion than 
ours; if the absence of our earth from creation would be 
as little felt as the removal of a single particle of sand 
from the mound which girds the ocean ; and if another 
divine flat could at once fill its place with a new orb, 
and with another population whose obedience should be 
coeval with existence and co-extensive with their faculties 
— will it yet be aflirmed that it was from any selfish mo- 
tive, or with any selfish purpose, that God has prolonged 
our existence, when life and all its enjoyment has been for- 
feited? or that we are of so much importance to himself, 
his happiness, or the harmony of his empire, that, rather 
er than allow us to perish, he gave up his only begotten 
Son to death, even the death of the cross ? " When I con- 
sider the heavens, the work of thy fingers ; the moon and 
stars, which thou hast ordained; what is man that thou 
art mindful of him ? and the son of man, that thou vis- 
itest him?" Higher beings are even the servants of 

Of highest Gfod, that loves His creatures so, 
And all his works with mercy doth embrace — 

That blessed angels he sends to and fro, 

To serve to wicked man — to serve his wicked foe. 

The same truth has been pictured out to us by the great 
teacher. The shepherd had a hundred sheep, and only one 
had gone astray. But his fond anxieties go out after it ; 
and leaving the ninety and nine in comparative neglect, 
he flees into the wilderness and seeks everywhere, till he 


comes upon the object of his solicitude — the one poor 
wanderer; and when he finds it, there is more joy in his 
bosom over the recovery of the solitary straggler, than 
over the entire flock that had not deserted the fold. Oh, 
there is more of the heart of God exhibited in our salva- 
tion than in all his benignity to the universe, in which 
this orb is truly a " little one;" and yet it has called out 
emotions which other and mightier spheres have failed to 
elicit. Now, such is its moral magnitude, that in its con- 
nection with Christ, it stands out in unrivalled glory from 
other worlds, and over its redeemed inhabitants is the 
chant raised, this my son " was dead and is alive again ; 
and was lost, and is found." Therefore, we may exclaim 
" The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want." " Not unto 
us, Lord, not unto us, but unto Thy name give glory, 
for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake." 

3. If God loved ihis world, this world of fallen men — and 
not of fallen angels — his love must be sovereign in its essence, 
for man was not the only sinner in his dominions. 

Beings of higher original nature, and having their po- 
sition in heaven itself, were mysteriously involved in the 
guilt and doom of apostasy, and expelled from their 
bright domain. And yet, though they dwelt in heaven, 
they are not summoned back to it; no pardon is offered 
to them ; no means of purity are provided for them ; no 
mediator has taken on himself the nature of angels, in 
order to make atonement for them: they are left to the 
endurance of death— death for ever — ever sinning, ever 
suffering, while pardon and restoration have been pro- 
claimed to the human family—our weak and erring race f 


So nearly allied to the ground they tread, so proud in 
their debility and so impious in their thraldom, would 
it not have been a more natural operation, so to speak, to 
have saved these lofty exiles, and called them again to 
the heaven in which they once lived, and for which they 
were created, than to select this distant and miserable 
world, and by an abnormal and mighty process to purify 
and refine its wretched earthy outcasts for a realm of 
existence to which they are strangers, and to which they 
reason, inducing infinite wisdom to make this choice? 
We may neither search nor maintain this preference of 
fallen man to fallen spirits, as the recipient of divine love 
can only be resolved into a mysterious exercise of uncon- 
trolled sovereignty. The loved of earth and hell both 
might have been punished with eternal penalty, and 
neither the one nor the other could have complained of 
the equity of its doom, and both might have been forgiven 
and redeemed, and the one and the other would have 
equally felt its salvation due to the blessed Jehovah's ten- 
der pity. Nay, though hell had been taken and earth 
had been left, — though the earliest transgressor only had 
been saved, and brought again to the awful presence be- 
fore which they once mixed, and the hallelujahs which 
they once sang, while this world was left to pine and grow 
hopeless and helpless. But Christ's universal and ever- 
lasting kingdom hath been gloriously set up. 

Jesus shall reign where'er the sun 
Doth his successive journeys run ; 
His kingdom spread from shore to shore, 
Till moon shall wax and wane no more. 


4. The gift of God's love. 

Now, we estimate the value of a gift by various criteria. 
First, the resources of the giver must be taken into con- 
sideration. If a man be loaded with the blessings of 
fortune himself, and occasionally part with some of his 
superfluity, such a fraction, if estimated by its propor- 
tion to what remains behind it, is really far less in value 
than another gift that does not possess it semblance of 
magnitude. Oar Lord reckoned by this scale, when he 
declared that the poor widow, who cast her last mite into 
the treasury, gave truly more than the wealthy worship- 
pers with the ringing shekels and talents of their abun- 
dance, for " she gave her all." Nor can the motive of the 
giver be left out of the calculation ; one may heap favor 
upon the head of a fallen foe to wound his pride and 
produce within him a rankling sense of his inferiority. 
But such a donation suffers a sad discount when com- 
pared with other and in themselves smaller benefactions 
bestowed in cordial warmth and generosity of spirit. The 
manner, too, in which a gift is conferred, must enter into 
the estimate; if it be withheld till it be rung out of the 
donor by repeated and humiliating importunity, or if it 
be offered in a surly spirit, and its amount enlarged upon 
with undue exaggeration, or if it be meted out slowly and 
with a prolonged comment upon the trouble and self- 
denial it has cost the benefactor — it sinks at once in im- 
portance, especially if placed in contrast with a lesser 
boon given. The reader may note that God gave his 
only begotten Son. Look, then, with enlightened vener- 
ation at the resources of the Giver — are they not infinite 


and endless? The riches of the universe are at his dis* 
posal. But oh, when he gave his Son, did he not give his 
all? What other gift remained superior to him — equal 
to him — or next to him ? There was no second Christ 
to confer, the divine treasury containing many gifts. 

5. The design of God's love. 

But the same fervor of the divine love is seen, too, in 
the end contemplated, and in the peculiar instrumentality 
by which that end is achieved. He gave his only begot- 
ten Son for this purpose, that " whosover believeth in 
him should not perish, but have everlasting life." The 
language plainly implies that the race were all in a lost 
condition. The Son of God is given to keep them from 
perishing — from sinking into irretrievable ruin. It was 
a perdition great and terrible which sin had produced. 
What a frightful spectacle! a soul in ruin^away from 
God, and hostile to him; his image gone; his glory in the 
dust; a darkened mind; a distracted or sensualized heart; 
a spirit in thraldom; appetite predominates; the divine 
law forgotten; conscience bribed, hushed, or quelled; and 
the end of man being not unrealized, of all enjoyment. 
Life, how eagerly cherished by all; the sick man tugs for 
it; the bad man dreads its termination, and the good 
man prays for its continuance. The whole struggle of 
world is for life — for means to enliven and prolong it. It 
is full of contrivances to shut out the idea of death. Now, 
if there be such anxiety for the life that now is — a life that 
4s brief and chequered by clouds and trials — a life that is 
rarely stretched to three score and ten years, and it is 
ended amidst spasms and tears— Oh, what intense aspi- 

THE LOVE OF GOt). 883 

rations and prayers and wrestlings should there not be 
after a life that is not measured by centuries or by mil- 
lenniums — a life far above change and sorrow 7 — a life se- 
rene as the bosom of its Giver, and endless as God's own 
eternity ! 

"Let every tongue thy goodness speak, 
Thou sov'reign Lord of all ; 
Thy strength'ning hands uphold the weak, 
And raise the poor that fall." 

6. The result of God's love to the world. 

In the stead of the church he died, to deliver her from 
death, the sentence which so righteously lay upon her. 
The death of the Son of God is a true and mighty sacri- 
fice. That death might be viewed in a variety of as- 
pects; for while it was an instance of undaunted bravery 
and a confirmation of his sincere attachment to men, it 
was also an example to all his followers, inspiring them 
with that patience which they must evince during their 
lives, and with that calmness and fortitude which must 
not forsake them, even in the hour of trial and desola- 
tion. But it was more than a tragedy or a martyrdom. 
To suppose the Saviour to be the victim of human perse- 
cution is true; but to suppose him nothing more is but 
to give an ordinary termination to his extraordinary ex- 
istence. To bring into one fold all who will conform to 
His divine laws is one of the designs of the blessed Jesus ; 
also it is his design to bring into the church of God all 
who are in the fellowship of the church — the communion 
that its members enjoy, one with another. The end of 
this fellowship is the maintenance of sound doctrine and 


of the ordinances of christian worship. We will preach 
Him to all and cry in death, " Behold the Lamb." 

"How sweet the name of Jesus sounds 
In a believer's ear ; 

It soothes his sorrows, heals his wounds. 
And drives away his fear. 
It makes the wounded spirit whole, 
And calms the troubled breast ; 
'Tis manna to the hungry soul? 
And to the weary, rest.' 5 





After adoption, ainid great enthusiasm, of a memorial 
to the General Conference for the return of the Bishop to 
this District, and a short recess, the Conference re-assem- 
bled to hear the farewell, which was as follows: 

" Endeavoring to keep the unity of the spirit in the bond of 
peace." — Ephesians iv, 3. 

No apostolic admonition possesses deeper, broader, and 
more significant meaning, or is capable of a more general 
and beneficial application than that contained in the text. 
Sin has not only exhibited its hostility against God in its 
stubborn and defiant attitude of disobedience and oppo- 
sition to his just requirements, but it has also developed 
a spirit of bitter antagonism and savage encounter be- 
tween man and his fellows. 

The first important event recorded in the history of 
the race after the fall is a sad commentary upon the 
truthfulness of this declaration. Cain, with premeditated 


purpose and murderous intent, invites his unoffending 
and unsuspecting brother into the field, and, in open day, 
coolly and without any just provocation, smites him to 
the death and leaves him weltering in his blood. 

Thus early in the history of the human family were 
our parents summoned, to look sadly on the legitimate 
results of their own rash act, and the unmistakable de- 
velopment of the malice and hate, the envy and murder 
which it had produced. The cause and excuse for this 
beginning of fratricides was, that God had respect to the 
offeringof Abel and had none for that of Cain. The exercise, 
therefore, of a preference on the part of the Almighty 
toward one of his own loyal subjects, led to the commis- 
sion of the first foul murder; and how many have since 
been murdered in character, reputation, good name, and 
even deprived of life itself — simply on account of prefer- 

Such is the envious character of the human heart that 
if you will traduce your neighbor, acquaintance, or asso- 
ciate, you excite for him pity; but commend him — speak 
of his merits, his ability, his rightful claims to consider- 
ation — and you have aroused for him in the bosom of 
your hearers, feelings of jealousy and bitter hate. David 
w r ou!d have had but little to fear at the hands of Saul 
or any of his S3 7 mpathizers, if, after he had slain Goliath 
of Gath, it had been said of him by the popular crowd, 
that there was but little valor about his exploit; that it 
had been performed in an awkward and bungling man- 
ner; and that after all, the credit and glory of the 
achievement were mainly due to Saul and his brave army, 
and not to the mere accident of this youthful rustic, fresh 


from the sheepfold. But, the startling and significant 
cry which rang out on the evening air, and whose in- 
spiring eloquence and enchanting cadence, as it issued 
from the lips of the fair damsels of the land, quickened 
the pulsations of every patriotic Israelite was — "Saul 
hath slain his thousands, but David his tens of thou- 

Not, even, with credit announced with equal sweetness 
from the lips of the same fair maidens — that Saul and 
his confederates had slain their " thousands " — could they 
brook the announcement, truthful as they knew it was, 
that David had slain his "tens of thousands." 

"All this availeth me nothing," said the jealous, wicked, 
envious Hainan, "so long as I see Mordecai the Jew 
sitting at the king's gate." His banqueting, wining 
and dining with the king and queen, to the exclusion 
of all the other members of the royal court, the honor of 
the second place in the kingdom, the rich emoluments of 
office and all the glittering glories of the house of Haman 
were soured — blighted to ashes — by this slight, but well- 
merited mark cf respect awarded to that horrible Jew. 

And thus does jealous envy and secret hate, armed with 
murderous weapons, stalk abroad through all the land 
to-day scheming, plotting and planning, with a view to 
circumvention and destruction. 

It has not remained in the field where it perpetrated 
its first dark design ; it has not been content to plot its 
foul mischief and murder in kings' palaces, but, restless 
of the ordinary walks of life, it has lifted its slimy, ser- 
pentine folds into the very inner courts of the visible 
church, and even essays, and that with alarming success, 


to desecrate and pollute the sacred oracle. It were by 
no means difficult to prove that the desolating wars 
which have drenched so large a portion of the earth in 
blood have been the almost invariable fruits of envy, 
jealousy and hate, that ascendency to the thrones of earth 
have been more numerous through treachery and mur- 
der than by lawful claims or lawful means. The legiti- 
mate elements of sin are pride, selfishness, arrogance; 
these lead to discord, dissension, division, and bitter 
strife; then come uncharitableness,unmercifulness, wicked 
conspiracies, sinful plottings, envy, jealousy, hate, and 
murder — often bloodless, but, nevertheless, murder; for 
he who hates his brother, under any circumstances, is 
charged in the Scriptures with murder, though he does 
not actually shed blood. Hate cherished in the heart — 
fostered and brooded over — carried to its desired end — 
means murder as its objective point — its cherished aim. 
It misrepresents, defames character, destroys reputation ; 
and, in the language of Shakespeare, takes that from 
another which we cannot give; and is, in the eye of God, 
equally infamous with the taking of life. It needs no 
warrant from Scripture to prove that many of those who 
are converted, justified children of God by many infallible 
signs, are far from being perfectly freed from indications 
of the lingerings of these offshoots of sin — the remains 
of the carnal mind. 

Even among the devout and holy men engaged in es- 
tablishing the Christian Church, we find, at least, one ex- 
ample of the spirit of bitter contention, which distracts 
the church, and finally leads to division, envy and unholy 
strife. Paul and Barnabas, by far the more earnest and 


successful of the apostles, and, doubtless, equally pre-emi- 
nent in piety, differ so widely and so fiercely about a 
matter in which complete harmony might reasonably 
have been expected, that these good men separated in 
consequence of the sharp contention that arose between 
them, long and beneficially as they had traveled and la- 
bored together; and, so far as we are informed, they never 
associated in their labors subsequently. Thus early in 
the history of the church, and among its most distin^ 
guished advocates, do we fird the seeds of discord sown, 
and, taking root, to spring up, as evil seed is sure to, in 
envy, strife and division. We could hope, for the sake of 
that homogenial spirit, that harmony of operation, which 
is the ornament and beauty of christian character, as well 
as for the power, influence and success of the Christian 
Church, that this divergence of holy men of God from 
that path of peace and love which appeared so prominent, 
so uniform and so captivating in the early experience of 
the church, were left isolated and alone in its subsequent 
history and progress; that this huge malformation, marr^ 
ing so greatly the otherwise symmetrical and beautiful 
form of the Body and Spouse of the Lord, was the single 
instance of its kind to which infidelity could refer, 03? 
anti-christianism take exception against the claim of the 
church as the repository and dispenser of divine knowL 
edge; but the truth is sadly otherwise. 

The implied claim and boast of superiority in judg-* 
ment; in aptness to teach; in clearer or more correct 
comprehension of the word of God ; in clearness of per* 
ception on doctrinal points; in appropriate and fitting 
ceremonials; in precise Scriptural modes 3 and in various 


other less important matters, have, at one time and 
another, originated the most rancorous dissensions, re- 
sulting in the most unfortunate divisions. And many a 
Paul and Barnabas, whose christian intercourse had been 
most pleasant, whose fellowship in Jesus had been sweet, 
and whose labors together in the vineyard of the Lord 
had been crowned with most brilliant success, have sep- 
arated, never again on earth to be as lovingly united in 
a common cause as before. Add to these the jealous envy 
even in the same society which comes frequently of the 
seeming preference which the Almighty exercises by en" 
dowing one or more of his servants with more ability, 
more influence and power, and, by consequence, more 
success than others, and which, not unfrequently, mani^ 
fests itself in open or covert demonstrations, kindred to 
those by which Cain sought and finally succeeded in de- 
troying his brother, and you have an inventory of the 
vast magazine of means with which Satan carries on such 
formidable warfare against the unity, peace and success 
of the church. 

From these and other considerations, the importance 
and necessity of christian endeavor in the direction of 
the careful and prayerful maintenance of the spirit of 
unity will readily appear. 

First — Let us notice briefly the principle urged, " unity." 
The term signifies— oneness, concord, agreement; in 
such manner as to insure harmony, friendliness, peace, 
Pifferences of views, opinions, doctrines and creeds are 
likely to exist for an indefinite period; possibly, and most 
probably, to the end of time. Denominational diversi- 
ties arising from honest and sincere differences of inter* 


pretation of the word of God, seem, therefore, unavoida^ 
ble^and any serious attempt at uniforrnit} 7 in these re- 
spects, much as they may appear desirable, is likely to be 
unsuccessful and futile. 

Uniformity in maternal care, and early training in 
education, in literature, in lines of thought, and in all the 
conditions, accidents, and circumstances which enter into 
the formation and development of mental and moral 
character, must, in the nature of things, precede any hope^ 
ful attempt at uniformity in this respect; and, as noth^- 
jng in the near future encourages a hope of a uniformity 
so strange, it would seem useless for us to waste our en* 
ergies in efforts to accomplish that which seems not only 
of doubtful accomplishment, but of equally doubtful ad ? 
vantage or benefit. 

Christian unity, as urged in the text, is not, conse? 
quently, dependent upon either the abrogation of de- 
nominational distinctions — not'in themselves invidious — 
or uniformity in any of those circumstances and condi^ 
tions in human development which render mankind so 
diverse in their thoughts and actions; but it aecommo? 
dates itself to all these circumstances and shades of dif* 
ference, and so blends and harmonizes them as to render 
each subservient and helpful to the other, and alike bene- 
ficial to all. 

Secondly^- We observe that the nature of the unity, 
for the maintainanceof which we are urged by the Apos* 
tie to put forth an earnest endeavor, is " unity of spirit"—? 
union, agreement, harmony of spirit; that condition of 
mind wherein the sentiments, desires and affections are 
go happily influenced, directed and controlled by a feel* 


ing of friendliness and good will, that the one all-perva» 
ding, all-controlling and predominating spirit, which 
disposes us to deal prudently, friendly, kindly and even 
magnanimously with each other at all times, and under 
whatever real or imaginary provocation, shall hold its 
ascendency over every other feeling that would seek to 
antagonize it, with its banner joyfully thrown to the 
breeze, floating in triumph over all human selfishness, 
emblazoned with the Christian motto, " good will to 

The fostering and exercise of this spirit would prove a 
panacea for the effectual cure of nearly all the maladies 
which enervate the church, and shear it so fearfully of 
its influence and power for good. 

However widely we may differ in our opinions, our 
creeds, our views of church polity, our modes of admin- 
istration ; however diversified our gifts, graces and call- 
ings in life; whatever may bo our denominational diver? 
gencies, we may, and ought to be, firmly and harmoni- 
ously united in a spirit of fraternal love. As in nature 
harmony is made up of diversities or seeming contrari* 
eties ; as in music, it depends upon alternate chords and 
discords, so also in the Christian Church, infinite wisdom 
and goodness, by a seeming predetermination, has diver- 
sified the elements of usefulness in harmony with the 
order of things throughout the universe, and in loving 
accommodation to similar diversities in the human family, 
to the end that all may avail themselves of the means of 
salvation, and every one may be left without excuse. 
There is, consequently, nothing in the dissimilarity ex* 
isting among men, either as individuals or associations, 


that is necessarily incompatible with Christian unity. It 
may be difficult for men, influenced and blinded by self- 
ishness, or dilated to lofty dimensions by pride and vanity, 
or bending at the shrine of the common prejudices of the 
times, to comprehend either the possibility or the fitness 
of a strict observance of the divine injunction. In view 
of the fact that the Church is composed of what seems to 
them a crude, heterogeneous mass, made up of all nation- 
alities, all complexions, all grades and conditions, they 
regard it as being a most unsavory and incongruent com- 
mand. And there are those who occupy high positions 
in the visible Church who share, with the Apostle Peter, 
the same lofty feeling of superiority, and evince the same 
loathing repugnance, when summoned like him to a 
practical recognition of the full brotherhood and uncon- 
ditional equality of the children of God ; who, while the- 
orizing with captivating eloquence, force and beauty, upon 
the doctrine and indispensable necessity of Christian 
unity, practically evince such selfish and repulsive man- 
ners ; such an unholy and unlovable course of conduct; 
such harsh and uncharitable criticisms, and such a mani- 
fest disregard for the tender sensibilities of the brethren, 
as constitute a standing repudiation of the doctrine they 
teach. In vain to them is the vessel filled with a hetero- 
geneous mass of living creatures let down from heaven; 
in vain to them comes the voice from the throne of the 
universe: "Rise, Peter, kill and eat." They still insist 
that whatever to their refined and fastidious tastes seems 
" common and unclean" must necessarily be so regardless 
alike of the judgment and commands of heaven. Con- 
vinced of the logical sequence of the startling conclusion 


at which Peter arrived, they are nevertheless wanting in 
the magnanimity with which he confessed his conviction 
of the fact by the bold announcement, "God is no re- 
specter of persons," and in the earnestness and impar- 
tiality with which he subsequently maintained his posi- 
tion, notwithstanding its unpopularity among his coun- 
trymen. To this class of professors the command in the 
text may seem neither practicable nor desirable; but to 
the unselfish and thoughtful it is not only practicable, 
but, aside from its God-required observance, there is a 
beauty and fitness connected with it that commends it to 
the favor and hearty acceptance of all who are capable of 
comprehending and appreciating the harmony of natural 
things and their application to those harmonizing influ- 
ences among men, and especially among Christians, which 
accord with their best interests. The materials entering 
into the composition of a house are widely dissimilar ; 
yet, the insignificant and seemingly inferior portions of 
it are as essentially parts of the building as are the more 
conspicuous and apparently useful — each and all con- 
tributing its share to the stability, the beauty and utility 
of the dwelling. Thus, by the appropriate and beautiful 
figure of the human body, the Apostle strikingly illus- 
trates the unity and harmony of the Church under the 
symbolical representation of the mystical body of Christ; 
assuring us here as elsewhere that whatever diversities 
exist in the Church of God, exist in conformity with the 
divine arrangement, and for the interest and edification 
of the entire body — no part is wanting, none superfluous. 
Just as each member of the human body is a part of the 


whole, so each member of the Christian Church constitutes 
a part of that Church. 

The real or apparent inferiority of some parts as com- 
pared with others does not destroy their identity nor super- 
sede their usefulness ; each performs its function, however 
inconsiderable, and each makes its contribution to the 
symmetry, harmony and beauty of the whole. 

So intimately are they connected, so harmoniously are 
they blended in the human system, that the loss, or even 
the serious interruption of any one member, will be sen- 
sibly felt by the entire body. So, likewise in the Chris- 
tian Church, we are all members of the same body, and 
whatever affects one affects all. 

True, we belong to different nationalities; we are born 
in different localities ; we belong to different denomina- 
tions, and worship under different forms. We differ in 
color, in tastes, in conditions and circumstances in life. 
We differ quite as widely in intellectual endowments ; 
but, having received the same heavenly recognition, the 
indwelling testimony of the Divine Spirit, we sustain per- 
fect equality before God, and any invidious distinction 
made as between the children of God is insulting to him, 
and in its highest degree anti-christian. 

There are, indeed, diversities of gifts and operations; 
some possess, in a remarkable degree, the spirit of wis- 
dom; others, the word of knowledge; others, the working 
of miracles ; others, diverse tongues ; some prophesy, some 
teach and some are evangelists ; some exert a wider in- 
fluence than others, and are more successful. But all 
belong to the same body, are members one of another, 
are governed by the same head, are seeking the same 


object — the glory of God — and therefore should seek and 
maintain unity of spirit. It may be very desirable to be 
the eyes, ears, or hands of this body, and we may seem 
even to quarrel with our Maker, because we do not occupy 
what seems to us the more important positions, and we 
may become envious of our brethren, and, like Cain, seek 
to injure them on account of this seeming preference ex- 
ercised on the part of the Almighty. But this course will 
never alter these conditions; and, so far from deriving 
any permanent advantage from the adoption of a course 
of such extreme folly and wickedness, it is destined to 
bring signal disaster upon the heads of its perpetrators. 
The sad history of Cain, of Saul and of Haman, who were 
conspicuous in this reprehensible practice in the early 
history of the race, abundantly illustrate the truth of this 
averment. And who but recalls some one or more whose 
premature downfall and ruin was the legitimate conse- 
quence of jealous envy? He who digs a pit for his brother 
is sure, sooner or later, to fail therein himself, with equal 
or more saddening results than he intended. Many a Ha- 
man has, by divine permission, been made to suffer the 
penalty of his envious guilt upon the same gallows which 
he had erected for some innocent and unsuspecting Mor- 
decai 1 

Proper consideration will readily convince us that 
most, if not all, the causes which constitute the grounds 
of envy and jealousy, resulting in discord and uncharita- 
bleness toward our brethren, are matters over which 
neither they nor ourselves have any control, but are the 
result of divine arrangement; and so far from causing 
disquietude or alienation, they were designed to be benefi- 


cial to all. And in the exercise of a liberal, generous 
spirit of christian charity, they would prove to be a bond 
of perfectness — a golden chain possessing — indeed multi- 
form, multifarious and multinominal links — but never- 
theless, a chain, uniting in spirit every believer in Christ 
into one bond of peace, harmony and love — so strong that 
no power on earth could sever it. And with the great 
link firmly held in the omnipotent grasp of the Head of 
the Church, no power in hell could seriously disturb its 
harmony and security. 

Let us not, therefore, cherish, much less exercise, any 
feeling of jealousy or envy in reference to any one; since, 
as the context assures us, " God hath set the members 
every one of them in the body as it hath pleased Him." 

Neither let us despise any one ; since each one is part 
of the whole. Let not the eye envy the ear, because of 
its ability to try sounds to the exclusion of the other 
members. Let not the hand despise the foot, because it 
occupies the lowest position ; for the ear cannot see, the 
hand cannot hear, neither can the feet manipulate. Each 
serves a desirable purpose peculiar to itself, designed of 
God, and conducive to the comfort of all. 

Equally absurd and senselessly wicked are those in- 
vidious distinctions, so inimical to this unity of spirit, 
founded on race, complexion, beauty, deformity, or wealth ; 
since these are either accidental or they are in accordance 
with divine arrangement; and the variety here as else- 
where should be made productive of harmony and love 
rather than of discord and strife, and especially when 
Christ is formed in the heart. 

Third — Having spoken of the importance of Christian 


unity, its spiritual nature and its entire practicability, let 
us briefly inquire into the method of maintaining it, " En- 
deavor" is the word used in the text, which signifies to 
try, to labor intensely. Nothing important is accom- 
plished without an effort. Let us, therefore, in view of 
its beneficial results, both to ourselves and those with 
whom we have intercourse, as well as the cause of God, 
which will be so greatly promoted thereby, put forth an 
earnest, faithful and prayerful endeavor, to maintain the 
unity of spirit at all times and at whatever cost, by the 
cultivation of a spirit of meekness, or that disposition 
which checks the tendency to provocation in ourselves 
and overcomes the disposition to provoke others ; by low- 
liness of mind, or such modest views of ourselves, our 
position, attainments, ability or opinions, as excludes all 
pride and arrogance, and which prompts us to regard 
with respectful consideration the views, opinions and 
ability of others. By longsuffering, or the disposition 
which enables us to bear slights, insults and injuries 
without fiery resentment or a desire to revenge, but dis- 
posing us to hold the same kind, generous and loving 
tenor of our way, prompts us to seek to confer the largest 
amount of good upon those who have sought, and are 
seeking, to do us the greatest harm. By a spirit of loving 
forbearance, predisposing us to cast the mantle of charity 
over the faults and infirmities of our brethren from con- 
siderations of lo\e; by forgiving one another, as we are 
wont to have others forgive us, we shall find, on a careful 
review of our Christian life, many things for which we 
can with difficulty forgive ourselves. Others doubtless 
find as much, or more, quite as difficult to forgive in us* 


Let this mutual view of kindred offenses, arising from 
similar infirmities, so humble us as to prompt us as freely 
to forgive each other as we forgive ourselves, or hope to 
to be forgiven of the Lord. Let us frankly speak what 
we conscientiously believe to be the truth in reference 
to our brethren ; but in such manner, and under such cir- 
cumstances, as will bring it within the category of M speak- 
ing the truth in love." 

Much that tends to acrimony and strife, leading to 
discord and alienation among brethren, arises from mis- 
representation ; either wilful, or the result of improper 
information. In our seeming haste to publish what we 
have heard, or at best know very imperfectly, we frequently 
indulge — however undesignedly — in gross misrepresent- 
ations seriously affecting each other's reputation. No 
possible loss, either to ourselves or community, could be 
sustained by a little delay in circulating what tends to 
the injury of a brother ; and delay would, in many in- 
staces, put us in possession of such facts in the case as 
would relieve the story of most, or all, of its injurious 

If the time, ability and research so carefully devoted 
to contentions about modes and ceremonial forms among 
denominations — to misrepresentations, or insidious efforts 
to inveigh character, among brethren, by innuendo, by a 
meaning smile, or by a manifestly false apology for one 
whose good name is being traduced, in which, by attempt- 
ing a lame excuse, we admit the facts contained in the 
slander, although we do not believe them, and thus crys- 
talize into truth what we might easily have branded and 
silenced as a falsehood. 


If the time, effort and skill thus devoted to the interest 
of discord were utilized in zealous efforts to cement more 
closely the ties of Christian brotherhood, what a vast 
amount of peace, prosperity and success would result to 
the Church. Infidelity and skepticism would be disarmed 
of their most formidable weapons, and Christ would be 
gloriously enshrined in thousands of hearts, wherein Sa- 
tan now presides in grim majesty. 

Far more time and study are employed in attempts to 
belittle each other as Christians and as members of com- 
munity, than is enlisted in battling against the common 
enemy, or in studied, honest and prayerful endeavor to 
establish the cause of Christ. " With what measure you 
mete the same shall be measured to you again," is a trite 
truism, that should serve to remind us that the thorn-seeds 
wilfully sown by us for the goading of others to-day, will 
be harvested and resown to-morrow, with the vast in- 
crease which the crop will yield, to recompense us for 
our toil with the largest interest by and by. The pupils 
before whom we recite a slander, a misrepresentation, or 
any belittling or depreciating lesson against our brother 
or sister to-day, are carefully appropriating our manner, 
our skill and our tact, to unite with their own, with which 
to recite a similar lesson against us to-morrow with all 
these damaging improvements. So that every effort of 
this character is throwing dust in the air, with the cer- 
tainty that our own eyes will be filled with it, painfully, 
in the sequel. 

It is not only, therefore, an unchristian course of con- 
duct, but a wicked and costly folly. 

Finally, if we would cultivate Christian unity and love 


if we would encourage the diffident and strengthen the 
weak ; if we would counteract the sourness of spirit, which 
leads to alienation and estrangement; if we would con- 
tribute toward that oneness of heart which signalizes all 
the special and fuller manifestations of divine power and 
success in the Church of God, let us carefully avoid what 
we know to be reprehensible, and as carefully practice 
what we know is commendable. 

Thus shall we foster that unity and harmony of spirit 
which infidelity cannot gainsay, the world cannot suc- 
cessfully resist, which Satan condemns and God approves. 

This will embrace whatsoever is true, honest, just, pure 
and lovely; and, if we would faithfully and successfully 
serve the cause of God and advance the interest of Zion, 
let us " think on these things." 

And may God make our hearts one. 





Delivered before the Independent Order of Good Samaritans 
and Daughters of Samaria at Knozville, Tenn. 

1 ' And Jesus answering said, A certain man went down from 
Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, which stripped him 
of his raiment, and wounded him, and departed, leaving him 
half dead. And by chance there came down a certain priest that 
way ; and when he saw him, he passed by on the other side. And 
likewise a Levite, when he was at the place, came and looked on 
him, and passed by on the other side. But a certain Samaritan, 
as he journeyed, came where he was; and when he saw him, he 
had compassion on him, and went to him, and bound up his 
wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, 
and brought him to an inn, and took c ire of him. And on the mor- 
row when he departed, he took out two pence and gave them to 
the host and said unto him, Take care of him : and whatsoever 
thou spendest more, when I come again, I will repay thee. Which 
now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbor unto him that 
fell among the thieves? And he said, He that shewed mercy on 
him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise." — 
Luke x, 30—37. 

We have here briefly narrated an account of one of 
those attempts which are frequently put forth by the 
skeptical, to bring into disrepute and ridicule the loved 
doctrines of our holy religion, that they may substitute 


instead, their own peculiar views of right, however er- 

A lawyer — a man learned in the law — approaches the 
Saviour with all the seeming gravity which the suhject de- 
mands, and inquires : " Master, what shall I do to inherit 
eternal life ?" Notwithstanding the solemnity of the ques- 
tion, the sequel proves that this man, like thousands of 
others since his day, w 7 as far more anxious to justify his 
own course of conduct, right or wrong, than to learn 
what was the good and acceptable way of the Lord. For, 
in answer to the Saviour's questions, " What is written 
in the law? how readest thou?" — after answering very 
promptly and very correctly by repeating the two lead- 
ing commandments embracing love to God and to man, 
comprehending piety and philanthropy, the soul of all 
true religion, the end of the law and the aim of the proph- 
ets — he shows either his ignorance or his disregard of the 
spirit of these commandments, or both, by asking, "Who 
is my neighbor?" 

To cure at once his ignorance and narrowminded con- 
ceit, the Saviour puts the case in the strongest possible 
light, by giving either the historical facts or the striking 
parable of the unfortunate Jew, who, on his way from 
Jerusalem to Jericho, encountered a band of thieves, 
which, having stripped him of ail he had, even to his 
raiment, and having beaten him unmercifully, left him 
wounded and bruised and half dead on the wayside. 
The lawyer is reluctantly forced to admit that, whoever 
came to the succor and salvation of this unfortunate 
man — whether an acquaintance or a stranger, a fellow- 
countryman or a foreigner, a former friend or foe, whether 


of kindred persuasion or different creed, whether clad in 
the sacred vestments of the sanctuary or in the tattered 
garments of the mendicant — proves himself to be neigh- 
bor to the sufferer, the friend of humanity, and there- 
fore the friend of God. 

First. I remark, that extensive endowments, vast 
powers of usefulness, the robes and sanction of the Church, 
are not to be relied upon as evidences of love to God. 
Nothing seems more evident than that the Saviour de- 
signs to teach us in this narration that there is a wide 
contrast between the mere forms and ceremonies of Chris- 
tianity and the reality of it; the mere profession— how- 
ever ostentatiously made, however loudly claimed — and 
that indwelling of the divine principle which is as cer- 
tain to make its presence and influence known and felt 
by all who are within reach of that influence, as are the 
rays of the sun to effect, beneficially, every form and 
species of vegetable and animal existence and life with 
which they may come in contact. 

He presents to us the mitered priest — the recognized 
leader of a Church founded in infinite tenderness and 
love for mankind by a Being who, in His remarkable 
self- forgetful n ess and matchless devotion to the interest 
of those who had fallen among thieves and even been 
left helpless by the wayside, excites the astonishment and 
challenges the admiration of the universe — this high 
functionary who was to imitate the example of his divine 
Lord and Master by lifting the fallen, cheering the faint, 
and binding the broken-hearted — this distinguished 
representative of the High Priest of his profession nears 
the scene over which angels hover in deep s} 7 mpathy ; 


but devoid of that tenderness of heart which weeps with 
those who weep and mourns with those who mourn, un- 
mindful of his solemn obligations and lost even to those pa- 
triotic impulses which should have prompted him to come 
to the relief of one of his own countrymen and creed, he 
gathers his priestly robes about him and passes on the 
other side. Doubtless we all would have been electrified 
had we listened to the sermons and lectures of this divine, 
in the temple of the synagogue; our sympathies would 
have been aroused in the interest of suffering humanity, 
as he discoursed with burning eloquence on that subject, 
just as they are to-day, when we listen to the touching 
appeals to those sympathies from the pulpit or read them 
in the writings of distinguished men in the Church, who, 
like this same priest, when practical sympathy— action, 
and not words are required — almost invariably pass by 
on the other side. 

What a vast number of poor unfortunate beings, vic- 
tims of injustice and wrong inflicted by those whom it is 
unpopular to condemn, are passed by unassisted and un- 
comforted. Most of the evils which afflict mankind, 
originating in man's inhumanity to man, might be effect- 
ually remedied if the priesthood — the ministry of the 
sanctuary — would take time to stop by the wayside and 
have hearts to sympathize with God's poor unfortunate 
ones who in one way or another have fallen among 
thieves who have stripped them of rights and privileges 
common to all men in this highway of life, and left them 
friendless and comfortless. These men will find time and 
convenience too to stop to discuss the impropriety, the 
crime, of plucking an ear of corn on the Sabbath day, 


even if it be to meet the most pressing demands of na- 
ture ; they can stop to defend the peculiar dogmas of their 
church, its rites and ceremonies; they will find time to 
stop to resent an insult, however slight, offered to some 
one of distinction or wealth, and raise their hands in holy 
horror at an injury inflicted upon these; but obscure 
humanity, suffering from whatever wrongs, burdened 
with whatever sorrow or cares, pleading with whatever 
pathos, is passed by on the other side. Matters of mint, 
anise and cummin — these formulas in religion are care- 
fully looked after; but the weightier matters of the law, 
justice, judgment, humanity, mercy, are criminally neg- 
lected — passed by on the other side. 

Thus it seems clear that the highest positions, the 
costliest robes and the most emphatic sanction of the 
church, do not necessarily prove the possession of Chris- 
tianity, since he who practically denies his love to man, 
whatever may be his theory on that subject, ignores 
thereby all claim of saving love to God. 

We come next to notice the conduct of the second per- 
sonage whom the Saviour brings to view in this instruc- 
tive narrative — the Levite, the attendant of the priest, the 
representative of that distinguished class in the Jewish 
church which in consequence of its loyalty to the divine 
government and its zeal for the divine worship were 
made the guardians of sacred things, (he exponents of 
the law and the teachers of the people. It might be ex- 
pected if the superior officer of the sanctuary had, like 
his predecessor Aaron at the foot of Mount Sinai, so far 
forgotten for the time his duty to God and humanity as 
to patronize this popular golden-calfship — if he, in his 


character of one of the chief shepherds, had coldly passed 
by this maimed and bleeding sheep of the fold rather 
than provoke popular criticism by stepping to his relief — 
this under-shepherd, this middle-man between the priest 
and the flock, whose office and labors brought him into 
more immediate contact with the people, and whose feel- 
ings and sympathies are consequently supposed to have 
entered more fully into their wants, cares and burdens — 
it might easily be expected, I repeat, that the imploring 
look and sad and touching moans of this wounded man 
of Israel would have been responded to by this Levite. 
But he, too, following the cruel example of his superior, 
passed by on the other side. 

Second. This brings me to remark, that Church or- 
ganizations, religious zeal and loud professions of charity* 
are no proofs of christian character. As the priest rep- 
resented the ministry, so the Levite may be taken as the 
representative of the membership, the laity of the Cfcurch, 
and w r e see in his conduct in this case a striking illustra- 
tion of that trite scriptural phrase, " like priest like 

And thus we see it to day. Leading, wealthy, influen- 
tial members of the Church are not wanting in ostentatious 
exhibitions of so-called charity; interests wherein pomp and 
display hold sway are patronized with lavish munificence, 
while those which involve the well-being of the masses, 
the poor, the unfortunate, the lowly sufferers of earth — 
interests which do not provoke popular applause — are 
passed by on the other side. True, there are exceptional 
cases, but such is the rule. 

There are but few evils of a general character but might 


be cured, or at least checked, if the power and influence 
wielded by the Church were marshalled against them. 
But alas! for suffering humanity, the Church, divinely 
appointed to hear the cries and administer to the wants 
of the fallen and forlorn, has partaken of the popular 
frenzy, and the popular frenzy is to give prostrate hu- 
manity the go-by, unless it be distinguished humanity. 
The Church which eloquently proclaims a gospel which 
assures us that there is no respect of persons with God, 
emphasizes its faith in that gospel by practicing the most 
invidious distinction. In the privileges and immunities 
of government; in the necessities and comforts of life; 
in social intercourse; in tender sympathy; in its approach 
to the sacred altar of worship ; and even in death itself — 
in all these it leaves out the lowly and obscure, and passes 
by on the other side. 

Evidently, church membership and religious observ- 
ances and zeal are no warrant of eternal life. 

Third. Finally, we notice that human kindness, acts 
of humanity impartially bestowed upon our fellow men, 
are the unmistakable outgoings of a heart imbued, influ- 
enced and controlled by the Divine Spirit, and are the 
unfailing signs of true piety. 

In the person of this Samaritan we have a man who is 
on a journey, and therefore had but little time to wait on 
the w r ay ; he might have easily excused himself and 
silenced his conscience on this ground, and passed on ; 
but he did not. In the next place, this traveler is a Sa- 
maritan, identified with a people who cherished a most 
inveterate hatred toward the Jews, and were equally 
despised by fhem. It was a marvel to the Samaritan 


woman at the well, that even Christ, being a Jew after 
the flesh, should be sufficiently civil even to ask her for a 
drink of water. " How is it," said she, " that thou, being a 
Jew, askest drink of me, which am a woman of Samaria? 
for the Jews have no dealings with the Samaritans." From 
the facts of history it is hardly possible to conceive of 
anything much lower in the scale of humanity than the 
Samaritans were held by the Jews ; and as this hostility 
was mutual, it required no ordinary degree of humanity, 
large-heartedness, and love for man because he is a man, 
to have induced this Samaritan traveler to perform the 
kind offices he so generously bestows on the unfortunate 
Jew. But he was equal to the emergency. His feelings 
of humanity conquer all personal animosities, all race 
pride, all religious differences, and proudly holds the 
mastery. He does not plead immunity from duty on the 
grounds that the priest and Levite, whose special duty it 
was to look after this member of the Jewish Church, have 
passed by. He does not hesitate to ask himself the ques- 
tion, will it be popular to relieve this Jew, or will I gain 
notoriety in so doing, or will I be criticized damagingly 
for my recognition of him, or will it in any way advance 
my interests by eliciting the good opinion of the public 
or the favorable comment of the chroniclers of events, or 
will it expose me to the contemptuous scorn of my sect? 
He does not even stop to contemplate the possible danger 
to his own life and person on this lonely road, where at 
any moment he might meet the same band of highway- 
men which had perpetrated this foul deed of blood ; but, 
forgetful of all else save the succor of a fellow mortal, he 
approaches the ghastly form with a heart and purpose to 


relieve him. He does not stop to ask him a number of 
needless questions as to his business, his politics, his na- 
tionality, his faith and order; he does not stop to lecture 
him about his tattered garments which still hung upon 
him, or his filthy appearance, or his want of prudent 
caution, and all this. No, he would first prove himself a 
friend by kind, generous, helpful treatment; then lecture 
him, if need be, when he had time and heart and strength 
to hear, comprehend and appreciate a lecture. But now, 
these gaping, bleeding wounds and painful bruises are to 
be bound up and mollified and soothed with ointment; 
strength is failing from loss of blood and from the agony 
of pain; the spirits are fast sinking, and the life of a 
fellow being is trembling in the balance. To meet these, 
the Samaritan at once addresses himself. He tenderly 
closes the gaps, binds up the wounds and pours on the 
soothing oil; thus he allays the pain. He next admin- 
isters a cup of wine to the parching lips of the sufferer; 
this revives the sinking spirits. He then lifts him up 
and sets him on his own beast, and supporting him there, 
carries him to the next inn, places him in charge of 
proper attendants, orders him to be given every attention 
till fully recovered, pays down part of the expenses and 
promises to pay on his return, whatever additional ex- 
penses might have been incurred. 

Such, my hearers, is the practical philanthropy which 
the religion of Christ infuses into the hearts of all who 
possess that religion ; such is the example of our divine 
Lord and Master, and such is the religion of the Bible. 
It matters little what is our creed, our office and standing 
our gifts and qualifications, our nationality or complex- 


iou, our church relations and religious zeal or our claims 
to piety — it matters not by what name, order or associa- 
tion we are known — if we lack this practical humanity, 
this genuine philanthrophy, this distinguishing mark of 
Christian character, we are wanting in the most essential 
element on which to base our claims to eternal life. 

The founders and patrons of the order which I have 
the honor to address at this time — "The Independent 
Order of Good Samaritans and Daughters of Samaria" — 
doubtless designed that the association, having the name 
of the distinguished philanthropist whom we have been 
considering, should also emulate his illustrious example. 
Hence, your declaration of principles commits you to the 
grand, ennobling and God-like work of hunting up the 
outcast, the degraded and forlorn, and especially the ine- 
briate; to relieve and to rescue them, to close up the gaps 
and bind up the wounds which a wicked and profligate 
course of life has inflicted, as well by your example as by 
your precept, and to pour in the oil and wine of sympa- 
thy, material aid and spiritual consolation; to lift them 
up by your personal efforts and influence as well as by 
your prayers and tears, and, bearing them in the arms of 
love and affection, bring them to the spiritual inn — the 
Church of the living God — for final healing and full res- 
toration to society and heaven. 

See that the noble principles of your Order are supple- 
mented and crystalized by the noble example of this 
Good Samaritan ; and, while your constitutional obliga- 
tions make it your first duty to look after each other, let 
the recollection of the common brotherhood of mankind 


prompt you to extend your influence and aid to all within 
your reach, passing none by. 

Remember your motto, " Love, Purity, Truth." Exem- 
plify this beautiful and appropriate trio by love to God 
and to all mankind, by. purity in principle and practice, 
and by truth in all things. Love the principles, rules 
and regulations of your Order ; see that they are observed 
in all their purity. Be true to each other, true to God, 
and true to humanity— then you will be true to your^ 
selves. Finally, imitate, in all your intercourse with 
mankind, the example of the great prototype of the 
Good Samaritan— Jesus Christ— who never passes by, but 
stoops to lift up suffering humanity in every form and in 
every place, and your organization will prove a lasting