"And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: that thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God." (Ezekiel 16:62,63)
That word comes with the authority of a, "thus saith the Lord;" then, "Let God be true and every man a liar." Now, I was thrown between two Scriptures for a text to preach on; this, the one I am attempting to preach upon, and the other was, (two preceding verses in this same chapter), "None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou was cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee in thy blood, Live." (Ezek. 16:5,6) The heading of this chapter in the Bible has caught my eye; and these headings of chapters are often very valuable. They are a kind of short annotation on what the chapter contains; and here, "under the similitude of a wretched infant, is showed the natural state of Jerusalem, God's extraordinary love towards her." Why, I might preach a sermon those words, on that heading of the chapter. And is not this the very origin of all? Do we not here come at once to the fact that we are all, "born in sin;" that we are all, "shapen in iniquity;" and that, unless we are, "born again, or, as it may be rendered, "born from above," we cannot see the kingdom of God?" Now, my hearers, here we all stand on even ground; we are all vile, all bad; there is no distinction between man and man; we are born, I say, in sin; we are shapen in iniquity. Then, what is it that makes the difference? what is the distinction? What was the distinction made on Calvary's summit-top between two equally abandoned and atrocious thieves? Why was one taken and the other left? Because there was a covenant! Because there was a covenant of grace! My text sets this fact forth. A covenant of grace ordered, and settled, and arranged, and decided on before all worlds; and that covenant is unalterable!
Before I take this text under heads, suffer me to refer to the words of the dying David. What was his comfort in a dying hour? What soothed him on a dying bed? "Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow." (2 Sam. 23:5) Now, there is the covenant set forth. It is an, "everlasting covenant;" it is a covenant, "ordered in all things and sure." I need not occupy another moment of my pulpit time in insisting upon the fact that this is so, and that nothing can happen by "chance." "Chance," is the word of the infidel! it is in his dictionary! we will not have it! The covenant is set forth in the Book before me on the cushion; the Book of books. And the God of this Book is a covenant God, and has made an everlasting covenant with all his people; and I, as a minister of his gospel, am bound to insist on and to preach this covenant, as declared in the passage now before me, "And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord." Now, I would peach on this not as a mere dry doctrine, but insist on it before you practically and experimentally. I want this to be a personal matter with every man and every woman who hears me, with every boy and girl in this church now, Christianity is a personal thing, "Thou art the man." It is either one thing or the other. "And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord." Now, in this covenant, the everlasting salvation, and safety, and preservation of every chosen, every elect sinner, every, "vessel of mercy afore prepared unto glory," is settled and secured. The apostle says, "Vessels of mercy afore prepared unto glory;" and this covenant shall be brought into the heart of each redeemed sinner, at Jehovah's appointed time of favor, "Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." (Ps. 110:3) And mark the force of the pronoun as emplyed in my text; the personal pronoun, "I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord." My hearers, we know something of God by (if I may so speak)his external works, "The heavens declare the glory of God, and the firmament showeth his handiwork." (Ps. 19:1) Is not that true? We perceive, we see God, by the wonders of creation, yea, even the smallest blade of grass declares his almighty power, and puzzles and confounds the infidel. Who makes the grass to grow upon the mountain? Who gives us our fields of harvest? Not the farmer! he sows the seed, but God alone commands it to spring up and grow. Bud do we see God? Do we know God as a God of grace? as a Saviour? as a Preserver for ourselves? My hearers, this is the point! It can be no consolation to know that there is a Saviour for others. Have we the comfort to know him for ourselves? Are we covetous in this desire? Do we, above all, and beyond every other thing, long to realize the fact that we have been eternally saved in and by him? by the blood of the Savour? Christ died for the church; and having died for the church, the Holy Ghost, at the appointed time, inclines, and makes each person, for whom Christ did die, to ask and to inquire, "Did he die for me?" And everyone for whom he died shall be taught by the same Spirit to cry, "God be merciful to me, a sinner."
You remember when Jesus Christ, in the midst of his disciples, declared, "that one of you shall betray me," how the question was then asked, "Is it I?" "Is it I?" O! that now such power might be give to me in preaching, that the silent whisper might run through this church, through these pews, and you be made earnestly to ask yourselves as to your eternal safety in the covenant of grace, "Is it I?" "Is it I?" "Did Christ die for me?" Did he shed his blood for me? Am I redeemed from hell? That is a secret which God alone can whisper into your hearts. Am I here preaching to any carnal worldling? to any unconverted man? You have no power. But there is a sweet word in the opening of the Acts of the Apostles, "But ye shall receive power, after that the Holy Ghost is come upon you: and ye shall be witnesses unto me both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea, and in Samaria, and unto the uttermost part of the earth." (Acts 1:8) I am preaching here to-night, what I suppose may be called a kind of missionary sermon; and I am a bad beggar. But what a wonderful mission was that of which we hear in this Book, "And he must needs go through Samaria." And as he went that memorable (and, if I may so term it, that missionary)journey, purposely to seek and to save a lost one, how forcibly do we learn the fact, that the sinner has no power to come to God, or to know the Saviour, except as drawn by grace. In that wonderful interview with the woman of Samaria, that striking word, "if," "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldest have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." (John 4:10) That is no conditional, "if," that is no Arminian, "if," it is no free-will, "if," but it is an, "if," declaring the fee-grace of him, "mighty to save." The gift must be bestowed, the power given. You would ask then; you would pray then; you would cry for pardon then. Samaria's wicked woman, living in open sin, knew not then the gift of God. But, oh! Christ loved her then and from everlasting; and, with purposes of love and mercy, "He must needs go through Samaria." Oh! those words, "He must needs go;" they proclaim the gospel. Oh! if I had time to take the whole subject, which I have not, I can only now declare how graciously he bestowed the gift; how he manifested himself; how he convinced her of her sin, and then proclaimed himself to her, "I that speak unto thee am he." Now, we must be brought to a personal understanding of these things. I asked just now, is there a carnal worldling here in this church now? In yourself you have no power, no will, no desire for God, or the things of God. But if it is now a time of mercy to you, God will begin his own work; God will now enable you to receive the gospel; and he will, in that case, put a cry for pardon into your heart, and manifest to you, that the, "blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin." But the point I started from was this, the sovereign statement of God, "Thou shalt know that I am the Lord." We have a sister passage to this, "And I will betroth thee unto me for ever; yea, I will betroth thee unto me in righteousness, and in judgment, and in lovingkindness, and in mercies. I will even betroth thee unto me in faithfulness: and thou shalt know the Lord." (Hos. 2:19,20) Now, my hearers, do we know God as a God in covenant with ourselves? Have we been under the Spirit's teaching? under the conviction of sin? Are we made to feel our vileness, to know our depravity? To beg for mercy at that one door where, when God brings a sinner, that sinner is never sent empty away? "I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture." (John 10:9) But the particular point, as I here draw my bow at a venture, that I would preach on is this, the wonderful free-grace fact of a guilty church and a pacified God. And mark the words, "That thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God." The remembering; the confusion; the stopping of the mouth; and the shame! Oh! have you been brought to this? Are you a professor? It may be you are a noisy one, a talker; there may be much noise, too noisy(as I say often to my own home hearers)like the noisy hound in the pack, he is not to be depended on, and only gets the huntsman's whip. So, my hearer, depend on it, silent Christians are often the best, the most sure. It is a mercy to feel our sins, to be brought to the, "stopping of mouths;" and, remembering our own sins, confounded and brought to shame, to cry for pardon, mercy and forgiveness. Let us take an example in the Bible. That wonderful man, Job, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." (Job 42:5,6) Again, take the instance of the prodigal son; you know his history. What a profligate, what a debauchee he had been, "And when he had spent all, there arose a mighty famine in that land; and he began to be in want.' (Lk. 15:14) But then he wanted something!
"I want to know the Saviour's love;
I want to fix my heart above;
I want more grace to conquer sin;
I want to feel new life within."
Oh! there is a want, and that want increases the more you see of self. And as you feel sin more and more, so will you want that, "blood that cleanseth us from all sin." The prodigal said, "I will arise and go to my father, and will say unto him, Father, I have sinned against heaven, and before thee, and am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servants." (Lk. 15:18,19) There was the confession of sin! And here, with the gospel entrusted to my charge, I have authority from the Book before me to proclaim free pardon to the very worst of men. If I was to go into the chapel in Newgate, or into your county prison just below, and if the prisoners were all ranged before me, some of them the very scum of London, I should proclaim, with a trumpet tongue, pardon in Christ to the very chief of sinners. Oh! "If thou knewest the gift of God, and who it is that saith to thee, Give me to drink, thou wouldst have asked of him, and he would have given thee living water." (John 4:10) And if brought to true and deep repentance; if shame-faced because of sin; if self-abased because of depravity, then there is mercy and pardon for the worst. But I have no offers! I have no general invitations to give to all mankind. I am to preach the gospel to, "every creature," and to leave it to the God of Israel to apply the gospel with power to the hearts of his own people. God's command to me is this, "Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature." (Mk. 16:15) I am to preach it, as it were, to untold millions, if they could now be crammed into this church or anywhere else. I am to proclaim salvation by blood and love to the guiltiest of the guilty! Oh! what a wonderful idea is that of Kent, in reference to the covenant of grace!
"Grace had secur'd in Jesus then,
Millions untold of chosen men."
And now, my hearers, amongst those millions, are you one in him? Am I one in him? Did Christ die for me? Are we secured in Christ against the world, flesh, sin, and devil? Are you one amongst the millions saved? Paul, writing to Titus, says, "Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works." Are you one of that peculiar people? Have you the peculiarity of truth put into your heart by the power of the Holy Ghost? That is where grace brings a sinner. I began by preaching to you the covenant. I place the eternal covenant before you. I proclaim the act of God (if I may so speak)for the safety of his church. Christ, "came to seek and to save that which was lost." I was preaching to some of you the other evening, in another church, upon that wonderful case of the extortioner, Zacchaeus, "Make haste and come down, for to-day I must abide at they house." Now, is thee a Zacchaeus before me here? Is there any notoriously guilty man or guilty woman assembled in this house of prayer? Do you feel your sin? Do you feel prostrated on account of the depravity that is in you? Do you remember! looking back on past days, and on all you have said, and done, and thought? Oh! what a mass of iniquity you are! Are you brought to a sense of shame? are you confounded? You can't get to heaven by your own works. You can't get to heaven by moral conduct. Mark that! Salvation is by grace without works. "What is your authority for that?" somebody asks. I will give it to you, "For by grace are ye saved through faith, and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; not of works, lest any man should boast." Now, my hearers, if salvation depended even upon the raising of a finger, if the lifting up of a finger tended in the least degree to help us in the salvation of our souls, we should boast of it directly. Man can do nothing to save himself. Listen to me! There is One Man that has done all; and our safety all hinges and hangs upon that, "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do." Christ finished it. You have nothing to do. But the grace that he puts into his people enables them to do those things that are pleasing in his sight. In the chapter succeeding the one that we heard read in Hebrews, these words occur, "Be not carried about with divers and strange doctrines. For it is a good thing that the heart be established with grace." (Heb. 13:9) It is a most blessed thing, "not to be carried about with divers and strange doctrines," which are now abounding; but to have the heart, (mark that, my hearers), to have, "the heart established with grace." Now, is not this a melting Scripture? See how Jehovah speaks to his church. Jerusalem here stands as the picture and type of God's elect; and she is brought by the power of God to remember her sinful state, to be confounded, and never to open her mouth any more, because of her shame. But what is the thing he lays upon her heart? Even himself, as a pacified God in Christ Jesus towards her. Oh! there is nothing like the rule of love. There is nothing like the power and rule that governs by lovingkindness. Look at it on the cross, "Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." There is love! And again, "God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." There is a proclamation of mercy, "Whosoever believeth." And, "as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life." But who looked up at the brazen serpent? Only the bitten Israelite! It was the sting which made them look and long for healing. And so it is when sin stings and iniquity is felt, that the sin-bitten sinner casts up a look to Jesus, and trusting in his finished work, pleads that sweet Litany petition, "By thine agony and bloody sweat; by thy cross and passion; by thy precious death and burial; by thy glorious resurrection and ascension; and by the coming of the Holy Ghost, good Lord deliver us." Oh! what holy prayer is that! How well the church prays! But man cannot plead that, "agony." Man cannot name that, "bloody sweat." We cannot name the cross, nor the passion, nor any other plea, till the Holy Ghost has come into our heart, convinced us of our own sins, and pointed us to him who died to redeem his people. Man has no power; man has no wish; man has nothing in himself. But when God brings a sinner to, "remember," his ways, to confusion and to silence because of shame, then, like the thief, when found in the hand of the policeman, he has nothing to say, because of guilt. But mark those words in the text, "When I am pacified to-ward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God." Oh! that mercy, that love! That lovingkindness in forgiving sin and in restoring sinners,
"He saw me ruin'd in the fall,
Yet lov'd me notwithstanding all;
He sav'd me from my lost estate,
His lovingkindness, oh! how great."
"When trouble like a gloomy cloud,
Has gather'd thick and thunder'd loud,
He near my soul has always stood,
His lovingkindness, oh! how good."
Beloved, mark his lovingkindness! Now, why this distinction to any man? Because his name is written in the Lamb's book of life; registered in that book where every name of each and all of God's children is enrolled. Have you ever read, or tried to read your name there? Have you made a search?
"When I can read my title clear,
To mansions in the skies,
I'll bid farewell to all my fear,
And wipe my weeping eyes."
Depend on it, my hearers, the general spot where we find God's people is in a seeking state, inquiring, "Am I one for whom Christ died?" Now, mark this picture in the text; see Jehovah a "pacified," God. He who is full of vengeance against sin, is nevertheless, to, "his own elect," a "pacified God." Oh! those words, as addressed to each humbled, sin-confounded, and shame faced sinner, 'When I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God." A "pacified," God! Peace made between God and guilty man! Now, see what the apostle says, as to the sinner being brought to the stopping of mouths, "Now we know that what things so ever the law saith, it saith to them who are under the law; that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God. Therefore by the deeds of the law there shall no flesh be justified in his sight: for by the law is the knowledge of sin." (Rom. 3:19,20) Now, have you, I ask each one who hears me, have you undergone a law work in your own soul? By this, I mean simply what the apostle says, "Wherefore the law was our schoolmaster unto Christ, that we might be justified by faith." (Gal. 3:24) That law we can never keep. For the apostle James says, "For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all." (James 2:10) Hence there can be no salvation by deeds of the law. But when that law has brought you and me to the stopping of mouths, then we begin to cry for peace and for pardon to him who has, in his own person, obeyed that law voluntarily in every iota of it, and kept it for his people, that they may be saved through him for ever, from its condemning curse and power, And if the cry is in our heart, "God be merciful to me a sinner," that is a test and that is the spot where God brings everyone of his own people. Now to go back to a great passage in this chapter, "None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee in thy blood, Live.' (Ezek. 16:5,6) There is the beginning of the work, my hearers! And the solemn point for each of you to ascertain for yourselves is this, "Am I one?" have I had the commanded word spoken to me, "Live?" Here will be the test, "It is written in the prophets, And they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto me." (John 6:45) "Cometh unto me," to Christ as a Saviour, with a cry in the heart for mercy and for that pardoning love that shall be the eternal portion of all, and each, and everyone of those for whom Christ died upon the cross. Now, here we are, my hearers, assembled together in the service of the church. I am preaching before you, and you are sitting assembled here to hear me. But does the gospel penetrate your hearts? Do you bear in mind, my hearers, that there is a solemn instant when we must die? Here is the end of all our preaching and your hearing. I believe there is no subject more tending to practical good to God's people, than the subject of death, to be reminded that you must die. We may die in a moment! Can we take up the words of the apostle, "For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, an house not made with hands, eternal in the heaven?" (2 Cor. 5:1) Here is the end of it all! We must die! I have often said before, to you men in London, that you seem to be occupied in such a whirl of business, so incessantly engaged. Have you to-day had a solemn thought of eternity? Have you remembered what Paul says, "It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment?" Has Christ by his grace sent a word into your soul? Have you found out the secret that there is nothing for the Christian man upon earth but a continuation of trials and troubles? Has Christ spoken to you as he did to his early church, "These things have I spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world." (John 16:33) But herein is the distinction between the church and the world; between the possessor and the professor. It is the possessor that is tried, and troubled, and tempted by the way. Those crosses! How often do you and I say, "Not so, my Father?" And you would have your own way, but you cannot; and what a mercy that you can't. Joseph wanted to have his way, but he could not, "Not so, my Father!" But what said the patriarch? "I know, my son, I know," "And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to purpose." (Rom. 8:28)
"We need as much the cross we bear,
As air we breathe, as light we see;
It draws us to thy side in prayer,
It binds us to our strength in thee."
Do you know anything of that drawing? Oh! nothing is so healthy to the child of God as the cross. Some one has well said, "Cross bearers shall be crown wearers." Do not call me a narrow-minded man! I love to proclaim the gospel to unnumbered thousands! But how few there are that seem to be alive to all that an experimental gospel sets forth for every man into whose heart it is brought with power. Temptations, trials mark his path. That 12th chapter of Hebrews set the truth before you from the desk. It is the chastening of God; it is the trials of the way; it is being brought into trouble that makes the Saviour so precious. Look at the character so constantly set before us in the Book of Psalms, "The poor and needy;" and the cry that we see there also continually when the soul is in exercise and in distress, "Is his mercy clean gone for ever? doth his promise fail for evermore? Hath God forgotten to be gracious? hath he in anger shut up his tender mercies, Selah." (Ps. 77:8,9) And yet you and I tremble when a trouble comes; you and I rebel against it. And yet, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. 10:13) Mark the mercy! "He will make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it." And in the opening verses of that chapter, Heb. 12, "Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." (Heb. 12:1,2) Look at that cloud of witnesses; those that are gone to heaven before us; they were all troubled; they were all tried; they were all exercised. There isn't an instance of a saved sinner in the Bible who had a smooth path; they were all in the mire and clay. And so it must be with us. And hence the apostle urges upon the Hebrew church, "Let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset." You have all got a besetting sin. Yours may not be mine, nor mine yours, but, "let us run with patience the race that is set before us." How are we to run with patience? "Looking unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." "The joy that was set before the Saviour when he endured the cross, despising the shame." And you must taste a something of that cross, "For if any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily and follow me." Consider the cloud of witnesses, think of the saints who have gone before us to glory, and then take courage. Oh! trust God where we can't trace him. For, "blessed is the man that trusteth in the Lord, and whose hope the Jehovah is." Now my hearers, what do you and I know of being so convinced of our sins; and so convinced of them, that we have no peace and no comfort in our own souls, till we see God a "pacified", God towards us? Look at the gospel, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus, who walk not after the flesh but after the Spirit." No charge against the church in the gospel. But that law of the ten commandments passes on everyone of us the sentence of eternal death. But the gospel proclaims peace and pardon; and why are you and I brought to see this which other persons can't see? Why are you and I, (if it be so)set free from a legal state of bondage? The apostle tells us, "Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." Take it in its grammar sense. "Not because ye shall be, but because ye are sons;" that is the full sense of it. Because ye have been sons in the eternal covenant from all eternity." Therefore that is the cause why God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts crying, Abba, Father." And the first cry and the first prayer under the constraining of the Spirit, is for mercy and for pardon. The first work of the Spirit upon the soul is a conviction of sin; and when you and I are under a conviction of sin, then there is a cry for pardon; the publican's cry, "God be merciful to me a sinner." And when we see the length, and the depth, and the height and breadth of our own depravity, and are taught the exceeding sinfulness of sin in ourselves; when we are made to feel our own depravity, then the soul new born by the Holy Spirit, is pointed to him, "mighty to save," and we long after the breadth, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge. Now, what do you and I know of this? We must have truth from the pulpit, and men of truth in the pulpit. It is of no use to preach what is called a flowery or an eloquent sermon. Eloquence at the bar; eloquence in the House of Commons is all very well; let them have it is Parliament. But here we want the home thrusts of truth; and with truth preached, we want the power to seal it on and in the heart, "Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, saith the Lord of hosts." What says the word? "No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him; and I will raise him up at the last day," (John 6:44). And when a sinner is so drawn to God, he is prostrated, cast down, ashamed, because of sin, depravity, corruption. The system of the day in which we live, is a "do, do," system. But the gospel faithfully preached, is a declaration of the truth that man can do nothing. That is the work of Almighty God himself! It is what Christ has done for him! "I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do. "He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?" (Rom. 8:32) And again, "Who hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began." (2 Tim. 1:9) Now, my hearers, before I finish, I am to plead for this society, I never beg on any occasion. I would only put the fact before you. It is, as I understand it, a society simply to carry out the services and doctrines of our church in the colonies; and, therefore, wherever this society sends a servant, there must be heard two chapters in the Bible. Now, the reading of God's word is a great thing, to say nothing of preaching. Those two chapters may be heard with power, and a blessing, to some poor depraved, abandoned sinner in those parts of the world. There is a promise! a promise for a blessing on the simple reading of God's word. And a times that promise is fulfilled, "So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." (Isa. 4:11) And then see the effects of that word! What an encouragement! "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree, and instead of the brier shall come up the myrtle tree: and it shall be to the Lord for a name, for an everlasting sign that shall not be cut off." (Isa. 55:13) Look at the distinction; instead of the thorn the fir tree, instead of the brier the myrtle tree! You men in London may not know the difference between these trees as a countryman does. One is a wild bush growing in the hedges, you do not see them in Fleet Street, or in Holborn, or in the Strand, but you would see them in the country: and instead of the thorn, and instead of the brier, shall come up the fir and the myrtle tree. Mark the difference! I cannot enter fully into the subject of this society, but in our colonies where it carries on its operation there is something encouraging in the fact that God's word must be read. Now, consider the simple fact! Your pastor this evening has read in the service two chapters, and that word must here accomplish God's purpose. We churchmen must always have three sermons; two in the desk, and these are always faithful, and there must be something also in the pulpit. Is it not then, important to send out the word of our God to the colonies? I own I like to think that the beautiful and scriptural form of prayer of the Church of England is heard in those parts of the world where this society sends its servants. In pleading for this society tonight I would only say, may the King of kings open your hearts just as he sees fit. But let not this subject drive out from your minds those great subjects that I have been preaching on. The covenant; the knowing the Lord; the being confounded under a sense of sin; the stopping of the mouth; and the shame; and above all, that great part of my subject, the rejoicing of a sinner's heart when enabled to see the fact for himself; even that God is a, "pacified God," toward him for all that he has done. Now let me put this before you in illustration. Suppose some one offends you, does you a great injury, and instead of returning evil for evil, you forgive him kindly, you forgive him freely, thus, "you heap coals of fire on his head," it melts his heart. And now mark our guilt, our sin, our rebellion against God; and, oh! if we can have a little hope only that he is a, "pacified," God towards us for all that we have done! And how pacified? All in Christ for his sake alone and only. All our offences pardoned; all our sins blotted out; the sins of boyhood, of manhood, and of older years; and we, subdued by grace and brought down to his footstool, made to cry for that pardoning love and mercy which he puts into the heart of every poor beggar towards whom he is, "pacified." This cry is the effect of his own grace marking the fact, "None eye pitied thee, to do any of these unto thee, to have compassion upon thee; but thou wast cast out in the open field, to the loathing of thy person, in the day that thou wast born. And when I passed by thee, and saw thee polluted in thine own blood, I said unto thee in thy blood, Live; yea, I said unto thee in thy blood, Live." (Ezek. 16:5,6)
"The gospel comes with welcome news,
To sinners lost like me;
Their various schemes let others choose,
Saviour! I come to thee."
Oh! those blessed words of Christ, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me: and him that cometh to me I will no wise cast out." (John 6:37) Oh! Christ will have the purchase of his agonies and groans; and when he appears again, may we be amongst the number of whom he will say, "Gather the wheat into my barn." Now, my hearers, this is the message God has given me; may it be blessed so to you, that it may be a, "savour of life unto death, or a savour of life unto life." And "who is sufficient for these things?" Whether the gospel preached in this church to-night, be to some a savour of death, unto death (it may be so to some), or whether it be a savour of life unto life, "who is sufficient for these things?" My hearers, consider the passage in my text; search, "examine yourselves whether ye be in the faith;" and by the test of this Scripture, see whether you have really a feeling sense of your own sinfulness; whether you have been made to remember your state; whether a cry has been and is still heard from your soul. Remember Christ is the only Saviour. His "blood cleanseth us from all sin." But that blood must be applied with power; and we must be washed in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness. If this is not so; if there is one here not in Christ, not washed in his precious blood, if so, there is nothing before that man but eternal damnation. And now I must stop! Christ has now been preached fully before you. I can only ask, have you a hope that God in Christ is a "pacified," God toward you for all that you have done? May the Holy Spirit now perform his work amongst you; and when my tongue ceases preaching, may he take of the things of Jesus and show them unto you. I will now read the text, "And I will establish my covenant with thee; and thou shalt know that I am the Lord: that thou mayest remember, and be confounded, and never open thy mouth any more because of thy shame, when I am pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done, saith the Lord God." (Ezek. 16:62,63) There is the peculiarity of this text, "When I am, "pacified toward thee for all that thou hast done saith the Lord God." May God bless his own word, and carry it with power to your hearts, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen, amen