""For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper." (Psalm 72:12)
Christianity, in the midst of all the noisy profession of our day, may be brought into a very small compass. Salvation by the blood of the Saviour for all poor, really poor, needy sinners. Perfect poverty, destitution, nothingness, no goodness, no deserving, realized in the soul, by irresistible grace, tests the Christian and all others are mere professors and heretics. There must be no mistake, no uncertain sound in the pulpit, no half and half systems with those who are sent of God to declare His faithful, soul-converting truth! And, prefatory, dear hearers, to my preaching to you, on the two or three heads which have been opened up to my own heart in this glorious verse, in this blessed and triumphant Psalm, I would just observe, (indeed, I may take the words which stand at the heading of this Psalm--"David, praying for Solomon, sheweth the goodness and glory of his, in type, and in truth, of Christ's kingdom." "He blessed God." It is also headed--"A Psalm for Solomon")--that while in type and figure the Holy Ghost is here setting forth in one sense the kingdom of Solomon, that chosen and honored sinner, who was to be the builder of the temple of old, and who was so strikingly and eminently a type of the anti-typical Solomon who was to come--we have, at the same time, set forth before us, a greater than he, and greater things than these, for we have here a typical description of Him, who was to be cradled in Bethlehem's stable, and to die upon the cross, even Christ and His kingdom. And if the Queen of Sheba was so astonished and confounded, when with her own eyes she saw the glory, and the wisdom, and the everything of Solomon in his kingdom, and sitting on his own throne--what shall you and I think and feel, when we see, as I trust some of us at least who are assembled together shall see, the anti-typical Solomon in His own kingdom in heaven, the triumphant conqueror over death, and sin, and hell.
And, now I come to my subject! Ask God, as I stand before you a weak and helpless creature, to assist me in preaching His blessed truth; "ye also helping together by prayer," (as Paul says), for me. You may thus, through grace, help a minister as you sit in the pew.
"For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper."
1. Now, then, first of all, we have the promise! and a promise without any "ifs," "buts," or "ands." "He shall deliver!" Nothing will ever stop Him; sin cannot stop it; sin is the cause that induces the poor soul to feel the bondage and to "cry" for this deliverance and freedom!
2. The character spoken of, "the needy!" none others, "the needy!"
3. The period when that promise is fulfilled. "When he crieth!"
There is a large mass of people before me. Are you all criers? or only hearers? Hearing--mere hearing will not do. I know that it is a means! "How shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall they preach except they be sent?" (Rom. 10:14,15) And who is the sender? God! He only who made the world can make and send a minister! It is He who "shall deliver the needy!" and then to give strength and energy to the promise, it is added, and this shows the character and standing of the church; "the poor also, and him that hath no helper!" I may not have time to enter on this part of the text, although it is a most important portion of the whole. "Him that hath no helper!" "No helper!" Mind that!
"Other refuge have I none,
Hangs my helpless soul on Thee;
Leave, ah! leave me not alone;
Still support and comfort me!"
"No helper!" If I have not time to enter upon that part of it, may it now, as I make a passing allusion to it, be so burnt into your heart, that you may feel it when you go home, and everyday of your life! And, mark me! if you are not brought down to a state of destitution you know nothing of the reality of the work of grace in the heart; you know as yet nothing of the irresistible power of the Eternal Three in One!
Well now, first, "He shall deliver," that is the promise! What is the meaning of the Gospel in its true sense? Good news! The Gospel means--Joyful tidings! And to whom is the Gospel such? "They that are whole have no need of the physician, but they that are sick." (Mark 2:17) It was no joy to the hardhearted reprobate Herod; it was no joy to him to hear of the birth at Bethlehem. He planned and schemed by cunning lies to destroy the infant babe. But there were those to whom it was a joy; and you may turn to our own time, to our own day, to our own period, and you may come down to the very instant that I am preaching to the people in St. Augustine's now, and ask, is the Gospel good tidings to you? the Gospel which this Book on the cushion before me contains.
"What comfort can a Saviour bring
To those who never felt their woe?
A sinner is a sacred thing;
The Holy Ghost has made him so.
""New life from Him we must receive,
Before for sin we rightly grieve."
"A sinner is a sacred thing."
That is, a sinner made sensible of his sin and vileness; not a mere professor who can talk of sin notionally, and who, in one sense, knows something of sin, in the letter--but one who cay say--
"Unto Thine altar Lord!
A broken heart I bring,
And wilt thou graciously accept
Of such a worthless thing?"
One who is an experimental sinner! one who knows the evil and sad depravity of his own heart, and who finds it sweet to "drink of the brook in the way;" and as he learns more and more of the length, and depth, and breadth, and height, of his own awful depravity, learns also something of the "breath, and length, and depth, and height of the love of Christ which passeth knowledge." It is a heart sense of sin that makes poor; and here is the promise; and if you, my hearers, are "poor and needy," He will deliver you, "for He shall deliver the needy when he crieth; the poor also, and him that hath no helper."
But, look at the Deliverer! look at the Ransomer! look at the Redeemer! and while we take a passing view of this blessed Redeemer, this great Christ, who died to save His Church, let me read you a striking passage from the Lamentations of Jeremiah--"Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? behold and see if there be any sorrow like unto my sorrow, which is done unto me, wherewith the Lord hath afflicted me in the day of His fierce anger." (Lam. 1:12) You have been taught, even in your nursery hours, I suppose, to know something of the virgin's child, of Him who was born in Bethlehem. You may have been taught to say, if but as a mere task, something, even in your school-boy days, or at other times, of the touching accounts of the wonderful sufferings of Gethsemane, and the death scenes of the Cross. But you may have learned these things, as the majority of people preach about them, and hear about them, without any vital feeling sense of their reality in the heart. But if old things have passed away in this sense, if you have been made to differ, if you have been singled out by distinguishing grace, if you can say with that poor but distinguished creature in John 9, "One thing I know, that whereas I was blind, now I see." Then you know something that is not of mere earthly teaching, that is not of man's teaching, but of God. "Ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things." (1 John 2:20)
"He shall deliver." And O! how He has suffered, how He was insulted, mocked, reviled, spit upon, scourged, crowned with thorns, then actually exemplifying exactly the prophetic statement of the God-taught prophet Isaiah--"He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so He openeth not His mouth." (Isa. 53:7) And mark the Sovereign word--"He shall see of the travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied."
Now where is the gospel doubter who dares to say that the salvation of a single soul depends in the least iota upon anything he can do? The word is irresistibly fixed and certain. "He shall see the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied." (Isa. 53:11) Why! He would not be satisfied! Christ in glory would not be satisfied! if one poor soul for whom He died could ever be seen burning in hell for ever and ever. Toplady, or Irons, says, "Satan shall not ever have to say in eternity, there comes a wretch turned out of the family of God," and though "God allows Satan often to roll the child of God in the dirt;" and Satan is never so happy as when he is suffered to do so; yet the blood of Jesus Christ shall be fresh applied to him, and he shall come clean out of Satan's hand and be every whit whole. "He shall deliver!"
Now, secondly, the character spoken of--"the needy;" the needy soul. Does this apply to you, my dear hearers, as I preach to you? Are you needy? Who is it that is in the parish poor-house? Rich men? Is it not such as have nothing of their own? And who is it that comes to the Saviour? Who is it that He receives? "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters, and he that hath no money; come ye, buy, and eat." (Isa. 55:1) Come with nothing in your hand. It would not do to go so to a shop, but that is the way you must come to the Saviour. "He that hath no money;" bring no money; nothing at all. Now, that glorious text that I have just referred to, the opening text of the fifty-fifth chapter of Isaiah, how generally it is applied as a call upon all men, and with all sorts and conditions of preachers; yet this is most unscriptural. Look at it! it is an invitation; and a blessed invitation; I have received it into my own soul, but never till I was thirsty; never till I felt lost; never till I was needy and poor, and found I had no helper. "Ho, every one that thirsteth." There is the qualification. Again, take another passage, "Come unto Me all that labour and are heavy laden." (Matt. 11:28) It is a great thing to keep close to a text; and it is God only who can so keep a minister to a text--"Come unto Me all that labour and are heavy laden and I will give you rest." There is the qualification! "weary and heavy laden!!" Who else ever comes to the Saviour? None! A man may profess, and a man may talk, and a man may join this church or the other, but he knows nothing of the Scriptures, and is not within the pale of the one true church is he is not "poor and needy." He may talk and boast that he is a member of this church or the other, that he is a devoted follower of the Established Church or of any other church; but there is only one church that will ever be saved, and that is the church described in the Book of God, in Paul's farewell address to the elders at Ephesus--"the church of God which He hath purchased with His own blood." (Acts 20:28) He has purchased it, paid for it, and therefore it can never be destroyed; the title deed of it is kept in heaven, and a copy of it is printed upon every poor sinner's heart--when convinced of guilt and sin he is made to receive Christ as a Saviour and to believe in Him through the irresistible power of God. God takes him from all false shelters, and converting him, realizes to him that blessed passage in the Gospel by John--"All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in nowise cast out." (John 6:37) And, as in that Scripture we have an exhibition of the glorious doctrine of Election; so also have we as sweet encouragement to the poor and needy sinner--"him that cometh to Me I will in nowise cast out." It will not do (as so many are doing) taking half that verse as a text, and preaching a general system, and calling on all to come. The passage must be taken as a whole. "All that the Father giveth Me shall come to Me, and him that cometh to Me I will in nowise cast out." So you see none can come but the given ones...
Well, "the needy."--"He shall deliver the needy." Now what is the meaning of "needy?" The man who has got nothing, who is in want of everything. May I not quote the verse of a hymn? It greatly helps us sometimes.
"'Tis perfect poverty alone
That sets the soul at large;
While we can call one mite our own,
We have no full discharge."
Why, if I was to preach for an hour to you, I could not exhibit to you the subject more fully. I will repeat it--
"'Tis perfect poverty alone
That sets the soul at large;
While we can call one mite our own,
We have no full discharge."
Needy souls! Now I am speaking of needy ones, and you know in Luke chapter 7 that remarkable parable--"There was a certain creditor which had two debtors: the one owned five hundred pence and the other fifty:--(a larger and a comparatively smaller sum!)--"and when they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both. Tell Me, therefore," (said the Saviour), "which of them will love him most? Simon answered and said, I suppose that he to whom he forgave most. And He said unto him, thou hast rightly judged." It is just so. "And He turned to the woman, and said unto Simon, seest thou this woman?" And then recounting the kiss, the oil, and the ointment, and then the pardon! "When they had nothing to pay, he frankly forgave them both." Dear Toplady says--
That is the way to come to God--with nothing! And yet there is one thing you must bring, your sin, you must bring your sins, and you will find at the set time, pardon and forgiveness. The needy beggar knows that he cannot be saved without election! According to the great passage in Ephesians, I was preaching on last Sunday morning to my own hearers--"According as He hath chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love;" (Eph. 1:4) and in the afternoon this--"God be merciful to me a sinner."
"Though God's election is a truth,
Small comfort there I see,
Till I am told by God's own mouth,
That He has chosen me."
What comfort would it be to me, to know that all the persons here before me are saved, if I were damned? Or if you were on the summit top of the brightest assurance, and I was down in the valley of doubts and fears, in darkness and unbelief? Nothing will comfort me, nothing give me peace, but being brought into that same spot where Thomas was, when he said--"My Lord and my God." None but the needy sinner can have a desire to say that! Hart has a hymn which contains the word "Beggars, beggars, beggars" five times over. O! dear people, if I were not a needy man I should be useless in the pulpit! It will not do for a minister to be behind his hearers, he must know the way, and hence, if you are in earnest, you will hear none but those who preach "the truth as it is in Jesus." You cannot taste arsenic without touching poison! So, neither can you hear false doctrine without injury!
"Poor and needy." That is the character of the church. It is her title. We shall not forget this even when in heaven, when our need is all over and when poverty is unknown, when we have all, and enjoy all heaven's blessedness, and peace, and glory. When "we see Him as He is, and know even as also we are known.
"The needy." Now there must be a "cry;" a cry for that, at which the promise in the text points when that promise is accomplished. Deliverance! "For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth." Have you attained that? Do you know that cry? There cannot be a sweeter, surer text of discipleship. It is safe ground. Now I am quite certain that there are persons here who can say with the Psalmist--"Shew me a token of good." Well then, God will hear that cry, for it is His own voice in His child, if I may so speak. There is a sweet text, if I can turn to it, in Jeremiah--"For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child, the voice of the daughter of Zion, that bewaileth herself, that spreadeth her hands saying woe is me now! for my soul is wearied because of murderers." "As of a woman in travail!" That has a great meaning! "In sorrow shalt thou bring forth children," that is the primeval curse. But mark the emphatic power of the words as employed by Jeremiah, at the end of the fourth chapter--"For I have heard a voice as of a woman in travail, the anguish as of her that bringeth forth her first child." "Her first child!" Mark that! The similes in the Bible are not to be passed over in a hurry. It is the special cry when nature feels. And so our Lord speaks in John chapter 16--"A woman when she is in travail hath sorrow, because her hour is come;" there is the cry! "but as soon as she is delivered of the child, she remembereth no more the anguish, for joy that a man is born into the world." "And ye now therefore have sorrow." That is applied to the church! But "I will see you again and your heart shall rejoice." That will stop the crying, and nothing else will. "Your heart shall rejoice, and your joy no man taketh from you." Man never gave it, and man cannot take it away. Who was it that went to Adullam's cave? "Every one in distress, and every one in debt, and every one discontented, gathered themselves unto him, and he became a captain over them." (1 Sam. 22:1,2) The expression, "discontented," reads in the margin, "bitter of soul," not "discontented" in a bad sense, but in a good sense!
"When he crieth." Now do you cry? It is the cry under need and distress, and for deliverance. See again where the cry comes from in that wonderful Psalm, the 40th--"For innumerable evils have compassed me about; mine iniquities have taken hold upon me, so that I am not able to look up: they are more than the hairs of mine head; therefore my heart faileth me." There is the cry! Do you know what it is to have innumerable evils compassing you about? Now, my hearers, when the Holy Ghost convinces a man of sin does not that bring him into soul trouble? It makes him see that he is a guilty hell-deserving sinner. The Apostle Paul, under this very experience, says--"For I know that in me (that is in my flesh) dwelleth no good thing." Observe the parenthesis, ("that is, in my flesh") there was nothing good in his flesh, but there was something good in Paul when "born again," and unless we know this, we can know nothing of conflict--the conflict between the flesh and the spirit.
"What means this conflict in my heart,
In which both grace and sin take part,
Both seem resolved in me to reign,
And thus a daily war maintain?"
That is from a hymn! But what says the Scripture? "The flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary the one to the other, so that ye cannot do the things that ye would." (Gal. 5:17) That great divine, Philpot--I do not pass it off as my own--for we must be honest in the pulpit; it will not do to preach other men's sermons, says in annotation of "So that we cannot do the things that we would"--"Either spiritually or naturally! Spiritually we would do every thing to please God, but the flesh lusteth against the spirit." Is not this true, my brother? There is a conflict, and a sore one too, between the flesh and the spirit, and are we not, and have we not been stopped sometimes, as in Joseph's case, whatever our individual temptation may have been, and constrained to cry out--"How can I do this great wickedness and sin against God?" Have you never had a temptation to this sin and the other, and has not the conflict I refer to, been experienced, felt, and known? Has not the Spirit, with a voice of thunder, been heard speaking in your heart, stopping, checking, yea, delivering you? Have you not said, how can I do this sin, or that? And again, taking it the other way, we cannot do the things often spiritually that we would do; and blessed be God, because His grace restrains us, we cannot do the things that often we would do naturally and carnally! There is a special check-string that keeps the child of God from sins and those things that hurl others to destruction.
It is well to have these teachings and to know these things in the heart. Solomon says--"Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility." What is the meaning of that Scripture? I take it to be this! That before the soul is brought down to utter destruction, condemned before God as guilty, man is naturally proud and haughty, and that before a man really honors the Saviour he must be humbled as a guilty wretch at His footstool; that is, that a man can only honor Christ as Redeemer after he has been humbled before Him. That is the meaning of this passage--"Before destruction the heart of man is haughty, and before honour is humility." Now, when the poor soul crieth, that is an evidence God will hear! You may take that to your bedsides tonight! And you need not consult either friend, or pastor, for if the cry is really in the heart, it is a sweet evidence of grace; and a work begun shall be finished, and also in every trial, when you are foiled by temptation, when Satan is besetting you behind and before, and encompassing you all around, you shall have deliverance at the set time of favor.
"When foiled by the tempter, she goes
And makes the atonement her plea,
There pardon eternally flows,
And love wipes her sorrows away;
And when with her pardon she's blessed,
Communion with Jesus she gains,
No longer a sinner distressed,
For on her Beloved she leans."
And that sweet hymn that we sung first this evening--which was made so sweet, and such a comfort to me a short time ago--
"I thirst, but not as once I did,
The vain delights of earth to share;
Thy wounds, Immanuel, all forbid
That I should seek my pleasures there.
It was the sight of Thy dear cross
First weaned my soul from earthly things;
And taught me to esteem as dross
The mirth of fools and pomp of kings."
"He shall deliver the needy when he crieth." But there is a ministerial experience here: a minister must understand it; and so it says in the book of Job, "Because I delivered the poor that cried, and the fatherless, and him that had none to help him." (Job 29:12) Now, unless a minister of the Gospel knows something of this, he knows nothing as he should know. Oh, what a length of time was I shut up in Arminianism, preached falsely, and knew nothing of the Lord! But now brought down to be a poor man, orphaned, and having none to help me but my blessed Saviour, I am by His all-enabling power permitted to preach these things from time to time to poor people who are really poor and needy. In Ecclesiastes, it says--"There was a little city, and few men within it, and built great bulwarks against it: now there was found in it a poor wise man, and he by his wisdom delivered the city; yet no man remembered that same poor man." (Eccle. 9:14,15) Is not that Christ? And is not the "little city," the Church? London is a great city. London has got a mass of above two million of people, and there is a "little city," a Church in it. I believe there is a church gathered in St. Augustine's tonight, delivered by this poor wise Man--my Christ. Oh, look at Jesus! "Who of God is made unto us wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctification, and redemption, that according as it is written, he that glorieth let him glory in the Lord." (1 Cor. 1:30,31) That is why he has done so, for--
"He shall deliver the needy when he crieth." Well, now may you be enabled to bear these things home with you in your hearts--
First. The promise--"For He shall deliver."
Secondly. The character--"The needy."
Thirdly. The period when that promise is fulfilled--"When he crieth."
"When he crieth." Prayer, it has been said, is 'the breath of God in man!' There is music in a groan! There is harmony in a sigh which comes from a broken contrite heart! The world indeed cannot understand it. I have been groaning again and again to myself today under a sense of sin! We "that are in this tabernacle do groan being burdened." I have also been crying to God today to make me a good minister in the pulpit tonight. The best evidence of this will be the effect it has on the people, the fruit it produces amongst us. The poor also and him that hath no helper." This is a repetition! A strengthening statement, and I think there is a stronger meaning in the word "poor" than even in the expression "needy." A needy person seems to be a person who feels his need of something: but the "poor" implies a person who feels that he has got nothing at all. How does the Sermon on the Mount begin? What was the character that was first on the Redeemer's tongue, and foremost upon the Saviour's heart? "Blessed are the poor in spirit." These were the ones He first addressed. And, at humble distance, indeed, I would follow in the same track, looking unto Jesus to make me a pastor to the "poor in spirit" here. "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." (Matt. 5) Then, indeed, you are rich, and have got everything; for "all are yours, and ye are Christ's, and Christ is God's." (1 Cor. 3:23)
"Poor and afflicted, Lord, are thine,
Among the great unfit to shine."
"But, though the world may think it strange,
They would not with the world exchange."
No, I am sure they would not.
Then the meaning of "poor" is also that you have no power, and an evidence of being poor is, that you are sure to be despised by other people. Do rich men oppress you? The Pharisees, the Scribes, and the priests; men who know nothing of the humbling doctrines of the Gospel, who have never been brought to that "destruction" of which Solomon speaks. Every Christian is a necessitarian: "him that hath no helper." Have you ever been in temptation, or under a sense of personal sin, or in darkness, and felt that you had no power? If not; if you have never been in that spot, you know nothing about it. In Isaiah it says--"Who is among you that feareth the Lord, that obeyeth the voice of His servant, that walketh in darkness and hath no light, let him trust in the name of the Lord, and stay upon his God." (Isa. 50:10) "In darkness," "no light"--such an one can only "trust" and "stay" on the Lord his God! Like a ship at sea in a storm, that is the anchor! "And we have an anchor sure and stedfast." (Heb. 6:19) In that darkness, light, however, shall break forth! Of the world, however, it is said--"They walk on still in darkness," and they will walk on till they go to hell. But as regards the exercised church, Paul says--"But when we are judged we are chastened of the Lord, that we should not be condemned with the world." (1 Cor. 11:32) The world then is condemned; but mark the church's mercy--"There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." (Rom. 8:1) Here then is the distinction between the church and the world--between condemnation and no condemnation! What a mystery! How discriminating! What can solve the mystery, why you are a Christian, and another not so? Your father, or your husband, or your wife, or your brother, or your sister not a Christian, and you are a Christian! O! the secret mystery! It is a mighty secret! "Therefore if any man be in Christ he is a new creature; old things are passed away, behold all things are become new." The text is followed by a blessed promise--"He shall spare the poor and needy, and shall save the souls of the needy: He shall redeem their souls from deceit and violence: and precious shall their blood be in His sight." (Ps. 72:13,14)
I refer for a passing instant to that glorious text in Psalm 89; it speaks of the Saviour--"I have laid help upon one that is mighty: I have exalted one chosen out of the people. I have found David my servant; with my holy oil have I anointed him: with whom my hand shall be established; mine arm also shall strengthen him. The enemy shall not exact upon him; nor the son of wickedness afflict him. And I will beat down his foes before his face, and plague them that hate him. But my faithfulness and my mercy shall be with him; and in my name shall his horn be exalted. I will set his hand also in the sea, and his right hand in the rivers. He shall cry unto me, Thou art my Father, my God, and the Rock of my salvation."
Now, in concluding, I would preach this blessed Christ to you as the alone Redeemer of God's elect--the glorious Saviour, Ransomer, Deliverer of poor, needy sinners!--"If the Son therefore make you free, ye shall be free indeed" (John 8:36)--and "ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free." (John 8:32) Paul in writing to the Galatians says--"Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage. Behold I, Paul, say unto you, that if ye be circumcised, Christ shall profit you nothing." (Gal. 5:1,2) (There was a danger of their depending on forms. Now we love the means of grace, and the forms, with the power!) But I would say with Paul--"If ye be circumcised," that is, if you depend on the form only--"Christ shall profit you nothing; for I testify again to every man that is circumcised, that he is a debtor to do the whole law. Christ is become of no effect unto you, whosoever of you are justified by the law, ye are fallen from grace." (Gal. 5:3,4) What is the meaning of that, "fallen from grace?" It is impossible to fall finally from grace--sovereign grace! But the meaning is this--the Galatian church had fallen from the profession of the true Gospel of grace. We may, as the Galatians did, deviate for a time from the Gospel of grace, from the profession of the truth, but it will not do! It will engender bondage, and keep you in bondage. Kent says--
"God's free grace and man's free will
Shall ne'er divide the throne."
It will not do to play with the soul. It will not do to stray into soul-starving pastures. Beware! Beware!--"As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten." And if His children err and stray thus, He will rebuke, and you will grow leaner and leaner, with a hanging down head, and a sinking heart! O no!--be all one thing or all the other.
Now, the Apostle James speaks of "The perfect law of liberty." The child of God craves this. Hence the cry in Psalm 142--"Bring my soul out of prison, that I may praise Thy name: the righteous shall compass me about; for Thou shalt deal bountifully with me." Now as I once heard a dear minister say in preaching on that Scripture, the expression, "deal bountifully," occurs three times in the Psalms. In Psalm 119, verse 17, it is a prayer--"Deal bountifully with Thy servant." In Psalm 13, verse 6, it is a statement of past experience, the experience of a mercy--"I will sing unto the Lord, because He hath dealt bountifully with me." In Psalm 142, verse 7, in this passage that I am referring to, it is the expectation of hope of the poor soul in bondage, and shut up in prison: "for Thou shalt deal bountifully with me." And thus David sets up an Ebenezer on one side, and Jehovah-Jireh on the other, and so when faith fails, and he sinks in soul, he looks at Ebenezer, and remembers how bountifully God has in time past dealt with him--and thus encouraged he can, and does then look at Jehovah-Jireh, and feels sure that his Lord will deal bountifully with him again and again.
Thus, "in weakness, in fear, and in much trembling," I have endeavored to preach the Gospel to you. May you be made to remember it when it is over--when you are by yourselves alone--when, tomorrow, you are occupied in the bustle and business of this great and distracting city. Remember--"Where your treasure is, there will your heart be also." Where is it now? I want not to exhort you to become mere formalists--not to strain at a gnat and swallow a camel; but to "use the world without abusing it." It is the mercy of the Christian to know, that "sin shall not have dominion over him, for he is not under the law, but under grace." (Rom. 6:14) Some upstart Gospel-hater, and election doubter, may dare to call these doctrines dangerous; but the Scripture silences all such caviling as that, for "shall we continue in sin that grace may abound? God forbid! How shall we that are dead to sin live any longer therein." (Rom. 6:1,2) I wish I could preach that word, so as to burn it into your hearts, for your own experience, every day and every hour. But there is another point respecting the deliverance of "the poor and needy." I mean when the Lord Jesus comes again to deliver us, and to be with us Himself for ever. Paul clearly was living in daily expectation of His coming, for he writes--"Then we which are alive and remain unto the coming of the Lord." And we would live in such a daily expectation, with "our loins girded about, and our lamps burning." Remember the parable of the ten virgins--all ten professors! but only five possessors! All had the lamp, but all had not the oil! "And when the Bridegroom came; they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage; and the door was shut." (Matt. 25:10) The lamp may be in the hand, but it is the oil in the heart! It is the life! "In Him was life, and the life was the light of men." (John 1:4)
And now I must finish. It is hard sometimes to stop! Deliverance "of the poor and needy" has been my subject. May you not forget these things!--"Thou shalt call His name Jesus, for He shall save His people from their sins!" (Matt. 1:21) This blessed, this glorious Christ. People in England have been thinking and talking of, and some really fearing it, an attack and an aggression by Napoleon and the French against our shores--and defenses against any such invasion have also been discussed. But while the church of God is continually and actually aggressed upon by a million foes, what a mercy to know that she is safe, and kept, and guarded from every enemy.
"More happy, but not more secure,
Are glorified spirits in heaven."
So once sang Augustus Toplady.
Dear Toplady! I passed the church today in the Poultry, where he once preached the Gospel, but now he is in heaven before the throne of God--and my wish for myself, for my brother in the desk, and for you in St. Augustine's Church, now ranged before me, is--that we may meet in glory, and hear, and join the shout of praise in honor of our great Deliverer. May it be so, through the blood of Jesus--and hear me as I finish--"For He shall deliver the needy when he crieth, the poor also, and him that hath no helper."
May God bless the Gospel for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen, amen.