"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear." (Revelation 13:8,9)
I feel it to be a great point, ministerially, in preaching the gospel, to be able, by God's grace and power in me to separate and discriminate between church and world, to discriminate between professor and possessor, to distinguish between mere letter work and heaven-born spirituality; and to insist upon it, that God, under every dispensation of His providence, in all He has done, and does do, and will still do--acts according to covenant ordering and covenant decree; and that He is in the true sense of the word a Sovereign. And I cannot imagine, my hearers, a more striking text than this to show the Sovereignty of God!--To show that the church of God in every individual member of her company shall be brought to serve God,--and that all others shall serve, willingly the devil. That is plain speaking, but unmistakable English is always the best.
And now I proceed, first of all with the second verse in this text--"If any man have an ear, let him hear." That distinctly proves, and sets before you and me, that all men have not ears to hear the gospel--that all men and all women have not ears to hear the TRUTH. And here we must not blink the gospel--we must not keep back any part of the Word of God. Listen to me while I set before you a Scripture in proof of this statement--"He hath blinded their eyes that they should not see with their eyes: He hath shut their ears that they should not hear with their ears," (John 12:40; Matt. 13:14,15) and so on. While on the other hand, Christ addresses the church, and says--"Unto you it is given to know the mysteries of the kingdom of God." (Luke 8:10) It is a gift. And so the Apostle says to the church at Corinth--"Who maketh thee to differ?" (1 Cor. 4:7) Who makes the difference in this congregation before me? How many are there here--(and that is a subject for your own consciences, and for the solemn investigation of your own minds)--how many are there here before me who have undergone that scriptural, that all essential work without which none can understand, and none receive the Gospel! Our Lord distinctly preached, "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God;" or, as it is in the margin and in the Greek, "Except a man be born from above!" That shows us where the birth comes from. A man cannot get it of himself, education cannot bestow it--public schools and colleges--Oxford or Cambridge--cannot drive it into a sinner. But the promise of the written word is this, in Isaiah chapter 54--"All Thy children shall be taught of the Lord, and great shall be the peace of Thy children." (Isa. 54:13) And, my hearers, what is the secret of such teaching? We read (I think it occurs in the 6th chapter of John,) "Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of THE FATHER, cometh unto Me." (John 6:45) There is where Jehovah's teaching brings us--to Christ! Now, how many of you before me have come to Him? Every one of the church shall come--every one who is elect must come. You may not have come yet. There may be several here now "dead in trespasses and sins," but if you are registered in the Book of Life you shall come:--
"There is a period known to God.
When all His sheep, Redeem'd by blood,
Shall leave the hateful ways of sin,
Turn to the fold, and enter in."
There is no doubt about it--no chance work--that is the creed of the infidel! It does not depend upon man, or on man's strength, man's will, man's power, or man's capacity--but it depends wholly upon the unalterable decree of Him who made the world. "If any man have an ear, let him hear."
In connection with the passage that I referred to about our Lord's preaching in the 3rd chapter of John--"Except a man be born again!" "Except a man be born again he cannot see the kingdom of God"--Allow me just to put before you a fact--suffer me to stir up your minds upon the subject--Who was the man to whom the Son of God addressed that searching word? It was to a man of high caste, a man of standing, a man (if I may so speak) of rank, a man who could not have occupied the position he filled, "a Master of Israel" unless he had a high moral character--Nicodemus I refer to. And yet Christ solemnly tells that man, speaking pointedly, by the indefinite article "A;" Except A man be born again"--(including Nicodemus himself)--he cannot see the kingdom of God!" Allow me to speak in plain English, except a man receive a new heart, and a new spirit, though he is a moral man, though he is an amiable man, though he is a man of high standing and high caste--he must eternally be damned! Now here is the great and glorious doctrine of the Gospel, the blessed statement of our Glorious Christ Himself--He who spake as never man spake--He who was content to suffer, to bleed, to be agonized, and to die, in order to accomplish that great Redemption which He did accomplish and finish upon the cross. "If any man have an ear, let him hear"--and if he does hear it is the effect of the NEW BIRTH--having that ear to hear is the effect of the Holy Ghost's work upon the soul! Now what do you all know about the work of the Holy Ghost? Have you received the Holy Spirit of God? Has there been a work, my hearers, wrought in you? "If any man have an ear, let him hear." Remember what it is to hear! Even the truth of God--to hear the great, and grand, the glorious and eternal realities of the gospel. It is to hear God speaking, either in the read word alone, or in the preached word in the pulpit--it is to hear that "still small voice," which cannot be heard in the earthquake or in the wind; but when God speaks, then man must hear. Now friends, I ask you each, in anticipation of a dying hour and a day of judgment, can you answer solemnly as before Jehovah that you have, indeed, an ear to hear His Word? Have you had the sentence of death passed upon yourselves? Have you heard the convicting power of the Holy Spirit bringing you to know your lost state as sinners? If you have not heard that, you have as yet no ear for the Gospel. It is only the convinced sinner, the convicted sinner, the contrite hearted sinner, that has an ear to hear the Truth! David says--"Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound;" and the hymn says:--
"Bless'd are the souls that hear and know,
The gospel's joyful sound;
Peace shall attend the path they go,
And light their steps surround."
O! Of all the mercies--(and God's mercies are neither few nor small)--of all the mercies than can be shown to a guilty wretch, such as you and I each are, is the mercy of having the ear circumcised--and the heart opened--as Lydia had of old, to attend to the things that were spoken of Paul. "He that hath an ear, let him hear." Now, there must be a conviction of guilt in your consciences, there must be a feeling sense of your own desperate depravity in order that you may hear aright. It is one great point in a minister to blacken man--in our pulpits we cannot lay men down too low in the dust--we cannot too fully annotate that graphic statement of Isaiah, that "From the sole of the foot even unto the head no soundness in it; wounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores." (Isa. 1:6) Newton in one of his hymns says:--
"Since therefore I can hardly bear,
What in myself I see,
How vile and black must I appear,
Most Holy God, to thee."
There he saw his own sinnership! But look at another verse; he had an experience of his saintship too:--
"But since my Saviour stands between,
In garments dy'd in blood,
'Tis He instead of me is seen,
When I approach to God."
My hearers, look at that! It is as he is seen in Christ, yea! As Christ is seen--
"Thus, though a sinner, I am safe,
He pleads before the throne;
His life and death in my behalf,
And calls my sins His own."
The church of God has no sin! What, say any of you, do you mean to preach to us perfection in the flesh; that horrid Arminian doctrine? No, I do not intend to do any such thing; but I say, as viewed in Christ the Church is holy--Righteousness is not in us! There is nothing good in you or in me--either in thought, word, or deed:--
"What boundless love! What mysteries!
In this appointment shine;
My breaches of the law are His,
And His obedience mine."
There is a secret that the Vicar of Olney knew, and that secret I also know--It has been burnt into me, and so I can insist on it as I preach to you. O! It is a mercy to see and feel our guilt, and also to see our guilt removed, and if, as Hart says--
"But if guilt removed
Return and remain,
Its power may be proved
Again and again."
O! There is power in the blood of Jesus to wash it away again and again; hence we want the blood of sprinkling for fresh sins, fresh pardon for fresh guilt. O! How sweet is the application of blood and righteousness. It is only in that we can stand before a Holy God! "Thou God seest me!" That is the Gospel! And it does me good, as I stand before my fellow sinners here to preach FREE GRACE pardon to the vilest, and the worst, and most abandoned characters, it may be, in all this great city; and to tell him or her that when grace has wrought a work in their hearts, they will leave the ways of sin and feel their only happiness to consist in that narrow, but sure path that leads to Heaven and to Glory. "If any man have an ear, let him hear."
Well now, I know that you cannot hear what I say receivingly without your ears are open. Lydia was one who by the riverside received the gospel; but we do not know that the others who were there did. She received it because God opened her heart--the expression is--Lydia "whose heart the Lord opened, that she attended unto the things which were spoken of Paul." (Acts 16:14) The conviction of sin takes place first, then the ear, the heart is opened to receive the messages of pardon. What is it the wretch, the criminal, shut up in the condemned cell wants? It is a reprieve! Free Pardon! Do you know the 7th chapter of Luke? Do you remember the scene in Simon's house?--The fifty and five hundred pence debtors? Do you remember not only how pardon was declared concerning this guilty woman in Simon's house? But how pardon was spoke home and into her very heart--"And He said unto the woman, Thy sins are forgiven!" And again--"He said to the woman, Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace." Now we must all be brought under conviction! Under the law--"For I was alive without the law once: but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died" (Rom. 7:9)--as if he had said--'I was alive then, I had no exercises of soul then, I had no trials then, no difficulties then;' "but when the commandment came, sin revived and I died." There was his trial, when "the commandment came" to him. There is a great deal of difference--and I think I have preached this to some of you before--there is all the difference possible between the sinner coming to the commandment, and the commandment coming to the sinner. Look at the case of a man who is in debt to his fellow man and does not pay. The creditor keeps asking for the money, and the debtor promises it at such and such a time, but does not fulfill his promise: the creditor keeps asking and asking, but he does not get a farthing; at last the sheriff's officer is sent; he demands payment with authority and will not be put off; so, so when the commandment comes, it is with power to the heart; then it is that the sinner made sensible knows the power of the law. Mere moral persons come to the commandment, and we say not a word against a moral conduct, mark that! Do not go away and say that we preach against morality. O! No; it is the desire of every Christian, every child of God to obey his Father on the ground of love, and the sinner who has realized the word--"God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish, but have everlasting life" (John 3:16)--must be and is melted down under the lovingkindness of the Lord; he desires to avoid sin, not to "continue in sin;" sin is the very burden of the church, and every mystic member of Christ's body feels it so and grieves beneath it. I know there are some before me who are agonized because of sin. O! How happy we should be if we could only throw off our iniquities as we can our clothes--the thunderings of the law make sin known. The experience of Paul was--"I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God." (Gal. 2:19) And then immediately afterwards he says--"I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live, yet not I"--(look how jealous he is of his Master's power)--"but Christ liveth in me." (Gal. 2:20) When Grace had entered into the Apostle's heart self was crucified. As Kent says--.
A man cannot boast who knows anything of Christ, in him the hope of glory. Now listen! "I through the law am dead to the law, that I might live unto God. I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me. I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." (Gal. 2:19-21) Paul had got the same kind of enemies about him that every faithful minister has in our day. The cry was raised against him of "Antinomian," 'that he was a preacher of licentious doctrine'--but the Apostle rose above all this, and standing steadfastly upon the TRUTH, declares--"I do not frustrate the grace of God: for if righteousness come by the law, then Christ is dead in vain." "He that hath ear, let him hear!" That is The Gospel! Of what use is a physician, a surgeon, an apothecary, in the bedroom of a sick man if he does not at once attack the root of the disease? Or if a leg is diseased and must be taken off, the surgeon is useless who hesitates and says, 'Shall I, or shall I not?' And so in preaching the gospel: it must be the FULL GOSPEL--the cream, the sum and substance of THE GOSPEL! Nothing must be withheld, nothing kept back. "For I am not ashamed of the Gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek." (Rom. 1:16)
Now, my hearers, if you have heard the word in its condemning power under the law, have you heard it also in its life-giving reality under the Gospel? Have you heard that blessed Scripture in the 14th chapter of John, as you have laid, condemned, and harassed, and exercised under the law and under the conviction of sin--"BECAUSE I LIVE, YE SHALL LIVE ALSO?" Have you heard that? Nobody can receive that but the man who has been under sentence of death. "I through the law am dead to the law." There is death. "And so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned." (Rom. 5:12) "But"--this is the promise--"because I live ye shall live also." Now, has this been made known to your hearts? Remember, "the letter killeth: you may have heard of these things, and known these things in the letter--"but the Spirit giveth life." (2 Cor. 3:6) Like that chimney sweep of whom I spoke the other evening--the SECRET OF THE GOSPEL is, "Christ in me, and I in Him."
I must now proceed to the first verse before me in the text. "All that dwell upon the earth"--(all, every one, look at the words!) "All that dwell upon the earth shall worship him." There is the sovereignty, and God speaks it--"shall worship him--(the beast)--"whose names are not written in the Book of life, of the LAMB SLAIN from the foundation of the world." O, my hearers, what a solemn Scripture to sound forth in the hearing of every one of you--the unalterable and unaltering Word of God, who orders all things in heaven and on earth! We hear of infidels, we hear of sceptics, we hear of gospel haters, we hear of gospel opposers, we hear of gospel professors, we hear of all sorts and conditions of men, and we, at times, wonder how it is!--But look at the unaltering decree of Deity! And then all is plain! There are only two families upon earth. The Apostle John calls them, "the children of God and the children of the devil!" (1 John 3:10) These are the words of the Bible, in John's Epistle--"In this," (he says) "the children of God are manifest and the children of the devil." There are the two classes, and the reprobate, the non-elect, "SHALL worship" the beast! In whatever way you interpret "the beast," or whatever "the beast" is, as opposed to the true God--they shall worship" him! This opens a great view before me! And when I hear of the increasing infidelity of our age--when I look at the masses of this wonderful city--when I hear of infidels, sceptics, and heretics all over the world, and whether as applicable to this world, be it either the crowded city or the scarce peopled village, I see the very meaning of my text, and the decree of my God accomplished; for all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear." But mark me! In the midst of this world's population there is a "little flock" of whom it is written--"Fear not, little flock; for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." (Luke 12:32) These shall not worship the beast, their names are written in the Book of life, and these are all safe and kept and guarded, because everlastingly saved. Now to which of these do we individually belong? Mark my question! And while I wish to discriminate, and to insist on the first portion of my text--"And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the Book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world"--let me emphatically preach to you that "there is a remnant according to the election of grace." (Rom. 11:5) You remember the passage in the gospel in which our Lord says to His church--"Rejoice not that the spirits are subject unto you, but rather rejoice because your Names are written in Heaven." (Luke 10:20) Now, do we know this experimentally for ourselves? Have we a hope that our names are written in heaven? That we have been redeemed, that our sins are pardoned? All blotted out, and that Christ died for us individually? According to those sweet lines which I think I quoted on Tuesday evening:--
"Help each poor trembler to repeat,
For me He died, for me."
O, my friends, it is personal interest that is the great reality of the gospel! To ascertain that personal interest is the desire and cry of "the poor in spirit." In this is their trial and their exercise. They are desirous to know whether they are the children of God, and that very desire is a sweet token (if we can rise no higher in the scale of evidence,) that we are the children of God--that the Spirit has begun a good work in our souls! The carnal world do not trouble themselves about it. 'God is merciful'--they say--and 'will I hope save me at last.' But they forget God's justice. We read in the Bible, "Mercy and Truth are met together," "Righteousness and Peace have kissed!" (Ps. 85:10) We must not exalt the mercy of God above His justice. I do not wish to depreciate that mercy; no man would exalt that mercy higher than the sinner who stands before you in the pulpit; but we must hold the beam of the scales with an even hand, and mercy must not rise an atom above Justice. No! God is a God of Justice as well as of Mercy; He is a God of vengeance! "Just and Right is He;" that solemn word at the end of the 12th chapter of Hebrews--"Our God is a consuming fire"--we may take either way, either that out of Christ He is a consuming fire to the ungodly, or that IN CHRIST he is a consuming fire to melt down His dear people in the furnace of His love! Listen to the text--"whose names are not written in the Book of life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. He that hath an ear, let him hear." I have been speaking to you on the great subject that there are some names written in the Book of life. Can you read your name there, my hearers? In the first Epistle of Peter it is written--"Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by Him do believe in God, that raised Him up from the dead, and gave Him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God." (1 Pet. 1:18-21) Now, where is your faith? Where is your hope? I was endeavoring to show on Tuesday, I think, that there is such a thing as a carnal hope, a carnal faith; a false hope and a false faith, as it is written--"the devils also believe and tremble." But is your faith--"the faith of God's elect?" Do you know what it is to be dead to the world, and alive unto God? This is only by the teaching of the Holy Ghost in us, "without Him we can do nothing;" the child of God is often forgetful of Him; and hence the continual need of the Holy Spirit's power and influence that we may be able to realize our calling and our interest in Christ. How blessed it is to be able to trace by some satisfactory, evidential test, that our "name is written in the Book of life." How anxious the men of the world are upon the common worldly subject of having a vote--to know whether the overseers of the parish have placed their names on the register, or else when a contested election comes on they would not have their vote. These men are not content with the mere assurance that it is there--they must see it there for themselves. Friends, learn in this a lesson from the world! Are you, each one of you? As intensely in earnest to ascertain whether your names are written in the Lamb's Book of life, of which I am speaking?--The book of God's unalterable decrees? My hearers, look at the masses of your own London! Look at the crowds that are pressing and passing up your streets!--And think of what the apostle says about pressing. Let me turn to it that I may read it as it stands in the Bible. "I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus." (Phil. 3:14) "PRESS TOWARD!--You know what it is to push through a crowd in order to reach the point which you desire to get to--so the word--"I press toward the mark"--and the very fact of "pressing" shows that there are obstacles in the way; and there are many. The child of God, for example, has his own vile heart, as well as ungodly friends and acquaintances, also the world, flesh, and devil, and is thus opposed in almost every step of his progress, as he presses onwards towards the mark for that prize--the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus. That is to my mind a most striking passage in the experience of the Apostle: I can well imagine Paul pressing towards "the mark for the prize of the high calling of God--(that is God's effectual call)--in Christ Jesus."
Names! "Written in the Book of life!" "But look at another great subject in the text before you--"CHRIST CRUCIFIED," "the LAMB slain from the foundation of the world." Now, my hearers, you that are spiritually-minded--you that in St. Thomas' Church are here assembled tonight, and have got a little hope--faint though your hope may be--faint indeed like a twinkling star in the distant heaven, yet what a mercy to be raised to a hope in the same, that your name is "written in the Book of life" from all eternity; and that nothing can blot it out. O! But says the poor timid soul--'I have been such a sinner:' well--your sins cannot damn you: your sins cannot blot your name out of the Book of life. In preaching this I allow no loophole for sin, for it is in the Book--"Sin shall not have dominion over you, for ye are not under the law but under grace;" (Rom. 6:14) and again--"where sin abounded grace did much more abound." (Rom. 5:20) It is that which melts the sensible sinner down at the footstool of love. It is the power of love that is most effectual to keep the sinner in order--"Behold what manner of 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." (1 John 3:1) Look at that. Kelly says in one of his touching hymns--
"'Twould ill become them to refuse,
The path their Master deign'd to choose."
The world knows us not because it knew Him not. Have you ever been sorry because your name has been cast out as evil? Have you ever felt a pang in your bosom because you are despised and hated of all men? Look at your Master! Every son and daughter of God must be tried in order to come up to that blessed and glorious passage of the apostle--"The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit that we are the children of God." (Rom. 8:16) "The Spirit testifies with our spirit"--that is the new part, the new nature, that God put in us--"A new heart and a new spirit."
But look now at the master subject of all gospel preaching--"The LAMB slain from the foundation of the world." "The weapons of our warfare are not carnal." (2 Cor. 10:4) This is the weapon which we wield, and with which we fight--"THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB!" We have no other; we want no other: no sword, no bow, no other weapon than that--"THE BLOOD OF THE LAMB." I think there is a passage just before that on which I am speaking--"And I heard a loud voice saying in heaven, Now is come salvation, and strength, and the kingdom of our God, and power of His Christ: for the accuser of our brethren is cast down, which accused them before our God day and night. And they overcame him by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony; and they loved not their lives unto death." (Rev. 12:10,11) You see what they overcame by! They overcame the accuser of the brethren, that is, the enemy who accuses us continually with false accusations, "by the blood of the Lamb, and by the word of their testimony" 'the testimony' of God by the Holy Spirit's power in their hearts--that will silence and overcome the "accuser of the brethren."
Now time goes on so fast in the pulpit, that I must soon stop; but not before I have endeavored more fully to preach before you the great, grand and glorious doctrine as embodied in this whole text, and in this whole Bible--"THE LAMB slain from the foundation of the world." You heard from the desk that sweet and glorious prophetic chapter (Isaiah 53) which especially sets forth in Old Testament history--"CHRIST, AND HIM CRUCIFIED"--"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities, the chastisement of our peace was upon Him and with His stripes we are healed." But perhaps the most touching passage in all that 53rd chapter of Isaiah are those prophetic words--"It pleased the Lord to bruise Him." It was Jehovah's pleasure "to bruise him;" and hence you will find in the gospel that God the Father, Son, and Spirit, speaks of God the Son, as "my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Matt. 3:17) Mark the Scripture! "pleased in Him!" Now, consider this as applicable to His people! Jehovah is satisfied--well pleased--and hence, another passage that comes out of that 53rd chapter of Isaiah--"He shall see of the travail of His soul and shall be satisfied." Who is that "He?" I understand it to be the ETERNAL TRINITY. If a man is not sound in the TRINITY he is an infidel--and I understand from the passage just quoted, that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost were all satisfied in Christ. Justice was satisfied, and man, elect men redeemed. I would repeat to you one of those peculiar and unctuous passages in one of Augustus Toplady's sermons, in which, in his own peculiar English he describes the agonies of Christ. The text of that sermon is "Seen of Angels"--the scene described was the crucifixion and sufferings of Jesus Christ--that angels and spirits of just men made perfect saw all this; and then, he says, "If ever sorrow was in heaven--if ever the harps of the blessed were suspended, silent and unstrung on the willows of dismay--if ever angels ceased to praise, and glorified souls forgot to sing--if ever the harmony of the sky was, not merely interrupted, but, if it be possible, exchanged for lamentation, and mourning, and woe--it must have been during the six tremendous hours (such hours as nature never saw before, nor will ever see again) that the dying Jesus hung upon the tree." O! Those words, "IT IS FINISHED." O! That "agony and bloody sweat, that cross and passion."
Now, I trust that the subject on which I have preached may be blessed; that it may be the means of stirring up your minds to meditate on the great realities that it sets forth. Do not imagine that mere church going is of itself of any avail. It must be the solemn work of the Holy Ghost on the heart--a new creation! And having been made "to differ," the Spirit of God working in us, all our hope, our faith, our desires, must be fixed on Him who for "His own elect," became "a man of sorrows and acquainted with grief," but who now is the Advocate, the all-prevailing Intercessor of His people--"If any man sin, we have an ADVOCATE"--how sweetly this Scripture encourages the poor broken-hearted sinner--"If any man sin"--(that is any elect man)--"we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." (1 John 2:1,2) Lest however there should be any cavilers here, any who opposing the truth, would make me an offender for a word (and this is always so where and when the gospel is faithfully preached,) while I say, that the Advocate is a Pleader for the elect only--see how earnestly John warns such elect ones--"My little children, these things write I unto you, that ye sin not." (1 John 2:1) Beware of sin--in your walk--in your conversation. "Walk circumspectly," prayerfully, watchfully. But "if," (O! How blessed is the Scripture)--"If any man sin," through infirmity, through temptation, through being left to himself (and in that case where should we not go to then?) "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father"--and that Advocate reminds the Father of His own finished work, and His own blood and righteousness. Look at the world! How does the world act in this? In a law suit when an advocate, a pleader is wanted, how in earnest they are to obtain the best counsel, an Attorney General, or a Fitzroy Kelly, and the retaining fee is freely given; the accused is placed on trial, but it is the advocate who pleads--he addresses the judge and the jury--how often however has an Attorney General failed, and a Kelly's eloquence and pleading been unable to prevail. But the Advocate for the elect can never plead in vain, He must and will prevail. Do you know anything of His advocacy? If so, you must have stood condemned under the law, by sin, and your own heart. "If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous: and He is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the whole world." Not "the whole world" as referring to all mankind! In this Scripture John was combating a false notion of the Jews, who erroneously held that no Gentile could be saved, and so he says, not for ours only, that is, the propitiation for the sins not of elect Jews merely, but the propitiation also for the elect in "the whole world"--Wherever the elect are, whether Jew or Gentile, there is an Advocate "Jesus Christ the Righteous." Hear what Paul states in the 7th chapter of the Epistle to Hebrews, verse 25--"Wherefore He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Heb. 7:25) "Is able to save to the UTTERMOST." In that is His occupation! The Son of God the Advocate! He never ceases that all-prevailing work; He may not, He does not always answer our prayers, but He always hears them; He may keep us waiting, and watching, and crying; and we may lay low and long at His footstool, harassed and perplexed, but He, our Everlasting Intercessor, hears and knows every petition we may cry or breathe. Paul speaks of our "affliction" as "light." "Our light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more exceeding and eternal weight of glory; while we look not at the things which are seen, but at the things which are not seen; for the things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal." (2 Cor. 4:17,18) Affliction is made "light," while by grace we look at "things not seen." David says--"It is good for me that I have been afflicted" (Ps. 119:71)--for "before I was afflicted I went astray, but now have I kept Thy word." (Ps. 119:67) And O! What are all our afflictions compared to His, emphatically called "THE LAMB slain from the foundation of the world."
Now, I leave this great subject set forth in the text amongst you. May it sink deep into your souls; may it take root downwards and bear fruit upwards. Mark it deeply! The Eternal Decree--the Book of Life--the names there, and the names not there--the EVERLASTING SACRIFICE--the Lamb slain--the ear that shall hear--and those whose ears and eyes are closed. O! How discriminating this. I will read this solemn text and then finish. "And all that dwell upon the earth shall worship him, whose names are not written in the book of Life of the Lamb slain from the foundation of the world. If any man have an ear, let him hear."
May God bless the Gospel for Jesus Christ sake. Amen. Amen.