My Friends. It is generally the case when places are opened for divine worship to take a text that is considered to be adapted to the circumstances of that time and place; but I can assure you, my friends, my soul has been with God to direct me, for I cannot pick and choose texts for the opening of chapels, as people call it, and funeral sermons, and sermons adapted to different things of this nature. My soul has, I hope, been led to God for a little matter, to beg of him to fasten upon me such words as are from Himself, that it may prove a blessing to some vessels of mercy; that they may have their hearts opened, as well as the chapel. No words came for some time, and I was afraid the Lord would leave me without any. But, bless his precious Name, he sweetly, softly whispered in my soul these words:
"All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me, and him that cometh onto me I will in no wise cast out." (John. 6:37)
and I said, "Lord, that will do; but I want one thing more. I see that it is very sweet and good to find thy purpose will stand; but I want one thing more, that thou wilt bring it sweetly to my soul with savor, give me the opening of the mouth, and carry it home to the souls of his people." Here, my friends, I am obliged to leave it to the Lord.
I. We shall first notice the gift of the Father to Jesus: "All that the Father giveth unto me shall come unto me."
II. What they come for.
III. That all that the Father hath given unto Christ shall come unto him, and he will in no wise cast them out.
Then, my friends, it is fast at both ends; there is no moving out of it.
I. "All that the Father giveth me." Now, it is very evident from the word of God, and is fully stated in the text, that this gift of the Father unto Christ is not for all the human race. If you will, when you go home, read John 17, it will do you no harm. You will see throughout the whole chapter who these are. They are those that are given to Christ out of the world, singled out of the world, out of the mass of mankind, not by their own free will, not by repenting or believing, or doing and working, or anything that mortals can do. They are separated by the sovereign, electing, discriminating purpose of God from eternity, not of themselves. "Aye," says one, "I do not like that." It is nothing to me what you like. I am not come to know what you like, but to tell you what is true. God says they are a people that he calls, "a remnant according to the election of grace;" "predestinated to be conformed to the image of his Son;" "Whom he did predestinate, them he called; and whom he called, them he also justified; and whom he justified, them he also glorified;" (Romans 8:30) "Who shall lay anything to the charge of God's elect?" (Romans 8:33) So that you see this is the word of God. It is not the peculiar sentiment of these people that come to turn the world upside down with their peculiar sentiments. Search the word of God, and see whether or not these things are revealed in the Scriptures. God says, "Ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people." (1 Peter 2:9) And, my friends, there is nothing that will stand but the word of God; and woe be to that man, living or dying, that hates the truth of God, that fights against the truth of God, that abhors the truth of God. It would be better for him that a millstone be tied about his neck and he be cast into the midst of the sea.
But, blessed be our God, the gift of the Father of this chosen people is in the hands of Christ. What has he given them into his hands for? To redeem them. God made them upright with the rest of Adam's race, but they changed into the service of the devil; so that these wretches can never approach unto God but through Christ: "Not by works of righteousness which we have done; but by his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost." (Titus 3:5) They were given unto Christ as their covenant Head, and he received them and calls them out of darkness into his marvelous light. Bless his precious Name, they are in his hands to defend, to guide, and to bring them up at last in immortal glory to reign with him for ever and ever, with joy unspeakable and full of glory. He took them into his hands to complete this great work. All his saints are in his hands and are kept there. Yea, he says, every one of them sat at his feet to receive his blessed words. They all sat down at his feet and understood these things. "All mine are thine, and thine are mine, and I am glorified in them. I pray for them: I pray not for the world, but for them which thou hast given me; for they are thine." (John 17:9:10) So that you see this gift is the object of his sovereign discriminating love and choice. He set his love upon his people from eternity, and in time separates them. These are the characters, then.
II. Let us notice, then, that these characters all come to Christ: "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me." "Shall come." Neither sin nor anything else, put all together, shall keep them in ignorance longer than God has fixed, not one of them. " Thy people shall be willing in the day of thy power." (Psalm 110:3) The time is fixed, the instrument is fixed; it is all fixed by God. As many as God has fixed are all brought to believe in God's time.
If this is the case, what do they come for? What do they come unto Christ for? When the work of the Spirit has already taken place in the heart, that man cannot live in the world. My friends, who are these that come unto the Lord Jesus in reality? The lame, the maimed, the lepers, such as are possessed with devils. Just look at the poor woman that had a bloody issue, she had spent all her living among physicians but was nothing better, but rather worse. She presses through the crowd with her bloody issue. It was out of the power of any human arm to help her; so she was brought out of real necessity, being stripped of all she had, to come to the Lord. And there are just the same poor creatures now, spiritually. Where the Spirit has entered into the heart and opened up all the sins, all the actions to view, there is such a bloody issue. Go where he will, the man comes at last to cry, "Lord, save, or I perish." No other spot whatever. Feeling the burden of his guilt and misery, as a miserable, lost, wretched sinner, this man, my friends, will come to Christ, will follow Christ. The world may tell him there is no hope for him, and will tell him to give it all up. He will think of Judas, Cain, and Esau, reprobate silver that God has rejected for ever and ever; and he makes up his mind to put an end to his existence; and he would do it, my friends, if God suffered him. I know what it is to be there. I have taken the razor up stairs. I recollect the time. I thought I would go upon my knees and say, "God be merciful to me a sinner," just before I did it. Then a little hope sprang up, and then the word came: "Seek, and ye shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you." (Luke 11:9) I cried, "Aye, Lord, such a wretch as I?" My soul seemed to have a little hope.
My friends, there is nowhere else for such a soul to come to but Christ. Now let me ask you, in the presence of God, Are you come to Christ? Or have you come to this place of worship out of curiosity, to hear this poor countryman and see who is here? Ah, poor soul! Have you ever considered that the eye of God is upon you? Have you ever come to Christ with your sins burdening you down? "O! methinks," says one, "I have never been such a great sinner. I have never been guilty of telling lies, or Sabbath-breaking, &c. I consider that I am not one of that character." Have you ever considered that God says, "Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself?" (Luke 10:27) Has it ever struck your mind what God says, "Whosoever shall keep the whole law and yet offend in one point is guilty of all?" (James 2:10) Have you ever thought what God says again: "Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things that are written in the book of the law to do them?" "Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour's goods!" Have you never coveted? Now, where is your piety? Poor sinner, if God leaves thee doing thy best and resting on thy duties, and thou never knowest anything of thy heart being broken, and coming to Christ as a lost sinner, O what an eternity of wrath will thy soul sink into! Hell was never made for beasts or dogs. You, poor sinners, who feel and know these things, you do not want whipping to Christ. The poor sinner is brought to know there is no other spot to come to. He never could hope for mercy till his sins and iniquities are blotted out. They have to come to Christ for wisdom to teach them, and power to keep them from day to day. Christ is their Rock and Resting-place. There is no other rock and resting-place but Christ. They have to come to him, from time to time, for him to be made known in their hearts as the Lord their Righteousness. O what a sweetness there is when this is the case! But, my friends, when there is nothing but emptiness, what misery it is. We try to move our hard hearts, as hard as the nether millstone. I am one of the hardest learners in Christ's school, and that text of Scripture has given me many a good stroke: "This people draw near to me with their mouth and honour me with their lips, but their heart is far from me." (Matthew 15:8) By-and-bye a sweet drop comes from the everlasting hills, and my hard heart gives way. O how sweet it is when the Lord comes in! O how it brings Christ and the soul together!
These people have to come to Christ in all their sad temptations, that their souls have to pass through. Many of God's children think their case is so singular; they think that a child of God can never have such awful blasphemies running through his mind. "Aye," says one soul, "that is the spot; that is the thing. I have sinned against the Holy Ghost." What! Hast thou sinned the sin against the Holy Ghost? The Holy Ghost encourages thee to pray against it. The devil cannot get thy heart nor thy lips to utter it. My friends, I have before now been obliged to raise my hand to my lips to keep me from blaspheming. I thought I was a hardened professor and a hypocrite, and that God Was about to make it known. "Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you; but rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy." (1 Peter 4:12,13) These awful temptations of the devil are no bad sign, when they make thee unhappy. The devil never would have put this in thy heart if he loved thee. When thou wast in thy state of darkness he never troubled thee with these things. The Lord will appear for thee in his own time.
This is the best academy to put a parson in. The Lord put me here to fit some of the people of God. "Whether we be afflicted, it is for your consolation and salvation which is effectual in the enduring of things which we also suffer; or whether we be comforted it is for your consolation and salvation." (2 Corinthians 1:6) For weeks I could not possibly believe the Lord would have mercy on my soul; but when he came he had nothing to do but speak. He spoke with sweet power: "And shall not God avenge his own elect, which cry day and night unto him!" (Luke 18:7) My soul had been crying day and night for thirteen weeks, and I was brought into a happy liberty. My soul escaped; and what a happy and glorious liberty it was! How sweetly and blessedly he spoke! "For in that he himself hath suffered, being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted." (Hebrews 2:18) Yes, bless his precious name, all the devil can do is to bite and nibble at the heel; and when God delivers thee thou shalt shout "Victory!" and crown Jesus Lord of all. "My help cometh from, the Lord, which made heaven and earth." (Psalm 121:2)
Here the people have been obliged to come for direction. When distress comes to a child of God, he has to come to Christ for temporal as well as spiritual things. All the gold and silver are his, and all the cattle upon a thousand hills. My soul is obliged to come to Christ to teach me how to speak, how to eat, how to drink; all to the glory of the Lord; for there never was such a fool as I am, or ever will be. I am obliged to come to him for everything; righteousness to cover me, a fountain to cleanse, light to shine, glorious victory to bring my soul out of every spot; for of him and through him and to him are all things; to whom be glory forever and ever.
My friends, there is an aching void that; nothing can fill up. Through this winter the Lord has paid me many blessed visits. I have had some hard wrestlings with the enemy for weeks in this gloomy way; but when the Lord speaks, one visit from the blessed Jesus makes amends for all. We see all comes from, one Father. We learn that by God's sovereignty it is only the means to make it up and make amends for all. But these are but drops; they are so dazzling. I can speak of it as I ought to do when I get home.
III. All shall come: "Him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out." It is not he that is full of joy. If thou art as black as Satan, and art the biggest fool that ever had an existence, he will in no wise cast thee out. I tell you, my friends, what comes into my mind. Those that the Father hath given to Christ are sweetly knit together in the covenant of grace. As Peter describes it: "And there came a voice, saying, arise, "Peter, kill and eat. And Peter said, Not so, Lord, for I have never- eaten anything that is common or unclean." (Acts 10:14) There were creeping things, fourfooted beasts, fowls of the air, &c., dropped down from heaven. Then the sheet was let down, and they were all taken up to heaven. "What!" say you, "Are there such poor crawling things in heaven?" My friends, I believe God's account. It is such a way that the devil could never unravel it, David says he was a worm and no man, a sparrow alone on the housetop. Nay, David; for here is another one,—poor old John Warburton. Job says be was a brother to dragons And a companion of owls. What God says of himself that must be true, you know. "The beasts of the field shall honour me, the dragons and the owls." (Isaiah 43:20) Why they are queer sorts of things to honor God, are they not? But these people cannot compare themselves to anything ugly enough, nor vile enough; sometimes they think Satan himself is in their hearts. They are all ugly enough in themselves, but in the dear Jesus there is no spot nor wrinkle in them, nor any such thing. Because "I give waters in the wilderness, and rivers in the desert, to give drink to my people, my chosen." (Isaiah 43:20) "This people have I formed for myself; they shall sing forth my praise." (Isaiah 43:21)
My friends, they will never fall out of the covenant. They are all safe in Christ. They are all secured in the promises of God. They will never be cast out. Then let the child of God go where he may, he will never get beyond the bounds of God's promise. If he sinks in unbelief, God says his promise shall stand. There they are centered, in his glory, and they will never be cast out.
But the poor child of God wants a manifestation of it in his heart, and nothing short of this will do for him. Nothing short of this would do for poor Mary Magdalene. Christ told Simon her sins were forgiven her. Yet he did not turn to Mary, though it was very probable that Mary heard it, but she still sat at his feet weeping. But by and bye he turned to Mary, and instead of her sins, it is thy sins; and Mary's heart rejoiced. Her soul was full of wonder, and your poor guilty souls want to feel this. Poor dear soul, wait on the Lord, for the vision is for an appointed time. In the end it shall speak and not tarry. Wait for it, because it will surely come; it will not tarry. Tell the Lord of it, poor soul. He will not be angry. I have always found that the Lord is never offended at my telling him. Poor soul! Thou canst go nowhere else, but beg and wait for the appointed time. What a sorry hobbling job the poor creature at the pool had of it; but Christ came by, and said, blessed be his dear lips, "Wilt thou be made whole?" He said, "I have no one to put me in the pool; and then, with his God-like voice, he said, "Arise, take up thy bed and walk." (John 5:6-8)
He will in no wise cast out. "Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." (Matthew 11:28) And all these comers shall find that the Lord is their all and in all.
O that it may please the Lord that some vessel of mercy may feel the power of God in his heart!
May the Lord bless these few remarks, and he shall have all the glory.