Gospel Writings

A. J. Pollock

Table of Contents
Wrestling or Clinging, and Other Gospel Addresses
Wrestling or Clinging
Freedom for the Slave; or the Year of Jubilee
Difference; or Man’s condition and God’s interposition
Naaman; or the Sinner and his Mistakes
Silence and Speech; or Conviction and Confession
The Way of Salvation
The Sheep and the Sow; or Reality and Profession
“Behold, the Bridegroom”
A Leak Stopped by a Man’s Body
A Message for the Anxious
A Maori Mother’s Love
A Saviour Who Saves
“A Scrap of Paper”
A Startling Cure
A Tale From an Old Diary
A Test
A Theatre Audience Sings the “Glory Song”
A Thrilling Incident on H.M.S. “Cressy”
An Unanswerable Argument
Between Two Slides
“Come,” or “Depart”
“Come unto Me,” the Saviour doth say
“Consider This!”
Count the Cost
“Daniel Webster, The Sinner”
Do It Now!
Fact Stranger than Fiction
Faithful to the Promises
Farewell
Five Asses
Found Out and Turned Out
From Laughter to Terror
God has Proved His Love to Sinners Poor and Lost
Gospel Jottings
“Grace Abounding” or, The Murderer’s Conversion
Grace for the Guilty
Hearken! the Day of God’s Grace Closes Fast
Heinrich Heine’s Death-bed
How can I be quite sure of Salvation?
How Dr. Johnson Died
How the Belgian Soldier was Rescued
How the Train Was Saved
I am Going to my Saviour, to His Home of Love and Song
“I Found Firm Footing There”
Infidelity
Is Jesus God The Son?
Is the New Theology of God?
Just in Time
King Oscar of Sweden
Lavender Bags
“Let Him Alone”
“Lift Up Your Eyes”
Lord Tweedsmuir’s Testimony
Lost by Three Seconds
Love Commended
Minute-Minders
Mr. Gladstone’s Testimony to the Gospel
“My Last End”
“No One Wanted the Real Me”
Now (1)
Now
“Now is the Day of Salvation”
O Heart of God, Told Out in Wondrous Love
Oh! Hearken, Ye Saints—the Lord’s Waiting Band
One Hundred Years Ago (Lord Nelson’s Last Words)
Peace! Peace! Peace!
Peace was Procured by Christ, the Son of God
Question of Interest: Are all Christians called to definite service for Christ?
Ransomed Saints, Your Voices Raise
Reason Gone Mad!
Reasons for Reading
“Redeeming the Time”
Safe is the Vilest Sinner, who, Confiding
Serving the Lord by Proxy
Sin and Atheism
“Something Better”
Split Sundays
Streams of Blessing
The Account Not Settled Yet
The Covenanters
The Credulity of Unbelief
The Duke and the Old Woman
The Dying Scientist
The Great Gospel Verse
The Greatest Sorrow of All
The Heathen
The Home of Kings
The “I Am”
The Journey and Its End
The Judge and His Prisoner
“The Last Days of St Pierre”
The Lighthouse and the Lifeboat
The Miners’ Last Message
The Mother’s Rock
The Name above Every Name
“The Only Thing I Worry About”
“The Precious Blood”
The Sinner and His Mistakes
The Snow-Storm
The Venerable Bede
“The World’s Stores, Limited”
“Thou God Seest Me”
Tomorrow
Tract Distribution
Try him with a Text
Two-and-a-Half Converts
What is Faith?
What is the Best Way to Read the Bible?
Where Do You Find The Power?
Where do you Keep your New Testament?
Why Can’t You Trust Jesus?
Why Not Now?
Women and Children First
Works of Grace—Trying or Trusting—Which?

Wrestling or Clinging, and Other Gospel Addresses

Preface

This volume consists of eight Gospel Addresses delivered in Baltimore, America.
They were taken down by a stenographer and have been carefully revised, and are now sent forth with the earnest prayer that as God has blessed the spoken word, He may now use the printed page in blessing to very many souls.
Quotations from Scripture are throughout printed in italics.
A.J.P.
Montego Bay, Jamaica,
West Indies,
12 February, 1897

Index
1. Wrestling or Clinging
2. Freedom for the Slave; or the Year of Jubilee
3. Difference; or Man’s condition and God’s interposition
4. Naaman; or the Sinner and his Mistakes
5. Silence and Speech; or Conviction and Confession
6. The Way of Salvation
7. The Sheep and the Sow; or Reality and Profession
8. “Behold, the Bridegroom”

Wrestling or Clinging

  “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel: for I have seen God face to face, and my life is preserved” (Genesis 32:30).

Jacob—the sinner—had seen God, the One who cannot look upon iniquity, face to face, and yet his life was preserved. Jacob, however, is not the only person who must meet God. Every single one of my hearers must meet God one day sooner or later, and, should we go no further, we want to impress this solemn fact upon you; to ring this great cardinal truth in your ears, and may God make its echo reach right down to the depths of your souls.

YOU must meet God.

“I cannot die; I will not die,” shrieked out a young lady, wrapping at the same time the blanket convulsively around her head, as she struggled in the embrace of death. But she did die, and passed on to the great interview she so much dreaded. Meet God she must. There was no alternative. Friend, you may not be called to enter eternity so soon as that young lady was; you may, perhaps, live a great many years; you may, indeed, live far past the allotted three score years and ten, but, at long last, you must meet God, and how will you meet Him?

There are two times and two places in which you may meet God, and two results. The two times are NOW, or by-and-bye, IN ETERNITY; the two places—IN THIS WORLD, or in the day of judgment, BEFORE THE GREAT WHITE THRONE; the two results—if you meet Him now, in time—SALVATION; but, if you put it off until eternity, until

the great white throne

is set up—DAMNATION!

You know that terrible word—damnation—has gone out of fashion in this nineteenth century. Preachers don’t use it so much as they once did, but the fact remains that, if you are not saved in this world by the precious blood of Jesus, you will be eternally lost—yes, damned—in the next. Meet God you must, but, how? is the great burning question of all questions that we would ring in your ears, and our prayer is that God may ring it deep down in your souls.

It is interesting to trace how Jacob met God face to face, and how his life was preserved. Our chapter begins with these words—“And Jacob went on his way, and the angels of God met him.” Now, ever since Adam fell, men and women have been going on in their own way. I went on my own way once, and you, my unconverted hearer, are going on your own way. It is the broad road that leads to destruction.

It is a popular road

thronged by the drunkard, the gambler, the harlot; aye, patronised by the merely religious and the moral, by the unconverted deacon, the unsaved Sunday-school teacher, and the unconverted baptised communicant. Unconverted hearer, again we repeat, you are going on your own way, and it leads to hell. But God wants to meet you in order to bless you and save you.

He has many ways of meeting souls. For instance: you are laid on a bed of sickness, you don’t care a bit about your soul, you hear of people being converted, but you don’t believe that such a thing is true; the people who experience it you think are weaklings and children deceived by their emotions. Yet it was a great relief to you when the doctor came and told you that your case was not hopeless. You were laid on your back, and for once

you had time to think.

God was seeking to meet you, to speak to you about your soul, and your sins, and to make you think about eternity.

One day you were going down the street to business, and some one thrust a tract into your hand, and you didn’t like it, yet God was seeking by that printed page to meet you again. A friend said to you, may be this evening, “Will you go with me to hear the gospel preaching in Baltimore tonight by a preacher from England?” You were persuaded to go. Why? God wants to meet you. Ah! it is a wonderful thing when you find out for the first time that God desires your deepest, most lasting blessing for all eternity, and that He sent His Son, Jesus Christ, to die for sinners, that the blessed Saviour shed His precious blood, that cleanses from ALL sin, that having died He is risen and glorified at God’s right hand—the proof that the work is done—and that He has sent from the glory the Holy Spirit into this world in order to reach, and win such as you for Christ.

A clergyman in England was returning from a flower-show. He said to a gentleman, who was in the railway compartment with him, “I have just been to a rose-show, and of all the miserable shows I have ever seen this is about the worst. It was very poor, quite disappointing.” The train stopped, the clergyman got out, but just before the whistle sounded, and the train moved out of the station, the gentleman put his head out of the carriage-window, and said, “Sir, do you know that you are

an object of the love of God?

and the train was carried out of the station before he could reply. The clergyman walked a mile and a half up to his vicarage, and that sentence was revolving and revolving in his mind, “Do I know that I am an object of the love of God?” Praise God, that great and mighty truth got further than his brain, it got eighteen inches lower down—into his heart—and that man was converted.

He got up in his pulpit the next Sunday morning, and said to his congregation, “My friends, my parents sent me to college, I was taught Latin and Greek, taught theology, made a minister, and all the time I was unconverted, and since my ordination I have been discoursing morality to you, preaching ethics to you just to suit the natural tastes of my listeners. But I want to tell you

a grand secret

this morning. I have learnt that God loves me, and He has saved me through His Son.” That was how God met this dear clergyman—has He met you yet? Did you ever think of that, God loves the sinner, and if you and God meet, it will be for your eternal salvation and blessing?

Let us trace the history of Jacob a little further. No sooner did the angels of God leave him than he makes up his mind to make friends with his brother Esau. He had quarrelled with him long years before; he had sinned against him, cheated him of his birthright; now he thinks it is high time to make friends with him again. Just in the same way does the anxious sinner think that he must make friends with the God against whom he has sinned—his sins trouble him.

So Jacob thought of his sin committed long years before. It came

in ten-fold power

upon his conscience as he thought about his guilty past. It stung him to the quick. So he sends a message to Esau.

But there comes something to his ears that terrifies him. His brother is coming to meet him with four hundred armed men; he is afraid now. That guilty, cringing Jacob has a vision before his eyes of his brother Esau filled with anger, and he hears in imagination the tramp of four hundred armed men marching with glittering spear and flashing sword. Every moment they draw nearer. “Jacob was greatly afraid and distressed,” we read.

Just in the same way you and your sins are going to meet one day; you cannot get out of it. Each beat of your pulse, each throb of your heart, each fugitive hour, each rising and setting sun; all carry you on nearer and nearer to the moment when

you and your sins must meet.

Thank God, I hastened to meet mine; I confessed my sins to God in the light of His holy presence, and now they are forgiven through simple faith in Christ. I have met God, and I can say in deepest gratitude to Him, not merely that my life is preserved, but that my soul is saved forever. But if you put off salvation, if you go on your way without heeding God’s message, you and your sins must meet one day to your everlasting dismay and doom.

In the mouth of two or three witnesses evidence is established, is a well-known legal principle all over the world. Nay, God Himself communicated it. “In the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established” (Matt. 18:16). Soon you will stand before the great white throne, and your case will be gone into. Who are the witnesses? Look at the witness box; there is one of your sins ready to herald forth the story of your sin and guilt, nay, not one merely, nor two, nor twenty, nor two hundred, nor two thousand, nor two millions waiting to witness against you, but the whole of your guilty life, from beginning to end, must come out—sins of word, thought, and deed, sins of childhood, youth and riper years, sins of omission and sins of commission, secret sins and open sins, sins against conscience, sins against light, sins forgotten and sins remembered—

all will come out

in damning evidence against your soul. You must meet God.

When Jacob finds Esau advancing to meet him with four hundred men, what is the first thing he does? It is an apt illustration of what many an anxious sinner does. He begins to pray. Listen to him. “O God of my father Abraham, and God of my father Isaac, deliver me, I pray Thee, from the hand of my brother, from the hand of Esau, for I fear him, lest he will come and smite me, and the mother with the children.” He was seeking to draw upon the piety of his father and grandfather. He thought the godly lives of his forefathers would add weight to his prayer. What a profound mistake! Every man must stand upon his individual responsibility before God, and your mother’s prayers will not do you a bit of good, unconverted prodigal, unless you trust the Lord Jesus for yourself.

So Jacob begins to pray, and what do his prayers do for him? Nothing, absolutely nothing. Neither will praying do you any good in the matter of your salvation, my hearer. Let me illustrate it. I was once preaching the gospel in a little village in the North of England. When the meeting was over a young lady stayed behind. The tears were rolling down her face, and she said to me, “I would like a little talk with you.”

  “Well,” I asked, “What have you to say?”

She replied, “I have been told in the village that you preach

some very strange doctrine.”

“What is it?” I enquired. “I should like to be put right in a matter of that kind.”

“Well, I am told that you preach that we should not pray for salvation. Now,” she said, and the tears rolled afresh down her face, “I have been praying for months and months for salvation, and do you mean to say that I have been wrong all this time?”

I replied, “I will ask you a question. You have been praying for months. Have you got an answer?”

She shook her head sadly, and replied, “No.”

I proceeded, “You see this Bible in my hand, it was given me by a dear friend. When he offered it to me he said something like this: ‘Here is a present for you. Will you accept it with my love?’ Now what would you think of me if I had said, ‘O Mr. So-and-so, do give me that Bible, I know I don’t deserve it, but

I will pray for it,
and work for it, do, pray, give me the Bible;’ and when he exclaimed in astonishment at my conduct, ‘You have surely made a mistake. I offer it as a gift. Take it with my love, and keep it in remembrance of me,’ I dropped on my knees, clasped my hands together, and bursting into tears still pleaded for the Bible, saying, ‘I am sure I don’t deserve it, but if you will only give it me I will try to deserve it.’ Whatever would he think of me?”

She replied, “He would think you were mad or bent on insulting him.”

I said, “Exactly! And does not the Bible say, ‘THE GIFT OF GOD is eternal life.’ Does not God offer you as A GIFT, salvation?”

She answered, “Yes.”

“What have you been doing, then, when you have been praying for months and months and months for it?”

She smiled through her tears, and said, “I see, I have been making a mistake; I mustn’t pray, I must take.”

I replied, “Yes, as long as you pray you will never get it, but you must take it. Don’t pray but praise instead, that is it.” Thank God, that night she ceased praying and commenced praising.

Jesus has finished the work, it is all done, God is glorified by His Son, the Saviour is enthroned today in glory, and God now offers to whomsoever will salvation full and free as a gift, “without money and without price.”

A certain bishop on his death-bed said, “I throw over all my good works, and all my bad works. I sail for glory on

the plank of free sovereign grace.”

And, my friends, if ever you get to heaven, it will be by the work of Christ, not by anything you can do, or say, or think.

To proceed with Jacob’s history. Does praying satisfy him? No; he gets a present together—he collects no less than 580 head of cattle, and puts them into droves, and gives them into the charge of his servants, and sends them on to appease Esau.

This is like the sinner. This is like you. What have you been doing? You want to be saved, don’t you? What have you been doing? You have been turning over new leaves, giving your money to the heathen, supporting the church, going in for good works, and thus seeking to send on a present beforehand to God to appease Him. Will God save you for that? Never, dear friend. What does Scripture say?

  “To him that WORKS NOT,
but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).

There was once a gentleman staying at a watering place on the north coast of Wales. He happened one day to hear a fisherman preaching on the sands. After the service was over he went up to him and said, “I have listened with great pleasure to your discourse, but you have made one great mistake. You have told the people that they can get salvation without working for it. We have to work for it, we must do our best, and Christ will do the rest. That is the way we are to get to heaven.”

The fisherman pulled out his well-worn Bible, referring him to Romans 4:5, and asked him to read the verse. He read it and replied, “I am sure that verse is not in my Bible. I will go and see.”

So he returned to his hotel, got out his valise, and after he had got past his pipes, and his novels, and his tennis-suit, and his clothes, right down at the bottom of his valise he took out a Bible his good old mother had put in. It was not thumbed like the fisherman’s, it was nice and clean. We like to see

a clean house but a dirty Bible,
which looks as if it had been well used, thumbed and greasy, and marked by constant use, but this one was very clean. He turned to the passage, and read that glorious verse, “To him that WORKS NOT, but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness,” but he could not yet believe the greatness of God’s heart—the declaration of salvation without works. So he went to four or five of his friends and borrowed their Bibles. He found, however, they all told out the same grand, glorious message, “To him that WORKS NOT, but believes.” Whether they were printed in London, Oxford, Cambridge, or New York, they all united in telling the same tale of grace.

It is an extremely difficult thing to knock out of the minds of people the idea that they have to work for salvation. Free grace is so foreign to the heart of man. We state the fact, at the risk of the charge of repetition, that working, WORKING, WORKING will not bring salvation, and the reason is twofold. We could never work out our salvation, because we are strengthless, and we need not do it because the work has all been done by Another. We are

1800 years too late,
for the blessed Saviour accomplished the work of atonement on Calvary’s cross of shame.

What further? Jacob has prayed, he has also sent on his present. Is he satisfied yet? No; he is afraid still to meet Esau. And I am quite sure, unconverted hearer, in spite of your prayers and presents, in spite of your courageous face, in spite of your bold manner, deep down in your heart you are ill at ease, nothing but a guilty coward. You may think preachers of the simple gospel are fools, and those who say positively they are saved no better, but when you are face to face with death, and when you stand naked and guilty before the great white throne, you will be a coward.

What expedient does Jacob resort to now? He has sent his prayers and presents on, now he sends his property on—his wives and children. I know very well how people do. They hang on to their property as long as they can, won’t give a cent if they can possibly help it, whilst they are alive and well and strong. I have heard a lawyer say, that often when a man is

face to face with death

he sends for the family solicitor. He comes into the sick chamber, and something like this takes place. The dying sinner says, “Put a codicil to my will. Bequeath $5,000 to the new Infirmary; $5,000 to the Baltimore Dispensary; $3,000 to the Vigilance Committee,” and so on. What is he doing? He is sending on his property, when he cannot hold on to it any longer, and thinks that will appease God. It won’t. Jacob sends on his property, thinking the sight of defenceless wives and innocent children will move his brother’s heart. And now we come to the crucial point in Jacob’s history. We read, “And Jacob was left alone,” left alone with his guilty conscience—left alone with remorseful memories—left alone with God.

My hearer, have you ever been in such a condition, that you felt that you could not bear the very wife of your bosom to be beside you, your nearest and dearest friend to be near you, so tortured about your sins, so concerned about your soul that you wanted to be alone? There was a man in Manchester, England, not long ago, who was alone, yet there was a goodly company in the building where the preaching was. When the meeting was over, and the people had all gone out, and the preacher had left, still he sat

as if glued to his seat.

Some one happened to see him, went up to him, and asked him what he was waiting for. He burst into tears, this working man of forty years, and said, “The preacher must know me. He has been preaching at me the whole evening, as if there was not another person in the room.” Needless to say he was an entire stranger to the preacher. But not so with the living God. God that night had met him. He was alone in God’s presence, and converted that very night. You must, if you desire blessing to your soul, get into the presence of God. It is a grand thing to get there, and have it all out. Don’t shirk it.

A young lady, anxious about her soul, went up to her bedroom. Some one went to a preacher living in the same house, and said to him, “Go up to my sister. She is in her room weeping about her sins. She is troubled about the future.” He wisely replied, “Shut the door and leave her alone with God. I will not intrude.”

Such are sacred scenes.

Oh! how God delights to bless.

Now, there comes another point in Jacob’s history. “There wrestled a man with him until the breaking of the day.” We don’t know what people say about this in America, but in England a great deal is said in praise of “wrestling Jacob,” but it was the angel wrestling. He came when Jacob was left alone, and threw his arms around him, like a well-trained wrestler, and wrestled with him. Jacob had been a double-minded, plotting, scheming man all his days. Now he is not to be outdone. He puts forth all his strength, and he and that mysterious visitor are locked in deadly combat. Every nerve and sinew is engaged in the unequal conflict. He sweats, and perspires, and strains all through the long night. It must have been a strange sight for the stars. At last the angel put forth a little more power, for he wrestled as man meets man, and crippled Jacob in the thigh. The thigh is a vulnerable point in the wrestler. When the thigh is out of joint, a man is not able to wrestle any more. The angel wrote

the sentence of death

upon the flesh of Jacob there and then. Jacob is completely hors de combat. What does he do now? Instead of wrestling, he takes perforce to clinging.

Now, sinner, that is a picture of you. God has been wrestling with you. You have experienced deep down in your soul what you would not tell your husband, your wife, father or mother. You have been haunted with the fear of death. Your sins have been growing heavier and heavier, until the load has been well-nigh intolerable. You have carried within your breast for long a guilty conscience. How has it all come about? For your eternal blessing. God has been wrestling with you.

Fancy God wrestling. God could have taken Jacob and crumpled him in His hands like a piece of silver paper. In the same way He could have taken you, you stubborn self-willed sinner, and thrown you into the eternal burnings, but He does not. Why? Because He wants your blessing. He is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to the knowledge of the truth. NOW Jacob clings. Have you ever felt

the helplessness of struggling with God?

Will you stop wrestling and take to clinging instead?

Speaking on this subject on Staten Island, New York State, a little while ago, we said to a man, who was anxious on the subject of his soul’s salvation, “Are you wrestling or clinging?” He said, “I guess I have been wrestling far too long, I am going to try to cling.” People speak with praise of wrestling Jacob, but wrestling Jacob never got a blessing any more than praying Jacob. When he was without strength he took to clinging, and if you would get God’s blessing you must come to the point, when you can only cry out, “I have found out that I am a poor, worthless, strengthless sinner, I have failed to do a single thing that will do for God, I give up wrestling and take to clinging, I give up trying and take to trusting.” The Gospel is in a nutshell. “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” asked the Philippian jailer. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house,” came the ready reply from the lips of Paul and Silas. “For when we were yet

WITHOUT STRENGTH,

in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6).

To further illustrate the point. A few years ago we were preaching in Scotland, and a young lady became very anxious about her soul. Night after night we spoke to her personally, but she could not take in the simple Gospel. It was too simple for her. It is so simple that people stumble over its very simplicity. One night we overheard a woman, only herself converted about three months, trying to help her. She said, in the beautiful Scots tongue, so full of pathos, “Lassie, I was once like yourself, I was anxious about my soul. I went to kirk, I came to gospel-meetings, I prayed, I read my Bible, I did my very best, and things, instead of getting brighter, only grew darker. I struggled and strove to get salvation, but seemed farther off than ever. I remember one terrible night, the darkness seemed to settle right down on my soul, and, just as that happened, I turned to the Lord, and said, ‘Lord, if I go to hell, I will go there trusting in Thy precious blood.’ As soon as I made the resolve that I would cling to the Lord, it flashed into my soul that no sinner could go to the lake of fire who was trusting in the precious blood of Jesus. There and then the clouds rolled by, and

the sunshine came into my soul,
and I had peace with God.” She had wrestled a long time, and then took at last to clinging, and found peace. The more you cling, the better you will get on.

Now when Jacob clings, God says to him, “What is thy name?” That was a very, very sore point with Jacob. The name, Jacob, means plunderer, cheat, double-dealer, intriguer, anything but what is canny and nice. A flush of shame, doubtless, spread over Jacob’s face, as he made his confession. What did he say? One word, only one, “JACOB.” It was enough. Scripture says, “And He blessed him there.” The place of blessing is the low place of confession. We ask you, anxious sinner, what is your name? Let your confession come out of your lips. It must travel up from your heart to your mouth, and from your lips to us, or rather to the ear of God Himself. What is your name? It is SINNER. We know what some in this hall are saying—“Well, I own that I take a drop now and again, but I am not so bad as the drunkard, who pawns his clothes, and beats his wife, and starves his children.” We turn to another, and ask: What is your name? He replies, “I do the best I can, I go to Church, I take the sacrament.” My unsaved friend, if you died with

the wine of the sacrament

wet upon your lips, you would go straight to hell, because you are not converted to God. The Scripture says: “He that eats and drinks unworthily, eats and drinks damnation to himself, not discerning the Lord’s body” (1 Cor. 10:29). THAT IS SCRIPTURE. We ask a third, “What is your name?” The answer glibly comes to your lips, “I am a sinner. All are sinners; but, after all, I am not so bad as some. I stand as good a chance as most.”

Your confessions are all a great deal too long. They are like some people’s prayers. We heard a man praying the other day. It took him twenty-five minutes to get through. He prayed from Genesis to Revelation, and all around the globe, and back again, and was not a bit further on. You remember when Peter was sinking in the water, and felt his desperate need, his cry was, “Lord, save me.” Remember brevity and intensity go together.

If you are really broken down about your sins, you will not make a long story about it. You will say, “I am a poor sinner without a single plea, I throw myself entirely upon Thy mercy.” When you take

the low place of confession,
you will get to the spot where blessing is to be found. When Jacob confessed that his name was Jacob, the narrative says, “And He blessed him there.” And in blessing him his name was changed. “Thy name shall be called no more Jacob, but ISRAEL: for as a prince hast thou power with God and with men, and hast prevailed.

What a change! That old guilty history of his was for ever swept away. He should no more be known as the cheat, double-dealer, intriguer. The meaning of the name Israel is a prince with POWER with God and man. Yet that is the name linked up by the sovereignty of grace with that poor clinging cripple.

If you come, my friend, and trust in Christ tonight, and confess your sins, your name shall no more be called “sinner,” but “saint.”

“Why!” you say, “I thought saints were those holy persons who lived very good lives a few hundred years ago, and were canonized by the Church of Rome.” The fact is,

a child six years of age,
who really trusts in the Lord, is as much a saint as the apostle Paul in glory. I know the world has sneered at the word saint, and connected it popularly with long-faced, psalm-singing, canting hypocrites; but it is in reality a precious title given by God to those who simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, as showing they are set apart for Himself—“called saints.” You are either a sinner on the road to hell, or a saint on the road to glory. Which?

Now Jacob—clinging Jacob, not wrestling Jacob—is blessed. The angel had wrestled until the breaking of the day, the long night of unbelief had passed away, daylight had taken the place of darkness. We read further, “And Jacob called the name of the place Peniel (that is, the face of God. See marginal reading): for I have seen God face to face and my life is preserved.” And then immediately the Scriptures say, “And as he passed over Penuel the sun rose upon him.” What does that mean? Ah! if you come to Christ tonight the darkness in your soul will for ever pass away, and instead you will have

the SUNSHINE of God’s love.

That is the meaning of it. We can say, “The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.”

We were preaching the gospel in Yorkshire, England, a little while ago. One morning my fellow-labourer and I were sitting in our lodgings, at a farmhouse, when a young man was shown in, who wanted to see us. He sat down in an arm-chair, and put his head in his hands, and groaned aloud. We said, “What is the matter with you?”

He answered, “I was at your meeting last night, and I found out I was lost. I want to be saved.”

We told him the way of salvation, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved,” and we showed him, that if he simply trusted Christ he would get what his soul longed for. But there he sat groaning, and would not even lift up his head, in too great anguish of spirit even to weep.

Feeling our weakness to help him, we said as gently as we could, “Go home, we have said all we can to help you. Come and see us in the morning.”

He got up and walked across the room like a man dazed. At the door he fell all in a heap on his knees. He seemed unable to go a single step further, until

the great soul-trouble

was settled. We spoke and prayed with him still further. At last he got up and took me by the hand, and looking up with the tears streaming down his cheeks, he said, “I take Christ, and I take Him now.” He put his hand out to my friend, and said, “The love of God is in my soul.” The sun had shone upon him. That farmhouse parlour was his Penuel.

You, too, my hearers, if you come to Christ tonight, will know what a deep joy it is to know God’s love—to know Him is to love Him, and to love Him is to serve Him. The clouds will go, and the sunshine will come, and the love of God will be shed abroad in your hearts by the Holy Ghost.

Is there anyone within these four walls who will come just as they are, without turning over a new leaf, dropping all thought of merit in prayers and so-called good works, and, just as you are, trust that blessed Saviour? For, if you do, salvation is yours on the authority of God’s Word.

Remember

your prayers, and presents, and property

won’t gain salvation. You may pray till your knees are as hard as a camel’s, you may toil at your good works till your present is of goodly size, you may give up husband, wife, father, mother, children, lover, friend, money, but all that cannot bring salvation. Remember, too, wrestling will never bring you happiness. Submit yourself to God’s claims. Acknowledge yourself a sinner, lost and hopeless. Cling to the blessed Saviour, who said, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.” “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved.” May God grant it for Christ’s sake. Amen.

Freedom for the Slave; or the Year of Jubilee

  “And thou shalt number seven Sabbaths of years unto thee, seven times seven years; and the space of the seven Sabbaths of years shall be unto thee forty and nine years. Then shalt thou cause the trumpet of the Jubilee to sound on the tenth day of the seventh month; in the day of atonement shall ye make the trumpet sound throughout all your land. And ye shall hallow the fiftieth year, and proclaim liberty throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof: it shall be a Jubilee unto you; and ye shall return every man unto his possession, and ye shall return every man unto his family” (Leviticus 25:8-10).

A great case has been made against anti-slavery people of the fact that slaves were permitted by God in connection with His ancient people, the Jews; but I would like to point out that those who have produced arguments in favour of slavery from the Old Testament Scriptures have done so with a very superficial knowledge

of what God does really say in His Word.

A great many people read the Scriptures to their own destruction. We find the apostle Peter, speaking of the deep things that his beloved brother Paul writes about, says, the “unlearned and unstable wrest (them), as they do also the other scriptures, unto their own destruction.”

Some years ago, in England, the late Mr. Charles Bradlaugh, in the city in which I lived, had a public debate with a clergyman of the Church of England. Mr. Bradlaugh was a man of colossal size, great intellectual attainments, and very wonderful powers of speech. The clergyman was comparatively a small man, and, unfortunately, did not know his Bible as well as the infidel. Mr. Bradlaugh turned over the leaves of his Bible with the ease of familiarity, opened it at chapter and verse, and simply knocked the clergyman about just as he liked; whereas, if that clergyman had simply known the Scriptures he could have floored Mr. Bradlaugh, and a hundred others like him.

What the Scripture says about slavery simply means this: They allowed a man, who had come to misfortune,

to lease his services

to his richer brother, and great pains are taken in the Scripture to make enactments by which the richer shall not oppress his poorer brother. “Thou shalt not rule over him with vigour; but shalt fear thy God.” If a Hebrew man or woman were sold and served for six years, in the seventh he or she were to go out free, and that not empty-handed, but furnished liberally out of the flock, and floor, and winepress. For want of time we recommend all cavillers to study Scripture on the point for themselves. Furthermore, once every fifty years, in the passage we are specially examining, God proclaimed liberty to every slave in the land of Israel, and they were all free men again, save slaves bought from neighbouring nations, or captives taken in war. In the ways of God it was often to a man’s eventual blessing to serve a Hebrew master. They were brought into an outward place of privilege, where they were treated kindly, where God was known, and where the awful practices of the heathen were sternly rebuked. Many a captive will thank God in eternity that ever he was taken captive. Slavery, such as is depicted in “Uncle Tom’s Cabin,” was unknown amongst the Jews. So much for the caviller. We now take the Scripture as an illustration of the gospel. We don’t know whether you think slavery is abolished in the United States yet, but it still exists. Perhaps you thought the year 1864 saw the last of it. No such thing. I am perfectly sure some slaves are sitting in these seats before me tonight. We could go out at the midnight hour, and in your streets point you out the slaves of drink. Bleared, blotched, bloated drunkards, going to a drunkard’s hell. Is there a secret drinker here tonight? Poor, miserable dupe of the devil. May God have mercy upon you. But some young lady may say, “I am no drunkard.” Very likely not, but you may nevertheless be a slave—a poor slave of fashion; you would not like to tell how many hours you spend gazing into the looking-glass, and what a burning there is in your heart when preparing for the ball, with

its fleeting triumphs.

God knows all about it. Said a young lady to a trained nurse the other day, “Nurse, I would die if I had to give up the theatre.” Yes, there are slaves of fashion, butterflies of this life, fluttering around the flame of pleasure, and, what is more questionable, of lust. No wonder their wings are singed at last, and too late they find out they have lost their souls for a few paltry pleasures.
{*Since revising these addresses for the press this point has been most unexpectedly confirmed. Travelling by train in Jamaica a day or two ago a Coloured man pointed to a coolie, a native of India. Making a few remarks about him, he alluded to the man as a slave. In astonishment I replied, “Surely not; there are no slaves now.” “ Oh, yes,” he replied, “they are slaves for five years. They sign a bond to serve a certain employer for that period.” I was greatly struck by the illustration of the custom obtaining in another land so many hundred of years ago.}

Again, business has many slaves. In death they often keep the eyes closed by weighting the eyelids with pennies; the devil does it in life with dollars.

A large business man, a successful merchant, feeling not very well one day, went to his doctor, a very skilful physician, and asked him to look into the state of his health, and give him his advice. After a careful examination the doctor said, “You have had such a tremendous strain upon your system in the way of business for many years that you must take a prolonged holiday.”

Said the poor slave of business, “I can’t, the business could not go on without me,” and, with his shattered nerves and body, continued grovelling for the dollars. A few weeks rolled by, and he was laid on a bed of sickness. In a few short hours he had passed into eternity, a poor slave of business—rich in this world, a pauper in the next. Business had to go on without him.

Drink, pleasure, business, money, enslave multitudes, and in many instances a Christless religion—its professors enslaved by the music, mimicry, and millinery of ritualism. From the cushioned pew, such are slipping into hell. But who is the great slave-master?

It is the Devil himself, who has you bound hand and foot, and you dare not be a Christian—you are a poor slave, a miserable dupe of Satan. Now liberty is proclaimed to such, and, thank God, a Stronger than Satan has been in this world. The strong man had power to keep his goods in peace, until that Stronger One, the Lord Jesus Christ, came to despoil the strong. How did He do it?

 “By weakness and defeat
    He won the meed and crown,
  Trod all our foes beneath His feet
    By being trodden down.”

He won the mighty victory at Calvary’s cross. To the eyes of the world His life was blighted, His reputation gone. He died on that central cross a malefactor’s death in ignominy and shame; but this apparent defeat was in reality

the mightiest victory of God,
by which He can now proclaim liberty to the captives of sin and Satan, and offer them release.

Now there are several important points in connection with this subject, which I want to bring before you. When was this year of jubilee ushered in? Mark it well. On the day of atonement. There is a profoundly deep significance in that phrase. What does it mean? Says many a drunkard, “I will sign the pledge, don the blue ribbon, and be free from the power of drink.” Can he do it? Nay, friends, he cannot, and you know it right well. He may keep sober, and this is a question when once the drink gets hold of the system, but can he wipe out the sins of the past and be sinless in the future? We read in this scripture, the year of jubilee began on the day of atonement, which teaches us that there is no liberty for Satan’s captives apart from the precious blood of Jesus. Is the blue ribbon the precious blood? Nay! I like to see men sober, but sober men are not necessarily converted men, nor free from Satan’s captivity. Nowadays we are told that people can be refined, and educated, and reared up in such a way that their evil propensities are kept back, and their good ones brought to the front, and in the process of a few generations by means of evolution we will arrive at a sinless race. Nay, friends, that is a lie of the devil.

Flesh is flesh,
whether it be sober flesh or drunken flesh, educated flesh or vulgar flesh. Until you have made the acquaintance of Christ, and know the value of His precious blood, there is no liberty for you.

But you don’t think you are slaves! The following incident aptly illustrates your case. There was once a slave-ship crossing from the coast of Africa to the shores of this continent, America—a slave-dhow as it was called. As they were proceeding on their journey they noticed a British man-of-war in hot pursuit. The slave-dhow put all sails to the wind, but it was of no avail. The British man-of-war was overhauling her. When the captain felt that escape was impossible, he got out some kegs of brandy and gave these poor Negroes plentiful supplies of drink. He next brought out two or three large boxes of trinkets—rings, chains, ear-rings, ankle-rings, and the like, and began to adorn these poor, drunken slaves. After getting these poor children of nature into good humour, he called them to him, and said, “The captain of yonder vessel will offer you liberty, and try to get you on board his ship, but don’t go. He will shoot you from the cannon’s mouth; he only means to ruin you.”

The captain of the English man-of-war hove to, boarded the dhow, called the slaves around him, and said, “Yonder is an English man-of-war. The moment you step on board that vessel you are free men. The English flag only flies over free men.” They

laughed him to scorn,
they would not believe it.

That is like you, sinner; the devil has given you intoxicants, and you are drunk with pleasure, and nonsense, and folly, and sin, or it may be lulled to a false peace by a Christless religion. He has trinkets to please all kinds of people. The man of the world wants his dogs and guns, his clubs and newspapers; the man of sin wants lust and uncleanness; the man of brain wants intellectual treats, scientific hobbies, and what not; the frivolous young lady wants fine flowers, and splendid dresses, and nice cosmetics. He will try and suit you, and will do a great deal for you, but it is in order that your soul may be damned for ever in the flames of hell. What does God offer you tonight? Everlasting salvation, liberty, forgiveness of your sins, freedom from the power of sin and Satan.

Now, it is on the day of atonement liberty is offered, and there are two things in connection with it we read of in the 23rd chapter. “For whatsoever soul it be that shall not be afflicted in that same day, he shall be cut oft from among his people. And whatsoever soul it be that does any work in that same day, the same soul will I destroy from among his people” (vv. 29-30). Now, we will imagine that it is six months from the year of jubilee. Think of how those slaves are looking forward to

the time of their release.

The time draws nearer—it is only six weeks off. They count the days. Now it is only six days; and, finally, at last the very night comes, and the morrow ushers in the year of jubilee, and, with it, the day of atonement. Very likely not one of those poor slaves would go to sleep that night for very joy; they would sit up and watch for the first streak of light tipping the eastern horizon, and hail it with delight, because it spelled to them that blessed word—liberty. But, before liberty is theirs, as we just now read, two things have to take place with them: they must afflict their souls, and they must do no manner of work. Now, friends, if you want liberty, if you want salvation, these two things must likewise be true of you. What are they?

Firstly, you must afflict your soul. To translate that sentence into one New Testament word is simple. It means repentance, for you will never get salvation until you repent. What is repentance? Does repentance earn salvation? Does it win it? Is it a work? It isn’t a work, because we read that they had to afflict their souls, and do no manner of work. To neglect to do the one, or essay to do the other brought death upon them. Repentance, therefore, is not a work. What is it, then? It is this. You find deep down in your soul that you are a guilty sinner, only fit for hell. Yet God, in His love, offers you salvation, and you get this wondrous thought, “God is good and I am bad,” and that is repentance. In short, you get right thoughts of God and yourself.

Repentance is something like sickness. For instance, I did not feel very well two or three days ago, and sent for the doctor. Now my feeling ill did not make me well, but my feeling ill made me send for a doctor. Now, if you repent, that is, if you get

a severe attack of soul-sickness,
it will make you anxious to see the great Physician. It won’t make you better, but you will want the services of the great Physician, and HE can cure you. What would you think of me if, when feeling ill and getting worse, I had said to my friends, I will not have a doctor until I feel better? They would think I was off my head. That is the way you do. You put off going to Christ until you turn over a new leaf, say your prayers, etc.—until you feel better. What nonsense! The worse the case, the greater need for the great Physician. You want to get better before you seek the services of Jesus, the great Healer of soul-diseases.

But repentance won’t save you, though you cannot be saved without it; and if you go on carelessly, easily, indifferently to eternity you will never be saved. No. You must find out your condition, you will find it out one day. I need not be a prophet to inform you of that fact. If you don’t discover it in this world, you will in the next. You may go along this life’s journey very easily, you may carry your increasing years easily and gracefully, you may at last die, quietly in your bed; but take my warning, when you wake up in eternity, you will be deeply concerned about your sins then. But it won’t be repentance, it will be remorse. The hot scorching, blinding tears of endless remorse will roll down your cheeks through the eternal ages. Take care.

Now is the time for repentance.

God “now commands all men everywhere to REPENT: because He has appointed a day, in the which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He has ordained; whereof He has given assurance unto all men, in that He has raised Him from the dead.

On the other hand, you must do no manner of work. You want to be saved; how should you set about it? Let me tell you. Sit still, put your hands down, and don’t try to work. If you try to move a single finger towards the work of your salvation, you are robbing God of His sovereign prerogative, and yourself of the blessing, until that finger is put down again. You must do no manner of work.

You have all heard of Martin Luther, that noble monk of Germany in the dark middle ages, and how he made a pilgrimage to Rome. When he saw that city with its magnificent ecclesiastical buildings, the place where the Holy Father had his seat, he thought he was near the very gate of heaven. When he arrived at St. Peter’s, he began as a penitent to crawl up the Vatican steps on his knees. He had crawled up about half way, when there came a message from God ringing down into his soul—

  “Justification by faith.”

How was he seeking it? By works; but justification is by faith. There and then he got up, walked down those steps a justified man, and thundered away at the gates of Rome until the very Pope trembled in his shoes. See him bravely nailing up his theses on the door of the University of Wittenberg; see him undaunted before Charles V. of Germany and Spain—that cruel and crafty monarch; before the kings and potentates of the German States; before papal legate and popish prelates, ringing out the key-note of the Reformation—“JUSTIFICATION BY FAITH.”

Yet, nowadays, we are told not to attack evil, because it is entrenched in high places. It might hurt the feelings of many. Forsooth! Shall souls perish whilst we hold our breath? Nay, we will proclaim the truth. Pope and priest may tell us today that justification is of works. It is a damnable lie. It is of faith, of God’s free, sovereign grace. Little wonder if Martin Luther should turn in his grave, as the universities of his native land are turning out men, trained in infidelity, to take charge of churches and the souls of men. The enemy is busy. Tares are being sown in the field of the world. Oh! what shall the harvest be? Yes, those who preach salvation by works are doing the devil’s work, and earning the most terrible condemnation on their own heads.

On the day of atonement two things were necessary—they must afflict their souls, and do no manner of work. Let us suppose the day has arrived. The ceremony of the day of atonement has been gone through. The people have been afflicting their souls in the way commanded, and they have refrained from doing any work, even the lighting of their fires. What next? The priests are commanded to take the silver trumpets, and blow a message of liberty from Dan to Beersheba, so that every poor captive may hear the grateful news that liberty is come to their very doors. What does the word jubilee mean? The margin of our Bibles says,

Loud of sound.

Some people think that preachers should be very quiet, that they ought to talk something like automatic talking machines, that they ought not to raise their voices, or lower them at all, but talk in a quiet, easy-going, take-it-or-leave-it manner. The trumpet of jubilee must be loud of sound. See! The priests fill their lungs with air, and blow a mighty blast that rings right across Jerusalem, that city of ceremonies. It is taken up. Blast after blast rings forth till, from Dan to Beersheba, from north to south, from east to west, over hill and valley, the glad news sound forth, aye, until every captive has heard the gladdening sound, that liberty is theirs, and they step forth free.

Now, let me tell you, we have a trumpet of jubilee to put to our lips tonight;
 “Blow ye the trumpet, blow,
    The gladly solemn sound;
  Let all the nations know
    To earth’s remotest bound,
  The year of jubilee is come;
    Return, ye ransomed sinners, home.”

Thank God, it has been sounding for well-nigh nineteen centuries. God’s grace lingers still.

Why did the Lord when on earth take the book from the master of the synagogue, and open it at the prophecy of Isaiah, and read about the Spirit of the Lord God anointing Him “to Preach the gospel to the poor . . . to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord”? Then we read, “He closed the book.” Why at that particular point? Because in the Old Testament we find that after the expiration of the acceptable year of our Lord, it goes on to speak of

the DAY of vengeance

of our God.” Think of God’s grace; He speaks of the acceptable year of grace. His love lingers, as it were, three hundred and sixty-five long days over this guilty world, but at last He takes up the ram’s horn of judgment, and blows one terrible blast, and compresses His strange work of judgment into one brief day of twenty-four hours. But now is the YEAR of Jubilee. Jesus closes the book at that point, and has not opened it yet. When He does, as we see in Revelation, it will be on the day of vengeance of our God.

The Lord Jesus Christ has been upon the cross. Those three mysterious hours of anguish, and suffering, unparalleled, have been endured by the Holy Saviour. God has forsaken Jesus. The storm of judgment has rolled over His blessed head. He bowed His head, and gave up the ghost, and died. But ere He died, He cried, “It is finished;” and as these three soul-thrilling words rang from His blessed lips, God’s finger rent that veil from the top to the bottom, from His side to our side, in order that He might come out in all His character as a Saviour-God.

We read in John’s first Epistle, “If we walk in the light, as He is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.” That shed blood enables the blessed God to reveal Himself in all His attributes as a God of love and a God of light, blessing the vilest sinner who comes pleading the precious name of Jesus. The Lord Jesus Christ—and the believer through grace is in the light of that revelation—was put into the borrowed grave. Now the Sabbath was ordained to be God’s resting day, yet His blessed Son lay dead in the tomb

all that passover-Sabbath.

But on the first day of the week Jesus arose from the dead. Before He ascended into glory He gathered His disciples around Him—they had been through no theological college, had received no tonsure, boasted no man-given credentials, nor had bishops hands been laid on their heads, they were but plain fishermen from Galilee’s shores. Listen! as He speaks to His chosen few. The risen Saviour puts the jubilee trumpet to His lips, and blows a mighty blast. “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believes not, shall be damned.” That is grand, is it not? “Go ye into all the world.” And the gospel spread from that little circle of disciples, gathered round the risen Lord that day, right through Judaea, to the learned Greeks and the martial Romans, winning its peaceful conquests in the palace of the Caesars themselves, reaching thence to the shores of Britain long centuries ago, and in more recent years carried across the Atlantic, in the “Mayflower,” to the shores of this great continent. Still the good news spreads till the glad tidings is carried to the heathen Chinese, the millions of India, the dusky native of Africa, and the far-off islands of the seas, encircling the whole globe. How many refuse the gospel; yet God offers salvation to all. He has no favourite tribe or nation. The gospel is to be proclaimed equally to every creature under the sun, to Jew and Gentile alike. “Go ye into ALL the world, and preach the gospel

to every creature.”

You may say, “I am too wicked to receive the gospel.” It is proclaimed to every creature, that includes you. “I have sinned away my day of grace,” says another. We can preach it to every creature. “I have been a hard-hearted, hoary-headed infidel,” cries a third, in tones of despair. We can preach it to every creature. Thank God, yes, to every creature. None are outside the pale of His Grace—His precious blood can cleanse the vilest.

What is the blast the blessed Saviour blows on the gospel trumpet? “He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved, but he that believes not, shall be damned.” Mark you, my friend, though the jubilee trumpet sounds aloud its sweet, gracious note, yet at the same time there is an undertone of warning, of coming judgment—“He that believes not, shall be damned.” Take heed to the warning note.

Let us take the verse in detail. “He that believes.” The first thing is to believe on the blessed Lord Jesus Christ. “And is baptized.” That is equivalent to confession. What next? “Shall be saved.” Thank God, how simple! It was a most terrible ordeal for a Jew to be baptized, for thereby he cut himself off from all the privileges of Israel, and openly confessed that he took sides with an earth-rejected, but heaven-accepted Jesus. It is the old story of Romans 10:9—belief in the heart and confession with the lips. Baptism is a most radical confession, for it is with the whole body you acknowledge Jesus as Lord—baptized to His death.

He that believes, and is baptized, shall be saved; but he that believes not, shall be damned.” People say, “I don’t like preachers to use that word ‘damned’; it is not loving, or gracious.” Let me ask you a question. From whose lips did that terrible word fall? From the lips of the Son of God. From Him, who travelled from those peerless heights of splendour. From Him, who laid aside all His glory, and came into this world as the carpenter’s son. From Him, who died on Calvary’s cross, and

who loves your soul

as none else beside. He could describe His portion in this world in these pathetic words, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of Man has not where to lay His head.” There is not a person in Baltimore so poor, but that he has a pillow of some kind. It may be only stuffed with straw, but he has a pillow; whereas the blessed Saviour had not where to lay His head. The disciples could go to their homes, but “Jesus went unto the Mount of Olives.” He had in one sense a good place to lay His head upon—the Father’s bosom; but He loved your soul and mine, and travelled on to die upon the cross, to be

forsaken by God.

In the supreme moment of His agony God hid His face from that holy Sufferer, because sin was marked upon Him. “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.” To the very full, He proved His undying love for the souls of men. He died that you might never be damned in the eternal burnings. Whose lips used that word “damned”? The lips of Jesus. Love incarnate utters the truth, however terrible it may be. “He that believes not, shall be damned.” You may have been baptized, but if you don’t believe in Christ you will be damned. You may be a sacrament-taker, but if you don’t believe in God’s Son you will be damned. That is God’s truth. You may quarrel with it. It does not alter the stern and awful fact, that hell and damnation form the portion of all who die in their sins. ’Tis not my words you quarrel with, but God’s.

Let us go on to another passage. After the Lord Jesus Christ had gone into heaven, the apostle Paul—the great apostle of the Gentiles, and we can call him our apostle, was one day speaking in the synagogue at Antioch. He put his lips to the jubilee trumpet, and what a lovely note he blew upon it “BE IT KNOWN unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.” Now you know many people begin this way—“If you will turn over a new leaf, do the best you can, say your prayers, put a good contribution upon the collection plate, do what the Church tells you to do, and trust in Christ of course, perhaps God will have mercy upon you at the last.” That does not sound so clear or distinct as the notes sounded forth by the apostle Paul. How does he begin? “Be it hoped?” No.

  “Be it KNOWN unto you
that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins.”

Allow me to use an illustration. In the year 1887 Her Gracious Majesty, Queen Victoria, celebrated her jubilee, and, in honour of that great event, she proclaimed free pardon to all deserters from the army. If they came to the colonel of their depot, and reported themselves, it didn’t matter how flagrant their desertion was, they were forgiven, receiving from Her Gracious Majesty a free pardon, signed and sealed. There were put on the walls of the police stations proclamations to this effect. How did they begin? “Be it known unto whomsoever it may concern.” That was a good start. If a poor deserter came to his colonel, and asked for a pardon, and it was not given him, but, instead, he was seized and thrown into prison, the character of the Queen of England would have been disgraced, and dragged in the dust.

So with God. Look at these three words from God’s word, “BE IT KNOWN.” When He says, “Be it known unto you that through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins,” He means it. If you come in simple faith to Christ, and don’t receive the forgiveness of your sins, the very character of God would be disgraced. Tonight God offers you the forgiveness of your sins. Will you put out the hand of faith, and take it? Oh! it is a great thing to be simple in your faith.

More than fifty years ago the Government of England paid twenty million pounds—that is nearly one hundred million dollars—to obtain the emancipation of her slaves in the West Indies. The day of emancipation was fixed for the 31st of July, 1838. You may be sure it was a very memorable one in the history of the inhabitants of Jamaica. No less than fourteen thousand adult slaves and five thousand children were assembled together in one particular place waiting for the midnight hour to sound. That was the night which was to end their slavery, and begin their liberty. In anticipation of the event, some of the slaves, who were carpenters, had made

a large mahogany coffin,
into which they crowded whips, branding irons, torture irons, handcuffs, fragments of the treadmill, and other relics of their slavery. They dug a deep grave and placed the coffin alongside. When the midnight hour came, in the midst of intense excitement, they lowered the coffin, and William Knibb, one of their leaders, as twelve o’clock chimed, cried out, “The monster is dying! The monster is dying!” and, as the last stroke sounded, he exclaimed in triumph “He is dead, let us bury him out of our sight for ever,” and they lowered the coffin, and filled in the grave. Then this great throng of nearly twenty thousand souls lifted up their voices and sang the Doxology, with all their heart, and praised God aloud for their liberty.

Ah! God offers you emancipation from a bondage far more cruel than ever the Jamaican slaves experienced—a slavery that will land you in hell for ever. Liberty is proclaimed to Satan’s slaves. May the trumpet of jubilee tonight sound in your ear, and right down to the very depths of your soul, and you will go out of this meeting with the knowledge that you are freed for ever. Will you receive God’s love, and accept His proffered grace? Will that blessed invitation that comes pealing down through the ages—“Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest,” fall on deaf ears to night, or will you with simplicity and faith trust that Saviour? The hymn says:
“Faith is a simple thing;
  But little understood.”

There was a rich Sunday school teacher in America. One day, wishing to teach his boys a lesson on faith, he took out his gold watch and chain, and offered it to the biggest boy in the class. The boy looked at it with surprise, and I suppose he said in his heart, “Teacher is not going to take me in like this; I don’t think he means it.” And so the watch and chain went by the biggest boy, and was offered to the next biggest lad in the class. He wanted to be as big a man as the first, and he acted just in the same way. The offer of the watch went round the class, but the boys would not believe it; they thought it too good to be true. At last it came to little five-year-old Harry, and the teacher said, “Harry, here is a gold watch and chain for you.” His eyes sparkled, and he put out his little chubby hand and took the watch and chain, and they were his. He was not old enough to be cynical as to the ways of the world; he had the simplicity of faith that we wish you anxious sinners had. When he got it the big boys exclaimed in a chorus, “Oh, teacher, we didn’t believe that you meant it.”

He replied, “You should have known that I meant it. You should be like little Harry. He believed me, and now he has got the watch and chain.”

Be simple; God offers you salvation tonight. Put out the hand of faith, lay hold of the blessing, and it is yours. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved.” Our illustration just hits you off. You think the gospel we have been preaching is too good to be true. You are just like those elder boys—one following the other like a flock of senseless sheep. May God give you faith in His word, and child-like simplicity, for His name’s sake. Amen.

Difference; or Man’s condition and God’s interposition

  “For there is NO DIFFERENCE: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:22-23).

  “And there shall be a great cry throughout all the land of Egypt, such as there was none like it, nor shall be like it any more. But against any of the children of Israel shall not a dog move his tongue, against man or beast: that ye may know how that the Lord puts A DIFFERENCE between the Egyptians and Israel” (Exodus 11:6-7).

The Psalmist of old said, “The entrance of Thy Word gives light.” No sinner will get any light from God unless he gets it from the Scriptures, and receives God’s testimony as to his state.

The first Scripture we read, speaks of “no difference;” the second, of “a difference.” Now it is a very great matter when God speaks, for man to put his hand upon his mouth and listen. Let me here warn you of what the devil seeks to do today. When God preaches “A difference,”

the devil preaches

NO difference;” and when God preaches “NO difference,” the devil preaches “A difference.”

Let me explain further. When God says, “There is no difference; for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God,” the devil whispers into the ear of that young man, who does not get drunk, and who regularly attends a place of worship, and is what we call respectable, “Don’t you believe that. There is a very great difference between you and the drunkard; there is a very great difference between you and the man of unclean life;” and that young man believes the devil’s lie, because it is more pleasing to the carnal mind, and fosters his wretched pride.

Then again he goes to that young lady, and says, “There is a great difference between you and the painted harlot; there is a great difference between you and that gay butterfly of the world. Why, you go to church, and say your prayers night and morning, and you certainly try to be a good daughter to your mother, and kind to your relatives;” and the young lady gets angry that she has heard God’s truth. People don’t know very much about the grace of God until they arrive at this fact—they believe themselves to be so bad, that there is no good in them, and that all they deserve is

the lake of fire for ever.

We wonder whether every one of you Christians believe that. You may not, perhaps, deny it; but it is a great matter when the soul embraces God’s truth heartily, and recognises the sovereignty of God’s grace in saving us at all. The best of us deserve hell for ever. There is a difference between man and man, but before God there is absolutely none. Do you believe that? “there is NO DIFFERENCE, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

Now, in the 11th chapter of Exodus, it speaks of “A difference,” and how does this difference come fallout? It is through the blood.

God puts a great difference

between those that are blood-washed and those that are blood-guilty.

But see what the devil does. Look at yonder Church. It is filled with so-called worshippers. There is a sprinkling of true believers in Christ, but the great mass who go to that church are mere professors. Listen to the sermon that falls upon their ears. The devil inspires it. It proclaims that all alike are going to heaven. From the way some modern preachers talk you would think that very few are on the broad road, just the besotted drunkard, the gamester, the blasphemer, the painted harlot, real out-and-out sinners; whilst the pretty decent and respectable, the baptized and sacrament-taking are all on the narrow road; and they would fain make you believe that the narrow road is crowded. There is many a sermon preached with the result that the mere professor believes that there is no difference between himself and that real true child of God sitting beside him, but

there is a mighty difference.

Don’t listen to the devil. It is far wiser to listen to what God says today. If you won’t listen to what God says in this—the day of His grace, He will burn these tremendous facts into your soul throughout eternity in the lake of fire. Take this question of no difference. The lake of fire is a tremendously solemn reality, and it lies at the end of the road travelled by every unconverted man or woman. And, methinks, in the lake of fire there will not only be the besotted drunkard, that low woman, who earns her morsel of bread by sin at the midnight hour, but there will be also the psalm-singing, baptized, sacrament-taking professor, that model, upright, respectable sinner that never trusted Christ—they will all be found in the same lake of fire, and God’s heavy judgment will

write upon their inmost souls

for eternity that “there is NO difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

People now-a-days smile at gospel meetings, and think that what the preacher says is rather too strong, that he goes too far, that he is too plain-spoken, and they laugh it off; but, my hearers, let me tell you this, that the laugh of the careless sinner will give way to the wail of the lost in hell. Take care. Take care how you treat the gospel. This very night may be your last chance of hearing God’s message of salvation—it may be your last opportunity of receiving salvation, and you may lose it for ever.

But we want particularly to speak to you about the way God can bless you. Let us look at this eleventh chapter of Exodus and the beginning of the twelfth. There are the Israelites, slaves under the oppressor in the land of Egypt, and God, in the sovereignty of His grace, is about to deliver them with a high hand from beneath the oppressor’s very eye, and take them to the promised land of Canaan. How is He going to do it? For

God is absolutely righteous

in all His dealings. God is as righteous in filling heaven with repentant sinners as He is in casting the unrepentant into the lake of fire; and He must be as righteous in His dealings with the Israelites as with their oppressors.

God is love, and in this chapter of redemption intends to take this nation of slaves away from the land of Egypt, and place them in the promised land. He wants to bless them. If He is love, and He wants to bless the sinner, how must He do it? There must be righteousness, there must be holiness. The plan of redemption must be worthy of God. He must be just in His mercy. His everlasting throne is founded upon righteousness. How, then, can God do it?

The Israelites are as much sinners as the Egyptians, and, if God is going to take the Israelites out, there must be a plan of redemption. Listen! He instructs them by the lips of Moses to take a lamb, a male of the first year, without blemish, kill it, put the blood in a basin, take a bunch of hyssop, dip it into the blood, and therewith sprinkle the upper door-post and the two side posts of the houses where they were, and God said,

When I see the blood,
I will pass over you.”

Now the Bible is a remarkable book. The trouble is, people read it so very superficially. Atonement runs right through the book from Genesis to Revelation, and here is an instance of it. The book hangs together. They say that cordage belonging to the British Government is known by a red line of cord running through its entire length. So the Bible has a red line running through it, the line of atonement, the line of blood. From the first day man became a sinner, right through the book, God has made plain by type, and shadow, and illustration, the absolute necessity of the death of Jesus, the absolute necessity of blood being shed, a sacrifice being offered, before He could forgive the sinner and shield him from the judgment.

Adam and Eve in the garden of Eden sinned. God clothed them in the skins of beasts. How could that covering be procured? By sacrifice. For the very first time in the history of the world BLOOD was shed in order that the skins might be procured to form a covering for Adam and Eve. Again, when Abel and Cain approached God, Cain brought of the fruits of the ground—he was the first Unitarian the world ever saw. It is said that Unitarianism originated in this country, in Boston, Massachusetts, but it began just outside the Garden of Eden in the early stages of the history of this world, and Cain was its first exponent. Since that day this world has been divided into two great camps—

Abelites and Cainites.

Abel brought the firstling of the flock, emblematic of the fact that blood must be shed. A sacrifice must be made before God can be approached.

Here we find the same truth again in these eleventh and twelfth chapters of Exodus. God told the children of Israel to take a lamb without blemish, a male of the first year. A type of Jesus, GOD’S LAMB. Century after century blood flows from Jewish altars, passover after passover is celebrated, God emphasises the fact that “without shedding of blood is no remission,” all along the centuries, till the time arrived when God provided Himself a lamb. When John the Baptist saw Jesus coming to him, he exclaimed, “Behold THE LAMB OF GOD, which takes away the sin of the world.” All the types, and figures, and shadows pointed on with unerring finger to the Lamb of God, that blessed Saviour, the Son of God, who did the mighty work of atonement; and tonight we point you to Jesus, the One who died upon the cross, the One who shed His precious blood, that cleanses from all sin, and the repentant sinner, trusting in that Saviour, receives the forgiveness of his sins.

To return to our chapter. What character of sacrifice will do for God? “Your lamb shall be without blemish.” You know some people say, you must do the best you can, etc., and then you will get to heaven. God requires

nothing short of absolute perfection

in the sacrifice that will meet your case. It is not a question of your being satisfied, but it is a question of GOD being satisfied, and He says your lamb must be without blemish.

They say that when the Shah of Persia came to England he visited a large publishing establishment. They intended to present him with a very fine book. It was to be velvet covered, set with pearls, with golden clasps. Before presenting it to him they carefully examined the gift, and found one small error, a trifling imperfection, and that costly book was thrown aside as imperfect, unfit to be given to such a great potentate as the Shah of Persia; and yet people think God will receive their best, though it be imperfect and blotted with sin. Impossible.

If you want to approach God, you must have something perfect to offer God as a perfect satisfaction for all your guilty life. How will you find it? If you try to do it by turning over new leaves, you will discover that your whole moral being is poisoned at its very springs, and that you can do nothing by which to merit God’s favour. Listen to the story. God has Himself provided a Lamb—even His own Son, the Lamb of God. If He has Himself provided a Lamb, surely that Lamb is spotless, and holy, and without blemish. I can say tonight, with a full heart, that my Lamb is without blemish, even Jesus, God’s Son, whose precious blood speaks richer things than the blood of bulls and of goats. Thank God, we can tell you of a work that will satisfy God, and that God now delights in virtue of it to bless the believing sinner.

What further? The blood was to be put into a basin. We understand by that, that the blood is what we call get-at-able, it is in

the place of appropriation.

So the blood of Jesus Christ affords God a basis whereby He can offer salvation to all, and whereby all can approach God. The precious blood is in the basin. We can appropriate it. Then they had to take a bunch of hyssop, and sprinkle the lintel and door-posts of the houses where they were. Hyssop signifies repentance. Solomon described the glories of creation, and spoke of the cedar of Lebanon with its stately branches, down to the hyssop, that springs out of the wall. The cedar is typical of man in his greatness and glory—the hyssop in his lowness, and meanness, and vileness; and it is only when the sinner finds out his sinfulness and vileness, in short, when he repents, that he can know the value of the precious blood of Jesus. He learns God’s holiness, God’s love, the absolute necessity of a sacrifice, his own utter inability to meet God, and his vileness in His holy presence.

One man said very flippantly, “Before I die I shall have time to say, ‘Lord save me.’”

A flippant, careless appeal

to God’s mercy never reaches His ear. Mark, salvation is not so simple as that. Salvation will cost you nothing, that is true, but you will never be saved until you repent. And let me tell you there is no saving value in repentance, but it is that condition of soul which is necessary before the sinner is ready to appropriate the precious blood of Christ to himself or herself. We have told you before, that repentance is something like a man who gets ill. The feeling ill does not make him well, but it makes him send for a doctor; and so repentance of soul is the finding out by a sinner that he is a lost, hell-bound rebel, vile, and worthless, and strengthless, that he cannot move hand nor foot for himself. He learns that God is good, and that he is vile, and sinful, and lost, and that none can save but Christ. That is it. The soul is spiritually ill, and wretched, and sends for the Great Physician, who never loses a patient, and never charges a fee—salvation is without money and without price. “Have I repented enough?” is the sorrowful question of many an anxious sinner. You need just enough repentance to lead you to Christ. Do you feel your need of Him? That is enough.

Let us suppose the night of judgment has come. Imagine a long row of huts, in which the Israelites live. See! the destroying angel has drawn from its sheath

the sword of judgment,
and is about to go through the land of Egypt to execute God’s sentence. In thought let us follow him. In house number one, we know there is a very wicked man living. He has been a terrible drunkard. He has often beaten his wife black and blue in his drunken frenzy. His children are half-starved. Surely the destroying angel will go into that drunkard’s wretched abode and execute judgment! But he passes by. Why? Ponder the answer well. Because the blood has been sprinkled upon the lintel and the door-posts. He stops not to enquire the character of the dweller within. The blood is enough. Nay, he dare not cross the blood-stained threshold, for God has said, “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” Jehovah has pledged His word.

Again we see the destroying angel halt. We exclaim, “Surely he will pass by that house. One of the most religious Israelites in the whole country lives there; he is always reading the Scriptures, always praying and singing psalms; in fact, he is a very religious man.” As we look at his dwelling we see something that attracts our curiosity. There is a long piece of white paper nailed to the door. We go up in the moonlight and examine it. It is a long list of his virtues—he reads his Bible, says his prayers, does the best he can, gives any money he can spare to the poor, etc. He has enumerated a long list of his many virtues, in the hope that his character may persuade the destroying angel to pass by his dwelling, but he does not even glance at the paper. We see the destroying angel pass across that threshold, and the sword of judgment falls upon the house, the first-born is slain. Why is this? Mark well the answer.

The blood was not there.

Oh! sinner, tonight, let me ask you: “Are you sheltered by the precious blood of Jesus?” For, if you are not, God’s wrath is hanging over your head this very moment, and woe be to your hapless soul if that cloud of judgment burst, and sweep you into a lost eternity. ’Tis the blood, the blood alone, that can satisfy God.

Then again, to show you the difference between safety and assurance let me borrow an illustration. Suppose we enter one of these cottages, and find the head of the house eating of the roast lamb inside with his family. They seem to have a bright light in their eyes, and a joy about their whole deportment. We say, “What is it that makes you so happy tonight? Don’t you know that this is the solemn night when God passes through the land in judgment?”

“Yes,” they reply, “we know it, but the blood is sprinkled—our first-born is safe.”

We answer, “Would it not become you better, until the midnight hour of judgment is over, until the destroying angel has passed, to be a little more modest, not so presumptuous about it, not so sure, not so certain?”

The head of the house looks at us, and says, “We have two things, we have the sprinkled blood, and more, we have the sure word of Jehovah; not only has the blood of the lamb without blemish been sprinkled upon the lintel and door-posts, but

God Himself has said,
When I see the blood I will pass over you,’ and” he adds, looking us in the face,—“I know God will be righteous and true to His word, and that my dwelling is as safe as if the midnight hour had passed and the sun of another day shone upon us.”

We leave him and go in next door. The head of this house and his family are pale, trembling with fear, and distressed beyond measure. We try to comfort them, and ask, “Why all this perturbation and disquietude?”

The father replies, “Don’t you know this is the night of the judgment of the first-born?”

“Yes, we do know it; but haven’t you sprinkled the blood on the lintel and the door-posts?”

“Yes.”

“Very well then, are you not safe?”

He says, “No; I wouldn’t like to be so bold as to say that, I am hoping for the best and waiting until the midnight hour is gone, and when I find my first-born is safe, and the midnight hour is past, I will then begin to breathe more freely.”

We reason with him gently, thus, “Why, you have not only got the sprinkled blood, but also the sure word of God,” but we cannot get him past his doubts and fears. And why? Because he has not full confidence in the word of Jehovah.

Now, dear friends, let me ask you a question. Which of these two houses is the safer, that wherein dwells the family which is in calm peace resting on the word of Jehovah, or that in which they are possessed with fear, and troubled with doubts? You answer, “The house wherein they are calmly resting on the word of Jehovah.” Nay, you are wrong. They are

both equally safe,
because they are BOTH marked with the sprinkled blood. Which is the happier house? That is another question. Why, house number one, where they listen in calm assurance to the spoken word of God. There may be two persons here tonight trusting in the blood of Jesus, one full of confidence and assurance, the other trembling, and doubting, and fearing, hoping for the best. Which is the safer? Both alike are safe. Why? Because their safety does not depend upon their FEELINGS, but upon the PRECIOUS BLOOD. I ask my hearers tonight, “Do you trust in the precious blood of Jesus?”

You reply, “Yes, I do.” That being the case, are you sure about your salvation? You may be if you put your trust in God’s word. What does it say? “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.”

The blood is for God’s eye,
not for the sinner’s. The blood is underneath God’s eye, it has answered every claim of His holiness, and God is able to shelter the soul that trusts in the sprinkled blood, and is righteous in so doing.

A young fellow, going through college, preparing for the ministry, went to see a dying Christian woman. She too had been to college, but a different kind to his. She had not studied the dead languages, nor a dry theology. Her college consisted of a sick bed. There she had learned many wonderful things of God. She was indeed a doctor of divinity in the school of affliction. The visitor bent over her, and said, “Mother, I suppose you are trusting, at a moment like this, in the mercy of God?”

“No, young man,” she replied, “it’s not His mercy I am trusting in, it’s His justice.”

“You have surely made a mistake,” he answered, “at a moment like this, in the hour of death, that solemn moment when the soul leaves the body and returns to the God who gave it, it surely must be God’s mercy that you are trusting in.” “No, young man,” she said with a firm voice, “it is His justice.”

The young man thought she was wandering, and so she was—wandering in all the greatness of the gospel of God, up and down the length, and breadth, and height, and depth of God’s wondrous gospel. She turned, and read him a right, good lecture on divinity. “If I were to die, and pass down to hell, I should lose my soul, and that would be a great loss to me, but

God would lose His character,
and that would be a greater loss for Him, for He has pledged salvation to the believing sinner. If God were to lose His character, the whole world would crumble into dust, and there would be no God at all.”

Ah! she had got the pith of it. We love to think of it, that we shall go to heaven righteously, as righteously as God’s judgment would condemn us, if unsaved, to an everlasting hell for our many sins. God isjust, and the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus.” Yes; the believer goes to heaven righteously. Thank God.

Another word or two. Besides the sprinkled blood outside, what are they doing inside? Eating of the roast lamb with unleavened bread and bitter herbs. It is midnight; and yet they have their staves in their hands, their shoes on their feet, and their loins girded, and they are eating it in haste. We inquire the meaning of this midnight meal and preparedness for travel, and are told that they are going on a journey. They need strength, and they are preparing for it.

When God shelters the soul by the precious blood, that is

only the first step

of the gospel of God. With outstretched hand He was about to take His people from underneath the powerful hand of the oppressor. A little later He was about to cleave a path for them through the Red Sea, and carry them to the other side out of reach of the oppressor’s power, and on till they reached the land flowing with milk and honey. Canaan was God’s purpose for them.

If you trust the precious blood tonight, that is only step number one. God, too, will free you from the devil’s power, and the dominion of sin and death. He will endue you with His own mighty power, even the power of the Holy Spirit, and there will be a journey for you to take. You will leave this world one day, and be landed in God’s Canaan. Even now you are morally called to make that journey in your soul, to be separate from this world, and find your spirit’s home above, where Jesus is. You are destined to form part of the bride of Christ, for His satisfaction and God’s glory. This is the purpose of God.

Within that cottage they are eating the lamb, roast with fire. For you, who are trusting in that precious blood shed at Calvary’s cross, there is a solemn thought typified in the eating of the lamb, roast with fire. Jesus has been exposed for God’s glory and the putting away of your sins, to all the fire of God’s judgment against sin. Mark! they eat it, too, with bitter herbs, typical of the work of repentance deepening in the soul. I believe people repent more after salvation than before—I know I did. I found this eating of the roast lamb a solemn thing in my soul. The Unitarian wants to eat of it raw, to take all

the fire of God’s judgment

from the cross altogether. They say that Christ lived a perfect life, and died a martyr’s death to afford an example to men, to stimulate them to follow in His footsteps. They eat it raw. God will not have it. Unitarianism leads to hell. None pass to glory but those who eat of it roast with fire.

Then there is the kind that would have it sodden with water, that is, they weaken the thought of God’s judgment upon sin. They talk a sickly, sentimental, mawkish nonsense about Jesus dying, of His crown of thorns, the blood trickling from His brow, His hands, and feet, and side, of His dying agonies, how men jeered and mocked Him in His sufferings in a sort of human, sentimental way; but let me tell you, dear friends, when that thick darkness gathered round the cross, when man had done his worst, led on by sin, there was a solemn issue between God and Christ.

Jesus, the Lamb of God, took the sinner’s place, bared His breast to the storm, and God, who measured the distance between Himself and the sinner, put upon the head of Jesus all the full weight of sin, as it affected Him. There that blessed, holy Sufferer endured the storm, drinking the cup of bitterness to the last dark dreg, satisfied forever the claims of justice, and glorified God to the full. The veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom by the hand of God Himself, when Jesus exclaimed,
  “It is finished.

It is this that makes salvation such a real thing. And it is the entering into this that answers to eating the lamb roast with fire.

What next? They eat the roast lamb, with bitter herbs and unleavened bread. What does unleavened bread signify? Leaven is always in scripture a type of evil working. The action of the leaven in the bread is stopped by the fire of the oven. Eating unleavened bread, then, signifies that evil is put away from the believer practically, that he harbours no iniquity in his ways. It is very common nowadays for people to get a kind of mental salvation. They reason it out, like a problem at School, that, if Christ died for sinners, then He died for them, and therefore they are saved. Many are thus deceiving themselves. They lose it just as quickly and readily as they receive it. It makes no difference in their lives, for they have never been converted.

When the soul really enters into all that is meant by the death of Christ, it makes a mighty difference in the life. You eat of the roast lamb with unleavened bread, that is to say, the sinner—who knows what sin cost his blessed Saviour in His agonies on the cross, in the hiding of God’s face from Him—and his sin part company, there is a desire in his heart for righteousness, there is a turning from his wicked ways. If he were a drunkard before conversion, he will turn sober, there will be no unleavened bread in his mouth, there will be no more drinking—there will be no more tippling, or secret drinking. There is that young lady who used to read novels at the midnight hour, she will say good-bye to them. That pleasure-loving girl, when she is converted, will bid adieu to her parties and balls. That godless young man, now converted, will say good-bye to the football-field, will say good-bye to its swearing, gambling, godless crew. There will be a turning round. The eating of the roast lamb with unleavened bread will show itself in a practical way. Conversion is a real thing, a turning right-about, a turning to God from idols, a serving of the living and true God. That makes up the history of the true Christian, turning, serving, waiting—turning to God, serving the living and true God, waiting for His Son from heaven. Oh! it will make a mighty difference in your life.

Now for our last point. They have shoes on their feet, staves in their hands, their loins are girded, and they are eating it in haste. It is the Lord’s Passover. Why this midnight meal and this preparation, not for bed, but for a journey? Ah! they are off. They are about to say good-bye to the oppressor. They are God’s redeemed people.

If you were converted tonight it would make a mighty difference in you; instead of drifting with the world and its pleasures; and its ways, you would find yourself taking a different course altogether. You wouldn’t be in Satan’s grip any longer, you would learn how by the death of Jesus all your mighty foes are slain, and that you are now one of God’s people, delivered from the powers of sin and Satan, the dominion of death, and that now that blessed journey lies before you, as guided by the Spirit, which ends in the glory of God, in the accomplishment of His purpose for YOU, May God grant His blessing to His word. Amen.

Naaman; or the Sinner and his Mistakes

  “And Elisha sent a messenger unto him, saying, Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean” (2 Kings 5:10).

  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

It is my purpose tonight to have a quiet, homely talk with you on the way in which a sinner can obtain salvation; and to point out to you several rocks upon which anxious souls, when they are seeking salvation, often make shipwreck, so that you may be able to avoid them.

Now you know people have a very poor idea of what the Bible really is. Lots of people read these beautiful stories in the Old Testament and think they are only stories, true stories, perhaps, and I dare say pretty stories, but we want to show you tonight that God has

a very deep meaning in them.

In 2 Kings 5—the chapter we have referred to—we have the interesting and instructive story of the cleansing of a leper.

We find many chapters in the Bible devoted to the subject of leprosy. It is throughout the Scriptures a type of SIN. Leprosy cannot be cured by any earthly doctor, and sin cannot be eradicated by education, nor doctored by reformation; nothing but the mighty power of God can cure the desperate disease of sin; and, mark this, it is not only the drunkard with the blotches of drink upon his face who is the sinner; it is not only the painted harlot, who is to be seen under the midnight lamp, who is a sinner; but YOU, my unconverted hearer, are a sinner. Now don’t get rid of that fact. YOU, as you sit upon your seat, are a sinner in God’s sight.

Let us take up this story, which we have here, in detail. The subject of it is Naaman, the Syrian general. Studying the narrative carefully we learn several things about him. He was a courageous soldier, a successful general, an honourable man, a prime favourite with the king, his master, and, in the eyes of his fellow-countrymen, a hero. Further, we can gather from the sacred record that he was of a very amiable disposition, a loving husband, a kind, courteous master: but, in spite of all these characteristics, there is a certain sentence which spoils the whole thing.

  “But he was a leper.”

He might be reviewing his troops, sitting astride his Arab steed, he might have his general’s uniform upon him, with his breast decorated with stars and medals and honours conferred upon him by the king and a grateful country, the loud huzzas might rend the sky, but underneath all this fair and glittering exterior and show there was a cruel, loathsome disease at work upon that man, and he knew it. He was a poor doomed leper, dying inch by inch.

Now, dear friend, we are not going to accuse you of being a very great sinner tonight. You may be a very kind husband, or a loving wife, or a dutiful child,—you may be most exemplary in your conduct in business and in the home circle; all this may be perfectly true. But, mark this well, be you

the very fairest of Adam’s race,
it is still true that you are a sinner, and as a sinner you cannot enter God’s presence, unless your sins are cleansed away. You are a spiritual leper.

We were shown through a medical museum in Washington the other day. The guide took us aside and said, “I will show you a wax fac-simile of the hands of a leper, modelled by a celebrated Paris physician.” There in a glass case lay the model of a pair of hands in wax, the exact copy of the poor leper’s loathsome hands. We looked at them with a great deal of interest. Hideous, putrid, loathsome hands, with the running sores of the terrible disease upon the knuckles, with the nails black and dropping off. What a terrible illustration that is of sin! What an awful picture of you! Unfit for God’s presence, rotten to the core!

My unconverted hearer, you don’t like it, but the fact remains, you are a poor, loathsome leper in God’s sight. You don’t believe it; that does not alter the fact. From the crown of your head to the soles of your feet there is not one sound spot about you; there is nothing but wounds and bruises and putrefying sores.

Man is

a loathsome, corrupt leper

in God’s sight, and nothing can save him from a lost eternity but the precious blood, which can wash the vilest sinner clean.

A traveller, journeying in an eastern country, was shown a large, roomy cage, in which were confined a few lepers; some of these poor, wretched creatures were in such a condition that their nails were dropping off; their hair falling out, their teeth gone, their eyes sunken,—poor, excoriated lepers. As he looked, he saw a young lady among them, who was well-proportioned and handsome. The flush of health seemingly was on her cheek, and her eyes were bright. The traveller turned round in astonishment and disgust, and said, “Why have you put that handsome young lady among the loathsome lepers?” The reply was made, “Look at her hand!” There was no mistake about it; there was

one tell-tale spot.

She was a poor, doomed leper. So you may not be a flagrant sinner, covered openly with the leprosy of sin, there may be upon you as it were, only ONE tell-tale spot, but the fact remains, you are a spiritual leper, and need cleansing by God before heaven with its joys can be yours. “THERE IS NO DIFFERENCE, for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.”

If we have sought to tell you the truth, and it has aroused you to a sense of your awful condition, it is because we love your soul. For illustration a man knocks at a doctor’s door. He is shown into the consulting room. Presently the doctor and patient are face to face, and the patient says, “Doctor, a little while ago I began to lose my appetite, I cannot sleep at nights, business seems to press very heavily upon me, and I want you to be kind enough to

tell me the truth,

however terrible it may be.”

The doctor examines him, and tests him, and at last says, with a grave face, “I have examined you and find that you have been the subject of a deadly disease for the last twelve years, and nothing can cure you.” The man says, with a look of despair in his eyes, “Thank you, doctor, for telling me the truth. I only knew I was ill the last few months, and to think the disease has been working in my system all these years!”

So, friends, the disease is working in your system, and you may not know it. It is carrying you to the portals of eternity, it is hurrying you on as fast as time can carry you, on to eternity; but, oh! where will you spend that eternity? So our words need to be plain and pointed on a subject of such profound importance, the more so as there is no case so bad as to be beyond the healing virtues of the precious blood.

A great many persons are not aware of this terrible disease of sin, but sometimes we do come across people who have been aroused to the fact that they are sinners, and they come to us and say, often with tears running down their faces, “Preacher, I am afraid I am too bad to be saved.” Thank God, there never could be a case too bad for the Great Physician. His words are:“Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.” Another says, “I feel the burden of my sins, but I am too black a sinner to come to Christ.” It is our deepest joy to tell such that “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses from ALL SIN,” and to cry out at the top of our voice, “There never was a case too bad for the Saviour, too dark and desperate for Him to cure.” This very night

He can save you

as you sit upon your seat in this hall.

Naaman knew he was a leper, and somebody else knew it. In one of his campaigns he had taken captive a little maid, and she waited upon his wife. This little maid turned to her mistress one day, as her heart went out in commiseration at the condition of her kind master, and said to her: “Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.” The little maid’s message was carried to Naaman’s ear, and thence it was conveyed to the ears of the king, and the king determined to send his honoured and beloved servant down to the land of Samaria in order to get cured. Naaman was alive to the fact of his awful condition, and was anxious to get cured, so off he starts on his long journey to Samaria. YOU are a spiritual leper. May God in His great mercy give you to know it deep down in your heart, and may you, too, be anxious to be cured this very night.

However, Naaman made

four great mistakes

before he got the blessing, and these are the four rocks of which we spoke at the beginning, and against which we are going to warn you. First of all he got a letter written by the king himself. Armed with this, he went to the king of Israel, and here he made his first mistake—he went to

the wrong person.

He went to the king instead of the prophet—to the one who swayed earthly power instead of one with spiritual power—the servant of Jehovah. Many an anxious soul makes a similar mistake. Many a man goes to the wrong person today.

Riding by train between the towns of Worcester and Malvern, in England, a short time ago, I saw a woman in widow’s weeds sitting in the compartment. Her eyes were closed, her lips were moving as if in silent prayer, and underneath her crape veil her fingers moved—she was counting her beads. When she had finished, I leaned forward to her, and said, “Would you kindly let me look at your beads?” She at once put them into my hands, and explained how to begin, with a sort of introductory prayer at the beginning of the circlet and then go around and around the beads with the “Hail Marys” as long as you please.

I said to her, “When you read your Bible do you ever learn of any poor sinner being repulsed by Jesus when on earth?”

She answered, “No.”

I went on, “Does it not tell you that every poor sinner who came to the blessed Son of God was received, and that none was repulsed?”

She replied, “It is so, I never read of a case in which one was turned away.”

I further enquired, “Did you ever read in the four gospels of one who went to the Virgin Mary? She was a blessed woman, chosen by God to be the mother of Jesus, most blessed amongst women, but she is not my Saviour, and

she never died for me.

“Is there any incident in which a sinner was sent to the Virgin Mary, rather than to her blessed Son?”

She said, “Not one.”

“Is there not a verse in the Bible which says, ‘Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and today, and for ever’?”

“Yes,” was the reply.

I went on, “If it be true that the blessed Son of God never repulsed a sinner when upon earth, and that He is ‘the same yesterday, and today, and for ever,’ is His affection changed towards sinners, is His love for sinners diminished now He is in the glory? More than that, is there not a verse in the Bible which says, there is ‘ONE MEDIATOR between God and men, the Man Christ Jesus.’”

She replied, “Yes, that is true.”

I said, “That being the case, why don’t you go DIRECT to Jesus?” She was making Naaman’s mistake—going to the wrong person.

My friends, we are not here to throw stones at pope, or priest, or preacher; we are here to unfold the truth of God’s Word, and to tell you that you will not get blessing to your souls unless you go yourselves to the feet of the Saviour, and trust Him. You will never receive salvation until you go to the right person.

Have you been to Jesus yet?

Long years ago there was a famine in Egypt, and the whole land rang with three words, as the granary doors were thrown wide open, within which the golden grain was stored, “GO TO JOSEPH.” Since Jesus has died on the cross; since He uttered that shout of victory, “It is finished”; since He has ascended into glory, the very universe of God rings with these three words—“GO TO JESUS.”

A gentleman was one day crossing London Bridge. A blind man, who was reading the Bible in raised letters, had lost his place, and was stumbling along, trying to regain it. He was repeating over and over again these words, “There is none other name, there is none other name, there is none other name.” At last he regained his place, and the whole of that lovely verse rang out,—“There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.” The verse was used to the gentleman’s conversion. And what name is that? Need we reply? ’Tis Jesus. Jesus! JESUS!! JESUS!!! See to it that you go to the right Person.

The preacher is something like a guide-post. When you go to a place where the roads fork, and you are not sure which is the right one, you look for the guide-post. Presently you see a finger pointing a certain way, and you read, “This way to So-and-So.” You go on your way quite certain which is the right road. What does the post do for you? It points out the right road. It doesn’t take you along the road does it? No, you have to go yourself. Suppose you stopped

and embraced the post,
and spent the remainder of your days clinging to the guide-post, and admiring the plainness of its directions, would you ever get to your destination? Never! A great many people sit under a preacher, we put emphasis on the word under, but never go to the preacher’s Christ; they hang upon his words, they think him eloquent, admire his prayers, and rest satisfied with religion, but they never get to Christ.

John the Baptist—the forerunner of Christ—was a very good guide-post. Looking upon Jesus as He walked, he exclaimed in deepest worship, “Behold the Lamb of God!” and the two disciples, who heard him, left John and followed Jesus. He pointed them the road, and they went to the Saviour. They left the Baptist to follow his Master. John, the Baptist, was the right kind of guide-post. Many of the guide-posts of today don’t point the right way; on many of them the sign is well nigh obliterated, and many of them point to the way of good works, baptism, sacrament-taking, alms-giving, the way of Christian-endeavouring, and that sort of thing. Is that the way to Christ? Oh! no; John, the Baptist, said,
  “Behold the Lamb of God!”

and the two disciples turned and followed that heavenly Stranger, the Son of God, the Saviour of sinners. John, the Baptist, said, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” He was a very brilliant star on the dark night of Judaism’s sky just before the break of day, but when the sun burst upon the scene, the star paled, and was lost sight of, and Jesus—the Light of the World—filled the vision of those who had eyes to see His moral beauty. Like another Scripture, where Moses and Elias were caught away, “they saw no man, save JESUS ONLY.”

Let us proceed with our narrative. Naaman finds out his mistake, and leaves the kingly palace, and goes down to the prophet’s humble cottage. Elisha had sent a message to the king, “Let him come now to me, and he shall know that there is a prophet in Israel.”

Watch that chariot as it goes from the palace of the king down to the cottage of the prophet—it travels but slowly, and the wheels leave a deep impression in the sandy soil. Why so? We look into it, and see ten talents of silver, six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. Why all this wealth? Naaman has made his second great mistake. To the Eastern mind the golden key was well-nigh omnipotent; it could fit into the rudest and rustiest lock, and turn it.

Money was everything to an Oriental mind; and so Naaman made his second great mistake, he tried

the wrong power

the power of the golden key. He thought of buying the blessing. I believe this is the very biggest doctor’s fee upon record. That would be worth in America, today, not less than $750,000. Is his money received? Nay; God will not sell His blessings.

Anxious sinner, are you making this very mistake? When you want to be saved you begin to spoil yourself right off. The Scriptures tell you to come just as you are, in all your rags, sin, and pollution, without turning over a new leaf. Yet, when you become anxious about your soul’s salvation, you begin to go in for good works, turning over new leaves, going to church and chapel, doing the best you can, giving your money freely to religious causes, thinking God is going to bless you for it. You make a profound mistake; if ever you get salvation it will be through the gospel—

God’s power unto salvation.

You won’t merit it, you will get it freely, “without money and without price,” on the ground of pure, sovereign grace.

Now, Naaman arrives at the door of the prophet. His servant knocks at the door, the prophet’s servant answers it, and the message is given, doubtless in words something like these:“Go in and tell your master the great general, Naaman, has come, that valiant soldier. He has brought with him ten talents of silver, six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. My noble master has brought a letter from the King of Syria, and desires to be recovered of his leprosy.” It would be no wonder if the servant should feel flattered in receiving such a very great patient as that. It would be like a humble doctor being waited upon by the President of the United States, or the Queen of England. No wonder if he were flattered. However, he goes in to the prophet, and delivers the message. Was the prophet flattered? No; for he is God’s servant.

How does he respond to the message? He sends out this simple answer, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.” It is given to Naaman. The servant re-enters the little cottage, closes the door, and the interview is over. The Syrian general had travelled hundreds of miles, and came prepared to pay down a vast sum of money as the price of his cleaning, and now he simply gets the message, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times,” without ceremony or palaver. The door is closed, and the interview over. He is left boiling with rage, exclaiming hotly in his pride, “Behold, I thought he will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the Lord his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.” He makes his third mistake—he thinks of

the wrong plan.

He imagined God Almighty was going to make a fuss over the poor leper because he happened to be a general. God won’t do it. And if YOU want to be saved, it must be in the same way as the dying thief, like Mary Magdalene, out of whom were cast seven devils, like blaspheming, persecuting Saul of Tarsus; there is

no royal road to salvation,
there is only one path to it. ’Tis the blood-stained way of Calvary. If you receive salvation it must be in God’s way.

What is the plain, simple message sent to Naaman? “Go and wash in Jordan . . . and thou shalt be clean.” And what is the message as plain and simple to you? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” You may have been trying to get salvation for a great number of years. The preacher may have often dinned into your ears the simple way of salvation, and it is too much for your pride to stand. People when they come to gospel preachings ought to leave three things at home; their money, God doesn’t want it. I think the chink of dimes and nickels upon the collection plates in gospel meetings is enough to make God Almighty smite the collector dead. God doesn’t want your money. Next leave your brains behind, they will not help you in this matter. Naaman said, “Behold I THOUGHT.” His brain was busy, and it only interposed his thoughts before God’s, and in the end, if persevered in, would have cheated him of the blessing. It is

not mighty intellect, but simple faith

that God wants. Lastly, leave your pride at home. The way to salvation, while blessedly simple, is humbling to the pride of man. It makes nothing of him, and everything of God and His grace—everything of the atoning work of Jesus. Naaman’s pride hindered him. Oh! sinner, come empty-handed, take the low place of nothingness before God, and accept this full salvation at His gracious hands. Learn the wonderful story of God’s love in giving Jesus to die for your sins—the story of the atonement.

Some people, something like Naaman, say, “When I am converted I am going to be converted under a very eloquent preacher;” others, “I am going to have a very wonderful dream, I shall have a most wonderful experience, all my doubts and fears will go, and my soul will be filled with light, and joy, and peace, and happiness.” Don’t be deceived. Don’t come with

your pre-conceived thoughts

to God. He won’t make a fuss of you. Faith is simple, and takes God at His word.

If you come here with some plan by which you are going to get salvation, dismiss it by simply listening to what God says—“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Believe and be saved. How simple!

Now Naaman makes his fourth and last mistake—he thinks of

the wrong place.

He exclaims derisively: “Are not Abana and Pharpar, rivers of Damascus, better than all the waters of Israel? May I not wash in them, and be clean? So he turned and went away in a rage.” His thoughts and his pride travel back to his native land. In imagination he feasts his eyes upon those broad, stately streams, Abana and Pharpar, which flowed from Lebanon’s mountains through the fertile plains of Syria and Damascus, Abana flowing right through the proud city of Damascus, its pride and delight. He indignantly demands: “May I not wash in them, and be clean?” He does not even condescend to call the Jordan a river.

He compares his own rivers with all the waters of Israel. Like the sinner, he thought of the wrong place.

What shall the rivers be illustrative of? Let them be types of religion and morality. There are untold thousands scrubbing themselves with

the flesh-brush of a Christless religion

from the time they were baptized, or old enough to be religious, and will go on till the time they take extreme unction. Yet, by so doing, they cannot get rid of one blot of the leprosy of sin. Religion cannot save the soul. We have a heavy indictment to make against religion. Religion crucified the Lord of Glory. Religion lit the faggots which have sent the martyrs in a chariot of fire to their homes in glory. Religion professed, without the reality possessed, damns more than all the drink saloons in America.

But, you say, “Is not there such a thing as pure religion and undefiled?” Yes; we sincerely wish there were more of it in this world. In the words of Scripture a man is exhorted to practise it, “to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction, and to keep himself unspotted from the world.” A spurious, bastard religion and the world go hand in hand. True religion keeps itself unspotted from the world. The devotees of mere religion, with the one hand, endeavour to take the pierced hand of the Lord Jesus Christ, and, with the other, the hand of the world, stained red with the murder of the Son of God. It is impossible, it cannot be done, it must be

Christ or the world,
one thing or the other. Don’t be satisfied with a mere Christless religion—empty forms and unmeaning ritual, but see to it that you have Christ.

Then, what about the stream called morality. Many a proud infidel, who would not go to church, rests satisfied in a strict morality. For instance; Colonel Robert Ingersol sneers at the Bible, and talks about the mistakes of Moses. He denies that Christian virtues are Christian virtues. He claims Christian virtues in the name of infidelity, and preaches a gospel of morality, proclaiming on the house-tops that a man ought to be strictly moral, upright, kind, and philanthropic—that he ought to do the best he can to help mankind, and, that being the case, he will lead a happy life, and die an easy death. What will a moral life do for the sinner? It may bear the fruits of respectability in this life, but it cannot atone for sin. It can do absolutely nothing for the guilty sinner, when he stands before the bar of the Judge of all the earth. Morality, be it ever of such a profound and exalted nature, cannot, any more than religion, remove one blot of the leprosy of sin.

Naaman went away in his rage with his leprosy, and you may leave this room vexed with my plain talking, but, mark you, with your sins clinging to you, and you yourself bound straight for the pit of hell. Naaman’s servants, however, gathered round him. They are very affectionate in their entreaties, and use the most splendid logic to convict that poor leper of his crass folly. They say, “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do

some great thing,

wouldest thou not have done it? how much rather then, when he says to thee, Wash, and be clean?’” There was the point that wounded his pride. If the prophet had bid him do SOME GREAT THING; how gladly would the enfeebled leper have attempted even impossibilities. For instance, to borrow an illustration, if he had said, “On that height there lies entrenched a band of our enemies. For a number of years we have tried to dispossess them of that mountain. General Naaman, take a few of your picked men, scale those heights, and deliver us from the presence of our foes.” See how his eyes flash with pride, how his hand quickly grasps the jewelled hilt of his sword, and hear him triumphantly call for volunteers. Now, see him going up that mountain with pointed sword,

the leader of that forlorn hope,
determined to succeed or die in the rash attempt. If the prophet had asked him all that, and more, he would have gladly attempted it. With what beautiful logic the servants say, “How much rather then, when he says to thee, Wash, and be clean.’”

Now, my friend, how do YOU think you are going to be saved? You reply, “If I do the best I can, if I pray, give my money liberally to the poor and the church, do all that I possibly can do towards my salvation, I shall surely attain it.” We would gladly borrow the logic of these Syrian servants, and reason with you thus:“How much rather then, when God says to you, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved?’” Like Naaman, you want to do some great thing, that will suit your pride of heart. However, Naaman listens to the sound advice of his servants. Wise man! He goes DOWN to the river, Jordan, flings off his general’s mantle, lays aside his decorations and medals, and steps out, revealing his true condition, a poor, naked, loathsome, vile leper. He wades into Jordan’s waters, and methinks if the doctors of his own country had stood on the banks, how they would have laughed in derision at him, and said, “Has our brave general lost his senses altogether, to have left his own country, and,

at the bidding of a strange prophet,
dip himself seven times in a muddy stream like this?”

It is something like this when we preach the simple gospel. We say, “Believe and be saved,” and a man in the back seat says, “The idea! It is too simple for a man of my mind. Besides, it is too cheap.” Too cheap!! It cost the Lord Jesus His blessed stainless life; it cost Him His life’s blood; the forsaking of the face of God; all the punishment due to sin; more than words can tell or thought can think. Nay, call it not cheap. Salvation costs us nothing, but it was gained at an infinite cost.

However, Naaman dips himself seven times, and when he came up the seventh time he was cleansed, his flesh came again like that of a little child. How did he get the blessing? By “the obedience of faith.” Oh! sinner, in like manner, if you will simply trust in the blessed Lord Jesus Christ, you will be saved from the leprosy of sin, you will be clean every whit.

Seven times—what does that mean? Seven is a number which indicates perfection in Scripture. It means, in type, that the leper went down with all his moral being. It was

no mere perfunctory performance,
no lifeless, listless obedience to the prophet’s command, he obeyed with all his heart; in short, it was “the obedience of faith.” In like manner, if YOU want salvation, you must with all your soul acknowledge that you are a poor, undone sinner, without a single hope in yourself, and take Christ as your own personal Saviour; and, in receiving Him, you will receive all—salvation, pardon, cleansing, justification, the indwelling of the Spirit, eternal life.

To return to our narrative. Naaman comes up from the seventh dip perfectly cleansed. A mighty miracle has been wrought. The loathsome leper is, as it were, created anew. The flush of health once more appears upon his face, the light returns to his eye, and hope once more makes his heart light and his step buoyant. He returns to the door of the prophet’s cottage. He alters his tune. Gratefully he exclaims, “Behold, now I KNOW that there is no God in all the earth, but in Israel.” Now he says,
  “Behold I know.”

Just a little previously he had proudly and wrathfully said, “Behold, I THOUGHT.” His brain was busy—his mind active. Now he has gone through the experience of cleansing, he gratefully exclaims, “Behold, now I KNOW.” ’Tis not the utterance of the head but of the heart—eighteen inches lower down. Assurance is his—he knows.

People nowadays ask, “Can anybody know that they saved?” Naaman knew he was cured; and, just as he knew he was cured, we know we are saved. He had the assurance of the blessing, and, if you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, you will have the assurance of salvation.

I was talking the other day with an old gentleman, who was born the very self-same day as the famous Mr. Gladstone. Sitting beside him, and speaking to him about his soul, I said, “Do you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?”

He replied unhesitatingly, “Yes; I trust in the Lord Jesus.”

“Are you saved, then?” I further enquired.

“No, I would not like to be so presumptuous as that, I would not like to be so bold as to say that.”

I replied, “I know that I am saved, and thousands know it, simply through faith in Christ.” I pressed home again the question, “Do you really and truly believe on the Lord Jesus Christ?”

“Yes,” was the ready reply.

“Well, what does the verse say?” I argued, repeating it in his ear, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shall be saved.” “You are

cutting the verse in two.

What God says He means, and He means what He says. If the first half of the verse—‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ’—be true of you, then the latter half—‘Thou shalt be saved’—is equally true of you. It says, ‘Thou shalt BE saved,’ not ‘Thou shalt FEEL saved.’” People are so slow to take God simply at His word.

Some years ago in England we gave what we called a “gospel tea.” A man and his wife, who used to come pretty regularly to the meetings, on the night of the tea did not turn up, and I went to see what was the matter.

“Are you not coming to the tea?” I enquired. They replied, “Well, we should like to come, but we should like to pay.”

“That is your trouble, is it?” I said. “We invited you freely, and want you to come without paying; it is

like the gospel

free.”

They said, “Won’t you let us pay sixpence each?”

I said, “No.”

“We would really like to come, but we don’t like to come without paying. Would you let us pay threepence each?” they argued.

I said, “No.” The affair was something like a Dutch auction. The auctioneer begins at a high figure, and gradually comes down lower and lower, and the first bidder gets the article. Yet it was sad. Pride stood in their way. It showed how legality blinded them, and the freeness of grace was little understood. Would you believe it, that man’s pride was so great, and yet his desire to be present was so strong, that he haggled, “Won’t you let us pay a penny each?”

I said decidedly, “No, not even a penny. If we allowed you to pay a single farthing it would spoil the character of the tea.”

At last they swallowed their pride, and came without paying. And so, sinner, if you were allowed to contribute to your salvation one iota, it would spoil it all. It is “without money and without price.” Oh! take this free salvation. The offer of it travels down from glory, from

the very heart of the blessed God,
and greets the ear of the very vilest of the vile.

In conclusion, I caution you against this poor leper’s four mistakes. Let me repeat them. He went to the wrong person; see to it that you do not make that mistake, but in the Lord Jesus Christ—the only Saviour of sinners—find salvation, pardon, and cleansing.

Nor like Naaman, try the wrong power. Think not the money of good works and ordinances pass current with God, who offers salvation “without money and without price”—freely, all of grace from first to last—“not of works, lest any man should boast.” The gospel is

  “the POWER of God unto salvation,
  to every one that believes” (Rom. 1:16).

And see to it that you cherish no wrong plan, but submit to God’s plan—“BELIEVE on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Lastly, think not of the wrong place. No penitents’ form, or as you call it in America, “the mourners’ bench,” no building however sacred, no ordinance however divine, carries with it saving value—the streams of Religion and Morality form not the place of blessing. Like the harlot of Luke 7, flee away to the feet of Jesus, that is the place of blessing—get into His blessed presence—trust Him and Him alone, the One who finished the work to God’s eternal satisfaction and glory. Then you will be able to go out of this building saved, cleansed, pardoned, forgiven, and able to exclaim with joyful assurance, “Behold, now I KNOW that my soul is saved for all eternity.” May God grant it for His name’s sake. Amen.

Silence and Speech; or Conviction and Confession

  “To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under the heaven . . . a time to keep silence, and a time to speak” (Ecclesiastes 3:1, 7).

There is one class of people in this world with whom silence is criminal. They are Christians, whose feet are upon the straight and narrow road heavenward, who have become the participators of eternal life; and yet they are silent, as they think the awful doom of the unsaved.

There was, long centuries ago, a siege. Samaria was hemmed in by the Syrian hosts. Four starving lepers decided to cast themselves upon

the mercy of the foe.

When they advanced to the enemy’s camp they found that God had fought for His people. The Syrians had fled in precipitate haste. The lepers entered into the deserted tents, ate and drank, gathered together gold, silver, and raiment—more food than they could eat, and more valuables than they could carry away. They went from tent to tent, burying what they could not carry, till at last they said one to another—“We do not well: this day is a day of good tidings, and we hold our peace: if we tarry till the morning light, some mischief will come upon us: now, therefore, come, that we may go and tell the king’s household.” In imagination see these four joyous lepers; they are in the midst of plenty. In the city things are at famine prices, and they are starving. They are right. They tell the good news of plenty to the starving city. Thousands flock out, and the city is saved. It was not well for them to hold their peace.

Ten thousand times more so it is not well that the Christian should hold his peace, when he has salvation, the forgiveness of his sins, eternal life, and the knowledge of God’s love. Knowing all this, he is passing up and down amongst a world of sinners travelling to eternal doom. The Christian knows a greater deliverance than even the Samaritan lepers did, and is in the presence of need more terribly pressing than ever befell a besieged city.

I think it was the Rev. John Berridge, in the time of John Wesley, who was summoned to appear before his bishop for preaching at irregular times, and out of his own parish. The bishop remonstrated with him for these awful (?) irregularities.

At last Mr. Berridge replied, “My lord, I promise you that I shall only speak on two occasions in future.” The bishop smiled, and, rubbing his hands, as if with invisible soap, he said, “That is something like common sense. Name your times, Mr. Berridge.”

Berridge replied that by the grace of God he was going to be “instant

in season, out of season.”

See 2 Timothy 4:2.

These are the two times you are called upon, my Christian hearer, to speak—in season and out of season. The fields are white already to harvest. Souls are perishing. Men and women on every hand are dying. Your opportunities are real. Seize them, and let not your silence be criminal.

People think that Sunday morning in church is the time to hear these things, and when a gospel meeting is held in a dancing academy on a week evening, they think it is out of place. It is no such thing. If you were stretched upon your deathbed this moment, and had only twenty-four hours to live, would you wait until Sunday for the clergyman to come to speak to you? Your need, unsaved sinner, is urgent tonight.

Let me speak to you tonight about the Saviour’s time to keep silence, and His time to speak; the sinner’s time to keep silence, and his time to speak. The Lord Jesus Christ, the eternal Son of God, is the Creator of this world in which we live; “He spake, and it was done; He commanded, and it stood fast;” He said, “Let there be light: and there was light.” By the mere fiat of His word this world of ours was sent rolling upon its appointed course. He spake, but there was a time when the blessed Son of God had to keep silence.

Let your thoughts wander down the ages, let your mind travel to Judea, and look outside Jerusalem’s walls upon those three crosses. See upon the central one Jesus, the Saviour of sinners, uplifted. But a little while before in the garden of Gethsemane, Judas Iscariot, the traitor, came to Him, and betrayed Him with a traitor’s kiss; He was seized by cruel men and beaten, bandied about from judgment hall to prison, and from prison to Calvary’s hill; the soldiers in mockery knelt before Him—they put a reed in His hand, and a crown of thorns upon His blessed brow, and said, “Hail, King of the Jews!” But

He kept silence.

Not a word did He utter. Why was this? Answer me that. When those puny creatures of His hand insulted their Creator, He might have hurled them out of existence with a single word. Why did He then keep silence? Isaiah prophesied this of Jesus long centuries before He was born into this world. “He was oppressed, and He was afflicted; yet HE OPENED NOT HIS MOUTH: He is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so HE OPENS NOT HIS MOUTH” (Isa. 53:7). Here it is fulfilled. The love of His heart for sinners brought Him to this.

Let me borrow an illustration. A mother says to her boy, “John, I have put into this basket a couple of chickens, two or three loaves of bread, and a few vegetables, and I want you to take it across to widow Smith. Her two sons are out of work, and she does not know where to get the next meal from. Take it with my kind love.” John sets off willingly on his errand. The hours roll by, and the time is long past when he should have reached home, but no John returns.

The mother grows anxious.

Night is beginning to fall. She goes to the door of her little house, and longingly, anxiously peers down the dark road to see if her boy is coming back. Well nigh distracted with fear and fright, she is about to set off in search of him, when Johnny stumbles into the doorway, and falls down insensible on the floor, all covered with wounds, and blood from head to feet. His anxious mother puts him to bed, and for days watches over him whilst the fever runs its course, and in his delirium his mother gets bit by bit the story of his ill-treatment. At last he recovers, and the mother says to him, “My boy whatever is the meaning of all this?”

“Well,” says John, “I took that basket with your love to Mrs. Smith; and, just as I gave it to her, she set her two sons upon me. They threw stones at me, knocked me down, and ill-treated me, and I was just able to crawl home.” The mother hotly replies: “Johnny, if I had known the way in which they were going to treat you, I would never have sent you.” And so would every mother in this hall say, and who would blame her?

Now, friends, we ask it reverently: Did the blessed God know how this world was going to treat the Lord Jesus, His Son? He knew the end from the beginning. God knew that men with wicked hands would seize hold of Jesus, heap indignities upon Him, put Him on the cross, and jeer at His dying agonies; yet, knowing all this, His love was so great, so deep, that He sent His Son to die for you and me. Do you believe

the story of His love?

And the Lord Jesus Christ, when the moment of His suffering comes, is silent. He is put upon the cross, the sun has risen high in the heavens, it is twelve o’clock noon, and, suddenly, for three hours a pall of darkness settles over the scene. Moment of all moments! God forsakes His Son, because upon the Person of Jesus falls all the weight of His judgment against sin. He is the sinner’s Substitute, making atonement by the blood of the cross. Awful mystery God forsakes His Son, and Jesus for three hours bears the penalty due to sin. We stand as it were with the shoes from off our feet for the ground is holy. Does any word of complaint escape His lips? Nay, with head erect, amidst the darkness on that central cross; He bears in deepest love all the judgment which was due to sin, in order that God might open the very flood-gates of His love, and invite the vilest to His heart and home; in order that God might let loose

the prodigality of His love

in a world that hated His Son, and cried, “Away with Him, away with him, crucify Him.” For three hours the holy Sufferer does not speak.

But the time comes when He does speak. Three thrilling words escape His lips. With a loud voice He exclaims, “IT IS FINISHED!” Oh! ponder those words. If they had never been uttered, your salvation and mine would have been an utter impossibility. In the question of suffering for sin, the only person in the whole universe of God, who could have uttered those three words, was the Person of God’s Son.

For one moment let us go down to the portals of hell. Look! See the lost, doomed souls there. Will they ever be able to say, “It is finished”? As the waves of God’s righteous judgment roll over those lost souls, as age succeeds age in eternity, will they ever be able to look forward and see one little gleam of hope in the far-off future? Nay; they will never be able to say, “It is finished,” but Jesus said it. May God save you from such an eternity of unmeasured woe.

And now His time to speak has come. What says He? In virtue of His work upon Calvary’s cross, the blessed Saviour of sinners can utter one sweet, gracious word. ’Tis

  “Come!”

And does He say, “Come,” merely to the respectable and the religious? Nay; He says, “Come,” to the wide world. That word, “Come,” can be echoed and re-echoed by gospel preachers amidst the millions of London, in the thronged streets of New York, under the palm trees of Central Africa, upon the parched plains of India, in the far-off islands of the sea, in short wherever man is found. The preacher, constrained by the spirit of his Master, can say to the vilest and the most wicked, “Come.”

The Lord Jesus Christ sits yonder in glory, and says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” It is a restless world we are in. Jesus is the only One who can give rest. There is no rest for the wicked, and there is no rest in hell. But now this glorious invitation goes forth to you. When you receive an invitation, you have to decide whether you will accept it or not. An invitation comes to you tonight—an invitation from the Lord Jesus Christ, the Saviour of the soul, the Friend of sinners. In His name we extend it to you at this very hour, “Come; for all things are now ready.” What will you say to this grand invitation? You must accept it, or refuse it. Which? Which? You are bound to do one or the other—there is no neutral ground in the things of God.

For the last eighteen hundred years that blessed Saviour has been seated on the throne in glory, and from His lips has sounded that one, sweet, gracious, persuasive word, “Come.” He lingers still, but one day

the last invitation

will be given—one day the last message of love will come—the last moment of long-suffering grace will be reached, and then no more gospel preachings—no more offers of salvation. The church of God will be caught up to glory—the redeemed will be with Christ for ever, the door will be shut in your face, and shut for ever, shut against the unrepentant, the drunkard, the harlot, against the mere church-goer, the unconverted sacrament-taker, all those who are out of Christ and in their sins. My hearer, on which side of the shut door would you be, if Christ were to come this very moment?

The Lord Jesus Christ will speak yet again. You are about to hear Him. If you close your ears to that gracious invitation, “Come,” be prepared to hear the stern command, “Depart!” You must hear the one or the other. “Every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him” says the apostle John in the opening of the Revelation. Mark you, your eye shall see the Son of God, and your ears shall hear the sound of His voice, but will you listen to Him now, whilst He says, “Come,” or wait until the day of judgment, when His eyes shall be like flames of lire, and His voice like the sound of many waters, and

your ears shall tingle

to all eternity with that hope-withering, soul-crushing word, “Depart.” You will go, then, like the lightning’s flash from the great white throne to the everlasting burnings, there to weep and gnash your teeth throughout the dreary ages of eternity, with the awful thought in your soul, “I have seen the face of Jesus, I shall never see it again. O God, let me forget the sight! I am in a place where mercy can never come.” Eternity will not suffice to efface from your memory that scene. Memory is the worm that never dies.

Now what about the sinner’s time to keep silence? When is that? NOW. God means that every tongue shall be dumb in His presence, every mouth stopped, and no excuses offered. Why was the law given? People are very fond of going in for law-keeping, and doing their best, and trying to get to heaven on the ground of so doing. Again, we repeat the question, Why was the law given? Let Scripture give the answer. “That every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.” Before ever you receive blessing to your soul

your mouth must be stopped,
you must bring no excuse into God’s presence, or measure yourself by your neighbour, or even by the requirement of the law. You must find out that you are a poor, lost, vile sinner in God’s presence.

How was Job’s mouth stopped? Through long chapters in his book he argues out his own righteousness. He boasted that he was eyes to the blind, feet to the lame, a father to the poor, that he caused the widow’s heart to sing, and put on righteousness as a garment, judgment as a crown. And it was no idle boast. At last he comes into God’s presence and says, “Behold, I am vile; what shall I answer Thee? I will lay mine hand upon my mouth.” In God’s presence his mouth is stopped.

Take the case of the prophet Isaiah. He is something like a man in a chamber with six windows. He looks out of one window and sees the monopolist, the greedy, avaricious man, who joins house to house, and field to field till all others are elbowed out. He cries woe to him. Then he looks out of another window and sees the drunkard in his cups, and cries woe to him. He next marks the out-and-out sinners, those who draw sin as it were with a cart-rope—the harlot, the gambler, the swearer, and pronounces woe unto them. Next he sees the hypocrites that call “evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter”—and upon the head of the hypocrite he cries woe. Next he marks those “that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent their own sight,” and cries woe to them. God cannot stand self-satisfied people, who think their thoughts are good enough for Him. Lastly, he calls woe upon the men of the world; pleasure-lovers, men without conscience, “which justify the wicked for reward”—

corrupt, political jobbers.

There are plenty of them in America.

But now it is as if these six windows were all closed, and a window at the top were opened, and the very light of God streams down, revealing to the prophet his own awful condition, and he now cries: “WOE IS ME! for I am undone;” his mouth, too, is stopped.

Now, look at Saul of Tarsus, who, from a religious standpoint, towers head and shoulders above his fellows. He says of himself, “Touching the righteousness which is in the law, BLAMELESS.” Yet one day whilst journeying on the Damascene road in hot haste to persecute God’s people, he was stricken down with a light above the brightness of the sun, in its mid-day strength and, blinded by that light, he neither ate nor drank for three days, learning the terrible truth that in his flesh there dwelt no good thing. His estimate of himself is changed. His mouth, too, is stopped, and his testimony to God’s grace is written down: “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners;

of whom I am chief.”

Oh! my hearer, your mouth, too, must be shut. Before blessing reaches your soul, you must find out that you are a poor, lost sinner, without excuse in God’s presence. You could not compare favourably with a Job, an Isaiah, a Saul of Tarsus. Their mouths were stopped when once they got into God’s holy presence. Have you ever been there? That is the place where the shutting-up process takes place.

But there are two times when a sinner must speak—once to confess his sins, and, then, to confess his Saviour. Have you ever confessed your sins yet in the presence of God? It is a serious thing to get into God’s presence. If you get there, you must acknowledge that you are a poor sinner, only worthy of the deepest hell. You will confess your sins in the spirit of the Psalmist. He says, “When I kept silence, my bones waxed old, through my roaring all the day long. For day and night Thy hand was heavy upon me, my moisture is turned into the drought of summer.” He got no relief as long as he kept silence about his sins, the burden of them lay heavy on his conscience, but at last he opened his lips, and confessed to God: “I acknowledged my sin unto Thee, and mine iniquity have I not hid.” Then he had to add, “And Thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin.”

Forgiveness is consequent on confession.

And so, my hearer, if you will confess, in humble contrition of soul your sins to God, you will find He will abundantly pardon, because His blessed Son shed His precious blood upon Calvary’s cross. Upon confession of sin, you will find a Saviour offered to you. Then comes confession of Jesus as Lord with the lips.

What does it say in the 10th chapter of Romans? “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” We quote this to show that confession of the Lord Jesus Christ is necessary for salvation—indeed, there are two things necessary—confession with the lips, and belief of the heart. Until you believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and until you confess that same Jesus as Lord, you cannot say that you are saved. Have you confessed Jesus as your Saviour yet?

We sometimes think that the devil likes to have four parts of our body, whilst the blessed Lord claims two. The devil says—“I want your hands and feet—your hands to work and your feet to walk; I want you to be doing, doing, DOING.” What does God say, as it were? “I want your heart, and your lips—your heart to believe that I have raised Jesus from the dead, and your lips to confess Him Lord.” Look at the poor, dying thief crucified on the cross, hands and feet nailed to the gibbet. He can
neither walk nor work,
he can do nothing for his salvation.

It would be an easy matter to preach the gospel to a lot of crucified people, who wouldn’t talk about turning over new leaves, and working. The thief with hands and feet nailed to a cross can neither walk nor work. What, then, can he do? Why, he has his heart and his lips, and he turns to that blessed Saviour beside him dying in such agonies, and he sees something more than a mere man dying there—’tis the Saviour of sinners—the long promised Messiah. He believes in his heart in that brief moment, and turning to Him opens his lips, and says, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” He acknowledges Him Lord. What does the Saviour say to him in reply? “Today shalt thou be with He in paradise.” But that morning he trod the floor of the condemned cell, a poor thief, his hands stained with guilt (it may have been with human blood); at night, whiter than the driven snow,

treading the golden streets

in the heavenly Jerusalem. What a change! He got far more than the privilege he asked for. He said, “Lord, remember me when Thou comest into Thy kingdom.” He as much as said, “The time is coming when Thou shalt reign over this world, and Thou, the Son of God and Son of David, the Messiah, shalt sit upon the throne of David. When the flags shall be flying, and the drums beating, and glad hallelujahs rend the sky, Lord think of the poor, dying thief by Thy side.” And the Lord so sweetly responded, “Verily I say unto thee, Today shalt thou be WITH ME in paradise.”

As you sit upon your seat, if you acknowledge Jesus Lord, and in your heart trust Him, as the One raised by God to glory, and if your lips confess Him, salvation is yours.

What did the world do? Crucified the Saviour, cast Him out. They said, “We will not have this Man to reign over us.” On the contrary, the believer, when he confesses the Lord Jesus, says, “I will have this Man to reign over me;” in other words, he reverses the world’s verdict. He joins issue with the world—goes straight in the teeth of its choice—like the live fish he swims against the stream. The world voted Jesus to the cross; the Christian says, “This Man shall reign over me,” that is where confession comes in.

And then, further, why does it say, “If thou shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead.” Why did God raise Jesus from the dead? Because He had really finished the work, He had glorified God to the full—He had made atonement for sin, and had covered the throne of God with a fresh glory, and the very fact of the Father raising that blessed Saviour from the dead proves that God is eternally satisfied. For GOD raised Him.

A sailor lad was anxious about his soul. The preacher spoke to him again and again, and the youth replied, “But, sir, I am not satisfied with what you say on the point.” The preacher retorted, “It little matters whether you are satisfied or not, the question is,

Is God satisfied?”

And he showed him how in the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, God has proved His deep and eternal satisfaction in the work that Christ has done by raising Him and placing Him at His own right hand in glory. He grasped the fact that God was satisfied, and the sailor there and then was cleared of his doubts. If God is satisfied, it is a very small thing whether you are satisfied; and if the Lord Jesus did all the work on Calvary’s cross, it is a simple thing for those for whom He died to confess Him Lord.

Once a Roman emperor called a very famous architect into his presence and said, “I want you to build a coliseum—a structure that will hand my name down to posterity, and be the glory of the Roman empire. I will give you money, and men, and time—as much money as you like, as many men as you need, and as long a time as you want; only build a structure which shall be the most magnificent possible.” The emperor further promised that on the opening day he would proclaim a national holiday in honour of the event, open the coliseum with some magnificent and costly games, and that the architect should sit by his own side, a laurel wreath encircling his brow—

the hero of the moment.

The architect set to work, and erected a most magnificent building. The opening day arrived, the games were proclaimed, the holiday announced. Crowds—thousands upon thousands—flocked into the coliseum. There was the emperor, and, true to his promise, beside him the architect, with the laurel wreath upon his brow. The gladiators fought, there was a display of prowess, and skill, and courage. At last a wild cry arose, “Throw the Christians to the lions!” The roars of the famished lions could be plainly heard in their cells, as they champed the chains that bound them! The white- robed Christians were brought out, and stood in the midst of the arena. Every eye was fixed upon them, but, with hands folded and eyes closed, and heads uplifted, they were engaged in silent prayer, or chanting softly some hymn of praise. Presently, the gratings were lifted, and the hungry lions rushed forward to their prey. With one stroke of their terrible paws, the happy spirits of those martyrs were at home in the presence of Jesus.

Cheer after cheer rent the sky. That blood-thirsty, Christ-hating, heathen throng yelled, and yelled, and yelled at the sight. Moved deeply by the sight the architect stood up, as if to speak. He had thrown aside his laurel chaplet, and waited patiently until silence was restored. With pale face, yet in tones of ringing triumph, he cried aloud

  “I, too, would be a Christian,”

and there, and then, and thus confessed his Lord. In another instant they threw him amidst the wild beasts, but he had confessed his Lord. It was a noble deed. But Jesus was worthy. Better far be torn limb from limb, until the ransomed spirit be freed for its flight to glory, than sit in heathen state with laurel-encircled brow.

During the reign of Licinius, who employed the Thundering Legion in suppressing Christianity in Armenia, forty Christians at Sebaste were doomed to stand upon a frozen lake all night. Beside the lake a cottage was erected; inside was a large fire, and plenty of warm clothing, and food and drink for any of them, who would recant and give up Christianity. All they had to do was to leave the lake, pass into the cottage, and enjoy the fire, the warm clothing, the food and drink.

The biting wind swept from the snow-clad heights of Mount Caucasus, but these Christians stood in prayer upon the cold ice. They prayed, “O Lord, forty wrestlers have come forth to fight for Thee, grant that forty wrestlers may receive the crown of victory.” An hour or two passed by, when one of their number, benumbed by the cold, recanted and went into the cottage. Such an act might gain life in this world, but what about the soul? “He that hates his life in this world, shall keep it unto life eternal.”

But what of the prayer of those forty Christians? Was it going to be answered? It was. The centurion of the soldiers—Sempronius—moved with admiration at the sight of these Christians, sealing by their death the testimony of their lives, stepped forward, and stood upon the ice, and in dying thus confessed his faith. When the morning’s sun burst upon that scene, there were

forty faithful martyrs,

witnesses to the name of the Lord Jesus.

We don’t live in such days as those, when Christians were butchered to make a Roman holiday; yet, it is strange how backward people are to confess Christ. There may be a lady here who dares not confess her Saviour because she is afraid of the curl of her husband’s lip, or a man who fears the sneer on his wife’s face, or the jeer of his companion in the office or the workshop. Take care! you may be laughed into hell, but you will never be laughed out. It would be better far to stand up on your two feet, today, and say, “Christ for me,” than go to a coward’s hell. “The fearful (cowardly), and unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers, and whoremongers, and sorcerers, and idolaters, and all liars, shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone which is the second death.”

When you do confess, you will get

the joy of confession

in your soul. God will support you in it, and you will be happy in the sense of His love. Oh it is a grand thing to be a Christian.

Again we repeat, the sinner’s time to keep silence is now. If you will persist in talking, and excusing yourself, there is a time coming when you will say no more than that man to whom the king said, “Friend, how comest thou in hither, not having a wedding garment?” We read, “And he was speechless,” and the king said, “Bind him hand and foot, and take him away, and cast him into outer darkness: there shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” That man was silenced at last—you, too, will be silenced; either in time for blessing, or in eternity for judgment. A servant of my mother’s used to boast, “Plenty of people go to hell, there will be plenty of society there.” She went to the preaching, and one sentence she heard riveted her to her seat, “There will be plenty of company in hell, but

no society.”

Ah! if unconverted, yours will be a speechless woe. Bound hand and foot in outer darkness, you will for ever weep over your mad folly in refusing the Saviour. You will be silent in eternity, save to wail out your woe, while those who have confessed the Lord Jesus Christ, will be singing the everlasting hallelujah-chorus of heaven—the mighty anthem of the redeemed.

Cease excusing yourself now, confess your sins, and confess too Jesus, as Lord, and remember that the three shalts go together, “If thou SHALT confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and SHALT believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou SHALT be saved.” These three shalts go together—if thou shalt confess, and shalt believe, thou shalt be saved. We have God’s word for it. May He bless the word for His name’s sake. Amen.

The Way of Salvation

Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is, that they might be saved. For I bear them record, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge; for they being ignorant of God’s righteousness have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God; for Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes; for Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which does those things shall live by them. But the righteousness which is of faith speaks on this wise, Say not in thine heart, Who shall ascend into heaven? (that is, to bring Christ down from above:); or, Who shall descend into the deep? (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.) But what says it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach; that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Romans 10:1-9).

We propose to take these verses which we have read together, one by one, and seek by the Spirit’s help to press home their plain, searching truths upon each one present. Now let us look at verse No. 1. We read:“Brethren, my heart’s desire and prayer to God for Israel is that the might be saved.” Now see, the apostle Paul—the writer of these words—is bending his knee, and praying for his own nation. He prays for something definite—their salvation. When he prays that they may be saved, is it not a proof that they are lost? Of course it must be. It is only lost people who need salvation. Was he praying then for a nation of cut-throats, drunkards, and reprobates? No; he was praying for a nation of religionists. They were religious in the extreme, but they we not saved. Think of that! We learn very plainly, then, from this first verse—

religion cannot save the soul.

Only Christ can do it. Some people are sound asleep in a religious cradle, and the devil, well-pleased, rocks them to and fro.

I said to a lady in this building last night, “Are you saved?”

She replied, “I have been confirmed.”

I said, “I don’t ask if you are confirmed, but are you saved? Lots of confirmed people are lost.”

“But I belong to the Lutheran Church,” she said, with a self-satisfied air, as if that settled the question beyond all doubt.

I replied, “You may belong to a hundred Lutheran Churches, and still go to hell.

Do you belong to Christ?

Nothing short of that will do for the sinner.” Oh! it is a great thing to get people to understand that they are lost. Are you lost, or saved? There is no middle ground—only two classes of people in God’s sight—those, who are lost in their sins, on the broad road going straight to hell; and those who are saved by the precious blood of Jesus, on the narrow road that leads to heaven. We press home the question, Are you lost or saved? Many people think they are only lost when they get to hell, but every sinner out of Christ and in his sins is lost this moment—not lost for ever, thank God, but still lost. He may be religious, but lost. A church-member, but lost. A choir-singer, but lost. A preacher, but lost. When a man finds out he is lost, it is a great step in the history of his soul. For when he discovers that he is lost, he is then deeply anxious to be saved. But be honest with ourself, and confess the truth.

Look at the Philippian jailer. He took the apostle Paul, and his companion, Silas, and thrust them into the inner prison, and made their feet fast in the stocks; he probably took a good supper, and went sound asleep; he didn’t care how he had treated God’s servants. At midnight he was

awakened by an earthquake,
the prison-walls rocked to and fro, and the doors were opened. It was death, under the Roman law, to allow a prisoner to escape; he knew that death stared him in the face. He was just about to plunge his hapless soul into eternity by committing suicide, when Paul cried with a loud voice, “Do thyself no harm, for we are all here.” These words saved him from bodily death, yet the jailer had now a far deeper question agitating his breast. With the drawn sword in his hand he had stood upon the very verge of eternity—his slumbering soul had awakened to its desperate need. A question not of Roman law, but of God’s favour or frown was demanding an immediate answer. He cried out as, trembling, he fell before the feet of his erstwhile prisoners, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

We would to God that some of you here were awakened to your awful condition, rendered still more awful because you are not aware of it. Some of you need an earthquake to awaken you.

A very eloquent preacher in England was preaching one evening, when all of a sudden he lost the thread of his discourse. He couldn’t gather himself together, and for a whole minute he stood looking at his audience. It seemed like an age to him. Finally he recovered himself, regained the thread of his discourse, and finished his preaching. When he left the place that night he was greatly distressed as he thought of how he had broken down. A year or two afterwards, a lady came up to him, and said, “Do you remember preaching some time ago, and making an awful pause?”

He replied, “Yes, I well remember it—it was a terrible experience to me.”

“Well,” she said, “I remember it, too. When you paused you looked straight at me, and I felt as if the seat underneath me were giving way, and I was dropping right into hell. That pause was used to my conversion.”

If your seat were to give way underneath you tonight, and you dropped into eternity, where would your soul be?

The first verse of our chapter tells us, then, that religion cannot save. The very hardest people to reach with the gospel are not the drunkards, or the harlots, but those self-satisfied professors, who are, encased in

the triple steel armour of a Christless religion,
who are wrapped up in forms and ceremonies, and ritual and church-going. You cannot get at them. Nothing but the mighty power of God can reach them.

A celebrated English evangelist some years ago was going to preach to some hundreds of prisoners in a jail. Just as he advanced to the platform a friend of his came up, and whispered in his ear, “Harry”—(Henry Moorhouse was his name)—“shake them over hell.”

Moorhouse replied, “No, I won’t—they have all lost their character. Jail-birds have no self-righteousness, they are not religious, they have no character to lose. I will preach to them the love of God.

If we had this room filled with the out-and-out sinners of Baltimore, drunkards, harlots, and the like, it would be our great delight to preach to them of the love of God, which can reach the very vilest, and save them from their sins. But we have to talk straight, and speak plainly, and say hard things to you self-satisfied religionists. We have never read of the blessed Lord saying hard things to the publicans and sinners, but how scathingly He often addressed the Scribes and Pharisees. There fell, for instance, from the lips of

the Lover of men’s souls

such withering words as these: “Ye servants, ye generation of vipers! how can ye escape the damnation of hell?” At a preaching, a few months ago in England, a young lady came up one night with the tears rolling down her face. She had a lovely voice. We had noticed her singing the hymns at the meetings. She said, “What must I do? I have been a regular chapel-attender, have been the leading choir-singer for a long time, have passed as a Christian for eleven years, and thought I was one, and all that time I have been without Christ. I have never been converted, I have never been saved. What must I do?” She had discovered that she was unsaved, and very soon that religious young lady was saved.

Another in the same village came up, and said, “It is a terrible thing, but since you have come to this village I have found out that though I am religious, I have been deceiving myself, I am not a Christian.” She, too, got peace to her troubled soul.

Religious sinner, I would we had a thousand of you here to tell you the truth. Verse 1 of our chapter plainly tells us that religion cannot save the soul. Don’t forget that. What does it matter how correct your creed is, how many sacraments you have taken, how gorgeous your ritual is, how magnificent your places of worship are, if you are without Christ? You are on your way to hell, and lost as you sit there upon your seat. May God open your eyes.

Look at verse No. 2.—“For I bear them record, that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge.” Now the apostle Paul adds that these religious people were sincere people, really sincere, in earnest, and yet they were not saved. Verse 1 tells us plainly that religion cannot save; verse 2 tells us as plainly that

sincerity cannot save the soul.

People commonly say—“You’ve got your religion, and I’ve got mine, and so long as we are both sincere, we will both get to heaven at last.” That language is of the devil, it simply deceives people. Suppose two friends want to walk to Washington. One determines to go south, and the other north, and they say on parting, “Well, it doesn’t matter whether we go south or north, as long as we are sincere; we both want to go to Washington, and we shall both land there.” Wouldn’t you think the men, who talked in such a manner, lunatics? and yet people talk like that when it is a question of heaven, with its eternal song and light, or hell with its everlasting anguish and darkness. What profound folly!

Look at that captain! It is a black night. There is a fearful storm at sea. He has lost his reckonings. The sky is beclouded, and there is not even a solitary star to shed its friendly ray amid the darkness. He does not know which way to steer. He is at his wits’ end. He must do something. He is steering most sincerely straight for the jagged rocks on that treacherous coast. Will his sincerity save his vessel from being broken like matchwood on that rock-bound coast?

Take another case. Your child is ill. You send for a doctor. The case is very serious. Most sincerely he administers the wrong remedy. Will your child live? Will the doctors sincerity save it?

We don’t care whether the speaker be preacher or priest, if he tells you that you can get to heaven by being religious, or being sincere, he tells you

an abominable lie.

He does! He does!

On the broad road there may be magnificent choirs, and organs, and priests in robes and what not, but, mark you, hell is at the end of it—only Christ can save. Don’t misunderstand me. We are not running down what is of God, God forbid, but we are running down, and will continue to do so by the grace of God, that kind of preaching that puts religion in place of Christ, creed in place of the Saviour, ordinances in place of the atoning blood. There is many an earnest preacher today who preaches the good old gospel. Would there were ten thousand more of them! But those men who tickle people’s ears, and tell them the broad road lead to heaven, and that religion will do instead of Christ and the waters of baptism instead of the blood of Jesus are like the blind leaders of the blind, deceived themselves, and deceiving others. We implore you not to be deceived by them.

Now if verse 1 tells us that religion cannot save, and verse 2 tells us that Sincerity cannot save, verse 3 as plainly tells us that

good works cannot save.

For they being ignorant of God’s righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” It is hard to knock the idea out of people’s heads that good works can save the soul—people will cling to this mistaken thought. The turning over of new leaves, the saying of prayers, the doing of penance and good works, their churches and their chapels; they think these will save their precious souls. They cannot. Why, one of the Old Testament prophets knew better than that, and said, “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags.” Suppose you were to clothe yourself with filthy rags, and visit a dear friend of yours, wouldn’t he think you were insulting him? Of course he would. Yet that is just what you are doing when you are bringing your good works to God. There are people going about to establish their own righteousness. Going about! How busy they are with so-called good works! Our verse says, they “have not submitted themselves unto the righteousness of God.” They have not bowed to Christ. What is the righteousness of God?

Verse 4 says, “For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.” If you want righteousness, you must have it in the Lord Jesus Christ. Christianity does not consist of well-formulated creeds and philanthropic doctrines, but of the living Person of the Son of God—the Lord Jesus Christ, who is the righteousness of every one that believes. On Calvary’s cross He did the mighty work of atonement; and the sinner, trusting in that once crucified, but now glorified Saviour, is

accounted righteous

in God’s sight—a righteousness different in quality, and exceeding any that the law demanded--a righteousness only measured by the Person and work of the Lord Jesus.

Let me give you an illustration. Two men are charged with the crime of theft. They are brought up before a petty court, their case is gone into, and it is clearly proved that one man is guilty, and the other innocent. We will suppose, further, that the judge discovers that the guilty man is the son of a personal friend, and he determines, out of respect to his friend, to pay the fine, and forgive the guilty man. But in the case of the innocent man, what can he do for him? Forgive him? No, because there is nothing to be forgiven. He is innocent. What is the righteous course, then, for the judge to take in his case? He cannot forgive him, for there is nothing to forgive. The judge must clear him in the court where the charge has been made against him, clear his character, and justify him before the eyes of all.

Let me repeat: What can the judge do? Forgive THE GUILTY—justify THE INNOCENT. Another question: can he justify the guilty man? No. Why? Because he has lost his character.

Now for our point. Fellow-believer, how can God justify you and me, for we were guilty? He can, blessed be His holy name, He does forgive us,

guilty as we were,
because of the atoning merit of the death of the Lord Jesus. But can He justify us? That is the question. Illustrations on this point all fail. We are guilty, yet if we believe on the Lord Jesus, God, by virtue of the finished work of Calvary, freely forgives. But more, God imputes righteousness to us—divine righteousness—His own righteousness; we stand before God with a new character, we are justified by God. It is not that we regain our character, for we never had one to lose, not even the character of Adam innocent, for it was after the fall that Adam became the head of his race, and hence we were never yet, representatively, in Adam innocent.

God imputes righteousness to us,
because of the work of the Lord Jesus, which gains infinitely in value by what He is, and the resurrection proves all this. But it is through Christ’s death that all this comes to us, not by His life on earth. His life could only have thrown into the shade of a deeper condemnation, our position as sinners before God. It is through His death and resurrection all these blessings accrue to the believer.

I ask you, believers, tonight, do you know what it is to be justified by faith? Do you know what justification means? To know it, you must have faith. There are a couple of verses which put the whole thing into a nutshell. Speaking of the Lord Jesus we read, “Who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 4:25-5:1). You cannot know justification, and consequently enjoy peace with God, unless you know Christ risen, and what His resurrection involves. He died for our offences—in other words He met at the cross in His own blessed Person the liabilities of the guilty sinner, who believes. But, further, He was raised for our justification. It has been well remarked lately, that He died representatively, and rose representatively—that is, as I understand it, the believer can see in faith the blessed Saviour dying as his representative—in his room and stead, and he stands or falls with Christ. The Saviour glorified God about his (the believer’s) sins to the full, and Jesus is raised by

the glory of the Father,
and the believer sees Christ risen as his representative, and thus faith appropriates the meaning of the resurrection. The believer knows he is as clear before God, as Christ risen. This received in faith in the soul gives me, not merely the assurance that clinging to the written word gives, blessed as that is, but PEACE WITH GOD; I know how I stand before Him on the ground of righteousness, even as Christ stands. Before God, therefore, can bring one single charge against the believer, He must banish Christ from the place He is in at this moment, and

replace him in the grave.

Has not Christ glorified God on the cross? Has He not done a mighty work? Has not that blessed Jesus come out of that terrible ordeal a triumphant, risen Saviour? It is a question of the deepest moment for each one, How does He stand with God? In cloudless favour, and absolute righteousness. And God imputes to the believing sinner’s account, righteousness—righteousness only measured by Christ in glory, known there as the One, “who was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.” Christ is the measure of my acceptance, and before my acceptance before God can alter, Christ must alter.

  “My love is ofttimes low,
  My joy still ebbs and flows
But peace with Him remains the same,
  No change Jehovah knows.”

What does the 5th verse say? “For Moses describes the righteousness which is of the law, That the man which does those things shall live by them.” Some people talk about the law, and say they are going to keep it. They put the ten commandments up on their walls, and are trying to get to heaven by making it the rule of life. Mark you, if you don’t keep the law thoroughly, fully and completely in every particular,

it can only curse you.

The law falls into two sections: Your duty God-ward, and your duty manward. It demands that you should not merely conform to it in the outward observance of morality and uprightness, etc., but it demands that you should love God with ALL your heart, soul, strength, and mind (Luke 10:27). Now you don’t do it. No, you don’t do it.

You are something like a little Scots lad, who said, “I don’t think I should like to go to heaven. The Sabbath is a very dull day with the psalm-singing, praying, and long sermons. Heaven will be one long, dreary Sabbath, I don’t think I should like heaven.” This is like you, you don’t love God with ALL your heart. If you did, the idea of always being in God’s presence in glory would be a most welcome thought to your soul. If you love God with all your heart, would you rather go to a preaching like this, or to the theatre? Which now? If you would not most decidedly rather come here, it is proof that you don’t keep the law, because you should love God with all your heart. People like to love Him on Sunday, and themselves the other six days of the week. Now you must love Him with

all your heart.

But, what about your duty—manward? Listen The law says, “Love your neighbour as yourself.” You don’t do that. The face you see in the looking-glass every morning, is the one you love best. You don’t need any proof of this. Selfishness is an ingrained quality in the human heart. The law curses it. No one, save the Lord Jesus Christ, has ever fulfilled the lofty requirements of the law. Moses, David, Elijah, nay, the most exalted of the human family have all come short. You are no exception to the truth of this. The terrible indictment is true of all. To keep the law is an impossibility. Why, then, was it given? To convict man of sin and helplessness—“that sin by the commandment might become exceeding sinful”—“that every mouth may be stopped, and all the world may become guilty before God.”

Moreover the law was never given in order that men might gain heaven. It distinctly says, “That the man which does those timings shall LIVE by them.” If you can keep the law all your days, you will never die. All must die, from the Queen of England on her throne and the President of the United States in the White House, down to the meanest of mankind, all must die, a proof that all are sinners, and that all have failed to keep the law. What you need is a salvation outside of yourself altogether, for your case is hopeless. You are shut up to God. He is willing to bless. Thank God the next two or three verses prove to us that salvation, as far as the sinner is concerned, is the simplest thing in the world. Verses 6 and 7 plainly mean this—It is not required of a sinner, who wants salvation, to pray to God to send the Lord Jesus Christ into this world. There is no need for anyone to go up to heaven to bring Christ down.

 “His errand to the earth was love,
  To wretches such as we
  To pluck us from the jaws of death,
  Nailed to th’accursed tree.”

He came of His own accord. No one prayed that He might come. Man would never have known that

God so loved the world,
that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life,” were it not a fact, that Christ came into the world to save sinners—what a blessed errand!—to be nailed to the cross, and to die in His deep love for those who were His enemies, to shed His precious atoning blood and to be put into the grave! Oh! we don’t need to pray for Him to come. Nor do we need to pray that He may be raised, to ask the question: “Who shall descend into the deep (that is, to bring up Christ again from the dead.)” No, the work is complete. The death and resurrection of Jesus are accomplished facts. We had no hand in them, though the blessings of both are all for us, and faith appropriates them, and both are necessary for us.

For instance; the boards of the tabernacle in the wilderness were each supported in place by two silver sockets—illustrative of redemption—the death and resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. There are lots of Christians today, as it were, with but one socket, and they are

shaking backward and forward.

When death comes, they are often full of doubts and fears, not knowing whether they are going to heaven or not. There is little soul-stability about them. They know to some extent the meaning of the death of Jesus, but know nothing of the resurrection, save as an historical fact. They have never got beyond the cross. They don’t know Christ risen. Just as the board needed the two sockets for stability, so the believer requires the two facts of the death and resurrection of the Lord Jesus; he needs to know their meaning in God’s sight. We, believers, have all got as far as the cross, but what is the meaning of the resurrection?

Let me seek to illustrate it. In England, years ago, people were thrown into prison for debt. The Fleet Street prison in London had a world-wide notoriety as a debtors’ prison. Suppose you are a man with a large family, and heavy business responsibilities, and unfortunate enough to get hopelessly into debt, and about to be thrown into prison. A friend of yours comes forward and says, “I will go into prison instead of you,” and away he goes. This is like the Lord Jesus Christ coming down from heaven. We owed a mighty debt to God, and nothing but the prison-house of hell lay before us. The blessed Saviour came as our substitute, taking upon Himself all our liabilities to God. On the cross He died, shedding His precious blood which cleanses from all sin, to pay the mighty debt. He went to prison, the prison-house of the grave, the door was locked, the sepulchre was sealed, and a Roman watch guarded it. But the grave could not hold Him. He rose triumphant on the third day, the mighty Victor over sin, the Despoiler of Satan—“that great Shepherd of the sheep.”

What does the resurrection prove? For in truth it is the very

keystone of the gospel.

The apostle Paul writes to the Corinthians, “If Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; ye are yet in you sins.”

Let us return to our illustration. One day while walking down Fleet Street you see your friend on the opposite side of the street. You are greatly surprised, and exclaim, “Why, the debt is paid!” How do you know that? Because your friend is out of prison. Now the Lord Jesus Christ is out of the grave. He is risen. How do we know that our debt to God is paid, that all our sins are for ever gone? Because He is out of the grave, risen from the tomb.

But, still further, as you are about to go up to your friend, to congratulate him that he is out of prison, you see your creditor coming along the road. You begin to tremble as you see him approaching your friend, and ask yourself the question, “Will he hail the nearest policeman, and send my friend back to prison again?” Whilst you are wondering, he comes up to your friend, and greets him with a smile. You exclaim in blank astonishment, “Wonders will never cease.” Then you see him grasp his hand, and give it a hearty shake, and the two enter into friendly conversation. Now you are doubly sure that the debt is paid. First, your friend is out of prison; second, he is friends with the creditor.

To complete the illustration: the Lord Jesus Christ is out of the grave; we are sure our sins are put away. First, because He has risen from the dead; and, secondly, He has gone to glory. Forty days after He rose from the dead, “He led them (His disciples) out as far as to Bethany, and He lifted up His hands, and blessed them. And it came to pass, while He blessed them, He was parted from them, and carried up to heaven.” The eye of faith can follow Him. With His hands outstretched in blessing, they see Him leave this earth, and pass upward to heaven. He passes through yon gates, the angels fall back, and worship their Creator, as they see Him, a real Man, with the marks of His sufferings upon His holy person. He comes to the eternal throne, effulgent with supernal light, sits down upon it, and

God crowns Him with glory.

He is received in honour by the Creditor, even God. Yes, God is satisfied with what Jesus has done, and the believer can look up through the open heaven and say, There is my peace with God. “He is our peace.” We are doubly sure that the debt is paid, that God is satisfied, because Christ is risen from the dead, and is received up into glory. And He is there as our Representative—we are accepted before God in Christ.

Now let us read verse number 8: “But what says it? The word is nigh thee, even in thy mouth, and in thy heart: that is, the word of faith, which we preach.”

Salvation is so near to you that you don’t need to rise from your seat to get it; it is in your heart, and in your mouth, that is it is not dependent upon works, or prayers, or tears, but simple belief in the heart, and confession with the mouth.

For, listen to verse number 9: “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” There it is—it comes right down to you. If your mouth will confess Jesus, that earth-rejected but glory-crowned, heaven-accepted Saviour, as Lord, and your heart believes that God has raised Him from the dead,

GOD SAYS clearly and distinctly,
thou shalt be saved.” Now it comes very close to you, it could not come closer. Without moving an eyelash, without rising from your seat, you can be saved. In this blessed gospel verse there are three shalts which go together—if thou shalt confess with thy mouth, and shalt believe in thine heart, thou shalt be saved. An old lady in England, who had been saved for fifty years and more, said to me the other night—“Thank God, Mr. Pollock, for those three shalts.” That dear, aged saint, just waiting at any moment to go home, found her joy and comfort in those three immutable shalts. God has linked them together—a three-fold cord, which cannot easily be broken. Again let me repeat the golden text. “If thou SHALT confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and SHALT believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou SHALT be saved.” God grant some here the simplicity of faith, to believe, to confess, and to rejoice on the authority of God’s word in a known salvation.

Now some may think we have been running down good works tonight. We will tell you where they come in, in case a wrong impression is left on your minds. A good many years ago a handsome slave was put up for auction in the neighbouring State of Virginia. An Englishman, who happened to see her, was filled with pity, and determined to buy her. The buyers came and eyed her up and down, and presently the auctioneer got behind his desk, and the bidding began very briskly, for this poor woman was a valuable piece of property. This gentleman continued bidding, until he had nearly reached the end of his money. At last he secured her. When he went to claim her, she turned upon him in fierce anger. Her indignation knew no bounds that an Englishman, of all people, should buy a slave. But in one minute her hatred turned to the very deepest love. He said to her, “I have bought you to set you free. Here are your papers.” She dropped down at his feet, and said, “Sir, I am

your slave for ever.”

One of his friends, who came to his beautiful home in Virginia, said to him, “Wherever did you get that slave? She is most attentive. I never saw anybody like that; she seems to anticipate your every want, her whole soul seems wrapped up in your welfare.”

The gentleman replied, “She is not my slave; I bought her, and set her free, and since that day she has been the most faithful servant I ever had.”

That is it, she didn’t serve to get her liberty, nor to keep her liberty, but because she had received her liberty. As Christians, it is our privilege to go in for good works out of love to the One who has saved us. We don’t go in for good works to get saved, nor to keep saved, but because we are saved. And the Christian, who is not filled with good works, is simply an advertisement for the devil. “This is a faithful saying, and these things I will that thou affirm constantly that they which have believed in God might be careful to maintain good works.” “Who gave Himself for us, that He might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto Himself a peculiar people,

zealous of good works.”

Every follower of the Lord Jesus should be filled with good works.

But never forget that salvation is free, on the ground of pure sovereign grace. Religion, sincerity, good works cannot save. Only Christ can. May God give some sinner here to believe with his heart, confess with his lips, and go out of this building with the knowledge of salvation. May He grant it for His name’s sake. Amen.

The Sheep and the Sow; or Reality and Profession

My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one. Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him” (John 10:27-31).

  “For if after they have escaped the pollutions of the world, through the knowledge of the Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, they are again entangled therein and overcome, the latter end is worse with them than the beginning. For it had been better for them not to have known the way of righteousness, than, after they have known it, to turn from the holy commandment delivered unto them. But it is happened unto them according to the true proverb, The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and the sow that was washed, to her wallowing in the mire” (2 Peter 2:20-22).

It has been my privilege to address you in this hall for several nights. We have sought to preach the free sovereign grace of God in blessing the repentant sinner apart from any merit that he may think he has. Now the gospel we have preached has aroused some little animosity in the hearts of people.

Last Sunday night, when we told you that

baptism cannot save your soul,
and that sacrament-taking cannot do a sinner any good in the sight of God, a lady in the second seat here threw her hymn-book down, and said, “I never heard anybody speak so insultingly in my life,” and she said to her neighbour, “Come, let us clear out of this.” But her friend wouldn’t go, and she was obliged to listen to a plain talk about empty profession. She wouldn’t look at the preacher, but looked at the pictures on the walls, and pretended to be tremendously indifferent to what was said.

Then, again, someone took one of these hymn-books the other night, and wrote upon it these words: “You must work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” It would have been far more courageous if he had come and spoken to us face to face about it, and told us he disagreed with us; and, after all, common politeness should have prompted him to write his anonymous communication upon a piece of paper, and not disfigure the hymn-book. But we are glad when people are aroused like this. It shows that God is working when the devil begins to roar.

There are three kinds of interested people in a gospel meeting—those who get mad, they don’t like the gospel, they hate grace, they have

legal blood in their veins,
and are like the poor, graceless Pharisees, who scorned the grace of the Saviour, because He gave forgiveness to a poor harlot of the city. Then there are those who are sad—the gospel comes with power to them, they feel what it says to be true, they feel troubled about their souls, anxious about the future, and they are sad, with such the tear of contrition often falls down the cheek. Then, there is the third kind, and of these a good many are here tonight, thank God. They are those who have been made eternally glad. The gospel has come, with all its glad, gracious fullness, bringing news of salvation and eternal life. They have tasted of its sweetness, they have believed the gospel, and gladness fills the breast, where once only sadness reigned. Mad, sad, glad, which are you?

Now when this little indication of opposition manifested itself we determined to take for our subject tonight. The “sheep” and the “sow”—with the view of addressing these self-satisfied people.

Who are the sheep? They are those who have heard the voice of the good Shepherd, and follow Him. Every blood-bought believer in the Lord Jesus Christ is one of His sheep, and He says, “I know them and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and

they shall never perish.”

When the Lord Jesus Christ told the proud, empty religionists of His day that He gave His sheep eternal life, and that they should never perish, we read, “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.” Their frigid legality did not like grace. When the Saviour of sinners proclaimed the everlasting blessing of those who accepted His grace, they stooped down, and took up stones to stone the Saviour of sinners. Fancy that! But the human heart is the same today. There are those who do the same thing even now. They won’t take up literal stones, but they oppose the very gospel of God. If we preach “once saved, saved for ever,” they will persecute us, and say we hold dangerous doctrine, and quote a few verses out of their connection to prove that what we say is false. “They shall never perish,” is what the Saviour said, and what we will continue to say by the grace of God. For how long, then, are those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ saved? For ever. We don’t believe in those people, who say they are in Christ today, and out of Him tomorrow; those who are saved today, and lost tomorrow. The Scriptures know nothing of such a gospel as this. When God picks up a sinner to bless, He saves him eternally. We want no hook-and-eye Christians, those that can be hooked on today and hooked off tomorrow. Jesus has become “the Author of eternal salvation.” Here is a grand text for you,
  “KEPT by the power of God.”

That is it, friend; when God saves, God keeps, and not one of those who are washed in the precious blood of Jesus will ever perish. We once said to a Christian, who believed in the falling-away doctrine (this doctrine is very prevalent in England), “Do you believe that a man can be a Christian for sixty-eight years, and fall away, and die when he is seventy, and be compelled to go to hell for two years’ sins?”

He said, “I do.”

“Well,” we replied, “that is a most disgraceful doctrine to believe—it dishonours God—throws a slight upon the atoning blood—is a libel against the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, whereby the believer is ‘sealed unto to the day of redemption.’”

People say, “According to this doctrine, if I am saved and saved for ever, and cannot be lost, then I can go and do as I like.” Many honest people think that such a doctrine, as that preached today, is a doctrine that will lead to Antinomianism, that is to people doing as they like, sinning with a high hand, throwing aside all restraint whatever. People who talk like that

don’t know what grace means.

Someone has illustrated it something like this. Suppose a man in a village in England is out of work. He has a wife and six little children. He has been hoping and hoping to get work, and in the meantime has run up a tremendous bill at the general grocery store. At last the grocer says to him, “I cannot allow you to have another single article at my store until you have paid what you owe me; the amount is too large to go on any longer. I must protect myself.” The poor fellow goes home and tells the sad news. His wife, with a white face (she has been fasting to give her children food), with the tears running down her cheeks, says, “John, it is a dark outlook for us now,” and the poor man, overcome, strong man as he is, sits down upon a chair, and buries his head in his hands, and weeps for very sorrow. Just at that moment a knock comes at the door. With slow step, and gloomy face, John opens it, and in steps the squire, his landlord. With a cheery voice he says, “John you have been out of work for a very long time, and I hear you have no prospect of getting any. I have just been over to the grocery store, and have settled your bill, and brought you the receipt.” And, so saying, he puts the receipt into John’s hand. John’s tears of sorrow are

turned to joy.

He thanks the squire gratefully, and the cottage is a scene of rejoicing now, the clouds have rolled away.

That is something like you when you first trusted the Lord Jesus Christ. You sang,
  “Oh! happy day that fixed my choice
  On Thee my Saviour and my God.
  Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
  And tell its raptures all abroad.
    Happy day! Happy day!
  When Jesus washed my sins away.”

And then you thought your future would be all straight sailing—no more losing your temper, or getting ruffled.

A few minutes roll by, and John, to the astonishment of his wife, begins to groan again, and the wife says, “Whatever is the matter, John?”

“Well,” he replies, “the debt is paid off; but what about the future? The debt is certainly paid, and I am very grateful for that, but we have no bread in the house. The debt of the past is paid, but what about the future? We shall have to start and get into debt again. We have no more prospect of paying now than we had before. Whatever shall we do?”

Just as John ceases speaking another knock comes to the door, and in walks the squire again, who says quickly, “John, I forgot to tell you that, after settling your bill, I told the grocer that you have the privilege of getting all that you want, and everything is to be put to my account. You are not to be charged with anything more until you get work again.” And so saying the squire disappears, before John has time to thank him.

John is filled with delight, and he says, excitedly, “Wife, did you hear what the squire said? We have to get what we want. We won’t get what we want. We might want green peas in the depth of winter, we’ll just get along with what we need, wife, and we won’t trespass upon the squire’s goodness a single farthing more than we can possibly help.” John is in the sense of the grace of the squire. That is something like your case; when God saves

He saves for ever.

The offer of grace reads on this wise, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from ALL SIN.” How many? All sin. How many of your sins were committed when Jesus died? None. They were all future, and therefore you cannot divide them into past sins and future sins. Your life was all spread out before God, when Jesus died, and we can say of Him, “Who His own self bare our sins in His own body on the tree.” The Scriptures do not contemplate a believer sinning, though gracious provision is made when he falls into sin, that communion may be restored. But the question of eternal salvation is never raised again. The past is all settled, and nothing more is to be put to your account in the future. Why, David exclaimed, “Blessed is the man to whom the Lord will not impute sin.” The atoning death of Jesus covers the liabilities of the believer’s whole history. Once and for ever his history as a child of Adam has been closed. Such is the atoning efficacy of the blood that for the believer there is no more imputation of sin. The books have been closed once and for ever. We have eternal forgiveness.

But if we are really trusting in Christ, we are not going to sin as we like. Fellow-believers, we can say with grateful hearts, “God has saved us with such a salvation, that it is our joy and privilege to walk by the power of the Holy Spirit, in a way honouring to His holy name.” And, more, if a Christian carelessly sins, God will take him in hand and deal with him. God is jealous about His people. The relationship existing before you were converted, between you, a guilty, hell-bound sinner, and God, the righteous Judge, has been

closed for ever.

It was closed when you came to Christ, and now a new relationship is established between you, the relationship of a child to a father. You know those that are parents here tonight, don’t allow their children to do as they like.

Suppose one day your child and servant have together been guilty of some terrible piece of wickedness, so much so that you have to take instant and stern measures about it. What do you do? Give your servant a month’s notice, and, rather than tolerate her presence another month in the house, pay her her wages, and send her about her business. Do you give your child a month’s notice? No. Why? Because of the relationship existing between you. What do you do then? You take that child upstairs, shut the bedroom door, and do what you could not with the servant. You lay your hands upon that child, and chastise it soundly for its wickedness. That is what God does with us. If a believer goes on in carelessness of walk or sin, what does God do? He takes that child in hand, and chastises him in order that he might not be condemned with the world, even so far as sometimes causing him to fall asleep, to die, and pass away to glory. See 1 Corinthians 11:26-32. He is

fitted for heaven

by the finished work of Christ, but unfitted for earth by his own wicked ways.* Nothing can add to his fitness for glory, for that is based upon the work of Christ, not on his walk and ways down here. The blessed Lord says of His sheep, “I give unto them eternal life, and they shall never perish.”
{*There are at least six weighty reasons why a believer cannot do as he likes, and should not fall into sin. (1) Gratitude. (2) The New Nature which seeks holiness. (3) The indwelling of the Holy Spirit. (4) The ceaseless representation and succour of Him, who is our great high Priest in heaven. (5) God’s governmental dealings with us, as His children. (6) The Lord’s near return. “Every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as He is pure.”}

Then He speaks further, about no one plucking them out of His hand, nor out of His Father’s hand. “Neither shall any man pluck them out of My hand. My Father, which gave them Me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of My Father’s hand. I and My Father are one.” Their united interest and purpose is to care for and keep the sheep.

It is something like this. You see a little child of five summers walking down the street. On either side a parent has hold of its hand. Presently you see that child tumble down into the mud, and you say, “How careless that father and mother are!” Upon every believer there is

the double grip of divine love.

He is in the Son’s hand and in the Father’s hand. Will They carelessly let that double grip go, and allow the believer to perish? Never! NEVER! NEVER!!! “They shall never perish.” We may fall from grace, as did the Galatian Christians, by putting ourselves under law, but we can never fall from life, we shall never fall away—never, for we are in the powerful hand of the Son, and the powerful hand of the Father, and His word is pledged that His sheep shall never perish. Fellow-believer, has your heart ever drunk in the truth that you are in the hand of the Son, and of the Father, that the double grip of divine love is upon you, that no man is able to pluck you out of Their hand? Blessed truth! When the Saviour spoke thus in the hearing of the Pharisees, we read, “Then the Jews took up stones again to stone Him.” They didn’t believe in this doctrine; it didn’t suit the proud legality that held them in its terrible bondage; the grace of the Son of God was an enigma to them; the heart of God was utterly unknown by them. Christian, do you believe in the very depths of your heart that you are blessed with everlasting life, that life in common with the Father and the Son, blessed with the eternal forgiveness of your sins, and that the double grip of divine assurance is yours?

But what about the sow that the apostle Peter refers to? There is a great deal of difference between a sheep and a sow. You may wash a sow with

the scrubbing-brush of religion,
until it is superficially clean, and put around her neck the blue ribbon of temperance, if you please, but you will leave it a sow still. Religion cannot alter the nature. That is the kind of people we have been running down all through these meetings; they are those mere professors of whom we spoke, sows still, washed sows, but only sows. And such take the exhortations in the Bible, spoken to the sheep, believers, and apply them to themselves in a legal way, and either misery or self-satisfaction is the result.

Such is the sentence written upon the cover of the hymn-book, “You must work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” There are one or two points in connection with that sentence to which I would like to call your attention. Let us give you the whole sentence as it stands in Scripture. “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God which works in you both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” First: it is only addressed to Christians, and

the unbeliever has no right

to the exhortation at all. Mark that. It isn’t meant for him, it is only spoken to those who are already Christians. You will never find throughout the whole of the Scriptures, one line addressed to a sinner, in which he is told to work out his own salvation. They do say, “To him THAT WORKS NOT, but believes.” “NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast.” “NOT BY WORKS of righteousness which we have done, but according to His mercy He saved us.” The Scriptures are very plain and explicit on this point.

In the North of England a dear old Christian was working by the side of one who did not believe in the doctrine of free grace, and who sneered at his fellow-workman, and said, “Adam, don’t be too sure of getting to heaven, you must work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.”

Adam smiled back, and quietly retorted, “Why, man, you must be blind. Don’t you see that you must have salvation before you can work it out?” That is exactly it. You must have your salvation before you can work it out. It says, “Work out your OWN salvation.” You don’t work to get salvation, you don’t work to keep it, but you work

because you have got it;
that is to say, if you are saved, you will seek to walk through this world glorifying God every day. As Christians we have to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. Your prayer every morning will be, “Lord, I am about to enter upon another day. I have never before travelled the road which lies just before me. I shall have difficulties to contend with; there are pits, and snares, and traps laid for me by the enemy of my soul. It is an untrodden and unknown road that lies before me. I pray that Thy grace may keep me and guard me, that I may glorify Thee. So keep me till I reach the rest above.” That is working out your salvation, because at long last you will get to the end of your journey, you will reach the glory. Salvation is a God-given thing. But you must have it, before you can work it out.

In Scripture, salvation may be described as in three sections—the salvation of the soul, which you get the moment you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and which you can never lose—salvation of the pathway, that you get day by day, just as you need it, grace for the moment. It is as if I were to put a large ball of worsted into your hands, and say, “Work that out, and make a pair of stockings out of it.” Day by day you work at it, and at last the stockings are finished; you have reached the end of the ball, and your work is done. If the end of the believer’s journey comes before Christ returns, he falls asleep, and

departs to be with Him,
which is far better. But, when the Bridegroom of his soul returns, he gets his body of glory, and then the work of salvation is a complete thing. On the day that Christ comes, He will change this poor frail body into a body like His own. He, who has saved our souls, and preserved us all along the pathway of this life, is going to save our bodies, and then we shall be fully saved. The three sections, so to speak, of salvation will be true, then! Salvation of the soul—of the pathway—of the body. Salvation will then be a completed thing; we shall be saved from our sins, Satan’s power, and sin’s presence, at home with the blessed Lord for ever. But in receiving the salvation of the soul, all else is secured to us, and therefore it is with fear and trembling we seek to work out our salvation on the road to glory. For, remember, if our privilege is to work out our salvation, God’s part is to work in both the willing and the doing of His good pleasure. He gives us the desire and the power, “both to will and to do of His good pleasure.” He works in, and we work out—that is it. How simple and blessed!

What is a sow? A mere professor. An empty religionist. Religion, so-called—empty-hearted, loud- tongued profession—is manufacturing more infidels today than all the Ingersols on the platforms of infidelity. The most contemptible methods are being resorted to for the raising of money in so-called Christian churches, not only in America, but also in England, which are enough to make a Christian blush with shame. Bazaars, private theatricals, raffles, the most unblushing worldliness are resorted to in order to raise funds.

The prostitution of all that is godly

is making it easy for professors to go on with the world, whilst making a profession of religion. Listen! There are sows feeding on the sacrament—washed sows taking the bread and wine, but they are only sows. Christless professor, if you died with the wine of the sacrament wet upon your lips, you would go straight to hell.

A lady in Florida told me the other day that a man could practice drunkenness, immorality, anything in short he liked, if only he belonged to a church. That white-washes him. But, remember, to whitewash is not to wash white. The sepulchres of the dead were white-washed, and so they are today in a moral sense, but only the blood of Jesus washes white—aye, whiter than snow. The solemn naked truth is, that there is many a washed sow in the pulpit today, with the white tie on, and with Latin and Greek in his head, talking platitudes about morality and ethics, and going straight to hell, and, alas taking his audience with him. That is the plain truth of God.

You may wash the sow, but her nature is unchanged. It would have been better to have done nothing at all, for, as our verse says, “The dog is turned to his own vomit again; and
  the sow that was washed,
  to her wallowing in the mire.”

Let me borrow an illustration used by a friend of mine. Suppose we visit a farm one day, and we notice that all is excitement; we see the farmer in his best clothes, and we enquire what is the matter.

“Oh! we are having an agricultural fair in the next town, and I am going to enter some exhibits; come and see them,” says the farmer, and he takes us through the yard, and shows us some beautiful sheep, and a fine sow washed clean, with a blue ribbon around its neck. Presently they start for the show, and as they go along the road the sow sees a ditch full of mud and slush. The sheep is between the sow and the ditch. The sow gives a deep grunt of satisfaction, and rushes headlong into the mud, and in her haste knocks the sheep in too. The sow is at home, she is delighted, pleased beyond measure—just as the mere professor likes

the mud-pool of sin.

But the sheep is in distress. Why? Because it has a different nature from the sow. That is exactly the difference between the Christian and the unbeliever. Are you one of the sheep of the Lord Jesus Christ? Have you heard His voice, have you trusted in Him, and do you know that your precious soul is saved? Or are you after all, only the baptized, sacrament-taking, church-going, and loud-mouthed professor? Are you just like the sow, washed clean, but after all, your nature unchanged, and with all your religion, going down the broad road to the everlasting burnings? Take care! Take care! We want you to be real tonight.

Some have thought that during these meetings we have been running down baptism and sacrament-taking, but that is not the case. We have been condemning those unconverted people who do these things to the dishonour of God. Why, perhaps a drunken father and a dissolute mother take their miserable offspring, and ask a clergyman to baptise it in the font. It is simply making

a pantomime of a solemn Christian ordinance.

To be baptized is a solemn thing. It means, if we enter intelligently into it, that we acknowledge our separatedness from this world that crucified Christ, taking sides with Him, and owning Him Lord. Baptism would not be so fashionable, if people understood its deep, real meaning. It is a most radical ordinance, going to the very root of things.

Then what about sacrament-taking? It is the privilege of every true believer, who is not walking in sin, to take the sacrament. Is there a child of God here, who doesn’t remember the Lord in the eating of the bread and the drinking of the wine? Is there one here so careless, or so backward, as not to remember the Saviour in partaking of the supper, which speaks of His death for us, and

His deep, undying love?

I trust not. Cold, indeed, must be the heart that fails to remember the One, who remembered us so touchingly at the cross—that is so unresponsive to His last expressed desire.

But it is too solemn an ordinance for the giddy butterflies of fashion, for men with their pockets heavy with ill-gotten gains to engage in. Unconverted men and women, it is too solemn for you to partake of the Lord’s Supper. You have no title to it, or part in it. It is only for Christians—a blessed privilege.

Now, friends, understand us; we don’t run down good works, but we declare to you that we solemnly believe that good works cannot be presented by the sinner to God in order to obtain His favour, because as sinners “all our righteousnesses are as filthy rags,” and if you want salvation you must come as a poor, undone sinner upon the ground of free sovereign grace.

Speaking about the sheep, and its eternal security, we will conclude with an illustration. Suppose a man and his wife happened to have been married on Christmas day. They have weathered storms together, they have summered and wintered life together, and have brought up a large family of sons and daughters, and these are married and scattered here and there. The old couple are creeping fast down the hill of life. They reach at length the fiftieth anniversary of their marriage day, their golden wedding. They resolve to have

a large family gathering,
especially as the anniversary of their wedding falls on Christmas day. They send in good time an invitation to their married sons and daughters to come, and bring their families, to celebrate the eventful occasion. The whole family shall be together under the parental roof once more, more than probably for the last time. The sons and daughters are very fond of their father and mother, and make a great effort to come, so that all the members of the family shall be there. The time draws near. It is just a week before the anniversary comes, and the father says to the mother, “Wife, I am glad that John’s ship is coming in,” speaking of their sailor-son, “he is due three days before Christmas, it is grand to think he will just be in time, and the whole thing will be complete.”

Three days before Christmas comes, and no John; the next day, and no John; the very day before Christmas, and no John. Christmas day at last comes, and all the sons, and daughters, and grandchildren have gathered, and they only want John to complete the circle. To the great distress of the old father and mother, Christmas day arrives and no John. They are restless, they cannot sit down at the table, and enjoy the good things. They are constantly going to the door to look for John, and they don’t give up hopes of his coming until twelve o’clock at night. Twelve o’clock comes, Christmas day is over, the golden wedding has been celebrated (they will never have another), and no John.

Now listen! The very fact that the gathering was so large and representative, the fact that all their beloved children had come, and of the time being so joyful, and bright, and auspicious, only rendered their grief deeper that John should have missed it. How did he miss it? His ship was coming up the Irish Channel when a great storm set in, and contrary winds kept her back a week, and John arrived too late for the family gathering.

Now for the application. God is going to have

a great family gathering.

Every blood-bought child of His He is going to have in heaven. From the north, east, south, and west they will come, from the old, hoary-headed father, down to the latest-born babe of God’s great family, all are going to be in glory. Will the loving heart of God our Father be content if one John is missing? Let me tell you, if but one feeble child be missing, there will be an eternal blank in the heart of the blessed God. Can it be so? Let me ask you a further question. Will any storm, or wind, or wave keep back any wayfaring Christian? Nay, friends, it won’t. God’s storms always drive us nearer home.

The other day we were on board a steamer on the west coast of Scotland, and there sprang up a tremendous head-wind. We said to one of the sailors, “Will this wind make us late?”

He replied, “No, sir, a strong head wind only makes the boilers draw all the more, and we get up more steam. We shall be in Glasgow punctually to the tick of the clock.” That is just like the Christian.

The Old Testament believer was like a sailing vessel, depending on the wind and sails,

an outside power,
to drive it along; but in this, the day of the Holy Ghost, the New Testament believer is like a steamer, depending on

an inside power,
the mighty power of the Spirit of God, and contrary winds and storms are only used by God for making a Christian bright and vigorous in his pathway. Many of you may have heard of dear, old Samuel Rutherford. He was something like a good, old steamer, when he said:
I’ve wrestled on towards heaven
’Gainst wind and tide and storm.

Christian, rest assured, there is nothing which shall come between you and that bright glory of God, and the welcome of the Father’s heart. If you are one of the Lord’s own sheep, you are His for ever. He knows you, and you hear His voice, and you follow Him, and you shall never perish. May God give you to “work out your own salvation with fear and trembling.” Remember, God works in, you work out. And if there should be a washed sow here tonight, may God give him to acknowledge that he is an empty sham, a miserable formalist, and may he take the low place of confession, and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” May God grant it, for His name’s sake. Amen.

“Behold, the Bridegroom”

  “BEHOLD the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world” (John 1:29).
  “And at midnight there was a cry made, BEHOLD, the Bridegroom comes; go ye out to meet Him” (Matthew 25:6).
  “BEHOLD, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so. Amen” (Revelation 1:7).

The subject tonight is that of the second coming of our Lord. There is a great deal of discredit being thrown upon it by foolish men, professing to be

wiser than the Scriptures.

There are certain people who are constantly fixing a date for the Lord’s return. Time has again and again proved them wrong; yet, all undaunted by their false guesses, they still assume the role of prophets.

Now, whilst we would be the last to discredit their sincerity and Christian character, we believe they are helping on the devil’s work by throwing discredit upon the important subject of the Lord’s return, the personal coming of Christ to catch His people up to be for ever with Himself. Such false prophets are

the laughing-stock of the infidel,
and the grief of all sober-minded Christian men and women. Let us turn to Scripture, and, deaf to the voices of men, learn what God says about this subject. There are twenty-seven books in the New Testament. In all but five of them there are very important allusions to the second return of our Lord Jesus Christ. A recent author has pointed out very clearly the reason of these exceptions. There are three, short, personal epistles in which we do not naturally look for the unfolding of much doctrine, and in them we do not find the second coming of the Lord Jesus mentioned at all. These exceptions are the apostle Paul’s short epistle to Philemon about Onesimus—a runaway slave; the second Epistle of John, addressed to a lady, and consisting of a very few verses; the third Epistle of John, written to Gaius, who had exercised hospitality towards the apostle, equally as brief as his second epistle.

There are two other exceptions—the Epistle to the Ephesians, and the Epistle to the Galatians. The former takes up a very large scope of truth, leading the Christian through the very length and breadth of God’s purposes, detailing

the immutable counsels of his glory,
viewing him as seated “in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” Seeing that Christians are looked at as raised up and seated together in the heavenlies in Christ Jesus, one is quite prepared that no allusion should be made to the Lord’s second coming.

Again, it is not mentioned in the Epistle to the Galatians. Why? The reason is very evident. The Galatian Christians were not right about the Lord’s first coming, and what is the good of talking to people about His second coming, when they were not right as to the first? It would not be surprising at all to find a considerable number in this audience, who are not right about the Lord’s first coming. What has the Lord’s first coming done for YOU? Would it have made any difference in your life, if He had never come?

True, you might not have been baptized, but what has that done for you? As far as the salvation of your soul is concerned, absolutely nothing. Baptism communicates nothing vital. The prayer-book of the Church of England talks about an infant being made a child of God by the waters of baptism. The Prayer-Book says it, but

the Bible does not.

Which is right? It is the precious blood of Christ alone that can cleanse from sin; those only who have faith in Christ Jesus are the children of God.

Neither might you have taken the Sacrament. It would have been just as well if you never had, because you are unconverted. Oh my unconverted friend, if you should die with the bread of the Sacrament in your mouth, and with your lips wet with the wine, you would go straight to hell. The Sacrament won’t save you; none but Christ can do it.

Let me ask you, before speaking about the second coming of the Lord, Are you right about the first? What did He come to do? He came to save sinners, in love to die upon the cross. John the Baptist, the forerunner of Jesus, looking upon Him as He walked, exclaimed,
Behold the Lamb of God,
which takes away the sin of the world.” Have you yet beheld the Lamb of God? You have read the mere words, but have you beheld by faith, the Person of the Son of God.

People commonly read the Bible in the way that they read history-books. You read that Julius Caesar, many years ago, arrived upon the shores of Britain and conquered that country; that later on Christopher Columbus came across the wide Atlantic, and discovered America, and you believe it, but what has this knowledge done for you? It is historical, it is interesting, it has a result upon the page of history, but has it affected your happiness for eternity? Has it made a straw of difference to your life? You would sleep as soundly if you didn’t know about it. There are thousands of people who read the Bible in the self-same way, and it doesn’t do them a bit of good; nay, it only adds to

the weight of their condemnation.

When they discover that they are poor, lost, hell-bound sinners, when they find out that Christ came into the world to save such, it is then they have a deep interest in the facts of Scripture, and long to have a real, personal interest in Christ, and to know that He is their Saviour.

I remember once visiting a poor woman in England in deep distress. She occupied a small room, for which she paid a shilling per week. Some straw in one corner and a dirty blanket, a beer-bottle with a candle stuck in it—this was

her whole stock of furniture.

A thin alpaca dress, little or no underclothing, a worn-out old bonnet, boots far too big, no stockings—that is how she stood before me.

We got work for her. She was a thrifty Scots woman (the Scots people are very canny), and soon the house looked quite home-like. A chair or two, a table, some matting, a piece of oil-cloth, a fender, some cheerful almanacs from the grocer near by, gave the place quite a home-like appearance. She had been going on like this for some months, supporting herself and her only child. One day I found her, sitting by the fire weeping.

“Whatever is the matter?” I enquired.

She answered, “Well, I have not been feeling well lately. I have had a nasty cough, and had no strength or heart for my work, and so at last I was forced to go to the parish-doctor; he sounded me, and told me that both of my lungs were diseased, and that I had

not long to live.

I wouldn’t mind for myself, but when I think of leaving my child to the care of a cold world like this, I dread it,” and the tears ran afresh down her cheeks.

I turned to her, and said, “Well, Mrs. G—, it is a solemn moment when the doctor puts the death- warrant into your hands. You are a dying woman, tell me what are your hopes for eternity based on? Remember when you come to die, sandy foundations won’t do; what are you trusting to?”

With the tears rolling down her cheeks, yet smiling through her sorrow, she said, “Christ died for sinners; I’m a poor sinner; therefore

He died for me.”

Ah! my friends, there was a deep personal interest in the Saviour, she was right about the first coming of Christ, and she was ready for death, and, better still, prepared for the Lord’s second coming.

  “Oh, joy! oh, delight! should we go without dying,
  No sickness, no sadness, no dread, and no crying,
  Caught up through the clouds with our Lord into glory,
  When Jesus receives ‘His own.’”

By way of illustration, let me suppose that I am reading a newspaper, and notice a bold heading, reading thus—

  “Large Windfall to a Baltimore Man!”

I am rather interested in this, as I happen to be staying in Baltimore. Reading the paragraph down, I find to my astonishment that this fortune is left to someone who happens to be residing in Carey Street. Well, it is a pretty long street, but still I am more interested, because, as I happen to be staying in Carey Street, it is coming nearer home. I read a little further, and I find it is bequeathed to someone living in No. 1322, North Carey Street; this happens to be the very house in which I am staying. This great fortune, two millions of money, is left to someone living under the same roof as I am, and I become still more interested. Is it my host, or one of his three sons? I read on a little further, and, strange to say, I find it has been left to me.

How will the news affect me? It will make a tremendous influence on my life. Suppose, further, I am in a very hard situation, toiling early and late for three or four dollars a week. On receipt of the news of my fortune, with a light spirit I should hand in my notice to my master. I should bid good-bye to toil and poverty. I should hold up my head, and be independent—it would make a mighty difference in my life.

If you read the Bible like that, if you read that the Lord Jesus Christ died upon the cross, shed His precious atoning blood, and that God offers you

the greatest possible fortune

that He possibly could, even the gift of eternal life, it would make a mighty difference to you. If you knew that the forgiveness of all your sins, salvation, peace with God were yours, what would you do on receipt of the blessed news? Why, you would hand in your notice to the devil—that hard task-master. You would say good-bye to a life of sin and misery, aye, to an empty, Christless religion pretty quickly. It would make a mighty difference to you, if you had a deep personal interest in the Lord’s first coming, and knew that you were everlastingly enriched.

Once a missionary visiting the East End of London stumbled into a damp, dark, noisome cellar. There, in one corner, he found a poor young woman dying of consumption. Evidently she had been once very pretty, but consumption had made sad ravages in her appearance. Her long, black hair was lying dishevelled on her pillow, her eyes closed in the very last stage of the weakness of consumption. She had no friend beside her, no mother, no husband, no child, no friend. She had just a little glass of water by her side.

Accustomed as the missionary was to scenes of wretchedness and poverty, this pitiable spectacle moved his heart in deepest pity. He exclaimed, involuntarily, “Poor soul!” She opened her black, lustrous eyes, and a smile of heaven itself played on her face as she said to him, “Don’t call me POOR, I have Christ, what want I more?”

Ah! friends, she was right. I have stood beside the magnificent tomb of the great Vanderbilt, who in life was reputedly the richest man in the world, in the Moravian cemetery of Van Dort, Staten Island, and repeated that question once asked by

the great Lover of souls,
What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” By the side of that rich man, if he died Christless, this poor woman was a heavenly millionaire, as she joyfully exclaimed, “I have Christ, what want I more?”

But, now, what about the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ? When may it take place? It may occur before the clock strikes twelve tonight, before this meeting ends. I am not here to fix the day; if I did so, I should profess to be wiser than Holy Scripture. The day of the Lord will come like a thief in the night. “Of that day and that hour knows no man, no, not the angels which are in heaven, neither the Son, but the Father” (Mark 13:32). I am no fanatic, but waiting and watching for my Lord’s return at any moment, through grace. When may the Lord return for His people? This very night. How will it affect YOU?

The parable of the ten virgins will illustrate it. Why does it say “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins.” Why does it say, “Then?” In the previous chapter to this, we find a divine account of

the terrible tribulations

about to pass over this guilty world. It is in view of that moment that the kingdom of heaven is said to be likened unto ten virgins. The reason is obvious. Before God visits this guilty world with judgment, the Lord is coming to pluck out of it every blood-bought believer—not one will be left behind. Before the hour of God’s judgment arrives, the five wise virgins, in other words every true Christian, will be caught up to be for ever with the Lord.

Let us look at the parable in detail. We read, “Then shall the kingdom of heaven be likened unto ten virgins, which took their lamps and went forth to meet the Bridegroom. And five of them were wise, and five were foolish. They that were foolish took their lamps, and took no oil with them: but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps. While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept. And at midnight there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom comes; go ye out to meet Him.

Suppose we could have the ten virgins here tonight, and call in a photographer, and have their photographs taken, could you tell which were the wise, and which the foolish? They all dress alike, carry the same kind of lamp, and are
outwardly indistinguishable;
but, mark you, there is a tremendous and mighty and profound difference between the five and five.

What is the difference? Five have oil and five have none. What is the oil a figure of? It is a picture of the Holy Ghost, of reality. How do people get the Holy Ghost? When you really accept Christ as your Saviour, and believe “the gospel of your salvation,” when you receive from the soul-assuring words of Scripture a knowledge that your sins are forgiven, God gives you His Holy Spirit—believers form the temple of the Holy Ghost. What is the result of having the Holy Ghost? The lamp burns brightly, in other words you are enabled by the Spirit’s power to be a real testimony to Christ during the night of His absence, and when He comes, your privilege is to be found waiting and watching, ready for His return.

But we read, five of the virgins had oil, and five had none. Five were real possessors, and five were

sham professors;
five were true and five were false; five had Christ and five were merely religious. Which are you? If He were to come tonight, would it spoil your Christmas pleasures? Oh if He were to come tonight, we Christians would have a grand triumph. We can joyfully sing:
 “I’m waiting for Thee, Lord,
  Thy beauty to see, Lord,
    I’m waiting for Thee—for Thy coming again.
  I’m waiting for Thee, Lord,
  Thy beauty to see, Lord,
    No TRIUMPH for me, like Thy coming again.”

It would be the very brightest thing for Christians to be in the presence of Jesus; but what about you worldlings, you baptized, sacrament-taking, pleasure-loving professors? What about you oil-less lamp-holders? What about YOU, if the Lord were to come this very night?

Now listen

At midnight

there was a cry made, Behold, the Bridegroom comes.” These few verses in Matthew 25 give us an epitome of church history. The church was set up by Christ on this earth. From the glory He Himself established and endowed it. The Holy Spirit descended from an earth-rejected but glory-crowned Saviour to keep the lamp of hope burning brightly in His absence. At first the church kept her first love. She walked separate from the world, that had crucified her Lord. But, alas! soon the enemy was at work. What could not be accomplished by the angry roar of the lion, was encompassed by the wiles of the serpent. Corruption got into the church; empty forms, ceremonies and rituals abounded. Where hope, faith, and love had held their gentle sway, spiritual wickedness soon reigned supreme. Instead of the church being in the world, the world was in the church. The waters of baptism were made to take the place of the precious blood of Jesus. What was the result? “While the Bridegroom tarried, they all slumbered and slept”—the profession of Christianity was almost smothered by

the foul breath of Jezebel,
and all down the long ages of Popery you do not find any mention of the Lord’s return; nay, even in the time of Luther, or John Wesley, or George Whitefield, you find no direct unfolding of the truth of the Lord’s personal return for His people. But thank God, He is faithful. In His mercy He has recovered within the last sixty or seventy years this blessed truth—the hope of the church. Jesus has glorified God, and in faithfulness to Him, He will see to it that when the hour of His triumph comes, there will be a response on the part of His church. “The Spirit and the Bride say, COME.”

On all sides, and in every quarter of Christendom a mighty cry has been heard,
Behold the Bridegroom

comes; go ye out to meet Him.” The Lord is coming quickly. Are you ready?

To give you a borrowed illustration, suppose we are sitting in an old country farm-house in England. It has been a splendid summer, and it is now early autumn. One night, as we are about to go to bed, we notice thousands of swallows sitting upon the trees and farm-buildings, chirruping and chattering, and making quite a commotion. We wonder what it is all about. Next morning we get up, and look about for the swallows, but they are gone—they have all taken their flight. Ah! if you could have listened to the bird-language of the night before, you would have heard the old ones saying to the young ones, “My children, we must leave this land. The summer is over, the nights are getting cool, there is frost in the air, winter is coming with its ice and snow, its fierce storms and

its wild, wintry blasts.

We must spread our wings early on the morrow, and fly to the sunny south, to the balmy shores of the Mediterranean, to Africa’s golden coast, where there are no storms, no frost, no snow, no wintry blast,” and away in the early morning they go. Oh! sinner, that will be like the Christians one day soon. They will spread their wings for flight. The cry has gone forth, thrilling many an expectant heart, “Go ye out to meet HIM.” And what do we find? That Christians are holding their conferences in England, and their conventions in America, they are getting together here and there, to study from the Scriptures the subject of the Lord’s second coming—the swallows are chattering and chirping and twittering from end to end of this world, and one day you will get up in the morning and there will not be a single Christian left—it may be tomorrow—they will have all gone to glory.

The summer of God’s grace has rolled on its golden way for 1800 years and more. God is sending forth His reapers—the preachers of the gospel—with sharpened sickles, and the harvest is being quickly gathered in. Ah! one after another are being saved, and yet

you are unreached and unsaved.

Take care. Very soon the last golden grain will be gathered in, and the granary of heaven will be full— the Christians gone to glory, and what will be the bitter wail of untold thousands? Listen! “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved” (Jer. 8:20).

I have heard it pictured something like this. I don’t know how it is in America, but in Scotland, at the close of autumn, you can see the cornfield reaped, the white stubble close cropped to the ground, the mists rolling down the heather-clad hillside, and a cold, chilly, frosty feeling makes you shiver, and as you gather your cloak around you, you feel that cold, biting winter is riding on the blast. It will be like that—“The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” In thought look up and far away. Can you see the heavenly city all glowing with light? Can you catch

the gladsome strains of the heavenly music?

Mark, the door will be for ever closed, the Christians will be inside, the swallows will have taken their rapid flight to the shores of eternal glory, where is no chill of winter, no death, no separation, but where Jesus is all and all, and you, the child of Christian parents—you, over whom a Christian mother has wept—you, for whom a Christian father has prayed, will be left behind to the blast of God’s judgment, and the winter of His wrath. Take care!

When the cry went forth, “Behold the Bridegroom! go ye out to meet Him,” we read, “Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps, and the foolish said unto the wise, Give us of your oil; for our lamps are going out”—(N.Tr.). The time is hurrying on when profession will be tested, and you will see whether the waters of baptism, and sacrament-taking, and the ostentatious turning-over of new leaves, and the doing the best you can, and giving your money to the poor and to the church, will suffice to keep your lamp burning. Nay, friend, it will go out unless it is fed by oil—unless you have Christ and the Holy Ghost. It will go out and
  leave you in darkness,
  for ever to wail over your folly.

How do the wise virgins respond? They say, “Not so; lest there be not enough for us and you, but go ye rather to them that sell, and buy for yourselves.” If the Lord were to come tonight the oil in your mother’s lamp would not take you to glory, neither would that of the Christian minister; you must have it for yourselves. Now, mark, these five foolish ones, so nicely dressed, with such splendid up-to-date lamps so well polished, looking so trim and nice, have gone to buy the oil. See! They have hurried to the store, where they think they can get it. They are in earnest now. Listen! “While they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage. and the door was shut.” They were too late.

Those words—too late—are awful words connected with your soul, and eternity. You may be too late to catch the last train tonight for Washington, but you may catch the first tomorrow; you may be too late to do many a thing in this life, but you can probably obtain another chance; but, if you are

too late for eternity,
you are too late for ever and for ever; in the lake of fire from the very depths of your anguished spirit will escape these two awful words, “Too late! TOO LATE! TOO LATE FOR EVER!!” Your lamp of profession will have gone out into the blackness of darkness for all eternity.

When the Lord comes, people will wake up. It will be something like this. A drummer (we call them in England “commercial travellers”) had occasion to make journeys into South Wales in the prosecution of his business. One of the places he visited was a small town, whose whole industry consisted of some large iron works. The first time he went there he transacted his business, secured his bed in an hotel, and retired to rest, but he could not sleep. Why? The heavy Nasmyth’s hammers were working all through the night, making the very ground tremble with their thud, thud, thud: sleep he could not. The next time he came upon his rounds, being warned by his former experience, after transacting his business he took train to an adjacent town, where, away from the distracting noise, he slept very well.

But what about the inhabitants of the little town? Did they sleep? Oh, yes! They were

accustomed to the noise of the hammers.

For instance: a little babe is born in the town, and its first experience is listening to the din of the noisy hammers. Its sweet innocent slumber is, however, not even disturbed by the sound; it sleeps on peacefully. So it grows up to childhood; childhood gives place to the prime of life. Time rolls on till the head is hoary, and the back is bent and the eye grows dim, and yet the constant din does not distract the sleeper. He is so accustomed to it.

But one day an accident happened to these works. The machinery was stopped—the hammers ceased—a strange and unwanted silence reigned supreme. When the people went to bed that night, did they sleep? No. The whole town lay awake. Old men and young children, matrons and maidens alike could not sleep. Why? Because of the unusual stillness in the place. Child of Christian parents, that will be just like you, when the Lord comes. Listen! The gospel hammers have been sounding in your ears ever since you can remember. As a child you heard of Jesus, from

the lips of that best of preachers

a Christian mother. Your father took you by the hand to Sunday School. As you grew older you went to the gospel meetings, and at last you tried to break loose from the restraint of home. Yes, you have heard the hammering of the old gospel time and again until “gospel-hardened” describes your awful position, and you are about the most hopeless person in this hall tonight. You have got it all in your head, and with the knowledge of the way of salvation, you are stumbling over your mother’s tears and your father’s prayers; aye, over the very love of God and the blood of Jesus, right into the pit of hell where the hammering of gospel preaching will give place to the din of the weeping and wailing and gnashing of teeth.

And mark this! When the Lord comes, there will be plenty of preachers left to discourse to you moral lectures in the pulpit; but you will have no old-time-gospel preached to you. In that respect there will be a strange, sad silence. You will find no Christian preachers standing at your street-corner—no tract thrust into your hand by the importunity of Christian zeal. Nothing but the chaff will be left. The true, real preacher of the gospel will have gone to glory—caught up by the Bridegroom. Then you will wake up.

It will be something like this. This book, the Bible, which the infidel dares to attempt to pick to pieces today—that keeps abreast of the times—that engages the interest of the most profound intellects of the age—that charms the poet, the essayist, the historian—this book, I say, that has been used by God to the salvation of untold thousands, feeding their souls in the darkest day, making the martyr glad, and the timid bold, and the weak strong, and the dying sing, will be out-of-date for you, when the Lord comes. You may then turn over its pages, and read such blessed words as these:“NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation,” and you will have to say, in the very bitterness of your soul, “That was true once, but

it is not true now;
the Lord has come; the Christians have gone; the day of salvation is over, there is no more mercy for me.”

Listen! “While they went to buy, the Bridegroom came; and they that were ready went in with Him to the marriage: AND THE DOOR WAS SHUT.” Afterward come the other virgins. They knock at the closed door, and their piercing wail of anguish rings through that closed door to the ears of the Master. He hears their earnest prayer:“LORD, LORD, open to us,” but no, the door to them is barred for ever. When they might have been saved they laughed; when they might have received the glad tidings of salvation, they turned a deaf ear; but now it is too late for ever; the door is shut in their faces, and there is no more mercy. “I know you not,” is the reply they get from the One, who after waiting in long-suffering patience, has at length risen up and shut the door. Unconverted hearer, “Depart from Me, ye cursed unto everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels,” will be your awful doom. That word, “Depart,” will smite your ears like the sound of many waters. As you hear

that hope-withering, heart-crushing word

pronounced by the Judge of all the earth, you will pass away into the blackness of outer darkness— damned for all eternity. Oh it is a solemn thing to listen to the gospel of God’s grace. Ever since the Lord Jesus died, God has been preaching peace, and although you are wicked and rebellious, although you are stubborn and won’t believe the gospel, God follows you in His love, still preaching peace, still pressing salvation upon your acceptance.

We read in the Scriptures, “Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ’s stead, be ye reconciled to God.” God follows you with His love. His ambassadors still proclaim pardon to the guilty. But it will not always be thus. Two or three hundred years ago, on the continent of Europe, it was the custom when one country went to war with another, before a single cannon was landed on foreign shores, before a single soldier was despatched on his deadly errand, to recall the ambassador home. For instance, suppose England were going to war with France, before she would send a fleet across the Channel with her soldiers, her ambassador would be recalled from Paris. So long as the Parisians saw the English ambassador walking up and down their streets and boulevards, they would know there was still another chance for peace, diplomatic relations had not altogether ceased, war had not yet been finally decided upon but as soon as be began to pack his portmanteaus and valises and prepared to depart; as soon as he demanded from the French Government his passport wherewith to leave the country, they would know that war had been determined upon. Listen friends, we Christians, whom you despise, are

ambassadors for Christ.

The English ambassador in Paris may live in state and magnificence, he may bear decorations and orders upon his breast, he may have diplomatic honours showered upon him. God’s ambassadors, however, dress generally in a simple, homely way. Look at that old woman, shabbily dressed it may be, going down the street. She is one of God’s daughters, but you would never know it by her dress. Yes; you may despise us Christians. Outwardly there may be nothing to attract, but we walk your streets as ambassadors for Christ, and as long as you see us here, you may be sure there is a chance for you to obtain salvation. One day, however, all the ambassadors will be called home; the Lord is coming quickly, and then we shall all be gone. What will that mean? God has been preaching peace to this world for the last eighteen hundred years, but when the ambassadors are called home, He will declare war. Step up you brazen-faced, stout-hearted sinner and tell me, are you willing to enter into the lists with God Almighty? He will blast you from the cannon’s mouth of His judgment into the eternal perdition of hell. “Prepare to meet thy God.” Meet Him you must, and face Him about your sins, and how you have treated the precious blood of Jesus and the mighty love of God. Ah! He is lingering over you, He cares for you, and yet you have never trusted Him. Take heed! If Christ were to come tonight, the door of salvation would be shut in your face for ever, and there would be

no more mercy for you.

When I was a boy at home my father and mother trained me up in the knowledge of the Scriptures, and I firmly believed them, although not a Christian. I remember how the truth of the Lord’s coming laid hold of me, and how I used to wake up more than once in the middle of the night. Why should I thus wake at the midnight hour? I believe God wakened me to speak to my soul of eternity. On those occasions I used to peer into the darkness, perchance I should see something, and strain my ears in the silence, perchance I should hear something, and the agonizing question would almost overwhelm my heart, and stop its beating, “Has the Lord returned, has He caught up my father and mother and all the Christians, and am I left behind to be doomed for ever?” Well do I remember the despair I was in, and with what relief I found that my parents were still on earth, for I knew then that the day of salvation had not passed.

I praise God that the Lord did not return twenty years ago for I should have been left behind. Some of you in this hall may praise God that He did not return twelve months ago for you would have been left behind. And, sinner, from the bottom of your heart, you may be glad that He has not yet returned, for if He had returned but yesterday, you would have been

left behind.

There will be no signs given you.

It will be just as in the days of Noah. The wicked did not avail themselves of the refuge offered to the antediluvian world. One day Noah gave his last message. I don’t suppose there was anything to distinguish it from previous messages. For the very last time the careless passers-by heard his earnest words, warning of approaching judgment. For the last time they turned heedlessly and carelessly away. Then one of those most profoundly interesting events, which claim our deepest attention, happened. When God does anything great, sinner, He does it quietly; when man attempts anything great, he makes a great fuss. God said to Noah, “Come thou and all thy house into the ark.” See them quietly go in, and then God, unseen and unnoticed by the careless world, puts His mighty hand upon the door of the ark, and shuts in Noah and his family and

shuts out the unbelieving world

all around. It was done very quietly. The world outside laughed as usual, the bride went to the altars with the bridegroom, the builder went on building his house. We read, “they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage,

until the day

that Noah entered into the ark and knew not until the flood came, and took them all away.”

GOD shuts Noah in, what next? He bids the clouds fall in torrents upon the earth, while with His almighty hand He unlocks the great foundations of the deep, and lets loose the angry waters upon the godless, careless scene. The people flee to the hills and the mountains for refuge. Higher and higher the waters go, carrying upon their broad bosom the ark—the only place of safety—but alas! the door is closed. It may have been that many a scoffer, like

a strong man in his dying agony,
even scratched with his finger nails the very keel of the ark, as he vainly attempted, when too late, to seek its refuge as it was borne past him, and from its very sides may have fallen into the depths of those terrible waters, crying, “I’m lost! I’m lost!” We read: “As the days of Noah were, so shall also the coming of the Son of Man be.” Jesus returns quickly, Are YOU ready?

What will make you ready? Answer. Turning over new leaves? Saying your prayers? The tears of the penitent? Your money chinking upon the collection plates? Turning religious? Nay, friend, the foolish virgins may have done all that, and yet they were left behind.

Mere profession won’t do.

What then? You must come as a poor, vile, hell-bound sinner, and trust the blessed Saviour of sinners, bowing to His claims, trusting in His precious blood, confessing Him as Lord, and you will go out of this meeting saved, ready for the Lord’s coming, and if He were to come tonight you would be as ready as the oldest and ripest Christian in this hall, for it is the Saviour’s work—and not our own work—that fits us for that bright home. Will you trust Him?

Mark you, the closing moments of a meeting are the most solemn. Ask yourself Pilate’s question: “What shall I do then with Jesus which is called Christ?” There must come a crisis in your history, when you must decide one way or the other. Will you decide for Christ tonight? If you do, as you sit upon your seat, joy will take possession of your soul, and the burden of your sins will roll away, and you will be saved for glory, and

saved for ever.

Nay, more, there will be joy in the great throbbing heart of the blessed God, for is there not “joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repents?”

I recall an incident, which was related to me, when invited by a lady to dine at her house. She told me she had crossed the Atlantic during the year of the World’s Fair, and after seeing the sights at Chicago, had journeyed out west to see her sons, who had settled in British Columbia. One day, as the train was travelling over the Rocky Mountains, the conductor came to her, and said, “Madam, I will show you something you won’t see every day.” She looked out of the window in a certain direction, and there upon the top of a lofty peak she saw a large iron sign—two large posts, and between them, borne aloft against the sky these three words—“THE GREAT DIVIDE.”

“What does it mean?” she enquired of the conductor.

He answered, “This is the great water-shed of America, and that lofty point is the dividing line between the rivers that flow eastward and westward. A drop of rain which falls from yonder cloud on this side of the divide, will flow westward into the Pacific; another drop, a few feet away in the same cloud, may drop down on the other side of the divide, and flow eastward into the Mississippi, thence into the Gulf of Mexico, and on into the Atlantic—a distance of a few feet in falling from the cloud, resulting in the separation of these two drops of water by thousands and thousands of miles.”

What an illustration of the gospel—

God’s Great Divide!

There may be two sitting here tonight side by side. It may be that you are in the cloud of irresolution. Each may be saying to himself or herself; “Shall I decide for Christ or not?” One of you may say, “Christ for me! As it were, you come down from the cloud of irresolution, and you fall upon the heavenward side of the hill called Calvary, whilst the other says, “No, I shall not trust Him yet,” and you fall upon the hell-ward side of the hill called Calvary. Remember, if such be the case with any two in this company tonight, each tick of the clock, each beat of your heart, each moment is carrying you further, and further, and further apart, until in eternity, one will be in glory with Jesus, and the other in the lake of fire with the devil, and the demons, and the damned. Take care, sinner! Take care! What is your decision to be tonight? Do you say, “Christ for me?” May God grant it!

A poet has drawn a very beautiful picture of a boy and a girl, hand in hand, walking upon either side of a little trickling stream. As they journey on, the little stream grows broader and broader. They are obliged to part hands, still on they go, and the stream grows still wider until it becomes a river. Tributary streams and rivers flow into it, till at length it becomes a mighty surging current; still on and on they go. They call to each other, but at long last, the distance is so great that their voices can no longer carry to each other. They pursue their journey—the distance has now become so great that they cannot even see each other; and presently that mighty torrent rushes into the ocean, and these two are

separated for ever.

The word-picture is very beautifully painted. It is one sketched by a master-hand, but it is inexpressibly sad to me. For see, that boy and girl are just like many a brother and sister starting hand in hand upon the journey of life, one a Christian and the other not. As the years roll by, one goes to the prayer-meeting, and the other to the theatre. They don’t hold hands any longer, the distance increases, grows wider and wider. At last they have grown into manhood and woman- hood, and they are still getting farther and farther apart, and finally in eternity they are separated for ever. Sinner, take care! The gospel is God’s Great Divide, and if you want eternal blessing you must trust in Christ.

Again I repeat my three texts. If unsaved, “BEHOLD the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world.” Trust in the Lord, and learn in simple faith how your sins can be taken away.

If saved, “BEHOLD, the Bridegroom comes; go ye out to meet Him.” Be bright for your absent Lord. “Let your loins be girded about, and your lamps burning, and ye yourselves like unto men that wait for their Lord.”

If still indifferent, “BEHOLD, He comes with clouds; and every eye shall see Him, and they also which pierced Him: and all kindreds of the earth shall wail because of Him. Even so, Amen.”

Careless sinner, your carelessness and indifference will be but short-lived, for your eye will yet see Jesus—see Him, not as Saviour but as Judge—see Him to receive your awful sentence at His lips. Yes;
  “You will see the Judge descending
  At that great day.”
  “Oh! flee, guilty sinner,
  And escape eternal fire,
  Or you must stand your trial
  At that great day.”

This very night may you do so, for His name’s sake. Amen.

A Leak Stopped by a Man’s Body

A Cornish drifter—Clara—some months ago in a dense fog ran upon the rock near Batten breakwater, and was badly holed. The inrush of water was serious and the only way to keep the vessel afloat was by a member of the crew forcing his body bound in sailcloth and old clothing into the hole. For four hours, till the boat was towed to harbour, the man remained up to his waist in water.

Does this not remind us of an infinitely more wonderful occurrence? The Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, stood in the breach for us. When as sinners we were rightly exposed to the wrath of God.

 “He took the guilty sinner’s place,
  And suffered in our stead.”

The sailor, who stopped the leak with his body, suffered inconvenience and possibly some pain, and must have been benumbed by the coldness of the water, but his troubles were over when once the drifter reached the harbour.

But the blessed Lord faced the wrath of God, involving the bearing of sin’s judgment and death.

We see the import of this when we read, “As it is appointed unto men once to die, but after this the judgment: so Christ was once offered to bear the sins of many; and unto them that look for Him shall He appear the second time without sin unto salvation” (Heb. 9:27-28).

Yes; He died that He might be the Saviour. “Christ Jesus . . . gave Himself a ransom for all” (1 Tim. 2:6).

May this matchless love touch our hearts, leading those who have not trusted Him as yet to do so, and leading us who have trusted Him to be more loyal and true to His interests.

A Message for the Anxious

Asleep in a burning house, or asleep in a boat drifting down to the rapids with the smile of a dream upon the upturned face the danger only increased by the unconsciousness—these instances are indeed sad.

But how inexpressibly so is the case of a careless sinner. Rocked to sleep upon the brink of a burning hell by the lullaby of Satan, filling in a brief life with this world’s pleasures and sins, forgetting God—nay, forgetting in his blind folly the soul immortal, the coming judgment, the never-ending eternity—this, this, indeed, is sad!

But thank God you are at last aroused to a sense of your perilous condition, as condemned already, and under the wrath of God. You wonder now that souls, so keen-sighted as to this life, are so stone-blind as to eternity. Yet but a little white ago you were in a similar condition.

Nothing but the hand of God in sovereign grace has opened your eyes to your highest interest. Now you have discovered yourself to be lost; you are anxious to be saved. The Bible, which you once religiously read or neglected altogether, you have taken down from the book-shelf, wondering if it will speak peace to your heart, as it has to thousands before. Previously it seemed to you like a good book, but with no special voice to you. You read it with no more interest than you would read the will of an American millionaire, who had made magnificent bequests, which, however, did not concern you. If you had found a shilling in the streets, it would have interested you more; but you are anxious now as to what the Bible says.

Take courage! it has tidings of peace, and salvation, and joy for you.

The only part you can possibly have in this matter of your salvation is your sins. You have done enough—done enough to damn you for all eternity.

The Israelites of old with the Red Sea in front of them, Pharaoh’s armies thundering in hot pursuit behind them, were told to “STAND STILL, and see the salvation of the Lord” (Ex. 14:13).

The multitude, which flocked round Jesus, when on earth, asked Him, “What shall we do, that we might work the works of God?” He answered, “This is the work of God, that ye believe on Him whom He has sent” (John 6:29).

The Philippian jailer, troubled and anxious, demanded of Paul and Silas in the midnight hour, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?” The simple message, which brought peace to his troubled heart, and may bring peace to yours, was, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31).

Again, the apostle Paul tells us in Romans 4:5, “To him that works NOT, but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness.”

Now, friend, the only way for you to get blessing is to bow to the word of God, and cease any, and every, effort of your own. Not to do so is to act contrary to that word.

The reward of work is wages. The only wages Scripture speaks of is death—the wages of sin. That you have well earned.

But God is love. He proposes a GIFT. “The gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23). Will you accept this wonderful gift? To pay a single farthing of good works for it would destroy its character as a gift.

Think for a moment of what a gift it is! Before God could offer it to you Christ must die. God is light as well as love. Righteousness demands satisfaction for sin. And my soul can rest in this, that the Lord Jesus Christ bore the punishment due to my sins on the cross of Calvary. God is “just and the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). I have believed in Jesus in simple faith, have taken Him as my Substitute and Saviour. He has borne my sins in His own body on the tree. (1 Peter 2:24). And now—
 “Payment God will not twice demand,
  Once at my bleeding Surety’s hand,
  And then again at mine.”

My salvation is on the basis of everlasting righteousness. Christ’s work, God’s word, and my salvation are eternally linked together.

Now, dear anxious reader, can you, as you read this paper, look up in simple faith and take Christ as your Saviour? Then salvation, peace with God, the gift of eternal life, are all yours.

I said to an anxious soul a week or two ago, “If you believe now, when will you be saved?”

Smiling through her tears of anxiety, her lips dropped that precious little monosyllable “Now”. Yes, thank God, “Now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

If you take Christ now, you can look back in memory to that scene at Calvary’s cross with an interest never before awakened. You can see that blessed Lamb of God offered up as an atonement for sin. He entered the three hours of darkness that you might never enter the blackness of darkness for ever. In those hours of anguish all the waves and billows of God’s wrath against sin rolled over His blessed soul. Let your soul go out in worship—the very foretaste of heaven—and say, “Blessed Lord, Thou enduredst the darkness, that I might have the light; the death, that I might have eternal life; the sorrow, that I might have the joy; the forsaking of God, that I might know acceptance and adoption.” God’s word is your authority for this assurance of salvation. Once more, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”

  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God sent not His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved” (John 3:16-17).

A Maori Mother’s Love

“June 10th, 1886, is a well-remembered day in Rotorua, N.Z.,” writes a well-known author. In the early hours of the morning there was a terrific volcanic eruption. The top of Mount Tarawera was blown away, causing the destruction of the world-famed white and pink terraces, and the death of one hundred and forty persons. The whole of a Maori pah, or village, with its inhabitants was buried forty feet deep in volcanic mud and ashes. In Wairoa eleven persons—Maoris and whites—perished. During a recent visit to the village our guide showed us the ruins of several houses, where some of the inmates were killed.

“At the outbreak of the explosion a Maori woman took shelter in her ‘whare’ (native hut). The volcanic mud fell steadily on the roof, until the strain became so great that it began to give way. The mother’s heart was filled with sorrow and anguish at the prospect of losing her darlings. Doubtless she did her utmost to save them. Taking her children in her arms, she knelt down upon her hands and knees, while lower and lower sank the roof, until it rested on her back, and thus next day the relief party found them, the children living, but the mother, whose back had borne for so many hours the awful strain, dead.”

A mother’s love is proverbial. Nothing in this world is so strong, so pure and so constant. There is every reason why it should be so. The child is part of herself. She has reared it from infancy, nursed it, fondled it on her knee, cared for it night and day—no wonder a mother’s love is as nothing else in this world.

But even this love, wonderful as it is, is as the lighted taper compared with the sun in its meridian splendour, when we think of God’s love to sinners.

  “GOD COMMENDS HIS LOVE toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

In the chapter from which this verse is taken we have a four-fold description of those to whom God thus commends His love:
  (1) “Without strength,”
  (2) “Ungodly,”
  (3) “Sinners,”
  (4) “Enemies.”

Does this description suit you? If so, Christ died for you.

(1) “WITHOUT STRENGTH.” It is a fact that we have no strength, though it is not all who will acknowledge the extent of the ruinous depths into which sin has plunged us. Let us apply a test. What can you do towards your own salvation? Nothing. Your religious observances, your efforts to live rightly, your discharge of your family and social duties—all will not avail to remove one single sin or bring you one hair’s-breadth nearer God. You are “without strength.” Own it, for until you do you will never be ready to accept God’s salvation.

(2) “UNGODLY.” Many have a mistaken notion as to the meaning of this word. They imagine a man must be outwardly depraved and vile to be ungodly, and that decent religious people cannot be so described. “Ungodly” describes the condition of every unconverted man or woman, however blameless his or her outward life may be. Saul of Tarsus, the chief of Pharisees, was the chief of sinners. With all his zeal for God’s service he was godless. When Adam and Eve fell they became ungodly, they lost God. An impassable barrier, so far as they were concerned, was raised between them and a holy God by their sin. That is why God went in search of His fallen creatures, crying, “Adam, where art thou?” “Ungodly,” then, is the character of every unsaved man and woman, boy and girl in the land.

(3) “SINNERS.” Here we are on ground that none will dispute. There are great sinners and little sinners, as men talk, but all are sinners. If only we knew that one sin in God’s holy sight is infinitely worse than ten thousand in ours, we would not draw such distinctions. God says, “There is no difference: for all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:22-23). One apple upon a tree proves it to be an apple tree, just as much as if it were laden to the ground with fruit. “The soul that sins it shall die” is awfully solemn reading, especially when we know that “after this [death] the judgment.”

(4) “ENEMIES.” This likewise is true of every unconverted soul. The Lord drew the line when He said, “He that is not with Me is against Me” (Matt. 12:30); whilst James 4:4 corroborates this in the memorable words, “The friendship of the world is enmity with God.” The unconverted man loves the world’s friendship and is therefore God’s enemy.

What commendation of love is this that when we were in such a helpless, hopeless condition Christ should die for us. God’s well-beloved Son to die for God’s enemies! To die, to atone for our ungodliness, our sins, our enmity, and thus to turn all such into an occasion of displaying His love to us is indeed sufficient to win our hearts. God’s love was displayed at Calvary, at the same time bringing out to the full His righteousness, His holiness and all that He is in Himself.

To appropriate this love you must accept Christ as your Saviour, you must come as a strengthless, ungodly, sinful enemy, give up all thoughts of saving yourself, and turn to the Lord Jesus Christ in full simple trust. Thus, and thus only can you receive the blessing God has for you, for it is “THROUGH THIS MAN is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and BY HIM all that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13:38-39). Christ alone is the One, through whom the blessing of the gospel can be received. With Him, you have all; without Him, you have nothing.

A Saviour Who Saves

It was a pitiable sight, seen recently on the Long Sands, Tynemouth, in the north of England—a capsized lifeboat. Brave men waded through the angry surf, attached to a lifeline, and drew the upturned boat ashore. Sad indeed was it to learn that the lifeboat during a practice run had capsized, and that six men and a naval cadet only sixteen years old had been drowned. Ten men had clung to the upturned boat till it drifted into shallow water, and were saved.

Happily such accidents are rare. The lifeboat crews are brave men, who face terrible dangers in their magnificent work of saving shipwrecked men from a watery grave, and they are generally very successful.

But here was happily a rare exception to the rule. The lifeboat in this case turned out to be a saviour that could not save; indeed needed saving itself as was proved when, once it had drifted into shallow waters, brave men attached to a lifeline succeeded in dragging it to shore.

All honour to the brave lifeboatmen. They set out to save men from drowning and greatly succeed.

But wonderful as this is, it is only the death of the body that is saved, and after all death comes sooner or later to all. It is, however, our great privilege to tell you of a Saviour who saves, a Saviour from sin, from eternal punishment, from everlasting banishment from God’s holy presence, from hell, from the lake of fire, and who never fails. This is indeed a salvation worth having. To miss it would be a disaster, too great for words to depict or exaggerate. God grant you may not miss it, my reader.

Who is this Saviour? Whence did He come? He is the eternal Son of God, who became a man, not despising the virgin’s womb, in order that He might take the sinner’s place at the cross. So we read, “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14).

These brave men, who waded into the surf to rescue the capsized lifeboat, would not have done it, if they had known for certain beforehand that they must all be drowned.

But our Lord knew beforehand that He must die in order to be the Saviour, that He must lay down His life as an atoning sacrifice at the cross. We read, “The Son of Man must be lifted up” (John 3:14). Yes, lifted up on the cross to be forsaken by God when He became the holy Sin-bearer. Blessed be His name, He accomplished the mighty work of salvation. He cried on the cross with a loud voice as He expired, “IT IS FINISHED” (John 19:30). He was triumphant.

Since that day multitudes of every nation, of all ranks and positions, have trusted Him, and He has saved them all. Seven perished in the lifeboat disaster. Not one, who has trusted Christ, has ever perished. He is indeed a Saviour who saves. Will you not trust Him? He says, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). “My sheep [believers on the Lord Jesus Christ] . . . shall never perish” (John 10:28). “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life” (John 3:36). If once you possess everlasting life you cannot lose it, or else it would not be everlasting. “None of them [believers in the Lord] is lost, but the son of perdition [Judas Iscariot, the betrayer of our Lord]; that the scripture might be fulfilled” (John 17:12). These are our Saviour’s own words.

We present this Saviour to you—the only One who can save you from hell, from the consequences of your sins. We beseech you not to lay aside this entreaty. Let your heart go up in simple trust to the Saviour, and you will find Him, as millions have found Him without one solitary exception, a Saviour who saves. Let Him save you, here and now.

“A Scrap of Paper”

On the day that England was forced to declare war on Germany, Sir Edward Goschen, the British Ambassador in Berlin, was strenuously doing his best to the last moment to preserve peace, but all in vain.

One of his latest efforts was to call on the German Imperial Chancellor. He found him in a great state of agitation, and unable to conceal his anger that Great Britain should declare war over a word—“neutrality”—a word which, he said, had often been disregarded—over “a scrap of paper,” as he contemptuously called the solemn treaty which affirmed the neutrality of Belgium, and to which Prussia had been a contracting party.

He declared the course Germany had taken in violating this treaty was “a matter of life and death” to her. Sir Edward Goschen affirmed, on his part, that it was “a matter of life and death” to Great Britain to respect her plighted word, and to uphold, at whatever cost of life and treasure, the treaty which she was pledged to uphold.

All right-minded persons condemn faithlessness to plighted word. But is it not true, in a far more important matter, that multitudes treat the Word of God as if it were only “a scrap of paper”? They seem to think that its words are of no account.

But every word of God’s will assuredly stand. Does He tell us “The wages of sin is death”? (Rom. 6:23). Does He tell us, “After this the judgment”? (Heb. 9:27). Does God ask the question “How shall we escape, if we neglect great salvation”? (Heb. 2:3). Does He warn us that He must punish sin?

Beware how you treat these warnings. Treat the Holy Scriptures contemptuously as “a scrap of paper,” despise its warnings, disregard its entreaties, and you seal your everlasting doom in the lake of fire. Oh! be warned.

The Chancellor of the Exchequer, speaking on Germany’s action, asked his hearers if they had any five-pound notes upon them—any pretty little Treasury notes for £1 or 10s. “Burn them,” said he, “they are only scraps of paper.” “What are they made of?” he demanded. “Rags,” he answered. “What is behind those scraps of paper?” he asked. “All the credit and honour of the British Empire.” And he was right.

And so behind God’s word is all the credit and honour of God. God’s word will surely come to pass. This is enough, if realised, to make the careless sinner concerned; to make the indifferent anxious about his soul’s salvation. How comforting it is, when turning to its blessed pages to learn the way of salvation, to know that “for ever . . . [God’s] word is settled in heaven” (Ps. 119:39).

We may rely implicitly on God’s word, which cannot deceive, change, nor alter. “It is impossible for God to lie” (Heb. 6:18).

Do we ask the earnest question, “What must I do to be saved?” Hear the divine answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). How simple! How blessed!

The dying soldier may be at his last gasp in the trench or on the battlefield; the young sailor may be wounded to death on the battleship, or his ship may be sinking beneath wintry waves. If such an one truly and earnestly turns to the Lord in his extremity, and believes on Christ, salvation is his.

But do not presume on the grace of God. If it is good to be saved, it had better be NOW; if you mean to be saved some day, let that some day be TODAY, for you know not when death may meet you. Remember, “He, that being often reproved hardens his neck, shall suddenly be destroyed, and that without remedy” (Prov. 29:1).

Believing on the Lord Jesus Christ saves the sinner, because He died on the cross, atoned for sin, and shed His precious blood. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7), is the divine testimony of Scripture. We cannot be saved by anything we can do. Our religion cannot save us. Our so-called good works cannot procure us God’s forgiveness But, blessed be His name, He points us to His Son. He bids us put our faith in Him. He tells us, “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). Thank God, His name is enough.

Do not, like thousands around you, treat God’s word as if it were “a scrap of paper,” but approach it with reverence, learn from its holy pages God’s way of salvation; above all, receive its testimony in faith in your soul. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, AND THOU SHALT BE SAVED” (Acts 16:31).

And then seek to tell others, and live for Christ.

A Startling Cure

A Canadian soldier arrived at the Ilford Emergency Hospital from France on May 3rd. Shock had deprived him of sight, but as the disturbance of the part affected was not organic, there was hope that treatment would be successful.

After a lengthened stay in the hospital, and no recovery being observed, the soldier was allowed to leave and return to his Canadian home.

Early in September he embarked on the liner “Hesperian,” which, as our readers doubtless know, was torpedoed off the South of Ireland by a German submarine.

The shock of being suddenly flung into the water in his blind condition, and of being faced by the prospect of a watery grave, so affected him that his sight was restored. We read:
  “The man was so astonished and overjoyed that, while still in the water, he kept shouting out to those near him that he had regained his sight.”

It was without doubt a remarkable cure, and it was caused by shock.

But there is another kind of blindness that is very general indeed, and much more serious than that of the Canadian soldier. We fear the majority of our readers are affected by it, and, alas! many are not aware of it.

The Canadian soldier was blind and knew it. Moreover, he was most anxious that he should recover his sight, and in bidding farewell to the Chairman of the Ilford Hospital he said:
  “Perhaps a German submarine may torpedo the ship I am going back on, and the shock may restore my sight. The Germans robbed me of my sight. Perhaps they will give it me back again.”

How different is it with men and women all around—blind, and not knowing it; blind, and not anxious to have their sight restored. We read in the old Book, “The god of this world has blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them” (2 Cor. 4:4).

Satan blinds the mind, the eye of the heart, and men and women, alas! love to have it so.

How often God opens the eye of the mind by a shock. The writer of 2 Corinthians 4:4, the verse just quoted, was one such. Blind he was, and infatuated with his own self-righteousness. Little did Saul of Tarsus guess at the truth that he was “the chief of sinners,” yet a shock gave him spiritual eyesight, and afterwards he could write, “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief” (1 Tim. 1:15).

He was pressing on to Damascus, bent on persecuting the Christians, when the shock happened.

It was mid-day, the eastern sun was shining in all its meridian splendour. Suddenly a light brighter than the mid-day sun shone upon him, and a voice was heard from heaven, saying, “Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me? It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks” (Acts 26:14). From that hour Saul was a converted man, and laboured to spread the doctrine he had sought in his blindness to destroy. Happy, blessed shock that affected him so wondrously for time and eternity!

It was midnight. The jailer was asleep on his bed. His prisoners—Paul and Silas—for no other offence than preaching the Gospel, were in the inner dungeon, their feet fast in the stocks, their backs bleeding with stripes given them by command of the magistrates, yet praying and praising God.

“Suddenly there was a great earthquake” (Acts 16:26). God had intervened on behalf of his servants. Aye, and better still, the shock awakened the jailer in two ways. First, from his bodily sleep; second, praise God, from his soul-slumber. The shock opened his eyes, and he asked that question of all questions, “What must I do to be saved?” and received the memorable answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (v. 31).

Reader, let me ask you most earnestly, Have your eyes been opened yet to realise that as a sinner you are going straight to a terrible doom? Death and judgment, the great white throne and the lake of fire, lie before each unsaved man and woman. May God wake you up.

How many have had spiritual sight given them by a shock. Martin Luther got his eyes opened when a thunderbolt, in the forest, struck dead his companion by his side. Lieutenant Blackmore, R.N., received spiritual sight through being blown up in a powder explosion on board one of H.M. ships years ago: He testified that he went up unconverted and came down converted to God.

Very similar was the case of the writer who said:
 “’Twixt the saddle and the ground,
  I mercy sought and mercy found.”

Do you believe that you may be saved as quickly as that? You may. Just as you are, and just where you are, God is ready to bless and save you.

Repent and believe. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

A Tale From an Old Diary

We have before us an old diary. It bears the date 1862. The ink is faded, the writing is delicately formed and the writer, a Christian lady, has long been dead.

It was touching to read the tale it unfolded, a tale old yet new, for human hearts have the same sorrows now as then, and God has got the same remedy for them now as then.

Things change on every hand but the need of the soul is ever the same, nor does God’s gospel, which is His “power unto salvation to every one that believes” (Rom. 1:16),

“He being dead, yet speaks” (Heb. 11:4), was said of Abel long ago. In a similar way may the words of our diary written in 1862 bear fruit in 1921 for God’s glory and the salvation of precious souls.

“Lizzie, early lost her mother, and from her death few kind words fell to her lot. Once her Sunday School teacher told her that there was a Father in heaven who cared for her. This word sank into her heart and its effects remained.

  “Lizzie married a worthless man against the wishes of her friends. She became his slave, was led by him into every form of wickedness.
  “One day a tract was given her and she was asked what religion there was in her home. ‘None,’ she replied, ‘but if there were any there would be a mixture. My husband is a Catholic and I am a Protestant, but since my marriage seven years ago I have never been inside a Protestant place of worship.’

  “The gentleman spoke to her of her serious condition before God and gave her a card with the address of a mission upon it and urged her to attend.

  “A few days after her husband found the card and the tract folded up together. He asked where she had got them and on being told swore that he would make her eat them.

  “Things got so unbearable that she left her husband, going to another town to live.

  “There Lizzie resolved, come what might, she would attend the mission room she found in that town. She felt that she needed something, she knew not what, but she felt sure it was to be found in attention to the Word of God.

  “Her husband followed her to the town where she had gone, and almost killed her, so angry was he at her persistence in going to the meetings. Go she would, and go she did, till he had to give in.

  “From the Word of God she soon learned her state before God as a sinner, and came under deep distress of soul. She felt that it was sin that was shutting her out from her heavenly Father, but how to get it removed she knew not.

  “She heard the offer of mercy through the Saviour’s blood and righteousness through His death, but she felt it could not be for her. She continued in this state for ten months, her anxiety deepening as time went on.

  “Speaking of this time she said, ‘I would not wish to see anyone in the state I was in;’ and then checking herself added, ‘but I should not say that, for it had a grand end.’

  “Her distress increased to such an extent that If she did not get relief reason would give way. She was asked if she was not seeking to work out a righteousness for herself. ‘I,’ she replied, ‘how could one so vile as I am ‘work out a righteousness for myself?’

  “One day, after a night of deep distress, she bolted her door, and went down upon her knees and in the bitterness of her soul she cried, ‘O Lord, help me. I have done all I can, and if Thou dost not help me, I can do no more. O Lord, help me.’

  “It was as if a voice said to her, ‘You have done too much. If you had done less, it would have been better for you.’ She rose from her knees, sank upon a chair, and exclaimed to herself, ‘Oh my, have I been trying to take upon my shoulders ‘what the Lord did for me on the cross.’ She saw that redemption was a finished work—finished on Calvary. ‘It is finished’ cried the Saviour on the cross. She there and then trusted the Lord as her Saviour. She said, ‘It was the Lord’s own doing’, and oh! what a change, what a light broke into my mind. How different everything appeared.”

The narrative goes on to describe how Lizzie grew in grace, how her husband continued, alas! his brutality, how she developed a fatal and painful malady, and finally died full of peace and joy. Her one great desire was to see the face of her Saviour.

It is well to notice that Lizzie never entered into peace till she gave up trying and took to simply trusting. Times may alter. Things may change. But one thing remains the same, and that is the gospel of God’s grace.

Anyone who lived in the early Victorian age, if he could come back to life, would be astounded at the wonderful changes that have taken place. He would scarcely recognize the world with which he was once so familiar.

Railways, telegraphs, motors, submarines, aeroplanes, wireless telegraphs, a shrunken Germany, a Bolshevik Russian republic, civilized (?) countries bled nigh to death and staggering under frightful loads of debt, labour seeking by revolutionary methods to get into the saddle, unrest, insecurity on every hand, might well be a contemplation not altogether pleasing or reassuring to a modern Rip Van Winkle.

But, thank God, he would find the same Bible with the same message, the grace of God, free salvation, offered to “whosoever will.”

Thank God for something stable and real, yea, eternal in its duration and happiness.

No wonder the apostle Paul rang out the challenge, “I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek” (Rom. 1:16).

May God bring each reader to a saving knowledge of the Lord.

A Test

Ask the dying, not the living, what they think of things. Not one of them has ever pronounced gold, or earthly honour, or this world’s pleasure of real value to them on a death bed. Nor do they testify to the wisdom of a life of sin, or putting off the question of their eternal future to a death bed.

No, at such a time things begin to assume their true proportions. People who have only lived for time wonder why they have forgotten eternity. They knew that they had to enter it sooner or later, they knew that there was no return journey, no revoking the past, no altering of decisions, and yet, as if the heart were lulled to sleep by a deadly opiate, they went on and on, as if they were as ignorant of the future as the brute creation, having no existence after death.

Would that the living paid heed to the testimony of the dying. Nay, further, would that they would listen to the pleadings and warnings of a Saviour-God. God says, “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.” He says, “Come, for all things are NOW ready.”

The solemn question is asked, How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation? Surely none. If the invitation is to all, if there is nothing to pay, if there is no labour demanded at your hands, if it is the free gift of God, surely there is no excuse if you miss the blessing. If NOW is the hour of mercy, there can be no excuse.

You have often heard of these things. Be wise then, and ask yourself the question of all questions, “What must I do to be saved?” What a simple, blessed answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

A Theatre Audience Sings the “Glory Song”

On a recent Saturday night a London minister was announced to take part in a play, described as “that extravagant but ever popular farce, The Swiss Express,” in the Crown Theatre, Peckham.

He openly said that his purpose was not to advertise himself, but his church. He has succeeded in doing the former at any rate, for his extraordinary appearance as an actor in a farce on a Saturday night as a means for getting an audience on a Sunday night has made him notorious.

Appearing on the stage at 10.05 P.M., he addressed his audience, making a few humorous remarks, when a fustioned labourer in the gallery roared out, “Give us the Glory Song, sir.”

The reporter says: “Immediately the strong voice of the black-garbed man behind the footlights responded. ‘When all my trials and labours are o’er,’ he commenced. The baton swung to the chorus, ‘Glory, glory, that will be glory for me.’ The pit and gallery started it; the dress circle was dumb for a few minutes, then began to look ashamed of its abstention, and presently plunged whole-heartedly into the song. The orchestra stalls succumbed next, and the boxes could not help themselves, and presently the whole theatre was engulfed in the chorus. Altogether it was the most remarkable performance ever seen in a London theatre.”

It is no lack of charity to say that probably with few exceptions all in that audience were unconverted. If anyone cares to dispute this statement, let him take his stand outside any theatre, and ask as many as he can the all-important question, “Are you converted to God?” and he will be convinced of the truth of our assertion. And any stray Christian in the audience would not be an earnest, bright, right-minded Christian, you may be assured.

Can you not imagine, then, the awful mockery of men and women, some under the influence of drink, some whose lives would bring the blush to the cheek, many, mere pleasure-hunters, unconverted men and women, singing—

 “And when by His grace I shall look on His face,
  That will be glory, be glory for me!”

A couple of lads were singing this chorus in the streets not long ago. A Christian turned round and asked them the question, “Will it?”

“Will what?” they asked,
“Will seeing His face be glory for you?” was the response.

They walked on, laughing scornfully and rudely at the question. They were utterly careless.

That you will see His face goes without question. God says you will. If you care to prove this, turn up Revelation 1:7 in your neglected Bible. When the unconverted man sees His face it will not be “glory” but “wailing” for him.

Would that “the whole theatre engulfed in the chorus [of the Glory Song]” could be brought to think seriously of the lie that was upon so many singers’ lips that night.

If they had sung the truth, they would have sung the lines something like this:
 “When by His might I shall stand in His sight,
  That will be WAILING, be WAILING FOR ME.”

How else will a sinner in his sins meet the Saviour, whose grace he has spurned?

We are not going too far when we say that there will be a very rude awakening in such cases.

None will find it “glory” to look upon the Saviour’s face but those who have been converted. Will you? And I would as soon go to a haystack to find a needle as go to a theatre to find a true Christian.

A famous converted actor’s striking testimony is, that in his unconverted actor days, when any of the profession were dying he noticed they took care to send for a minister, who did not patronise them. Does this not speak volumes?

The other day I knew of an utterly unconverted man singing a solo in a church on a Sunday evening: “I know that my Redeemer lives.

Oh! the mockery of unconverted lips singing such words in a church, or singing the “Glory Song” in a theatre—it matters little which.

Men and women may sing thus, but the testing time will come, and how will the Saviour speak?

The following lines may be seen on a tombstone in Germany. How applicable they will be to many! Alas! that they should be. We warn you that they may not suit your case.

 “THUS SPEAKS CHRIST, our Lord, to us,
  Ye call Me Master, and obey Me not;
  Ye call Me Light, and see Me not;
  Ye call Me Way, and walk Me not;
  Ye call Me Life, and desire Me not;
  Ye call Me Wise, and follow Me not;
  Ye call Me Fair, and love Me not;
  Ye call Me Rich, and ask Me not;
  Ye call Me Eternal, and seek Me not;
  Ye call Me Gracious, and trust Me not;
  Ye call Me Noble, and serve Me not;
  Ye call Me Mighty, and honour Me not;
  Ye call Me Just, and fear Me not;
  IF I CONDEMN YOU, BLAME ME NOT.”

We beg of you, unconverted reader, to turn to God in real repentance of soul, and trust the Lord Jesus as your Saviour. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Then you can join with us in heartily and thankfully singing the chorus:
 “When by His grace I shall look on His face,
  That will be glory, be glory for me.

It will be “glory” for the believer to look on the face of the Saviour, but “wailing” for the unbeliever. Which will it be for you?

A Thrilling Incident on H.M.S. “Cressy”

Many a wonderful deed of heroism performed during the present war will never be known at all, or at best only by a small circle of friends.

One such deed we should like to bring before the notice of our readers. On board H.M.S. “Cressy” was a bright, earnest Christian sailor. His Christianity was no half-and-half measure. He was out-and-out for the Lord.

When the “Cressy” was torpedoed in the North Sea the sailors were flung into the water, and most of the poor fellows were drowned. But this young Christian sailor had the chance of being saved.

However, he deliberately, and of his own accord, gave up his chance to a married man, and sank beneath the wave—his body to await that blessed resurrection morning, his released and happy spirit to go to be with the Lord, which Scripture tells us is “FAR BETTER.”

What led the sailor to such an act of heroism and friendship? Was it that he was unmarried, and his companion had wife and children at home? It was partly with this in his mind, no doubt, that he gave up his life for the other.

But there was a far deeper reason. His companion was UNSAVED. Death for the Christian lad meant glory; death for the unsaved man would have meant damnation. Heaven was a reality to the Christian sailor. He knew heaven was his future portion. Hell—eternal hell—was a reality to him. He knew, if his companion had died unsaved, the lake of fire would have been his doom, and he longed for his soul’s salvation.

But, reader, Someone has died for YOU. Have you ever realised this? Someone has proved His deep, deep love for you by laying down His life for you in order to save you from the judgment your sins deserve—to save you from the hell to which the impenitent and unsaved must go.

Yes; it is true that the Lord of life and glory has died for YOU. He satisfied all the claims of a thrice-holy God by His death on the cross, and now salvation may be yours by simple faith in Him. This is God’s glorious message for you. Will you heed it?

Callous and indifferent indeed would be that sailor, saved from the cold waters of the North Sea, if he did not prize beyond words his companion’s heroic act. And shall it be said that you are callous and indifferent beyond words in not bowing in repentance and faith at the feet of the Lord Jesus, the One who died for His foes, His enemies? I trust not.

If you have been guilty hitherto of slighting this wonderful love, do so no longer.

  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

  “Verily, verily, I say unto you,” are the very words of the Lord Jesus, “He that hears My word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and SHALL NOT come into condemnation; but IS passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

  “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED” (Rom. 10:9).

An Unanswerable Argument

It was not an argument after all, though it was more effectual than the most carefully thought-out argument.

George Graham impressed one in two ways—a child of nature and a child of grace. In appearance he looked as if he had been carved out of a rough block of freestone from his native Cheviot hills. Made on a big scale, physically powerful, he was as gentle as a woman and as simple as a child—a man of prayer and faith.

The hall belonging to the heir to an earldom, near Graham’s home, had a large masonry job on hand. It was an important job, and a master-mason from London was secured to superintend the work. He was a smart, dapper little man, with intellectuality stamped upon his broad forehead. Alas! he was an infidel of the aggressive Hyde Park type, who ventilate their pestilential opinions on Sunday evenings in that historic spot.

Very soon after arriving north he began to air his views among the Border workmen. They said to him, “Wait till you see George Graham,” as if he were some doughty, hard-headed champion, well versed, in Christian apologetics. So the London foreman’s curiosity was aroused, and he waited with impatience for his antagonist.

At last they met. The Londoner opened out the attack, directing his remarks against the Lord Jesus Christ. Then he waited for the answer. It came in a most unexpected and convincing fashion.

The big, rough man put his arm round the foreman’s neck, looked at him with eyes glowing with love and filled with pity, and said, in his rich north country accent, “Man, if you only knew HIM you couldn’t have talked like that about HIM.”

Then he told the foreman how he knew HIM. How He had saved him from his sins and made him supremely happy. The sincerity, the earnestness, the tenderness, the reality of the man fairly overcame the smart London infidel. Arguing with a man like that seemed fairly out of place. George Graham knew the Saviour. He had saved him. He had died for him. He was living for Him. He walked in communion with Him and talked with Him. It was no wonder that Graham got no answer. He silenced his foe in a very happy way.

This encounter made a deep impression on the Londoner, and when leaving the job he invited Graham to his room to pray with him. “Behold! he prays!” was said of Christ’s chief antagonist centuries ago. Blinded by the light above the brightness of the sun, behold Saul of Tarsus on his knees. No wonder a messenger was sent to give him his sight and his commission as a servant of the Lord, whose followers he had heretofore persecuted, but whose faith he was now to preach.

So the foreman sought Graham in prayer, thus declaring his faith in a God who could hear and answer prayer, and long and earnestly did Graham pray for the blessing of the infidel.

They parted, the foreman to return to London, we trust a changed man; Graham continuing to live in his native parts till a few years ago he was called up higher, and passed into the presence of HIM whom he knew and loved and served so well.

Reader, shall this incident have no voice for you? “What think ye of Christ?”

 “‘What think ye of Christ?’ is the test,
  To try both your state and your scheme.
  Ye cannot be right in the rest
  Unless you think rightly of HIM.

He died for you. You cannot afford to ignore Him. He will either be your Saviour or your Judge. Which shall it be? God “will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth. For there is one God, and one Mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself

A Ransom for All
(1 Tim. 2:4-5).
  “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation” (Heb. 2:3).

Oh! be concerned about your soul’s salvation. Delay matters no longer. Trust such a Saviour, NOW.

Between Two Slides

During one week in March of last year over eight hundred lives were lost through snowstorms and snowslides in the Rocky Mountains.

The passengers (over a hundred in number) on train No. 97 had a very narrow escape. The catastrophe is described as being “missed by the narrowest margin.” The train had passed a certain point east of Field station, and less than a minute after a snowslide took place, burying the track for a thousand feet to a depth twice as high as a Pullman car.

The passengers found a second slide blocking their forward motion, so they had to do the best they could at Field station between the two slides, till the rotary ploughs cleared the way for the train to proceed. Blinding snow, rain and sleet fell alternately. The wind blew through the pass as through the small end of a funnel. Their condition was indeed serious.

But what would have happened if the snowbound passengers had been told that if they did not quickly get away from between the two slides an avalanche of snow would fall upon them and bury them alive? They were anxious, anyhow, to get out of their miserable plight. What would have been their anxiety, if they had known that fresh danger threatened, and that they were doomed if they remained where they were?

And yet, unsaved reader, your danger is infinitely greater than even such a situation.

You are between two slides. A lifetime of sin lies behind you, so that you cannot return to innocence, the spot from which our first parents started. You cannot go back a single hour. Judgment lies before you. You are travelling to meet it. You can reason from the past to the future. Sin in the past judgment in the future. You are indeed between two slides.

And what threatens to fall upon you at any moment, like an avalanche of destruction? DEATH! These railway passengers missed death by the narrowest margin. Your doom draws nearer, and will assuredly overtake you, unless you find a way of escape.

Christ is the way of escape. Reformation in all its forms, good works in all their phases, do not form the way of escape. The Lord Himself said, “I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life; no man comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6).

He has faced death. He has borne the judgment due to the sinner. That is why Jesus is the way of escape. God can righteously save the sinner who believes in His Son. God is “just, and the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

Unsaved reader, if you remain as you are, your doom is inevitable. Rouse yourself. Look at the danger. You have no strength of your own whereby to escape. You have no time to lose. Jesus alone can save.

Well may the Scriptures ask the solemn question, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?”

  “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

As you read these lines turn to the Lord, and tell Him you come as a lost sinner, and take Him as your Saviour, your way of escape, and He will assuredly save you, for He said, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.” Trust Him and trust Him now.

“Come,” or “Depart”

For the last eighteen centuries the word on the lips of the blessed Saviour of men has been “come.” That word was first pronounced when He was here upon earth—“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

Many thousands of poor unsatisfied souls have heard and responded to the yearning energy of that word; and they have found the aching void of their hearts more than filled up by His love. Many a storm has been hushed to a calm—many a tear turned into a smile—many a groan into a hymn of praise—as that word was acted upon, and they came to the Saviour of sinners. Have you heard that word, dear reader; or have you as yet steeled your heart as the music of His voice broke in upon your ear? Oh! struggle not any longer with the burden of your guilt and folly; but come to Him, and He will give you rest.

But if you refuse in your blind, mad folly to come on earth in response to such gracious pleading, then you will hear a different word uttered by the same lips—a word that has a stern commanding ring about it, that brooks of no delay or refusal—“Depart.” When the wicked dead are raised, when the heavens shall be rolled together like a scroll, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also, and the works that are therein, shall be burned up, then you will stand before the great white throne suspended in mid-air, and hear those soul-appalling, hope-withering words—“Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels” (Matt. 25:41; Rev. 20:11-15).

I beseech of you to pause, and hear, and respond to that loving, wooing entreaty ere it be too late—
  “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).
  “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).
  “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:8).

“Come unto Me,” the Saviour doth say

 “Come unto Me,” the Saviour doth say;
    He’ll ne’er cast out! He’ll ne’er cast out!
  He is the one, the only true way:
    Come, and He’ll ne’er cast out.

  Once on the cross of Calvary’s shame
  Jesus has died, and now through His name
  Pardon is offered—spread wide His fame!
    Come, and He’ll ne’er cast out.

  Great are your sins, but greater His love;
    He’ll ne’er cast out! He’ll ne’er cast out!
  Sweetly the message sounds from above,
    Come, and He’ll ne’er cast out.

  Conqueror He o’er death and the grave,
  Ready to bless and mighty to save;
  Full to the breeze let love’s banner wave:
    Come, and He’ll ne’er cast out.

  Precious the blood that cleanses from sin:
    He’ll ne’er cast out! He’ll ne’er cast out!
  Oh! let that love thy confidence win,
    Come, and He’ll ne’er cast out.

  Trust now His word, it will not deceive,
  Trust now the Lord and pardon receive,
  Just here and now upon Him believe:
    Come, and He’ll ne’er cast out.

  Why then delay? God’s time is just now;
    He’ll ne’er cast out! He’ll ne’er cast out!
  Here at His feet in penitence bow:
    Come, and He’ll ne’er cast out.

  Long has He waited at your heart’s door,
  Soon will the day of mercy be o’er,
  Then will God’s grace be offered no more:
    Come, and He’ll ne’er cast out.

“Consider This!”

Without controversy, Shakespeare is the most widely-known and popular poet of all time. A keen student of human nature, his observations are well worth close attention.

It is most evident from his writings that he had a knowledge of the gospel, and was familiar with the letter of Scripture. For instance, the following clearly shows that he did not share the far too common and fatal delusion that doing the best we can, turning over a new leaf, striving to reform, being religious, is sufficient for the salvation of the soul. He wrote:
CONSIDER THIS—

That in the course of justice none of us should see salvation.”

I would that all who think that doing the best they can is sufficient, would, in the words of the poet,

CONSIDER THIS!!!

Besides which, to be honest, no one “does their best.” The majority are driven half-heartedly to do certain things, such as a weekly attendance at a so-called place of worship, if it is not too hot, or cold, or wet. Such go as a duty. And the little thus done is far short of doing one’s best. Is it to do one’s best to put a threepenny piece into the collection-plate because it is the smallest silver coin? Away with such a delusion as doing your best.

Besides which, suppose you did do your best; suppose you gave a five-shilling piece, because it is the largest silver coin, instead of a threepenny piece because it is the smallest, would that earn you heaven? Why, five shillings would not procure the best seat at an opera for a single night, and you hope to win a blissful eternity by such things. Moreover, your best would be stained with sin; besides which “God requires that which is past” (Eccl. 3:15).

“Doing your best” no more meets the strict requirements of justice than the promise to steal no more would prevail upon the judge not to sentence the thief; or the promise of committing no more murders would prevail upon the king to pardon the murderer. Such a line of argument is neither lucid nor workable in this world, and you may rest assured that it won’t answer in the next.

No, said Shakespeare, if it is a question of justice, “none of us should see salvation.”

Do you want salvation? Then you must look for mercy. Christ was sent into this world “to give knowledge of salvation unto His people, by the remission of their sins, through THE TENDER MERCY of our God” (Luke 1:77-78).

Yes; not strict justice, but tender mercy is what you need. Strict justice is what your sins deserve; tender mercy is what your soul needs; and without it Shakespeare tells us truly that “none of us shall see salvation,” not even the best of us.

One last remark, but it is most important that you should grasp the significance of it if you would enjoy peace with God. Why should “the tender mercy of our God” be expressed through the Lord Jesus? He Himself precludes all other channels when He says, “I am THE Bread of Life” (John 6:35); “I am THE Door” (John 10:9); “I am THE Way, THE Truth, and THE Life” (John 14:6). Why, then, should there be only one channel of blessing, one Person through whom it must come.

“Consider this!” Mark well the answer. Because GOD’S tender mercy must be founded on strict justice, and thus only through Christ’s bearing all the full weight of God’s wrath upon sin, only through His satisfying all the claims of holiness could tender mercy come to us. “Grace reigns through righteousness unto eternal life by Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 5:21). “There is none other name under, heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Count the Cost

I can’t be a Christian; the cost is too great,” said a young woman to me, as she shook her head despondently. She had night after night been present at some tent-meetings held in the north of London. She had felt convicted of her sin, felt drawn to the Saviour, would, indeed, like the relief of heart and conscience the gospel brings, but she knew that to be a Christian would in her particular case cost a good deal.

I replied, “If it will cost you a good deal to be a Christian, IT WILL COST YOU MORE NOT TO BE A CHRISTIAN. It may cost you your living, your friends, your prospects FOR TIME to be a Christian; it will cost you outer darkness, wailing and weeping FOR EVER not to be a Christian.”

I believe she longed to break her chains, would have given worlds to do it, but sin had made her captive hand and foot.

* * *

And now, reader, Are you a Christian? A real, true Christian, a follower of the Lord Jesus?

If you cannot answer with a glad affirmative, will you count the cost? Indeed, you cannot count the cost, for “what shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

And believe me, the gain of being a Christian far outweighs even in this world the cost of it. The great apostle Paul speaking of his conversion testified, “But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ . . . I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung that I may win Christ” (Phil. 3:7-8).

Whatever you do, count the cost, as far as you can, of not being a Christian. Throw in your lot with the Lord Jesus. Trust Him. He will receive you. He will save you. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

“Daniel Webster, The Sinner”

Daniel Webster, the famous American orator and politician, spent a summer in New Hampshire. Every Sunday found him in church paying marked attention to the sermon.

His niece asked how it was that he paid so much attention when he paid little attention to far abler sermons in Washington. He replied:
  “In Washington they preach to Daniel Webster, the statesman, but this man has been telling Daniel Webster, the sinner, of Jesus Christ.”

Does not this remark indicate plainly where the power of preaching lies? A revival had lately broken out and the question was asked, What does the message consist of which is being used in conversions? The answer was given: The ruin of man and the redemption which is in Christ Jesus.

We speak of persons being great and small in this world, but the greatest of these is but a worm in the presence of God. The Emperor dies as much as the meanest of his subjects—all are sinners and all alike need redemption.

Countess de Krudener, a Christian lady, stood before Alexander I, the Emperor of Russia, emancipator of the serfs, and told him plainly that God would not receive him because he was Czar of all the Russias, but because he came as a lost, unworthy sinner in repentance before God and in faith centred on the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour. Thank God, he acted on this advice.

The Lord said to Zacchaeus, as he sat up in the sycamore tree, “Make haste and come down.” Surely this is the cry today. “Make haste.” No time to be lost. The issues at stake are too tremendous. “Come down.” “Come down” from your self-righteousness, from the heights of a Christless religion, from the elevation of a worthless ritualism it may be, “come down” to the feet of the Saviour, and there and there alone will you be blessed. “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” (Eph. 2:8-9).

It was the story of Christ’s coming into this world, dying on the cross, of his triumphant ascension, of His dying for the sinner that his sins might be forgiven that suited Daniel Webster, the sinner. Does this not suit you, my reader? You are a sinner and you admit this. Neglect the message of the gospel and you seal your own doom.

Do It Now!

Empires have been lost through lack of instant decision. It is narrated of Napoleon that indecision ruined him at the last. Defeated and broken at Waterloo, promptitude might even then have saved him, but it was lacking.

From the field of Waterloo he rode off to Paris. Instead of presenting himself, booted and spurred, bespattered and weary, before the half-rebellious French Parliament, subduing them with his eagle eye and dauntless front, arousing their patriotism as he so well knew how to do, he went to the Palace of Versailles. There he sat down to think over things, had a hot bath, went to bed for the night, and found next morning the only possible chance he had was gone.

The deck of H.M.S. “Bellerophon” and the lonely rock of St. Helena witnessed to the mistake he had made. DO IT NOW! stared him in the face, but he lacked the nerve just then to carry it out.

In another matter, and one of far deeper importance, the advice DO IT NOW! is of all moment. I refer to the matter of the soul’s salvation. What can be more important? Have you ever faced it? If not, I beg of you to give the following your most careful consideration.

DO IT NOW! for “God NOW commands all men everywhere to repent” (Acts 17:30). Evidently God thinks it urgent when He addresses all men everywhere, and exhorts them to repentance NOW. He exhorts them in view of the day of judgment. God is holy—He must punish sin. You are unholy. Such is the urgency of the case that God calls you to repentance; or else there is no escape from judgment.

Will you listen to the voice of warning love? Refuse; it is at your peril and to your everlasting-sorrow.

DO IT NOW! for God says, “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). What does that mean? Let me illustrate. In an Oxfordshire village lived an old Christian woman. She was greatly troubled about the dark spiritual condition of the place, and prayed persistently for fourteen years for its blessing.

One day two young men preached on the village green. A statement that they kept repeating puzzled two of their hearers. They betook themselves to old Ann, as likely to give an explanation.

“Ann,” they cried, “there be two young men, who have been preaching on the green, and they do say that ‘now is the accepted lime; now is the day of salvation.’ What be they meaning, Ann?”

Here was Ann’s opportunity. The woman, who had prayed for fourteen years, was not likely to lack an answer. She cried out with the plainness and forcibleness of speech given to a true lover of souls:
  “If you believe on Jesus now, and died tonight, you would be in heaven tomorrow; but if you do not believe in Jesus, and died tonight, you would be in hell tomorrow. That be what it means.

There was no mistaking the plain English of the answer. One of the women weighed it over, and trusted the Lord Jesus without delay; the other woman, who asked old Ann the question, went away undecided. Two weeks later she was returning from her work in the fields, intending to light her fire, boil her kettle, and have an early cup of tea.

Alas! the fire was never lit. The cottage gate was scarcely reached when a neighbour saw her stagger up the little garden path and fall to the ground. She ran to her help, but before further assistance could be obtained, and the poor woman placed upon her little sofa in the small kitchen, she had died.

So far as our knowledge goes she made no profession of having trusted the Saviour, and thus she passed into eternity.

Beyond the inexpressibly sad warning contained in this incident, and the bare possibility of my unconverted reader dying tonight, and being in hell tomorrow, aye, and sooner than that, our desire in penning these words is to press upon you the acceptance of the truth of God’s own words:
  “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

God offers to save you on the spot. Sometimes people will tell you they are waiting God’s time. They cannot do that. It is an impossibility. If God promised to save you five minutes after believing, then you could wait God’s time, but when he says “Now is the day of salvation,” you cannot wait for NOW.

DO IT NOW, for God says, Come: for all things are NOW ready” (Luke 14:17). Have you ever seen a curious advertisement on the hoarding, “So-and-so is coming”; and afterwards a full advertisement is given on the arrival of the individual? Every type in the Old Testament, every sacrifice on Jewish altars, all said, “He’s coming.” For centuries He was foreshadowed, till at last the Saviour came. No wonder the angelic hosts descended into the lower heavens, praising God and saying, “Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men” (Luke 2:14). For in the person of the wonderful child, Jesus (never less than God over all, blessed for ever) lay all men’s hopes for blessing; all the fulfilment of the types and shadows. We are all familiar with His wonderful life. “The common people heard Him gladly.” They “wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of His mouth.” On to the cross He went. That was the occasion for which He came. “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” In His wonderful atoning death all things were made ready. “IT IS FINISHED,” rang loudly from His lips, so that now we can sing—

 “From cross to grave, from grave to God’s own throne,
  Proved Him the Victor—Him and Him alone.”

A glorified accepted Saviour is the proof that all things are now ready. You have nothing to do, but as a repentant sinner receive Christ, and in receiving Him you become the possessor of every gospel blessing.

For see how all is linked up in Him. “Through His Name whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). “Through this Man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13:38). “By Him all that believe are justified from all things” (v. 39). “Your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake” (1 John 2:12). “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

And the reason why it is linked up in Him is that God is a holy God, and must punish sin, and that the Lord Jesus Christ took the guilty sinner’s place, satisfied all God’s holy claims, vindicated righteousness, and it is only on the ground of the finished work of Christ that God is able to offer forgiveness and salvation. No wonder the testimony of Scripture is that “there is none other Name under heaven given among men whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

DO IT NOW, for God says, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3). The road to hell is paved with good resolutions. Many a man and woman is there, we fear, who never intended to get there. Delay, indecision, is a habit that grows with years. The most favourable opportunity for decision is NOW. Now you have opportunity; tomorrow you may have none. Today you are in the land of the living; tomorrow you may be in eternity. You have everything to gain by decision; everything to lose by delay.

And, after all, what are the prizes this world can give? A deputation waited last year on the aged John D. Rockefeller, reputedly the richest man in the world. With tears coursing down his cheeks and his voice choking with emotion he told the gentlemen forming the deputation that emphatically the chief aim in life was not to get rich. What was it? May I give the answer? To get into true, happy relations with God.

Men spend years of toil in obscurity, broil under tropical suns, brave Arctic winters, all to grasp the bubble of fame, and, when grasped, what a bubble it is! And generally their years have fled, their days are done, death is marking them for its victim, and their only consolation that riches have been amassed or a peerage has been won lies in the fact that they can leave these things to their heirs. The greatest consolation in getting with so much labour is the leaving of it with so much ease! Poor reward! And then—ETERNITY!!!

Ah! ETERNITY!!! The contemplation of it is enough to paralyse the thoughts of every unconverted man and woman. Eternity! A man had a dream. He thought he was in heaven, looking at a large clock without pointers, which said, as its long pendulum swung backwards and forwards, “Ever, never.” He asked some happy-looking people gazing with delight upon the clock why it had no pointers. The joyful answer was, “There is no time hereit is ETERNITY. Hear what the pendulum says, ‘Ever, never.’—SALVATION EVER, DAMNATION NEVER.”

Alas! the clock had its counterpart in hell; but the question put to some unhappy-looking people as to why it had no pointers caused inward anguish. What a terrible answer in hell, “There is no time hereit is ETERNITY. Hear what the pendulum says, ‘Ever, never’—DAMNATION EVER, SALVATION NEVER.”

The dream contained the truth, and I beg my unsaved reader to be wise, and settle the question of his never-ending eternity, and DO IT NOW.

Long centuries ago Abner reminded the elders of Israel that they had sought David in times past to be their king, and added, surely advice worth its weight in gold, “NOW THEN DO IT” (2 Sam. 3:18). His advice was for prompt and immediate action, and he reminded them that their submission to David and their salvation from their foes were bound up together.

We can earnestly say to you of a greater than David, who can give you a greater salvation than ever he could, “NOW THEN DO IT.” “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, THOU SHALT BE SAVED” (Rom. 10:9).

Fact Stranger than Fiction

The following striking tale has been received: “A friend, who was in a country village on business, stopped at a wayside inn for refreshment. While there he noticed a picture of a large ship hanging on the wall. He enquired what was the history of the picture, and was told by the proprietor that it was ‘The Hampshire’, the ship which went down in the last war with Lord Kitchener on board.
  “My friend then enquired, who was the man, whose portrait was under the picture of the ship. The proprietor replied that it was a picture of himself, and went on to explain that he was a sailor on the ship when it went down, and was one of the few whose lives were saved at that time.
  “The conversation led on to the subject of the present war, and the old sailor said, ‘Do you think they will bomb us here?’ He continued, ‘Well, I do not mind if they come, for I do not think God will allow me to be blown up after saving my life twice.’ He then related the following striking incident, which proves the power of prayer.
  “After being saved from the wreck of ‘The Hampshire,’ he was later sent out on a mine-laying expedition, a cargo of forty mines on board. When they were well out to sea, they received a message that they were being pursued by a submarine. They were told that no help could be sent, and they must do the best they could.
  “The Captain called them all on deck and explained the position to them. He then said, ‘There is nothing left for us but prayer.’ He held a short service on deck, and commended them to God. The submarine overtook them and blew the bottom out of their ship; but not one man was killed, and none of the forty mines exploded!
  “So the old sailor, who had been saved twice, knew where to turn when a new danger threatened him.
  “‘God has spoken once; twice have I heard this that power belongs unto God. Also to Thee, O Lord, belongs mercy’” (Ps. 62:11-12).

God had spoken indeed to the old sailor, not only once but twice in a most unmistakable way. Suppose he had gone down in the ‘Hampshire,’ or had perished on the mine laying expedition, his body would have been lost, but what of his soul? Fortunately for him that his body was saved twice and his life on this earth prolonged. But sooner or later death must come to him and us all.

Why must death come? The Bible is the only Book in the world that gives an honest and true answer to this question, the answer of which affects us all in a very vital manner. Why, then, must death come? We are told, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). God is righteous in thus dealing with mankind.

When the terrible earthquake visited Philippi the prison was wrecked. The foundations thereof were shaken. Doors were opened. The prisoners’ bonds were loosed. The jailer was faced with a terrible dilemma. If his prisoners escaped his life would be forfeited by the unreasonable arbitrary power of those heathen times.

Impelled by stark fear the brutal jailer took his sword and was about to kill himself, supposing that his prisoners had fled. The jailer, however, had two notable prisoners in his charge. For no other crime than preaching the Gospel, he had thrust Paul and Silas into the inner prison, noisome, pestilential, verminous, the light of heaven excluded, having first beaten them mercilessly. With feet fast in the stocks, their backs bleeding, these wonderful men were heard praying and singing praises to God at the midnight hour. This was the triumph of Christianity.

Just as the sword was about to do its deadly work, the jailer heard Paul crying with a loud voice, “Do thyself no harm, for we are all here” (Acts 16:28).

Relieved indeed as the jailer was, a deeper and more pressing danger pressed upon his spirit. Not a question of relief with his body this time, but one concerning his soul, his sins, his eternity.

Would that our sailor friend, twice saved as to his body, might have realised this far, far deeper, need. Have you realised this?

Better far never to have been born into this sad world, if you fail to realise this.

We have quoted the text, “The wages of sin is death.” If we had nothing more to tell you, we should not have deemed it worth while to address you thus. But listen to the remainder of the verse:
  “The wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

When the Philippian jailer addressed to Paul and Silas the earnest cry, “What must I do to be saved?” the answer was clear and explicit.

  “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Did our sailor friend, twice rescued from a watery grave, find this salvation? Have you?

God offers a gift—life that is eternal. Our sailor friend twice had life restored to him, but it was not eternal life. What you need is eternal life.

God offers it us as a gift. Will you have it? It is through Jesus Christ our Lord, that is to say it necessitated the Son of God becoming man, dying under the judgment of God at Calvary’s cross, making atonement for sin, meeting fully the claims of God’s requirements, so that in righteousness He can offer you freely and fully the gift of eternal life. Will you have it?

No earthly deliverance will suffice. You need, and must have, the salvation of God through personal faith in the Saviour. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). There is no other way. We beseech you not to miss it.

Faithful to the Promises

Only yesterday I visited an old woman in her eighty-ninth year. Though she had been in bed for months, yet her cheeks were rosy, and there was a buoyancy of spirits and a merry twinkle in her eyes, which even old age and weakness could not quite subdue.

She is trusting the Lord as her Saviour, and in years long fled she committed to memory countless passages of scripture, which are now a stay and comfort to her. But, spite of all this, she is not clear as to her salvation.

She declares that it is the Lord who will save her if she keeps faithful to the promises.

I spoke to her like this: “Mrs. C—, if I promised you a five pound note, would you be sure of it, if you kept faithful to the promise?”

This seemed to puzzle her, so I proceeded, “How could you be faithful to a promise you had never made? Impossible! But if I, who made the promise, was faithful to my promise you would get the five pound note. You see that would depend upon my faithfulness, not yours.
  “Now,” I said, “who made you the promises?”
  Her eyes lighted up, and she said earnestly and deliberately, “A faithful, covenant-keeping God.”
  “And who,” replied I, “will be faithful to these promises?”
  “A faithful, covenant-keeping God,” she again responded.
  Is there any doubt of His faithfulness?” “Oh! no,” she answered.
  “Then it is not you who have to be faithful to the promises, but the One who made the promises—EVEN GOD HIMSELF.
  “If that be so, then the promises are AS SURE AS IF THEY HAD BEEN ALREADY FULFILLED.”

What a happy climax to reach! Grace is pure grace. Centuries ago the first covenant that was given to Israel partly depended upon Jehovah’s faithfulness and partly upon the people’s; and because it partly depended upon the people’s it altogether failed, so that the Apostle could say, “The commandment, which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death” (Rom. 7:10).

But the new covenant depends altogether upon God’s faithfulness, and therefore is altogether to be depended upon.

The Apostle Peter writes of “exceeding great and precious promises” (2 Peter 1:4).

The Apostle John writes, “This is the promise that He has promised us, even eternal life” (1 John 2:25).

The Apostle Paul writes of the blessing of believers: “Therefore it is of faith, that it might be by grace; to the end the promise might be sure” (Rom. 4:16).

If the simplest believer on the Lord Jesus takes in the thought of God’s pure grace and faithfulness to His own word, he or she will be delivered from all doubt as to the future. We are entitled to be as sure of reaching glory as that our Saviour, our great High Priest, is there already for us in virtue of His finished work, and able to save to the very uttermost all those who come to God by Him.

Of course, there are many things that are ours already, and do not come under the head of promises. The forgiveness of my sins is not promised to me when I get to heaven, but is mine the moment I believe on the Lord Jesus. So with salvation, although there is an aspect of salvation that is future. But the moment I believe on the Lord Jesus I am saved from God’s righteous judgment against me for my sins; I am saved from hell, and the future is divinely assured. So with justification. That is mine also.

But the promise of being with Christ and like Him for ever, the promise of eternal life, the promise of a glorified body, the promise of being in the Father’s house, these are as sure as those things that are mine already. May we enjoy our present blessing and future prospects!

Farewell

Never shall I forget a sight I saw many years ago. It was enough to make the coldest heart thrill.

Returning from preaching the gospel one Sunday evening in a Durham colliery village the train drew up at an intervening station. I quickly saw that something unusual was stirring. Evidently a stalwart young miner was emigrating, and his friends had gathered to give him a suitable send-off. Among them one could tell at a glance his old mother. The hungry way she used up every minute in gazing on her son, and the tearful expression on her face, told their own tale. His friends were jovial, wished him luck, and perhaps some hoped to follow him to a foreign land.

But his mother! She was old, and was never likely to see his face again nor he hers. At last the guard’s whistle sounded, the ponderous engine began to draw our train out of the platform.

I shall ever remember how the old mother ran along the platform to get the very last look at her boy.

I can see him. Leaning out of the window, feeling the parting deeply, but he showed it in a man’s way. No tears; no sobs; just a hard stony look.

I can see her. Her shawl fallen from her head; her grey and scanty locks flowing in the wind as she ran. Never shall I forget the pathos of her cry, “Oh! Jack, oh! Jack, shall I never see you again? Jack, oh! Jack, shall I never see you again?”

It is terrible to be parted for time. How inexpressibly terrible to be parted for eternity? How do you stand? Are you ready to enter the next world?

Some partings are different. For instance, the boys going off to school. They leave their kind parents and nice homes, but they are only parting for a little while, and then after hard and useful work at school they have the joy of the reunion with loved ones at home, perhaps bringing an armful of prizes and certificates home.

I saw just such a parting a little while ago. I stood beside an open coffin in which lay the body of a Christian man, seventy-eight years old. Widow, grown-up sons and daughters and grandchildren were there. The old wife came forward to take a last look at her husband’s face. She stroked tenderly, saying, “Good-bye, good-bye.”

Ah! but she knew, like the schoolboys, the parting was only for a little while. He was a believer in Jesus, died in the knowledge of Christ as his Saviour and his spirit was with Him. She too was a Christian, and if the Lord were to return quickly, in a moment she would be reunited to her husband, in a scene where the old relationships will not be taken up, but every ransomed heart will be absorbed with the Saviour. At best her days of pilgrimage, as of all the Lord’s people, are but few.

How happy to be ready! Are you? God grant you may not rest satisfied till you know you are saved through the work of Jesus on the cross. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Five Asses

In hot countries the ass is an animal of much more use and importance than in our temperate countries. There are several reasons for this. First it is so hardy. It can drink impure water, and subsist on very poor food. It is easily managed and plods away at its work, spite of the hot sun, poor water, and scanty food.

I have seen strings of them in Jamaica. They carry large panniers, filled with merchandise, and sometimes on the top of that you will see the owner—a black man or woman—seated. Rather a heavy load!

Not long ago a friend and myself were invited to speak to the little Spanish children in a small village, called Tunara, overlooking the blue Mediterranean Sea. The village was built upon the soft sand. As walking was very wearisome our friends sent a Spanish boy with a couple of donkeys for us to ride. They had no saddle, but a lot of thick cloths strapped over their backs. My old friend laughed so hard that he could not mount upon the back of the donkey, until the onlookers good naturedly brought him a chair. And I am sure you would have laughed, if you had seen us riding on the donkeys, our legs nearly reaching the ground.

But in Eastern lands it is so common to see people riding them, that no one even thinks of smiling. Judges and even kings would ride them. You may remember King Solomon was forbidden to bring horses from Egypt, lest he should trust them rather than God, so you may see how useful the asses were. White asses were especially prized, and ridden by the great men, and they were fleet of foot, and very different to the donkeys you see at the seaside, which will scarcely go at more than a slow walk.

Now the first of the five asses, dear children, I want to talk to you about is

The Burdened Ass.

We read in Genesis 49:22 “Issachar is a strong ass couching down between two burdens.” Boys and girls carry burdens, as well as the strong ass Issachar was likened to. I daresay you could see in Eastern lands today just such an ass. Look at his two big panniers, filled full with fruit. What two heavy burdens the ass is bearing!

But there are other burdens we want to talk to you about. There is many a boy and girl carrying very big burdens. If you looked ever so hard, and even put on your spectacles, you could not see them. And the boys and girls, who have these burdens, run about and play, as if they did not carry them at all. What burdens are they? you ask. It is the burden of sin.

You see the first baby born into this world—Cain—was “born in sin”—born outside the garden of Eden. And so you and I were “born in sin and shapen in iniquity.”

And not only that but you are a sinner by practice. You were not very old before you began to sin, and the burden began to grow. And every day you have been adding to it, until your sins are very great.

Issachar was like “a strong ass, couching down between two burdens.” What two burdens, do YOU, if unsaved, carry? First burden—sins of commission. Second burden—sins of omission. What do these long words mean? Sins of commission are the wrong things which you have done. Sins of omission are those things which you ought to have done, but neglected to do.

Now how many sins will shut you out of heaven. ONE, just one. One sin shut Adam and Eve out of the garden of Eden, and one sin will shut you out of heaven. However will you reach that bright and holy place with your heavy burdens, which every day are growing heavier and heavier!

To get rid of your sins, you must first be like the second ass I want to tell you about. Now an ass can walk, run, eat, sleep, smell, see, hear and many other things, but there is one thing it cannot do. Can you guess? It cannot TALK. But I want to tell you of the only ass that ever talked. Why, you say, it must have been a wise ass. Yes, dear children, it was. Let us call it

The Wise Ass.

We read in 2 Peter 2:15, “Balaam . . . loved the wages of unrighteousness; but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.” You can read how it happened in the Old Testament (Num. 22). Balaam was told by God not to go a certain journey, but in self-will he went. As he rode on his ass, suddenly it turned out of the road into the field. What made the ass act thus? It saw an angel standing in front, with a drawn sword in his hand. Balaam smote his ass, and turned it back into the road. A little further it got into a vineyard path, with walls on either side. When it again saw the angel, in trying to turn aside it crushed Balaam’s foot against the wall, and he smote his ass again. A little further on the angel of the Lord stood in a narrow place—so narrow that the ass had no room to turn at all. When the poor creature saw the angel it was so frightened that it fell down. At this Balaam got very angry; and he smote his ass again.

Was not Balaam astonished when God opened the mouth of the ass, and it said, “What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?” And do you know that Balaam, instead of being amazed at the ass speaking, was so angry that he wished he had a sword in his hand instead of a stick, so that he might have killed the poor ass. What a dreadful thing temper is!

Then God opened Balaam’s eyes, and he saw the angel of the Lord with the drawn sword in his hand, and so learned that the ass had three times saved his life.

The ass was wise because it saw that the road Balaam was travelling was leading to death and judgment.

Now I want you to be as wise as that. We spoke of the burden of your sins, and that you cannot possibly get to heaven with them. Now what is the end of the road you are travelling? Is it not death, and after death THE JUDGMENT? Is it not a grave and eternity? Oh! dear child, be wise. Let the burden of your sins trouble you, and look to the end. Judgment is before you. “Flee from the wrath to come.” You know not how long you may have to live! There are thousands of tiny graves in the churchyards.

I think I hear some one say, “I know I am burdened with sin, and I know, too, I am travelling a road leading to judgment; but how can I get rid of my burden, and escape the judgment?”

This brings us to our third ass. Turn up your Bible to Exodus 13:13, and you will read: “Every firstling of an ass thou shalt redeem with a lamb; and if thou wilt not redeem it, then thou shalt break his neck: and all the firstborn of man amongst thy children shalt thou redeem.”

There we read of redemption; and the ass, redeemed by a lamb we will call

The Redeemed Ass.

No doubt this is a little picture of the way of salvation. The Lamb must be substituted and die for the ass, or else the ass must die. Now you and I are like the ass, and we, too, must have a substitute. Who shall be our substitute? The Bible speaks of Jesus as “the Lamb of God.” Why did Jesus die? In order to become the substitute on the cross. If we wish to escape from hell, and have our sins washed away, we must trust the Lord Jesus Christ as our very own Saviour. Have you yet done that, and can you say the burden of your sins is gone? I trust so, but it can only be by trusting the Lord Jesus, God’s Lamb, the substitute on the cross.

Now do not delay any longer, but “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.”

But let me tell you of a fourth ass. Let us call it

The Honoured Ass.

Can you tell me who the greatest Person was who ever rode upon an ass? JESUS! Quite right. Surely it was an honoured ass (see Zech. 9:9). And as the blessed Saviour guided it, how gently it would do His bidding. Why He was its Creator, and had a right to its use!

Now I would like those, who are redeemed, who can say they have trusted Jesus as their Saviour, to be like the honoured ass. What I mean by that is this. Let the blessed Saviour guide you through this world. Let Him direct your ways and conduct, so that you may be really like little Christians. A boy or girl should be as real a Christian as a grown-up man or woman. Dear little Christian, do you read your Bible every day, and pray that the blessed Lord may guide you. If He is your Saviour, He is also your Lord, and claims your willing obedience.

But now I want to give you all a solemn warning before I close by telling you about

The Dead Ass.

Speaking of Jehoiakim, King of Judah, the prophet Jeremiah said: “He shall be buried with the burial of an ass, drawn and cast forth beyond the gates of Jerusalem” (Jer. 22:19). Why was the king to be buried without any ceremony, just like a dead ass? I have only seen one dead ass in my life; but have never seen the funeral of one, and never expect to see one. No one thinks of mourning over a dead ass. Why, then, was this king not to be sorrowed over, and have a royal burial? Because he was so wicked.

Let me give you one instance of his wickedness.

Jeremiah, the prophet, was in prison. God told him to write a roll containing God’s warnings against the people for their wicked ways. A friend of Jeremiah, Baruch, wrote the words as Jeremiah spoke them. When all was written down, Baruch took them to the people, and read the words in their hearing. When the king heard of it he sent for the roll.

A man, named Jehudi, read the roll before the king. When he had read three or four leaves that wicked king took the roll, cut it up with his penknife, and cast it upon the fire. It was winter time, and a fire was burning upon the hearth.

I think I hear some boy or girl saying, “I would never burn the word of God like that.” Stay a moment. You might never perhaps cut the word of God into pieces with your penknife, but do you neglect the word of God, and its plain warnings about the consequences of sin, and the judgment to come? Have you yet accepted the gracious invitation of the Saviour, when He says, “Come unto Me”?

This wicked king’s body was to he buried outside the gates of an earthly Jerusalem. Your soul, if you die without Christ, will for ever be outside the gates of the heavenly Jerusalem. You will never reach heaven, if you die in your sins. Have a care. Do not neglect your one precious soul. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved.” Now get half a-sheet of writing paper, and write either

“I am a Burdened Child,”

or

“I am a Redeemed Child,”

whichever you can truthfully. Then sign your name, and date it, and give it to your father or mother, or Sunday school teacher.

If you have not yet trusted the Saviour, and do not wish to write, “I am a burdened child,” why not trust Him at once, and joyfully write, “I am a redeemed child”? May God grant this blessing. Amen.

Found Out and Turned Out

During the last summer Duchess X. gave a garden party at her beautiful and stately home not far from London. Detectives were employed to safeguard the house and the guests, many of the latter carrying valuable jewellery on their persons, whilst the former contained many things of costly worth. These detectives are men of good appearance, who would pass without remark among the guests, and who are trained to know by sight all the nobility and gentry likely to be the guests on such an occasion.

During the course of the afternoon they observed a guest quite unknown to them with a suspicious manner. They approached him, and asked politely to see his card of invitation. This not being forthcoming, they inquired if he knew the Duchess. He assured them he knew her very well.

“In that case,” they replied, “if you know the Duchess quite well, she will surely know you. Come this way, and we will see.”

The unhappy man had to go, and soon found himself in the presence of the Duchess.

The detectives said, “Does Your Grace know this gentleman?”

She looked at him narrowly, and replied that she was not acquainted with him.

Then rough hands were laid on the unhappy man, and he was unceremoniously turned out.

FOUND OUT AND TURNED OUT.

Aye, and the day is fast coming when many an unconverted choir singer, an unsaved Sunday-school teacher, an unregenerate communicant, will be likewise found out and turned out.

He knows them that trust in Him,” wrote the prophet Nahum long years ago, and his testimony is true today. Do you know the Lord? Yes, replies many a mere professor. If that is true, then the Lord will know you, for “He knows them that trust in Him.” The time will come when your profession will be thus put to the test.

We are exhorted to strive to enter in at the straight gate. There is no room for anything but reality there. Soon the Master of the house will rise up and shut fast the door. How despairing will be the answer to those who will clamour for admittance, “I know you not whence ye are.” Useless will be their reply, “We have eaten and drank in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets.”

But again the crushing answer shall come, “I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me all ye workers of iniquity.” And away to the weeping and gnashing of teeth will they be forced to go.

Just think for a moment. “We have eaten and drank in Thy presence.” Unconverted, unhappy communicant, ponder over that when next you think of taking the Lord’s Supper.

Thou hast taught in our streets.” Yes, alas! that is only to their greater condemnation.

Professor, the gospel has been preached faithfully in your hearing; the good news of God’s love and Christ’s work has been again and again pressed upon your acceptance. Better, far better, be one of those countless tribes in Central Africa, who have never heard the gospel, never heard the sweet name of Jesus, the Saviour of sinners, than to be like you with a false profession stumbling into hell over Bibles and preachers and opportunities.

May you find out your mistake before it is too late. Go to the Lord yourself. Without a card of invitation in your hand He will receive you, if you go in your true colours to Him now. He says, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out.”

But die with nothing more substantial than a false profession, you will find the detectives bringing you into the presence of the Saviour and He will not know you, for you have never trusted in Him, and all that justice can do will be to describe you as

FOUND OUT AND TURNED OUT.

May God save you from this awful doom that awaits each mere religionist dying in his sins, and give you to be a real believer on the Lord Jesus Christ and to really trust in Him, for “He knows them that trust is Him.”

From Laughter to Terror

Without the slightest warning the awful catastrophe fell upon the gay and godless city of San Francisco. An eye-witness writes: “The day before had been an ideal Californian day, clear and bright, with bracing breezes and a glowing sunset. The night following was like quiet sleep. Hundreds of hacks and automobiles whirled the people to the Opera House to hear Caruso sing in ‘Carmen.’ The great theatre was packed with the wealth of the Golden West. After the opera the hotels and restaurants were crowded with joyous opera parties, which were not long finished before shrieks of terror were heard where there had been laughter, while the very scenes of merriment were obliterated by ruin and fire.”

Is there no message to you in this voice of the earthquake and fire? Is San Francisco specially wicked that such a dramatic ruin should have overtaken it?

Similar questions were asked of the Lord when in His day the tower of Siloam fell; killing eighteen people under its ruins. Were they sinners above all that dwelt in Jerusalem?

The Lord made answer, “Nay; but except ye repent ye shall all likewise perish” (Luke 13:5).

From this we gather that the fate of San Francisco is a call to you for repentance. The unrepentant sinner will assuredly perish, and by that is not meant “annihilation,” or ceasing to exist, like the beasts of the field, but the eternal doom of the lost in the lake of fire. Repent! Repent!! Repent!!! is the voice of earthquake and fire to you; nay, the very voice of God Himself in urgent tones.

When will men think of their future—not the future of tomorrow, or next week, or next year, but of ETERNITY? Oh! the folly of a man toiling and moiling to obtain a competency for an old age he may never reach, whilst making no provision for the great forever which may be as near him as it was to the people of San Francisco on that beautiful day of “bracing breezes and glowing sunset.” What a startling thought that you may be as near your eternity as that!

We read that 200,000 were rendered homeless by earthquake and fire. But if you reach eternity unsaved you will be homeless FOR EVER. “Outer darkness” is no home. The lake of fire is a poor gain for earth’s follies and soul-indifference.

The distress of the homeless was soon alleviated, for the United States Government appropriated £200,000 for their relief, and millionaires like Rockefeller and Carnegie, and rich corporations donated large sums. But in a lost eternity there will be no relief—there the worm never dies and the fire is not quenched.

The fire brigade chief died in the vain attempt to stop the irresistible march of the conflagration that followed the earthquake. His death put an end to his power to help the living.

May I be permitted to draw your attention, reader, to the death of the Son of God? It was not His living, but His dying that made Him all-powerful to save. He came to this earth to die, “the Just for the unjust.” By His very dying He broke the hitherto irresistible march of sin and death. He is now the Victor, crowned on high, and He offers shelter, pardon, salvation, and forgiveness to all who stand in need of Him. “To Him give all the prophets witness, that through His name whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43). Hear the invitation from His own lips, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

But once let the golden day of opportunity go by, and His death will be in vain for you. Here and now is the hour of forgiveness.

 “There are no pardons in the tomb,
  And brief is mercy’s day.”

  “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

As I write, 300,000 are starving. One man was shot for washing his hands with the precious drinking water. Rich and poor are alike without food. Money is of no value. What a reversal of things! “The almighty dollar” to be no more potent than the ashes left by the fire!

In eternity rich and poor will be alike, and money of no value. Even here all are on one common platform before God, and money is powerless to buy His favour. He does not judge by the size of the house in which we live or the style we keep up, but He has respect to the man of a broken and contrite spirit. He gives pardon to the king upon his throne and the beggar in the workhouse alike upon the condition that they will come empty-handed and needy, and receive the forgiveness which is alone to be had through Christ, who gave Himself a ransom for all.

Oh! be warned while mercy may be yours. “Prepare to meet thy God.” Time quickly passes. Life is so uncertain. Eternity draws nigh. God waits to pardon. The blood of Christ still avails, “Now is the accepted time.” Trust Him now. Do not delay.

God has Proved His Love to Sinners Poor and Lost

  God has proved His love to sinners poor and lost,
    By the gift of His own Son;
  Now salvation’s free—procured at highest cost—
    For the sinner, lost, undone.

  Trust Him now, Trust Him now,
    He sits on high upon the throne,
  And before His face all the ransomed race,
    Glory in His Name alone.


  Yes, the precious blood that flowed from Jesus’ side
    Cleanses every sin away;
  And the soul that trusts that cleansing crimson tide,
    May forgiveness know today.

  For in heav’n the Saviour sits in glory bright—
    Proof that all the work is done—
  God is satisfied—oh blessed, wondrous sight—
    And we know the victory’s won.

  Now redeemed from Satan’s pow’r, and sin and death,
    Through the work of Christ alone,
  It would praise His Name with every fleeting breath,
    And His saving grace make known.

Gospel Jottings

“The blood of Christ, which satisfies the JUSTICE of God, may well satisfy the CONSCIENCE of an awakened sinner.”

Should there be a soul trusting Christ, and yet not sure of his acceptance with God, reading these lines, we feel sure that they may well bring peace and comfort to his mind.

The lesser is included in the greater. The greater is that God’s justice should be satisfied. Without that there is no salvation for any. With it there is forgiveness and pardon for all. That God’s justice has been gloriously satisfied is claimed by the words of the dying Saviour, “It is finished”; and that claim has been most blessedly allowed by God in that He has raised Jesus from the dead, and crowned Him with glory and honour. The same hand of justice that smote the divine Substitute on the tree has crowned the mighty Victor on the everlasting throne.

The lesser is the satisfying of the guilty conscience of the awakened sinner. Once the anxious soul learns that God is satisfied, then it follows that it is proud presumption for the believing sinner not to be satisfied. Faith sets to its seal that God is true. A foundation such as this nothing can shake. “God is just and the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). Have you believed in Him? That settles everything.

* * *

“Half-way to Christ is a dreadful place. Take you heed—to be NEAR the lifeboat is different to being IN it—take you heed.”

In one sense no one can be half-way to Christ. There is no half-way house. You are either in your sins or in Christ. There is no middle ground. On the other hand King Agrippa could say to the Apostle Paul, “Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian.” Bethsaida was exalted to heaven and yet thrust down to hell.

So you may be the child of a praying mother, know the Gospel as well as the preacher does, and yet perish in your sins. You may often have felt impressed at a Gospel service, and yet die a hardened sinner.

The reflection of such privileges, as we have outlined being theirs, and yet slighted and refused, will but add to the torments of many of the lost. Far better to have died a dark, ignorant heathen, to whom the name of Jesus is unknown, than to pass away into God’s presence unrepentant and unsaved from all the light and warmth of Christianity.

* * *

“‘It’s a very simple way to Heaven,’ said a poor, unlettered man, ‘if people would only take it. There are only three steps. Out of self—into Christ—into glory.’”

Alas! it is the very simplicity of the Gospel that stumbles so many. If only we were more simple we should get along better. We are too complex, and judge God by the standard of a man. We say the Gospel is too cheap, or too easy, or too good to be true, and in that way God is insulted and His word refused. The Gospel cheap! Nothing has ever or will ever cost so much. Creation cost a word. Salvation cost God His Son; it cost the Lord Jesus all the shame of Calvary. The Gospel too easy! If it were not without money and without merit, it could not be universal, for some have no money, and according to Holy Writ, none have merit, for “they are together become unprofitable.” The Gospel too good to be true! Why, thousands have proved it to be good, superlatively good, but—true!! emphatically true. Oh! reader, take these steps to blessing: Out of self—into Christ. Into glory will come in God’s own good time.

* * *

“After the death of Mr. Sandeman, a devoted missionary in China, there were found written in large letters in his notebook, ‘ETERNITY, ETERNITY.”

Would that every man and woman in the land lived in the light of eternity! What a difference it would make in their whole outlook. Business would not be everything. Pleasure would not engross. Indeed, our chief business and pleasure would be in connection with eternal things. A gentleman offered a tract to a lady in a train, and received the withering reply, “Please attend to your own business.” “That’s exactly what I am doing, madam,” he replied; “my business is with souls.”

And do not think it is gloomy when one’s chief business and pleasure is with eternity. Ask any bright Christian acquaintance of yours, and they will tell you the pleasures of this life are but as “the crackling of thorns under the pot,” that in Christ they have “a deep, sweet well of love,” to use Samuel Rutherford’s quaint but expressive phrase. Only try it, and you will see, and above all let eternity have far more weight in your thoughts than time, for time is like a drop in the ocean; eternity, the ocean, boundless, fathomless, shoreless. ETERNITY! ETERNITY!!

* * *

“During the last year it is computed that between 30,000,000 and 40,000,000 of the world’s population have died and been buried.”

Place them in a long array, and they will give a moving column of more than 1,300 to every mile of the earth’s circumference.

Their march began with the cradle and has ended with the grave so far as this earth is concerned. Your march was begun, perhaps twenty, thirty, forty years ago. Each step you take brings you nearer to the fateful end. Longfellow sings sadly enough, but how truly, that

 “... our hearts, though stout and brave,
  Still, like muffled drums, are beating
  Funeral marches to the grave.”

And after the grave, what then? Resurrection—eternity, either with Christ in glory or with the lost in despair.

Reader, had you died during last year, where would your soul have been? Do face the question. We are your true friends in urging this upon you.

God is merciful. Christ has died. Salvation is offered. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). Now is the time to face these things, and may the issue be a happy one for you.

* * *

The Inconsistency of Atheism.

The infidel, desiring to deny the existence of God, must of necessity deny the existence of a Creator. In loud, swelling, empty words he will tell you that the earth, with its beauties, was the result of “a fortuitous concourse of atoms,” which simply means that a lot of atoms coming together without guiding hand, by pure chance, produced this world. The belief infidelity requires is far beyond that which revelation asks. The latter is simple, understandable, and majestic. The former is staggering beyond all belief. For if there is “a concourse of atoms,” how came they to be atoms? and if they came together, who gave the law of motion? In short, how did something come out of nothing? Of course, the idea of an uncreated, eternally-existent God is beyond the creatures’ powers of explanation, but yet the soul demands such an idea; and if we could explain the idea it would cease to satisfy our souls, for God is to be worshipped and adored. How can the creature understand the Being of his Creator?

A well-known writer ridicules the inconsistency of atheism. He says: “You can put away the mystery of God, and you get in return the greater mystery of godlessness. The infidel’s account of creation is neither more nor less than a fool’s account. A chair could not have made itself, but the infidel says that the sun is self-created. Your coat had a maker, but the infidel says that your soul had none. The wax flower of your table was made, but the roses in your garden, the infidel says, grew by chance. The figure-head on the ship was carved by some hand, but the face of the carver, so the infidel says, became a face by chance, without design or without law.” Shall we believe such arrant nonsense? The devil will try to deceive you, weaken the Creator’s hold over the conscience, but I beg you to refuse his lies, and remember not only that God is the Creator of all things, but that you are His creature, and to Him you must give your account. “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12).

* * *

The Need of Redemption.

It is very evident that a man who disbelieves in the Creator is not likely to believe in the Redeemer, and yet it is just because God, the Creator, is holy and must punish sin, and we His creatures are sinful and lost, that we need a Redeemer. We cannot put away our own sins—no amount of reformation or religiousness can atone for our guilt. The king upon his throne, the beggar upon the dunghill, the professor of morality in his chair, and the lewd sinner in the unspeakable slums—all alike need a Redeemer, a Saviour. It has been most solemnly said, “At every swing of the pendulum a soul goes into eternity. Between the rising and setting of every sun 43,000 souls are summoned before their Creator. Death is very busy, night and day, at all seasons, and in all climes.”

What a dreadful life this would be had we no Redeemer! To be sinners—aye, dying sinners, the heavens as brass above our heads, and hell yawning to engulf us, and each step taking us nearer to an awful eternity, would be sad indeed. How different! God in heaven ready to forgive each sinner pleading the blood of Jesus; nay, a God who beseeches us to be reconciled; a triumphant Saviour sitting on God’s throne, who can say, “Him that comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out”; there is no excuse for any missing the blessing.

Will you miss it? Thousands are doing so. Your neighbours on every hand are doing so. Will you do so?

Oh! be in earnest. God is willing to save you; the redemption price has been paid by Jesus in blood on the cross of shame. There is no barrier on God’s side. Indifference or pride may hinder you—indifference as to your state before God as a sinner; or pride, preventing you from taking the low place before Him and receiving without any return on your part the free gift of salvation.

* * *

When is the Time to be Saved?

God says, “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.” It is folly to put off such a question to old age, when the faculties are enfeebled, and procrastination has become a second habit, or to a deathbed, when the body is racked with pain, and weakened by disease.

“Millions of money for a moment of time,” exclaimed Queen Elizabeth as her end approached; but money was without value. Death was not to be bribed.

“It is too late, I am lost,” was the dying cry of a young man. A gracious revival had visited his district, but be had passed through it unmoved. Sudden sickness laid him low, death stared him in the face, and he was filled with anguish and despair. And so he died.

“I won’t die, I can’t die,” shrieked a young lady, as she covered her head with the bedclothes. And thus she died. No power of will could avert the blow of death; willing or unwilling, the end had to be faced.

We could multiply cases, but forbear. You have ample witness of the awful power of death. We cannot do more than bear solemn testimony to its power, and draw your attention to the fact that it is the wages of sin. (See Rom. 6:23.)

And above all we would draw your attention to the death of Jesus, for He died “the Just for the unjust, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18). It is just here that the good news comes in, and death becomes no longer feared by the believer in Jesus. Death for the sinner is like the young lion that roared against Samson; death for the believer is like its carcase filled with honey, it can no longer terrify, but ministers food and sweetness. Out of the eater has come forth meat; and out of the strong has come forth sweetness. The believer can exultantly say, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Cor. 15:5). “To depart, and to be with Christ . . . is far better” (Phil. 1:23).

Oh! NOW is wisdom’s hour and God’s hour for salvation. God grant that, if unsaved, you may not allow any further delay in this most important matter, but trust the Lord at once.

“Grace Abounding” or, The Murderer’s Conversion

Grace Abounding” is the title of one of John Bunyan’s best-known works. The title is doubtless suggested by the verse, “Where sin abounded, grace did much more abound” (Rom. 5:20). Yes, it is blessedly true that there is no sin—murder, theft, lying, uncleanness—God cannot and does not forgive the repentant sinner.

God forgave David, adulterer and murderer. The Lord blessed the dying thief at His side. Thank God for it. No sooner were Cain’s hands imbued in the blood of his brother than God pointed him to the sin-offering crouching at the very door—a lamb ready for sacrifice. It is not only “grace abounding,” but “grace much more abounding.” The thought of it has brought many a vile sinner in repentance to God.

A tall, dark man, the subject of our story, was sitting gloomily in his cell. Two warders watched him night and day to prevent the possibility of escape, or weapon or poison being brought to him by such visitors as the local magistrates allowed to visit him. Some months previously this man, living then in a small South African town, had cruelly murdered his wife in order to marry one of his shop assistants.

In the town where the crime had been committed public feeling had run very high, consequently it was considered advisable by the authorities to remove him to another town—a hundred miles or so away—so that the jury might not be influenced by local feeling. However, the case was clear, and the wretched man was condemned to death.

A friend of the writer happened to be in the town, holding some gospel meetings. He was asked to visit the murderer in the condemned cell. Application was made to the magistrate. The man himself desired an interview. Leave was granted. Six times during the last two weeks of his life my friend had the great privilege of putting the gospel before him. Apparently he drank in the message of grace with great eagerness.

However, it came to my friend’s knowledge that the murderer was stoutly affirming his innocence, and he felt very pressed to put it plainly before him that there was no salvation for him, if he persisted in going into God’s presence with a lie upon his lips. “He that covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoso CONFESSES and forsakes them shall have mercy” (Prov. 27:13).

The condemned man was taken aback, and energetically resisted the line my friend was led to take.

“You cannot prove that from the Bible,” said he.

“Indeed,” my friend replied, “what about King David upon his throne? He had committed a crime almost identical with that for which you have been found guilty. Not only did he confess his sin to God, but he was obliged to write down a full confession in Psalm 51 for the meanest subject of his kingdom to read, a confession which has been read by millions of people in succeeding generations.”

The murderer still refused to admit his guilt. My friend pleaded with him without avail. At length he solemnly warned him against going into God’s presence with a lie upon his lips, and left the town six days before the execution, with little hope of his salvation, though he heard afterwards that he had made a confession.

* * *

Nearly two years later my friend contracted enteric fever—that scourge of South Africa. Whilst lying in hospital in Johannesburg he got into conversation with a young carpenter in the next bed but one to him. It transpired that he had been in G— at the time of the murder trial. When my friend told him that he had visited the condemned man six times, the interesting fact was elicited that this young carpenter had been lodging with a friend, also a carpenter, who had actually erected the gallows, and who told him that the guilty man had made a full confession of his crime, and that the night before the execution he had handed him a book, which he said had been used to his conversion, in which he had marked the articles that had particularly arrested his attention and helped him.

It at once occurred to my friend that this might be a book entitled “The Journey and Its End,” given by him to the prisoner, and which, according to the jailer’s report, he had read very diligently. This proved to be the case, the young carpenter identifying the book, and pointing out the articles, which had been marked by the condemned man.

Thus after two years God allowed my friend to have the joy of knowing that when the spoken message apparently had failed to reach the condemned man. He had used the printed page in bringing blessing to his soul.

God’s ways are truly wonderful. His grace is unbounded. Even the repentant murderer may be sure that God will not refuse his cry for mercy. If he turns in simple faith to the Saviour, who died on the Cross of Calvary, salvation will be his. Was not the very first trophy of the cross a thief, considered by his fellow men not fit to live?

Reader, if unsaved, you are in as much need of mercy as this poor murderer was. Will you not be warned in time? Turn to the Lord: He alone can save. He says, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). May God’s “grace abounding” touch your heart, and bring you before Him in true repentance and faith.

Grace for the Guilty

We were sitting in a railway carriage in South Wales whilst a friend was standing on the platform waiting to see us off. For the benefit of our fellow-passengers he said in the hearing of all, There is grace for THE GUILTY because there was judgment for THE INNOCENT.

For the sake of a larger audience we pen these pithy words, and trust that many may be blessed by them. They are well worth pondering over. They contain the truth of the gospel, the great truth of substitution.

All of Adam’s race are guilty. Only one perfect Man has been in this world, God’s Son, the Lord Jesus, and this blessed One has died for sinners. In the words of Scripture,
  “Christ . . . once suffered for sins, the JUST for the UNJUST, that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

There it is—the just for the unjust. Does it not touch your heart to think that the Lord Jesus came all the way from glory to the cross of shame to die for you? You are the unjust, the guilty; He the just, the innocent, and in love He took your place that God might be able righteously to forgive.

Weigh well that statement—There is grace for THE GUILTY because there was judgment for THE INNOCENT. Write the sentence out, substituting “me” for “the guilty,” and “Christ” for the innocent,” and receive this wondrous grace. It is for you. In faith accept it.

Hearken! the Day of God’s Grace Closes Fast

  Hearken! the day of God’s grace closes fast,
  Linger not, linger not, doom comes at last;
  Soon will the dark night of judgment be here,
  Hasten, oh! hasten, while Christ still is near.

  Come now to Jesus, come now to Jesus,
    Come and thy sins all confess.
  Come now to Jesus, come now to Jesus,
    He is still waiting to bless.


  Long has he lingered, in grace He has sought
  Those by His own precious blood He has bought,
  Sought to redeem them, to cleanse them from sin,
  Sought thus the love of their cold hearts to win.

  Jesus has suffered that thou mightest be
  Ransomed for ever, and happy, and free,
  Wilt thou not come and this message believe?
  Linger no longer, the Saviour receive.

  Weary one, hear Him, He’s calling to thee,
  “All ye who labour, come now unto Me;”
  Come with thy burden, a sinner confessed,
  Jesus is waiting to give thy soul rest.
        A.J.Pollock (verses 1-2)
        J.T.Mawson (verses 3-4)

Heinrich Heine’s Death-bed

Heinrich Heine was a very distinguished writer. He was a Jew by birth, and was born in Dusseldorf in 1797. When in his twenties, finding that being a Jew religiously stood in his way, he became a nominal Christian. In reality he was an infidel, and his mordaunt wit was used on that line with deadly effect. He died in Paris in 1856. His insight into the future was uncanny. He prophesied the character of the war that Germany would wage, how she would become pagan, smash cathedrals, revive the pagan god of Thor, the god of war, and astound the nations by her brutality and ruthlessness. Could it be believed that Germany, the home of the glorious reformation, the land of Luther, could fall so low? Yet so it is, alas!

How did Heine die? Did he find his infidelity enough to satisfy a deathbed? Often God has to face men with the reaping of their sowing, before they are brought to think aright about their eternal future. Hear what a friend, who visited Heine in his last days, has to say:
  “I found Heine lying upon mattresses on the floor. Though nearly blind, and very thin on account of his disease and suffering, yet his face was stamped with that superior intelligence peculiar to him. He was paralysed in both legs, and could only with great difficulty move his fingers. He could not occupy himself with anything for his sight was disappearing. His back was one great sore, and even to speak caused him pain. In spite of all this there was a remarkably peaceful look on his face, which I did not expect to find in Heine, who earlier in his life took pride in being an infidel. Now he spoke of the knowledge of sins forgiven, and that this assurance was from God.
  “Though yet in middle life, Heine knew he was about to die, and spoke calmly about it. ‘Believe me,’ said he, ‘I, Heinrich Heine, am saying this on my death-bed, after many years’ consideration of what has been said and written about this matter. I have come to the conclusion that there is a God, who will judge us according to our deeds; that our soul is immortal; and that there is a life after this in which evil shall be judged and good rewarded. And if at any time you have been in doubt about these things, then look at me, and see how faith in what God says enables me to triumph under the most distressing circumstances.”

Deeply touched the visitor took Heine’s hand in his to express his deep joy at his conversion to God. Heine continued his remarks:
  “There are fools, who having lived their whole life in blindness and deceit, have not the courage to admit they have been wrong. But I confess openly that it was an awful blindness which held me captive for so long, but now I see clearly. All who know me must admit that my spirit is not possessed of uncertainty. I say this while my mental faculties are still strong and clear as before.”

Disappointed in love, business a failure, bitter prejudice against him because he was a Jew, dying of an incurable disease, life nearly over, these were all used of God to show him the hollowness of life, the consequences of sin, even in this life, to bring him to a state of mind when he was ready to receive the message of divine love to guilty sinners.

He spoke of his assurance being from God. Where did he find that assurance? Surely in the Scriptures of truth. Where else could he learn the knowledge of forgiveness of sins? With all his acute mind and knowledge he had to come to God’s word as a little child, and there learn lessons of humility and faith.

May this have a voice to the readers of these lines. Perhaps you are one, who flatters himself that he is above believing the simple Gospel message. We have met such in our day, and to tell the truth we have not been impressed by their attitude.

We remember meeting one such in a house where we were visiting. We asked a young man about thirty years of age to come to a Gospel meeting we were shortly holding in the town. He replied, “Do you know who I am?” This was said with a great air of importance. He would not think of coming to a Gospel meeting. He did not believe in such things. The Bible was untrue, a book of fables and fancies. He then told me he was an agnostic. We asked him if he really meant it. He assured us he did. We reminded him that the word agnostic meant a know-nothing. Did he know nothing? He thought he knew a great deal.

We said to him, we will ask you three questions. You will answer two of them, but the third you cannot answer. First, “How is it you are on this little planet, called the earth, that you do not fly off into space?” He replied that the law of gravitation accounted for his being on the earth. The second question was, “What keeps the earth in her orbit round the sun?” He replied, “The law of gravitation.” The third question was, “What keeps the sun in its place?” He did not know. We told him we did not know the steps, whether one or a hundred or a million, but what kept the universe in its place, including our sun, was GOD.

Now as GOD is the centre of the universe, or else all would be disaster, so unless GOD is the Centre of YOUR life, it will be disaster for YOU. Make no mistake about that.

If a man like Heine, with his keen intellect, with years of infidelity behind him, could study the Word of God, can you not do the same? Be in earnest in your quest after God. He will not fail you.

Hear what conclusions Heine came to. God will judge us according to our deeds. Is this true? Are you ready to face the ordeal? That the soul is immortal. Is this true? If so, you will live on after the death of the body for ever and for ever. But where? Answer me. Is this no concern to you? If it is a matter of indifference to you, then you must be blind indeed.

Then Heine spoke of the knowledge of sins forgiven. You may have that knowledge too. Listen to God’s word, which gave Heinrich Heine this assurance, which you may share, if you will. “Be it known unto you men and brethren, that through this Man [the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, who died on the cross to atone for sin] is preached unto you [proclaimed to you, offered to you] the forgiveness of sins” (Acts 13:38). Is this not a grand assuring message? Will you believe it?

Heine also said this assurance came from God. It can come from no other source. Hear it is in God’s own word. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye HAVE eternal life” (1 John 5:13). Is this not enough for you, who believe on the Saviour?

May Heine’s deathbed carry a real lesson to you that may prove a blessing to you in this life and forever.

How can I be quite sure of Salvation?

Such is the question often asked by the anxious soul.

There is only one way of being sure. Once we have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as our personal Saviour, we have got abundance of evidence in God’s Word of two things.

First, God’s acceptance of the work of Christ as performed on behalf of sinners. This is proved by the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. Second, God’s acceptance of the sinner, who puts his trust in the Lord, and the bestowal upon him of salvation, forgiveness of sins, and eternal life.
Salvation! “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).
Forgiveness of sins! “I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name’s sake” (1 John 2:12).
Eternal life! “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life” (John 3:36).
Acceptance! “He has made us accepted in the Beloved” (Eph. 1:6).
“We believe and are SURE” (John 6:69).

How Dr. Johnson Died

Dr. Johnson after eight years of solid labour produced his famous dictionary, a noble piece of work, entitling the author to being considered the founder of English lexicography. Johnson had in many ways a miserable life, beset with physical infirmities of a distressing and disfiguring nature, seeking a very scanty livelihood in the realm of literature, which was then “a dark night between two sunny days,” when the day of patrician patronage was at its close and that of public patronage had not dawned. For years he had great difficulty in keeping the wolf from the door.

Johnson was well over fifty when he emerged from obscurity. In 1762 a pension of £300 a year was conferred on him by Lord Bute, the then Prime Minister, and in the following year he made the acquaintance of James Boswell, a Scots laird, whose Life of Dr. Johnson is probably more imperishable than any of the doctor’s own writings.

In later years he mixed with very many distinguished people. But at last old age asserted itself, and his bodily condition grew serious, and it was apparent to all, as well as to himself, that the end was drawing near.

In early life he had been overpowered by debts, difficulties, ill health, and religious doubts, which rendered him a prey to morbid melancholy. These religious doubts continued till near the end of his life.

Like many others he had an aversion to making his will, completing it on December 8th, and 9th, 1784, dying on the 13th, with so little apparent pain that his attendants hardly perceived the actual moment of his dissolution.

That Dr. Johnson was deeply interested in religion is no marvel. Surely any man, with ordinary powers of observation—and Dr. Johnson had extraordinary powers of that nature—must think seriously of that which comes after death. Death is an awful reality, and we may well enquire into its reason, and what is its result.

No human religion attempts to explain this in a satisfactory way. Spiritualism, the latest and most dangerous demoniacal craze, speaks of death, but does not give one word of explanation as to why it is.

The Bible alone puts its finger upon the spot. It tells us: “The wages of sin is DEATH” (Rom. 6:23). And that death does not mean annihilation is proved by Scripture: “It is appointed unto men once to die, but AFTER THIS the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). Well might such thoughts fill Dr. Johnson’s mind with serious exercise.

The writer viewed with deep interest lately in the house of Dr. Johnson’s birth at Lichfield, the armchair (very uncomfortable compared to the present day armchair) in which he sat in his closing days. If the chair could speak what could it not tell us of his deep interest in the question of his soul’s salvation.

Thank God, in the very evening of his days the clouds broke and passed away, and he got into the sunshine. He discovered clearly the ground of being right before God, and being prepared to leave this world with calm assurance of going to heaven.

Shortly before he died he wrote to Sir Joshua Reynolds, the famous painter, begging him to forgive him a debt of £30, to read his Bible and not to use his brush on Sundays. To this Sir Joshua readily assented.

To Francis Barber, his negro man-servant, and to whom be bequeathed the great bulk of his fortune, some £1,500, he said, “Attend, Francis, to the salvation of your soul, which is the object of the greatest importance.” Do you agree with this, my reader? Is the salvation of your soul,
THE OBJECT OF THE GREATEST IMPORTANCE?

What does any other object, or every other object amount to compared to this pressing matter? Every other interest is but for such a short time. This is for ETERNITY.

Dr. Brocklesby, his friend and physician, on whom he had pressed the importance of these things, and whom he had made to write down the purport of his remarks to him on the subject, and to promise to preserve the record till his death, wrote:
  “For some time before his [Dr. Johnson’s] death, all his fears were calmed and absorbed by the prevalence of his faith and his trust in the merits and propitiation of Jesus Christ.
  “He often talked to me about the necessity of faith in the sacrifice of Jesus as beyond all good works whatever for the salvation of mankind.
  “He pressed me to study Dr. Clarke and to read his sermons. I asked him why he pressed Dr. Clarke. ‘Because’ said he ‘he is fullest on the propitiatory sacrifice.’”

Here we get the secret of the happiness of Dr. Johnson’s closing days. He discovered the true meaning of the death of Christ and its relation to him. He discovered that Christ’s death was a propitiatory sacrifice, that is an atoning death, which met all the fullest claims of God’s righteousness, enabling Him to offer salvation to mankind.

Discovering this, Dr. Johnson, with the humility of a little child, trusted the Saviour and received the assurance from Scripture of his salvation. He clearly recognised that his own so-called good works could not save him. Christ and Christ alone; His atoning death and that alone; faith and faith alone were the means of his blessing—Christ, the glorious Person; His death meeting all God’s claims and setting Him free to offer pardon, forgiveness, salvation, justification and eternal life; faith, the empty hand of expectancy which receives the blessing.

Reader, you have read how Dr. Johnson died. How will you die? Are you prepared?

  “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).
  “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

How the Belgian Soldier was Rescued

It was cold, biting December weather amid the frozen mud of Flanders. After one of the rushes by the Germans for Calais a poor Belgian soldier was left badly wounded in the open field. Realising his danger, with great effort he dragged himself into the shelter of a small wood.

Then a dread alternative arose before his mind as the slow, long hours of exposure and pain dragged their weary length. Either relief must come quickly, or—death. So, gathering up the little strength he had, he cried aloud for help. The effort was almost too much for him, and he sank back into an unconscious heap of mangled humanity.

Thank God, his cry for help was heard. Soon he became conscious of a strong arm being placed under his head, and a kind voice addressing him, bidding him cheer up and be of good courage.

Slowly opening his eyes, what was his utter amazement to see King Albert himself stooping over him. With a glad cry he exclaimed, “My King! My King has come to save me.”

With assistance King Albert tenderly carried the wounded soldier to his royal car, and before long he was being cared for in a base hospital.

It is a touching story indeed, but it serves to bring to mind one far more touching.

All honour to the heroic King Albert. His name is written high and secure for all time on the monument of fame.

But there is a Name above every name—a Name enduring for time and for eternity. His is a work above every other work—a love above every other love. That Name is the Name of Jesus—that work the wondrous atoning work He wrought for sinners upon the cross—that love the love of God Himself, expressed through the Lord Jesus. He could not have expressed the infinite love of infinite God without being infinite God Himself, nor could He have expressed it to us without becoming Man, for His atoning death was necessary before God could righteously express that love, and welcome the returning sinner.

King Albert put his strong arm under the wounded soldier in order to raise him. Behold the strong arm of the finished atoning work of the Lord Jesus. On that ground, and that ground alone, can God raise us up from our sinful estate and bless us. God must act on righteous ground. It is thus His infinite love can be expressed.

Believers can joyfully exclaim, “The Lord brought us forth . . . with a mighty hand and with an outstretched arm” (Deut. 26:8). Well may the Lord ask: “Is My hand shortened at all, that it cannot redeem?” (Isa. 1:2). Why do you not trust Him? He is ready to save. He is powerful to redeem.

King Albert spoke comforting words to the soldier. But, oh! what comforting words the Lord Jesus speaks. Listen! “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). Again, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Malt. 11:28). And He does. He did it in my case, and in that of tens of thousands more. Try Him. Take Him at His word.

King Albert acted nobly. But, it cost him little but sad pleasure to relieve that sorely wounded soldier-subject of his. But the Lord Jesus died for us—His enemies—died, too, under the terrible judgment of God against sin—died with the awful cry upon His lips, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?”

Thank God, His last utterance was, “Father, into Thy hands I commend My spirit,” thus proving that the work was done and—accepted by God.

Reader, see to it that you accept this blessed Saviour, this wondrous love. Refusing it, “how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 6:2).

Remember, decision is the great thing, that is needed. “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

How the Train Was Saved

Farmer Lowe was crossing the railway line of the Grand Trunk Railway of Canada on his way to a neighbouring farm, when he noticed, accidentally as we should say, a drop in the tracks.

His business over, he went to supper, and there the thought took possession of him that he had better stop the next train due about six o’clock in the evening. He had no time to notify the railway agents at the nearest stations, so he determined to flag the train himself.

Swinging a lantern with one hand, and a white handkerchief with the other, he stood on the side of the line for a few minutes, and with the near approach of the oncoming train he stepped between the tracks and brought the train to a standstill.

The scene was an appalling one. But two hundred yards further on was a huge gap. A cloud-burst had occurred during that afternoon, causing a washout, forty feet in depth and sixty-five feet across. The tracks and ties remained intact, suspended across the huge yawning chasm.

Lowe’s prompt action had saved the lives of many of the passengers. Little did they dream as the train sped its way over the smooth rails, that they were going straight on to destruction unless the train were stopped.

But it is of a far more serious matter that we write. Unsaved reader, unless stopped, you are heading for an infinitely worse disaster—you are heading for a lost eternity, for “it is appointed unto men once to die, but AFTER THIS the judgment” (Heb. 9:27).

For one at least on the train, sudden death would have meant sudden glory. A veteran preacher of the gospel, known to the writer, was one of the passengers, and he was at the moment travelling on an evangelistic tour. Death for him carried no eternal terrors. But for the unsaved it meant the shortening of their lives and the settling finally the point as to where they would spend eternity, for as such enter eternity so will they spend it. ‘As the tree falls so shall it lie.” If they enter unsaved, they will spend eternity unsaved. And what is the meaning of “unsaved”?

It is all wrapped up in the word “lost.” Who can measure the woe of that condition?

When engineer Meeking, the driver of the train, saw Lowe’s signals, like a sensible man he put on the brakes and brought the train to a standstill. He were a madman, if he had done otherwise.

But what shall we say of the unsaved, who disregard the warnings of Scripture? By this printed page we hash the signals across your path. Will you pay heed to them? God grant that you may, for if you refuse to put on the brakes, you will assuredly ensure your eternal destruction. Be wise!

A collection was made by the passengers, who had been saved from death or injuries for life, and it amounted to $25. Reckoning 200 passengers in the train this contribution averaged 12½ cents (= trifle over sixpence) per head. One is tempted to wish that the passengers had had no collection rather than express their gratitude in such an ungenerous fashion. We should think whoever handed this paltry sum over must have blushed to think how ungrateful the passengers were, and how apropos the retort would have been that they evidently placed a very small value on their lives.

But what shall be said of the price paid for the sinner’s ransom? Words fail to describe it in adequate terms. Mathematics have no figures wherewith to express this sum. It was an infinite price, even the blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. The Christian can sing:
 “I am redeemed, but not with silver,
    I am bought, but not with gold,
  Bought with a price—the blood of Jesus—
    Precious price of love untold.”

And on our part what response have we given? Lowe’s promptitude and resource in flagging the train involved only a little trouble on his part. But the Saviour’s action caused His journey from
 “ . . . Godhead’s brightest glory,
  Down to Calvary’s depth or woe.”

Remember that “Christ Jesus . . . gave Himself a ransom FOR ALL” (1 Tim. 2:6), therefore for YOU. His death can save you from eternal disaster. What is your response to this?

The passengers’ $25 was a pitiable sum. What is your response? Surely Dr. Watts has furnished in his immortal hymn the only adequate answer:
 “Love so amazing so divine,
  Demands my heart, my life, my all.”

Reader, have you given this response? Trust the blessed Saviour just as you read these lines. Surrender to His mighty love.

The Lord give you this grace. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

I am Going to my Saviour, to His Home of Love and Song

    I am going to my Saviour, to His home of love and song,
    And I sing with joy His praises as I journey thus along.
    Though the tempest roar around me, and the storm its fury break,
    Yet He keeps me safe from danger, even for His own Name’s sake.

    I will trust . . . and never fear, . . .
    Though in grief . . . falls many a tear. . .
    For the dawning of the morrow
    Crimsons red upon the sky;
    Yes, the day without a sorrow
    In the glorious by and by.

    For the One who died to save me lives now beyond the sky,
    On His heart He bears me ever, and succours me on high,
    And I know He’s coming for me, for I read His promise plain,
    That for those who trust and love Him, He will surely come again.

    So I jour . . . ney on my way, . . .
    Waiting for . . . that blissful day, . . .
    When His face aglow with glory,
    I shall gladly gaze upon;
    And my lips shall tell the story
    Of His love, with ransomed throng.

    So I sing my song to Jesus as the night wears fast to day,
    And ere yet another morning He may call me hence away,
    So I’m waiting and I’m watching for my Saviour and my Lord,
    Oh! how Sweet ’twill be to see Him, where He is by all adored.

    Soon He comes, . . . He comes for me . . .
    I shall then . . . His glory see. . .
    Oh! the joy and rest of being
    On that peaceful heavenly shore;
    Oh! the bliss supreme of seeing
    Him I love, for evermore.

“I Found Firm Footing There”

Sometimes a testimony to the power of God’s saving grace is rendered impressive by reason of the exalted position of the one who renders it. We give below the testimony of the Rt. Hon. James Brown, M.P., who was on one occasion the representative of the King as Lord High Commissioner, and as such resided in the royal palace of Holyrood in the Scottish capital.

An enquiry was addressed to him by the Scots Observer, and in its issue of 18th June, 1931 his reply under the title, “Why I believe in God, ” appeared on its front page:
  “There were many reasons which led me to believe in God, but they all converged in the Cross. At no time did I doubt His existence, but real saving belief was hardly part of my life. I could repeat the whole of the Apostles’ creed and believe it, but it did not affect me much.
  “As I read and reflected, it dawned upon me that life was a great mystery, and that God’s universe was vaster and more wonderful than I had ever dreamed. Later I became conscious that I was mortal. That gave me pause. These disturbing thoughts did not remain constantly, but by and by came more often and clamoured for attention. I saw death claiming others; if it claimed me, what then?
  “Personal punishment was no part of my trouble, but I was overwhelmed at the thought of standing before a holy, and omniscient God in all my nakedness and helplessness. I knew Him as God, the Creator and as Judge; how could I stand before Him? I prayed long and earnestly for light and help, and light and help were given.
  “If God so loved the world that He gave His Son, so that those who believe in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life, why should I doubt His power and willingness to save? I believed, but was afraid. What of my sins? The answer came, “Christ died for the ungodly, ” and I found firm footing there.
  “And now I believe in God because of what He is, and for what He has done for me. I have seen miracles of grace in others, who have been saved from their sins, but I know that I am a miracle of grace myself.
  “I have been conscious of His love. He has been my Shepherd, and He has led me beside the still waters, amid the hurly-burly of life. In the valley of the shadow, when everything was dark, He was with me. I have proved Him to be “the Captain of my salvation.” He is the same to me today as He was yesterday, and He will be for ever.”

We believe this testimony will find an echo in the hearts and lives of many. One sentence stands out in bold relief,

“And I found firm footing there.”

We need firm footing indeed for our souls in the eternal future. This is the one cry above all others. When the floods overwhelm us, when death stalks within our chamber, and lays his icy hand upon our heart, and stops its beating, we want to know where we are going.

When death comes unceremoniously as on a battle field, or from a well-aimed torpedo, there is no time to prepare. One of the Dunkirk heroes told the writer that faced with the horrors of savage bombing, cursing, swearing godless, soldiers were on their knees, tears raining down their cheeks, praying for God’s mercy.

God is calling loudly. Will you hear? There is firm footing for you. It is not found in mere religiousness, nor in superstitious ritual, but alone at the cross of our Lord, alone through Him a living triumphant Saviour at God’s right hand. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). There is no other way.

Infidelity

Voltaire prophesied that at the end of a certain time the Bible would be an exploded book, that it would go out of print, and only specimens be found, relics of a superstitious age.

So much for Voltaire’s prophecy. What of facts? His own printing press at Geneva was, after his death, busily employed in printing Bibles, and today, long after the expiry of the time of Voltaire’s prophecy, there are more Bibles in the world than ever, and it is translated into many more languages than it was in his day.

Thomas Paine wrote the well-known infidel work, “The Age of Reason.” The house in which he died in such agony of mind and body was afterwards used as a young ladies’ school, and the room in which the infidel studied and wrote was for long utilized for a prayer meeting by the young ladies of the school.

The other day I stood by the statue of Charles Bradlaugh, in Northampton. I am told that Sunday after Sunday a band of Christians preach the gospel close to the spot where it stands, and that many souls have been converted to God under its shadow.

It made me both glad and sad to think of it. Glad to think that infidelity cannot hinder the blessed work of God, glad to think of the gospel being sounded out in clearness and power on such a spot. Sad to think of the dead infidel as beyond the reach of recall. I can imagine eyes glistening with emotion when the story of stories is being told out at the foot of the statue, but no gleam shines in the eyes of the statue. How many ears have rejoiced as the old, old story has been sounded out by men, who have been converted by it themselves, yet the ears of the statue hear not.

But what of Charles Bradlaugh himself? Is he a believer or not now? I assert without a shadow of doubt that he is a believer. If the prayers of his evangelist brother are answered, and at the last he turned in reality to the Lord, then, of course, in the best of senses he is a believer. But oh! the deep remorse that must have seized him as to his propagation of infidelity, if such were the case. But if, on the other hand, he died as he lived, he is now a believer. “The devils also believe, and tremble” (James 2:19). ALL in heaven believe. ALL in hell believe. On this sad earth alone is found the unbeliever, the indifferent, the careless.

But here lies the whole secret. There is all the difference between believing about a Person and believing on a Person. Christians believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. They believe on Him “to the saving of the soul.” They know Him as a personal Saviour. They are cleansed by His blood. They confess Him as Lord. They are sealed by His Spirit. They are happy in His love.

But the one who believes about Christ merely is one whose mind bows to the fact that such a Person existed, assents that He was divine, admits that He died to save sinners on a cross of shame. But they have no personal link with Him, and, with all their knowledge, are only on a par with the demons and those who have believed too late, with this difference, that the great gulf is not fixed for them yet. There is no more terrible description of hell than that it is “the truth believed too late.

Infidelity is a poor business. It tends to make a man unlovely in life and despairing in death. It helps to make a man hard and cynical until the truths he will not own are burned into his soul when too late.

Is Jesus God The Son?

This question is the supreme test today. It is not sufficient to ask, Is Jesus the Son of God? for it is common now-a-days to teach that Shakespeare, Byron, Charles Bradlaugh, Colonel Ingersoll, the drunkard reeling out of the public house, the murderer in the condemned cell, are all sons of God. Such a statement is as false as it is blasphemous.

But ask a plain YES or NO to this question,
  IS JESUS GOD THE SON?

If the answer is NO, give a very wide berth to the religion that can so reply. Rest assured that it is of the devil, however specious and plausible its teaching.

Let the following Scriptures speak for themselves on this point.
  “The Word was God” (John 1:1).
  “All things were made by Him” (John 1:3).
  “The Word was made flesh” (John 1:14).
  “John bare witness of Him . . . and bore record that this is the Son of God” (John 1:15, 34).

Let these Scriptures shatter for ever the lie that Jesus is not God the Son. Here it tells us the Word—a divine Person—was God, and the Creator of everything. That being the case He could never cease to be God. Next, we are told that this Divine and Glorious Person became a man—Jesus, the Son of God. No wonder His very name carries this thought. The name, Jesus, means Jehovah Saviour, and Jehovah is God. More than seven centuries before His virgin birth His name was given, EMMANUEL (God with us).

Let us answer, like Thomas of old as he found himself in the presence of the risen Saviour,
  “My Lord and my God” (John 20:28).

salvation lies with Him and none other.

  “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Is the New Theology of God?

The term New Theology in the eyes of the general public is principally connected with the Rev. R.J.Campbell’s teaching. However, its distinctive tenets are very ancient, and in the main Unitarianism, pure and simple.

Mr. Robert Blatchford, editor of “The Clarion,” an infidel and socialistic newspaper, declares “Mr. Campbell is a Christian minister and I am an infidel editor; and the difference between his religion and mine is too small to argue about.” Mr. Blatchford has written an infidel book called, “God and My Neighbour.” Mr. Campbell’s book, “The New Theology,” he asserts is “God and My Neighbour” with the soft pedal on. “It is,” continues Mr. Blatchford, “Thomas Paine in a white tie.” Indeed, Thomas Paine, the author of “The Age of Reason,” at which the Christian world of that day was aghast, might have been today the Rev. Thomas Paine without shocking the sensibilities of the adherents of the New Theology.

Colonel Ingersoll was the Charles Bradlaugh of the United States. Mr. Blatchford says of Mr. Campbell’s book it is “the Ingersoll fist muffled in a boxing glove.

Then he goes on to say, “Mr. Campbell thinks Jesus the most perfect man that ever lived. I think there have been many men as good, and some better. But beyond these differences I think I may venture to say that there is nothing Mr. Campbell believes that I deny, and nothing I believe that he denies. Beyond these differences I am as much a Christian as is the Rev. R.J. Campbell, and the Rev. R.J. Campbell is as much an infidel as the editor of ‘The Clarion.’

 “Mr. Campbell rejects the doctrine of the fall and the atonement. He denies the divinity of Christ, the virgin birth, and the resurrection. He denies the inspiration and infallibility of the Bible, and he rejects the idea of divine punishment and an everlasting hell. So do I.
  “Mr. Campbell abandons the orthodox theory of sin, and says that selfishness is sin, and that unselfishness is morality and salvation.
  “These are bold assertions, and perhaps Mr. Campbell may think them too sweeping; but the proof is easy.
  “The best proof is a comparison of ‘The New Theology’ with my ‘infidel’ books.”

Nor will the reader think that in mentioning Mr. Campbell’s name we are indulging in personalities, for Mr. Blatchford writes in highest praise of Mr. Campbell, and we choose his remarks to show exactly what the New Theology affirms and denies. In truth, it affirms very little and denies very much. We are not concerned with Mr. Campbell’s private life; but as he voices certain teaching, we are within our province to examine it. It is not a question of the teacher, but the teaching.

And, further, it is not merely an academic subject that we are discussing. It is not a question of mere theology. Believe me, reader, it is intensely vital. You cannot afford to stand aloof in this matter. Your salvation is involved in it. Your heaven or hell is decided by it.

There are four points we will briefly examine: (1) Christ’s divinity. (2) The atonement. (3) The resurrection. (4) Inspiration of the Bible.

Mr. Campbell denies them all. He belittles the apostle Paul, and treats his writings as so much opinion and not inspired. No wonder, for the apostle says: “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed” (Gal. 1:9). And Mr. Campbell preaches another gospel.

(1) Christ’s divinity. The New Theology and Unitarianism are one in denying that Jesus is God.

Some years ago I was passing through a Yorkshire mill village. My friend pointed out to me a Unitarian chapel, and told a striking incident in connection with it. One Saturday morning the minister was sitting in his study preparing his sermon for the following morning. He had chosen the first chapter of John’s gospel for his subject. He read:
  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by Him.”

Lower down in the chapter he read:
  “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us . . .” (v. 14).
  “John bare witness of Him” (v. 15).

As he studied the chapter he saw, for the first time in his life, that the Bible claimed that Jesus was God. As the light began to break in upon his soul he was entranced. Hour after hour he sat. The subject fairly overmastered him. He was absolutely revolutionized. In short he was converted. He had found out that Jesus was God, and that He became man in order to become his Saviour by making atonement on the cross.

How to face his audience the next morning he knew not. In the end he determined to fly the place. Do not be too hard upon him, reader. He was young and unmarried, a very babe in the faith and unestablished. All his thoughts had to be readjusted, and how could he preach that Jesus was a mere man, a good man, but nothing more, when the glorious light of His deity had revolutionized him? He remained away for some months, until, thoroughly established and confirmed, he returned to testify to the grace of God. Would that many more might have a similar experience as to their thoughts, including the pastor of the City Temple.

If a careful study of John 1 does not convince the earnest enquirer after truth that Jesus is God then he must not be able to grasp the plainest presentation of truth, for the truth of the deity of Jesus lies on the surface.

If Jesus was a mere man how is it that untold thousands of Christians have believed that He is God? How is it that such a belief has revolutionized lives, rendered its adherents fearless in persecution, as witness the bloodstained, heather-clad hills of Scotland, the catacombs of Rome, the cells of the Spanish Inquisition? Have the tears of the Church been wept for a sham?

If Jesus is not God then the Bible is the falsest book ever printed. Yet one Bible society has upon its shelves translations of it in over 400 languages, and has circulated over 200 million copies. Have good men been deceived by it? Is not its influence invariably for good, making the thief honest, the adulterer pure, the drunkard sober, lifting up the poor benighted savage, converting, purifying, uplifting, blessing, wherever it has gone? Is this the influence of a false book? Vast numbers believe in the Koran, but if you weigh instead of counting those who believe it, the preponderance of evidence is overwhelmingly in favour of the Bible. The late Lord Kelvin is one witness for the Bible; the Sultan of Turkey one for the Koran. But put the two men in the scales. Weigh the evidence—their environments, their lives, their influence, and any reasonable man would see that Lord Kelvin’s single testimony is worth that of the whole Ottoman empire. But more as to the Bible later on.

(2) The atonement. Here again, spite of Mr. Campbell’s denials, the Scriptures are plain. “It is the blood that makes an atonement for the soul” (Lev. 17:11). This is plainly shown to be the life of an innocent victim, whose blood upon the altar was the figure of substitution, and the prophecy, or type, of Christ’s atoning death on the cross. Mr. Campbell charges the apostle Paul with being warped by Jewish teaching, instead of seeing that he had grasped its divine significance, teaching its fulfilment in Christ in his writings. So the writer of the Hebrews says, “Without the shedding of blood is no remission.” And John says plainly, “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7). Unless there be atoning efficacy in the death of Christ, then on that count also the Bible is the falsest of books, for by figure and shadow in the Old Testament, and fulfilment and substance in the New, atonement, substitution, propitiation, is woven into the very web and woof of the Book.

(3) The resurrection. You have but to read 1 Corinthians 15 for proof of that. Surely the eyewitnesses who could testify that they had seen the Lord after His resurrection were too numerous and the testimony too circumstantial and complete to leave any doubt. See the list. The apostle Peter, the twelve apostles, five hundred believers at once, James, then all the apostles again, and finally Paul, who saw Christ in glory. And when he penned the list the majority of those cited as witnesses were alive, and could have contradicted the story had it been false. From the earliest days of Christianity Christians believed the great fact, and yet men professing the Christian faith, and drawing large salaries for professing to preach its verities, can be found to deny its very foundations. The apostle Paul leaves us in no doubt as to its vital meaning. He says, “For if Christ be not raised, your faith is vain; Ye are yet in your sins” (1 Cor. 15:17). Again, if the resurrection is not true, the Bible is the falsest book in existence, for it affirms it over and over again, building its doctrines around it, proclaiming Christ risen and ascended to heaven.

(4) Inspiration of the Bible. Here we come to what is essentially vital. Either the Book is inspired by God, or it is the falsest, most pernicious and blasphemous book that has ever been written.

It is a remarkable fact that the Lord Jesus and the Bible are alike called the Word—one the living Word, God; the other the written Word, God’s book. The two stand or fall together. The Old Testament Scriptures foretold how Christ should come into the world and for what purpose; and when He came He quoted the Scriptures as authoritative and divine.

Very much can be said to prove the inspiration of the Bible. One unassailable proof is prophecy. There are over three hundred prophecies in the Old Testament concerning Christ, and these have been strikingly fulfilled. It is impossible, in the nature of things, that the prophecies could be made to fit the fulfilment; or the fulfilment the prophecies.

When the late King of Spain died, the nation waited and hoped that an infant should be born who would prove to be the King of Spain. Suppose a prophet arose and announced that the expected infant would be a son, his prophecy might be fulfilled, but thereby he could not lay claim to anything more than a happy guess. But suppose he ventured on over 300 prophecies, many of them of an extraordinary nature, covering the life and death of the King, and prophesied hundreds of years before the event, and every prophecy was fulfilled, what conclusion could you come to then?

Yet this is the case before us. And when we think that it was not one prophet but several, that types and shadows were prophetic as well, we can only stand amazed that anyone can question the divinity of the Book, save that the Book itself explains why. “The natural man receives not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him.” And that is just where such as the Rev. R.J.Campbell and the like are hopelessly discredited by the Book they assail.

Then, again, how can the lives of the saints be explained away, for there have been and are real saints? There are no saints in Mohammedanism or heathendom. The moral grandeur of the book, its history, its present hold upon converted men and women, are such as to convince any candid, earnest enquirer of these things.

Indeed, infidel writers have rightly affirmed that to imagine such an exalted life as is depicted of Jesus would be a greater miracle than the life itself; and I say that to imagine the Bible to be uninspired, and in its most vital assertions false, is to make the Bible a greater miracle than if true.

In the very short compass of this small paper it is impossible to do anything like justice to such a theme, but the writer’s object will have been served if the reader sees that there is all the difference in the world between being a Christian in the true sense of the word and an infidel, whether he be of the type of Mr. Blatchford, who honestly asserts his position, or one who puts “Reverend” before his name as Mr. Campbell does.

To be a true Christian it is a vital necessity that you should believe that Jesus is God, that as man He wrought atonement on the cross, that God has proved His satisfaction in that work by raising Him from the dead, and that the Scriptures are the Word of God. Further, you must put your personal faith and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ as Saviour. Only thus can you be a Christian. If the Scriptures are not the Word of God, then what knowledge have we at all of God?

May the reader be like Thomas of old, who had to confess of Jesus, “MY LORD AND MY GOD.” “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9). Blessed words, which the writer has experimentally proved to be true and which he prays many of his readers may prove likewise.

As to the adherents of the New Theology, we can say, “Lo, they have rejected the Word of the Lord; and what wisdom is in them?” (Jer. 8:9).

Just in Time

She was passing by a large building and her curiosity was aroused as she saw crowds flocking through its doors. A Gospel Mission was in full swing, and a Gospel Mission was about the last place to have attracted this woman, for she had lived a very sad life of sin, but she had made the bitter discovery that sin and sorrow always go together.

However, curiosity prevailed, and the woman found herself singing a hymn in company with a large concourse of people. The music rang out:
 “What means this eager anxious throng,
  Which moves with busy haste along—
  These wondrous gatherings day by day,
  What means these strange commotions, pray?

  In accents hushed the throng reply,
  Jesus of Nazareth passes by,
  In accents hushed the throng reply,
  Jesus of Nazareth passes by.”

The poor woman had tasted the sorrow that sin inevitably brings, and the thought laid hold of her that here was a chance of meeting a loving Saviour, One who would give her pardon and peace. Little did she know it was to be her LAST CHANCE.

The preacher spoke powerfully and earnestly, and his message gripped the poor woman’s conscience, and she gladly stayed to the after-meeting.

One of the ladies helping in the Mission, noting her distressful interest, got into conversation with her. Her confidence won, she told the sad story of her wasted life. The lady explained the Gospel to the poor woman, that Christ had died “the Just for the unjust that He might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18), and reminded her of the Saviour’s own words, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

As the conversation drew to a close, this woman trusted the Saviour, and went away with the peace of God in her heart.

The lady had pressed upon the new convert the reading of the Word of God, but she replied, I wish I had a Bible, ma’am, for then I could read all this for myself, but I’m sorry to say I haven’t got one.”

What was the lady to do? A struggle went on in her mind. Should she give her her own Bible, the friend of many years, and which she greatly prized because of its associations? If she did not, the poor woman would not get the help and consolation it might afford.

She handed the woman the Bible. “Here, ” she said, “you shall have a Bible of your own. Take this one of mine. I hope you’ll read it carefully, and when you see my name in it, think of our talk tonight, and of all I’ve been telling you about Jesus.”

Next day the lady visited a neighbouring hospital, which she was in the habit of doing once a week. When the Matron saw her, she exclaimed, “I’m so glad to see you, for a very sad thing has happened, and we think that you may be able to throw some light on it.”

She then went on to tell her that a woman had been run over the day before by a cab, and fatally injured. When brought in to the hospital she was unconscious, and died without regaining her senses.

And the curious thing was that wrapped up in her shawl and tightly pressed to her heart was a Bible. When it was examined to see if it would afford any clue, it was a matter of great surprise and wonder to find the lady visitor’s name written in it.

And there in the mortuary lay the poor crushed body. Only a very few hours before she had made a confession of the Saviour, never thinking that so unexpectedly would the call come. Thank God, she was ready.

We can see the hand of God in this striking incident. How good God is, that He should have His eye on this sinner of the streets, and even at her eleventh hour bring her into eternal blessing.

The grace of God met the dying thief, laden with his sins, as he hung a dying, tortured man on a gibbet; it met the very religious young man of irreproachable life, Saul of Tarsus. Whether what men call wicked or religious and honourable, ALL without exception need a Saviour, one as much as the other.

But what about you? This is our concern for the moment. The end of life must come. It may come suddenly and dramatically, it may end with the wearing down gradually of health and strength, with the sitting in weakness by the fireside, or else being confined to bed till tired nature breathes its last. The end must come. When it does come, will it find you a sinner saved by grace, one, who has repented of sin, and trusted the Saviour, stretched out the hand of faith, and received the gift of God? You may be saved even now. Answer these questions. They are vital, deeply important. On your reply depends your eternal future. Remember, “the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

Justification

The source of it—God’s grace. “Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus” (Rom. 3:24). The ground of it—Christ’s work. “Being now justified by his blood” (Rom. 5:9).

The instrument of it—Faith. “Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 5:1).

The evidence of it—Works. “Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only” (James 2:24).

WHAT JUSTIFICATION MEANS.

It is that act by which God accounts the believer righteous in His holy presence. He is cleared by virtue of the death of Jesus of every charge of guilt. Scripture amply proves this:
  “To him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is reckoned for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).

  “By him (Jesus) all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:39).

Nothing can be plainer than this.

THE SOURCE OF IT.

If only the anxious sinner got one real idea of what God’s grace means, it would relieve him once and for ever from connecting his blessing with his own merit or goodness or worthiness in the least degree. Grace is so foreign to the natural heart of man that it is difficult to find words to express it. It is as difficult as putting God’s great ocean into man’s tiny tea-spoon.

God’s grace is unmerited favour. It expresses itself in the fact that God’s attitude towards the sinner is irrespective of anything favourable in the sinner. It is blessing without conditions.

Queen Elizabeth once wanted to attach conditions to a free pardon, but was met by the indignant response, “Grace that is fettered by conditions is no grace at all.” Our repentance cannot demand the blessing. Our good works lay God under no obligation to bless us. God’s grace is the outcome of His own goodness, and His love is the great spring, the original cause of it all. What wonder that justification is outside all our powers to obtain. It is God’s pure sovereign gift.

THE GROUND OF IT—CHRIST’S WORK.

If the believing sinner is to be justified, God must act righteously. The work of Christ secures this. All the claims of holiness and righteousness were met at the cross of Calvary. Hence the believer is justified by the blood of Jesus. It is the bulwark and glory and necessity of the gospel that God is “just and the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26). “Christ also has once suffered for sins, the Just for the unjust, that he might bring us to God” (1 Peter 3:18).

Oh! the rest of conscience that is the happy portion of the believer when he learns that every question of righteousness and holiness has been settled once and for ever at the cross, and that believing in Jesus he has a perfect standing before God.

It has often been said that the work of Christ—
1. Satisfies God.
2. Silences Satan.
3. Saves the sinner.

THE INSTRUMENT OF IT—FAITH.

How may I get the blessing? is the anxious inquiry of many. By simple faith, is the answer. Alas! people stumble over the very simplicity of the gospel. “If only I could feel it, I should be sure,” says many an anxious soul. But we do not act like that in the ordinary affairs of life. For instance, suppose most unexpectedly you received a letter from a well-known firm of lawyers announcing that a vast fortune had been left you by a distant relative. I could imagine your saying, “Well, I am a wealthy man now, but I don’t feel it.” You would, however, KNOW that you were a wealthy man. Faith in the letter would lead you justly to that conclusion, and your not realising it, or, in other words, your not feeling it, would not alter your knowledge that you were a rich man.

On the other hand, suppose you woke up one morning and astonished your friends by announcing that you were sure that you had a large fortune because you felt you had. I can imagine their looking scared, and sending for the doctor at once to see if you would not be safer in a lunatic asylum. You understand the situation.

Remember feelings always follow faith, but are absolutely unreliable as a ground of assurance. Do you believe in Christ? Are all your hopes in Him? If so, then surely this is enough for you. “All that believe are justified from all things.”

You only need one good title deed to an estate, and surely one text is amply sufficient to give you peace and assurance.

THE EVIDENCE OF IT—WORKS.

In the common affairs of life it is seen over and over again how intimately faith and works are linked up. For instance a husband goes to a foreign land in search of work. He succeeds, and sends a sum of money to his wife to enable her to settle her affairs in the old country and take steamer to the country where he is. If the wife has faith that her husband wishes her to join him, her faith will express itself by her taking active steps to that end; in other words, she will express her faith by her works.

So with the scriptural illustration given in James 2. The apostle Paul writes, “Abraham believed God, and it was counted unto him for righteousness.” Abraham had faith in God, and God justified him on that ground. Years afterwards his faith was put to the test. God told Abraham to offer up his son—the child of promise. The writer, James, says, “Was not Abraham, our father, justified by works, when he had offered Isaac his son upon the altar?” And he adds, “And the scripture was fulfilled which says, Abraham believed God, and it was imputed unto him for righteousness.”

JAMES DOES NOT CONTRADICT PAUL.

Evidently James did not think he was contradicting Paul, but instead was confirming him. How was that? Simply that Abraham confessed to have faith in God. The time came when God put that faith to the test for Abraham’s own good, and as all example for us all. Abraham proved that be has faith in God by doing what he told him without question, though it seemed contrary to nature to extinguish the light of his eyes upon the sacrificial altar, and to put to death the son in whom all the hopes of the fulfilment of God’s promise were wrapped.

So with the believer. He proves by his works that he has faith in God. Has God blessed him and given him a hope of heaven? Then he will be a stranger and pilgrim in this world. He will prove by his good works that he has faith in God.

Two verses in close proximity in Ephesians 2, put the relation between “no work,” and “good works” very beautifully. We read:. “Not of works, lest any man should boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God has before ordained that we should walk in them” (vv. 9-10).

Fellow-believer, let us see to it that our works—the evidence of our faith—justify us, yet let it ever be clear in the soul that “to him that works NOT, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness,” and let our “good works” be, as James puts it, the fulfilment of this.

How true it is, “His glory is great in thy salvation” (Ps. 21:5).

King Oscar of Sweden

He was every inch a King. Physically and mentally he stood pre-eminent above the majority. If he had not been a King he would still have been famous. Able to converse fluently in seven different languages, a poet of no mean order, statesman, soldier, philosopher, scholar—he was indeed a kingly man.

Just as he died his aged Queen bent over him, quoting the lovely text, “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7), the aged King responding fervently, “Thank God, thank Jesus.” So the last word on the King’s dying lips was the personal name of the King of kings and Lord of lords—his King and Lord—JESUS.

What a testimony! This is better than the cold negations and empty vapourings of the New Theology, is it not?

At his funeral the Archbishop of Sweden, in the presence of Sweden’s nobility and state officials and the representatives of foreign nations, said, “When the illness was coming on some time ago, the living felt for him the end was now drawing near. With what kind of feelings he wanted to meet the last hour and with what prayer he wanted to commit his soul into the hand of God he had before considered, and written down in the following words:
  “‘O Lord God Almighty, Merciful, Thou whom I worship and adore, Thou who art a Father over all, that is named Father in heaven and on earth,* I long to be with Thee, far away from the storms, sorrow and strifes of time. Be near to me in my last hour. Vouchsafe to me strength and hope in the battle, peace in death. Receive me for ever in Thy loving fatherly bosom for the sake of Thy unfathomable and unspeakable love! Be it so! Amen!
{*Literal translation of Ephesians 3:14-15 (Swedish Bible).}

Thank God, his prayer was answered, and the last word uttered by him was the name above every name, the name that fills heaven with joy, the name of JESUS—the name that gave him “strength and hope in the battle, peace in death.

Do you know Him, reader? King Oscar might know seven languages, but if He had not known Him he would not have known the language of heaven.

And they sang a new song, “Thou . . . hast redeemed us to God by Thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation.” And in that new song the Swedish King and English writer of this article will have their part. Will you? God grant it. Amen.

Lavender Bags

Flowers are great favourites, especially if they are accompanied by a sweet scent. The humble mignonette, the modest violet, the lily of the valley, the rose, the emblem of old England, are all favourites. There is one sweet-smelling flower, the lavender, however, that especially renders it useful, inasmuch as its seeds can be collected, and put into a bag, retaining their sweet scent for a long time.

We know an old lady, well into her eighties, and now confined to bed, who has made thousands of these little lavender bags, attaching to them texts of Scripture. These have been very welcome in hospitals and sickrooms, first for their sweet scent, and then in many instances for the messages of salvation and peace that the texts bring. We know of two recent cases, where the texts brought such messages of blessing that the dying women asked that the lavender bags might be put in their coffins and buried with them.

How these lavender bags were used by God in one special case, we are now about to relate. A sick soldier some three years ago lay in the military hospital at Milibank when he was visited by an Army Scripture Reader. With the words, “You will like that, ” he handed the sick soldier a lavender bag. The gift was appreciated, the sweet scent of the lavender was pleasant and refreshing. Presently he saw a neat card, attached to it, and read the wonderful words from God’s Word:
  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

The soldier was much impressed by the text, and on leaving the hospital the lavender bag and text were carefully placed in his luggage.

A year or more rolled by, and this soldier was again in hospital, this time at Chatham. Again an Army Scripture Reader visited him, and handed him a lavender bag. He looked with interest at the card. The same text in clear bold type met his gaze:
  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Was it a mere coincidence? We shall see. The fact of its being the second time that the text was thus brought before his notice, made him desire the more to get the blessing the verse offered. But leaving the hospital, the incident faded from his mind.

A third time this soldier was in hospital. His old trouble had cropped up. This time he lay in hospital at Gibraltar. Again an Army Scripture Reader paid him a visit. His happy smile, and cheery, “How are you today?” did him good. He did not expect to get a lavender bag so far from home, but in went the Army Scripture Reader’s hand into his bag, and out came a lavender bag with its sweet perfume, and for the third time the dainty and welcome gift was in his hand. Imagine his surprise when he discovered the text attached was for the third time (John 3:16).

  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.

He told the Army Scripture Reader the coincidence of the text following him three times, and asked, “What does it mean?”

“It means, ” was the reply, “that the Holy Spirit of God desires to open your eyes to get you to take an interest in the eternal truth, which points to everlasting life.” He then gave him a warm invitation to a Gospel service for soldiers, held every Friday in the Quiet Room at the King Edward VII Institute.

The soldier accepted the invitation. Judge of his startled surprise when he found the speaker was the very same Army Scripture Reader, who had first given him a lavender bag in England years before. Still more startled was he, when he heard the text read out,

  “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

He listened with deep interest to the message. God loved. God gave His Son to be lifted up on the cross of shame that He might be the Saviour of mankind. Christ died for all. Are all then saved? No; it is “whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” It needs more than being impressed by the beauty of the verse, to get the blessing. It meant that the soldier had to put his personal trust in the Saviour, and, once doing that, everlasting life was his on the authority of God’s Word.

Was it a mere coincidence that three times over the text should be attached to the lavender bags presented to him? Was it a mere coincidence that the preacher should be the first to give him a bag, and that they were most unexpectedly to meet in distant Gibraltar? Was it a mere coincidence that the preacher should take as his text, John 3:16?

This was no mere coincidence. Surely the hand of God was in all this. The text had to be pressed upon the soldier again and again before he gave it the serious attention it demanded, if blessing was to be the result.

“Thank God, ” in the words of the soldier, “the earnest presentation of the Gospel, and the emphasis laid that ‘God so loved the world,’ that ‘whosoever’ believes meant me, brought me ‘over the line,’ and I understand and believe the message of John 3:16.”

Reader, the message is for you, as much as for anyone. What a tale it unfolds! The heathen gods are gods of evil, vindictive, imposing abject fear upon those who worship them. Here is a God of love. Here is a God who invites you. And such love! He gave His only begotten Son. “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world” (1 John 4:14). The Saviour died an atoning death on the cross. God’s righteousness was there vindicated and satisfied, and His love set free to offer life and blessing and salvation to guilty sinners.

So we read the astounding words, “That whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” There is unbounded blessing for you, if you will but believe. It is not believing about Christ, that brings the blessing, but “whosoever believes IN HIM.”

This verse has brought blessing to multitudes. Why not to you? And why not just now, as you read these lines?

  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

Study the verse earnestly. Remember if you perish in your sins, which may God forbid, it will not be the fault of John 3:16.

“Let Him Alone”

Various are the ways by which the wandering soul is brought to Christ.

Proud Saul of Tarsus, struck down by the light above the brightness of the sun at high noon-tide, is instantaneously converted into the slave and prisoner of the Lord. Thrice happy, willing bondage!

The rude fisherman bending over his net-mending, the grasping publican sitting at the receipt of custom, hear the words, “Follow me,” and the whole current of their lives is changed.

Lydia’s heart opened to the word of God, as the fallow ground drinks in the spring shower; while to awaken the soul-slumbers of the Philippian jailer the earth is shaken.

The case we are about to relate strikingly exhibits the grace of God in dealing with the soul.

The subject of our remarks was employed as an under-shepherd, by a godless, careless man, amid the Cheviot Hills—the border-range between England and Scotland. The young man was just entering into the business of life, and he threw himself with all his soul into the problem of how to get rich quickly. Do not think a Cheviot shepherd lad has no such temptations. True, he has not the opportunity of gambling on the Stock Exchange, and the thousand and one temptations of busy city-life. Still he had his temptations, and they were, no doubt, as glittering, attractive, and decoying as anybody’s to him.

The keen eye of his master noticed the incipient stages of cupidity and avarice. Somehow or other the old man had a great knowledge of the letter of Scripture, and, thinking to give his lad a word of advice, repeated to him that verse in Hosea 4:17, “Ephraim is joined to idols: let him alone.”

The word spoken in reference to earthly matters proved to be the arrow of conviction concerning eternal realities.

What would the use of his money be to him if God left him alone? What about eternity without God? How could he meet the judgment to come in his own strength? No doubt such questions as these would rise up in the lad’s heart and demand an answer.

What a blessed thing it is when the soul is awakened to a sense of sin and judgment to come, and to thoroughly overhaul itself in the presence of God! This exercise led to his conversion to God.

He found the Word of God revealed a present, personal Saviour. He discovered that God was for him—not against him. He learned that instead of God leaving him alone, He was ready to be a Father to him.

There surely is no need in this land of Bibles, to prove the truth of the foregoing paragraph. Read the four wondrous gospels, and these truths lie upon the surface. The whole matter seems to be concentrated and gloriously summed up in the truth of Romans 3:26—“That he (God) might be just, and the justifier of him which believes in Jesus.” Light and love, mercy and truth, righteousness and peace, seem all to be perfectly met and eternally satisfied in God’s new character, as expressed in the words “just, and the justifier.

Dear reader, this is an intensely solemn thought, this being left alone by God. Think of Christ—the holy spotless Lamb of God—shrouded in thick darkness at high noon-tide, uttering that awful cry of deepest anguish, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!” High-priest and ruler; soldiers and mob, Jew and Gentile, led on by Satan—all raising their cry of hatred against the most wondrous Benefactor the world ever saw. But above all this, and far beyond all this, God forsaking Him, and striking that blow which light demanded and love sustained. What stupendous solitude, what an awful forsaking!

Then He cries that victor-shout, ” It is finished and
  “Death by dying slew,”

and the way for God to be just, and to justify the vilest sinner, is opened up. All praise to His thrice-blessed name throughout all eternity. Amen.

Beloved reader, close in at once with God’s offers of mercy. His love follows you this moment; but if once the boundary line of time is passed by you, unsaved, unconverted, then a holy God must punish you for eternity. No gladsome strains of gospel love, no peace-giving messages of redemption, are heard in the dismal depths of hell.

Now is the acceptable year of the Lord, now is deliverance to the captives preached (see Luke 4:15-19).

Before the shadows of death cross your path, before the Lord comes for His own, and shuts the door of salvation for you for ever, come to Christ. Let nothing hinder you, and then you will be able to exclaim like Ephraim, “What have I to do with idols? I have heard him, and observed him: I am like a green fir-tree: from me is thy fruit found” (Hosea 14:8).

“Lift Up Your Eyes”

The Scriptures are not hyper-Calvinistic. Whilst they plainly teach that man will not come to God unless God in sovereign grace works in him first, they quite as plainly show God’s gracious disposition towards the world at large. He commands “all men everywhere” to repent, and reveals Himself as a Saviour-God, “who will have all men to be saved, and come to the knowledge of the truth” (1 Tim. 2:3-4).

On the one hand, God is sovereign, else none were saved. On the other, man is responsible, else none could be judged. You may not be able to explain God’s sovereignty in relation to man’s responsibility, but you are called upon to believe both, for both are clearly stated in Scripture. Romans 11 is the plainest, strongest statement as to God’s sovereignty. Responsibility is emphasised throughout the entire Word of God.

In the fact that God is sovereign we find that which calms the heart; and whilst doing all we can to spread the gospel, we thankfully leave the rest with Him. Else we might be overwhelmed with the tremendous need at our own door, and that of whole continents lying in heathen darkness—a need that we personally can only touch the fringe of, however devoted and ready to sacrifice ease, friends, comforts, and health in going to “the regions beyond,” to carry the good news where Christ is unknown.

Let it be remembered that if God is sovereign, He acts in every case of blessing. God’s sovereignty is active, not passive. He wills and He works. God’s sovereignty, held in an undue and unbalanced way, may lead us to fold our hands and do nothing for souls; but that same sovereignty leads Him to the FULLEST ACTIVITY. And if God is active in grace, those in communion with Him must be active too.

Christ said to Simon and Andrew, “Follow Me, and I will make you fishers of men.” Now Simon and Andrew were fishermen. In catching fish did they wait for the fish to swim into their net, or did they cast it where the fishes were and enclose them? Or when the net was full did they say, We will not throw it again into deeper and untried waters? And shall they act less wisely or energetically when serving a divine Master, and fishing for men? Most assuredly not.

Yes, God, the Sovereign God, is active, active in every case of blessing. Luke 15 contains but one parable, and from beginning to end it is full of sovereign activity. The shepherd (picture of the Lord Jesus Christ), active in seeking the sheep; the woman (picture of the Holy Ghost), active in seeking the lost piece of silver; the father (picture of God Himself), active, RUNNING to welcome the returning prodigal.

Christ’s Activity

He Himself said, “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” He was not content with the work of the cross—mighty though that was—a work that righteously opens the way to heaven to the vilest who comes through Christ, but He SEEKS as well as saves—blessed be His name.

You have but to read the four gospels and you will get a picture of His ceaseless activity. True, for thirty years we have no record of service, but when anointed for service we find Him the untiring Servant of the sovereign will of God till His blessed life closed at the cross. And now as risen from the dead He is active in resurrection life and grace.

The contemplation of the holy life of Jesus is enough to shame us out of our useless, aimless lives—out of our apathy and indifference—to drive us to our knees with the earnest importunate prayer that we might be like Him.

But if one objects, and to show that all this gracious activity towards sinful men is over quotes Romans 6:10, “In that He lives, He lives unto God,” what shall we say? The words are indeed the words of inspiration; but shall we construe them to mean that the blessed Lord has naught to say to sinners now? Nay, He who could touch a leper and be undefiled when on earth, can now morally touch the sinner and bless him.

He lives unto God.” True, but when here on earth He ever lived unto God. In healing the sick and feeding the thousands, and raising the dead, and preaching the gospel, and rebuking the hypocrite—in all this, we repeat, He lived unto God. Every breath He drew was in dependence upon God, every step He took, every act He did. He had meat to eat which the disciples knew not of—He lived by every word that proceeded out of the mouth of God. But He came to die. Sin had to say to Him, not in its committal surely, but as entering into the sinner’s place and God’s judgment of sin, “He died unto sin once.” Now that is all past and “He lives unto God,” as a contrast to the cross, and as affording an argument to the apostle that we should “reckon” ourselves” to be dead indeed unto sin, but alive unto God through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

A single passage of Scripture proves the present activity of the Lord Jesus. “So then after the Lord had spoken unto them He was received up into heaven, and sat on the right hand of God. And they went forth, and preached everywhere, the Lord working with them, and confirming the word with signs following.”

And it is worthy of note that the four gospels do but contain a partial record of the activity of the Lord Jesus, for the very last lines of the Gospel of John read thus, “And there are also many other things which Jesus did, the which, if they should be written every one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that should be written.”

The Holy Ghost’s Activity

“The Acts of the Apostles,” it has often been said, would have been more correctly christened “The Acts of the Holy Ghost.” Anyhow, every divine work, as recorded in the Acts, was the work of the Holy Ghost. The first open result of the Holy Ghost’s descent was a triumph over Babel. Many nations heard in their own tongues the wonderful works of God; and Peter, who had trembled before a servant-girl’s question, was turned into a bold evangelist, whose first sermon was blessed to no less than three thousand souls. The Holy Ghost’s activity is very clearly seen in the service of the apostle Paul. Very distinctly does He both call and send him forth. The Holy Ghost said, “Separate Me Barnabas and Saul for the work whereunto I have called them.” “So they, being sent forth by the Holy Ghost, departed unto Seleucia,” etc. At once there arises before the mind the Holy Ghost’s record of the great apostle’s labours—record of ocean travelling and shipwrecks, land travelling and perils of robbers, perils by the heathen, perils in the wilderness; in weariness and watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness—record of his service bringing upon him scourgings, stonings, perils among false brethren, prisons, and, last of all, the martyr’s end. All this was from without. In addition, the care of all the churches, the agonising in prayer, the writing of epistles fell to him.

He had the true spirit of an evangelist, also that of a pastor and teacher. By birth and training a Jew, He preached the gospel in Athens, Corinth and imperial Rome. His missionary map was the map of the known world, and his ardent spirit led him to regard himself as debtor in the gospel to Jew and Gentile. He fixed his eye on Spain, though we believe he was never permitted to reach that most westward point of the known world. To the last he was full of energy—the blessed energy of the Holy Ghost. Now we do not plead for mere activity, but oh! to be controlled, equipped, and sent forth by the Spirit of God to labour in a world where He is working for the accomplishment of God’s sovereign will and pleasure.

A last word. Our Lord had met and blessed a poor Samaritan outcast. Forgetful of herself, she left her waterpot and went into the city, saying, “Come, see a Man, which told me all things that ever I did: is not this the Christ?”

Her invitation had power. She spoke with the persuasiveness of one who was not only blessed, but attracted beyond measure to the One who could give such blessing. Her invitation had power, for many of the men flocked out to Jacob’s well to see the Christ. His disciples in the meantime rejoined the Lord, and doubtless, as He saw the crowd of seeking souls draw near, moved with compassion He turned to His disciples with the memorable words, “Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then comes harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.”

Nearly nineteen centuries have passed away since then. Are the words then uttered by the Saviour of the world less forcible, less pregnant in their meaning now? Assuredly not. I would that I could sound them in your inmost heart with something of the power and sweetness of their first utterance. “Lift up your eyes.” In so doing you may see your next-door neighbour’s house, or the next street, or neighbouring town, or country, long neglected by you.

Look at the map of the world. “The Father sent the Son to be the Saviour of the world.” Look at priest-ridden, infidel Europe. Look at America with its teeming multitudes. Look at South America with its dark superstitions and wicked lives. Look at the far-off islands of the sea. Look at China and Africa with their millions who have never heard the name of Christ.

We may not be free to follow the tactics and organisations of the missionary world, but it has a very good motto, divided into three parts
1. Go.
2. Let go.
3. Help go.

1. Go. But not unless you are constrained by the Master of the harvest-field and sent forth by the Spirit. But if so constrained and sent, let no considerations of business home comforts, or ease stand in the way. The woman left her waterpot, so leave yours.

2. Let go. Let no one hinder the setting forth of those who seek to carry the good news of the gospel far and wide. Put no hindrance in the way. Throw no cold water on your zealous brother or sister who seeks to go forth in the strength of the Lord.

3. Help go. Help by your encouragement, by your prayers, by your purse, as guided of the Master. It is a sin for any Christian to live in luxury. The richest is but a steward of his possessions to the Lord. Everywhere the need is great, at your very door, in the next street, town, country, or across the seas. Money is the smallest help in one way of all. Prayer, sympathy, encouragement greatly help, and if these are not lacking, neither will the means necessary for carrying on the work be wanting.

The Lord is coming quickly; everything declares it. Christians world-wide are expecting Him. What a moment when He comes! Oh for hearts to serve Him with our all till He come! He is indeed worthy.

Dear fellow-Christian, what are you doing in helping to make known the gospel of the grace of God to perishing souls?

Lord Tweedsmuir’s Testimony

Lord Tweedsmuir, Governor General of Canada, has died, to the great grief of his friends and the nation at large. As John Buchan, the brave soldier in the last Great War, and the writer of many entertaining books, he earned a great and well deserved reputation. It was with pleasure and pride the nation learned that John Buchan was appointed General of Canada by the King and created Baron Tweedsmuir. He became a general favourite on the other side of the Atlantic. The Red Indians gave him a proud title, Chief of the Big Mountain.

Now he is dead. His voice is silent. His pen no longer is at work. But we have something grand to tell our readers about him, something better than military prowess, something better than brilliant success as a writer, something far better than any earthly glory.

Hear his own words, quoted by the preacher at his memorial service in Ottawa:
  “Do not let us stress the love of God alone, but love of God in redemption when ‘God so loved the world that He gave His Son’ . . . what the world needs today is a sense of sin . . . I believe every man comes to a cross-road in his life. When he chooses right, what is that but the old evangelical doctrine of conversion.”

A man may have brilliant success in this life, but, however successful he may be, unless he is right with God, his life is a tragedy and ends in eternal disaster. Nothing is more terrible in this world than the death of a man or woman, who has not turned to God.

Thank God, Lord Tweedsmuir was not one such. His words are golden, and worthy of most careful and thoughtful study.

He says, “Do not stress the love of God ALONE.” The modernist, who has thrown over the story of the fall of man declares that there is no need of redemption. He stresses the love of God ALONE. But where do you get that in God’s Word? We read on the contrary, the Saviour’s own words, “No man comes to the Father, BUT BY ME” (John 14:6). How is God’s love manifested? Is it manifested ALONE and apart from redemption? We read, “In this was manifested the love of God toward us, because that God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him” (1 John 4:9).

To stress the love of God ALONE is to misread the Bible. The verse Lord Tweedsmuir quoted proves this. “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him, should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Here is stressed that God’s love led Him to give His only begotten Son, and that is inseparably linked up with His atoning work on the cross. We read, “As Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up: that whosoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life” (John 3:14-15).

Lord Tweedsmuir was right when he stressed the love of God IN REDEMPTION. He also stressed the necessity of a sense of sin. Redemption and sin are intimately connected. Why should the spotless Son of God on whom death had not the slightest claim go to the cross voluntarily, and pass under the awful judgment of God against sin, so as to atone for sin, meet sin’s judgment in all its terror, only known to God and Himself, if sin were not an intensely serious matter?

Let me beseech the reader of these lines to realise that there is no approach to God save through the Lord Jesus Christ, that His atoning death on the cross was the manifestation of God’s great love that such a sacrifice proves beyond all else the seriousness of sin.

Then Lord Tweedsmuir said that he believed that every man comes to a cross-road in his life. We believe this is so. We cannot believe that any man or woman has not had serious thoughts at times. Life opens out before every one of us. What will each one choose? No one can choose for us. We must choose for ourselves. Alas! many choose the broad road that leads to destruction. One has only to read the newspapers to find lurid examples of this. Some, thank God, choose the narrow way, that leads to life, life which is really life, life eternal.

Lord Tweedsmuir speaks of a man choosing right. It is the love of God IN REDEMPTION that points that way. His lordship believed in the old evangelical doctrine of conversion. There is no other way. Our Lord said, “ I am the way, the truth and the life: no man comes to the Father BUT BY ME” (John 14:6).

Reader, have you come that way? It is the only way. If you have not come that way, as yet, why not NOW? Scripture leaves us in no doubt. “What must I do to be saved?” We need salvation. We need the forgiveness of sins. The answer is blessedly simple. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

It was Lord Carson, the brilliant lawyer, and Lord of Appeal, when dying, who said to the Primate of Ireland, I have seen enough to test my faith through a long life, but what remains to me is what I learned at my mother’s knee. “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). Blessed assurance in a dying hour! Is it yours?

Lost by Three Seconds

The tragic loss of the submarine A1 is fresh in the minds of the public. We reproduce Lord Selborne, First Lord of the Admiralty’s account of how it happened. After unveiling the Nelson Memorial Tablet at Bath shortly after the loss of the submarine, he said
  “I think we are able to say we know exactly how the accident to our submarine boat occurred. It is just one of those accidents which never can be eliminated from the chances of a naval career. The gallant young officer in charge of the boat had a perfect machine at his disposal, and machinery which enabled him very rapidly to scan the whole horizon; but you will see, if you think of it, that when a boat is submerged, however perfect the machinery for scanning the horizon may be, only a portion of the horizon can be seen at a given moment.
  ONE OVERSIGHT.
  “Now, of course, it is obvious that what an officer in a case like that ought to do is at frequently recurring intervals to scan the whole horizon, and no one knew that better than the young officer in charge of the boat. But he had his orders to look out for a cruiser called Juno, and torpedo her if he could, and I think that, in his extreme anxiety to get a sight of this cruiser on the section of the horizon from which he knew she must come, he forgot too long to scan the rest of the horizon.
  “Then what followed? That, I think, we can tell you also exactly, because we have recovered from the wreck the remains of the optical tube and a part of the conning tower, and the marks on it are such that I think we can exactly reconstitute the accident.
  “This young officer, with his glass fixed on that section of the horizon to which I have alluded, suddenly saw looming in the field of vision the bows of a great ship. He rapidly turned his tube in the direction, and saw that the ship was right on top of him.
  “Then, instantly, without a moment’s hesitation, he did the only thing open to him—he made his submarine dive, and to show you the tragedy of the thing, how long do you think we calculate that there was between the crew and safety? We believe that three seconds more would have cleared the submarine—three seconds more would have taken her under the ship, and she would have been saved.
  “That three seconds was just missing, and so the submarine was run down and perished.”

What would the drowned men not have given for those three seconds had they had time to think matters over, but it was all so sudden? What would widows and orphans not have given for those seconds? But death is so irreparable.

The officer in charge did not look all round the horizon sufficiently. Hence the disaster.

Reader, have you scanned your horizon sufficiently? You may be young and strong. Life is sweet to you. You have no pinch or trial, and at present there is not a cloud in your sky. But let me press my question, Have you scanned your horizon sufficiently? The fact is, you have not looked all round. Things may be likely to go on smoothly with you for the next six months, or six years, for the matter of that; but what is more than likely to happen within the next sixty years is—YOUR DEATH. Death is looming on the horizon. But why must you die? Because you are a sinner. “It is appointed unto men once to die, BUT AFTER THIS THE JUDGMENT” (Heb. 9:27). Judgment, too, is looming, then, on your horizon.

What would the officer in charge of the A1 not have given if someone could have tapped him on the arm and pointed out three seconds before he saw it himself the liner crashing upon the top of his frail vessel? How instantly he would have heeded the warning, acted upon it before he had even thanked the giver of it. We warn you, reader. You have an immortal soul. Sin must be punished. Judgment is looming ahead on your horizon. Death may swoop down upon you without any warning, and your next six months may see you in the grave. Within your next sixty years it is almost, if not quite, a dead certainty that death will run down your frail vessel.

There is one thing, and only one thing, that you can do to avert the danger. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). “A Man shall be as an hiding place” (Isa. 32:2), and that blessed person is Jesus. He is the Saviour, the Substitute, the Redeemer.

Neglect the offer of Christ as your Saviour, and the question comes home to your door: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?”

There was no escape for the Al. The danger was seen too late. Three seconds too late. If you die unbelieving there will be no escape for you. The drowned men ENDED their lives here, and I have seen the place where their bodies lie in the Haslar Hospital Cemetery, Gosport. But if you die neglecting the warnings of grace and refusing “so great salvation,” then you will BEGIN your eternity in hell. How awful! The tragedy of the Al is as nothing beside that awful tragedy.

Friend, we warn you to “flee from the wrath to come.” Your only wisdom is to turn to the Lord at once. May God give you to do so is our earnest prayer.

Love Commended

On one of the bridges of Ghent, in Flanders, are two bronze statues. They represent a father and son, and are memorials of a mutual affection. On account of some grave political offence both were condemned to die by the headsman’s axe. Such was the popular esteem in which they were held that an executioner could not be found.
  “A strange proposition was made them, that one should have his life by becoming the executioner of the other. The proposal was hailed with a melancholy pleasure by both, because each saw how one life at least could be saved. The son urged the father to accept the terms, as he could die happy, since in that way his father’s life would be spared. The father urged the son to accept the terms. He spoke of his own life as soon to end at any rate, but the son had youth on his side and long life before him.
  “By earnest entreaties the father prevailed; the son consented. The day of execution came. A vast multitude had assembled to witness the strange sight. There was the horrid scaffold, with its block and broad axe. Father and son, there, the one to be beheaded by the other. The father kneels, places his neck on the wood, and awaits the fatal stroke, which shall sever the grey head from the body. The son, with pale face and wild look, seizes the axe and lifts it with trembling hand.
  “He strikes—No! he flings the deadly weapon from his hand, and falls on the bare neck of his father, bathing it with filial tears, and exclaiming, ‘No, no, my father, we die together.’
  “The vast crowd, whose feelings were strung to the highest pitch, gave vent to their admiration in the wildest applause, and demanded their pardon, a pardon which was not only granted, but which was followed up by the artist’s genius in the rearing of the memorial of the noble act of mutual affection.”

As I read the above touching account the words, “Greater love has no man than this, that a man should lay down his life for his FRIENDS,” came into my mind, words which carried one’s mind back to a scene that far outshines the most touching tale of earth.

The father and son of our story were indeed friends, and strong natural affection urged them to the course they took. But divine love goes further than that. Oh! how divinely commended is God’s love.

  “God commends
  His love towards us, in that, while we were yet SINNERS, Christ died for us” (Rom. 5:8).

I once heard a sermon preached from the words of David as he lamented Jonathan’s death, “Thy love to me was wonderful.” The preacher put the words into the Christian’s mouth as referring to the Lord Jesus. “Thy love to me was wonderful,” because of who it is that loves. For the Lord Jesus, the Son of God, the Creator and Sustainer of all things, to put His love upon sinners is indeed wonderful. Yes, He died for all; He died for you, just as much as He did for the Apostle Paul. He “gave Himself a ransom FOR ALL” (1 Tim. 2:6).

Thy love to me was wonderful,” because of who it is that is loved. Romans 5 gives a four-fold description of such.
1. WITHOUT STRENGTH (v. 6).
2. UNGODLY (v. 6).
3. SINNERS (v. 8).
4. ENEMIES (v. 10).

It is indeed wonderful that He should love such. Naturally we love those we can respect and admire. Let the respect be deep enough and the admiration strong enough love will spring up.

But look at divine love. See that howling mob around the cross. The people, the rulers; the led and the leaders; the soldiers, the malefactors; the executioners, and those about to be executed—alike unite in reviling the dying Saviour. Listen to His prayer, efficacious then, efficacious now: “Father, forgive them; for, they know not what they do.”

Was ever love like this for wretches such as we?

1. “Without strength.”—Sin paralyses. This is true physically and spiritually. Does not sin end in death with all? And is not death absolute and final paralysis? And what happens physically happens spiritually. “Dead in trespasses and sins” (Eph. 2:1) truly characterizes the unsaved. It follows, then, that such can do nothing towards their own salvation. All their efforts cannot procure it, nor bring them one hair’s-breadth nearer to it. So we read in the same chapter, “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” (vv. 8-9).

So if you wish to be saved you must come God’s way, as a poor, empty-handed, strength-less sinner, and learn that the Lord Jesus has done all the work of atonement, has satisfied God as to sin, and that He is now “Just, and the Justifier of him which believes in Jesus” (Rom. 3:26).

2. “Ungodly” means without God. We often use the word as if it only referred to the base and vile. It indeed refers to all unconverted people. Such may be religious and yet ungodly, that is without God. They know about Him, but there is no seeking Him. How many are religious merely because it is fashionable, or because their Sunday observances whitewash for them the worldliness of the week. This cannot be called seeking after God. Yet for such Christ died.

3. “Sinners.” Ah! here is a description that all will admit. “All have sinned, and come short of the glory of God” (Rom. 3:23) as indeed it is the testimony of all by experience. All admit that they are sinners and that something is necessary to make them fit for God’s presence. Sin is an awful reality. It is not a question of being big sinners or little sinners. Just as surely as big sinners and little sinners die alike, so surely will they be judged. Once I truly grasp this simple fact, I must surely take my place as such, as one for whom Christ died.

4. “Enemies.”—Surely God’s love is indeed commended. Not to His friends alone, but to His enemies, are the blessings of the gospel offered. The divine commission, consequent on the death and resurrection of Christ, runs, “And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, BEGINNING AT JERUSALEM” (Luke 24:47). Yes, to begin at Jerusalem, the city of His enemies, His murderers. The place where they crucified Him. Was the gospel to be proclaimed to the soldier who pierced His side? To those who drove the nails through His hands and feet? To those who spat in His face, and plucked the hair off His cheek? To the High Priests and Rulers who voiced the frenzied cry of hate, “Away with Him! Crucify Him!”? Yes! Yes!! A thousand times Yes!

His love to me was wonderful,” because of the infinite cost necessary for its expression. Was ever love commended as God’s love has been at the cross? The father and son in our story were pardoned; a ram was provided in the thicket for Isaac, and Abraham’s heart was spared the anguish of slaying his son, but the Lord Jesus went on to the cross with all its scorn and shame. God indeed forsook His Son, when sin was marked upon His holy soul. The very anticipation of the ordeal wrung from Him, as it were, drops of blood, falling to the ground. What must the reality have been? No tongue can tell! No thought can grasp!

If such a death was necessary that divine justice should be satisfied we can well see that nothing that we can do can save our souls; and if He, who died, exclaimed, “IT IS FINISHED,” and God has proved His satisfaction as to the work by raising Him from the dead and giving Him glory, then we can understand how unnecessary it is for the sinner to add his sin-stained doings to such a work.

 “‘It is finished.’ Yes, indeed,
    Finished every jot.
  Sinner, this is all you need,
    Tell me, is it not?”

No wonder that the solemn question is asked, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” There can be none.

Reader, say, is not divine love well commended? Will you any longer say it nay? Will you not rather open your heart and receive the message? You need the gospel. Without it you are poor indeed.

Will you, dare you, pass out of this world without Christ? Where will your soul wander if it is denied entrance to heaven? None enter those gates but sinners saved by grace. That class, and that alone, can enter. Do you belong to it?

If not, will you not turn to the Lord at once?

Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). The day of salvation fasts draws to its close. The sorrows of endless night already cast their warning shadows across your path. Oh! pay heed to this message. It may be the last put into your hand.

May God give you to receive the message. “God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, CHRIST DIED FOR US.” May the Lord indeed give the reader to say as the writer can say through grace, “His love to me was wonderful.”

Minute-Minders

In a great business exhibition in London there are many devices shown whereby to save time. So wonderfully have things progressed of late years that the saving in time cannot now be shown in hours. Patentees are proud to show some invention that will save a minute. For instance, there is one device whereby the moment you step upon the mat a spring opens the office door before you, and you are saved the time and effort of opening it. The people who are interested in these things have been called minute-minders.

How many keen business men, who know that time is money, who are minute-minders, yet commit the folly of being

Eternity-Forgetters.

Profound folly, fraught with frightful consequences!

Is my reader one such? I beseech you to take thought for eternity. Let every other question be in abeyance till this question is settled. Heaven or hell? Eternal bliss or everlasting despair? Eternal life or the second death?

Christ died to save you. He died for the ungodly, for the strengthless, for sinners, for enemies, for you. Will you accept His love and avail yourself of the efficacy of His blood? “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved?” (Acts 16:31).

Mr. Gladstone’s Testimony to the Gospel

The Right Hon. W.E.Gladstone’s career as a politician and Prime Minister, is too well known to render it necessary to more than mention his name.

A man of great ability, a scholar of Oxford University, a man of affairs with the vast experience of ripened old age, his testimony commands respect. He said: “If I am asked what is the remedy for the deeper sorrows of the human heart—what a man should chiefly look to in progress through life as the power that is to sustain him under trials, and enable him manfully to confront his afflictions—I must point to something which in a well-known hymn is called, ‘The old, old Story,’ told in an old, old Book, and taught with an old, old teaching, which is the greatest and best gift ever given to mankind.”

It is touching to behold the aged statesman, the overpowering masterful personality of his generation, turning to a child’s hymn in order to express what was deepest in his heart.

 “Tell me the story slowly,
  That I may take it in,
  That wonderful redemption,
  God’s remedy for sin.”

Yes, it is the knowledge of God’s wonderful redemption that sustains the believer in Christ as he passes through this world of sadness and trial. Child’s hymn as it is, its very simplicity, its earnest tone, are what appeal to strong men, and render the hymn a work of genius.

Again we read:
 “Tell me the story softly,
  With earnest tones and grave,
  Remember! I’m the sinner,
  Whom Jesus came to save.”

Well was it that “Jesus and His love” formed the pillow for the heart of the aged statesman.

There is a deathless charm about that story. How it suits the sinner. The most lustrous jewel in the Saviour’s crown is redemption. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses . . . from all sin” (1 John 1:7). That was the one object of His death, viz., to make atonement for sin.

Thus God can righteously offer salvation to every poor sinner, who will simply put their trust in the Saviour of His providing.

  “Neither is their salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

See that you do not miss this blessing, dear reader.

It is related of George Whitfield when preaching to a crowded congregation in America, and wishing to emphasize the freeness of God’s salvation, that he said, “It is as easy to obtain God’s salvation as for me to catch this fly,” and suiting the action to the words he made a grab at a fly that had settled on the preaching desk.

On opening his hand he found that the fly had escaped him. “Ah!” be said, “friends, it is easy to obtain salvation, it is easier to miss it.

My reader, I tremble that YOU should miss the blessing. Make sure of it, here and now, I beseech you.

“My Last End”

Well might Balaam, the hireling prophet, in his day exclaim, “Let me die the death of the righteous, and let my last end be like his!”

But he cared not to live the life, and how could he expect to die the death, of the righteous? Reward glittered before his eye, and he went his way to hell for the sake of what he could pick up on the road, but which he must leave on the brink of the grave. He and his sins alone could pass through the portals of eternity. Poor, deluded Balaam, how many, many followers hast thou in this enlightened nineteenth century—even in this land of Bibles.

Dear reader, let me beg of you to ponder seriously these three graphic words—“My last end.” It must come. By reason of strength you may pass the allotted three score and ten; but the iron constitution must yield.

The devil may coin a sophistical expression, and call death “the debt of nature.” The expression is as false as the devil himself. “Debt of nature!” Never! It is “the wages of SIN.”

Yes, O soul! whisper to thyself, “My last end.” The last great drama of your life must be played, and you will be the chief and most interested actor in it. Death, unbidden, will enter your chamber, lay his icy hand upon your pulse, and stay its beating. And your soul—precious heritage from God—will leave its tenement of clay, and pass into eternity.

Say, where will you spend eternity?

List, O traveller on life’s highway! The message of free pardon is spoken in your ear by God Himself.

The blessed Christ of God has died. Atonement for sin has been made. Listen! “Be it known unto you . . . that through this MAN [Jesus] is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13:38-39).

Take the blessing of this verse, and then your last end will indeed be happy and peaceful. But better still, you can await the moment when, in the twinkling of an eye, you will be caught up to meet the Lord in the air. (See 1 Thess. 4.)

“No One Wanted the Real Me”

Amy Johnson suddenly came into fame through her brilliant aeroplane exploits. As comparatively an unknown young woman she faced a solo-flight covering thousands of miles, across strange seas, over hundreds of miles of tropical jungle, till at length she landed in far-distant Australia, there to receive a tumultuous ovation, to find herself famous, lionised, fêted, and wealth for the asking.

Her last flight was when she flew over the Thames estuary, and disappeared. Mystery surrounds this last fatal flight. It is presumed her plane for some reason fell into the water, and that no one saw her end.

Was Amy Johnson satisfied with the fame she earned? Was her being fêted by the great ones of the earth a satisfying portion? Were wealth and luxury sufficient to meet the cravings of her heart?

Listen to her confession—“I spent my money and made more, and spent it again. I met everyone, went everywhere, did everything, and was MISERABLE. It became an obsession with me, that no one wanted me, the real me.” A friend sent me this confession from South Africa with the comment, “Pathetic and deeply instructive.”

It is all that and more, and you may ask, Why do you bring this to our notice? The old Book says, “As in water face answers to face, so the heart of man to man” (Prov. 27:19). We are assured that Amy Johnson’s confession will find an echo in many disillusioned hearts, and we should not be surprised if it does not find an echo in your heart. We are all made alike. We have immortal souls that must exist for ever. We are heirs of eternity. We know that at best life’s fitful dream is soon over, and what lies beyond should claim our deepest attention.

It may be when you are young, and life is full of interest physically and socially, that you may not feel so acutely the depression that filled poor Amy Johnson; but who is satisfied with life as it is? And there must come a moment in every life when life must look different. What must be the thoughts of the great men of the world—kings, politicians, millionaires, captains of industry, celebrated soldiers and sailors, novelists, actresses, etc., when stretched on a deathbed?

Amy Johnson had an obsession gnawing at her heart, that no one wanted her—“the real me.” We cannot reach her with our message, but we can tell you, who it is that wants you—“the real me.” We can tell you of One who alone can fill and satisfy your heart.

“Come unto Me, ” cried our Saviour, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you, and learn of Me: for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls” (Matt. 11:28-29). Here is the only true satisfaction to be found. All else is bitter disappointment.

We read of a Swiss millionaire. He owned a magnificent estate. When spoken to about Heaven, he waved his hand in the direction of his lovely domain, and exclaimed, “What do I want with Heaven? This is my Heaven.”

Soon after his only son was yachting on his own lake, when a sudden squall capsized the vessel, and his son was drowned before his eyes. Shortly after one of his two daughters made a run-away-marriage. When his remaining daughter said to him, “Father, I’m going into the town. Can I fetch you anything?”, in the bitterness of his spirit, the poor millionaire replied, “Yes, bring me a—revolver.”

The soul of man was never made to be satisfied by material wealth, by passing pleasures, by animal gratifications. Sin can never satisfy the soul, and sin brings its inevitable sorrowful aftermath. “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). But, thank God, the verse does not end there. We read on, “But the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”

What a contrast between “wages” and “gift” wages earned—death, the judgment of God in all its terror. Gift—what can you do with a gift? You cannot buy a gift, or else it would be a purchase. You cannot earn a gift or else it would be your due. All you can do with a gift is to receive it, and thank the donor. Our natural life is forfeited through sin, but life, eternal life, is God’s gift procured for us at the cost of the atoning sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ when He died on the cross of shame, meeting God’s righteous demand and setting Him free to offer this priceless gift.

How do we receive it? By faith. By believing. “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life: and He that believes not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abides on him” (John 3:36). How plain and simple are the terms. Eternal life is yours for the taking. Will you receive it?

Now (1)

I have had a very sad experience tonight,” said a woman earnestly to me.

There were three of us. I had been holding a gospel meeting in a populous Durham mining village on a Sunday evening, and was returning home. I had got into conversation with a man and his wife, and, after a little talk, the wife made the remark quoted above.

She went on, “We have been to chapel tonight, and a young local preacher was the supply. He spoke very earnestly on the text, ‘Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation.’ He kept ringing this verse in our ears, and his one burden was the importance of deciding for Christ at once.

“Well, the service ended, and the congregation dispersed. Just outside the door of the chapel a young man, who had been present, was laughing and joking with some girls, when suddenly he fell to the ground, and died without a moment’s warning.”

I could see that the event had shaken the nerves of the woman, and, as she ceased her story, a very solemn feeling came over us.

Was the young man converted, or was his conduct, laughing and joking at the close of a solemn gospel appeal an indication that he had remained untouched by the warning, so specially suited to his case, had he but known what the near future held in store for him?

We cannot say. We must leave that. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” But, oh! we turn to YOUR case with great solicitude. Are you converted? Are you saved? If not, never did the young preacher’s text apply with greater force to your case. You never were so near your end as you are this moment. You never were so near the closing hour of grace as you are now. Oh! that God would give you wisdom to understand the pressing importance of the statement, “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

The fact that “NOW is the accepted time” proves that there is nothing for you to do to be saved but to believe. It is a marvellous fact that God can, and does, offer to save you on the spot just as you are. Your sins are no barrier, for “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

If only you were in deep earnest about it, how simple it would be to accept God’s offered mercy through faith in Christ.

I once visited a lady in a Scots watering town. Frail and wasted, she evidently was not long for this world. After a little conversation in order to gain her confidence, I ventured to ask, “Are you saved?”

Her answer thrilled me. She covered her face with her thin, wasted hands, and shuddered as she exclaimed with deep pathos, “I would give worlds to know that.

It was such a joy to explain to her that she could do nothing towards her salvation, that Christ had done everything, that on the cross He had triumphantly exclaimed, “IT IS FINISHED!” and that His place in glory was the proof of God’s satisfaction in His work. That all she needed to do was to trust that Saviour, and God would save her on the spot. We opened our Bibles, and read Acts 10:43; 13:38-39; 16:31; John 5:24, and other plain Scriptures.

I shall never forget how the light broke in upon her, and when once she saw that all she had to do was to trust the Saviour she jumped at the offer, and earnestly accepted the Lord Jesus as her Saviour.

She lingered some months, giving a bright testimony to her faith in Christ. She has now passed away to be with Him who died for her and saved her.

Will you not trust this same Saviour? He is so trustworthy, and He will do all that He has said He will. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). “He that hears My word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

Miss Havergal truly wrote—
 “They that trust Him wholly
  Find Him wholly true.

Now

I have had a very sad experience tonight.” So said a woman earnestly to me. There were three of us. I had been holding a gospel meeting in a populous Durham mining village on a Sunday evening, and was returning home. I had got into conversation with a man, and his wife, and after a little talk the wife made the remark quoted above.

She went on, “We have been to chapel tonight, and a young local preacher was the supply. He spoke very earnestly on the text, ‘Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation.’ He kept ringing this verse in our ears, and his one burden was the importance of deciding for Christ at once.

“Well, the service ended, and the congregation dispersed. Just outside the door of the chapel a young man, who had been present, was laughing and joking with some girls, when suddenly he fell to the ground and died without a moment’s warning.”

I could see that the event had shaken the nerves of the woman, and, as she ceased her story, a very solemn feeling came over us.

Was the young man converted, or was his conduct, laughing and joking at the close of a solemn, gospel appeal, an indication that he had remained untouched by the warning, so specially suited to his case had he but known what the near future held in store for him?

We cannot say. We must leave that. “Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?” But, oh! we turn to your case with great solicitude. Are you converted? Are you saved? If not, never did the young preacher’s text apply with greater force to your case. You never were so near the closing hour of grace as you are now. Would that God gave you wisdom to understand the pressing importance of the statement, “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

The fact that “now is the accepted time” proves that there is nothing for you to do to be saved but to believe. It is a marvellous fact that God can, and does, offer to save you on the spot, just as you are. Your sins are no barrier, for “the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin” (1 John 1:7).

If only you were in deep earnest about it, how simple it would be to accept God’s offered mercy through faith in Christ.

I once visited a lady in a Scots watering town. Frail and wasted, she evidently was not long for this world. After a little conversation, in order to gain her confidence, I ventured to ask, “Are you saved?”

Her answer thrilled me. She covered her face with her thin, wasted hands, and shuddered as she exclaimed with deep pathos, “I would give worlds to know that.

It was such joy to explain to her that she could do nothing towards her salvation, that Christ had done everything, that on the cross He had triumphantly exclaimed, “It is finished,” and that His place in glory was the proof of God’s satisfaction in His work; that all she needed to do was to trust that Saviour, and God would save her on the spot. We opened our Bibles, and read Acts 10:43; 13:38-39; 16:31; John 5:24, and other plain Scriptures.

I shall never forget how the light broke in upon her, and when once she saw that all she had to do was to trust the Saviour, she jumped at the offer, and earnestly accepted the Lord Jesus as her Saviour.

She lingered some months, giving a bright testimony to her faith in Christ. She has now passed away to be with Him who died for her and saved her.

Will you not trust this same Saviour? He is so trustworthy, and He will do all that He has said He will. “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28). “He that hears My word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

Miss Havergal truly wrote—
They that trust Him wholly
  Find Him wholly true.

Can we doubt the word of Christ? Did He not say, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37)? Not one who has put Him to the test but have found Him true to His word. Yes, we can trust Him. Will you not do so and do it now? “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

Remember time is flying fast. Life is uncertain. Sudden death seems the order of the day, street accidents, short illnesses, virulent epidemics constantly warn us that we should be ready at any time. Whether we die at twenty or eighty matters little. It is not when we die, but how we die, that matters.

My reader, if you died today how would you die? You would be either in Christ or in your sins, either a sinner saved by grace, or a sinner in your sins.

Was it for nothing that Christ died? Was it not that sin’s dreadful penalty should be paid, and God enabled righteously to offer forgiveness and salvation to “whosoever will.” Will you not face facts here and settle the question of your eternal destiny by trusting the loving Saviour now?

“Now is the Day of Salvation”

In an Oxfordshire village lived an old Christian woman. She was greatly troubled about the dark spiritual condition of the place, and prayed persistently for fourteen years for its blessing.

One day two young men preached on the village green. One statement that they kept repeating, puzzled two of their hearers. They betook themselves to old Ann, as likely to give an explanation.

“Ann,” they cried, “there be two young men preaching on the green, and they do say that ‘now is the accepted time; now is the day of salvation.’ What be they meaning, Ann?”

Here was Ann’s opportunity. Her answer was not only true but wonderfully graphic. Her desire for the spiritual blessing of her questioners quickened her faculties, and the answer shows the true heart-longing of the winner of souls. Ann replied:
  “If you believe on Jesus NOW, and died tonight, you would be in heaven tomorrow; but if you did not believe Jesus, and died tonight, you would be in hell tomorrow.”

There was no mistaking the plain English of the answer. One of the women weighed it over, and trusted the Lord Jesus without delay; the other, woman, who asked old Ann the question, put off deciding. Two weeks later she was returning from her work in the fields, intending to light her fire, boil the kettle, and have an early cup of tea. Alas! the fire was never lit. The cottage threshold was scarcely reached when a neighbour saw her stagger up the little garden path, and fall prostrate to the ground. She ran to her help, but before further assistance could be obtained, and the poor woman placed upon her little sofa in the small kitchen, she had died. So far as our knowledge goes she made no profession of having trusted the Saviour, and thus she passed into eternity.

Beyond the inexpressibly sad warning contained in this incident, and the bare possibility of my unconverted reader dying tonight and being in hell tomorrow, ay, and sooner than that, our desire in bringing this incident before you is to press upon your acceptance the truth of God’s own words:
  “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

God offers to save you on the spot. Sometimes people will tell you they are waiting for God’s time. They cannot do that. It is an impossibility. If God promised to save you five minutes hence you could wait God’s time, but when He says, “NOW is the accepted time,” you cannot wait for NOW. Oh! that the loving importunity of a Saviour-God would lead to a wise and instant decision.

And I will tell you why “Now is the day of salvation.” Because the Saviour has died. Because the work of salvation has been gloriously and perfectly accomplished—the work whereby God can in righteous grace save the vilest sinner who puts his trust in Jesus.

Just as in the parable the servants were instructed by the King to say, “My oxen and my fatlings are killed, and all things are ready: come unto the marriage,” so we, as servants of God, can say, Jesus has died, atonement has been made, all things are now ready, come and trust the Saviour. You will find that if you accept God’s time and offer He will accept you, for did not Jesus say, “Him that comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out”? If you make NOW your day of salvation, and “died tonight,” in old Ann’s graphic words, you would be in heaven tomorrow,” ay, sooner than that, for did not the Saviour say to the dying thief, “Today shalt thou be with Me in paradise”?

And if you really trusted the Saviour today, and there is no reason why you should not, and every reason why you should, and you lived for many years to come, then you would have the “joy and peace” that believing gives, peace as to your guilty past, peace as to your certain future, joy in the knowledge of the Saviour, joy in the prospect of being with Him and like Him for ever.

Oh! close in with God’s proffered mercy, is the writer’s earnest advice, and do it NOW.

O Heart of God, Told Out in Wondrous Love

  O heart of God, told out in wondrous love
    So full and free,
  When Jesus stooped from glory’s heights above
    To Calvary’s tree:
  Oh! let that love in all its power and strength,
  So speak that rebel hearts be won at length.

  Oh! love of Christ, so measureless and vast,
    Salvation’s won,
  Which led to Calvary’s gloom, until at last
    The work was done.
  Oh, let that love in all its righteous power,
  To troubled hearts bring peace this very hour.

  Oh! matchless is the story of God’s love,
    Surpassing thought,
  Written by Jesus in His precious blood,
    Which pardon bought,
  And even now forgiveness yours may be,
  Through faith in Him who died upon the tree.

Oh! Hearken, Ye Saints—the Lord’s Waiting Band

  Oh! hearken, ye saints—the Lord’s waiting band—
  His coming draws near, His advent’s at hand;
  Then watching and waiting we ever should be,
  Not knowing the moment His face we shall see.

  His coming at first for sin to atone,
  In righteousness met the claims of God’s throne;
  With consciences purged, and with hearts now set free,
  With joy we are waiting our Saviour to see.

  Ascended on high, though hid from our view,
  Our High Priest doth help; His grace doth pursue,
  Till trav’lling days over, till faith be no more,
  And love is triumphant as upward, we soar.

  Then praise Him, ye saints, whose coming draws nigh,
  Hosannah to Jesus, our Saviour! we cry;
  The moment will come when His own He receives,
  Not one will be missing who on Him believes.

One Hundred Years Ago (Lord Nelson’s Last Words)

One hundred years ago today* Lord Nelson died. Just in the moment of his supremest triumph he was mortally wounded in the breast by a sharpshooter in the rigging of a French ship. Covering his face and decorations with his handkerchief that the crew might not be disheartened, he was borne into the cockpit. Life was fast ebbing. Strength was going. He was past medical aid.
{*October 21st, 1905.}

One hundred years ago today his last words to the chaplain were:
  “I have not been a great sinner. Thank God, I have done my duty.”

Let us take these two sentences, and see what they mean. “I have not been a great sinner.” There is little comfort in saying this on a deathbed. For, reflect! It is not a question of being a great sinner or a little sinner, but—A SINNER. The Scriptures do not say, “The soul that sins greatly it shall die”; but “The soul that sins it shall die.” The law does not say, “The man that committs many murders shall be hanged”; but “The man that commits murder shall be hanged.” One leak may as effectually sink a ship as many. One sin led to the expulsion of our first parents from the garden of Eden.

Do you think then that little sinners go to heaven and great sinners go to hell? Who is to draw the line? Who is to adjust the sliding scale that separates between what is too good to go to hell and too bad to go to heaven?

Nelson said feebly with his dying breath, “I have not been a great sinner.” A few more beats of the heart, and all was over so far as this world was concerned. His ears heard not the thanks of the nation. His was no triumphal home-coming. But his was the solemn entrance into eternity, the meeting God to whom the triumphs of war are as nothing. How did he stand with GOD? Was he right with HIM? Alas! we have no satisfactory answer to give; but of this we are sure that just as Nelson entered into eternity a hundred years ago today, so he is—today—and FOR ETERNITY.

Reader, where will you be one hundred years today? I write these lines to warn you. Face the matter—the most important and far-reaching question you can ever settle. Whether you be a great sinner or a little sinner, you need Christ. The vessel sinking with one leak needs the lifeboat just as much as the one who has several holes knocked in her bottom. You cannot do without the death of Christ. The precious blood alone can cleanse you from all sin. If you are ever to sing the glories of the Lamb in heaven you must enter not as a great sinner or a little sinner, but as a sinner saved, a sinner cleansed, a sinner redeemed.

One look to Christ will assuredly secure all this and more for you. He died for all—therefore you. He calls upon your trust. He invites your faith. He says, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

A Christian employer of labour, who took a deep interest in the souls of his workmen, knew that one of them was anxious to be saved. He wrote a note to him, saying, “Dear James—Please come to the office at 6 o’clock—I want to see you. Yours truly, ——.

At the specified hour James knocked at the door of his master’s office. “Come in,” said his employer, and in he stepped. Taking no notice of him for some time, he at last said, “Why have you come?”

The man, in astonishment, said, “Why, this letter, sir, told me to come.”

The master bent over his desk, and, writing on a piece of paper, handed it to the anxious man, saying, “Attend to that letter, James.”

The workman read the beautiful, familiar words: “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.”

A few moments of silence passed; then, with a sob and a catch in his voice, he said to his master, “Do you mean to say, sir, that I have to attend to this message just as I attended to yours?”
  “Exactly,” was the answer.
  “Then, I’ll come,” was the response; and on the office floor, there and then, the anxious man trusted the Lord Jesus Christ, and experienced the rest that He promised to those who should come. Coming simply means believing or trusting.

Lord Nelson’s last words to the chaplain were, “Thank God! I have done my duty.” Doubtless he was thinking of the glorious victory he had just won, and that king and countrymen would say that he had done his duty. “England expects every man to do his duty” was the well-known signal, and he felt he had done his. But what of his duty to GOD? That is the important point. Miss that, and you miss all.

“Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole DUTY of man.” This was the text inscribed on the coffin of an aged Unitarian years ago—a man who had stoutly derided the atoning value of the precious blood. Alas! he thought that he had feared God and kept His commandments. Now none have fully done that; hence the necessity of the work of Christ.

Why the most outwardly blameless man that ever lived, Saul of Tarsus, had to write of the law that it had convicted him inwardly. The law possesses more than x-rays of research. Outward blamelessness is not sufficient: inward purity is what the law demands. The very struggles men make to stifle their passions, and walk correctly, affords abundant proof of their sinnership. The Apostle Paul wrote: “I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.”

Ah! just because I have not done my duty I have cast myself upon God’s mercy and trusted in the Lord Jesus Christ. Be warned, dear reader, of the uncertainty of life. Nelson died in the moment of his victory; Sir Henry Irving died half-an-hour after one of his triumphs on the stage. You may die before this day closes.

  “Behold, now is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).
  “Through His name whosoever believes in Him shall receive remission of sins” (Acts 10:43).

If I died tonight my last words might well be, “I have been a great sinner; alas! I have not done my duty; but, thank God, Jesus died for me, and God forgives and saves me on the ground of what He has done.”

As a rich south country squire wrote:
  “I am a poor sinner, and nothing at all,
  But Jesus Christ is my all in all.”

Thank God, that is sufficient. Can you say it?

Peace! Peace! Peace!

The world dreams of peace. Crushed by the ever-increasing burden of enormous navies and armies, enslaved by the chains of commerce, enervated by the luxurious habits of the age, aspirations for peace are ever increasing in volume and force. Men want to be happy and prosperous—without God. Nothing must hinder the world’s progress till the poorest shall have plenty, and man, by his own efforts, shall have gained the millennium.

Universal peace, we are told, is in sight. The world is about to enter upon its greatest and brightest epoch. God and His Christ are forgotten.

A great Peace Parliament is proposed for 1913. A New York newspaper wants the great congress to be held in that city. It says:
  “This city alone is able to afford ample and elegant accommodation to the 2,500 distinguished men, who make up the parliaments of the world. It is one of the great cities of the world. It is the metropolis and representative city of a nation consecrated to peace. If the representative bodies of New York, its great organisations, its statesmen, its publicists, its newspapers, and its people would ask Congress to extend the invitation for 1913, Congress would not fail to do so. The invitation would, in all human probability, be accepted in full and hearty spirit by the parliaments of the world. The cost of a single battleship would pay ten times over the entire cost of the vast occasion. America’s greatest city would play the host to the greatest and noblest assembly ever gathered in the history of the human race. And the cause of universal peace would be advanced from a beautiful promise of the century to a glowing realisation of the decade in which we live.”

All this is but the rapid fulfilment under our very eyes of the prophecy of an old book. It prophesies not only the world’s dream, but the world’s disillusion. We read in 1 Thessalonians 5:3,
  “When they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction comes upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape.”

Sudden destruction” will come. Swift will be the blow—“a bolt out of the blue.” How graphic is the simile of the old book—“as travail upon a woman with child.”

Yes, the world dreams of peace. But the angry roar of cannon on land, the sullen booming of guns from the decks of quivering Dreadnoughts, the dropping of bombs from aeroplanes, will wake it up from its dream in a fool’s paradise. Even now one can hear, not only on the surface the cry of frightened humanity for peace, but underneath the surface the mutterings of the coming storm. Indeed, 1913 is already called “the fateful year” in a sinister sense.

But suppose peace did reign, what would it be? Peace between nations at most. Peace for time at best. Men would still die. The death-rattle would still be heard in the solemn death-chambers of palace and hovel. Death, king of terrors and terror of kings, would still strike when least expected and least wanted.

And suppose your turn came, and you were hurried off. What would the world’s peace be to you? Nothing! Whether summer smiles or winter frowns, whether peace and prosperity reign, or war and pestilence decimate the land, matters nothing to the dead. Nay, I ask a deeper question, one of vital eternal interest to you: Have you peace WITH GOD?

Do not shake off the question! Whether you like it or not, it will soon have to be faced. For, listen! God waits to be gracious. The intensity of His desire to meet you thus is witnessed at Calvary.

Says the New York journalist, “The cost of a single battleship would pay ten times over the cost of the vast occasion.” But what did it cost God to offer us salvation?

  “God . . . spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all” (Rom. 8:32).

And what did it cost the Lord Jesus to carry out God’s will for our salvation?

He “. . . made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20).

What a cost! No words can faintly express the infinite cost of peace with God. When once this story lays hold of the heart, it bows the sinner at the feet of the Lord Jesus, there to hear His words of pardon and love; and then, once tasted, henceforth redeeming love will be his theme.

It was thus with Adoniram Judson. When that devoted missionary on his return to his native land, shattered in health by imprisonment and thirty years of work in Burmah, was announced to address a meeting, an enormous multitude of people flocked to hear him.

Worn and haggard he rose, and amid breathless silence spoke for about fifteen minutes of “the precious Saviour, who had so loved us, done so much for us, and to whom we owe our all.”

On the way home the friend on whose arm he leaned said: “I fear, Mr. Judson, the people were much disappointed. They expected to hear you speak of something else.”
  “What else did they want? I tried, to the best of my ability, to speak of the most interesting subject in the world.”
  “But they wanted a story.”
  “Well,” said Judson, “I gave them the most thrilling story I know.”
  “Yes; but they expected something new from a man just come from the Antipodes.”
  “Then I am glad they will have to say that a man from the Antipodes had nothing better to tell them than the story of the love of Jesus.”

Friend, was ever tribute more touching? Would that you knew this thrilling story in your soul.

The world will yet get peace. There will yet be a millennium. But it will come through trouble first, and it will come through the Lord Jesus. Then, and not till then, “they shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks” (Isa. 2:4).

And just in the same way peace WITH GOD for you will be through trouble first. Sin is a reality.

The cross and suffering of Christ were realities. Once the truth of these things lays hold of us there is repentance, sorrow for sin, self-judgment in God’s holy presence. We then learn that peace comes not through self-effort, reformation, and the like, but through the Lord Jesus. He “made peace through the blood of His cross” (Col. 1:20.) Believers can say, He “was delivered for our offences, and was raised again for our justification. Therefore, being justified by faith, we have peace WITH GOD through our Lord Jesus Christ” (Rom. 4:25, 5:1).

Mark the terms—“BY faith,” “THROUGH our Lord Jesus Christ.” Will you accept God’s terms?

Accept them, and eternal blessing is yours. Refuse them, and nothing but eternal judgment awaits you.

Reader, have you PEACE WITH GOD?

Peace was Procured by Christ, the Son of God

  Peace was procured by Christ, the Son of God,
  When on the cross He shed His precious blood.
  Which brings a pardon, perfect, full, and free,
  To guilty rebel sinners such as we.

  Peace is proclaimed from heaven’s bright courts of love,
  Where Jesus sits at God’s right hand above,
  And on His brow rests crown of glory bright—
  Blest token of acceptance in His sight.

  Peace is possessed by those who simply hide
  In Christ alone, and in His word confide;
  They read their pardon written full and plain
  By God Himself, who sees them without stain.

  “He is our Peace” in glory’s highest height,
  Changeless, the same, though clouds may dim our sight,
  Our peace remains, though joy may come and go,
  Peace, perfect peace, our portion here below.

  O sinner, God is waiting thee to bless;
  His love, which flowing forth in righteousness,
  Seeks to bestow on weary, sin-sick hearts,
  That living peace which He alone imparts.
  A.J.Pollock (verses 1, 3, 5); A.Cutting (verses 2, 4)
  Gospel Tidings Hymn Book

  Peace was procured by Christ, the Son of God,
  When on the cross He shed His precious blood.
  Which brought a pardon, perfect, full, and free,
  To guilty rebel sinners such as we.

  Peace is proclaimed from heaven’s bright courts of love,
  The Victor takes His seat, and from above,
  The gladsome message sounds in weary ears
  That Christ binds broken hearts and stays their tears.

  Peace is possessed by those who simply hide
  In Christ alone, and in His word confide;
  Read clear their pardon, written full and plain
  By God Himself, who sees them without stain.

  O sinner, Christ is waiting thee to bless;
  His love, which flowing forth in righteousness,
  Seeks to bestow on weary, sin-sick hearts,
  That living peace which He alone imparts.

Question of Interest: Are all Christians called to definite service for Christ?

“To every man his work” (Mark 13:34), affords a decisive answer. Every Christian is not a distinct gift, as evangelist, pastor or teacher, but all are saved to serve, as Romans 12:3 shows. After speaking of the measure of faith which God has dealt to every man (i.e. every Christian), the chapter, under the figure of “one body in Christ,” deals with different kinds of service. The very figure used shows that every member is called upon to serve.

In the human body there is not a member, seen or unseen, that does not serve. As I write these lines my thumb and forefinger hold my pen, they in turn are controlled by the hand; the hand supported by the wrist; the wrist, by the arm. The brain directs the fingers to write, and the eyes to assist. And all the while the heart is beating, the lungs breathing, the blood circulating, each member of the body contributing to one common end. 1 Corinthians 12:11 confirms this. “All these works that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as He will,” “every man” again referring to every Christian.

Never did the Lord’s people need more help than at the present, never was there more need for the earnest spreading of the gospel. No one can fail to find work to do pleasing to the Lord, even though he may not be called to fill any prominent place.

Matthew 25:14-30 will help us here. One may receive five talents, another two, a third but one. But there is as much need for the possessor of one talent to trade with it as he to whom five talents were entrusted. See also Luke 19:12-27. While in Matthew the talents signify ability imparted, which differs with each individual, in Luke the pounds signify opportunities which all in their measure possess alike.

Whatever it be, let our service be simple, unaffected and the result of communion. Let no one copy another, but get his orders from the Lord. One may preach to thousands, another may read to a blind woman; one may travel to distant lands, another may serve at home; one may write tracts, another may distribute them.

It is always refreshing to hear of simple, original methods of service. I have never forgotten the pleasure with which I heard years ago of an aged man, whose heart was in so precarious a condition that he could not preach or do anything that involved physical labour. He used to search the newspapers for the addresses of families lately bereaved. To these he sent a gospel booklet and one full of comfort for those in sorrow. This he did for years, till he went to be with the Master he loved to serve.

The spirit of true service was grasped by an aged woman in the Southern States of America. When the Confederate troops were marching through her town, she tied a red handkerchief on a poker, shouldered it, and marched some distance with the soldiers. When asked what she was doing, she replied, “If I cannot fight for my country, I can encourage those who do.” A spirit like that amongst those who belong to Christ is greatly to be desired.

Ransomed Saints, Your Voices Raise

  Ransomed saints, your voices raise,
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.
  Sing aloud your heavenly lays,
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

  Tell it in the sinner’s ears—
  Not thy works and not thy tears
  Can dispel thy guilty fears,
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

  Yes, He died upon the cross,
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.
  There He suffered shame and loss,
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

  There He did for sin atone,
  Dying on that cross alone,
  Now upon the Father’s throne—
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

  Tell the joyous news around—
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.
  Make the very heavens resound—
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves,

  Weary not to tell the news;
  Yet if thousands still refuse,
  God will all His foes confuse;
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

  Soon the heavens shall hear His voice,
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.
  Then His people shall rejoice,
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

  When He calls His own away,
  Never more shall Mercy say,
  This is still Salvation’s day,
    Jesus saves, Jesus saves.

Reason Gone Mad!

In France, on September 30th, 1863, infidelity had a golden chance to show how superior it was to Christianity. Under the banner of reason men had acted as if reason had gone mad. Traditional beliefs had been given up, men had become more like wild beasts than reasonable creatures, and the upheaval has been most justly described as “The Reign of Terror.” What an opportunity when infidelity had got all into its power to show how much better it was than Christianity! How completely it failed; for, indeed, there can be no more damning accusation against infidelity than to soberly read the historian’s account of what was done at that time.

Let us take a peep inside the historic cathedral of Nôtre Dame on the day in question. Alsace, goddess of reason, sits enthroned on the altar. They dress her in white robes, cover her shoulders with a blue mantle, place the red cap on her head and a pike in her hand. Oh, the pity of the show! for hollow, vulgar show it was at the best. Look at her handsome but brazen face as the woman carries out the awful programme of the hour by mocking at Christ. Hear the shouts as she is hailed as the new deity, who is to redeem France. Poor France!

Look at the people’s self-chosen saviour, who mocked in the hour of her fleeting triumph the true Saviour, whose love, expressed on the cross, has won the homage of countless multitudes. Seventy years after this hideous show in Nôtre Dame see France’s new deity. She is old now, very old, indeed dying. Poor, miserable, blind, idiotic, toothless, the goddess of reason passed into the presence of her outraged Creator.

Was there ever a more clear exposure of the madness of mere reason in the things of God? When reason got the upper hand of a nation she wrote heavily on the page of history in letters of blood her own utter condemnation.

Let September 30th, 1863, teach us a good, wholesome lesson.

Let us look at another scene. A girl lay dying. Her father was an infidel, her mother a Christian. He had often ridiculed his wife’s faith to the children. Now a great sorrow is ploughing through the man’s heart—his child is dying.

Presently a weak voice, soon to he hushed in death, is heard “Father, shall I believe you or mother now I am dying?”

“You had better believe your mother,” came the answer softly and distinctly. Aye, and infidel, you had better embrace the faith of your meek, Christian wife.

We plead with you, reader. Give the verdict to Christianity. Believe the gospel. Receive Christ.

  “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

Reasons for Reading

Such is the heading of a two-paged leaflet advertising “The Times Book Club.” Below are given two reasons:
  FOR INFORMATION—The greatest history the world has ever known is now in the makings. Read books that will give some idea of the meaning and significance of today’s momentous events.
  FOR DISTRACTION—In a time of anxious preoccupation the best diversion is often found in a really good novel.

This terrible war, that is gradually drawing within its area nation after nation, that is responsible for millions of men actually fighting, that is being waged on land and sea, in the air, under the earth and beneath the water, is indeed most wonderful history in the making. But is it, as “The Times Book Club” describes it, “the greatest history the world has ever known”?

We beg leave to say at once, and without fear of contradiction, that history, infinitely bigger in its meaning and consequences than anything now going on—colossal, staggering, awe-inspiring as it may be—has taken place. Beside this history every other historical incident is of no more importance than the doings of an ant-heap in Central Africa are to General Joffre.

This piece of history is
  “The centre of two eternities,
    Which look with rapt, adoring eyes.”

We refer to the wondrous incarnation of the Son of God—His death—His resurrection—His ascension.

That is “the greatest history the world has ever known.” Yet how many there are to whom it does not appeal in the least. How many there are who are far more concerned with what is happening in France and Belgium and Russia and Germany than what took place at Calvary long centuries ago.

At most, what is happening on the Continent of Europe may affect our property, prosperity and life. It may bring poverty, death, bereavement and sorrow. Sad consequences, indeed, but they only affect us for this life and this world, only for a very little while at the most.

But what happened at Calvary affects us for all eternity. How will it affect you, reader? Either it will, if a believer, win you heaven, or assure you, if an unbeliever, of hell. Which shall it be?

The believer is saved for ever and ever.
The unbeliever has the wrath of God abiding upon him.

Such is the plain testimony of Scripture.

Personal, individual appropriation of the value of the death of Christ is what is needed. Without that “the greatest history the world has ever known” will only seal your doom in the lake of fire for ever.

Then we are informed by “The Times Club” that a good reason for reading is “for distraction,” and for that we are recommended to a really good novel. But in times of “anxious preoccupation” what good will a novel do the reader? Suppose, for instance, you are very distracted; that the enemy is within one hour’s march of where you live, and every inhabitant will be shot, you among the number. What good will fiction do you then?

On the other hand, what blessed, happy, healthful distraction the Word of God can give. How cheering to learn in it the way of salvation and of eternal life; and, even under the terrible circumstances supposed, for the believer in Christ to have the assurance and joy of being so soon with the Lord. Or if events lead to long trial of earthly circumstances, poverty, bereavement, and the like, will the living in the unreal atmosphere of a novel really help the reader to bear his circumstances with fortitude and joy? How different are the consolations which the Book of Books affords. The believer can say: “We glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation works patience; and patience, experience; and experience, hope: and hope makes not ashamed; because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us” (Rom. 5:3-5).

The Times Club” leaflet tells us of a lady who read 65 books in less than three months at a cost of less than nine shillings. This works out at more than five books per week, or, roughly speaking, one volume each working day. If these books were all novels, what an unreal world this lady must be living in. And yet she has to face death, judgment, the great white throne, the lake of fire, if she dies in her sins. As a general rule, novel reading and Bible reading do not go together. The worldling reads novels. Earnest Christians read the Bible.

Now if these lines should happen to catch the eye of this lady, we would recommend her to the study of 66 books, which can keep her interested deeply all the rest of her days, if she will only read them aright. They will tell her how the world was created, how sin came in, the interesting story of the Jewish nation, how the Saviour came to this world, of His death on the cross, of His glorious resurrection and ascension, of His willingness to save and bless, how the Lord lives for His people, and is soon coming for them. It will unroll the solemn future happenings in this world, and give her vivid peeps into eternity.

And this will not cost her nine shillings, wonderful as these 66 books are. Only yesterday I was shown 27 of them, commonly called the New Testament, well bound, good, clear print, which can be bought for the sum of one penny.

Listen to the testimony of the Bible. “The holy scriptures . . . are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim. 3:15-17).

Reader, let me earnestly entreat you to read the Word of God, AND PAY HEED TO ITS MESSAGE. Those who fail to read it, or read it carelessly and superficially, merely as a respectable formality, and die unsaved, will find it their bitterest reflection that they have held within their hands God’s book, that it contained the message of life and peace, and that they had paid no heed. This will be indeed “the worm that never dies”—the accusing conscience—the unavailing, eternal regret, bitter beyond words.

A poor, worn-out tramp laid himself down to die on a stone, which formed part of a Roman camp. He died of starvation. Excavations were made in the camp after his death. When the stone on which the poor, starved, hunger-bitten tramp had died was lifted, there were found underneath it three crocks full of gold coins. Little did he know that he was dying of starvation within six inches of all this treasure.

But you are hereby informed of the wonderful treasure to be found in the Word of God. Fail to find it, and the responsibility will be all yours. The blame will all lie at your own door. You alone will have to bear the consequences. Be warned in time, I beseech you.

“Redeeming the Time”

I was travelling in the train the other day with a fellow-labourer in the gospel field. The conversation drifted somehow or other to the subject of shaving.

“Shaving takes one working week out of the working year in my case, I reckon,” he said.

I began to calculate it rather curiously. It took up ten minutes each week-day. Ten minutes is the sixth of an hour. Working nine hours a day, it took up the fifty-fourth of the working day; that is, the fifty-fourth of the year of fifty-two weeks, which is practically one working week clean gone out of the working year.

Trivial as the conversation seemed for the moment, I must confess it has since opened up the field for many a serious reflection.

I admit I was startled, as I thought how precious the minutes were; and humbled as I thought of the many never-to-be-recalled hours, worse than wasted.

I bring the incident before the readers of Simple Testimony, at the risk of being smiled at. The value of the odd moments for reading, for prayer, for dropping a word of comfort, for handing out a gospel booklet or two, came home to me in no ordinary way. I thought with redoubled interest of the Apostle Paul’s exhortation to the Ephesian saints—“Redeeming the time, because the days are evil” that is, seizing the precious, priceless opportunities as they occur. They are ours for the moment—ours to use or to abuse then gone for ever beyond recall.

“Oh,” says the Christian young man, “if I only had the opportunity of crossing the seas, and preaching the gospel to the poor, dark heathen, how I should rejoice!”

Yet, often alas! the heathen crying at our very doors are neglected. Remember, the zeal that does not spend itself upon the opportunities that force themselves upon us in the office, the factory, the train, the tram, or in our walks abroad, is a vanishing quantity on the foreign field. On the other hand the earnestness that is displayed at home will not die because it is transplanted to a foreign soil. It is too hardy for that, not “a hardy annual,” but a perennial. Abiding earnestness kept warm and operative through communion with a God whose love lingers over this world, growing hoary in its guilt, and fast ripening for judgment—this is what we want! Oh to be in touch with His sympathies!

I was also struck upon reflecting as to where the text “Redeeming the time” occurs. Not in the epistle to the Romans, which expounds the groundwork of the gospel, but in the Epistle to the Ephesians, which brings out the teaching about the Church.

Although we are seen as seated together in Christ in heavenly places, the subjects of God’s everlasting counsels, the objects of His ineffable delight and love, yet we are not spoiled for the opportunities of the passing hour. Though we may be amazed at the range of our heavenly blessings, yet we are not walking with our heads in the clouds.

Occupation with Christ does not lead to our not seeing the smallest opportunities around us, little in their appearance to man’s eyes, but big with possibilities of service for Him.

The apostle Paul closes our brief text with the pregnant words, “Because the days are evil.” The darker and more difficult the days become, the more loudly does the apostle’s exhortation fall upon our dull and inattentive ears.

May both writer and reader be stirred up to godly zeal and earnestness in this matter. Remember we cannot all do great things. Suffice it if we get the Master’s smile of approval, and His cheering, “WELL DONE!” None can stretch a mile at one terrific bound, but by taking hundreds of little steps all can accomplish the distance. The Lord comes quickly. Do we really believe it? Let us, then, redeem the time.

Safe is the Vilest Sinner, who, Confiding

  Safe is the vilest sinner, who, confiding
    In the blest-merits of the blood alone,
  Learns God’s great heart in deepest love providing
    His only Son, who did for sin atone.
    Trust now that Saviour, whose riven side
    Opened a fountain for healing far and wide.

  Sure is the sinner on God’s Word relying,
    Not on his feelings as they come and go:
  “He has declared it,” faith delights replying,
    Calming each fear, and silencing each foe.
    Soon earth and heaven will pass away,
    God’s Word unchanging remains the same for aye.

  Satisfied too the love of Christ enjoying
    Oh! ever upward, turn thy gaze to Him;
  Changed to His image, all thy soul set longing
    To see His face where nought the eye can dim.
    Lord, haste that moment when in the air
    Thou’lt call Thy people to share Thy home so fair.

Serving the Lord by Proxy

A Christian man lay dying. The best of his days had been spent in making money. He had no doubt as to his salvation, but his heart was sorely troubled. He looked back upon his early Christian life with its new-found joy and brightness. Then he remembered how he had set his heart on money, and how his soul had languished under the withering influence of this desire.

Lying on the confines of eternity, he began to see things in their true light, and he bitterly regretted his mistake. Conversing with a Christian visitor, he said: “Brother, my life has been a mistake. I have been trying to serve the Lord by proxy. I have given an occasional pound to help on the Lord’s work at home and abroad. I have generally been in my place on the Lord’s day; been interested more or less in what I heard and read of others serving the Lord, but, oh! I had little or no heart for His service myself. I see my mistake now, but I can never undo it.”

Then, grasping his brother’s hand, he said with great earnestness: “Do not try to serve the Lord by proxy. His word to all His redeemed ones is—‘Go, work today in My vineyard.’” He wants yourself, your heart, your life, your strength: and had I to begin my life again, by His grace I would give Him mine.”

Has this no voice to us?

What is it that makes us slack as to the Lord’s work? Surely it is lack of affection for the Lord Himself. I believe there are two things we all, more or less, neglect, viz., earnest, believing, importunate prayer, and earnest, reverential study of the Word. Love to the Lord would lead us out in these directions, and devoted and intelligent service would be the sure outcome. Workhouses and hospitals would be visited, villages would be evangelized, open-air preaching would not be neglected; indeed, there rises up the vision of countless channels of service.

The young and vigorous in body can serve God arduously from a physical aspect, where the aged cannot. But whether aged or young, service would flow continually as the result of devotedness.

A touching incident comes to my mind. An aged Christian, with advanced heart disease, was so infirm that he was forbidden the strain of preaching at all. What service could he do? He was very much laid aside. But devotedness finds means of service.

He procured newspapers covering a wide district round his home in the North of England. To every address where a death occurred he sent, with much prayer, two books by post, one calculated to comfort Christians, the other consisted of a plain gospel book, which doubtless God used to hearts stricken by sorrow and in a condition to be affected by eternal realities.

I appeal earnestly and lovingly to the young Christians especially. You have just been converted. Life is opening out before you. Young and vigorous lands open wide their arms of invitation, and promise health and wealth. But an infinitely sweeter voice is calling you. Love claims your affections and all else. Eternity beckons you.

You would be wise if you settled it solemnly and seriously in your soul that you will live for Christ. Let that be the settled purpose of your soul, I beseech you. There is something peculiarly charming when a young life in all its early manhood or womanhood is consecrated and devoted to the Lord. He is worthy!

Sin and Atheism

Quite a company was gathered round the table. A talkative army officer present freely interspersed his conversation with perverted Bible quotations, and remarks that showed he was an Atheist. A bantering remark about God, amounting to an open declaration of his infidelity, fairly roused his hostess.

“You seem to forget the presence of my brother here,” she said. “He is a minister of the gospel.”

“Oh!” exclaimed the officer, “my friend and I understand each other;” and turning to the young minister with patronising impudence, he said: “is it not so, sir? Your office requires you to tell the old story, which may do very well for the ignorant to believe, but as a man of culture you cannot put faith in these worn-out doctrines.”

The minister eyed his questioner a minute, and then said: “Sir, before answering your question, I must ask you three. You are an Atheist. Such people have always been in the world. One class of these are thinkers, who have speculated and groped until they have fallen into despair, and said, ‘There is no God.’ Do you belong to that class?”

“No,” said the officer, “thinking is not to my taste. I am no philosopher.”

The minister went on. “Another class are those who speak frivolously of God, merely because they learned to do it, where such talk was the fashion. Are you one of them?”

“No, sir,” said the officer, slightly reddening; “I am not a blind follower of others.”

“There is but one more class of Atheists,” quietly continued the minister; “those who have wallowed in sin till they must either expect the horrors of remorse or kill their conscience; and, as the shortest way to get rid of the alternative, they declare, ‘There is no God.’”

This time the minister did not ask his question, “Do you belong to that class?” The deep blush on the scoffer’s cheek told how truly the arrow shot at a venture had found its mark. Question and answer were needless.

* * *

The Bible confirms the fact that infidelity and gross sin go hand-in-hand. Nearly three thousand years ago the words were written, “The fool has said in his heart, There is no God. They are CORRUPT, they have done ABOMINABLE WORKS” (Ps. 14:1). God puts sin and atheism together. There is plenty of proof of it. Look at the atheistical republics of South America. Life and limb, morality and virtue are alike disrespected, and the horrible spectacle of men killing themselves, nations wiping themselves out as the direct results of their sins, is what meets the eye.

Atheism may in its dark folly say, “There is no God.” There is a God. You are His creature. You are accountable to Him. Have you begun to fear Him?

An atheist may possess much knowledge, he may know much about science, but he has neither true knowledge nor wisdom until he has the fear of the Lord before his eyes.

Whatever you may not do, dear friend, I implore you see to it that you get

Right with God,
  else everything without exception will turn out wrong, and that for eternity.

“Something Better”

A gentleman was visiting a French town, in the vicinity of which he had been born, but for years he had lived at a distance. When visiting the town he asked a lady if she could direct him to the Post Office. She replied, “I am myself going past it, and will gladly guide you.” As they walked together she queried, “Perhaps Monsieur is a stranger?”
  “Yes,” he replied, “but I was born in these parts,” mentioning his name.
She said, “Oh! that is the name of an old Protestant family. Is Monsieur a Protestant?”
  “Something better than that, ” replied the gentleman.
  “‘Something better,’ then Monsieur is a Catholic,” she said.
Then came the final reply, “Something better than that, A CHRISTIAN.”

Alas! there are many Protestants, and many Catholics, who are not Christians. To be a nominal Christian does not mean that you are really and truly a Christian. Of course there are true saints in the Protestant and Romish Churches, but then such are true Christians, and go to heaven not because they are Catholics or Protestants, but because they have truly repented of their sins, and have accepted the Lord Jesus as their Saviour. Have you done so yet? Do not rest satisfied till you know that you are something better than being a Protestant or Catholic, but being a true believer on the Saviour. He says “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:47).

Split Sundays

At the Rochester Diocesan Conference, held a few months ago, Lord Darnley suggested that all churchmen should attend morning services on Sundays, but that after noon the Church should countenance legitimate recreation and games.

Of late years there have been many efforts made towards the secularization of the Sunday, as witness the opening of museums, playing of bands in public parks, opening of theatres, running of excursion trains, &c.; but Lord Darnley’s suggestion would go further, and ask that the favour and blessing of religious leaders should be given to a definite splitting of the Sunday in two—one half being devoted, alas! in many cases to a mere fashionable, worldly, ritualistic form, and not the true worship of God; the other half given heart and soul, with greedy lust, to worldly society and pleasures.

For one may rest assured, if in summer the cricket bat, tennis racquet, hockey and golf sticks were bandied, in winter it would quickly be the opera and the theatre—in short, a Continental Sunday, with all its blighting, withering curse.

Now all this is very serious. Instead of the worship of God being the creature’s highest pleasure, it is relegated to a mere secondary place, to be endured for decency’s sake and got rid of as soon as possible.

I would like to ask whether such a suggestion as Lord Darnley’s springs from devotion to God, and love for souls, and for their eternal blessing, or what?

How does it stand alongside of the lawyer’s masterly definition of the ten commandments: “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)?

Love is a strong word. “Thou shalt love,” and that with all your heart, soul, and strength. Failing this, the law can only curse.

Judged by this standard, the man who gives six days in the week to business and pleasure, and would filch from spiritual occupation half of the seventh day, clearly shows where his heart is. Are these lines read by any who sympathize with Lord Darnley’s suggestion? I would remind such that you cannot deceive God. Your heart is away from Him. I fear you want just enough religion to make you feel respectable, and then it must be made attractive by high-class music and ornate ritualism to endure it; it must not make you feel you have to do with God as a poor sinner, but just enough to make you feel comfortable in plunging into a vortex of gaiety and pleasure and sin.

One word of warning I feel impelled to give you. You may have split Sundays, but you won’t have a split Eternity. You understand. It must be altogether heaven or altogether hell for ever.

Where does this half-hearted, fashionable, worldly religion lead to? Certainly not to heaven.

That is by the rugged hill of repentance, by the straight and narrow gate, by the bloodstained cross of Calvary.

I tremble as I write these words. The thousands of empty formalists, mere religious butterflies, who in their heart of hearts grudge God the few hours hitherto devoted to His service in an outward way, who love to riot in pleasure and sin, will wake up one day to the awful mistake they are making.

Even worldly men are giving us grave warning how pleasure-seeking is absorbing the strength and vitality of the nation to such an alarming extent that England will soon be scrap-heaped, as Rome and Greece were in their day.

If worldly men can utter such warnings, it is no wonder the Christian is stirred.

But even if the whole Sunday were preserved to us, nay, more, if every day in the week were a Sunday, remember religious observances will not save your soul.

Sometimes we read of a person, like the Grand Duchess Sergius of Russia, turning his or her back on the world and its pleasures, and entering into a monastery or nunnery, and devoting every day and all the day—even entrenching on the night—to religious observances.

But this will not save. Salvation is not of works. Repentance is not penance.

Repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ,” is the way of blessing. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). There is no other way. Make no mistake.

May God give you no rest, reader, till you can say that you are saved by His grace, that you know your sins are forgiven, and that you are looking forward with glad expectation to an unsplit eternity with the Lord Jesus Christ in heaven.

But remember, whatever you have, YOU WILL NOT HAVE A SPLIT ETERNITY.

Streams of Blessing

The City of Bath, in the West of England, owes its fame and much of its importance to the hot springs of healing water found there. They were used by the Romans in the first century. In later years George III. and the great William Pitt and other notables have benefited by them.

The ancient Roman baths are described in an inscription thus: “In area. In grandeur. In completeness the Baths of Aqua-Sulis were unequalled.”

Another inscription reads:
These healing waters have flowed on from time undated to this day.
Their virtue unimpaired. Their volume unabated. Their heat undiminished.
They explain the origin, account for the progress, and demand the gratitude of the city of Bath.”

One can imagine in bygone days gentlemen and ladies travelling down from town in stage coaches, post-chaises, and private vehicles; in later years by train and in motor-car; in days to come by aeroplane and dirigible balloons, in order to avail themselves of the healing waters. We can understand how gout, rheumatism, sciatica, lumbago, and a thousand ills flesh is heir to have been cured through their beneficent effects.

But this only affects the body, and is only for time. It is bad enough to endure the tortures of gout, or to be crippled by rheumatism, but death is worse. We must look deeper than the effects and their cure. SIN is the cause, disease and death the effects. Disease may be arrested and cured, but there is one disease which cannot be arrested or cured.

Once, in the Colonial Hospital at Gibraltar, I visited an aged woman. I looked at the card over her head to see what disease she was suffering from, and if it was curable. “Old Age” was the disease marked down, incurable, and with only one end—DEATH.

Is there, then, only partial relief—relief to the body for time—and is there nothing more efficacious than the waters of Bath to turn to? Sad would the sinner’s condition be if that were so. And yet there are thousands who are concerned enough about their bodies, but who care naught about their precious souls. Are you one of such? What awful, suicidal folly, for it is a question of heaven or hell, weal or woe, joy or sorrow, singing or wailing, and that for ever and ever and ever.

Thank God, we can take the Bath inscription and apply it, with a far deeper meaning, to healing waters for the soul. Did not the Lord Jesus stand amid the throng of unsatisfied worshippers on the last great day of the Feast, and cry, “If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink”? How magnificent! how blessed! Our soul’s deep need may be met. We may be saved. We may be forgiven. We may have eternal life. We can say, if believers, “Death is ours.” We may look forward to eternity with joy, and not with dread.

We can say of these living streams of blessing from God that
Their virtue unimpaired,
Their volume unabated,
Their heat undiminished,
is as true today as ever.

Their virtue unimpaired.” Never a thirsty sinner who drinks, but finds satisfaction. Be it the expiring robber by the side of a Saviour dying for his blessing; be it the cultured, religious Saul of Tarsus; be it the monk who shook the world, Martin Luther, as he drank of the living stream, “Justification by faith”; be it the believer of but yesterday—the testimony is the same. Are you satisfied, reader? Come to the Lord. You will indeed find the virtue, the healing power, of the living stream of God’s grace unimpaired. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” is as true for you in the twentieth century as for the Philippian jailer in the first century.

Their volume unabated.” Their efficacy is for all. “God so loved THE WORLD” (John 3:16). “Christ . . . gave himself a ransom for ALL” (1 Tim. 2:6). The risen Saviour commanded His disciples, “Go ye into ALL THE WORLD, and preach the gospel TO EVERY CREAURE” (Mark 16:15). These waters flow for you. Will you not drink? They are free. Their volume is indeed unabated. You may be saved and satisfied, if you will only turn to the Lord, and drink. To drink is to appropriate, receive, trust, believe. How simple! How easy!

Their heat undiminished.” “God so LOVED the world.” God’s love is just the same. “God” still “commends His LOVE toward us in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for US” (Rom. 5:8). The love illustrated by the father welcoming his prodigal son in Luke 15 is just the love that would welcome you today. Just like the sun in the heavens, of which it can be said, “There is nothing hid from the heat thereof” (Ps. 19:6), is God’s love. The sun alike warms the king and the beggar, the rich and the poor, the old and the young, the white and the black. So God’s love is for all. The gospel is for “whosoever will”. Will you not receive this love?

* * *

But refuse these healing, cleansing waters, and you will find yourself in that spot where the wail came from the erstwhile rich man, “Have mercy on me, and send Lazarus, that he may dip the tip of his finger in water, and cool my tongue; for I am tormented in this flame” (Luke 16:24). The dogs’ tongues had licked the beggar’s sores on earth—their master craved that his tongue might lick the drop of water the beggar could carry on the tip of his finger, and it was denied him. The great gulf was fixed.

May God give you, dear reader, to be wise in time, wise for eternity, else “the great gulf” will soon be fixed for you.

The Account Not Settled Yet

A good many years ago a Christian man named Very resided in a town in the State of Massachusetts, America. He was grieved by the godless conduct of his neighbours, who worked on Sundays and week days alike.

One Sunday as he was going to a meeting his neighbours called out from the hayfield, “Well, Father Very, we have cheated the Lord out of two Sundays, any way.”

“I don’t know that,” replied the old gentleman; “I don’t know; the account is not settled yet.”

Would to God that the thousands of God-forgetting pleasure-lovers would remember that their account with God is not yet settled.

Look back upon your life. Think of the thousands of idle words that have carelessly dropped from your lips. Carelessly they have been dropped, but carefully recorded. Did not the Lord say, “I say unto you, That every idle word that men shall speak, they shall give account thereof in the day of judgment” (Matt. 12:36). “Every one of us shall give account of himself to God” (Rom. 14:12). We “shall give account to Him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead” (1 Peter 4:5).

Are you ready to give account?

The Covenanters

Ah! those were grand days when men and women and even children were found who were ready to suffer for the truth, even to death in some cases.

It was a thrilling sight in old Greyfriar’s Churchyard in Edinburgh when men drew the blood from their own veins in order to sign the Solemn League and Covenant.

The hills and moors of Scotland have witnessed many a scene that has made Heaven glad. When Christians of both sexes and all ages would creep singly by unfrequented paths to a distant spot of meeting in some lonely glen, post their watchers to guard against a surprise attack, and there open the blessed Word of God, and feed upon its holy contents, these were indeed stirring times.

Did you ever hear the story of old Dick Peden? A price was put upon his head for no other crime than being a Christian who loved his Bible. One day the dragoons of Graham of Claverhouse surprised him. The old man ran, but what could he do when troopers, digging their spurs into their horses’ sides, were after him. As old Dick ran up the hillside he felt his strength giving way, and there seemed no escape possible, as the dragoons gained on him.

He fell upon his knees and asked God simply to cover him with the shadow of His wings. As he prayed the Scots mist rolled down the mountain-side, folded the old man in its fleecy embrace, and hid him effectually from the sight of the enemy. He could hear the disappointed troopers cursing and swearing, but they lost their prey that day.

Oh! may we, who are Christians, be prepared to suffer for the truth’s sake. May we trust God more in circumstances of trial. Or, if you have never trusted Christ as yet, we beseech you to do so now. He alone can save. Alas! if you enter eternity unsaved, there can be no shelter there from the storm of judgment. Here and now is the day of opportunity. “Behold, Now is of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

The Credulity of Unbelief

The infidel is much more credulous than he declares the Christian to be. Let me seek to prove this at least on one score.

There is never an effect without a cause, an axiom requiring no proof. Let us examine briefly the effects of the Bible.

The countries where Buddhism, Mohammedanism, Brahminism, etc. hold sway, are either sunk in a primitive conservatism, possessing but little inherent power to advance; or else their tribal wars prevent any solid advantages of good government being secured, and this is to a great extent the result of their religion.

Age would have secured for them the place of leaders in the onward march of civilization, but their religion has kept them in the childhood state of national life. Whereas the countries which are nominally Christian, and have received the Bible, are in the front rank of the nations of the world.

Again, mark those countries which have thrown off the yoke of religion, how they have suffered in every respect, and will yet suffer more severely. Things that God has ordained—such as family and marriage ties—are loosened, whilst unholy combinations and money-grasping syndicates are on the rapid increase. Artificiality seems stamped on all.

Take again the influence of the Bible on individuals. Drunkards are transformed, their homes brightened; thieves become benefactors; blasphemers are turned into preachers; misers are made generous; wrecks on the moral sea of humanity, well-nigh flung by its waves on the shores of eternity, are reclaimed, and live to benefit that which they blighted. You may indulge in a cynical smile, and say the picture is too highly coloured. But all this, and more, has been done by the transforming story of the cross, and no one can deny it.

I am not speaking of Christendom, but Christianity; not of mere professors, but real possessors; not of shams, but of the true; not of counterfeits, but of the genuine. It is the sickly, mawkish, sentimental profession, manufactured wholesale by Satan to discount the work of God, which has shocked numbers, and made infidels by the hundreds.

But now, after having very rapidly looked it the effect of the Bible, let us see what Christians and infidels think of the Book which is the cause of all this.

The Bible—the cause of this effect—the Christian says, is given by God as His revelation. In it man’s ruin and utter hopelessness is plainly and emphatically proclaimed, whether by illustration as in history, or by doctrine. This is unpleasant for man to receive. The love of God is told in the gift of His Son, and free grace is the righteous effect of the cross of Jesus. The Christian says the Book, written by its numerous authors of various ages, ranks, learning, and temperaments, is inspired wholly by God. “All Scripture is given by inspiration.” Besides all this the Holy Spirit of God is sent into the world to carry the truth of this revelation to the hearts of men. Thus is explained the wondrous qualities and power of the Book, which produces such grand results.

Bigotry and superstition, were never produced by it. Shallow minds may think them the product of such a tree, but they are the fruits of the evil heart of men who know little of the spiritual influence and power of the Book, though professing to do so.

The Christian can adore God for such a revelation.

The Bible is a fable, so says the infidel, no God has inspired it, and no Holy Spirit carries its precious truths home to the hearts of men.

Strange circumstances—the acting of primitive and medieval superstition and ignorance—account for much. The instilling of its falsehoods into the breasts of tender children by their dearest friend on earth, their mother, accounts for more. Such is the sophistical argument of the infidel. Yet, at the time the Book came into existence, though not in its entirety and multiplicity of copies, nations were lying bound in the thraldom of paganism of the growth of centuries. A despised few were the first exponents of the Scriptures. It went dead against popular likes and beliefs.

Unlike Mohammedanism, it put no sword into the hand of its followers, nor tempted them with a sensual paradise; unlike Buddhism, it taught no gradual evolution into perfection, but met the moral teacher of a nation with the revolutionary words, “Ye must be born again.”

Now, reader, may we not conclude the infidel believes more than the Christian? The Christian declares a grand effect is produced by a great cause. The infidel cannot deny to a large extent the effect, yet denies any strength or credulity in the cause. What a miracle of miracles is the Bible from the infidel’s standpoint! Yet his credulity only brings upon his head the withering rebuke of the psalmist—“The fool has said in his heart, There is no GOD.” He may not deny the very existence of God, but he denies all that which makes God God.

The Christian’s belief leads him to the knowledge of a God of love and a God of light, of an all-sufficient Sacrifice for sin, to happiness and hope which makes not ashamed—a hope beyond the grave.

Infidelity is a cold, cold winding-sheet. Man may talk, and vaunt himself, and speculate, but he cannot stay the iron march of Time, nor avert the hand of Death. In the midst of his speculations he is hurried through the narrow portals of the grave to the great white throne and the Judge of all the earth, to an eternity of speechless woe. You may dispute the judgment to come, but you cannot deny the existence of death, and that last strange struggle between the spirit and the body in the hour of dissolution.

Oh, friend, we love thy soul, and would beg of thee whilst thou art still in the land of hope, to study the word of God! Learn there thy guilt and danger. Learn there the love of the blessed God. Learn there the all-sufficiency of the atoning work of Jesus on the cross of Calvary. Learn there “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved” (Rom. 10:9).

And if in simple faith thou dost accept Christ as thy Saviour, and on the authority of God’s Word learn that thou art saved, thy sins forgiven, thy future assured, thou wilt be able, like the blind man in John 9, to defeat all the brow-beating sophistry of infidel friends. The blind man was no match in argument or learning for the Pharisees and leaders of the synagogue, but one thing they could not shake him from. “One thing I KNOW, that, whereas I was blind, now I see.” The infidel cannot follow the believer into the region of experience. St. Augustine has given us very sound advice in charging us not to let that which we do not know shake us in that which we do know. The word of God commends the assurance of faith. “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye have eternal life” (1 John 5:13).

That you and I may have the sheet-anchor of the Word of God to enable us to ride over the waves of doubt and unbelief is my earnest prayer.

The Duke and the Old Woman

She lived in a cottage on the property of a well-known Duke. At a certain season of the year she got into arrears with her rent, but was enabled to pay it all off when the time came for realizing her produce. This was an understood thing between her and the Duke’s agent for years.

But the agent died and a new man was appointed in his place. Noticing the arrears of rent, be sent word that she would either have to pay in full, or leave her cottage. Explanations made to him, the pleading of old custom, did not alter his decision.

The old woman conceived the bold idea of stating her case to the Duke himself. She had never spoken to him before, nor had she been to his beautiful castle.

So she made the attempt, and was successful in laying her case before him. He listened sympathetically, told her to her infinite relief to put her mind at rest, that he would speak to his agent and she could remain in her cottage, and pay her rent when able to do so.

He added to his kindness by showing the gratified old woman over some of the grand rooms of the castle. Handsome saloons, grand pictures and statuary were all inspected, when the Duke led her to a small room, telling her this was where he got the most comfort in his stately home, He drew a curtain aside, and showed her a little oratory, with a picture of the Virgin Mary. With this before him, he was accustomed to pray to the mother of our Lord.

Now the old woman was a true Christian. She knew the Lord Jesus as her Saviour and Lord.

So she addressed the Duke, reminding him that when she had got into trouble about her cottage, she had turned her back on the agent, and had come direct to himself, and with happy results, and she exhorted him to have nothing to do with an agent who could not help him, an agent not appointed by the Lord, and therefore no agent at all, but to go straight to the Lord Jesus. For He had said, “Him that comes to Me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37).

Whether the Duke paid heed to the exhortation we don’t know, but the advice was sound and good.

The Virgin Mary, the mother of our Lord according to the flesh, was “blessed among women.” The Lord was perfect in all His relationships and you may be quite sure He was the most wonderful Son that ever gladdened the heart of a mother.

But none knew better than she that He was more, infinitely more, than her Son. He was “over all, God blessed for ever” (Rom. 9:5).

How illogical and irreverent is the title given to her—“Mother of God,” She was privileged above any in being the mother of the Man Christ Jesus, but she could not be the mother of God.

Nay, further, as a sinner, beautifully instructed by the Spirit of God, she could sing in the exultation of her heart as she contemplated the high honour that was put upon her that wonderful Magnificat recorded in Luke 2:46-55, yet she forgot not her true state in common with every child of Adam’s race when she said, “My spirit has rejoiced in God my Saviour” (v. 47).

Yes; she needed a Redeemer, and found a Saviour in Him who was her Son according to the flesh, yet withal “the mighty God, the everlasting Father [literally, the Father of Eternity]” (Isa. 9:6), the Object of her faith and worship.

And see what dishonour is put upon both her and her Son in praying to her. The usual statement is that her heart is loving and tender, and what son will deny his mother a favour. So she is superstitiously approached and prayed to that she may intercede with her Son.
First, there is no warrant in Scripture from cover to cover for this.
Second, she cannot hear the prayer offered to her, She is happy in her Saviour’s presence but has not the attributes of deity—omnipotence and omniscience. She is not appointed an agent to hear prayer.
Third, what mother would be gratified to be approached on the ground that she had a heart more tender than her son’s. That would be an insult to both mother and son.

On the contrary, none could rejoice more deeply than the blessed virgin to know that her Son is so gracious and compassionate and tender that sinners would rather go to Him direct and with fuller confidence than in any other direction.

Not one who goes to Him in repentance and need comes away disappointed. He is the Saviour of sinners. A dying thief, a Mary Magdalene, a Saul of Tarsus, and countless thousands will testify to His grace and power.

What about you, my reader? Have you ever repented and felt your need of Him? Oh! trust Him as you read these lines. You will never repent doing so. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth, the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be SAVED” (Rom. 10:9). This is God’s word and you can trust it.

It is God’s own plan of salvation and it cannot break down. At infinite cost to Himself He has procured it, and in righteousness and in mercy He offers it to “whosoever will.” It has been well said that it cost God a word to create the universe, but that it cost Him His Son to save a soul. May such love as this win your heart. Almost the last line of the inspired Word we read the loving invitation: “Whosoever will let him take the water of life freely” (Rev. 22:17). Will you?

The Dying Scientist

Dr. D—was called to the bedside of a dying scientist. Seldom had he seen a finer looking man, nor felt a kinder grasp than he gave him.

Seated by his bedside, he said, “Sir, you seem very ill.”

Without a trace of hesitation or apparent concern he replied, “Yes, I am going to die.”
  “Have you the consolation of religion to comfort you?” the doctor enquired.
The sad reply was given: “I do not believe in the bible, nor the religion it teaches. Nature is the altar at which I have worshipped, she has been my guide and teacher.”
  “You speak of nature as a guide?” the doctor remarked interrogatively.
The sick man replied, “Yes; she is infallible.”
Looking into his beautiful blue eyes, the doctor said to him, “I, too, profess to have been educated in the same school; is it not strange that receiving our instruction from the same teacher, we should arrive at opposite conclusions? Certainly one if us has misinterpreted, or the teacher has deceived us.”
He replied, “It is not in the teacher.”
The doctor answered, “The mistake then is in me or you. Now is it worth while to compare opinions? If I have misinterpreted I know that I have done it honestly, and desire to be corrected.”
By this time his gaze was fixed on his interrogator’s face with an intensity that bespoke more than ordinary interest, as the doctor asked him, “In all your researches have you ever found a creature whose nature was opposed to its appetite?”
After a moment’s thought he replied, “No; such a creature cannot exist. With a carnivorous stomach and an herbivorous appetite, it could only live until it starved to death, and propagation would be impossible.”
  “Are there any exceptions to this law?” asked the doctor.
  His reply was, “No; none in the animal or vegetable world.”
  The doctor said, “You think you are going to die?”
  “Yes.”
  “And that death will terminate your existence?”
  “Yes.”
  “Now answer me,” said the doctor, “have you not an appetite for something you have not got?”
  “Yes,” replied the dying man, “I want to live.”
  “How long do you want to live?” enquired the doctor.
  “I can’t tell you” was his vague reply.
  The doctor said, “You must look to the utmost limits of desire and tell me where it is.”
  With deep feeling he replied, “I can’t.”
  “May I assist you?” asked the doctor.
  “Suppose you could now be assured that you shall live until an insect, by carrying away a grain of sand every thousand years, should remove the earth, would you then be satisfied with life?”
  The dying man’s honest reply was “No.”
  “Do you know anything that would meet the demands of your nature?” the doctor enquired.
  In great bewilderment, he replied, “No.”
  “And yet you say that everything in nature teaches there must be. Now I am not going to say that my Bible is true, or its religion true, but would this meet the demand of your appetite?” and the doctor quoted the words of the Lord Jesus, “I am the living Bread which came down from heaven: if any man eat of this Bread, he shall LIVE FOR EVER” (John 6:51).

The dying man’s eyes flashed fire as he said; “Yes, it would, I have misinterpreted nature.”

He then asked the doctor to read the Bible and pray with him. He stayed with the dying man till late at night and he testified that wonderful was the change. He never saw him alive again.

Does not this conversation lay bare the root of things? In the heart of every man there is the desire for a life that will never end. It has been said that all over the world, whether among the civilized races or among the lowest of the heathen, who have never heard the gospel nor seen a Bible there is the belief in a life beyond the grave. Charles Darwin announced that he had come across some heathen people, so depraved and low, that they were without this belief, but missionaries who subsequently laboured among them, with greater opportunities of getting to know then than were afforded to Mr. Darwin, testified that they had this belief.

Who put that belief in the human heart? We answer, God. And why did He put that belief? Surely it was that men might prepare for the great change that death brings.

What is death? Scripture tells us, “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:23). It is terrible, unnatural, dreaded, however much it may be camouflaged by terms or softened by its accompaniments.

And what comes after death? “It is appointed unto men once to die, but after this THE JUDGMENT” (Heb. 9:27).

And what is the judgment? “This is the second death. And whosoever was not found written in the book of life was cast into the lake of fire” (Rev. 20:15).

How then, if death and judgment and the second death lie before the guilty sinner, can we talk about eternal life? We quoted half a verse just now. For answer let us quote it in full, “For the wages of sin is death; but THE GIFT OF GOD is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord” (Rom. 6:23).

Note two things: (1) Eternal life is a gift; (2) It is through the Lord Jesus. Hence follow two things; (1) It cannot be earned or obtained by merit. There is only one channel through which it can be appropriated.

Why is it put in this way? The fact is we are sinners and death is the penalty of sin, so Christ must die and meet the penalty of sin, if God can be righteously set free to offer the gift of eternal life. Spiritual life comes through the death of Christ, and in no other way.

Do you come in repentance to God and receive the Lord Jesus as your Saviour, and through them receive the pardon of your sins? If you do, the gift of eternal life is yours—not merely an endless life but a life in communion with God and in His presence and sharing His delights for ever.

There is nothing between eternal life and the second death. Which do you look forward to? Do not rest till you know Christ as your Saviour, and then, “He that believes on the Son has everlasting life” (John 3:36). Remember, it is not of merit. No turning over a new leaf, no amount of religious observance can merit it. It is a GIFT—a gift of pure sovereign grace. Will you accept it on the terms and through the channel which Scripture states?

Remember, time is fleeting fast away. Pleasures last but a moment. Death is very busy. Eternity draws near. You have only one soul to be saved or lost. Pay heed to these things, we beseech you. God’s Word says, “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

The Great Gospel Verse

What a verse is John 3:16—the best known gospel verse in the whole Bible.

Have you ever been in London? There the river Thames flows, dividing the great city into two parts. On the north them side of the river stands a very remarkable monument. It is called Cleopatra’s Needle, and is a tall, handsome column made of a single stone. It was brought with great difficulty and at considerable expense from Egypt, and they tell us it is older than Moses.

When it was erected on the Thames Embankment a little chamber was made in it, and in this chamber were placed two hundred and fifty slips of paper, each containing the same verse of scripture, but in different languages.

What verse was chosen for this honour? It was John 3:16 of course.

  “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Since then that wonderful verse has been printed in many more languages, and is now to be found in five hundred tongues.

So it is possible to see this wonderful verse read by white men and yellow men and black men. The white men include English, Scots, Irish, French, Germans, Austrians, Swedes, Danes, Norwegians, Greenlanders, Esquimaux, Belgians, Dutch, Russians, and very many more nations. The yellow men include Chinese, Japanese, Malayans, Muscovites, and many more peoples. The black men include Indians, negroes, and innumerable tribes and nations to be found in India and Africa.

Missionaries go abroad all over the world preaching the good news, and you may be sure John 3:16 is often on their lips. It is good news to white, yellow, and black alike. If the white man travels to the others to preach it, it is evidently because it has first of all been good news to himself; and if he preaches it to them, it is evidently because he is sure it is good news.

Has it been good news to you? God grant it may be so.

The Greatest Sorrow of All

Two passengers were inside the station bus—a lady in deep mourning and the writer on his way to preach the gospel in the town to which they both were travelling.

The lady was feverishly anxious to end her journey, for she had been telegraphed for her son, a boarder at the grammar school, was critically ill with pneumonia. The lumbering, creaking bus, as it toiled up the long hill amid the fast gathering darkness tried her patience. It was no wonder that a mother’s heart confided to her fellow-passenger her sorrow and fears, and she found in him a sympathetic listener. She added that the previous year she had lost her husband and had left another son at home laid up with a fractured leg. Her cup of sorrow seemed full to overflowing.

After having sympathized with her the writer ventured to speak about a greater sorrow. A conversation something like the following took place:
  “I do indeed sympathize with you in all your past sorrow and present anxiety, but do you know there is a greater sorrow that I trust will never be yours?”
  “What is that?” she enquired.
  “That of spending eternity without Christ, without God, without hope,” I replied.

At first her response was listless, but little by little she grew interested, and at last burst out, “I would like to be saved. I do my best and hope for the best.

I pointed out that doing one’s best would not save her, and her hope, to be worth anything, must be well founded, so to rightly direct her thoughts in the only direction that could be of any help to her I said:
  “You have told me of your sorrow, and it is great. I have drawn your attention to a greater sorrow, which may God in His grace save you from. But can you tell me, What is the greatest sorrow of all?

She looked fairly puzzled, so I went on. “The greatest sorrow of all was the sorrow of Jesus on the cross. This He endured for you that you might never have the sorrow of a lost eternity, the sorrow of hell. ‘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 has afflicted Me in the day of His fierce anger?’ (Lam. 1:12). The very anticipation of it wrung from His holy soul in the garden of Gethsemane the prayer, ‘Father, if Thou be willing, remove this cup from Me: nevertheless, not My will, but Thine be done,’ and wrung from His brow ‘sweat as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.’ What must the dread reality have been when He cried with aloud voice, ‘My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?’ when ‘He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him’ (See 2 Cor. 5:21). No wonder the most solemn question of the Bible asks, ‘How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?’ (Heb. 2:3).

  “So that if you want to be saved you must ‘believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved’ (Acts 16:31). ‘There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.’

“It is not by doing your best; your best would fall far too short of God’s righteous requirements. But God Himself has provided One, who could and did meet His requirements on our behalf, who could say, ‘I restored that which I took not away’ (Ps. 69:4), who could utter that peace-giving cry on the cross, ‘IT IS FINISHED.’ So the work that can save your soul is a finished work. God has raised Him who did it from the dead and exalted Him to be a Prince and a Saviour. The Lord Jesus is the only One who can save you. Trust Him and all will be well with your soul.”

This and much more I said to the lady, and she seemed on the point of confessing Christ as her Saviour, when the bus stopped, and a third person got in and stopped the conversation.

I called the next day to see her, but she was busy attending to her son, who was critically ill, and could not therefore see any visitor. So leaving her a copy of Safety, Certainty and Enjoyment, and shortly after leaving the town, I could only commend our conversation to Him, who could bless it to her soul.

I remember well some years ago preaching in Lisbon. A lady came several times to the meetings. Calling upon her in the hotel where she was staying, I said, “You have heard the gospel repeatedly. What do you think of it?”

I was thrilled by her unexpected answer, as with tears she lifted up her eyes heavenwards and exclaimed with deep feeling, “I confess Jesus as my Saviour.

How beautiful! how simple! how sufficient! Can you do likewise, reader? If not, may God spare you from the sorrow of a lost eternity by touching your heart with the story of “the greatest sorrow of all,” and give you here and now to trust the Lord Jesus Christ. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

The Heathen

It is computed that since the celebrated Mr. Carey, the cobbler from a tiny Northamptonshire village, went forth as the first missionary to India one hundred years ago, and spite of the fact of 3,000,000 professed converts from heathendom in the century of Christian effort to reach them, for which we profoundly thank God, that there are about 197,000,000 more heathen in the world today than then.

We see pictures of the naked or scantily clad heathen, and we are interested in the stories of them and their strange surroundings, but oh! how little we think of the millions going down to eternity without the knowledge of God, without having ever heard of Jesus or seen a Bible.

What responsibilities are ours—responsibility first to our own souls, to accept the Saviour we have heard of, to read the book God has given us, and then to pass the good news on to others.

I know of a young man who decided to be a missionary to the heathen when he was only four years old, and who has never swerved from his desire. Now he is a doctor, recently qualified, about to be married, and only waiting for the first opportunity to go out to India to devote himself to missionary work among the heathen.

 “Far, far away, in heathen darkness dwelling
  Millions of souls for ever may be lost.
  Who, who will go salvation’s story telling,
  Looking to Jesus, counting not the cost?”

Reader, are you saved yourself? If not, what responsibility is yours, living in a land of such gospel light and opportunity. These millions of dark benighted heathen will rise in judgment against you at the last day. Yield at once. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

And then, when saved, tell others.

The Home of Kings

Windsor Castle is the chief royal residence of the Kings of Great Britain and Ireland. It was first a fortress in the time of William the Conqueror. Henry I made great additions to it, and transformed it from a fortress into a palace. Nearly every king or queen since has increased this truly stately castle. James II and William of Orange added fine collections of oil-paintings; during the reigns of George III and George IV more than a million of public money was expended upon it, whilst stables were erected in the reign of Queen Victoria. So many monarchs have resided there that Windsor Castle has been called “The home of kings.”

But can this be rightly called a home, for after all the royal inmates use it but for a few brief, transient years, and then? And then?

It carries my mind back to a very different scene which happened years ago. It was in a busy, dirty, northern town and a Sunday evening in summer time. A crowd was gathered round a street preacher, a young man who has since risen to great eminence.

I can hear his ringing joyful voice. I can recall his beaming face and uplifted finger. I remember his words with a thrill to this day: “You ask me for my permanent address. It is the Father’s house on high!”

Happy young man! But stranger and a pilgrim here; he knew the joyful end of life’s journey. Could a King or Queen have wished for more?

And whether you are an inmate of Windsor Castle or a beggar in a vagrant ward, the grace of God is open to all. Have you accepted that grace? Do you know what it is to be saved?

If you are a believer, then the Lord’s words come to you: “In My Father’s house are many mansions: if it were not so, I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again, and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there ye may be also” (John 14:2-3).

What a glorious prospect for the believer on the Lord Jesus! His home—the home of the Son of God is ours, and it is better far than any home of kings.

The “I Am”

Notes of an Address to Young Men on John 8:20-30

My object in reading this scripture in John’s Gospel is to present before you the Lord Jesus Christ as the “I am.” This truth covers the whole of this Gospel, and whatever the subject introduced in it Christ Himself is always the solution.

There is a very solemn expression in verse 24, “I said therefore unto you, that ye shall die in your sins: for if ye believe not that I am He, ye shall die in your sins.” From this statement of our Lord’s it is very evident how necessary it is to have a true knowledge of Christ. John’s Gospel is the book in which Christ asserts Himself as being one with the Father. (For a mere man to do so would be blasphemous, but it is all-important for a Divine Person to show Who He is—that we may know Him.) And we find the Lord Jesus speaking of Himself as the “I am” in two ways, one in connection with His deity and the other in connection with His manhood.

When He had said, “Your father Abraham rejoiced to see My day: and he saw it, and was glad,” the people objecting, said, “Thou art not yet fifty years old, and hast Thou seen Abraham?” To this the Lord replied, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.” He is truly God. A sure test for any who profess Christianity is, “Do you believe that Christ is God the Son?”

When the soldiers came to the Garden of Gethsemane to take Him, was another occasion on which He assented that He was the “I am.” He asked them, “Whom seek ye?” They replied, “Jesus of Nazareth.” He answered, “I am.” The One they sought as Jesus of Nazareth was none other than the “I am.” Well may we adore and worship Him as we behold Him, the “I am,” yield Himself up into their hands.

Again and again we see this truth of His person shining out in the writings of the apostle John, the Lord linking it with many figures of Himself.

Thus we find:
  I am the Light of the World.
  I am the Bread from Heaven.
  I am the Door.
  I am the Shepherd of the Sheep.
  I am the Way and the Truth and the Life.
  I am the Resurrection and the Life.
  I am the Root and the Offspring of David, and
  [I am] the Bright and the Morning Star.
  I am the Alpha and the Omega.

Everything of blessing for men depends upon Him. Apart from the illuminating power of “the light” in Christ, all men are in darkness. There is no true sustenance apart from Him; we must feed upon Him, “the Bread.” And, again, every approach must be through Him, for He is the one and only door. All is found in Himself.

When He went secretly to the Feast of Tabernacles and saw men in their need, He cried, “If any man thirst, let Him come unto Me and drink.” To Philip’s request, “Show us the Father, He replied, “He that has seen Me has seen the Father.” Yes! Christ is the solution of every difficulty, the answer to every question.

We have these two words, “I am,” in the Old Testament also. It is the title that brings before us the unsearchableness of His being. It is of great importance to know both the Old and New Testaments. The Lord Jesus, seen “as come in flesh,” in the New Testament, is the same glorious One Who appeared in various ways in Old Testament times.

Q. You mentioned that when they came to take Christ He replied “I am,” but verse 5 of chapter 18 says “I am He.”
A. “He” is in italics (showing that it is not represented in the original).

Q. Did the soldiers not consider Him an impostor?
A. Yes; but when Christ replied “I am” they fell backward to the ground.

Q. Is the title “I am” of the New Testament the equivalent of the title Jehovah of the Old?
A. Yes.

Q. Did the Jews recognize the significance of Christ’s reply?
A. No; for they pressed forward after they had recovered themselves. Previously the Jews could not take Him, for His hour was not yet come; but now that His hour was come, the Father vindicated Him in demonstrating the power of His assertion, “I am.”

Q. Would you say if we believe not the “I am” today we shall die in our sins?
A. It says so here. It is a remarkable statement in John’s first Epistle, chapter 4:3, “Every spirit that confesses not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist whereof ye have heard that it should come, and even now already is it in the world.” From this scripture we learn how widely the spirit of Antichrist is working today. Many confess not Jesus Christ come in flesh. The expression “Jesus Christ come in flesh” implies a previous existence.

Q. What do you mean by the deity of Christ?
A. That He is God. The Lord Jesus Christ veiled His glory and became a man.

Q. Will you say a little about the twenty-fifth verse of John 8?
A. The Lord refers to His constant testimony. He was always existent, When He was here on earth God was on earth, and now that He is in heaven. Man is in heaven.

Q. Verse 28 seems to imply proof. Will you explain?
A. Every one in virtue of His death is going to know Who He is.

Q. When the Jews came to take Jesus He asked them, “Whom seek ye?” They reply, “Jesus of Nazareth.” In answering He said, “If ye seek Me, let these go their way.”
A. In saying this He really gave Himself into their hand—like the lamb led to the slaughter in Isaiah 53.

The Journey and Its End

He was a young man living in a far north of Scotland fishing village. A remarkable work of God broke out in the place a few months ago. Young fishermen especially were reached by the grace of God and converted. But this gracious movement left this young man unmoved and untouched.

He came to the meetings, but left as he came. One day a gentleman from the West of England visiting the place, gave him a gospel book entitled “The Journey and its End.” He kept it in his pocket, but he did not read it.

A few days after he left the fishing village for Leith. As the train entered upon the Tay Bridge he pulled the book out of his pocket, meaning to beguile the time by reading.

The title struck him:
  “THE JOURNEY AND ITS END.”

He remembered the Tay Bridge disaster, when on a wild stormy night—December 20th, 1879—the night train crept upon the bridge, fated never to reach the other side. The whole country was appalled when next morning the news was spread that in the height of the awful gale thirteen spans of the bridge, crossing the navigable part of the river, had collapsed, and that the passenger train with its living freight, at the same time was precipitated into the angry water beneath.

All this came powerfully before his mind as the train ran over that awe-inspiring bridge, over two miles long with its eighty-five spans.

“THE JOURNEY AND ITS END.”

“The Journey and its End” repeated the young man again and again; “I have started my journey, but suppose I never get to the other end of the bridge, I’m not ready.

This so pressed upon his mind that before the train reached the southern banks of the Tay the young man had trusted the Lord Jesus Christ as his personal Saviour, and was at rest.

Some days after he wrote to the writer as the compiler of “The Journey and its End,” to tell him his happy story, and right cheering it was to read.

My reader, you are on your journey—the journey of life—and you will assuredly reach the end. Are you ready? You may not reach it for many years, you may reach it today, but reach it you will. Are you ready?

This is not a matter you can afford to play with.

Years ago the writer was on the top of a tramcar with overhead trolleys. The live wire broke and fell with a blinding flash across the tram, and bounced off and fell into the road. If the wire had struck any of the passengers it would probably have been fatal.

Never will the writer forget the scared look on the faces of two young men, nor their agility in getting clear of the danger. Evidently they did not relish the end of the journey coming that moment.

Is there not an overhead danger for every unconverted person in the world? Is there not such a thing as the judgment from God upon sin? Can you contemplate the end of your journey with satisfaction? Remember the end of your journey determines your eternity of bliss or woe. Which shall it be? Be in earnest.

The Lord Jesus Christ died on the cross to atone for sin in order that this overhead danger might not fall on you. He took the overhead danger on the cross. He suffered the judgment of God for sin in order that salvation might be offered freely and righteously to the unsaved. Will you accept this offer? Only thus can the end of your life’s journey be blessed.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Refuse Him and you seal your doom.

 “Passing onward, quickly passing,
    Time its course will quickly run;
  Sinner, hear the fond entreaty
    Of the ever gracious One—
  ‘Come and welcome
  ’Tis by He that life is won.’”

The Judge and His Prisoner

Read Acts 24:24-27

Hundreds of years have rolled by since the scene and the actors, we are about to depict, have passed away into eternity; but the onward march of centuries has not altered the lessons they should teach us; nay rather, my reader, inspiration has permanently recorded them on the sacred page for your benefit and mine.

Instead of the judge addressing the prisoner, the prisoner addresses the judge. The prisoner, not the judge, sums up. The governor upon the bench trembles. At his side sits his wife—the unblushing Drusilla, torn from another man’s bosom.

The prisoner—the aged apostle Paul—discourses upon themes of eternal import. For a moment the judge of that day sees the bar before which he “must appear. No flattering words, no sycophant’s speech, fall from the lips of the man who had endured so much and so long for Christ. His spirit burns within him, and his speech is weighty with the approval of Heaven, pregnant with the powerful eloquence of the Spirit of God.

Paul reasoned on “righteousness, temperance (continence), and judgment to come.” The unrighteous judge—the money-loving Felix—might well tremble as the aged apostle spoke about the righteousness of God; thus throwing, into deeper colour than ever, the deeds of the man in whose power he was for the moment. Well might Felix’s cheek blanch, as, with unhesitating speech, the prisoner spoke of his lustful incontinence, his intemperance, and of God’s retribution upon such sins.

And what about the judgment to come when all worldly gilt and sham shall have vanished for ever, and the guilty judge, stripped of the insignia of his high office, shall stand before the great white throne, to give account of all the deeds done in the body? Well might he tremble.

But Felix is not prepared to give up his sins, and take sides with an earth-rejected Christ. He will dismiss the troubler; he will stay the soul-arousing address. So he says, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” Thus the procrastinator cries. In his words lay for him the death-knell of eternity. No doubt the apostle left the court that day with a heart big with sorrow, as he knew how the trembler welcomed Satan’s false peace back to his heart, and clasped his chains tighter to him—soon, alas! to bind him for all eternity.

Beloved reader, has this not a voice of warning to you? Have you not sometimes trembled as you thought of God’s righteousness—of the punishment of sin—of the judgment to come? Do not stifle these God-given questionings of heart. Do not, like poor Felix, put off. He lost his grand golden opportunity. What an awful power Satan wields over souls!

He said, “When I have a convenient season, I will call for thee.” What better chance could he have than then? When he stands before the great white throne? No, a thousand times “No.” His guilty spirit will then tell him, in thunder tones of remorse, of his lost opportunity.

When he lies upon his death-bed, when his mind loses its grasp of earthly things—is that the convenient season? Never! When the conscience is more seared—when the chains of lust are stronger and heavier? Never! God’s Word gives the time—“Now.” “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

Oh, dear sinner, may God thunder that word “Now” in your ears before it be too late!

Felix does not appear to have ever had a convenient season. He had two years of opportunity, but seems never to have profited by them. At the end of that time Porcius Festus came into Felix’s room, but we never read of a farewell interview between the judge and his prisoner.

“Felix, willing to show the Jews a pleasure, left Paul bound.” After this Scripture is fatally silent about the man who was fool enough to throw the golden opportunity away, who stifled the voice of God speaking to his conscience.

Dear reader, we would earnestly seek to lead you to Christ, if not already saved through grace. Do not rest content with Satan’s false peace, which will be awfully disturbed as you exchange the shadows and shams of time for the realities of eternity. The road to hell is paved with good resolutions. Be not content with turning over new leaves—doing your best—being religious; but take Christ as a living personal Saviour. He has “made peace through the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:29). “Without shedding of blood is NO remission” (Heb. 9: 22). But the Lord Jesus Christ died upon the cross, and shed His blood to wash away the sins of those who believe in His name. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from ALL sin” (1 John 1:7).

Do you, yes, you, who know not what a day may bring forth, decide, and decide NOW, for Christ. For
    “’Tis madness to delay,
  There are no pardons in the tomb,
    And brief is mercy’s day.”

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house” (Acts 16:31). May God grant it! AMEN.

“The Last Days of St Pierre” [1902]

Such was the startling heading of an English newspaper. In it we were told that the inhabitants of the island of Martinique had four days’ indication of the coming disaster, first by dense clouds of smoke and towering flames being emitted from Mount Pele, twelve miles north of the city, then by a heavy fall of ashes raining on the doomed place, and then at length the terrible eruption took place. Suddenly, a stream of molten lava, twenty feet high and half a mile wide, was belched forth.

Its progress was appalling. Rushing down the dry bed of the Rivière Blanche, at the rate of one hundred miles an hour, It reached the sea in three minutes from the top of the mountain, 4,000 feet high and five miles away, and blotted out everything in its course. The force of the impact was so terrible that the sea receded for 300 feet for miles along the western shore, and then returned with violence. The noise of the eruption was carried by the wind a distance of 300 miles.

This was on Monday. Tuesday, the volcano continued to belch forth smoky fumes and lava, while rumbling noises and earthquakes went on incessantly. By Wednesday morning this awful state of things had somewhat subsided, but in the afternoon heavy “cannonading” sounds were resumed.

The morning of the fateful Thursday was relatively still. St Pierre’s last day had come. Its inhabitants rose for the last time. Business was being partly carried on, when suddenly at seven o’clock “a sort of whirlwind of steam, boiling hot mud, and fire” swept down on and over the city and shipping in the roadstead, and within twenty minutes of the eruption, 30,000 souls were launched into—ETERNITY!!! The people rushed to the quays, till they were black with the crowds, but only for a moment. Ships were canted over, and began simultaneously to burn and sink in the sea, which was then a raging cauldron. Very few, if any, persons in the city escaped. Every house in the place was destroyed by fire, and only a few walls left standing here and there.

Such is the appalling and thrilling account of the last days of St Pierre.

France was thrown into mourning, the whole world was startled, monarchs headed the subscription lists, everything in the way of sympathy and money and help that could be offered was offered, yet how puny man is when such an event happens! And we may well ask, Is the whole affair to end there? When will men understand that by this God has spoken? It was said that the noise of the eruption was heard three hundred miles away. But God’s warning was carried on the wings of the cablegram, and was printed in every newspaper in the world. Will men pay heed to it, or will they be shaken for one moment out of their false security, and then forget all about it?

The title of this article, “The Last Days of St Pierre,” is startling, but did you ever reflect that the last day of the world will come?

The world is solemnised when it reads in its newspapers one morning of 30,000 souls being swept into ETERNITY in one brief moment of time, but what are 30,000 souls compared to the millions that inhabit this globe. What about the last days of the world? This world is growing hoary in its sin. Its days are numbered, and its future is doomed.

Some months ago a distinguished scientist, at the annual meeting of the Royal Society, told his hearers that the end of the world would be by a similar disaster to that which wrecked the island of Martinique. St Pierre was destroyed by a local disaster, the world will be destroyed by a universal disaster. This earth, said the scientist, would be destroyed by fire; that was the scientific forecast of its end.

The apostle Peter, who was not a member of the Royal Society, and who wrote in the infancy of the Christian era, left the same record centuries ago. A twentieth century scientist tells us the doom of the world will be destruction by fire; a first century fisherman tells us, “THE DAY OF THE LORD will come as a thief in the night; in the which the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up” (2 Peter 3:10). We said a first century fisherman foretold this astonishing fact. Nay, it is GOD, who has spoken through the apostle Peter by inspiration. It may be you may not see the last day of the world, but that instead your last day will come. Are you ready for—ETERNITY!!! Happy will you be if the earthquake in Martinique should wake you up.

The inhabitants of St Pierre had four days’ warning. GOD has warned you in many ways. Open His book, and the warnings of love lie thick on almost every page, and are presented in many forms. Will you listen? At your peril you refuse to do so. The devil would persuade men that it is not His book, or only His “in parts,” and then man’s unhallowed mind will sit in judgment on it, and his inclination leads him to keep the part that suits him and throw the rest away. I beseech you not to throw the warnings away, you will do so at your peril. Here are but one or two of them, but enough, if only you will pay heed. “The soul that sins it shall die” (Ezek. 18:4). “Prepare to meet thy God” (Amos 4:12). “The wages of sin, is death” (Rom. 6:23). “After death the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). “Nation shall rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom: and there shall be famines, and pestilences, and earthquakes, in diverse places. All these are the beginning of sorrows” (Matt. 24:7-8). “Be ye also ready: for in such an hour as ye think not, the Son of man comes” (Matt. 24:44).

Nor do I call the voice of the earthquake the voice of God out of mere sentiment. God’s book gives us a grand example of an earthquake awaking the soul-slumbers of a jailer and bringing from his lips that question of all questions, “What must I do to be saved?” (Acts 16:30). It was a kind earthquake that terrified hint to such a purpose. You remember the story.

The jailer with many indignities had cast the apostle Paul and his companion Silas into the inner prison, making their feet fast in the stocks. “A great earthquake” shook the foundations of the prison, and released the prisoners. It was a strange way for God thus to shake the shackles off His servants’ feet—nothing can withstand God. Better still, by the earthquake the jailer was aroused. Doubtless his first inquiry was as to the prisoners. Supposing them to have fled, be could not stand the disgrace, and was about to commit suicide. What passed between his soul and God, as he stood shivering on the brink of death, we know not. Perhaps his soul was as suddenly illuminated as the inky darkness of midnight by the vivid lightning’s flash. Anyhow a question not of Roman law, but of God’s frown, demanded settlement. Hence his eager question. Behold the erstwhile brutal jailer with light in hand, trembling, and at the knees of his prisoners, whose shackles had been broken as easily as the ten-foot walls of the prison, asking, “Sirs, what must I do to be saved?”

How will God answer such a question? In a moment of imminent peril, with no time to lose, will the answer be satisfactory, will it involve much toil or time? Nay, listen, ye seekers after peace. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). Here is the earthquake text for you. On the spot the jailer was saved, and on the spot you may be.

I had a friend on the ill-fated island of St Vincent, and I was naturally very anxious as to his safety. There the gases from the crater of the Soufrière made death very tragic and sudden. The papers told us that death was sometimes so sudden that the attitude was undisturbed, books remaining in the hands of readers and guns in the hands of sentries. Thank God, I knew my friend was ready. If his body had been charred to charcoal, I knew his soul was saved, for he trusted Christ, and His precious blood had cleansed him from all sin. He might have gone to heaven from St Vincent in a chariot of fire, but I knew he would use the earthquake text if opportunity occurred. May God thus speak widely and effectually.

I am writing these lines in the city of Lisbon, where in 1755 the great earthquake destroyed 60,000 people. The papers of two days ago give warning that an earthquake may visit the city again. In adjoining Spain shocks have been felt within the last week. The whole world seems in unrest. Thank God, I am ready. Are you? But it is only through the merit of my Lord and Saviour that this is so. It is our delight to sing—

 “Why are ye troubled when death comes in view?
    Christ gives rest;
  Though after death there shall come judgment too,
    You may be blest;
  Christ bore God’s judgment poor sinners to save;
  He gained the vict’ry o’er death and the grave.
  Oh! now believe Him, and life you shall have.
    You shall have rest.”

There is no true rest to be found out of Christ. He died that we might have it. “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 12:28), is His gracious invitation still. “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, now is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

Oh! reader, hear God’s voice of warning. “Flee from the wrath to come.” Hear His voice of invitation, and “believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Thank God for such a message, will you accept it?

The Lighthouse and the Lifeboat

An Allegory and an Application

LIFEBOAT

I would rather be a lifeboat than a lighthouse any day. Aye, what stirring scenes I have witnessed in my time—the wind whistling round the lifeboat house, tearing, shrieking, thundering, roaring, shaking the place, as if trying to blow it into the sea. Then the booming of the minute gun, telling of some good ship in distress. Then the lifeboat-house gates opened, strong arms laying hold of me. Then the plunge out of the dark lifeboat-house down the gangway into the surf-covered sea, and the brave hearties leaping into their places and throwing out their oars over the gunwales, and off. Then to be tossed to and fro like a cockleshell, the sport of the waves, and yet always to right oneself and live through it. I would rather be a lifeboat than a lighthouse.

LIGHTHOUSE

Well, neighbour, I’m not of your opinion. True, you have a noble mission, and you do your work well, and I’m proud of you, and you come in where I cannot. True, my life seems humdrum compared with yours. To do nothing but stand summer and winter, fine weather and foul, seems poor work compared to yours. But then you are required only occasionally—I’m always at it—shining all through the nights, and that counts in the long run. True, I’m dependent on the oil in the lamps, and to the man who keeps polishing the reflector, and it looks as if I did nothing. I don’t even light up myself, but then, I’m always shining all through the night, and where you save one life, I save a hundred. So I am thankful to be a light-house and not a lifeboat, much as I admire you, neighbour. I wouldn’t for the world run you down, but I’m thankful for my lot.

And again the light flashed out over the dark wave, and many a mariner thanked God for the kindly ray.

So Christian reader, perhaps you yearn to be a spiritual lifeboat, to be a missionary lifeboat in the dark heathen seas of China, India, Africa, or engaging in definite aggressive gospel work. Thank God if you do, and thank God if He calls you to it and gives you power for it. But it is just as important to be a spiritual lighthouse. It may be in your school, among your class, not able to say much or do much, and yet your life seems humdrum indeed. Well, shine—keep shining—summer, winter, fair weather or foul. But to do that you will need the full supply of the oil of the Holy Spirit, He must be ungrieved within you, and you will need to keep your reflectors bright—so that Christ may shine out of you. We are not called to light ourselves, that is, to draw attention to ourselves, but to reflect Christ steadily. “Not I, but Christ,” and “For me to live is Christ,” should be our daily mottoes.

And perhaps by the quiet unconscious beauty of life fed by the oil of the Holy Spirit and reflecting Christ, there may be less stirring times than is illustrated by the lifeboat, but not less serviceable, and you may always be shining—in school, at play, at home, in the tram, in the train, always, everywhere.

Perhaps some of you sorrow over a dear one who is not saved, and you want to win that one for Christ. Shine, especially shine in stormy weather and on dark nights—you understand. May God help you indeed to shine for Him.

The Miners’ Last Message

Two years ago smoke was seen issuing from the shaft of Hamstead Colliery. Warning was sent swiftly down to the pit. Three or four men, who had just descended, were brought to the surface. They carried the serious report that a fire had broken out and the retreat of twenty-eight comrades was cut off.

Rescue parties made their way into the burning pit, but the task was hopeless, and the brave men returned almost insensible.

But why should such a terrible tale be retold here? We want to remind you of a far greater danger. Terrible as it is to be doomed in a coal-pit, it is infinitely worse to be doomed in the bottomless pit. And yet untold thousands are running this tremendous risk. How gladly would these twenty-eight miners have received a timely warning, and profited by it. Yet we are well assured many will read these lines, who need the warning we give, but alas! will not receive it. Unsaved reader, will you receive this loving entreaty? Will you receive this warning?

The next day another rescue party descended into the mine, only to return with the same story of defeat. Darkness came on, and sobbing women and children, who had hoped against hope, were led gently to their homes.

Again a band of rescuers descended into the mine. Two of them, more determined and venturesome than the rest, penetrated into the working farther than had hitherto been attempted. Realizing their failure they turned back, but one of them—Welby by name—sank down thoroughly exhausted. His companion was forced reluctantly to leave him to his fate in order to escape with his own life. Five days later Welby’s body was recovered.

A week passed, and then the worst was known. Fourteen of the missing men were found lying side by side dead. Another day of search, and six more bodies were found. Close by them was a door with their names chalked upon it and their last message: “The Lord preserve us. We are all trusting in Christ.”

Thrice men with the greatest desire to rescue the entombed miners had descended the mine only to be baffled. All honour to them. They risked their lives—nay, one of them lost his life in the attempt to save others.

What shall we say of the way the Lord Jesus descended from glory into this dark world of sin and shame, where, but for Him, our lot would have been far more terrible than for those miners faced with an awful death in Hamstead Colliery. For none but He could save. Nor could He save Himself, if He would save us. How true it is, as the old hymn puts it,
  “‘Himself He could not save’
    He on the cross must die,
    Or mercy cannot come
    To ruined sinners nigh
    Yes, Christ the Son of God must bleed
    That sinners might from sin be freed.”

These entombed miners were faced with death to the body. If unsaved, reader, you are faced with the second death—doom for ever. The first death does not mean cessation of existence. It means a change of condition. Neither does the second death mean cessation of existence.

Aye, and the Lord Jesus died in performing a Saviour’s part. Welby died in his attempt to save, and failed because he died. The Lord Jesus died in order to save, and succeeded just because He died. What a story of love!

Men risked their lives to save their fellow-men from death in the Hamstead coal mine. The Lord of glory—Jesus, the eternal Son of God—became a Man that He might die to save us, the creatures of His hand, rebels against His authority, sinners who deserved the deepest hell.

The six men, whose names were found written on the door in the ill-fated mine, were indeed happy.

A few hours of suffering and then—glory. Thrice happy men, who could say, “We are all trusting in Christ.”

Far better be in the burning pit of Hamstead Colliery with a living faith in Christ, with a hope of sudden glory, than be the gayest worldling, who goes blindly into the burning pit of hell, and who never wakes up to his danger till it is too late for ever.

How do you stand, reader?

Remember, it is not sufficient that the Lord Jesus died for you. You may neglect this salvation, and Scripture asks, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3). There must be living faith in Christ. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). There must be conversion. “Except ye be converted . . . ye shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 18:3). There must be new birth. “Ye must be born again” (John 3:7).

Let me ask you with deep earnestness, for your soul is unspeakably precious and its destiny is eternal, Are your prospects those of being with the Saviour in glory, or are you going to a doom infinitely more terrible than that of the miners in Hamstead Colliery? Face these matters and get them settled according to God and His word, I pray you.

The Mother’s Rock

“Deep in a forest of tropical South America, not far from the ruins of an Indian village, Alexander Humboldt was shown a rock outstanding, called ‘The Mother’s Rock.’

“In the days of the Spanish Conquest, the invaders had raided that village and carried away prisoners—among them a young Indian woman who left three little ones behind. They went by river, and travelled at night, that the captives might see no landmarks to help them to find their way back again. But the mother, lying fast bound at the bottom of the boat, watched the stars, and judged of the course by them. The way was long—three days’ journey, I think, but I write from memory—and when the Spanish camp was reached, the young mother was still kept tightly bound. But the cry of her babes was in her ears—the call that is the same in every language. She bit through the cords sped unseen, noiseless, with her bare feet and dusky form, out of the lamp in the darkness, and plunged into the forest where the eyes of the wild beasts glared. She heeded not; and the fierce creatures never touched her—as if they knew! She swam rivers and waded morasses—fought her way through thorn and thicket, guided by the stars at night and the sun by day, with the wild fruits for food—till she reached her children, and dropped down, spent and bleeding, but in a rapture of joy, her babies in her arms, clinging to her.

“The Spaniards followed, and found her—tore her from her children, scourged her without mercy, and brought her back. Again she escaped and made her way across flood and forest, home to her babes: again they followed and brought her back, after such punishment as left her helpless. But no sooner had a little strength returned than once more she fled—dragged her spent limbs over the terrible distance, and sank at last, utterly exhausted, but by her children’s side—the soft arms round her, the little lips and cheeks pressed to hers.

“The Spaniards were upon her quickly this time, for she had been long on the way. Hardly had she drawn one draught of utter bliss when they were there—seized her, and bound her to a rock. There they scourged and scourged her, and her blood streamed red over the rock, until she sank and died; and up to near a hundred years ago it was still called after her, ‘The Mother’s Rock.’”

A story like this has lived for many, many years, and it well deserves to live. But there is a story that has lived for nigh two thousand years. It is called the Old, Old Story. It will live for eternity.

Reader, your heart has been touched as you read the story of the poor mother’s devotion to her offspring. Your heart is not human were it not so. But oh! has your heart ever been moved by the Story of Calvary?

The mother died for her offspring, the Saviour died for His foes. We have reprinted the story of “The Mother’s Rock” to lead you to think of The Saviour’s Cross. Get your Bible and read the story of it—the most touching and transfiguring story of all time; a tale not to be compared with the most touching on earth. The most moving earthly story that man could pen only affords a contrast to the wonderful story of the ages.

Shall that story have no charm for your ears? If the Saviour died for you, and you do not avail yourself of His love, then the most solemn of all questions will seek an answer one day from your despairing heart, “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” There is none, positively none, and that is why we are anxious to get your ear as to the story of all stories.

“I have found out the reason they loved it so well, That old, old story is true.”

Yes, true, as myriads of poor, repentant sinners have found out. True, that God is a Saviour-God. True, that the believer on the Lord Jesus Christ is saved eternally.

Will you trust the Lord? You have everything to gain by doing so, and everything to lose by refusing.

The Name above Every Name

In the town of Woolwich some years ago a Christian visited an old man on his death-bed. He was anxious to find out if he was prepared to die.
  “Where will your soul go after death?” he questioned.
  “To heaven, I hope,” was the, answer, sadly and doubtfully given.
  “Whom do you know in heaven?” was the next question.
He hoped that by way of answer he would mention the Name above every name, the Name that fills heaven with endless praise.
  “My mother,” was his reply.
The Christian asked him still further, “Whom else do you know in heaven?
The dying man, upon being pressed, enlarged the circle of his acquaintances in heaven till he had enumerated father, mother, grandparents, uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins, friends, and ministers.
But THE NAME was never mentioned, and the visitor could only come to the sad conclusion that the old man did not know the Lord. He put the gospel before him, and then left.

It was a Sunday afternoon, and the Christian visitor was returning home down the High Street, when he was startled by the sound of hoofs and the rumble of wheels. Turning round he saw a runaway horse dragging a cab after it, in full flight down the narrow street.

To his horror he saw a little girl right in front of the danger. He dashed forward and snatched her from before the horse’s feet, just in time to save her from being run over.
  “Whatever would have happened to you, my child, if you had been killed?” he exclaimed.
Clear as a bell, not sadly and doubtfully, the answer came, “I should have gone to heaven, Sir.
  “Whom do you know there?” he asked.
  “JESUS, Sir,” was her answer.
What need to ask her more?

And you, reader? Do you know Jesus? Not a school child in this favoured land but knows about Him. But do you know HIM? “This is life eternal, that they might KNOW Thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom Thou hast sent” (John 16:3). “Acquaint now thyself with Him, and be at peace: thereby good shall come unto thee” (Job 22:21).

“The Only Thing I Worry About”

A young man, an explorer in Alberta, Canada, years ago met with a sad and tragic end. He was found in a lonely hut, but life was gone. On his knee rested a dish, which he had used as a writing desk. In his dead hand was grasped a letter, evidently the writing of which had been his last effort before death overtook him.

He wrote thus:“The sun is shining, mother, but I feel so cold. I can still walk a little, but that’s about all. There is no blood in me, because I have not eaten for so long. I haven’t seen another human being for forty days now. There are some magazines here, but the stories are so silly. I have some cards, but I don’t care for solitaire. The only thing I worry about is, if God will forgive me my sins.”

The pathos of this needs no stressing. What God revealed to him in his last moments we cannot say. We know that God answers the honest yearnings of the human heart for the blessing He alone can give.

Why then do we call your attention to this touching incident? It is that there might be awakened in your heart, if it has not already been awakened, the desire that God will forgive you your sins. Sins you have. Your conscience must acknowledge this. Perhaps we are more conscious of sins of commission than of sins of omission. But these latter are just as real. If you have left God out of your reckoning, your sins of omission are multiplied with every breath you draw. If you treat with complete indifference the great gesture of God’s love, offering you forgiveness of sin and the gift of eternal life through the atoning sacrifice of His only begotten Son on Calvary’s cross, every moment registers a sin of omission. You may pride yourself that your sins of commission have not been of the disgraceful character that mark many, but have you ever seriously considered how you are treating God? God, your Creator and Sustainer; God, who gives you air and water and food and health and strength; and above all God, who has provided a way of salvation for you? And yet, you are perhaps unconcerned about your sins and their forgiveness.

This young man, dying in that lonely hut, had magazines within his reach. What good were they when he was about to draw his last breath? What good were exciting novels, and the eternal triangle of sex, at such a moment? In the solemn light of eternity he called these stories silly. What good could they do in a moment when death, terrifying death, was staring him in the face? Cards were within the reach of the young man. What could they do, but mock him in his anguish?

He ended his letter with the words, “The only thing I worry about is, if God will forgive me my sins.” Thank God, he did feel troubled about his sins. We must leave him with a merciful God.

But will you worry about the forgiveness of your sins? We trust so. One day you will be as near death as that young man was. You may die on a bed of down, tended by loving hands. Wife, husband, parents, children, doctors, nurses may tenderly care for you, but the future must be faced. Is it to be a blind leap in the dark?”

A few years ago a Bishop, known to the writer, was very ill indeed. His life was almost despaired of. He looked death in the face. When at last he recovered from his illness, and a thanksgiving service was arranged for throughout his diocese, he requested that Isaac Watt’s wonderful hymn should be sung, as “it had taken on a NEW meaning” to him as he lay in the valley of death.

  “When I survey the wondrous cross,
    On which the Prince of glory died,
    My richest gain I count but loss,
    And pour contempt on all my pride.”

What a rare joy it would have been had we the privilege of telling this young explorer what the death of Christ meant, and that the old, old story had taken on a new meaning for him. The Saviour came from the eternal throne, He “who is over all, God blessed for ever” (Rom. 9:5), on purpose having become Man, to die a sacrificial death on the cross of Calvary. Divine justice by that act was satisfied, and God set free in righteousness to offer the forgiveness of sins to guilty, undeserving sinners. Would not this young explorer have been charmed to hear such news? How he would have jumped at the offer of forgiveness as a drowning sailor would seize the lifebelt.

The Bishop, too, found when the need came that Watt’s hymn, founded on the author’s personal experience of the grace of God, took on a new meaning.

Listen to this touching verse:
  “See! from His head, His hands, His feet,
    Sorrow and love flowed mingled down;
    Did e’er such love and sorrow meet,
    Or thorns compose so rich a crown?”

Would that the real reason of the cross in its relation to your dire need might take on a new meaning to you! That is that the Saviour died for you, and in putting faith in Him as your Saviour, you will receive the forgiveness of all your many sins. “The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from ALL sin” (1 John 1:7). “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

“The Precious Blood”

Nightfall was coming on. As the traveller looked round, nothing but miles of grass met his gaze. He had travelled across the broad prairie from early morning on horseback, and as he rode he smoked continually.

It was now time to dismount, tether his horse, and bivouac for the night. This done, he set himself to gather dried grass and light his fire. He opened his match-box and found to his dismay and amazement that only one match remained after his day’s smoking. His life depended upon the fire, and the fire depended upon this single match.

A biting wind was blowing—wild beasts were prowling about. Death was on the wings of the blast, and death was in the roar of the fierce brutes.

In such a plight for what would our traveller have sold his single match? In the streets of New York matches could have been bought by the gross for a cent or two. A strip of wood—a little ignitable preparation on the tip! Yet how priceless.

Gold would not have bought it. And how carefully he shielded the flickering flame from the wind, and how relieved he was as he saw the fire take a firm hold of the fuel.

And now let me seek to draw from this illustration a lesson or two of the utmost importance. You, too, are journeying.

Life’s little day for you will soon be spent.

Sin, decay, and death are stamped on the whole human family. And for you, like our traveller, if unsaved, night is coming on—for you the night of eternal wrath.

Oh! now in your days of health and strength, now in God’s day of salvation prepare for the future.

Come, is it not worse than blind folly to go on another moment unprepared? Unforgiven sin must be punished. The great, white throne must be faced. God must be faced by the sinner.

And, like our traveller, there is only one thing that can save you from the danger ahead. “The precious blood of Christ” (1 Peter 1:19) “Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin” (John 1:7).

Alas! there are thousands and thousands who value lightly what God calls precious. “The precious blood of Christ.” What a profound mistake!

What you, perhaps, set great store by now—good works—will look paltry and insignificant as eternity with its momentous issues lies within reach of your death-bed. Then you will not want the sandy foundation of good works, but a solid foundation under your sinking feet.

Hear what God says of salvation by good works: “NOT OF WORKS, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:9). “But to him that works NOT, but believes on Him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5). “NOT by works of righteousness which we have done but according to His mercy, He saved us” (Tit. 3:5).

Even the Old Testament believers, walking in the dim light of unfulfilled types and shadows, could read in Isaiah 64:6—“All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags;” and on the great day of atonement in the jubilee year, the captives waiting for release were told, “Ye shall do NO WORK in that same day; for it is a day of atonement” (Lev. 23:28). Infraction of this met with instant death.

And, think you, now you stand, not in the starlit night of a Jewish age, but in all the splendid light of Christianity; not by the side of a typical sacrifice on the great day of atonement, but in the presence of the great sacrifice of Christ—the finished work on the cross—that the object lessons of “NO WORK” are not intensified? Christ is the fulfiller of the types, the chaser-away of the shadows. Well does the Christian poet sing God’s truth in these lines:
 “Till to JESUS’ work you cling
    By a simple faith,
  ‘Doing’ is a deadly thing—
    ‘Doing ends in death.’”

Friend, there is absolutely nothing to shelter you from the wrath of God but the “precious blood.”

Bow then to God’s Word, and dismiss from your mind the thought of any merit by your fancied good works. Luther toiling up the steps of St. Peter’s in Rome rose from his knees as like a clarion note there sounded in his inmost soul what proved to be his battle cry for the truth of God—“Justification by faith.” Though papal bulls were hurled at his head—though a world of monks toiled and prayed for his destruction, God’s truth was everything to him. So may it be to you, dear reader.

In conclusion, let me earnestly invite you to unwaveringly trust the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work, His shed blood. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

The Sinner and His Mistakes

Read 2 Kings 5:1-19

A courageous man—a successful general—a pleasant friend is the brief but comprehensive character of Naaman. Possessed of abilities and qualifications many might well envy—covered with honours from his king and country, the land of Syria rang with plaudits as victory after victory was added to his roll of glory.

Yet, spite of the favour of the king—spite of the applause of his admiring countrymen—beneath the general’s uniform glittering with the decorations of valour, the humbling truth was known in the heart of Naaman, so pithily expressed in Scripture, “But he was a leper.” He was painfully conscious that he was a dying man—that the loathsome leprosy had numbered his days.

Leprosy in Scripture is a type of SIN. It entirely baffled medical skill. The man least affected was as surely marked for death as the far-gone victim. The only difference in their cases was time. If strength held out till the leprosy had worked its way through the system—till there was nothing more to work at, then the leper was pronounced by the priest clean. Sometimes God specially stayed the disease.

Family ties were broken by it—the leper must shun the habitations of men. The running stream must not quench his burning thirst. The stagnant pool must allay that. The freshening breeze must not pass from him to the unwary traveller, so that contagion might not be carried on the wind. His duty was to call, often alas! in sad sepulchral tones, “Unclean, unclean, unclean” (Lev. 13).

What a picture of you, dear unsaved reader!

The leper felt the disease, for he had to leave the clean to die alone. You are a moral leper amidst moral lepers. Hence the sad condition is not so keenly felt; though alas! moral leprosy—sinfulness—is far worse than the physical. The one brings death to the body—the other, judgment to the soul. God grant your eyes may be opened to the truth of your lost, hopeless, hell-bound condition. It is appointed unto men once to die, but “after death the judgment” (Heb. 9:27). “The wages of sin is death” (Rom. 6:28).

Thank God, there is a remedy for your case—a cure for your disease. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from ALL sin” (1 John 1:7). And “the Lord . . . is not willing that any should perish, but that ALL should come to repentance” (2 Peter 3:9).

Let us see what mistakes Naaman made as he sought to be cleansed, for the mistakes he made are those the sinner makes in seeking salvation.

A little captive maid knows the power of God is with the prophet in Samaria. She longs for the restoration of her kind and noble master. Perhaps with many a tremor and fear, she expressed an ardent desire to her mistress that her master might visit the prophet.

The king hears of it, and so desires the cure of his valued and successful general, that with his own royal hands he writes a letter to the King of Israel. Naaman sets off on his journey, and number one mistake is made. He goes to He goes to the king not the prophet—he tries earthly power not divine. The king is useless and gets alarmed.

Is this mistake not often repeated in the history of the anxious soul? How many thousands seek the intercession of a priest with some legendary saint! How many rest satisfied with following man’s way of obtaining salvation instead of trusting Christ! Then, dear reader, go not to man as thy resource but to God. Hear what He says of Jesus—“There is NONE OTHER NAME under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

The prophet hears of the sad dilemma the king is in, and sends for Naaman, and now the leper makes his second mistake. He tries

THE WRONG POWER.

He, no doubt, knew well the power of the golden key. Perhaps he thought it well-nigh omnipotent. But he has to learn that God’s blessing is not to be bought. He brings ten talents of silver, six thousand pieces of gold, and ten changes of raiment. At the very lowest computation these were worth £15,000. What a physician’s fee! His presents are not accepted. How could they be!

But let us bring the moral out of the dim historic past into the living present. How many thousands of today, in these lands of gospel light, are seeking to buy God’s salvation?

Spite of the fact that the Scripture declares God’s salvation is “without money, and without price”—spite of the fact that it took nothing short of the death of Jesus on Calvary’s cross to pay the ransom price, men insult God by bringing their money of good works to buy salvation. What stupendous folly!

A gentleman has lately reared a handsome church costing thousands of pounds. The townspeople are saying, “What a heavy fire premium.” Oh! sinner, if it took such untold agony and suffering to atone for sin at the cross—if it took the shedding of such precious blood, how all men’s works and gifts will be utterly condemned at that last, great day! But mark, “the gospel of Christ . . . is THE POWER OF GOD unto salvation, to every one that believes” (Rom. 1:16).

Naaman goes down to the house of Elisha in great state. He fancied his power and position would call forth respect and deference at the hands of God’s prophet. But NO. A simple, plain message is sent down to him, “Go and wash in Jordan seven times, and thy flesh shall come again to thee, and thou shalt be clean.”

This simple plan arouses the great man’s anger, and in his wrath he speaks aloud. He had beforehand settled in his mind the way of blessing. He makes his third mistake in thinking of

THE WRONG PLAN.

Naaman soliloquises thus—“Behold, I thought, he will surely come out to me, and stand and call on the name of the LORD his God, and strike his hand over the place, and recover the leper.” The Psalmist well said, “I hate thoughts, but . . . I hope in thy word.” God said, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts . . . for my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord.”

How like the sinner! How often he has his own useless plan. The anxious soul, often expects some great revulsion of feelings—some striking dream—some sudden flash of light in the soul. As the prophet sent a simple message, “Go and wash;” so God sends thee a simple message, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Said a lady to the preacher at the close of the gospel meeting, “Have I to be saved in the same way as my coachman?” “Exactly,” answered the preacher. “Then I prefer not to be saved,” was the awful answer, as she swept out of the room on her proud way to hell.

Now Naaman makes his fourth mistake. He thinks of

THE WRONG PLACE.

The prophet said, “Go and wash in Jordan.” He thinks of the little, muddy, rocky stream with disdain. His mind travels to the broad stately rivers of his own country—“Abana and Pharpar”—flowing through Syria’s capital. “May I not wash in them, and be clean?” is his indignant question. “So he turned, and went away in a rage.”

Do not sinners of the present day strive to find cleansing in earth’s—Morality and Religion? Millions are busy washing in these streams now. They think an outward observance of religion—a moral, blameless life will atone for the past; will give them the necessary cleansing they require for God’s holy presence. Nay, the Scripture declares—“Without shedding of blood is no remission” (Heb. 9:22). “God requires that which is past” (Eccl. 3:15).

Just as the broad Damascene rivers rise in the mountains—pursue their steady way through Syria’s capital—flow into the desert and lose themselves there and find not their way to the sea; so man’s streams rise on man’s elevations—flow through this poor scene—are lost in the desert of man’s imaginations, and pass not into eternity.

Naaman might have washed his leprous skin in his own rivers, and would be no whit cleaner; nor will the sinner be any cleaner in God’s sight by all his fruitless attempts of man’s cleansing. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanses us from ALL sin” (1 John 1:7).

Now, the servants affectionately gather round their master and reason with him. “My father, if the prophet had bid thee do some great thing, wouldst thou not have done it,” say they.

Yes! there was the point. If it had taken great courage—involved great expenditure—caused immense pain, Naaman would gladly have undertaken the terrible task of self-cleansing; but because the plan was so simple, it rouses his anger and excites his contempt. Is this not like the sinner?

At last Naaman begins the journey of blessing—the going DOWN. “How much rather then,” had said his servants, “when he says to thee, Wash and be clean?”

He weighs the advice of his servants. The force and propriety of it is seen by him. He betakes himself to Jordan. He enters the flowing stream a poor, dying, loathsome leper. He dips himself in the water according to God’s command once and comes up a leper. He repeats this, and time after time comes up still the poor leper. At last down he goes for the seventh time and the waters flow over the leper, but, blessed be God, he comes up the cleansed—with his flesh like the flesh of a little child—not one taint of disease about him. Jordan’s stream contained such marvellous efficacy because it was God’s place—the dipping seven times, the plan—His word, the power.

Then Naaman says, “Behold, now I KNOW” (v. 15). His thoughts had fled—had given place to certainty and assurance. So, dear uncleansed reader, you must come to what God says, if you want cleansing and to know it surely.

Jordan is a type or figure of the death of Christ; and as Naaman was cleansed by washing therein, so you may know what it is to be cleansed from all your sins by trusting Christ—accepting His death as that which gives you life—His blood being known by you as that which cleanses you from ALL SIN (1 John 1:5).

As Naaman dipped himself in Jordan seven times (seven means perfection in Scripture); so you must honestly and thoroughly own that you are utterly hopeless in yourself, and take home to yourself all the value of the person and work of Christ.

Then, dear reader, avoid Naaman’s four mistakes, and take God at His word, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). “Through this man (Jesus) is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins: and by Him all that believe are justified from all things” (Acts 13:38-39).

In India at this present moment there lives a modern Naaman in the person of a rajah of great state and importance. The loathsome leprosy has manifested itself in his forehead, and to hide it from his subjects he has placed a large, sparkling jewel over the tell-tale spot. How like the sinner, who endeavours to hide his condition from his friends and neighbours. God can see through all subterfuges and shams. We earnestly urge you to be right with God. Have it all out with Him in the day of His grace.

There is a book being sold on our railway bookstalls entitled, “Letters from Hell.” I am informed that the writer makes the most crying sin in hell to be “hypocrisy.” No! dear reader, all shams will be eternally displaced by the heavy hand of God in judgment for eternal realities. My longing desire is that you may know the cleansing value of the precious blood of Jesus. May God grant it, for Christ’s sake! AMEN.

The Snow-Storm

The Americans call a very rough snow-storm a blizzard. Very often these tempests block up railways and roads, and stop all business in the districts where they rage, and even men and women perish in them.

One such was raging some time since. During its fury a doctor had managed to go his rounds and see his patients. Probably much exhausted from battling with wind and driving snow, he had at last reached his own house. There he was found lifeless, with his hand upon the knocker, buried in the deep snow drifted against the door. The doctor was just too late to gain a refuge from the storm.

God’s storm of judgment will burst sooner or later upon this world. Solemnly and affectionately we urge you to flee to Jesus, the Refuge of sinners. “The name of the Lord is a strong tower: the righteous runs into it, and is SAFE” (Prov. 18:10).

The storm of Calvary burst upon the head of Jesus, that God’s judgment might never reach any one who believes. Christ became the substitute, the just One suffered instead of the unjust.

Many intend to be saved some time before they die; but none know when that will be, for death is busy all around, Besides, the Lord Jesus may come for His own, as He has promised, and then the opened door of salvation will be for ever shut against all who have refused the Gospel!

I remember about fourteen years ago, before I was saved, how startled I felt when I awoke in the middle of the night. The city was all slumbering, and the solemn silence of the midnight hour was wrapped over all. Then a sudden fear stole into my heart, and I asked myself the question, “Has the Lord come at last, and left me behind?”

I can well remember the relief I felt when I knew my father and mother were still on earth, and that it was not TOO LATE for me to be saved. The Lord Jesus Himself says, “Him that comes to me I will in no wise cast out” (John 6:37). And again, “Verily, verily I say unto you, He that believes on Me has everlasting life” (John 6:47).

If you come to Him, you will never have to regret: nor repent your choice, and you will never come into judgment; the storm of God’s wrath will never touch you.

The Venerable Bede

The town of Jarrow today is a very hive of industry. Its ship-building yards give employment to many thousands of men. Chief and foremost among them is that which owes its origin to Sir Charles Mark Palmer, M.P. In his works and yards are built war-ships for the English and other navies. The town, though very ancient, looks almost as if it were a place of yesterday. Streets upon streets of workmen’s dwellings meet the eye, while numberless chimney-stacks belch forth their smoke. It is indeed a busy place, full of everyday life.

Now I want you to carry your minds a long way back. Previous to Queen Elizabeth’s reign; previous to the time when William Rufus built his castle, now time-worn-and black with age, on the northern bank of the Tyne, Newcastle-upon-Tyne, and previous to the battle of Hastings, away back to the time when the Anglo-Saxons ruled over England, you must carry your thoughts and attention.

It was in the year 735 A.D. that the famous monk, Bæda (commonly called the Venerable Bede), died at an advanced age.

He was, perhaps, the most famous scholar of western Europe. To Jarrow-on-Tyne hundreds of students repaired to sit at his feet. He was learned in the literature of Greece and Rome, had written on medicine, rhetoric, astronomy, and many other things besides. But more than that, he took a deep delight in the Bible—the very Bible you have in your hands—only his was written in Latin.

But, better still, whilst mixed up with much error and darkness and superstition he was a true Christian, and loved the Lord Jesus.

When I chance to go to Jarrow, to preach the gospel to some of its busy nineteenth-century artisans, I always think with affection of the dear old man who loved his Bible and his Master.

At the end of his life he longed to translate the Scriptures into the English tongue.

We can almost hear the simple, loving old man—albeit a scholar of erudition and repute—saying, as he did, “I don’t want my boys to read a lie, or to work to no purpose after I am gone.”

He essayed to translate the gospel of John—that gospel which tells us of the life of Jesus, of His finished work on the cross, and how in believing in Him we have everlasting life; and which contains those beautiful words, that you have heard so often, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

A letter has come down to us from one of his disciples, Cuthbert, to a “fellow-reader,” Cuthwin, narrating to us what happened on the day he died; or, rather, passed away to be with Jesus.
  “Our father and master, whom God loved,” he writes, “had translated the gospel of St. John as far as ‘What are they among so many?’
  “He began to suffer much in his breath, and a swelling came to his feet, but he went on dictating to his scribe. ‘Go on quickly,’ he said. ‘I know not how long I shall hold out, or how soon my Master will call me hence.’
  “All night long he lay awake in thanksgiving, and when the ascension-day dawned he commanded us to write with all speed what he had begun.”
So the letter goes on describing the work right through the day. When the shadows of evening were gathering, and the sun was casting its last rays of light into his cell, the dear old man was dictating the few remaining verses of the gospel.
  “There remains but one chapter, master,” said his anxious scribe; “but it seems very hard for you to speak.”
  “Nay, it is easy,” answered the Venerable Bede. “Take up thy pen and write quickly.”
And so the affectionate scribe wrote amid his blinding tears, for he deeply loved his beloved instructor.
  “And now, father,” said he, as he wrote down the last words which fell from the feeble lips, “only one sentence remains.”
Bede dictated it.
  “It is finished, master!” cried the young man.
  “Ay, it is finished!” echoed the dying saint. “Lift me up, place me at that window of my cell where I have so often prayed to God. Now glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost.”

And with these words he passed peacefully away into the presence of his Lord.

What a beautiful, peaceful death! That was like falling asleep in Jesus.

As you read this, dear children, let me ask you, Do you love the dear old man’s Saviour? If called upon to die, could you be so peaceful and happy, knowing that all your sins were washed away in the precious blood of the Lord Jesus?

Carry your minds back previous to the year A.D. 735, even to the time when Jesus, the blessed Son of God, walked this earth. From His very lips came those words, which, I doubt not, the saintly Bede loved to translate, “For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

What a verse! God so loved. He gave the dearest object of His heart—even His only Son. What love! Gave Him to sorrow and shame and spitting and scourging. And in the moment of His crucifixion by man, out of love to you and to me, God forsook His Son, and meted out to Him the punishment due to sin.

Now, having finished the work, Jesus is sitting on the right hand of God in heaven, waiting to save those who trust in Him.

So that God gave His Son, “that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

As you are, and now, dear child, if you have not already, come in faith to the Lord Jesus, take Him as your own precious Saviour, then (thanking Him first) go and tell your loved ones about it.

“The World’s Stores, Limited”

Journeyings along a main highway near Epping Forest recently there passed me a youth pushing a tricycle to which was attached a small covered tradesman’s van.

Upon the sides of this van was painted in large gilt letters the name of the firm, “The World’s Stores, Limited.”

I could not help saying aloud to myself, “Yes, VERY limited.” And yet people are seeking those stores as if the possession of them here would ensure their reception into “everlasting habitations” there.

How limited are earth’s stores! Limited as to time. They last for us a few brief years, and then the house property, the balance at the bank, the stocks and shares, coronets, crowns, empires, fame, power, are gone.

All that the world can give is like the firework displays. Up goes the rocket, stars shoot out, light up the darkness, delight the eye for a moment, and down comes the burnt stick, no one caring where it falls.

Aye, and the day will come when “the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burned up.”

Seeing that reader and writer are alike swiftly passing into eternity, it becomes an urgent question, Are we rich toward God? Have we a portion in Heaven’s Stores, Unlimited?

The rich farmer in the parable, only caring for his barns, only thinking of “The World’s Stores, Limited,” was addressed by God, “Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided?” (Luke 12:20). Other people would enjoy them; but what of the farmer?

So the scripture goes on, “So is he that, lays up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.”

Are you rich toward God? I can say, through infinite grace, God is my Father, Christ is my Saviour. Heaven is my home.

There is One in heaven who died for me, who loves me, who has made me eternally rich. Can you say as much? You may, through simple faith in Him. “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (2 Cor. 8:9).

He left the homage of the angels for the scorn of men. He left the heights of glory for the shame of Calvary. He made all things yet had not where to lay His head. He bore the distance and the wrath that we might have the nearness and the favour of God. He was wounded that we might be healed.

Cannot you trust such a Saviour and be made eternally rich? God grant it. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

We, who know Him and His peerless worth, can well sing:
   “Were the vast world our own,
    With all its varied store,
    And Thou, Lord Jesus, were unknown,
      We still were poor.

We may be poor in this world’s goods, yet having Him we are rich indeed.

“Thou God Seest Me”

I remember, when I was a child, my young friends used to ask me to write my name in their birthday books. I found nearly always the text opposite my date was,
  “THOU GOD SEEST ME.”

Time after time this verse appeared opposite my date, until at length I was troubled by it.

I went about with the feeling that God was looking at me, and it made me miserable, for I was not converted.

There is a tale of a punishment certain prisoners used to endure years ago in a foreign land.

They were put in prison—a small cell. There was a hole, and a jailer was stationed to keep his eye looking through the hole at the prisoner. The prison was so small, that the prisoner could not get out of sight of this eye with its steady stare upon him.

When one jailer was tired, another would take his place, and so, night and day this eye was staring upon the poor prisoner, until at length the strain upon him was so great, that he would go out of his mind.

Now, if a human eye looking upon you constantly is so terrible, what about God looking at you?

When you are out of your parent’s sight; away from the schoolmaster’s or school-mistress’s sight, remember GOD SEES YOU.

He reads your heart, and knows all you do, and your sins are all written down by Him.

Another thing troubled me when I was a child. I knew the Lord was coming, and that I was not ready.

Oh! I remember often waking up in the night, and feeling afraid that the Lord had come, and had taken my father and mother to heaven, and all the Christians, and had shut to the door of heaven, and left me behind to be damned for ever.

I would fall asleep again, troubled and anxious. How eagerly I went downstairs in the morning to see if my father and mother were there. When I saw them, as usual, how relieved I was. It made me all the more anxious to be saved.

When I was about eleven years old, I was brought to know Christ as my Saviour, and I have never regretted being brought to know Him.

I am not afraid that God sees me now, because all my sins are washed away in the precious blood of Christ; and I am not afraid of the Lord’s coming, because I know when He comes, He is coming for me.

Are you ready for Him? Does God see you still in your sins? Oh! fly to the Lord Jesus, and He will wash away all your sins, and make you fit for His coming again.

Tomorrow

He was not a bad man. Moral, respectable, honourable, amiable, he would generally be called a good man. Nor was he irreligious. He was connected with a so-called “place of worship.” He listened to the sermons courteously. More than once he was much moved as the preacher put before his audience the way of life and the way of death. Like Felix of old he trembled, but like Felix he said, by his actions, “Go thy way for this time; when I have a convenient season, I will call for thee” (Acts 24:25).

With him it was always Tomorrow! TOMORROW!! TOMORROW!!!

At length serious illness prostrated him. The preacher took an early occasion to call. He enquired earnestly as to how he stood with God. “Did God see fit to take you away now,” said he, “are you ready to go?”

  “Oh! sir,” said the sick man, interrupting him, “I am in agony! Please excuse me. Oh! my head! my head! I cannot talk to you now. Come some other time.”

  “When shall I call?”

  “Tomorrow,” said the sick man. The preacher retired in tears.

The next day he called again. The knocker was muffled—an ominous sign. When he entered the sick chamber, the man was delirious, uttering incoherent sentences. Dead, yet living—what a condition. Alive in this world, yet unable to hear words of warning or entreaty as to his soul.

The preacher looked, and as he gazed upon the poor wreck of humanity, with reason fled, the tears coursed their way down his cheeks.

As he left the house the poor, sorrow-stricken wife asked him to call again.

  “When shall I call?”

  “Tomorrow.” This was more than the preacher could stand. All the way home he could not restrain his tears, thinking how his friend had said, “Tomorrow, TOMORROW, TOMORROW,” so long, and now it seemed too late.

The next day the faithful preacher called once more. The patient was still worse. The doctor had left strict orders that on no account was any visitor to see him. The crisis had come, and the slightest excitement might be fatal. But the doctor knew how earnestly the preacher desired to see the sick man, so he had said that if the patient revived he might see him tomorrow.

The preacher scarcely slept that night. Next morning early he was at the door of the sick man.

Knocking gently, he anxiously enquired of the maid, “How is your master?”

  “Oh! sir,” replied the girl, “he is dead.”

  “Dead! dead!!” was all the preacher could say.

  “Yes, sir, he died at four o’clock this morning.”

Reader, has this no voice to you? Does not God’s word say: “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2). “TODAY, if ye will hear His voice, harden not your hearts” (Heb. 4:7)?

Will you never respond to the invitations of the glorious gospel, or pay heed to the solemn warnings as to the awful end of a Christless life?

Your end will come sooner or later. How solemn, then, to trifle with these tremendous realities.

Let me beseech you to give prompt attention to the question of your soul’s salvation.

This habit of procrastination slays its tens of thousands. At first it is like the silken thread of a gossamer web. But as the habit is formed it is increasingly easy to continue, increasingly difficult to renounce, until at length its binding power is like that of heavy chains manacling their captive’s limbs. It has been well said that the road to hell is paved with good resolutions.

The great need of the hour is decision. How loudly is God speaking just now. Will you not hear? Will you not be wise, and consider your latter end? Remember, if you miss salvation, you will miss it for ever. There is no second chance beyond the grave. How true it is—
  “There are no pardons in the tomb,
    And brief is mercy’s day.
    Decide! Decide!! DECIDE!!!

Tract Distribution

  “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature” (Mark 16:16).

In seeking to spread the gospel by means of gospel tract and booklet, I take it, we shall be acting most blessedly in the spirit of our text.

Are we not solemnly responsible to publish the good news by every lawful means that lie within our power? I ask myself, as well as the reader, do we really believe that souls around are drawing near the gates of an eternal hell? And do we believe it is the wish of God’s love that the glad tidings should be preached “to every creature”?

Should it not be true of us, as it was of the great apostle Paul, that “knowing . . . the terror of the Lord, we persuade men”? The apostle felt, too, what a solemn thing it was for himself personally to stand before the judgment-seat of Christ, though he should stand there clad in the perfect righteousness of God, with no dread of Judgment, but humbled to the very dust and bowed in deepest worship, as he saw, in heaven’s light, the boundless, unwearying grace of his Master with such a servant.

And as his soul—lighted up more and more by the sense of all this—came under its solemn, chastening influence, his heart in fellowship with God’s yearned over the world, so full of blind and careless sinners who but for the intervention of God’s grace, would stand before the Judge in all their awful guilt, with no advocate to plead their cause, and no sheltering blood to screen them from eternal judgment; and Paul’s life of ceaseless, devoted service in evangelizing was the result.

Oh, the need is great on every side! The fields are “white already to harvest”—we are on the very eve of Christ’s return—infidelity is rampant in the strongholds of Christendom and a spurious gospel is preached from thousands of pulpits in the very land in which we live.

If this and more be sadly, solemnly true, is it not a timely question to put, What are we doing for Christ?

Many are not gifted to occupy the preacher’s platform. Some are too aged, their day of prominent service is past, others are too young, our sisters in Christ are precluded from public preaching, yet is this blessed, quiet, simple service of tract distribution open to all. Or again, we may not have time to stay and speak to the crowds in the street, or the loiterer at the corner, but we can all put the silent messages of salvation in the hands of a few as we pass along.

Ah! how many, alas! are innocent of the crime of carrying the printed gospel in their pockets, and if perchance they are stirred into procuring a hundred tracts or booklets, they last them for years. Generous souls! Let them think of the Dead Sea, which receives but never gives, around whose shores hangs the silence of the grave, while corruption and decay float on the face of its waters!

Again, some who once were poor in this world’s goods were then rich in faith, and it was wonderful how many silver pieces they could spare to procure and spread the gospel tidings by means of the printed page. But they prospered in the world—the good seed of the Word became choked; their outward appearance improved, as the world would say; whilst their heart for Christ grew colder and colder. It was no longer a fitting thing that they should do what they did in other days. To give the gospel tract was beneath their dignity. “Tracts are so despised nowadays, their distribution is going out of date, and our line is not the gospel,” was often their cold, heartless, shallow excuse.

And if their conscience perchance reproved them, they would silence the faithful monitor by procuring a few hundred tracts, and giving them to a poorer brother to distribute.

Thank God for every one who enables his poor brother, who lacks not the heart but the means, to distribute by the thousand the silent messages of salvation. But that in nowise absolves him from his own responsibility in the matter. Why his very respectable appearance enables him to give to the well-to-do people, who would perhaps refuse them at the hands of one more humbly clad.

Nothing is more beautiful than to see grace triumphing in those high in this world. Pride is an accursed thing; it is the snare of the devil! Among those possessing wealth, noble lineage, great abilities, and other high natural gifts Satan too often finds an easy prey. He uses with such the lust of the eye, the lust of the flesh, and the pride of life with awful success. Let us see to it that we seek to be in spirit like our gracious Master, and never be above giving our very best to His blessed service.

Again. What is more blessed than to see those who, by their spiritual judgment, lead the saints of God—whose years, spent in the service of Christ, rightly entitle them to influence and respect—seeking to spread the gospel in their walks and journeyings abroad by means of the printed page? What more calculated to affect for good, those who come within their influence?

Oh, I would like to see none neglecting this blessed branch of service, be it teacher or evangelist, old or young, rich or poor, brother or sister.

Nothing gives the needed courage, and self-forgetfulness, but devotedness of heart to Christ. Study the life of Jesus; think of His dying love; think that we are left down here to fulfil His will, to gratify His heart.

It is not a little instructive to notice where our text is found. In the Gospel of Mark Jesus is presented to us as the great Servant.

With adoring hearts we follow His ceaseless, untiring service through those wonderful sixteen chapters into which—may we say?—the evangelist has crowded his account of the marvellous amount of the Lord’s ministry, culminating in that service of all services—the cross of Calvary.

Oh, it would do us all good—lazy servants as we are—to read every day of our lives the first chapter of Mark. Our blessed Master—God’s devoted servant—appears to have had scarcely time to eat the meals or snatch a few moments of leisure. From early morn, preaching, visiting, healing, seem to succeed each other till the reader marvels at the toils of His day.

And when He would commune with God in prayer we touchingly read, “And in the morning, rising up a great while before day, He went out, and departed into a solitary place, and there prayed.”

Ah! if we prayed more like Him we should work more like Him.

And I am quite sure, with such an example shining before us, that quality of service goes with quantity. In this Paul was like his blessed Master. Constant and ceaseless were his labours. Nor can we fail to note, as we read the story of his missionary labours in the sacred page, that the deep spring of it all was love to Christ. The love of Christ constrained him.

May the writer and the reader be stirred up to closer communion with Christ, and richer, fuller. service to Him.

If this little appeal, sent forth in fear and trembling, has been read by any who are not in the habit of spreading the written gospel, let them not merely admit the truth of what we say, but let them lose no time, according to their means, in procuring some good, plain gospel tracts or booklets, and with exercise of mind and prayer seek to distribute them, and thus in their measure “preach the gospel to every creature.”

Alas! when we talk of our means only allowing us to do so much, we should more often correctly say it is our lack of heart for Christ that makes us satisfied with the little we do.

The world spends freely in the service of the devil. Witness the flourishing condition of the public-houses, the theatres, the concert halls, and a thousand and one other things. In bad times and in a small place many public-houses are well supported and patronized, whilst, alas! in a great city with its teeming thousands, where numbers of Christians live, a tract depot may languish and be ready to die.

May we all lay the Saviour’s word to heart: “Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.

Soon we shall hear His shout and go to be with Him. The shadows are lengthening; our brief day of service will ere long be over, and then we shall rest in His own presence for ever. Meanwhile let us be up and doing.

Try him with a Text

  “What’s wrong with you now? I thought you were all right,” said a young fellow, himself rejoicing in the Saviour, to another, who a few nights previously had trusted the Lord Jesus, but was assailed by doubts and fears. “What’s wrong with you now?”
  “Man, I’m not right yet,” replied the other, “for Satan is always tempting me.”
  “And what do you do then?” inquired his friend.
  “I try,” said he “to sing a hymn.”
  “And does that not send him away?”
  “No, I am as bad as ever.”
  “Well,” said the other, “when he tempts you again try him with a text. He cannot stand that.”

What splendid advice! How many of us have found out that Satan cannot stand a text.

For instance, how simple and dogmatic is the statement, which is addressed to every believer on the Lord Jesus, “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” (Eph. 2:8-9).

Equally plain and simple, inexpressibly precious and absolutely reliable are the words that fell from the lips of the Lord Jesus Himself: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that hears My word, and believes on Him that sent Me, has EVERLASTING LIFE, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life” (John 5:24).

But every word of Scripture is just as reliable as the words that fell from the lips of the Saviour Himself, for the simple reason that “ALL SCRIPTURE is given by inspiration of God.” It all comes from His heart of love.

So equally reliable are the plain words in 1 John 5:13, “These things have I written unto you that believe on the name of the Son of God; that ye may KNOW that ye HAVE eternal life.

No wonder that the Scriptures are the special object of Satan’s malignity. By open infidelity of the Charles Bradlaugh and Colonel Ingersoll type, or by veiled infidelity of the Higher Criticism type, Satan has laboured night and day to undermine the Scriptures. The vigour and perseverance of the attack, lasting now for many centuries, proclaim, against the wishes of the attackers, the colossal magnitude of their task. It is a hopeless task. Great is the truth, and it will prevail. “We can do nothing against the truth, but for the truth” (2 Cor. 13:8). Men, alas! may be ruined by believing the devil’s lie; but truth remains, as much beyond the fury and reach of men as the sun in the heavens.

To sing a hymn to overcome Satan is about as sensible as the boy whistling in the churchyard at midnight to keep his spirits up, save in the measure that we know the hymn is founded on the truth of Scripture. But better still, try him with a text of Scripture! “Try him with a text.” Why, that is testing him by God Himself! Begone all doubts and fears as to our salvation, if we believe on the Lord Jesus Christ. As believers we have the Word of God to pillow our faith upon. God help us to cleave to His Word.

Two-and-a-Half Converts

A story is told of that wonderful preacher, D.L.Moody of America. Returning from a service he had conducted, he was asked, “How many converts were there tonight?”
He replied “Two-and-a-half.”
  “You mean then that two grown-ups and a child confessed the Lord.”
  “No,” he answered, “there were two children and one grown-up.”

What a wise reply! His questioner was left to think out the answer. Two children converted means two whole adult lives for Christ. A grown-up person converted, say in middle life, means half a life for Christ.

Mr. Moody’s reply was truly sagacious, and should be a very great cheer and incentive to all who labour in our Sunday Schools, and other agencies for teaching the young. It makes a child convert to be of special importance.

At the beginning of the Great War a man saw some lads being drilled. He looked at the lads, despised them and sneered saying “Britain’s last line of defence!” Often the truth is expressed by one out of sympathy. When the Pharisees murmured “This Man receives sinners and eats with them,” they never uttered a sublimer truth, though they thought they were saying what was derogatory to our Lord. Far otherwise: though their hands were filled with hatred, in reality they were weaving a veritable crown of glory for our Saviour’s brow, when they murmured, “This Man receives sinners and eats with them.”

“Britain’s last line of defence,” sneered the critic. But these lads of 8 and 10 years in 1914, in 1935 are men of 29 and 31, in their full powers of manhood—in the very first line of defence, if needed. If they had not been in the last line, they never could have been found in the first line; indeed there would have been no first line at all.

So with these bairns who get converted. A few years roll by, and often they have developed into stalwart Christian Preachers, Sunday School workers, and helpers in a hundred ways in service of the Lord. Let us work then for the future. Let us value the young increasingly. Let us seek to win them for Christ.

The following table speaks for itself. Out of 1,000 Christians it was found that
    548 were converted when under 20 years old.
    337 were converted when between 20 and 30 years old.
    86 were converted when between 30 and 40 years old.
    35 were converted when between 40 and 50 years old.
    13 were converted when between 50 and 60 years old.
    1 was converted when between 60 and 70 years old.
    0 were converted when between 70 and 80 years old.

And all this becomes increasingly important as we realize that the coming of the Lord draws nigh. If He came this year, and well He might, these young ones must be converted young, or not converted at all, indeed one would not be surprised to see a mighty work of God break-out in Sunday Schools, where the Gospel is faithfully and lovingly presented, in view of the coming of the Lord.

What is Faith?

Many of the readers of GOSPEL TIDINGS will have heard of the celebrated and devoted missionary to the New Hebrides—Dr. John G. Paton. He was a Scotsman, who, when he was a young man, visited those lonely and cannibal islands in the Pacific Ocean, spent long years preaching the Gospel, translating the Scriptures, and doing truly apostolic work among the fierce islanders of the Pacific.

Dr. Paton, at an advanced age, has recently been called to his rest by His Lord and Master. But “he being dead yet speaks,” for his life is one of the finest Christian Apologetics one can read. It stands in vivid contrast to all the enervating luxury of this luxurious age. To read it is a spiritual tonic.

For a long time when translating the Scriptures into the language of those islanders he could find no equivalent for the word faith. His work of Bible translation was paralysed for the want of so fundamental and oft-recurring a term.

The natives apparently regarded the verb “hear” as equivalent to “believe.” Dr. Paton would ask a native if he believed a certain statement. If he did, he would reply, “Yes, I HEARD it,” meaning that he believed the statement. If he disbelieved it he would reply, “No, I did not HEAR it,” meaning not that his ears had failed to catch the words, but that he did not regard them as true.

This definition of belief or faith was obviously insufficient. Many passages, such as “faith comes by hearing,” would be impossible of translation through so meagre a channel. Dr. Paton and his helpers prayed continually that God would supply the lack. He spared no efforts in interrogating the most intelligent of the natives, but all in vain. Not one caught the meaning of the word faith.

Dr. Paton writes: “One day I was in my room anxiously pondering. I sat on an ordinary kitchen chair, my feet resting on the floor. Just then an intelligent native woman entered the room, and the thought flashed through my mind to ask this all-absorbing question yet once again, if possible in a new light.
  “Was I not resting on the chair? Would that attitude lend itself to the discovery?
  “I said, ‘What am I doing now?’
  “Koikae ana, misi’ (you’re sitting down, master), the native replied.
  “Then I drew up my feet, and placed them upon the bar of the chair just above the floor, and, leaning back in an attitude of complete repose, asked, ‘What am I doing now?’
  “‘Fakarougrongo, misi’ (you are leaning wholly, master; or, you have lifted yourself from every other support).
  “‘That’s it!’ I shouted, with an exultant cry, and a sense of holy joy awed me, as I realised that my prayer had been so fully answered.
  “To lean on Jesus wholly and only is surely the true meaning of appropriating or saving faith. And now ‘Fakarougrongo Jesu ea anea mouri’ (that is, leaning on Jesus unto eternal life, or for all the things of eternal life) is the happy experience of those Christian islanders, as it is of all, who thus cast themselves unreservedly on the Saviour of the world for salvation.”

How the writer longs that every reader of this little paper might share the happy experience of these Christian islanders! How many, alas! mistake a mental assent to the great facts of the Gospel for saving, appropriating belief—mistake credence for faith, a terrible mistake indeed.

It were well, indeed, to have no house at all than to have it built on sand. Mental assent, credence, is but a sandy foundation. When the hurricane of death comes to mere professors, when the rain descends, the floods come, the winds blow and beat upon their house, how terrible will be the uplifting of the veil of their self-deception when their house falls, too late ever to be rebuilt upon the Rock.

Say, reader, would such a terrible experience be yours, if death came this hour?

But, on the other hand, can you say that you have discovered your lost and sinful condition, and that in true and simple faith you have cast yourself entirely on the Saviour for salvation, and learned that His precious blood has cleansed you from all sin, that He is mighty and able to save, and that forgiveness, salvation, eternal life are yours through faith in Christ Jesus? Happy indeed if you can!

If you cannot, do not rest till you can.

What is the Best Way to Read the Bible?

To begin with, it should be read daily and read consecutively from Genesis to Revelation. Some find it profitable to read two chapters in the Old Testament in the morning and one in the New at night. By treating the Psalms as belonging to the New Testament, the whole Bible would be read in about a year.

There are many Christians who have never read the Bible through, though it is the only book God has inspired.

Each book should be studied to learn (1) its relation to the whole, (2) its special design, (3) the plan upon which it is built, and (4) the way it is worked out in detail.

These particular subjects should be studied—prophecy, typology, chronology, dispensations, the person, work, and offices of the Lord Jesus, God as Father, the Holy Ghost and His office, the Lord’s coming and kingdom, grace, government, faith, works, etc. The way in which certain truths come out in various aspects in the Scriptures is deeply interesting. For instance, it has been said that in the Pentateuch we get the figures, in the Psalms the feelings, in the Gospel the facts, and in the epistles the fruits of the Gospel.

Lastly, it cannot be sufficiently emphasized that all our reading and study should be in a prayerful and worshipful spirit—prayerful because it is only as the Holy Ghost teaches that we learn aright, worshipful because the Bible is the Word of God, the testimony of the revelation of Himself in the Living Word—Christ—the revelation of the way of approach to Him in Christ by virtue of His death and resurrection, and appropriated by us by faith—the full unfolding of our place and portion in Christ and the practice flowing therefrom.

We should be men of one book. All our reading should centre around it, and if the intimate relation between the Living Word and the Written Word is seen, our reading and study will not merely inform us, but form us, and this last is the test of all Bible study.

Where Do You Find The Power?

Heathen religious bodies have their sacred books, that answer to them as the Bible answers to the Christians. It is often claimed that they are as good in their way as the Bible. However the Bible need not fear comparison.

The Mohammedans have their Koran, the Hindus their Vedas, the Parsees their Zend Avesta, the Buddists their Tripitaka, and Confucian Texts.

Sir Monier Williams, who, it is claimed, knew more about the so-called sacred books of the East than any man, who has ever lived, contrasted them with the Bible as follows:
  These non-Christian ‘Bibles’ are all developed in the wrong direction. They all begin with some flashes of true light and end in utter darkness. Pile them, if you will, on the left side of your study table, but place your own Holy Bible on the right side—all by itself—all alone—with a big gap between. It takes some courage to appear intolerant in this day of flabby compromise; but I contend . . . there is a gulf between the Bible and the sacred books of the East, which severs the one from the other utterly, hopelessly, and for ever—not a mere rift, which may be easily closed, across which the Christian and the non-Christian may shake hands and interchange similar ideas in regard to essential truths, but a veritable gulf, which cannot be bridged over by any science of religious thought—yes, a bridgeless chasm, which no theory of evolution can ever span.”

These are weighty words and well worth pondering over. We can confirm them by the following testimony of a missionary in China. He met a cultured Chinese gentleman, an ardent follower of Confucius. This Chinese gentleman said, “I know nothing about Christianity, but I would like to know.”

The missionary, instead of condemning the sacred books of the Buddhists, wisely began by saying, “The teachings of Confucius are very high, and the Moslem’s Koran teaches some excellent things.”
  “Yes, indeed,” assented the Chinese gentleman.
  “But then the Zend Avesta, and the Vedas and the precepts of Gautama Buddha all contain beautiful counsels,” said the missionary, “and even you would confess that Jesus Christ is at least not inferior to all these as a Great Teacher.”
  “Yes,” replied the Chinese gentleman. “I’ve read the Sermon on the Mount—it is truly beautiful.”
  “Then,” said the missionary, “I suppose you would suggest that each of us ought to follow his own religion—you should be a Confucianist—I a Christian—the Singhalese a Buddhist and so on.”
  “Yes,” was the reply, “that is what we think in China.”
Then the missionary came to the vital point, the crux of the whole matter. “Now tell me,” he said, “where do you find the power to carry out what your prophet Confucius teaches?”

He leaned back in his chair and laughed aloud. “Oh! I have no power. We admire the teaching, but we have no power to carry it out.

The missionary made no remark. He had evidently touched the Chinese gentleman on the weak spot in his armour. If conduct is going to take us to eternal bliss, and we have no power to follow the precepts given, the situation is despairing, hopeless—it ends in a frightful leap in the dark, and a fearful awakening when too late.

The Chinese gentleman leaned forward, and touching the missionary on the knee, asked earnestly, “Where do you find the power to do what Jesus Christ commands?

The missionary replied, “This is just where Christianity differs from every other religion. Our Lord told us, ‘Without Me ye can do nothing,’ but He sends His Holy Spirit into the hearts of His followers, those who trust Him as Saviour, and His Holy Spirit gives them both the desire and power to carry that desire into practice.”

A smile of joy spread over the Chinese gentleman’s face, “Why, that is wonderful! Wonderful tell me about it.”

The missionary, nothing loth, told the old, old story out of a full heart. The truth laid hold of the Chinese gentleman. Heathen beliefs vanished like mists before the rising sun, and the missionary had the joy of baptising his friend.

A young Oriental student at Cambridge after long and cautious enquiry into the truth of Christianity said, “I have been reading your sacred Book; and the difference between it and our sacred books of the East is not altogether in its precepts; for there are wonderful precepts, high and great, also in our books; but your Book and yours alone, contains I see, the secret of how they may be done.”

Turn from the lofty precepts of these Eastern sacred books, and look at the practices of their adherents. Look at the frightful immorality of the priests and the vestal virgins of the temples. And mark you, that is carried on as part of their religion. Look at the backward condition of the nations over whom these religions hold sway. Look at the wickedness that goes on unrebuked.

Turn from that to the Bible. It is a life-giving book. It proclaims pardon and peace through the atoning work of the Son of God. It transforms lives. It uplifts men and women. It delivers them from sin. Read it, read it till that life is yours, till pardon and peace are yours. They are there on the sacred page for YOU. Miss these blessings, and you had better never have been born.

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31). He is the only Saviour—not Mohammed, not Buddha, not Confucius. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12).

Where do you Keep your New Testament?

The armies that have sprung into being during the last few months are engaging the philanthropic energies of large numbers of kindly people. Socks, mufflers, belts, shirts, sandbags, packets of food of all kinds, have been provided by the hundred thousand.

Besides all this praiseworthy effort, earnest Christians have been seeking to care for the spiritual welfare of the brave soldiers. And well it is that this should be so.

Alas! the great need of the present day is the sense of SIN; its greatest crime, INDIFFERENCE. How little men think of God, His claims, His abhorrence of sin, the terrible judgment that awaits those who die in their guilt. The late Dr. Dale, of Birmingham, said that the terrible fact of the hour was that no one was afraid of God. Oh! that some mighty voice might awaken sinners from their sleep.

A soldier, sorely wounded in France, his young life barely won from the grave by the skilful surgeons and attentive nurses, told me in an English hospital, three days ago, that the soldiers will pray when faced by death, and promise God to give up swearing, but as soon as the danger is over prayer and promise are alike forgotten, showing there is no reality in either. Thank God, this is not so in every case, but we fear it is so in far too many cases.

One of the chief and the happiest forms of Christian effort lies in presenting the soldiers with pocket Testaments. They fit the pocket admirably, and they have been known to ward off a bullet, and thus save the wearer’s life.

But I would like to ask a serious question. Will the New Testament in the pocket be of any use whatever if its message does not reach the heart? Far rather die a savage, without clothes, without pocket, ignorant of the existence of a New Testament, than die on the battle front with the New Testament in the pocket, carried in much the same way as the savage carries his charm, amulet, talisman, and the message the New Testament contains unknown in the heart.

Can you pity a man, who dies of hunger when his pockets are full of banknotes, and he is living over a large provision store? Can you pity a man, who drowns, when he has refused to accept a life-belt and a place in the lifeboat? And what can be said of a man, possessing a New Testament, and yet who has failed to appropriate the message of forgiveness and salvation that it contains?

If a soldier reads these lines, let me, as an unknown friend, beseech you to face the facts of your sins, death, judgment, the great white throne, and hell. Turn to your New Testament. Take it often out of your pocket. Read such passages as John 3:16; John 5:24; Acts 10:43; Acts 16:31; Romans 3:10-28; 4:5; 4:23—5:2; 10:9; Ephesians 2:8-9; 1 John 5:13. See that you get the message of salvation into your heart. See that this most important matter of your soul’s eternal welfare is settled according to God. Then sudden death will be sudden glory. If otherwise, what then? Answer!

Or, are you a civilian? Do you read your Bible? You live in a land of Bibles. What a responsibility!

Are you like the old lady, who was most indignant because a colporteur wished to sell her a Bible? “What!” she exclaimed, “do you think I don’t possess a Bible? Do you think I am a heathen?” and so saying she angrily went into the house, returning to show the colporteur that she possessed a copy of the Scriptures.

Opening its pages, she espied her spectacles. “Why,” she exclaimed, “here are my spectacles, which I have lost over these three years.” She was true when she said she was not a heathen. She was—WORSE THAN A HEATHEN.

I fear the majority in these so-called Christian lands are so. May God graciously use this appeal to reach many. May it reach YOU.

Why Can’t You Trust Jesus?

Such was the identical question addressed by two Christian workers to two souls, desirous of being saved. Yet the question in the one case produced distress and difficulty; in the other, decision and peace.

How was this? you enquire. Simply by the emphasis being placed on different words of the same sentence.

One worker said to the seeking soul, “Why can’t you trust Jesus? The result was to turn the eye inward, to enquire if there was faith enough and trust enough, and to leave the enquirer in distress and difficulty.

The other worker said, “Why can’t you trust Jesus? The result was to turn the eye outward, to occupy the mind with the Saviour, and the result was decision and peace.

I turn to my anxious reader.

Why can’t you trust JESUS? It is not the question of how much you trust, but whom you trust. You may have implicit faith in the wrong object—the Brahmins and Buddhists have—and you will find the strongest trust in the wrong object is the sure road to ruin.

On the other hand, you may have the feeblest faith in the right object, and all will be well. And the way for your faith to grow, and God wants it to grow, is not by examining the extent of your faith, but by occupation with the trustworthiness of the Saviour.

Why can’t you trust JESUS? Millions have, and not one has been disappointed. The dying thief; the woman who was a sinner; Saul, the chief of sinners, found in Him an all-sufficient Saviour. He has saved “the chief of sinners.” Why not you?

Why can’t you trust JESUS? He has satisfied God. He has met all the claims of His holiness and righteousness. At Calvary He proved His ability to save. If He was able to do the mighty work of salvation on the cross, surely He is able to undertake your personal salvation. You will be but a tiny unit in the ranks of the redeemed, and He has saved them all. Why not you?

Why can’t you trust JESUS? He has never refused a seeking sinner. “Him that comes to Me, I will in no wise cast out,” are His own words, and they are literally true. No sinner is too old or too vile for such a Saviour. Look at the wounds in His hands and His feet and His side; see the crown of glory on His brow, placed there by God, proclaiming Him indeed to be the victorious Saviour, and then give me your answer.

Why can’t you trust JESUS? You tell me you cannot. Tell me rather that you will not. If you die without trusting Him, then He died in vain for you. That precious blood, which might have cleansed away your every sin, will call for vengeance from the ground. Refusing, neglecting the Saviour, you seal your doom for ever. Apart from Him there is no salvation. “There is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?” (Heb. 2:3).

Christ is the Ark of Salvation, the City of Refuge, the Saviour for sinners. Oh! take your true place before Him. Give Him the confidence of your heart. Let His precious blood cleanse away your sins. Hear His assuring words, “Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest” (Matt. 11:28).

Why Not Now?

I had a business communication from the United States today, which ended up with the following striking sentence:
  “A decision must be made sometime,

WHY NOT NOW?”

I followed up that advice, and returned an emphatic NO to the proposal made.

But the sentence set me thinking of something infinitely more important—a matter not of time but of eternity, not merely relating to the body, but affecting the soul. Would that I could get you interested in it! It is truly a matter of life or death, of eternal happiness or everlasting woe.

You must say, Yes or No in this matter. Which shall it be?

There is only one way of saying Yes, and that is by receiving with repentance of soul the Gospel of God. Either the Bible is blessedly true or unspeakably false. You must say, Yes or No to the Bible, and if you say Yes to its message that includes the gospel. By receiving the testimony of God that you are a sinner your need of a Saviour is felt, and God offers a living loving Saviour to you—One, who has fully wrought salvation by His atoning death on the cross. Accepting this blessed Saviour you have received the gospel and salvation is yours. Your eternal happiness depends on this.

But there are two ways of saying, NO, and both are equally decisive.

There is the emphatic NO of the man of the world, of the infidel, of the sceptic—men and women who want nothing to do with the gospel.

A landlady of a boarding home at a fashionable seaside resort found a gospel book lying in her sitting room and was furious because she could not find out who had placed it there in order to forbid a repetition of the offence! Fancy the giving of the gospel being an offence. A newspaper, a picture magazine, a novel, anything, but that which speaks of God, is welcome.

But there is another way of saying NO. It is wrapped up in the word, procrastination. Multitudes give an outward assent to the truth of the Bible, and recognize the need of salvation in a general way, but the world has too big a hold of them. They don’t want to give it up before it is absolutely necessary. They may be religious, give devout attendance to ritual, and yet this is their attitude. Alas! little do they understand the awful danger they stand in.

A day may come when unexpectedly life with them ceases, and their procrastination is crystallized into an emphatic NO. And further the habit of procrastination grows upon the one who practises it, until at length the habit has become his master and tyrant. Old age sets in. Faculties are benumbed. Will is impaired.

I was called in to see an aged man. His heart was in a perilous condition. Any moment might to his last. He was alarmed as to his future and anxious to be saved. But his regret was that he had procrastinated all his years, till three score and ten years and more had passed over his head, and he found it hard to decide. Be warned and take the advice of the pushing firm in U.S.A.

  “A decision must be made sometime,

WHY NOT NOW?”

Nay, take the advice of God Himself, “Behold, NOW is the accepted time; behold, NOW is the day of salvation” (2 Cor. 6:2).

The American firm expressed a fervent hope that there should be no unavailing regrets, which they thought would be the case if their offer were refused.

But what will be the unavailing regrets of those who say NO to the gracious offer of God in the gospel? No words can adequately describe them. No mind can conjure up how terrible they will be. They may well be described as the worm that dies not and the fire that is not quenched, though this description means much more than that.

God grant that He may give the reader of these lines the grace to say, Yes. “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

Women and Children First

When a heavy storm is raging, and the waves run mountains high, when nothing is seen hour after hour but the wild waste of turbulent waters, the traveller is made to feel that his safety lies alone, humanly speaking, in the vessel in which he is voyaging.

But what must be the feeling when the vessel is foundering, and there is not enough room in the lifeboats for all! The cry goes forth, redounding to the honour of brave men, “Women and children first!”

Have not our hearts been thrilled when we have read of troops standing at attention, as on the ill-fated Birkenhead, moment after moment, till at last the steamer has taken its final plunge into the fearful deep, carrying them down to certain death?

But, thank God, when it comes to the question not of saving the body from a watery grave, but of saving the soul from an eternal hell, it is not a question of “Women and children first,” but of “Whosoever will.” How many a brave man has perished at sea to let women and children be saved, who has in the hour of his dire need turned to the Lord, and as the deck of the vessel sank under his feet, carrying him to certain death, he has been saved by believing on Christ for all eternity. Only the great day, when everything shall be revealed, will declare what God has wrought under such circumstances.

My reader, are you saved? There is room in the scheme of salvation for ALL. How blessed! The old and young, the man and woman, the rich and poor, the learned and ignorant, the white and black, all are welcome. Oh! that wonderful, God-honoured verse, “God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that WHOSOEVER believes in Him should not perish, but HAVE everlasting life” (John 3:16). There is no excuse for you, if you are unsaved. The door of blessing is open, wide open, in the grace of God. You have but to enter.

Works of Grace—Trying or Trusting—Which?

In Copenhagen, the capital of Denmark and the largest city in Scandinavia, there is a very beautiful park on the edge of an arm of the sea.

In it is a very beautiful monument—the most striking of its kind in the world.

It consists of a group splendidly modelled in bronze depicting a woman sitting on and driving four immense bulls. Beneath it is a magnificent stone fountain of immense size, consisting of three cascades, the water flowing into a small lake below. The water is driven through the bodies of the bulls, coming out in very fine spray from their nostrils. The effect is most striking and beautiful.

This monument is intended to illustrate an ancient story. They say the land all belonged to Sweden once, and that some king had told a woman that she might own all the land she could plough in one day.

The story goes on to tell that she harnessed four powerful bulls to a big plough at break of day, and ploughed with them till it was dark. They say she ploughed that part of Denmark marked on your map as the island of Zeeland, and that the furrows were so deep that the land dropped in more and more, till it was separated from the mainland of Sweden and became an island. Of course this is what we call a legend, that is a sort of ancient fairy tale, which is not true.

Near by is an English building. It is formed of stone, and every stone of it came from England. At first this seems very curious, but it is explained by the fact that Denmark is a country without stone—all soil and sand—and all the building stone has to be imported, mostly from Sweden. Being for English purposes, and stone having to be got from another country, for the sentiment of the thing I suppose they procured it from England.

As I stood in the park I could see both the fountain, with the woman and the bulls in bronze, and the English edifice at the same time.

What a lesson they taught. The bronze statue of the woman and bulls seemed to say,

“ALL OF WORKS.”

The building seemed to say,

“ALL OF GRACE.”

Let me explain what I mean. The woman was to possess all she ploughed on a given day. Now she chose, according to the legend, four powerful bulls, and ploughed hard from the first streak of day till the last bit of light.

Now if God said to us that we might have all the heaven we worked for we should get none at all, for, unlike the powerful bulls, God tells us we are “without strength”—He tells us we cannot do anything at all for our salvation. How beautiful it is to read, “For when we were yet WITHOUT STRENGTH, in due time Christ died for the ungodly” (Rom. 5:6).

So if salvation were “all of works” or even partly, of works, or even a little bit of works, we should never reach heaven. As well tell a bird with a broken wing to fly, as tell a strengthless sinner to earn his own salvation.

As to the building, if those who built it depended on the resources of the country in which it was built, it would never have been erected. The building is in Denmark, the stones all came from England.

Does this not illustrate “all of grace”? If God is to save us everything must be brought to us. We are in this world. No Saviour could be found belonging to this world, just as there was no stone to be found in Denmark, suitable for building purposes. So we read: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” (1 Tim. 1:15).

So if we are to be saved the Saviour must come from heaven, and in that way every stone in the edifice of our salvation comes from heaven—salvation, forgiveness, justification, eternal life—everything.

So salvation is

  “NOT OF WORKS

lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:9), but is

ALL OF GRACE

so that God may have all the glory and we may have the blessing.

Dear young reader, will you not give up trying and take to trusting? Will you not give up “ALL OF WORKS” for “ALL OF GRACE”? Will you not give up yourself and your own doings and trust alone to the Saviour from heaven?

You Have a Soul

Yes, you have a soul that must live for ever—somewhere.

  “Well, tell us something we don’t know—we all know that.”

But stay a moment. Your soul must live as long as God lives, either in heaven with its wondrous eternal joys, or in hell with its speechless everlasting woe. Can you tell me, if you died this moment, where your soul would be?

  “Well, to be honest I cannot really tell for certain.”

And yet time is so short, life so uncertain, eternity so long, and you cannot tell for certain where you will spend your eternity. Are you serious? Do you mean to tell me all your thoughts are taken up with this life, and you forget the life to come? Do you really acknowledge that you are penny-wise and pound-foolish, time-wise and eternity-foolish, body-wise and soul-foolish? Alas! alas! how Satan and sin blind souls to their true interests.

I will run the risk of repeating myself. YOU—HAVE—A—SOUL. Weigh every word over, for I am sure that whilst in a general way you admit the fact, yet you are not at all alive to its importance, and what it means.

Suppose you meet a man with scarcely a piece of leather to hide his aching feet. His clothes are torn, and he looks hungry and woe-begone.

You are informed that he has vast estates, and a rent-roll of ten thousand a year.

You stop him, and say earnestly, “You have an income of ten thousand a year.”

He promptly replies, “I know it, tell me something I don’t know.” What would you think of him?

You reply, “He must be mad; I never heard of such a case.”

Stay a moment, friend. I know a case far worse than that. As the prophet Nathan said to King David, so we can say to you—“THOU ART THE MAN.” Follow we carefully. You have a soul. You neglect it. It is infinitely more precious than a vast estate bringing in ten thousand a year. Bring all the gold and diamonds of the world, and heap them high above the Himalayas, and the glittering mass is worthless beside your possession—your one immortal priceless soul. And yet you have neglected it, and its eternal destiny is unsettled. What need to repeat to you earnestly and pointedly, YOU—HAVE—A—SOUL

The great Lover of souls, the Lord Jesus Christ, when on earth asked: “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? Or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mark 8:36-37).

No Chancellor of the Exchequer has ever been able to give an answer to that question, for the soul is infinite in its preciousness and its duration of existence. No mind has ever been dexterous enough in the manipulation of figures to solve such a question.

We all pity the man who is so driven to desperation that he puts a revolver against his temples and blows his brains out, or throws himself into the canal and ends his miserable existence, thrusting thus his soul, unsummoned, into the presence of his Maker. The suicide sins against his body, but what of the careless sinner who sins against his soul—the soul-suicide?

Let me further illustrate. The King and royal party are expected to arrive at a large station by a certain hour, in order to grace some important event that claims national, rather than local importance. The mayor and officials of the city, and rank and fashion, are waiting to give his Majesty a warm welcome.

The whistle of the royal train is heard. All is expectancy. Instead of drawing up to a standstill opposite the carpeted and balconied platform, the train rushes on at a mad speed.

Just as it whizzes out of sight, some one shouts to the driver, “Where are you going?”

He answers indifferently, “I don’t know.” What would you call that driver?

“He must be mad,” you reply, “to act like that.” Stay a moment, friend. I know a case far worse than that. It is your own.

Follow we carefully. You carry fast to the pit of hell an occupant within your breast—your soul—infinitely more precious to you than the Sovereign of England could be to the English nation. You rush madly on, as fast as time can carry you, to eternity. We ask you, “Where are you going?” Is your reply any more sensible than that of the engine driver’s? Permit me to tell you that your folly is worse than madness.

You know it is for ever, and for ever, and for ever. You are going, a sinner, to meet God—to face Him about your guilty life and fearful indifference—to a great white throne—to a great gulf fixed—to eternity—to hell. Oh! wake up, ere it be too late. There is a Saviour—there is a way of escape.

The loss of wealth is a great loss; the loss of health is a greater; but the loss of the soul is the greatest possible loss.

Let me relate how a lady was awakened to a sense of her souls need. She lay dying in the ward of a large London hospital, disease doing its deadly work.

There was put into her hands a copy of that God-honoured book, “Safety, Certainty, and Enjoyment.” The sufferer read on till she came to the lines—
 “To lose your wealth is much,
    To lose your health is more,
  To lose your soul is such a loss
    As no man can restore.”

As she read these lines they fitted themselves exactly to her case.

  “To lose your wealth is much.” Once she had been wealthy, but a course of reckless extravagance had beggared her.

  “To lose your health is more.” That likewise was true of her. Wealth and health were alike gone; and she, once the child of fortune, was dying alone and unbefriended in a large London hospital. She mourned over the loss of her wealth, that had taken wings and fled; she mourned over health no longer hers; but her soul she had not thought particularly about. Little as she knew it, she was on the eve of the greatest possible loss a man or woman can sustain—the loss of the soul.

As the lines put it—

 “To lose your soul is such a loss
    As no man can restore.”

As she read these four lines she became conscious that she was about to lose more than wealth and health, and she was aroused to a deep concern about her soul, and with the greatest anxiety read on, till by means of the little book she found “joy and peace in believing.”

If her loss of wealth and health led to the salvation of her soul, her loss was a real and substantial gain.

People mourn over losses in this life. Lost fortunes are often retrieved and lost health recovered, but the soul! Once lost, it is lost for ever, and in the words of the Lord Jesus, we would again press home the searching question, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?”

Reader, you too may be on the eve of that greatest possible loss. If unsaved still, you are running an awful risk. Eternity, long, measureless, unending, will be all too brief to spell out that short word — l-o-s-t — when the soul is in question.

The great and important question arises, How can your soul be saved?

What lies between your soul and salvation, unsaved reader, is the serious question of your sins.

And here follow with great care. Make no mistake at this point, else it will be fatal.

Is salvation by works? Let Scripture itself answer.

  “To him that works not, but believes on him that justifies the ungodly, his faith is counted for righteousness” (Rom. 4:5).

  “For by grace are ye saved through faith . . . not of works, lest any man should boast” (Eph. 2:8).

On the strength of these verses cease your working for salvation. Salvation lies not in your repentance however sincere; your tears, however profuse; your prayers, however earnest; your good works of any or every kind.

A work must be done, but blessed be God, it has been done by Another. The Lord Jesus Christ has died on the cross of Calvary, and shed his precious atoning blood.

How can sin be removed? “The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses us from all sin.”

Scripture puts the whole matter in a nutshell, “What must I do to be saved?” Hear the blessed answer, “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved” (Acts 16:31).

  “God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16).

  “BE IT KNOWN unto you therefore, men and brethren, that through this man is preached unto you the forgiveness of sins; and by him all that believe are justified from all things, from which ye could not be justified by the law of Moses” (Acts 13:38-39).

Reader, we part. Again I remind you earnestly, YOU—HAVE—A—SOUL. Where will you spend eternity? It is admittedly a careless day as to these things, therefore I make one last earnest appeal to you not to leave these matters unfaced, but to lose no time in trusting the Lord Jesus Christ, your only hope for eternity. He must be either your Saviour or your Judge, which shall it be?