Gospel Tracts

Edinburgh Series Wm. C. Reid.
1, Redemption.
2, Forgiveness.
3, Reconciliation.
4, Deliverance.
5, Salvation.
6, Justification.
7, Peace.
8, Joy.

Cumberland Series J. Wilson.
1. An Officer's Faith
2. Brought Down on Reconnaissance
3. A Storm at Sea
4. The Wrong Uniform

Preach The Word Series Wm. C. Reid.
The Counsel of Peace.
The Cup of Salvation.
An Anchor of the Soul.
No More Conscience of Sins.
Be Reconciled to God.

A Grave Warning and Its Sequel Robt. B. Wilson.
A Message from the Sea Robt. B. Wilson.

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Redemption.

Redemption brings to light the power and glory of God, and presents to the believer in Christ the forgiveness of sins. The first chapter of Colossians sets forth a rich array of the glories of the Son of the Father's love, and these are introduced with "In Whom we have redemption — the forgiveness of sins." Before the glories of the Son, and the grace, power and glory of God can be known, the forgiveness of sins must first be enjoyed.

After crossing the Red Sea, where they had seen the display of God's power and glory, Israel sang, "Thou in thy mercy hast led forth the people which thou hast redeemed." They had been redeemed from Egypt and from the thraldom of Pharaoh by the blood of the paschal lamb and by the mighty hand of God. Similarly those who trust in the Lord Jesus Christ are redeemed from their sinful estate by the precious blood of Jesus, and from the authority of Satan by the mighty power of God, Who translates them into the kingdom of the Son of His love.

Jewish believers were told in 1 Peter 1, that the precious blood of Christ had redeemed them from the vanities of a corrupted Judaism. In the same way, Gentile believers have been set free from all the corruption of the human religions in which the Gospel found them, that they might live for God's good pleasure in the obedience of Jesus Christ, having come under the sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ. Silver and gold could never secure this great redemption; but God has procured it at infinite cost to Himself.

Shortly before Jacob's death, in blessing Joseph and his sons he said, "The angel which redeemed me from all evil bless the lads." Redemption for Jacob evidently meant his deliverance from all the dangers and troubles of his tortuous path. Christians too can count upon the strong arm of the Lord to bring them safely through all the vicissitudes of the wilderness they have been called to pass.

Although already enjoying the blessed fruits of redemption in our souls, as having bodies of humiliation, we are hindered from full enjoyment; but this imperfect condition will be done away when the Lord Jesus comes to give us that for which we wait, "The adoption (or sonship), the redemption of the body." (Rom. 8:23).

In glorified bodies the saints of God shall enter into the full blessedness of the joys of the Father's House, and shall possess the inheritance that God has given them in Christ. This immense possession has already been purchased at the price of Jesus's blood, and at His coming the Lord Jesus will redeem the possession He has purchased by removing from it those who have taken unlawful tenancy. Till that great and glorious day for which the Christian longs, God has given to the heirs His Holy Spirit as the earnest of the inheritance. (Eph. 1:14).

Forgiveness.

Throughout the Christian ages, great and successful efforts have been made by Satan to rob believers in the Lord Jesus Christ of the knowledge of forgiveness of sins. When on earth the Lord Jesus said to a man, "Thy sins are forgiven thee" (Luke 5:20); and to a woman, "Thy sins are forgiven." (Luke 7:48). These two would therefore be assured that their sins were forgiven. All true believers should possess the same assurance for it is written in the Scriptures, "I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for His name's sake." (1 John 2:12).

The forgiveness of sins rests on the foundation of the great redemptive work of Christ, and all the efficacy of the accomplished work abides in Him where He dwells before the face of God. No other could atone for sins. When Israel sinned at the foot of Mount Sinai, Moses pleaded with God for them saying, "If thou wilt forgive; and if not, blot me, I pray thee out of thy book which thou hast written." But Moses could not be accepted as a sacrifice, even for one sin. His zeal for Israel was wonderful; his sentiments were noble; but how could a sinful man, even though he was the meekest man on all the earth, die for sinful men? At the appointed time, God sent forth His Son, Who became Man, and as the holy, spotless Lamb of God laid down His life and shed His precious blood, so that a righteous and Holy God might be able in perfect consistency with His character and nature to forgive sinners who believe in Him.

With the sacrificial work of Christ in view God was able beforehand to forgive sinners of a previous dispensation. This is taught in Romans 3:25; and in Psalm 32:5. David in confessing his sin to God availed himself of this great benefit, even although, he could not know the glorious plan of redemption that was in the mind and heart of God. David said, "I acknowledged my sin to thee — and thou forgavest the iniquity of my sin"; and this is an excellent example for all. That all may receive the same forgiveness as David is clearly taught in John 1:9, "If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness."

Scripture also teaches governmental forgiveness of sins. This character of forgiveness was really granted to the man in Luke 5:20; and is also indicated in John 5:14 and 8:11. God not only deals with His people in grace, but chastens them in His government; and some may be laid upon a bed of sickness because of some particular sin. James 5:15 shows that such may be healed and governmentally forgiven. On this line Peter received authority from the Lord to bind and loose sins on earth, and his actions were to be ratified in heaven. This of course is governmental; and the case of Ananias and Sapphira demonstrated how heaven ratified the sin that Peter bound upon them.

Reconciliation.

Reconciliation is getting right with God. When Adam sinned, moral distance separated him from God, and he became an enemy of God. To be reconciled, man must be brought back to God with the enmity removed from his heart. Perhaps the outstanding picture of reconciliation in the New Testament is found in Luke 15. The need of bread, and the realisation of his Father's goodness awoke within the Prodigal the desire to return; but he had no idea of the reconciliation that the Father had prepared for him. A servant's place would have sufficed the Prodigal but the kisses, the best robe, the ring, the shoes, the fatted calf, and the music and dancing revealed the resources of the Father for the satisfaction of his love. These things were all enjoyed by the erstwhile wanderer when the distance had gone, and the enmity displaced from his heart by the Father's love.

Old Testament incidents also help us to understand the truth of reconciliation. Absalom's murder of Amnon alienated him from the house of David, and although he was ultimately brought home he was not really reconciled. His rebellion against David proved there was enmity in his heart towards his Father. Absalom never confessed his guilt, and a reconciliation without confession and repentance will never do for God. With Mephibosheth it was very different. When brought from the distance of Lodebar, the kindness of God lavished upon him by David dispelled his enmity; and this was evinced in his mourning for David during his absence in rejection.

God reconciles sinners by bringing them near to Him in Christ, His Beloved, and by displacing the enmity from their hearts with the knowledge of His love. The love of God and enmity towards Him cannot remain in the heart together. Christ's wonderful death has fully manifested God's love for ungodly sinners who were His enemies, and this love has been shed abroad in the hearts of believers by the Holy Spirit. (See Romans 5).

But reconciliation is also connected with the truth of the new creation. This is taught in 2 Corinthians 5; where the Christian is seen "In Christ" before God. The new creation describes the new conditions of life in which the believer exists; where death cannot come, and where there is no distance and no enmity. Every feature of this new existence in which saints have been created is portrayed in the Person of the Lord Jesus Christ. Soon the Lord will return to reconcile all things to the fulness of the Godhead; which shall be completed when every sphere of government and authority on earth and in the heavens is recovered to God. By the exercise of His mighty power the Lord will remove His foes from these spheres and fill them with His glory, that God might be glorified in all things for the ages of ages.

Deliverance.

Elihu told Job that God speaks to man in various ways to instruct him, and to keep him from his purpose and pride. God speaks by dreams, by preserving men from violent deaths, by pain, sickness and disease, and by bringing men to the very point of death. All these things are to teach men the grace of God, and that they might hear Him saying, "Deliver him from going down to the pit, I have found a ransom." (Job 33). To be the subject of this deliverance from divine judgment, the sinner must acknowledge his sin, saying as in this chapter, "I have sinned and perverted that which was right"; then "He will deliver his soul from going into the pit, and his life shall see the light." (v. 28).

Deliverance from the bondage of the law is realised by the knowledge that we have become dead to the law by the body of Christ; and this liberty is given to Christians that they might live for the will of God to give Him pleasure. This is taught in Romans 7; the next chapter shows that the individual believer can enjoy deliverance from the law of sin and death. Before God, every true believer is looked at as liberated both from the law and from the bondage of sin; but the practical experience of these things is another matter. To enjoy deliverance from sin we must reckon ourselves as dead indeed unto sin, and alive unto God in Christ Jesus. Having learned to do this the Christian will be able to say with Paul "The law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set me free from the law of sin and death." Like Israel under the bondage of Pharaoh in Egypt the sinner is under the yoke of Satan as the god and prince of this world. It is the privilege of the saints of God to know that the Father has delivered them from the power of darkness, and has translated them into the kingdom of the Son of His love. (Col. 1:13).

Our God and Father desires that we should be delivered from this present evil world. (Gal. 1:4). We learn how this is brought about in the same epistle, (Gal. 2:20 and Gal. 6:14). "I am crucified with Christ" is the experience of one who has allowed the truth of the cross to affect his whole moral being; and "I live by the faith of the Son of God" meant that Paul's whole life and being were bound up in communion with Jesus his Lord. Then in chapter 6 we see a man who realises that the world has been completely exposed and judged in the cross, and that that same cross which measured the world's hatred of God and His Son revealed the world's estimate of him as Christ's disciple. These are the lessons to be learned if deliverance from this present evil world is to be realised. When this guilty world receives its just judgment for the murder of God's Son, we shall not be here, for Jesus is "our deliverer from the coming wrath." (1 Thess. 1:10).

Salvation.

Jonah, the prophet, had remarkable experiences, and doubtless made great discoveries during his sojourn in the whale's belly; but his release from such a prison would be the most blessed of all his experiences, and this was when he discovered that "Salvation is of the Lord." The discovery that we need salvation may be very painful, accompanied with anxiety and deep distress, as with Jonah. This will occur if we realise before God that we are ruined, guilty and lost; and powerless against sin and Satan.

Salvation is not procurable by human efforts, for Titus 3:5-6 points out that we are saved by God's mercy, and not by works of righteousness which we have done. This is also emphasised in Ephesians 2:8-9, "For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works lest any man should boast." God in sovereign love has secured this great salvation for us in His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Aged Simeon knew this when he said, "Mine eyes have seen Thy salvation." The Samaritans learned it when they heard Jesus speaking, for they said, "We know that this is indeed the Christ, the Saviour of the world." There must be personal contact with the Son of God to know Him as the Saviour. Peter, the great apostle, who truly knew the Lord said of Him, "Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved."

Many true believers have doubts and fears about salvation, not having in their souls the assurance that God gives in His word. The woman in Luke 7 would not have the slightest doubt on this question after the Lord said to her, "Thy faith hath saved thee; go in peace." Nor should we have the semblance of a dread, for the Scripture tells us that "God — hath saved us." (2 Tim. 1:9). The word is not "may save" or "will save," but "hath saved." But we need to be preserved amid the dangers and snares of the world, and for this the Lord Jesus Christ has become our Great High Priest; and as such "He is able also to save them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them." (Hebrews 7:25).

Complete salvation will be effected for us by the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ for His saints. Then we shall be delivered from our present circumstances, and shall be taken to heaven to be for ever with the Lord. While awaiting this momentous event, we "are kept by the power of God through faith." (1 Peter 1:5). If this salvation in all its parts is to be ours, we must heed the word spoken by Paul to the Jailor at Philippi, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved."

Justification.

When Job contended with his friends, who ignorant of God's dealings with him, falsely accused him, the cry was wrung from his grief-stricken but self-righteous heart, "How should man be just with God?" His three "comforters" could not rightly answer this question, but the true answer was given when God revealed Himself to Job, and when he replied, "I have heard of thee by the hearing of the ear: but now mine eye seeth thee. Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes." To tell God that we are loathsome sinners deserving only divine judgment is the way to be just with God. The same lesson is learned from the Pharisee and the Publican in Luke 18. Proud in his self-righteousness the Pharisee justified himself before God, but the Publican condemned himself, saying, "God be merciful to me a sinner." Of the self-judged man the Lord said, "I say unto you that that man went to his house justified rather than the other."

Justification is simply to be righteous in the sight of God: to be cleared from the imputation of guilt. No man is free from guilt, for "all have sinned"; and none can redeem himself, for we are without strength." Therefore if sinners are to be justified, a means for its accomplishment must be found outside of themselves. God in infinite wisdom has devised the means, which manifests His great love and the riches of His grace. On the cross, the Lord Jesus endured the divine judgment merited by sinners, and shed His precious blood; and this enables God in perfect righteousness to clear from every charge of guilt those who believe on Him.

But there are those like the haughty Jews of Romans 10, who, seeking to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted to the righteousness of God. Like the man at the wedding feast they refuse the wedding garment provided by the King. Unlike the Prodigal they will not confess, "I have sinned," and so lack the best robe and all else provided by a loving Father, and remain like the elder brother outside the Father's house with its merriment and joys. The apostle Paul had once sought to establish his own righteousness, and thus be just before God; but his interview with the Lord Jesus on the way to Damascus disclosed to him the unsuitability of such a garment when exposed in the light of the glory shining from the face of Jesus. He desired thereafter "to be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith." (Phil. 3:9). While those who have neglected or refused the righteousness of God are sorrowing in the darkness for eternity, those who have received the abundance of grace will be displayed with the Lord Jesus in glory as "The righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21).

Peace.

No one will gainsay that all the prodigious efforts of men to procure peace for the nations have ended in failure; but few realise that the explanation of this failure lies in the world's rejection of the Son of God. With the coming of the Babe of Bethlehem the entry of peace into the world was celebrated by the praising heavenly host saying, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace"; but the portending departure of peace was proclaimed just before Christ's final rejection, by the multitude crying, "Peace in heaven, and glory in the highest." Not until the Lord returns as Prince of Peace will peace be found on earth again.

But God in infinite wisdom and compassion used the very occasion of the cross to secure for men a more wonderful peace than that brought to earth in the Son's incarnation. This peace was made by the blood of His cross, and it is proclaimed in the Gospel. Indeed, in Ephesians 2:17, Christ is presented as the great Preacher of peace both to Jew and Gentile. It is because of this peace received from Him that we can have our feet shod with the preparation of the Gospel of peace when standing in conflict in the evil day.

The troubled sinner needs peace for his conscience, and he receives this when he believes the Gospel. Romans 5:1, unfolds this, "Therefore being justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ." The woman who touched the hem of Jesus' garment illustrates this beautifully. Trembling she came to Jesus, only to hear from His lips, "Thy faith hath made thee whole; go in peace." (Luke 8:48).

Those enjoying peace with God soon realise that if faithful to Christ they will share the reproach of His rejection, and be the object of the world's malice and opposition. When forewarning His disciples of this the Lord said, "These things have I spoken unto you that in me ye might have peace." (John 16:33). There is no peace for the Christian here; but while passing through tribulation for the Lord's sake he can have the bounty left by the Lord, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you."

Although brought into divine favour the Christian is not relieved from the trials that are common to men; and these are apt to bring anxious care. For such circumstances the believer may have the peace of God which passes all understanding, and this by making his requests known to God by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving. (Philippians 4:6-7). God's peace is not disturbed by the unrest and conflicts of the world, and this is the peace that is held out to His people. To enjoy this divine peace in its varied aspects, the Christian must abide in communion with the Lord Jesus Christ, for "He is our peace."

Joy.

Natural joy is very precious and according to the Preacher in Ecc. 2:26, it is one of three things that God gives to a man that is good in His sight. Natural goodness, in the government of God brings its own reward of natural joy. But the joys of nature quickly fade before the trials and sorrows that man inherits, and the exercised soul at length discovers that all is vanity and vexation of spirit. The transient character of natural joy was demonstrated at the marriage feast of Cana of Galilee, when the wine ran out; but it was there the Lord Jesus revealed that in the best wine of His providing there was a source of an entirely new kind of joy. This new joy is from God, and is known in the reception of the Gospel. As a result of Philip's ministry at Samaria, where he preached Christ unto them, we read, "And there was great joy in that city." (Acts 8:8). In the same chapter, Philip spoke to the Ethiopian about the Lord Jesus, and having believed the word spoken, it says of him that "He went on his way rejoicing."

 Many new things bring joy at their reception or beginning, and afterwards the joy is displaced by distresses that eat like a canker. But Christianity is very different. Having saved us from our sins, God brings us into His kingdom. This kingdom is characterised by "Joy in the Holy Spirit," and in order that we may possess the joy constantly, God has given us the source of it by shedding His love abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which He has given to us. One of the precious fruits of the Spirit as delineated in Gal. 5:22, is joy.

The joys of nature are dependent on circumstances. If a man's circumstances are grievous, his joy disappears. But the joy given by the Lord is independent of circumstances, and therefore persists in seasons of trial and sorrow. Although the Lord Jesus on earth was "A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief" it is written of Him "He rejoiced in spirit." His joy was from communion with His Father, in spite of His rejection by men. The apostle Paul following in the steps of His Master, shared His rejection and sorrow but knew the blessedness of His Master's joy, and commended this joy to others. In his epistle to the Philippians more than once he says "My joy," and he exhorted them to "Rejoice in the Lord alway."

On the night of His betrayal the Lord Jesus spoke of many things to His disciples. He warned them of the tribulation they should receive from the world, but He also promised them His joy. He said, "These things have I spoken unto you that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full." (John 15:11). From 1 John 1:1-4 we see that this joy is realised as we learn the reality of eternal life in communion with the Father and the Son. May we truly know His joy in communion with Him.

Cumberland Series
1. An Officer's Faith
2. Brought Down on Reconnaissance
3. A Storm at Sea
4. The Wrong Uniform

An Officer's Faith.

The searchlight of God's gracious dealings with men in this world of darkness allows its beam to pause upon particular incidents in Holy Writ and for the gaze of all holds in its ray God's attitude towards His creature estranged from Himself by sin. So, in the Gospels there are recorded many instances of the Grace of God reaching men through the ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ who, as the Vessel of Grace, was alone competent to fulfil such a work. Whether in preaching the Gospel to the poor, healing the broken-hearted, delivering captives, recovering sight to the blind, He is presented in the Gospel of Luke as the Perfect Man in the activity of grace. It is not to call attention to the kind of faith, viz., an officer's, that this incident from Luke 7 has been chosen but to show that in the Scriptures the military forces are not excluded from the many walks of life in which examples of the gift of God (Eph. 2:8) are found. What marked the unnamed centurion was a faith which surpassed any found amongst a people privileged above all others as to the things of God (v. 9) and which got an answer (v. 10). We do well then to consider this soldier's reaction to faith if we would be pleasing to God (Heb. 11:6). Here was a man with a deep need but he was in the favourable circumstances whereby he could hear of Jesus (v. 3). His sphere of service as a soldier happened to be cast in the very territory which was graced by those Divine footsteps. How often privileges are taken for granted! How often is the opportunity of hearing of Jesus in this favoured Island Home of ours spurned! But the centurion was not content with simply hearing of Jesus, faith was in exercise, for he approached Him in such a way as to bring out the glory of the Perfect Man which is the particular theme of Luke's Gospel. He thus solicited the aid of the elders of the Jews (v. 3) and clearly indicated the ground of repentance for he took sides with God against himself (v. 6). Moreover, there was the recognition both of the ability (v. 7) and the authority (v. 8) of the One to whom he addressed his appeal in his deep need. It may be that news of the man who was healed of the palsy (Luke 5:18) had reached the ears of this centurion and, as his servant was suffering from the same complaint (Mat. 8:6), he had concluded that Jesus might cure him. However, this would only have involved the exercise of natural intelligence. What the Lord recognised and answered was the faith which expressed itself in such a way, the need being felt, as to produce repentance on the part of the centurion and appreciation of the power of the Lord to help him.

Dear reader, may it be yours in all your deep need as a sinner to exercise repentance toward God, i.e., taking sides with God against yourself, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ, i.e., bringing in God as He has been pleased to reveal Himself (Acts 20:21). In this way you may have the assurance of the forgiveness of your sins, which is undoubtedly your deepest need (Acts 13:38). The One who met the centurion in his extremity is the only One who can meet you in yours. "He is the same yesterday, and to-day and for ever" (Heb. 13:8). J. Wilson.

Brought Down on Reconnaissance.

The title of this tract will doubtless divert thought into the avenue of aerial activity and to the brave men engaged in the hazardous work suggested, but such is not its aim. The desire is to isolate the principle of ascent, and, through clothing it in a moral garb, show that it originated with Satan himself and which has been manifested ever since by men as fallen creatures. We do not wish to detract from the value of reconnaissance work in the ways of men nor to belittle those who display natural courage, but to stress that in the ways of God the practice by men of ascendency in a moral sense never leads to salvation or blessing; this is the thought of God for all men for "God our Saviour who will have all men to be saved and come unto the knowledge of the truth" (1 Tim. 2:3-4). To trace the principle to its source we must go back to the fall of Satan from heaven. God has carefully recorded this incident in Isaiah 14:13. "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven. . . ." As a fallen creature and under the dominion of sin (Rom. 6:14) man has never ceased to give expression to the rule. In Genesis 11 the Tower of Babel is a monument to the desire and efforts of men to enjoy the atmosphere of heaven in their own way. The confederacy would be the witness to the former and the brick an indication of the latter. Then, as though to guard against the fallacy that the principle had been eradicated either by the passage of time or the transition from the Old to the New Testament, Zacchaeus is introduced in Luke 19. Evidently there was still the desire after what was of God for "he sought to see Jesus who he was" and the efforts to satiate that desire was seen in his own scheming for he climbed into a sycamore tree, noted for the thickness of its foliage; only to find, however, that his own efforts were but taking him farther from the place of blessing. The higher he climbed the greater was the distance he had to come down.

Dear reader, if hitherto you have been seeking to merit salvation by anything you are doing, no matter how commendable it may appear, take warning from what God has recorded in His Word in connection with this little man! "Zacchaeus, make haste and come down" indicated the way of salvation, on the line of his humbling himself before the One who had become Man that He might bring salvation within the reach of men in their lost estate. "A broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise" (Psalm 51:17). Moreover, far from being obtained by the efforts of men, the blessing was to be had only on the principle of faith "forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham" and that in the Son of Man who came to create the sense of need in the soul and to satisfy it. Have you humbled yourself before the Saviour in the confession of your lost condition and through the exercise of faith in Himself received the salvation which he waits to impart? If not, learn the lesson taught in the Scriptures of Truth by Zacchaeus who was brought down on reconnaissance to have the word of salvation spoken by the Saviour Himself. J. Wilson.

A Storm at Sea.

In these days when engineering seems to have reached the peak of accomplishment it is difficult to understand the dangers which attended a storm at sea in bygone days. However, history shows that the destinies of nations have been moulded by such an event. For instance, the Spanish Armada was one of the most outstanding events in that connection, but the destiny of a nation pales into insignificance in comparison with an individual soul in the sight of God. "What shall it profit a man if he shall gain the whole world and lose his own soul?" Thus the sea storm described in Matt. 14:23-33 is concerned largely with the Lord and Peter. In these few verses there is given a beautiful example of the Lord's help to His own in distressing circumstances.

But ere we pass on to develop this a little, let us consider for a moment the character of the one who reaps the benefit of the Lord's gracious support. He, who is presented in Matthew 14 is the same as is dealt with in Luke 5. It is important to grasp this, bearing in mind that Peter's experience in Luke 5 is antecedent to that in Matthew 14, for it clearly shows that the man the Lord was dealing with in the latter instance had judged his sinful condition in His presence. "Depart from me for I am a sinful man, O Lord." But Peter stayed where he was at the knees of Jesus until the words of peace had been spoken to his conscience. "Fear not; from henceforth thou shalt catch men." He had made his confession to the only One Who had authority to set his conscience at rest. Peter was to prove the truth of these words on many occasions subsequently; this is one from Matthew 14. But Peter is only taken up representatively to show that the Lord's support can be enjoyed by all who have judged their sinful condition before Him and who have had the word of assurance spoken to the conscience.

The Lord goes up into a mountain to pray, indicating the place of exaltation which He occupies to-day (Heb. 9:24) on behalf of His own who are left below where the rough seas are encountered. But it is blessed to notice that He is mindful of them in all their toil and comes to them in the fourth and last watch, which suggests that all during the night of His absence, the Lord's own people can count upon Himself. Surely it is a word of encouragement to them to-day for Scripture clearly represents this as having the character of night! (Rom. 13:12; Rev. 22:16). But there is One who is able both to succour and to sympathise in connection with all the weakness and infirmity which abound. In spite of all that is calculated to disturb, there is One who moves above these things for the sustenance of His people. Jesus comes to them walking on the sea!

May the Lord give you, dear reader, if you have not already done so, to judge your sinful condition before Him, that when the storms come you may know where to turn for the Pilot! J. Wilson.

The Wrong Uniform.

The wearing of the correct uniform is a matter of prime importance to-day if we would move through our country with impunity. The donning of an enemy uniform would probably lead to immediate enquiry, if not arrest and imprisonment. Care is, therefore, exercised that our clothing is so regulated as not to offend the eyes of men. But how careful we may be sometimes about suiting the eyes of men who, after all, can only touch the body, and forget to consider our suitability to the eyes of God who is concerned with the soul! A consideration of the parable spoken by Jesus in Matt. 22:1-14, therefore, may help in the latter matter which is infinitely more important as it raises eternal issues.

In the parable we are told of a King who has designs of blessing for His Son and, with this in view, proposes a wedding. The necessary accompaniments which attend such a desire are then considered and the invitations are given verbally by the servants. The result, however, is startling! The would-be guests refuse to accept the King's invitation and are much more concerned with the mundane routine of earthly toil (one went to his farm and another to his merchandise). This is almost unbelievable until we remember that we are considering a parable which portrays the refusal, on the part of the Jews, of all God's overtures of grace. Man's history from the commencement shows that he has always been much more concerned about earthly things than heavenly things! But the King would not be thwarted and we are beautifully introduced into that which God is doing amongst men to-day, by the Gospel, that the wedding may be furnished with guests. God is inviting men and women to-day to the marriage of His Son, a marriage which, as yet, has not taken place (Rev. 19:7), but the guests must be arrayed suitably. Moreover, they are held individually responsible for being so; the guest in the parable was speechless when questioned for he knew quite well what was required but he evidently thought that his own clothes would do. They may have been ever so nice and well-fitting but they did not meet with the approval of the King and this, after all, was the acid test.

Dear reader, do you think that any righteousness which you may suppose you possess will be suitable clothing for the marriage of His Son to which God now invites you? If so, be warned by what God has recorded here and elsewhere in the Holy Scriptures. "All our righteousness are as filthy rags" (Isa. 64:6). "There is none righteous, no, not one" (Rom. 3:10). The guest who is taken as an example only made one mistake — he failed to avail himself of the wedding garment — but it resulted in "outer darkness." Dear friend, are you garbed in the righteousness of God for of such does the wedding garment speak? If not, turn to Romans 3:21, 22 and learn that the righteousness of God which has been manifested . . . by faith of Jesus Christ is unto all so that it may be yours but it is only possessed by those who exercise faith in our Lord Jesus Christ, for it is upon all who believe. It is here on earth that the question is settled for we are told in the parable that the servants gathered in both bad and good and there will be certainly no bad connected with heaven and its glory (Rev. 21:27). J. Wilson.

Preach The Word Series


The Counsel of Peace.
The Cup of Salvation.
An Anchor of the Soul.
No More Conscience of Sins.
Be Reconciled to God.

The Counsel of Peace.

If there is one thing needful for the troubled nations of the world, or for the distressed individual, it is lasting peace. For the world there can be no abiding peace until the return of the Lord Jesus Christ to put down all evil, and establish His kingdom in righteousness. Peace was offered to the world when God's Son came into it as the Babe of Bethlehem, even as recorded in the angelic praise, "Glory to God in the highest, on earth peace." This divine overture was rejected when the world put the Son of God upon the cross; and this shameful rejection is the cause of the world's incurable wounds of sorrow and distress. So far as the individual soul is concerned, peace of conscience and heart are unknown until Christ has His true place in the heart and life. Man is by nature a sinner, and at a distance from God, subject to divine judgment because of his sins, from which he cannot escape by his own efforts. Apart from God's intervention on his behalf, in sovereign mercy, man must perish for ever in his sins; and the thought of this troubles the conscience and distresses the mind of the awakened soul.

We may well thank God for the deep interest He has shown in His erring creature. "The counsel of peace" (Zechariah 6:13) tells how God and His beloved Son have devised the means for securing the blessing of peace for the repentant sinner. This wonderful plan involved the coming down into this world of God's own Son, so that He might go to the cross to suffer for sins, the just for the unjust, to bring us to God (1 Peter 3:18). This great work was completed; peace was made by the blood of His cross; the efficacy of the work is infinite and eternal, and through it, whosoever will may come to God and receive the blessings of the counsel of peace.

So that men might partake of the fruits of the counsel of peace, God has sent forth His gospel. To the Jews, who crucified His Son, and said "His blood be on us and on our children," God offers peace in the gospel; and many of Jacob's troubled sons and daughters have found their rest in this deep peace. This blessed message of peace comes to you and me, poor sinners of the Gentiles, far from God by nature and by practice; a peace that dispels every bit of dread from the heart, and brings the tranquil soul to delight in the presence of God.

Have you peace with God? Do not say that this is impossible to have. We read in Romans 5:1, "Therefore being justified by faith we have peace with God." There is no need for you to continue in doubts and fears if you desire the peace of God. But there is only one way of procuring this inestimable blessing. You must come to God, as a poor sinner, confessing your guilt, and bowing the knee in true repentance before the Lord Jesus Christ. Come to Him NOW; and hear Him say to you, as He once said to a poor repentant sinner, "Thy faith hath saved thee, go in peace" (Luke 7:50). (R. — Wm. C. Reid.)

The Cup of Salvation.

God desires the salvation and blessing of his fallen creature, man; but, like the writer of Psalm 116, we have to be brought low in the presence of God before we are ready to accept the cup of salvation that He offers. Describing the experience through which he had passed, the Psalmist says, "The sorrows of death compassed me, and the pains of hell gat hold upon me: I found trouble and sorrow." This was surely a dreadful plight; when in the extremity of human weakness, and beyond all creature aid, the gates of death and hell were open wide before him, ready to receive him. What could he do but throw himself upon the mercy of God? Therefore he says, "Then called I upon the name of the LORD; O LORD, I beseech Thee, deliver my soul."

Man's extremity is verily God's opportunity, as witnesses the Psalmist. After extolling the Lord for His grace, righteousness, and mercy, he can say, Thou hast delivered my soul from death, mine eyes from tears, and my feet from falling." And this is also the blessed experience of all who, on being brought low before God, cast themselves upon His mercy. God has no pleasure in the sorrows of men, but in His great mercy and wisdom He often brings them into ways of sorrow and distress, so that they might come to the end of themselves, and trust wholly in Him. We are poor guilty sinners, deserving only death and hell; but God has procured salvation for us through the death of His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ; and this is the blessing He desires that we should drink from the cup of salvation that He offers.

The writer of the epistle to the Hebrews tells us that this is a "Great salvation," and that it began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him. Do you remember the tragic story of Lot's wife? Salvation was almost hers. She was actually out of the doomed city of Sodom, but on disobeying the divine command, she was turned into a pillar of salt. Salvation may be almost yours, and yet you may miss the blessing. It may be that you mean to be saved; yet you still neglect the great salvation preached to us in the Gospel. Listen to the solemn warning of Scripture, "If the word spoken by angels was stedfast, and every transgression and disobedience received a just recompence of reward; how shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation?"

Perhaps you would like to work for salvation? The word of God tells us, "For by grace are ye saved through faith . . . it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast." This clearly shows that we cannot get salvation apart from receiving it as God's free gift. Our Psalmist asked "What shall I render unto the LORD for all His benefits towards me?" His own answer was, "I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD." This is the simple way into the blessing. Take then that blessed cup now; for "Now is the accepted time; behold now is the day of salvation." (R. — Wm. C. Reid.)

An Anchor of the Soul.

A wise man, in considering a new position or job, is concerned about its prospects, knowing that it will probably determine how he is to be occupied, and perhaps where he is to reside for the rest of his natural life; but how few give consideration to, or have concern for the prospect beyond the grave. And yet this is a matter of much greater import, involving the eternal destiny of the soul. Many refuse to face the eternal prospect, and if questioned about it, endeavour to evade it, clearly manifesting that they do not have the Christian's hope "As an anchor of the soul, both sure and stedfast" (Hebrews 6:19).

God, in His word, has plainly spoken of the judgment awaiting those who have neglected the blessings of the Gospel, or who have refused His grace. This world is guilty of the death of God's Son; and all who form part of the world will share its judgment. When on the cross, the Lord Jesus said, "Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do;" and because of this wonderful intercession, God is prepared to treat us as manslayers rather than as murderers. Those who refuse this offer of divine mercy will have to answer to God for the murder of His Son.

The true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ has "fled for refuge to lay hold upon the hope set before us," and this hope is the God-given anchor of the soul. Of old, the manslayer was sheltered in the city of refuge (Numbers 35); and the Christian is sheltered from judgment in Christ, even as we read in Romans 8:1, "There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus." God Himself provided the cities of refuge; He would not have the manslayer treated as a murderer; nor will He have you treated as guilty of the murder of His Son, if you flee to Christ, the refuge He has provided in the richness of His mercy. The hope of the manslayer was liberty through the death of the High Priest; those divinely sheltered now have the blessed hope of actually entering God's presence and glory at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Alas! many do not realise their need of the refuge God has provided; nor have they the blessed hope that God has given to the believer in Jesus. They may be willing to admit that all are sinners, but say they hope to get to heaven at last because they are no worse than many. There is no place in all their thoughts for the refuge and the hope God has provided. A sure anchor is one properly formed and fashioned, one that can hold. Has your anchor been formed aright? Has it come from God, or is it the creature of your own thoughts and imagination? A stedfast anchor must be holding on proper ground. Is your anchor secure within the vail of heaven, or does it rest on the shifting ground of man's philosophy and false hopes? See to it that you get the anchor that God gives, a hope that will never fail: be sure that your hope for eternal blessing rests on Christ, Who is sitting at God's right hand in heaven. (R. — Wm. C. Reid.)

No More Conscience of Sins.

Why did Adam hide himself among the trees of the garden of Eden after his sin against God? Was it not because of the sense in his soul that he was guilty? The Scripture tells us that "All have sinned" (Romans 3:23), and the guilt of our sins resting upon the conscience makes us dread the searching light of God's presence. The very best of men have confessed themselves altogether unfit for the presence of a holy God. At Sinai, Moses said, "I exceedingly fear and quake" (Hebrews 12:21); Job, the best man of his day, said "I have heard of Thee by the hearing of the ear but now mine eye seeth Thee; wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes" (Job 1:8; Job 42:5-6). Isaiah, who had just been pronouncing woes on evildoers, on entering God's holy presence, said "Woe is me! for I am undone" (Isaiah 6:5). Before God, Daniel, a truly lovely character, said of himself, "My comeliness was turned in me into corruption, and I retained no strength" (Daniel 10:8). And how do we compare with these holy men? Are we better than they?

If God has brought our guilt before us, it is not to have us ever conscious of it; but rather that confessing it we might avail ourselves of the wonderful blessing of "No more conscience of sins" (Hebrews 10:2). To bring this inestimable blessing to men, the Lord Jesus Christ, God's own dear Son, came down from heaven, and on the cross offered Himself a sacrifice for sins. That one offering has glorified God, completely satisfying the claims of His holy and righteous throne; enabling Him to clear the guilty from every charge of sin, if they will but confess their guilt and trust in the Lord Jesus Christ. So clear can we be, that not one stain remains on the conscience; and we can enter with holy boldness the very presence of the God against whom we had sinned.

In the sacrifices of the Jewish law, God had indicated His desire to take away sins; but such sacrifices could never take sins away; their blood had no intrinsic value, but they pointed forward to the spotless victim, the Lord Jesus Christ, Whose precious blood can remove our sins. Let no one be deceived, there is no other way of having "no more conscience of sins," but by resting in that one sacrifice, the death of Jesus.

The time must surely come, when each one of us will leave this world, and appear before God. When your time comes, will you go with the guilt of your sins upon your conscience, or with "no more conscience of sins?" This is a most solemn question, which should be faced without delay. So many put the matter off until it is too late. You may never have warning that your end is near; even if you have, the poor body languishing in pain or sickness may leave you unable to consider this all-important matter. Be wise therefore, and have the question of your sins answered before God while still you have the opportunity, by trusting in the Lord Jesus Christ. (R. — Wm. C. Reid.)

Be Reconciled to God.

There are few who realise that by nature and practice man is far away from God, with very wrong thoughts and feelings of God. In His well-beloved Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, God has perfectly expressed His attitude towards poor sinful man, for "God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto Himself, not imputing their trespasses unto them" (2 Cor. 5:19). Alas! instead of receiving the Lord Jesus, men took Him, and with wicked hands crucified and slew Him. But man's crowning sin has not impeded the outflow of divine grace, for God is still sending forth His messengers with the Gospel, bidding men to get right with God. The day rapidly approaches when the glad news of the Gospel will cease, and God will require the blood of His Son at the hands of men and every one who has refused or neglected the message of grace must give account to Him.

When Adam sinned, he not only became guilty of disobedience, but the principle of sin entered into his nature, and he became estranged from God. Every child of Adam inherits his sinful nature with its enmity towards God, and is born in the distance from God. Coming down to Eden, after man's fall, God called to Adam, "Where art thou?" God had not only come to convict the sinner, and to pronounce His righteous judgment, but, in wondrous compassion, to seek the lost ones and rescue them from the consequences of their dreadful sin. Before men can be saved and brought near to God, they must first realise the enormity of sin, and be found in confession and repentance. A just and holy God cannot overlook sin; and the cross shows how God maintains His righteousness and holiness while pardoning the repentant sinner. There, the Lord Jesus Christ became the sin offering, and accomplished the redemption that enables God to offer pardon to every sinner.

Have you availed yourself of this offer of pardon? You will never be right with God unless you do so. You may try to overlook the consequences of your sins: God cannot. God could never fill heaven with unrepentant sinners! Do you remember what happened when King David brought back the unrepentant Absalom? He plotted against his Father, and sought to kill him. If Absalom had confessed his sin, and repented of it, there would not have been enmity in his heart towards David. How could God have sinful men in the heavenly courts of light and love with dark hatred and enmity filling their hearts?

In Luke 15 the Lord Jesus gave a lovely illustration of one truly reconciled. Having learned that the pleasures of sin are but for a season, the Prodigal remembered the goodness of his Father, and this brought him back to ask for a servant's place. Instead, the Father kissed the Prodigal, gave him the best robe, the ring, the shoes, and the fatted calf and rejoiced in receiving the lost one safely home. If you will come to God, like the Prodigal, in true repentance, confessing your sin, God will give you a wonderful reconciliation. (R. — Wm. C. Reid.)

A Grave Warning and Its Sequel.

1. The Warning.

Some years ago the writer was spending a holiday at one of our large East Coast resorts. There he made the acquaintance of a local resident who kindly offered to conduct him round the town and surrounding district, visiting specially the beauty spots. One place he considered to be particularly charming and a special day was arranged for our visit thereto. We were glad that the day, when it dawned, proved an ideal one as far as the weather was concerned. The sun shone in all its brilliance and on reaching the railway station we observed that others besides ourselves were
apparently bound for the same destination. When we left the train, we found ourselves after a short walk, in a lovely wood. The writer well remembers what a pleasing sight it was to look upon the blue expanse of the North Sea; the view being broken in places by the trunks of fine old trees, whose contrasting colour seemed to enhance the beauty of the sea beyond. But sore disappointment was in store for us. We had not been there long before the sky suddenly became overcast. Darker and darker grew the prospect, and the sea which just a few moments before had gladdened our vision, now reflected and emphasized the threatening aspect of the sky above it. We concluded that a severe storm was about to overtake us, and as neither of us had made any preparation for this unexpected change in weather conditions, we set off with all speed to reach a shelter of which the writer's friend was aware. We were just in time. Already a goodly company had gathered, but there was enough standing room for us to have the protection we so much needed. The rain descended in torrents, the frequent flashes of lightning almost blinding us, and the responding peals of thunder making us feel that the earth trembled beneath our feet. My friend and I were well placed to view the faces of those who had gathered, and we could see that many of them bore the signs of mingled fear and disappointment. A solemn silence prevailed, a silence intensified by the contrasting thunder and the falling rain outside, and one felt that God was speaking silently yet powerfully to the hearts and consciences of the people.

The writer himself was moved by the circumstances of the occasion, and he thought of another storm and another shelter, both of which he felt impelled to speak. Before so doing he prayed to God that a suitable message might be given him for the people, and also courage to proclaim it faithfully and fearlessly. Quicker even than the lightning flash the message came, but before delivering it, he sang the words of a well-known hymn, most suitable for the occasion: —
"The Lord's my Rock, in Him I hide,
   A shelter in the time of storm,
 Secure whatever ill betide,
   A shelter in the time of storm,
 Oh! Jesus is a Rock in a weary land
   A shelter in the time of storm."

After singing the hymn the speaker was encouraged to find that every one seemed ready to listen to his God-given message. He reminded his audience that the storm which raged around them in all its fury, had overtaken them very suddenly and unexpectedly, and being without protection of any kind, they had all hastened to this welcome refuge. He also suggested that every one present, including himself, must feel in their hearts that they owed a debt of gratitude to those whose kindness had prompted its erection.

These introductory remarks led him to the theme that burdened his heart. This was none other than the solemn fact of the coming storm of God's judgment, and His wonderful and gracious provision for all who desired a shelter from it. It is an appalling fact that there are multitudes to-day who never think of eternity, and consequently have no regard for the welfare of their precious souls, nor of the precious salvation God is offering them through the death of His own beloved Son. Their brief span of life which God's word declares to be "even a vapour that appeareth for a little time, and then vanisheth away" (James 4:14) is so engrossed with the pursuit of pleasure, or wealth, or fashion or one of the many other things wherewith Satan lures his victims to destruction, that all thought of eternity and the all-important matters relating thereto, are quite excluded. The same gross folly was seen in the days of Noah, as Matthew 24:38-39, states: — "For as in the days that were before the flood they were eating and drinking, marrying and giving in marriage . . . and knew not until the flood came and took them all away; so shall also the coming of the Son of man be."

How solemn are these words of the Son of God! How strongly they refute the claims of those who maintain that the world is getting better, and that we are on the threshold of a glorious age! Let there be no mistake, this world, far from showing any repentance towards God, is ripening fast for judgment.

Towards the close of his remarks, it was the speaker's joy to turn from the note of warning (necessary though it was to arouse his hearers to a sense of their danger) to the sweet notes of the Gospel. God is holy, He is righteous, He cannot look upon sin, yet He is a God of wondrous love with infinite compassion for His creatures. It is not His will that any should perish but that all should come to repentance. He provided a shelter for the people in the days of Noah, and such was His long-suffering that He pleaded with that wicked generation for one hundred and twenty years. But all His pleadings were in vain, and His plan for their salvation was rejected. Only Noah and his family, eight souls in all, were saved. Man's only hope of salvation from the flood of judgment was the ark. Man's only hope of Salvation from the future judgment is Christ. Those outside the ark perished when judgment fell, and, just as surely, those outside of Christ, will have no shelter, to which they can flee from the coming storm. Blessed are those who can sing: —
"Death and judgment are behind us,
   Grace and glory on before,
 All the billows rolled o'er Jesus,
   There they spent their utmost power."

Urging his hearers to flee to Christ and to put their trust in Him, and His atoning death, the speaker concluded.

The storm now began to abate and while the clouds were lifting he had much pleasure in speaking to individuals and giving gospel booklets to all before they left. Time and space forbid him to recount all that was said, but it was evident that the message had been appreciated. One dear woman whose heart was filled to overflowing with the love of Christ, and a love for perishing sinners, could not refrain from giving utterance to a song of praise. Sweetly she sang: —
"Jesus, the very thought of Thee,
   With sweetness fills the breast,
 But sweeter far Thy face to see,
   And in Thy presence rest."

On reaching the place where she stood, the writer was privileged to engage in conversation with one of the most devoted Christians he had ever met. She told him that when she arrived at the shelter and observed the disappointed and sad looks on many faces, she prayed silently to God asking Him to send a message of love and warning through the lips of one of His servants, should such be present. At once, she said, I saw you remove your hat and I thanked God, for I knew my prayer was answered. Her parting words were that she would pray for God's blessing on the solemn message, and doubtless the interesting sequel about to be given, is one result of the prayers of this devoted woman.

2. The Sequel.

Holidays were over. The writer returned to home and friends in the North, to whom he related his holiday experiences, including the thunderstorm incident. Some years afterwards, one of these friends was on a train journey to a town in Lancashire. Evening was approaching and he became anxious about reaching his destination before darkness closed in. Two young ladies sat opposite to him in the compartment, and he gathered from their conversation that they were travelling to the same town to which he was going. He ventured to explain to them that he was a stranger to the district and would be glad if they could direct him to a certain street. In reply they informed him that they knew where it was, and they would be pleased to show him the way to it. A most interesting conversation followed.

After warmly thanking them for their kindness, he asked if he could be of any service to them by showing them the way to Heaven. To his great surprise and joy they told him they knew the way. Struck with their ready and happy response, he expressed the desire to know how and when they found the way thither. With keen attention he listened to their story. One of them said that three years before she had gone to S— for a holiday. While visiting a pleasant spot in the district she was overtaken by a severe thunderstorm. She hurried to a place of shelter and while there heard some one singing "The Lord's my Rock in Him I hide, a shelter in the time of storm." (Needless to say, my friend was now most interested, but did not interrupt as she continued her story). After singing the hymn he warned the people of another storm and of the good news that God had provided a shelter which was available, for all. On the Cross Jesus had borne the judgment our sins deserved, and the speaker urged every one to flee to Christ, God's only refuge. She felt that the message was meant for her, and though up to that moment she had trusted in her own good works she found that these were hopeless to afford her soul any protection from the coming judgment. At once she took the advice given, she fled to God's shelter and trusted Jesus as her own personal and precious Saviour. Having finished her story, great was her joy to learn that the man to whom she had been relating the glad news of her Conversion was a personal friend of him who had spoken during the thunderstorm three years previously. As to her companion, it appears that when her friend returned from her holiday looking so bright and happy and testifying to her "Conversion" she was astonished. She could not comprehend why one who was the most zealous of church workers and the most devoted of Sunday School teachers should need to be "Converted." But after a time of misery and doubt, she also confessed her need of a Saviour, and put her whole trust in Jesus and His Salvation.

To the Reader.

Dear Friend! I know not what your opinion is after reading this booklet. Some people, no doubt, will consider the storm, the provided shelter, the company, the speaker, his remarks, the remarkable meeting in the railway train, to be all due to mere chance and unworthy of further consideration. Certainly the happy women my friend met three years afterwards, would entirely disagree, for evidently God ordained everything for their salvation. And, by whatever means this booklet has reached you, please do not attribute your possession of it to mere "chance," for a God of love is seeking your welfare and waiting to bestow on you His richest blessing for time and eternity.

There is a tendency among men to leave everything to chance — even their future destiny. A short time ago five words on a wayside pulpit riveted my attention. They were

"Choice, Not Chance, Determines Destiny."

How solemn! how true their message! They mean nothing less than the fact that it is left to every man, and woman, to fix their own eternal destiny and their decision is final. Christ said to the people

"Ye will not come to Me that ye might have life" (John 5:40).

In closing, I would urge you to choose your destiny and to do it now. Is it to be with Christ and the myriads of redeemed in Heaven — or in that place of endless remorse where hope and mercy are unknown? Oh! flee to the Saviour, and if words fail you in His holy presence, just repeat the well-known words of Charlotte Elliott —
"Just as I am, without one plea,
 But that Thy blood was shed for me,
   And that Thou bid'st me come to Thee,
     O Lamb of God! I come."

Robt. B. Wilson.

A Message from the Sea.

As a boy the writer well remembers an incident, recorded in one of his school books, which made such a deep impression on his youthful mind, that the ups and downs of a busy life of over seventy years have not effaced it. The story narrated the loss by fire of a large vessel outward bound from this country to some Eastern port. It had been long overdue, and no one knew what calamity had befallen the gallant ship and her crew and passengers, among whom were several notable people. A bottle, washed up by the waves some time afterwards, revealed the terrible secret. Inside was a piece of paper bearing this brief message: —

"THE SHIP 'EAST INDIAMAN' IS ON FIRE. ELIZABETH, JOANNA AND MYSELF COMMIT OUR SOULS INTO THE HANDS OF OUR BLESSED REDEEMER. HIS GRACE ENABLES US TO BE QUITE COMPOSED IN THE AWFUL PROSPECT OF ENTERING ETERNITY."

This was the only news received from the doomed ship. Many years must have elapsed since this note was penned, and many hearts must have been touched when its pathetic message was read. God grant, that, at this far distant date, many more hearts may be constrained to follow the example set by the writer of the message and his two companions, as they committed their souls into the hands of their blessed Redeemer.

The message is a very brief one, yet surely it merits the most earnest consideration on the part of all who are privileged to read it. Note: —

Firstly. — In the presence of death, their only concern was

Their Souls' Eternal Welfare.

Everything else was apparently forgotten. All their ties with this world were severed. Their friends, their wealth, their pleasures, their ambitions, were no longer of any avail to afford satisfaction to their hearts or occupation for their thoughts in that dread hour.

Reader! In view of the uncertainty of life, a fact which must have been impressed on every one during the late terrible war; when many thousands of people — soldiers and civilians — were launched into eternity without any warning, would you not be well advised to consider your own soul's eternal welfare? King Solomon spoke wisely and solemnly when he said "Boast not thyself of to-morrow, for thou knowest not what a day may bring forth" (Prov. 27:1).

Do not follow the example of the young man who asked a divinity professor how long before death ought a man to prepare himself for it. "About five minutes," said the professor. The young man turned away with relief, making up his mind to see life, to sow his wild oats, to enjoy the pleasures of the world and then turn to God at the end of his days. "Stop," said the professor, "when are you going to die?" "That I cannot tell," said the young man. "Then you had better prepare for death now, for you may not have five minutes to live."

One can only hope that the young man took to heart the sound advice given to him.

Secondly. — They speak of One whom they knew as

Their Blessed Redeemer.

With no earthly voice to cheer them, no out-stretched arm to save them, and the pitiless waves waiting to engulf them, yet in the company of their Redeemer they awaited their end in perfect calmness of mind and spirit. In the message they cast on the waves, no sign or expression of fear is traceable. The Christian's confidence as expressed in the lines: —
"Peace, perfect peace, death shadowing us and ours,
 Jesus has vanquished death and all its powers,"
seems to have been theirs in full measure.

How wonderful is the peace which God imparts to His people! The world with all its allurements and attractions knows nothing of it, nor has it anything to compare with it. Not only do they enjoy the companionship of their Saviour throughout life's journey, with its many trials and temptations, but as the end of that journey approaches, the comfort and presence of their Lord, become sweeter and stronger than ever before. Death, that dread monster, whose approach strikes terror into the stoutest heart, has no terror for the believer. To him, death is only his servant, come to usher him into the presence of his Lord.

Now, it is most important to note that the little company on the doomed vessel speak of Christ as their "Redeemer" and not as their "Exemplar." In many religious circles there is the belief that Christ came into the world merely to be our example, and that, if we seek to live as He lived, God will pardon our little short-comings and failures, and that all will be well with our souls for eternity. However pleasing such a doctrine may be in the estimation of men, there is not a verse of Holy Scripture to support it. No man, either of the present day, or of the past, has possessed the power to live as Christ lived, unless indwelt by the Spirit of God, and the Spirit of God only dwells in those, who, like the Apostle Paul freely admit that "in me, that is in my flesh, dwelleth no good thing" (Romans 7:18). Further, they endorse with all their heart the fact, that "when we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly" (Romans 5:6).

How can any accomplish their own salvation when Scripture declares definitely that they have not the strength to do so? It is utterly impossible. Hence our dire need of a "Redeemer" not an "Exemplar." How true and precious the words: —
"I would not work my soul to save,
   That work my Lord has done,
 But I would work like any slave,
   From love to God's dear Son."

Thirdly. — On the burning ship the little company were sustained by the
Grace of their Redeemer.

Grace is surely one of the sweetest themes that fill with joy the hearts of the redeemed. How they delight to sing: —
"Grace is the sweetest sound,
 That ever reached our ears,
 When conscience charged and justice frowned,
 'Twas grace removed our fears."

"Grace taught our wandering feet,
 To tread the heavenly road,
 And new supplies each hour we meet,
 While travelling home to God."

Grace is heavenly in its origin, it is like a mighty river whose source is the very heart of God. It speaks of God's boundless liberality in contrast to man's utter unworthiness. It was the grace of God that sent His Son Jesus Christ into the world, not because we merited such a glorious visitation, but as another has said "Man's misery, not his merit, was the magnet that drew the Saviour from the skies."

Only those whose hearts have been touched by the love of Christ, and whose knees have been bowed in true repentance at His feet, know anything at all of the beauty and perfection of grace, and of the wondrous gifts it bestows on its humble recipients. One of the greatest of these is the knowledge of salvation, for we read "By grace are ye saved" (Eph. 2:8), and it is through Christ that grace reaches us for in the Gospel of John 1:17 we read "The law was given by Moses, but grace and truth came by Jesus Christ."

How beautifully does grace shine forth in all the words and works of the Lord Jesus as recorded for us in the Gospels. Anyone who can read that wonderful story and yet remain unmoved by it must possess a heart of stone. Those who heard Him "wondered at the gracious words that proceeded out of His mouth" (Luke 4:22). As to His works they had to admit "He hath done all things well" (Mark 7:37).

But the grace that was manifested so wonderfully during His life could not avail to save us from our sins, nor open wide the gates of Heaven for our admission there. Only His death on the Cross could accomplish that. The tide of grace that flowed so gently, yet so deeply, during His life, was destined to burst forth in a mighty cleansing flood at His death. Yes! for the salvation of mankind, the mighty, the glorious Son of God submitted to an ignominious death upon a cross. Blind unbelief would aver that this is the end of the story. But what meaneth that triumphant cry "It is finished," uttered by Him in the moment of His death, a cry that has brought eternal peace to millions of sin-sick hearts? What means that earthquake, and the rending of the rocks? What means the opening of the tombs, and the appearance of their former occupants in the holy city? What means the rending of the temple veil?

They are all the tokens of a mighty victory over sin, death and the grave; a victory unequalled in its results, in the records of Heaven, earth and hell.

And to think that the first trophy of His victory, — the first of the mighty host of redeemed sinners — was a poor repentant malefactor on a nearby cross. What wonderful grace! Unsearchable in its heights! unfathomable in its depths! Many there are who would reckon such an outcast as the dying thief to be utterly unworthy of the Saviour's saving grace. Suffice it to say in reply "This is the Lord's doing it is marvellous in our eyes."

Fourthly. — It was the knowledge of the Redeemer's grace that enabled them to be

Quite composed in the awful prospect of entering Eternity.

This prospect lies before every member of the human family. The writer, and every reader of this narrative, whoever he or she may be, must enter eternity. There is even the possibility that we may be like the subjects of our story, on the very threshold. The old hymn-writer says: —
"Time, like an ever-rolling stream,
   Bears all its sons away."
Away! Yes! But whither? Is it not a lamentable fact that many of the sons of time are living in ignorance of the awful truth that their heritage is not one of Time only, but also that of Eternity?

What are the fleeting years of time compared to the long ages of eternity? One may well repeat the lament of God's servant in a past day: —

"O that men were wise. . . . that they would consider their latter end."

"I have no time," said the railway guard, as he rudely pushed aside the loving hand that offered him a little gospel tract just as he stepped on to his train. But his foothold was insecure, and in a few moments his mangled and lifeless body lay across the rails. No time for God, no time for Christ, no time, no care for his soul. How terrible his remorse, if he has now a long eternity to mourn his own neglect! Remember the solemn question in Hebrews 2:3,

"How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?"

In closing, dear Reader, allow me as one who has a care for your soul, to counsel you to get alone into the presence of God, and face the fact of eternity. If you are yet without the knowledge of the Redeemer's grace, the prospect may well make you tremble, yea, it may even produce a state of soul agony. But, thank God, this is often the first step on the way to Heaven, leading you to repentance toward God, and faith in the Lord Jesus Christ and His finished work on the Cross.

May the calm unruffled peace that filled the hearts of the little company on the "East Indiaman" be yours in the prospect (be it near or distant) of entering eternity. This is the heartfelt wish of the writer for every reader of this true story. Robt. B. Wilson.