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and Scribes be coming quizzing me, and cross-examining me, and hauling me up in this way? What is at the bottom of it? I guess that there is something up. I suppose that these Scribes and Pharisees somehow or other are getting rubbed the wrong way by this somebody who did the wonderful thing for me; but I will say my own say. I will say what I know, and think, and feel. I will stick to my text, and see what comes of it.” Oh, that we might get this insight !
But there is another thing you will get, and which I have anticipated already. You will get courage. This is what the Scripture calls holy boldness, and I wish to God that we could get it. I wish that this congregation might be baptized with it. We should then be a very Cromwell's Ironside all through next week. When you get this holy boldness, it will enable you to see the frown and to take your life and reputation in your hand. You will see that what Christ said is true, and that the path to heaven is not a primrose path of dalliance. The path to heaven is a pathway of obstacle and conflict. “Blessed are ye when men shall persecute you, and separate you from their company, and revile you, and say all manner of evil against you falsely for the Son of Man's sake. Rejoice and be exceeding glad, for great is your reward in heaven." Do you not see how that benediction settles on this courageous baby's head? In one sense, "of age”; in another, but newly born; but what a “terrible infant" he was! Heaven bends over the head of the confessor of the Christ of God. The Arabs have a saying that heaven lies close in above Damascus; and the Jews have a saying that heaven liesclose in above Jerusalem; and in Scotland, of course, they think “ there's glory all around.” But I will tell
But I will tell you where it is nearest. Heaven is very close when you, my lad, down in the office to-morrow, in the midst of the ribaldry and the scoffing, the sophisms and the false argumentation which “makes the worse appear the better reason,” set forward your best foot in the midst of it all, and testify for Christ. You might almost hear the angels then. If ever heaven is near the earth, it is when a son of Adam stands up for Jesus who died and
And courage will grow by what it feeds on. You have no idea. how strong you will be for Christ. You have no idea what powers of argumentation will develop in you. How this man argued, and how, by trying his sword, he grew skilful and fleshed his maiden weapon in the blood of these adversaries. • Why,” he said, “here is a marvellous thing, that you know not from whence He is; and yet He opened my eyes, Now, we know that God heareth not sinners. You remember David's words, 'If I regard iniquity in my heart, the Lord will not hear me.' God will not hear a sinner; but if any man be a worshipper of God and doeth His law, him He heareth. Since the world began it was not heard that any man opened the eyes of the blind. If this Man were not of God He could do nothing." See how it grows. You see what courage means. Courage is not the ramstam, bull-in-a-china-shop kind of thing that many people believe it to be. Lots of folk think that spiritual courage is not an illuininated thing, and there are plenty of people who
over-praise discretion because of its wisdom. I can imagine how, when this man stood firm, his breath would become short, as he realized that he was actually “cheeking up to the Sanhedrim; and the thought would come upon him, " What an awful fool I am making of myself in daring to talk like this about the controversy of the hour!” But yet, see his deepening conviction. He had got the whip by the handle. He had got the right end of the stick. He had got the running end of the thread, and, as he pulled, it came splendidly away. Every young convert finds that. Every confessor of Christ finds it. “Take no thought what ye shall say. In that same hour the Holy Ghost shall teach you.” The Spirit of your Father will supply the argument. You are on hallowed ground. You are surrounded by the great cloud of witnesses ; departed spirits of the mighty dead are near you.
Remember how our poet uses this very sentiment to evoke patriotic courage in the sailor lad
“ Where Blake and the mighty Nelson fell,
Your manly hearts shall glow
While the stormy tempests blow.”
The courageous stand which that man made was like the stand which the lighthouse makes. The lighthouse makes a firm stand in the midst of the breakers and billows, and all the riot and rout of the tempest. There stands the lighthouse, rooted in the living rock, tier after tier of solid masonry clamped together by clamps of steel. But there is more than that. If the lighthouse only stood as a great pile of massive stone, what avail would it be? There is the light. There is light as well as strength. There is that shining lantern at the top, as well as the pillared strength that holds it up. So with the young confessor of the Christ. You have not only strength, but you have beauty, the clear outshining of the light of an undimmed, unquenched, and unquenchable testimony
And, last of all, what he came to was this--fuller knowledge of Jesus Christ; and that is the blessing of every blessing -to know Him best, to get more closely to Him, to enjoy sweet fellowship with Him. My Jesus-mine—for me. That is what you getif you begin at once to follow the light you have, and act on what you know. Now, at first this man was not clear. When the actual Son of God came to him, after the Scribes and Pharisees had cast him out, He put the pointed question to him, “Dost thou believe on the Son of God?” The Greek brings out the emphasis on that pronoun, thou,” as the English cannot. “ Dost thou believe on the Son of God ? " And the man answered, “Who is He, Lord, that I might believe? And Jesus said, Thou hast both seen Him, and it is He that talketh with thee.” And he said, “Lord, I believe"; and he worshipped Him.
“The path of the just is as a shining light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Have you found it to be like that? Has your Christian experience been like that? God be praised, there are some of us with whom it has been so, in His great love and mercy. I am almost ashamed to speak of myself as one. Before I knew very well, so to speak, what had happened to me, I just knew that something had happened. I just knew that a light had come, and had gleamed and broken in, that never was there before. I have told you before that I had to stand up in my village where I was brought up. Christ got no rougher treatment anywhere than in Nazareth,
where He had been brought up, and a young disciple finds no harder, stiffer task than to confess Christ in his Nazareth, his own town, his own set. Without getting much time to think about it, I had committed myself to appear at a certain meeting, and, instead of allowing the minister to preach as usual, the minister's two sons and myself said, “We will take the meeting, and we will speak.” It is said that the best of all ways to teach your boy to swim is, if you can swim yourself, to go with him to the sea, and pitch him in. And the best of all ways to make yourself stand up for Jesus is to fling yourself in. Be reckless. Do not let I dare not” wait upon I would like”; but be reckless; go in; put brass into your face. Stand forth. So with this man.
So with all of us. We never should have come to anything if at that critical moment we had not been pushed out, and had not felt that destiny was upon
We dare not turn down the light. We dare not. Take care about turning down the light. The devil may shut it off at the meter. Take care! Keep it going. Keep it bright. Keep it burning. You will then get clearer light. You will grow in knowledge, until at last you will get to be sure. And I praise God that some of us
I do not see very well how we could now doubt Jesus Christ. We have got so far into the King's country that we do not know the road back to the borders again. Begin ever so lowly, begin ever so obscurely, but testify for Christ, and you will be at the heart, at the centre, in palpitating contact with the great Commander-inChief, the head, the heart, the soul of all religion. You will be right in the centre in such light and so committed that the idea of your beginning to doubt, and of your