Obrázky na stránke
PDF
ePub

from everlasting for walls and bulwarks of this city. Salvation is all of the Lord's appointment. There are those who think that this is perfectly shocking, because they do not play a prominent part in arranging and settling the affairs of their own salvation. Jehovah has arranged and settled the whole matter or it never will be. Believe me, if the Lord has not appointed our end and the means thereto, all must terminate in confusion and chaos. I can never find two persons who can agree together as to what day it should rain, or as to what day it should be fair. And if they cannot arrange and settle such things as these to their satisfaction, how can they arrange and settle spiritual and eternal things concerning salvation. I glory in the fact, that

, the settlement of our salvation is in better hands. The Lord Himself has appointed it, and it is walls and bulwarks to the Church of God. I will tell you what I think about these walls. I might speak of the Father's watchfulness and care over His people. Take the words of the Lord as addressed to Israel of old for an illustration : The land which Israel was to possess is said to be “a land which the Lord thy God careth for; the eyes of the Lord thy God are always upon it, from the beginning of the year even unto the end of the year” (Deut. xi. 12). This is as true now spiritually as it was of old literally. Well, but we will take the Trinity in Unity, as the walls and bulwarks round about the city. Let enemies break through the Trinity and then they may assail the children of God, but not till then. The bulwarks of God's faithfulness, truth, oath, covenant, and promises can be destroyed. Rely upon it the city is safe. Now look at the second verse : “Open ye the gates.' There is here an allusion, no doubt, to the gates of Jerusalem being opened to those who were returning thither from captivity that they might enter in. Well, what could be the meaning of this passage spiritually considered, for we could not take it literally? We do read of gates ; but what sort of gates are they? In the 21st chapter of the Book of Revelation, you read of twelve gates. The great city had a great wall and high, and it "had twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names written thereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east three gates ; on the north three gates ; on the south three gates; and on the west three gates.” I need not enlarge here, only read the 25th verse : that these gates shall not “ be shut at all by day.” Why is the night omitted ? Because “there shall be no night there." It shall be one day to the Lord's children. As soon as sinners are brought to know the Lord Jesus Christ in reality as their eternal Saviour their experimental day has begun. They may have fogs at times I grant. But look at these twelve gates. They are not to be shut at all. Three are to the east, and three to the north, and three to the west, and three to the south. What could these gates mean? You see that they stand open every way. Well, I will tell you what I think about them. I look upon one gate as the Father's everlasting love in the great scheme of redemption. A second gate is the great and meritorious work of Christ on the Cross. And a third gate is the Holy Ghost's work in effectual calling, regenerating, renewing, and completing His work in

never

17

>

66

the redeemed. These three gates stand wide open, and can never be shut, though some persons may try to do so. There is no entrance into the holy city, but through these everlasting gates. These angels I regard as representing the ministers of the gospel. And it is to each of these the words are addressed : Open ye the gates.” What is meant by ministers opening the gates ? I take it that they open one gate when they preach the fulness of the Father's love in providence and grace, and unfold to perishing sinners the riches of His mercy as displayed in the gift of His own dear Son for the redemption of His people. They open another gate when they preach Jesus Christ in the glory of His person and in the excellency of His work in life and death. Ministers are to set forth without reserve “the fulness of the blessing of the gospel of Christ.” They open another gate when they magnify the Holy Ghost in His Person and Offices—and especially, when they show that no man can enter into the Kingdom of God except he be born, again of the Spirit. “Open ye the gates." Persons may be said to

. shut these gates, or keep them ajar, when they keep back any portion of the truth. St. Paul could say : “I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God.” He had endeavoured in all his preaching and writing to set the gates wide open.

And wherever he went he proclaimed the same glorious gospel of the blessed God. I think this is the minister's privilege and honour, to open wide the gates of salvation to the comfort and edification of the people of God.

Well, these gates are to be open. And for what purpose? It is said: “That the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may

: enter in.” This is in perfect keeping with what is stated in the Book of Revelation. That the righteous, or holy “nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it. And the Kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it.” The unholy and the unclean cannot pass through the gates into the city. They will not be wanted there. It is for those who have been washed in the blood of Innocency as you heard on a former occasion. - There shall in no wise enter into this city, anything that defileth or worketh abomination, or maketh a lie.” The city is for those whose names are written in the Lamb's book of life. Well, it is a city for “the righteous nation.” And yet it is a nation which is made up of all other nations. A most wonderful nation. I do not think that any of you are so foolish as to think that you are the only people of God in the world. Nor do I think that there are any in Sheffield, who listen to me there, that fancy themselves to be the only saints upon earth. No! No! God's children throughout the world make up this “righteous nation” in Christ Jesus the Lord. There may be a child of God here and another there, for they are scattered all over the world. One person may boast of being a Churchman, and another may boast of being a Dissenter, but all these things are merely outward. They are not what God sets up as marks of His children. They can never make a man holy and righteous. This “righteous nation” is accounted righteous in Christ Jesus before God. This nation is described thus, as, “a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people” (1 Peter ii. 9). The Psalmist knew something of this nation when he wrote the 106th Psalm : “Remember me, O Lord, with the favour that thou bearest unto Thy people.” Notice the words : “Thy people”: “O visit me with Thy salvation” (verse 4). This is a wonderful salvation with which the child of God is visited. It is a visit from the Lord Himself. And His visits are most welcome and cheering to His waiting children. Now see the design in the next verse. That I may see the good of Thy chosen.' He knew that there would be some good amongst God's chosen people, and he desired to partake of it. O that I may see it, and realize it, and experience it in my own soul,—“that I may rejoice in the gladness of Thy nation." If gladness be found anywhere, it is in the righteous nation of believers. The Psalmist wished to be a partaker of the joy of this people—“that I may rejoice in the gladness of Thy nation." “That I may glory with thine inheritance.” He first wanted to taste the good of God's chosen in His own experience.

Then he wished to enter into the gladness of the nation—and, finally, he rises to the climax and longs to realize with his brethren the glory of God's inheritance. “Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which

. keepeth the truth may enter in.” What nation upon the face of the earth has kept the truth, save this one? You know that this is the only nation. And what is the truth but the Gospel of our salvation ? The Lord Jesus Christ Himself is the truth-His word is truth. And the people of God observe and keep the truth. It is a fact that the truth of God keeps the saints, but, reflectively, the saints keep the truth. truth first takes hold of them, and then they take hold of the ruth. They are first apprehended by the truth, and then they apprehend the truth. And the effect is, that they enter into the enjoyments, and blessings, and glories, and delights of the holy city. This is the connection of our text, and the song which is sung by the people of God in that day—the day of their salvation.

This leads me to my second point, the peaceful security of those who confide in Jehovah. “Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee ; because he trusteth in Thee.” In this verse we have several things. Look at the word "stayed.“Whose mind is stayed on Thee.” That is a difficult thing you say. Again, “ Perfect peace.” This is a wonderful thing. And yet it is not so wonderful after all when you consider the cause of it. Thou wilt keep him.” Oh! yes. This will do. Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on Thee; because he trusteth in Thee.” I dare say that some of you will want to know a little about that word “because." must wait and in due time we shall dwell upon it, and, I hope, to your satisfaction and profit.

“ Whose mind is stayed on Thee.” “ Mind." In the margin it is thought, or imagination. The affection, or the heart will do. I shall not linger long on this—the mind. Hear what St. Paul says, for it is a comment upon these words: Set

your affection on things above, not on things on the earth” (Col. iii. 2). I want to know where the worldly man's heart is. Is it in heaven, or on the things that are in heaven? Is it? No! Where is it then? It may be fixed on self, or on wealth,

[ocr errors]

Well, you or on pleasure. The Apostle saye, speaking to those who are risen with Christ, your thoughts and your affections, and your desires are to be set on things above. “Wheresoever your heart is,” says our Lord, “ there is your treasure also.” If your heart be upon the earth, or upon the things of the earth, there is your treasure. If your heart be upon Christ and the things of Christ, then Christ and the things of Christ which are heavenly things, are your treasure. You know where your heart is by the treasure on which it is fixed (Matthew vi. 21). These things are simple and plain, but they are wise and true. Stayed thoughts, and stayed affections, and stayed desires, are fixed and established in Christ. Yes! But this is one of the most difficult things in the world to accomplish. Of course it is, and it is neither you, nor I, that can stay our minds, and fix our thoughts on Christ. The Psalmist's mind is described as being fixed, stayed, and established. “Surely he shall not be moved for ever; the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings; his heart is fixed, trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies" (Psalm cviii.) This passage probably refers to Christ; but, I think it is true also of the blessed and good man whose trust is in the Lord. Notice the object on which the stayed mind is fixed :

6 On Thee." It is a very blessed thing to have the mind stayed on Jehovah. I have known persons whose minds could not be stayed on anything, except on the things of this world. Some have their minds stayed and fixed upon their troubles ; some have their minds fixed upon getting wealth ; and others grovel to such an extent in this world, that their minds are fixed only upon how to cheat and defraud their fellow-men, that they themselves may prosper. Our text speaks not of such a mind as this, but of that new mind, and new heart, and new affections, and new desires, which the Holy Ghost causes to centre in Jehovah Jesus Himself as the All in All. Read and reflect upon the following words of St. Paul to the Colossians : “As ye have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk ye in Him : rooted and built up in Him."

Rooted,” a figure taken from a tree whose roots strike deeper and deeper, and which cling tenaciously to the rock.

" And built up on Him," as the Foundation which cannot be moved. This is a figure taken from a building. “And stablished in the faith.” How things go

.” on, deeply rooted, firmly supported, and finally growing up into the perfection of Christ in all things. And so the whole building is completed in Him. And then there is the accompaniment: "abounding therein,-as ye have been taught,—with thanksgiving.” Again stayed on Him. He is the covenant of His people. And this covenant can neither be broken, nor changed. Stayed on Him, for in Him are “all the promises of God yea, and in Him, Amen." Stayed upon Him whose blood cleanses from every sin. Stayed upon Him whose righteousness hides

my defilement from view. Stayed upon Him whose faithfulness fails not, and whose word cannot be broken. The Holy Ghost alone is the Author of a stayed mind-He fixes it upon Christ and keeps it there.

а

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

up

[ocr errors]

I must leave this, and take another expression. " Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace.

What is this perfect peace? In the margin it is peace, peace.” This is the way perfect peace is expressed in the Hebrew. The same word is repeated so that “ peace, peace," means "perfect peace.” I hear a great deal said about persons making their peace with God, thus : “Go home and make your peace with God.” And I have heard persons, on a sick bed addressed in the same way. I confess that I never speak to persons on a sick bed in this way. I do not, and I dare not say so to persons. I believe that I should be leading them astray were I to tell them to make their peace with God. I will give you a few thoughts about peace, and then you can judge of them for yourselves whether they be right or wrong. The Author of our peace is God Himself. Hence He is called “the God of peace.” The meritorious cause of peace is the Lord Jesus Christ. “Having made peace through the Blood of His Cross.” This is the way peace has been made (Col. i. 20). If peace were made in a foreign land to-night, what would be announced to-morrow Good news-peace is made. Hence the minister of God does not go forth proposing terms of peace, but proclaiming and publishing that peace is made.

“Peace and good will towards men,” through Christ Jesus. “How beautiful upon the mountains are the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, that publisheth peace; that bringeth good tidings of good, that publisheth salvation, and saith unto Zion Thy God reigneth.” Allow me to be plain with you on this point. If peace were not made by the Lord Jesus Christ on Calvary it never can be made. Never! When our Lord was about to leave this earth, He said to His disciples : “My peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you" (John xiv. 27). The world can give a peace, but it can soon take it away again. Well, but the Lord has made and gives a peace which

one can take away. The Lord's peace is perfect peace,--and an everlasting peace.

Jesus Christ is called our peace. And faithful ministers preach peace through Him-and Him alone. But you say: " that this is not sufficient. Is there not a peace which we feel within ?" I am just coming to this for there is a felt peace.

will grant me one thing before I go on, which is this : that Jesus Christ is “perfect peace in heaven for all believers—wars and rumours of wars can never affect or in any way disturb this peace. And that the peace which He made on the cross is a durable and perfect peace between God and the sinner, who is interested therein.” You may now consider the peace which is felt and experienced within us. This peace is an effect of the former. The Holy Ghost is the person who works The fruit of the Spirit is peace.

Where is this fruit of the Spirit produced? In the heart. Hence, the kingdom of God which is within you is righteousness and peace, and joy in the Holy Ghost. This is when the Lord Jesus Christ has revealed Himself within by the Holy Ghost. No minister can make peace in a man's soul. Neither can he make peace with God for himself. No. And yet there is an abiding peace, a glorious peace, a peace which

no

But you

in us.

« PredošláPokračovať »