Sermon 449. Joseph And His Brothers
A SERMON DELIVERED ON SUNDAY MORNING, MAY 11, 1862, BY REV. C. H. SPURGEON, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And Joseph said unto his brothers, I am Joseph; does my father yet live? And his brothers could not answer him. For theywere trembled at his presence. And Joseph said unto his brothers, Come near to me, I pray you. And they came near. And hesaid, I am Joseph your brother, whomyou sold intoEgypt. Now therefore be not grieved, nor angry with yourselves, that you sold me here: for God did send me before you topreserve life." Genesis 45:3-5.
JOSEPH is a very eminent type of Christ. When he was hated of his brothers because he protested against their sins, and whenthey sold him for twenty pieces of silver, he was doubtlessly a portrait of the despised and rejected of men whom His disciplebetrayed. Afterwards in his temptations in thehouse of Potiphar, in the slander and consequent imprisonment in the round house of Pharaoh's prison, in his after advancement,till he became lord over all the land of Egypt, we clearly see our blessed Lord right well portrayed.
Indeed, so well is the picture drawn, that there is scarcely a stroke even though it should seem to be a mere accidental incidentof the picture which has not its symbolic meaning. You shall read the history of Joseph through twenty times and yet you shallnot have exhausted the type. You shallbegin again, and find still some fresh likeness between this despised son of Rachel and the Son of Mary who is also Godover all, blessed forever. Amen.
It is not, however, my business this morning to enter into a full description of Joseph as the type of Christ. I have a rathermore practical object in hand. I shall endeavor, in the Lord's strength, to deal with tried and troubled consciences, andif it shall be my happy lot to be the means ofcheering some sorrowing heart and opening some blind eye to see the personal beauties and the intense affection of the LordJesus, I shall be but too glad to have been God's messenger to your hearts.
To tarry no longer, but to proceed at once to so good an errand, hopeful that God will help us to accomplish it, I shall directyour attention to the picture before us as being a representation of the way in which the Lord Jesus Christ deals with Hiserring Brethren, those whom His Father has givenHim and whom He has purchased with His blood.
It seems to me that the condition of Judah and his brothers is a very notable picture of the state of sinners when they areawakened by the Holy Spirit. Secondly, the disguise which Joseph assumed when he dealt so roughly with them is a master representationof the manner in which Jesus Christ, theloving One, seems to deal harshly with poor coming Sinners. And thirdly, the manifestation which Joseph afterward made tohis brothers, is but a faint representation of the declaration of love which Jesus makes to repenting spirits when at lastHe reveals Himself to them in mercy.
I. We think that the condition and posture of Judah and his brothers at the feet of the throne of Joseph, trembling in alarm,well describe THE CONDITION AND POSITION OF EVERY TRULY AWAKENED SINNER.
By different methods Joseph had at last awakened the consciences of his ten brothers. The point which seemed to have beenbrought out most prominently before their consciences was this-"We are verily guilty concerning our brother, in that we sawthe anguish of his soul when he besought us andwe would not hear. Therefore is this distress come upon us." And though, in the speech which Judah made, it was not necessaryto accuse themselves of crime, yet in the confession, "God has found out the iniquity of your servants," Joseph could seeevidently enough, that therecollection of the pit and of the sale to the Ishmaelites was vividly before their mind's eyes.
Now, Beloved, when the Lord, the Holy Spirit, arouses sinners' consciences, this is the great sin which He brings to mind-"Ofsin because they believed not on Me." Once the careless soul thought it had very little to answer for-"I have not done muchamiss," he said, "a speedyreformation may wipe out all that has been awry and my faults will soon be forgotten and forgiven." But now, all of a sudden,the conscience perceives that the soul is guilty of despising, rejecting and slaughtering Christ. What a sin is this, my Brethren!And what pangs we enduredwhen first this crime was laid to our charge and we were compelled to plead guilty to it!
O Lord Jesus, did I accuse You to Your enemies? Did I betray You? Did I adjudge You to the Cross? Were my cries virtuallyheard in the streets, "Crucify Him, crucify Him"? Is it true that my sins were the nails which fastened You to the tree? Isit so, that I had a share in Your bloodymurder-a tragedy by which the world became a deicide, and man the murderer of his own Redeemer? It is even so. If our conscienceis in a right state, we are forced to acknowledge it. Do you not know, Sinner, every time you prefer the pleasures of thisworld to the joys ofHeaven, you spit in the face of Christ? Every time, when to get gain in your business, you do an unrighteous thing, youare like Judas selling Him for thirty pieces of silver.
Every time you make a false profession of religion, you give Him a traitor's kiss. Every sermon which you hear, which makesa temporary impression on your mind, which impression you afterwards blot out, makes you more and more Christ's despiser andrejecter. Every word you have spoken against Him,every hard thought you have had of Him, has helped to complete your complicity with the great crowd which gathered aroundthe Cross of Calvary, to mock and jeer the Lord of Life and Glory.
Now, if there is any sin which will make a man deeply penitent, I think that this sin, when it is really brought home to theconscience, will affect us. To slay Him who did me no hurt, the holy and the harmless One! To assist in hounding to the treethe man who scattered blessings with both Hishands, and who had no thought, nor care, nor love, save for those who hated Him. To pierce the hands that touched the leper,and that broke the bread, and multiplied the fishes! To fasten to the accursed wood the feet which had often carried His wearybody upon painful journeys ofmercy!
Oh, this is base, indeed. But when I think He loved me and gave Himself for me, that He chose me, before the stars were made,or the heavens fixed upon their everlasting arches, and that I, when He came to me in the Gospel, should have rejected anddespised, and even mocked Him-this isintensely, infinitely cruel. Jesus, You do forgive me, but I can never forgive myself for such a sin as this.
Dear Friends, has the Holy Spirit made you feel that you are guilty? If so, I am glad of it, for when we once feel guiltyconcerning the death of Jesus, our Brother, it is not long before He will reveal Himself to us in mercy, blotting out oursin forever.
A second thought, however, which tended to make Joseph's brothers feel in a wretched plight was this, that they now discoveredthat they were in Joseph's hands. There stood Joseph, second to none but Pharaoh in all the empire of Egypt. Legions of warriorswere at his beck and command. If he shouldsay, "take these men, bind them hand and foot," or, "cut them in pieces," none could interpose. He was to them as a lionand they were as his prey, which he could rend to pieces at his will.
Now to the awakened sinner, this also is a part of his misery, that he is entirely in the hands of that very Christ whom heonce despised. For that Christ who died has now become the Judge of the quick and dead, He has power over all flesh, thatHe may give eternal life to as many as His Father hasgiven Him. The Father judges no man, He has committed all judgment to the Son. Do you see this, Sinner, He whom you despisedis your Master?
The moth beneath your finger, which you can crush, and that cannot escape from you, may well fear. But you are beneath thefingers of the crucified Son of God. Today, He whom you have despised has you absolutely at His will. He has but to will itand the breath is gone from your nostrils-andwhile yet in your seat you are a corpse. And more, at His will you are in Hell amidst its flames. Oh, what an awful thingit is to fall into the hands of the living God, for even our God is a consuming fire.
Remember, Sinner, you are in His hands in such a way that unless you repent and receive Him-unless you "kiss the Son," atonce, He may be angry, and you may "perish in the way when His wrath is kindled but a little." For lo, He comes riding uponthe clouds of judgment. Jesus of Nazarethcomes, robed in majesty. The books shall be opened, and He shall divide the nations as the shepherd divides the sheep fromthe goats. Then in vain shall you ask the pitiless rocks to give you shelter in their flinty hearts, or the stern mountainsto conceal you in their hollowcaverns!
You shall seek to hide from the face of Him that sits upon the Throne, but neither Heaven nor earth, nor Hell, shall affordyou shelter. For everywhere, the eyes of Him that wept shall follow you like flames of fire-and the hands of Him that wereonce nailed to the tree shall crush you as acluster in the hand of the gleaner of grapes. You shall feel that it is an awful thing to have turned long-suffering mercyinto righteous hatred. You shall know that to have rejected mercy is to have drawn down upon your head the full fury of thejustice of the Avenger.
Yet, further, there was another thought which combined to make Joseph's brothers feel still more wretched. Being in his hands,they felt also in their souls that they deserved to be there. We are verily guilty, they said. They offered no apologies,nor extenuations, for that one sin-thatcrying sin. They might for the matter of Benjamin-but they said, we are verily guilty concerning our brother. Oh, my Brothersand Sisters in Christ! You know what it is to have the Holy Spirit in your heart, making you plead guilty!
Well do I remember when I stood at the bar of God's justice and heard the accusation read out against me. Nothing could Ianswer but guilty. Indeed, my guilt was so plainly before my eyes that my lips could not frame a denial, and had the judgeput on the black cap that day and said, "Take him backto the place from where he came and give him his portion with the tormentors," I should have been lost-and the great Godwould have been most just and righteous.
Careless sinners may talk about the hardness of God in condemning man to punishment, but once let the Holy Spirit show manthe exceeding sinfulness of sin, and you will never hear a word about that. No! The sinner cries, "Lord, whatever You do withme, You can not chastise me more than I deserve.Though You should crush me beneath Your feet, or though you should pile up the fires of Tophet and Your breath should beas the stream of brimstone to kindle it, yet You could not curse too heavily or consume too fiercely your traitorous, rebellious,depraved and infamous creature.I deserve everything except Your love and Your pity. And if You give me these, I shall be compelled to say, forever andever, that You gave Divine Grace to the most undeserving-the most unworthy rebel that ever profaned Your universe."
Brethren, when conscience goes against a man, he has a stern enemy to contend with. When it is written, "David's heart smotehim," such blows come home. So is it with every sinner that is truly led to see his own state. He will feel that he is notonly guilty, and that he is in the hands of Onefrom whom he cannot escape, but he will feel that it is right he should be so, and the only wonder he will have in his ownmind is that he has been out of Hell so long-that the long-suffering and mercy of God have been so marvelously extended tohim.
Under a sense of all these things-note what the ten brothers did. They began to plead. Ah, nothing makes a man pray like asense of sin. When we stand before God guilty, then our groans and sighs and tears make true and real supplication. I fearthere are some of you present who have frominfancy repeated a form of prayer who have never prayed in your lives. Yes, and some of you, too, who use an extemporaryutterance and yet who never pray. I do not think men generally pray as a matter of duty.
When men fall down in the streets and break their limbs they do not cry out as a matter of duty-they cry because they cannothelp it. And it seems to me that such a prayer God hears-that comes out of a man because he cannot help praying-when the deepagony of his spirit makes himgroan. When he cannot be kept from his secret chamber, when he would sooner pray behind a hedge, or in a field, or in agarret, or even in the streets, than not pray at all. If there were an edict issued that no man should pray at all, the reallypraying man would go into Daniel'slions' den, for he could no more cease to pray than cease to breathe.
Can the hart in the wilderness cease from panting for the water brooks? Can a sick child cease from crying for its mother?So the living soul cries after God because he cannot help panting after Him. He must pray or he must die, he must find DivineGrace or perish, and therefore in his soreextremity-from an intense and awful agony of heart-he cries again and again, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" This is theprayer that God hears. Such are the petitions which are acceptable to the Lord Jehovah.
Brethren, will you look at yourselves, and at your own experience this morning, and see if you ever were brought down to thespot where Judah and his brothers stood? For I fear we have never been brought rightly unless we have been brought here. Hethat was never condemned, I think, was neverforgiven. He who never confessed his guilt cannot have had a pardon. And if we have never trembled before Jesus the Judge,we can never have rejoiced before Jesus the elder Brother.
II. We turn, however, now to remark that THE SINGULARLY ROUGH BEHAVIOR OF JOSEPH IS A NOTABLE REPRESENTATION OF THE WAY INWHICH CHRIST DEALS WITH SOULS UNDER CONVICTION OF SIN.
Joseph always was their brother, always loved them, had a heart full of compassion for them, even when he called them spies.Kind words were often hastening to his lips, yet for their good he showed himself to be as a stranger and even as an enemy,so that he might bring them very low and prostratebefore the throne.
My dear Friends, our Lord Jesus Christ often does this with truly awakened souls whom He means to save. Perhaps to some ofyou who are today conscious of guilt, but not of mercy, Christ seems as a stern and angry Judge. You think of Him as one whocan by no means spare the guilty. Your only idea ofHim is of one who would say to you, "Get you behind Me, Satan, you savor not the things that are of God." When you readthe Scriptures, your mind, perhaps is led to dwell upon His denunciations rather than upon His promises.
Such dreadful chapters as the twenty-fifth of Matthew are more upon your mind than those blessed portions in John, such as,"Let not your heart be troubled, you believe in God, believe also in Me." When you do think of Jesus, it is not as of onewho is saying, "Suffer the little children to comeunto Me and forbid them not, for of such is the kingdom of Heaven." But you rather think you hear Him say, "Woe unto youscribes and Pharisees, hypocrites." Poor Hearts, you discern all the sternness of His upbraiding but not the softness andgentleness of His compassion. You seeHim dealing fiercely with Pharisees and reason that He will be even more severe with you.
No, you think you have had some proofs that the Lord is not willing to bless you. As Joseph took Simeon before their eyesand put him in prison, as he laid heavy things to his brothers' charge and said to them, "You are spies, to see the nakednessof the land are you come, by the life of Pharaohsurely you are spies." And as he demanded of them to bring Benjamin down or else he would never see their face again, soyou think that Jesus Christ has treated you.
You went to Him in prayer. But instead of getting an answer He seemed to shut up your prayer in prison and keep it like Simeonbound before your eyes. Yes, instead of telling you that there was mercy, He said to you as with a harsh voice, "It is notmeet to take the children's bread and cast itunto dogs." He appeared to shut His ears to your petitions, and to have none of your requests, and to say to you, "Exceptyou renounce a right-eye sin, and a right-arm pleasure, and give up your Benjamin delights, you shall see My face no more,"and you have come to think, poorSoul, that Christ is hard and stern. But He is ever the gentle Mediator receiving sinners and eating with them. His usualvoice is, "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." But to you He seems no such Person,for He has put on a disguise andyou understand not who and what He is.
But you will perceive, Brethren, in reading the narrative, that even when Joseph disguised himself, there was still much kindnessdiscoverable in his conduct-so to the awakened sinner, even while Jesus appears to deal harshly-there is something sweet andencouraging amid it all. Do younot remember what Joseph did for his brothers? Though he was their judge, he was their host, too. He invited them to a greatfeast. He gave to Benjamin five times as much as to any of them. And they feasted even at the king's table.
And so, poor Sinner under an awakened conscience, you have occasional feastings at the table of hope. I know while I was underdistress myself, I did have some glimpses of hope. Oh, there were times when His name was very sweet! There were seasons inthe thick darkness when some few rays of lightflashed in. When, like the dog that eats the crumbs under the table, now and then there fell a big crust and my soul wasfeasted for awhile. So has it been with you. Christ has rebuked and chastened you, but still He has sent you food from Hisroyal table.
Yes, and there is another thing He has done for you. He has given you corn to live upon while under bondage. You would havedespaired utterly if it had not been for some little comfort that He afforded you. Perhaps you would have put an end to yourlife-you might have gone desperately intoworse sin than before-had it not been that He filled your sack at seasons with the corn of Egypt. But mark, He has nevertaken any of your money yet, and He never will. He has always put your money in the sack's mouth-you have come with your resolutions,and with yourgood deeds-but when He has given you comfort He has always taken care to show you that He did not confer it because of anygood thing you had in your hands.
When you went down and brought double money with you, yet the double money, too, was returned. He would have nothing fromyou. He has taught you as much as that and you begin to feel, now, that if He should bless you, it must be without money andwithout price. Yes, poor Soul, and there is oneother point upon which your eyes may rest with pleasure. He has sometimes spoken to you comfortably. Did not Joseph sayto Benjamin, "God be gracious unto you, my son"? And so, sometimes, under a consoling sermon, though as yet you are not saved,you have had a few drops of comfort.
Oh, you have gone sometimes out of the House of Prayer as light as the birds of the air, and though you could not say, "Heis mine and I am His," yet you had a sort of inkling that the match would come off one day. He had said-"God be gracious toyou, My son." You half thought, though youcould not speak it loud enough to let your heart distinctly hear it-you half thought that the day would come when your sinswould be forgiven. When the prisoner should leap to lose his chains. When you should know Joseph, your brother, to have acceptedand loved your soul. Isay, then, Christ disguises Himself to poor awakened sinners just as Joseph did, but even amidst the sternness of His manner,for awhile there is such a sweet mixture of love, that no troubled one need run into despair.
But, dear Friends, I am met by a question. Some one asks, "Why does Jesus thus deal with some coming sinners? Why does Henot always meet them at once as He does with some, while they are yet a great way off and fall upon their necks and kiss them?"Perhaps we can answer this question by another.Why did Joseph thus hide himself and not manifest himself to his own flesh? The answer is here-Joseph knew there was a prophecyto be fulfilled. The sun and moon and eleven stars must make obeisance to him, and their sheaves must bow down before hissheaf. So there is aprophecy concerning us-"That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in Heaven and things in earth and thingsunder the earth."
And were it not that Christ does thus deal roughly with us, perhaps we should never bow ourselves with that deep humiliationand prostration of spirit which is necessary for our good as well for His glory. I am sure that any of us who have passedthrough this state of mind, feel it a privilege tobow down before Him. All hail, Jesus! We bring forth the royal diadem and crown You Lord of All. We wish not to disputeYour sovereignty, nor to interfere with Your absolute dominion. Give Him all the glory! Give Him all the honor. Our spiritbows down with even deeper reverencethan the cherubim, who bow before Him with veiled faces, crying, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth."
Besides, my dear Friends, Joseph's brothers would not have been convinced of their sin at all, if it had not been for this.It was necessary that they should know the greatness of the wrong, that they might know the value of the free pardon. Thedelay of manifested mercy has done much good to manyof the saints. It compelled them to search the fountains of the great deep of their natural depravity, and led them to admirethe freeness and richness of Divine Grace. We should have been but poor fools in Christ's school if it had not been for therod with which He whipped us, andthe ruler with which He knocked our knuckles in our early days.
That black board of conviction was a useful implement enough in the school house. If He had not plowed deep, there never wouldhave been a hundred-fold harvest. Since He would build a high house of joy in our hearts, there was a need that He shoulddig out deep foundations of sorrow-and Hedid it for our lasting and perpetual good. Could John Bun-yan have ever written "Pilgrim's Progress," if he had not feltabounding sin, and rejoiced in "Grace abounding"? Could he have ever compiled such a wondrous work as the "Holy War," if hehad not himself felt all the attackswhich the Town of Mansoul knew and heard the beating of the Hell drum in his own ears, just as the Mansoulians did, whosetale he tells?
Masters of Divinity are not to be made by shallow experience. We make not sailors on dry land, nor veterans in times of peace.Christ's rugged warriors who shall do great exploits for Him, must be like the Spartan youths. They must be brought up bya Spartan training, and flogged, and made to bearthe yoke in their youth, that afterwards they may be good soldiers of Christ, able to endure hardness and to achieve greatvictories. This that looks so cruel in Christ is only masked mercy. He puts the visor on His face and looks like an enemy,but a friendly heart is there stilltowards His chosen.
Let us remember, then, if we are today guilty and moaning our guiltiness-we ought not to forget that Christ is a Brother thoughHe seems to be an enemy, that He loves us with a pure and perfect love though He speaks harshly to us. If He does not answerour prayers, He still intends to. If nopity or compassion are expressed, yet beyond a doubt He is not flinty of soul, nor is He hard to be moved to commiserateHis children.
III. I now come to the last point, and here may God be pleased to let light break in upon darkened souls. JOSEPH
AFTERWARDS REVEALED HIMSELF TO HIS BROTHERS, AND SO THE LORD JESUS DOES IN DUE TIME
SWEETLY REVEAL HIMSELF TO POOR CONSCIENCE-STRICKEN PENITENT SINNERS.
The reading of the chapter which we heard this morning is enough to bring tears to all eyes that are connected with tenderhearts. I must acknowledge that when reading the chapter in my own study, I could not resist weeping copiously at the picturewhich the Holy Spirit has so admirably drawn.Those ten, poor trembling brothers. Judah's speech just finished and all of them on their knees supplicating the clearingof the court house and then Joseph, whose soul was swelling with such grief and love, bursting out with that, "I am Joseph."
What a scene for tender souls! Though he must have spoken in deep affection, yet, "I am Joseph," must have fallen on theirears like thunder. "Joseph! Where are we now? Better for us that we were in a lion's den, than here with him whom we mocked,saying, 'Behold, this dreamer comes,' with him whomwe sold and dipped his coat of many colors in blood. And then took it to his father, saying, 'See whether this is your son'scoat or not.' " Well might they tremble!
And then look at the tenderness of Joseph when he says to them again, while they are retiring from him afraid, "I am Joseph,your brother, whom you sold into Egypt, I pray you come near to me." You hear his pathetic speech as he discovers his brotherhoodand relationship, and then you see thatgenerous embrace when, beginning with Benjamin, his next of kin, his own uterine brother, he afterwards weeps with all therest and sends them home with favors, enriched and happy.
Dear Friends, I say this is but a picture of what Christ does to some of us, and of what He is prepared to do to others ofyou who are trembling at His feet. Notice that this discovery was made secretly. Christ does not show Himself to sinners ina crowd. Every man must see the love of Christ forhimself. We go to Hell in bundles, but we go to Heaven one by one. Each man must personally know in his own heart his ownguilt-and privately and secretly, where no other heart can join with him-he must hear words of love from Christ. "Go and sinno more." "Your sinswhich are many are all forgiven you."
Mark, that as this was done in secret, the first thing Joseph showed them was his name. "I am Joseph." Blessed is that dayto the sinner when Christ says to him, "I am Jesus, I am the Savior." When the soul discerns instead of the Lawgiver, theRedeemer. When it looks to the wounds which its ownsin has made, and sees the ransom price flowing in drops of gore. When he looks to the head his own iniquity had crownedwith thorns-and then he sees beaming there a crown of glory provided for the sinner! Sinner, poor troubled Sinner, Jesus speaksto you this morning, fromHis very Cross where He bled for You! He says, "I am Jesus, look to Me, trust Me and be saved, repose your confidence whollyupon Me. I will wash you from your sin, carry you safely through time and bring you gloriously in eternity."
Having revealed his name, the next thing he did was to reveal his relationship; "I am Joseph, your brother." Oh, blessed isthat heart which sees Jesus to be its Brother, bone of our bone, flesh of our flesh, the son of Mary as well as the Son ofGod. Sinner, whom the Holy Spirit has awakened,Christ is your Brother! He feels for you, He has a fellow sympathy with you in the present pangs that wring your heart.He loves you, He loved you before you knew anything of Him. He has given you the best proof of that love in that He has redeemedyou with His blood.
And revealing his relationship, Joseph also displays his affection. "Does my father yet live?" As a brother does, he rememberthe head of the household. Jesus tells you that the brotherhood between His soul and yours is not fanciful or metaphorical,but lets His heart go out to you. PenitentSinner, can you believe it? Jesus loves you-loves you though you hated Him. Poor awakened Sinner, you think it isn't possible?It is. It is not only possible, but certain. He who is Heaven's Lord, before whom the angels bow, loves YOU! I remember oneman who was converted toGod, who told me that the means of his conversion was hearing a hymn read one Sunday morning in the congregation, when wewere worshipping in Exeter Hall and that hymn was this-"Jesus, lover of my soul."
And just those words struck him. "Does He love my soul? Oh," said he, "nothing had ever broken me before. But the thoughtthat Jesus loved me was too much for me. I could not help giving my heart to Him." The old school men used to teach that itwas impossible for any man to know that another lovedhim without returning the love in some degree. And surely, Sinner, though you feel yourself to be the vilest wretch on earth,when we tell you that it is, "a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to savesinners, even the chief," thisshould be a reason why your heart should go out to Him. He loves you, oh quickened, convicted Sinner! Oh, trust Him, andtaste that love in your own heart.
And then will you please notice, that having thus proved his affection, Joseph gave them an invitation to approach. "Comenear to me, I pray you." You are getting away in the corner. You want to hide away in the chamber, alone. You do not wantto tell anybody about your sorrow. Jesus says, "Comenear to Me, I pray you. Do not hold your griefs away from Me. Tell Me what it is you want. Confess to Me your guilt. AskMe for pardon, if you want it. Come near to Me, do not be afraid. I could not smite with a hand that bought you. I could notspurn you with the foot that wasnailed for you to the tree. Come to Me!"
Ah, this is the hardest work in the world, to get a sinner to come near to Christ. I thought myself that He was such a hard,hard Christ, and that He wanted me to do so much before I might come to Him. When I heard that gracious message, "Look untoMe and be you saved, all you ends of the earth,"my heart ventured to look and oh, joy of joys, the burden rolled away, the sin was blotted out, my soul stood accepted inChrist! "Come near to Me I pray you." Oh that I knew where a broken heart was this morning! I think I would point him outand look him in the face and say inJesus' name, "Poor sinner, come near to me, I pray you."
Oh, why do you stay when Jesus invites? Why do you tarry in your despair when Jesus bids you come to Him? Shall the prisonerhug his chains? Shall the captive cleave to his dungeon? Arise! Be free! Arise, He calls you! Sinner, come near to Jesus.Salvation is in Him, and, as He bids you, take it.
I want you to notice again, having given the invitation, what consolation Joseph gave! He did not say, "I am not angry withyou. I forgive you"- he said something sweeter than that-"Be not angry with yourselves," as much as to say, "As for me, youneed not question about that-benot grieved nor angry with yourselves." So my blessed, my adorable Master, says to a poor, cast down, dejected sinner-"Asfor My forgiving you, that is done. My heart is made of tenderness, My heart melts with love. Forgive yourself. Be not grievednor angry withyourself-it is true you have sinned, but I have died. It is true you have destroyed yourself, but I have saved you. Weepno more. Dry those eyes and sing aloud-
I will praise You every day, Now Your anger's turned away. Comfortable thoughts arise From the bleeding Sacrifice. Jesus has become at length My Salvation and my strength; And His praises shall prolong, While I live, my pleasant song.'"
Dear Friends, last of all, having thus given them the consolation, he gave a quietus for their understanding in an explanation.He says, "It was not you, it was God that sent me here." So does Christ say to the poor soul that feels itself guilty of theLord'scrucifixion. "It was not you," says He," it was God that sent Me to preserve your lives with a great deliverance. Man wasthe second agent in Christ's death, but God was the great first Worker, for He was delivered by the determinate counsel andforeknowledge of God. Man did it todestroy righteousness, but God did it to save even the ungodly.
Man has the crime but God has the triumph. Man rules, but God overrules. The gall has become honey, out of the eater has comeforth sweetness. Death is destroyed by Jesus' death. Hell upturned by Hell's blackest deed. Sinner, Christ died to save youwith a great deliverance, what do you say? Areyou willing to come to Him? If so, He made you willing. Do you say, "But what is to come?"-to come to Christ is to trustHim. Are you willing to renounce yourself and your sin and trust Christ, and take Him to have and to hold, for better, forworse, through life and throughdeath, in time and in eternity?
Does your heart say, "Yes"? Will you come to this Man? Shall there be a match made of it this morning? Shall your heart beaffianced and married to Christ? Ah, then, put this ring of promise on your finger and go away affianced unto Christ and thisis the ring, "Though your sins are as scarlet,they shall be as wool, though they are red like crimson they shall be whiter than snow." I feel this morning as though myMaster had given me such a sweet message that I cannot tell it as I would, but it may be that there is some soul here thatis like a little flower which hasopened its cup to catch the dew drop and it will be good for such a soul.
It may be there is a heart here that has been in darkness, and though it is but a candle I can bring, yet that light shallbe pleasant to its poor eyes so long used to this horrid gloom. Oh, that some heart here would trust the Lord Jesus. Is therenone? Must we go back and say in the closet,"Lord, who has believed our report, and to whom is the arm of the
Lord revealed?" Surely, there is one. Perhaps it is a stranger here, of whom I shall never hear again in this world. Well,but the Lord shall hear of it, and He shall have the praise.
Perhaps it is one that has long sat in this House of Prayer, invulnerable up till now. Perhaps the arrow has found a jointin the harness. O Soul! By Him that stretches out His arms of love to you and by the Divine Grace that moves you now to runinto those arms, come to Him! "Be not grieved norangry with yourselves." It was God that put Christ to death, that He might save you with a great deliverance. Trust Jesusand you are saved, and you shall give Him praise, world without end. Amen.