Sermon 498. The Gladness of the Man of Sorrows
Delivered on Sunday Morning, March 8th, 1863, by the
Rev. C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness abovethy fellows. All thy garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they have made theeglad."-Psalm 45:7, 8.
DURING THE LAST FEW SABBATH-DAYS we have been considering the sufferings of our Lord Jesus Christ. We followed him throughthe agony of the garden, the sorrows of the betrayal, the weariness and slander of his various trials, the shame and mockeryof the soldiery, and the sorrows of his cross-bearing progress along the streets of the city. It seems fit this morning tomake a pause that we may take breath awhile in this our pilgrimage of sorrow, and be comforted by a viewof the glory-land to which the thorny pathway leads. A festive occasion like the present may have unfitted your mindsfor deep contemplations upon the Passion, and it may be more congenial with our present mood of gladness to meditate uponthe glory which followed the shame. The same person will be before our eye, but we shall view him in a brighter light, weshall see the silver lining of the black cloud of anguish, the rich pearls hidden in the stormy deep of his sufferings, andthe days ofheaven which were conceived in the womb of the black night of his agony. The Man of Sorrows is the fountain of all joyto others, and is the possessor of all the joys of heaven and earth, by virtue of his triumphs. He has experienced joys inproportion to his sorrows; as he once waded through deep waters of grief he has now climbed to the highest mountains of happiness.For the joy that was set before him he endured the cross despising the shame, and now having sat down at his Father'sright-hand he enjoys pleasures for evermore. We have seen our David crossing the brook Kedron weeping as he went; shallwe not gaze upon him as he dances before the ark for joy? We saw him crowned with thorns, shall we not go forth to meet himand behold him with the crown wherewith his mother crowned him in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the gladnessof his heart? Oh that while we muse upon these things our heavenly Father may hear the prayer of our great Advocate who oncecriedon our behalf-"And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves."
Our text describes the joy poured forth upon our glorious King in a twofold manner. Our Lord is first made joyous by his Father-"Thoulovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness: therefore God, thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thyfellows." But there is another joy, which he getteth not from one person, but from many. Read the next verse-"All thy garmentssmell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces, whereby they havemade thee glad." Here both saints and angels unite to swell the ever-deepening, and widening river of the Savior's gladness.When we shall have walked by these still waters and trodden these green pastures, perhaps we shall be prepared to say withthe apostle, "And not only so, but we also joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom we have now received the atonement," and we shall be qualified to singwith the spouse, "We will rejoice and be glad in thee; Ye will remember thy lovemore than wine; the upright love thee."
I. Come, my brethren, let us ponder that part of OUR SAVIOR'S JOY WHICH IS GIVEN HIM BY HIS FATHER.
To a degree the Redeemer possessed this joy even while he was here on earth. We are not sure that the early life of the Savior was full of sorrow. As he grrew in wisdom and in stature, he also grewin favor both with God and man; and favor with God and man would probably give the youthful Jesus an unusual degree of holyhappiness. When he entered upon his public ministry, sorrows in troops beset him, so that the countenance once fairer thanthe children of men,became more marred than that of any man, and at the age of thirty-two or thirty-three he was taken to be near fifty, fromthe effect of labor, hardship and woe. Yet, even in the days of his affliction, the Great Mourner was not utterly wretched,even amid the wormwood and the gall there were drops of joy. When, in his baptism, the heavens were opened, and the Spiritdescended, did that divine Dove bring no peace, no comfort upon his wings? When the Father bare witness, "This is my belovedSon,in whom I am well pleased," did those approving words from the opening heavens afford no satisfaction to the mind of theobedient Son? Brethren, the perfect nature of our Redeemer could not but rejoice exceedingly in the smile of the Father andthe descent of the Holy Ghost. When in the wilderness, after the forty days of fasting and of temptation, the angels ministeredunto him, did they bring him no celestial joys, no consolations of God? Did he know no secret joys upon the mountain-tops,where he communed with God at midnight? Was it no delight to him to utter sweet invitations and loving words of mercy?Surely those lips were blessed which poured forth benedictions, and there must have been some comfort in the hands which boundup the broken-hearted and opened the prisons of the captives. We read that Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, "Father, Ithank thee, that thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes; even so, Father,for soit seemed good in thy sight." The doctrine of electing love stirred the deeps of his great soul, and made the floods claptheir hands. "The King shall joy in thy strength, O Lord; and in thy salvation how greatly shall he rejoice."
Do you think, brethren, our Savior lived in this world, doing so much good, without receiving some joy in his acts of mercy? To teach, to labor, and to make men holy, must give joy to a benevolentmind. It could not be otherwise than pleasant to a good man to do good. If God deligllteth in mercy, surely his express imagemust do the same. To restore the dead to their sorrowing relations, was this no satisfaction? Did the widow's grateful eyein the gates of Nainkindle no joy-flashes in his heart? Bid the thankfulness of Mary and Martha inspire no comfort in the Life-giver? Thinkyou that it was not gladsome work to feed the famishing multitudes? Who could look upon the feasting thousands without rejoicing?To heal the leper, to restore the lame, to give eyes to the blind and ears to the deaf, who could do all this and not be happyin distributing the boons? Surely, brethren, there were some hosannas in Jesu's ears, and though he could always bear thecry of "Crucify him! Crucify him!" yet he must have felt the wondrous joy of doing good, which is one of the delightsentailed on all self-sacrificing lovers of others.
Bethink you, beloved, of his character, and surely he must have known the joy of being good; for there is a deep gladness in holiness, a blessed peacefulness in righteousness. The holiness of angels is their happiness,and although to a large degree the Savior laid his peace aside, yet there is a rest of soul from which virtue cannot separate.Distractions of conscience he never knew, disturbance of mind, on account of sin he did not feel on his own account,although as our substitute he was made sin for us. He suffered. Mark, I am not for a moment detracting from his sufferings,high mountains of grief I see; the eagle's wing cannot reach their summit, nor foot of angel climb their brows; but lo, Isee leaping streams of pleasure running adown the rugged steeps, and amid the hollows of the desolate hills I gaze upon deeplakes of joy unfathomable by mortal line.
Brethren, we have every reason to believe that our Savior permanently found a solace while on earth, in the considerationthat he was doing his Father's will. He said, "It is my meat and my drink, to do the will of him that sent me." "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father'sbusiness?" On several occasions the voice from heaven proclaimed the Father's good pleasure in his only begotten: once theglory of heaven enwraps him on the holy mount; and during his wholelife he had the presence of God until the moment of necessary desertion, when we find him, for the first and only time,crying, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me!" To do a work which he had contemplated from all eternity, to engage inan occupation which had always been most delightful in prospect, could not have been altogether and only sorrowful. It wasa Passover with many bitter herbs, but with desire had he desired to eat of it. It was a baptism, and a baptism of blood,but he wasstraitened until it was accomplished. Of old, in expectation his delights were with the sons of men. Were there none inthe work? Brethren, let your Lord speak for himself-"Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delightto do thy will, O my God: yea, thy law is within my heart."
In the glorious prospect which this great work opened to him when it should he completed, I am absolutely sure our Savior found comfort. Think notI speak too strongly; I have scriptural warrant. Turn to the twenty-second Psalm, which is the soliloquy of Christ upon thecross, and you find him, after he bemoaned his desolate condition, comforting himself thus, "All the ends of the world shallremember and turn unto he Lord: and all the kindreds of the nations shallworship before thee. All they that be fat upon earth shall eat and worship: all they that go down to the dust shall bowbefore him: and none can keep alive his own soul. A seed shall serve him; it shall be accounted to the Lord for a generation.They shall come, and shall declare his righteousness unto a people that shall be born, that he hath done this." He saw withprescient eye through the thick darkness which enveloped the cross, the rising of the bright sun of heaven's eternal noon.Hesaw, when he hung upon the cross, not only the mocking eyes of multitudes of enemies, but the loving eyes of millionsof souls whom he should redeem from hell; he heard not only the shouts of the ribald mob, but the songs of blood-redeemedspirits. When he saw the lions and heard them roar, was it not a comfort to the shepherd that he had kept the sheep, and noneof them had perished. Indeed, my brethren, there is more than enough of evidence to prove that a rich anointing of gladnessrested onthe head of the Man of Sorrows.
Still, dear friends, this may be viewed by some as a moot point; we allow that there is room for difference of opinion; butnot so as to the great joy which Christ obtained after he had endured the cross, despising the shame. Let us enter into the secret joys of our Beloved. Consider, my brethren, the work accomplished; Chiist has borne the wrathof God; God is reconciled to his people; death has been destroyed; Christ as risen from the dead; the dragon's head hasbeen broken, the powers of sin have been subdued; our Lord ascends to heaven with a shout, with the trump of the archangel;the glorified spirits accord him a triumphal entry. "Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors,that the King of Glory may come in!" He sits down upon his throne at his Father's right hand, and then it is that he is anointedwith the oil of gladness above his fellows.
I should not have failed to remark that, as God, our Redeemer always possessed fullness of joy and pleasures for evermore,We are speaking of him in his complex person as man and God, and in his official character as Mediator, it is his delightin this capacity which we now consider.
The joy of the risen Mediator laid, first of all, in this, that he had now accomplished a work which he had meditated upon from all eternity. Before the day-star marked the dawn; before the calm of space had ever been stirred by wing of angel, or the solemnity ofsilence had been startled with song of seraph, Christ had purposed to redeem his people, It was in the eternal purpose ofthe great Second Person in the Divine Unity, from before all worlds, to redeem untohimself a people by price. What joy must it give him now that he can say, "I have finished transgression, made an endof sin, and brought in everlasting righteousness."
His heart had not only meditated, but had been mightily set upon his work. He had bound his people's names upon his breast; he had graven them upon the pylons of his hands. His ears were bored, forhe intended to serve even until death. What if I say that, from before all worlds, he thirsted and panted that he might dothe Father's will, and redeem his people from their ruin! Now, brethren, that desire which had been in him like coals of juniper,unquenchable, isnow fulfilled to the uttermost; how can he be otherwise than anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, sincenone other ever purposed so firmly or succeeded so perfectly.
Consider, too, how great the pains which he endured, and we must believe the joy to be commensurate with the pain. In the accomplishing of his great iife-purpose, he descended to the cross of deepest woe. Have I not tried to paint in mypoor way the mysterious agonies of our blessed Savior? but I feel that I have failed. Now when all this had been suffered,what joy to look back upon it! Never day so bright as that which follows black darkness; never calm so sweetas that which succeeds hurricane and tempest; never native place so delightful as to the long exiled pilgrim. So deepthe sorrow, so high the joy; so unspeakable the grief, so unutterable the bliss.
Remember, beloved brethren, the enemies he had overcome, and you will not marvel that his joy was matchless. Had he not worsted Death-grim tyrant-vanquisher of all mankind? Had henot broken the head of the old serpent, who in his crushing coils had bound and pressed a universe of souls? Did he not defeatin battle all the fiends in hell? Was not evil for ever dethroned? Did not goodness sit upon a glorious high throne? Was notvirtue exalted to the highestheaven, and sin cast down to the lowest hell in that day of the judgment of this world, when the Prince of Darkness wascast out? "Behold," he might have said, "I see Satan falling like lightning from heaven; the dragon bound with a great chain.Lo, hell's gates are shut upon the saints, the grave is rifled of its spoils, heaven is crowded with the saved, and earthpurified from sin." O Jesus, thou mighty conqueror, thy glorious victories must surely give to thee, as they do to us, a blessedanointing with the oil of gladness!
Our Lord possesses in heaven now, as perfect man, the joy of looking back upon a life without spot, or wrinkle, or any suchthing; the satisfaction of seeing this perfect obedience covering all his people, till they stand lovely in his loveliness;the equal delight of observing the efficacy of his blood to wash the foulest, and make them whiter than snow, while his intercessionscatters mercy in one everlasting shower upon the sons of men. Since his heart was love his joymust be in deeds of love, and as he has become a fountain always welling up with loving gifts towards the chosen sonsof men, his delight must be unchanging like his nature, and unbounded like his divinity. "God, thy God, hath anointed theewith the oil of gladness above thy fellows."
We pause a moment, having tried to dwell upon the joy, to notice the cause of it. "Thou lovest righteousness, and hatest wickedness,therefore God hath anointed thee." It seems, then, that the first cause why Jesus Christ has received fullness of joy liesin his having loved righteousness. This he did necessarily because of the spotless purity of his nature; this he did practically in the hallowed sincerity and integrity of his life. Of whom could it be saidso truly as of our Lord, that the law of God was in his heart. How abundantly did he prove his love to righteousness,by vindicating it in his death, fulfilling in his own person all the sentence of divine wrath taking upon himself all thecurses which fell upon offenders. You cannot suppose righteousness to be more clearly manifested than in the living worksof Jesus, nor more completely avenged than in the dying throes. How sovereign is that righteousness to which even the Sonof God bowedhis head and gave up the ghost. The world deluged with water, the plains of Sodom smoking with brimstone, the land ofEgypt vexed with plagues, all these terrible things in righteousness manifest the justice of God, but none of them so solemnlyas the voluntary sacrifice of Jesus. Our Beloved loved righteousness indeed when he emptied out all his heart-floods thathe might make us righteous. Moreover, as in his life and death we see that he loved righteousness, we discern it too in theconstant effect of his work. His gospel makes men righteous. Does it not give them a legal righteousness by imputation, a real righteousness by infusion,a righteousness which covers them with fine linen without and makes them all glorious within. The spirit of the gospel whichwe preach is to magnify that which is pure and lovely and of good repute. Wherever the Lord Jesus displays his gracious power,sins yields the throne, purity wins the scepter, grace reigns through righteousness untoeternal life through the perfect sacrifice, the living power of Jesus.
The text adds, "Thou hatest wickedness." A man's character is not complete without a perfect hatred of sin. "Be ye angry, and sin not." There can hardly be goodnessin a man if he be not angry at sin; he who loves truth must hate every false way. How our Lord Jesus hated it when the temptationcame! Thrice it assailed him in different forms, but ever it was, "Get thee behind me, Satan." How he hated it when he sawit in others; none the less fervently because heshowed his hate oftener in tears of pity than in words of rebuke; yet what language could be more stern, more Elijah-like,than the words, "Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye devour widows' houses, and for a pretense make longprayer." He hated wickedness so much that he bled that he might wound it to the heart; he died that it might die; he was buriedthat he might bury in his tomb; and he rose that he might for ever trample it beneath his feet. Christ is in the Gospel, mybrethren, and you all know low utterly that Gospel is opposed to wickedness in every shape. No matter how wickedness mayarray itself in fair garments, and imitate the language of holiness, the precepts of Jesus, like his famous scourge of smallcords, chase wickedness out of the temple, and will not let it have peaceful lodging in the Church. So too, in the heart whereJesus reigns, what war there is between Christ and Belial? And when our Redeemer shall come to be our judge, in thosethundering words, "Depart, ye cursed," which are, indeed, but al prolongation of his life-teaching concerning sin, thenshall it be seen, I say, that he hated wickedness. As warm as is his love to sinners, so hot is his hatred of sin; as perfectas is the righteousness which he completed, so perfect shall be the destruction of every form of wickedness. Oh thou gloriouschampion of right, and destroyer of wrong, for this cause hath God, even thy God, anointed thee with the oil of gladness abovethy fellows.
But, beloved, we must dwell for one moment upon another thought supplied by the text. The character of this joy is hinted at by way of comparison-"God, even thy God, hath anointed thee with the oil of gladness above thy fellows." Andwho are his fellows? Suppose his fellows to be the kings and princes of this world, for the psalm is descriptive of Christin his royalty. Well, is he not anointed with gladness above them all? Kings rejoice in their dominions, theirextent and population: our King looks from shore to shore, and from the river even to the ends of the earth, and of hisdominion there is no end. Princes delight in the fame and honor which their office and deeds may bring them; but before theLord Jesus Christ the fame of monarchs dwindles into nothing. His name shall endure for ever; throughout all generations thepeople shall praise him. Monarchs delight in the riches and treasure which their dominions yield; Christ receiveth a wealthoflove and homage from his people, before which the riches of Croesus become poverty itself. "The daughter of Tyre shallbe there with a gift; even the rich among the people shall entreat thy favor." Kings are wont to rejoice in the victoriesthey have achieved. He that cometh from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah, travelling in the greatness of his strength,hath more joy than they. They boast the sureness of their throne; but "thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever." The inwardthought ofsome kings may be that they are invincible in power, and that their will is law; but at the name of Jesus every knee shallbow, and his enemies shall become as the fat of rams; into smoke shall they consume, yea, into smoke shall they consume away.Good kings rejoice in the beneficence of their rule, and the happiness of their subjects; our King may surely glory in thefavors which he has scattered from his scepter. But time would hail us if we were to complete the contrast here. Kings oftheearth, ye may take off your crowns, and remain uncrowned in the presence of lying Jesus, for on his head are many crowns.O ye lords and mighty men, ye may lay down your dignities and honors, for ye are unhonoured and undignified in the presenceof him who is above his fellows!
My brethren, where shall his fellows be found? Search ye among the wise, and who shall match the gladness of incarnate wisdom,for man's wisdom bringeth sorrow. Go ye, and travel among the famous, and who shall be compared with his illustrious name,where else is there a name so full of joy? Search out the mighty, who hath an arm like his? Go ye, and search among the goodand excellent, who have blessed their kind by philanthropy; who among them is so anointed as the Manof Nazareth? As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my beloved among the sons. Standing as high above allthe rest of men as the heavens are above the earth; he is, indeed, anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. Ifind that some interpreters read it-"The oil of gladness for his fellows." The rendering is probably incorrect, but it bearsa very truthful, sweet, and comfortable thought in it. If the saints are his fellows, and he is not ashamed to call them brethren,then the oil of gladness was first poured on his head, that it might descend even to the skirts of his garments, and thatall the saints might be made partakers of his joy.
We have said enough, we think, on this first point; here is the material for much meditation. Search, my brethren, and learnhow the Lord, even our God, has glolified his Son Jesus.
II. Turn we now to THE GLADNESS AFFORDED BY THE CHURCH. "All thy garments smell of myrrh, and cassia, and aloes, out of theivory palaces, whereby they have made thee glad." His garments have been saturated with very precious and fragrant odours;this is the work of his Church. In the phrase, "ivory palaces" the allusion is to certain costly structures which some Orientalkings erected, plated within and without with ivory. We read of Ahab that he built an ivory house; andit was a solemn threat from the lip of Amos, "the houses of ivory shall perish." These ivory houses relate, I suppose,either to the courts of glory, or, more consistently with our interpretation this morning, to the hearts of believers; or,better still, to the churches, which are like palaces of ivory, both for glory and majesty, for richness, and for purity.The saints' graces, their love, their praise, their prayers, their faith, are like myrrh, cassia, and aloes, and the Savior'sgarmentsare so perfumed therewith, that when he rides in his triumphal chariot he scatters sweet odours all around. It is a greatand certain truth, that Christ finds an intense satisfaction in his Church. "He will rejoice over thee with joy; he will restin his love; he will joy over thee with singing." In his people, as the objects of his choice, he finds satisfaction; 'tis true there is nothing in them naturally; they are by nature heirs of wrath, even as others; buthaving set his love uponthem, having determined to make them his people, he takes a delight in the objects of his choice because of that choice.Nothing in us could have been the origin of the Saviours first delight in us. Now, doubtless, that we are his workmanship,he takes a delight in the works of his own hands; but when we were like broken potsherds, thrown away upon the dunghill ofthe fall, if he saw anything in us it must have been in his own eyes.
But, dear friends, as men always take a deep interest in that which has cost them dearly, so since that triumphant day when Jesus stretched out his hands upon the tree and paid the price for his people, he has foundan infinite solace and delight in them. He sees in every believer's face a memento of his groans; he looks into the eye ofevery penitent, and sees his own tears there; he hears the cry of every mourner, and there hears his own groans over again;hebeholds the reward of his soul's travail in every regenerate heart, and hence, as the purchase of his blood, we make himglad.
Again, as his workmanship, as he sees us day by day more conformed to his image, he rejoices in us. Just as you see the sculptor with his chisel fetchingout the statue which lies hidden in the block of marble, taking off a corner here, and a chip there, and a piece here-seehow he smiles when he brings out the features of the form divine-so our Savior, as he proceeds with his graving tool, workingthrough the operation of the Spirit, and making us like untohimself, finds much delight in us. The painter makes rough drafts at first, and lays on the colors roughly; some do notunderstand what he is doing, and for three or four sittings the portrait is much unlike the man it aims at representing; butthe painter can discern the features in the canvass; he sees it looming through that mist and haze of color; he knows thatbeauty will yet beam forth from yonder daubs and blotches. So Jesus, though we are yet but mere outlines of his image, candiscoverhis own perfection in us where no eye but his own, as the Mighty Artist, can perceive it. Dear friends, it is for thisreason, because we are the work of his hands, that he taketh delight in us.
Know ye not that we are his brethren-and brothers should delight in brothers. Nay, we are his spouse-and where should thehusband find his comfort but in his bride? We are his body-shall not the head be content with the members? We are one withhim, vitally, personally, everlastingly one; and it is little marvel, therefore, if we have a mutual joy in each other, sothat his garments smell of myrrh, aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces of his Church, wherein hehath been made glad.
Let us think how we can make him glad. Brethren, our love to Christ-oh! we think it so cold, so little, and so, indeed, we must sorrowfully confess it to be, but it is very sweetto Christ. We can never compare our love to Christ with his love to us, and yet he does not despise it. Hear his own eulogyof his Church in the Song, "Thou hast ravished my heart, my sister, my spouse; thou hast ravished my heart with one of thineeyes, with one chain of thy neck.How fair is thy love, my sister, my spouse! how much better is thy love than wine! and the smell of thine ointments thanall spices!" "Thou art beautiful, O my love, as Tirza, comely as Jerusalem, terrible as an army with banners. Turn away thineeyes from me, for they have overcome me." See, see, my brethren, his delight in you. When you lean your head on his bosom,you not only receive, but you give him joy; when you gaze with love upon his beauteous face, you not only receive comfort,butgive delight. Our praise, too, gives him joy, when from our hearts we sing his name, and when gratefully, though silently, we breathe a song up tohis throne. As princes are delighted with incense, so is Christ delighted with the praise of his people. And our gifts, too, delight him. As the son of our good Queen accepts rich tokens of kindness from the people of his land, so our Lord Jesusis charmed with the offerings of his people. He loves to see us lay our time, our talents,our substance upon his altar, not for the value of what we give, but for the sake of the motive from which the gift springs.He takes far more delight in what we do for him than our Queen's son could take in splendid arches, or in the glorious pageantryof yesterday. To Christ the shouts of his people are better than the cheers of the most enthusiastic populace, and to himthe lowly offerings of his saints are more acceptable than thousands of gold and silver. Forgive your enemy, and you makeChrist glad; distribute of your substance to the poor, and he rejoices; be the means of saving souls, and you give himto see of the travail of his soul; preach his gospel, and you are a sweet savor unto him; go among the ignorant and amongthe hopeless, and try to lift them up, and you have given him satisfaction. I tell you, brother, it is in your power thisvery day to break the alabaster box and pour the precious ointment on his head, as did the woman of old, whose memorial isto this dayset forth. You can anoint him above all his fellows with the oil of gladness.
I think I see a great procession. It is Jesus Christ riding alone through the tens of thousands of souls whom he has redeemedwith his own blood. I think I see him looking to the right hand and to the left as he rides along the centuries. See how everywindows of every age are crowded! Glorified spirits look down from the housetops of heaven: the Church militant looks up fromthe streets of earth, multitudes upon multitudes of souls that love him, and call him King, salutehim as their Redeemer. I notice that, as he goes along in this great procession, his eyes are bright with joy. We likedto see the Prince and Princess happy yesterday but their joy could be nothing compared with that of Christ as he rides alongin triumph. How the multitudes delight him; the ten thousand times ten thousand-who shall tell how many Christ has redeemed?Their number is beyond all human count; so many are they that, as they clap their hands and shout to his name, I hear a voicelike many waters, or like great thunders, while they cry "Hallelujah, Sweet Prince! ride on triumphantly! and reign forever and ever!" There is one thing Christ feels as he looks upon the crowd around him, which our Prince could not feel yesterday.He knows that everyone of these would lay down their lives for him. Of all those whom Jesus bought with blood; among thosewho are renewed in heart; there is not one who would not bleed for him. To the stake they walk, and sing amidst the flames.Tothe dungeon they go, and praise him while they rot in darkness. They are dragged at the heels of horses, they are stoned,they are sawn in sunder, they wander about in sheep-skins and in goat-skins, and they glory in all these things that theymay show their love to Christ. Every eye in the vast throng which gathers about the triumphal chariot of Christ beams withintense love to him; and when they shout, each one shouts louder than his fellow; each one in the whole throng feels he owesmore tothe great King than anyone else; there is something special about each face the King looks on, and as he remembers thespecial circumstances, he perceives the reason for that special love. Either it is much forgiven, or else it is much trialaverted, or much strength conferred by which to perform labor. I am sure that when you and I are in that throng loolking uponhim, we may truly say-
"Then loudest of the crowd I'll sing,
While heaven's resounding mansions ring
With shouts of sovereign grace."
Ye did well to applaud your Prince yesterday, but what had he ever done for you? What debt did you owe to him? Owed he notfar more to you? But our King as he rides along in the midst of the joyful hosts of the blood-bought, has this upon his mind-"Ibought all these souls with my blood." He recollects, as he looks upon them, where they would have been but for his grace,and the very pangs of hell must add joy to his soul, when he remembers that he saved them frompassing into the pit. He recollects, too, what they once were-how full of sin, what enemies to God, how they crucifiedhim, how they trampled on his precious blood, and now he sees them bowing, before him, too glad to catch but a glimpse ofhim as he rides by, too happy to be as the dust of his feet if he will but honor them by treading upon them that he mightbe lifted the higher. O my brethren, we love the Lord Jesus Christ, and our hearts give him a reception such as never wasaccorded toearthly Prince. Pile the arches! pile the arches! Let hearts pour forth their life-blood, if in no other way the bannerscan be dyed red! Strew the streets; strip off your garments if in no other way the pageant can be made illustrious! bringforth the royal diadem, and let every saint renounce wealth and comfort if by no other means Jesus can be crowned! Empty heaven,if by no other way Jesus can be attended with guards of honor. Come, all ye sons and daughters of his great family, and offeryourselves a living sacrifice, if there can be no other incense! We are all prepared-I speak for the sacramental hostof God's elect-we are all prepared by his grace to follow him through floods and through flames! We are prepared to give himall the honor that heart can conceive. We are prepared to kiss his feet as well as to crown his head. Bring forth the royaldiadem to-day and crown him Lord of all; and each day as he rides along, till he shall deliver up the kingdom to God, eventheFather, let him be crowned King of kings and Lord of lords.
III. Now for another text, but not another sermon. It is in the fourth verse of the first chapter of the Song of Solomon:-"WEWILL BE GLAD AND REJOICE IN THEE."
God has made the king glad, and his saints make him glad; let us be glad too. But let us mind that our gladness is of theright sort. "We will rejoice and be glad in thee." That man is glad in his farm; that other in his merchandise; that one yonder in his wealth; that woman in her jewels; thatother in her beauty; "We will rejoice and be glad in thee." But in what? We will rejoice, more especially, in his love to us. You remember Jesus Christsaid to Simon Peter, "Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these?" Interpreters read that two ways. Some thinkhe meant, "Lovest thou me more that thou lovest these nets, and this fishery, and this thine earthly calling and these thyfriends?" I think I hear Jesus Christ speaking this morning, and he says, "My people, I love you more than these." He pointsto spirits that once stood around his throne, angels that have sinned; they fell like lightning from heaven, and there theylie inflames, and Christ says, "I loved you more than these; I let these perish, but I saved you." Pointing to the kings andprinces of this world, the great, the mighty, and the learned men, and to all the nations that sit in darkness, he says, "Ilove you more than these; I gave Ethiopia and Seba for you." Then taking a higher range he joints to heaven. There sit theangels before the throne, and he says, "I loved you more than these; I left their company for yours." He bids you listen totheirharps and to their songs, and he says, "I loved you more than these; I left all these melodies that I might be able tomeet your groans." Yea, he points to his own throne, so bright with glory that mortal eyes scarce dare to rest upon it, andhe says, "I loved you more than these, for I left the glory of my throne that I might redeem you with my blood." Saint, willyou not join with me? Shall we not both say, "Savior, blessed be thine unexampled love! We rill rejoice and be glad in thee!"
But some interpreters read the text-"Lovest thou me more than these?"-"Lovest thou me more than these others love me?" Jesusspeaks to-day to us, "I have loved thee more than these; thy mother loved thee; strong were her pangs when thou wast born,and anxious her cares when she nursed thee at her bosom; but I have loved thee more than these, and thy brethren loved thee,and thy sisters; born of the same parents they watched over thee with delight, and they have beenready to help thee in thy time of need, but I have loved thee more than these: and thy husband loved thee, loved theeas his own soul, he has cherished thee, and has been ready to lay down his life to give thee back health when thou hast beensick; but I have loved thee more than these: thy children, too, have loved thee; they have climbed thy knee and smiled uponthee for all thy kindness to them, and they have strengthened thine old age, and thou hast leaned upon them, as upon a staff,whenthou hast been tottering with weakness; but I have loved thee more than these: and thou hast had a joyous companion, adear friend who has been with thee from thy youth up, and has never lifted his heel against thee; and thou hast had thineintimates and thy familars who went up to the house of God with thee, and talked cheerfully by the way, but I have loved theemore than these," I think I hear him say to me-"There are some in this congregation who would pluck out their own eyes togivethem to thee; they love thee, for thou art their spiritual father, but I have loved thee more than theses." And he pointsto all the good men that have ever tried to teach you, to all the comforters who have given you joy, to all the helpers thathave aided you on the road to immortality; and he says, "I have loved you more than these." Well, if his love be matchlesslike this, we will rejoice and be glad in him. I have nothing, else to rejoice in, the Lord knoweth. I cannot rejoice inmyself, there are so many sins and so many doubts; but I will rejoice and be glad in him if he loves me like this. Hehas finished the work for me, given me a perfect righteousness, washed me in his blood, taken off his robe to clothe me, givenhis life that he may make me live, entered the grave to bring me out of it, and said that I shall shortly be enthroned withhim above the sky. I will rejoice and be glad in him. When King Solomon was crowned, all the people rejoiced; and shall webemourners when Christ sits upon his throne? Let the heaviest heart begin to leap; and if you have to bear your burdensto-morrow, yet do throw them off to-day. "We will rejoice and be glad in thee." I should not like one Christian to go downthese aisles this morning without some light of heaven's brightness on his cheek-without some note of heaven's music in hisear. "Oh!" says the Christian, "Yes. I will; the cross is heavy, but I will hope beneath it; the furnace is hot, but I willsing init; the way is rough, but I will tread it with light footsteps, for I will rejoice and be glad in him who has loved meand given himself for me." Well, you see, there is a glad Christ in heaven, and here is a glad Church on earth; there is Christanointed by his Father, here are his people sharing that anointing; here is Christ giving you joy, and you giving Christ joy.Belt the world with happiness; fire zodiac with joy. Lift up the ladder of your songs; while the bottom rests on earth, letthe top reach to heaven; and ye angels of God, hold fellowship to-day with God and with us through the joy and peace whichGod the Father gives us, while we rejoice and are glad in him.
I would you all understood this subject, but some of you are strangers to it altogether! Remember, there is no joy anywherebut in Christ. It is all poor mockery which you get elsewhere. Jesus Christ is to be had, and whosoever believeth in him shallnot perish but have everlasting life.
The Lord give you his benediction, for Jesus' sake. Amen.