Sermon 745. The Unsearchable Riches Of christ
Delivered on Lord's-day Morning, APRIL 14, 1867, by
At the Agricultural Hall, Newington
"Unto me, who am less than the least of all saints, is this Grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchableriches of Christ."- Ephesians 3:8.
THE Apostle Paul felt it to be a great privilege to be allowed to preach the Gospel. He did not look upon his calling as adrudgery or a servitude, but he entered upon it with intense delight. All God's truly-sent servants have experienced muchdelight in the declaration of the Gospel of Jesus, and it is natural that they should, for their message is one of mercy andlove. If a herald were sent to a besieged city with the tidings that no terms of mercy would be offered, but that every rebelwithout exception should be put to death, I think he would go with lingering footsteps, stopping by the way to let out hisheavy heart in sobs and groans.
But if he were commissioned to go to the gates with the white flag to proclaim a free pardon, a general act of amnesty andoblivion, surely he would run as though he had wings on his heels. With a joyful alacrity he would tell his fellow citizensthe good pleasure of their merciful king! Heralds of salvation, you carry the most joyful of all messages to the sons of men!When the angels were commissioned for once to become preachers of the Gospel, and it was but for once, they made the sky ringat midnight with their choral songs, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men."
They did not moan out a dolorous dirge as of those proclaiming death, but the glad tidings of great joy were set to musicand announced with holy mirth and celestial song. "Peace on earth! Glory to God in the highest" is the joyous note of theGospel-and in such a key should it ever be proclaimed! We find the most eminent of God's servants frequently magnifying theiroffice as preachers of the Gospel. Whitfield was accustomed to call his pulpit his throne-and when he stood upon some risingknoll to preach to the thousands gathered in the open air-he was more happy than if he had assumed the imperial purple, forhe ruled the hearts of men more gloriously than does a king!
Carey was laboring in India and his son Felix had accepted the office of ambassador to the king of Burmah-Carey said, "Felixhas driveled into an ambassador"-as though he looked upon the highest earthly office as an utter degradation if for it theminister of the Gospel forsook his lofty vocation. Paul blesses God that this great Grace was given to him, that he mightpreach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ! He looked upon it not as toil, but as a Divine Grace.
Aspire to this office, young men whose souls are full of love to Jesus! Fired with sacred enthusiasm, covet earnestly thebest gifts, and out of love to Jesus try whether you cannot in your measure tell to your fellow men the story of the Cross.Men of zeal and ability, if you love Jesus, make the ministry your aim! Train your minds to it! Exercise your souls towardsit, and may God the Holy Spirit call you to it, that you also may preach the Word of reconciliation to the dying thousands.The laborers still are few-may the Lord of the harvest thrust you into His work.
But while Paul was thus thankful for his office, his success in it greatly humbled him. The fuller a vessel becomes the deeperit sinks in the water. A plenitude of Grace is a cure for pride. Those who are empty, and those especially who have littleor nothing to do, may indulge a fond conceit of their abilities because they are untried. But those who are called to thestern work of ministering among the sons of men will often mourn their weakness, and in the sense of that weakness and unworthinessthey will go before God and confess that they are less than the least of all saints.
I prescribe to any of you who seek humility, try hard work! If you world know your nothingness, attempt some great thing forJesus. If you would feel how utterly powerless you are apart from the living God, attempt especially the great work of proclaimingthe unsearchable riches of Christ! You will come back from the proclamation thankful that you
were permitted to attempt it, but crying, "Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm the Lord revealed?" And youwill know, as you never knew before, what a weak unworthy thing you are!
Although our Apostle thus knew and confessed his weakness, there is one thing which never troubled him-he was never perplexedas to the subject of his ministry. I do not find the Apostle in all his writings proposing to himself the question, "Whatshall I preach?" No, my Friends, he had been taught in the college of Christ, and had thoroughly learned his one Subject,so that preferring it beyond all else, he said, with solemn decision, "I determined not to know any thing among you, saveJesus Christ, and Him crucified." From his first sermon to his last, when he laid down his neck upon the block to seal histestimony with his blood, Paul preached Christ, and nothing but Christ!
He lifted up the Cross, and extolled the Son of God who bled on it. His one and only calling here below was to cry, "Beholdthe Lamb! Behold the Lamb of God which takes away the sin of the world." I pause, to ask, on my own account, the prayers ofGod's people yet again, that the Holy Spirit may be my Helper this morning. O deny not my earnest request! I call the attentionof you all to this great master subject which engrossed all the powers and passions of such a one as Paul. And I shall begyou to notice first, a glorious Person mentioned-the Lord Jesus Christ. Secondly, unsearchable riches spoken of. And thirdly,which shall make our practical conclusion-a royal intention implied-the intention which Jesus had in His heart when He badeHis servants preach His unsearchable riches.
I. First then, may the Spirit of God strengthen us in our weakness while we try to speak upon THIS GLORIOUS PERSON, the LordJesus Christ. The Lord Jesus Christ was the first promise of God to the sons of men after the Fall. When our first parentshad been banished from the Garden all was dark before them. There was not a star to gild the cheerless midnight of their guiltyand despairing souls until their God appeared to them, and said in mercy, "The Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent'shead."
That was the first star which God set in the sky of man's hope. Years rolled after years and the faithful looked up to itwith comfort. That one promise stayed the soul of many a faithful one so that he died in hope, not having received the promise,but having seen it afar off, and having rejoiced in its beams. Whole centuries rolled away, but the Seed of the woman didnot come. Messiah, the great bruiser of the serpent's head, did not appear. Why did He tarry? The world was foul with sinand full of woe! Where was the Shiloh who should bring it peace? Graves were dug by millions. Hell was filled with lost spirits,but where was the Promised One, mighty to save?
He was waiting till the fullness of time should come. He had not forgotten, for He had God's will in His inmost heart. Hisdesire to save souls was consuming His heart. He was but waiting until the word should be given. And when it was given, lo,He came delighting to do the Father's will! Do you seek him? Behold, in Bethlehem's manger Emmanuel is born, God is with us!Before your eyes He lies who was both the Son of Mary, and the Son of the Blessed! An Infant, and yet Infinite, of a spanlong, and yet filling all eternity, wrapped in swaddling cloths, and yet too great for space to hold
Thirty and more years He lived on earth. The latter part of His life was spent in a ministry full of suffering to Himself,but filled with good to others. "We beheld His glory, the glory as of the Only Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and truth."Never man spoke like that Man, He was a Man on fire with love. A Man without human imperfections, but with all human sympathies.A Man without the sins of manhood, but with something more than the sorrows of common manhood piled upon Him. There was neversuch a Man as He, so great, so glorious in His life, and yet He is the pattern and type of manhood. He reached His greatestwhen He stooped the lowest. He was seized by His enemies one night when wrestling in prayer. He was betrayed by the man whohad eaten bread with Him. He was dragged before tribunal after tribunal through that long and sorrowful night and wrongfullyaccused of blasphemy and sedition.
They scourged Him, though none of His works deserved a blow! But still the plowers made deep furrows on His back. They mockedHim. Though He merited the homage of all intelligent beings, yet they spat in His face, and smote Him with their mailed fists,and said, "Prophesy, who is he that smote You?" He was made lower than a slave. Even the abject opened their mouths with laughterat Him, and the slaves scoffed at Him. To end the scene, they took Him through the streets of the Jerusalem over which Hehad wept-they hounded Him along the Via Dolorosa, out through the gate, to the mount of doom.
I think I see Him, with eyes all red with weeping He turns to the matrons of Salem, and cries, "Daughters of Jerusalem, weepnot for Me, but for yourselves, and for your children." Can you see Him bearing that heavy Cross, ready to
faint beneath the burden? Can you endure to see Him, when, having reached the little mound outside the city, they hurl Himon His back, and drive the cruel iron through His hands and feet? Can you bear to see the spectacle of blood and anguish asthey lift Him up between Heaven and earth, made a Sacrifice for the sin of His people?
My words shall be few, for the vision is too sad for language to depict. He bleeds, He thirsts, He groans, He cries-at lastHe dies-a death whose unknown griefs are not to be imagined, and were they known would be beyond expression by human tongue.
Now, it was the history of the Crucifixion which Paul delighted to preach-Christ crucified was his theme-this old, old story,which you have heard from your childhood, the story of the Son of God who loved us and gave Himself for us. You all know thatour Lord, after He had been taken down from the Cross and laid in the tomb, lingered there but a few short hours. And thenon the third day rose again from the dead, the same, yet not the same-a Man, but no more despised and rejected. He communedwith His servants in a familiar and yet glorious manner for forty days, and cheered and comforted their hearts. And then,from the top of Olivet, in the sight of the company, He ascended to His Father's Throne.
Follow Him with your hearts if you cannot with your eyes. Behold Him as the angels meet Him, and-
"Bring His chariot from on high, To bear Him to His Throne. Clap their triumphant hands, and cry, 'The glorious work is done.'"
There He sits-faith sees Him this very day-at the right hand of God, even the Father, pleading with authority for His people.He rules Heaven, and earth, and Hell, for the keys thereof swing at His waist-waiting till, on the flying cloud, He shalldescend to judge the quick and dead, and distribute the vengeance or the reward. It was this glorious Person of whom Pauldelighted to speak!
He preached the doctrines of the Gospel, but he did not preach them apart from the Person of Christ. Do not many preachersmake a great mistake by preaching doctrine instead of preaching the Savior? Certainly the doctrines are to be preached, butthey ought to be looked upon as the robes and vestments of the Man Christ Jesus, and not as complete in themselves. I lovejustification by faith-I hope I shall never have a doubt about that grand Truth of God! But the cleansing efficacy of theprecious blood appears to me to be the best way of putting it. I delight in sanctification by the Spirit-but to be conformedto the image of Jesus is a still sweeter and more forcible way of viewing it.
The doctrines of the Gospel are a golden throne upon which Jesus sits as king-not a hard, cold stone rolled at the door ofthe sepulcher in which Christ is hidden. Brethren, I believe this to be the mark of God's true minister that he preaches Christas his one choice and delightful theme. In the old romance they tell us that at the gate of a certain noble hall there hunga horn, and none could blow that horn but the true heir to the castle and its wide domains. Many tried it. They could makesweet music on other instruments. They could wake the echoes by other bugles. But that horn was mute, let them blow as theymight. At last, the true heir came, and when he set his lips to the horn, shrill was the sound and indisputable his claim.
The true minister is he who can preach Christ. Let him preach anything else in the world, he has not proved his calling, butif he shall preach Jesus and the resurrection, he is in the Apostolic succession! If Christ crucified is the great delightof his soul, the very marrow of his teaching, the fatness of his ministry-he has proved his calling as an ambassador of Christ.Brethren, the Christian minister should be like these golden spring flowers which we are so glad to see. Have you observedthem when the sun is shining? They open their golden cups and each one whispers to the great sun, "Fill me with your beams!"But when the sun is hidden behind a cloud, where are they? They close their cups and droop their heads.
So should the Christian feel the sweet influences of Jesus-so especially should the Christian minister be subject to his Lord.Jesus must be his Sun and he must be the flower which yields itself to the Sun of Righteousness. Happy would it be for usif our hearts and our lips could become like Anacreon's harp which was wedded to one subject and would learn no other. Hewished to sing of the sons of Atreus, and the mighty deeds of Hercules, but his harp resounded love alone. And when he wouldhave sung of Cadmus, his harp refused-it would sing of love alone. Oh, to speak of Christ alone- to be tied and bound to thisone theme forever-to speak alone of Jesus and of the amazing love of the glorious Son of God, who, "though He was rich, yetfor our sakes became poor." This is the subject which is both "seed for the sower,
and bread for the eater." This is the live coal for the lips of the preacher, and the master key to the heart of the hearer.This is the tune for the minstrels of earth, and the song for the harpers of Heaven! Lord, teach it to us more and more, andwe will tell it out to others!
Before I leave this subject I feel bound to make two or three remarks. You will perceive that the Apostle Paul preached theunsearchable riches of Christ, not the dignity of manhood, or the grandeur of human nature. He preached not man, but man'sRedeemer. Let us do the same. Moreover, he did not preach up the clergy and the church, but Christ alone. Some of the gentlemenwho claim to be in the Apostolic succession could hardly have the effrontery to claim to be the successors of Paul.
I believe that our modern "priests" of Rome are in the Apostolic succession-I have never doubted that they are the linealsuccessors of Judas Iscariot who betrayed his Master! But no other Apostle would endure them for so much as an hour. If Paulhad been their leader would he have preached the unsearchable riches of priestcraft as they do? Do not they preach up theirown priestly power? Did Paul do this? Is not their one great theme the unsearchable riches of baptism? The unsearchable richesof the Eucharist, the blessed bread and the blessed wine? The unsearchable riches of their confession and absolution? Theunsearchable riches of their albs, and their dalmatics, and their chasubles and I know not what else of the rags of the Whoreof Babylon?
A fine day is this in which we are to go back to the superstitions of the Dark Ages-so dark that our forefathers could notbear them-and for the unsearchable cunning of priests are to give up the unsearchable riches of Christ! We are told that theReformation was a mistake-but we tell these false priests to their faces that they are liars and know not the Truth of God!Beloved, Paul cared nothing for priestcraft! And this Book has not a word in it in favor of priestcraft. With Paul and withthis Book all believers in Jesus are priests, and God's only clergy.
Paul never posted bills upon the walls of Jerusalem, with black crosses on them, warning men that they would not be able tomeet Christ at the Day of Judgment if they did not keep Good Friday! But I will tell you what Paul did-he wrote to the Galatians,"You observe days, months, and times, and years. I am afraid for you, lest I have bestowed upon you labor in vain."
This whole abomination of ritualism was the utter abhorrence of the Apostle. In its first form of Judaism it stirred up hiswhole soul with indignation. It brought the blood into his cheek. He never was mightier in denouncing anything than when dealingheavy blows at ceremonialism! He said, "Neither circumcision avails anything, nor uncircumcision, but faith that works bylove." Paul preached up no priest whether he lived at Rome or Canterbury! He exalted no class of men arrogantly pretendingto have power to save. He would have been out of all patience with a set of simpletons decked out as Guys [effigy of Guy Fawkesparaded and burned on Guy Fawkes Day] and dressed up as if they were meant to amuse children in a nursery! He never taughtthe worship of these calves-Jesus alone was his subject, and the unsearchable riches of His Grace.
Mark you, on the other hand, Paul did not preach up the unsearchable riches of philosophy, as some do. "Yes," say some, "Wemust please this thinking age, this thoughtful people. We must educate a people who will reject all testimony because theywill not be credulous-who will believe nothing but what they can understand, because, indeed, their understanding is so amazinglyclear, so perfect, so all but divine!" Not so, the Apostle. He would have said to these philosophical gentlemen, "Stand away.I have nothing at all that can make me kindred with you. I preach the unsearchable riches of Christ, not the uncertaintiesof philosophical speculation! I give the people something to believe, something tangible to lay hold of, not superstitious,it is true, but Divinely accredited! Not concocted by the wisdom of man, but revealed by the wisdom of God."
My dear Friends, we must come back to the Gospel of Paul, and may God bring all His ministering servants more and more clearlyback to it that we may have nothing to preach but that which clusters around the Cross! Nothing but that which glows and glistenslike a sacred halo of light around the head of the Crucified One-that we may lift up nothing but Jesus, and say, "God forbidthat we should glory, save in the Cross of our Lord Jesus Christ."
II. Secondly, Paul preached THE UNSEARCHABLE RICHES OF CHRIST. Paul had no stinted Savior to present
to a few. No narrow-hearted Christ to be the head of a clique. No weak Redeemer who could pardon only those little offenderswho scarcely needed it. He preached a great Savior to the great masses! A great Savior to great sinners. He preached the Conquerorwith dyed garments, traveling in the greatness of His strength, whose name is "mighty to save."
Let us enquire in what respects we may ascribe to our Lord Jesus the possession of unsearchable riches. Our answer is, first,He has unsearchable riches of love to sinners as they are. Jesus so loved the souls of men that we can only use the "so,"but we cannot find the word to match it. In the French Revolution there was a young man condemned to the guillotine and shutup in one of the prisons. He was greatly loved by many, but there was one who loved him more than all put together.
How do we know this? It was his own father, and the love he bore his son was proved in this way: when the lists were called,the father, whose name was exactly the same as his son's, answered to the name and the father rode in the gloomy wagon outto the place of execution. And his head rolled beneath the axe instead of his son's, a victim to mighty love. See here animage of the love of Christ to sinners-for thus Jesus died for the ungodly, viewed as such. If they had not been ungodly,neither they nor He had needed to have died. If they had not sinned, there would have been no need for a suffering Savior,but Jesus proved His boundless love in, "that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us."
Your name was in the condemned list, my fellow Sinner, but, if you believe in Jesus, you shall find that your name is thereno longer, for Christ's name is put in your place, and you shall learn that He suffered for you, the Just for the unjust,that He might bring you to God. Is not this the greatest wonder of Divine love, that it should be set upon us as sinners?I can understand God's loving reformed sinners and repenting sinners-but here is the glory of it-"God commends His love towardus, in that while we were yet sinners [yet sinners!] Christ died for us." O my Hearers, from my inmost heart I pray that thisboundless wealth of love on the part of Jesus to those who were rebels and enemies may win your hearts to love the heavenlyLover in return!
In the next place, Jesus has riches of pardon for those who repent of their sins. My Lord Jesus, by His death, has becomeimmensely rich in pardoning power-so rich, indeed, that no guiltiness can possibly transcend the efficacy of His preciousblood. There is one sin which He never will forgive-there is but one-and I am convinced that you have not committed that sinagainst the Holy Spirit if you have any feeling of repentance or desire towards God. For the sin which is unto death bringsdeath with it to the conscience, so that when once committed the man ceases to feel. If you desire pardon, Sinner, there isno reason why you should not have it, and have it now!
The blood of Christ can wash out blasphemy, adultery, fornication, lying, slander, perjury, theft, murder. Though you haveraked in the very kennels of Hell till you have blackened yourself to the color of a devil, yet, if you will come to Christand ask mercy, He will absolve you from all sin! Do but wash in the bath which He has filled with blood and "though your sinsare as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool." Do not misunderstandme, I mean just this-that the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not meant exclusively for you respectable people who always appearto be so religious-but for you who are irreligious! For you who are not even moral, or sober, or honest!
I tell you the Gospel of Christ is meant for the scum of the population! It is meant for the lowest of the low, for the worstof the worst. There is no den in London where the Savior cannot work! There is no loathsome haunt of sin too foul for Himto cleanse. The heathen dreamed of their Hercules that he cleansed the Augean stables by turning a river through them, andso washing away the filth of ages. If your heart is such a stable, Christ is greater than the mightiest Hercules- He can causethe river of His cleansing blood to flow right through your heart, and your iniquities, though they are a heap of abominations,shall be put away forever! Riches of love to sinners as such, and riches of pardon to sinners who repent are stored up inthe Lord Jesus.
Again, Christ has riches of comfort for all that mourn. Have I the happiness of having before me some who mourn before theLord? Blessed are you, for you shall be filled! What is the cause of your weeping? Is it your sin? Christ has a handkerchiefthat can wipe away such tears. He can blot out your sins like a cloud, and like a thick cloud your iniquities. Do but cometo Him, and your deepest sorrow shall disappear beneath the influence of His sympathetic love. Are you sorrowful because youhave lost a friend? He will be a Friend to you. Have you been deceived and betrayed? My Master can meet that craving of yournature after friendship and sympathy. Confide in Him, and He will never forsake you.
Oh, I cannot tell you how rich He is in consolation, but the Holy Spirit can tell you. If you do but get Jesus, you shallfind, as Bernard used to say, that He is "honey to the mouth, music to the ear, and Heaven to the heart." Win Christ, andyou shall want nothing beyond Him. Lay hold of Him, and you shall say with the Apostle, "I have learned in whatever stateI am, therewith to be content," for He has said, "I will never leave you, nor forsake you."
My Master's unsearchable riches are also of another kind. Do you thirst for knowledge? Jesus has riches of wisdom! The desireto know has sent men roving over all the world, but he who finds Jesus may stay at home and be wise. If you sit at His feet,you shall know what Plato could not teach you, and what Socrates never learned. When the old school men could not answer anddefend a proposition, they were apt to say, "I will go to Aristotle: he shall help me out." If you do but learn of Christ,He shall help you out of all difficulties-and that which is most useful for your soul to know-the knowledge which will lastyou in eternity, Christ shall teach you!
Think not that the Gospel of Christ, because it is simple, is therefore mere child's play. Oh, no! It has that in it whichan angel's intellect unillumined of the Holy Spirit might fail to master. The highest ranks of seraphim, still lost in wonder,gaze upon it. Come to my Master and you shall be made wise unto salvation. Let me not weary you with so great a message. PerhapsI tell it badly, but the matter of it is worthy of your ears, and worthy of your hearts. My Master has riches of happinessto bestow upon you. After all, he is the rich man who wears heart's-ease in his button hole. The man who can say, "I haveenough," is richer than the peer of the realm who is discontented.
Believe me, my Lord can make you to lie down in green pastures, and lead you beside still waters. There is no music like themusic of His pipe when He is the Shepherd and you are the sheep, and you lie down at His feet. There is no love like His-neitherearth or Heaven can match it. If you did but know it, you would prize it beyond all mortal joys, and say with our poet-
"Such as find You find such sweetness Deep, mysterious, and unknown. Far above all worldly pleasures, If they were to meetin one; MyBeloved,
Over the mountains haste away." I speak experimentally. I have had more joy in half-an-hour's communion with Christ than Ihave found in months of other comforts. I have had much to make me happy-many successes and smiles of Providence which havecheered and comforted my heart. But they are all froth on the cup, mere bubbles-the foam of life, and not its true depthsof bliss. To know Christ and to be found in Him-oh, this is life! This is joy! This is marrow and fatness, wine on the leeswell refined! My Master does not treat His servants churlishly. He gives to them as a king gives to a king. He gives themtwo Heavens-a Heaven below in serving Him here, and a Heaven above in delighting in Him forever.
And now I shall close this poor talk of mine about these priceless riches by saying that the unsearchable riches of Christwill be best known in eternity. The riches of Christ are not so much to be enjoyed here as there. He will give you by theroad and on the way to Heaven all your needs. Your place of defense shall be the munitions of rocks, your bread shall be givenyou, and your water shall be sure. But it is there, there, THERE, where you shall hear the song of them that triumph, theshout of them that feast!
My dear Hearer, if you get Christ you have obtained riches which you can take with you in the hour of death. The rich manclutched his bags of money, and as he laid them on his heart, he murmured, "They will not do, they will not do. Take themaway!" If you receive Jesus into your heart, He will be death's best antidote. When your disembodied spirit quits this poorclay carcass, as it must, what will your silver and gold do for you then? What will your farms and your broad acres do foryou then? You must leave them all behind. Even if men buy you a coffin of gold, or bury you in a tomb of marble, yet of whatgood will that be? But oh, if you have Christ, you can fly up to Heaven, your Treasure, and there you shall be rich to allthe intents of bliss world without end!
Now, dear Friends, if I could have spoken as I would have spoken, I would have done so, but the subject would have been thesame. Paul preached the Gospel better than I do, but even he could not preach a better Gospel. Let me close this point bya few words. My Master has such riches that you cannot count them! You cannot guess them, much less can you convey their fullnessin words. They are unsearchable! You may look, and search, and weigh, but Christ is a greater Christ than you think Him tobe when your thoughts are at their greatest. My Master is more able to pardon than you to sin! He is more able to forgivethan you to transgress. My Master is more ready to supply than you are to ask, and ten thousand times more prepared to savethan you are to be saved!
Never tolerate low thoughts of my Lord Jesus. Your highest estimates will dishonor Him. When you put the crown on His head,you will only crown Him with silver when He deserves gold. When you sing the best of your songs, you will
only give Him poor, discordant music compared with what He deserves. But oh, do believe in Him, that He is a great Christ,a mighty Savior! Great Sinner, come and do Him honor by trusting in Him as a great Savior! Come with your great sins and yourgreat cares, and your great needs! Come, and welcome! Come to Him now, and the Lord will accept you, and accept you withoutupbraiding you.
III. Lastly, there must have been A ROYAL INTENTION in the heart of Christ in sending out Paul to preach of His unsearchableriches because every man must have a motive for what he does. And beyond all question, Jesus Christ has a motive. Did youever hear of a man who employed a number of persons to go about to proclaim his riches, and call hundreds of people together,and thousands, as on this occasion, simply to tell them that So-and-So was very rich? Why, the crowds would say, "What isthat to us?"
But if at the conclusion, the messenger could say, "But all these riches he presents to you, and whoever among you shall desireto be made rich, can be enriched now by him." Ah, then you would say, "Now we see the sense of it! Now we perceive the graciousdrift of it all." Now, my Lord Jesus Christ is very strong, but all that strength is pledged to help a poor weak sinner toenter into Heaven. My Lord Christ is a great king, and He reigns with irresistible power-but all that Sovereign power He swearsto give to Believers to help them to reign over their sins. My Lord Jesus is as full of merit as the sea is full of salt,but every atom of that merit He vows to give to sinners who will confess that they have no merits of their own, and will trustin Him!
Yes, and once more, my Lord Christ is so glorious that the very angels are not bright in His Presence, for He is the Sun,and they are but as twinkling stars. And all this glory He will give you, poor Sinner, and make you glorious in His gloryif you will but trust Him! There is a motive, then, on our Lord's part for bidding us preach a full Christ. I think I heara whisper somewhere-there is a poor heart standing crowded in the aisle, and it is saying to itself, "Ah, I am full of sin.I am weak. I am lost. I have no merit." My dear Hearer, you do not need any merit, nor any strength, nor any goodness in yourself,for Jesus presents you with an abundance of all these in Himself!
I will not care whether I have money in my own purse or not, if I have a kind friend who says, "All that I have is yours."If I may go and draw upon him whenever I please for whatever I wish, I will not desire to be independent of him, but I willlive upon his fullness. Poor Sinner, you must do the same. You do not need merits or strength apart from Christ. Take my Master,and He will be enough for you while you shall joyfully sing, "Christ is my All."
Two or three words, then. The first is this-How rich those must be who have Christ for a Friend! Will you not seek to be friendswith Him? If it is true that all Christ has He gives to His people-and this is asserted over and over again in this Book-then,oh, how unspeakably blessed must those be who can say, "My Beloved is mine, and I am His!" They who get Christ to be theirown, properly are like the man who, having long eaten of fruit from a certain tree, was no longer satisfied with having thefruit, but he needed take up the tree and plant it in his own garden!
Happy those who have Christ planted as the Tree of Life in the soil of their hearts! You not only have His Grace, and Hislove, and His merit, but you have HIMSELF! He is all your own. Oh, that sweet word, Jesus is mine! Jesus is mine! All thatthere is in His Humanity, in His Deity, in His living and in His dying-in His reigning and in His second Advent-all is mine,for Christ is mine!
How foolish, on the other hand, must those be who will not have Christ when He is to be had for the asking! Who prefer thebaubles and the bubbles of this world, and let the solid gold of eternity go by! O Fools! You play with shadows and miss thesubstance! You dig and toil, and cover your faces with sweat, and lose your nightly rest to get this world's fleeting good,while you neglect Him who is the eternal good! O Fools and slow of heart! You court this harlot world, with her painted face,when the beauties of my Master are infinitely more rich and rare! Oh, if you did but know Him! If you could but see His unspeakableriches you would fling your toys to the wind and follow after Him with all your heart and soul.
"But may I have Him?" asks one. May you, indeed? Who is to say no to you? Did not you hear the sweet notes of the hymn justnow, "Come and welcome. Come and welcome"? When Heaven's big bell rings, it always sounds forth that silver note for sinners-"Comeand welcome! Come and welcome!" Leave your sins, leave your follies, leave your self-righteousness! Jesus Christ stands atthe open door of Divine Grace more willing to receive you than you are to be received by Him. "Come and welcome, come andwelcome." At the top of the Hospice of St. Bernard, in the storm, when
the snow is falling fast, the monks ring the great bell and when the way cannot be seen, the traveler can almost hear theway to the house of refuge across the snowy waste.
So would I ring that bell this morning. Poor lost Traveler, with your sins and your fears blowing cold into your face, "Comeand welcome. Come and welcome," to a Savior once dead and buried for you, but now risen and pleading at the right hand ofGod! If you cannot see your way, yet hear it. "Hear, and your soul shall live. And He will make an Everlasting Covenant withyou, even the sure mercies of David." You need nothing but Christ, dear Heart. You need pump up no tears of repentance tohelp Christ, for He will give you repentance if you seek it of Him. You must come to Him to get repentance! You must not seekthat Gospel blessing anywhere but at the Cross.
You will need no Baptisms and Lord's Suppers to rely upon. It will be your duty as a Believer to profess your faith in Himand to remember Him at His table, but these things will not help your salvation. You will be saved by Jesus and by Him alone.You need experience no terrors. You need undergo no preparation. Christ is ready to receive you now. Like the surgeon whosedoor is open for every accident that may occur. Like the great hospitals on our side the river, where, let the case be whatit may, the door swings open the moment an entrance is demanded-such is my Master. Unsearchable riches are in Him, thoughunsearchable poverty may be in you-
"Let not conscience make you linger,
Nor of fitness fondly dream,
All the fitness He requires,
Is to feel your need of Him-
This He gives you,
'Tis His Spirit's rising beam."
All this week long I have been fretting and worrying because I cannot preach to you as I wish. And when each of my sermons,here, has been over, I have wished that I could preach it again in a more earnest and fervent manner. But what can I do? Omy Hearers, I can preach Christ to you, but I cannot preach you to Christ! I can tell you that if you trust Him you shallbe saved. I can declare to you that as the Son of God now risen He is able to save to the uttermost them that come to Him-butI cannot make you come!
Yet, I thank God that since last Sunday I have heard of some who have come! I have heard good news of some who, by the HolySpirit's power, have believed in Jesus! Are there no more eyes that will look at my Master's wounds? Are there no more heartsthat will fall in love with my Master's beauties? Must I come a wooing for Him, and get so small a return? Must it be onesand twos out of the 20,000 of you? God forbid it! God send us a greater rate of fruit than this! A hundred-fold harvest toa hundred-fold congregation! Pray, Believers, pray for a blessing! Pray that God may strike these lips dumb before next Sundayif He will do more good by some other preacher than by me!
Ask nothing for me, but ask large things for my Lord, for the Crucified One! Pray that these great gatherings may not be withouta permanent result which shall tell upon the impiety of this city! Yes, and tell upon the piety of it, too, slaying the first,and stimulating the second! God send forth the Spirit of His Grace, and unto Him shall be the praise, world without end. Amen.