Sermon 775. The Great Attraction
Delivered on Lord's-day Morning, OCTOBER 13, 1867, by
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"And I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me."- John 12:32.
THE death of our Lord Jesus Christ must have appeared to His Apostles to be an unmitigated misfortune. No doubt they conceivedthat it would be the death of the cause, a heavy blow and a deep discouragement. Smite the Shepherd and the sheep will bescattered. Strike the Head and what shall become of the members? But our Lord instructed His disciples that this, which seemedso dreary a circumstance, was really the most hopeful of all the points of His history. He assured them that by His deathHe would totally defeat the powers of darkness. "Now is the judgment of this world: now shall the prince of this world becast out."
He comforted them yet further by the declaration that His Crucifixion, instead of driving men away from His doctrine, wouldgive to that doctrine a peculiar luster and a special charm. The Cross of Christ, with all its ignominy and shame, is no hindranceto His heavenly teaching but is, in fact, a matchless loadstone by which men are attracted to it. There is such a thing as"the offense of the Cross," and that offense has not ceased. But listen to the Master's words, "I, if I am lifted up fromthe earth, will draw all men unto Me." The attractive power of the Gospel lies mainly in the crucifixion of the Gospel's greatTeacher.
The text needs, perhaps, to be illustrated by doctrines which He concealed within itself, and by facts with which it is connected.The Prince of Darkness had drawn away the sons of men by the fascination of flesh-pleasing errors, flattering delusions, alluringpleasures, glittering pomp and outward show. By these he drew all men unto him. The devil led men captive at his will, seducingthem from bad to worse. He enticed poor foolish man to his own destruction-as fish are taken by the bait, as birds are luredby decoys-and as ships are wrecked by false lights.
An enormous whirlpool of evil had for many an age sucked into its vortex multitudes who were sailing upon the sea of life.All over the ocean of society the influence of this monstrous whirlpool of evil was felt, more or less powerfully, so thatthose who escaped from its horrible depths were, nevertheless, much impeded and diverted in their course-and found it hardto reach the desired haven. Even up to the very mouth of the port of peace, the power of this great whirlpool was evidentlyfelt, drawing all men as it could.
Now the Lord Jesus came into the world to produce a counter-attraction, to set in motion a counter-current. Lo, I saw in visiona mysterious hand reaching out of a mighty all-attracting magnet from the sky! It was of so marvelous a power that vesselswhich were being whirled towards their destruction, were, many of them, suddenly diverted in their course and drawn at onceto the magnet and to safety! While others, which did not feel its power to the same saving extent, and became ultimately victimsto evil, were nevertheless slowed in their course for awhile, hindered in their desperate folly and prevented from perishingso hastily as they would have done.
Alas, many of them tugged at the oar, or hoisted all sail to escape from the magnet! And so, as they willfully destroyed themselves,they did sad despite to their conscience and perished the more miserably because they despised the great salvation. Just asevil draws all of us, more or less, so Jesus Christ more or less draws all men who hear the Gospel. Some men He draws untoHimself by the effectual drawings of His Divine Grace. These are the "all" here meant-some of all classes, the all for whomhe shed His blood. But where His name is preached, even those who do not believe in Him feel some of the influence which Christianityspreads abroad throughout society.
His name leavens the lump. The sweet perfume of His spikenard fills all the house where He is sitting. Bent upon institutingthe new and heavenly attraction which should overcome the powers of evil, our Lord Jesus came into this world to be liftedup from the earth-not for Himself-but for the sins of others. Down from the heights of Glory He de-
scended, moved by disinterested love. Not that He had anything to gain, but that He might redeem us from our iniquity, andsave us from our fearful perils.
On the Cross He effected the redemption of His people. Nailed there in ignominy, in pain, desertion and death, He worked outredemption for His chosen. But men stood at a distance from their best Friend. That is implied in the text. Why should theyneed to be drawn to Jesus if they were already near to Him? Some stood so far away from the dying Savior that they made Hisdeath the subject of mockery, and even found subjects for jest in His dying groans and pangs. All of us were alienated fromGod and from Christ, who is God's express Image. Our evil hearts had piled great mountains between us and the Lord Jesus Christ.By nature we do not appreciate His love. We do not render to Him the gratitude which He deserves. We pass by as though itwere nothing to us that Jesus should die.
Moreover, since man does not come of himself even when he perceives the gracious errand of the Lord Jesus, our heavenly Friendcondescends to draw him. The Truth of God is latent in the text-that men not only are at a distance, but that they will notcome to Christ of themselves. The Lord never does unnecessary work. We should never hear of Christ's drawing us if we wouldrun without drawing! But the fact is that we stand away from Christ and love the distance. Yes, we make the gulf still wider,developing our original hatred to that which is good by adding the force of habit to our original depravity.
Therefore, since men are at a distance and will not come, the Crucified Savior becomes, Himself, the attraction to men. Hecasts out from Himself bands of love and cords of gracious constraint-and binding these around human hearts He draws themto Himself by an invincible constraint of Divine Grace. Sinners by nature will not come to Jesus, though His charms mighteven attract the blind and arouse the dead. They will not melt, though surely such beauties might dissolve the adamant, andkindle affection in rocks of ice! But Jesus has a wondrous power about Him to woo and win the sons of men. As out of His mouthgoes a two-edged sword, so out of His heart proceed chains of gold by which He binds thousands of willing captives to Himself.
This attraction, according to the text, is to be found operating upon all classes, nations, ranks, and characters of men-itis not to be excluded from remote lands, or dens of infamy nearer home. Here and there kings and princes have believinglyyielded to its power, while multitudes of the poor have had the Gospel preached to them and have received it in the love ofit. I trust there are many of us here, belonging, as we do, to different grades and classes of society, who can verify thetruth of this text, "I, if I am lifted up, will draw all men unto Me." The young, the old, the rich, the poor, the intellectual,the learned, and the ignorant-some of all sorts does Jesus draw, and thus He earns to Himself the glory of being the universalattraction-the attraction to which all hearts must yield when He draws effectually by His Grace.
Having thus skimmed over the text and endeavored to bring before you the thoughts which it kindles, we shall now speak uponwhat it is in the Cross which becomes attractive to men. Secondly we shall have a word to say concerning the direction inwhich Christ Crucified draws. And thirdly, with what power He draws.
I. First, dear Friends, WHAT IS THE ATTRACTION OF JESUS CRUCIFIED? It is asserted by our Savior that when lifted up from theearth He would draw all men-He intended by this His Crucifixion-for John tells us in the 33rd verse, "This He said signifyingwhat death He should die." Let it not be forgotten, then, that the power of the Gospel lies in that which certain personscount to be its weakness and reproach. Christ dying for sinners is the great attraction of Christianity!
Certain preachers have missed all in forgetting this. What is Socinianism but an attempt to have Christ without His Cross?Those who sat around the Cross, and said, "Let Him come down from the Cross and we will believe Him," were the true ancestorsof modern Unitarians who respect the Character of our Lord, and highly esteem Him as a teacher, but reject Him utterly asa Substitute, an Atonement and a Sacrifice for sin. They fondly dream that if they teach His holy life without His ignominiousdeath, men will be attracted to Him. Such has not proved to be the case. "I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw allmen unto Me" is true, and shall be true! But Christ merely as a wise teacher, and an eminent example has not drawn the sonsof men who are too far fallen to be charmed into holiness by a mere exhibition of moral excellence, however perfect.
Men need not so much a portrait of a man in health as medicine to remove their own diseases. It has been thought by some,of late, that the proper way to draw men to the Gospel is to preach the future glory of Christ. This, indeed, is to be preachedin its place, for every part of Divine Truth should hold its position in the Gospel harmony. But it is all a mis-
take, and a very great and terrible mistake, too, for men to put the glorified Savior into the place of the crucified Savior.You may preach the millennium-you may extol as much as you will the magnificence of those happy days when He shall reign fromthe river even to the ends of the earth-but you will never make men Christians that way! I have heard it said that the Jewswill be converted to Christianity by the doctrine of the Second Coming since the second advent is to us precisely what theythink the first advent should be.
But it is not so, Beloved. The only effectual attraction lies where the texts puts it, "I if I am lifted up." The Savior Crucifieddraws the Jew as well as the Gentile. The sons of Israel shall not be converted by the doctrine of a glorified Savior, butby the Man of Sorrows who was despised and rejected of men-the Messiah who was cut off, but not for Him-self-the Sacrificeoffered outside the gate. And from where is this supreme attraction of the Cross? I answer that by the power of the Holy Spiritmany have been drawn to Christ by the disinterested love which His death manifests. Does that Man on yonder tree die withoutthe necessity of death out of pure love-out of pure love to those who hated Him? Out of love to the very men who fastenedHim to the cruel wood?
Had He nothing to gain? Was it charity in all its perfection-nothing but the milk-white lily of love? Was there nothing elsebut charity that could bind Him to the tree? Nothing! "You know the Grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich,yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might be rich." "Scarcely for a righteous man will one die:yet perhaps for a good man some would even dare to die. But God commends His love toward us in that, while we were yet sinners,Christ died for us."
Many a heart has been so charmed with this that it has run to Christ, drawn by the silken bonds of love! Do not some of youfeel as if you could love the dear Lover of souls this morning? Do not even my feeble descriptions of His Godlike work enticeyou? Oh, do you not feel that you must love One who loved so truly when there was no benefit for Him to receive in return?Why I have thought that if Jesus had never died for me, I yet must love Him for having died for others! And if I had no sharein the benefits which His passion procured, yet I have sometimes felt as if, out of admiration for "love so amazing, so Divine,"I must give my heart to Him! Here is one master attraction of the Crucified One.
Others have doubtless been brought to the Savior's feet by delight in the satisfaction which is rendered to justice by theRedeemer's death. Many men reason thus with themselves: Conscience is uneasy. Offense has been committed against God. Now,in the nature of things, under all law that is at all respected there must be punishment for offenses. But how shall the exerciseof the prerogative of mercy be rendered perfectly consistent with the fulfillment of the penalty? Yonder bleeding Savior solvesthe difficulty. He dies, "The Just for the unjust, that He may bring us to God." "The chastisement of our peace was upon Him,and with His stripes we are healed."
Many men, finding their conscience rendered perfectly at ease when they have come to lean themselves upon the fact that Christdied for sinners, have been so enamored of that glorious Truth of God that the attraction has bound them to the Cross forever.I must confess that this is one of the great considerations which, in the hand of the Holy Spirit, will keep me a Christianas well as make me more and more in love with my Lord. I see not where else Justice can meet with Mercy and embrace! I knownot where else Righteousness and Peace can kiss each other except on the Cross where my Master gave up His life for transgressors.
There I see the riddle all solved-fallen man brought back to God-and God, justly incensed at man's offense, able to displayHis love without in any way tarnishing His unsullied justice, or even diminishing the severity thereof. O my Hearers, thisis a blessed attraction, indeed! I would to God that it would attract some of you! O that the thought that your sin can thusbe justly forgiven-that there is "No condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus," since Christ was condemned in their place-maydraw full many of you to Himself!
Many others have been drawn to the Gospel by a sense of the exact suitability of the Atonement of Christ to the necessitiesof their condition. As the glove fits the hand so does the Crucified Savior suit the necessities of a sinner. Here is exactlywhat the man needs. He feels himself guilty. He dreads the punishment of his transgression. His conscience, like an adder,stings him. Like a fire ever fed with fresh fuel, it blazes within him. But when he meets with Christ, he meets with peaceand he says within himself, "This is precisely what I require. Thirsty, here is living water! Naked, here is a robe of righteousness!Vile, here is an open fountain! Lost and undone, here is One who came to seek and to save that which was lost." Ah, I beseechmy Lord to make all of you feel your condition and then you will set a high price upon my Lord!
Some of you imagine that you are rich and increased in goods and have need of nothing-may you feel your deep necessities beforeGod! May you see how spiritual the Law of God is so that it touches your thoughts, and your words and condemns you as muchfor these as for outward acts of sin. When you once feel your sinnership, sweet will the Savior's name be in your ears, andyou will be drawn to the Cross because the Crucified Savior is all that you need!
Further, thousands upon thousands have been effectually drawn to Christ by seeing how graciously, how readily, how wondrously,how abundantly He pardons as He hangs upon the tree. I cannot understand pardon as coming directly from God apart from a Mediator.Jehovah, the Judge of all the earth, is too high, too terrible, too glorious in holiness for sinners to deal with Him absolutely.Our God is a consuming fire! When He descends on Sinai the mountain smokes and melts as wax.
Behold, the whole earth trembles at His Presence-the pillars thereof are dissolved! Before Him goes the pestilence, at Hisfeet are coals of fire. As He rides upon the wings of the wind He scatters from His pavilion of clouds and darkness, hailstonesand coals of fire. As for His voice, it is thunder and the flash of His eyes are lightning. Who can receive pardon from anabsolute God? He is great and terrible and will by no means clear the guilty. But when I see God in Christ, and know that"in Him"-that Man who died upon the tree-"dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily," I can come to Him without fear!And with holy joy I can seek for and receive perfect pardon-from that bleeding hand I dare expect pardon!
I am bold to look for great pardon from so great a Savior suffering so greatly. When I hear Him say to the dying thief, "Todayshall you be with Me in Paradise," I can hopefully sing-
"The dying thief rejoiced to see That Fountain in his day. And there may I, though vile as he, Wash all my sins away!"
It becomes easy for the soul to understand how sin can be forgiven when it sees how sin has been avenged in the Person ofJesus. O Sinners, my Lord Jesus is able to forgive all manner of sins. "The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us fromall sin." "All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men." "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord:though your sins are as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."How blessed to hear these words preached from that unrivalled pulpit, the Cross! How sweet to hear the dying lips proclaimabounding mercy! How consoling to hear Him speak of the riches of Divine Grace who said, "I thirst," and "Lama Sabacthani!"Oh, this is to be attracted, indeed! This wondrous pardoning power of the Crucified Redeemer is one of the master attractionsof the Cross!
But I must not enlarge. One more particular must suffice. Have not many of us been wonderfully drawn to the Gospel by theintense griefs and agonies of Jesus? Beloved, when we see men in prosperity, it is natural for us to envy. But it is equallynatural for us to pity those who are in suffering-and love is in the next degree to pity. So I doubt not that when we haveset forth Christ Jesus evidently crucified among you, the gracious Spirit has moved many tender hearts first to pity, andafterwards to love the bleeding Lamb! What a melting power there is in Gethsemane! Can you view the bloody drops of sweatas they fall upon the frozen soil and not feel that, in some degree, invisible but irresistible cords are drawing you to Jesus?
Can you see Him flagellated in Pilate's hall, every thong of the scourge tearing the flesh from His shoulders? Can you seeHim as they spit into His lovely face and mar His blessed visage, and not feel as if you could gladly fall down and kiss Hisfeet, and make yourself forever His servant? And, lastly, can you behold Him hanging upon the hill of Golgotha to die-canyou mark Him as His soul is there overwhelmed with the wrath of God, with the bitterness of sin, and with a sense of utterdesertion-can you sit down and watch Him there and not be attracted to Him? Ah, I wish that more of you would feel so attractedthat you could resist no longer but would come at once and give yourselves up to Him!
You may not feel that you could kiss the King upon His Throne, but will you not kiss the King upon His Cross? You may revoltfrom Him when He wields a rod of iron, but will you not touch the silver scepter held in the bloodstained hands which bledfor His enemies? O come here, sons and daughters of men, and yield yourself to Sorrow's Lord! Daughters of Jerusalem, comehere as of old and weep both for Him and for yourselves! O seek a portion in His sin-atoning death-a place in the Heaven whichHis resurrection has opened!
Before I leave this point, I must observe, dear Friends, that it renders my soul very great comfort to think that the attractivepower in my Crucified Lord does not lie in the eloquence of those who preach, nor in the logic and power of persuasion ofthose who proclaim His Gospel! Ah, poor fools that we are, when we preach we sometimes think souls must be saved because weare fluent! And at another time we suppose no good will be done because we spoke in great mental bondage. But, it is not theman who tells the story, nor the style in which he tells it-it is the tale itself which wins under God the Holy Spirit!
There is in the Cross itself a power. The Holy Spirit rests like a dove upon that blood-stained tree and through Him savingGrace comes streaming down to human hearts. It is not of man, neither by man, for the attractions of Jesus crucified are asa dew from the Lord which carries not for man, neither waits for the sons of men.
II. We proceed to enquire in WHAT DIRECTION DOES THE CROSS ATTRACT? In one word-it attracts towards everything that is goodand blessed. No man was ever enticed to evil by a Crucified Savior. The emotions which are properly excited in the soul bythe doctrine of the Atonement, must always be towards goodness. The preaching of the Cross does no mischief. Its sacred streambears no man towards the rock of ruin, but its tendencies are everywhere and at all times towards man's best and happiestestate.
Let us observe that the Cross of Christ draws men from despair to hope. Many have been ready to die of despair because theyhave said, "There is no salvation for me." To such as these the first beam of hope has come through a Crucified Savior-theyhave stumbled upon that precious soul-saving text, "The blood of Jesus Christ, His Son, cleanses from all sin," and have beenset at liberty! That text has opened the gate of Heaven to many hundreds, and I do not doubt it will to thousands more. Theyhave seen how Jesus' suffering put aside the necessity of our suffering for sin-and peace at once has bedewed the soul.
It is no mean thing to draw men away from despair, for despair is the root of many sins. When a man says, "There is no hope,"then he hunts after sin like an eager hound after his game. To teach a man that there is hope-that there is hope for him-isto give him a fair breeze heavenward!, Jesus Crucified presents this to anxious souls. It attracts men, in the next place,from fear to faith. They have been accustomed to think of God with trembling, and to be constantly alarmed at His Presence.Sin has become a burden, but they have not known how to be delivered from it and have feared that they must bear it forever-butthe Savior lifted up upon the Cross inspires faith.
We think of Him, and as we think we believe! We meditate, and as we meditate we trust! Confidence comes in by the way of Calvary.The means of creating faith, through the power of the Holy Spirit, is the Cross itself. God works faith in us, but it is throughHis dying Son. That was a terrible scene in Edinburgh when those lofty houses were filled with occupants who were unable toescape from the smothering smoke and the spreading fire. Suppose a fire escape could have been brought to the rescue, yetthere is one thing the fire escape could not have done. If these poor creatures had been too faint and stifled to get outof the windows, it could not have lifted them onto itself and yet that would have been one of the things required for theirrescue.
But this the Gospel of Jesus does! It not only comes to men and says, "Now I will save you, if you will get into Me," butit takes hold of a man and puts him into itself-for Jesus Christ attracts men to Himself-not only comes near enough to themfor them to grasp Him, but, as the magnet does with the iron, so Jesus lays hold on sinners' hearts. Jesus Crucified conductsthe man from dread to love. Before God he stood shivering like a slave, crying, "How shall I escape from His Presence? O thatI had the wings of the morning that I might fly even to the uttermost parts of the sea, or dive beneath Hell's darkest wavethat I might hide from the yet more terrible Hell of the glance of God's fiery eyes!" But when he sees God reconciled in Jesus,then the sinner sings-
"Till God in human flesh I see,
My thoughts no comfort find.
The holy, just, and sacred Three
Are terrors to my mind.
But if Immanuel's face appears,
My hope, my joy begins!
His name forbids my slavish fear,
His Grace removes my sins."
In this way the soul is led to love God. "We love Him because He first loved us." Then the attractions of the Cross bringus up from sin to obedience. When we are washed in the precious blood we feel grateful to our Lord Jesus and we cannot liveto sin. We are dead to it. We cannot any longer take pleasure in that which cost Him His life. It is impossible for us tocount that sweet which we know was bitterness to Him. "What will you have me to do?" becomes the question. We submit ourselveswith our whole heart to His gracious sway, and to run in the way of His Commandments becomes our soul's delight.
Thus we are led constantly, also, by the Cross from self to Jesus. Nothing will kill self like a sight of the Crucified. Liftup the Savior and down self must go. High thoughts of Christ are always attended by low thoughts of self and vice versa. Thinkmuch of yourself? You will think little of the Savior! But a very low esteem of our own merit brings a very high esteem ofthe merits of Christ-and it is a blessed thing when self is wholly beaten down! It is a victory which altogether is not wonby us, I fear, till we lay down our bodies. But if anything can hang up King Self upon the tree until the evening, it is asight of the tree upon which the Savior bled.
Finally the uplifted Redeemer draws us away from earth to Heaven. Earth holds us fast-we cannot escape from its hold, butwe feel a heavenward drawing. It is Jesus Christ who is drawing us-that same Christ who has gone up to the Throne after havingtrod the winepress. He daily attracts us upward to Himself. Do you not feel His drawing? Oh, I think you do! When the boy'skite goes up very high into the air and gets into the clouds, he cannot see it. Yet he declares, "It is there." Why? "Why,"he says, "I can feel its pull." And we know the Lord Jesus Christ is there-He that was crucified, for we can feel Him pull-wecan feel Him draw.
O that we could give ourselves wholly up to Him and mount towards Him! I trust we have experienced some of that mounting,for He has "raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places" in Him. We know what the resurrection-lifemeans. We do not forever grovel in worldly cares and carnal thoughts, but sometimes, at least, we get up into the higher atmosphereand have near and dear communion with the Well-Beloved. Savior, draw us more and more!
We return to enquire with what order of power does the Savior lifted up draw men? What are the characteristics and qualitiesof this power? In brief, first of all, the power with which Christ draws us is, according to the text, a very gentle power."I, if I am lifted up, will draw all men." Drawing is very different from driving. The way by which Jesus leads His followersis by soft, gentle influences. "I will draw men." The Law is a schoolmaster to bring us to Christ. And the preaching of theterrors of the Law are very useful in their way. But whenever a sinner really comes to Christ, the last action is never adrive-it is always a draw. The dove may have been driven part of the way to the ark by the wind, but the last act of gettinginto the ark was when Noah put out his hand and pulled the dove into the ark.
The real act which brings us into connection with Christ is always a drawing act-an act of gentleness. Every converted manmay say, when he is converted, "Your gentleness has made me great." The heathen pictures one of their goddesses in her chariotdrawn by doves. Surely it is by doves that we are drawn in the chariot of the Gospel towards the Lord Jesus! How very gentle,though all but Omnipotent, is the influence of the sun upon the earth and all the planets! How they constantly revolve aroundand follow him in his wondrous march-yet you never feel that he draws!
If you harness a horse to your chariot, he tugs and pulls by fits and starts. But the father of lights draws all the ponderousplanets along their appointed ways, and yet there is not enough of a jar to shake an aphid from a rosebud! So there is nonoise in the loving drawing of the Savior. Much of the fanaticism which comes with religious excitements is not of God. Thegenuine dew of Heaven falls calmly-
"As in soft silence vernal showers Fall to refresh the fields and flowers, So in sweet silence from above Drops the sweetinfluence of His love."
Christ's drawings are gentle.
In the next place, observe that Christ's drawings are gracious, for is it not of Grace that He should draw at all? If anyof you were about to give away bread to the poor and they would not come for it, I think you would say, "Let them go withoutit." You would not attempt to bring them to the feast. No, you would say, "It is good enough on my part to be ready to relievethem. But if they will not come, then let their starving be upon their own heads."
But see what Jesus does! He does not throw a life belt to poor drowning men. Yes, he does-but he does more, for this lifebelt has the wonderful quality of attracting the man unto itself so that though, at first, he might be unwilling to be rescued-thismystic life belt changes his will so that he is willing to be saved. But, next, Jesus draws with a widespread power. "I willdraw all men unto Me." Not every man. Every man is not effectually drawn, for millions of men never heard the name of JesusChrist at all-but men of all sorts-"all men," that is Jews and Gentiles. It is an "all" signifying all sorts of men. And whata wonderful thing it is that the Cross of Christ does draw all men!
Many thought it never could draw the "roughs"-the harlots the street Arabs-but there have been found for Christ some of Hismightiest trophies among the lowest of the low! Nor should we think that the Cross cannot attract the rich, and that it isof little use putting the Gospel before the fashionable classes. Ah, do not tell us this! There is a boundless power in theCross of Christ. If we preach it to kings and princes, we need not be ashamed. If we could have a parliament of men who wereas bad as devils, as proud as Pharaoh, and as furious as Saul of Tarsus-if we preached Christ Crucified to them-it would notbe in vain!
This attraction has, in the fourth place, an effectual power, for Jesus Christ, in His own elect ones, draws most effectually.I said very gently, but none the less mightily because of the gentleness! The swallows fly across the sea to distant lands.Did you ever feel the influence which attracts them? It is not perceptible by the most delicate of instruments and yet howeffectual it is! They cannot lag behind when the time has come. See how they twitter over the gables of our houses and leavethose neatly built habitations beneath our eaves. Many a weary mile lies the goal of their pilgrimage across the sea, butthere they go! A mysterious influence draws them and He who thus draws the swallow to other lands, and guides it in its flight,draws men to the Cross so that they never rest till they have left their haunts of sin and come to live where Jesus Christdistributes peace!
I will add, for the comfort of some who are here, that Jesus Christ draws today with a present power. "I, if I am lifted upfrom the earth, will draw all men unto Me." That means that He is drawing them NOW! He does not say that He will, sometimes.He draws now! Oh, I know not whom He may be drawing, but I do trust He is drawing some of you! Here I stand with the Gospelto preach to you like one with a magnet in his hand. Now, do I know who are God's elect? I do not, but I shall soon find out!Are you not like a great heap of steel filings and ashes mixed together? I cannot separate you, neither need I put the filingson this side and ashes on the other! I have only to thrust in the magnet and the division will be effectually made.
Jesus Crucified is the great discriminator! His Atonement is the great detector of God's elect! The Gospel reveals the eternalpurpose. If God intends to save you, you will fly to His dear Son. If you are left to perish, it will be because of your ownwillfulness in neglecting the Savior and turning your back upon the fountain which cleanses from all sin. Jesus draws today,and Jesus will draw still. Happy days are coming when He will draw more mightily, when they shall run unto Him! Even multitudesthat knew Him not shall run unto Him, because of the Holy One of Israel who has magnified Him. "He shall see of the travailof His soul, and shall be satisfied."
Dear Savior, this morning
"Draw reluctant hearts!
To You let sinners fly, And taste the bliss Your love imparts, And drink and never die."
The lessons to be drawn from the whole we will give you in two or three words. First, to Believers working for Christ. Learnfrom the text that if you would win souls you must draw them rather than drive them. Very few people are bullied into Heaven!The way to bring men to Jesus Christ is not by rough words, and dark looks, and continually warning them-but rather by gentleinvitations. Tenderly as a nurse with her child must we seek to win souls.
In the second place, if we would win souls, Jesus Christ must be our great attraction. In the class in the Sunday school,visiting from house to house, or elsewhere, we must keep close to the text, and the text must be the Cross. I must confessthere is a very great sweetness to my soul in preaching about Christ. I hope it is never a weariness to preach any part ofDivine Truth. But oh, it is delight itself to preach up the Master! Then we have to deal with the kernel of the matter. Whenwe preach Jesus Christ, oh, then we are not putting out the plates and the knives and the forks for the feast- we are handingout the bread itself!
Now we are not, as it were, working in the field at the hedging and the ditching and the sowing, but we are gathering thegolden sheaves and bringing the harvest home. If we want a hundredfold harvest we must sow seed which was steeped in the bloodof Cavalry! And, dear Friends, if you want to be drawn nearer to Christ yourselves, do not go to Moses to help you, but getto Christ! Go to Christ to get to Christ. "I, if I am lifted up from the earth, will draw all men"-where?-"unto Me." Jesusdraws to Himself! Remember, you have never experienced the fullness of the drawing unless you are drawn to Christ. If youare only drawn to holiness, or drawn to a Church, or to good experiences you have not obtained the fullness and soul of thematter. You must be drawn to Christ-right away from ordinances and everything else-till you get into His bosom. Then you wallhave found the summum bonum! Then you will have reached that which Christ would have you obtain-that for which He died thatyou might obtain when He, on the tree was lifted up-that He might draw you unto Himself.
And now, Sinner, if you would come to Jesus, let the text whisper a comfortable word in your ear. He must draw you! Thinkmuch upon His death. Turn, this afternoon, to those chapters in the Evangelists where His death is recorded. Picture thatdying Savior to yourself, and ask yourself, "Is this anything to me? Have I a share in it?" Then cover your face with yourhands, and kneel down and cry, "O God, be merciful to me a sinner! Wash me in the precious blood." Before long you shall feelthat the precious Christ has drawn you to Himself and that you are saved! The Lord bless you for Jesus' sake. Amen.