Sermon 870. Things Present
Delivered on Sunday Morning, MAY 9, 1869, by
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington
"Things present, all are yours."- 1 Corinthians 3:22.
SOME of the Corinthians had attached themselves to one great religious teacher and others to another. There was a dispositionamong them to set up rival leaders of opposing parties-a band would follow Paul, another company admired Apollos-and a thirdextolled Peter. The Apostle, in order to take the minds of Believers off estimating any one of their blessings at too higha rate, leads them to contemplate the exceeding length and breadth of the treasures which God had given to them. Why shouldthey glory in man when all things were theirs? It is the part of a poor man to set a great value upon the one thing in whichhe delights.
As in the parable of Nathan, the poor man had but one ewe lamb. This lay in his bosom, and was fed from his own table. Hewho was possessor of 10,000 sheep in the valley of Jezreel thought but little of any one lamb. Even so, if Believers werepoor and God had given them but one mercy and that one mercy were either Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, it were but accordingto nature that they should exalt the gift and prize it at the highest conceivable rate. But when the bounteous Lord has givento His people all ministries and countless spiritual blessings, it becomes unseemly in those who are so rich, to glory inany one part of their portion.
Even as it has been said-
"A little knowledge is a dangerous thing,
Drink deep or taste not the Pierian spring," so the sense of possession exercised upon a little will contract and hamper thesoul, but a sense of great, yes, infinite possession, will enlarge and ennoble us. If our mind, enlarged and stimulated byfaith, can stretch its arms like seas and grasp the whole shore of the present and of the future-and seize upon all thingsas given us by the bounty of Heaven- we shall be cured of the tendency to exaggerate the value of our merely temporal mercies.And all shall so be delivered from covetousness.
How shall they thirst who swim in the cool clear stream? How shall they hunger who sit down at banquets where the provisionis beyond all measure? Happy are they who are too rich to care for gold, too happy to hunt after joy, too exalted to be proud,too high to be lifted up! Among the matters which Paul catalogs as belonging to Believers, he enters this item, which containsa mass of mercy, "things present." This is a huge nugget of virgin gold and one which the mind is ever ready to appreciate.We reckon present things at the highest rate-as the old proverb has it-"A bird in the hand is worth two in the bush."
Things present-though in very truth they may be far inferior to things to come, or even in certain respects less preciousthan the things of the past-yet usually exercise the greatest influence over us from their nearness. It is so even as themoon, though far less than the sun, has the greater power over the earth because she is so much nearer to it. A present mercyrates higher in the market than a great blessing which was received years ago and now only lives in our memory. A crust forpresent hunger is better than the festival of last year, and a small inconvenience, if pressing upon us at this present moment,will distress us far more than the great trial which is threatened, or the still greater affliction which has passed overus.
A slight shower of rain today will more inconvenience you than the heavy snowstorm which overtook you on the Alps seven yearsago. The little present, to our apprehension, eclipses the great past or the greater future. Since, then, from the constitutionof our nature, we are so out of all proportion affected by present things, it is well for us to look at them until we cansee them in the bright light which this text casts upon them. Then we shall be all the happier and, being
the happier, all the stronger for good. Present things, then, Believer, be they bright or dark, present things-through theCovenant of Grace-are yours today!
I. Subdividing this great and comprehensive term, we shall first observe that in the ease of the true Christian, HIS TEMPORALPOSSESSIONS are his own. You will say that this is a most trite remark. So be it. Yet, as a brown husk may hide a golden seed,so may there be important truths within a plain sentence. The ungodly man for awhile engrosses the good things of this life,but they are sent to him oftentimes in anger. They bring a curse with them and are taken away again in wrath. They are nothis in the same cheering sense in which they belong to the children of God.
As for you, O true Believer, whatever of earthly good the Lord has apportioned you is in a peculiar sense and in a most blessedmanner, your own. I grant you that all our worldly goods belong to God and that we are but stewards of whatever He bestowsupon us. Yet, for all that, the good things of this life are ours by a deed of gift far more valid than the title-deeds ofnoble families or the charters of kings! God gives us all things richly to enjoy, and rights established upon Divine giftare beyond dispute.
When the Lord makes our lines to fall in pleasant places, we are not to receive the gifts of Providence with fear and trembling,as if they were not lawful to be held by Christians. Nor are we to look at them with shy suspicion, as if they could not beconsecrated to noblest ends. The temporal gifts of Heaven are ours, as the text declares, and we are bound to regard themas love gifts of our Covenant God. It is a great comfort when a man knows in his conscience, "What I have, be it little ormuch, is mine, at least in this sense, that I have honestly come by it." The Christian owns no stolen property or unrighteousgain.
A thief may secure his goodly Babylonian garment and his wedge of gold, but when he has gotten it, though no other man claimsit, yet it is not his-he must bury it in the earth, it is a stolen thing-a thing accursed and bringing evil with it. How canmen live in peace with fraudulent property about them? David, when he gets the water from the well at Bethlehem, acts towardsit as every honest spirit would act towards gold and silver accumulated in unjustifiable speculations, or coined out of thesavings of the defrauded poor, or gathered by adulteration and trickery-David would not drink the water, but poured it out!And some men's riches might well be poured out even into Hell itself, where devils might rue the draught if they dared todrink there.
Ill-gotten substance will rot the belly which is filled with it. Dishonest persons may be purse-proud and live in great style,but none of their riches are, in truth, their own. Like the jackdaw in the fable, they wear borrowed plumes. Though no manmay get back his own from the man of fraud and no court of law may make him disgorge, yet his gettings are not his, or onlyhis so as to sting him in the end as does a viper. But what you have, Believer, is your own! In the getting of it you rememberedyour Master's word and abstained from covetousness. You strained not after it with an unhallowed greed and now, when it comesto you, though it is not your god and you do not value it in comparison with spiritual blessings, yet it comes with this satisfaction-thatyou have not gathered it with unrighteous hands.
The Believer's possessions are his own because acknowledged to the great Giver with becoming gratitude. Gratitude is, as itwere, the quit rent to the great superior Owner and until we discharge the claim, our goods are not lawfully ours in the courtof Heaven. Some lands are held upon the tenure of a peppercorn-so are our daily mercies. At each meal there should be thispayment of the peppercorn in the giving of thanks, which is peculiarly a Christian custom to be carefully observed. On ouranniversary occasions-our birthdays and times of memorial-there should be special seasons for blessing the name of the Lord,and, indeed, whenever any great blessing is brought home (and what if I say any blessing, for, to such as we are, all blessingsare great?), there should be the payment of hearty gratitude, for then only, the mercy becomes legitimately ours!
Wealth is not truly ours till we thank the Lord for it. We have not paid the royal dues upon it-it is contraband and we areillegally using it. Beloved, as you have not failed to give unto the Lord your loving thanks, your mercies are now yours toenjoy as in His sight. I hope, too, that the most of my Brethren can feel that their temporal possessions are theirs becausethey have conscientiously consecrated the due portion which belongs to God. From the loaf there should be cut the crust forthe hungry. From the purse there should come the help for the Lord's work. The tithing of the substance is the true titleto the substance. It is not altogether yours till you have proved your gratitude by your proportionate gift to the cause ofthe Master.
Cheerfully may we look upon the heap which remains when of the gold and the silver a portion has been given to God to conservethe rest from the rust and the canker. You may eat of your harvest with gladness when the Lord's sheaf has been waved andyour increase shall be sweet when the first fruits have been laid on the altar. All things are yours in a special manner whendedicated in tithe and sanctified by gratitude. Our mercies are our own, too, because we seek to be graciously guided in theuse of them. We dare not spend them on our lusts-they are not ours for such a purpose. They are not bestowed upon us so absolutelythat we may set them up and cry, "These are your gods, O Israel." They are ours within the lines of Law and Gospel-ours withinbounds of sobriety and holiness-ours not as gods, but as gourds. Ours not as masters, but as mercies.
We eat and drink feeling that God, even our own God, has blessed our basket and our store. And therefore whether we eat ordrink, or whatever we do, we do all to His Glory! We put on our raiment with joy because the Lord thus clothes us. That whichwe possess the Lord has cleansed and therefore we count it no longer common or unclean. The benediction of Heaven sweetensthe lawful use of earthly goods. The nether springs are the more delightful because drops from the upper springs fall intothem. To see God's hand in every temporal mercy is to enjoy life! But, alas, some men will not so see the hand of God, butonly see the bare mercy and fall in love with the creature to the neglect of the Creator. Their worldly goods are pervertedinto stumbling-stones and are no longer as they should be, a ladder to lift us nearer to God.
Beloved in Christ Jesus, whatever God has given you in this life, upon the conditions which I have already mentioned, areyours, ceded to you by Divine love! Need I say it is not required of you to play the ascetic? John came neither eating nordrinking-you are not John's disciple! The Son of Man, who is your Master, came both eating and drinking. There is no pietywhatever in your accounting the gifts of Providence as necessarily temptations. You can make them so, but that is your follyand no fault of theirs. If God has blessed you with wealth or competence, use your substance with joy for His Glory and thegood of your fellow men and see upon all that you have the smile of Heaven! Sit not down sullenly to hoard up your gold asthough it were a thing of darkness to be concealed, but arise and use the gifts of God in the light and in gladness!
Vain are those who sneer at Nature and the lavish bounty thereof. To me the sunshine is Jehovah's smile and the grass whichgrows beneath my feet is beaming with 10,000 flowers, all speaking out my Father's thoughts of kindness towards me. "The earthis the Lord's and the fullness thereof." This planet is no Pandemonium or Topher! It is no sin to gaze with delight upon verdantvalleys and majestic mountains! It is no crime to enjoy the beauties of Nature, but a sign of idiocy to be unaffected thereby!Fair scenes, sweet sounds, balmy odors and fresh gales-your Father sends them to you-take them and be thankful!
If there are any men in this world to whom Nature belongs, these men are the children of the living God! I count it squeamish,sickly sentimentalism and not manly piety, which leads certain excellent men to depreciate their Maker's works and speak ofriver and forest and lake and ocean as if evil spirits haunted every scene and the whole earth were a temple of Satan! MyBrothers and Sisters, it is true that the creation has been made subject to vanity, but not willingly! And that unwillingnessof God causes a sunlight upon Nature which Mercy would have her children perceive and rejoice in-
"The earth with its store Of wonders untold, almighty! Your power has founded of old; Has stablish'd it fast By a changelessdecree, And round it has cast, Like a mantle, the sea. Your bountiful care What tongue can recite? It breathes in the air,It shines in the light, It streams from the hills, It descends to the plain,
And sweetly distils In the dew and the rain. O measureless might! Ineffable love! While angels delight To hymn You above Thehumbler Creation, Though feeble there lays, With true adoration Shall lisp to Your praise."
There is no sin in trees and winds, brooks and lakes and oceans! And in towering mountains, virgin snows and silent glaciersthere are no promptings to evil. The sin is in ourselves and if we will but be right-hearted and ask God to enable us to beholdHis works with clear and anointed eyes, we may see God Himself mirrored in Creation. At all events, all these present thingsare ours, neither shall any man rob me of my right to rejoice in the works of God's hands. Let us note well before we leavethis point, that any of God's saints who are in straits and have but little of this world's goods-and these are generallythe majority of the Church and the holiest and the best-may yet remember that all things are theirs, so that up to the measureof their necessities God will be quite sure to afford them sustenance.
The Lord is your Shepherd and you shall not want. You may be pinched, but you shall not perish. Your strength shall be equalto your day. Your bread shall be given you, your water shall be sure. And, Brother or Sister, remember that a man's life isnot to be judged of by what he has or has not, but by the contentment of his heart-for there lies all true treasure. Are youcontent, and can you cast your cares upon God? Then you are richer than a thousand anxious misers and wealthier, far, than10,000 who eat the bread of carefulness. Are you satisfied to sing-
"Father, I wait Your daily will.
You shall divide my portion still-
Give me on earth what seems You best,
Till death and Heaven reveal the rest"? Then you are truly rich! Envy makes men poor-this it is that strips the purple fromthe prince and dashes the goblet with gall.
Strange is it and yet most true, that covetousness which seems to be the common sin of professors nowadays, is never attributedin God's Word to any one child of God. They had many faults, but never covetousness! No heir of Heaven was charged with thatin the Word of God-that is the vice of Judas, the Son of Perdition and not of Peter, or David, or Lot, or Samson! This eviltouches not the saints. Into the deep ditch of greed the saints shall not fall. My poor, but believing Brother, you will thankGod that you have but little, believing that it is all that would be good for you. You do ask the Lord to give you, day byday, your daily bread and you have it in answer to prayer and in proof of Divine faithfulness.
Your heavenly Friend may suffer you to be brought very low, but He will not utterly leave you, nor suffer your soul to famish.I pray God the Holy Spirit to enable my dear Brothers and Sisters in their poverty to believe that their need is overruledfor their true riches. Whereas an abundance of possessions may bring a blessing, the lack of that abundance is far more constantlya source of good. Our present circumstances, whether prosperous or painful, are Covenant blessings from the God of Grace-
"If peace and plenty crown my days,
They help me, Lord, to speak Your praise.
If bread of sorrows is my food,
Those sorrows work my real good." II. In the long list of things present we must include TEMPORAL TRIALS. Tribulations aretreasures, and if we were wise, we should reckon our afflictions among our rarest jewels. The caverns of sorrow are minesof diamonds. Our earthly possessions may be silver, but temporal trials are, to the saints, invariably gold. We may grow inDivine Grace through what we enjoy, but we probably make the greatest progress through what we suffer. Soft gales may be pleasantfor Heaven-bound vessels, but rough winds are better. The calm is our way, but God has His way in the whirlwind and He rideson the wings of the wind.
Saints gain more by their losses than by their profits. Health comes out of their sicknesses and wealth flows out of theirpoverties. Heir of Heaven, your present trials are yours in the sense of medicine. You need that your soul, like your body,should be dealt with by the beloved Physician. A thousand diseases have sown their seeds within you-one evil will often bringon another and the cure of one too frequently engenders another. You need, therefore, oftentimes to gather the produce ofthe garden of herbs which is included in your inheritance-a garden which God will be sure to keep well stocked with wormwoodand bitters.
From these bitter herbs a potion shall be brewed, as precious as it is pungent, as curative as it is distasteful. Would youroot up that herb garden? Would you lay those healing beds all to waste? Ah, then, when next a disease attacks you, how couldyou expect help? I know the good Physician can heal without the lancet if He wills and restore us without the balm, but forall that, He does not choose to do so, but will use the means of affliction-for by these things men live and in all theseis the life of their spirit. Be thankful, therefore, for your trials and count them among your treasures.
Our present afflictions also strengthen us greatly. No man becomes a veteran except by practice in arms. We shall not manour fleet with able-bodied seamen at home, on the boisterous deep and in the thundering battle, if we search among mere landsmenand gentlemen whose boldest voyage was on the glassy Thames! Experience works patience and patience brings with it a trainof virtues-and all these make the man a man, and cause him to be mighty among his peers! Be grateful, then, for that withoutwhich probably you would be always children-apart from which you must remain always untried and consequently unskillful. Begrateful for your present trials and count them the choicest of your goods.
Brothers and Sisters, our trials ought to be greatly valued by us as windows of agates and gates of carbuncle through whichwe get the clearest views of our Lord Jesus Christ. Trial is the telescope through which we gaze upon the blessed Star ofBethlehem more clearly. Christ says to us, "Come, My Beloved, let us go forth into the field; there will I give you My loves."When there fails a blight on creature comforts and the withering blast goes out against terrestrial joys, oh, then how brightis the Rose of Sharon and how fair the Lily of the Valley in the esteem of His people! "Come up with Me to My Cross," saysChrist-and the mystic invitation, though it involves so deep an anguish, is not to be rejected!
Do you understand what it is to come up to Christ's Cross and to be conformed unto His death? It is only as you do this thatyou will have fellowship with Jesus and understand what His love is towards you. The sufferings of Christ are not learnedby the hearing of the ear-though we set them forth constantly to you, yet you will not really comprehend them-it is in thedrinking of His cup and being baptized with His baptism, that by sympathy you will comprehend what your Lord really enduredfor you. Thus will you be more effectually planted with Him in the likeness of His death, that you may be planted in the likenessof His Resurrection.
Brothers and Sisters, you who are cross-bearers this morning! I would remind you for your comfort that you have to bear thecross, but not the curse. Your Lord endured both Cross and curse, but to you there is not so much as a drop of Divine angerin all that you are suffering! There may be much vinegar, but no venom! There may be anguish, but there is no anger! Christhas exhausted the penal result of sin-He endured it all and now the cross that comes to you is garlanded with love. All overit is inscribed with lines of affection. I know that this is hard to be believed, especially while you are carrying a greencross, new to your shoulder, for this always frets the soul. It is when you become accustomed to sorrow by having borne theyoke in your youth that you fret not and mourn not, as though some strange thing had happened to you.
I cannot speak so favorably of some men's crosses as I can of the crosses of Believers who patiently wait upon their God,for some make their own crosses in wantonness of discontent. There are crosses made of crab tree, put together by our ownwicked temper! And these we ought to burn at once. I can promise you no cures for crosses which you make for yourself. Ifyou plait your own crown of thorns and find your own nails, your own vinegar and sponge, it is your own crucifixion and youmay find your own comfort. But when it is Christ's Cross, a cross that Christ sends, a cross that Providence ordains-rememberit is a thing of mercy to be rejoiced in as a blessing of Heaven!
So too, Believer, remember that your Lord sends you a cross but not a crush. It is meant to bear you down, but not to breakyou and grind you in the dust. Your cross is proportioned to your strength. In all the potion there is not one chance atom-themedicine has been compounded by no ordinary skill! Infinite Wisdom, which balanced the clouds and fixed the cornerstone ofthe world, has been employed to compound the ingredients of your present trial. Your affliction
shall not be too much for you-it shall be just such a trial as you require. There shall be no more and no less of weight init.
It may help to comfort you if you remember that your cross is not a loss. It may look like a loss, but it shall only be aputting out to interest that which is taken from you that it may be returned soon with usury. Weep not because the vesselof your present comfort has gone out to sea and you have lost sight of the white sails. It shall come back again to you ladenwith nobler treasure. Weep not because the sun has gone done, for it descends that the dews may be brought forth and the earthmay be watered and the flowers may drip with perfume. Wait awhile and the sun shall come back to you again and the morn shallbe the brighter because of the gloom of the night.
sorrow not, Heir of Heaven, because the skies are clouded-the clouds are big with mercy and each cloud is the mother of 10,000blossoms and harvests He concealed in yonder darkness! O be confident that among all your jewels, all your precious ornamentsand tokens of love that God has given you, you have nothing brighter than the jet jewels of affliction! No diamonds of a finerwater than those of trouble! May we understand by faith, then, the great Truth of God that our present trials are our treasures,to be looked upon with thankfulness.
III. In the third place, all our CIRCUMSTANTIAL SURROUNDINGS ought to be regarded by us as ours. I have already touched upona branch of this subject, namely, that all our outward circumstances are meant to be conducive to our perfection. I have alreadysaid that our trials and troubles are, by God's Grace and the gift of the Holy Spirit, really made to promote our growth.So ought all, whether of brightness or darkness in our present lot, to be helpful in preparing us for the better land andthe mansions of Glory.
1 shall also insist upon another point-all our circumstances are ours as subservient to our usefulness. Has this ever struckyou? You wish to win souls? Before you enter upon the actual service, you say to yourself, "I wish I were a minister," butvery probably you have not the gift of utterance. You have a family round about you and you are evidently tied to somethingfar other than a pulpit. You have to keep to that farm, to manage the shop. Now the temptation with you will be to say, "Theseplows and harrows, these bullocks and horses-I do not see how I am to serve God with all these! These scales and yard measures,these groceries and draperies-I cannot see how these can be instruments with which I may serve God."
Now, my dear Friend, begin by correcting that mistake! All these things are yours and you are, therefore, to look upon themas being not detriments, but assistants to the discharge of your peculiar life-work. You are to consider that the positionwhich you occupy is, all things considered, the most advantageous that you could possibly have occupied for doing the utmostthat you are capable of doing for the Glory of God! Suppose the mole should cry, "How I could have honored the great Creatorif I could have been allowed to fly"? It would have been very foolish, for a mole flying would be a very ridiculous object-whilea mole fashioning its tunnels and casting up its castles is viewed with admiring wonder by the naturalist who perceives itsremarkable suitability to its sphere.
The fish of the sea might say, "How could I display the wisdom of God if I could sing, or mount a tree, like a bird!" Butyou know fish in a tree would be a very grotesque affair and there would be no wisdom of God to admire in fishes climbingtrees! But when the fish cuts the wave with agile fin, all who have observed it say how wonderfully it is adapted to its habitat-howexactly its every bone is fitted for its mode of life! Brother, it is just so with you. If you begin to say, "I cannot glorifyGod where I am, and as I am," I answer, neither could you anywhere if not where you are! Providence, which arranged your surroundings,appointed them so that, all things being considered, you are in the position in which you can best display the wisdom andthe Grace of God.
Now, if you can once accept this as being a fact, it will make a man of you. My Christian Brother, or my dear Sister, it willenable you to serve God with a force which you have not yet obtained, for then, instead of panting for spheres to which youwill never reach, you will enquire for immediate duty, asking, "What does my hand find to do?" You need not use your feetto traverse half a nation to find work-it lies close at hand. Your calling is near at home-your vocation lies at the door,and within it. What your hands find to do, do at once and with all your might and you will find such earnest service the bestmethod in which you can glorify the Lord Jesus Christ.
"A large family," says one, "what can I do?" Train them in the fear of God-these children are yours to serve the Lord with!What nobler service can a mother render to the republic upon earth and to the kingdom in Heaven, than to educate her childrenfor Christ? "Working in a large factory with ungodly men, what can I do?" Needless enquiry! What
cannot the salt do when it is cast among the meat? You, as a piece of salt, are just where you should be! Confine Christiansin monasteries and nunneries-why it is like putting salt into a strong iron box and burying it in the ground! No, but thesalt of the earth must be cast all over that which is to be conserved by it and each of us must be put in a position whereour influence as a Christian will be felt.
"I am sick," says another, "I am chained to the bed of languishing." But, my Friend, your patience will magnify the powerof Divine Grace and your words of experience will enrich those who listen to you! Your experience will yield a richer winethan ever could have come from you had you not been cast into the winepress and trod by the foot of affliction. I tell you,Brothers and Sisters, I cannot go into instances and details, but it is a most certain fact that all about you, though itis a blind eye, a disabled arm, a stammering tongue, a flagging memory, poverty in the house, or sickness in the chamber-thoughit is derision and scorn and contempt-everything about you is yours! And if you know how to use it rightly, you will turnthese disadvantages into advantages and prosper by them.
Look at the seaman when he finds himself out at sea! Does he sit down and fret because the wind will not blow from the quarterthat he would most prefer? No, but he tacks about and catches every cupful of wind that can be of use to him and so reachesthe haven at last. You are not to expect that God would ordain everything just as you would like to have it-spoon feed youwith pabulum like babes upon the lap! But He will train and try you and you must make use of all that He sends for the promotionof His Glory. Look at a good commander, he not only selects a good position for his troops, but if he occupies a bad position,he turns that to account and often makes the worse become the better!
To use a very homely illustration, look at yon miller on the village hill. How does he grind his grist? Does he bargain thathe will only grind in the west wind, because that is so full of health? No, but the east wind, which searches joints and marrow,makes the millstones revolve and the north and the south are all yoked to service. Even so with Believers-all your ups andyour downs, your successes and your defeats are all yours that you may turn them to the Glory of God! Standing here now, andtaking a somewhat broader range than our own individualities, let me remind you, Brethren, that on the great and broad scaleof Providence all things belong to the Church of God.
There are great changes in politics just now-there will be greater changes still. Fancy not that anything is stable that isof merely human appointing. Imagine not that any form of government can eternally survive the waves of change which breakat its base. The ensign of this age is, "Overturn, overturn, overturn, till he shall come whose right it is, and he shallhave the kingdom." But there shall be no crumbling columns. There shall be no bowing wall or tottering fence but what shallminister to the solidity of the Church of God! All changes, however radical! All catastrophes, however horrible, shall allhappen to the advantage of the cause of Christ!
All things are yours. Earthquakes of popular opinions may make dynasties shake and reel and at last be prone in ruin. Opinions,institutions and customs, which we would gladly conserve at the peril of our lives may be rolled up and cast aside like wornout vestures! Heaven and earth may shake and stars may fall like fig leaves from the tree, but everything must subserve theprogress of the conquering kingdom of Christ! His Glory shall fill the earth! All flesh shall see it together! From land andsea there must yet go up the universal hallelujah unto the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Wonderful, the Counselor,the Everlasting Father, the Prince of Peace. All things then, O Church of God, are yours!
IV. I have somewhat outstripped my time and therefore I must only give a hint or two on the last point. SPIRITUAL PRIVILEGES,which are many of them present things, belong to Believers. Now what are they? The favor of God is not for Heaven only-itis ours today. Adoption into His family is not for eternity only-it is for this present time. We are today heirs of God andjoint-heirs with Christ Jesus! Today to be instructed, to be fed, to be clothed, to be housed, to have the Father's kiss andlive in the Father's heart! All things are ours! God Himself is ours, our eternal inheritance! Lift up your eyes, O heir ofGrace and see what a treasure is opened up to you!
Again, Christ is present and He is ours. There is today a "fountain filled with blood," which puts away all sin. It is ours!There is a Mercy Seat where all prayer is prevalent-it is open today. It is ours-come to it boldly. There is an Intercessorwho takes our prayers and offers them. He is ours, and all His mighty pleas and Divine authority, which makes Him so successfulan Advocate, are all at our service today! Not were ours yesterday, nor shall be ours in some happier hour, but they are oursnow!
Are any of you depressed, do you feel yourselves great sinners? Then the fountain is yours as sinners, the Intercessor isyours while you are yet guilty, for it is written, "If any man sins, we have an advocate with the Father." O lay hold
upon these present things and rejoice! The Holy Spirit, too, is a present blessing to you! The Comforter comes to you as apresent blessing from Christ and He brings you present enlightenment, present guidance, present strength, present consolation!All these are yours-all beams of the seven-branched golden candlestick and all the oil that is treasured up for the lamps.The light and the Source of the light are alike yours and yours, now.
And if, Beloved, there is any promise today written in the Word of God-if there is any blessing today guaranteed to the electfamily. If there is any mindfulness of Providence, or any abundance of Divine Grace-all these are yours, and yours, now. Come,then! Why do you pine, you Saints? Why do you mourn and lie upon your dunghills till the dogs of Hell lick your sores? Come,wrap yourselves in your scarlet and fine linen, you Heirs of Heaven! Live according to your portion! Fare according to thebanquet! All things are yours! Let those harps be taken from the willows and let that sackcloth and ashes be laid aside. Puton the beautiful apparel of gratitude and sing the song of thankfulness unto the Shepherd who has promised that you shallnot want, and whose all-sufficiency will fill your heart, till like a cup it runs over!
May God bless these words and especially bless them to the unconverted, that while they look over the hedge, as it were, andsee the fruit that grows from God's people, they may wish that they had right to enter. If any of you do so wish, let me remindyou that there is a door to enter by and that door is Christ! Whoever trusts in Him shall have every mercy of the Covenantto be his present and eternal portion. May you be led so to trust in Jesus and unto God shall be the Glory, world withoutend. Amen.
PORTIONS OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Psalm 23 and John 14.