Sermon 1198. The Master
C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"She called Mary her sister secretly, saying, The Master is come, and calls for you." John 11:28.
I SUPPOSE by Martha's whispering the word, "The Master," in Mary's ear, that it was the common name by which the sisters spokeof our Lord to one another in His absence. Perhaps it was His usual name among all the disciples, for Jesus said, "You callme Master and Lord: and you say well; for so I am." It often happens that for persons whom we love we have some special titleby which we speak of them familiarly when we are in the circle of those who join in our esteem of them. Instead of alwaysusing their official titles or their actual names, there is some one name which we have attached to them which calls up happyassociations, or reminds us of endearing traits in their character and, therefore, it is very sweet in our mouths.
So I suppose that most of the disciples called Jesus, "The Master," many of them coupling with it the word, "Lord." Mary,I should suppose, was peculiarly given to the use of the term-it was her name for the Lord. I fancy that she called Him "myMaster," only, of course, Martha could not say to her, "your Master is come," for that would have been to cast suspicion onher own loyalty to Jesus and perhaps she did not feel exactly in a frame of mind to say, "our Master," remembering that Hewas Master of so many more, besides, and half hoping that He might be Master over Death himself. She therefore said, "TheMaster."
It was an emphatic title, "The Master is come." Very remarkable is it that minds of a kindred spirit to Mary have always lovedthis title, "The Master," and more especially that wondrous, sweet, mystic poet and dear lover of His Lord, George Herbert,who, whenever he heard the name of Jesus mentioned, would always say, "my Master." He has given us that quaint poem, called"The Odor," which begins-
"How sweetly does my Master sound, my Master." There must be something exceedingly precious about the title for a Mary anda Herbert thus to be enamored of it above all others. Jesus has many names, all full of music-this must be choice, indeed,to be selected before them all as the title which His best beloved prefer to apply to Him.
There are many among us who are, ourselves, accustomed to speak of the Lord as, The Master and, though there are many othertitles, such as "The Well-Beloved," "The Good Shepherd," "The Friend," "The Bridegroom," "The Redeemer," and "The Savior,"yet we still cherish a very special affection for this one name which gives forth to us "an oriental fragrance" with which,"all day we perfume our mind." You are aware that the word might just as well be translated, "The Teacher," the authoritativeteacher, for that is the gist of its meaning. I am glad to pronounce it, Master, because usage and sweet association haveenshrined the word. And also because we have still among us the custom of calling the Chief Teacher in a School or College,the Master, but still, had our version given us, "The Teacher is come," it would have been nearer the mark.
I. I shall speak a few words, first, upon THE DEEP PROPRIETY OF THIS TITLE AS APPLIED TO OUR LORD. He is, indeed, The Master-TheTeacher. What if I put the two together and say, The Master-Teacher? He has a peculiar fitness for this office to be a Master-Teacher.To be so, a man must have a masterly mind. Certainly all minds are not cast in the same mold and are not possessed with thesame vigor, depth, force and quickness of action. Some mental organizations are princely by their very formation-though theymay belong to plowboys, the imperial stamp is on them! These minds cannot be smothered by a peasant's smock frock, nor keptdown by the load of poverty-master minds are recognized by an innate superiority-and force their way to the front.
I say nothing of the moral qualities of Napoleon, but a mind so vast as his could not have been forever hidden away amongthe soldiers in the ranks. He must become a captain and a conqueror. So, too, a Cromwell or a Washington must rise to be mastersamong men because the caliber of their minds was masterly. Such men see a thing quickly. They hold it
with a comprehensive grasp and they have a way of infusing faith into others about it which, before long, pushes them intoa master's position, with the common consent of all around them. You cannot have, for a master-teacher, a man with a littlesoul. He may insinuate himself into the chair of the teacher, but everyone will see that he is out of place and no one willdelight to think of him as his master.
There are many painters, but there have been few Raphaels, or Michelangelos-few who could found schools to perpetuate theirnames. Many songsters have there been, but few poets have founded schools of tuneful thought in which they have been the belovedchoirmasters. Many philosophers have there been, but a Socrates or an Aristotle will not be found every day-for great teachersmust have great minds-and these are rare among men. The teacher of all teachers, the master of all the teachers, must be agrand, colossal spirit-head and shoulders above other men! Such a soul Mary saw in her Lord Jesus Christ. And such we seethere, also, and we therefore claim, for our Lord, the name of, "The Master."
There we have Divinity itself, with its Omniscience and Immutability, and at the same time a complete, full-orbed Manhood,harmonious in all its qualities-a perfect equilibrium of excellence in which there is no excess and no deficiency. You findin Him a perfect mind and that mind so human as to be intensely manly and sweetly womanly, also. In Jesus there was all thetenderness and sympathy of woman joined with the strength and courage of man. His love was feminine, but not effeminate. Hisheart was masculine, but not hard and stern. He was the complete Man, unfallen Manhood in its perfection! Our Lord was a Manwho impressed all who came near Him-they either hated Him intensely or loved Him fervently!
Wherever He was, He was seen to be a Prince among the sons of men! The devil recognized Him and tempted Him beyond all others.He saw in Him a foe worthy of his steel-and took Him into the wilderness to have a duel with Him, hoping to defeat the raceby vanquishing its manifest Chief. Even scribes and Pharisees, who despised everyone who made not broad the borders of hisgarment, could not despise this Man-they could hate Him-but their hate was the unconscious reverence which evil is forcedto render to superlative goodness and greatness! Jesus could not be ignored and overlooked. He was a force in every place,a power wherever He might be. He is a master, yes, "The Master." There is a grandeur about His whole human Nature so thatHe stands out above all other men, like some mighty Alpine peak which overtops the minor hills and casts its shadow all adownthe vales.
But to make a master teacher, a man must not only have a master mind, he must have a master knowledge of that which he hasto teach-and it is best if that is acquired by experience rather than by instruction. Such was the case with our Lord Jesus.He came to teach us the science of life and in Him was life. He experienced life in all its phases and was tempted in allpoints like we are, though without sin. The highest were not above Him, the lowest He did not regard as beneath Him, but Hecondescended to their infirmities and sorrows. There are no dreary glens of melancholy which His feet have not trod, nor loftypeaks of joy which He has not scaled. Wondrous was the joy, as well as the sorrow of our Lord Jesus Christ.
He leads His people through the wilderness and, like Hobab of old, He knows where they should encamp in the wilderness andunderstands all the way which they must traverse to reach the promised land. He was made "perfect through suffering." He teachesus no Truth of God as mere theory, but as matter of actual experiment on His own Person. The remedy He gives to us He hastested. If there is bitterness for us, He has quaffed full bowls of it-and if there is sweetness in His cup He gives us ofHis joy. All things that have to do with this life and godliness-the whole science of salvation from the gates of Hell upto the Throne of God-He understands right well by personal acquaintance. There is not a single chapter of the Book of Revelationwhich He does not comprehend, nor a solitary page of the book of experience which He does not understand and, therefore, Heis fit to teach, having both a master mind and a master knowledge of that which He comes to inculcate.
Moreover, our great Master, while here below, had a masterly way of teaching, and this, also, is essential, for it is notevery man of vast knowledge and great mind that can teach others. Aptness to teach is required. We know some whose utterancesnever seem to be in the tongue of ordinary men. If they have anything to say, they say it in a jargon of their own which theyand a few of their disciples probably comprehend, but it is Greek to the common people. Blessed is that teacher who teacheswhat he understands, himself, in a way which enables others to understand him! I like the style of old Cobbett when he said,"I not only speak so that men can understand me, but so that they cannot misunderstand me."
And such a teacher was Christ to His own disciples. When they sat at His feet He made the Truth of God so clear that wayfaringmen, though fools, need not err therein. By homely parables and phrases which caught the ear and won the heart, He broughtdown celestial Truths to ordinary comprehensions-when the Spirit of God had once cleansed those comprehensions and made themable to receive the Truth. He taught, moreover, not only plainly, but lovingly. So gently did He open up things to His owndisciples that it must have been a pleasure to be ignorant in order to require to be taught-and a greater pleasure, still,to learn-to learn in such a way! The way in which He taught was as sweet as the Truth He taught.
Everybody that came into Christ's school felt at home, felt pleased with their Master and confident that if they could learnanywhere they must learn at His feet. The Master gave, in connection with His teaching, a measure of the Holy Spirit-not thefull measure-for that was reserved until He had ascended up on high and the Spirit should baptize the Church. But He gaveto each of His people a measure of the Spirit of God, by which Truths were not taught to their ears, only, but to their hearts.Ah, my Brothers, we are not such teachers as Christ! For, when we have done our best, we can only reach the ear. We cannotgive the Holy Spirit-only He can.
And when the Spirit, this day, comes from Christ and takes of His things and reveals them to us, then we see yet more of ourLord's masterly modes of teaching and learn what a Master Jesus is, who writes His lessons, not on the blackboard, but onthe fleshy tablets of the heart! It is Jesus who gives us schoolbooks-no-He is, Himself, the Book! It is He who gives us lessons-yes-is,Himself, the Lesson. He performs before us that which He would have us do, so that when we know Him, we know what He has toteach! And when we imitate Him, we have followed the precepts which He gives. Our Lord's way of embodying His instructionin Himself is a right royal one and none can rival Him in it.
Do not children learn infinitely more by example than they do by precept? And this is how our Master teaches us. "Never manspoke like this Man" is a grand Christian proverb, but it might be eclipsed by another-"Never man acted like this Man," forthis Man's deeds and words tally with each other-the deeds embody and enforce the words, give them life-and help us to understandthem. He is a Prophet like unto Moses, because He is mighty both in word and in deed-and so He is of Prophets and teachers,The Master. Here a master mind, a master experience and a master mode of teaching! Well is He called, "The Master."
But, dear Friends, there was, over and above this-if I have not reached it in what I have already said-a master influencewhich Jesus, as The Teacher, had over those who came within His range. They did not merely see, but feel. They did not onlyknow, but love. They did not merely prize the lesson, but they worshipped the Teacher. What a Master was this Christ, whosevery Self became the power by which sin was checked and ultimately cast out! And by which virtue was implanted and the newlife commenced, nourished and brought to perfection. To have one to teach you who is very dear to you is to make lessons easy.
No child learns better than from a mother qualified to teach, who knows how to make her lessons sweet by crystallizing themin the sugar of her own affection! Then it is pleasure, as well as duty, to learn! But no mother ever won her child's heart,(and there have been tender and affectionate mothers, too), so thoroughly as Jesus won the heart of Mary! Or, I may say, asJesus has won your heart and mine, if you feel as my heart feels to my Lord. From Him we need no reasons to prove what Hesays-His love is the logic which proves everything to us. With Him we hold no debate- what He has done for us has answeredevery question we could raise. If He tells us what we do not understand, we believe it. We ask if we may understand it andif He tells us," No"-we stay where we are and believe the mystery.
We love Him so that we are as glad not to know as to know, if such should is His will! We believe His silence to be as eloquentas His speech. And that which He conceals to be as kindly intended as that which He reveals. Because we love Him He exercisessuch an influence over us that, straightway, we prize His teaching and receive it. The more we know Him and the more His inexpressiblydelightful influence dominates our nature, the more completely we yield up imagination, thought, reason, everything, to Him!Men may call us fools for it, but we have learned, at Jesus' feet, that "the world by wisdom knew not God" and that unlesswe are converted and become as little children, we shall in no wise enter the kingdom of Heaven. And therefore we are notupset when the world thinks us childish and credulous.
The world is growing more manly and more foolish-and we are growing more childlike and more wise. We reckon that to grow downwardinto our Lord Jesus is the surest and truest growth! And when we shall have grown clean down to nothing-and even lower tillwe are less than nothing-then we shall be fully grown in the school of Jesus! And then
we shall take a high degree in true learning, knowing the love of Christ which passes knowledge. We may well call Him Masterwho has a masterly mind, a masterly experience and a masterly way of teaching. And, moreover, wields a masterly influenceover His pupils, so that they are forever bound, heart and soul, to Him and count Him to be, Himself, His own highest lesson,as well as the chief of all instructors!
Having proved that our beloved Lord is fairly entitled to the name, let me add that He is, by office, the sole and only Masterof the Church. There is, in the Christian Church, no authority for a doctrine but Christ's Word. The inspired Book which Hehas left us, charging us never to diminish a letter or add a syllable, is our imperial code, our authorized creed, our settledstandard of belief. I hear a great deal said of sundry, "bodies of divinity," but my own impression is that there never wasbut one Body of Divinity and there never will be but one-and that is Jesus Christ in whom "dwells all the fullness of theGodhead bodily." To the true Church, her Body of Divinity is Christ. Some Churches refer to other standards, but we know nostandard of theology but our Master. "I, if I am lifted up," He says, "will draw all men unto
We feel no drawings towards any other master! Jesus Christ is the standard-"Unto Him shall the gathering of the people be."We are not of those who will go no further than Martin Luther. Blessed be God for Martin Luther! God forbid that we shouldsay a word in depreciation of him. But were we baptized unto Martin Luther? Of course not! Some can never budge an inch beyondJohn Calvin, whom I reverence, first, of all merely mortal men. But still, John Calvin is not our master but only a more advancedpupil in the school of Christ! He teaches, and, as far as he teaches as Christ taught, he is authoritative, but where Calvingoes apart from Jesus, he is no more to be followed than Voltaire, himself!
There are brethren whose one reference for everything is to the utterances of John Wesley. "What would Mr. Wesley have said?"is a weighty question with them. We think it a small matter what he would have said, or what he did say for the guidance ofChristians, now, so many years after his departure! Far better is it to enquire what Jesus says in His Word! One of the grandestof men that ever lived was Wesley, but he is no master of ours. We were not baptized in the name of John Wesley, or John Calvin,or Martin Luther! "One is our Master, even Christ." And now the Parliament of our country is about to set apart a learnedjudge to decide what is right in a so-called Church of Christ! And he is to say, " This garment you may wear, and that youshall not; up to here your ritual shall go but no further."
In his person the House of Commons is to be recognized as the creator, lord and master of the Church of England, to whom hewill say, "Do this," and she will do it, or "Refrain," and she will stay her hand. She must crouch and bend, and take hermeat like any dog from the hand that patronizes her! And her collar, made of what brass or leather Caesar chooses to ordain,shall bear this motto, "His servants you are whom you obey." Why, the poorest minister in the most despised of our Churches,whose poverty is thought to make him contemptible, but whose poverty is his glory if he bears it for Christ's sake, wouldscorn to have any spiritual act of his Church submitted to the judgment of the State! And he would sooner die than be dictatedto in the matter of Divine worship!
What has the Church to do with the State? Our Master and Lord has set up a kingdom which acknowledges no other King but Himself.We cannot bow and will not bow before decrees of Parliament and lords and kings in spiritual things. Christ's Church has butone Head and that is Christ! The doctrines which the Church has to teach cannot be tested by a Court of Arches, or a benchof bishops, or a synod of ministers, or a presbytery, or a conference. The Lord Jesus Christ has taught us this and if Histeaching is contradicted, the contradiction is treason against His crown! Though the whole Church were assembled and thatChurch the true one, if it should contradict the teaching of Christ, its decrees ought to be no more to a Christian than thewhistling of the wind upon the mountain wilds! Christ is Master and none but Christ!
Though an Apostle or an angel from Heaven preach any other doctrine than that of our Lord, let him be accursed! I would Godthat all Christians stood up for this. Then would-
"Sects and names and parties fall, And Jesus Christ be All in All."
He is the sole Teacher and the sole Legislator. A Church has a right to execute Christ's Laws, but she has no right to makea law. The ministers of Christ are bound to carry out the rules of Christ-and when they do so, what is bound on earth is boundin Heaven. But if they have acted upon any rules other than those of this Book, their laws are only worthy of contempt! Bethey what they may, they bind no Christian heart! The yoke Christ put on us shall be our joy to wear! But the yoke which prelateswould thrust upon us shall be our glory to trample on! "If the Son make you free, you shall
be free, indeed." "Stand fast, therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ has made you free and be not entangled, again, withthe yoke of bondage."
"The Master." That is the name Christ should receive throughout the whole Church and He should be regarded always, and onall occasions, and in reference to all spiritual subjects, as the last Court of Appeal, whose inspired Word is-
"The judge that ends the strife Where wit and reason fail."
Thus much upon the propriety of the title.
II. But now, secondly, let us consider THE PECULIAR RECOGNITION WHICH MARY GAVE TO CHRIST AS
THE MASTER. How did she give that recognition? She became His pupil-she sat right reverently at His feet. Beloved, if He isour Master, let us do the same! Let us take every Word of Jesus, weigh it, read it, mark it, learn it, feed on it and inwardlydigest it. I am afraid we do not read our Bibles as we should, or attach such importance as we ought to every shade of expressionwhich our Master uses.
I would like to see a picture of Mary sitting at the Master's feet. Great artists have painted the Virgin Mary so often thatthey might consider a change and sketch this Mary looking up with a deep, fixed gaze-drinking all in and treasuring all up-sometimesstartled by a new thought and a fresh doctrine and then inquiringly waiting till her face beams with unspeakable delight asnew light gladdens her heart. Her attentive discipleship proved how truly Jesus was her Master.
Then, mark, she was not only His disciple, but she was a disciple of nobody else. I do not know whether Gamaliel was in fashion,then, but she did not sit at his feet. I dare say there was some Rabbi Ben Simon, or other famous doctors of the period-butMary never spent an hour with them-for every moment she could spare was set apart, joyously spent at the feet of a far dearerRabbi! I wonder whether she was a little deaf and so sat close to the Teacher for fear of losing a word! Perhaps she fearedshe might be slow of heart and so she got as near the Preacher as others do who have a little deafness in their ears! Anyway, her favorite place was close at His feet. That shows us, since we are always dull of hearing in our souls, that it isgood to get very close to Jesus when we are hearing Him and commune while we listen. She did not change from Him to someoneelse for variety's sake. No, The Master, her Master, her only Master, was the Nazarene whom others despised, but whom shecalled her Lord.
She was a willing scholar, for, "Mary has chosen the good part," said Jesus. Nobody sent her to sit at Jesus' feet. Jesusdrew her and she could not help coming, but she loved to be there. She was a willing and delighted listener. Never was sheso happy as when she had her choice-that choice being always to learn of Him. Children at school always learn well if theywant to learn. If they are forced to attend school, they learn but little, comparatively-but when they want to go, and whenthey love the teacher-it is quick learning with them and happy is the teacher who has a class that has chosen him to teachthem! Mary could well call Him, "The Master," for she rendered Him her sole attention, her loving and delighted attention.
And, mark you, in choosing Christ for Master, sheperseveringly stuck to Him. Her choice was not taken away from her and shedid not give it up. Martha looked very cross one day. How was she to see to the roast and the other dishes at once? How couldshe be expected to prepare the table and to look to the fire in the kitchen, too? Why could not Mary come? And she scowled,I do not doubt. But it did not matter. Mary still sat there. Perhaps she did not even notice Martha's face-I think she didnot, for the saints do not notice other countenances when Christ's beauty is to be seen- there is something so absorbing aboutHim! He takes you all into Himself and bears you right away, drawing not only all men, but all of men to Himself, when Hedoes draw. And so she sat there and listened.
Those children will learn who stick to their books, who come not sometimes to study, but are always learning. So Mary recognizedthe Lord Jesus Christ's Master-Teachership by giving to Him that persevering attention which such a Master-Teacher had a rightto claim. She went humbly to Him, for while she sat at His feet for nearness, she sat there, too, out of deep humiliationof spirit. She felt it her highest honor to be sitting in the lowest place, for lowly was her mind. They shall learn mostof Christ who think least of themselves. When a place at His feet seems to be too good for us, or at any rate we are morethan content with it, then will His speech distil as the rain and drop as the dew-and we shall be as the tender herbs thatdrink in sweet refreshment-and our souls shall grow!
Blessed were you, O Mary! And blessed is each one of you, if you can call Christ your Master and prove it as she did! Youshall have the good part which shall not be taken away from you.
III. Now I come to my third point, which is this-THE SPECIAL SWEETNESS OF THE NAME TO US. I have
shown why it was peculiarly recognized by Mary and now I would show that it has a peculiar sweetness for us, also. "The Master,"or, "My Master," or, "My Teacher." I love that name in my own soul, because it is as a Teacher that Jesus Christ is my Savior.The best illustration I can give you is that of one of those poor little boys in the street, an "Arab," without father andmother, or with parents worse than none. The poor child is covered with filth and rags. He is well-known to the police andhas seen the inside of many a jail. But a teacher of a Ragged School has laid hold of him and instructs him-and he is nowwashed and clothed and happy.
Now, that poor boy does not know the sweetness of, "my father," or, "my mother." He does not recognize anything in those titles.Perhaps he never knew them, or only knew such a form of them as to disgust him. But with what a zest does he say, "My teacher!"These little children say, "My teacher," with quite as much affection as others speak of their mother! Where there has beena great moral change worked by the influence of a teacher, the name, "my teacher," has great sweetness in it.
Now listen to the parable of the ragged boy and his teacher! I was that ragged child! Truly, I did not think myself ragged,for I was foolish enough to think my rags were fine garments and that my filth was my beauty! I knew not what I was. My Teachersaw me. He knew how foul I was and how ragged I was. And He taught me to see myself-and also to believe that He could washme whiter than snow. Yes, He went further and actually washed me till I was clean before the Lord. My Teacher showed me awardrobe of snow-white linen garments and clothed me in them. My Teacher has taught me a thousand things and worked innumerablegood works upon me! I owe my salvation wholly to my Teacher, my Master, my Lord.
Can you say the same? I know you can if you are, indeed, disciples of Jesus! "My Teacher" means to you, "my Savior," for Hesaved you by teaching you your disease and your remedy-teaching you how wrong you were and making you right by His teaching.The word, Master, or, Teacher, has to us a delightful meaning, for it is by His teaching that we are saved. Let me tell youhow, as a preacher, I love that name, "my Master." I like to feel that what I said to those people on Sunday was not mine.I preached my Master-and I preached what my Master told me. Some find fault with the doctrine. I do not mind that, becauseit was none of mine, it was my Master's! If I were a servant and went to the front door with a message-and the gentleman towhom I took it did not like the message-I would say, "Do not be vexed with me, Sir. I have told you my master's message tothe best of my ability-and I am not responsible for it. It is my master's word, not mine."
When there are no souls converted it is dreary work, and one's heart is heavy, but it is sweet to go and tell your Master.And when souls are converted and your heart is glad, it is a happy and a healthy thing to give all the glory to your Master.It must be an awkward thing to be an ambassador from the English court in some far-off land where there is no telegraph andwhere the ambassador has to act on his own responsibility. He must feel it a serious burden. But, blessed be God, betweenevery true minister and his Master there is a telegraphic communication-he need never do anything on his own account. He mayimitate the disciples of John, who, when they had taken up the Baptist's mangled body, went and told Jesus. That is the thingto do!
There are difficulties in all Churches, troubles in all families and cares in all businesses-but it is good to have a Masterto whom you can go as a servant, feeling, "He has the responsibility of the whole concern-not I! I have only to do what Hebids me." If we once step beyond our Lord's commands, the responsibility rests on us-and our trouble begins! But if we followour Lord, we cannot go astray. And is not this a sweet name to quote when you are troubled, dear Friends? Perhaps some ofyou are in trouble now. How it removes fear when you find out that He who sent the trouble is the Teacher who teaches youby the trouble-the Master who has a right to use what form of teaching He likes! In our schools much is learned from the blackboard.And in Christ's school much is learned from affliction.
You have heard the story often, but I venture to repeat it again, of the gardener who had preserved with great care a verychoice rose. One morning when he went into the garden it was gone. He scolded his fellow servants and felt very grieved, tillsomeone said, "I saw the master coming through the garden, this morning, and I believe he took the rose." "Oh, then," saidthe gardener, "if the master took it, I am content." Have you lost a dear child, or a wife, or a friend? It
was HE that took your flower! It belonged to Him. Would you wish to keep what Jesus wants? We are asked to pray, sometimes,for the lives of good people, and I think we may. But I have not always exercised faith while pleading, because it seemedto me that Christ pulled one way and I pulled the other.
I said, "Father, let them be here," and Jesus said, "Father, I will that they be with Me where I am." And one could not pullvery hard, then! Only feel that Christ is drawing the other way and you directly give up. You say, "Let the Master have it.The servant cannot oppose the Master." It is the Lord. Let Him do what seems good to Him. I was dumb with silence. I openednot my mouth because You said it. Our Master learned that lesson, Himself, which He teaches us. That is a very striking expression,"Father, I thank You that You have hid these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them unto babes. Even so,Father, for so it seemed good in Your sight." It pleased God to pass by the wise and prudent and, therefore, it pleased Christthat it should be so.
It is well to have our hearts like that poor shepherd to whom a gentleman said, "I wish you a good day." Said he, "I neverknew a bad day." "How is that, my Friend?" "The days are such as God chooses to make them and, therefore, they are all good.""Well," said the other, "but some days please you more than others?" "No," he said, "what pleases God pleases me." "Well,but have you not a choice?" asked the other. "Yes, I have a choice, and that is, I choose that God should choose for me.""But have you not a choice whether you would live or die?" "No," he said, "for if I am here Christ will be with me. And ifI am in Heaven I shall be with Him." "But suppose you had to choose?" "I would ask God to choose for me," he said. Oh, sweetsimplicity which leaves everything with God! This is calling Jesus, Master, to perfection-
"Pleased with all the Lord provides, Weaned from all the world besides."
Once again, dear Friends, it is sweet for us to call Jesus, Master, because in so doing we take a position easy to reach andyet most delightful. To call Him, Bridegroom-what an honor it is to be so near akin to the Son of God! Friend is a familiarand honorable title-to call Him, Master, however, is often easier and it is quite as sweet-for in His service, if we takeno higher place, is pure delight to us! If our hearts are right, to do the Lord's bidding is as much as we can ask for! Thoughwe are sons, now, and not slaves, and therefore our service is of a different character from what it ever was before, yetservice is delight. What will Heaven be but perpetual service? Here we labor to enter into rest-there they enter into restwhile they labor! Their rest is the perfect obedience of their fully sanctified spirits.
Are you not panting for it? Will it not be one of your greatest joys in Heaven to feel that you are His servant? The glorifiedones are called His servants in Heaven. "His servants shall serve Him and they shall see His face, and His name shall be ontheir foreheads." Rid us of sin and we should be in Heaven now! Earth would be Heaven to us! I want you, dear Brethren inChrist, to go away rolling this sweet word under your tongue-"My Master." "My Master!" You will never hear better music thanthat-"My Master!" "My Master!" Go and live as servants should live. Mind you, make Him truly your Master, for He says, "IfI am a Master where is My honor?" Speak well of Him, for servants should speak well of a good Master. And no servant everhad so dear a Master as He is.
But there are some of you who cannot say this. I wish you could. Jesus is not your Master. Who is, then? You have a mastersomewhere, for, "his servants you are whom you obey." Now, if you obey the lusts of the flesh, your master is your flesh andthe wages will be corruption-for that is what flesh comes to-corruption, and nothing better! Or your master is the devil,and his wages must be death. Run away from such a master! Mostly, when servants leave their masters they are bound to givenotice, but here is a case in which no notice should ever be given. When the prodigal son ran away from feeding the swine,he never stopped to give notice that he was going to leave the pigs. He just took off-and I recommend every sinner to run,by the Grace of God, straight away from his sins.
Stopping to give notice is the ruin of many. They mean to be sober, but they must treat their good resolution to another glassor two. They intend to think about Divine things, but they must go to the theater once more. They would gladly serve Christ,but tomorrow, not tonight. If I had such a master as you have-you who live in sin-I would get up and away at once, by theGrace of God, and say, "I will have Christ for my Lord." Look at your evil master. Look at his cunning eyes! Can you not seethat he is a flatterer? He means your ruin! He will destroy you as he has already destroyed millions! That horrid leer ofsin, that painted face-consider them and abhor them! Serve not a master who, though he
gives you fair promises, labors for your destruction! Up and away, you slaves of sin! Eternal Spirit, come and break theirchains! Sweet Star of Liberty, guide them to the free country and let them find, in Jesus Christ, their liberty!
My Master rejoices to receive runaways! His door is open to vagrants and vagabonds, to the scum of the earth and the off-scouringof all things-to men that are dissatisfied with themselves-to wretches who have no joy in their lives and are ready to liedown and die! "This Man receives sinners." He is like David who went into Adullam. Every man that was in debt and discontentedcame to him and he became a captain over them. As Romulus and Remus gathered the first population of new Rome by harboringescaped slaves and robbers, whom they trained into citizens and made to be brave soldiers, so my Master has laid the foundationof the new Jerusalem and He looks for His citizens-yes, the noblest of them, over yonder there, where sin and Satan hold themcaptive-and He bids us sound out the silver trumpet and tell the slaves of sin that if they flee to Him, He will never givethem up to their old master! He will emancipate them, make them citizens of His great city, sharers of His bounties, partakersin His triumphs and they shall be His in the day when He makes up His jewels!
I remember preaching in this strain, once, and an old sea captain told me after the sermon that he had served under the blackflag for 50 years, and by the Grace of God he would tear the old rag down and run up the blood red Cross at the masthead.I recommended him not merely to change his flag, but to see that the vessel was repaired. But he wisely replied that repairingwould be of no use to such an old water-logged hulk-he had better scuttle the old ship and have a new one. I reckon that isthe best thing to do-to be dead, indeed, unto sin, and made alive in Christ Jesus-for you may do what you will with the oldwreck of fallen Nature, you will never keep it afloat.
The old man must be crucified with Christ! It must be dead, buried and sunk fifty thousand fathoms deep, never to be heardof again. In the new vessel which Jesus launches in the day of our regeneration, with the blessed flag of atoning blood aboveus, we will sail to Heaven convoyed by Irresistible Grace, giving God the glory forever and ever! Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-John 11. HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"-797, 769, 768.