Sermon 1295. Our Lord's Humanity a Sweet Source of Comfort
C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Then there came again and touched me one like the appearance of a man, and he strengthened me." Daniel 10:18.
WE are not able, as yet, to bear the full revelation of Divine things. If any intellect had been strong enough, if any hearthad been pure enough to see the exceeding glory of the Covenant angel, surely Daniel possessed such a head and heart. Buteven he fell upon his face and was cast into a dead swoon, for he was unable to bear the sight of the man clothed in linen,whose "body was like the beryl, and his face as the appearance of lightning." We ought to be thankful that our God has revealedno more. The Word of God is as excellent in its darkness as in its brightness. Had it unveiled more, its discoveries wouldhave been no more beneficial-perhaps they had been less profitable. As it is, there is far more within this Book than youand I have seen as yet, and we need not wish that more had been written. If we entertain such a desire, our loving Lord maysilence us with the words, "I have many things to show unto you, but you cannot bear them now."
It appears from our text that, when weighed down under a sense of the Divine Presence, the readiest method of consolationis found in the touch of a certain sublime, mysterious, human hand. I know it is very usual to say that the personage whoappeared to Daniel was the angel, Gabriel, but I cannot bring myself to believe that he is the angel of this chapter. Surelythis glorious Being was that uncreated Messenger of the Covenant who, though not born into our nature in Daniel's day, yettook upon Himself the similitude of a man for a time, as He had done before, when on special occasions He appeared to othersof the saints before His actual Incarnation!
Even if we grant that an angel was the person who touched Daniel, still the truth which I wish to bring out will be none theless clear, namely, that even if an angel should wish to comfort us, he must assume a visible human form and he must lay uponus a sympathetic hand like our own so that there shall be, at any rate, "the appearance of a man," or otherwise we shall notbe strengthened. If this is granted as true, I shall not insist upon the text immediately referring to Christ, but I shedthe general principle and say this-comfort is best brought to men by a man and if we are to be strengthened, the touch of"one like the appearance of a man" is needed.
Therefore we may, without difficulty, rise to the reflection that it is always to us the richest and highest comfort, as Believersin Christ, that the Lord Jesus is a Man and when He strengthens us, it is full often by laying His human hand upon us. Hereveals His kinship with us and our spirit is consoled and strengthened by a sense of His union with us. My one objectiveis, by the Spirit's aid, to draw water from the ancient well of our Lord's humanity. The Son of God is also the Son of Man.We, none of us, doubt His Deity and, therefore, we shall be able to spend all our time in this sermon in musing upon His Manhoodand the joys contained in that Truth of God.
Jesus is God. But Jesus was born, Jesus lived, Jesus died, Jesus rose again and Jesus is in Heaven, as a Man. He is God andMan in one Person, but there is no confusion of Natures. He is neither a deified man nor a humanized God. His Godhead is altogetherGodhead and His Manhood altogether manhood. We must not divide the Person, nor confuse the natures. He is as truly Man asif He were not God and as truly God as if He had never assumed the nature of man. It is of His Manhood that we are now aboutto speak. We shall not attempt to prove it, but shall simply endeavor to show how the touch of the hand of Jesus, the Man,strengthens us.
I. And, first, dear Friends, does it not cheer us WHEN WE LABOR UNDER A SENSE OF LONELINESS? If we are true to Him, we arestrangers and sojourners with Him, as all our fathers were. Before His Cross we find ourselves to be strangers in this land,even as He was, for as the world knew Him not, so it knows us not, and as it placed Him outside the camp, so, also, does itmake aliens of us. It is sweet to feel, when walking the separated path, "I am a stranger with
You"-a stranger in the world as You are, an exile as You were. In such solitude the Manhood of Jesus is a delicious cordial!
Some feel alone because they are the only ones of their house who serve the Lord. How you wish it were otherwise! It is yourdaily prayer that all your kindred may be followers of Christ, but they are not so. Perhaps they openly oppose you and makeyour life unhappy through their hard speeches. Well, there is a Friend that sticks closer than a brother! There is a Brotherwho will hear what you have to say, no, who knows all that is in your heart before you utter it! He is the antitype of Josephand He knows what it is to be separated from His Brethren. Of all that ever lived He was the loneliest, by far, and thereforeHe sympathizes with the forsaken ones.
The child of God, as he grows in Grace, becomes more lonely under certain aspects, just as the higher mountains have fewerfamiliarities, till Mont Blanc speaks to no equal in his awful height, but communes only with himself. They that serve Godmuch and well-and draw near to His innermost Presence-in that proportion draw away from men, as to deriving comfort from them.But, oh, there are no heights to which Jesus has not risen, no attainments which He has not surpassed! That glorious Man iswith you-with you in the singleness of heart with which you serve your God! He is with you in the perfect consecration whichthe Holy Spirit has given you, with you in the intimate fellowship of your soul with the Eternal Father! In your highest flightof ecstasy there is still a Man at your right hand, saying, "Fear not, for I am with you: be not dismayed, for I am your God."
It falls to the lot of some Christians to stand alone in their contention for the faith. Perhaps there is made known to themwhat has not been revealed to others, or which, being revealed, others have refused to see-or seeing have been afraid to declare.In such cases true-hearted men find themselves standing very much alone, at least for a time. They have a treasure which othersdo not prize and they are bound to show it, for to this end was the treasure placed in their earthen vessel. God has not committedit to them for themselves, alone, but He has put them in trust with the Gospel for the good of others and they must speakit out. If, when they do so, they hear no sympathetic answer, but are met in the spirit of controversy and unkind rebuke,it is blessed for them to know that "the faithful and true Witness" is the champion of every honest testimony.
He stood alone as our atoning Sacrifice and into that loneliness we never intrude, but in all other work He is our companion,even He who is called, "the Man Christ Jesus," and, therefore, we shall be cheered by His Presence if we find ourselves withoutearthly helpers. Oh, if we had our choice between having an angel to always live in our house and to know our secrets, orto have the Man Christ Jesus to be our constant Friend, we should not deliberate in our choice but choose our Lord's companyat once! An angel would often afflict us-we would be afraid to confess our littleness to him. We would fear that he wouldthink them meanness. His unsuffering nature we would suspect of contempt-and we would be ill at ease in his presence. Butsuch a feeling as that does not cross our mind when we have to deal with One who is touched with the feeling of our infirmities!
We know our Lord to be true Man and, therefore, we speak to Him with familiarity and make Him our heart's dearest companion.Lonely One, take care that you have no secrets apart from Jesus! Love your loneliness rather than seek to escape from it,if it brings you nearer to Him! You will do well to be always ready for Christian fellowship, yes, and to seek it-but do notlive on it-for fellowship with Jesus is sweeter than fellowship with saints! I know that fellowship with saints is poor stuffif it come not through fellowship with the saints' Master. When communion comes from His hands and we come to the feast inHis company, then every Brother and Sister who sits at the table adds to our enjoyment.
But if we approach the table to see them and forget Him, then everybody adds to our discomfort and forms another veil to hidethe Lord. Cling to the Christ of the Garden and the Cross, and find, O lonely One, your sweetest joy in the thought that Heis a Man such as you are. Sing with me those sweet lines-
"When gathering clouds around I view,
And days are dark and friends are few,
On Him I lean, who not in vain
Experienced every human pain.
He sees my needs, allays my fears,
And counts and treasures up my tears."
II. How sweet it is to feel the touch of the humanity of Christ WHEN WE ARE HUMBLED IN THE PRESENCE OF GOD. I know not, Brethren,whether you are often favored to behold the shining of the Divine Glory and to feel the warmth of it in your own soul. ThisI know-if you are, you find it a wearing and breaking joy. If we had more of it, it might be a destroying delight, for "evenour God is a consuming fire," and when we come nearest to Him and best understand that He is Love, the glory of that loveovercomes us! We cannot eat much honey, neither can we endure much sensible enjoyment of the Divine Glory-I mean much comparatively,for, of course, it is much to us, but it is not much compared with what He could reveal if we were able to endure it.
Have you ever felt what it is to be as if you were not-to see your comeliness turned into corruption, your excellency alldespoiled and yourself not only lying low in the Presence of God, but being as if you had no being at all-as if you had noseparate existence in the Presence of such wondrous majesty, such awe-inspiring love? You feel no dread, far from it! Andno unhappiness, but the very reverse-you, yourself, seem gone, and God is All in All. A blessed extinction of self makes roomfor Infinite Love! There is not one Covenant blessing but what, if we understood it, would have this humbling effect uponus!
Every gift which God bestows upon His chosen, if rightly understood and truly grasped, would make us say with Abraham, "Ithat am but dust and ashes," or make us sit down with David and exclaim, "Why this to me? Is this the manner of man, O LordGod?" Now, at such times of self-annihilation, it is strengthening to the mind, which is almost ready to expire beneath theload of heavenly Glory, to feel the touch of that hand and to perceive that He who is our God is also very near. It is blissto me, to perceive that the Creator has become one with the creature, for Jesus Christ was born at Bethlehem. Jesus ate, drank,slept, wept, bled and died-and now He sits at the right hand of the Father! And so, notwithstanding the awe which crushesme, I see an infinite condescension-no, I perceive a near kinship which draws me close to God. Himself, so that I say, "MyFather," and with the next breath, "My Brother, my Friend, my Husband, my
I wonder what we should have done if we had known so much of God and had not known Christ! I suppose I am speaking paradoxicallyand saying what I should not say, for we never could have known God, except in Jesus Christ, in such a way as we do know Him.But if such a thing had been possible, it must have been destructive to us. But now, God in Jesus Christ, how blessed! Godout of Christ, we know nothing of, nor need we. Luther used to say, "I will have nothing to do with an absolute God." Bewareof attempting to deal with God apart from the Mediator, for no man comes unto the Father but through His Son, Christ Jesus.Thus have we felt the touch of the human hand strengthening us when we have fallen prostrate under a deep sense of the Gloryof God.
III. Thirdly, Brothers and Sisters, and here, perhaps, you Sisters take precedence over us-IN SORROW-oh, how blessed it isto feel the touch of the man's hand! Bodily pain is the portion of many of God's people. They are seldom long without it.Weakness, constant weakness, keeps many of God's precious ones tied to the bedchamber or to the house and often the belovedmeans of Grace are taken from them because of their inability to come up to the assembly of God's saints. Others endure theaffliction of poverty-with all their economy and industry, they find it difficult to provide things honest in the sight ofall men.
Some true Christians are naturally of a somber temperament and, to them, even summer weather has a wintry aspect. The Lordhas allotted to each one of His children a cross to carry and His loving wisdom led Him to do so. Those who are, for the mostpart, without trial, are usually the weakest in the Church of God. They are usually the least spiritual, the least instructedin experimental truth and altogether the least knowledgeable in Divine things. We have our sorrows, but have we not found,by actual experience, that the choicest consolation for sorrow is the fact that Jesus Christ knows all about it and is withus in it!
How often has that verse run through my soul like a trumpet note to urge me onward when otherwise I should have retreatedfrom the battle?-
"In every pang that rends the heart, The Man of Sorrows had a part. With boldness, therefore, at the Throne Let us make allour sorrows known." There is no abyss of grief into which Jesus has not descended! Sickness of body and pangs of soul, bereavement,poverty, scorn, slander, desertion, treachery-He knows all these things! Malice, Envy, Contempt and deadly Hate all shot their
fiery darts against Him. He has sounded the deeps of the ocean of sorrow. Did He not say that He was exceedingly sorrowful,even unto death? And did not the sweat of blood which covered His face show how terrible were the inward agonies through whichHis soul was passing? Prince of Sorrow are You, O Jesus! Emperor in the realm of woe, are You, O Christ! You could say farmore truly than the Prophet of old, "I am the Man that has seen affliction."
Now, Brothers and Sisters, our bitter cup is sweetened, for His dear lips have touched the brim! No, He has drained it toits dregs! Now, Brethren, our hard sorrow is softened because it is only a piece from that loaf of which He ate the most,Himself. Well may we be satisfied to go through the valley of tears, for it is "the King's vale" and all along it we can trackHis footprints. We know them, for they show the marks of the nails! They are the footprints of the Crucified! Joined withus in every grief and woe, He is always at our side when our hearts are heavy. He carried up to Heaven the same human heartwhich was pierced below-and there He remembers Calvary and all the griefs He suffered on our behalf. He still sympathizeswith us.
I delight in that thought of one of our hymn writers, where he says-
"Yet even after death His heart For us, its tribute poured."
After our Lord was dead, His heart yielded blood and water for our sakes, so that after death He was still in sympathy withus. Jesus still gives His heart to His people! Glory be to His name! Who among you will refuse to shoulder your cross, now?Did you lay it down just now and say, "I can carry it no longer. I must give up in despair"? Why, He carries the heavier endfor you! Put your shoulder to the burden which He consecrates by His fellowship. It will grow light when you think that Heonce carried it!
When Alexander's troops were on long marches, that which cheered them was that Alexander always walked as far as they. Ifthey were very thirsty in the broiling sun and if any water was to be found, of course they brought it first to Alexander.Should they not, first, consider their king? But he nobly put the cooling draught on one side and said, "as long as a sickman needs water, Alexander will go without." This made each warrior strong, for his king fared as he fared! Let this strengthenus tonight. Jesus Christ puts His hand upon us and says, "Fear not. I am with you in your sorrow. My heart is as your heart,therefore be of good cheer."
IV. I will not dwell long on any one thought, but leave you to dilate upon it. The fact that Jesus Christ is a Man such aswe are, should greatly comfort us in ALL OUR STRUGGLES. It seems hard, this battle of life, this "contending earnestly forthe faith once delivered to the many"-this fighting against sin, this contention against inbred corruption, this warring againstspiritual wickedness in high places-and we are apt to think sometimes, "Can we ever win? Is not the battle too difficult?"
In such moments look at yonder Man who sits upon the Throne of God! He is the typical Man, the representative to us of whatmanhood should be, no, of what, through His Grace, it is! He wrestled hard, as hard as you do, but He won the victory! Youare tempted. Does that cause you doubt? He was "tempted in all points like as we are." Yet He did not sin. Are you distressedby the contentions of godless men? "Consider Him who endured such contradiction of sinners against Himself, lest you be wearyand faint in your minds." The struggle is not so hard with you as it was with Him. You have an easier battle to fight andyou have the promise that, as your days, your strength shall be.
Now, as He overcame, finding strength enough for His conflict, He is to you a living prophecy of what you shall do throughHim. Yes, Brothers and Sisters, you shall trample sin beneath your feet, you shall take the strongholds of the adversary andGrace shall reign within your heart! The world, the flesh and the devil, that trinity of evils, shall be overcome by you!You shall be a conqueror, no, listen-"More than a conqueror through Him that loved you."-
"As surely as He overcame, And triumphed once for you, So surely you that love His name, Shall triumph in Him, too."
"Did a man ever do that?" asked a bold spirit concerning some renowned achievement, "for if one man did it, another man shall."It was a brave speech! But let us apply it to Christ for a moment. Did He, a Man, live in the midst of this world amid fiercetemptations-and did He come out of that scorching furnace with not so much as the smell of fire upon Him? Then the eternalGod can work the same in other men and we may believe, no, we may be confident that the victory shall be unto us through theblood of the Lamb. Be of good courage, O sons of men, for the Son of Man has won
the victory! Throw not away your confidence. Let not your swords be laid aside. Jesus, Jesus the representative Man, has conquered!
And, therefore, those who are in Him, "strengthened with all might by His Spirit in the inner man," shall conquer also! Hereinis comfort.
V. Further, Brothers and Sisters, in the fifth place, what a blessed thing it has been to look at the Manhood of Jesus
Christ AT TIMES WHEN WE HAVE BEEN DECEIVED IN OUR BRETHREN. Our natural tendency to idolatry
tempts us to confide in man. Among religious people there always has been a tendency, much to be deplored, to lean a gooddeal upon men of eminence-upon ministers, leaders and men of experience. We get a great deal of good from them, blessed beGod, and, therefore, we conceive a high opinion of them as, indeed, we may rightly do if we attribute all that is praiseworthyto the God who gave it.
But every now and then we pass beyond the proper confidence which a younger brother may place in an elder and we pin our faithto the man's sleeve and make our hope, in a measure, dependent upon his sincerity. This is the peculiar sin of young Christians,but I have sometimes met with it in simple-hearted persons, even in extreme old age. The "dear minister," the "venerable manof God"-they have looked far too much to him. Alas, there has come a discovery that man is only man and that some men arenot saints though they talk in a saintly manner! There has been the explosion of a profession, the total casting down of anidol and the breaking of it to pieces-and at such times the faith of many has been grievously staggered-even those who aresomewhat more established have, nevertheless, received a grievous blow.
We have seen Judas again, and Demas, and Hymenaeus, and Philetus, and old Ahitophel rising from the dead and we have beenfilled with grief. At such times it is most cheering to remember that there is one Man who will never deceive us! There isOne who has not uttered a promise which He will not fulfill, nor won from us a confidence which He will not more than justify!It is such a blessed thing to see Jesus standing there-honesty, integrity, uprightness, Righteousness Incarnate, truth Hisvery Nature with no sinister motives or desires to make Him subtle for His own gain, but altogether disinterested-living forthe glory of God and the good of His people.
To get back into His bosom, again, and to nestle there and feel-"Child, here is a heart that is ever warm with true love.You are safe here"-this is rest, indeed! To get back to Jesus and say, "Now am I neither of Paul, nor of Apollos, nor of Cephas,but of Christ." To hear the news of religious strife in this denomination and that and, amidst the clashing elements of differentecclesiastical parties, to say, "Vanity of vanities, all is vanity" and, clinging to Jesus, to feel, "But this is not vanity,this is reality, this is truth!" Oh, to stay with Jesus, Brothers and Sisters!-never to stir away from Him and to feel thatthe truth which you can trust, the integrity on which you can rely is embodied in the Man, Christ Jesus!
Is not man the meanest thing in all creation? Do you not feel him to be so when he deceives you? But, then, when you lookat Jesus, how manhood rises in your esteem! After all, He is capable of something grand and glorious! And you bless the LordJesus who has, by the sublime perfection of His Character, redeemed our nature from its frightful degradation!
VI. Again, I hope I shall not weary you. Surely I may continue to draw out the silken threads of such a subject. Childrenof God will find the doctrine of Christ's Humanity to be wonderfully comfortable to them IN SEASONS OF DOUBT. Many of youare free from grievous doubts and I would be the last to sow them in your minds. I love Cowper's picture of the poor womanwith her pillow and bobbins who only knew her Bible, true, and left all the philosophies in the world to those who cared forthem.
But there is a class of disciples like Thomas who think much and are apt to doubt much. They do not love doubts- they hatethem, yet their doubts often go very deep and undermine the most precious doctrines. The men are really steadfast in the faith,but it costs them many exercises and painful questions. They ask, "How is this?" And, "Why is that?" Perhaps they have morebrains than heart. I suppose many of us get into that condition and, do you know, to me a sight of my Lord is my great security-asheet anchor which has held me fast in times of skepticism and doubt. I cannot doubt when I see Him! When I turn over theBible and read of His Character, I find it impossible to be a disbeliever! If any man invented the Character of Christ, Iwill worship him-He must be Divine to have created such perfection!
It seems to me that if the life of Jesus were not a fact, the very fiction would be a creation demanding perfect holinessin the inventor. Who but a perfectly holy being could have conceived a Character like that of our Lord and Master? Every othercharacter has its flaw. Man may be likened to a statue I once saw in Cambridge, which I think is in Trinity
College library now-a statue of Byron. I remember looking at it from one point of view and the gentleman who showed it tome said, "There, Sir, there is the poet!" Yes, and a noble face it is, full of high thought, rare imagination. You admirethe man.
"Come round to this point," said my conductor, "for there is the man who dared defy the Deity." You could see at once thesemi-maniac Byron, lost to all pure and devout emotion. The artist had sketched the duplicate man, the true Byron, a man bothgreat and wicked! Now, if some artist, able to exhibit the whole truth could thus set you forth in marble, your friends mightgo to ever so many points and say, "Beautiful! Beautiful! Admirable! Commendable! Lovely!" and so on. But when they came tosome one point (and some of us may be very thankful that people do not get to that point) they would exclaim, "Alas," andthey would not like to say much more. They would feel the conviction that things are not altogether what they seem to be andthat flaws are discoverable in those they most admire.
It is not so with Jesus. Survey Him, before and behind, on the right and on the left. Come upon Him at midnight. Look at Himin midday. Watch Him as a Child, see Him as a Man. Look at Him alone. Behold Him in company. See Him in His pomp as He ridesthrough Jerusalem. See Him in His shame as they hound Him to His death. From every point He is perfect, absolutely perfect!You cannot improve Him, you cannot hint at a fault in Him! This is, to candid minds, a solid establishment, rendering it hardto be a doubter. And it becomes to Believers, who love their Lord and Master, a blessed chain which holds them fast so thatthey cannot give up the Truth of God they have received, for they have not followed cunningly devised fables.
If Peter and James and John, when they saw their Lord transfigured, were convinced, so are we, also, when we view His humanlife on earth, for His whole career is the transfiguration of humanity-a wonderful display of how poor human nature's garmentscan be made whiter than any fuller can make them-how the brightness of manhood can excel the glory of the sun at noonday!This consoles us amidst the battle of doubtful thought.
VII. Further, dear Brothers and Sisters, how blessedly the touch of our Redeemer's human hand COMFORTS US IN THE PROSPECTOF DEATH. Unless the Lord comes, "It is appointed unto all men, once, to die." In the presence of death and the grave, whenwe really get to look at them, there is hardly one among us who does not begin to ask himself, "Is it all right?" Must wedie? We shrink back-we cannot bear it. "Shall I rise again? If, after my skin, worms devour this body, shall I, in my flesh,see God? Does it seem likely? Is it possible? Can these dry bones live?"
We have read the burial service many times and heard it read over our friends. We have thought that we believed in the Resurrection,but when it comes to ourselves, and we are about to die and sickness tells upon us, then we ask the question over again, "Shallwe rise? And is it true? Is it really true?" Often and often have I put myself through my paces over that question and thisis where I always land-I know that the Man, Christ Jesus, rose from the dead. I am sure of that. How do I know it? No factin human history was ever better attested or even so well attested as this-that Jesus, who was crucified, did truly rise fromthe dead.
The witnesses are so many. Read Paul's summing up of the evidence in Corinthians. He shows that sometimes Christ was seenby one disciple alone, then by 12 and, on one occasion, at any rate, by 500 witnesses at once. Jesus showed Himself aliveby indisputable proofs-we are sure that He rose from the dead. Well, then, I know that I shall, too, for the Apostle, by inspiration,has put the two things together-"If Christ rose not, then is there no resurrection of the dead. But if Christ rose from thedead, how say some among you that there is no resurrection of the dead?" One man has broken from the prison of the grave and,therefore, so will all who are like He!
Brothers and Sisters, in the gaze of mortality we shall escape from this city, for our Samson rose in the morning and tookaway the gates, posts, bars and all, and carried them to the top of the hill! The gates of the grave are open-pass through,you redeemed of the Lord! He has rent away the bars of the sepulcher, it is a dungeon no longer! The tomb is now a bedchamberwhere you shall sleep a little while, till your body shall be prepared for the Lord's embrace-
"What, though our inbred sins require Our flesh to see the dust, Yet as the Lord our Savior rose, So all His followers must."
VIII. Once more. Children of God, the Manhood of Christ ought to be a great comfort to you WHEN YOU ARE SEEKING TO DO GOODAMONG YOUR FELLOW MEN. This is an awful world, this world of human beings. If you ride along the main streets, it looks tobe a very respectable city. But just go down the side streets! And from these, turn
into the courts and alleys. Enter Jack Ketch, or Tiger Bay. Visit those regions where the means of livelihood are sin, wheredrunkenness is the chief delight, where debauchery has ceased to be pleasure and has become an occupation- where every villainyis transacted unblushingly. Oh, God! When we think of what humanity is, even where Christianity keeps it within bounds, andthen think of what it is when left to itself to bow down before blocks of wood and stone, and offer orgies of vice as theadoration of God, we might justly say, "Oh, it is a foul thing! Let it alone! It scarcely deserves
If we could but entertain the comfortable notions of the Corinthian Brethren and believe that the world is not to be converted,how relaxed we might be! We could sit down and care no more for this poor earth, because the Lord Jesus is coming and thething will end-and there is nothing for us to do but to pull here and there a man off the sinking ship, for the kingdoms ofthis world are never to become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ-and He is never to have dominion from sea to sea.At any rate, not by the ordinary method of the proclamation of the Gospel-and we may as well go to bed and enjoy ourselves,for effort is needless where success is hopeless.
So they tell us, and if I could believe them, I could sleep more soundly at nights. But I believe that the world is to beconverted to God and that here, on this battleground, and by the same weapons with which the fight began, the conflict willbe fought out to the glorious end! And I believe sin shall be trodden down by the Lord's people, who will win the victorythrough His blood! Still, look at fallen human nature. Whitefield used to say that it was half beast and half devil. He wasvery near the mark, but I question whether both beast and devil are not slandered by being compared with man when he is leftto himself!
Fallen man is a horrible creature and each one of us may see a specimen in his own natural heart. But, oh, Brothers and Sisters,let us gird up the loins of our minds and be encouraged! Let us look beyond the Fall and see what humanity once was and whatit may yet become! Jesus took human Nature upon Him and thereby did it the highest honor-an honor which has more than rolledaway its reproach. Though free from sin, yet His Nature was human. And in assuming such a Nature, Jesus showed the value whichHe set by our race. He thought it worth His while to live, to suffer, to bleed, to die for such poor things as we have beenspeaking of. He thought it worth His while to preach to a woman who had had five husbands and was still living in sin.
He thought it worth His while to permit His feet to be washed by a woman who had been a sinner. Worth His while to mix withtax collectors and sinners-the common vulgar people of the great cities, for He was a physician-and He had come to heal thesick. Never let us give way, for a solitary moment, to the proud feeling that anybody is below us, or that any human beingis so mean that he is not worth looking after-and so bad that it is really of no use to hope to benefit him. Have I not heardit insinuated with regard to fallen women, "Oh, it is very melancholy work to have to do with them and probably it would bebetter to let them alone"?
"And these children in the streets," say some, "these waifs and strays-would it not be better to let those eminent Christiandignitaries, the parochial authorities, instruct them in the poorhouse? Would it not be better to let the grosser evils alone?They are so hideous! Drunkenness, poverty, uncleanness-they so abound in this great city that one runs great risks and undergoesmuch pollution in coming near them." Very superior beings, sometimes, talk in this fashion. I mean, rather to say, that conceitedcoxcombs thus speak! Is there one being on the face of the earth so degraded that you and I might not have been more degraded,still, if the Lord's Grace had been withheld? Does there live on the face of the earth one incarnation of wickedness thatcan possibly excel what we might have been if exposed to the same influences and denied the restraints of love?
How, then, can we talk of sinners as being beneath us? Jesus Christ stoops, indeed, but for you and me it is almost impossibleto stoop, for we are already down so low that we are near to the very lowest-and there is no great stoop possible on our part.This always cheers me. If my Master would give me a house full of convicts who had been imprisoned many times and given overas hopeless, I should feel great confidence in preaching the Gospel to them, because I should think, "Now, I am in the veryplace in which my Master would have chosen to place His pulpit." Did He not come to save us, who are convicts under the Lawof God? And, if He has done that, let us never despair of the worst of felons! Never despair of a creature for whom Jesusdied! Never despair of a creature, the likes of which you may see by myriads before the eternal Throne, singing, "We havewashed our robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb." City mission-
ary, Bible woman, Brother, Sister, you who work among the lowest of the low-let the Master's hand touch you and give you strength!
Now, I have done when I have said a few inviting words to those here present who do not know much of the Redeemer and havenot yet believed in Him. Do you feel yourselves guilty before God? Do you wish for mercy? Come, then, and come NOW, for JesusChrist, a Man like yourselves, invites you! Remember, you cannot go to God without a Mediator, but you may go to Christ withouta mediator and you may go just as you are. You need no introduction to Jesus! I know that you can go and tell another manlike yourself your sins, for some are so foolish to do so. They confess their sins to the priests, as Judas did, but you knowJudas then went and hanged himself, which was a very likely thing to do after such a confession.
But if you will go and tell your sins to Jesus, who is a Man, and something more than a Man, He will hear your story and itwill not pollute His ear. He will listen to it and He will do more-He will effectually absolve you. Have you not felt, now,that you have grown up to be big fellows, that you wished you were boys again, so that you could go at night and tell motherall that you had done wrong during the day, so that mother might kiss you and you would go to bed feeling that everythingwas right again? Well, there is no mortal to whom you can go for such forgiveness, now, but the Lord Jesus Christ-who willbe to you all that your mother was when you were a child.
Go and tell Him all about it and ask Him to wash you in His blood and cover you with His Righteousness-and He will forgiveyou as freely as your own kind mother would have done! Jesus Christ will feel for you, for He knows all your temptations andweaknesses. If there is any sort of excuse to be made for you, He will make it. He did that for His murderers when He said,"Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do." For that which cannot be extenuated at all, He has something a greatdeal better than an excuse-namely, His own atoning Sacrifice. He will tell you, "Simply trust Me and I will save you."
Do not be afraid to come and tell Him all about your case. He will not spurn you! Did He ever spurn a sinner, yet? The dogseat the crumbs under His table and He never drives them away. Dog of a sinner, you may come to His feet and He will make somethingbetter than a dog of you! But you tell me, "The Man, Jesus, is in Heaven." So much the better, for if He were here on earthin this Tabernacle, then He would not be over in Seven Dials and Golden Lane and over in North and East London, or away therein Scotland and Ireland, or across the seas! But, being in Heaven, He is within equal reach of us all, wherever we may be!And whoever darts a thought after Him, or a wish towards Him-above all, whoever trusts Him-shall find in Him eternal life!
Sinner, you have not to deal with an absolute God! You have to deal with God in Jesus, the Man! Come, then, to Him, for Hehas come to you. The Ladder, Christ Jesus, you know, has its foot on earth and its top in Heaven. The higher we ascend, themore we shall delight to think of the Glory of Christ. But our first business is to think of the foot of the Ladder and Iwant you, tonight, to know that its foot stands on earth, just in front of you. Jesus was such as you are-not sinful, thatHe could not be-but in all else like you. He was poor and suffering as you are. Now, put your foot on the first rung of theLadder, His Manhood and His bloody sacrifice upon the Cross.
Trust that and you shall climb till you ascend where the full Deity of the Incarnate Savior blazes forth! And you shall rejoicein His Second Advent and all the splendors of His future reign. Tonight you may leave those higher things alone. Begin atthe bottom of the Ladder and commence to climb! The Lord help you! The Lord bless you! May He lay His hand on you at thismoment, poor Sinner! That will melt your heart! That will cheer your spirit! That will give you life from the dead! May Hedo it for His name's sake. Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON-Daniel 10. HYMNS FROM "OUR OWN HYMN BOOK"-820, 260, 761.