Sermon 2011. Abram's Call-or, Half-Way-and All the Way
DELIVERED ON LORD'S DAY MORNING, FEBRUARY 26, 1888,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran his son's son and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife;and they went forth with them from Ur of the Chaldees, to go into the land of Canaan. And they came unto Haran and dwelt there."Genesis 11:31.
"And Abram took Sarai his wife and Lot his brother's son and all their substance that they had gathered and the souls thatthey had gotten in Haran; and they went forth to go into the land of Canaan; and into the land of Canaan they came." Genesis 12:5.
AFTER the Flood, when men began to multiply and increase in the earth, it was not very long before they began to turn asidefrom the living and true God. At first the sons of Noah walked in the light of Divine knowledge, though even among them wasfound an evil seed. When scattered over the earth after the confusion of tongues at Babel, the earth's hoary fathers carriedwith them a measure of the knowledge of God which they had received from their sires. But after a while, the light grew dim,men began to worship the sun and the moon and they adored fire as the mystic symbol of the mysterious and spiritual Lord.
They sought out many inventions. And having once begun to quit their allegiance to the one God they very rapidly traveledalong the downward road till they worshipped strange gods. It was sad that although the earth produced its mighty huntersand men built city after city, yet few among them sought after God, or built altars to His name. Well might the Lord God cryout, "Hear Me heavens and give ear, O earth-I have nourished and brought up children and they have rebelled against Me."
A long period passed without a voice from God. Man seemed left to himself and in danger of being given up to idols. The nationswandered each a different way but all the downward road. Yet Divine Grace had not ended its reign. And therefore before thelamp of God had wholly gone out, the Lord determined to reveal Himself and establish His worship in the world. He would selecta family to be His peculiar servants. He would manifest Himself to the father of that family and would make with him a Covenant.He would reveal to him the great things which He intended to do in the fullness of time and He would bid him hand down theRevelation to his children from generation to generation.
This family should grow into a nation and to that nation should be committed the oracles of God. Out of that nation shouldcome Prophets and priests and heroes who should believe in God and maintain the true faith against all comers, even untilthe Son of God Himself should come to manifest the glory of God in a preeminent degree. In the midst of that nation the Lordresolved to set up ordinances and a settled organization by which Truth should be taught through type and symbol and by thehallowed speech of godly men. This, in His wisdom, He judged to be best for the future of the race.
In the wise sovereignty of His choice, the Lord chose Abram and his house. He gives no account of his matters and we cannot,therefore, tell why he took out of Ur of the Chaldees those of whom Joshua says, "Your fathers dwelt on the other side ofthe flood in old time, even Terah, the father of Abraham and the father of Nachor-and they served other gods." The Lord calledAbram alone and blessed him. He set apart the Patriarch and his seed and put them in trust with the priceless treasure ofDivine Revelation-this they kept for themselves and for the rest of mankind.
It was needful that the elect family should be led apart and kept from the contamination of surrounding evil. Abram must comeout from Ur of the Chaldees and all its associations of idolatry and he must even leave his kindred and his father's houseand walk before the Lord in separation unto prompt obedience and complete consecration. Thus his separation unto God
would fulfill the gracious purpose of the Most High. The Lord's end and aim was to keep His Truth alive in the world by meansof a people who should be set apart for that service.
It was therefore essential that the person chosen to be the head of that family, the founder of that nation, should come rightaway from all connection with the corrupt world and walk apart with God. The chosen nation was to dwell alone and not to benumbered among the peoples. Hence came that call which said to Abram, "Get you out of your country and from your kindred andfrom your father's house unto a land that I will show you: and I will make of you a great nation and I will bless you andmake your name great. And you shall be a blessing."
At this moment God is working in much the same manner in the midst of the world by His Church. A Church is an assembly calledout. An ecclesia is not any and every "assembly"-a mixed crowd of unauthorized persons having no special right to come togetherwould not be an ecclesia, or Church. In a real ecclesia the herald summoned the citizens by trumpet or by name and it consistedof certain persons called out from among the common multitude. The true Church consists of men who are called and faithfuland chosen. They are redeemed from among men and called out from among their fellows by effectual grace.
God the Holy Spirit continues to call out and bring to the Lord Jesus those who are chosen of God according to the good pleasureof His will. Practically, conversion is the result of the call-"Get you out from your country." It is a repetition of thatsearching word, "Come you out from among them and be you separate, says the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing." The Churchis a repetition of the camp of Abram in the midst of Canaan. It is the Lord's portion among men and it keeps His oracles.The Church of the living God is the pillar and ground of the Truth of God. And it is the design of God to find a home forHis Gospel in His Church till the dispensation of Divine Grace shall close and the Judge shall ascend the throne.
In gathering instruction from the call of Abram, I shall handle the matter by making three remarks. First, this call is oftenonly half obeyed. In our first text we find the command of God very partially carried out. Secondly, this call is of a veryspecial character and I shall endeavor to show the manner in which it comes to us at this time. Thirdly, this call, when itis really obeyed, puts the obedient upon a special footing-they are henceforth peculiarly the Lord's. May the Holy Spiritbless our meditation!
I. In the first place, THIS CALL IS OFTEN ONLY HALF OBEYED. It came to Abram when he dwelt in Ur of the Chal-dees. But thoughhe so far hearkened to it as to set out for Canaan, yet we read that "they came to Haran and dwelt there."
We do not know how the call came to Abram, whether by a voice which he heard with his ears, or by a mysterious impulse uponhis mind, or by a dream or vision. But Stephen tells us, in the seventh of Acts-"The God of glory appeared unto our fatherAbraham." There may have been given to Abram some such sight of the glory of God as Job had when he cried, "Now my eye seesYou." The Lord appeared to Abram and made him to understand that he must emigrate from his country and quit his tribe. Somehowor other, it was laid home to Abram's heart and conscience that he must go forth upon a journey he knew not where. He mustjourney into another land and no more dwell in city, or town, or village but become a sojourner with his God, a tent-dweller,a stranger in a strange land.
His first step would naturally be to tell his friends that he must leave them, for the living God had called him to go tothe land of Canaan. At once his difficulties began. His kindred could not bear to part with him. If they had distinctly opposedhim and said, "It is absurd. Your talk is insanity. Yet if you must be gone, go your way and welcome"-then he would have gonein sadness but assuredly he would not have hesitated. A man possessed of Abram's wondrous faith would have torn himself awaywith great firmness, although with deep regret at the sorrow which he caused. Had they opposed him, his course would havebeen plain.
But he had to meet with a much more insidious evil. His friends consented to his zeal. Whether they agreed in his reverencefor Jehovah or not, they felt that they could not cut themselves off from Abram and therefore they resolved to go with him.The word to Abram was express, "Get you out from your kindred and from your father's house." But how was this to be done whenhis kindred and his father's house clung to him and yielded to him? Very naturally his loving spirit could see no other waybut to bid them all come with him and yield themselves to God.
Possibly Abram looked for great things from this and rejoiced in it. It would seem as if his aged father Terah, with thatwisdom which is a near to subtlety, himself led the way in the migration. For we read-"And Terah took Abram his son and Lotthe son of Haran his son's son and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife; and they went forth with them from Urof the Chaldees to go into the land of Canaan." The father of the clan leads the way and it is rather his migration than thatof Abram. What was Abram to do? Instead of meeting opposition from his family, his own father is leading the way in the journeyto Canaan. Did not this make his obedience easier?
We shall see. Was not this happy union of the household, this undivided assent to the Lord's bidding, a great cause for rejoicing?It certainly appeared so. But all is not gold that glitters. What we think will help may at length hinder. What looks likea work of grace may turn out to be only the movements of unrenewed nature. Like the mixed multitude which came out of Egyptwith Israel, we may have about us professed friends who may become our worst foes in the secret of God's Truth and DivineGrace.
In Abram's case the dreaded separation is spared-they start together for Canaan. So far so good-at least, it looks so. Thetraveling is wearisome and many are the murmurings. The huge caravan has not gone very far before the proposal is made thatthey should be satisfied with the move which they had made and remain at Haran. True, it was not Canaan but it might do aswell. Did not the family reason, "We shall stay here. We have yielded a great many points to Abram in coming away from Ur.But we cannot yield to all his demands. We have proved our love to him and our reverence for the Lord by coming thus far andnow we ask for a fair compromise.
"Abram is very sincere but he must not be bigoted. Surely he will not be so foolish as to believe in verbal inspiration andinsist upon Canaan, when Haran quite meets the spirit of the command. There is no doubt that Haran answers every purpose andwe mean to stay here and Abram must stay with us." His father pleads that he is very old. To be moving continually is hardfor aged people. And there is that broad Euphrates, how can the old man cross that dreaded flood? "Spare your venerable parentthis last bitterness-I have come thus far to please you-do not press me further."
I think I am not wildly imagining if I suppose that some such pleas induced the Patriarch to tarry with his kindred at Ha-ran.A loving and tender heart worked against prompt literal obedience and for a while the man of faith delayed, the heir of thepromises hesitated. Do you blame him? It will be wiser to look at home. Holy Scripture describes his conduct and appends noabsolute word of censure. But it does what is quite as significant-it keeps silent as to anything like a record of blessing,or of communion with God-while Abram was at the half-way house at Haran.
To a friend of God His silence is quite enough of a rebuke. Ifmy friend does not smile, I do not require him to frown to letme know whereabouts I am in his esteem. If my friend no longer speaks to me, I do not need him to upbraid me-his silence issadly eloquent to my heart. Abram and the rest settled down at Haran. He was conquered, not by open foes but by compromisingfriends. My Brethren, take good heed unto yourselves that you suffer not your feet to be entangled by the men of your ownhousehold. He that would follow the Lamb wherever he goes, must not know his own kindred when he comes to the parting of theways.
Honest wolves will not harm us one half so much as those who look like sheep but inwardly are not so. Our first father, Adam,fell by the temptation of her whom he loved and the old serpent still knows how to seduce through our affections and leadinto ruin by the suggestion of friendship. O Man of God, beware! Read my parable with open eye and practice the lesson thereof.
Let me describe the consequences of tarrying at any half-way house. To obey the Lord partially is to disobey Him. If the Lordbids Abram go to Canaan, he cannot fulfill that command by going to Haran. Haran was not mentioned in the call. You cannotkeep God's command by doing something else which pleases you better. The essence of obedience lies in its exactness. Althoughsomething else may seem to you to be quite as good as the thing commanded, what has that to do with it?
This is what God bids you and to refuse the thing commanded, professing to substitute a better thing, is gross presumption.You may not think it so but so it is, that half obedience is whole disobedience. We can only obey the Lord's command as itstands. To alter it is as great a treason as to make erasures in a king's statute-book. It is will-worship and not God worship,if I do what I choose of the Lord's work and leave a part undone which does not please me quite so well.
Moreover, half-way obedience increases our responsibility, because it is a plain confession that we know the Lord's will,though we do it not. Abram had received the call and knew that he had done so, else why had he come to Haran? He admitted,by going as far as Haran, that he ought to go the whole way to Canaan. And so, by his own action he left himself without excuse.And any of you who are doing in a measure what is right because of the fear of God and yet are acting in other matters contraryto what you know to be the Lord's will, you are left without apology for such neglect.
By the service which you do render to God you admit that He a has right to your obedience-why, then do you not obey Him inall things? You call Jesus your Lord and do some of the things which He says but why not the rest? Is it not clear that youknow your Master's will and do it not? Thus, you see, there was failure in obedience and increase of responsibility. The resultof this to Abram was the absence of privilege. God spoke not to His servant in Haran-neither dream, nor vision, nor voicecame to him in the place of hesitancy. The Lord loved him but hid His face from him and denied him the visits of His DivineGrace.
If we walk contrary to the Lord, He will walk contrary to us. Abram lived with his father Terah. But he was not living nearhis heavenly Father, and therefore he did not hear His voice. How greatly the true heart dreads this! How earnestly it sighs,"O Lord, be not silent to me, lest if You be silent to me, I become like them that go down into the pit"! O my Brothers, letus not, by wavering and half-heartedness, lose our communion with the Lord our God.
Meanwhile, Abram was rendering an affliction needful. His father Terah must die that the cord which held Abram might be broken.If the called one will not come out while the old man lives, death must do his work and remove the cause of disobedience.If Abram fears to weep at parting with a living father, he must weep over his grave. One way or another the Lord will causeHis chosen to obey Him. Oh, that we would be tender of heart and not be as the horse or as the mule which have no understanding!Whips and rods would seldom be heard of if we were more promptly obedient.
While tarrying at Haran, Abram was creating cause of future disquietude by his attachment to Lot. He was told to come outfrom his kindred but he clung to his orphan nephew and must needs accept his company. Lot caused him a great deal of trouble.His herdsmen created discontent and strife and afterwards Lot himself was carried away captive and peaceful Abram was compelledto gird on the warrior's sword and go forth to battle, to rescue his nephew. Had Abram acted decidedly from the very first,he might have saved himself many a hardship.
My Brethren, learn well these lessons. I merely hint them-will you not enlarge upon them? All this while Abram was delayingthe great blessing which God was prepared to give him, he was keeping out of the promised land and away from the place whereJehovah would manifest Himself to him and enter into covenant with him. I fear that some true Believers are depriving themselvesof the richest joy and the most heavenly experience by their undecided conduct. Some of you have come away from your old sinsbut you have not yet entered upon the new life in its fullness. You have left Ur of the Chaldees-the place of open sin-butyou have not come to Canaan the holy.
You are tarrying in the Haran of a partial obedience, which is neither here nor there-a sort of death in life, rebellion inobedience, unbelief in faith. I know many professors who have left their vicious habits but they are not yet consecrated tothe Lord Jesus-they are not absolutely in the world and yet they are not abiding in the Lord. Their speech is half of Ashdodand half of the Jews' language. They dare not be Philistines and yet they will not be Israelites. They are willing to be savedby the Cross of Christ but they are not willing to take up Christ's Cross and come right out decidedly upon His side at alltimes. This is a perilous state to be in.
They have enough religion to make them miserable, but, I fear, not enough to fit them for joys eternal. They may ultimatelyget into Heaven by the skin of their teeth-at least, I hope so. But they have no present joy, no immediate peace, no consciousfellowship with God. Half-way house godliness is wretched stuff-beware of it! Remember what we read of the mongrels who dweltin Israel's land, who had been brought there by the Assyrian conqueror. They feared the Lord and served other gods and, therefore,Jehovah sent lions among them. Let all who are of that race remember the lions. For the Lord will not suffer such double-mindedones to live in peace before Him.
Thus much, then, upon my first point-the Divine call is too often only half obeyed. II. Secondly, THIS CALL, ESPECIALLY ASIT COMES TO US, IS OF A VERY PECULIAR CHARACTER. To us, of course, it is wholly spiritual. We are not called today to leaveour country and our kindred so far as our residence is concerned. But it seems to me that we are called to a much more difficultposition than that, namely, to stay on the old spot, among old friends and yet to lead a wholly new life. Of course, we areto quit all evil company. But we are not to leave the society of our fellow men, nor to go out of the world. Even Abram wasnot called to be an ascetic, nor to live in a cave, nor to retire into the desert like a hermit.
Within the borders of his own encampment Abram was a man among men and pursued his daily calling as the keeper of great flocksof sheep and herds of oxen and camels and so forth. Towards his neighbors he behaved himself with noble-minded independenceand integrity. He was a pattern of what Divine Grace can make of a really noble man when he moves among those who are strangersto his God. But yet, Beloved, Abram did, to a great extent, dwell in a favorable condition. He lived apart from the grossersort. He was not wearied with the voices of a city, as Lot was-his own tents and the many tents of his servants, made up quitea settlement, where God's name was reverenced and the fear of the Lord was felt.
That canvas town had one over it of whom the Lord said, "I know him, that he will command his children and his household afterhim and they shall keep the way of the Lord." Some of us can almost seclude our families but many others have a far hardertask. They have to live in the city amid its sins and yet not to be of it. They have in their earthly callings to come intodaily contact with the ungodly and yet they have to be holy, harmless, undefiled and separate from sinners. As Abram was no
Canaanite, though he sojourned in Canaan, so are we to prove ourselves to be of a totally distinct race. This is a very difficultpiece ofbusiness.
How great a wonder was asked by our Savior's prayer-"I pray not that You should take them out of the world but that You shouldkeep them from the Evil One"! Not by difference in brogue, nor by peculiarity in dress are we to be marked out as the servantsof God. But our lives must be so Christ-like and pure that men shall say of us, "You also were with Jesus of Nazareth, foryour life betrays you." This call, then, is of a deeply spiritual and peculiar character. My Brother, have you heard it? MySister, have you heard it? Have you endeavored to obey it to the full? It means just this-that we are to flee all sin, withoutexception and follow after everything that is pure and holy.
Others wallow in what they call the pleasures of sin-abhor such things and protest against them. Shun, also, everything thatis doubtful. For, "whatsoever is not of faith is sin." If you are not sure it is right, it is sin to you. Avoid the appearanceof evil. Separate yourself from all that which Christ would have disapproved. Be so decided, also, as to leave everythingthat is hesitating. Be out-and-out for Jesus. While many will try to run both with the hare and the hounds, make it your objectto abhor that which is evil and to cleave to that which is good. Make a point of wearing your regimentals. Be dead and buriedto this present evil world with its frivolities, philosophies and grandeurs.
Regard the world as crucified to you and be yourself crucified to it. The friendship of the world is enmity with God. Go withoutthe camp bearing Christ's reproach. In matters of religion follow the Lord fully, let the Word of God be your sole and surerule and nothing else. That religion which is not according to God's Word is a false religion. Accept neither doctrine norceremony for which there is no Scriptural warrant. Search the Word about it all-"to the Law and to the testimony-if they speaknot according to this Word, it is because there is no light in them." Follow your conscience, as your conscience is enlightenedby the Spirit of God concerning His Word.
Follow the Word even in its jots and tittles. Make not too much of peculiarities in comparison with vital and fundamentalTruths of God. But, still, even with these less weighty matters, take heed that you do not trifle, lest in neglecting theless you learn to neglect the greater and so become guilty of the great transgression. Avoid the world's religion. For ifthere is one world worse than another, it is the Christian world. No enemies of Israel were so bitter as their Brethren theEdomites- Brethren in name only become the fiercest of foes. Be distinctly removed from the religion which is based upon self-will,pride of intellect and worldly conformity.
The world's religion is as evil as the world's irreligion. Surrender to the plain teaching of the Spirit of God and resolvein all things to follow your Lord wherever He may lead you. Stand alone, if others will not obey. In your house let therebe an altar for God, if there is not another in the land. Make a Covenant with God through the one great Sacrifice, even ifall others forget the Savior.
See, dear Friends, what the call is, and then remember that it comes to the Believer from God Himself. The Lord calls Hisservants unto the separated life and because of His authority they are bound to obey. He calls by His Word, either preachedor read-it comes to the individual by an application of the Spirit of God so that the man yields cheerful assent. He is drawnand therefore he runs. Such a person feels it a pleasure to take Christ for his example and to put his feet down in the verytracks of the Lord Jesus. It is ours to follow the Lord's precept and example with great care and solemn determination, turningneither to the right hand nor to the left. It was so with Abram-is it so with you?
Because this call comes from God, it has for us a supreme authority. We follow our Lord even when darkness is round aboutHim-though we know not the way, we know the Lord, and therefore we follow Him implicitly. To us the Word of God is more thanthe decrees of emperors, or the statutes of senators. If this thing were of men, if this thing were ordained by a learnedcouncil, or a reverend bench, it would be of small account in our eyes. But when He that made us and redeemed us speaks tous, we can only reply, "Help Your servants to do Your will-for Your will is our delight."
My Brethren, if we thus separate ourselves unto obedience, we must expect violent opposition. Severe criticism will not bespared us. Of course, some will say, "The man is mad"-others more gently will murmur, "He is sadly misled." Many will accuseyou of a liking to be singular, or a weakness for going to extremes, or a self-righteous wish to excel others, or of having"a bee in your bonnet." Accusers will hint that you are seeking your own in some form or other. And if they cannot quite seea motive, they will imagine one. What is the use of imagination if it will not help a man out when his facts run short? Havingonce made up their mind that you are foolish and contemptible they will view all your conduct through colored glasses andcondemn you up and down. Be not dismayed but endure hardness for the love of Jesus.
To go forth and lead a separated life will need faith and to have faith you will need the Divine Grace of God. Believe thatGod's command is right and believe that He will justify you in fulfilling it. Believe that God's promise is true and thatHe will
prove it so. Abram was bid to go and he went. Look at Abram's case and see how impossible it was for him to obey apart fromfaith in God. He was to go away from all that was dear, from all that was comfortable and settled. He was to go, he knew notwhere, and he was to go to obtain an inheritance for a son that was not born and that was not likely ever to be born. Forhe was old and Sarai was well stricken in years.
Only faith could enable him to obey a call which looked so like a delusion. We need faith in every step of a holy life. Ohfor more looking unto Jesus, more child-like dependence upon God! If you believe, you will do the Lord's will. But if youdo not believe, you will refuse to obey and miss the blessing.
Suppose we do obey the Divine call, what then? Will our course be smooth ever afterwards? Far from it. The walk of the separatedBeliever involves trial. The trial of Abram in leaving his country was but one out of ten which are recorded. It is written,"In the world you shall have tribulation." In the Lord's vineyard the knife is used if nowhere else. The Lord tried Abramand He will try us-it is a part of the process of love by which He prepares us for the eternal rest. The course of true faithnever does run smooth. If you will obey the Divine call you shall be favored with more trials, you shall be honored with stillgreater tests of your fidelity. But then you shall be known as the friend of God and God, by His Divine Grace, shall makeyou to be a blessing to others even to the end of time.
Mark well what is proposed to you-that God shall take you and give you His light and His Truth and His salvation- that youmay preserve it for all the ages, until Christ shall come. Are you willing to accept so high an honor? Will you count thecost and make your calling and election sure? Will you cry with Esaias, "Here am I! Send me"? As the Roman consul devotedhimself to death in battle for the sake of the beloved city, will you devote yourself to God and His cause, and Truth?
In very deed such is my spirit. I wish there were ten thousand who would say the same. O my Brother, blessed are you amongmen if you are set apart for God and Truth. Yes, my Sister, blessed are you among women, if you are following the Lord fullyin the way of His will.
III. This brings me to my third and last point. THIS CALL, WHEN IT IS OBEYED, PUTS US ON SPECIAL GROUND.
For, first, God is bound to justify the course which He Himself commands. When Abram went to Canaan at the Lord's biddingand remained there, the responsibility was with the Lord. If any evil had come of Abram's conduct he could not have blamedhimself. It was neither his own wisdom nor his own folly which led him-God alone was his director. It is mine to obey, itis God's to prove that my obedience is wise. What peace this brings! O my Hearer, if you believe in Christ with all your heartand if you become a sincere follower of Jesus in all things, God will justify you in so doing, for you do it at His bidding.
If there is any folly in holiness, the folly is not with you but with Him that bade you be holy. The servant is accountablefor any action he does of his own head but not for that which he does by the command of his principal. So you, in keepingclose to God's will, are not accountable for consequences. The consequences must lie with God. As surely as wisdom is justifiedof her children, so is God justified of all Believers. Yes, and He justifies Believers, and their faith is counted unto themfor righteousness. Therefore, Beloved, we stand on the ground ofjustification when we obey the call of God.
We cease, also, from that moment to be of the world. God deals with the world one way but with His separated ones in anotherway. "Them that are without, God judges." But those who are within are not under Law but under Grace. It is the joy of faiththat there is no condemnation to them that are in Christ Jesus. There is discipline now within the House of God- but it isnot that of a court ofjustice but of the abode of love. The Lord chastens His children that they may not be condemned withthe world. The separated ones are not numbered among the people of the earth.
When you read of the seven trumpets and vials and plagues, fear not, for nothing shall by any means hurt you. When the bloodshall flow in the day of vengeance up to the horses' bridles, then shall not a hair of your head perish, for the Lord securesthose who are sealed to Him. Babylon must fall, that lies hard by Ur of the Chaldees, from where you came. And all that bearthe mark of the beast shall die, even as Terah died in Haran. But as for you, "at destruction and famine you shall laugh."No evil shall touch you, for the Lord is your keeper.
If you are walking in the separated path with God and are setting Him always before you, you shall abide under the shadowof the Almighty. What a condition to be in! First justified, and then secured from the doom which will surely fall upon theguilty world. Now, as free Divine Grace has separated you unto God, you come into an honored fellowship with Him. Abram, inhis tent, had God for his companion. He had near and clear manifestations of God. He entertained angels unawares, and withthose angels was the Son of God Himself.
If you quit the world to abide with God, God Himself will abide with you. If you come out from the unclean world, the Lordhas said, "I will dwell in them and walk in them. I will be a father unto them and they shall be My sons and daughters,
says the Lord God Almighty." Oh, rest you in this sweet fact, that the Triune God will manifest Himself to His chosen as Hedoes not to the world. You shall be one of the people near unto Him.
By coming out from the world and following the Lord closely, we come under His Divine care and protection. How wonderfullyAbram was screened from evil! Jehovah was his shield. He was a stranger in the midst of enemies but they did not molest him-anawe was upon them, for Jehovah had said, "Touch not My anointed and do my Prophets no harm." Wherever a true saint goes, theLord lays His commands on all the powers of nature and all the angels of Heaven to take care of him. When Abram was at peace,God blessed him in all things. And if he went to war, God gave his enemies as driven stubble to his bow.
If we are with God, God is with us. When God's will is our delight, God's Providence is our inheritance. It is not so withyou all-no, not even with all of you who profess to be Christians. But it is so with those of you who keep close to God'sWord and follow in will, in spirit, in belief and in act the example of His dear Son. O Beloved, let us strive after this!Let us aim at perfect conformity to the will of God, for this will place us in quiet nearness to God.
Henceforth Abram was for God's use only. God treated him as His confidant, as the receiver of heavenly Revelations and asthe founder of a race. God will also use us if we will come where He can use us. Vessels set apart for the Master's use mustnot be used by the servants. God is a great King. And when He selects a cup for His own table, He will not have it used byothers. If other lips drink out of the chalice of your life, the Lord disdains you. You must be for Him only, or you are notHis spouse. If you are His from the crown of your head to the sole of your foot by solemn consecration, He will honor youyet more and more. Yes, you know not to what high ends He has ordained you, both in this life and in the ages to come. Butlook you well to this, that you be holiness unto the Lord.
One more thought presses itself upon my heart-the man who for Christ's sake has cut all his moorings and separated himselffrom the world to follow the Lamb-has learned how to live but he has also learned how to die. We die unto the world and therebylearn to die. When we cease to trust in riches, when we resign our comforts, when we no longer lean on friends, when all thingsvisible become as shadows to us, then we make a rehearsal of death. Unless the Lord Himself shall soon descend from Heavenwith a shout, we shall all die. Yes, the hour of our departure hastens on. Then we shall have to cut ourselves loose fromour moorings, be they what they may.
Soon shall we hear this word from Heaven, "Get you out of your country and from your kindred and from your father's house,unto a land that I will show you." This will be our summons to the better Canaan, the land that flows with milk and honey.We shall depart out of this world to face an unknown eternity. But we shall by no means dread the migration. He that has crossedthe great river, the river Euphrates, will not fear the Jordan. To give up the world will be no new thing for you or for me-wehave given it up many times already. We have frequently given up everything into the Lord's hands in real earnest and we canreadily do it once more.
We live here as strangers and sojourners and we find little to charm us in this foreign land. Our treasure is above and itwill be a joy for our souls to rise to the place where our hearts already dwell. We cannot be sorry to quit a dead world.Who loves to sit in a morgue? If we tremble to leave kindred and friends, yet let us remember that we have already quit themin spirit. Let us journey, as Abram did, towards the south. That is to say, let us get still further away from the old abode.Let us make for the heart of Immanuel's land. Let us press towards the New Jerusalem, the heavenly city and rest not tillwe stand in our lot and behold Him whom Abram saw with gladness.
The one question I finish with is-Do you know anything about this? Have you ever felt this Divine call? If so, make your callingand election sure. Carry out the separating ordinance to the full. Some of us had to take very decided steps at our firststarting but we began aright. We have been called since to equally painful courses but we hope to keep right. Anything isbetter than a wound in the conscience. If we keep close to Christ we shall find rest unto our souls. We look back withoutregret to what we may have suffered by decision-counting it less than nothing for the joy that was set before us.
We wish that all our converts would be out-and-out in their course of life. O you, who by Divine Grace are beginners in theheavenly life, make a strong resolve-"We will be the servants of God and endeavor in all things to obey Him." Since God madeyou and by the blood of His dear Son redeemed you, it is yours to be doubly the Lord's. There are the blood and righteousnessof Jesus Christ-are these yours? Make sure on that point. And if they are yours, yield yourself to Jesus and from this dayforward do His bidding without question or delay.
Quit everything contrary to the Lord's mind and will. At all cost be true-then shall the Lord be your delight and His serviceshall be your Heaven below. If you are now separated unto Him, you shall find your reward in that day when He shall dividethe sheep from the goats-for then you shall be placed at His right hand to hear Him say, "Come, you blessed of My