Sermon 2298. The Christ-Given Rest
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, MARCH 5, 1893.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"I will give you rest." Matthew 11:28.
I AM afraid that we have not always noticed the fullness of this promise. Usually the text is preached from as an invitationto the unconverted to come to Christ and, very properly so-"Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I willgive you rest." It is an invitation to all of you who are laboring after salvation, or are heavy laden with a load of sin,or the burden of your daily cares. You may come-you are bid to come to the Lord Jesus-and He has promised that He will giveyou rest. But I must leave you, tonight, so far as my sermon is concerned, for my main business will be with those who havecome to Christ. After having given the invitation to those who are outside the Church of Christ, I pass inside, and I wantthose who are within to come into sweet communion with their Lord, tonight, while I dwell upon this very gracious promise,"I will give you rest."
I do not find, in this world, if I promise anything, that anybody ever forgets it. You try any of the societies connectedwith the Tabernacle-promise them a guinea and see if they do not wait upon you for it! But the curious thing, the wretchedthing is that many of our Lord's promises are neglected by us. We do not wait upon Him to have them fulfilled. After havingread the promise, it passes out of our thoughts. Do not so, tonight, I pray you. Here is the promise, "I will give you rest."Let no man here who has come to Christ be content, tonight, unless he gets the rest which the Lord Jesus promises to give.Jesus does not play at promising. Do not play with His promises-be as ready in receiving as He is willing to be in giving."I will give you rest." This ought to be a very precious word to all Believers. You have come to Christ. He promises to giveyou rest-be sure that you get it. Do not rest content until you have that perfect peace which He alone can give you, thatpeace which is here called, "rest."
This evening I shall not have much time, but I shall, first, exhibit this pearl, this pearl of rest. Secondly, I shall pointyou to the hands which give this pearl-"I will give you rest." And, thirdly, I shall, for a few minutes, dwell upon the promisewhich Jesus makes-"I will give you rest." It is a positive declaration of our Lord to those who come to Him- "I will giveyou rest."
I. First, then, let me EXHIBIT THIS PEARL. Mild and soft is its radiance. I call it a pearl because it is so precious, soblessed a thing. "I will give you rest."
Jesus does not say in what part of the mind He will give rest, for He will give it in every part of the mind. He does notsay in reference to what He will give us rest because He will give us rest in reference to everything. When a promise is general,you may take it in its widest possible meaning. Particulars restrain and restrict, but where there are no particulars, thenyou have unlimited range. "I will give you rest"-rest about everything, rest at all times, rest in every part of your nature!
This promise includes rest of the mind, or fixedness of belief. Just now there is great restlessness concerning what we areto believe and many persons are much tossed about by the contrary winds that blow. They believe black, today, and white, tomorrow.Some have fallen into such a condition that they believe nothing, unless, indeed, it should not happen to be in the Bible-andthen they will believe it! But if it is in God's Word, then, of course, they feel it necessary to doubt it. I suppose thereis nobody that is not affected, to some extent, by the tornado of doubt which is sweeping over this island and over the wholeworld!
Now, is there any child of God here who is perturbed in mind? You say to yourself, "I used to be a simple-minded Believer,but I have been worried, tried and troubled. I think that I shall have to buy some books upon Christian evi-
dences, so as to look into the subject and find out the strongest arguments. Or I shall go and talk to some old Christianand hear what he can say to strengthen me." Listen, my Brothers and Sisters. Your Lord and Master says, "Come unto ME andI will give you rest." There is a surer intellectual rest to be found in personal communion with Christ than anywhere else!If I get my head on His bosom, none of the philosophers can make it ache. When I once put my finger into the print of thenails, I am no more faithless, but believing! I believe that living in communion with God is the only sure cure for doubt.Trusting wholly to Christ Crucified, resting in His precious blood and daily seeking to have it applied to the conscience-andthen walking in the Light as God is in the light, is the surest way to end all those undermining processes which seek to destroythe very foundations of our hope!
Come to Jesus tonight! Come to Jesus at the Communion Table and enter anew into fellowship with Him, and you will be ableto say, "My heart is fixed! O God, my heart is fixed! I will sing and give praise." After being with Jesus, half the questionsthat trouble you will be answered and the other half will not seem worth the asking. After having been with Him, most of yourdoubts will vanish and the rest will not concern you one jot or tittle! You are His beloved, and your heart rests in thatblessed fact.
Our Lord next gives rest of the conscience, or a sense ofpardon. Conscience is a great source of unrest even to the best ofmen. Conscience makes cowards of us all, even those who are most daring in sin. With the child of God, there is no death ofconscience. On the contrary, he who lives to the Lord has a more tender conscience than he ever had before he was saved. Atender conscience is a great blessing-never try to get rid of it. A morbid conscience may be a torment, but a tender conscienceis a benediction-cherish it. Many blind persons read with their fingers, but if the fingers grow hard and callous, and thepoor folks cannot feel the raised letters, it is a sad trial for them. We can often read the mind of God by the tender fingerof conscience. Take care that your conscience never gets seared, I mean you Christian people. You need to keep your consciencemore tender than that of anybody else.
But suppose the conscience becomes restless, what are we to do with it? Brothers and Sisters, there is no purging the consciencefrom dead works except by drawing near to Christ, again! Have any of you Christian people slipped with your feet? Have youdishonored the sacred name you bear? Be ashamed and be confused. Who among us has not much to make him ashamed? But rememberthat the Christ who invites the erring sinner before conversion, invites the erring Believer after conversion. Come, all youthat labor within your spirits and are heavy laden under a sense of your imperfections- come to Christ, again, tonight! Whereyou once found rest in the atoning Sacrifice, you shall find it again! Do not let me go a step further till you have donethis. Let us practice what I preach as we go along! You with your intellectual brilliance, come to my Lord, tonight, and seeHim on the tree, and look your doubts away! You with the troubled conscience because of your unworthy walk, come to the Fountainand be washed anew-and let your conscience find rest.
Supposing those two rests to be enjoyed, there is still a struggle going on and, therefore, Christ gives rest of the soul,or confidence of victory. The soul, even when it knows its pardon is sure, even when it has settled its doctrinal difficulties,is, nevertheless, engaged in a struggle against the old nature. Do you find that you have completely gained the victory yet?Do you never feel a struggle within your spirit? I must confess that I have a daily fighting of my better self against theold self, the newborn nature against the old nature which will, if it can, still keep its hold upon me. "O wretched man thatI am! Who shall deliver me from the body of this death?" is my cry as I begin the battle. Yet before I end it, I can say,"Thanks be to God, which gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ." If any of you are asking, "How shall I everget the victory? See how I am tempted. See how weak I am in certain directions, constitutionally weak, and apt to slide! OSir, shall I ever be perfect? Shall I ever master inbred sin?"
Listen, "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." Jesus will give you rest in thesweet confidence that you will get the victory! He will bruise Satan under your feet. Surely, Beloved, there will come a daywhen there will be no sin left in us. When we shall see the face of our Savior in Glory, we shall be like He-all our doubtswill be dead, all our sins will be forgiven-and all our sinful tendencies will be forever destroyed!-
"Then shall I see, and hear, and know All I desired or wished below,"
and then shall I be rid of all that plagues me and that grieves my God. Come to Jesus, tonight, wrestling Believer, and havefellowship with Him-and you will have rest, even, in the midst of the conflict, for you will be sure that you shall ultimatelyovercome through the blood of the Lamb!
Besides this, Jesus gives rest of the heart, or satisfaction in love. Some people appear to have no heart or, rather, theirheart is a kind of valve made of leather. I have sometimes looked at certain people with great wonder when I have seen howlittle they have ever been affected. They never have much joy. They never have much sorrow. They seem to have been placedbetween two millstones and to have had all the juice pressed out of them-they appear to have no heart! But commend me to aman or woman with a big heart. Some seem to have a most affectionate nature-they must love! These are the people who havethe most sorrow, though, mark you, they also have the most wonderful joy! Well, now, it may be that you have loved and youhave been deceived, or you have loved and the fond object of your affection has been removed by death. You are here, tonight,with a sad countenance. You are saying, "What shall I do with this heart of mine? Where shall I love wisely, truly, withoutthe hazard of another broken heart?"
Jesus stands, tonight, invisibly in our midst and He says, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest." If you will love Him,(and oh, how well He deserves your love!), if you will take Him to be your Companion, your Friend, your Husband. If you willlet Him enter into your heart and dwell there-if you will love Him beyond all else, He will give you rest and that kind oflove which it is allowable to give to the creature! You shall be able to give without fear when you have once given the heart,itself, to Him who never fails, never disappoints and never is untrue. All you who wander with your great loving hearts achingfor lack of love, come to my Lord and He will give you rest!
I see you, tonight, like the vine with its tendrils, seeking that by which you may climb higher. Come and let your tendrilsentwine themselves about my Lord and His sweet Words of Grace, and you shall get a good hold, and grow and climb even to theskies!-
"Are you weary? Are you languid? Are you sorely distrest? 'Come to Me,'says One, 'and coming, Be at rest.'"
I will not enlarge upon this point further than to say, as I have already told you, that Christ gives rest to the entire being,or peace about everything. Are you troubled, dear child of God, tonight? You ought not to be troubled about anything. "Ah,Sir! You do not know my position." No matter, Friend, that I do not know it-HE who bids you come to Him knows it! "But, dearSir, my affliction is peculiar." Listen-"In all their affliction He was afflicted." Yours cannot be peculiar, therefore-Jesusmust know all about it-and if He knows, it is better than my knowing. "But I have such a heavy cross to carry." Is it heavierthan His? "Ah, Sir, but I have so many trials!" Are there more than He can enable you to endure? Come to Him, I pray you!
Now then, if you can, at least for a few minutes, divest yourselves of your cares, your anxieties, your doubts, your fears-thereHe stands, He of the pierced feet and the nailed hands, and the crimson side! There He stands in Glory and He bids you cometo Him and trust Him! Lay your burdens down at His feet. Why should you carry what He will readily carry for you? Tell Himall your griefs. Why do you hide them from Him? Should He not know your heart if you are married to Him? Should there be asecret kept away from Him? I am persuaded that I am preaching to you what will be more healing than the balm of Gilead, andsweeter than the sweetest music to lull you into a delightful peace if you will but listen to this Gospel invitation and cometo Jesus, by a simple act of faith, and by a great resolve of fellowship, for He says, "I will give you rest."
So much, then, about this pearl, rest.
II. Now I want you to look, for a minute or two, at THE HANDS WHICH GIVE THIS PEARL-"I will give you
rest." If Jesus Christ will give me anything, I will be glad to have it. The least possible gift from Him has a special sanctityabout it because it comes from His dear hands. Your friend gave you a broken sixpence and you have kept it. Your mother gaveyou, (alas! you have no mother now), a little book with her name in it-and you would not sell it for its weight in silver.Now, whatever Jesus gives is a keepsake to His people. They lay it by and they love it. Listen, then-He says, "/ will giveyou rest."
If He will give me rest, then I know that His giving it guarantees its genuineness. I shall have no false peace if Jesus givesit to me. He will never give counterfeit coin to His people. If He gives me peace, it is peace! "When He gives quietness,who, then, can make trouble?" Beloved, do you not see that the fact that Jesus gives it will make your peace to be to you,beyond all question, the true peace of God which passes all understanding?
Christ's gift of this rest also proves the value of the gift. Jesus does not give us pebbles and straws. If He gives us rest,it is rest worth having. Oh, Beloved, did you ever enjoy the rest that Jesus gives? Were you ever tossed about with a greattrial? Did you ever have a heavy load of care? If you have never had such burdens, I have-I have lain awake at night wonderingwhatever I should do in certain cases. And at last I have come to the conclusion that I could not do anything and that I mustleave all with the Lord. Did you ever wake up, after a little sleep, when you had cast all your care on Christ and left yourtroubles with Him and found yourself perfectly at rest? I have, sometimes, in the midst of great pain, sat up in the nightand been afraid to go to sleep for fear I should lose the heavenly calm that I was enjoying. When I have left everything-andGod knows that I have more cares to carry than most men-when I have left everything with Him and submitted myself absolutelyto His sweet will, and had full fellowship with Christ, I have wondered what I could fret about if I tried! I have said tomyself, "There is peace for me in Heaven. There is peace for me on earth. There is peace for me in the grave. There is peacefor me everywhere."
It was with my heart, as it was with the stormy sea when Jesus said, "Peace, be still." "And there was a great calm." Thisis the kind of rest that the Lord Jesus Christ gives-rest of the deepest, truest kind-rest which the world cannot give andwhich the world cannot possibly take away. If He gives rest, it is no second-first rest-it is first-class-it is beyond measureprecious if it comes from His hands.
Note again, Jesus says, "I will give you rest." If His hands give it, this ensures your getting it. Jesus does not say, "Iwill send you rest." It might be lost in the post. He does not say, "I will commission an angel to bring you rest." He mightmiss his way. It is, "/ will give you rest." Come to Jesus and you shall have rest out of His own hands put into your hands-no,put into your heart. You shall certainly get it. There will be no missing it-between the cup and the lips there shall be noslip!
Jesus says, "I will give you rest." This ensures your right to it. When a Believer is at peace and rest, if the devil wereto meet him, he would ask, "Why are you so quiet?" If you did not answer him, he would say, "What right have you to be atrest? You are a long way off being perfect. Look at the imperfections of yesterday! Why, even in your prayers you sinned!""Ah," says the child of God, "I am not going to dispute with you, Satan. But I have a right to rest, for Jesus gave it tome. I am sure that He did not steal it and I am certain that He gave it to me. My title deeds are clear enough. A free giftthrough Jesus Christ-who can ever dispute that?" Oh, child of God, enjoy what Jesus gives, and be not afraid that anyone willtake it from you!
Do you not think that when Jesus says, "I will give you rest," this should encourage you to enjoy it? I believe that someChristians are afraid of being too happy. Do I not recollect when I first knew the Lord? I was as merry as a lark. I feltso glad that my sins were forgiven, I said within myself-
"I am so glad that Jesus loves me." Some good old Christian man shook his head. "Ah," he said, "the black ox has not troddenon your toes yet." Well, I had not seen the animal, so I went on rejoicing! Then another said to me, "Some Christians aremany years before they come to anything like assurance." That did stagger me a little, and they told me about the dragonsand the giants that there were on the Pilgrim's Road. I have not seen any of them, yet, but those good people tried to frightenme with them. Now look, here, Beloved-there is none too much joy in the world! Do not you go about killing any whenever yousee it! Rather try to encourage it, and if you see a young Christian happy in believing, and you do not happen to be as cheerfulas he is, do not try and take his joy from him. Leave the black ox alone! The ugly beast will come in due time.
Warn the young Believer of all the sin against which he should be on his guard, but do not hold up before him a gloomy viewof the Christian life. You, Christian, have a right to perfect peace and if, between here and Heaven, you never have a doubt-ifbetween here and the Eternal City you never have an anxious care-you have a perfect right to that complete serenity! It is,I say, provided for you in the Word of God. If you do not have it and enjoy it, that is your own fault, but there is ampleprovision made that we should have Heaven below as well as Heaven above! Oh, Christian people, if we lived up to our privileges,if we realized the Truth of God of the text, "I will give you rest," we would commend the Gospel! We would win converts! Wewould glorify God! We would be vastly more useful ourselves! "I will give you rest," is an encouragement to the enjoymentof the rest that Jesus gives to those who come unto Him.
And, once more, if Christ says, "I will give you rest," how it endears Him to us! If all my rest is what He gives me, shallI not love Him? Oh, if my weary spirit is like Noah's dove, finding no rest for the sole of its feet till it comes back to
Noah, to Christ, and to the ark, shall I not love Him who is my rest? Shall I not prove that love by consecrating to Him thelife which He has made so happy? Shall not every step I take seem to ring out music of praise to His name? Shall I not openthe gates of the morning with a song and draw the curtains of the night with a new note of thanksgiving? Truly, God has givenus this rest!
The Romans said of a certain peace that they enjoyed, "a god has given it to us." Behold, the Son of God has given us thatdeep repose which, as Believers, we have a right to enjoy and which, I trust, we enjoy tonight! If you do not enjoy it, donot let me go any further until you get it! Come, child of God, I am not simply going to talk about this matter-I want youto practice it! There is the hand, the pierced hand which gives you rest-take the rest from it and enjoy it now-and then kissthat hand with a fervor of deepest reverence because of this priceless gift which it has bestowed upon you!
III. I close by noticing, in the third place, very briefly, THE PROMISE WHICH JESUS MAKES-"I will give you rest." It is agreat blessing, sometimes, not to be able to read well. You remember how Mrs. Beecher Stowe, when she wrote, "Uncle Tom'sCabin," pictured Uncle Tom as having to spell all the words over? Now, it is a great blessing if a person is obliged to readthe Bible like that. "I-will-give-you-rest." Every Word of God seems to be emphatic if you will just let it speak! All thesebells ring out music, but I have no time to ring them tonight. Will you please listen to their melodious chimes all the week?
"I-will-give-you-rest." To this promise there is but one condition. That we have already fulfilled if we have come to Christand, therefore, there is no condition at all attached to the promise, "Come unto Me, and I will give you rest." We have cometo Him unless we are hypocrites. We who are coming to the Communion Table have first come to Christ. We have really, truly,sincerely, looked unto Him, trusted Him, come to Him and hidden ourselves in Him. Very well, then, you have fulfilled theone and only condition attached to this promise of the Lord Jesus-and there stands the unconditional promise which appliesto you tonight! Let me go over it again, "I-will-give-you-rest."
This promise is made only to one character-and that character we can easily feel to be our own-"All you that labor and areheavy laden." You are the children of God, but you still have to labor. The most of you have to work hard every day and youhave, also, much spiritual labor to serve your Lord, and to keep off the adversary. You labor both for the meat that perishes,and for that which endures unto eternal life. I am afraid that there are none of us who do not, at times, get heavy laden,especially when we get away from our Lord. Oh, what a load comes on us unless we keep close to Him! Very well, then, if tonightyou labor and are laden, come along with you, and Christ will give you rest! I mean my fidgety Sister over yonder, who isalways fretting-you love the Lord-and yet you keep fretting! Come, have done with it, for He says to you, "I will give yourest." I mean, also, my timid Brother over there who is always afraid of something that never happens! Give up that nonsense!Come along with you, you weary and heavy laden one-Jesus says to you, "I will give you rest."
I mean that dear Brother, there, who has a darkness over his mind that he cannot shake off. Come to Jesus and He will giveyou rest. I mean myself, caring about the Church of God and almost broken-hearted, at times, as I see how ill it fares inthese evil days. I will come to my Lord, tonight, and He will give me rest about that, for, after all, I have not to manageHis Church and guide His affairs. No, all responsibilities and all dreads about the future I lay down at Your feet, You greatHead of the Church, You great Master of assemblies!
Next, notice that this promise is most positive and unreserved-"I will give you rest." Jesus does not say, "I will give yourest in every respect but one." No, "Come unto Me and I will give you rest." And the mercy of it is that this promise is assure as ever! A hundred years ago a man went to the Lord Jesus with this promise, "I will give you rest," and the Lord Jesusgave him rest. Fifty years ago another man went with this promise and he said "Lord, there it is! You said, 'I will give yourest,'" and the Lord gave him rest. Now, tonight, take that promise for yourselves! It is just as good as if it had neverbeen fulfilled! I give my neighbor a check-he goes with it to the bank and gets the cash for it. Now suppose the banker returnsthat check to me-and I go with it to the bank and try to cash it again? "No," they say, "we have cashed that check once, andthat is done with." But you may take God's check and go to the Bank of Heaven every day! And every hour in the day! And thecheck is just as good as if it had never been cashed before. "I will give you rest." You tried that when you were 21-try itnow that you are seventy! When you were 40, in the day of your trouble, you said,
"Lord, give me rest." Now that you are 80, the promise still stands just as good as ever! God's promises are not like a bundleof old checks that are done with and sent back to the drawer-they are always fresh and always new!
Many of you are coming to the Communion Table. This rest is set forth to you in the ordinance. That Table seems to say toyou, "I will give you rest." I shall not ask you to come up to the platform and to kneel down and take the bread from my hands.I shall ask you to sit as much at your ease as ever you can, because, at the Lord's Supper, that is the right posture. WhenChrist broke the bread, the disciples did not even sit, but reclined around the table! You miss the very spirit of the Supperif you come and kneel. It is a festival of rest-and when you come to it, you have nothing to do but to eat and to drink. Thatis the form in which Christ puts fellowship with Himself, "You shall eat with Me, and you shall drink with Me"-so that, inthe ordinance He does, by the outward symbol, say, "I will give you rest."
This promise will be completely fulfilled at the last. By-and-by, by-and-by, Christ will give us eternal rest! There is aBrother to whom I have been accustomed to take off my hat every Sabbath as I passed along. He was one of a goodly number ofregular old friends, all along the road, that I could not speak to, but we just bowed and wished each other well as we passed.Last Lord's-Day I missed my friend from the place where I generally passed him, and I asked about him, and they told me thathe had gone Home. There have been many who have gone Home since I was with you before. Well, then, we, also, may expect togo Home, by-and-by, and here is the Master's promise about that matter, "I will give you rest." "I will give you rest whenthe last hour comes. When the time of weakness, old age and sickness come, I will give you rest." Be not afraid-
"Death is no more the king of dread, Since our Immanuel rose"
and all the Lord's people may go up to their beds and rejoice to think that there is an end to this life of conflict, anda beginning to the life of victory, for Jesus says, "I will give you rest."
Oh, the perfect repose, the unutterable bliss that will be yours and mine before long! I say, "before long," for in this greatcongregation I do not doubt that there are several Brothers and Sisters who will see the King in His beauty before many weeksare gone. I could wish that it were my lot to go first among you, but if it may not be, well, you shall go on a little ahead,my Brothers and my Sisters, and we will follow in our turn. "Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth: Yes,says the Spirit, that they may rest from their labors; and their works do follow them."
I have done-at least, I mean, I have only begun! I have begun to enjoy the text, myself, and I hope you have done the same.I must, however, just remind you that, when Jesus says, "I will give you rest," He does not mean that He will make you lazy.Lazy people cannot rest-they never know what rest means. There must be labor to give us rest. When Caesar Malan had 17 days'rest, in which he was charged by the physician not to exercise his mind, or do anything, he wrote 53 of the best hymns hehad ever written and some of the best in the French tongue! He said that he could not help it-he wrote the hymns because hewas resting, and they were a part of his rest.
God sometimes makes His servants to be like those birds that rest on the wing. Stretching their broad pinions and taking amighty flap, they seem to pass mile after mile at every stroke of their wings, resting while flying. Thus you may stretchyour pinions of progress, and of holy aspiration, and rise higher and higher, and yet be still at rest! Like the stars thathave a deep and profound rest, both by day and night, and yet keep their courses and know no fatigue, so you and I, blessedof God, shall keep our places and serve our God, and shine on, and yet shall rest till we enter into the Rest that remainsfor the people of God!
I wish that it were possible for me to make every child of God, here, quite restful tonight. I know that I shall fail, butthere is a blessed Spirit who can do it! When you are all quite restful, go home and rest. Go home, dear wife, with a restfulheart. Perhaps your husband will meet you with an angry word. Be so restful that you will not mind it! Go home, dear youngpeople, who have to work for your living. Perhaps you will sleep, tonight, in a room where there are many who will mock youif you kneel down to pray. Get such perfect rest that it will not matter to you whether they laugh or not! Take no more noticethan you do of the grinding of the cab wheels outside this Tabernacle. The Lord can give His people such absolute peace thatit would not matter to them if Heaven and earth should pass away!
God grant to us that perfect peace! If any of you do not know anything about it, I wish that you did-but there it stands inthe text, just as Christ said it, "Come unto Me, all you that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." God helpyou to come and take the rest that Jesus gives! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON. COLOSSIANS 2:6-17.
Verse 6. As you have therefore received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk you in Him Do not go away from Him. You have receivedHim-stay with Him. Whatever He was to you at first, let Him be that to you to the very last. Do not begin with Christ andthen go back to self-let it be all Christ from first to last.
7. Rooted and built up in Him. Growing in Him. Have your very life, like a tree, rooted in Christ and, like a temple, builtup in Christ.
7. And established in the faith, as you have been taught, abounding therein, with thanksgiving. Do not forget what you havebeen taught! Do not reject it-keep to it. He who should learn one system of philosophy, and then unlearn it, and begin another,and then unlearn that, and begin another, would be more likely to turn out a fool than a philosopher! And he who begins tolearn the faith in one way, and then tries to learn it in another way, and then attempts to learn it in yet another way ismore likely to be a skeptic than to be a saint.
8. Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of theworld, and not after Christ. Plenty of people would spoil you in this way, by teaching you their profound thoughts, theirgrand inventions, their bright ideas. Beware of all of them!
9. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily. Everything, then, must be in Christ if all the fullness of theGodhead dwells in Him! Why do you need to go anywhere else for wisdom? What can you find by going elsewhere? "For in Him dwellsall the fullness of the Godhead bodily."
10. And you are complete in Him. You are like vessels filled up to the brim. You are like warriors thoroughly furnished, fullyarmed for the fight-"You are complete in Him."
10, 11. Who is the Head of all principality and power: in whom also you are circumcised with the circumcision made withouthands, in putting off the body of the sins of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ. All that the Jew ever had, you havein Christ, only you have the real purification of which His rite was but a symbol.
12. Buried with Him in Baptism, wherein also you are risen with Him through the faith of the operation of God, who has raisedHim from the dead. It is only as you are one with Christ that Baptism will be to you what He intended, but, "buried with Himin Baptism," you are dead to all besides and all your life lies in Him.
13. And you, being dead in your sins and the uncircumcision, of your flesh, has He quickened together with Him. All your lifeis in Christ. You are "quickened together with Him."
13. Having forgiven you all trespasses. Your pardon is given to you in Christ. Oh, how full and how free is that forgivenessthat comes to you through Christ Jesus!
14, 15. Blotting out the handwriting of ordinances that was against us, which was contrary to us, and took it out of the way,nailing it to His Cross; and having spoiled principalities and powers, He made a show of them openly, triumphing over themin it. His Cross was His triumph! Then He led captivity captive. What more do you need? Your enemy is vanquished, your sinsblotted out, your death changed to life, your necessities all supplied! Will you not stay at home with Christ? "Why do yougad about so much to change your way?" Can you have a better lover than your Lord, a dearer husband than the heavenly Bridegroom?Oh, love the Lord, you His saints! Cling to Him and make much of Him! Let Him be All in All to you!
16. Let no man, therefore, judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holy day, or of the new moon, or of the Sabbath.Do not let anybody come in and tell you that it is necessary for your salvation that you should abstain from this meat orthat drink, that there is a merit in fasting for 40 days in Lent, or that you cannot be saved without observing such and sucha holy day. Your salvation is in Christ! Keep to that and add nothing to this one Foundation which is once and for all laidin Him!
17. Which are a shadow of things to come. That is all that they are-"a shadow of things to come." 17. But the body is of Christ.Christ is the real one thing necessary.
Mind that you have the Substance, for then you can let the shadows go! May God bless to us all this brief reading of