Sermon 2534. The Greatest Gift in Time or Eternity
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, SEPTEMBER 12, 1897.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, APRIL 20, 1884.
"Behold, I have given Him for a Witness to the people, a Leader and Commander to the people. Behold, You shall call a nationthat You know not, and nations that knew not You shall run unto You because ofthe LORD Your God, and for the Holy One of Israel;for He has glorified You. Seek you the LORRD while He may be found, call upon Him while He is near." Isaiah 55:4-6.
We are met together with two objectives. First, there is the preacher's objective, that is, to set forth and to proclaim theblessings of the Covenant of Grace. It is my duty and it is my delight to stand here and cry, "Ho, everyone that thirsts,come you to the waters, and he that has no money, come you, buy, and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and withoutprice." Then, there is the objective of the hearers-oh, that everyone here were heartily in pursuit of it! No, what is evenbetter, I would that everyone here might attain this objective, for it is that you may feed upon the blessed Covenant provisionsmentioned in our text. If there is water, my Brothers and Sisters, let us drink it! If there is wine and milk, let us be satisfiedwith it. Let us pray that every soul in this place may even now delight itself in fatness!
You who have already partaken of the provisions of the Covenant, receive them again! Come once more to the table which theLord's Grace has so richly spread. You have a daily hunger-let that hunger be again appeased. Your appetite grows if you arein good spiritual health-come, then, and let the appetite be again satisfied! If you do, it will grow again, and again youwill want still more of the same heavenly food, for you will still hunger-blessedly hunger-after the royal dainties whichthe Lord has so bountifully provided for you! And oh, that some here, who have never feasted on the luxuries of true godliness,might get a taste of them while I am talking about them! It is my design to speak very plainly-not to try to say anythingof my own, but just to set forth the Master's words, explaining them and making them as clear as I can, that all who run mayread, and yet speaking of them so earnestly that those who read may straightway run!
Why do we come to our places of worship? What is the objective of our Sunday gatherings? Surely not merely to hear a man talkand then to go away and ourselves talk about that talk! But this is a place of heavenly business where something real is tobe done! Where men are to be lifted into a higher life and where those who as yet have not been quickened may come and receivethat life! I pray that some may receive it this very hour! Time is flying. Death is near. Eternity is close at hand. It istime that we should be in earnest about these things if we have trifled up to now! It is time that we should come to a rightand wise decision and partake of what God has so graciously provided! Without any further preface, I bid you notice that thethree verses of my text speak of a Divine gift, a Divine promise and a Divine exhortation. These will be the three divisionsof my subject.
I. First, here is A DIVINE GIFT-"Behold, I have given Him for a Witness to the people, a Leader and Commander to the people."We are not now talking about payments or about what people deserve-the Gospel and all that it brings must be regarded as agift Men rightly say that there is nothing freer than a gift and, truly, there is nothing freer than the free gift of God!What is that Divine gift of which our text speaks?
Well, first, the Father has given His Son. The words I have just spoken are very simple, but there is an infinite meaningin them. So great is sin, so tremendous is evil as to be unfathomable. So great is the ruin which sin has brought upon usthat it is truly indescribable! And equally great, yes, even greater is the Remedy for the evil! He who made all things andwho fills all things, willed not that we should perish and, therefore, He must give a redemption price to ransom us out ofbondage. He must provide a Sacrifice to take away our guilt and, to do this, He gave His Son. He had but one, His Well-Beloved,equal with Himself, and One with Himself in all things. Yet He gave us His Son! What if I say He gave us Himself? That isalso true, for there is such a mysterious Unity between the Father and the Son that, in giving the Son, the Father gave usHimself! Oh, listen, then, you who are lost in sin, and seem to be helpless! Must there not be hope for you when such a giftas this is given? Not simply, mark you, a gift of Grace, or a gift of love, or a gift of power, but the gift of the Godhead'sown Self, the gift of all there is in Him of whom we read, It pleased the Father that in Him should all fullness dwell." "Behold,"says the Father, "I have given Him."
When Isaiah wrote those words, they could not be read quite as clearly as you and I can read them, for now, holding up thisScripture to the light of the Cross, and reading it by the lamps of those five wounds, I can see a marvelous meaning in it-"Ihave given Him." Yes, the Father has given a Redemption for the bond-slave! He has given a Sacrifice for the guilty! He hasgiven His Son! The words in which I speak of this great fact are very simple and they may seem very poverty-stricken, butthe Truth of God, itself, is such as made the angels stand in amazement! All Heaven was bewildered with wonder that God, theInfinite, should give His Son for poor, sinful, dying worms like ourselves! It seemed too much to give-the infinitely-holyGod to die for guilty sinners! The everlasting and eternal Son of God to suffer that His feeble, finite creatures might notperish!
And if it is a wonder that God the Father should give His Son, it is an equal wonder that the Son consented to be given. TheFather said, "I have given Him," yet it is equally true of the Son, "He loved me, and gave Himselfior me." The Father's giftwas no violation of the will of the Son, but the Son said, "Lo, I come: in the volume of the Book it is written of Me, I delightto do Your will, O My God: yes, Your Law is within My heart." Oh, to think that Jesus should give Himself for you and forme! To take our nature, to descend from Heaven to the manger was a great stoop-but to take our sin, to come down from theThrone of Glory to the Cross of Calvary was a still greater proof of His condescending love!
Oh, think of this, Beloved! He so completely gave Himself that He gave to us His Deity and His Humanity-His soul and His body,His life and His death-and though He is now risen from the dead, He still gives Himself to us, for He has never recalled thegift He once bestowed! And this is the very glory of His gift-that He is still ours by a constant gift of Himself to us! Clutchat this blessed Truth of God, you despairing ones! God has given His Son and the Son has given Himself and if, by an act offaith, you trust Him, He is at once yours! And He is yours forever. What more can you possibly need?
In this fourth verse, we also have the purposes of this gift avowed. ' 'I have given Him for a Witness to the people, a Leaderand Commander to the people." First, Christ is given for a Witness. What does that mean?
Surely, Christ is given, first, to show us what God is. If you want to know what God is, study the life of Christ, for Jesussaid, "He that has seen Me, has seen the Father." In Christ, the Godhead shines, as it were, through a merciful medium, sothat the excessive Glory of the Deity is toned down to meet the weakness of our poor minds, lest we should be blinded by theineffable splendor! God in human flesh is a Witness to human flesh of what God is.
Next, Christ is a Witness in this sense-that He bears His testimony to us concerning the Father's will, the Father's loveand the Father's Grace. He declares what He has seen in secret of the Father's purposes of mercy, so that what He testifies,He speaks not of Himself, but what He has seen with the Father, that He declares unto us. He is the Witness of what God isand of what God has done for us. His name is put to the Everlasting Covenant in many ways-as the Surety of it, and as a Partnerin it, but also as a Witness to it. He bears witness to us that in His Person, God has entered into covenant with men, sayingto them, "Inasmuch as you have broken the first Covenant of Works and now cannot possibly keep it, I have made another anda better Covenant. Christ has undertaken to magnify My Law and to satisfy My Justice. And I have undertaken to save all thosewhom I have given to Him." And Jesus bears witness that it is so! He is, Himself, the Pledge and Seal of the Covenant! I amso glad that I have not to talk with an invisible, impalpable God who has never been seen of man-it seems too much for one,veiled in human flesh, to be able to speak with the unseen Jehovah, the God who is a Spirit! But I can speak to the Man, ChristJesus. I feel now that I have Mediator, one of a thousand, who can lay His hands upon both parties to the Covenant becauseHe belongs to both of us, and is both God and Man. My heart rejoices as I behold God in human flesh, the Witness for God tothe people! O poor Sinners, be glad, be glad! God has given
His dear Son to bear witness to you that He wills that you should be saved, that He is able to save you without a violationof His Justice, that He is willing to save you, and willing to save you now, if you will but trust His Son!
Our text also tells us that the Father gives Christ, not only as a Witness, but as a Leader and a Commander. That is justwhat we need! Men in any country where they are greatly oppressed, sigh for a leader. "Grant a leader bold and brave," isthe prayer that has gone up from many a down-trodden nation. Well, the Lord has appointed His Son to be a Leader and a Commander,and if we will but yield to Him, to be led by Him, to be commanded by Him, He will lead us safely. He will lead us on to victoryand to conquest-and Heaven, itself, shall be ours in due time! He who puts himself under this Leader shall go forth conqueringand to conquer. He shall war against his sin and win the day. He shall fight against the devil and overcome him by the bloodof the Lamb! He shall do battle with Death, itself, and be more than a conqueror over the last enemy! I would to God thatas I speak some of you would say, "Christ is given as a Leader and a Commander, therefore we will enlist beneath His banner.Henceforth, the Son of David, the Son of God, shall be both Leader and Commander to us." Happy, happy, happy day for you andfor all of whom that shall be true!
Now notice who are the persons thus favored. To whom is the Lord Jesus given as a Witness and a Leader and Commander? Twicewe are told that it is to the people-"A Witness to the people, a Leader and Commander to the people." I have known some peoplesneer at "the common people." Ah, yes, but it was the common people who gladly heard Christ, and it is for the people thatHe died! "I," says God, "have exalted One chosen out of the people." The Lord Jesus Christ is the Christ of common people!If any of you are so high and mighty that you must go to Heaven fashionably, you will be lost! The unfashionable way to Heaven,by trusting in Jesus Christ, is the only way that will take you there. He is the people's Witness, the people's Leader, thepeople's Commander!
That means, does it not, that He is the Leader and Commander of a great host, not merely of a select few? Perhaps you haveread about us poor Calvinists-what a wretched, miserable sect we are-how we are always trying to keep salvation to ourselvesand how we believe that only a very few will ever be saved! Put all that down among the lies that our enemies tell about us!It is not true and it never was true, for there are no people under Heaven who are more anxious that all men should be savedthan are we who believe that, nevertheless, the Lord has a people whom He will save. Our hearts, we trust, are full of loveto men, despite all that is said about us. It is my hope that the Lord Jesus Christ will save so many, that at the last, thosewho are lost will bear no greater proportion to the whole mass of mankind than do the persons in prison to the multitudesthat are outside of it in any well-ordered state!
"There will have to be a great change," says somebody, "to bring that about." Yes, there will be a great change! There areglorious times yet coming, notwithstanding all that tends to the contrary! There is a day to dawn when the Lord Jesus shallbe acknowledged as King of Kings and Lord of Lords and, "He shall reign forever and ever"-and the overwhelming multitudesof His redeemed shall prove that He is not the Witness and Leader and Commander to a miserable few, a mere handful-but thatHe is Witness and Leader and Commander to the people! In all things He shall have the pre-eminence.
"To the people." Then, surely, that means all sorts of people? It does. Our Lord is a Leader and Commander to all classesand conditions of men! Kings may follow Him if they will. And peasants and paupers do follow Him in great multitudes! He iswilling to receive the lost and the low, the poorest of the poor. He is willing to lift up the most sunken. "Whoever will,"He says, "let Him take the water of life freely." He is a Leader and a Commander to the people! Then follow Him, my Friend,obey Him! You never thought of doing so, before, but may God's Grace move you to say, "If He is a Leader and Commander tothe people, I am one of them, and I will go with Him. He shall be my Leader and my Commander." If it is really so with you,Heaven shall be yours! Christ will bring you to Heaven and you shall bring glory to His name forever and ever as you blessand praise Him who has saved you by His Grace!
So much, then, upon the Divine Gift-God has given His own Son to be a Savior to men, and Christ has given Himself to be aWitness, and Leader, and Commander! Oh, that none of us may refuse Him, but may all accept Him as God's Gift to us!
II. The second thing in our text is A DIVINE PROMISE made to this Leader and Commander.
It is, first, a promise to call those whom He does not know. "Behold, You shall call a nation that You know not." That mustbe a strange nation, must it not, which Christ does not know? There will be people at the last to whom Christ will say, "Inever knew you." And there are such people, now, whom Christ has never known in this sense. He never spoke with them, He neverheard their voice in prayer, He never heard their hearts cry to Him, He never had anything to do with them. He never knewthem by mutual acquaintance. And there are nations of this kind of people. I might almost say that there is a nation of thissort in London whom Christ does not know-millions with whom He has had no dealings at all! They never come near His courts,they do not recognize His day, they scarcely even know His name. What a promise this is to Christ-"You shall call a nationthat You know not!" The people are so far sunk in sin that it seems as if Christ, Himself, never knew them!
Did you ever cross the threshold of a house-or if not of a whole house, perhaps of one room-where there was a number of personsherded together in poverty and misery? Drunkenness was there, vice was there, filth was there. Perhaps you were the firstvisitor who ever went there upon an errand of mercy and you said to yourself, "What a dreadful place this is! Surely, theblessed Savior has never been here, there is no trace of His footprints here." I think it is a most blessed thing that theFather should say to Christ, "You shall call this sort of people." Such degraded and sinful men and women as these are yetto be called and yet to be saved! Oh, be of good courage, you who try to labor in the very worst parts of London-or, for thatmatter, in the worst parts of Africa, or wherever you may go! The people may seem to be so far gone in sin and degradationthat even the great Lover of Souls does not know them, yet the promise is that He shall call them-and call them effectually-andthey shall come unto Him!
The next part of the promise declares that Christ is to make run those who do not know Him-"and nations that knew not Youshall run unto You." People who did not know anything about Christ and who did not want to know about Him, shall, all of asudden, hear of Him, and they shall run to Him! I have often noticed that when such people do come to Christ, they alwaysrun to Him. I hope that some of you who have been hearing me for many years, will yet come to Christ though you have longstayed away from Him. And if you do, it will be, with you, pretty much as it was with the snail that got into the ark! I thinkhe must have started very early to be able to get in before the door was shut, for he traveled so slowly. And you hearersof the Gospel who have grown accustomed to it, are as slow in coming to Christ as some boys are when they are going to school.But when a man has never heard the Gospel and, at last, somebody has induced him to come in and sit in the aisle, or in aback seat, it is all so new to him that he begins talking to himself about it. "Christ died for the guilty? I have only totrust Him and my sins shall be pardoned, and I shall be saved?" He jumps at the idea! It is the very thing he needs and hegrasps it at once! He is saved in a moment and he rejoices with a joy unspeakable in the Christ whom he has found in the spaceof half-an-hour-while others have for years been hearing in vain the glad tidings of salvation! "Nations that knew not Youshall run unto You."
Do you notice how God talks here? He speaks like a God! Who is this that says, "They shall"? someone asks. "Man has a freewill, has he not?" Yes, and God has a free will, too, and when these two come into conflict, it is God'sfree will that winsthe day! Man will do what God wills that man shall do-the will of the Eternal shall get the victory over the poor transienthuman will! When I come to preach in this pulpit, I do not say to myself, "Perhaps somebody will make himself willing to besaved." No, but I think to myself, "I shall have a picked congregation to listen to my Master's message. The Lord will pickthem out and bring the right people to hear His Word and, when I preach it, His Word shall not return unto Him void. Thosewhom He has determined to bless shall be blessed, whatever the devil may try to do to the contrary. God will have His wayand storm their hearts and carry all before Him." "Well, but," asks someone, "you do believe in man's free will, don't you?"Yes, I do. As much as you do and perhaps more! But I also believe in God's eternal purpose and in God's all-conquering will,so that, without violating the will of man, He can still have His own way and He can make this promise true to Christ, "Nationsthat knew not You shall run unto You because of the LORD Your God."
Now, lastly on this point, here is a Divine promise to exert an amazing motive power What is it that makes people run to Christ?The text tells us, "Nations that knew not You shall run unto You because of the LORD Your God, and for the Holy One of Israel;for He has glorified You." A glorified Christ makes men run to Him! When Christ is glorified in your hearts, dear Friends,you will run to Him! The Son of God, to whom you have been an enemy, nevertheless, out of mighty love, came here, lived, laboredand died, giving His whole life away that the ungodly might be saved through Him. Not to gain anything for Himself, but outof sheer pity and abounding love, He passed under His Father's rod. He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood. He sufferedanguish even unto death for men's redemption. And it was the Son of God who did this-God over all blessed forever! Havingdied, He was buried. He rose again and now all power is given unto Him in Heaven and in earth-"Therefore He is able also tosave them to the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever lives to make intercession for them." He can save thedrunk, the swearer, the profligate, the 80 year-old sinner steeped up to his neck in filthiness and vice! He is able, witha word, to deliver the most corrupt from the power of sin! He can make the most abandoned pure and chaste, and clean. ThroughHis precious blood, He can save them from all the guilt of their sin and all the power of their sin, and all the penalty oftheir sin! Yes, and ultimately, from the very existence of their sin, so that even those who were all black from head to footshall be "without spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." Oh, that the Holy Spirit would, with one glorious ray, light up theCross till you could all see it! Oh, for one beam of light to let the sin-bitten see the bronze serpent lifted high! Thereis life in a look at Christ!
O Friends, I wish that you would all believe this as I say it, for I would say it not only with my lips, but with my heart!It is the best news that mortals did ever tell. Yes, even angels from their glory never descended to earth with a messageso sweet as this-Christ is lifted high to be a great Savior of great sinners! Help is laid upon One who is mighty! He sitsupon the Throne of God above that He may reign over sinners! He holds the scepter of all worlds that He may stretch it outin mercy towards the guiltiest of the guilty! Only trust Him, fall at His feet in penitence, confess your transgression, askto be delivered from it, for this is God's promise to His Son-that you and such as you shall come to Him and, coming to Him,shall be drawn by the fact that He is such a glorious Christ, so every way adapted to your need! God give us Grace to rightlyset forth a glorified Christ! Then shall we soon have saved sinners who have been made to run to Him!
EI. And now, finally, the last verse of the text furnishes A DIVINE EXHORTATION. "Seek you the Lord while He may be found,call you upon Him while He is near."
Notice the connection between verses five and six-"Nations that knew not You shall run unto You." There is the absolute, unconditionalpromise. And then the very next verse says, "Seek you the Lord while He maybe found." There is the unlimited exhortation tomen, so that an exhortation to men is not inconsistent with the strongest Doctrine of Grace, Yes, more, the decree of Godin no sense renders the effort of man unnecessary.' 'Nations shall run unto You," says the Father to His Son. And when Hehas said that, He turns round to the nations and He says to them, "Seek you the Lord while He may be found, call you uponHim while He is near." Salvation is free and it is the gift of God's Grace, but oh, my Hearer, you must seek it, you mustcall upon God for itand I would, in God's name, stir you up to seek Him and call upon Him now! Before you go to your bed,seek Him who is ready to be found! Call upon Him who is waiting to hear!
Notice that there is put here a plea of a very encouraging kind-"Seek you the Lord while He may be found, " that is the Gospelday! "Call you upon Him while He is near," that is Mercy's day. I believe that in such a congregation as this, when the Gospelis being earnestly preached, there is a kind of propitious interval allowed to men. There is in Grace, as well as in the matterof making a fortune, a "tide" which must be "taken at the flood," and I think that there is a flood-tide just now for someof you! Listen to the music of the waters-"He may be found." It is not true that Christ has gone away and shut the door ofMercy-"He may be found!" "Seek you the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him!" He is not far off! He has not goneaway, shut the door behind Him and declared that He will never hear prayer again- "Call you upon Him while He is near!" Heis very near you just now! He is pleading with you! He has been blessing your neighbor! He has, by His Grace, called one whosits in the same pew with you! "Call you upon Him while He is near!"
There is also a warning, as well as an encouragement, in these words, "While He is near." While Mercy's sun has not yet set.While yet the 12 hours of the day are not all counted out-I mean, the day of the Lord's long-suffering mercy- seek Him, Ipray you, for there is a day coming when you shall seek in vain! There is a day coming when you shall knock in vain-when oncethe Master of the house has risen up and shut the door. That is clearly implied in our text, "Seek you the Lord while He maybe found." There will come a time when He cannotbe found-I do not believe such a time is ever reached in this life or, ifso, very rarely-but this life is very frail and may end at any moment. Therefore, while it lasts, seek the Lord. For whenthis life is once over, you can never find Him.
I, at least, will have no complicity in that atrocious treason against God's Word which leads men to believe that they may,perhaps, seek and find Him in another state. I believe that of all lies that were ever preached, this is the most dangerousand likely to do the most hurt to men's souls! It is very popular, I know, but what do I care about that? God's servant isnot to preach smooth things, but true things! It is this which we have to preach and we dare not go an inch beyond it-"Hethat believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not"-shall have another chance in a future state? Not sosaid the lips of perfect Love and Mercy-the lips of Christ, Himself! He said, "Go you into all the world and preach the Gospelto every creature. He that believes and is baptized shall be saved; but he that believes not shall be damned."
There it stands in His Word and there is nothing after it! There is no hope-smaller or "larger"-offered to any man who believesnot in the Lord Jesus Christ! Reject the Son of God and what hope can there be for you? "How shall we escape if we neglectso great a salvation?" God Incarnate bleeds and dies and yet you will not be saved by Him? Then what can become of you? Whatmust await you but "a certain fearful looking for judgment and fiery indignation"? He who will not have God, Himself, to savehim has deliberately committed spiritual suicide-and on his own head must be his blood! Therefore, I pray you, heed the messageof the text, "Seek you the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him while He is near."
Make sure work of it and do it at once! Trust Jesus! Trust Him wholly! Trust Him fully! Leave your sin, leave your self-righteousness,quit it all! Give yourself up to Christ to be made holy, to be taught to do His will and to be His servant all your days!Then, blessed be His name, He will save you, for God gave Him on purpose that He might do so, and He will, and the will ofthe Lord shall be done in you! Amen and Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: ISAIAH 53; 55:1-7.
Isaiah 53:1. Who has believed our report? And to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed? It is no new thing for Gospel ministers to bedisappointed. Even Isaiah, the most evangelical of all the Prophets, who might well be placed at the head of the College ofPreachers, feels compelled to say, in the name of all that sacred brotherhood, "Who has believed our report?" The report wasa very plain one, a very earnest one and full of noble matter. Men ought to have believed it, but they did not, and they neverwill unless God's arm is revealed, for faith is the product of Omnipotence- and men never believe in Christ till God stretchesout His arm! Where was the difficulty of believing the report about Christ? Isaiah tells us about Him and, as we listen, weunderstand why so many believe not on Him.
2. For He shall grow up before Him-That is, the Messiah shall grow up before God-
2. As a tender plant, and as a root out of a dry ground: He has no form nor comeliness; and when we shall see Him, there isno beauty that we should desire Him. When Christ came, He was very lovely to those who could judge of spiritual beauty. Inform and comeliness, He was unrivalled, but not to carnal men! They said, "Where is His royal splendor? Where is the majestyof His Kingdom?" As they looked upon the carpenter's Son, they said, "Where are His riches?" They heard Him say that He hadno where to lay His head and they despised such a Messiah! As He spoke in simple parables to the people, they asked, "Whereis His wisdom?" So, to carnal eyes, the Savior had "no form nor comeliness."
3. He is despised and rejected of men; a Man of Sorrows, and acquainted with grief: and we hid, as it were, our faces fromHim; He was despised, and we esteemed Him not Oh, how sad it is that the Son of the Most High God, when He condescended towear our nature, received such base treatment as this from the hands of men! How equally sad is it that His glorious and ever-blessedGospel should still be the object of contempt to multitudes of men! They will not have it! They will have their own philosophy-rathertheir own lies, let us say-but Christ they despise and they esteem not His Gospel.
4. Surely He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows. Listen, you sad ones, you sorrowful ones! Let this sweet notecharm you into joy-"He has borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows."
4. Yet we. We, for whom He was the Substitute, for whom He smarted-"Yet we"-
4, 5. Did esteem Him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised forour iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed. Wonderful medicine! Marveloushealing! Where shall we find the like? The Physician drinks the bitter draught and so cures the patient! Who ever heard ofsuch a wonder as this? The Physician is put to death and that great Sacrifice heals the patient! Who ever heard of such athing as this? The whole Gospel, in a nutshell, lies in this verse-"He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruisedfor our iniquities: the chastisement of our peace was upon Him; and with His stripes we are healed." Now comes another wonderfulverse, such as Luther was accustomed to call "a little Bible." It begins with, "all," and it ends with, "all."
6. All we like sheep have gone astray; we have turned, everyone, to his own way; and the Lord has laid on Him the iniquityof us all. There is your only hope of eternal life, Sinner! You are among the, "all," who went astray. If you are a Believerin Christ, you will be found among the, "all," whose iniquities were laid upon Him and carried away by Him.
7. He was oppressed, andHe was afflicted, yet He openednot His mouth: He was brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as asheep before her shearers is dumb, so He opened not His mouth. Oh, the majesty of His silence! Never was eloquence equal tothis-"He opened not His mouth."
8. He was taken fromprison and from judgment: and who shall declare His generation? For He was cut offout ofthe land oftheliving: for the transgression of My people was He stricken. They ought to have been stricken-their transgressions deservedthe heavy blows of the rod of God's wrath! Yet, "for the transgression of My people was He stricken."
9. AndHe made His grave with the wicked.-He was crucified between two malefactors. 9. And with the rich in His death. He wasburied in the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea.
9. Because He had done no violence, neither was any deceit in His mouth. For that very reason He was qualified to bear oursin! Because He had no sin of His own, therefore He could bear ours, and He did bear ours, and died, "the Just for the unjust,that He might bring us to God."
10. Yet it pleased the Lord to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief when You shall make His soul an offering for sin, He shallseeHis seed, He shallprolong His days, and thepleasure ofthe Lord shall prosper in His hands. Do not be afraid, then, about theKingdom of Christ. Its interests are safe enough, for they are in His hands, and God has given the promise that His pleasureshall prosper there.
11. He shall see ofthe travail of His soul, and shall be satisfied. His death-pangs were our birth-pangs and Christ shallsee that which is born of His soul-anguish and, "shall be satisfied."
11. By His knowledge. Or, "By the knowledge of Him."
11. Shall My righteous Servant justify many; for He shal1 bear their iniquities. There is no meaning at all in this chapterif it does not teach that Christ took upon Himself the sin of His people and suffered in their place. Let who will objectto this doctrine-it is the Gospel, the very heart and marrow of it-and there is nothing that can make a heavy heart glad untilit sees sin removed by the death of Christ! "He shall bear their iniquities."
12. Therefore will I divide Him a portion with the great, and He shall divide the spoil with the strong; because He has pouredout His soul unto death. He not only died, but He poured out His very soul unto death.
12. And He was numbered with the transgressors: and He bore the sin of many, and made intercession for the transgressors.We shall also do well to read part of the 55th chapter of Isaiah after this 53rd-the one is an admirable preparation for theother
Isaiah 55:1. Ho, everyone that thirsts; come you to the waters. To the waters which flowed from that smitten Rock of which we have beenreading.
1-3. And he that has no money; come you, buy, and eat; yes, come, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Why doyou spend money for that which is not bread? And your labor for that which satisfies not? Hearken diligently unto Me, andeat you that which is good, and let your soul delight itself in fatness. Incline your ear, and come unto Me. See, the wayof salvation is through Ear-Gate? We must hear the Gospel, for it is not what we are to do, but what we are to receive thatwill save us. And we must come to God to hear it before we can receive it. "Faith comes by hearing." Give a very earnest ear,then, to the preaching of the Gospel of Christ! "Hearken diligently unto Me, and eat you that which is good, and let yoursoul delight itself in fatness." Again the Lord says, "Incline your ear, and come unto
3. Hear, and your soul shall live; andI will make an everlasting Covenant with you, even the sure mercies ofDavid. Says someone,"I can understand God making a Covenant with David, but will He make a Covenant with me?" Yes, and after the same sure tenor,too-"I will make an everlasting Covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David." God will promise to bless you, save you,keep you and present you in Glory in the day of Christ's appearing. And this shall be a Covenant which shall never be broken.Though all things else are changed, yet that Covenant shall stand secure forever. It will fill you with joy when you understandthat such a Covenant as this is made with you and you will say, as David did, "Although my house is not so with God; yet Hehas made with me an everlasting Covenant, ordered in all things, and sure." Oh, what a blessing it is to have a share in thisCovenant!
4. Behold, I have given Him for a Witness to the people, a Leader and Commander to the people.' 'I have given him," that is,David's greater Son, the true David, "l have given Him for a Witness to the people, a Leader and Commander to the people."
5. Behold, you-That is, Jesus, the Son of David: "Behold, You-
5-7. Shall call a nation that You know not, and nations that knew not You shall run unto You because of the Lord Your God,and for the Holy One of Israel; for He has glorified You. Seek you the Lord while He may be found, call you upon Him whileHe is near: let the wicked forsake his ways, and the unrighteous man his thoughts: and let him return unto the Lord, and Hewill have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon. Oh, that many may put this blessed promise to theproof even now, for Christ's sake! Amen.