Sermon 2807. Spared!
A SERMON INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, NOVEMBER 30, 1902.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT NEW PARK STREET CHAPEL, SOUTHWARK, ON A LORD'S-DAY EVENING, DURING THE WINTER OF 1860-61.
"I was left." Ezekiel 9:8.
THE vision of Ezekiel which is recorded in the previous chapter brought to light the abominations of the house of Judah. Thevision which follows in this chapter shows the terrible retribution that the Lord God brought upon the guilty nation, beginningat Jerusalem.
He beheld the men of slaughter who come forth with their weapons. He marked them begin the destroying work at the gate ofthe Temple. He saw them proceed through the main streets and not omit a single lane-they utterly slew all those who were notmarked with the mark of the writer's inkhorn on their brow. He stood alone-that Prophet of the Lord-himself spared in themidst of universal carnage and, as the carcasses fell at his feet, and the bodies stained with gore lay all around him, hesaid, "I was left." He stood alive among the dead because he was found faithful among the faithless-he survived in the midstof universal destruction because he had served his God in the midst of universal depravity.
We shall now take the sentence altogether apart from Ezekiel's vision and appropriate it to ourselves. And I think, when weread it over, and repeat it, "I was left," it very naturally invites us to take a review of the past I t also very readilysuggests a prospect of the future and, I think, it also permits a terrible contrast in reserve for the impenitent.
I. First of all, then, my Brothers and Sisters, we have here a pathetic reflection which seems to invite us to take A SOLEMNREVIEW-"I was left."
You remember, many of you, times of sickness, when cholera was in your streets. You may forget that season of pestilence,but I never can-when the duties of my pastorate called me to continually walk among your terror-stricken households and tosee the dying and the dead. Impressed upon my young heart must ever remain some of those sad scenes I witnessed when I firstcame to this metropolis and was, really, employed at that time to bury the dead rather than to bless the living. Some of youhave passed through not only one season of cholera, but many, and you have been present, too, perhaps, in climates where feverhas prostrated its hundreds and where the plague and other dire diseases have emptied out their quivers and every arrow hasfound its mark in the heart of some one of your companions. Yet you have been left.
You walked among the graves, but you did not stumble into them. Fierce and fatal maladies lurked in your path, but they werenot allowed to devour you. The bullets of Death whistled by your ears and yet you stood alive, for his bullet had no billetfor your heart. You can look back, some of you, through fifty, sixty, 70 years. Your bald and gray heads tell the story thatyou are no more raw recruits in the warfare of life. You have become veterans, if not invalids, in the army. You are readyto retire, to put off your armor and give place to others. Look back, Brothers and Sisters, I say, you who have come intothe sere and yellow leaf-remember the many seasons in which you have seen death hailing multitudes about you-and think, "Iwas left."
And we, too, who are younger, in whose veins our blood still leaps in vigor, can remember times of peril when thousands fellabout us, yet we can say, in God's house, with great emphasis, "I was left"-reserved, great God, when many others perished.Sustained, standing on the rock of life when the waves of death dashed about me, the spray fell heavily
upon me and my body was saturated with disease and pain-yet am I still alive- still permitted to mingle with the busy tribesof men!
Now, then, what does such a review as this suggest? Ought we not, each one of us, to ask the question, Why was I spared? Whywas I left? Many of you were, at that time-and some of you are even now dead in trespasses and sins! You were not spared becauseof your fruitfulness, for you brought forth nothing but the grapes of Gomorrah! Certainly God did not stay His sword becauseof anything good in you. A multitude of clamorous evils in your disposition, if not in your conduct, might well have demandedyour summary execution. But you were spared. Let me ask you why? Was it that mercy might yet visit you-that Grace might yetrenew your soul? Have you found it so? Has Sovereign Grace overcome you, beaten down your prejudices, thawed your icy heart,broken your stony will in pieces? Say, Sinner, in looking back upon the times when you have been left, were you spared inorder that you might be saved with a great salvation?
And if you cannot say, "Yes," to that question, let me ask you whether it may not yet be so? Soul, why has God spared youso long, while you are yet His enemy, a stranger to Him and far off from Him by wicked works? Or, on the contrary, has Hespared you-I tremble at the bare mention of the possibility-has He prolonged your days to develop your propensities, thatyou may grow riper for damnation-that you may fill up your measure of crying iniquity and then go down to the Pit a searedand dry sinner, like wood that is ready for the fire? Can it be so? Shall these spared moments be spoiled by more misdemeanors,or shall they be given up to repentance and to prayer? Will you now, before the last of your sins shall set in everlastingdarkness, will you now look to Him? If so, you will have reason to bless God through all eternity, that you were left-becauseyou were left that you might yet seek and might yet find Him who is the Savior of sinners!
Do I speak to many of you who are Christians, who, too, have been left? When better saints than you were snatched away fromearthly ties and creature kindred-when brighter stars than you were enclouded in night-were you still permitted to shine withyour poor flickering ray? Why was it, great God? Why am I now left? Let me ask myself that question. In sparing me so long,my Lord, have You not something more for me to do? Is there not some purpose, not conceived in my soul, which You will yetsuggest to me-and to carry out which You will yet give me Grace and strength and spare me a little while longer? Am I yetimmortal or shielded at least from every arrow of death because my work is incomplete? Is the tale of my years prolonged becausethe full tale of the bricks has not yet been made up? Then show me what You would have me do! Since thus I have been left,help me to feel myself a specially-consecrated man, left for a purpose, reserved for some end, otherwise I had been wormsmany years ago and my body had crumbled back to its mother earth! Christian, I say, always be asking yourself this question,but especially be asking it when you are preserved in times of more than ordinary sickness and mortality. If I am left, whyam I left? Why am I not taken home to Heaven? Why do I not enter into my rest? Great Lord and Master, show me what You wouldhave me do and give me Grace and strength to do it!
Let us change the review for a moment and look upon the sparing mercy of God in another light. "I was left." Some of you nowpresent, whose history I well know, can say, "I was left," and say it with peculiar emphasis. You were born of ungodly parents.The earliest words you can remember were base and blasphemous-too bad to repeat. You can remember how the first breath yourinfant lungs received was tainted air-the air of vice, of sin and iniquity. You grew up, you and your brothers and your sisters,side by side. You filled the home with sin. You went on together in your youthful crimes and encouraged each other in evilhabits. Thus you grew up to manhood and then you were banded together in ties of immorality as well as in ties of blood. Youadded to your number-you took in fresh associates. As your family circle increased, so did the flagrancy of your conduct.You all conspired to break the Sabbath. You devised the same schemes and perpetrated the same improprieties. You recollecthow one and another of your old comrades died-you followed them to their graves and your merriment was checked a little while-butit soon broke out again. Then a sister died, steeped to the mouth in infidelity. After that, a brother was taken-he had nohope in his death-all was darkness and despair before him. And so, Sinner, you have outlived all your friends! If you areinclined to go to Hell, you must go there along a beaten track-a path which, as you look back upon the way you have trodden,is stained with blood, for you can remember how all who have been before you have gone to the long home in dismal gloom, withouta glimpse or ray of joy.
And now you are left, Sinner, and, blessed be God, it may be you can say, "Yes, and I am not only left, but I am here in theHouse of Prayer! And if I know my own heart-there is nothing I should hate so much as to live my old life over again. HereI am and I never believed I would ever be here! I look back with mournfulness, indeed, upon those who have departed, but,though mourning them, I express my gratitude to God that I am not in torments-not in Hell-but still here! Yes, not only here,but having a hope that I shall one day see the face of Christ and stand amidst blazing worlds robed in His righteousness andpreserved by His love."
You have been left, then-and what ought you to say? Ought you to boast? Oh, no! Be doubly humble! Should you take the gloryto yourself? No! Put the crown upon the head of free, rich, undeserved Grace! And what should you do above all other men?Why, you should be doubly pledged to serve Christ! As you served the devil through thick and thin until you came to servehim, alone, and your company had all departed, so, by Divine Grace, may you be pledged to Chr-ist-to follow Him, though allthe world should despise Him-and to hold on to the end, until, if every professor should be an apostate, it might yet be saidof you at the last, "He was left. He stood alone in sin while his comrades died and then he stood alone in Christ when hiscompanions deserted him." Thus of you it shall always be said, "He was left."
This suggests also one more form of the same review. What a special Providence has watched over some of us and guarded ourfeeble frames! There are some of you, in particular, who have been left to such an age that, as you look back upon your youthfuldays, you recall far more of kinsfolk in the tomb than remain in the world, more under the earth than above it! In your dreamsyou are the associates of the dead. Still you are left! Preserved amidst a thousand dangers of infancy, then kept in youth,steered safely over the shoals and quicksands of an immature age and over the rocks and reefs of manhood, you have been broughtpast the ordinary period of mortal life-and yet you are still here. Seventy years exposed to perpetual death and yet preservedtill you have come almost, perhaps, to your fourscore years! You have been left, my dear Brother or Sister-and why are youleft? Why is it that brothers and sisters are all gone? Why is it that the ranks of your old schoolmates have gradually thinned?You cannot remember one, now alive, who was your companion in youth. How is it that now, you, who have lived in a certainquarter so long, see new names there on all the shop doors, new faces in the street and everything new to what you once sawin your young days? Why are you spared? Are you an unconverted man? Are you an unconverted woman? To what end are you spared?Is it that you may, at the 11th hour be saved? God grant it may be so! Or are you spared till you shall have sinned yourselfinto the lowest depths of Hell, that you may go there the most aggravated sinner because of the oft-repeated warnings so oftenneglected-are you spared for this, or is it that you may yet be saved?
But are you a Christian? Then it is not hard for you to answer the question, "Why are you spared?" I do not believe thereis an old woman on earth, living in the most obscure cottage in England and sitting this very night in a dark attic, withher candle gone out, without means to buy another-I do not believe that old woman would be kept out of Heaven five minutesunless God had something for her to do on earth! And I do not think that yon gray-headed man would still be preserved unlessthere was something for him to do. Tell it out, tell it out, you aged man! Tell the story of that preserving Grace which haskept you up till now! Tell to your children and to your children's children what a God He is whom you have trusted! Standup as a hoary patriarch and tell how He delivered you in six troubles and in seven suffered no evil to touch you! Bear tocoming generations your faithful witness that His Word is true and that His promise cannot fail! Lean on your staff and say,before you die in the midst of your family, "Not one good thing has failed of all that the Lord God has promised." Let yourripe days bring forth a mellow testimony to His love and, as you become more and more advanced in years, so be you more andmore advanced in knowledge and in confirmed assurance of the Immutability of His counsel, the truthfulness of His oath, thepreciousness of His blood and the sureness of the salvation of all those who put their trust in Him! Then shall we know thatyou are spared for a high and noble purpose, indeed! You shall say it with tears of gratitude and we will listen with smilesof joy-"I was left."
II. I must rather suggest these reviews than follow them up, though, did time permit, we might well enlarge abundantly and,therefore, I must hurry on to invite you to A PROSPECT.
You and I shall soon pass out of this world into another. This life is, as it were, but the ferry-we are being carried acrossand we shall soon come to the true shore, the real terra firma-for here there is nothing that is substantial. When we shallcome into that next world, we have to expect, by-and-by, a resurrection both of the just and of the unjust. And in that solemnday we are to expect that all that dwell upon the face of the earth shall be gathered together in one place.
And He shall come, who came once to suffer-He shall come to judge the world in righteousness and the people in equity! Hewho came as an Infant shall come as the Infinite! He who lay wrapped in swaddling bands shall come girt about the waist witha golden girdle, with a rainbow wreath and robes of storm! There shall we all stand, a vast, innumerable company-earth shallbe crowned from her valley's deepest base to the mountain's summit-and the sea's waves shall become the solid standing-placeof men and women who have slept beneath its torrents. Then shall every eye be fixed on Him, every ear shall be open to Himand every heart shall watch with solemn awe and dread suspense for the transactions of that greatest of all days, that Dayof Days, that sealing up of the ages, that completing of the dispensation!
In solemn pomp the Savior comes and His angels with Him. You hear His voice as He cries, "Gather together the tares in bundlesto burn them." Behold the reapers, how they come with wings of fire! See how they grasp their sharp sickles which have longbeen grinding upon the millstone of God's long-suffering, but have become sharpened at the last. Do you see them as they approach?There they are, mowing down a nation with their sickles! The vile idolaters have just now fallen and yonder a family of blasphemershas been crushed beneath the feet of the reapers! See there a bundle of drunkards being carried away upon the reapers shouldersto the great blazing fire. See again, in another place, the whoremonger, the adulterer, the unchaste and such like, tied upin vast bundles-bundles the ropes of which shall never be cut-and see them cast into the fire and see how they blaze in theunutterable torments of that Pit! And shall I be left? Great God, shall I stand there wrapped in His righteousness, alone,the righteousness of Him who sits as my Judge, erect upon the Judgment Seat? Shall I, when the wicked shall cry, "Rocks, hideus; mountains, on us fall," gaze upon Him? Shall these eyes look up, shall this face dare to turn itself to the face of Himthat sits upon the Throne? Shall I stand calm and unmoved amidst universal terror and dismay? Shall I be numbered with thegoodly company, who, clothed with the white linen which is the righteousness of the saints, shall await the shock, shall seethe wicked hurled to destruction and feel and know themselves secure?
Shall it be so or shall I be bound up in a bundle to burn and swept away forever by the breath of God's nostrils, like thechaff driven before the wind? It must be one or the other! Which shall it be? Can I answer that question? Can I tell? I cantell it-tell it now-for I have in this very Chapter of God's Word, that which teaches me how to judge myself! They who arepreserved have the mark on their foreheads! And they have a character as well as a mark-and their character is that they sighand cry for all the abominations of the wicked. Then, if I hate sin, and if I sigh because others love it-if I cry becauseI, myself, through infirmity fall into it-if the sin of myself and the sin of others is a constant source of grief and vexationof spirit to me-then I have that mark and evidence of those who shall neither sigh nor cry in the world to come, for sorrowand sighing shall flee away!
Have I the blood-mark on my brow today? Say, my Soul, have you put your trust in Jesus Christ, alone, and as the fruit ofthat faith, has your faith learned how to love, not only Him that saved you, but others, too, who as yet are unsaved? Anddo I sigh and cry within while I bear the blood-mark without! Come Brother, Sister, answer this for yourself, I charge you!I charge you do so by the tottering earth and by the ruined pillars of Heaven that shall surely shake! I pray you, by thecherubim and seraphim that shall be before the Throne of the Great Judge by the blazing lightning that shall then illuminethe thick darkness and make the sun amazed, and turn the moon into blood-by Him whose tongue is like a flame, like a swordof fire! I charge you by Him who shall judge you, and try you, and read your heart, and declare your ways, and divide untoyou your eternal portion! I charge you by the certainties of death, by the sureness of judgment, by the glories of Heaven,by the solemnities of Hell-I beseech, implore, command, entreat you-ask yourself, now, "Shall I be left? Do I believe in Christ?Have I been born-again? Have I a new heart and a right spirit? Or am I still what I always was-God's enemy, Christ's despiser,cursed by the Law of God, cast out from the Gospel, without God and without hope-a stranger to the commonwealth of Israel?"
I cannot speak to you as earnestly as I would to God that I could. I want to thrust this question into your very loins andstir up your heart's deepest thoughts with it. Sinner, what will become of you when God shall winnow the chaff from the wheat?What will be your portion? You that stand in the aisle, yonder, what will be your portion? You who are crowded over there-whatwill your portion be when He shall come and nothing shall escape His eyes? Say, shall you hear Him? Say, and shall your heart-stringscrack while He utters the thundering sound, "Depart, you cursed"? Or shall it be your happy lot-your soul transported allthe while with unutterable bliss-to hear Him say, "Come, you blessed
of My Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"? Our text reveals a prospect, I prayyou to look at it, gaze across the narrow stream of death, and say. "Shall I be left?"-
"When you, my righteous Judge, shall come
To fetch Your ransomed people home,
Shall I among them stand?
Shall such a worthless worm as I,
Who sometimes am afraid to die
Be found at Your right hand?
I love to meet among them now,
Before Your gracious feet to bow,
Though vilest of them all!
But can I bear the piercing thought-
What if my name should be left out
When You for them shall call?
Prevent, prevent it by Your Grace!
Be You, dear Lord, my hiding place
In this the accepted day-
Your pardoning voice, oh let me hear
To still my unbelieving fear
Nor let me fall, Ipray."
III. But now we come to A TERRIBLE CONTRAST which I think is suggested in the text, "I was left."
Then there will be some that will not be left in the sense we have been speaking of-and yet who will be left after anotherand more dreadful manner. They will be left by mercy, forsaken by hope, given up by friends and become a prey to the implacablefury, to the sudden, infinite and unmitigated severity and justice of an angry God! But they will not be left or exemptedfrom judgment, for the sword shall find them out, the vials of Jehovah shall reach even to their heart! And that flame, thepile whereof is wood and much smoke, shall suddenly devour them and that without remedy. Sinner, you shall be left! I say,you will be left of all those fond joys that you now hug-left of that pride which now steels your heart-you will be low enough,then! You will be left of that iron constitution which now seems to repel the darts of death. You shall be left of those companionsof yours that entice you on to sin and harden you in iniquity. You shall be left by those who promise to be your helpers atthe last. They shall need helpers, themselves, and the strong man shall fail. You shall be left, then, of that pleasing fancyof yours and of that merry wit which can make sport of Bible Truths and mock at Divine solemnities!
You shall be left, then, of all your buoyant hopes and of all your imaginary delights. You shall be left of that sweet angel,Hope, who never forsakes any but those who are condemned to Hell! You shall be left of God's Spirit, who sometimes now pleadswith you. You shall be left of Jesus Christ, whose Gospel has been so often preached in your ear. You shall be left of Godthe Father-He shall shut His eyes of pity against you-His heart of compassion shall no more yearn over you, nor shall He regardyour cries. You shall be left but, oh, again I tell you, you shall not be left as one who has escaped, for, when the earthshall open to swallow up the wicked, it shall open at your feet and swallow you up! When the fiery thunderbolt shall pursuethe spirit that falls into the Pit that is bottomless, it shall pursue you, reach you and find you! When God tears the wickedin pieces and there shall be none to deliver, He shall tear you in pieces! He shall be unto you as a consuming fire, yourconscience shall be full of gall, your heart shall be drunk with bitterness, your teeth shall be broken, even as with gravel,your hopes melted with His hot thunderbolts and all your joys withered and blasted by His breath!
O careless Sinner, mad Sinner, you who are now dashing yourself downward to destruction, why will you play the fool at thisrate? There are cheaper ways of making sport for yourself than this! Dash your head against the wall. Go there and, like David,let your spittle fall upon your beard, but let not your sin fall upon your conscience-and let not your despite of Christ belike a millstone hung about your neck with which you shall be cast into the sea forever. Be wise, I pray you. O Lord, makethe sinner wise! Hush his madness for a while. Let him be sober and hear the voice of reason! Let him be still and hear thevoice of conscience! Let him be obedient and hear the voice of Scripture! "Thus says the
Lord, because I will do this, consider your ways." "Prepare to meet your God, O Israel." "Set your house in order, for youshall die and not live." "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved."
I do feel that I have a message for someone tonight. Though there may be some who think the sermon not appropriate to a congregationwhere there is so large a proportion of converted men and women, yet what a large proportion of ungodly ones there is here,too! I know that you come here, many of you, to hear some funny tale, or to catch at some strange, extravagant speech of onewhom you repute to be an eccentric man. Ah, well, he is eccentric and hopes to be so till he dies! But it is simply eccentricin being in earnest and wanting to win souls! O poor Sinners, there is no odd tale I would not tell if I thought it wouldbe blessed to you! There is no grotesque language which I would not use, however it might be thrown back at me, if I thoughtit might but be serviceable to you! I set not my account to be thought a fine speaker-they that use fine language may dwellin the king's palaces. I speak to you as one who knows he is accountable to no man, but only to his God-as one who shall haveto render his account at the Last Great Day.
And I pray you will not go away to talk of this and that which you have marked in my language. Think of this one thing, "ShallI be left"? Shall I be saved? Shall I be caught up and dwell with Christ in Heaven, or shall I be cast down to Hell foreverand ever?" Turn over these things! Think seriously of them. Hear that voice which says, "Him that comes to Me I will in nowisecast out." Give heed to the voice which expostulates, "Come now, and let us reason together, says the Lord: though your sinsare as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they shall be as wool."
How else shall your life be spared when the wicked are judged? How else shall you find shelter when the tempest of Divinewrath rages? How else shall you stand in the lot of the righteous at the end of the days?
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: EPHESIANS1.
Verses 1, 2. Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, to the saints, which are at Ephesus, and to the faithfulin Christ Jesus, Grace be to you, andpeace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ The Apostle desires the sameblessing for us who are "the faithful in Christ Jesus," as he did for the saints at Ephesus. He longs that we, also, may befilled with Grace and peace "from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ." And the wish of the Apostle is accordingto the will of God who would have us abound in Grace and in peace. Some of you Christian people are troubled in mind, yetyour Lord said to His disciples and through them to you, "Peace I leave with you, My peace I give unto you...Let not yourheart be troubled, neither let it be afraid." Jesus knew that in the world you would have tribulation, but He willed thatin Him you would have peace. And the way to get that peace is by getting Divine Grace. "Grace be to you, and peace." The moregracious you are, the more easily will you bear the trying circumstances which surround you. Look not for peace apart fromGrace-when you have Grace, you have a right to peace.
3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly placesin Christ. I notice how, often, in the Epistles, benedictions are followed by doxologies. This is because the true heart lovesto bless the Lord. What a rich treasure we have who are blessed "with all spiritual blessings!" There is nothing we can needbut what is provided for us by our gracious God. Why are you poor, then, when God "has blessed us with all spiritual blessingsin heavenly places in Christ"? Is it not because you often forget to go to the heavenly in Christ, and begin looking to theearthly in yourselves? There is nothing but starvation there-all true riches are found in the heavenly in Christ.
4. According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should he holy and without blame beforeHim in love. The Apostle did not ignore the glorious and blessed doctrine of Divine Election. He delighted to meditate uponit and to speak of it. I wish that some Christians, nowadays, were not so much afraid of it. All spiritual blessings cometo us in this way-this is the fountainhead of all favor and Grace-"According as He has chosen us in Him, before the foundationof the world." The objective of our election-that to which God has chosen us in Christ is- "that we should be holy and withoutblame before Him in love." Unless you are holy, how can you talk of being chosen of God, for the elect are chosen unto holiness,chosen to be delivered from all blame through the love and Grace of God?
5, 6. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure ofHis will, to the praise of the glory of His Grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved. I t is well said, by anold writer, that there is no book which is written with such brevity as the Bible. It seems to give us the condensed essenceof the Truth of God in the smallest possible space. What a mass of thought there is in those few lines which I have just readto you! We see here that we become the children of God by adoption, whatever the Universal Fatherhood people may say-"Havingpredestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself-and that this adoption is the result of predestinationand is not because of our own merits, but, "according to the good pleasure of His will." Some systems of theology have muchof logic, but little of God. But in Paul's teaching, it is God first, and last, and in the middle and all over. "To the praiseof the glory of His Grace." What a wonderful expression this is-not only "the glory of His Grace," but the praise of thatglory! God has done all things with a view to magnifying His Grace in the hearts of the sons and daughters of men-"WhereinHe has made us accepted in the Beloved." There seems to me to be a sacred poem in these words, "accepted in the Beloved."To my heart there is more heavenly music in those four words than in any oratorio I ever heard! "Accepted in the Beloved."Oh, what honey this is in the mouth, what cheer this is in the heart! Are all of you, dear Friends, "accepted in the Beloved"?
7, 8. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of His Grace; whereinHe has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. Wisdom and prudence are two of the handmaids of Grace. Grace reignsthrough righteousness and the wisdom and prudence of God are set to work so to conduct the whole of the arrangements that"the glory of His Grace" may be all the more conspicuous!
9. Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself Evenour knowledge of God's will is the result of "His good pleasure." If your eyes have been divinely opened, you see the willof God coming in everywhere-and ordering all things according to His gracious and unerring purpose!
10. That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which arein Heaven, and which are on earth; even in Him. All the things that are in Christ shall be gathered together. None of themshall be left out. His great Covenant work shall be, in all respects, fully accomplished. There shall be no failure in anypoint. Whether in Heaven, or on earth, the things which are in Christ shall be gathered together in One, "even in Him."
11. In Him also we have obtained an inheritance, being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all thingsafter the counsel of His own will How the Apostle delights to harp upon this theme! The Holy Spirit knew that a time wouldcome when men would put a slur upon this glorious Truth of God, so He inspired His servant to set it forth as the very brightnessof the sun in the spiritual firmament-"being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after thecounsel of His own will."
12-14. That we should be to the praise of His glory, whom first trusted in Christ. In whom you also trusted, after that youheard the Word of Truth, the Gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that you believed, you were sealed with that HolySpirit of promise, who is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praiseof His glory. Twice more, in these three verses you have this expression, "to the praise of His glory," making a third timewith that which he said before, "to the praise of the glory of His Grace." The true Gospel glorifies God! False gospels mayhave what is called "the enthusiasm of humanity" about them, but the true Gospel has an enthusiasm for the living God andit magnifies and glorifies Him. Note, O Believers, that you first trust in Christ and after that you have the seal of theSpirit. There are some who look for the sealing of the Spirit before believing in Jesus-but neither God nor man will set aseal to a blank paper-there must be the writing of faith upon the heart and then the Spirit of God comes in, with His blessedseal, and sets it at the bottom as His Divine and gracious token of acceptance. The Holy Spirit is "the earnest of our inheritance."Now, an earnest is a part of the possession, itself-it is not simply a pledge, it is more than that-so the Holy Spirit inour heart is Heaven begun below-it is the young dawn of the everlasting day! Blessed be God, we have His Spirit within us,and we rejoice in His indwelling!
15-17. Therefore I, also, after Iheard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, andlove unto all the saints, cease not to give thanksfor you, making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto youthe Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him. You know Him, for He has saved you-now go on to know a greatdeal more of Him. You can scarcely have a better gift than this, "the Spirit of wisdom and revela-
tion in the knowledge of Him." The knowledge of Christ Crucified is the most excellent of all the sciences! It is better tobe well acquainted with Christ than to be a very Solomon concerning all other things, yet not to know Him.
18. The eyes of your understanding being enlightened. You have eyes-God's Grace has given them to you-but they are capableof additional power and force and there is the telescope of faith, which you are allowed to use, which will enable you tosee much more than you have ever seen as yet!
18. That you may know what is the hope of His calling, and what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints.First, you are to know what your inheritance is. That is "the hope of His calling." And, next, you are to know what Christ'sinheritance in you is, which is another thing. It is a most blessed subject for meditation that you are Christ's, altogetherChrist's, and that all you are to be, will be Christ's, and that in you, poor creatures though you are, He will yet have arich inheritance. Paul would have you know what are "the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints,"
19. And what is the exceeding greatness ofHispower toward us who believe. It takes a great deal of Divine Grace to make aBeliever, and to keep a Believer-nothing but the almighty power of God can do it.
19, 20. According to the working of His mighty power, which He worked in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead, and setHim at His own right hand in the heavenly places. Not only raising Him from the dead, but lifting Him up to His own righthand and setting Him there, "in the heavenly places."
21. Far above all principality, andpower, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, butalso in that which is to come. The power of God which works in a Believer is the same power with which He raised Christ fromthe dead and set Him in this preeminent place.
22. And has put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be the Head over all things to the Church, This power is also tobe seen working in you who believe in Jesus. What wonders of Grace we shall be when God has exerted that stupendous and amazingenergy in each one of us, even as in His own Son! What an inheritance Christ will have in us then!
23. Which is His body, the fullness of Him that fill all in all Said I not truly to you that this blessed Book is full ofTruth put into as few words as possible? Verily, there is none like it! Other books, at the best, are like gold hammered outvery thin, but here you have ingots of solid spiritual wealth, priceless in value! God help us all to make them our own treasure,for Christ's sake! Amen.