Sermon 3074. Danger. Safety. Gratitude.
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 9, 1908,
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON THURSDAY EVENING, JANUARY 8, 1874.
"Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceedingjoy, to the only wise God our Savior, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever. Amen." Jude 1:24,25.
WE may derive much evil or much good from the falls of others. We may derive much evil from their falls if we follow theirbad example, or if our pride suggests to us that we are better than they are. It is an evil thing for a man to look upon hisfallen brother and then to say, in the spirit of the Pharisee, "God, I thank You that I am not such a sinner as that man is."This kind of spirit would make it very probable that we should yet become even worse than the poor fallen one.
But, on the other hand, much good may come to us through the falls of others if the moment we see or hear of the falling ofour brethren, we reflect that we would have done the same if we had not been upheld by God-that all the evil that has comeout of them might also have come out of us, for it is in every one of us by nature. Unless God's restraining hand shall preventits being displayed, it will be displayed in our life as well as in theirs! Every wreck ought to be a beacon. One man's fallshould be another's warning. Do you see your brother's foot trip against a stone? Then take care how you go along that way.Do you see him yield to temptation? Then mind that your ears are closed against that which fascinated him and turned him asidefrom the right path. Wherein you see that he failed in anything, set a double guard upon yourselfjust there-and ask God togive you Grace to keep you with special keeping in that particular point which was his weakness and which may, unknown toyourself, be also your own!
I am led to make these remarks because the Epistle of Jude describes certain gross offenders. The Apostle says a good dealabout persons who were in the Church, but were evidently not of it and who, therefore, were the Church's weakness and dishonor-spotsin her solemn feasts, clouds without water, trees without fruit-"raging waves of the sea, foaming out their own shame." Now,if the reflection from that description should be, in the case of any of us, "We are superior persons to them and are notat all likely to fall into such a condition as this," the consideration of their condition would have had a very unhappy influenceupon ourselves. But if we use this Epistle in the right way, as Jude means us to do, and begin to look at our own weaknessand to dread our own failure-and then close all, as he does, with a doxology to Him who is able to keep us from falling whereothers have fallen, and to present us faultless when others will be condemned, and to bring us to exceeding joy while theywill be banished to the place where they will have to endure exceeding misery-surely we ought to give honor, praise and glory"to the only wise God our Savior." And this will be a blessed way of extracting good out of the failings and falls of others.
This is my objective in speaking to you upon this text. And I am going to talk to you very simply upon three things-first,our danger. Secondly, our safety. And, thirdly, our gratitude.
I. The first thing we are to consider is OUR DANGER. We are in danger of falling-not only some of us, but all of us! Not merelythe weak, but also the strong. Not the young only, but the old and the middle-aged. All are in danger of falling into sinand so bringing dishonor upon our profession, sorrow to our souls and disgrace upon the name of Christ, whom we profess tolove and serve!
That we are in danger should strike us very clearly because we have seen others fall into sin. I scarcely dare to recall allthat I have seen during my observation of the professing Church of Christ. Though I think I have been peculiarly favored asa pastor, there are sore places in my soul-bleeding wounds that will never be healed this side of Heaven that have been causedby the backsliding of men with whom I took sweet counsel and in whose company I used to walk to the House of God. I have knownsome who have preached the Gospel, and preached it with power, live to depart from it altogether. I have known others whohave served at the Lord's Table who have discharged the duties of the deaconship or the eldership with considerable diligence,who have afterwards given way to their evil passions. I have thought some of them to be among the holiest of men. While theyhave been praying, I have been lifted up in devotion to the very gates of Heaven! And if anyone had said to me that they wouldone day fall into gross sin, I could not have believed it. I would sooner have believed it to be possible of myself. WhenI have heard of their fall, it has struck me with a sharp pang and when it has been my sad duty to enquire into the matter-andI have been compelled to be convinced of the truthfulness of the accusation brought against them-I have been staggered tothink how far a man may go in profession and yet not possess the Grace of God in truth and how like a Christian a man maybe-and yet not really be a child of God. And how he may have many resemblances to the Grace of God and yet may not have thatGrace in his soul indeed and of a truth.
"Howl, fir tree, for the cedar is fallen," is a cry that may still be heard! Those who seemed stronger than we are have fallen,so why may not we? No, shall we not fall unless Sovereign Grace shall prevent that dread calamity? Our Lord's disciples, whosat at the table with Him, when they were told that one of them would betray their Master, each one enquired, "Lord, is itI?" That was a very proper question. There was not one who asked, "Lord, is it Judas?" Probably no one of them even suspectedhim-and it may be that the worst hypocrite in this assembly is the one upon whom there does not rest at this moment a singleshade of suspicion! He has learned to play his part so well that his true character has not yet been discovered. One of thesedays the 30 pieces of silver will prove too attractive to him-and then he will sell his Master. Will that traitor be you,dear Friend, or will it be me? Surely, if this has been the case with others, it must be a matter for our own serious consideration,seeing that we also are as liable to be tempted as they were-and as liable to yield to the temptation. John Newton was rightwhen he wrote-
" When any turn from Zion's way
(Alas, what numbers do)!
I think I hear my Savior say,
' Will you forsake Me too?
Ah, Lord! With such a heart as mine,
Unless You hold me fast,
I feel I must, I shall decline,
And prove like they at last"
Beside that, not only have others fallen, but we ourselves, although in a great measure kept by Divine Grace, have not beenfaultless. If all men knew all about us that might be known, we would hardly be able to look them in the face! Someone issaid to have once wished that he had a window in his heart so that everybody could look in and see all that was there. Butif he had such a window, he would need to have blinds on it and he would probably keep them down for the most part, for whowould like his neighbor to read the thoughts of his heart even for a single hour? Have there not been times with you, my Brothers,honorable men, Christians of good standing in the Church, when your feet had almost gone, your steps had well near slipped?And Sisters in Christ, preserved as you have been in the faith of Jesus and enabled to honorably maintain your Christian character,have there not been times when temptation has been very strong upon you and when you have half consented to the sin that hasbeen suggested to you? I know if you are flesh and blood like the rest of us, you must confess that it has been so with you.
So, then, we have this double warning-what we have seen in others and what we have felt in ourselves. Besides, dear Brothersand Sisters in Christ, ought we not to realize the danger of our falling when we consider the world we live in, the fleshwe live in and the tempter who is continually tempting us?The road we have to tread is often so slippery that we have neednot only to watch our feet, but also to pray, "O Lord, hold me up and I shall be safe." There are also many who watch forour halting-and some who do more than that, for they set traps for us. And if they could but catch us in them, how rejoicedthey would be! If we do not fall, it is not because they have not tried to make us fall, but because God has upheld us byHis Grace. If we know ourselves at all, we must have come to the conclusion that apart from the Grace
of God, we are a mass of sin and corruption-and capable of anything that is evil. I do not wonder that John Bradford said,as he saw men taken to be hanged at Tyburn, "There goes John Bradford but for the Grace of God." There is powder enough inall our hearts to blow our character to pieces if God does not keep the devil's sparks away, or quench them in a mighty streamof Grace before they can do us mischief! Utter weakness are you, O Man, and many and mighty foes are seeking your destruction!You need an infinite Friend to keep you in safety against all the machinations of your adversaries!
We constantly need to cry to God to keep us from falling, remembering what a dreadful thing it would be for us to fall. Weknow that a true child of God cannot fall fatally or finally, but we also know that some who profess to be the people of God,do fall foully, fatally and finally-and that others who are really the people of God have fallen to their own great griefand to their Lord's dishonor. O my dear Sister, what sorrow there would be in the hearts of those who know you if you wereto turn aside! And how the enemy would blaspheme and how would those who are weak in the faith be staggered if you were tobe permitted to disgrace your Christian profession! And my dear Brother, you who are of venerable years, looked up to andrespected by many-what grief would fill your own heart when the Lord brought you to penitence for your guilt-if you were allowedto fall into sin and, meanwhile, how much mischief you would have done to the Church of God and to souls seeking the Savior!Pray very specially for those of us who stand in prominent positions, for it is not easy to keep a clear head when one isupon the top of a pinnacle. And when you have prayed for us, pray also for yourselves. God can keep men in safety on the topsof pinnacles if He puts them there. But the men in the valley will fall if they think they can securely keep themselves.
I remember talking once to a lady who assured me again and again that she prayed daily for me that I might be kept humble.I told her that I would pray the same prayer for her. And when she said, "Oh, I am never tempted to be proud," I replied,"Well, dear Friend-I am afraid you are already very far gone in that direction, or else you would not talk as you do." Wecan easily perceive the danger in which others are-and if we do, we ought to pray for them-but let us not forget our own peril,for the greatest danger does not lie in the position we are called to occupy, but in our relying upon our own strength-andnot upon our God-
"Lord, through the desert drear and wide,
Our erring footsteps need a Guide.
Keep us, oh keep us near Your side.
Let us not fall. Let us not fall!
We have no fear that You should lose
One whom eternal love could choose,
But we would never this Grace abuse.
Let us not fall. Let us not fall!
Lord, we are blind, and halt, and lame,
We have no stronghold but Your name-
Great is our fear to bring it shame.
Let us not fall. Let us not fall!
Lord, evermore Your face we seek-
Tempted we are, and poor, and weak.
Keep us with lowly hearts, and meek.
Let us not fall. Let us not fall!
All Your good work in us complete,
And seat us daily at Your feet.
Your love, Your words, your name, how sweet!
Let us not fill. Let us not fall!" There are dangers that are peculiar to every position. To those who live a very quiet life,there is the danger of the rust and the moth. And to those who live an active life, there is the danger of being cumberedwith much service. You who are young are certainly in danger from impetuous companions, and yet it is remarkable that amongthe offenders, even against morality, mentioned in Scripture, we do not read of many who were young! David falls not intosuch foul sin until he is advanced in years, as if to show us that it is not age that gives strength to resist evil. Age bringsexperience,
but unless Grace comes with the experience, it gets to be like the manna in the wilderness which bred worms and stank whenmen tried to feed upon it after its proper time. We are all safe while we are in God's hands, but we are, none of us, safein our own keeping! And every position that we may occupy has its own peculiar perils. Do not be in haste to get away froma job in which you are tempted, for you will be tempted in every job and, possibly, the temptation which assails you in yourpresent circumstances may be less powerful for evil than the one to which you would be exposed if you were to change yourplace. Many a man of God has leaped out of the frying pan into the fire. I have even known some who have thought that theywere going to get into a port where they would never again suffer from storms-and they have gone out of their proper coursein order to get into that port. And there the most dreadful hurricane they ever knew has come upon them! Always be afraidof not being afraid-and be always in fear when you feel that you are perfectly safe. When you realize your danger and flyto the Lord to guard you, then you are safe. But when you begin to think, "All is right with me, nothing will make me fallnow," you are not very far off a bad fall in which you may suffer serious hurt. May God keep you, my dear Brothers and Sisters.May He preserve each one of us till we see His face in Glory at the last!
Did you notice that the text indicates what a joy it will be to be kept from falling? Jude says, "Christ is able to keep youfrom falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His Glory with exceeding joy'" It will indeed be exceedingjoy to be kept from falling and to be presented faultless at the end. I have often prayed that I might be able to say whatGeorge Fox, the founder of the Quakers, said just before he died. His words were these, "I am clear. I am clear. I am clear."He felt that he had faithfully discharged his ministry and spoken all that the Spirit of God had taught him. And if I maysay what he did-that I am clear of the blood of all men when I lay down my body and my charge-I will not ask anything more.And if each professing Christian here shall be clear at the last, and be able to say, with Paul, "I have fought a good fight,I have finished my course, I have kept the faith," you will have exceeding joy! I do not think so much of the harps of goldand the streets that shine with dazzling splendor, and the other descriptions of the glories of Heaven, as of this-
"May I but safely reach my Home, My God, my Heaven, my All.!'
May I get where I shall never again sin and where I shall not even be tempted to sin! May I get where flesh and sense shallno more destroy the sacred pleasures of my soul! It will be exceeding joy, even to dancing and leaping of spirit, as the Greekhas it, if we may but be presented faultless at the last, having been kept by Sovereign Grace even to the end! This must sufficeconcerning our danger.
II. Now secondly, I am to speak upon OUR SAFETY. "Now unto Him that is able to keep you from falling...to the only wise Godour Savior." Our safety lies in our Savior-"God our Savior." Just think of that great Truth of God for a moment. When we firstcame to Christ, we rejoiced that He was a Savior-a sinner's Savior. All our hope and comfort lay in the fact that God hadappointed Him to be our Savior. Well now, Beloved, in looking forward to the temptations that will assail you in your futurelife, keep your eye on your Savior! You did not have Him to be a Savior for a time, to cleanse you from sin and then to leaveyou to fall back into sin! When you took Him to be your Savior, I hope you took Him for all your life and for eternity. Thatis how He took you-He espoused you unto Himself in an everlasting wedlock and, therefore, He would have you depend as muchupon Him for sanctification as for justification-rely as much upon Him to keep you from sin as to keep you from Hell! Andtrust as much to Him to enable you to overcome your present temptation as you trusted to Him at the first to overcome yourfear of condemnation. Christ is your Savior from beginning to end, so always regard Him in that light. And as your Savior,let it be very comforting to you to reflect that He is Divine-"The only wise God our Savior." He who has undertaken to saveyou is no mere man and no angel- He is nothing less than the Omnipotent, Omnipresent and Omniscient God! Your peril can beaverted by His Omnipotent might. The hidden dangers in your pathway all lie unveiled to His all-seeing eyes. You are safe,not because you can see and avoid the dangers that beset you, nor yet because you are strong and can conquer your adversaries,but because your Savior is God and, therefore, you shall be saved, continuously saved, perfectly saved and presented as asaved one at the last!
Observe how Jude puts this precious Truth-"Unto Him that is able to keep you from falling." Why does the Apostle lay suchstress upon the ability of Christ? You know that our faith sometimes fails us concerning Christ's ability
and sometimes concerning His willingness to save us. One came to Christ and said, "Lord, if You will, You can make me clean."And another said to Him "If you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us." Now, in this matter to which Jude isreferring, I suppose that we should not have had any doubt about God's willingness because it must be the will of the thrice-holyGod to keep His people from falling! If any question did arise, it would be concerning God's power-not concerning His willingness.
And here let me remark that this is a very wonderful power. The power to create a world, the power to divide the rocks, thepower to shake the mountains or set them on a blaze is a very inferior power compared with that which is able to keep us fromfalling because God has been pleased to make us free agents-and He never deprives us of our free agency. Yet, without thedestruction of a quality which is necessary to our responsible manhood, God is nevertheless able to keep us from falling.Of course He could keep us from falling into certain sins by shutting us up in a prison, or by depriving us in some otherway of the power to commit those sins. But He does not keep us in that way. He leaves us as free agents with every facultyand propensity that we had before. Yet, by some mysterious, Omnipotent working of His Holy Spirit-which we can no more understandthan we can the blowing of the wind-He does keep His people from falling. If He turned them at once into angels, so that theynever had a desire to sin again, that would be a simple process. But He lets them remain men and, as I know from my own experience,men with the same passions as before and with the same possibilities of sinning as before! And yet, by a Divine working whichis nothing less than a continuous miracle, He keeps them from falling again into the sins in which they once indulged! Andeveryone who knows by experience the power of God to keep a child of His from falling, must and will magnify the name of theLord, even as Jude does in this doxology!
Observe, too, that the Apostle puts God's wisdom side by side with His ability-"to the only wise God our Savior." You knowthat it needs great wisdom in a parent to keep his child from evil, but it needs far greater wisdom for God to keep men andwomen, whom He treats as men and women, and not as logs, or bricks, or stones, from falling into sin. And, oh, what DivineWisdom there is in the dispositions of Providence and in the manifold workings of the Holy Spirit in using saints to protectsaints, and even in using sinners to warn saints, in using holy pleasures to allure saints to good and using evils to drivesaints from evil! What you and I owe to God's rod we shall never know till we get to Heaven! The love there is in every twigof it and in every smart and bruise that it makes, we shall never fully estimate until our faculties are enlarged beyond thenarrow bounds of this finite state. It is the tender mercy of God that keeps some of you poor-and makes others of you so frequentlydepressed in spirit. It is God's loving kindness which prevents you from prospering in your endeavors and which makes youcry out in the bitterness of your spirit, "All these things are against me." God wounds us that He may heal us! He kills usthat He may quicken us! He lays us low and digs out our very foundations that He may build us up to be fair temples in whichHe may abide forever!
So our safety is assured by the fact that we have a God who is able and is as wise as He is able to keep us from falling.
And then we have something more than mere safety, for the text adds, "and to present you faultless before the presence ofHis glory with exceeding joy." We have this word, "present," several times in the New Testament. Paul wrote to the saintsin Rome, "I beseech you, therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy,acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service." He also wrote to the Christians in Corinth concerning his desire topresent them "as a chaste virgin to Christ." To the Ephesians he wrote that "Christ also loved the Church, and gave Himselffor it...that He might present it to Himself a glorious Church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing." And hereJude writes concerning Christ presenting His people "faultless before the presence of His glory"-not presenting them unfallen,but "faultless." I suppose there are some Brothers and Sisters who have grown so familiar with the idea of their own perfectionthat they can quite understand what it is to feel perfect. But I am so familiar with the sense of my own imperfections thatit takes me a long while to grasp the fact that I shall one day be "without fault before the Throne of God." I can sit down,sometimes, with an aching head and believe that it will wear a crown, by-and-by. I can look at these hands and believe thatI shall one day wave a palm-branch of victory. I can and do fully expect to wear the white robe and to sing the everlastingsong in Glory. But it will be more than all this to be absolutely perfect-with never a risk of a hasty temper rising, or thefear of men checking one's lips from saying what is right! There will be no undue haste and, at the same time, there willbe no sloth! There will be no preponderance of any
Grace so as to cause it to grow into a fault and no deficiency in any point of character. To be faultless before men is agreat thing. To be faultless before the devil so that even he cannot find any fault in us, is greatly to be desired. But themost wonderful thing of all must be to be presented by Christ "faultless before the presence of His glory." That is wherethe light is brightest and no speck of sin is to be seen! The saints shall be so perfectly purified by the Omnipotent Graceof God the Holy Spirit that even the Lord, Himself, in whose sight the heavens are not pure and who charges His angels withfolly, shall look upon His redeemed people and declare that they are faultless, holy and unblameable and unreprovable in Hissight! Oh, blessed portion, glorious hope! This is something that is worth struggling for!
So, Brothers and Sisters in Christ, let us fight more valiantly than ever against our sins and corruptions! Armed with thetwo-edged sword of the Spirit, we shall win the day! He who is able to keep us from falling will not be satisfied with actingon the defensive for us and protecting us from our enemies, but He will enable us to carry the war into the enemy's countryand we shall be "more than conquerors through Him that loved us"! And we shall have this resplendent character at last, thatwe shall be "without fault before the Throne of God."
III. The last thing upon which I have to speak is OUR GRATITUDE. I must speak upon it briefly, but I hope you will think andact upon it at great length. Yes, throughout your whole lives, and I shall do the same. The Apostle says, "Now unto Him thatis able to keep you from falling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy, to theonly wise God our Savior, be Glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever."
So, then, the text winds up with the thought that to God must be all the praise. It is well to know on whose head we are toput the crown. If we could save ourselves, we might praise ourselves. But I trust that we are, none of us, so foolish as toimaging that we can do anything to save ourselves! I have heard of a vessel that was once in a storm-not a very severe one-buta gentleman on board thought it was and went about among the sailors and passengers finding fault with the captain's managementof the vessel and saying that he was sure the ship would go to pieces, and that all on board would go to the bottom of thesea. He did so much mischief by his foolish talking that, at last, the captain said to him, "We must rely upon every man doinghis duty. Will you go and hold that rope over there?" He went at once and there he stood like a martyr and held the rope untilthe storm had abated-and then he began congratulating himself upon the eminent part that he had played in saving the shipin that terrible storm! When he got too proud, the captain said to him, "I only gave you that bit of rope to hold, to keepyou quiet. Your holding it was of no other use whatever."
Then the gentleman saw what a fool he had been! And when a man thinks he has done something towards his own salvation, ifhe could only know the truth of the matter, he would soon see what a fool he is. He was a far more sensible man who said thathe was saved because Christ did His part and he did all the rest. Somebody asked him, "But what was 'the rest' that you did?"and he replied, "Why, Christ did it all and I only stood in His way and hindered Him all I could." That is about all thatwe shall ever do in the matter of our soul's salvation. It must rest with Christ alone, and our wisdom is to commit ourselvesto Him who is able to meet all the necessities of our case and to conduct us safely to our journey's end. But since, fromthe first to the last, salvation is of the Lord-
"Then give all the Glory to His holy name,
For to Him all the Glory belongs." Whenever you hear anybody praising some good minister whom God has blessed to him, joinin his praises as one Brother should do concerning another, but then add, "We have had enough of that strain, dear Friend!"So now unto Him that is able to keep us from falling, be glory and majesty, dominion and power, both now and ever." And ifanybody should ever praise you for any spiritual help you may have given, always pass on the praise to Him that is able tokeep you from falling, for He deserves it all. Give to Him, in the very highest degree that is possible, glory and majesty,dominion and power-the highest praise of which your thankful heart is capable and the deepest devotion to which your gratefulspirit can attain! How much better we will praise God one day than we can ever do while we are in this body! Good old JohnBerridge, speaking of the saints above singing in Heaven, says-
"O happy saints, who dwell in light,
And walk with Jesus, clothed in white!
Safe landed on that peaceful shore,
Where pilgrims meet to part no more.
Released from sin, and toil, and grief
Death was their gate to endless life!
An opened cage to let them fly
And build their happy nest on high!
And now they range the heavenly plains,
And sing their hymns in melting strains.
And now their souls begin to prove
The heights and depths of Jesus' love.
Ah, Lord! With tardy steps I creep,
And sometimes sing, and sometimes weep.
Yet strip me of this house of clay,
And I will sing as loud as they!" And so it shall be with us, yet we shall always feel as if our loftiest praises could notrise to the height of His great love wherewith He has loved us. I remember saying in a sermon, one night, "When I get to Heaven,I will sing more loudly than anybody else, for I shall owe the most to Sovereign Grace." At the close of the service, a goodold Sister said to me, "You made a mistake in your sermon tonight." "What was that?" I asked. "Why, you said that you wouldsing the loudest in Heaven, but you will not, for I shall, for I shall owe more to Grace than you will." I soon found thatall the 30 other Christians there were of the same opinion as that dear old soul-that each one of them would owe more to theGrace of God than all the rest! And surely, that will be the only contention among the birds of paradise-who shall sing themost sweetly to the praise of their adorable Lord!
But the text seems to me to say that while we are to give God the praise, and to give Him, only, the praise, and to give Himthe best praise that we can, we are to give that praise to Him now. Jude says, "Nowand ever." What? Are we to praise the Lordnow for keeping us to the end? Will it not do if we praise Him when the end comes and we have been kept to the end? Will itnot do if we praise Him when we are presented faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding joy? But can you notbelieve God's promise that He will keep you to the end-and bless His name for it even now? Many a time you have expressedyour gratitude to a friend when he has said, "I will do so-and-so for you." You were sure that he would do what he said-hispromise was enough for you! And as the Lord has promised to keep you from falling and to present you faultless before thepresence of His glory with exceeding joy, surely you can say-
"And a 'new song' is in my mouth,
To long-loved music set!
Glory to You for all the Grace
I have not tasted yet!
I have a heritage of joy,
That yet I must not see-
The hand that bled to make it mine,
Is keeping it for me."
Now I close by saying that this praise is to be perpetual--"both now and ever. Amen." We may begin now, but we must alwayskeep on, as long as we live, praising Him who is able to keep us from falling. What? Keep on praising Him? Yes, even whenthe deep waters are all around you, still praise Him. And if they grow deeper, yet still praise Him. Let this be your soul'sresolve-
"Ill praise my Maker with my breath, And when my voice is lost in death, Praise shall employ my nobler powers: My days ofpraise shall never be past, While life and thought and being last, Or immortality endures."
If I can send the children of God away from this service praising Him, good will have been done. But I wish that those whoare not God's people would feel a great longing after these good things! Some of you young people are just now starting inlife. You have an excellent character and you hope you may be enabled to preserve it to the end. Let me just tell you of somethingthat was a great help in bringing me to Christ. I knew a young man, a little older than myself, who was often held up to meas model. And he certainly was a model in many respects. But I saw him go wrong, sadly wrong. And then I thought within myself,"I may do just as he has done." And when I heard it said that the Lord would keep His people right to the end-that Christhad said, "My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shallnever perish, neither shall any pluck them out of My hand," I must confess that the Doctrine of the Final Preservation ofthe Saints was a bait that my soul could not resist! I thought it was a sort of life insurance-an insurance of my character,an insurance of my soul, an insurance of my eternal destiny. I knew that I could not keep myself, but if Christ promised tokeep me, then I would be safe forever-and I longed and prayed to find Christ because I knew that if I found Him, He wouldnot give me a temporary and trumpery salvation, such as some preach, but eternal life which could never be lost-the livingand incorruptible Seed which lives and abides forever, for no one and nothing "shall be able to separate us from the loveof God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord."
Dear young people, do you not feel the same kind of drawing that I felt then? Do you not wish that you were Christ's, thatyou might be kept through life honorable and consistent? May His gracious Spirit lead you to trust yourself to Jesus thisvery moment! Then you willbe safe and saved forever! Yes, and you old people, too, and all of you, whatever your age may be,rely upon Jesus! Make Him your sole confidence and then He will keep you to the end! When my dear old grandfather was dying,one of my uncles said to him, "Dr. Watts said-
"Firm as the earth Your Gospel stands,
My Lord, my hope, my trust,'"- but the aged saint said, "That won't do for me now. 'Firm as the earth.' Why, the earth isslipping away from me! I need something firmer than the earth now. I like the doctor best, my boy, when he says-
"'Firm as His Throne, His promise stands,
And He can well secure
What T ve committed to His hands,
Till the decisive hour.'"
"Sovereign Grace," he said, "is my trust now! God's promise standing firm as God's Throne, and my faith linked to it. Thereis the safety of my spirit." And so he passed away. It is a grand thing to feel that God's Throne might sooner fail than thata saint can perish, for His Throne, itself, is established in righteousness! And He is faithful and just to forgive us oursins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness-faithful and just, not merely merciful and gracious! And His very faithfulnessand justice require that He should keep the soul that has obeyed His will and committed itself to the Redeemer's hands. Maythe Lord thus save us all, for Jesus Christ's sake! Amen.