Sermon 3129. The King's Mowings
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JANUARY 28, 1909.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, EARLY IN THE YEAR 1872.
"The king's mowings." Amos 7:1.
CERTAIN lands belonged to the king so far that he always took the first cut of grass for himself and left any aftermath tothose who worked upon the land. Now, our great King has His mowings, too. His Church is the field which He has enclosed andblessed. At set seasons the King takes His mowings. Lately, beyond any other time in my life that I remember, the King hasbeen taking His mowings in and around the Church of which He has made me overseer. One has spent many hours at the bedsidesof the dying and in trying to console the bereaved. Our loss, if I may venture to call it a loss, as a Church, at the openingof this year was extremely heavy. The King has been taking His mowings among us and has cut down here, one, and there, another.When churches commence with a great many young members, there would naturally not be so many deaths at first, but as we allgrow old together, there must be a large proportion of removals from this world into the land above. I purpose to speak alittle upon that subject and I shall do so in a threefold way- first, by way of consolation. Then, by way of admonition. Andthen by way of anticipation.
I. First, by way of CONSOLATION. It is a sorrowful matter that our Beloved Brothers and Sisters should be taken from us. Wewere not more but less than men if we did not sorrow. Jesus wept and by that act He sanctified our tears. It is not wrong,it is not unmanly-much less is it sinful for us to drop the tear of sorrow over the departed-yet let us help to wipe thosetears away with a handkerchief of sacred consolations.
First, seeing that "all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass," do you lament that the King hasbeen mowing? Then let this thought chide you. The King Himself has done it There is no such abstract thing as death-an unloosedmonster devouring the saints at will-"Drinking the blood of men and grinding their bones between his iron teeth." This isa poet's raving! No destroying angel is sent forth to slay the Israel of God! There is a destroying angel, it is true, butHe comes not near those who bear the blood mark. It is not in the power of disease or accident to kill the children of Godexcept as instruments in the Divine hand. No saint dies otherwise than by the act of God! It is always according to the King'sown will-it is the King's own doing. Every ripe ear in His field is gathered by His own hand, cut down by His own golden sickleand by none other. Every full-blown flower of Grace is taken away by Him, not smitten with blight, or cut down by the tempest,or devoured by some evil beast-
"When mortal main resigns his breath,
'Tis God directs the stroke of death.
Casual however the stroke appear,
He sends the fatal messenger.
The keys are in that hand Divine-
That hand must first the warrant sign
And arm the death, and wing the dart
Which does His message to our heart." The Lord has done it, in every case, and knowing this, we must not even think of complaining!What the King does, His servants delight in, for He is such a King that, let Him do what seems good to Him and we will stillbless Him-we are of the mind of him who said, "Though He slays me, yet will I trust in Him."
Again, those who have been mown down and taken away are with the King. They are the King's mowings! They are gathered intoHis stores. They are not in "purgatory" (a Romanist lie). They are not in the limbus patran, much less are they in Hell. Theyare not wandering in dreary pathways amidst the stars to find a lodging place. Jesus prayed, "Father, I will that they, also,whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am; that they may behold My Glory, which You have given Me: for You loved Me beforethe foundation of the world." And this prayer has fixed the saints' abode! We shall enter into no question, now, about whetherHeaven is a place, or where it is, or whether it is merely a state-it is enough for us that where Jesus is, there His peopleare-not some of them in lower seats, or in lower rooms, or sitting outside, but they are all where He is! That will certainlycontent me. And if there are any degrees in Glory, you who want the high ones may have them. The lowest degree that I canperceive in Scripture is, "that they may be with Me where I am, that they may behold My Glory"-and that lowest degree is ashigh as my most vivid imagination can carry me! Here is enough to fill our souls even to the brim.
And now do you sorrow for those who are with Christ where He is? Do you not almost blame your tears when you learn that yourbeloved ones are promoted to such blissful scenes? Why, Mother, did you ever wish for your child a higher place than thatit should be where Jesus is? Husband, by the love you bore your wife, you cannot grudge her the Glory into which she has entered!Wife, by the deep devotion of your heart to him who has been taken from you, you could not wish to have detained him a momentfrom the joy in which his soul now triumphs with his Lord! If he were gone to some unknown land, if you could stand on life'sbrink and hear the roaring billows of a dread mysterious ocean and say, "My dear one has gone, I know not where, to be tossedlike a waif or stray upon yonder tempestuous sea," oh, then you might mix your own tears with the brine of that ocean! Butyou know where they are, you know with Whom they are and you can form some idea, by the joy of Christ's Presence here on earth,what must be their bliss above!-
"Sounds of sweet melody fall on my ears. Harps of the blessed, your music I hear! Rings with the harmony Heaven's high dome,Joyfully, joyfully bring the saints Home."
It is a sweet reflection, too, that although our dear friends have been cut down like flowers by the scythe, yet their lotis better than ours, though we are standing and blooming today. Life seems better than death and the living dog is betterthan the dead lion-but take into account the everlasting state-and who will dare to say that the state of the blessed is worsethan ours? Will not all assert that it is infinitely superior? We are still suffering, but they shall smart no more. We areweak and tottering, but they have regained the dew of their youth! We know what need means and wipe the sweat of toil fromoff our face, but they rest in abundance forever! The worst of all is that we still sin and have to wrestle hard with doubtsand fears. Satan still besets us, the world is around us and corruptions fester within us. But they are where not a wave oftrouble can ever break the serenity of their spirit! They are beyond the barking of the Hell dogs and beyond the arrows ofHell's quiver, though there are archers who would shoot their darts into Heaven itself if they could! The ingathered onesare supremely blest! They are far beyond what we are in joy, knowledge and holiness! Therefore, if we love them, how can wemourn that they have gone from the worse to the better-and from the lower to the higher room?
And, moreover, Brothers and Sisters, although some of you sorrow very bitterly because God has taken away the desire of youreyes with a stroke, let me remind you that you might have had a worse sorrow than this concerning them. Ah, the mother whohas to mourn over an adult son who has become a profligate, has a thousand times more bitter pang than she has who seen herinfant carried to the grave! The father who knows that his sons or daughters have become a dishonor to his name may well wishthat he had long ago seen them laid in the silent tomb. And I have known men in the Church whom I would sooner have burieda thousand times over than have lived to see what I have afterwards seen in them! For years they stood as honorable professors-butthey lived to dishonor the Church, to blaspheme their Lord, to go back into perdition and prove that the root of the matterwas never in them! Oh, you need not weep for those in Heaven! Weep not for the dead, neither bewail them-but weep for thespirituallydead-weep for the apostate and backslider! Weep for the false professor and the hypocrite-"the wandering stars,""to whom is reserved the blackness of darkness forever." If you have tears, go and shed them there-but for those who havefought the fight and won the victory, for those who have stemmed the stream and safely landed on the other side-let us haveno tears! No, put away the sackbut and bring forth the clarion! Let the trumpet ring out jubilantly the note of victory! Itis to them the day of
jubilee-why should it be for us the hour of sorrow? They put on the crown and bear the palm branch in their hands- why shouldwe don the funeral weeds? There is infinitely more to rejoice in than there is to sorrow for! Therefore let our hearts beglad. The Lord has said to them, "Well done," and rewarded them according to His Grace-and this is infinitely better thanthat they should have lived to slip and slide!
"But this is poor comfort," you will say, and therefore let me come back to the text and say that the King has taken His mowings.Sorrowful as we may be, it is not the worst sorrow that we could have, but whether or not, we must not grudge the King anywhom He takes from us. All the friends we have are lent us. The old proverb says, "A loan should go laughing home," that iswe should never be unwilling to return a loan, but cheerfully give it back to the lender. Our dear ones were lent to us andwhat a blessing they have been to us! The lamps of our house, have they not been the joy of our day? The Master says, "I needthem back again," and do we clutch at them and say, "No, Master, You shall not have them"? Oh, it must not be so! Our dearones were never half as much ours as they were Christ's! We did not make them, but He did! We never bought them with our blood,but He did! We never sweat a bloody sweat for them, nor had our hands and feet pierced for them, but He did! They were lentto us, but they belonged to Him! Your prayer was, "Father, let them be with me where I am," but Christ's prayer was, "Father,I will that they, also, whom You have given Me, be with Me where I am." Your prayer pulled one way and Christ's pulled another.Be not envious that Christ won the suit! If I ever enter into the Lord's Court of Chancery, if I find that Christ is on theother side, my Lord, I will not plead. You shall have Your will, for I and You and You and I are one-and if it is Your pleathat all I love may be with You, so be it, for I shall be with You, too, before long, and I would not quarrel with Your wish.The King has let out this Church like a pasture to us and He says, "I must sometimes take My mowings." Well, He has so wateredus and given us the smell of a field that the Lord God has blessed, that when He comes and takes His rent, we may not standat the gate and forbid Him, but say, "Good Master, come and take which You will! Take your quit-rent, for the field is allYour own. You have dearly purchased it and You have tilled it with much diligence-take what You will, for it is Yours."
And, let me add, to increase our comfort the King took His mowings at the right time. Out of those whom He has taken awayfrom us, I think we must all confess that the Lord took them when they should be taken. In one case, a venerable Sister, whoif she had lasted longer, would have been the prey of weakness and of pain-'twas well she fell asleep. In another case, adear young friend was pining under that fell disease, consumption-her throat was scarcely able to receive nourishment-I thinkthose who loved her best must have felt relieved when at last she fell asleep. Two Brothers rise before my mind's eye-theone struggled through life and wondered often that he did not sink before, for he was like a ship unfit for sea which everywave threatens to engulf! It is a wonder that he survived as long as he did. He served his Lord up to the last and when allwas over, it was well. Another, whom I saw with an afflicting disease about him that had brought him very low, had led sogracious a life that he did not need to utter any dying testimony. Beloved Brothers, also, who were once with us in the Collegehave fallen asleep, having finished their course and kept the faith.
I may add that not only did the King take His mowings at the right time, but in every case I have now before my mind, He tookthem in the easiest way. He took them gently. Some have a hard fight for it at the last, but in these cases, though therewere pains and dying strife, yet at the last their souls were kissed away by the dear lips of Him who named them by theirnames and said they were His! They fell asleep, some of them so sweetly that those who looked on scarcely knew whether itwas the sleep of life or the deeper sleep of eternity. They were gone-they were gone at once to their Lord and their God!Putting all these things together-reflecting that the King has done it, that those He has taken away He has taken to be withHimself, that their present lot is an infinitely better one than anything beneath the moon and considering, too, that we mustnever grudge the King the heritage which He has so dearly bought, and that He took His mowings at the right time and tookthem in the happiest manner-we will no longer repine, but we will bless the
II. And now, Brothers and Sisters, allow me for a few minutes to use the subject by way of ADMONITION.
I hardly know whether, under this head, I have grouped together thoughts that are quite admonitory. The first one is to bevery joyous. It is this-that as we belong to the King, our hope is that we shall be mown too!We are sitting on the banks ofJordan, especially some of us who are of riper years, waiting for a summons to the court of the Eternal King! It becomes awonder, sometimes, with aged Christians, why they stay here so long. John Newton, I think, used to marvel at his own age!And Rowland Hill used to say that he half imagined they had forgotten him-and hoped they would soon remember him and sendfor him. Well, we have not quite gone that length-we who are young-but still we entertain the hope that some fair evening,calm and bright, the angel reaper will come with the scythe. Then shall we, having fulfilled, like the hireling, our day,lay down our tools of labor and take our rest. Then shall we put down our sword, take off our breastplate and unloose theshoes of iron and brass, for we shall fight no more, but take the palm and claim the victory before the House of God! Neverlet us look forward to this with dread. It is amazing that we should do so-and we would not if our faith were stronger. Whenfaith vividly realizes the rest that remains for the people of God, we are tempted to long to be up and away! Then why shouldwe wish to linger here? What is there in this old musty worn-out world-worm-eaten and full of holes, with its very gold andsilver cankered-that can satisfy an immortal spirit? Let us away to the hills of spices and to the mountains of frankincense,where the King in His beauty stands with "helmed cherubim and sworded seraphim" and all the hosts that serve Him day and night,to behold His face, and evermore adore Him! Let us anticipate cheerfully the time when the King's mowings shall also includeus!
Brothers and Sisters, the admonition that arises out of all this is, let us be ready. Should not every Christian live everyday as if he were going to die that day? Should we not always live as if we knew our last hour to be at the door? If a manin his right state were informed all a sudden, "You will die tonight!" He ought not to have to alter his mode of life oneatom! He should be so living that he had nothing more to do but to continue his course. It is remarked of Bengel, the greatcritic, that "he did not wish to die in spiritual parade, but in the ordinary way-like a person called out to the street doorfrom the midst of business-so much so that he was occupied with the collection of his proof-sheets at his dying season, asat other times." To me, it seems to be the very highest kind of death to die in harness-concluding life without suspendingservice. Alas, many are unready and would be sadly put about if the midnight cry were suddenly heard. Oh, let us see thateverything is in order! Both for this world and the next, nothingshould be left to be hurried over in the last few hours.Christian, is your will made? Are your business affairs all straight? They ought to be- everything ought to be as nearly asyou can keep it in perfect order, so that you are ready to go at any minute. Mr. George Whitefield used to so live in anticipationof death that he said, "I never go to sleep at night with even a pair of gloves out of place." Oh, that we would be habituallyready and in order-especially in higher matters-walking before the Lord, as preparing to meet Him!
Then, dear Friends, this departure of many of our fellow workers, while it admonishes us to be ready to go, at the same timeteaches us to do twice as much while we are here, seeing that our numbers are being so constantly thinned. A brave soldier,in the day of battle, if he hears that a regiment has been exterminated by the enemies shot and shell, says, "Then those ofus that survive must fight all the more bravely! There is no room for us to play at fighting. If they have slain so many,we must be more desperately valiant." And so, today, if one here or there is gone, a useful worker from the Sunday schools,or from the street preaching, then it is time our broken ranks were repaired! O you young men, I pray you, fill up the gap!And you young women who love the Savior, if a Sunday school teacher is gone and you are teaching, teach better! Or if youare not teaching, come and fill the place! My dear Brothers and Sisters, I pray for recruits. I stand like a commander inthe midst of my little army and see some of the best smitten down-here one and there one-and what can I do, but as my Masterbids me, lead you on and say, "Brothers and Sisters, step into their places! Fill the gaps in the ranks!" Do not let deathgain upon us, but even as one goes into the Golden City, let another cry, "Here I am! Call me, also, to my reward!" As forus who are at work, we must labor more zealously than ever, we must pray more fervently than ever! When a certain great mansuddenly died in the ministry, I remember, in my young days, an old preacher saying, "I must preach better than ever I did,now that Mr. So-and-So is gone." And you, Christian, whenever a saint is removed, say, "I must live the better to make upto the Church the loss which it has sustained."
One other thought, by way of admonition. If the King has been taking His mowings, then the King's eyes are upon His Church.He has not forgotten this field, for He has been mowing it! We have been praying lately that He would visit us. He has come,He has come! Not quite as we expected Him, but He has come, He has come! Oh yes, and as He has walked these aisles and lookedon this congregation, He has taken first one, and then another. He has not taken me, for I am not ready. And He has not takenyou, for you are not quite ripe-but He has taken away some that were ripe and ready-and they have gone to be with Him whereHe is. Well, then, He has not forgotten us, and this ought to stimulate us in prayer! He will hear us! His eyes are upon us!!his ought to stimulate us to self-examination. Let us purge out
everything that will grieve Him! He is evidently watching us. Let us seek to live as in His Presence-that nothing may vexHis Spirit and cause Him to withdraw from us! Beloved, these are the words of admonition.
III. And, now, a few more words by way of ANTICIPATION. I hardly know under what head to place them. What anticipations arethere that come out of the mowing?
Why these. There is to be an after-growth. After the King's mowings, there came another springing up of fresh grass whichbelonged to the King' s tenants. So we expect, now that the King has been mowing, that we shall have a fresh crop of grass!Is there not a promise, "They shall spring up as among the grass, as willows by the water courses?" Fresh converts will comeand who will they be? Well, I look around, but I will not say, with Samuel, as I look at some young man in the gallery, "Surelythe Lord has chosen him." Neither will I look down to someone in that area and say, "Surely the Lord has chosen him," butI will bless God that I know He has chosen some and that He means to make this fresh grass spring up to fill up the vacuumcaused by the King' s mowings!
Do you know who I should like to come if I might have my preference? Well, where the daughter has died, how glad I shouldbe if the father came, or the brother came. And where the father has died, how I would rejoice if the son should come! Andwhere a good woman has been taken away, how glad would I be if her husband filled up her place! It seems to me as if it werenatural to wish that those who loved them best should occupy their position and discharge their work for them. But if thatcannot be, I stand here tonight as a recruiting sergeant. My King in His wars has lost some of His men and the regiment needsreplenishing! Who will come? I put the colors in my hat, tonight, but I will not stand here and tempt you with lies aboutthe ease of the service, for it is hard service! Yet I assure you that we have a blessed Leader, a glorious conflict and agrand reward! Who will come? Who will come to fill up the gaps in the ranks? Who will be baptized for the dead, to stand intheir place of Christian service and take up the torch which they have dropped? I will pass the question round and I hopethat many a heart will say, "Oh, that the Lord would have me! Oh, that He would blot out my sins and receive me!" He delightsin contrite hearts! He saves such as are of a contrite spirit. He will save whom He will have, but the way to be enlistedis plain! "Oh," you say, "what must I give to be Christ's soldier?" To be the queen's soldier, you do not give anything-youreceive a shilling. You takein order to be a soldier of the queen, and so, to be Christ' s soldier, you must take Christ tobe your All-in-All, holding out your empty hand and receiving of His blood and righteousness to be your hope and your salvation!Oh, that His good Spirit would sweetly incline your wills that one after another might be made willing in the day of His power!May He thus do-and our hearts will greatly rejoice!
As I read the passage in Amos from which I have taken my text, I noticed something about caterpillars. (The marginal readingcalls them "green worms"). It is said that after the King's mowings, there came the caterpillars to eat up the after growth.Oh, those caterpillars! When the poor Eastern farmer sees the caterpillars, his heart is ready to break, for he knows thatthey will eat up every green thing! And I can see the caterpillars here tonight. There is the great green caterpillar thateats up all before him-I wish I could crush him. He is called the caterpillar of procrastination! There are many, many otherworms and locusts which eat up much, but this worm of procrastination is the worst, for just as the green blade is beginningto spring up, this caterpillar begins to eat. I can hear him gnawing, "Wait, wait, wait! Tomorrow, tomorrow! A little moresleep, a little more sleep, a little more sleep!" And so this caterpillar devours our hopes. Lord, destroy the caterpillarand grant that instead of the fathers, may be the children! Instead of the King's mowings, may there come up the after-growthwho shall be a rich reward to the farmer and bring glory to the Owner of the soil!
We have reason to pray that the Lord would send the dew and the rain to bring forth the after-growth. "He shall come downlike rain upon the mown grass." Now this congregation is like mown grass. God has mown it-a rich mowing has the King takenfrom us. Now, my Brothers and Sisters, we have the promise-let us plead it before the Throne of God. All the preaching inthe world cannot save a soul, nor all the efforts of men. But God's Spirit can do everything! Oh that He would come down likerain upon the mown grass right now! Then shall we see the handful of corn in the earth upon the top of the mountains multiplytill its fruit shall shake like Lebanon and they of the city shall flourish like grass of the earth. The Lord send it, theLord send it now!
If any would be saved, here is the way of salvation-"Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." To believeis to trust. What you have to trust in is this-that Jesus is God, that He became Man, that He suffered in the sinner' s placeand that whoever believes in Him shall be forgiven because God has punished Christ instead of Believers. Christ bore God's wrath instead of every sinner that ever did or ever shall believe in Him! And if you believe in Him, you were redeemed fromamong men. His substitution was for you and it will save you! But if you believe not, you have no part or lot in this matter.Oh, that you were brought to put your trust in Jesus! This would be the pledge of your sure salvation tonight and forevermore!God bless you, for Christ's sake! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: REVELATION 21
Verse 1. And I saw a new Heaven and a new earth: for the first Heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there wasno more sea.Astronomers tell us that within living memory several starry worlds have burnt out and vanished out of sight.The Apostle Peter has told us that this world will be destroyed by fire, but it will afterwards be renewed, and a new skyand a new earth will appear after the first firmament and the first earth shall have become extinct. God means that this planetshould continue to exist after it has had a new creation and renewed its youth. The regeneration of His people, their newbirth, is a foretaste of what is yet to happen to this whole world of ours. We have the first fruits of the Spirit and wegroan within ourselves while we wait for the fullness of that new creation!
"The first Heaven and the first earth were passed away; and there was no more sea," because the sea is the emblem of separation,destruction and unrest. The sea has her dead who shall be given up. The sea cannot now rest nor be quiet, but all shall becalm and tranquil in the new Heaven and the new earth!
2. And I, John, saw the holy city, New Jerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for herhusban. John saw, in vision, the glorified Church of God coming to dwell on the new earth, descending for a while from Heavento be the very glory of the newly-created world!
3, 4. And I heard a great voice out of Heaven saying, Behold, the tabernacle of God is with men, and He will dwell with them,and they shall be His people, and God Himself shall be with them, and be their God. And God shall wipe away all tears fromtheir eyes; and there shall be no more death, neither sorrow, nor crying, neither shall there be any more pain: for the formerthings are passed awa . When there shall be a new Heaven and a new earth, and the Church shall be in her new and glorifiedcondition, then there will be no need for all those purifying forces which have been so active here below. There shall beno death, nor sorrow, nor crying, nor pain, nor trial of any kind-all shall be happiness for all shall be holiness! And then,as God dwelt of old among His people in the wilderness, and as Jesus Christ, the Word, was made flesh and tabernacled amongus, and we beheld His Glory, so in that new world shall God reveal Himself to His people by a special indwelling and a peculiarnearness.
5. And He that sat upon the Throne said, Behold, Imake all things new. [See Sermon #1816, Volume 31-sermon for a new
YEAR'S DAY] And He said unto me, Write: for these words are
true and faithfu. Once, the Lord might have said, "Behold, I make all things," but now He says, "Behold, I make all thingsnew." Glory be unto the great Creator! Did not the morning stars sing together for joy when He made the world? But equal ifnot greater Glory must be ascribed to the great Regenerator, the New Creator! Shall we not all sing together to His praise?Yes, that we shall if we are numbered among the "all things" that He makes new!
6. And He said unto me, It is done. I am Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. I will give unto him that is
thirsty of the fountain of the water of life freely. [See Sermon #1459, Volume 26-GOOD NEWS FOR THIRSTY SOULS] Probably Johndid not expect to hear that sweet Gospel message just then. The Lord Jesus Christ was speaking of lofty themes, of worldsnewly made-and yet in the very middle of it all He puts this gracious promise! Let this be a pattern to all of you who arepreachers or teachers-no matter what your subject may be, a Gospel promise or invitation is always in place and in season.You may put it among the most golden sentences like a precious stone in a setting of pure gold and it will never be out oforder, come when it may. Men hate God without the slightest reason for doing so and God loves men without the slightest reason-thereis every reason why men should love God, and not hate Him-yet they have hated Him without a cause. And there is every reasonwhy God should hate man
and not love him-yet He loves us so much that He gave His only-begotten Son to die, that whoever believes in Him may liveforever!
7. He that overcomes shall inherit all things; and I will be his God, and he shall be My son. What a wonderful word is that!"He shall be My son"-not My servant, but, "My son." God give us the faith to rise to this more than royal dignity! "As manyas received Him, to them gave He power to become the sons of God."
8. But the fearfu. No, that is not the right word, it is the cowardly, for there are many who are full of fear who are neverthelessmost sincere and right in God's sight. "But the cowardly."
8. And unbelieving, and the abominable, and murderers. And the Apostle John tells us that "whoever hates his brother is amurderer."
8. And whoremongers. Unchaste and unclean men and women.
8. And sorcerer. Persons who profess to have communications with the dead. Necromancers, spiritualists and all people of thatsort.
8. And idolaters. That is, all who love anyone or anything more than God.
8. And all liars shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone: which is the second death. That isthe death that never dies-the death which is far more to be dreaded than the death of the body!
9. And there came unto me one of the seven angels which had the seven vials full of the seven last plagues, and talked withme, saying, Come here, I will show you the bride, the Lamb's wife. John had already caught a glimpse of "the holy city, NewJerusalem, coming down from God out of Heaven." And now this angelic messenger bids him come nearer and look more closelyinto this mysterious and glorious city "prepared as a bride adorned for her husband."
10-13. And he carried me away in the Spirit to a great and high mountain and showed me that great city, the holy Jerusalem,descending out of Heaven from God, having the glory of God: and her light was like unto a stone most precious, even like ajasperstone, clear as crystal; andhad a wall great andhigh, andhad twelve gates, and at the gates twelve angels, and names writtenthereon, which are the names of the twelve tribes of the children of Israel: on the east three gates; on the north three gates;on the south three gates; and on the west three gates. God's Church glorified lies open to all quarters of the infinitudeof space! It is no prison of souls that dare not go beyond its borders, but a many-gated city, so that the blessed spiritsthere can fly wherever they will!
14. And the wall of the city had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb. Not Peter only,but the whole of the twelve Apostles shall have their names in the foundations of that holy city!
15. 16. And he that talked with me had a golden reed to measure the city, and the gates thereof, and the wall thereof. Andthe city lies foursquare, and the length is as large as the breadth: and he measured the city with the reed twelve thousandfurlongs. The length and the breadth and the height of it are equal. It seems at first to be astounding that the height ofa city should be equal to the length and the breadth of it, but if you have traveled in Italy, you must have seen many a city,perched upon a hill, which seemed to be even higher than it was broad or long, if you included the wall of the city and thehouses, one above another, right up to the loftiest minaret or tower. Yes, like a priceless square casket made all of costlyjewels is this wondrous city, equally glorious whichever way you look at it! "The length and the breadth and the height ofit are equal."
17, 18. And he measured the wall thereof, an hundred and forty and four cubits, according to the measure of a man, that isof the angel. And the building of the wall of it was of jasper: and the city was pure gold, like unto clear glass. Such goldas never was, nor is, nor ever shall be on this earth until that time when God shall have purified it. Our gold is dull, opaque-lightis blocked out by it. How many might see if it were not for the gold which blinds them and hides the Truth of God from them!
19, 20. And the foundations of the wall of the city were garnished with all manner of precious stones. The first foundationwas jasper; the second, sapphire; the third, a chalcedony; the fourth, an emerald; the fifth, sardonyx; the sixth, sardius;the seventh, chrysolite; the eighth, beryl; the ninth, a topaz; the tenth, a chrysoprasus; the eleventh, a jacinth; the twelfth,an amethyst. You know that the stones of which this holy city is built are living stones. You and I, if we are trusting inthe Lord Jesus Christ, shall be there-living stones prepared by living Grace to have a name and a place in this living city!But what changes will have to be worked in us before we are fit to be put among these precious jewels! We are like poor blocksof common stone, but we do not know what we shall be like when we have been cut and polished on the great Lapidary's wheel.You may take a precious stone to a jeweler and ask him what its value is, but he will say, "I cannot tell what it is worthuntil it has been cut and polished." That is how the Lord will prove the value of His living stones. If He will but work uponus by His Grace, we cannot tell what He will make of us before He places us in the position He has appointed for us in theglorious city that rests upon these twelve precious foundations!
21. And the twelve gates were twelve pearls; each individual gate was of pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold,as it were transparent glas. John had already said that "the city was pure gold like unto clear glass" and now he says that"the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass." We do not always get such a combination as this herebelow, gold, precious and pure, yet unstained with blood and undimmed with the oppression of the poor- delicate gold, "asit were transparent glass."
22, 23. And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the Temple of it. And the city had no needof the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the Glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the Light
thereo. [See Sermon #583, Volume 10-THE LAMB-THE LIGHT] Yes, and
the glorified Church, herself, because of this Light, sheds such a bright light on all within her that all the saints rejoicein her light!
24, 25. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it and the kings of the earth do bring their gloryand honor into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. Shut gates signifywar-open gates mean peace. There shall be no more fear of war, no Gog and Magog to gather together to battle, no Armageddonto be dreaded by the glorified Church of Christ who shall be in perfect peace forever.
26, 27. And they shall bring the glory and honor of the nations into it. And there shall in no wise enter into it anythingthat defiles, neither whatever works abomination, or makes a lie; but they which are written in the Lamb's
Book of Life.
PRAY THE HOLY SPIRIT WILL USE THIS SERMON TO BRING MANY TO A SAVING KNOWLEDGE OF JESUS CHRIST.