Sermon 3549. Little, But Lovely
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 1, 1917.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32.
How kind and tender Jesus was towards His disciples! When He spoke sternly, it was to the outside multitude. Many a time wasHis spirit moved to rebuke them sharply. Very familiarly, however, did He unbend Himself in the presence of the few attachedfollowers who were gathered round Him and drew near to Him-His chosen, His beloved. To them He unveiled His heart. To themHe disclosed the things which He had received of the Father. From then, He kept back nothing that pertained to their welfare."If it were not so, I would have told you," was once, at least, His confidential expression. He thus abode with them as aFriend, as an elder Brother, as a loving Father. It is really pleasant to observe how much He thought of them-how deeply Hesympathized with them-how far He was from despising them. The great ones of the earth would have shrugged their shouldersand sneered at the poor helpless band that gathered around the Prophet of Nazareth. Not so the Divine Master. Without fora moment concealing the fact that they were a little flock, He looks upon them fondly and applies to them invitingly the veryepithet their enemies would have used resentfully- "little"-as He says, "Fear not, little flock, it is your Father's goodpleasure to give you the kingdom."
Few in number they were, He calls them a flock. Thus He takes upon Himself the office of a shepherd and by implication Heguarantees to them feeding and folding, solace and safeguard! And He speaks of "little" with a liking. As we often employdiminutive words to express endearment, calling those we love by little names, so does the Savior here seem to dwell uponthe littleness of those He loves. The original word might be properly rendered, "very little." "Fear not, tiny flock." Thereis a double diminutive on which He seems to harp, although it had a pleasant ring about it. So mothers are known to call theirbaby children by bantling names in their fondness for the wee creatures. But far surpassing woman' s love, our Savior's strongaffection can no rival know. In mild accents, He seems to say, "Never mind how few you are, or how despised. Your feeblenessgives you a warmer place in My heart and makes Me press you more closely to My bosom. Hush, hush. Be still. Fear not, littleflock."
And, oh, how ready He is with a reason to revive their confidence! "It is your Father's good pleasure." Thus does our belovedLord recognize His own intimate relation with His disciples. "It is your Father's good pleasure." And who was their Fatherbut the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ? He might have said, "It is My Father's good pleasure"-but then this was thesweeter way of putting it-"It is your Father's good pleasure." They would know that their Father was His Father when He thussaid, "yourFather." But had He said, "MyFather," they might not have so quickly recollected that He was also their Fatheror, pondering it, they might have had some doubt on the subject. What He does, therefore, is, in effect, to call Himself theirBrother, for if His Father is their Father, then He, Himself, must be their Brother. They are near kinsmen! He puts Himselfon an equal footing with them when so speaking! At once He lifts them up to Himself while He goes down to them. "It is yourFather's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Must it not have been delightful to be on such friendly terms with the blessedLord of Life when He was Incarnate here on earth-to have been able to say with John, "The Word was made flesh, and dwelt amongus, and we beheld His Glory- the Glory as of the Only-Begotten of the Father, full of Grace and truth"? Not that we have anyneed to fret because we have not that privilege, for we have a higher one, inasmuch as Jesus said, "It is expedient for youthat I go away, for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you." It was better, therefore, for us that Jesus shouldgo in order that we might have the abiding Presence of the Holy Spirit, not only to dwell with us, but also to be in us! Oh,that we might realize and enjoy the Comforter's Presence at this time! It were ill for us to miss the Savior's company withouthaving the consolation of the Spirit! To be without the bodily Presence of the Lord and without the spiritual'Presence ofthe Holy Spirit were a double loss! Rather let us rejoice that He is in us, and shall be with us evermore. In the Presenceof the Comforter we have a higher grade of communion with God than even in the solacing society of the Son of Man. He hasgone from us, but He has left the words of His comfort to cheer us. In the power of the Holy Spirit, then, let us talk withone another concerning these words, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."
Our attention is here drawn, first, to a little flock and a Great Shepherd. And then to a great fear-what if I say a varietyof fears-and a still greater consolation.
I. IT WAS A LITTLE FLOCK to whom the Savior spoke. Did He mean, by so designating them, that they were few in point of number?Our Savior's ministry, so far as conversion was concerned, was far from being prolific in its immediate results. The zealof the Great Preacher painfully contrasted with the apathy of the hearers. The Prophet had foreseen the haze that would overhangthe mental atmosphere. "Who has believed our report?" He exclaimed! How few out of Israel were gathered to Him as the fruitof words such as never man spoke, and works such as none but God ever did! It is not recorded of our Savior that He ever preacheda sermon through which three thousand were converted. He left that to one of His servants, as if He meant to fulfill thatword, "Greater things than these shall you do, because I go unto My Father." He would put that honor on His servants and takethe disappointment, as He did the shame and the suffering, to Himself. Such is always His loving way. He will take the bleakside of the hill and the rough part of the battle for Himself. If there is any softer road to take, or any higher honors towin, He will give them to His servants. His converts were few-they were a little flock. Some of you may be residing in localitieswhere there are but a few Believers meeting together. The company looks slender. Do not, I pray you, give place to despondency.You can surely worship God in sincerity and truth, though you may lack the excitement of a crowd. Perhaps you live where thereare so few that you can hardly assemble a congregation. Why think yourself denied the privilege of communion with Christ becausethere are only one or two gathered together in His name? Some of the happiest days Believers have ever known have been alonewith Christ! The richest displays of Christ's love have been unfolded to the twos and threes and the small family gatherings.He has kept His word to the letter, "Where two or three are gathered together in My name, there am I in the midst of them."Should you happen to belong to a larger company, you are not, therefore, shut out from the promise bequeathed to the few.A church of five or 5,000 Brothers and Sisters is still a little flock! Compared with the vast outlying mass of unbelievers,it is positively infinitesimal! Think of the millions that know not God-the hundreds of millions that are content to worshipidol gods that their own hands have made! Take all Christendom into account and assume for the moment that every nominal professorwere a true convert to Christ-the Church would form but a feeble minority- it would be but a little flock. Though the dayshall come when the Lord will multiply us and increase us greatly in the earth beyond all present computation, yet to thishour the Church of God is only a little flock-and this is sometimes an excuse for distrust and a cause of fear.
Not merely in their number were our Lord's immediate followers little. They did not represent much of this world's wealth.Theyhad left all that they had. But their little all did not count for much. An old boat or two upon the lake, some nets, a littlefishing tackle, and a few et ceteras-surely they were not much to leave! Their capital and their income were alike limited.Their treasurer never had a heavy purse to carry, though he took care to help himself out of its contents. The disciples ofJesus were poor, very poor. They were somewhat akin to their Master, who had not where to lay His head.
Nor from their socialposition could they exert much influence. Most of them were Galileans-countrymen from the most countrifiedpart of the whole country and, as such, little esteemed. They spoke, no doubt, broad country dialects, and were looked uponas unlearned and ignorant men by those who heard them. When the Holy Spirit was on them, they spoke with great power, butthere was not a "D. D." among them, nor yet a professor from any university! They had not a solitary rabbi that could be putin the front, neither was there one that could have been called rabbi, if others had chosen to call him so. No prestige didthey derive from rank or title, no princes of the blood, no knights or esquires were associated with them-they were all commonpeasants and fishermen. And I daresay many fears would cross their minds and many gloomy apprehensions would haunt them asthey contemplated the strange adventure on which they were called to go forth. They were to preach the Christ of God, andto convert the world to Him-yet see what lowly people they were! Had they been brought up in the schools of philosophers,had they been the sons of kings or princes, had they the wealth of Croesus at their control, they might have said, "We cando something!" But poverty, ignorance and obscurity combined to make them seem little in the eyes of their fellow men! Therefore,the Savior says, "Fear not, little flock!" Against all adverse circumstances, there stands the actual promise! Be sure ofthis-the Kingdom of God is yours and you will win the day! Your father in Heaven can do without the dignity, the wealth andthe learning of this world. He has resolved to give you the Kingdom, so you shall assuredly have it!
Now the Church of God has not much improved in those respects. The aristocracy of the age and the celebrities of the time,those who occupy high places in fashion or in talent, look down contemptuously on the followers of Jesus. We are not put outof countenance. We know full well that not many great men after the flesh, not many mighty are chosen. Still, God has chosenthe poor of this world. Meek and lowly though they are, He enriches them with the gifts of His Kingdom. The Church in theaggregate, like its individual members, is small-small in number and in influence-a "little flock." And there is another littlenesswhich is common among Christ's followers. They are very little in matters of Grace.They think and know themselves to be little.The greatest among them generally think themselves the least. One who came not behind the chief of Apostles thought himselfnot worthy to be called an Apostle, such was his sense of un-worthiness. Little and little worth the Lord's people accountthemselves to be. But in point of age, of growth, of experience, some of them are little-very little. They have only latelybeen born-again. They are babes in Grace. Jesus meant them when He said, "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father'sgood pleasure to give you the kingdom"-yes, you- you who are new-born sons and daughters! Some, too, are little, not so muchbecause they have been recently converted, as because they have made slow progress. They are of a desponding spirit, and theirfaith is very feeble. Perhaps they have not walked with God as they should and yet, although they may have little love, littlehope, and little joy, little usefulness, and little holiness, compared with what they ought to have, still if they are Believers,if they are the sheep that hear Christ's voice, know their Shepherd and follow Him-even to them He says, "Fear not, littleflock, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." He will not destroy you because you are not what youshould be in point of attainment! What though you are as smoking flax when you ought to be a burning and a shining light,He will not quench you! Though you are a broken reed in the music when you ought to be a full pipe organ, pouring forth volumesof praise, He will not break you, but He will make something of you yet! Though you have such little faith that you do notknow whether you have any or not, He knows! A drop of water is as much water as the whole volume of water in the sea, anda particle of Grace is as truly Grace as the great store of Grace laid up in the Everlasting Covenant! A diamond as smallas a pin's head is as much a diamond as the Koh-I-Noor, so the smallest faith, though it is like a grain of mustard seed,is faith which can move mountains! Jesus knew this-hence He would speak comfortably to those who are little as yet, "Fearnot, you weak and trembling ones! It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom. Your weakness shall not witnessagainst you."
Now is not this very precious, that little as the flock may be, the Great Shepherd speaks to them so kindly? "Fear not, littleflock," He says. And, oh, how His greatness must have struck them as He thus spoke! They looked on Him and saw that He wasnot little. He had become like themselves in poverty and obscurity, but still there was a Divinity in His Character that couldnot be eclipsed. He was not little in His birth. "Where is He," asked the wise men from the East, "who is born King of theJews?" Nor was He little in His wisdom, for when but 12 years old, the doctors in the Temple were astonished at His understandingand answers! He was not little in His power. Did He not teach as one having authority? Did He not heal all manner of sicknessand all manner of disease as though no symptom could baffle His skill or resist His fiat? He was not little in His influenceover men's hearts-He could turn their current like rivers of water whichever way He would. They had a Great Shepherd-He couldprotect them, He could provide for them, He could lead them on-He could give them the victory and surely bring them into therest which He had promised them! I feel just now as though the Master stood among us and we were the little flock, consciousthat we could do nothing, devise nothing, develop nothing apart from Him. Are there great destinies before us? Is the worldto be converted? Surely we are the last people that could ever be able to accomplish it! His Presence is our encouragement.Looking up here and seeing Him standing in the midst, hard by these emblems of His body and blood, we hear His voice saying,"All power is given unto Me in Heaven and in earth. Go you, therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name ofthe Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit." Behold the baptized Christ giving to His own baptized disciples His owncommission! "Go, preach the Gospel to every creature." He vouchsafes, moreover His own authority, "He that believes and isbaptized shall be saved; He that believes not shall be condemned." He is the Commander-in- Chief of the little company ofnonconformists to the world's religion, the Leader of the little band of those who desire to follow the Lamb wherever He goes,the Lord and Master of all those who espouse His Cross, rejoice in His name and are not ashamed to bear His reproach in themidst of a crooked and perverse generation! The Lord grant that the sweetness of these words may come home to the hearts ofall of you who are the people of His pasture and the sheep of His hand. Let us turn our attention to-
II. THE GREAT FEAR AND THE GREAT CONSOLATION IMPLIED IN OUR text. "Fear not, little flock, for it is your Father's good pleasureto give you the kingdom."
One fear which often agitates God's servants is that which is alluded to in the foregoing paragraph-an undue anxiety abouttemporal things. A fretfulness that distracts one's own mind and greatly dishonors God-a disposition utterly unworthy of thesincere Believer! Christ deals with it in these words, "Seek not what you shall eat, or what you shall drink; neither be youof a doubtful mind. Why, child, know this, it is not only your Father's good pleasure to give you bread and water, but thekingdom!" You ask, "Will His bounty provide me with food convenient and raiment fit?" No, question it not, since He thus promisesto put a crown upon your head and give you a mansion in the skies! Surely He who takes the trouble to give you a Kingdom hereafterwill not let you starve on the road to it! When Saul went out to seek his father' s donkeys, Samuel met him and anointed himto be king, and after that Saul never fretted about his father' s donkeys anymore! Are you worrying yourselves about the lossesyou have had, and the best way of trying to recover them? Here are tidings for you. It is your Father's good pleasure to giveyou the Kingdom. Does not that awaken a new and nobler ambition in your breasts? Never mind the donkeys, now, we have otheraims and other prospects to engage our thoughts! Affairs of high estate have drawn my mind away from paltry things. Oh, heirof Heaven, you cannot afford to pine and chafe over the little annoyances of this fleeting life! I remember hearing of a crossing-sweeperwho was pursuing his humble avocation with great diligence. He had a valuable broom, which he would not have lost or spoiledwithout much grief. To him the few pence that purchased it were of great importance. But someone-a solicitor of the town tappedhim on the shoulder and said, "My good Friend, is your name So-and-So?" "Yes." "Did your father live in such a place?" "Hedid." "Does your brother live in such a place?" "He does." "Then I have the pleasure to tell you that you have come into anestate worth Â£10,000 a year." I have been told he walked away without his broom! And I can hardly doubt it, for I do not thinkI would have shouldered the broom, myself, if I had been in his position! Oh, Christians, let me pluck you by the sleeve andtell you of princely possessions for which you may well turn aside from your present paltry pickings! They are not worthyto be compared! Jesus Christ informs you that "your Father has given you a kingdom which is infinitely more than all the goldof this world." You may well say-"Let those who will, fret about these earthly things-I will not. I have a kingdom in waiting!I will look out for that inheritance and I will begin to rejoice in it." Thus does Christ put to sleep one of His people'sfears!
Another fear we have arises from watching the clouds, forecasting storms and anticipating trouble. Some of us must confessthat we have our desponding moments. One is vexed because he sees his trade gradually slipping away and he anxiously asks,"What shall I do in future years?" Another, with a large family growing up around him, perplexes himself with the question,"What shall I do with those boys and girls of mine?" As he watches the various tendencies in the young people, he wonderswhich way they will go, and he begins to fret. He does not commit his cause to God, but he disquiets himself in vain. Thisis unwise. Others find that their health declines-symptoms of consumption or some other fell disease alarm them, and theysay, "What shall I do when this gets worse? How shall I bear it?" "Perhaps I may have painful operations to endure," saysone. "Perhaps," says another, "I may have to lie bedridden by the year, together-what shall I do-oh, what shall I do?" OurLord Jesus Christ counsels you what to do. He says, "Let not your heart be troubled." Don't fear. Have you not always foundup to now that God has helped and succored you in every grievous plight? You have been foolish enough to dread a thousanddreary ills that never happened to destroy your peace, save in your dreams-like boys in a fog, before whose eyes huge monstersseem to rise, till they come up to the objects of their dread surprise-and find they are not monstrous scares, but modestfriends who come to greet them. You have often been the victims of your own credulity in the past, cheated by your fears!May it not be the same in the dilemma to which just now your gloomy fancy points? This I know-when we are in our right mind,we cast our care on God. Let the Lord do as He wills to us! He will never be unkind to us! He has always been our Friend-Hewill never be our foe! He will never put us into the furnace unless He means to purge the dross out of us. Nor will therebe one degree more heat in that furnace than is absolutely necessary-there will always be mercy to balance the misery-andstrength supplied to support the burden to be borne. Cheer up, then! "Fear not, little flock." Let us, for the time beingat any rate, shake off all these fears and let us revel in our Father's good pleasure to give us the kingdom. Rough may bethe road, but sure will be the end-we are going to the kingdom! When they fetch a foreign princess over to this land to bemarried to a princely husband, the ship may be tossed on the sea and the tempest rage with fury, but doubtless the bride wouldsay, "I may well bear this slight inconvenience with equanimity-I am on the way to be made a queen." We are on board shiptoday. We are going to a land where we shall all be princes and kings-as many as believe in Jesus! Come, let us pluck up heart!What though the accommodation are sparse, the passage rough and the wind boisterous, there is a kingdom in prospect! So letus make the best of the voyage. Be not faint-hearted yourself, but help others to be cheerful. With a pilgrimage, rather thana voyage in his view, our sacred songster has helped our mirth in his hymn as he sings-
" With a scrip on my back and a staff in my hand,
I march on in haste through an enemy's land-
The way may be rough, but it cannot be long,
So 1ll smooth it with hope, and 1ll cheer it with song" And somewhere or other in this congregation, I think I can hear the hoarsevoice of a desponding Believer saying, "Ah, I am not troubled about worldly things! I am not distressed about any trials thatmay or may not happen to me here below. I have a worse fear haunting me! My terror is more terrible. Suppose I should notbe in Christ after all?" The fear lest I have not really believed in Jesus, that I have not experienced a saving repentance,that I have not laid hold upon eternal life, distracts me. Well, precaution is better than presumption-it is better to gofearing to Heaven than to go presuming to Hell! I would rather be haunted with fears all my life and yet found, at length,when the shadows flee, among those who are God's delight, than I would be inflated with a dauntless confidence all my days,but undeceived at last when the light breaks in and be left in lonely horror, the victim of despair! Tell me now, dear Friend,what it is you fear. Do you fear Hell? Let me ask you another question-Do you fear sin? If you fear sin, the Lord takes pleasurein you. The Lord takes pleasure in them who fear Him, and in them who hope in His mercy. Your doubts are very painful to bear,no doubt, but for all the distress they cause they will not destroy your soul! Doubting, like a toothache, is more distractingthan dangerous. I never heard of its proving fatal to anybody yet. There are fluids of the body which serve as safety valvesto the constitution. They ward off worse ills. An anxious solicitude whether you are, indeed, a child of God, of which wewould by all means have you relieved as soon as possible, may have a salutary effect, nevertheless, upon your mind. It maymake you walk more carefully, pray more fervently and live more scrupulously as one who pines for communion with God! I thinkI have a commission to say to everyone here who fears sin, and trembles lest he or she should not be found at God's righthand when He gathers His saints together to Himself, "Fear not, for it is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."If you fear because you feel your unworthiness, it is a blessed fear! Trust in the worthiness of Christ and your fear shallgive place to faith! Of if you fear because you perceive your feebleness, I am not surprised. Look to Christ's strength andHis succor shall be your solace! Your heavenly Father will, of His own good pleasure, give you the Kingdom of God.
Or do I hear anyone say, "Well, Sir, my fear is not as to the sincerity of my present profession. I trust I am a Christian.I know that I have believed in Jesus, and I do believe in Him. But my serious misgiving is lest I should not hold on to theend." Beloved Friend that is a fear you ought not to entertain! Never fear it again as long as you live! If there is anythingtaught in Scripture for certain, it is the Doctrine of the Final Perseverance of the Saints! I am as sure that Doctrine isas plainly taught as the Doctrine of the Deity of Christ. Words cannot put it more distinctly than God has graciously revealedit. Hear what Christ says. "I give unto My sheep eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall any pluck them outof My hand." "Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will perform it until the day ofJesus Christ"-cast not, I beseech you, any suspicion upon the fidelity of our Lord! A question may be raised whether the workis begun by Him, but if He has begun it, there can be no question about His completing it! He never forsakes the work of Hishands, or begins to build, and then proves unable or unwilling to rear the superstructure. Lay that fear aside and accountit a folly! Do you doubt-whether you are now saved, or whether you shall hold out to the end? Then I counsel you to go backto the Cross and begin again as a penitent sinner, to put your trust in a pardoning Savior. Full many a time I have to dothat. I see my evidence cut down like the grass, wither like hay and perish like the green herb. What else, then, can I do,but hurry off to the foot of the Cross, there to stand, and thus to say, "Here I come, a sinner, seeking succor from You,my Lord, from You. I come afresh as though I had never come to You before. If You have never washed me, wash me now! If Ihave never rested in You, here do I lay me down beneath Your shadow. To Your Cross I cling." You will find your fears vanishwhen you come to the Cross anew. Do this, I pray you, Brothers and Sisters, as often as you get into the dark for a while,for, notwithstanding all fears to the contrary, it really is "your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." You havenot to earn it by your labor, or merit it as a prize-else you might despond, or even despair. What is now amiss, I cannotguess, since He will give it to you freely of His own Grace. It is not the Judge's good pleasure to award you the kingdom,but it is "your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Therefore, repose in the Grace of God, rely on the preciousblood of Christ and cast your fears to the winds!
I think I hear a sigh. It is a sickly thought, and it comes from one who has a sickly frame. "My fear is about dying. Howshall I stand the last dread hour of parting life? Shall I bear up in the weakness of that mortal agony? Perhaps, after all,I shall sink as one who is vanquished in the fray." Beloved Brother, there is a peril more perilous than death! "What is that?"you ask. Why, I answer, Life! To live! To live well! There is the point-to live well. If you do succeed in this, you shallfind that to die is nothing but just closing up your life's story. Be it your main care to run the race with honor, then youshall finish your course with joy! You may leave the dying till the time to die comes, if you will see to the living whilethe time to live lasts! There is one kind of Grace of which we have no immediate need today, that is dying Grace. We shallnot require the timely succor till the time of our departure is at hand. Or if we crave it we shall not have it. Does anyone of you put himself on his dying bed in imagination, to forestall the terrors that his fancy paints? He does a very foolishthing. You cannot know what sort of summons you will get to quit your fleshly tabernacle-what sharp pains you may be calledto bear-or what sweet comfort may be provided to cheer your spirit when heart and flesh shall fail. Serve God now with allyour strength! Rest in the precious blood now! Seek present communion with your living, loving Lord. Doubt not that He willsupply you with sufficient Grace for all your future needs! You know not of the good He has in store. As time and space contract,your mind will expand to survey the eternity beyond. As the film comes over these dull organs of sight, the eyes of your understandingwill be opened. As you near the banks of Jordan, the fair fields on yonder side will break on your ravished view. You knownothing of them yet. Full many, I guarantee you, who depart this life hear the songs of angels long before their ears areclosed to the sounds of earth! And oh, how precious Christ becomes to them! We have seen the flush of glory on their faces!I should think they hardly knew at what moment they entered Heaven, for before they left earth, the radiance of that brightrealm dawned upon them in such visions of Glory! They were lifted up to Pisgah' s summit and they looked down on this poorearth from an elevation at which we who still sojourn in the valley do greatly marvel-
"Jesus cam make a dying bed
Seem soft as downy pillows are!
While on His breast Ilean my head,
And breathe my life out sweetly there." Why, some of us have known Believers who, after trembling all their days, triumphedin their last hours! In the prime of their strength they were frightened of a mouse-but in the extremity of their weaknessthey became so strong that they could face a legion of foes! Nothing could dismay them. Mr. Fearing, who fell over a straw,and said he should never reach the Celestial City, was the very man who died like a giant, singing and shouting with all hismight! God is pleased to let some of His servants live in the dark-and die in the light. I think some of us have our candlelit at one watch of the night, some at another. You may have begun your spiritual life in the dark and your path has grownbrighter and brighter. Or you may have begun in the light and have since passed through seasons in which darkness has prevailed,or the lamp that guides your feet has dimly burned. God puts some of His bravest servants to bed in the dark because theycan bear it, but others cannot. They cross over the river and angels come to meet them. Do not darken your days with direfuldreams of dreaded death! Perhaps you will die in your sleep and never know a pang. Perhaps you never will die-Christ may comeand take you to Himself. It may prove such a glorious thing to die, that you may say, with Halliday, "Call this dying? Thenit is worthwhile to live, to die like this!" Death may have more of translation than of dissolution in it. If the dogs ofHell howl at you, bid them hold their tongue. Your Father's good pleasure will not be frustrated-your fair prospects willnot be disappointed. Does Conscience accuse you of slips and falls? Tell Conscience of the precious blood, and say, "My Father'sgood pleasure will rescue His ransomed child from all his sins." Do doubts and fears come up like a swelling torrent? Stemthem all with this blessed assurance-"God's counsel will stand, and He will do all His pleasure. We who have put our trustin the Lord Jesus Christ shall assuredly possess the Kingdom of God forever and ever!"
Oh, how I wish you, all of you, belonged to the number of Christ's sheep! Oh, that everyone of you had the promise of thekingdom! The Lord bring you to the feet of Jesus! May the Lord show you what sinners you are and what a Savior He is! Wouldto God you might all believe in Him and pass from death unto life! The fearless transgressor shall fail without help, whilethe fearful disciple shall be fondled with Fatherly care. Herd together, you little ones, as a flock-the heritage is reservedfor you. "It is your Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom."