Sermon 370. Evangelical Congratulations
A SERMON DELIVERED ON MONDAY EVENING, MARCH 25, 1861, BY THE REV. W. BROCK, AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"Christ is preached, and I therein do rejoice, yes, and will rejoice." Philippians 1:18. HOW Paul would have rejoiced had he been living now! Judging from the effect that was produced upon his mind by the evangelicallabors at Rome, what do you think, Brothers and Sisters, would have been the effect produced upon his mind by the evangelicallabors in London? Because the Brethren there were waxing bold in the name of Christ, he was glad. The fact that in the metropolisof the empire the glad tidings were proclaimed filled him with the most profound satisfaction. His heart was, and his heartstill would be, joyful in the Lord! And yet I take it that the ministry of the Gospel in Rome must have been comparativelyon a small and insignificant scale. I suppose that in proportion to the population, and in proportion to the size of thatcity, the preaching must have been very circumscribed, and all things considered, considerably obscure. No preacher had liftedhis voice from the terrace of the Capitol, no congregation had been gathered into the great area of the Coliseum, no publicannouncement had been made over all Rome, that if the people would flock to the Pantheon, they might hear about the Incarnationof the Son of God. Anything like that would have kindled Paul's gladness into rapture! Christ preached out on the Campus Martius,or in the Hall of Minerva, or on the platform of the Athenaeum at Rome would have left him nothing this side of Paradise todesire! As it was, his cup was running over. Men were told in honest speech about the One who had come down from Heaven, whohad come at the Father's bidding to proclaim His will and to accomplish His purposes. They had been told of a Friend that"sticks closer than a brother;" of the Advocate and the Mediator between God and man. And, the Spirit of all Grace concurringwith that which had been preached, the Apostle was fully persuaded in his own mind that they had heard words whereby theywould be saved, and that the promise of the life that now is, and the promise of the life that is to come, would by them bepersonally enjoyed. Hence he said, "I do rejoice," and then emphatically again, "Yes, and will rejoice."
But how he would have rejoiced, or how he would rejoice if he were living now! Why, for every one man who preached the Gospelin his time, there are thousands who are preaching it now; for every hundred hearers of that day, there are thousands uponthousands now; and for every one place into whichthe citizens of Rome might go to hear about Christ and Him Crucified, I need not say that there are many and ever multiplyingplaces now. And you, my Brothers and Sisters-the pastor of this Church, and those connected with him-you have added to thenumber, thank God, of thoseplaces, and we are tonight to celebrate the completion of one, I suppose, of the best places that has ever been raised forthe honor and for the Glory of Christ! From the first day until now, from its foundation to its top stone, you have begunand continued and ended-your desire,your prayer, your purpose, your ambition having been just simply this-that here the Redeemer's name may be magnified, thathere His great salvation in all simplicity may be proclaimed! And we have come here tonight to assure you of our sympathy,to give to you the pledges of ourbrotherly affection, and in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, to bid you heartily God speed-
"Peace be within this sacred place, And joy a constant guest; With holy gifts and heavenly Grace, Be our attendance blessed."
Well, the Apostle rejoiced, and would have rejoiced a great deal more had he occupied the place which I am occupying now!My purpose is to show to you tonight why there should be such rejoicing in connection with the preaching of Christ Crucified.
Various reasons, of course, could be assigned-at least several reasons could be thrown into various forms. I throw my ideaof the matter into this form-by the preaching of Christ, the renovation of mankind is intelligently proposed, and not onlyso, but it is graciously guaranteed. Given-aministry that shall speak out openly what Christ is, what Christ has done, what Christ is doing, what Christ requires, whatChrist administers, and the renovation of our fellow man is not only intelligently proposed but is thereby on God's part graciouslyguaranteed. I rejoice thatthe very first text from which my Brother has preached in this noble edifice was, though unfeignedly, so singularly coincidentwith my own-"They ceased not to teach and to preach Jesus Christ." The preaching and the teaching of Christ was the very firstmessage with which heopened his service here, and I take that among other things to be a token for good.
I. In the first place, we rejoice in the preaching of Christ because thereby THE RENOVATION OF FALLEN MAN is intelligentlyproposed.
High time, by common consent, that something was done in that direction! Of course everybody admits the foundations are out;and while many persons admit it, they also go about to suggest improvement, amendment and cure. You will give me your attentionwhile I recapitulate some of the projectswhich they suggest in order to the attainment of an end which is desired by us all. This is one suggestion-Give the people,they say, a good, sound, secular education; impart to them the elements of knowledge, and when they are apprehended and understood,then educe and cultivatethe corresponding results. Let them know about their own bodies and their own minds; let them know something about the chemistryof common life; let them know something about their relations to one another and to society at large, and then when you havedone that, there is some hopethat their renovation may be obtained. This is another suggestion-Give to the people sound remunerative employment, recognizethe right of every honest and industrious man to live, and then act upon your recognition by not preventing or interferingso that he cannot live. A fairday's wages, they say, for a fair day's work. The ample recompense for the unbegrudging toil. Save your countrymen fromthe dread of pauperism, and never insult them any more by the sanctimonious condescension of some of your so-called Christiancharities. Let every man be enabledto earn his bread in the sweat of his brow, and thus you may hope that their renovation will be obtained. This is anothersuggestion-Confer upon them honorable enfranchisement. Barring the criminal and the imbecile, esteem every man throughoutthe country to be a free man. If youexpect him to pay the tribute, give him a voice in the imposition of that tribute; let him be regarded by yourselves, andequally with yourselves, and in all practical respects touching the commonwealth, let him be regarded as a free man, and thenyou may hope that the renovation sodesirable will be obtained.
This is another suggestion-Take care to raise them into better and more civilized habits. See where they live; see how theyeat and drink-mark their demeanor, one towards another, and towards the community at large. Change all that, or get them tochange it so that they shall prefer cleanlinessto filth, frugality to wastefulness, the seemly garment to the rotten rags, and the well-ventilated and the well-lightedapartment to the moldy attic in the roof, or to the dark pestiferous, rotten cellar underground. And when you have done that,you may hope that so far theirrenovation will be obtained. And this is another suggestion-Let the people have their tastes cultivated. Introduce themto the great works of ancient and modern art, throw open your museums, take them into your art galleries, admit them intoyour artistic and your antique salons,fire their love for the beautiful, kindle it yet more brightly and more brightly still! Insure their rejection of the basethrough their predilection for the refined, and accomplish their abhorrence of the groveling through their rapture with thesublime, and when you have donethat, you have done much to obtain the renovation that we all desire.
I believe these are the great suggestions of the men who designate themselves, and I respectfully regard their designation,as the philosophical philanthropists. These are the suggestions which those men make; and they say get all such things done,and then you will have society just what societyought to be both in regard to God and in regard to man. But now, can you look at these suggestions for a single moment withoutmarking a most fatal defect throughout them all? They tell you about dealing with a man externally, but not a word about dealingwith him internally. He isto be better cultured, better dressed, better housed, and all that, but as to the man, the subject of all that we are talkingabout-as for the man essentially and inherently considered, there is nothing whatever done, and after all that philosophyand philanthropy together haveaccomplished, the man's heart is just what it was before! Well, I say in any company, in any place, what I say here-thatif you leave the man's natural heart untouched, you may culture and cultivate him as you may, there is that which will laughall your culture and all yourcultivation to scorn! If a man's heartis right, his life will be right; if a man's heartis right in its relations towardsGod and towards man, his life will be right, but not else. And no man's heart on earth is right. No! There is an universal,an absolute and unvarying necessity,as our Lord brought it out so distinctly with Nicodemus, "You must be born-again." "You must be born-again;" and choosingas we do to sit at His feet, we accept the great oracular deliverance from Heaven, and authorized by that, we pronounce thatall the suggestions which I havereferred to are worth nothing! No, my Brothers and Sisters; to educate the people is expedient, to remunerate them incumbent,to enfranchise them desirable, to civilize them important, and to cultivate their tastes, if you will, laudable in all respects-butif you were to do allthat tomorrow with every man, and women, and child in England, you have not put them into their right position, you havenot inspired them with the right dispositions, you have not set them on the prosecution of the right career. A man may beeducated and yet licentious-he may bewell-paid and yet vindictive; he may be enfranchised and yet covetous; he may be civilized in all his habits, and yet intemperate;he may be a man of cultivated taste, and yet he may have no love for his neighbor and no love for his God.
Why, what dishonesties, what startling dishonesties have been perpetrated by men who have had all the benefits of our foremostcolleges and of our first-rate schools! What debaucheries, what fearful debaucheries have been perpetrated by men whose barnshave been filled with plenty, and whosepresses have burst out with new wine! What inhumanities, what cruel inhumanities have been perpetrated by men who have boasted,and who have blustered and who have brawled that they were free! What falsehoods, what shameful, incredible falsehoods, havebeen perpetrated by men whohave been clothed in purple and fine linen, and have fared sumptuously every day! And what profanities, cross and blasphemous,have been perpetrated by men who have been the warmest admirers of Michelangelo and Rubens, and who have been among the choicestof your connoisseurs, thevery choicest of them in art! I need not adduce the evidence. It would insult and grieve the congregation if I did. Everybodyhere knows how that evidence accumulates. No, no, education and morality are not coincident-competence and morality are notcoincident-civilization andmorality are not coincident- liberty and morality are not coincident-and refined and cultivated tastes are not coincidentwith morality so that if you have the one, you are sure to have the other! Brothers and Sisters, you may deal with man's externalcondition as scientificallyas you can, and with his character-so far as the outward character goes-as philosophically as you can; but as I said before,there is an underlying aboriginal peculiarity of his nature that laughs all your science and your philosophy to scorn! Youcannot turn his condition intoa paradise, you cannot convert him into a king and a priest unto God. Everywhere, without the exception of a land underHeaven, and without the exception of an individual under Heaven, men need the clean heart and the right spirit-the new creationin Christ Jesus. They are dead intrespasses and sins; and they must be made alive unto God before you will get for them the renovation or the improvementwhich is so much desired.
Hence my rejoicing, and hence, as I believe, Paul's rejoicing, were he here, because of the preaching in a commodious placelike this-because of the preaching of 'Christ/Brothers and Sisters, it will be preaching that goes down to the bottom of things;it will be preaching that deals not with thesymptoms, but with the sources of human guilt; it will be preaching that takes all profanity and debauchery, and dishonesty,and inhumanity, and falsehood, and deals with them, mark-not in their overt acts so much as in their rudimental germs. MyBrother's preaching here willdeclare that if you could do all which our philosophic philanthropy desires, man would go wrong, and be wrong, and presentlywould actually go on to justify and to glory in the wrong. It will be the preaching, in one word, that declares the absolutenecessity of a new creation, of anew creation in Christ Jesus.'lt will deal not with conjecture but with certainty, not with theories but with facts, notwith experiments but with realities, not with the words which man's wisdom teaches but with the words which the Holy Spiritteaches! It will deal not with thesuperficial, temporary, partial amendment, but intentionally at least with a profound, a radical, a fundamental, an everlastingcure! The preaching will never ignore one peculiarity of our nature because it is embarrassing, nor overlook another becauseit is inconvenient, nortremble at another because it happens to be possessed of some authority and power. I anticipate and rejoice that here willstand the preacher to declare in the good mother tongue of us all, that the tree is bad, but that, by God's Grace, it canbe made good; that men are living untothemselves, but that, by God's Grace, they can be brought to live unto Him; that the Divine image is defaced, but that thatDivine image can be restored; that where sin is reigning even unto death, there Divine Grace may reign instead, through righteousness,even unto everlastinglife; and therein we do rejoice and if you are of my mind therein tonight we will allrejoice!
Think of this place, look around it. Conceive of it devoted to a purpose like this, and with tendencies and probabilities-forI am speaking only of these now-with tendencies and probabilities like these before our minds, is there a man or a woman listeningto me who does not lift up his heartand rejoice and thank God now? Oh, I see the banner floating here that will be displayed because of the Truth. I hear thetrumpet blowing here that will proclaim the message of God's own mercies to man; I see the embassy going on here touchingreconciliation between God and man, andI see the confederacies of Christian brotherhood here provoking one another to love and to good works! Our country willbe the better for this place; we shall be relieved of our pauperism after all, and saved from our licentiousness, and rescuedfrom our immorality. Yes, and weshall be rescued, too, from the superstition that would endanger our immortality by its sacerdotal, and wicked, and mischief-makingtendencies; from the superstition that would put our immortality in jeopardy; and from the atheism that would laugh that immortalityto scorn. It willbe that our own land, so happy amid the nations of the earth already, shall be the royal habitation of righteousness, andjoy, and peace in the Holy Spirit. Christ is preached. He has been preached here today already, and "therein I do rejoice,yes, and will rejoice."
II. Secondly, we rejoice in the preaching of Christ because thereby the renovation in question is GRACIOUSLY
There can be conceived of by us a wise and sound plan that may, nevertheless, be frustrated when all comes to all by unknownand unperceived opposition. There are men all round about us who say, "Yes, and you ought to remember that and hold your peace,for just as beyond any question civilizationwill fail, so Christianity will fail likewise." And they apparently have a case; let us look at it. They say, "What canyou do there" And then they point us to the masses rising up early, sitting up late, eating the bread of carefulness, if inhundreds of cases they can get thebread to eat. "What can you do there" And they point us to our merchants, our physicians, our statesmen, our artisans, ourbankers who are all with one accord apparently looking for what they preposterously call the main chance. "What can you dothere?''" And then they point us toreligious assemblies where superstition and formalism have everything their own way, and where because of sacramental ritesperformed upon unconscious infants, people are told that they are members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of theKingdom of Heaven. "What can you dothere" And then they point us-alas, how they can point us-to multitudes whose licentiousness and profligacy are gradationallygross, and perhaps to quite as many multitudes whose licentiousness is gradationally refined, and then they say, "Now lookat them, look round and tellus whether such ones will ever be prevailed upon to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts, and to live soberly, righteously,and godly in this present world?" And they take our own utterance, our own Scripture, and they say, "You may well enough callthem 'dead in trespasses andsins.'"
Brothers and Sisters, we looked at the other case-let us look at this. I acknowledge that there are about it indications thatought to make every thoughtful Christian a great deal more thoughtful and a great deal more Christian, too. Oh, the dominationof ungodliness is desperate, and its tyrannyis terrific, and its wisdom is superhuman, and its mastery of man is malignant in the last degree! How one stands sometimesand looks at it dismayed! If it would be content to take what is inherently abominable in itself, it would not be so bad.But it comes and takes what is initself inherently amiable and moral, and with that it tries to do the work of death! It takes our legitimate occupations,and makes them a decoy to irreligiousness; it takes the amenities of our social life, and perverts them to ungodliness; ittakes the great charities of ourhomes, and makes them antagonistic to devotion; yes, and it goes to the very altar of God, and it makes the sacred and solemnordinances of the Church an opiate-pleasant enough-but dreadfully and fatally poisonous to the soul! So, I look as they bidme look, and then think ofall the particulars and resources of my case again; and as I do so, I say, "Your premises apparently are sound, but yourconclusion is altogether unsound; the Church is not always to be second to the world; Christ is not always to be resistedby the devil." No, no, my Brothers andSisters, the Church is to take precedence of the world; Christ is to be triumphant locally and before the world; Psalmsand hymns, and songs of praise are to come up into the ascendant, and knees are to bow, and tongues are to confess that JesusChrist is Lord to the Glory of Godthe Father! And for believing like that, in the face of such a case, I offer these as my reasons.
1. With the preaching of Christ, God has formally connected the exertion of His power. "With God all things are possible."I sometimes apprehend that good men are forgetful of this and they are for lying down and dying as though God had somehowor other ceased to be able to do everything. "With Godall things are possible." And should He gird His sword upon His thigh, should He go about to show Himself strong, I askwhat are the world, the flesh and the devil in their worst combinations, then? What adversary would not succumb then-whatadversary would not become a friend?"Yes," you say, "almightiness in action would do all that we require." Brethren, I speak of almightiness in action now.It is not simply that in this place there will be the message of God. Along with that message there will be God Himself. Itis not that the Word will be preachedmerely, but of His own will God will beget men by the Word. It is not simply that the Gospel will be proclaimed, but thatthat Gospel is the power of God unto salvation. My Brother will not stand here as the statesman stands in the senate houseor the advocate at the bar, or thelecturer on the platform of an Athenaeum. He will stand here, I doubt not, as well-accoutered and well-furnished as theyare mentally, intellectually and so on. But eloquent and mighty in the Scriptures as he or any other man may be, it is neitherthat eloquence, nor that mightwhich will effect the end. These things and the things like unto them, are the vehicles through which God sends down Hisblessing, the instrumentalities by which God accomplishes His work, the means and medium by which it pleases God to work.He will stand here a fellow-worker withGod, so that the Word will be in demonstration of the Spirit and in power. Mark-the human will be confirmed by the superhuman,the natural will be accompanied by the preternatural, the earthly will be helped and succored and blessed by the Divine. Withall that may be persuasiveor argumentative or pathetic, with all that may be properly and intentionally adapted to commend the Truth to every man'sconscience in the sight of God, there will be the energy whereby God is able to subdue all things unto Himself. "Not by might,nor by power, but by My Spirit,says the Lord of Hosts." And so in the face of all that seems to be opposed to us we do rejoice and we will rejoice becauseGod's own channel for the communication of His power is the preaching of Christ.
2. Secondly, with the preaching of Christ, God has been formally pleased to associate the accomplishment of His purposes.He has His purposes. "God so loved the world, that He sent His only begotten Son, that whoever believes on Him should notperish, but have everlasting life." The Lord told Paulat Corinth, when Paul was all but giving way to our common unbelief-He told him to stay there and not to hold his peace.Why? "Because I have much people in this city." And emboldened and encouraged by that, he stayed there a year and six months!Well, those purposes which thuscome out in the Scriptures of Truth which are possessed by us-those purposes are to be accomplished! "By two immutable thingsin which it is impossible that God should lie, His Son is to see of the travail of His soul until He is satisfied. God isin Christ reconciling the worldunto Himself." But now, how are those purposes accomplished? Mark! "Go into all the world, and preach the Gospel to everycreature. He who believes and is baptized shall be saved; he who believes not shall be damned." Mark again-"It has pleasedGod by the foolishness of preachingto save them who believe." Mark again-"Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved. How shall they call onHim in whom they have not believed; how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard, and how shall they hear withouta preached" Mark again-"Thereis one Mediator between God and man-the Man, Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.Whereof I am ordained a preacher." Do you see my drift? The preaching, obviously, demonstratively, stands connected with thepurpose, which cannotfail-bound up with the Everlasting Covenant which is ordered in all things and sure! "The Word of the Lord endures forever,and this is the Word which by the Gospel is preached unto you." I think therefore of our friend occupying this place, andof other men occupying similarplaces, and I take up with Paul's Jubilate again! He will stand here, and this will be the plea, "As though God did beseechyou by me." That will be the plea, "As though God did beseech you by me."
And do I speak to men tonight who do not understand as soon as they reflect how such a plea must chasten the preacher; howit must humble and yet dignify him; how, if he has a soul, it must bring out his soul and all that is within? "God by me beseechingyou." What man so affected and impressed canbe careless, heedless, prayerless, selfish? Oh, the plea does wonderful work for the minister! And what does it do for apeople who will listen? Why, it arrests them, takes hold upon them, keeps hold of them, and God being present with His blessing,never lets them go! And what doesit do in regard to the Spirit of all Grace, the Author and Giver of all the gifts you need? That plea adopted, earnestlyand devoutly used, will bring the preacher into the fullest sympathy with the Holy Spirit of promise, as he stands here pleading,expostulating, comforting,encouraging, warning-with the plea moving everything within him, and everything around him, the Divine purposes are recollectedand they are accomplished-until he and the brotherhood will have to say, "Who has begotten us these? the young men and maidens,the old men andchildren, and the strangers who are within your gates." Yes, and let us hope that some of you who have heard all the sermonsup to now and have never surrendered yourselves to Christ-that you will be given to them in answer to their prayer; not theunits, but the groups; not theindividuals, but the many, born "not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God." Oh, whatwill this place be then? Brethren, the angels will have large employment in this Tabernacle! Heaven will have much to do inwhat is passing here! "For God isnot a man that He should lie, nor the son of man that He should repent. Has He said it, and shall He not do it, has He spoken,and shall He not make it good?" Of Him, and through Him, and to Him are all things, and He will come and stand by our Brotherhere, proving Himself to be"God over all, blessed for evermore."
3. Then, lastly-God has been pleased formally to identify the preaching of Christ with the manifestation of His sympathies.
Why, we could tell of much already-we could tell of much which has been done in our own time, and not upon a small scale either.But let us rather remember what God did in the earlier times of our evangelical history. What happened at Jerusalem? Believerswere the more added unto the Lord,multitudes both of men and women, and "a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith." What happened at Ephesus?The name of the Lord Jesus Christ was glorified, and "the men who had used curious arts brought their books together, andburned them before all men, and theycounted the price of them, and found it fifty thousand pieces of silver." What happened all through Macedonia? "God makesus," said the Apostle, "to triumph everywhere in Christ." And what happened upon the larger scale through proud and philosophicGreece, and through lordly anddomineering Rome? Why, we have it on the testimony of our enemies, that the preaching turned the world upside down! Thepreachingdid, mind you! Before the preacher came, everything was earthly, and sensual, and devilish; after the preacher came,there was the alteration, theimprovement, the renovation of which we speak. Not by the preacher's unassisted, original, independent effort-the excellenceof the power was of God, and not of man! Mighty through God were the preachers throughout Greece and Rome, and Asia Minor,and mighty, too, through God willthe preacher be here! Say that London is as corrupt as Corinth was, that it is as worldly as Rome was, that it is as rationalisticas Athens was, that it is as dead set against Christ and His Gospel as Jeru- salem was, and you cannot very well say morethan that. Yet He that stoodby the preacher in those places, and in those times, will stand by the preacher here! "Go, go, stand and speak in the Templeall the words of this life." On Sabbath mornings he will hear that, and at other times besides, and when his courage and hisheart may fail, he will hearbesides, "Go, for I have much people in this city;" and so sent, he goes, and so going, what ensues? Participation of theDivine Nature is vouchsafed unto the people. sympathy with the Divine Purposes is induced within the people, communicationsof Divine Grace are given to thepeople, life everlasting becomes possessed by the people; "Heirs of God" are they, and "joint-heirs in Jesus Christ."
Brothers and Sisters, I speak boldly as I ought to speak. It is a vile and wicked calumny that our Doctrines of grace leadto licentiousness. Never was there anything more palpably contrary to the Truth of God! And all the history of the Churchbeing my proof tonight-where Christ is preached asHe ought to be preached, after the Apostolic manner- neither licentiousness nor wickedness of any kind, will abound there!No, there will be honest dealing, kindly neighborhood, patriotic loyalty, world-wide philanthropy, truth-telling speech; therewill be a race of men lovingGod with all their hearts, and therefore their neighbor as themselves! You cannot alter that order; you will never get aman to love his neighbor as himself till he has first of all loved God! And what we are looking for, and hoping and prayingfor being done is that order willsupervene here. Loving the Lord their God with all their hearts, therefore the people will love their neighbors as themselves;and not being the amended ones, but the regenerated ones; not being the improved ones, but the twice-born ones; not beingthe corrected ones but thenewly-created ones-the law will have no need to arm itself for them, justice will never need to be on the alert for them,humanity will never need to tremble for them! No, and the purest chastity will never need to blush for them. Their bodieswill be the temples of the HolySpirit, and their members will be the members of Christ, sacred to His service in every way in which they can be employed.The tree having been made good, there will be fruit unto holiness, and the end of that shall be everlasting life!
Well then, who does notrejoice? Everybody responds, "I rejoice." We all rejoice because of what will be done by the preachingof Christ here! We know that this place will be the birthplace of precious souls through successive generations; we know thatthis place will be like a great big humanheart, throbbing, pulsating with beneficence and benevolence obtained directly from the Cross of Christ; and this greatbig human heart will be propelling far and near, a thousand influences which shall be for "Glory to God in the highest, forpeace on earth, and good will towardsmen." It will be none other than the House of God and the very gate of Heaven!
If indeed, the preaching were of another kind from what we know it will be, it would be a very different thing; if I thoughtthe preaching here was to be the preaching of Christ robbed of His Divinity-the pure and perfect man to admiration, but notthe co-equal and the co-eternal Son of God-Icould not rejoice! But I know that it will be preaching in which Christ's proper Deity will be spoken out unambiguously,and unequivocally, and systematically. I know that He will be declared here to be the Friend that "sticks closer than a brother,"and at the same time, our Lordand our God. If I thought that the preaching here was to be the preaching of Christ as merely an example and not as a Sacrifice,or as a sacrifice in some vague, indeterminate, rationalistic, deceitful, false sense of submitting His own will to His Father's,I could not rejoice. ButI believe that it will be the preaching of Christ's propitiatory Sacrifice, as a proper sin-offering, and that these wordswill bring out the aspect of the case as presented here-
"He bore that we might never bear His Father's righteous ire."
If I thought that the preaching here was to be the preaching of Christ with any hesitancy as to His power, or His readinessto save the transgressor, I would not rejoice; but I believe that there will be no approach to such hesitancy, that it willbe Christ with His precious blood cleansing fromall sin, Christ able to save even to the uttermost all who come unto God by Him. If I believed that it would be the preachingof Christ independently or apart from His jurisdiction; if I thought it would be represented here that Christ had nothingto do with the lives, and theconduct of His people-I would not rejoice. I believe, on the contrary, that His royal and kingly Character will be insistedupon, and that every Believer will be told, "At your peril do you make Christ the minister of sin." If I believed that thepreaching here was about to be atvariance with the scholarship, the thoughtfulness, the uprightness, the spiritual-mindedness, of the past ages of the Church,I could not rejoice. I believe, on the contrary, that it will be preaching in strictest harmony with the sound evangelicalscholarship, and with the loftyevangelical integrity, and with the concordant evangelical orthodoxy of all the ages that are past! I stand here as I wouldstand in some other places that I know to resent the imputation, and to show cause, if necessary, for the resentment thatin preaching Christ as we do, we haveno scholarship, no talent, no honesty, no spiritual-mindedness on our part. Brothers and Sisters, it is not so! I speakunto wise men, and ask you to judge what I say.
If I believed that the preaching here would regard all godly mystery as a scandal, and all godly boldness as a calamity, andall godly aggressiveness as a nuisance, and all godly joyfulness as an offense, I certainly could not rejoice; but I believethat the preaching here will hold all godlymystery in veneration, will strengthen and enforce all godly boldness, will honorably vindicate all godly aggressiveness,and will give, on behalf of godly joyfulness, the conclusive argumentation and the kindly and the pathetic appeal. And sobelieving, I ask again whether we shallnot close our gathering, our service, tonight, with one great song and Psalm of thanksgiving to the Lord our God!
The maxim, the watchword, the war cry here will be Revelation, not intuition; faith, not imagination; the Scriptures, nottradition; the Gospel, not philosophy; the Person, not the proxy; Grace, not merit; the Cross, not the crucifix; the Savior,not the Church! I, believing that, and knowing that,hearing indeed from all the brotherhood constituting the Church here, a great, unanimous, hearty, irrepressible AMEN, asI am thus speaking on their behalf-let us, I say, take the cup of salvation, and let us call upon the name of the Lord! Theremay be others, I dare say thereare, who have to sing the melancholy dirge-we have to sing the exultant Psalm! They may, if they will, chant the lamentableelegy- we mean to chant the triumphant Canticle! They may go and perform, if they must, the service for the dead-we come hereto celebrate the greatfestival of a living Gospel, a living Church and a living Savior-
"Let the vain world pronounce its shame, And fling their scandals on Your cause; We come to boast our Savior's name And make our triumphs in His Cross! With joy we tell a scoffing age, He wwho was dead has left the tomb! He lives above their utmost rage, And we are waiting till He come."
Christ is preached! Therein do I rejoice, and therein I will rejoice! And now, Brothers and Sisters, let us have the rejoicingin a joyous collection. I catch that response of yours, and I catch it as an honest man with his eyes upon honest men; andif you go-in the main, at all events-with what I have now been saying, I ask you that you will give the evidence of your sympathywith me, and then and thereby the evidence of your sympathy with our Brothers and Sisters, in making your collection tonightthe outward and the visible sign of a gladness of your inmost soul, which amounts, approximately at least, to the joy thatis unspeakable and full of glory!