Sermon 2698. The First and the Second
INTENDED FOR READING ON LORD'S-DAY, OCTOBER 28, 1900.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S-DAY EVENING, OCTOBER 9, 1881.
"He takes away the first, that He may establish the second." Hebrews 10:9.
THE way of God with men is to go from good to better and from better to best. In the creation, "the evening and the morningwere the first day." "And the evening and the morning were the second day." And so on to the sixth day. God often gives usdarkness before He gives us light and He gives us some measure of light in the rising sun before He gives us the full gloryof noontide. And this, I suppose, is not because God needs any such rule for Himself. He can give the best, first, if He sochooses, but I imagine that this arrangement is necessary because of our infirmity. It would never do for weak eyes to havethe full light of the sun pouring down upon them. Often, when men are faint, and nearly dying of hunger, they would be killedoutright if strong meat were at once set before them-they must be gently fed as they are able to bear it. So God, knowingthe feebleness of His creatures and especially the feebleness of His sinful creatures, is pleased to bestow His mercies withgreat wisdom and prudence. Little by little, first a very little, it may be, and then rather more, and then still more, andthen much more, and then most of all until He does exceedingly abound in mercy towards us according to the riches of His Grace.
It often happens that the lesser blessing is a sort of preparatory school before the greater favor. The Law of Moses actedas an education for men to prepare them to receive the Gospel of Jesus Christ. The types and shadows of the twilight of thetabernacle and temple services helped men, by-and-by, to appreciate the substance when the True Light began to shine amongthe sons of men. We have need to be continually educated and trained for that which lies before us. We are not fit to entereven Heaven, itself, until we have learned something of the heavenly things here below. There is a first in order that therebe a second-and the first has to be taken away, when it has fulfilled its design, in order that we then may enter upon thesecond. Some lower good precedes the higher and when the lower good has educated us for the higher, then it is removed, andthe greater blessing fills its place, even as it says in our text, "He takes away the first, that He may establish the second."I am going to sever these two sentences from their connection, just for the time being, because they seem to me to containa valuable general principle which may be used for comfort and instruction in many ways.
I. I shall ask you to notice, first, THE GRAND INSTANCE of this rule given in the chapter from which our text is taken, theinstance which was the occasion of the utterance of the rule. "He takes away the first," that is, the sacrifices and offeringsof the Ceremonial Law. "He takes away the first," that is, the blood of bulls and of goats-"that He may establish the second,"which second is Christ, Himself, the one effectual Propitiation for sin, the great Burnt-Offering which the Lord accepts andby which He is reconciled to all who trust in it.
The taking away of "the first" involved the removal of instructive and consoling ordinances. Let us never forget that "thefirst" was given for the wisest possible purposes and was, itself, exceedingly useful. God forbid that we should ever findfault with the first dispensation, for it was the means of great comfort and of much instruction to the people of God wholived under it. Though it was, in itself, little better than a piece of glass, yet the Old Testament Believers saw much throughit. Those of them who had clear vision saw the same Christ through it whom we, by faith, see at this day. So that window wasto them a very precious thing because of the future Glory which they were able to see through it. I can un-
derstand how David enjoyed the ceremonies of the holy place in his day and how, when he was obliged to be absent, he longedonce more to stand within the tabernacles of God and envied the very sparrows and swallows that could fly or build their nestsaround the courts of the Lord's House! I can realize how earnestly he desired to stand again and see the priests presentingthe holy offerings before the shrine of the Most High. And I can easily comprehend that to tell him that all these observanceswere to be put away, would give him some cause for disquietude-but when he understood that they were to be removed in orderthat a second, and a better dispensation should be established in their place, then his disquietude would altogether cease!
Brothers and Sisters, we ought, this day, to be far more happy than the Jews ever were when God had accepted their richestsacrifices, for what, after all, were holocausts of bullocks, what were thousands upon thousands of lambs compared with theonly-begotten Son of God who has sacrificed Himself on our behalf? Of what use were all the rivers of blood that were shedand the seas of oil that were poured out? What comfort could they bring to Jewish Believers compared with that which we derivefrom the flowing wounds of the Christ of Calvary and from the fact that He who suffered on the Cross, that He who was deadand buried, has risen again, and gone back into Glory and is there pleading, on our behalf, the merit of His one finished,perfect Sacrifice? Yes, Beloved, let "the first" go! We need not drop a single tear over its departure, seeing that "the second,"which is established in its place, is so infinitely superior to it!
Many Jewish Believers tried, as long as they could, to keep some relic of the old dispensation. For many a year they soughtat least to teach that converts to Christianity must be circumcised. But they gradually learned that with the coming of Christ-rather,through His death-the old dispensation was all taken away. Every fragment of it is gone and, if we are wise, we shall say,"Let it go. Why should we seek to preserve it? Why should we keep that which is dead, now that the ever-living One has comeand dwells among us? So, let 'the first' go, and let 'the second' be established."
I want, dear Friends, to urge all of you to come to this decision very emphatically. I beseech you never to try to bring back"the first." I do not suppose you will ever literally imitate the Jews and offer the sacrifices enjoined under the CeremonialLaw, but there is, in certain quarters, an attempt to bring back portions of it-ill-formed, broken bones of that which haslong since been dead. For instance, when men insist that such an unscriptural ceremony as infant sprinkling is necessary tosalvation, and that another man-made rite must be performed or else Grace will not come to us-if we yield to their pretensionsfor a single moment, we shall be putting ourselves under the bondage of a ceremonial law which has not even the authoritywhich the Law given by Moses had! The two ordinances of Baptism and the Lord's Supper which Christ has left us are blessedmeans of instruction and comfort to living men and living women, but they are not saving ordinances! And he who tries to makethem so, in any measure whatever, is to that extent seeking to bring back "the first" dispensation, which God has foreverabolished! He is also endeavoring to disestablish "the second" dispensation. As far as he can, he is overthrowing it. ButChrist will not share with rites and ceremonies, the glory of our salvation. We are either saved by Grace through faith, orelse by the works and ceremonies of the Law-there can be no mingling of the two, for they are diametrically opposed to eachother! There must be a clean taking away of "the first" that there may be an establishing of "the second."
Then I want you, next, to take care that you regard "the second" as being really established, that is to say that there hasbeen offered one great Sacrifice for sin, and that Christ's Sacrifice has put away sin and has put it away once and for all.This is the establishment of the real, perfect, everlasting Atonement Now, Christian people, you do believe this as a matterof doctrine, but have you truly appropriated all the blessedness of it? Do you know that your sins are forgiven you for Hisname's sake? That an Atonement has been presented for you by which you are so effectually purged from guilt that you willnever need to bring any other purgation, or to look for any other atonement? Do you really regard yourself as one who willnever have to offer another sacrifice for sin because your conscience is already completely purged and you are clean everywhit? I know that some professors do not like Kent's verse, but I like it, for I quite agree with him when he says-
"Here'spardon full for sin that's past, It matters not how black its cast; And, O my Soul, with wonder new, For sins to come,here's pardon, too!"
The Christ who died on Calvary's Cross will not have to die again for my new sins, or to offer a fresh Atonement for any transgressionsthat I may yet commit. No, but once and for all, gathering up the whole mass of His people's sins into
one colossal burden, He took it upon His shoulders and flung the whole of it into the sepulcher wherein once He slept- andthere it is buried, never to be raised again to bear witness against the redeemed anymore, forever. Regard Christ's Sacrifice,then, as firmly established and, having been once offered, never to be repeated-that one offering having completed the redemptionof all the blood-bought throng-and so finishing the great work that nothing needs to be added to it!
II. Now, secondly, I want to give you SOME HISTORICAL INSTANCES in which the same rule has been carried out. I must speakvery briefly upon each point, so try to catch the words as they fly.
First, God took away the earthly paradise, but He has given us Christ and Heaven. God gave to man, originally, perfect happiness.In the Garden of Eden there were all manner of delights. And under the Covenant made with our first father, all of these wouldhave been ours if he had persevered in obedience. But Adam sinned and so the Covenant of Works was broken. He fell, and wefell in him and, therefore, paradise was taken away from him and from us. There is no hope of our ever going through the gateof that garden. Even if it had remained perfect and we could find it, we would see there the cherubim with a flaming swordturning every way to keep us out of the garden. Why have you taken away this paradise, Lord? The Apostle here gives us theanswer to our question, "He takes away the first, that He may establish the second," for, now, as many as believe in Jesusare brought into another and a better Paradise. They are saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation and there is preparedfor them a place of joy and delight compared with which the bliss of Eden shall not even be mentioned-neither shall that earthlyparadise be brought to mind or be spoken of anymore.
Next, the first man has failed, but behold the second Man, the Lord from Heaven, and see again the meaning of our text, "Hetakes away the first, that He may establish the second." There was a man in that first paradise-he was the first man, Adam,and you and I were representatively in him, for he was the federal head of the human race. But he fell and he was taken away.Do we regret this and mourn over it as though it were an irreparable calamity? By no means, for the Lord has taken away thefirst man, Adam, that He may establish the second Man, the Lord Jesus Christ! Concerning these two, the Apostle Paul wroteto the Corinthians, "The first man is of the earth, earthy: the second Man is the Lord from Heaven." The first man ruinedus, but we now have the second Man, who heads up His people, having become their federal Representative-and in Him they aresaved beyond all fear of falling.
"He takes away the first, that He may establish the second," is illustrated again in the case of Adam and Noah Adam was notonly the federal head of the human race, but he was also its first father and founder. But, although God took away our firstfather, He gave the race a second father, even Noah, from whom we have all sprung as much as from the loins of Adam. Now Adam'ssafety depended upon the perfection of a creature, the obedience of a human being-but Noah's safety lay in a figurative death,burial and resurrection-he went into the ark and died to that old world in which he had lived so long. Inside that ark, asin a coffin, he was buried beneath the descending floods, and he was floated into a new world, to be the father of a racethat should live through his death, burial and resurrection. As the Apostle Peter says, "The like figure whereunto even baptismdoes also now save us"-not that baptism saves us, but it is another figure of how we are saved by death, burial and resurrection,as Peter goes on to say, "not the putting away of the filth of the flesh, but the answer of a good conscience toward God,by the Resurrection of Jesus Christ: who is gone into Heaven, and is at the right hand of God." "He takes away the first,that He may establish the second."
Father Adam was taken away, but Father Noah was given to be the new head of the race, and to him the Lord said, "This is thetoken of the Covenant which I make between Me and you and every living creature that is with you, for perpetual generations:I do set my bow in the cloud, and it shall be for a token of a Covenant between Me and the earth." That second Covenant, whichGod made with Noah, is infinitely more secure than the first Covenant which was broken by Adam.
Brothers and Sisters, there is another great historical instance of the rule mentioned in our text in the case of the Covenantsmade with the literal and the spiritual Israel There was a first Covenant to which the Israelites gave their consent soonafter they came out of Egypt. That was a Covenant of Works and when Moses rehearsed in the ears of the people the terms ofthat Covenant, "All the people answered together, and said, All that the Lord has spoken we will do." Yet they soon forgottheir solemn promise. You remember how the Commandments were "written with the finger of God" upon "two tablets of testimony,tablets of stone." But when the people turned aside to worship the golden calf
which Aaron had made, we read concerning Moses, "it came to pass, as soon as he came near unto the camp, that he saw the calf,and the dancing: and Moses anger 'waxed hot,' and he cast the tablets out of his hands, and broke them beneath the mount."In God's great long-suffering, the Commandments were given a second time, though Moses, and not God, wrote on the second tabletsof stone and they were put away for safety into the golden ark, above which was placed the Mercy Seat of pure gold. This wasanother symbolical illustration of our text-"He takes away the first, that He may establish the second."
The Law in the hand of Moses is broken that we may have the Law of Christ in the heart hidden away under the sacred coveringof Divine Mercy in the Holy Place of the tabernacle of the Most High. The first Covenant of, "Do this, and you shall live,"is taken away, that God may establish the second, which is, "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved." Thefirst Covenant, because it waxed old, has passed away. And now God has established a second Covenant, the Covenant of Grace-"Theyshall be My people, and I will be their God: and I will give them one heart, and one way, that they may fear Me forever, forthe good of them, and of their children after them: and I will make an Everlasting Covenant with them, that I will not turnaway from them, to do them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts, that they shall lot depart from Me."
Thus I might keep on showing you how, all the way along in history, there has been a first, and then there has been a second,as there was in the case of the Temple at Jerusalem. Solomon built the first Temple, but God permitted that to be taken awaythat He might establish that second Temple into which Christ came, and so made the Glory of the latter house to be greaterthan that of the former one. All history seems to me to say, "This is God's usual method of procedure-to give the dim twilightfirst, and then to follow it with the full glory of the noontide brightness." We must, therefore, expect that it will be soin our time.
III. But, now, leaving history in general, I come to your own individual history, so as to give you SOME INSTANCES IN YOUROWN EXPERIENCE of the working of this rule-"He takes away the first, that He may establish the second.'"
First, this is true of our own righteousness and Christ's. I shall speak of myself because, then, I shall be speaking of manyof you, also. I once thought that I had a very fine righteousness of my own and, in looking back upon it, I am not at allsure whether it was not about as respectable as the righteousness which the most of my friends have possessed. Like the youngman who came to our Lord, I could have said, concerning the Ten Commandments, "All these things have I kept from my youthup: what do I lack?" But I well remember the time when God's Holy Spirit began to pull my righteousness away from me. Oh,how fiercely I fought to keep it! There was a terrible tugging between my pride and my conscience, for even my consciencejoined with the Spirit of God and the Word of God, in telling me, that though outwardly righteous, yet I was inwardly wicked!
Still, for a long while, I could not understand and believe that I, the child of godly parents, who had never fallen asleepfrom the days of infancy without the repetition of the prayer my mother taught me, and who had never left my bedroom in themorning without having presented the petitions which I had learned as a child-I could not bring myself to think that I, whowas so regular in attendance at the House of God, who read my Bible, who tried to understand theological books and so on-couldnot admit that I had a righteousness which was only like filthy rags, fit for nothing but to be burned! I tell you, dear Friends,I did not like that ugly truth and I fought very hard against it, but I bless God that He took away "the first" righteousness,that He might establish "the second." That second-"the righteousness which is of God by faith"-the righteousness which isimputed to everyone who believes in Jesus-is so much superior to "the first" that I can truly say with the Apostle Paul, "Whatthings were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. Yes doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellencyof the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, thatI may win Christ, and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is of the Law, but that which is through thefaith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith."
Is there anybody here who is having his righteousness tugged at as mine was? Is that beautiful but flimsy house of your ownrighteousness beginning to tumble around your ears? Did a big brickbat come down just now? Was there a slate or two blownoff the roof, or did the chimney pots begin to fall? Thank God for it! Thank God for it! If you have a very fine robe of righteousness,all of your own weaving, I am not desirous that you should be unclothed and left naked
to your shame-but I am anxious that you should be clothed with that spotless robe which was woven in Heaven-and I know thatyou will never wear that wondrous garment until your own dirty rags are pulled off! Christ never comes and puts His gloriousrobes over our poor, beggarly, leprous rags. No, they must come off before He will clothe us, so He takers away "the first"that He may give us "the second." O poor Sinner, be wise enough to cry to Him, "Pull off my rags, Lord, if You will condescendto touch them. I do not want to keep one of them a moment longer." As for you who are so good, respectable and righteous inyour own esteem, I tell you plainly that those fine robes, of which you are so proud, are only rotten rags, whatever you maythink of them. Off with them! They must come off if you are to be saved, so ask God to take them off, now, and to clothe youin that wondrous raiment which Christ has prepared for all who trust Him!
There is another first thing which God has taken away from us, and that is, our false peace. There are many of you who usedto be perfectly happy although you were unsaved. You were full of peace and were not disturbed in mind at all. Why shouldyou be? You used to say to yourselves, "Well, if it goes ill with me, I am sure it will be worse for my neighbors. If I amnot all right, there are very few people who are." Yes, you said to yourself, "Peace, peace," when there was no peace! If,sometimes, your minister preached a sermon that came rather too closely home to you and troubled your conscience, you saidto yourself, "Now, that is the kind of preaching that I do not like. I do not think I shall go to hear that man anymore, for,in my opinion, people ought not to be made so uncomfortable as I have been made." There are some people who would never havebeen saved if the Holy Spirit had not broken down their refuges of lies.
There is another "first" that people do not like to lose-that is, their fancied strength You thought, dear Friend, that youcould repent and believe in Christ whenever you pleased, and you said to yourself, "There is no hurry for me to decide tobe a Christian. I can keep on attending the means of Grace and one of these days, when it is convenient, I will break my ownheart, renew my own will, create myself a new creature in Christ Jesus." That was your meaning, though, possibly, you didnot express it quite so plainly. Ah, I remember well when I first began to discover my own inability in spiritual things-itwas a horrible discovery. I wanted to do good, but I found that evil was present with me. I longed to repent, but my heartwas as hard as a stone. I earnestly desired to pray, but I could not pray a believing prayer-I could as easily have leapedover the moon as have prayed such a prayer by my own unaided efforts! I really wished to believe in Christ and though, now,it seems as plain and simple a thing as anything can be, yet, at that time, I could no more believe in Christ than I couldmake a new world. Oh, the horror of having one's strength all taken away! But what a blessed thing it is to lose all our firststrength-to be reduced to utter weakness and to be quite incapable of any spiritual action, so that Christ says to us, "WithoutMe you can do nothing"-and all this in order that He may establish the second and better strength and enable us, each one,to say, "In the Lord have I righteousness and strength."
The Lord Jesus Christ becomes a strength and a power to us when we have lost our own, but we shall never get His strengthwhile we have our own, for He will never yoke His Omnipotence with our poor pretense of power. That cannot be! "He takes awaythe first." He brings you to a swooning state, He brings you to a fainting fit, He brings you to death's door, He brings youto the very grave of your own personal confidence and strength-and then He comes in and gives you life in Himself, and clothesyou with power from on high. "He takes away the first, that He may establish the second.
Further on in the Christian life, it often happens that the same rule holds good, that the Lord takes away many first thingsto establish the second. After people are converted, it frequently happens that they have a great deal too much confidencein their minister, or in some Christian friend. At first it is very helpful to their infant footsteps to have a little go-cartto which they can hold lest they should tumble down, but, after a while, when God means to teach them something for themselves,and to make them exercise their own judgments, perhaps He takes away that minister, or He takes away from them the pleasurethat they once had in hearing him. Sometimes, I have known men so much depended upon that God has left those good men to themselvesfor a while, that their hearers might see what poor souls they were and so might never depend upon them again as they haddone in the past.
Why does the Lord take away that comfortable repose that His poor babes enjoy on the breasts of their teachers? Why, in orderthat they may find a better and sweeter repose on His breast! That they may get away from all confidence in men and come tofull confidence in the Lord, their God and Savior. It is often a very hard lesson for some to learn, but it must be learned.As the Apostle Paul says, "Henceforth know we no man after the flesh: yes, though we have known Christ after the flesh, yetnow henceforth know we Him no more." There are some who seem to know Christ only by the
teaching of other people, but it is far better to know Him by personal contact, by coming close to Him for yourself-and thatblessing is often not realized except at a great expense of things once highly prized. In that sense, also, our text is true."He takes away the first, that He may establish the second."
So, too, there is an early joy that young Christians have. Oh, how full of delight they are! Some of them have a great dealmore of flame than they have of real fire. Just as when a fire is first kindled, and the shavings, and the sticks are burning,there is not half the fire that there will be when the coals themselves are all aglow-there is not half the fire but thereis more blaze and more crackle. So is it with many young people-they have no end of a blaze! Oh, they are so happy! They cannottell how happy they are! But, after a while, that exuberance of joy goes and the quiet delight in the Lord which comes afterwards,instead of it, is much more solid and deep. They can give good reasons for their joy and though they are not so full of exhilarationas they were, their delight is really firmer, stronger and deeper than before. "He takes away the first, that He may establishthe second."
I have known many of God's dear people to be very frightened by some of their first experiences. They thought they were goingto be lost because their early joy had departed from them, yet there was no need for cherishing such fears. You know thatchildren lose their first teeth-it is good that they should do so, because there is a better set coming. And, often, it isvery much like that with the Christian. He has a wisdom tooth to cut that he did not cut in the first stages of his spirituallife, and the first milk teeth that he has will have to come out, some of them, with many a painful tug. But they will haveto come out in order that he may grow to a spiritual manhood. "He takes away the first, that He may establish the second."
Oh, how many things you and I still have to gain by losing! How much we are to be enriched by our losses! How we are to makeprogress by going backward! How we have yet to mount by sinking! How we have yet to rise by descending! Paradoxical as allthis may seem, it is to be so, according to the rule laid down in our text-"He takes away the first, that He may establishthe second." There may be a lesson here, not only for young converts, but also for you who are experienced Christians. Thispassage may help you to understand some things which, perhaps, have seemed dark to you.
IV. Now I close by giving you some INSTANCES TO BE EXPECTED to which the rule of the text will apply. "He takes away the first,that He may establish the second."
Let all who are of the family of Christ remember that God will soon take away from us everything that we have here below.He will take us away from it, which is the same thing as taking it away from us. But, as you anticipate this great change,do not look forward to it with sorrow! Do not shed a single tear of regret at the thought of parting with anything that younow possess. Regret not the dear old home, notwithstanding all its happy associations. Mourn not that you must leave yourbeloved country, of which you say that, wherever you wander, it is still the joy of your heart! You will have to leave yournative land and to leave your happy home-but you may be comforted by the assurance of the text, "He takes away the first,that He may establish the second," for there is a better country, that is, the heavenly land! We, who believe in Jesus, arecitizens of the New Jerusalem and, as all earthly cities and the fair prospects of the country shall melt away from our eyes,we shall look upon a fairer land and a more glorious city, where no fog or blight shall ever come, but where-
"Rocks and hills, and brooks and vales,
With milk and honey flow.
All over those wide extended plains,
Shines one eternal day.
There God the Sun forever reigns,
And scatters night away.
No chilling winds, or poisonous breath,
Can reach that healthful shore-
Sickness and sorrow, pain and death,
Are felt and feared no more."
God will take away our home on earth, but in our Father's House above there are many mansions. Therefore you may go, cheerfulfireside! You may go, happy home! All that was loved, all that was delighted in may melt away, as I sing-
"My Father's House on high,
Home of my soul! How near,
At times, to faith's foreseeing eyes, Your golden gates appear!"
If Moses, from the top of Pisgah, was glad to die with the earthly Canaan in sight, how much more may we be happy to die withthe heavenly Canaan just before us, into which we are to enter! "He takes away the first, that He may establish the second."
The Lord has been taking away from some of you considerable portions of your family. Some dear children, who were once nestlingat your breast, are now with Him in Glory. Father has also gone, and mother. Husband or wife, brother or sister-some of thesedear ones are gone Home. The members of your family have nearly all gone, now, and you are left alone. You begin to countthe friends of your youth upon your fingers. God is evidently taking away "the first." But do not forget how blessedly Heis establishing the second! When you enter Heaven, you will be no stranger inside those pearly gates. There will be many therewhom you knew and loved on earth, whom you will know and love above. They will meet you at the gates and they will joy andrejoice with you before the great Father's Throne.
"Alas," says one, "I have lost all my family, and I am left alone and desolate." But if you are a child of God, remember whatthe Apostle once wrote, "I bow my knees unto the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, of whom the whole family in Heaven and earthis named." Though God has taken away that first family, He has established that second and far more numerous, and more gloriousone! "Go, set the solitary in families." That is what He has done for you-He has taken away your first family connections,your first bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood, in order that He may establish the second higher relationships! He has dissolvedthe ties of blood that you may find better spiritual relationships among such as Jesus spoke of when He said, "Whoever shalldo the will of My Father which is in Heaven, the same is My brother, and sister and mother." Even so we say of the saintson earth, and the saints before the Throne of God in Heaven, "These are sister, and brother, and father, and mother to us.""He takes away the first, that He may establish the second."
And, Brothers and Sisters, this poor body of ours, which is so full of aches and pains at times, will be taken away to makeroom for a more glorious one! This one is getting worn-out-some parts of it have already fallen away. It is like an old lath-and-plasterbuilding and cannot last much longer! It very seldom stands to the end of the 99 years' lease, but it soon crumbles away and,by-and-by, with all of us, the old house will fall to pieces and be done with. Shall we fret over it? Shall our soul cry,concerning the body, "Alas, my sister! Alas, my brother?" No! "He takes away the first, that He may establish the second"and as we have, in this body of our humiliation, borne the image of the earthy, we shall, in the second condition of thisbody, bear the image of the heavenly!
It shall be sown in dishonor, but it shall be raised in glory! It shall be sown in weakness, but it shall be raised in power!It shall be sown a natural body, but it shall be raised a spiritual body! "He takes away the first, that He may establishthe second." And, oh, what a glorious second that will be! Our resurrection body will know no pain, no weariness, no weakness,no taint of disease or sin, no possibility of corruption or death. Well may we sing-
"Oglorious hour! O blest abode!" when this poor body shall be made like unto the glorious body of Christ Jesus our Savior."He takes away the first, that He may establish the second." Let the first go, then, without a murmur or a sigh!
Once more, this earth shall be taken away to make room for the new one. In a little while there shall be heard the blast ofthe archangel's trumpet. I know not when or how the various closing events will happen, so as to put them together in chronologicalorder, but I do know that at God's bidding, this fair earth shall suddenly be wrapped in flames. It is a beautiful world,say what you will about it. In many other parts besides Ceylon-
"Every prospect pleases, And only man is vile."
Wherever man squats down and raises up his long ranges of bricks and mortar, there everything is ugly. But out yonder, inGod's forests, and on God's hills, and by God's sea, everything is fair, and grand, and Godlike, as if God Himself might comeand sojourn there and not be ashamed of the world He has made, for it is still good. But in a moment, it will be wrapped inflames and it will be utterly consumed. Nothing of this present creation shall abide in its present condition!
The Apostle Peter says, "The day of the Lord will come as a thief in the night; in which the heavens shall pass away witha great noise, and the elements shall melt with fervent heat, the earth also and the works that are therein shall be burnedup." Yet weep not, Beloved, neither lament, for Peter also says, "Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look
for new heavens and a new earth, wherein dwells righteousness." "He takes away the first, that He may establish the second"and, on a brighter morning than your eyes have ever seen, you shall wake up and see the new heavens and the new earth! Andyou, with all the spirits of just men made perfect, shall come there to sing sweeter songs than the morning stars chantedwhen the world was first created! There will be a second creation, a second world, for the Lord will have taken away the first,but He will have established the second! The work of destruction will have been accomplished, but the work of re-creationwill also have been finished and, oh, what joy and bliss it will be for the redeemed from among men, and for the holy angels,too, when the New Jerusalem shall come down from God out of Heaven, prepared as a bride adorned for her husband, and the tabernacleof God shall be with men, and He shall dwell among them! "He takes away the first, that He may establish the second.
I close by saying that it is my earnest prayer that some of you may, by God's Grace, have, your "first" taken away from youthis very hour, that you may have "the second" given to you. Salvation lies not in "the first." That is all ruin and woe-thetrail of the serpent is over it all. You will never go to Heaven if you remain in the same nature as you had when you wereborn. You must be born a second time! Or else, if there is not a second birth, you will have to endure the second death.
God give you the Grace to believe in Jesus and to find in Him that second, higher, better life that you may enter into thesecond and perfect world, for then you will give Him all the praise forever and ever! Amen.