Sermon 3525. God's Overtaking Mercy
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, AUGUST 17, 1916.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON, ON LORD'S DAY EVENING, FEBRUARY 22, 1871.
"And He [the Angel of the Lord] said, Hagar, Sarah's maid, where have you come from? And where will you go? And she said,I flee from the face of my mistress Sarah." Genesis 16:8.
"And she called the name of the Lord that spoke unto her, You-Are-the-God-Who-Sees, for she said, Have I also here seen Himwho sees me?" Genesis 16:13.
HAGAR had lived for many years in Abraham's family. This was no small advantage. While all the rest of the world was in heathendom,the Light of God shone brightly in Abraham's tent. Not only was Abraham, himself, a worshipper of the Most High God, but hecommanded his household after him. We may rest assured that there were family gatherings for devotion-that the Patriarch tookoccasion, both by precept and example, to teach the knowledge of the true God to all who were in his service. His was thecentral spot of the Light of God in the world-and all around him was the thick gloom of heathenism. Yet I do not find thatHager, during the years she lived with Abraham, even when she saw his faith in going forth from his kindred and his country,and dwelling in tents in the promised land-I do not find that she, herself, received any personal call from God, or had aword from the Angel of Mercy to her own soul. And truly in this she is like very many servants, yes, and sons and daughters,too, in godly families who are surrounded by the Light of God, but yet see not-who are where God speaks-and yet He has notspoken personally to them. Who enjoy the means of Grace, but have never yet got the Grace of the means-who are themselvesstrangers in the midst of Israel, foreigners, though they dwell in the land, itself! Now it would be a source of the greatestimaginable joy to many of us if some of these should be called as Hagar was-should hear the voice from Heaven and be enabledto make the double discovery which she made, namely, that God saw her, and that she might come into contact with God-mightlook to Him who had seen her!
At this time I shall first direct your attention to a very interesting circumstance, namely- I. THE SINGULAR SEASON CHOSENBY GOD FOR THE INTERPOSITION OF HIS MERCY. Let us dwell on that a moment. God displays His Sovereignty in saving souls, bothin the souls whom He chooses to save, in the instrumentality He uses in calling them, and in the conditions of mind in whichHe finds them when He is pleased to look upon them in mercy.
Now Hagar at that time-at the time when the Angel called to her seemed to be in somewhat an unlikely state to be visited ofGod. She was, first of all, at that moment smarting under a sense of wrong. She felt that Sarah had not treated her well andin all probability Sarah had not. The Eastern mistress is often very tyrannical towards her servants, and Hagar stood verymuch in the position of a slave. We do not doubt but what the jealous wife had been very severe-unjustly severe towards thewoman. There she sat by the well, feeling bitterness in her own soul, that in the house of good people where she had expectedbetter things, she had been treated with injustice. It did not seem likely that the God of Abraham would call her when herheart was seething like a pot with indignation against the household where God was worshipped! At the same time, as she turnedthe matter over and her soul grew more and more bitter within her, I should not wonder but what she felt she had brought agood deal of it upon herself. She was but the servant and she had desired to play the mistress. She had despised the mistress-nodoubt spoken to her very contemptuously-and now it had returned upon her and she was made to suffer for her own pride. Herproud, fierce spirit, perhaps, did not admit it, but yet she must have felt in her conscience that much of what was wrongabout her she had, notwithstanding, brought upon
herself. Now when a person is under such a feeling as that, disturbed, tossed to and fro, vexed, distracted-it does not seema likely time for them to hear the voice of God speaking to their souls!
Moreover, at that moment she was leaving all that was good. She had turned her back upon the household, the chosen household-leftit, I will not say deliberately, but at any rate she had left it. She was going down into Egypt-going "anywhere, anywhereout of the world," so that she could but get away from the place where her bondage had become irksome. She was going, shescarcely knew where, but she probably did know that she was going into heathendom, among heathen people. The best she couldhope to meet with was separation from God. She could not but feel that it was black darkness which was before her and shewas rushing madly into it because her high spirit would not bend-would not bow-would not yield before the majesty of the MostHigh. I think I see her there, her eyes red with weeping, her spirit broken down with the hunger of her journey, sitting awhile and refreshed a moment, and resolved not to stoop and never to go back-and then, again, shuddering at the darkness thatlay before her and afraid to go on. It was in such a state as that that God met with her! To all intents and purposes shewas a friendless, outcast woman. She had left the only tents where she could claim a shelter. She had gone into the wilderness-nofather, no mother, no brother, no sister to care for her. She turned her back upon those who had any interest in her and nowshe was left alone-alone, alone in a desert land without an eye to pity or a hand to help! It was then, under those peculiarcircumstances of trial and of sin commingled, that God met with her!
I have been wondering in my soul, when I turned over this text, whether there would stray into this Tabernacle some kindredcase, and whether, though no angel spoke, yet the voice of man might be tonight the voice of the Messenger of the Covenantto some poor soul? I know you not by name, nor face, yet I know well your feelings! It may be tonight you are sorely angry,greatly vexed, smarting, wrathful! You have made up your mind to choose the world and give up every semblance of that whichis good. It may be tonight that you have lost everything that makes earth worth living in. You long for death-you would almostseek the place where the lamps quiver on the dark river, for your spirit is bitterness, itself, your lamp of hope is goneout! Oh, but it may be that this is the night when God's mighty mercy is ordained to meet with you-the very evening in whichthe Lord shall call out your name and you shall feel that He knows you, your case, your circumstances and that He has cometo call you to Himself and you never might have been called had not these extremities of yours brought God to your rescueand to your salvation! I do not suppose that there will be anyone whose case exactly resembles that of the text, but it hassometimes happened that the turning point of human life has been the point of great sorrow, great penury and distress of mindon account of some gigantic fault, or it has been the time of some dreadful alternative put before the soul in which it seemedas though it must be God or devil that night-Heaven or Hell that night-eternal joy or eternal misery that night! On some suchstrange occasion as this in your mental history you have come here tonight-may God, who is here, speak with you! A singularseason for mercy! Now, secondly, let us look at-
II. THE MODE OF MERCY, OR THE HOME QUESTIONS WHICH THE ANGEL PUT TO HER.
She is sitting there by the well. It is in a desert. It may be a little oasis on the road, but there is no one within sight,nor any probability of any caravan passing that way. As she sits quite still, she hears a voice, "Hagar." She starts, shelooks up and there is a brightness like the sun above her-it shines brighter than the sun at noonday! She can scarcely bearthe light, and she hears it again, "Hagar, Sarah's maid." Whoever it is that is speaking knows who she is, and what she is,and all about her. "Where have you come from? And where will you go?" She is so startled-she has just been thinking of theplace from where she came-and that dismal question had just been starting her mind. "Where will you go?" She felt that therewas no place for her to go. It was only a choice of equal horror-she knew not where to go. Now remark this, that very oftenthe Gospel call comes to the sons of men not by a voice heard by the ear, but through the ministry in the way of describingthe person's case with minute accuracy. It was the Savior's way of doing it when He was on earth. The woman was by the well.The Savior spoke to her. The words did not seem to take effect. He turned the subject, and He said, "Go, call your husbandand come here." "I have no husband," she said. If she could blush, she blushed then-"I have no husband." "You have said well,'I have no husband,' for you have had five husbands, and he whom you now have is not your husband. In that you said truly."Then the shock went to her very heart! She perceived that He who spoke was something more than man. And when the Gospel fullypreached describes the sinner, paints him, photographs him, holds it before him and makes him say, "Why, that is me-he speaksof me-it is even me," then it is that the soul perceives what Hagar perceived-that God saw her-and that she might look toGod!
Now I shall not endeavor to make any picture of you, dear Hearer. If I were to try it, I could not do it-it is only the Lord,Himself, who guides us in such matters. But I will put the question to you, "Where have you come from?" Did you
come into the condition in which you now are out of a godly parentage? Have you got into London sin, but was there a timewhen you once knelt at your mother's knee at eventide and repeated a gracious prayer? Ah, you have spent many a day and manya night in the haunts of sin! You were once a teacher in the Sabbath school-once a lover of the Gospel (at least professedlyso) which now you turn from and abhor! "Where have you come from?" From old impressions that have been forgotten? From anold profession that has been disgraced? Were you once honorable, but now dishonorable- once a servant of God, but now a servantat the devil's altar-a ringleader in sin it may be, though once you were at Heaven's own gates? "Where have you come from?"Remember from where you have fallen, and repent! And "where will you go?" Oh, let me put the question! You stand tonight justhere, "Where will you go?" Another sin tempts you tonight-will you commit it? I would gladly stand with you, as the old Scythiandid of old when his country was about to be invaded by the foe. He drew a line before the chieftain of the invading host,and said, "Cross that line, and there is war forever! Stay there and there may be peace." I put a line before your steps tonight!In the name of the everlasting God, I charge you cease from that sin! Once more commit it and it may be that no mercy's trumpetshall ever sound out a message of forgiveness to you again! "Where will you go?" Oh, go not like a dog to your vomit, likethe sow that was washed to her wallowing! Go no further, for "where will you go" in the future? A man who sins today willsin worse tomorrow, and the next day even worse. Many a young man, when he has commenced with what are called the folliesof London life, had no idea that he would end it debauched, depraved and abandoned! Many a woman, when she has once begunto trifle with sin, had no idea that her name would be coupled one day with infamy! Many a young man at his master's tillis scrupulously honest, today, and never dreams that he will one day be a thief-yet he is about to take a step that will surelymake him so-the first step to evil!
Oh, "where will you go?" I believe that many a man, many a woman, if they could go back 20 years and be young people, again,and have their history written, the true history as they lived it, would say, "I never shall live so. Is your servant a dogthat he should do this thing?" They would have been indignant at the supposition that they could ever be capable of the transgressioninto which they have now actually fallen! "Where will you go?" Stop! Stop! You who are marching on to evil, stop! In the nameof Him that lives, stop, lest you march to damnation and take one step that shall be your inevitable ruin, for this is theworst of it! "Where will you go?" The way of sin is the way of destruction! Men cannot sin and be happy. The end, the end,the end, the end of it, oh, think of it! It is not today, nor tomorrow, but it is that dying hour-no, it is not that only-itis that hour when, up from among the dead, you shall arise amidst the ringing of the Last Judgment trumpet! It is that openingof the books, that reading of the several dooms-that separation of the righteous from the wicked-it is that which hangs uponthis question, "Where will you go?" Oh, go not to the Judgment unforgiven! Go not to the Judgment to be condemned, to be castinto the place "where their worm dies not, and their fire is not quenched." God save you, Sinner! May He save you tonightinstrumentally by the force of those two questions-"Where have you come from? Where will you go?"
And now let us notice, attentively, having observed the remarkable season and the home questions, let us notice attentively-
III. THE DISCOVERY AND ITS CONSEQUENCES.
The description had been so accurate-"Hagar, Sarah's maid." The questions had been so pertinent, had stuck so close to hersoul-"Where have you come from? And where will you go?" that she said, "It is God, it is God that speaks to me." And therecame home to her what she had often heard before, but never felt. "There is a God. God is not an impalpable somebody up therewho has nothing to do with me, but there is God here, here, and He sees me! It is God that deals with me-not far away, asleep,or blind, but God sees me!" Oh, it is a glorious thing when a soul starts up to that conviction, "I am not alone, I am notfriendless, after all. There is a God and a God who sees me and who takes such notice of note that He speaks to me." A manis never saved until he gets to feel something of the nearness of God, God in Christ Jesus, but yet God. Consciousness ofDeity is one of the marks of salvation. Now Hagar's thoughts must have been something like this. "After all, there is Somebodythat has seen me and marked all my past life, though I did not see Him. He knows everything that I have done or thought, orsaid, and I perceive now that He has spoken to me, that He cares about me. I thought Abraham did not care for me, Sarah wasangry, and then I said, 'No man cares for my soul, and I will go away.' Now I see that God was watching me and He has caredabout me, and though He did not interpose to help me just then, just when I was so bitterly oppressed, yet I know He has caredfor me, for at last, when I was sitting on this well, alone, He spoke to my soul." Sinner, I pray the Holy Spirit to makejust this discovery to you, that, after all, God does care about you! He who made the heavens and the earth does think ofyou! Though you are little, and less than nothing as compared with the bulk of His vast Creation, yet on you He sets His eyes,for you He has a care!
"Well," Hagar said in her soul, "seeing that He cares for me, He will interpose on my behalf." The Angel, who spoke, spokewords of comfort to her heart-told her that there was a happier future in store for her than she dreamed-sent her away witha comfortable word ringing in her ears! Oh, Soul, I pray God to do that for you tonight! You have said, "God has forgottenme." He knows all about you. It may be this is the Truth of God-I hope it is-that your name is written on the palms of Jesus'hands! What if it should turn out that you, rebellious sinner that you are, are one whom God loved before the foundation ofthe world? What if you are one of His chosen, whom the Savior bought with His blood? What if you are one who shall surelysit in Heaven, wear the white robe and sing the new song-what if you are a favored one of the Most High? Oh, I think I hearyou say, "If I had half a thought that that was true, I would not lie down in despair-I would up and bestir myself and I wouldhave done with my old companions! I would have done with my old sins, if that were true!" Oh, Soul, I cannot tell you thatit is true-I hope it is-but I can tell you one thing that is true, namely, that if you will now come and put your trust inJesus Christ, and repent of your iniquities, then it is all true! I can only know your election by your calling! I can onlytell your calling by your repentance and by your faith! And if you should find peace, tonight, and I pray you may, then youare God's beloved! He who made the heavens loves you! He who made the earth bought you with His blood and Heaven would notbe complete without you! What if you have been far off by wicked works, yet still you are a child and Heaven shall yet ringwith music on your return! What if you have been lost in the filth of drunkenness and all manner of lasciviousness, yet stilla piece of God's precious silver, the house shall be swept for you and the candle lit, and you shall yet be found and putinto the Savior's treasury! Oh, what hope this ought to make well up in the poor hopeless sinner's heart! It is not becauseof your goodness, but because of His Infinite goodness that He comes to meet with you, unworthy as you are, for He sees you-Hesees you-with thoughts of love He sees you and tonight He interposes as He calls you by your name!
Now when Hagar made that discovery, she made another at the same time. She said, "Have I also here seen Him who sees me?"-asmuch as to say, and probably she had not known it before, that as God could come to her, so she could go to God. "God haslooked after me, and now I can look after Him." There is not a great gulf between the creature and the Creator. We can sendmessages to Heaven and receive blessings from Heaven. She felt from that moment that God was real, living, appreciable andthat God would hear her prayers and answer her petitions-and had really and literally spoken to her. Oh, I do not know anythingthat puts such strength into a man, such encouragement, such joy makes him so patient as the belief that God has spoken tohim-that God has spoken in words of love and promise to him! Why, from that day poor Hagar would say, "I will go back. I willgo back. The God of Abraham has spoken to me. Abraham may be unkind, but I will bear it, for Abraham's God has spoken to me.Sarah may be more cross than ever-never mind, I do not know that I can tell her of it, but oh, it will be such a joy in mysoul-God has spoken to me, assured me of His favor, given me a blessing!" Now that young man who thinks he has been so badlytreated, if he gets his sins pardoned tonight, and the Lord speaks with him, he will go back and say, "I daresay I was asmuch to blame as anybody, but, whether or not, I am saved and I can now put up with anything!" And that man who is so poorthat he would hardly dare come even into this Tabernacle because his clothes were so shabby, and he was ready to say, "I willgive up the battle of life. I will never try again"-oh, if he were able to say, "I know that God has spoken with me tonight,brought me to the Savior's feet and blotted out my sin"-oh! dear Brother, you will pick up the weapons, again, and go to thebattle of life once more, and your poverty will seem to have lost its edge! The bitterness will have departed! The iron willnot enter into your soul! Get a word from God and know that you are His child, and you can say, "Now blow, you winds, rage,you waves, and all you elements let forth your fury-the God that rules you all is now my Friend! No hurt can you do to
If you notice, it was just so with Hagar when she had heard the voice of the Lord and perceived that God saw her and thatshe could speak to God-then at once she went back. Told to go back, back she went-submitted herself. You don't find her againpersonally-though the old blood came up afterwards in her son-you don't find her quarrelling with her mistress, but she patientlybears her lot in the recollection of the blessing that she had received. This is just the way with men, willful, wayward,headstrong-but when they get the Grace of God, they bend their shoulders to Christ's yoke and they become tame and gentle.Because they are happy in God's love, they are patient in the ills of this life. Remember the story of the poor raving maniac.They had often bound him with chains, but he snapped them asunder. He had left his family and gone to dwell among the tombs.He made night hideous with his screams and howls. Men dared not pass that way, for he was worse than a wild beast! He hadcut himself and torn his flesh, torn himself with stones and briars-none could tame him! But after Jesus had said to the evilspirit, "I charge you that you come out of him," we find him clothed, which he had not been for many a day, in his right mindand sitting at the feet of Jesus! Oh, if some wild
spirit is here now, some spirit driven to it by suffering, by neglect, by injustice from others-and also by its own personalsin-if the Lord brings you to trust in Jesus, His dear Son, and see your sin all laid upon Him, then you will, even at thismoment, be a different man! Your wife will scarcely know you, nor your children, either! You will become another than youhave ever been before. You will go back to your business, back to your burdens, back to your sufferings and bear them allfor the sake of Him that spoke out of Heaven and saved your soul!
Now the most of this I daresay is not applicable to the most of you. You know I have been thinking, while preaching, thatyou might say I had not been preaching except to some one or two that were here. Well, I will tell you my excuse. "What manof you, if he has an hundred sheep, if he loses one, does not leave the ninety and nine, and go after that which is gone astray?"After that "gone-astray one" I have gone! And my Master, too! Amen.
EXPOSITION BY C. H. SPURGEON: 1 CORINTHIANS 13; EPHESIANS1.
1 CORINTHIANS 13
Verse 1. Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I have become as a sounding brass, ora tinkling symbol If there is no love to God, and no love to man, the vital element is lacking. Whatever sound we make, ifthe Word of God is not in us, it is a sound that has no meaning, conveys no heavenly meaning. "I have become as a soundingbrass, or a tinkling cymbal." What if any of us who bears witness for Christ with our tongues should be found to be no betterthan this?
2. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, sothat I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. Judas had, no doubt, faith in God's miracles, but yet hewas not saved. Selfishness was his ruling motive-he had no love to God or man. How this clips the wings of those lofty oneswho hover on high, boasting of their knowledge and of their gifts! There are many who have few gifts-obscure and unknown,but love God much-these are the accepted ones! Before God the balances of the sanctuary are rather turned by the shekel oflove than by any weight of talent or position.
3. And though Ibestow allmy goods to feed thepoor, and though Igive my body to be burned, andhave not charity, it profitsme nothing. Love is a matter of the heart, and if the heart is not right with God, external acts, though they are very similarto the highest acts that flow from love, are of no service! God requires the heart to be right, and if that is not right,whatever comes out of us is not acceptable in His sight.
4. 5. Charity suffers long, and is kind; charity envies not; charity vaunts not itself, is not puffed up. Does not behaveitself unseemly, seeks not her own, is not easily provoked, thinks no evil Always try to put the best construction on otherpeople's actions and work. Let gentleness triumph.
6-11. Rejoices not in iniquity, but rejoices in the truth. Bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, enduresall things. Charity never fails: but where there are prophecies, they shall fail; where there are tongues, they shall cease;where there is knowledge, it shall vanish away. For we know in part, and we prophesy in part But when that which is perfectis come, then that which is in part shall be done a way with. When I was a child, I spoke as a child, I understood as a child,I thought as a child: but when I become a man, I put away childish things. Much of what we call knowledge, much of what wecall eloquence, will all be put away. As our spiritual growth shall increase, we shall not need these childish things.
12, 13. For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then, face to face: now I know in part; but then shall I know even asalso I am known. And now abides faith, hope, charity, these three. Three abiding Graces. Some have said that faith and hopewill not be found in Heaven. Why not? Why not? It seems to me there will be plenty of room for them- plenty of space for them.Am I to be an unbeliever when I get to Heaven? Am I not to believe when my disembodied spirit goes to Heaven? Am I not tobelieve in the resurrection of the dead? Am I not hopefully to expect it? Am I not in Heaven to believe in the Second Adventof Christ? Am I not to be hoping for it? Am I not to believe in the complete conquest of Christ, and that He shall reign fromthe river, even to the ends of the earth? And am I not to hope for it? To miss faith and hope in Heaven were to miss two thingswhich the Apostle expressly tells us are the abiding things!
13. But the greatest of these is charity. It is the highest, the pinnacle. It is not the foundation-that is faith. Just asa rose in full bloom is greater than the stem that bears it, so, while faith is most necessary, and hope most cheering, loveis the most beautiful and brightest of the three!
Verse 1. Paul, an Apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God. He was not made an Apostle by man, neither did he take the officeupon himself, but he was made an Apostle by the will of God.
1. To the saints which are at Ephesus, and to the faithful in Christ Jesus. The saints in Ephesus, the saints where they cried,"Great is Diana of the Ephesians," had to bear an earnest witness against idolatry. And, dear Friends, today saints in Londonwill not have a very easy time of it if they are faithful to their Lord, for there is much to protest against in this evilgeneration! But as there were holy ones in Ephesus, God grant that there may be many such in London!
2. Grace be to you, and peace, from God our Father, and from the Lord Jesus Christ. Paul would have us peaceful, restful,quiet. That peace must be based upon Divine Grace-he does not pray that we may have peace apart from Grace, but, "Grace beto you, and peace."
3, 4. Blessed be the God andFather ofour Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with allspiritual blessings in heavenly placesin Christ: According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world. The high mystery of Election is taughtin the Word of God, but some are afraid to speak of it. Not so our Apostle! He brings it out very clearly and distinctly,and so should we, only taking care to keep it in the proportion of other Doctrines.
4, 5. That we should be holy and without blame before Him in love. Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children byJesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will. You hear much about the free will of man. Hear a littleabout the free will of God! You would think, from the talk of some, that God was man's debtor and must do according to thewill of man. But it is not so. He is a Sovereign, and gives His Grace to whom He chooses, and He would have us know that itis according to the good pleasure of His will.
6. To the praise of the glory of His Grace, wherein He has made us accepted in the Beloved. Are there four words in any languagewhich contain choicer meaning than these, "Accepted in the Beloved"? Oh, if you can say that, if you can feel it to be true,you are among the happiest of men and women! "Accepted in the Beloved." You can never be accepted apart from Christ, the Father'sbest Beloved. But there is merit enough in Him to overflow and cover all our sins, and we are accepted in the Beloved.
7. In whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches ofHis Grace. Notice howthe Apostle keeps on insisting that we have everything in Christ. He says, times out of number, "in Him," "in Christ." Wehave redemption. We are free. We are no longer under bonds. What is the price? "Through His blood." What is the result? "Forgivenessof sins." What is the measure of our liberty? "According to the riches of His Grace."
8. Wherein He has abounded toward us in all wisdom and prudence. Not drowning us with floods of His Grace, but handing itout to us as we are able to take it. The riches of His Grace we have, but He uses wisdom and prudence, teaching us littleby little as we are able to bear it, and raising us up by degrees from one stage of Grace to another, according as our poorframes can endure the joy!
9. 10. Having made known unto us the mystery ofHis will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself:That in the dispensation of the fullness of times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both which are inHeaven, and which are on earth; even in Him. There are things in Christ in Heaven. There are things in Christ on earth. Butall the things in Christ shall be gathered together. All the redeemed shall come as one great host to bow before the Throneof the Infinite Majesty.
11. In whom also-Notice those words.
11. We have obtained an inheritance. We have got the inheritance. Even now we have entered upon possession of the Kingdomof Grace.
11, 12. Being predestinated according to the purpose of Him who works all things after the counsel ofHis own will; That weshould be to the praise ofHis glory, who first trusted in Christ. The first saints led the way in the front of the army, andthey are to the praise of God's Glory to this day. We thank God for the Apostles and martyrs who went before us. We will followthem as they followed Christ.
13. In whom you also trusted, after that you heard the word of truth, the Gospel ofour salvation: in whom also after thatyou believed, you were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise. After faith, the Holy Spirit is given to dwell in the soul.That is the seal. It is not that the Holy Spirit brings a seal with Him. He is the Seal. Where He dwells, He is the seal ofGod's love to that man.
14. Which is the earnest ofour inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise ofHis glory.The Holy Spirit is first, the seal, and next, the earnest. We all know what an earnest is. It is different from a pledge.A pledge is given and then it is taken back again when the stipulation is carried out. But an earnest is part of
what is to be ultimately received. The man who receives an earnest of his wage gets a few shillings, say, on Thursday, insteadof taking all on Saturday. He never returns that. It is a part of his wages. And so the Holy Spirit is a part of him. Whenwe have got Him, we have got Christ-
"You are the earnest of His love,
The pledge of joys to come;
And Your soft wings, Celestial Dove,
Shall safely convey me home." 15, 16. Therefore I, also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto allthe saints, cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers. Is that the way that we pray? Do we makemention of people in our prayers? It is well to do so! It is a good plan to keep a list of persons for whom we ought to prayand to put it before us when we draw near to God, and go over the names. I know one man of God who has kept a debtor and creditorlist with God for many years. He puts his requests down in the book, and when they are answered he puts that down, and ifthey are not answered, he repeats them. It is a very wonderful book. I think that he told me that there is a name down thereof a person for whom he has prayed, who is not converted yet, and that out of several for whom he began to pray, he is theonly one who is not converted-and that he is the only one that is alive! The others were brought to Christ and died in thefaith, but he, not yet brought to Christ, still lives-and my friend prays on with as great a confidence of the conversionof that man as I have that Christmas will come in due time! I wish that we did business with God in some such fashion as that,but our prayers are shadowy, unreal. God teach us how to pray!
17, 18. That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of Glory, may give unto you the spirit of wisdom and revelationin the knowledge of Him: The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling.You see he gave thanks to God for their faith and for their love. But there are three Divine sisters that must never be separated-faith,hope, and love, and so the Apostle prays, "that you may know what is the hope of His calling."
18-21. And what the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints. And what is the exceeding greatness of His powerto us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power which He worked in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead,andset Him at His right hand in the heavenly places. Far above all principality, andpower, andmight, and dominion, and everyname that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come. See how high Christ is raised! The same powerthat brought Christ from the dead and set Him on high, works in the salvation of every Believer! Nothing less than Omnipotencecan save a soul-and Omnipotence at its very best in the glorification of Christ is none too great for the salvation of a sinner!
22, 23. Andhasput all things under His feet, andgave Him to be the Head over all things to the church, which is His body,the fullness of Him that fills all-in-all May God bless to us the reading of that Chapter.