Intended for Reading on Lord's-day, February 1st, 1891.
C. H. SPURGEON,
At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
|Men shall be blessed in him: all nations shall call him blessed.| -- Psalm 72:17.
THERE are many famous names in human history; but many of them are connected with deeds which have brought no blessing upon mankind. To bless, and to be blessed, is the noblest sort of fame; and yet how few have thought it worth the seeking! Full many a name in the roll of fame has been written there with a finger dipped in blood. It would seem as if men loved those most who have killed the most of them. They call those greatest who have been the greatest cutthroats. They make their greatest illuminations over massacres of their fellows, calling them victories. To be set aloft upon a column, or represented by a public statue, or to have poets ringing out your name, it seems to be necessary to grasp the sword, and to hack and slay your fellow-men. Is it not too sadly true that when men have been cursed by one of their leaders they henceforth call him great? O misery, that wholesale murder should be the shortest method of becoming illustrious!
There is one name that will last when all others shall have died out; and that name is connected with blessing, and only with blessing. Jesus Christ came into the world on purpose to bless men. Men, as a race, find in him a blessing wide as the world. While he was here he blessed, and cursed not. All around him, both by speech, and act, and glance, and thought, he was an incarnate blessing. All that came to him, unless they wilfully rejected him, obtained blessings at his hands. The home of his infancy, the friends of his youth, the comrades of his manhood, he blessed unsparingly. To bless men, he labored. To bless men, he parted with everything, and became poor. To bless men, at last he died. Those outstretched hands upon the cross are spread wide in benediction, and they are fastened there as if they would remain outstretched till the whole world is blessed. Our Lord's resurrection from the dead brings blessings to mankind. Redemption from the grave, and life eternal, he has won for us. He waited on earth a while, until he ascended, blessing men as he went up. His last attitude below the skies was that of pronouncing a blessing upon his disciples. He is gone into the glory; but he has not ceased to bless our race. The Holy Spirit came among us soon after the ascension, because Jesus had received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also. The wonderful blessings which are comprised in the work, person, and offices of the Holy Spirit -- all these come to us through Jesus Christ, the ever-blessed and ever-blessing One. Still he loves to bless. Standing at the helm of all affairs, he guides the tiller of Providence with a view to the blessing of his chosen. He spends his time still in making intercession for transgressors, that the blessing of God may rest upon them; while his Spirit, who is his Vicegerent here below, is evermore occupied with blessing the sons of men. Our Lord Jesus will soon come a second time, and in that glorious hour, though his left hand must deal out justice, still his right hand will lavish blessing. His chief end and bent in his coming will be that he may largely bless those loving hearts that watch for his appearing. Christ is all blessing. When you have written down his name, you have pointed to the fountain from which all blessings flow; you have named that Sun of righteousness to whose beams we owe every good and perfect gift. From the beginning, throughout all eternity, the Lord Jesus blesses men.
|O'er every foe victorious,
He on his throne shall rest;
From age to age more glorious
All blessing and all blest.
The tide of time shall never
His covenant remove
His name shall stand for ever,
That name to us is -- Love.|
I purpose, at this time, if the Lord shall help me, to speak very simply about the fullness of blessing which comes from our Master and Lord. First saying, dear friends, that we ourselves are living proofs of the statement that men shall be blessed in him; then, desiring to say, in the second place, that we have seen it to be true in others also; and, thirdly, expressing our conviction that it shall be true, on the largest scale, with the nations: |All nations shall be blessed in him,| and therefore they shall call him blessed.
I. First, then, WE OURSELVES ARE LIVING WITNESSES THAT MEN ARE BLESSED IN CHRIST. You and I do not pretend to be great sages, famous philosophers, or learned divines; but we feel when a pin pricks us, or when a dog bites us. We have sense enough to know when a thing tastes well or ill in the eating. We know chalk from cheese, as the proverb hath it. We know somewhat about our own wants; and we also know when we get those wants supplied. We have not mastered the extraordinary, but in the common-place we feel at home. A man is none the worse witness in court because he does not know all the technical terms used in science. A judge is never better pleased than when he sees in the witness-box: some plain, blunt, honest fellow, who will blunder out the truth. We will speak the truth at this time, so far as we know it, whether we offend or please. Every man is to speak as he finds; and we will speak concerning Jesus Christ as we have found him. I will try, if I can, to be spokesman for all present who are believers in Christ, and I ask a patient hearing.
We bear witness that we have been blessed in him. How much, how deeply, how long, and in how many ways we have been blessed in him, I will not undertake to say; but this I will say most emphatically, for many of you now present, whose lives and histories I know almost as I know my own, we have in verity, beyond all question, been blessed in Jesus to the highest degree, and of this we are sure. We believe and faith grasps the first blessing -- that we have received a great blessing in Christ by the removal of a curse which otherwise must have rested upon us. That curse did overshadow us once, for it is written, Cursed is every one that continueth not in all things which are written in the Book of the Law to do them.| We could not keep the law: we did not keep it: we gave up all hope of keeping it. Therefore, the dark thunder-cloud of that tremendous sentence hung over us, and we heard the voice of justice speaking out of it, like a volley of the dread artillery of God in the day of tempest. The thunder of the curse rolled heavily over our heads and hearts. How some of us cowered down and trembled! We can never forget the horror of our soul under the near apprehension of divine wrath. To be cursed of God meant all woes in one. Some of us were brought very low indeed by the frown of a guilty conscience. We gave up even the dream of hope. We thought ourselves effectually, finally, and everlastingly condemned; and so indeed we should have found it, had there not been a divine Interposer. But now that curse is taken from us, and we do not dread its return, for he was made a curse for us, of whose name we are speaking now -- even he |who knew no sin, but was made sin for us, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him.| No curse now remaineth: only blessing abideth. Hallelujah! If our Lord had done nothing else for us but the rolling away of the curse, he would have blessed us infinitely, and we would have blessed him for ever. If he had accomplished nothing but the bearing away of our sin into the wilderness -- as the scapegoat of old bore away the iniquity of Israel -- he would have done enough to set our tongues for ever praising him. He has lifted from the world the weight of the eternal curse; therefore, let all the bells of our cities ring out his honor, and all the voices of the villages sing forth his praise. O ye stars of light, shine to his glory; for he is blessed beyond all earthly measure! Let our grateful hearts in silence mean and muse his praise.
The negative being removed, we have had a positive actual experience of blessing, for God has blessed us in Christ Jesus, and we know that none are more blest than we are. We are now not at all the men that we used to be as to our inward feelings. Some years ago, under the apprehension of divine wrath, we were unhappy and troubled, so that we could find no rest; but now we are blessed in Christ so greatly that we are at perfect peace, and our soul has dropped its anchor in the haven of content. Our joy is usually as great as formerly our sorrow used to be. We feared our sorrow would kill us: we now sometimes think that our joy is more likely to do so, for it becomes so intense that at times we can scarcely bear it, much less speak it. As we could get no rest before, so now, by faith, we feel as if we never lost that rest, for we are so quiet of heart, so calm, so settled, that we sing, |My heart is fixed, O God; my heart is fixed!| Not because temporal circumstances are quite as we would wish them, but because we have learned to leave off wishing, we are now more than satisfied. Getting God's blessing upon everything, we have learned to be content, and something more: we joy in God through our Lord Jesus Christ. We used to fret before we knew him; but his love has ended that. We thought we could do things better than God could, and we did not like his way of managing; but he has taught us to be like children, pleased with whatever our Father provides; and therefore we joyfully declare, |My soul is even as a weaned child: I have nothing to wish for. I want nothing but what my Father pleases to give me.| Having God's sweet love, we would not give a snap of the finger for all that princes call their treasure, or all that great men reckon to be their honor. Unto us who believe, Christ is precious -- both treasure and honor in one: in fact, Christ is all. It is a delightful calm of mind which the believer enjoys when he dwells in Christ. Humble faith puts the soul into the guardian hand of the Redeemer, and leaves it there in the restfulness of entire trust. Grace baptizes us into blessedness. It plunges us into that sea of everlasting rest in which we hope for ever to bathe our weary souls. Yes, blessed be his name, the Lord Jesus has made life worth living! It is no longer |something better not to be.| We must speak well of the condition into which he has introduced us, since we have known his name. |Well, Jack, old fellow,| said one who met a man who had lately joined the church, |I hear you have given up all your pleasures.| |No, no,| said Jack;| the fact lies the other way. I have just found all my pleasures, and I have only given up my follies.| Every Christian man can confirm that way of putting it. We who have believed in Jesus have lost no real pleasures, but we have gained immensely in that direction. If anything sinful was a pleasure to us once, it is not so now: when we discovered it to be evil, it ceased to be pleasure, and we thrust it away without regret. We have lost nothing by conversion that was worth the keeping; but what we gained by coming to Christ has been an inconceivable recompense to us. Is it not so, brethren? Are we not blessed in Christ?
Now, there are some of us who, if we were asked to tell what blessings we have received from Christ, would scarcely know where to begin, and when we had once begun, we should never leave off unless it were from sheer want of time or strength. Brethren, certain of us owe all that we have to the influence of the Lord Jesus. From our birth and childhood we were indebted to the Lord Jesus Christ. Some of us now present had the great felicity to spring of godly parents: before we knew the meaning of language, that softly sweet name of Jesus Christ was sung in our ears. The kindness that we received in our earliest days was very much of it due to |Gentle Jesus,| of whom our mothers taught us to sing. He found for us the first swaddling bands of love, and watched over our first sleep. Ah! those poor children of the back streets -- children who are trained in infamy and blasphemy, how sad their start in life! But some of us had great advantages, which were granted us of sovereign grace by his dear pierced hand. We bless the Lord who saved our parents, and, through saving them, sent to our trembling infancy a mine and a mint of blessing. In our opening childhood we began to understand for ourselves the loving influence of an affectionate and anxious mother, and then golden showers of grace fell on us from the love of Jesus. We recollect, some of us, those hours on the Sabbath, when mother would talk with us of heavenly things; with tears in her eyes persuading her boy to give his heart to Jesus early, and not to let his first days be spent in sin. We remember a wise and prudent father, whose example and instruction all went the same way. The comforts of our home -- and they were many -- we owed them all to Jesus, for his love made our parents what they were, and created a holy, happy atmosphere around us. He might have left our father to frequent the drunkard's haunt, and might have suffered our mother to be what many mothers are, unworthy of the name, and then our childhood would have been utter wretchedness, and our home the nursery of vice. Education in crime might have been ours: we might have been tutored for the gallows. Since that, we have had to shift for ourselves, and have left the parental roof; but I, for one, have been casting my thoughts back, to see if I could remember any good thing that I have which I do not owe to the Lord Jesus Christ. I do not know that I have anything that I cannot distinctly trace to him and his influence. I have many Christian friends -- most valuable friends I find them: but my association with them commenced in the house of God; and the friendship between us has been cemented by common service yielded to our blessed Master. Many of you would hardly have had a friend in the world if it had not been that Jesus introduced you to his disciples, and they have been the best friends you have ever had, or ever will have. You used to know certain fine fellows who called themselves your friends, and as long as you had a shilling to bless yourself with, they stuck to you to have sixpence of it. You know the style of their friendship, and you must now have serious doubts as to its value. Well, they left you when you became Christians, and their departure has been a very gainful loss to you. When they cleared out altogether, you found that their removal was for your good, if not for their own. But those friends you have made in Christ have been really helpful to you. They have deeply sympathized with you, and as far as they could they have helped you. Many have been carried through sharp trials by the help of Christian hands. But, whatever you may have to say on the point, I am personally a debtor, over head and ears, to my Saviour. What is there -- I repeat the question -- that I do not owe to Jesus? I am again and again thinking, and thinking, and thinking; but if anything which I call my own be worth the having, I must trace it to him. And are you not, dear friends, many of you, compelled to say the same? Amongst the best things you have are your Sabbaths; but they are his days -- his resurrection days. Your Bible, too, is a priceless treasure; but that is his Testament -- his legacy of love. The mercy-seat is a storehouse of wealth; but he is that mercy-seat, and his own blood is sprinkled on it. You have nothing, dear friend, that you do not owe to Jesus, the fountain of salvation. You are blessed in him.
I might single out another class of persons, who, from quite another point of view, would be compelled to say that they, also, have been blessed in Christ. They started in another way, and were upon a road which led to death, but they have been rescued. Some of you started life in the midst of an entirely worldly family. There was kindness -- parental kindness, in the home, but it was unwise. Abundance of temporal enjoyment was always supplied, but there was a very scanty recognition of anything like religion; and, indeed, no knowledge whatever of personal piety. It is little wonder that young persons, who are trained in a godless manner, and allowed to do very much as they like, should plunge into this sin, and into that. That some young men are saved is a special miracle, for their circumstances make their ruin almost inevitable. I am addressing some of my Christian brethren, who remember what liberty to sin was, and how they availed themselves of it. They took large license to destroy themselves under the presence of seeing the world, and they were never content except when they were gratifying their passions, and obeying the commands of the devil. In their salvation they have been blessed indeed.
But you also who have gone to no great extent in open sin, you also have been signally blessed in Christ by gracious and unmistakable conversion. In receiving the Lord Jesus into your soul, what a change has been made! From what a bondage have you been rescued! Into what a new life have you been brought! What new scenes now open up before you! What new hopes, what new joys, what new prospects, are all your own! Do I speak to some who plunged into the very grossest sin, and yet can say, |But we are washed, but we are sanctified|? Blessed be our dear Master's name for grace to such individuals! Such indeed are blessed in him. I know that I am addressing those who had in their earliest days the very worst example; who have been brought into the house of God from the place where Satan's seat is; who cannot, after years of godliness, get out of their memory the recollection of the bad, depraved old times of their youth. In your salvation Jesus has wrought a blessed deed. You could drink as others drank. You could fall into sins of uncleanness as others did. Let us say very little about these open evils. I do not like to hear men talk about their old sins as if they were adventures: they are a shame and a sorrow to all right-minded persons. We humbly hint at them to the praise of the glory of his grace: for great grace it was in the case of some of us. Oh, but the day in which you first knew that dear name; felt repentance melting your hard heart; felt hope springing up in your formerly insensible spirit; began to see that there was something nobler and better to live for than merely to gratify sensual passions; that you were an immortal spirit, and not meant to fatten like the swine, but were created to be a brother of the angels, and to be akin to God himself -- that was a happy day -- a day written in heaven, and made bright with the light of seven days! When Jesus changed your nature, and forgave your sins, and made you to be like himself, you were indeed blessed in him.
I want you now to look back again. I ought not to tire you, even if my talk should seem dull and commonplace, because to recollect what God has given, and to be grateful concerning it, ought to be a sweet pastime to each one of us. It is not only a duty, but a recreation to be grateful. I do not know any emotion which can give greater joy than that of thankfulness to the Most High. Dear friends, the Lord has greatly blessed us in the name of Jesus in times of very special trouble. I may not be able to describe your personal trial, but I will take one as a specimen. Depression of spirits comes upon the man. He scarcely knows how or why, but his soul melteth because of heaviness. There is, at the back of his sadness, probably, some real trial: this he is very apt to magnify, and make more of than need be, and also to expect a dark and terrible calamity to come which will not come; but yet the foreboding is as real a trial as if the catastrophe had actually occurred. The poor despondent creature cannot endure himself, but almost grows weary of life. Like the king of Israel, who had all that heart could wish -- gardens, and palaces, and singing men, and singing women -- who had all the appurtenances, both of folly and of wisdom, to make him happy, yet he cries |Vanity of vanities; all is vanity.| Nothing will cheer this child of grief: he is downcast and desolate. If you have ever gone through that experience, it has been a very great delight to you when you have got alone, and thought of your Lord Jesus, whose everlasting love cannot cease towards you, whose fullness of grace cannot be exhausted, whose power and faithfulness will always stand you in good stead. If, by a sort of desperate resolve, you have cast yourself upon him, to sink or swim, to find everything in him, or else to have nothing, you have risen up a new man altogether. You have felt, |I can face the adversary; I can meet the trial; for Jesus is mine.| Despair of spirit has fled when you have leaned hard on the Cross-bearer. I have been one of the cave-dwellers, and the dark has shut me in, but Jesus has been my heaven below. I may have a degree of heaviness about me, but still I trust in the Lord, and I am not afraid, for the name of Jesus has caused me to be strong. Yes, men shall be |blessed in him| by the strength which he gives in the hour of need. You remember the loss of that dear little child. How blessed you were in Jesus when he came and solaced you! You remember your father's death, or the loss of your husband, or the death of the dearest earthly friend. Ay, then in such times you knew how precious Christ could be, and how blessed you were in him! Some of you have passed through the deserts of poverty. You have frequently been very hard pressed; but still, though you cannot tell how, you have had just enough. You are yet alive though death seemed certain. You have been |blessed in him,| and so you have survived every storm. Some of you have had little enough of earthly comfort, and yet you have not been unhappy. I have sometimes admired a dog for his economical use of comforts. When it has been a long, rainy day, the sun has just peeped out, and there has been a gleam of sunlight on the floor: I have seen him get up and wag his tail, and shift his quarters so as to lie down where the bit of sunshine was. It is a fine thing to have just that state of mind -- never to go sullenly into the shadow, but always cheerfully to accept the square yard of sunshine, and make the most of it. There is something, after all, to be thankful for -- something for which to praise the name of God. And if the Lord Jesus Christ had taught us nothing else but that -- the practice of lying down wherever there is a trace of sunshine, and, better still, of always finding sunshine in his dear name -- I am sure we are bound to say that we have been |blessed in him.|
Well, every year will teach us more and more fully how blessed we are in Jesus; and there will come a day the last of our earthly days, when we shall know on a higher scale how blessed we are in him. One of the pleasantest scenes that ever I see is the dying bed of a fine old Christian. I saw one but a few days ago, who, since I was at his bedside, has entered into rest. it was very pleasant to talk with him about what the Lord had done. He was ready to speak well of the dear name. There was much self-depreciation, but much more honoring of Christ by testimony concerning support given in the hour of affliction and succor in the time of need. Brother, you think it will be hard to die. You may not find it so. One, when he was dying, said, |Is this dying? Why, it is worth while going through all the troubles of life, even for death's own sake, if it be like this, for I have such heavenly enjoyment as I never could have imagined.| Some of God's saints are very needlessly anxious about dying. I knew one to whom it was always a burden, and he went to bed one night, and he never woke any more -- thus answering his own fears, for he did not even know when he passed away, but died in his sleep. He was gone, gone, gone to heaven without a pang. When you see how believers pass away to be with their Lord in glory, you have a commentary upon the words of my text, -- |Men shall be blessed in him.|
But do you see them? Their spirits have ascended unto God, their Father. How full of bliss they are! Disembodied they are, but they are not destroyed. Their poor earthly frames are still in the grave, yet are their liberated spirits supremely blest; for they are |for ever with the Lord,| and they are blessed in him. Wait ye but a very little while, and the trumpet shall ring out from the angel's mouth, |Awake, ye dead, and come to judgment;| and then shall men be blessed in him, if indeed |in him.| When the righteous, restored to their bodies, shall, in their perfect manhood, behold him face to face, and dwell with him world without end, |men shall be blessed in him.|
I do not feel satisfied with the style of my speech at this time; but we who speak the Word are by no means masters of ourselves. I cannot rise to the height of this great argument; and I do not think that, if I were to try a hundred times, I could ever satisfy myself when speaking upon this divinest theme. My Lord is the most blessed Master that ever a servant had; and he has blessed me personally so unspeakably that, if I were to bear my witness with the tongues of orators and angels by the space of a century, yet must I cease from the task, and humbly confess -- I have not told you the half -- nor can I tell you even the tithe of how good my Well-beloved is to me.| I suspect that you are most of you of my mind, and say, |Neither can we tell either.| I sometimes tell you the story of what happened to me when I declared, in a sermon, that, in the heaven of the grateful, I would sing the loudest of them all, because I owed more to the grace of God than anybody else. I meant it not out of any sense of superiority, but rather of inferiority. One good old soul, when I came down the pulpit stairs, remarked to me, You have made a great mistake in your sermon.| I answered, |No doubt I made a dozen.| |Nay, but,| she said, the great mistake was this: you said that you owed more to God than anybody else, but you do not owe anything like so much as I do. I have had more grace from him than you have. I have been a bigger sinner than ever you were. I shall sing the loudest. Well, well,| I thought, |I will not quarrel with her; it shall make me the more glad to find myself outdone.| I found that all the Christians were much of the same mind. Brethren, we will have it out when we get up yonder. But you shall praise God, indeed, if you praise him more than I will; and you must be double debtors to my Lord if you owe him more than I do. If you are more unworthy and more undeserving than I am, you must indeed be unworthy and undeserving; and if his rich, free, sovereign grace has exhibited itself more fully in you than it has in unworthy me, it has indeed overflowed all its banks We will leave the loving contest for the present; but when all the birds of Paradise reach their nests above, there shall be a competition of adoring praise, and all of us will do our best to bless the name of the Lord.
II. Our second head was to be a practical one: we can only give a few minutes to it. WE HAVE SEEN OTHER MEN BLESSED IN CHRIST. Our observation confirms our experience. If this were the proper time, I could narrate many instances -- which I could also confirm by producing the individuals -- in which men have been remarkably blessed in Christ. What social changes we have seen in those who have believed in him! They have not been the same persons: in many respects they are new. I have known persons at whose houses I have visited -- well, you could not have believed that the man who lodged in the house, where he was first found, could ever have risen to occupy a room in a house at all like that in which he came to reside. The room in which I conversed with him was a palace to the dog-hole in which he once existed. There was a change in his dwelling. There was a change in his wife. You would hardly know the woman; she is so different from the wretched slut and slave who called him |husband| with a sigh and a sneer. She is here now, sitting with him, and they are as happy as angels. I shall not point them out, but they are as good as any of you. We have known the case in which, from rags -- absolute rags -- the coming of Christ into the soul has lifted a man into competence, and respectability, and position. Godliness has a gain about it -- an honest, worthy gain for the life which now is. It teaches men habits of thrift, and prudence, and temperance; and delivers them from the thraldom of drunkenness, and other vices, by which the major part of poverty is occasioned. It is worth mentioning even such blessings as these, as the poor little children know. They used to run away when father came in, for they were afraid of him; but now, instead of that, they are watching for the time when his work is done, to go toddling down the street to meet dear father, for the luxury of being brought home in his arms. Our Lord Jesus Christ has blessed some men and some women at such a rate that the devil himself would not have the impudence to say it was not a blessing. Liar as Satan is, he could not deny that godliness has brought sunshine where there was none: the blessing has been too distinct and manifest for any to deny it.
What a moral change have we seen in some! They could not speak without an oath, but the habit of profane swearing ended in a minute, and they have never been tempted to it since. Rash, bad-tempered men, who would break up the furniture of the house in their passion, have become as gentle as lambs. Such furies usually become quiet, peaceable, and long-suffering: grace has a marvellous influence upon the temper. Men of hot passions, that used to give a word and a blow -- but generally the blow first -- now watch themselves, and guard against their infirmity! They take a little time to think before they do let fly a hard word or give a sharp look. The change that we have seen in some men has been as complete as that which could have been wrought by that fabled mill, into which the legend says that they put old men, and turned the handle, and ground them young again. Truly a far greater renovation is wrought in mind and heart where Jesus comes. Men are |blessed in him.|
Then, as to mental blessing. What have we seen? This have I seen: here is one case out of many. A young man, who had fallen into sin, came to me in deep despair of mind. He was so desponding that his very face bore witness to his misery. He wore the aspect of one who could not live much longer as he then was. I had tried to set the gospel clearly before him on the previous Sabbath, but he told me that he could not grasp it, for that by his sin he had reduced his mind to such a state that he felt himself to be little better than an idiot. He was not speaking nonsense either, for there are vices which destroy the intellect. I told him that Jesus Christ could save idiots -- that even if his mind was in measure impaired as the result of sin, yet there was quite enough mind left to be made glad with a sense of pardon, seeing there was more than enough to make him heavy with a sense of guilt. I cheered that brother as best I could, but I could effect nothing by my own efforts. Soon the Lord Jesus Christ came to him, and he is now a happy, earnest, joyful Christian. Not long ago he sent an offering of thanksgiving to God for having lifted him up from the deeps into which he had fallen. I hope there is a long life of real usefulness before him.
We cannot mention one tithe of what we personally know. Eternity will open a great book of record. I call upon the spirits of the just made perfect to witness what the grace of God did for them; I call upon parents here to tell the pleasing story of the conversion of their sons and daughters; and I call upon those who watch for their fellowmen to say whether they have not met with many cases in which men have been blessed in Jesus, by being snatched from between the jaws of madness itself, by the sweet, calming influence of the ever dear and blessed name of our Redeemer. Yes, indeed and of a truth, men are, and shall be blessed in him.
The practical point is, brothers and sisters, since we want to do good, let us preach up our Lord Jesus Christ as the sovereign balm for every sinner's wound. If you want to be philanthropists, be Christians. If you would bless your fellow-men with the best of all blessings, convey to them the knowledge of Jesus Christ. Do not believe that there is anything you can do for your children which will be more effectual than teaching them about Jesus. Do not think that anything in the workshop can soften the vulgarities, silence the blasphemies, and end the profanities of your fellow-workmen, like setting Jesus Christ before them. When the Moravian missionaries first went to Greenland, they tried to tell the Greenlanders about the existence of a God, and they spent some months in such preliminary subjects before they came to the gospel; but they never gained the attention of the people. Discourses upon such necessary subjects as the Godhead, and the immortality of the soul, and the like, were flavourless to the Greenlanders. It happened one day that one of the missionaries, translating the gospel according to John, read out these words: |God so loved the world, that he gave his Only-begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.| |What is that?| said the Greenlanders. |What is that? We never heard the like of that. Why have you not told us that before?| Nothing had been done till the missionaries came to the gospel itself. Then they reached the Greenlander's heart -- awakened his dormant intellect, and led him to Jesus. Oh, let us keep on with the subject of Christ crucified! Whatever there is not in our shop window, let us always have Christ as the chief article of our heavenly commerce. Whatever there may lack of grace and beauty in our speech, and our outward appearance, may there be no lack of Jesus Christ, set forth among the sons of men; for |men shall be blessed in him,| and not without him. Great schemes of socialism have been tried and found wanting; let us look to regeneration by the Son of God, and we shall not look in vain. Nothing has come of newfangled preaching, from the first day till now; but never has the old faith of Jesus failed. Men have been blessed in Jesus, and they shall be blessed in him as long as the race shall exist.
III. Lastly, this whole matter is to extend till THE ENTIRE WORLD SHALL BE BLESSED IN CHRIST. Even at this moment the whole world is the better for Christ. But where he is best known and loved, there is he the greatest blessing. What snatched many an island of the southern sea from barbarism and cannibalism? What, but Jesus Christ preached among them? Men have been blessed in him in Europe, America, Asia, and everywhere. Africa, and other lands still plunged in barbarism, shall receive light from no other source but that from which our fathers received it centuries ago -- from the great Sun of righteousness.
Men shall be blessed in Christ, because where he comes oppression cannot live. You may tell me that the governor of such an empire is a despot. Oh, yes; but despots cannot long flourish where there is an open Bible. Tyrannies may last a generation or two, but all the world knows that their time is short. They will go down: they must go down where Christ is lifted up. That inspired Book is a testimony for human liberty, louder than all others. It is a declaration of the rights of men under King Jesus: despotism must fall before it sooner or later. We, in this country, owe our liberties, beyond everything, to the Christianity which is the outflow of a present Christ among us. Slavery? What a plague-spot it was upon the fair hand of our sister nation across the Atlantic! The spot is washed away; and it was true religion which forced the washing. There would have been no freeing of the slave from fetters if it had not been for the Christianity which, after long silence, at last spoke out, and when it spake, it was as when a lion roareth. The Christianity of England is always pleading for the slave, for the aborigine, for the down-trodden. Leave our politicians alone, and we shall soon have all the infamies alive again. Slavery would be tolerated, if not encouraged, if there were not Christian souls upon the watch. What saves us from war at this moment? What influence is it that is always contrary to war, and always cries for peace? Why, it is the Christian element among us which counts anything better than bloodshed! Let the Christian element spread, and it will be a power to bless mankind. It shall, in proportion as it spreads, put down evil, and foster good. Already, many a monopoly has been ended, and many a liberty has been gained. Much religious intolerance has been subdued by the power of Jesus Christ over his people; and I do pray, dear friends, that we may live to see all nations more manifestly affected by the gospel of Jesus Christ. May every nation be ruled by just and righteous laws! May every nation be willing to submit exterior disputes to the arbitration of justice! It will be so one day. The nations shall be friends, and all men shall feel that they are members of one great family. |Do ye unto others as ye would that they should do to you,| is the sum of the moral teaching of our divine Lord; and if that be followed, it will bring about a halcyon era, the like of which the world has never seen. If his Spirit will come and renew men's hearts, and teach them to love and to obey the Lord their God, then shall all nations call the Redeemer blessed, and from every corner of the whole earth, the song shall go up, |Blessing, and honor, and glory, and power, be unto him that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb for ever and ever!| Amen.
PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON -- Psalm 72.
HYMNS FROM |OUR OWN HYMN BOOK| -- 72 (Song I.), 343, 386.
The Preacher feels himself restored, and would thank his friends for their prayers for his recovery. He now entreats their intercession that he may, on his return, be clothed with new power from above. Errors, which are at once ludicrous and horrible, are rising up among those who would be leaders of religious thought: we shall need divine strength to be faithful to the one and only gospel of our Lord Jesus. Wisdom and power can only come from the Lord of Hosts, who is wonderful in working; and in answer to prayer he can supply all that is needed. |Brethren, pray for us!|