A Study of 1st John 2:27
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.
– 1 John 2:27
Depend upon it, that the use of outward ordinances, though very good in themselves, so far as they are sanctified to the elect, through the Spirit of God, is, nevertheless, one of the great props to Pharisees, hypocrites, bastards, and foolish men. (Heb. 12:8) Ordinances, when touched by the finger of Life, are blessed to the elect, and so far blessed only. “We want something more than sign,” is the prayer of the elect, through the Spirit. Forms, ceremonies, outward observances, and such like, are “the very heart and vitals” of all unsaving, unprofitable religion. And all religion that does not end in heaven is unprofitable to the never-dying soul. Even the Lord’s Supper and baptism, what are they without the Spirit? Only empty forms.
I shall, in this discourse, the Lord being my helper, endeavor to strike my spade on that heavenly ground which no hypocrite can come to, which “no dead-hearted doctrinalist” can fathom, and which no Pharisee can touch. It is the Holy Anointing which I am going to treat on. This is that which is the life of religion in the elect of God; this is the secret of saving religion; (Ps. 25:14) this is that which is a mystery, and an unknown thing altogether, except to those who have it; this is the unction which teacheth of all things; (1 John 2:20) this is a communication of the glory, essence, and nature of God to the soul, who is so highly favored as to have thus the evidence of personal everlasting election. The Holy Anointing it is that softens away, and melts away all our doubts and fears; this it is which is the manifestation of God to the soul; that it is, in one word, which is the key, hidden grace, and divine favor opened and revealed to one’s elect soul, as the continued evidence of an interest in God’s favor, of the reality of our regeneration, of our actually and really being of the number of the elect, and of our certainty of being in heaven at last.
O, most sweet, glorifying, illuminating pleasure, (delighting the soul) of being experimentally under the divine blessedness of the anointing of God! It is the mark of our kingly and priestly relationship to the great God; it is the mark that assures us we are citizens of the heavenly Jerusalem; it is the seal with which the blessed God, from time to time, touches our souls, as a satisfactory pledge to us that we “shall be His, at that day when he makes up his jewels.” (Mal. 3:17)
“But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him.”
I shall take these words as they here lie before me in the text.
And, 1st. “But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you.” Can you say that you have received this anointing, this illumination, this manifestation, this revelation of God in your souls? “The yoke shall be destroyed because of the anointing.” (Isa. 10:27) If you never have received this anointing, which the apostle speaks of here, I wish to know what you intend to die with? Do you say your experience? I ask, what experience? Depend upon it, my friends, a person must have something solid to die on. A spiritual man cannot rest his dying head on a shadow. “Where no vision is, the people perish.” (Prov. 29:18) It is the grand distinguishing character of the child of God, that will content other kind of people in religion, will not content him. The non-elect can be contented with things at a distance, in religion. But the elect must have their religion close at hand, even in their heart and soul. “I will walk and dwell in them, saith the Lord Almighty.” (2 Cor. 6:16) The non-elect can be content with the bread of death, and with Christ on Calvary. The elect never can be content, through the quickening Spirit, except with the bread of life and Christ in their hearts. Thus, my friends, I apprehend, that when the apostle says, “But the anointing which ye have received,” it meaneth that God had satisfied, in some satisfactory degree, the holy longing of the elect soul for the manifestations of the great God; desires, planted in the regenerate elect soul from God, which desires God had predestinated, and which he has now, blessed be his name, in some degree, fulfilled and satisfied. O, happy, happy soul, who can say, from personal, true experience, what the apostle says, from the fullness of his experience, “But we all with open face beholding, as in a glass, the glory of the Lord!” (2 Cor. 3:18) O, happy, happy souls, who can see, by the Spirit’s power alone, through a glass, however darkly!” (1 Cor. 13:12) The shadows of forms and ceremonies will no longer do for a man thus gifted with the divine presence, and with the inwalking and indwelling of the great God in his soul! No. “I dwell with him that is of a contrite heart,” says God. (Isa. 57:15) But, does God dwell with you? I consider it a very hard saying, that the apostle says, “Which ye have received;” not which ye may receive, or which I hope ye may receive, or which ye are to receive. No! The soul is put on self-examination at once, “Which ye have received.” Which of you in this congregation can say that you have received this anointing? Which of you can lay your hand on your heart, and say you have received it? Ah! It is a solemn thing to be brought to points, to be sifted, winnowed, and tried as at the judgment day. “For the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.” (Ps. 1:4,5)
But, in order that we may judge ourselves that we may not be judged and condemned of the Lord as blindfolded hypocrites and professors, that neither know what is right nor what is wrong, I shall say, with the Lord’s assistance, a few words on what the anointing is.
I assert then, and believe it to be true, that this unction, as mentioned in the text, is that sensible manifestation of the favor, love, and presence of God, which takes place in those who have previously undergone a law-work of terrors from God, and who have been brought afterwards to be enabled, by the hands of God, to sun their law-killed souls in the balmy, soft, and kindly rays of the everlasting gospel, as thus sensibly and experimentally known in their feelings. O blissful change, from wrath to mercy, from death to life, from a killing law to the gospel which gives life and eternal life too! The ministration of death was glorious in the conscience, when death, ruin, dismay, bondage, or despair, as a vulture, were clawing the poor soul’s feelings. But the ministration of Life, through which the unction, mentioned in our text, comes, exceeds much indeed in glory. This unction, or anointing, mentioned in our text, falls like dew, rain, or manna, on the soul that has been previously famished, parched, and crimped up, like a leaf in an oven, by the hot displeasure and wrath of God. Our moisture is turned into the drought of summer, under the heavy weight of God’s holy law in our conscience. The Spirit of God first cuts all our natural self-goodness and all our legal righteousness to pieces, under the blazing, hot, and dreadful burnings of God’s wrath, in the law, in our conscience. And when thus he has made our souls tremble; made us to see the unspeakable dreadfulness of sin; and made us bankrupts, beggars, and ruined, at the gates of hell in our feelings; in danger really to be swallowed up, as we fear, in eternal torments; lo! This often doeth God; yea, always to the elect, that when he hath thus caused them to be actually and verily lost, spiritually and dreadfully so, in their own experience, lo! Then the Gospel is more or less, by the hand of God, opened upon them. The door of the Gospel is then, more or less, opened sensibly to their souls. Living hope and faith begin to burst from the hands of God in Christ. Their famished souls, hungered all but to death, through previous misery, are permitted and enabled to feast on the Paschal Lamb! Unction, anointing, savor, dew, power, and the glorious blessings of God’s spiritual kingdom, laid up for the elect, begin, as it were, to ravish their wearied souls; now beginning thus to lift up themselves; feeling thus the healing, cheering, reviving, and transporting beams of the Sun of Righteousness. This is the way by which the unction, mentioned in the text, is generally felt to come, I believe, by the elect upon their souls.
And when once the elect have been enabled to get on this ground of experimentally receiving this anointing, they are permitted and enabled, from time to time, afterwards to receive of the same; “renewed day by day.” (2 Cor. 4:16) The veil has been taken away. They have been enabled to see the True light now that shines in their souls. And though clouded, from time to time, with darkness of soul; though spiritual nights succeed spiritual days in time, with darkness of soul; though spiritual nights succeed spiritual days in their souls; yet, the manifested elect, who have once sipped of “the rivers, floods, and brooks of honey and butter,” (Job 20:17) caused by the anointing in their souls; though, I say, darkness may cloud up all their experience of comforts, light, and unctuous illuminations and peace; yet, I say again, that the soul, who has once been favored of God with this anointing, never can be the soul, who has once been favored of God with this anointing, never can be satisfied with any religion short of it. When such a soul is left destitute of, and cannot attain to, this dewy blessing, from the hands of God, it cries out under the Spirit’s quickening powers, with Job, “O that it were with me as in days past; when the dew lay all night on my branch; when the candle of the Lord shone upon me!” (Job 29:3, 19) And the desire of the righteous shall be granted. (Ps. 145:19)
This anointing maketh the only difference between heaven-sent preachers and the dry chips manufactured by man at academies and colleges, to fill pulpits. Heaven-sent preachers have a springing well of anointed knowledge, and a flowing brook of anointed utterance, to feast their spiritual hearers with, who sit under their ministry. The dry chips (filling nearly all the pulpits in the land,) who preach Christ from natural ability and, as they have been taught at academy or college, are nothing but a dry breast, which the living family of God are famished to death by. O the glorious difference, between being enabled to preach the gospel with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and the meager, poor, wretched, empty, fine oratory, learnt by the vast herds of preachers sent forth by man!
When the apostle saith that the anointing abiding in the souls who have received it, I apprehend he meaneth, that God, who hath blessed any one with it, as a manifestation of adoption, will never leave that soul finally; but, that the anointing is the manifestation of eternal salvation to the soul who has it. O glorious truth, for so it is; the crown of the anointing oil of his God is upon him! What, though darkness, desertions, doubts, and fears, and inbred wickedness, strive hard and are often successful too, to quench and harass the divine power and grace in our soul; yet, by and by, our head shall be lifted up, like Johoichin’s out of the prison of the king of Babylon. (2 Kings 25:27) The crown of the anointing oil has been upon us, which was the mark of our eternal kingship and priesthood to God. “Kings and priests for ever and ever.” O sweet and rich hope, which springs into the soul under these considerations! O blessed reflection! That, though we may, and shall be deserted for a time, yet, as dust covering over gold, our afflictions and desertions will only serve to rub up our religion to a greater brightness than ever, under the benign though severe dealings of God, who thus afflicteth us for our profit.
2ndly. But, see the all-sufficient grandeur and excellence beaming forth in the second division of our text: “And ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things.” The fullness, comprehensiveness, and beauty that beam from these words beggar all himself? Our great cares many will say that God does take upon himself. But, that all the cares, anxieties, wishes, hopes, fears, and so forth of some of the children of men, to think God condescendingly bears those all for them, is, beyond description, excellent, and admirable. O, highly-favored souls, who are taught all things of God! Who need not that any man should teach you; who feel that as the cloudy guide by day, and the fiery pillar to the Israelites, so to the elect, their all-sufficiency of wisdom, discretion, and heavenly prudence, is bound up, with softened cords of everlasting faithfulness, in the Holy Anointing we are speaking of. “But as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and ye need not any man teach you.” I say again, the words beam and refresh with that holy satisfaction to the elect soul as no words which I can offer either add to, or make to shine more.
To feel and see the rush and the gushing excellence of the Fountain of Life, and not in the distant whims of fancy, or the cold and freezing chilliness of mere head knowledge; but to be fed with knowledge and understanding in the heart, from the hands of God himself; to be enabled to feel that wisdom and knowledge are the stability of our times, that strength of salvation is the very nerve and sinew which entwine around the whole building of our religion, thus moistened, rendered effectual, and crowned with wisdom from the Holy Anointing which is upon us; this, it must be confessed, is admirable and wonderful, and satisfactory indeed. “But as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and ye need not that any man teach you.”
Ah, my friends, the anointed and supernatural teaching of God on the elect soul does not fill up a man with pride, self-conceit, or whimsical fancies, or lording it over others. No. Dry knowledge in the head puffeth up, but charity edifieth; and charity, or the love of God, is the prime part of that holy composition, called anointing, mentioned in our text. The teaching of all things, therefore, which is one of the blessed effects of the illuminating oil of God’s influences on our withered souls; I say, this teaching of all things, from the hands direct of the great God himself, edifies the soul in everything lovely, good, excellent, and true, and honest, and of good report in the sight of God and man. Humility, repentance, self-loathing, love toward God and man, sweet sensations of delight in the hope of eternal life through Christ’s merits alone without works, these, and innumerable other supernatural excellences, flock into the soul, who is so highly favored as to be anointed of God himself. Like the sun silvering over the top of a river, so does the glorious glow of the divine unction, on the manifested elect soul, gleam, shine, and burst forth triumphantly with universal knowledge, more or less. The Sun of Righteousness arises with healings in his wings. The clouds of our ignorance are burst through by his glorious rays. The gates of heaven appear to be thrown open to the enraptured soul. A knowledge of what is right and what is wrong is kindled, fed, and softened, enriched and perfected, more or less, by these unctuous displays of the kindness of God to the elected soul. And I will add once more, that words are beggared, and description is baffled in setting forth the largeness, mildness, pleasing glow, and the delightful instruction poured into the new-created soul, whom the most high God is pleased to endow with the all-illuminating treasure of wisdom, which forms one grand point of unspeakable excellence, in this mystic and glorious unction. “But ye have an unction form the Holy One, and ye know all things.” (1 John 2:20) O the difference between being possessed of such a treasure from the hands of God and of being “a mere natural man, with only the one talent of natural knowledge!”
Like the mellow leaves also, and tints in autumn, shone on by the natural sun, which possess that richness to the eye, reminding the observer of the far-framed mines of golden wealth in some foreign climes; so the reflection of the Sun of Righteousness on the trees of the Lord, (as the elect are,) when spiritually bespangled with the enriching anointings of God’s Spirit, surpasses all other brilliance, illumination, and grandeur gained from any other quarter. “There is none that teacheth like God.” (Job 36:22) And as riches have weight and substance and solidness in them, so the anointed richness of God’s teachings on the elect soul carries its own evidence with it. Like the tree weighed down with fruit, or the larger plants bent down to the earth with the morning dew, or like the parched earth satisfied and drenched with the summer rains; so the divine unction of anointed teachings from above, teach us experimentally that the heavens reign, (Dan. 4:26) and that the supernatural teachings of God overtop all other kinds of teachings and knowledge as much as the highest heavens overtop the green sod we walk over, or as the perishing earth and things that are made are transcended by those everlasting grandeurs, like the nature of God, whose property alone it is to change not. (Isa. 51:6,8) O, ever-durable and unspeakable excellence of what our text speaks of when it says, “And ye need not that any man teach you; but as the same anointing teacheth you all things!”
I cannot express to you the divine glories and the excellencies, beyond what nature can touch or conceive which are bound up in the anointed knowledge concerning all things which our text speaks of. A right judgment, more or less, in all things; a check to hinder us in what is wrong; a spur to forward us on in what is right and good; these are a part of the invaluable treasures, bound up in the illuminating anointing which our text speaks of. And what, I ask, can be better than to have a right judgment? And I firmly believe that, even in earthly matters in the every day occurrences of this our mortal life, as regards earthly things, the anointing oil our text speaks of, shed on the elect through Jesus Christ, enlarges their understanding. The business of this lower world, the trades we are engaged in, the various walks of life the elect move in, or have to get their living in, I believe, the blessing of God, in the anointing oil to the elect, makes to be more clear, and often better understood, than carnal men can attain to. “The Lord give thee understanding in all things,” says Paul. “The Lord shall bless thy going out and coming in, and whatsoever thou settest thy hands unto,” said one of old. And, although a godly man is told not to wish to be rich in this world’s gods, yet, what a blessing it is for God to say, “Thy bread shall be given thee, and thy water shall be sure.” (Isa. 33:16) “Trust in the Lord, and do good; and very thou shalt be fed.” (Ps. 37:3) Honest industry; a wish and endeavor to do as one would be done by; a preserving us from many earthly evils, by the Lord’s goodness in teaching us; a looking up to the Lord for strength; a dependence upon him; a sincere asking at wisdom’s gate, as to what we should do, and what we should not do; where to go, and where not to go; in these and various other ways, even in earthly things, I believe the blessing of God falls on the elect, through the teaching, illuminating, and guiding unction of the Holy One, as mentioned in our text. “As many as are led by the Spirit are the children of God.” (Rom. 8:14) And I know full well that I have to be led, guided, and instructed of God in earthly and providential things, as well as in heavenly ones. O, refreshing, restoring, balmy thought, that the most high God is not above our meanest concerns! O, enrapturing thought, that God has encouraged us to lay our meanest as well as greatest troubles before his Divine Majesty! O, sweet and entrancing consideration, that God has given his elect to understand that what troubles them troubles Him! “In all our afflictions he is afflicted.” (Isa. 63:9) When we are at a stand in earthly things, and know not what to do, nor where to go, to have a God to go to is worth a thousand worlds indeed! O how my soul has been melted down, revived, and comforted, has had the cup of bitters sweetened, and the load of difficulty, fear, and trouble lightened, as regards earthly things, when neither self nor man could tell me the way, when God has thrown open the way to me, saying, “This is the path, walk thou in it!” Not by any audible voice, but by the distilling, sweetness, light, and knowledge in the conscience, does God instruct men! O, it is worth a thousand worlds to have the instruction, wisdom, and knowledge that come from God, in earthly things! I hope the blessed God will, in things of providence and of this life, enable me to ask wisdom of God alone, and to lean not to mine own understanding in anything; but with all my getting, O may I be enabled to get understanding from God alone! “Commit thy way unto the Lord, and he shall bring it to pass;” (Ps. 37:5) yea, “he shall give thee the desires of thine heart,” (Ps. 37:4) in everything that is right, even as regards this present life, and in the world to come, life everlasting. Thus, “godliness hath the promise of the life that now is, as well as of that which is to come.” Thus, while often the boasted wisdom of man and his infernal self-sufficiency shall go out like the light of a glow-worm, the wisdom of God in the elect shall win the day, as regards even earthly wisdom. Thus, while the towering and haughty building of man’s wisdom shall be blasted and crumbled to pieces, the elect man, depending on God for help and light, shall, even as regards earthly things, rise triumphant; while innumerable others, like Pharaoh, who are shut up in self-sufficiency, shall be drowned in the waves of endless ruin. “It is better to trust in the Lord than to put any confidence in princes.” (Ps. 118:9) “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him.” (Prov. 26:12) “But as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and ye have no need that any man teach you.” The is the saint’s inheritance from God. “If any man lack wisdom, let him ask of God.” (James 1:5)
Thus, while many shall run hither and thither, saying, Who shall show us any good? The godly man says to the Lord, “Lift thou up the light of thy countenance upon me.” (Ps. 4:6) And the desire of the righteous shall be granted.
But, 3rdly. “And is truth, and is no lie.” Nearly all men contradict this, and gainsay it. Supernatural influences are called fanaticism, enthusiasm, folly, delusion, and dreams. But, blessed be God! I have not so learned Christ. I know when supernatural influences fell first on my mind, to the delighting of my soul; to the enlarging of my mind in the things of God; to the making of my conscience more tender; and to the endearing of Christ more. As a healing balm also, as an encouragement, and as a sense and manifestation and realization of God’s presence, have these supernatural feelings of the anointing been to my soul. And after several years’ self-examination concerning them, between God and my conscience, under the light of God’s Spirit, prayed for, I am brought to set to my seal that what the text says is true; namely, that the anointing is no lie, but is truth. And O what a blessed ground this is to get on, in the right way, by the Spirit’s leadings in the soul! Surely, to be experimentally convinced that we and the great God are strangers; to be convinced that when we die the great God will (as we have a hope now) send a band of blessed angels to guard and guide our ransomed spirit to the heavenly shores; to be experimentally convinced that our religion is verily “something more than notion,” by reason of the heavenly Savor, dew, and unction which rest on our spirits, thus healed by the mollifying oil shed celestially from the rise of the Sun of Righteousness, with healing in his wings; (Malachi 4:2) what can be like it? What can be like it?
The truth of the glorious unction, in our text, has been demonstrated to me in this way, as well as variously otherwise, namely, that sin and it are at war, and cannot be reconciled at all. Sin drives this unction out of my soul. Sin quenches the holy light in my soul. The golden lamp in my soul, fed with the anointing oil, and lighted by the most Holy Spirit of God, sin defaces, mars, adulterates, and put out. The anointing brings peace, knowledge, God’s love, a glow of light and life. Sin mars all these, and brings confusion, dryness, guilt, darkness, and hell.
So that in the experimental feelings in my soul, I am confident, on the whole, that the anointing I supernaturally experience hates what God hates, and loves what God loves. Thus, I think proper to set to my seal that what the text says is true, that the holy anointing is truth, and is no lie. Happy souls that have it! Fanned with the gale of divine life and joy,
“We soon shall view
The greatest glories God can show.”
4thly. “And even as it hath taught you.” The apostle here, in the last clause but one in our text, is taught, by the blessed Spirit, to stir up the pure minds, by way of remembrance, of his regenerate hearers. He as good as says, “Call to remembrance the former days;” (Heb. 10:32) “even as it hath taught you.” Self-examination; judging one’s self, under the light of God’s Spirit, in order that heavier judgment may not fall with heavier wrath; trying one’s conscience; the “peradventure,” lest we might, after all, be deceived; and honest voice of our own feelings; and the grand tenor and drift of our own conscience, as to what we are, and as to what we have been, under the light and power of God in our soul; all these things, and many more such like, are, I apprehend, called up in the renewed regenerate mind, when the apostle said, “Even as the anointing hath taught you.”
“Ah! My friends, what hath the anointing taught you? What hath the gospel preached with the Holy Ghost, sent down from heaven into your souls, taught you? Hath it taught you your sinnership? Hath it taught you that you must anchor on Christ alone, without works? Hath it taught you to inquire of God whether you are a sheep or a goat; an elect soul, or a reprobate one; a vessel of wrath, or a vessel of mercy; eternally justified, or eternally condemned? Whether you are predestinated to be at the left hand for hell, or predestinated to be at the right hand for heaven, “at the door of doom?” Has your mind been stunned out of the infernal mazes of universal redemption? Do you believe there are sheep and goats from your own experience? Has sin revived in you? (Rom. 7:9) Have you ever been shown the hell in your heart? Has the lid of your heart ever been taken off by the Spirit of God? Are you cursed, or blessed? Damned, or saved? Judge yourself, if the Spirit enables you, by what Ezekiel says, “Cursed is the pot whose scum is in it.” (Ezek. 24:6) Is your scum in you? Or, are you brought to lament, weep, mourn, sigh, and beat on your heart, day by day, very deeply indeed, saying, “O wretched man that I am?” (Rom. 7:24) What is the voice of your conscience, what is the voice of your heart? Yes, or No, to these questions? God does not want any one to mock him; he has mockery enough offered to him by the swarms and herds of parsons and professors of all denominations, without you helping them. Let your honest conscience speak out; what are you, — a self-made Christian, or one made by God? Are you a crab or a sprout and twig in the glorious elect apple tree the Lord Jesus Christ? Do you know what the anointing is which our text speaks of, or are you a tree destitute of sap, whom the Lord hath cursed? What are you, or where are you?
Ah! My friends, self-examination, which his called up in living and feeling souls, by these words, “Even as the anointing hath taught you;” self-examination, I say, is one striking flower, which grows in the garden of the Lord, in every regenerate soul! A fear lest we may be deceived; a holy anxiety that we may not be wrong; a trembling, perpetually rising cry to God to search us, try us, and guide us; to guard us from every evil way, and to preserve us to his everlasting kingdom; feelings like these run to and fro in the power of God’s Spirit, throughout the ransomed soul. “Lord, guide me; Lord, deliver me; Lord, save me from myself, from my own deceitful heart!” Prayers like these, and experimentally going in and out (John 10:9) thus before the Lord, to teach us what is right and what is wrong; a being brought to the judgment bar; and a having to fall under, and to abhor ourselves for what is wrong; and a having to pray sincerely that we may be enabled, effectually, to forsake what is evil; all these, and sundry such like solid teachings, give us, under God, some little living confidence before him that the living Jehovah, the God of truth, is at the bottom as the foundation stone of all our religion. As the apostle saith in our text, “Even as the anointing hath taught you.” My brethren, God is a jealous God; yea, “his name is Jealous.” (Exod. 34:14) And, if God has not taught you to be jealous, with a godly jealously over your religion, depend upon it, then, that God has done but very little indeed for you; nay, I believe he has done nothing at all for you. For a godly fear, lest after all we may be wrong, is the wholesome check which the living God has on his living elect family, to guard them and keep them close unto Himself. So that, I apprehend, a living soul, when he hears the apostle in the text roundly say, “Even as the anointing hath taught you,” making it the living direction-post for the eye of the really elect to be turned to, will say often, (and the devil will not fail to bark doubts and fears in addition,) “Lord, what if I should be deceived?” Lord, direct me,” will the poor soul say. “Lord,” the apostle saith in the text, “even as the anointing hath taught you;” “Lord, hath it taught me? Lord, am I deceived? Lord, the text says that the anointing ‘is truth and is no lie.’ Lord, have I it? Lord, may it please thee, let me not be deceived. Lord teach me. Lord, if I am deluded, may it please thee to show it me; for I would not be deceived for a million of worlds, thou being my helper. Lord, bring me to the light, that my religion may be thoroughly made manifest of what sort it is. O, search me, winnow me, try me!” Thus judgment becometh the house of God for ever;” “The righteous Lord loveth judgment.” “Mercy and truth be with thee,” said David. (2 Sam. 15:20) “By mercy and truth the king is preserved,” says Solomon. (Prov. 20:28) Each one of the elect is a king. (Rev. 1:6) And when the apostle in our text says, “Even as the anointing hath taught,” the godly man is, from time to time, enflamed thus to self-examination again and again, that he may have the truth and no lie in his soul, in his experience, in that the dross of hypocrisy and deceit may be melted away from him, and that the simple truth may be his heavenly shield and buckler; for Christ is truth, and God is the God of truth.
But, 5thly. I must hasten now to consider the last words in our text, “Ye shall abide in him.”
Thus our text, like a flower, having gradually risen from its commencement, having struck forth its growth, and widened its increase, from its root upward, having mellowed and ripened its leaves and colors thus far in the bud, now bursts into its full spring and summer completeness and beauty; a certainty of heaven is promised, sealed and made sure in the words, “Ye shall aide in him.” To feel that notwithstanding all our unworthiness, all our baseness, all our many villanies that we have transacted, all the dreadful sins that we have done, all the miserable unworthiness we are subjects of, all the crooked paths of sin we have strayed in, the many provocations we have offered unto God, the many sorrows and stripes through sin which we have brought on ourselves, and the terrible destruction on account of sin which God has sealed so, as it were, with thunder and lightning and wrath inexpressible upon us through the law and through the reproofs of his Spirit in our conscience; (as it is written, “Thou turnest elect man to destruction;”) I say, notwithstanding all these numberless things which have seemed to make against us, notwithstanding the despair we have been in, (as it is written, “Our hope is lost, we are cut off for our parts;”) to think that God should be able, in his decrees, to turn adrift all our calamities, and to make the sun shine with grandeur on our soul as no tongue can tell, enrapturing us with the full assurance of hope in these words, that it shall be well with us at the last, “that we shall abide in him;” O, this consideration, my friends, flings delight and joy unutterable throughout the ransomed soul, who is so highly privileged and favored as to feel it. Nestling and sprouting in the buds, lo, now the full increase of the coming harvest is made fully manifest, the gates of heaven are clearly seen by a living faith, in these words, “Ye shall abide in him.” A feeling sense that there is nothing worth living for but Christ; a hope that the love we feel to Him is the supernatural earnest that we shall be with him forever when we die; a hope that the pain which sin sincerely gives us, in our regenerate soul, is the foretaste that we shall be forever freed from it when we die; feeling the greatest pang, sting, and remorse in our ransomed soul that it was our base sins which killed Christ; and the delightful feeling that though we are enabled sincerely to abhor ourselves for our sins, yet (however mysterious it is,) God abhors us not in Christ, but that in eternity past, and in eternity to come, God loved us, and will love us, because he determined to love us; a sense of the inshinings of divine favor, and of the determinate victory of God’s love, of Christ’s redeeming grace, and the Spirit’s quickening over and beyond all our unworthiness; what are all these things, I ask the regenerate soul at all acquainted with them, but earnests that all such persons shall be His, at that day when God makes up his jewels” “Ye shall abide in him,” says the apostle in our text. To think that when this fading scene of this world is all over and passed; when the wild and roaring elements of this world are quashed; when time is no more; when the goats have been swept into hell; that we should be among the number of those, who, like the golden pot that held the manna, (Heb. 9:4) are to be the vessels which are to be replete with the Divine Fruition in unclouded purity and joy, “vessels of mercy, made unto honour,” (Rom. 9:21,23) when the dim scenes of this terrestrial world are vanished and gone; these are the matters hinted at, and glanced at, as being the kingdom of God already begun in our regenerate souls, when the apostle in our text declares to the elect, “Ye shall abide in him.” A kingdom that cannot be moved, an inheritance incorruptible, undefiled, and that fadeth not away, the true riches, and a crown that waxeth not old, is indeed this abiding in Christ. Yet, sorrow is the rough soil, wherein in this world this abiding in Christ for the most part alone grows. Yet, trouble is the divine agriculture, by which alone these plants of grace, which are to abide in Christ, are chiefly made to thrive and flourish and be cherished and nourished in this world.
Wherefore God saith to each one of the chosen race, “My son, despise not thou the chastening of the Lord.” (Prov. 3:11) But we are all, my regenerate brethren, very apt indeed to despise the chastening of the Lord; “fools and slow of heart” (Luke 24:25) that we are for so doing. It is in the wintry soil, as I have said, of afflictions, and what remains? Bastardy. For as many as are without the chastisement of a great fight of affliction; as many as are not chastened every morning; as many as God has not shown hard things to; as many as God has not fed with tears in great plenty, and given the bread of affliction to; yea, the bread of great tribulation, and of much tribulation, in divers and various ways; such are bastards and not sons, not sons of God. Wherefore the Lord saith, “Neither faint when thou art rebuked of God.” Rebukes and daily chastenings, sorrows, and great distresses, and temptations, and judgments, are too still and drear a soil for all-faith bastards to flourish in. No Arminian, nor rotten-hearted doctrinalist, nor loose Antinomian, has a thorn in the flesh to buffet him with. But they who are favored of God Most High; they who have his anointing on their law-cursed conscience, who have been dead in despair, and who have been made alive again; those who tremble at God’s word, and whom God (and not man) has made to be of a contrite spirit, through the curse of the holy law in their conscience; and through the balmy effulgence of God’s anointing mercy afterwards shed on them abundantly, through Jesus Christ, in unmerited, undeserved grace alone, without works; these are the persons who shall abide in Christ forever. These are the glorious realities of divine manufacture; and not as the religion of the evangelical clergy of the Church of England, of mortal or of self manufacture. These are the glorious excellences beaming forth from the experienced perfection in Christ, in the soul, as wrought out by the eternal Spirit there; and not as the dissenting ministers learn it, in their heads, from man, at the dissenting academies. These are the mysteries that the Third Person in the Trinity alone, without man’s help at all, teaches in the souls of the elect. These are the everlasting grandeurs, of which the Spirit of truth Himself says, that whose has them has no need of any man’s teaching. These are the golden crop of the heavenly harvest, in prospect: “We shall reap, if we faint not.” (Gal. 6:9) These are the things which, according to our text, bear the stamp of everlasting completeness; for an anointed man “knoweth all things.” These are the things that, as Solomon says, are too high for a fool to know. These are the vernal delights, the waving fields, whole golden produce and heart-reviving treasures, and whose untiring freshness, shall follow us into the next world. It is the feeling of abiding in Christ now, in this world, that makes the heaven-born soul feel that he shall abide in Christ forever. It is the abiding of the anointing first in us that finally makes it a divine assurance to us that we shall abide in him. It is the abiding of the anointing in us that dispels the abominations of Wesleyan Methodism that says the elect can fall finally from God’s grace and love. It is the abiding of the holy anointing oil supernaturally in our souls, from our holy, loving, and electing God, which assures us are jewels and not dross, that we have Christ in our heart, and not merely on Calvary. “I in them, and they in me,” saith Christ; “I live, and they shall live also,” says He. “Ye shall abide in him,” concludes the apostle in our text.
These are the mysteries hid from all else but the elect. These are the things which assure the elect experimentally that they are among the number of the five wise virgins that had oil in their lamps; and when the midnight cry of death was up, had the oil of anointing in them to illuminate their path across the dark waves of dissolution; and to sing experimentally, and not in mere head-knowledge, “Victory, through the blood of the Lamb!” (Rev. 12:11) These are the things, as warming realities, which shall glow with life and light, kindled in the elect soul by the blessed God himself, when every hypocrite and head-knowledge Christian shall be chilled up in everlasting ignorance of God. “Who can stand before God’s icy cold?” says the Psalmist. (Ps. 147:17) These are the mysteries, in one word, which were hid from before the foundation of the world, and which the eye of no mere man can see, but which the Spirit hath revealed to none else but to them whose names are written in heaven, whose is the divine inheritance, sealed up by the beloved apostle, in our text’s conclusion, where he declares that, come fair weather or come foul, come hook or come crook, as men say, yet the chosen, regenerated family of Christ shall abide in Him. As the branch to the tree, or as the arm is knitted to the body by the shoulder joint; so shall the sap, and the blood, and flesh of Immanuel, the Tree and Prince of Life, cause and preserve the divinely existent union between him and all the favored receivers of the anointing of everlasting love, light, and grace, in their souls from Christ, the Fountain-Head of them all. “Ye shall abide in him;” yea, verily, and none beside they.
All then beside, who have not this anointing sensibly experienced in their souls, have no mark of kingship before God; have no mark of the royal family of heaven upon them. Instead of being kings unto God for ever and ever, all who have not this anointing are nothing but servants and slaves; a mean, low, and servile race. All else, who have not this anointing, sensibly felt in their souls, have no mark of celestial coronation from God.
Instead of being kings unto God for ever and ever, (Rev. 1:5,6) manifested by having the oil of a heavenly coronation imparted and flowing to, richly shed on, them, through Jesus Christ our Lord; instead, I say, of any professors of Christ on Calvary, who have not Christ in their heart; instead of any named Christians, by man or self, who have not the oil, as I say, of celestial and heavenly coronation in their souls, from God himself, and not from man or from self; such, I say, are not sons of God, but bastards; children of the bond-woman and not of the free-woman.
And through their excellence mount up to the clouds; though the leaf of their profession of Christ look ever so green; yet, I say, that all who never, in this world, experience, and not merely talk or read of, the anointing, mentioned in our text, in their own soul-feelings, are bastards and not sons; are children of the bond-woman and not of the free; (Gal. 4:31) and, if they die in that condition, as sure as God is in heaven, though they know all the Bible from Genesis to Revelation, they shall be damned. For the letter killeth, but it is the Spirit that giveth life; (2 Cor. 3:6) and he is a Jew, like Christ, who is one not in the chill, freezing, and unprofitable knowledge of the mere letter of Holy Scripture; but he is a Jew, and only a Jew, in God’s account, who is so inwardly; in the spirit, and not in the letter; in the warming influences producing and sustaining life, and eternal life too, from the holy anointing mentioned in our text. He that hath not the anointing is damned; for his faith stands not in the power of God, nor in the demonstration of the Spirit, but only in the wisdom of men. And cursed be the man (Matt. 7:21) who leaneth on a fleshly faith, and not on an anointed experimental faith, as the fruit of God’s eternal Spirit in the soul; (1 Cor. 2:12) and cursed (1 Cor. 2:4,5) are ye whose faith stands in the wisdom of men, in the enticing words of man’s wisdom, and not in “the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, giving unto you, individually, the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of him; the eyes of your understanding being enlightened, that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints, and what is the exceeding greatness of his power to us-ward who believe, according to the working of his mighty power, which he wrought in Christ, when he raised him from the dead.” (Eph. 1:17-20)
But my friends, the generality of faith stands, not in the operation of God (Gal. 4:6) in the feelings of a living soul, but in the mere letter of Holy Scripture. Suffice it merely for me to say, that all who have the mere letter faith, are damned; (Rom. 2:28,29) while they who are favored to have the experimental faith wrought out in their souls divinely, as the operation, and the mighty operation too, of God’s eternal, co-equal Spirit, are alone saved. Glory forever be unto God alone, who is the Author and Finisher of it in the souls of the elect alone.
Letter faith is, like the first Adam, earthly, fading and mortal. But the lip of anointed faith shall be established forever, (Prov. 12:19) tinged and warm with the glow of immortality and everlasting life from God’s celestial kingdom, divinely beaming in the saint’s soul, where repentance, not to be repented of, and remission of sins, have been sensibly sealed in the conscience; damned first by the law, and as sensibly raised again to hope and life, through Jesus his felt Resurrection and his life. And no other faith but this felt faith will profit any one in “the day of doom,” to which we are all hastening on the swiftest pinions of time. Soon will the winds and waves of death begin to howl, and dash, and roar, and splash around our bodily house, and every faith that then does not swallow up death sensibly in victory, is vain. “Ye shall abide in him,” says the apostle to the elected portion of the human race.
Few there are who know the dry oven of God’s wrath, making them sick, lost, and sitting in the shadow of death, in their conscience, for sin. Few there are to whom the Holy Spirit teaches the severity of God against their sins; and all else are lost for eternity forever in hell in the next life. Few, therefore, that are, who are brought to prize, feel, or enjoy the illustrious unction, the green and verdant wreath crowning them with God’s mercy; as says the apostle, “All run in a race, but one receiveth the prize; so run, that ye may obtain.” (1 Cor. 9:24) Few there are who have ever had the droppings of the Honeycomb of Life; because there are few who have ever been brought first, by the Spirit, to feel that sin is an exceedingly bitter thing. Therefore, all our towering professors of Christianity, in the letter, if they were not willingly blindfolded, might see everyone of them, their death-warrant in their own conscience; for they know they have never, experimentally received this anointing out text speaks of.
Preached in Abbey Street Chapel, Abingdon
Lord’s day Afternoon, December 10th, 1837