A Study of Isaiah 27:13
A sermon preached on August 1, 1852, by J. C. Philpot, at Eden Street Chapel.
“And it shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the LORD in the holy mount at Jerusalem.”
How continually in the prophets, and especially in Isaiah, the expression occurs–“The day of the Lord;” and sometimes, in a briefer form, as in our text, “In that day.” Great and memorable events are almost always connected with “The day of the Lord,” and “That day.” There must then be something very noteworthy in the expression as it occurs so continually, and events so great are connected with it. And as, besides this, our text may be said to hinge almost wholly upon it, it may be desirable to spend a few moments in examining the meaning of the expression. The words convey with them this idea, that it is a day or season for we need not limit it to a period of twenty-four hours’ duration in which the Lord will be everything, and in which he will so conspicuously manifest his greatness and power, so emphatically make bare his arm, that it will be a day wholly His own; in other words, a day in which man will be nothing, and God “all in all.”
The leading idea then of the expression is, that it is a day of power. But when we come to examine the context by the various passages in which the expression occurs, we find that it is sometimes spoken of as a day of great trouble and distress, and sometimes as a day of great mercy and deliverance. Thus we find in one of the prophets–“Woe unto you who desire the day of the Lord! to what end is it for you? the day of the Lord is darkness, and not light. Shall not the day of the Lord be darkness, and not light? Even very dark, and no brightness in it?” Am 5:18,20 And again, “The day of the Lord comes; for it is near at hand–a day of darkness and of gloominess, a day of clouds and of thick darkness, as the morning spread upon the mountains.” Joel 2:1,2 We find also this declaration, “Alas! for that day is great, so that none is like it–it is even the time of Jacob’s trouble; but he shall be saved out of it.” Jer 30:7
In other passages, and by far the more numerous, we find the day of the Lord spoken of as a day of special deliverance. “In that day shall this song be sung in the land of Judah.” “In that day you shall say, O Lord, I will praise you; though you were angry with me, your anger is turned away, and you comforted me.” So in the text, we read, “It shall come to pass in that day, that the great trumpet shall be blown;” the trumpet of deliverance.
But how can we reconcile these two different meanings of the very same word, and make the scriptures harmonious and consistent when the day of the Lord is sometimes spoken of as a day of distress, and sometimes as a day of deliverance–sometimes as a day of misery, and sometimes as a day of mercy? There is no great difficulty in reconciling them. The day of the Lord is that special time or season, when the Lord puts forth his hand, and manifests his almighty power. It is then equally “the day of the Lord,” when he brings down, and when he lifts up; when he puts his hand to wound and kill, or to heal and make alive.
Thus gracious Hannah, in her son’s of deliverance, ascribes both of these works to the Lord. “The Lord kills and makes alive, he brings down to the grave and brings up.” As both works are his, the day is also equally his. But we may also reconcile the conflicting passages by observing that the day of deliverance to God’s friends is a day of desolation to God’s enemies, as the Red Sea bore striking witness.
The prophets too, had doubtless reference to that great day which is still in the future–when there will be a greater manifestation of the power of the Lord than earth has yet seen.
But not to dwell longer on this point, let us come at once to our text, in which, I think, we may observe three distinct things:
1. The blowing of the great trumpet.
2. The characters in whose ears and hearts this great trumpet is to be blown.
3. The effect which the blowing of the great trumpet produces upon them.
I. The blowing of the great trumpet. There seems to be some reference here to the blowing of the trumpets of which we read in the law of Moses. God, you will remember, Nu 10 bade Moses construct two silver trumpets, which were to be sounded on all great and solemn occasions. “Make two trumpets of silver; of a whole piece shall you make them–that you may use them for the calling of the assembly, and for the journeying of the camps.” These trumpets were sometimes to “blow an alarm.” “And if you go to war in your land against the enemy that oppresses you, then you shall blow an alarm with the trumpets; and you shall be remembered before the Lord your God, and you shall be saved from your enemies. Also in the day of your gladness, and in your solemn days, and in the beginnings of your months, you shall blow with the trumpets over your burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of your peace offerings; that they may be to you for a memorial before your God–I am the Lord your God.” Thus every day of gladness, every solemn festival, and every new moon were to be hailed with the sound of the silver trumpet.
But there was one occasion on which, in a special manner, the trumpet was to so blown–the day of JUBILEE. We thus read Le 25:9, “Then on the Day of Atonement of the fiftieth year, blow the jubilee trumpet loud and long throughout the land.” In the text there seems to be an especial reference to the blowing of this great trumpet in the beginning of the jubilee, for the special mark of that trumpet was that it was “blow the jubilee trumpet loud and long throughout the land.”
Looking at it then in a spiritual and experimental light, the blowing of this great trumpet must certainly mean the preaching of the gospel, the sweet melodious sound of sovereign grace, the proclamation of mercy, pardon and salvation through the blood of the Lamb. No other explanation can be tolerated for a moment, for no other parallel can be found to the jubilee trumpet, at the sound of which every captive Israelite returned to his city and his family, every debt was cancelled, and every mortgaged acre reverted to its original possessor. This great trumpet is then spiritually blown when the gospel is faithfully preached. But be it borne in mind, that though man may put this trumpet to his lips, it is the Spirit of God who must blow through it. It is he that must make it speak–it is he must who make it give forth its charming notes, for no sounds but his reach the heart.
II. The characters in whose ears and hearts this great trumpet is to be blown. But with God’s blessing we shall see more clearly what are the notes, the sweet melodious sounds of this great trumpet, when we have viewed, as we proposed, the characters for whom it is specially sounded. These are ranked under two classes–“Ready to perish,” and “Outcasts.” As the trumpet is sounded especially for them, we gather by fair implication that it sounds for them only. Indeed, none other require it; none other care for its melodious sounds; on every other ear its notes do but jar discord.
But what a strange position must they be in, in soul experience, before their ears are opened to hear the notes of this gospel trumpet. “Ready to perish!” Many of the Lord’s poor family are here; and indeed, they are all here until they hear the trumpet that bids them believe, rejoice, and live.
1. Some are “ready to perish” under convictions of sin, under deep distress and anguish of mind. They feel in their consciences that God is angry with them–that burning drops of his displeasure are falling into their souls. When the guilt and burden of sin are thus laid on their conscience they must needs feel “ready to perish,” for what is there before them but the pit? “Ready to perish” indeed they are, for as David said of himself–“There is but one step between them and death.”
2. Others of God’s people, after the Lord has revealed himself to their souls, and given them to feel their interest in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thus realize a blessed assurance of his mercy, are yet through the power of temptation often “ready to perish.” Some doubt this statement. But look at David’s case. Had not David received from God a solemn promise that he would sit upon the throne of Israel? Yet, when Saul was pursuing him, “David said in his heart, I shall now perish one day by the hand of Saul.” But had not God given him a testimony that he should not perish? Had not Samuel anointed him with the sacred oil, and did not David then believe as firmly as in his own existence, that he would sit upon the throne?
Now no man can have a stronger testimony nor a firmer assurance of his spiritual salvation than David had of his temporal salvation, for in promising him the throne, God certainly promised him deliverance from Saul. And yet David feared he should perish by his hand. Why then should not the same fears work now in the heart under similar circumstances? If David’s faith could fail, who shall say his own may not? David’s assurance was overborne by the imminence of the danger; and so after the Lord has assured him he shall sit upon the throne of glory, a real child of God may, through the power of temptation, the assaults of Satan, and the fiery darts that are cast into his mind, be brought into such circumstances as to feel as much ready to perish in soul as David did to perish in body.
3. Again; if the Lord permits any of his children, and he does sometimes permit them, to go astray from him, to wander after their idols, and get into a cold, dead state, they may, and often do have many doubts and fears, whether they have not been deceived and deluded altogether, and whether they are not now abandoned to their own ways. Filled with fears, these are ready to perish–they are, in their feelings, upon the brink of perishing. They will not, and cannot perish, for they are held up by the purpose and grace of God; but as in themselves without help, as, like Ephraim, having “destroyed themselves,” they are “ready to perish”–all but perishing.
Now, it is for these that the great trumpet is to be blown; and it needs must be a great trumpet, for they are great sinners–it must needs proclaim mercy in very loud tones, for sin, carnality, and Satan have so stopped their ears that they need a very powerful note to pierce them and reach their heart.
4. Others of the Lord’s people are in their feelings “ready to perish,” because they have not received those manifestations of God’s pardoning love which others are indulged with. Having, therefore, no clear testimonies nor bright evidences, they feel as if they had no real standing in the things of God, and therefore are often “ready to perish.” Many of the Lord’s people hide these feelings deeply in their hearts. Were they free to confess all they felt and feared, many would acknowledge they were indeed “ready to perish;” but amid the confidence of others they are afraid or ashamed to declare their fears.
But besides these, we read also of “outcasts;” and as there are those who are “ready to perish in the land of Assyria,” so there are those who are “outcasts” in the land of Egypt. What is it to be an outcast? Jonah well expressed its meaning when he said, “I am cast out of your sight” To be cast out of God’s sight then is to be an outcast. A sinner, in his feelings, is cast out of God’s sight when he sees himself too loathsome, too filthy, too base, too vile to dwell with God; and, therefore, like filth he is fit only to be cast out, swept away out of the presence of God, for into his presence nothing can come that is defiled. It is only as sin is opened up in the heart and conscience as exceedingly sinful, that we begin to loathe ourselves in our sight because of our manifold abominations. Here was Isaiah in the temple, Isaiah 6:5; Job in the ditch, Job 9:31; Daniel by the river, Da 10:8; Peter in the boat, Luke 5:8; and Jonah in the whale’s belly; all saw sin in God’s sight, and felt sin to be exceedingly sinful. Sin, sin, horrid sin makes us feel outcasts from God.
When there is no feeling access into God’s presence, when our prayers seem to be shut out, when there is no answer to our petitions, when the heavens above are as brass and iron, when there is no dropping down of the dew of his favor, and no gracious smile upon his face, then is this feeling in the soul, “I am cast out.” So is God’s church described, Eze 16; under the figure of a new-born babe “cast out in the open field;” so felt David, when he said, “Cast me not away from your presence;” so felt Heman when he cried, “Lord, why do you cast off my soul? why do you hide your face from me?” so felt Jeremiah when he exclaimed, “Waters flowed over my head; then I said, I am cut off.”
The most eminent saints, when sin came between them and God, felt they were, or deserved to be, outcasts. But where this experience is in the soul towards God, it makes a man, in a measure, an outcast also, in his feelings, from the church and people of God. His language is, ‘I feel too base, too vile, too loathsome, too corrupt to have anything to do with them, or for them to have anything to do with me.’ To be an outcast from God is to be an outcast from his saints. Many are kept by these feelings from joining churches, or associating with the people of God; and some have even been driven away from attending the worship of God, reading the Scriptures, or using private prayer, as viewing themselves outcasts from God and man. Cast out by the world as a gloomy enthusiast, and casting himself out from the people of God, such a one may well use Deer’s words–
Lord, pity outcasts, vile and base,
The poor dependants on your grace,
Whom men disturbers call–
By sinners and by saints withstood;
For these too bad, for those too good–
Condemned or shunned by all.
These, then, are the characters–“ready to perish,” and “outcasts,” for whom the great trumpet is to be blown. These hail a free grace gospel, for it opens to them their only door of hope. A ‘duty faith gospel’ will never suit these. They are too deeply sunk, too far gone, and in their feelings too utterly lost for anything but mercy to reach, for anything but grace to save. It is not a little salvation, nor a little gospel, nor a little Savior that can suit such; it must be free, sovereign, distinguishing, super-abounding, or to them it is nothing. Thus, those things that seem at first sight to set the soul farthest from God, are the very things which in their outcome are calculated to bring it nearest unto God; whereas, on the contrary, those things that in men’s eyes bring them near to God, are the very thing’s which in God’s eyes set them farthest from him. Look at the two characters in the temple. See the proud Pharisee buoyed up with his own righteousness! Was that man, as he thought, near to God? But what set him so far from the Lord? His self-righteousness; it was that which set him far from God; the pride which he took in his doings and duties.
Now, look at the tax collector, who in his own feelings was indeed far from God, for “he dared not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven.” But which was nearer to God, the broken hearted tax collector, or the self-righteous Pharisee? So when a man may think himself nearest to God by his doings and duties, by his obedience, and consistency, by this very self-righteousness he thrusts himself away from God; for he secretly despises the gospel of Christ, makes himself his own savior, and, therefore, pours contempt on the blood and obedience of the Son of God. Thus, a poor guilty sinner, who in his own feelings is ready to perish, and but a miserable outcast, is brought near to God by the righteousness of the gospel; while the Pharisee is kept far from God by the wall of self-righteousness, which his own hands have built and plastered. It is to the perishing then and the outcast that the gospel makes such sweet melody. And why? Because it tells them the work of Christ is a finished work; that the blood of Jesus Christ cleanses from all sin; because it assures them that his righteousness is “unto all and upon all those who believe;” because it proclaims mercy for the miserable, pardon for the guilty, salvation for the lost, and that where sin has abounded there grace does much more abound.
But something more is needed than the mere outward sound of the gospel. Many of God’s poor children, who in their own feelings are ready to perish, may hear a free grace gospel preached in all its purity, and yet only be condemned by it, because not able to receive it, nor believe it, nor realize it. It therefore seems only to add to their misery, to feel that the gospel is enjoyed by others, while they cannot get a grain. But when the great trumpet is blown by the mouth of the Spirit, it makes sweet melody, not merely in the ear, but in the heart. The soul is then open to receive it, and its sweet notes find a blessed echo there when the Spirit proclaims pardoning mercy.
But what is the gospel? We talk much about gospel preaching, of a free grace gospel, and so forth, and we will not hear any minister who does not preach a free grace gospel. But what is all that? We may have the gospel in our heads, and on our lips, and yet not have a grain of the gospel in our hearts; and we never can have, and never ought to have the gospel in our hearts until we are brought into those circumstances to which the gospel is adapted.
But while a child of God is passing through this part of experience, how distressing it is to him! how his mind is exercised, his conscience burdened, and his soul racked with a thousand doubts, fears, and apprehensions! And yet how good it is for him to be thus exercised! It gives him an ear to hear the gospel, puts him into a situation to which the gospel is adapted, and makes him feelingly and experimentally one of those characters whom the Lord Jesus came to save; for “this is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief.” 1Ti 1:15
Christ came “not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance.” He came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” These tidings suit him well; for he feels himself to be no common sinner, but the chief of sinners; no ordinary transgressor, but a rebel in chief; a desperate, out of the way wretch, to the depths of whose wicked heart there seems neither end nor bottom. A gospel, therefore, clogged and fettered by conditions, mangled and shorn of its fullness and freeness, diluted and lowered by the water of creature qualifications, is no gospel to him. It does not reach his heart, come into his soul, touch his conscience, melt his spirit, or raise up faith, or hope, or love.
Nothing is so marvelous and mysterious as the work of grace. It is marvelous in pulling down, and marvelous in raising up; and as mysterious as marvelous. Here is one “ready to perish,” and an “outcast.” He would be neither if he could help it; and neither has he made himself. But such he is, and he must have help or die. Now to such a one, all but a free grace gospel is a mockery. It is taunting a drowning man to stand on the bank and bid him swim for his life. Leap in and save him. When brought to shore, he will bless his deliverer. A poor guilty outcast, finds nothing so blessed as to believe the gospel, and yet nothing so hard as to receive it; for he can derive no comfort from it, except as it is applied by free, sovereign, super-abounding grace.
The words are easily learned–“free, sovereign, and super-abounding;” but none can enter into their divine import unless they are applied by the Spirit to the heart. We hail poor souls ready to perish, outcasts in their feelings; for these are the only people who know what a free grace ministry is; there is always some duty to be done by everybody else; some sneaking, lurking self-righteousness not rooted out. With others there is always some SELF at the bottom, until the trials and distressing sensations which the “outcast,” and “ready to perish” feel, become brooms to rout out that miserable fellow– self-righteousness. The holes and corners have to be swept. There must be no duty faith, duty hope, duty obedience. But let a man be well exercised in his soul, sin, Satan, temptation, an evil heart, and a corrupt nature, with whole troops of lusts and corruptions speedily will be up in arms against him; and he will feel himself to be a poor miserable wretch without either hope or help.
But you will say– Is there not an easier way of learning the gospel than this? No! Must we then be “ready to perish” before the gospel saves us, and “outcasts” before the gospel takes us in? Yes, surely; for we are so already. The gospel does not make us so, but finds us so. This was the confession that the Lord himself put into the mouth of the Israelite when he stood before the altar. “A Syrian ready to perish was my father.” De 26:5 To see and feel ourselves “ready to perish” is but to see and feel our real condition. It is like a person ill of consumption learning for the first time the nature of his disease. To tell him so does not make him so. It is only making known to him his terrible plight. Now would not such a sinking patient hail and embrace a miraculous cure? And would he quarrel with the remedy because it perfectly healed him without his first making himself a little better? So with the gospel. It reveals a certain, an infallible remedy; but until we are ready to perish, we slight and despise it. “Few, if any come to Jesus, until reduced to self-despair.”
III. But when the great trumpet is blown, what is the effect produced by its loud and melodious notes? “They shall come who were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” They could not come before. When “ready to perish” they could only sigh, and cry, and groan; when “outcasts,” there was no access to God, no power to believe, to hope, or to love; but when the blessed notes of the gospel trumpet sound in the soul, all these hindrances are removed, and there is a “coming” to God. Now by this we may know whether we have received the gospel into our hearts.
What does the preached gospel do for most hearers? Nothing at all. It does not move, melt, soften, turn them, or have the least divine effect upon them. Many hear the gospel preached for years, but remain the same, no, become worse, become, as the term is, gospel-hardened. Where the hammer does not break or soften, it hardens, as in the case of the blacksmith’s anvil. The weightier the blows the firmer the steel. It is a sad thing to sit under the gospel without having a case for the gospel. The Pharisees who watched Christ when he healed the man with the withered hand, were hardened by a miracle of mercy before their eyes; they had no case and needed no miracle. But where there is a case for mercy, the “ready to perish,” the “outcast,” when he hears the gospel trumpet, and it makes sweet melody in his soul, comes. This coming shows that the trumpet is heard.
When the soldier hears the sound of the bugle he hurries to do what the bugle bids. If it call him to quarters, he comes without delay. So when the child of God hears the trumpet call, he comes; and his coming is a sign that he hears and knows what the tones mean.
But how does he come? He comes as the gospel bids him come, unto Jesus–“Come unto me, all you who labor and are heavy laden.” “To whom coming as unto a living stone.” This coming is “the obedience of faith.” “When they hear of me they shall obey me.” They come humbled, broken, prostrate, and yet with a sweet sense of acceptance in the Beloved, and are thus brought near unto God. Now if any poor soul here has ever felt the gospel in this way, in its freeness, fullness, and blessedness, he has heard the sound of the great trumpet.
But a Galatian gospel, a mixed gospel, a free-will gospel, a duty gospel, will never thus draw sinners unto God. Such a gospel cannot remove guilt from the conscience, and therefore gives no liberty of soul, and no access into God’s presence. A bound and imprisoned gospel will always breathe its own spirit, which is bondage and death. It proclaims no liberty, and therefore gives none. If ever it speaks of mercy it is frightened at its own words, and recalls or qualifies them as soon as uttered. It is a gospel of uncertainties, and therefore can give no sweet and blessed certainty of the pardon of our sins, or acceptance of our persons; resting half its weight on the creature, it can afford no assurance of our standing in the Lord Jesus Christ, or of being bound up in the bundle of life with the Lord the Lamb.
Now there may be some here, and they children of God, who from lack of light or the workings of self-righteousness cannot altogether receive a free grace gospel. They are not enemies to truth, but from some jealousy lest grace should be abused, think we should not go so far in our statements, and that it is prudent and wise to put the break on lest the gospel should get off the rail. But let these good people examine well their experience, and they will find it defective in two most important particulars:
1. They are not ready to perish, nor outcasts.
2. They have not received the spirit of adoption.
And so long as they cleave to this Galatian gospel they never will experience true liberty nor rejoice in hope of the glory of God. These are kept from hearing the melodious sounds of the gospel trumpet through self-righteousness.
But there are those of a very different class and stamp, who are kept back by self-despair. Their language is–“I have been so vile and base; I have been such a backslider; I have wandered in my affections so far from God; my heart, also, is so evil, my mind so carnal, my corruptions so powerful, what shall I do? What shall I do?” But what can you do? Nothing is the sum total of all you can do. Cast up all your doings and you will find you must write, nil–nothing, at the bottom. Where then are you brought? To this point, “ready to perish,” an “outcast.” Is not this your very character, your precise condition? Beg then of God to bring his gospel near, to sound the great trumpet in your heart. Tell him that you are ready to perish and that he alone can save.
Called then by the sounding of the great trumpet the perishing and the outcasts “come.” And what do they do when they come? Do they trifle with sin, mock God, and abuse his grace? We read not so. They “worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.” They worship him in Spirit and in truth, in the beauty of holiness. With purified hearts, purged consciences, and spiritual affections, they fall down before him, and their souls are impressed with the greatness of his love. They had no such heavenly feelings before; they could not therefore worship the three-one God in the holy mount, nor at Jerusalem. The great trumpet had not blown; the jubilee had not come; the chains had not been knocked off, the shackles not loosed, and the prison gates not thrown open. They could not therefore worship God freely and fully with liberty of access and freedom of spirit.
But where do they worship him? On the holy mount. The holy mount we may understand to signify spiritually Mount Zion, the place where Jesus sits in glory. This is the ancient declaration of the Father– “Yet have I set my king upon my holy hill of Zion.” Here Jesus ever sits with love in his heart, grace in his lips, and the gospel in his hands. He sits on a holy hill, sways a holy scepter, and rules in the hearts of a holy people.
Men talk much of holiness; and indeed they may well talk of it, for it is a most solemn declaration, that “without holiness no man shall see the Lord.” But what sort of holiness are most seeking after? A holiness of the flesh, a sanctity of the creature. They must do this and abstain from that; and if they do this and abstain from that, then they are holy. So many prayers must be said, so many chapters read, so many duties done. This is Popish holiness, the sanctified austerity of a St. Dominic, not that holiness without which no man shall see the Lord. That is of a very different nature–different every way, in source, way, means, and end.
The only true holiness is that which is produced by the Spirit of God in the soul. Other source or fountain there is none. And how does he produce it? By the law or the gospel? By the gospel certainly. When the great trumpet of jubilee sounds in the soul, when it listens to the notes, and comes obedient to its call, it is to worship the Lord in his holy mount at Jerusalem. True holiness is then produced in the soul; for then there are given spiritual desires, spiritual affections, spiritual views, spiritual feelings, and spiritual hearts. This is the holiness which is wrought in the soul by the Spirit of God, and without which no man shall see the Lord.
But what a strange way it is to be made holy! Before a poor sinner “ready to perish” will be holy, sin usually makes terrible work with him. Satan thrusts hard at him; temptation attacks him; lusts and corruptions knock him nearly to pieces; and he is “ready to perish” miserably under the accumulated wrath of God. What holiness has now this poor wretch? Judging by his own feelings, no more than Satan has; aye, and unable to produce it, though he shed floods of tears, or to find any one on earth to produce it for him. Can this be a man for God? A man to whom the gospel is proclaimed? A man for whom Christ died? Can this be a child of God and an heir of heaven? What? this poor wretch “ready to perish,” this poor “outcast?” Yes, he is the very person, an heir of heaven, a co-heir with Christ, and on his way to glory.
But, you ask, is there to be no practical holiness, no obedience of the hands, no consistency in the life? Yes, surely. But do not confound cause and effect, root and fruit, source and stream. Is this holiness produced by obedience, by doings, by duties? I read not so. I find it thus–“In that day shall the great trumpet be blown”– the trumpet of the gospel, which proclaims mercy to the miserable, and pardon to the guilty, which declares that Christ has finished the work which the Father gave him to do, and washed away sin in his own precious blood. The outcast hears, believes, feels, realizes. As these heavenly notes produce sweet melody in his soul, he comes to Mount Zion and to the blood of sprinkling, which speaks better things than the blood of Abel. There the Holy Spirit takes of the things of Christ, and reveals them to his soul. He thus sanctifies him, and produces love to Jesus, and obedience to the truth. Old things pass away, and all things become new. This is spiritual holiness, a thing as different from fleshly holiness, as heaven from hell.
Have you seen the matter in this light, and felt a measure of this divine power and work? If not, I must say that you have never yet heard the gospel trumpet. Self-righteousness is still working in you. You love a Galatian gospel, because such a gospel suits your self-righteous heart. But do not condemn others, and call them Antinomians, because they believe and love a free grace gospel. I believe in my heart and conscience, that every child of God who is to be saved will experience these things, each in his measure. The gospel has not two different sounds. The silver trumpets were to be made all of one piece; and so is the gospel, all of one piece. This trumpet gives a certain sound.
Now, this may explain why the gospel in our day is so much despised. It is too pure, too free, too sovereign, too super-abounding. Most people like the gospel wine to be mingled with a considerable mixture of water, because the pure wine of gospel grace is too strong for them. But who are those that love gospel wine? They are those that Lemuel’s mother bade him pay special attention to. “Give strong drink,” said she, “to him who is ready to perish, and wine unto those that be of heavy hearts. Let him drink and forget his poverty, and remember his misery no more.” She was a wise woman, and she gave wise advice. What was true then is true now. The heavy in heart still love the gospel wine; and the perishing and the outcasts still come at the sound of the great trumpet, and worship the Lord in the holy mount at Jerusalem.