A Study of Hebrews 2:9
“But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour: that He by the grace of God should taste death for everyman.”
THE design and determination of the Holy Ghost in this very precious epistle is the exaltation and glorification of Jesus Christ, and the ignoring of everything short of Him, in the matter of His people’s salvation and everlasting security. I have endeavoured many times to explain this to you, showing that in every chapter there is a revelation of some excellent thing, which Satan is sure to make use of to draw away the mind of the child of God from the one Object of his faith, and hope, and love a precious Christ. In chapter 1, the angels are revealed as visitors for a little while, ministering to the wants and necessities of the heirs of salvation, according to that supply of grace committed unto them by God for the time being. Angels perform His bidding and pass away. Moses, Aaron, Joshua, Melchisedec, priests, sacrifices, ordinances, and ceremonies, all of Divine appointment, pass away at the approach of the Great Reformer. See Hebrews 9:10: “Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation,” or, until the Great Reformer came. When it pleases God to bless the souls of His people with the revelation of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Great Reformer, in the perfections of His priesthood, they experience sweet freedom from all other bonds, and cry, “Whom have I in heaven but Thee? and there is none upon earth that I desire beside Thee.” (Ps. 73:25) Christ is the one Object of their soul’s affection, and all else is fleeting, fading, perishing.
This fact is revealed in the chapter, a portion of which I have read for our mediation. Before dwelling upon the precious truths therein contained, we will look at a few important and instructive points which appear in the chapter, humbling to the preacher as well as the hearer. Look at verse 1: “Therefore.” Because of the immutability of Christ as set forth in the latter part of the first chapter, under that grand and illustrious title which displays the perfections and glory of His salvation “THE SAME.” “Thou are THE SAME.” The Immutable Saviour. The Unchangeable Friend. Whose grace and goodness are without variableness or shadow of turning. It matters not what our changes may be, we may sorrow and mourn over filth and guilt contracted afresh, and for the application of the precious atoning blood of our Lord Jesus Christ; but toward us He is ever THE SAME. When we wander from Him in thought, purpose, imagination, or desire, we cannot truly get away from Him, for He is ever THE SAME. “Emmanuel, God with us.” Our wretched natures will manifest their rebelliousness, and our perverse wills their restlessness, but He is ever THE SAME. We may doubt and fear, and be more unbelieving than the devils, for they believe and tremble, but, “If we believe not, yet He abideth faithful, He cannot deny Himself.” (2 Tim. 2:13) We may be, and are, forgetful of Him, but He is ever mindful of us, of His covenant engagements, and of the precious promises which the Father treasured up in Him for us. “Therefore,” with an unchanging Saviour, and the sweet enjoyment of the ministry of elect angels expressed in this hymn:
“Angels unseen around the saints
Their guardian pinions spread,
To cheer the spirit when it faints,
And raise the drooping head”
“we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip,” or, as it reads in the margin, “run out as leaking vessels.” There is no superfluous injunction in God’s blessed Book. Paul, and those to whom he wrote, knew something of this leaking business; and not they alone, but all the tried and tempted children of God in this dispensation of grace are painfully conscious of this infirmity. One moment encouraged with bright and blessed views of Divine truth, the next depressed with a sense of forgetfulness and want. I myself, at the bottom of the pulpit stairs enjoying life, light, and liberty in the mysteries of redeeming love, but in the pulpit, dead, dark, and dreary a leaking vessel. You in the pews who listen to the declaration of rich and glorious grace, whose hearts melt with a view of a precious Christ in His sufferings for you, before you leave your seats you are like that described in Hosea 6:4, “O Ephraim, what shall I do unto thee? O Judah, what shall I do unto thee? for your goodness is as a morning cloud and as the early dew it goeth away.” Goodness! had Ephraim any? Not by nature, but by gracious imputation and importation he had. This goodness is rendered in the margin, mercy or kindness. The goodness, mercy, and kindness which God made over to him, he often felt his lack. And so do we. There is another fact I wish you to notice. The apostle Paul aspired not to a pinnacle of apostolic superiority. He magnified not himself because of his office. He did not lecture the people, saying, “You ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which you have heard,” but he finds himself one with them in their forgetfulness, short-sightedness, and leaking state. He said, “We ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” Can it be possible that there is within these walls a single soul blessed with the faintest apprehensions of Divine love, life, light, and liberty, who cannot look this portion in the face and take it home to himself? He who knows the most, feels he ought to know more, not simply of the things which he has read, but the things which he has been taught from the lips of Christ.
Look at verse 3: “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” I recollect reading a sermon preached by a bishop from that text. Either the text was too big for the bishop, or the bishop was too big for the text. He spoke of this great salvation as for everybody, and tried to coax the dead, neglectful sinners of his congregation to accept it, and threatened them with damnation for their persistent negligence. Poor bishop! See! It is the fashion in all Arminian workshops and free-will assemblies for the preacher to stand upon the elevated ground of personal holiness, and to address his auditory as far beneath him; and especially when he is addressing those who are not what he is pleased to style believers, doesn’t he give it them for neglecting that salvation through accepting which he has compelled God Almighty to be obligated to him? This is not the case in Grove chapel, for if there is one spot in it where the concentration of every sin is to be found, surely that spot is the pulpit. Look at that personal pronoun “we.” Paul, and every Pauline preacher commissioned to declare God’s mind and will to the elect of God throughout the world, stands on an equality with them, and says, “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” “So great salvation!” How great? So great that it brought from heaven the great and eternal God, removed the great barriers of sin, condemnation, and death from between God and His elect people, gave a great and glorious righteousness to a great multitude of Adam’s lost race, and enriches with great grace every poor sinner brought by the Holy Ghost into fellowship with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ. Its greatness will be truly known when great sinners, saved from great sins, shall stand before the throne, singing, “Salvation to God that sitteth upon the throne, and unto the Lamb.” (Rev. 7:10) It is a salvation revealed in a living, glorified Man, who is also the Mighty God a salvation brought home to the hearts of God’s children by the exceeding greatness of His mighty power. “How shall we escape if we neglect so great salvation?” Escape what? Some would say, How shall we escape the wrath of God and the damnation of hell? I say nothing of the kind. We who have this salvation are saved from hell, and exempt from the wrath of God. But, if we neglect this great salvation, how shall we escape the certain consequences of our neglect, such as leanness, deadness, dreariness, and distress of soul? But look at this great salvation as possessed by those who are interested in it. “Which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard Him.” A salvation spoken by the Lord to the heart and confirmed by Him there. “God also bearing witness, both with signs and wonders, and gifts of the Holy Ghost, according to His own will!” The Holy Ghost witnessing to the truth and reality of this salvation. Free-will has no place here, for it is wholly according to JEHOVAH’S own will.
I wish you to notice also the New Testament quotations from the Old. Many of these throw wonderful light upon the Old Testament Scriptures where they occur. Read verse 6: “But one in a certain place testified, saying, What is man, that Thou art mindful of him? or the Son of man, that Thou visitest Him?” What Man is this? Who is this Son of man? Are we to understand this of man in general, man in union with Adam? No. But to the Man Christ Jesus and to man in Christ. Here the Spirit of God by the Psalmist directs the attention of God’s Christ. Struck with the force of Divine revelation, and the blessed opening of JEHOVAH’S covenant love, he exclaims, “What is man?” The Man in covenant, crucifixion, communication, and communion. The Man from Bethlehem’s manger to Calvary’s cross. “And the Son of man, that Thou visitest Him?” Mark this! God dealt with the Man Christ Jesus during His sojourn here upon earth as He dealt with the man Adam before his fall. God was a Visitor in Eden. Christ when on earth sometimes felt the absence of His Father-God, hence the doleful cry from His exercised heart, “My God, My God, why hast Thou forsaken Me?” (Matt. 27:46) In wonder, love, and praise, the question is asked, “What is man?” Man humbled to the dust, to degradation, and to death; but now exalted far above all blessing and praise. “Thou art mindful of Him,” and of all that Thou didst give to Him. “Thou visitest Him,” and wilt visit with His salvation every soul in union with Him. “Thou madest Him a little lower than,” or, as it reads in the margin, “a little while inferior to the angels, Thou crownedst Him with glory and honour, and didst set Him over the works of Thy hands: Thou hast put all things under His feet.” Infidel philosophers, and some who are looked upon as religious philosophers, see in this Psalm nothing more than the superiority of man over the brute creation. They speak of the dignity, the reasoning powers, the brilliant intellect, the wondrous skill, and the scientific appliances by which lordly man subdues the inferior animals to his will. When man can tame and manage himself, then, perhaps, we may believe these would-be philosophers. We have no need to go to the brute creation for the exhibition of brute force. We see it in the name of Jesus, but it is not our JESUS. Under “The holy standard of the cross,” crimes the most accursed, and atrocities the most fiendish are perpetrated. When I look around me, I am amazed at the effrontery of Non-conforming and Ritualistic hypocrites who are calling to prayer, that God may bless the holy Russian, and damn the cursed Turk. With such I feel perfectly horrified. If we look around, in every direction we see man’s will asserting itself in opposition to the purpose of JEHOVAH. Might, no right, is the order of the day. Where, then, is man’s superiority? Only in man’s delusions and vain notions. We turn away from this painful theme and look at the truth as opened up by the blessed Spirit. Here we see Him whom our souls love reigning over all things in heaven, in earth, and in all deep places. We see, too, that the apostle’s mind was deeply exercised in this matter. He speaks as an honest man, as a man who knows something of conflict with Satan, self, and sin, for in the last clause of verse 8 we have this confession from the depths of a God-wrought experience: “But now we see not yet all things put under Him.” From these words, many who profess to be wonderfully wise in the Scriptures of truth, would have us believe that the Lord Jesus Christ is not King as yet, but only Prophet and Priest. But God’s declaration is that He is His anointed King upon Zion, the hill of His holiness, that He is set at God’s right hand, “far above all principality, and power, and might, and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in that which is to come, and hath put all things to the Church.” (Eph. 1:20-22) Peter also declares, “Who is gone into heaven, and is on the right hand of God, angels, and authorities, and powers being made subject unto Him.” (1 Peter 3:22) This is blessedly true; but as we look around us and see the sin and disorder which reign on every hand, we say with Paul, “But now we see not yet all things put under Him.” Blessed be God, our ignorance and fears alter not the fact that Jesus is King over all in heaven, in earth, and under the earth, “and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.” (Phil. 2:9-11)
“But we see Jesus.” The moment precious faith obtains a view of Him whom our souls truly love, all things are subject to Him. All terrestrial things are beneath the notice and attention of the child of God, who finds in the midst of shaken and perishing things a kingdom which cannot be moved; who discovers in the midst of poverty the unsearchable riches of Christ. We will look at this precious portion according to that order and arrangement in which it has pleased the Holy Ghost to give it to us. How do we see Jesus this morning? Have we any such view of Him as that which ravished the heart of the bride and described by her in Solomon’s Song 5:10-16? Here she beholds Him in the beauty of His person, His unspeakable excellences, His unchanging affection, the stability of His appointments, the glory of His salvation, and cries out in spiritual admiration and adoring gratitude, “This is My Beloved, and this is My Friend.” But some of you have come within these walls this morning, burdened and oppressed with sin, groaning under Satan’s temptations and accusations, and, like Job, longing to know where you might find Him, desiring to come even to His seat, to fill your mouth with arguments, and order your cause before Him. You long to see Him as your Sin-bearer, carrying all your sins, past, present, and to come, into the land of never-ending forgetfulness. You long to see Him travelling in the greatness of His strength, speaking in righteousness, mighty to save you. You are on the look out to behold Him as the mighty Conqueror over sin, death, hell, and the grave, entering into heaven’s highest glory, and standing in the presence of God for you, as your Intercessor, Advocate, and Great High Priest. Does sin trouble you? Are your transgressions a load? Is iniquity your daily annoyance? How blessed it is to see Jesus before the Father’s throne making intercession for transgressors not for those who pride themselves in their very proper and precise mode of living, who trust in themselves that they are righteous, and despise others. Have you transgressed this morning? I have. Transgression is seen on everything I do. But what a mercy it is to know that we have an Intercessor in heaven for all such. Is your case hard and desperate? See! “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.” (1 John 2:1) Look at that! It is not if any man pray, or if any man believe, or if any man repent, for sometimes these very men to whom Jesus is an Advocate can neither pray, believe nor repent. They cannot command a hope or a desire, and yet they feel themselves raised up to a little hope in God’s mercy, and bless Him for a desire to fear His name.” (Neh. 1:11) These would rather write bitter things against themselves than lay claim to that which belongs not experimentally and spiritually to them. Blessed words! “If any man sin.” Sin through the felt want of hope. Sin, for want of faith. Sin, for want of love. Sin, for want of prayer. I want to pray, but I don’t know how. I want to sing, but my heart is cold and dead. Blessed be God for that word, “If any man sin, we have an Advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the Righteous.”
“But we see Jesus.” Read Exodus 28:30-38. There you see Aaron, the high priest, a type of our blessed Lord and Master, the great King-Priest of His Church, “bearing the judgment of the children of Israel upon His heart before the LORD continually,” and also bearing the “iniquity of the holy things, which the children of Israel shall hallow in all their holy gifts, that they may be accepted before the LORD.” O my dear friends, it is a sweet interest in this alone that brings me into this pulpit. It is encouraging to know that the iniquity of my preaching, the iniquity of my praying, the iniquity of my most hallowed moments is all borne before God upon the head and the heart of my Great High Priest. In the sweet consciousness of this I can sigh out sometimes,
“Not on me, Lord, not one me.
I am all iniquity;
Look on Thine Anointed One,
Who before Thy glorious throne
On His breast bears my poor name.
All my load of sin and shame
Look on Him, my Surety.”
When sorrow and sadness swell and surge as the sea, and when inbred corruptions seethe up within, unknown to all but myself and Him, then I delight to see Him, and then I can sing in plaintive strains
“When doubts and fears prevailing rise.
And fainting hope almost expires,
Jesus, to Thee I lift mine eyes,
To Thee I breathe my soul’s desires.”
In every time of trial and trouble we sigh to see Jesus, and, blessed be His holy name, He has promised, and bound Himself by the most solemn pledges, that we shall see Him in the set time of favour, the time appointed by the Father. O, what a mercy it is to know, that a sight of Jesus depends not upon the clear sight of these poor fading eyes; but that when flesh and heart fail, when these eyeballs are glazed in death, and this stammering tongue is paralysed in the throes of dissolution, then with the eyes of faith, with the eye of our spiritual understanding, with the eye of fond affection, we shall see Him, and our spirits shall cry, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for Him, and He will save us: this is the LORD; we have waited for Him, we will be glad and rejoice in His salvation.” (Isa. 25:9) “But we see Jesus” as our Prophet and patient Leader, as our Priest and gracious Saviour, and as our King reigning over all things for His Father’s glory and for our eternal good.
Without any wish or desire to enter into what might be considered a controversial exposition of the text, let us, in humble dependence upon the guidance of God the ever-blessed Spirit, seek to understand rightly that which appears difficult, but which is indeed full of blessing and rich consolation to the tempted and tried in the Lord’s family. “But we see Jesus, who was made a little lower than the angels.” Here we see God’s discriminating and distinguishing sovereignty. Angels created, some elect and some, who fell from their high estate, reprobate, and are reserved in chains of darkness to the judgment of the great day. Covenant love has no respect to fallen angels and provides no salvation for them. Covenant love has respect to the elect sons and daughters of Adam, whom it raises to higher dignities than those possessed by Adam ere he fell, and to higher glories than those possessed by elect angels who never fell. To this end, according to covenant arrangement, Jesus was made “a little lower than the angels.” “He humbled Himself.” This is more than we can do. Those persons among the Papists, Ritualists, or Arminians, who profess to do so by their fastings, are only lifted up to a higher degree of pride by their fleshly endeavours. But Jesus humbled Himself, and made Himself of no reputation. He could do that, and as He reveals Himself to you and to me in His lowliness and humility, we are humbled to the dust, and crown Him Lord of all. I know it is so in my own soul’s experience, therefore I speak. Are we like Him? According to the company we keep, so in a measure will be our spirit and deportment. As we are blessed with His company who visited us in great humility, as He walks and talks with us by the way, and blesses us with His gracious communications, so we find our spirits blend with His. It matters not with whom we come in contact, if His presence be not there, the time is a weariness and a waste. The company of Jesus we love, and those who bring Him not with them are irksome companions to us.
“But we see Jesus” a lowly Babe, an obedient Man, a faithful Servant, a dying Substitute, a sinless Saviour. “Wherefore God hath highly exalted Him, and given Him a name which is above every name; that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth.” (Phil. 2:6-11) Yes, angels, men, devils, and lost spirits all bowing in submission to the all-powerful name of Jesus, some in awe and adoration, and others with hatred and enmity to Him. In the contemplation of so vast a subject our souls are lost in love and praise. Jesus humbled. Jesus exalted. Jesus an infant, a weakling on His mother’s bosom. Jesus a despised and persecuted child.
“A Pilgrim through this lonely world
The blessed Jesus pass’d;
A Mourner all His life was He,
A dying Lamb at last.”
Every step of His journey, though He was a lowly Man, yet He was God Most High. As the God-Man He rendered perfect obedience to His Father’s righteous law, and gave unquestionable satisfaction to outraged justice. He wrought full salvation, and eternal redemption, for His Church and people, and now as their Head and Representative He stands before the face of the Father, possessing a place for them there, and securing a safe conduct and a glorious convoy for every eternally-loved one. What think ye of such a Jesus as this? He, “who was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, crowned with glory and honour.” Who crowned Him? The Father crowned Him with glory and honour when He presented to Him His perfect work of salvation. The angelic Throng crowned Him with glory and honour as they beheld Him at the Head of His redeemed company. The glorified ones before His throne cast their crowns at His feet and crown Him with glory and honour. Every elect, redeemed, and regenerate sinner crowns Him with glory and honour. In no part of salvation’s work does a truly-taught child of God take any honour to himself, but gives all honour and glory to the worthy Lamb. Blessings for ever rest upon His holy name, He appears in the midst of the throne as a Lamb that had been slain. In this we see true lowliness, gentleness, meekness, tenderness, and love. But see! It is “in the midst of the throne.” In this we see sovereignty, royalty, excellency, and power. A sovereign Lamb. One who reigns by gentleness, and rules by love.
“But we see Jesus.” Here I wish you to notice the peculiar construction of the text
1.Jesus was made a little lower than the angels.
2.He suffered death.
3.He was crowned with glory and honour.
4.”That He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.”
Mark! This tasting death was a consequence, not a cause, of His exaltation and coronation. Does this tasting death mean that He suffered death upon Calvary’s tree? No. For according to the construction He must suffer death again. But this can never be. There is a marvellous beauty and rich consolation here to the living children of God. Were the sufferings and agonies of Jesus in Gethsemane and on Calvary a mere tasting? See Matt. 26:42, “He went away again the second time, saying, O My Father, if this cup may not pass away from Me, except I drink it, Thy will be done.” He tasted the vinegar, but “He would not drink.” (Matt. 27:34) But the cup which His Father gave Him He drank to the very dregs. “Taste death.” Do you think that refers to His death, or to the death which shall be experienced by all the members of His Church who are not caught up to meet Him in the air? I unhesitatingly answer, the latter. Our nature hates the thought of death. See! “By one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin.” (Rom. 5:12) “The wages of sin is death.” (Rom. 6:23) Spiritual death, which is alienation from the life of God. (Eph. 4:18) Natural death, the separation of soul and body. (Gen. 3:19) Eternal death, which all those out of the Lord Jesus Christ must experience. Not only these, but there is spiritual death experienced again and again by those who have passed from death unto life. Listen to the confessions of Paul, who knew that he lived in Christ, and that Christ lived in him. 1 Cor. 15:31, “I die daily.” 2 Cor. 1:9, “But we had the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in God which raiseth the dead.” 2 Cor. 4:10-12, “Always bearing about in the body the dying of the Lord Jesus, that the life also of Jesus might be manifest in our body. For we which live are alway delivered unto death for Jesus’ sake, that the life also of Jesus might be made manifest in our mortal flesh. So then, death worketh in us, but life in you.” 2 Cor. 11:23, “In deaths oft.” Oh, how we experience spiritual deadness; but He, who spake for the comfort and consolation of His mourning ones at Bethany, has left us this precious promise: “I am the Resurrection and the Life; he that believeth in Me, though he were dead, yet shall he live.” (John 11:25) Look at that! A dead believer “though he were dead.” Dead in feelings, dead in his experience to joy, peace, and consolation, “yet shall he live,” and that by the resurrection power of the gracious Sympathizer. In all these seasons the presence of the Abolisher of death is sweet and precious.
But let us look at death temporal as experienced by all those who shall pass from grace to glory previous to Christ’s coming to meet His living ones in the air. For some years the thought of death has had no terrors for me; I have ofttimes foolishly desired it. Now, don’t go away and say that I have been presuming, for this I do not. I cannot tell how it will be with me in respect to this before tomorrow’s dawn. Some may boast of their freedom from the fear of death; but if the monster death were to put in an appearance, where would these boasters be? But it is a blessing, indeed, to be delivered from the fear of death by the death of Jesus Christ our Lord. Death! What is it? It is the offspring of sin. What is sin? Sin is the transgression of the law. Death is an awful monster, and sin is its sting. See 1 Cor. 15:56, “The sting of death is sin; and the strength of sin is the law.” By the death of Jesus sin was put away. By the resurrection of Jesus death was overcome. By the righteousness of Jesus the law was magnified. By the intercession of Jesus death is abolished in experience of the child of God, and life and immortality are brought to light through the Gospel. Death is now part of his possessions, as we wee in the inventory of the Christian’s goods in 1 Cor. 3:22. One has beautifully described death as “Eternity’s birthday.” A birthday indeed, on which the heir of God enters into a life of unceasing, unspeakable joy, bliss, and blessedness. Another has described death as the old grim visaged porter standing at the portals of eternity. The wayworn pilgrim nearing his journey’s end contemplates the appearance of death with anxiety and concern, and in some cases with terror and dismay. But as the weary traveller approaches the dreaded spot, the old porter’s face beams with smiles, and he hands the tried one into the presence-chamber of the King, to be for ever shut in with Him, far away from all sin, sorrow, anxiety, and care.
“That He should taste death.” What is meant by tasting death? See Phil. 1:21, “For me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Gainsome, sweet, savoury. The sweets of redeeming, dying love, cast into that bitter cup, renders it palatable, and takes away all its bitterness. Turn to Job 6:6, “Can that which is unsavoury be eaten without salt? or is there any taste in the white of an egg?” Death is unsavoury indeed, but let the Lord cast the salt of the covenant into the white of that egg and it is immediately tasty, sweet, savoury, and palatable to the dying saint. At such a moment the experience of Asaph, as recorded in Ps. 73:26, is known and felt: “My flesh and my heart faileth; but God is the strength of my heart, and my portion for ever.” It is blessed to know that, “Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (Ps. 116:15) But this portion says, “that He by the grace of God should taste death for every man.” “Every man.” Who are they? Not all the children of Adam; but the many sons He brings to glory all the sanctified with Him in covenant, all His redeemed brethren, all the ransomed Church of God, all the children that God gave to Him. See the context. Are we among them?
Some of us here know that on Monday last dear old Sarah Shelley, an old member of this Church, was committed to the dust in Forest-hill Cemetery, in sure and certain hope of a glorious resurrection. No question about that. She was confined to her room in the Camberwell Aged Pilgrims’ Asylum for many a long day. I never entered her room but I was humbled to the dust, and found that it was my wisdom to keep my lips closed, and listen to the pouring out of her soul’s artless confidence in the God of her salvation. Jesus was very precious to her. She saw Him with the eye of fond affection, and waited almost impatiently for Him to come and take her to Himself. When the summons came, the Master found His loved one ready to go home.
Last Sunday morning, dear old Sarah Watts, another inmate of the Asylum, and member of this Church, worshipped with us here. I noticed the intensity of feeling pictured on her anxious countenance as she listened to the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. Monday morning, she was stricken down. Tuesday morning, she was summoned home. Friday afternoon, her mortal part was committed to the silent grave. This morning she worships with the glorified within the inner shine.
Last Friday morning, a good man, though he did not think he was, Mr. James Cunliffe, of Handforth, near Manchester, was taken home. He was one of the best and nearest friends I ever possessed. In the Lord I knew him well, and am thankful to God that I was privileged with his company and his confidence. He knew well the plague of his own heart, the perversity of his nature, and the preciousness of Christ. Many times have I witnessed the joy of his heart beaming in his face and bursting from his lips and eyes, as he listened to the glorious truths of God’s covenant salvation from these poor stammering lips of mine. He loved God’s Christ. He loved God’s truth. He loved God’s people. He was a firm abider by the stuff, and many a sorrowing spirit was cheered by his unostentatious benevolence. A letter I received yesterday morning from one of his sons concluded with these words: “His end was perfect peace.” Blessed exchange. Time for eternity. Grace for glory. May the Weeping One of Bethany bless his dear widow, who is an heir, together with him, of the grace of life, and all the bereaved ones with his His own sweet sympathy.
It is our lot this morning to thank and praise JEHOVAH’S holy name, because it has pleased Him to translate our dear departed friends from these lower scenes of night to take their place amongst heaven’s aristocracy. The portals of glory have opened for them, and their precious Saviour is seen in all His blessedness and beauty. In the contemplation of these unspeakable glories, my longing spirit sings
“There shall I bathe my weary soul
In seas of heavenly rest,
And not a wave of trouble roll
Across my peaceful breast.”
May the Lord add his blessing. Amen.
Preached in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, 1878 – By Thomas Bradbury