A Study of Hebrews 5:8-10
Substance of two sermons preached at Priory Chapel, Maidstone, Friday, April 19th, 1935 – By Caleb Sawyer.
“Though He were a Son, yet learned He obedience by the things which He suffered; And being made perfect, He became the author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him; called of God an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec.”
There is in these words a rich vein of doctrine and experience, which only the holy and blessed Spirit can open to our understandings. The Apostle is dealing with the holy Priesthood of Christ, showing that He is an High Priest after the order of Melchisedec, that mysterious personage who being king of righteousness, king of Salem, was also a priest of the most high God. On Abraham’s return from the slaughter of the kings, this good Melchisedec came out and blessed him; and Abraham paid tithes to Melchisedec, acknowledging his superiority. I sometimes think there must have been a godly seed in those days who appreciated the ministry of Melchisedec, such as Abraham and Lot, who doubtless were conversant in the things of God. This Melchisedec was “without descent”–had no recorded genealogy: his parents are unknown, there is nothing left upon record of his birth or of his death. Thus he was a lively type of Him of whom David was commissioned to prophesy: “Thou art a Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec,” referring to David’s “Greater Son,” and David’s Lord.
“Though He were a Son.” First, we will mention the ineffable relationship between this Person and the almighty everlasting God who spake all worlds into existence. He is “the Son of the Father in truth and love”–Son by eternal generation, co-equal and co-eternal with the Father. We read, “God spared not His own Son, but delivered Him up for us all.” (Romans 8:32) “God sent His Son to be the propitiation for sin.” (1 John 4:10) “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life” (John 3:16). So we consider this, and that upon Scripture premises, that God had a Son from everlasting; that there was never a time or a period when there was not the Father and the Son and the blessed Spirit–the Trinity in Unity. They ever subsisted in that ineffable relationship of Father and Son, and the Holy Ghost as proceeding from them both. All true religion is based upon this relationship. There is no gospel, there is no worship that is acceptable to God, but here; and here is the foundation of all saving religion, upon which we build our hopes for a never-ending eternity. It is inconceivable, incomprehensible to mortal minds, that God having one only Son, the only-begotten Son, should send Him forth to save a portion of mankind with an everlasting salvation, at the expense of such long-continued sufferings, culminating in that ignominious death upon Calvary’s tree. Truly, my friends, we seem lost in the contemplation of it; familiar with the narrative, we seem to lose the sense of the reality; but when we begin to consider–and especially when the Spirit of God engages our hearts in the matter–we are lost in wonder, love and praise. Would to God we knew more of this sweet and sacred truth, this doctrine of our text; that the great Jehovah sent His Son to be the Saviour of the world. Well might Paul break forth in spiritual ecstasy and say, “This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.” (1 Timothy 1:15) If the Spirit would re-declare this blessed truth in our experience, we should be Christians indeed. I would be thankful for any measure of gracious knowledge in these truths, but alas, alas! we have to confess how little we know of them in gracious experience.
“Though He were a Son.” It did not alter His relationship when He veiled His glory and wrapped Himself in feeble clay like our own, and was “found in fashion as a Man.” (Philippians 2:8) The holy Son of God came forth in the fullness of time, made of a woman, made under the law, (Galatians 4:4) that He might redeem poor sinners from the curse of that broken law. It was necessary for the Son of God to come into this world, to take our flesh, to assume our nature, to be made in all things like unto His brethren, (Hebrews 2:17)–yet without sin–that He might fulfill all the requirements of God’s holy law, both penalty and claim, in the letter and in the spirit; that He might have an obedience wherewith to cover His people as the Lord their Righteousness. “Ought not Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into His glory?” (Luke 24:26) But oh, the mystery of it, that the great God should tabernacle is such a feeble body as our own! And that He therein should “learn obedience by the things which He suffered!” That Christ, the Father’s equal, should come into such suffering circumstances as would call forth this “learning obedience.” And (I say it with reverence) unless the Lord Jesus had voluntarily come into these suffering circumstances and this humbled condition, there would have been no fulfilling, the office assigned to Him as the Deliverer of His people. He must suffer, and yield that obedience in suffering that would be the righteousness wherewith to cover His people. That is what the obedience of Christ means. It is not just keeping a code of rules; though I would not speak in any way depreciatingly of God’s holy law, which the apostle declares to be “holy and just and good.” In the obedience of Christ, there was something beyond repairing the breaches we made in the law: there was the honoring of it in its entirety, as well as bearing the penalty in His own body. There was a needs be He should tread the path of obedience, and walk out these things, and thus “learn obedience” (not learn to obey–that is not the meaning) to his heavenly Father’s will concerning the saving of His dear elect. The sufferings of the Lord Jesus Christ were a fulfillment of the engagement entered upon from eternity in the counsel of peace when the everlasting covenant was made, ordered in all things and sure: Christ came to carry out every jot and tittle and iota.
His was a suffering life, I believe, from the very commencement: but we know when He entered upon His public ministry, the Lord Jesus Christ endured the contradiction of sinners against Himself, not just on occasions but constantly. Opposition to His doctrine, opposition to His precepts, opposition to His person, was one phase of suffering the Lord of life and glory endured when traveling through this vale of tears; for He came into contract with those who hated His person and His doctrine, and who were determined to oppose Him on every hand. In the matter of temptations, too, there was suffering. Though it was impossible for Him to sin, yet He could suffer being tempted, in a way that we poor sinners have no conception of. It was like a serpent upon a rock, it left no impression–that is, in way of defilement–and yet those forty days in the wilderness wherein He was tempted of the devil, left such a mark upon Him that He is now able to succour all them that suffer being tempted. (Hebrews 2:18)
Then we come to this: He “offered up prayers and supplications, with strong crying and tears, unto Him that was able to save Him from death.” Now that implies suffering; whatever produced those strong cries and tears, you may depend upon it, it meant suffering to this glorious Person who thus walked the path of sorrow and suffering that He might succour every tempted son. It was humiliation for Him beyond all that we could conceive. We read, “He made Himself of no reputation and took upon Him the form of a servant; and was made in the likeness of men: And being found in fashion as a man, He humbled Himself and became obedient unto death.” (Philippians 2:7-8) But who knows what that means? In a doctrinal sense we may speak of Him as “emptying Himself”–not of His eternal Godhead, that was impossible; but laying aside, as it were, the glory He had with His Father before the foundation of the world, veiling His Godhead with humanity; and in that holy frail humanity experiencing grief unspeakable, and sorrow, so as to be a sympathizing High Priest. Then in Gethsemane’s Garden, oh, what suffering, sorrow and anguish, when out of every pore He sweat, as it were, great drops of blood! Anguish of spirit pressed out of our dear Redeemer that bloody sweat. Why, why should He suffer? Because He was made sin, (2 Corinthians 5:21) not by the infection of His nature, that was impossible. He still remained that pure, holy, undefiled Son of God; there was no taint of corruption, there was no seed of mortality, though He could voluntarily die. But being made sin by imputation, standing the Surety of His people, He bore all that which but for His enduring suffering and death, should for ever lie upon His church and people–He bore in His own Body their sins. In Gethsemane’s Garden He sustained the weight of them, when the guilt of all His people’s sins, the cup of penal wrath He received from His divine Father, overwhelmed Him and pressed Him to the ground:
“Shocked at the sight, yet prompt to pay.”
And how shall we speak of the cross and all the cross meant to the Lord of life and glory? Not as mere physical suffering, for I suppose many people have felt as great physical suffering as the holy Lord Jesus Christ, though it is terrible to think upon. But it was the sufferings, the sorrows of His holy soul when He experienced the curse of the law and the hiding of His Father’s face, that chiefly went to make up that tremendous death which alone could remove all the sins of the whole election of grace from Adam’s day down to the end of time; so that they are without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, (Ephesians 5:27) in God’s account.
“Being made perfect”–not as God, and not made perfect as Man. He was perfect God; He was perfect as man; perfect as that wonderful spotless Person, God and Man. There needed nothing to make Him personally perfect, for no imperfection attached to Him. But in the offices He sustained, in the fulfillment of all that was necessary to manifest Him a merciful and faithful High Priest over the household of God, He was “made perfect through sufferings.” In the accomplishment of the things God gave Him to do (for He came to do His Father’s will) there was (shall I say?) a going on unto perfection; everything must be completed, not a thing must be left undone. When our great Melchisedec walked this path of obedience, He yielded a perfect obedience, and when He had borne in His own Body on Calvary’s tree all that justice demanded for the expiation of His people’s sins, it might then be said that His obedience in suffering was perfect or complete. When the great sacrifice which was a complete atonement, was offered up, Christ uttered those memorable words, “It is finished,” and gave up the ghost. Redemption’s work was then perfect; the law was completely fulfilled; justice was honored and satisfied. There was nothing left to be done or to be offered in way of expiation or of procuring a righteousness wherewith to cover His church and people. Under the old dispensation the priest must continually offer sacrifices. (Hebrews 7:27) There was no remission without shedding of blood, yet the blood of all the lambs, the bulls, and the goats, could never take away one sin; (Hebrews 9:22; Hebrews 10:4) but these sacrifices pointed to the one only Sacrifice that could and that did take away all the sins of His chosen people.
“Not all the blood of beasts
On Jewish altars slain,
Could give the guilty conscience peace,
Or wash away the stain.”
But oh, that “richer blood!” that “Sacrifice of nobler name!” Invaluable blood! perfect Sacrifice! Nothing could be added to it. No. All the sufferings of the world added to this Sacrifice would not in any way make it more complete. Carnal reason might say, “Why should the Son of God be put to this infinite suffering, when He could speak all worlds into being?” Oh, sinner, do not pry into that which is unfathomable. Faith will not reason about it, faith believes it. Now that was the price infinite justice set, and that was the price our dear Redeemer paid; and if the Spirit of God writes this in your heart, you will find it sufficient alone to rest the weight of your soul upon for a never-ending eternity. This “being made perfect” belongs not to the Sonship of Christ, it belongs not to His immaculate Manhood; but to His experience as High Priest, as offering Himself as a Lamb without spot to God. And this, my hearers, is the Christian’s hope. Outside this, you have no hope that will stand the storm of death, no hope that will stand in the day of judgment. This anchors within the veil in the eternal Person of the Son of God: “Whither the Forerunner is for us entered, even Jesus, made a High Priest for ever after the order of Melchisedec.” (Hebrews 6:20) If the Lord has in mercy given you this hope, it will never fail, nor can any take it from you.
“Thy anchor once in Jesus cast
Shall hold thy soul, till thou at last
Him face to face shalt see.”
Oh, it is a mercy to learn these truths by the inward teaching and testimony of the Spirit of God. Paul speaks of a “better ministry, established upon better promises” (Hebrews 8:6) than the old dispensation. It is true that the “carnal ordinances imposed upon the people until the time of reformation” were God’s appointment, but the people were not thereby made perfect; therefore God could find fault with them. But “through this one offering, God hath perfected for ever them that were sanctified” (Hebrews 10:14). Should God the Holy Ghost make this out to your conscience, you will have a pardon that is signed and sealed and ratified. I have been very glad to sit at the feet of good ministers of the gospel, but, after all, soul-saving religion is wrought in the soul by the Holy Ghost. When the Lord graciously blessed my soul, He was pleased to shed a beam of His love in my heart, and to seal it with this: “When I see the blood, I will pass over you.” I then felt the ground was firm beneath my feet.
There is the perfection of Christ’s righteousness. Every act He did, every word He spake, every thought–everything concerning the life of the Man Christ Jesus and His doings, was but a weaving of that robe, that glorious righteousness to cover His people. I know it is a great deep, we cannot fathom it; and yet if the Holy Spirit of God makes it known to us as it is revealed in the Scriptures, we shall rejoice in the fact that Christ not only paid the penalty of His people’s sins, but also wrought out a righteousness wherein they stand eternally complete. It is not your incomplete works that will form a righteousness for you to stand in before the Great White Throne. Works are good in their place, they are a proof of faith; but when it comes to our standing, we must say with the poet:
“I stand upon His merit,
I know no other stand;
Not e’en where glory dwelleth,
In Immanuel’s land.”
Not a shred of my righteousness do I need to take me to heaven, though I want to live as those who are separated unto the gospel of Jesus Christ. But my standing must be in the perfect righteousness of the Lord Jesus Christ, else I am lost. To be complete in Him, (Colossians 2:10) not having my own righteousness, but that which is of God by faith, (Philippians 3:9) a righteousness on account of which God accepts poor sinners–that is the righteousness I want. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him.” (2 Corinthians 5:21) Oh, it will be a comfort when you come to “tread the verge of Jordan,” if you can then say, “I am complete in Him; His righteousness is mine. I have, I want, no other standing.” You then will understand the doctrine of justification by faith. There may be much talk about justification, but to enter into the blessed truth of it, and to live a life of faith upon the Son of God, being complete in Him, is a blessed experience.
Christ’s Priesthood did not end on earth. He entered into heaven with His own blood–that is, upon the merits of His one Sacrifice–now to appear in the presence of God for us, that He might carry on His Priestly office in all sufficient grace in every time of need. We have no grace except that which proceeds from the Lord Jesus Christ, communicated by the Spirit. As quickened by the Spirit of God and brought forth into God’s marvelous light, all we have flows out of the communicable fullness of the Lord Jesus Christ. If you are a repenting sinner, that repentance flows from Christ; it is not begotten by law, and I am sure it does not come naturally out of our own hearts. Christ is “exalted a Prince and a Saviour, to give repentance and forgiveness of sins” (Acts 5:31).
“Every blessing, great and small,
Flows to Zion through Him.”
O what a mercy it will be if some here present today heretofore dead in trespasses and sins, should be made recipients of repentance unto life, as a gift from this Great High Priest. Hart, speaking of repentance and faith being the gifts of the Lord Jesus, says,
“But should repentance, or should faith,
Should both deficient seem,
Jesus gives both the Scripture saith,
Then ask them both of Him.”
The Spirit of God must convince the sinner and bring him to desire what Christ suffered for and is now exalted to give, having obtained eternal redemption. (Hebrews 9:12) Every blessing proceeds from this priestly Person, the Son of God in our nature, who fills the throne of grace in heaven. And was not that beautifully set forth in the case of Melchisedec? Abraham had been fighting the Lord’s battles. He had rescued Lot, that godly man who got into bad company; he never should have been mixed up with those people. He was a godly man notwithstanding, and their filthy conversation vexed him, Abraham had been mercifully kept and had prospered; he had 318 servants, and fought with five kings and slaughtered them, and brought back Lot who had been taken captive. Then they met this godly Melchisedec, who brought forth bread and wine for them. And our great High Priest in heaven does not come empty-handed to poor needy sinners. Whether Melchisedec’s bread and wine cost much or little we do not know; but we do know this that salvation wrought out and brought in by our Great High Priest, cost infinite sufferings, beyond all words. He procured by infinite grace what He gives. “Ye know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that, though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that ye through His poverty might be rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9). His Priesthood continues. It cannot be vested in other hands. No. He wears His Priesthood still, and carries on His work by His Spirit in bringing sinners to repentance; revealing to them the completeness, the grace and the merits of His all-atoning Sacrifice, whereby poor sinners are made acceptable to God. The priests under the law were “compassed about with infirmities.” Of the Lord Jesus it is said, “He bare our griefs and carried our infirmities” (Isaiah 53:4). He knew the sinless frailties of mankind (as weariness), and He knew all the infirmities of His people. But now from heaven He communicates what the poor sinner is brought to feel his need of. If one is brought to feel the need of pardoning love and mercy, where can he get it? You may say, “Well, it is by God’s sovereignty.” I will grant it is according to God’s sovereignty; so it would have been had He spared the children of Israel without the sprinkling of the blood of the Paschal lamb upon the lintel and door posts. But God’s method was to sprinkle that blood. So today, the blood of Christ is to be a covering for us. God’s method of grace in pardoning poor sinners, is to reveal the Lord Jesus Christ; to open up the truth of His divine atonement; and to give faith whereby the poor soul receives the truth in his heart which really means “the blood of sprinkling speaking better things than the blood of Abel.” The High Priest of old, as Tabernacle Priest, entered the Holy of Holies, not without blood with which he sprinkled the mercy-seat; and everything was purged as sprinkled with that blood; showing forth in type the precious value of Christ’s blood and the merit of His Sacrifice. You will remember that when the Lord met His disciples and partook with them of that meal of broiled fish and honeycomb, to show them that He was a real Man in His resurrected body, He told them to handle Him and see that He had real flesh and bones. Our Great High Priest entered heaven with His own most precious blood, upon the merits of His own all-sufficient Sacrifice, there to appear in the presence of God for us. And He, our Great Melchisedec, can communicate all the benefits of His atonement to poor wounded hearts and consciences. Now this is the point: If you are labouring under a sense of guilt, if you are afflicted with sin, if you are troubled on account of the distance that sin creates between your soul and God, you have nothing to look unto but the blood of Jesus. This alone brings nigh to God. Today there is not much affliction for sin, things would not go so lightly if it were so; but where there is a heavily-burdened conscience, I would say to such, You have nought to look unto but Him who has entered within the veil, even Christ, who appears in the presence of God for such poor distressed sinners, and has the benefit of His atonement to impart to such a wounded conscience as yours. And if the Spirit of truth should make this known to you, every guilty bar will be removed between your soul and God, and you will know the peace of God.
“And being made perfect, He became the Author of eternal salvation unto all them that obey Him.” The obedience here is the obedience of faith, not taking the precepts and trying to fulfill them; though it would do you no harm so to do–but not for acceptance. But being emptied out of all thought of help in self, and coming as a poor bankrupt sinner, looking only to Jesus for salvation, whether He saves you or no; looking only to the merits of this Great High Priest for your acceptance with God; waiting only on God for the manifestation of His grace and goodness in Jesus Christ–there is the blessed obedience of faith; it is not a hard legal task. One of our poets says,
“When thus we’re reconciled,
He sets no rigorous tasks;
His yoke is soft and mild,
For love is all He asks.
E’en that from Him we first receive,
And well He knows we’ve none to give.”
This obedience of faith is really a prostrating of oneself upon the mercy of God in Christ Jesus. Christ becomes the “Author of eternal salvation” unto all those who are willing, in the day of His power, to come in at this strait gate; who are willing to be saved in God’s appointed way; willing to renounce all hope and expectation from the creature; willing to be saved purely upon the merits of another. “Unto all them that obey Him.” Do not you want to obey Him, child of God? “Blessed are they that do His commandments, that they may have right to the tree of life,” in this way of the obedience of faith. Looking to the Lord Jesus (shall I say?) gives a right–not of merit, but of grace–to the tree of life. The Lord Jesus Himself is that Tree of Life, and where the Spirit of God has begotten faith in the heart, the leaves of that Tree heal the soul, through obedience. I know it may frighten some, and they may say, “I wish I could obey Him.” So do I. We must obey Him if we are to receive the benefits that He has promised. If we are to experience salvation–salvation from sin, from fears, salvation from our inveterate foe, salvation from the powers of hell, salvation from the wrath to come–it must be through the obedience of faith. According to God’s sovereignty, this is His method of salvation: sinners that believe, and no others, are saved with an everlasting salvation as this obedience of faith is wrought in the soul. Thus they are saved from the dominion of unbelief (“of all my sins the chief,” says Hart), and of all other sin. It does not mean, necessarily, an immediate assurance of interest and of being a child of God; though sooner or later the Spirit of God will give His sealing testimony to such. But it means this–that the truth as the truth is in Jesus Christ, and that alone, is where you place your hopes for a never-ending eternity, and your acceptance with God.
And as Christ learned obedience by the things which He suffered, so the saints of God, and they only learn the obedience of faith in the things that they suffer. As the Church of God is a suffering church, so there was a suffering Head; and as there is a once-suffering Head, so there must be a now suffering body; that there might be sympathy between the Head and each member of the mystical body of the Lord Jesus Christ. There is the perfecting of His intercession in heaven; not that anything could be added to it, but as He is carrying it on unto completion. I would say it with all reverence, that though God in Himself can do without His creatures, yet upon the ground of His Covenant wherein He has decreed to have a people and to save them in His dear Son, Jesus Christ, to whom He gave them for an inheritance–He cannot do without them. And while there is a redeemed sinner on earth, Christ will sustain this office of Intercessor for him in heaven. “He is able also to save them unto the uttermost that come unto God by Him, seeing He ever liveth to make intercession for them” (Hebrews 7:25).
“He became the Author of eternal salvation.” There is salvation in no one other than this blessed Person, “None other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). This is not the salvation the free-willers have–that you can be a child of God today, and a child of the devil tomorrow; or that you can sin away the day of grace. That would not be an eternal salvation.
“Whom once He loves, He never leaves,
But loves them to the end.”
When the Lord gave me some sweet sense of His forgiveness, and I felt the entrance of His love into my heart, I knew but little of doctrine; but I had this feeling; the Lord loves me now, and as He is an everlasting and unchangeable God, there never was a time when He did not love me; and I felt in my soul there never would be a time when He would not love me. Thus I was led into the blessed truth of the everlasting love of God to those whom He calls out of nature’s darkness into His marvelous light, and saw that “All things work together for good to them that love God; to them who are called according to His purpose” (Romans 8:28). This salvation has to do with time, but it is from everlasting. “I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:6) There is stability here; it is a rock, a foundation upon which the poor sinner may safely build. But you will have to dig deep, sinner; this foundation is not to be found on the surface. Creature religion is a building on the sand, and when the storm beats against that house, it will be overthrown. The religion of Jesus Christ means digging: it means that there is some labouring of spirit. I am not legalizing the gospel, but speaking of what really happens when the Holy Spirit begins to work in the heart: there is digging until you come to that Rock upon which you build your hopes for heaven.
This salvation being everlasting, will outlive all the ravages of time; it will stand against the power of Satan. A friend who recently came before the church, told me that going to work he had a sweet meditation upon the portion, “The gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” It came very nicely to me as he was speaking of it; and really, when you have to do with the things of God and Christ–that is by the vital teaching of the Spirit of God–you must expect to know something of the power of the adversary, of his rage and venom, his malice and evil suggestions, which are the “gates of hell.” But nothing shall prevail against that poor sinner who builds his hope upon the Name of Jesus. Peter made a noble confession when Christ asked him, “Whom sayest thou that I, the Son of Man, am?” Peter said, “Thou art the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are thou, Simon Bar-Jona, for flesh and blood hath not revealed this unto thee but My Father which is in heaven. Thou art Peter (a small stone, not the rock upon which the Church is to be built); upon this Rock (the eternal Sonship of the Lord Jesus Christ, His eternal Godhead) will I build My Church (that is, poor sinners redeemed), and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it” (Matthew 16:15-18). It is an eternal salvation from the power of Satan and from sin. Sin will be your greatest enemy if you are in the way to the kingdom; the sin of your nature, not merely some particular sins or besetments, but the whole carnal mind, the natural enmity of your heart to God that will continually oppose the grace of God in your renewed heart. Some cannot understand this, they think a Christian has nothing but Christian desires and aspirations. But I find this–and I dare say some here find the same–that the very greatest trouble is a disinclination to all that is pure and spiritual and heavenly. I have not a greater sin than that–and God knows I have great sins. Oh, that disinclination, when all is a burden, and then have to preach; how it seems to break one’s spirit! The Apostle Paul cried out under a sense of this, and said, “O wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) Talk about Christian feelings! Sometimes you wonder if you ever knew anything spiritually. If you are plagued with the body of this death, you will feel your need of an eternal salvation, an eternal Saviour? that body of death does not mean flesh and blood but the “man of sin,” the law that is in the members continually opposing the law of the mind.
In trouble, we shall need this everlasting salvation based upon Covenant love, Covenant promises, a Covenant Sacrifice, and the Mediator of the New Covenant who signed the Covenant with His own blood. Paul’s word to the churches in confirming them, is quite true–that through much tribulation they should enter the Kingdom. I have learned this, that there is no entering into the Kingdom–that is into the mystery of godliness, into the truth as it is in Jesus–apart from some suffering in body, in mind, in soul, or in circumstances. In my early days I thought differently. I wanted to know the things of God savingly and to make the best of this world too; but it would not work out in the way that I had thought. The Lord will bring His people into trouble that they may prove the prevailing power of Christ’s intercession. that they may learn again and again that they have an Advocate on high, one who is able to save unto the uttermost all that come unto God by Him. I am glad that I can sometimes enter in the truth you were just now singing,
“Zion’s mourners, cease your fear;
For lo! the dying Lamb
Utterly forbids despair
To all that love His Name.”
If in your trouble you are enabled to lay hold of the truth that there is One now upon the Throne as John saw Him, “a Lamb as it had been slain” (Revelation 5:6) (of course it was symbolic); that that same Jesus who walked the shores of the Sea of Galilee, who went about healing all manner of sicknesses and was touched with the feeling of people’s infirmities, troubles and distresses, who had compassion on poor, vile sinners; that He who bore in His own body and mind ignominy and shame and contempt and spitting, as a Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief–that He, that same Jesus, is now exalted at the Father’s right hand, full of majesty and power and compassion, that will be a comfort to you. When we come into sorrows and persecutions, then to have an everlasting Saviour, such a Friend, such an Advocate on high, will be solid ground of hope and of comfort. “O the Hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in time of trouble.” (Jeremiah 14:8) It is an eternal salvation, world without end. (Isaiah 45:17)
I hope the Lord will bless the services here today. We have endeavored to set before you the things of Christ; things that you may venture upon into eternity. And that is what we want. We are drawing near to the end of our race. It may be said there is but a step between us and death. Two persons were here last Friday who are now in eternity–in heaven, I hope. I refer to Miss Taylor, for one, an aged saint, whose home was at Tunbridge wells; she passed away this week. Another, perhaps not known to many here, who with her husband came up from Eastbourne. The wife then received a blessing she never forgot; an illness overtook her, and she has passed away, we hope
“…to see His face, and never, never sin;
And from the rivers of His grace
Drink endless pleasures in.”
May the Lord be gracious to us, and make use of us, for His Name’s sake.