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few whispers of His love; we want His precious word brought home to our hearts; we want His blessed presence; we want to creep nearer to Him, “to touch the hem of His garment,” and to draw virtue therefrom. God's children are poor weak creatures; they want fresh strength every moment to enable them to stand against their enemies, external, internal, and infernal, and are constantly sending up the cry, "Lord, help me." Then come in some of the sweet promises, and they feel their applicability: “Fear not, worm Jacob." Yes, they are no better than poor worms creeping and crawling in and out of their holes ; but, oh, what precious words are these, "I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” These are helpless times ! do you not know something about them ? when the enemy comes in like a flood to crush you; then the Lord "lifts up a standard against him," and sends him to the bottomless pit. “I will help thee, saith the Lord, and thy Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel.” Ah, say you,
" Blessed be His name, I have often found it so,” and with the Apostle Paul, “I know whom I have believed” or trusted; “I know that He is worthy to be trusted, and am persuaded that He will keep that which I have committed to Him against that day.” Well, Zacchæus received Jesus joyfully. “And when they saw it, they all murmured, saying, That He was gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner;" and what a blessing it is for us that this is His way, for, if He ever came to be your guest, I am sure it was with you as a sinner. Zacchæus was not only a sinner really, but he was accounted as such, for he had enriched himself with unlawful gain; but Jesus picked him out, and as he was, took up His abode with him, and even sat down with him at his table in his own house."
Has the dear Lord ever made Himself your guest ? Did He ever come to stop with you? for His visits are for the most part "like those of a wayfaring man, who turns in to tarry but for a night.” But how precious such visits are ! Did you ever enjoy His presence—times of refreshing from His presence ? Did He ever whisper His love-grace into your ears and hearts ? Surely these are indeed sweet visits ! Now, for instance, has He visited you at all this morning? Some of you are dead as posts under the word, and care not for it. Now, suppose the Lord should give you a little hearing under the word; suppose He should come down into your heart, sit by you, as it were, and whisper His love and grace into your soul, how sweet this would be! Do you know at all what it is? This is a favour, among many others, which the Lord shows His people, the “heirs of salvation,” and these things become to them earnests and foretastes of the salvation belonging to His dear children, who are “joint heirs with Christ,” which, perhaps, some of you are able to testify that you have in times past enjoyed.
Well, the people murmured that Christ "had gone to be guest with a man that is a sinner.” Poor things ! they knew nothing about His work, way, or plan ; the Lord had never visited them; but it was as if the Lord said, “ You shall see whether Zacchæus is a sinner of a deeper dye than yourselves; you shall see that I can work upon his heart; if you
do not know what it is to have this work upon your own hearts, look at Zacchæus." Therefore he was made to stand out before them all and say, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor; and, if I have taken anything from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” “The half of my goods I give to the poor.” There was his charity and liberality-a liberal will put into his heart, and when it entered his
heart all covetousness was driven out at once ! he felt that he could part with his riches now. “The half of my goods I give to the poor;” they shall have it, for I cannot give enough, “and, if I have taken anything wrongfully, I restore it fourfold.” Now, you know he got all his riches by extortion; therefore what he had gained wrongfully "he would restore fourfold." Here we have two great things—first, charity and liberality, for the Lord will not only touch the heart but also the pocket, for He comes to take away covetousness; and, in the second place, there was restoration : “What I have taken wrongfully, I will restore fourfold;" and now, what did the Lord say? He knew His own work, and, as if He would say to the people, “Now behold this sinner; see what has been wrought in him by my grace; see what has been done by the work of my Spirit upon his soul; now what think you of him ? is he not a wonder?” Yes, all God's children are wonders, as the Prophet said. “Men wondered at.” There was reason to wonder at Zacchæus; at the wonderful change accomplished in him. They had reason indeed to wonder when they saw the wealthy, grasping, covetous Zacchæus changed into a liberal Christian. Therefore Jesus stood and said unto him for I dare say the multitude did not regard it much—but He said unto him (do we not want Him to say it to us? Ask yourself whether He ever said it to you),
“This day is salvation come to this house; forasmuch as he also is a son of Abraham,' -a son of Abraham “not only according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit,” for the Apostle says, "They that are of faith are blessed with faithful Abraham ;" they are children; yea, sons of Abraham, and therefore they are blessed with faithful Abraham; for, if they are sons, they must be blessed-blessed with the faith of Abraham, and all the promises and blessings given to Abraham, and shall be found lying in Abraham’s bosom at last, like Lazarus ; yes, in the bosom of Abraham's comforts and salvation; and, what is more, in the bosom of Abraham's God. All God's children lie there. Do you not long to know that
you have such a place in God's bosom, wretched though you feel yourself to be, and unworthy of his love? Yet He is no Respecter of persons; He hates His people's sins, but loves their persons all alike. Are you not ready to say, What, I lie in His bosom! such a poor wretch as I am; I, who have done enough to forfeit all? I surely cannot lie there.' But no; your sins cannot stop His love; it only called it forth all the more. " For in the fulness of time God sent forth His Son, made of a woman, made under the law, to redeem them that were under the law." He came forth Himself from the bosom of His Father, and laid down His life on the cross to take away sin, the sin which separated between our souls and God. He came to cleanse them all away by His most precious blood, and clothe them in His righteousness, that they may dwell in the bosom of God for ever, to awake in His likeness at last, " to see Him as He is."
Well, Zacchæus was a son of Abraham, not only according to the flesh, but also according to the Spirit. I hope the Lord has some sons and daughters amongst you; and, if so, then you are sure of Abraham's and Zacchæus' blessings and promises; as saith the apostle to the Ephesians, “ blessed in heavenly places in Christ Jesus." Not one blessing left out, for you are entitled to the kingdom. And God is pleased to give you a little spending money by the way, as “heirs to the kingdom,”. the first-fruits of the Spirit.'
we have the first-fruits of the Spirit.” You have the blessings of the Spirit, the righteousness and
riches of Christ Jesus, yet how very little we think of these things on the whole, and do not long for them as they deserve. Then how do we know that we are entitled to the kingdom? By the precious blood of a precious Christ, and the sovereign love of God; God the Father in choosing and electing you, God the Son in redeeming you, and God the Holy Ghost in sanctifying you, and calling you by grace, and making you a new creature. Then you are a saved soul, and all blessings are yours; as the apostle said to the Corinthians, “ All is yours, for ye are Christ's, and Christ's is God's.” Can your faith reach up to it? Can the hand of faith lay hold of it, and the heart of faith receive and enjoy it? If so, thou art blessed indeed.
Well, then, Christ concludes with the words of our text, “For the Son of Man is come to seek and to save that which was lost."
And all are lost. " What then? Is He come to seek and to save all? It is not true that He does, because we read, “The wicked shall be turned into hell
, and all the nations that forget God;" therefore they are not saved. Salvation is for God's chosen people, His living Israel, all “who are chosen through sanctification of the Spirit, and belief of the truth,” that is enjoyed and known by the Gospel. Well, then, I say all are lost, in a lost condition by nature ; but God's elect are found like Zacchæus, and saved with an everlasting salvation.
My dear friends, this was my stumbling-block for many years. I thought a man was brought into the world in a salvable state, so that if he only took care what he was about, and improved all opportunities, then he would be saved. And this is an essential turning-point in religion, to see whether it is true that there is a salvable state and a saved state; for, if you are born in a salvable state, to make good use of your opportunities, and on that turns your salvation, then you never can be saved. No, all those who are gone to heaven, all God's people, were chosen before all worlds, and saved before all worlds; therefore they are sent into the world not in a salvable state, but in a saved state, though they do not know it. Indeed, they often live for a long time without knowing it, till the Lord comes to show His salvation; as He has said, “I will shew him my salvation;" “I will tell him that he is a saved soul.” Well, then, if all the world are in a lost state, they must be damned to a certainty; they must go to hell, because they are all law-condemned, and cannot answer to the law. Their sins are by the law charged home to them, and they have nothing to answer, nothing to pay with. But perhaps some poor soul is saying, “ Ah, the Lord is come to seek and save those that are lost. I know He can, but I do not know whether He is come to seek and save me. I want to know, that I shall not perish for ever." Well, others do not feel so; God is not in all their thoughts, in all their ways or works. It is a good thing if you know that you are lost. There are some who do not, who are careless about it, while others are made to feel it. They are made sensible that they are lost, and cry to the Lord, “Lost, lost, lost! I am afraid that I shall be damned.”' Now, is there such a soul amongst us? Then the Lord is come to seek and save you. What, me? Yes, you ; for He comes especially to save poor guilty mourning souls. Come unto me,” He hath said, “all ye
that labour, and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." The poor soul is afraid that he shall be damned, and feels that if he were, he could have nothing to say, for that he has deserved it. He feels that it is quite right, and that he is only “rewarded according to his iniquities," and
would then be reaping the consequences of his sin. But, "No," says the dear Lord to such a poor soul, “I have made you to feel that you are a lost sinner. I made you to cry, Lost, lost, lost.”'
“Lord, save; I perish.” And who said that? Why, Peter. “Lord, save.”
And how came he to say that ? Because he was sinking. And just so you felt yourself sinking, going down, saying, “I never can be saved. My sins are too many; they hang as a dead weight about my neck, to cause me to sink, to bow me down. Oh, I am lost, lost, lost! “Lord, save; or I perish!'" Poor sinking Peter! But Peter must not perish, must not be lost; so the Lord stretched out His hand and saved him, Has the Lord ever stretched out His hand to
have been made to feel and groan under the weight of your sins, which necessarily bowed you down ? And yet you have felt as if He would not show you any favour. You were brought to that state that you thought He did not mean to stretch out His hand, and save you, like poor sinking Peter, who felt that he was indeed sinking, and so was made to cry out, “Lord, save me;" “God, be merciful to me, a sinner.” Or are you a Pharisee, a boasting Pharisee, having no thought or feeling of the kind? for he was satisfied with himself. I hope you are not. And I am sure if the Lord has shown you anything of the plague of your own heart, you will not be. No, your cry must then be, “Lord, satisfy me with Thyself.” And do you not find that you often have to use this prayer, “ Lord, help me from my sins, which oppress me sore ?" Oh, if we did not have these things shown us, we should not be “Looking unto Jesus," who “came to seek and to save those that were lost." "Who were lost. Now here is comfort for some of you. The Lord is bent upon seeking you out, and making you to see your lost state. He is intent upon it'; He will not give up the search. He has saved you already, though perhaps you do not know it; but He will bring you to know and prove His salvation by happy experience.
In conclusion, who amongst you are seeking Christ? Seeking Jesus, like Zacchæus ? Seeking Christ till you have Him revealed to you, as dear Newton describes in that sweet hymn of his, “In evil long I took delight,” &c. I have not time to go through it now, therefore we will
it presently; and I hope it has been the experience of many of you in times past, and, if not in times past, what if the Lord be pleased to give it to you in time present; and, if not in time present, in time to come?
Well now, then, in the third place, and conclusion, who is there among you, my dear friends, to whom the Lord has come with His salvation in this sweet language, these precious words, “This day is salvation come to this house "? And why? Because he also is a son of Abraham. And, if a son of Abraham, a son of Abraham's God, a child of God. Therefore the salvation given to Abraham is given also to you. My dear friends, this is very sweet, “This day is salvation come to this house" to this soul, to this heart. And perhaps it came through the word this morning, through hearing the word. Lord, let salvation come home to some to-day, that some may hear the word of salvation. Has it come home to you ? Have you received it joyfully as a token of God's favour? Then yet a little while, and you will be in the full enjoyment of it in the heavenly regions. But I add no more. May the Lord bless His word.
Those sins shall never make a hell for us that have been a hell to us.
The Triumphs of Grace over Death and the Grave;
OR, WHISPERS FROM THE DYING PILLOWS OF GOD'S SERVANTS. “ Mark the perfect man, and behold the upright: for the end of that man is peace.”—PSALM XXxvii. 37.
A “WISE SON,” WHO MADE A “GLAD FATHER.”
BEING FRUIT UNTO GOD GATHERED FROM
THE LIFE AND DEATH OF JOSIAH COWELL, JUN.
By “ JOSIAH," SEN.
(Continued from page 210.) Now, to “know Him," whilst it is "life eternal” to the soul, it is death and destruction to the flesh; and though, as the apostle saith, " for me to live is Christ,” that, for the most part, is Christ crucified, though, blessed be God, to “ die is gain,” that is, Christ glorified. My son was now brought into such a position of need, that nothing but the living word of eternal truth would do for his immortal soul; and then it was he found, as his father, through mercy, had done before him, that that which he had learned by nature he had to unlearn through grace. The fact is, God Himself will be the Teacher of His own children. And “the Lord trieth the righteous," that He may teach them; and though “faith" is His “gift,” it is by the “trial of faith” that it is proved to be so unto us, and then it is found to the praise and glory of God.
Thus my son had to read out in his experience that which, blessed be God, the pen of the ready Writer (God the Holy Ghost) hath written upon the heart in mine-namely, the truth of that Scripture, “Thou hast enlarged me when I was in distress." Ah, it is so, indeed, my dear reader; our greatest enlargement of heart is in the deepest distresses of our soul !
But for the knowledge of this, I should not have understood how my dear son could have entered into those mysterious things of God that formed the subject of our meditations at this time.
But so it was, and on this wise it was brought about. Among other letters received by post some six months before this time, was one from an old writer in the GOSPEL MAGAZINE, who used to sign his name, "A Watchman on the Walls;" and it now appeared that this letter had made a great impression upon Josiah's mind at the time it was received and (as my custom was) read to him. Well, at his request this letter was sought out, for the time had come for him to need what it contained. Let the following extract suffice: " Please tell
poor life is, at its longest and best, but a protracted death! The 'wise man' says, 'there is a time to be born and a time to die ;' but he does not say there is a time to live! No;, there is no time for us to live, for death begins its work in us as soon as we are born; all time, therefore, being death working in us, time is all dying. To live is Christ; for, as the Scripture saith, This is the record that God hath given us, eternal life, and this life is in His Son.' May the Holy Spirit of all truth give your dear Josiah to know, and see, that Christ is his life ; and be graciously pleased to direct his mind into the knowledge that Christ and the believer have but one life, and that is eternal! Then will he not be afraid to go to sleep on the bosom of Jesus ; for them that sleep in Him will God bring again with Him