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CHRISTOPHER NEWMAN HALL, Congregational divine, was born at Maidstone, Kent, in 1816. He was widely known as a writer, lecturer, and preacher of great eloquence. During the Civil War he was enthusiastic in advocating the cause of the North, and subsequently two extended tours in the United States brought him international fame. His tract, “Come to Jesus,” published in 1846, has been translated into over twenty languages. He died in 1902.
To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.—Rev. ii., 17.
\HE Christian life is often compared in
Scripture to a warfare. Followers of
Jesus are "soldiers." They are exhorted to put on “the whole armor of God.” They "fight the good fight of faith.” Some of you have been engaged in the conflict: others have more recently entered upon it. But, whether young or old in the Christian career, all find it necessary to be constantly stirred up to watchfulness against the never-ceasing assaults of the foe. It is not enough to put on the armor and to commence the battle. He that overcometh, and he alone, will receive the salutation, “Well done, good and faithful servant, "he alone shall “lay hold upon eternal life.”
But we are not left to fight without encouragement. As generals before a battle go in front of their troops to stimulate them to valor, so Christ, the Captain of our Salvation, leads on the consecrated hosts of His elect; and having himself set us a glorious example of valor and victory, animates us to follow in His footsteps by the "exceeding great and precious promises” of His word. Christian warrior! let your eye be lifted up to Him. Behold Him beckoning you onward. Listen tu Him, as from His throne of glory He exhorts you to persevering valor against the foe; and pray earnestly that His promise may be fulfilled in your case: “To him that overcometh will I give to eat of the hidden manna, and will give him a white stone, and in the stone a new name written, which no man knoweth saving he that receiveth it.'
Let us consider first, the promise; then, the condition attached to it.
I. The promise. This is twofold,—the hidden manna and the white stone.
1. The hidden manna.-God fed the Israelites in the wilderness with manna. A portion of this was laid by in the ark, and thus was hidden from public view. It is here referred to as a figurative representation of the spiritual blessings bestowed upon the victor in the heavenly fight. Christ, speaking of the manna as a type of Himself, said, “I am the bread which came down from heaven."
The manna in the wilderness sustained the life of the Israelites.
But there is another life more important than that of the body. By sin the soul is
dead, dead toward God. By the Holy Spirit, the “dead in trespasses and sins'' are “quickened,” or made alive. As the life of the new-born infant cannot be preserved without food, so the new spiritual life which God imparts needs continual support. Both the life, and the nourishing of it, come from Christ, and Christ alone. By His sacrifice that life becomes possible; and by His spirit working within our hearts that life becomes actual. He sustains as well as imparts spiritual vitality. He is the food of our faith: “believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved." He is the food of our love:
we love him because he first loved us.” He is the food of our obedience: “the love of Christ constraineth us." He is the food of our peace: for when "justified by faith, we have peace with God through Jesus Christ our Lord.” He is the food of our joy : for if “we joy in God” it is “through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
The manna which sustained the Israelites was evidently the gift of God. And so this “hidden manna " is from heaven. It is no contrivance of man-no philosophy of human invention. It is a divine plan for the salvation of our ruined race. “God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish but should have everlasting life.” That manna in the wilderness was sweet to the