« ForrigeFortsett »
we are reminded of the shortness of time, and the need for watchfulness.
I noticed in coming from America that when nearing land, although not in sight, the sailors climbed to the top of the mast, where it made my head dizzy to look at them. They were busy furling the sails, and they were everywhere on the ship painting and cleaning up. What for? They wanted to take the vessel into port in a respectable way. They began painting up and cleaning when nearing home. Now we are nearing home; the time is very short! it is time we set about getting ready for our Lord, who is coming very soon, that we may have confidence, and not be ashamed before Him.
This morning at our early prayer meeting—a very precious one to me—a brother prayed that some word might be spoken to the unconverted friends coming to this Conference. I want to say one word. Dear friends, this world is going to be judged. “God hath appointed a day in which He will judge the world in righteousness by that Man whom He hath ordained, whereof He hath given assurance unto all men, in that He hath raised Him from the dead.” Our Lord spake of this “Now is the judgment of the world” (John xii. 31). That judgment is suspended for a time, but the sentence has been pronounced, and will surely and certainly be executed, although in mercy it is delayed. Will you read and ponder such passages as Psa. xcvi. 12, 13 ; Isa. xiii. 11; Isa. xxvi. 2 ; 9 Cor. xi. 31, 32 ; and 1 Cor. vi. 2? When Christ comes to judge the world, His saints and angels with Him, to take to Him His great power and reign, where shall the poor trembling sinner appear? “If the righteous scarcely be saved, where shall the ungodly stand ? " Now the blessed Redeemer stands with outstretched arms, saying, “Come unto Me!” and He sends His servants to declare His mercy. He says, “I came out from the Father for this purpose of love : I came to save. I am able to do it, and do it now," Do not wait to get knowledge or righteousness of your own. Listen, ye heavy-laden, weary sinners. “ Come unto Me, and I will give
If so, what will you be ? The Father invites you to come; Jesus is ready to receive you; the Holy Ghost is ready to take up His permanent abode with you; your name will be written in the Lamb's book of life, and when the history of this world is unfolded, when the registry of the things done by men is opened, you will not need to stand in judgment to have the
question of your salvation settled, although your works will pass in review. “ Know ye not the saints shall judge the world ?”.
I noticed last night it was oppressive on the platform, and our leader called out to open a door in the gallery, but there was no response. Then Mr. Mathieson called, “Open that door," and there came back the reply, “ It is locked.” The words thrilled my very soul. It will soon be the position of every precious immortal soul who rejects Christ and resists the Holy Ghost. If you continue to turn a deaf ear to His entreaties, at length you will call with piercing accents, “Open to us,” and the response, ringing back from heaven, will be " Locked, locked; too late !" Oh, friends, do not forget this. He loved you. He died for you. He will save you if you come to Him to-day. He will give you pardon, peace, confidence, and rejoicing; and you will be more than conquerors through Him that loved you. God save every one here, for Christ's sake. Amen.
Lord RADSTOCK presented prayer, and hymn No. 65 was sung.
When the mists have rolled in splendour
Mr. James E. MATHIESON read a very large number of requests, while all bent in silent prayer, which were laid before the Lord by the Rev. C. MELVILLE PYM. The following address was then given by the
Rev. E. W. BULLINGER, D.D.
The subject which comes next in order before us is intimately connected with what has gone before and with much of what we have heard unfolded. We have heard of the wondrous blessing of the knowledge of God, that it is revealed in the Son, imparted by the Holy Ghost, the ground of faith, the source of peace, the secret of power, the object of the believer's pursuit. And now, this morning, we have had brought before us a terrible picture of the world which by wisdom knows not God. Our present branch of the subject is the knowledge of God not possessed by the world, to be communicated by the Church by the Word of truth. The communication of this knowledge is limited and defined by the four texts: “Whom ye ignorantly worship, Him declare I unto you (Acts xvii. 23); “The lips of the wise disperse knowledge" (Prov xv. 7); “Holding forth the Word of Life” (Phil. ii. 16); "God maketh manifest the savour of His knowledge by us in every place” (2 Cor. ii. 14). Notice how the concluding text of the former part of the subject forms a connecting link, “O righteous Father, the world hath not known Thee : but I have known Thee, and these have known that Thou hast sent Me” (John xvii. 25). “I have known Thee in Thy perfections, counsels, love, grace, goodness, and purposes, and these have known Me."
“These have known.” Yes, this fact lies at the threshold and foundation of our subject; this is the essential condition : before the Word can be communicated it must be possessed : “I have given them Thy Word.” Until the believer has known in some measure the perfection, the counsels, the love, the grace, the goodness, the purposes of God, he is not ready to communicate. But “these (His disciples and all believers on Him) have known Me:” they, the sent ones, have known Thee the Sender, and Me the sent One. If we are to be used as channels of communication of this knowledge to man, we must possess it in our own soul. There must be the possession of a knowledge divinely communicated, and then there can be the communication of a knowledge divinely possessed. Hence it is written, “We speak that we do know” (John iii. 12). And in the record we have of the interview of the Lord Jesus with the woman of Simaria, He says, “We know what we worship.”
“We know." What a contrast to the world, as well as to spurious Christianity! Their very light is darkness and ignorance; they think themselves to be wise. But it is fashionable in these days not to know. God is spoken of as unknowable; and the latest development of worldly religion is Agnosticism. We have learned to take up the language of St. John and say, “We know, we know, we know.” Not so with the world, where modern Thought is put for ancient Faith. How refreshing to the heart and cheering to the ear it is to come to Divine certainties. Much of the world's so-called knowledge is composed of, or more or less vitiated by, hypothesis, theory, conjecture, or speculation, and is little more than an interpretation of phenomena.
But, on the other hand, in Divine revelation we have a rock on which we may stand, a rock on which we may build, a sure hold for our anchor.
And notice, dear friends, the secret and source of all this
knowledge, or rather of this testimony, is love. It is the apostle who leaned on Jesus' bosom, who drank most deeply of His spirit and love-he it is who spake most certainly and positively concerning the knowledge of God. In his Gospel, and specially in his Epistles, where we read and learn most about the love of God, it is there we have most about knowledge and the everrecurring refrain “ We know."
And now we are to speak to the world with this same blessed certainty. We are to go to men and tell them that all sin may be traced up to ignorance of God, that ignorance is the spring of all the evil in the world, that all misery and wretchedness may be traced up to ignorance of God. And we must tell them that ignorance does not consist of mere negative ignorance, but is an alienation of the heart from God, and that alienation will be and must be eternal, as eternal as the life and fellowship which come from the knowledge of God.
Hence it is we go now to the world of science, and tell them,--You may know all about the rocks, and your heart remain as hard as granite or adamant. You may know all about the winds, their courses and currents, and yet be yourselves the sport of every passion as turbulent as they, and be carried about with every wind of doctrine. You may know all about the stars, and yet be as a “meteor's blaze," and like a wandering star, for whom is reserved blackness and darkness for ever. You may know all about the sea, and yet be a stranger to the peace of God; and, like its troubled waters, know no rest. You may know all about electricity, and how to arrest the lightning's flash, but vain will be that knowledge if
you know not how the wrath of God is to be averted. You may know all that man has discovered, or skill invented, and yet vain is all your knowledge if you know not Jesus Christ.
And, brethren, again let me repeat, that if this declaration to men is to be of any avail, it must come from a heart definitely possessed of this knowledge. We must speak that we do know—of that which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands handled—of the Word of Life. " That which we have seen and heard, declare we unto you.” Here is dogmatic assertion; here is true positivism ; here is the sure evidence of true conviction which can alone communicate or declare this saving knowledge. The passage in Eph. iv. has been already brought forward, but we must refer to it again, without needless repetition. The apostle there connects the two things : the ignorance of the world and the communication of true knowledge. “Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God, through the ignorance that is in them. . . . But ye have not so learned Christ, if so be ye have been taught by Him.” Observe, it is taught "by Him ;” not taught by some deeply experienced or some wonderfully taught one, but by Him; and been taught by Him. And
have seen that the truth is in Jesus. The words used are “in Jesus,” not in Christ. All truth is in Jesus; no truth is out of Him. In other words, the compassion that is not the compassion of Jesus is not true compassion ; the morality that is not the morality of Jesus is no: true morality; the education, the teaching that does not spring from the teaching of Jesus can in no sense be true education, but a lie.
Yet we are told by some that witnesses for Christ, public teachers in the present day must go with the “spirit of the age,” and have regard to the "spirit of the times.” We ask, in reply, “What have God's people to do with the spirit of the times?" It is with the Spirit of God we have to do. The spirit of the age is a lying spirit; and, moreover, an everchanging spirit. God's witnesses have nothing to do with such a spirit. He has to do with the Spirit of God, which is the Spirit of Truth; and truth can never change.
Another of our texts tells us that this communication is to be made by “holding forth the Word of Life," the Word of Truth. Among the many titles of this Word given us in Scripture it is called the “engrafted Word,''and as such it is to be received into our hearts; it is the faithful Word, and as such we are to hold it fast, because its promises fail not nor can fail ; it is the Word of Truth, and as such we are to rightly divide it ; but because it is the Word of Life, because it is the life-giving Word, and reveals Him who is the Life, we are to hold it forth as a means of life to dead souls. “Of His own will begat He us, with the Word of Truth” (James i. 18). And in so holding forth this Word we preach Christ ; for the written Word cannot be separated from the living incarnate Word. The same things are predicated of both; the same Spirit reveals both ; and we are witnesses to both. You remember our Lord's last words before He parted from His disciples and ascended to the Father in Heaven : “ Ye shall