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our wills to God's will, and know that His way and His will must ever be the best way and the best will for us, and here is the peace of ceasing to struggle against and learning to cling to Omnipotence. And then the soul longs for an object on which it can settle down and rest, certain that the changes and chances of this mortal life shall not disturb its repose. It cries out for a love that shall never fail it or disappoint it. And where shall it find such a love ? Only in the unchanging, all-loving God, as saith Augustine of old—“O Lord, Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and so our hearts can find no rest till they find it in Thee.” Do we know what it is "to rest in the Lord”? Is ours this peace that floweth on as a river deeper, calmer? Are we increasing in the knowledge of God, and so is “grace and peace multiplied unto us through the knowledge of God and of Jesus Christ our Lord ?" Oh, that a knowledge of God, personal, practical, experimental, may be possessed by each one of us here! A knowledge life-imparting, faith-enabling, peace-affording. No matter what dunces we may be in other things, we ought each one of us to have learnt this in Christ's school.
“I know my sheep, and am known of Mine.” Do I know my Jesus? Does He know me as His? How can I tell ?
An answer I saw written by a young lady, who was going out at her own expense in connection with the Female Education Society some six years ago, will remain ever imprinted on my mind. The question was put before her, “What reason have you for believing that yours is a soul-saving knowledge of Christ?” This was her reply : “I take the lost sinner's place; I claim the lost sinner's Saviour; and so I have the witness of the Spirit in the Word that Christ is mine and I am His.” Ah, dear friends, this is the A B C of the knowledge of God. May not one of us go away without having experimentally learnt this soul-saving lesson! God grant it for His dear Son's sake!
Hymn No. 42 was then sung:
Oh, for the peace that floweth as a river,
Making life's desert places bloom and smile!”
Mr. JAMES E. MATHIESON read a number of requests for prayer which were laid before the Lord by the Rev. MARCUS RAINSFORD, M.A. The following address was then given by the
REV. G. F. PENTECOST, D.D. That portion of the subject which has been assigned to me to speak upon is the knowledge of God as the secret of power. The text which has been suggested is found in Daniel xi. 32 : "And such as do wickedly against the covenant shall he corrupt by flatteries ; but the people that do know their God shall be strong, and do exploits. I think that the first copy that I ever had put before me when a boy at school contained those words, familiar to us all," Knowledge is power.” We have heard this morning that the knowledge of God is the beginning of life, and that the knowledge of God is the secret of peace, but God has called us not only to life and to peace, but to fellowship, which is more than life, and more than peace, and to service, in which He has made us His partner. We have heard that the Old Testament is a revelation of God in picture ; the New Testament is a revelation of God in person ; or, as the Apostle has put it," In these last days God has spoken to us by His Son."* All the knowledge of God is headed up in Jesus Christ, so that if we are to apprehend God or come to a knowledge of God, not only for some things, but for all things, we need simply to direct our attention to Jesus Christ. Indeed, there is no hope of knowing God sufficiently for anything apart from Jesus Christ. There are hints of God to be seen in Nature. They reveal His eternal power and Godhead. But how insufficient that knowledge is for the soul! there is a fulness of the knowledge of God, the God of all grace and truth, as that knowledge shines out to us in the face of Jesus Christ. David said, "The heavens declare the glory of God"; they show forth in a little measure His glory as the Creator, but the true glory of God was reserved to be revealed to us in the face of Jesus Christ.
Now the substance of this, as revealed to us in Jesus Christ, is set forth in the Gospel, the Gospel of His Son; and in the Gospel all revelation of God was completed, so far as written revelations are concerned. What do we read after Jesus Christ rose from the dead, and just ere He went back to the Father! He bade the disciples go into all the world and preach the Gospel to every creature, or make known to every creature, God in Jesus Christ, make disciples of them, or teach men through the Gospel, or by means of the Gospel, how they might be saved. We need never go astray from this single commission-preach the Gospel, preach the Gospel; not preach what we like, but preach the Gospel, not preach about the Word of God, but preach the Word. Any deviation from that truth is a deviation of the law of the Master and the mind of God.
And there is no knowledge of God in heaven, on earth, or in hell that is not in some way related to the Gospel. I can only understand these things as I understand the Gospel. There is no knowledge of sin except in the Gospel setting forth the atonement made and the sufferings endured by Christ; there we have God's estimate of sin. And certainly there is no knowledge of salvation save in the Gospel, in which we find Jesus Christ set forth as the image and glory of God, accomplishing our salvation by His cross and passion. There is no knowledge of hell except the light of the Gospel, and as we are delivered from it by Jesus Christ. There is no knowledge of heaven, except through the Gospel telling of Him who came from thence, who is now returned there, and is preparing a place for us. There is no knowledge of death except in the light of the Gospel, whereby its sting is extracted. There is no knowledge of life except as it is revealed to us in Christ, who is the Life. So whatever the topic may be, the key of all knowledge in heaven, or hell, or earth, in time or eternity, is in Jesus Christ. So that to have knowledge, in which lies the secret of power, we must have it through the Gospel, which is unfolded by Jesus Christ to man and for man.
But what is the Gospel ? There are a great many ways of stating the Gospel in the Scriptures. I will call your attention to three passages out of many. The first is in the Epistle to the Romans. Sometimes we speak of the Gospel as the Gospel of Jesus Christ; but I love this passage very much in which the Apostle Paul speaks of himself a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an Apostle, separated unto the Gospel of God." There is no conflict between Jesus Christ and God. The Gospel of God is “concerning His Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; and declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead." The Gospel, therefore, is the Gospel of God, or good news sent out from God concerning His Son Jesus Christ. And this has been the revelation God has been making to us from the beginning,
Then in Luke xxiv. we find a brief statement of the Gospel, or what the Gospel is: “Then opened He their understanding, that they might understand the Scriptures, and said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day : and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. And ye are witnesses of these things.” The Gospel
, then, is to be found in the fact of the incarnation of Christ, in His death, and His resurrection. From that good news, or out of that great fountain, there flows the forgiveness of sin, and all that follows in the train of itreconciliation to God, life in God, and fellowship with God.
Again, the apostle, in 1 Cor. xv., summarises the Gospel in this simple way, “Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the Gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; by which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; and that He was buried, and that He rose again the third day according to the Scriptures.” Now there is the Gospel ; Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures; He was buried and rose again on the third day according to the Scriptures. We do not have to follow very far afield, for in that you find the secret of all knowledge; we do not need to depart from this simple statement of what the Gospel is to find the door into every department of knowledge through this blessed Gospel of Jesus Christ. Of course I do not mean we are to preach nothing but the Atonement, viz., Christ putting away sin, nor the fact that He tasted death for every man, nor that being buried He rose again ; but all truth compressed in this, as in the trunk of the tree, out of which branches forth everything God has to say to man and every. thing man needs to know of God.
But the Gospel is not a mere statement: the Gospel, that is the revelation of knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ, is not sufficient by itself. It is quite possible to preach the Gospel in word only, but the Gospel so preached is without power. Without power we may know much, and other men may through us come to an intellectual knowledge of the Gospel, but go no further. It behoves us to understand the connection between the Gospel revealed to us as intelligent
men and women and the power necessary to make the Gospel, not only efficient but sufficient in the souls of men. Paul has this in mind when he writes to the Thessalonians—that remarkable church gathered in a few weeks, “ Our Gospel came not unto you in word only, but also in power, and in the Holy Ghost, and in much assurance.” We must recognise the truth that supernatural religion must have a supernatural power to propagate it. We have the record of a supernatural religion in this book ; but the record is not sufficient; it will not save men, and though ably and truthfully preached, will not save men. But God, who knoweth all things, wisely, lovingly, and beneficently provided a power by which the preaching of the Gospel is made efficient, and that power is the Holy Spirit who hath also preserved to us these records which it is His office to apply.
That power we are now waiting on Him for, and He will grant to us upon conditions. You remember the Lord Jesus suffered not His disciples to open their mouth, to speak one single fact which they knew and could testify to, facts of which they were eye-witnesses, but commanded them to go to Jerusalem and wait until they received power from on high. It is possible for us to preach the Gospel in word only, but it is not possible for us to preach the Gospel savingly in word only. We all know there are hundreds and thousands of people in our congregations everywhere 'who have an intelligent knowledge of the Gospel, who are perfectly conversant with the truth, and yet they are not saved. It is possible for us to preach the Gospel so clearly that men may understand it, and yet it is without power.
A certain intellectual power we may have in ourselves, but no power of God for the salvation of men. It is possible so to preach the Gospel that men's feelings may be touched, and a great tenderness and softness raised, and an emotional sympathy for the Gospel awakened, and yet no power. It is possible for us to frame an address so logically and preach so rhetorically, that men shall not be able to gainsay or resist our arguments, and yet they may not be saved. Many a sermon popularly declared a powerful sermon is a powerless sermon. No power of God is in it; and in the absence from it cf that Divine power, men may even be cut to the heart, and yet there is no pɔwer to lead them to God. It is a very common thing to find men of tender conscience roused to the very point of despair under the preaching of the Word, and