« ForrigeFortsett »
daily life, ashamed of Christ and of His words,—the gospel fully preached, but how little practised,-a spirit of insubordination
speaking evil of dignities,” refusing to obey that divine command, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake,” (1 Peter ii. 13,)-gold the idolof so many,pride and luxury overlooking abject want,poverty seeking relief, not in committing itself to God, but too often in hatred against man. . Oh! is there not much cause to “sigh and to cry for the abominations that are done in the midst” of us ? Lord! pour upon Thy people the spirit of grace and of supplication, that we may lay these things to heart, and have at least this “token for good” that we do not lightly regard the evil that abounds, that we are humbling ourselves before our God. Well may we be stirred to seek this spirit of the Lord, when we consider the blessing connected with it, that of which we would in the last place speak,
III. The Safety-mark. "Set a mark on the foreheads of the men that sigh and that
1. This is the protecting mark which men should seek in troublous times. The world hath its places of safety, its towers of strength,
its carnal weapons, its wise plans, but " like a dream when one awaketh,” so do these disappear, and fail them in the hour of need. “Some put their trust in chariots, and some in horses; but oh! let us remember the name of the Lord our God,” Psa. xx. 7; Prov. xviii. 10. Get this mark, men and brethren! and all is well; then may you sing the 46th Psalm and add to it the 91st, “He shall cover thee with His feathers, and under His wings shalt thou trust. His truth shall be thy shield and buckler.”
2. This mark is indelible, it cannot be taken away. Kings have their marks, their orders of merit, their distinctions and titles to distribute, but a breath of popular outbreak may sweep them all away. Death certainly removes them, breaks the staff of office, “man being in honour abideth not;" but this Safety-mark of which our text speaks who shall deprive us of? “ Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or the sword. ... nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors, through Him that loved us." This mark on the forehead is but transcribed from “the book of life,” (Phil. iv. 3), and
many waters cannot quench” the love that wrote the names of His people there. That grace that chose them will protect, and protecting save them, with an everlasting salvation.
3. It shall be recognised and acknowledged at the last day. “ Go now thy way till the end be,” said the Lord to Daniel ; "for thou shalt rest and stand in thy lot at the end of the days,” (Dan. xii. 13.) His was “the sigh and the cry,” (Dan. ix.,) and his the outward mark imprinted by God and read of men, (Dan. vi. 5,) and it should stand him in good stead at the day of days.
Oh the blessedness of this Safety-mark! Rahab found its value in the destruction of Jericho; that scarlet thread told of life in the midst of death : (Josh. ii. 21.) The Israelites found its value in the dark night of Egypt's terror; when the destroying angel saw the blood he passed over, (Exodus xii.); see to it that it be yours, see to it that your consciences be sprinkled with the blood of the Lamb, let the testimony of that conscience cause you to rejoice that “in simplicity and godly sincerity, you have your conversation in the world;" let “the Spirit witness with your spirit that you are children of God;" weep before God and wrestle with Him in secret, that your daily life may show forth His praise. you; the
Trials may then come, and press you sore: but the Safety-mark is yours. Woes may come on the earth, but they cannot injure you; death shall come, but it shall prove life to you; judgment-day shall but gather you to glory. “And after these things,” (saith the apostle John, Rev. vii. ver. 1, 2, 3,) “I saw four angels standing on the four corners of the earth, holding the four winds of the earth, that the wind should not blow on the earth, nor on the sea, nor on any tree. And I saw another angel ascending from the east, having the seal of the living God: and he cried with a loud voice to the four angels, to whom it was given to hurt the earth and the sea, saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads."
Brethren, barter not this hope for worlds : Sin will soon be shame, and that shame eternal; conflict with sin will soon be victory, and that too eternal; “ Sigh and cry,” pray and strive, for a short season longer, and “your sorrow shall be turned into joy, and your joy no man taketh from you.”
« THE SIFTING."
ST. JOHN vi. 66_69. “ From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him. Then said Jesus unto the twelve, Will ye also go away? Then Simon Peter answered him, Lord, to whom shall we go? Thou hast the words of eternal life. And we believe and are sure that Thou art that Christ, the Son of the Living God.”
It is the storm that tries the strength of the foundation, it is the temptation that tests the reality of our Christian profession. Disciple is a name easily taken up, not easily kept in that course whereby alone we deserve the
Some “ endure but for a time," and then, when some blast of trial comes, “fall away;" blessed are they who “endure to the end, the same shall be saved.”
Our text brings before us both characters, and whilst we are warned by that mournful record, “From that time many of His disciples went back, and walked no more with Him,"–