March 30, 1856 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
“When Jesus came to the place, he looked up, and saw him, and said unto him,
Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house.”-
Luke 19:5 Notwithstanding our firm belief that you are in the main well instructed in the doctrines of the everlasting gospel, we are continually reminded in our conversation with young converts, how absolutely necessary it is to repeat our former lessons, and repeatedly assert and prove over and over again those doctrines which lie at the basis of our holy religion. Our friends, therefore, who have many years ago been taught the great doctrine of effectual calling, will believe that whilst I preach very simply this morning, the sermon is intended for those who are young in the fear of the Lord, that they may better understand this great starting point of God in the heart, the effectual calling of men by the Holy Spirit. I shall use the case of Zaccheus as a great illustration of the doctrine of effectual calling. You will remember the story. Zaccheus had a curiosity to see the wonderful man Jesus Christ, who was turning the world upside down, and causing an immense excitement in the minds of men. We sometimes find fault with curiosity, and say it is sinful to come to the house of God from that motive; I am not quite sure that we should hazard such an assertion. The motive is not sinful, though certainly it is not virtuous; yet it has often been proved that curiosity is one of the best allies of grace. Zaccheus, moved by this motive, desired to see Christ; but there were two obstacles in the way: first, there was such a crowd of people that he could not get near the Saviour; and again, he was so exceedingly short in stature that there was no hope of his reaching over people’s heads to catch a glimpse of him. What did he do? He did as the boys were doing-for the boys of old times were no doubt just like the boys of the present age, and were perched up in the boughs of the tree to look at Jesus as he passed along. Elderly man though he is, Zaccheus jumps up, and there he sits among the children. The boys are too much afraid of that stern old publican, whom their fathers dreaded, to push him down or cause him any inconvenience. See him there. With what anxiety he is peeping down to see which is Christ-for the Saviour had no pompous distinction; no beadle is walking before him with a silver mace; he did not hold a golden crozier in his hand: he had no pontifical dress; in fact, he was just dressed like those around him. He had a coat like that of a common peasant, made of one piece from top to bottom; and Zaccheus could scarcely distinguish him. However, before he has caught a sight of Christ, Christ has fixed his eye upon him, and standing under the tree, he looks up, and says, “Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house.” Down comes Zaccheus; Christ goes to his house; Zaccheus becomes Christ’s follower, and enters into the kingdom of heaven.
Luke 19:1 Now, first, effectual calling is a very gracious truth. You may guess this from the fact that Zaccheus was a character whom we should suppose the last to be saved. He belonged to a bad city-Jericho-a city which had been cursed, and no one would suspect that any one would come out of Jericho to be saved. It was near Jericho that the man fell among thieves; we trust Zaccheus had no hand in it; but there are some who, while they are publicans, can be thieves also. We might as well expect converts from St. Giles’s, or the lowest parts of London, from the worst and vilest dens of infamy, as from Jericho in those days. Ah! my brethren, it matters not where you come from; you may come from one of the dirtiest streets, one of the worst back slums in London but if effectual grace call you, it is an effectual call, which knoweth no distinction of place. Zaccheus also was of an exceedingly bad trade, and probably cheated the people in order to enrich himself. Indeed, when Christ went into his house, there was an universal murmur that he had gone to be a guest with a man that was a sinner. But, my brethren, grace knows no distinction; it is no respecter of persons, but God calleth whom he wills, and he called this worst of publicans, in the worst of cities, from the worst of trades. Besides, Zaccheus was one who was the least likely to be saved because he was rich. It is true, rich and poor are welcome; no one has the least excuse for despair because of his condition; yet it is a fact that “not many great men,” after the flesh, “not many mighty,” are called, but “God hath chosen the poor of this world-rich in faith.” But grace knows no distinction here. The rich Zaccheus is called from the tree; down he comes, and he is saved. I have thought it one of the greatest instances of God’s condescension that he can look down on man; but I will tell you there was a greater condescension than that, when Christ looked up to see Zaccheus. For God to look down on his creatures-that is mercy; but for Christ so to humble himself that he has to look up to one of his own creatures, that becomes mercy indeed. Ah! many of you have climbed up the tree of your own good works, and perched yourselves in the branches of your holy actions, and are trusting in the free will of the poor creature, or resting in some worldly maxim; nevertheless, Christ looks up even to proud sinners, and calls them down. “Come down,” says he, “to-day I must abide in thy house.” Had Zaccheus been a humble-minded man, sitting by the wayside, or at the feet of Christ, we should then have admired Christ’s mercy; but here he is lifted up, and Christ looks up to him, and bids him come down.
Luke 19:2 Next it was a personal call. There were boys in the tree as well as Zaccheus but there was no mistake about the person who was called. It was, “Zaccheus, make haste and come down.” There are other calls mentioned in Scripture. It is said, especially, “Many are called, but few are chosen.” Now that is not the effectual call which is intended by the apostle, when he said, “Whom he called, them he also justified.” That is a general call which many men, yea, all men reject, unless there come after it the personal, particular call, which makes us Christians. You will bear me witness that it was a personal call that brought you to the Saviour. It was some sermon which led you to feel that you were, no doubt, the person intended. The text, perhaps, was “Thou, God, seest me;” and the minister laid particular stress on the word “me,” so that you thought God’s eye was fixed upon you; and ere the sermon was concluded, you thought you saw God open the books to condemn you, and your heart whispered, “Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the Lord.” You might have been perched in the window, or stood packed in the aisle; but you had a solemn conviction that the sermon was preached to you, and not to other people. God does not call his people in shoals, but in units. “Jesus saith unto her, Mary; and she turned and said unto him, Rabboni, which is to say, Master.” Jesus seeth Peter and John fishing by the lake, and he saith unto them, “Follow me.” He seeth Matthew sitting at the table at the receipt of custom, and he saith unto him, “Arise, and follow me,” and Matthew did so. When the Holy Ghost comes home to a man, God’s arrow goes into his heart: it does not graze his helmet, or make some little mark upon his armour, but it penetrates between the joints of the harness, entering the marrow of the soul. Have you felt, dear friends, that personal call? Do you remember when a voice said, “Arise, he calleth thee.” Can you look back to some time when you said, “My Lord, my God?” when you knew the Spirit was striving with you, and you said, Lord, I come to thee, for I know that thou callest me.” I might call the whole of you throughout eternity, but if God call one, there will be more effect through his personal call of one than my general call of multitudes.
Luke 19:3 Thirdly, it is a hastening call. “Zaccheus, make haste.” The sinner, when he is called by the ordinary ministry, replies, “To-morrow.” He hears a telling sermon, and he said, “I will turn to God by-and-bye.” The tears roll down his cheek, but they are wiped away. Some goodness appears, but like the cloud of the morning it is dissipated by the sun of temptation. He says, “I solemnly vow from this time to be a reformed man. After I have once more indulged in my darling sin, I will renounce my lusts, and decide for God.” Ah! that is only a minister’s call, and is good for nothing. Hell, they say, is paved with good intentions. These good intentions are begotten by general calls. The road to perdition is laid all over with branches of trees whereon men are sitting, for they often pull down branches from the trees but they do not come down themselves. The straw laid down before a sick man’s door causes the wheels to roll more noiselessly. So there be some who strew their path with promises of repentance, and so go more easily and noiselessly down to perdition. But God’s call is not a call for to-morrow. “To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts: as in the provocation, when your fathers tempted me.” God’s grace always comes with despatch; and if thou art drawn by God, thou wilt run after God, and not be talking about delays. Tomorrow-it is not written in the almanack of time. To-morrow-it is in Satan’s calendar, and nowhere else. To-morrow-it is a rock whitened by the bones of mariners who have been wrecked upon it; it is the wrecker’s light gleaming on the shore, luring poor ships to destruction. To-morrow-it is the idiot’s cup which he fableth to lie at the foot of the rainbow, but which none hath ever found. To-morrow-it is the floating island of Loch Lomond, which none hath ever seen. To-morrow-it is a dream. To-morrow-it is a delusion. To-morrow, ay, to-morrow you may lift up your eyes in hell, being in torments. Yonder clock saith “to-day;” everything crieth “to-day;” and the Holy Ghost is in union with these things, and saith, “To-day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Sinners, are you inclined now to seek the Saviour? are you breathing a prayer now? are you saying, “Now or never! I must be saved now?” If you are, then I hope it is an effectual call, for Christ, when he giveth an effectual call, says, “Zaccheus, make haste.”
Luke 19:4 Next, it is a humbling call. “Zaccheus, make haste and come down.” Many a time hath a minister called men to repentance with a call which has made them proud, exalted them in their own esteem, and led them to say, “I can turn to God when I like; I can do so without the influence of the Holy Ghost.” They have been called to go up and not to come down. God always humbles a sinner. Can I not remember when Gold told me to come down? One of the first steps I had to take was to go right down from my good works; and oh! what a fall was that! I have pulled you down from your good works, and now I will pull you down from your self-sufficiency.” Well, I had another fall, and I felt sure I had gained the bottom, but Christ said “Come down!” and he made me come down till I fell on some point at which I felt I was yet salvable. “Down, sir! come down, yet.” And down I came until I had to let go every bough of the tree of my hopes in despair: and then I said, “I can do nothing; I am ruined.” The waters were wrapped round my head, and I was shut out from the light of day, and thought myself a stranger from the commonwealth of Israel. “Come down lower yet, sir! thou hast too much pride to be saved. Then I was brought down to see my corruption, my wickedness, my filthiness. “Come down,” says God, when he means to save. Now, proud sinners, it is of no use for you to be proud, to stick yourselves up in the trees; Christ will have you down. Oh, thou that dwellest with the eagle on the craggy rock, thou shalt come down from thy elevation; thou shalt fall by grace, or thou shalt fall with a vengeance one day. He “hath cast down the mighty from their seat, and hath exalted the humble and meek.”
Luke 19:5 Next, it is an affectionate call. “To-day I must abide in thy house.” You can easily conceive how the faces of the multitude change! They thought Christ to be the holiest and best of men, and were ready to make him a king. But he says, “To-day I must abide in thy house.” There was one poor Jew who had been inside Zaccheus’s house; he had “been on the carpet,” as they say in country villages when they are taken before the justice, and he recollected what sort of house it was; he remembered how he was taken in there, and his conceptions of it were something like what a fly would have of a spider’s den after he had once escaped. There was another who had been distrained of nearly all his property; and the idea he had of walking in there was like walking into the den of lions. “What!” said they, “Is this holy man going into such a den as that, where we poor wretches have been robbed and ill-treated. It was bad enough for Christ to speak to him up in the tree, but the idea of going into his house!” They all murmured at his going to be “a guest with a man who was a sinner.” Well, I know what some of his disciples thought: they thought it very imprudent; it might injure his character, and he might offend the people. They thought he might have gone to see this man night, like Nicodemus, and give him an audience when nobody saw him; but publicly to acknowledge such a man was the most imprudent act he could commit. But why did Christ do as he did? Because he would give Zaccheus an affectionate call. “I will not come and stand at thy threshold, or look in at thy window, but I will come into thine house-the same house where the cries of widows have come into thine ears, and thou hast disregarded them; I will come into thy parlour, where the weeping of the orphan have never moved thy compassion; I will come there, where thou, like a ravenous lion hast devoured thy prey; I will come there, where thou hast blackened thine house, and made it infamous; I will come into the place where cries have risen to high heaven, wrung from the lips of those whom thou hast oppressed; I will come into thy house and give thee a blessing.” Oh! what affection there was in that! Poor sinner, my Master is a very affectionate Master. He will come into your house. What kind of a house have you got? A house that you have made miserable with your drunkenness-a house that you have defiled with your impurity-a house you have defiled with your cursing and swearing-a house where you are carrying on an ill-trade that you would be glad to get rid of. Christ say, “I will come into thine house.” And I know some houses now that once were dens of sin, where Christ comes every morning; the husband and wife who once could quarrel and fight, bend their knees together in prayer. Some of my hearers can scarce come for an hour to their meals but they must have a word of prayer and reading of the Scriptures. Christ comes to them. Where the walls were plastered up with the lascivious song and idle picture, there is a Christian almanack in one place, there is a Bible on the chest of drawers; and though it is only one room they live in, if an angel should come in, and God should say, “What hast thou seen in that house?” he would say, “I have seen good furniture, for there is a Bible there; here and there a religious book; the filthy pictures are pulled down and burned; there are no cards in the man’s cupboard now; Christ has come into his house.” Oh! what a blessing that we have our household God as well as the Romans! Our God is a household God. He comes to live with his people; he loves the tents of Jacob. Now, poor ragmuffin sinner, thou who livest in the filthiest den in London, if such an one be here, Jesus saith to thee, “Zaccheus, make haste and come down; for to-day I must abide in thy house.”
Luke 19:6 Again, it was not only an affectionate call, but it was an abiding call. “To-day I must abide at thy house.” A common call is like this: “To-day I shall walk in at thy house at one door, and out at the other.” The common call which is given by the gospel to all men is a call which operates upon them for a time, and then it is all over; but the saving call is an abiding call. When Christ speaks, he does not say, “Make haste, Zaccheus, and come down, for I am just coming to look in;” but “I must abide in thy house; I am coming to sit down to eat and drink with thee; I am coming to have a meal with thee; to-day I must abide in thy house.” “Ah!” says one, “you cannot tell how many times I have been impressed, sir, I have often had a series of solemn convictions, and I thought I really was saved, but it all died away; like a dream, when one awaketh, all hath vanished that he dreamed, so was it with me.” Ah! but poor soul, do not despair. Dost thou feel the strivings of Almighty grace within thine heart bidding thee repent to-day? If thou dost, it will be an abiding call. If it is Jesus at work in thy soul, he will come and tarry in thine heart, and consecrate thee for his own for ever. He says, “I will come and dwell with thee, and that for ever. I will come and say,
Here I will make my settled rest,
No more will go and come;
No more a stranger or a guest,
But master of this home.”
“Oh!” say you, “that is what I want; I wan an abiding call, something that will last; I do not want a religion that will wash out, but a fast-colour religion.” Well, that is the kind of call Christ gives. His ministers cannot give it; but when Christ speaks, he speaks with power, and says, “Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house.” There is one thing, however, I cannot forget, and that is that it was a necessary call. Just read it over again. “Zaccheus, make haste, and come down; for to-day I must abide at thy house.” It was not a thing that he might do, or might not do; but it was a necessary call. The salvation of a sinner is as much a matter of necessity with God as the fulfilment of his covenant that the rain shall no more drown the world. The salvation of every blood- bought child of God is a necessary thing for three reasons; it is necessary because it is God’s purpose; it is necessary because it is Christ’s purchase; it is necessary because it is God’s promise. It is necessary that the child of God should be saved. Some divines think it is very wrong to lay a stress on the word “must,” especially in that passage where it is said “he must needs go through Samaria.” “Why,” they say, “he must needs go through Samaria, because there was no other way he could go, and therefore he was forced to go that way.” Yes, gentlemen, we reply, no doubt; but then there might have been another way. Providence made it so that he must needs go through Samaria, and that Samaria should like in the route he had chosen. So that we have you any way. “He must needs go through Samaria.” Providence directed man to build Samaria directly in the road, and grace constrained the Saviour to move in that direction. It was not “Come down, Zaccheus, because I may abide at thy house,” but “I must.” The Saviour felt a strong necessity. Just as much a necessity as there is that man should die, as stern a necessity as there is that the sun should give us light by day and the moon by night, just so much a necessity is there that every blood-bought child of God shall be saved. “To-day I must abide at thy house.” And oh! when the Lord comes to this, that he must and he will, what a thing it is with the poor sinner then! At other times we ask, “Shall I let him in at all? there is a stranger at the door; he is knocking now; he has knocked before; shall I let him in?” But this time it is, “I must abide at thy house.” There was no knocking at the door, but smash went the door into atoms! and in he walked: “I must, I shall, I will; I care not for your protesting your vileness, your unbelief; I must, I will; I must abide in thy house.” “Ah!” says one, “I do not believe God would ever make me to believe as you believe, or become a Christian at all.” Ah! but if he shall but say, “To-day I must abide at thy house,” there will be no resistance in you. There are some of you who would scorn the very idea of being a canting Methodist; “What, sir! do you suppose I would ever turn one of your religious people?” No, my friend, I don’t suppose it; I know it for a certainty. If God says “I must,” there is no standing against it. Let him say “must,” and it must be.
I will just tell you an anecdote proving this. “A father was about sending his son to college; but as he knew the influence to which he would be exposed, he was not without a deep and anxious solicitude for the spiritual and eternal welfare of his favourite child. Fearing lest the principles of Christian faith, which he had endeavoured to instil into his mind, would be rudely assailed, but trusting in the efficacy of that word which is quick and powerful, he purchased, unknown to his son, an elegant copy of the Bible, and deposited it at the bottom of his trunk. The young man entered upon his college career. The restraints of a pious education were son broken off, and he proceeded from speculation to doubts, and from doubts to a denial of the reality of religion. After having become, in his own estimation, wiser than his father, he discovered one day, while rummaging his trunk, with great surprise and indignation, the sacred deposit. He took it out, and while deliberating on the manner in which he should treat it, he determined that he would use it as waste paper, on which to wipe his razor while shaving. Accordingly, every time he went to shave, he tore a leaf or two of the holy book, and thus used it til nearly half the volume was destroyed. But while he was committing this outrage upon the sacred book, a text now and then met his eye, and was carried like a barbed arrow to his heart. At length, he heard a sermon, which discovered to him his own character, and his exposure to the wrath of God, and riveted upon his mind the impression which he has received from the last torn leaf of the blessed, yet insulted volume. Had worlds been at his disposal, he would freely have given them all, could they have availed, in enabling him to undo what he had done. At length he found forgiveness at the foot of the cross. The torn leaves of that sacred volume brought healing to his soul; for they led him to repose on the mercy of God, which is sufficient for the chief of sinners.” I tell you there is not a reprobate walking the streets and defiling the air with his blasphemies, there is not a creature abandoned so as to be well-nigh as bad as Satan himself, if he is a child of life, who is not within the reach of mercy. And if God says, “To-day I must abide in thy house,” he then assuredly will. Do you feel, my dear hearer, just now, something in your mind which seems to say you have held out against the gospel a long while, but to-day you can hold out no longer? Do you feel that a strong hand has god hold of you, and do you hear a voice saying, “Sinner, I must abide in thy house; you have often scorned me, you have often laughed at me, you have often spit in the face of mercy, often blasphemed me, but sinner, I must abide in thy house; you banged the door yesterday in the missionary’s face, you burned the tract, you laughed at the minister, you have cursed God’s house, you have violated the Sabbath; but, sinner, I must abide in thy house, and I will!” “What, Lord!” you say, “abide in my house! why it is covered all over with iniquity. Abide in my house! why there is not a chair or a table but would cry out against me. Abide in my house! why the joists and beams and flooring would all rise up and tell thee that I am not worthy to kiss the hem of thy garment. What, Lord! abide in my house!” “Yes,” says he, “I must; there is a strong necessity; my powerful love constrains me, and whether thou wilt let me or no, I am determined to make thee willing, and thou shalt let me in.” Does not this surprise you, that Christ not only asks you to come to him, but invites himself to your table, and what is more, when you would put him away, kindly says, “I must, I will come in.” Only think of Christ going after a sinner, crying after a sinner, beginning a sinner to let him save him; and that is just what Jesus does to his chosen ones. The sinner runs away from him, but free-grace pursues him, and says, “Sinner, come to Christ;” and if our hearts be shut up, Christ puts his hand in at the door, and if we do not rise, but repulse him coldly, he says, “I must, I will come in;” he weeps over us till his tears win us; he cries after us till his cries prevail; and at last in his own well determined hour he enters into our heart, and there he dwells. “I must abide in thy house,” said Jesus.
Luke 19:8 And now, lastly, this call was an effectual one, for we see the fruits it brought forth. Open was Zaccheus’s door; spread was his table; generous was his heart; washed were his hands; unburdened was his conscience; joyful was his soul. “Here, Lord,” says he, “the half of my goods I give to the poor; I dare say I have robbed them of half my property-and now I restore it.” “And if I have taken anything from any one by false accusation, I will restore it to him fourfold.”-away goes another portion of his property. Ah! Zaccheus, you will go to be to-night a great deal poorer than when you got up this morning-but infinitely richer, too-poor, very poor, in this world’s goods, compared with what thou wert when thou first didst climb that sycamore tree; but richer-infinitely richer-in heavenly treasure. Sinner, we shall know whether God calls you by this: if he calls, it will be an effectual call-not a call which you hear and then forget but one which produces good works. If God hath called thee this morning, down will go that drunken cup, up will go thy prayers; if God hath called thee this morning, there will not be one shutter up to-day in your shop, but all, and you will have a notice stuck up, “This house is closed on the Sabbath day, and will not again on that day, be opened.” To-morrow, there will be such-and-such worldly amusement, but if God hath called you, you will not go. And if you have robbed anybody (and who knows but I may have a thief here?) If God call you, there will be a restoration of what you have stolen? you will give up all that you have, so that you will follow God with all your heart. We do not believe a man to be converted unless he doth renounce the error of his ways; unless, practically, he is brought to know that Christ himself is master of his conscience, and his law is his delight. “Zaccheus, make haste and come down, I must abide at thy house.” And he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully. “And Zaccheus stood, and said unto the Lord; 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. And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house, forsomuch as he also is a son of Abraham. For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.”
Now, one or two lessons. A lesson to the proud. Come down, proud hearts, come down! Mercy runneth in valleys, but it goeth not to the mountain top. Come down, come down, lofty spirit! The lofty city, he layeth it low even to the ground, and then he buildeth it up. Again, a lesson to thee, poor despairing soul: I am glad to see thee in God’s house this morning; it is a good sign. I care not what you came for. You heard there was a strange kind of man that preached here, perhaps. Never mind about that. You are all quite as strange as he is. It is necessary that there should be strange men to gather in other strange men. Now, I have a mass of people here; and if I might use a figure, I should compare you to a great heap of ashes, mingled with which are a few steel filings. Now, my sermon if it be attended with divine grace, will be a sort of magnet: it will not attract any of the ashes-they will keep just where they are-but it will draw out the steel filings. I have got a Zaccheus there; there is a Mary up there, a John down there, a Sarah, or a William, or a Thomas, there-God’s chosen ones-they are steel filings in the congregation of ashes, and my gospel, the gospel of the blessed God, like a great magnet, draws them out of the heap. There they come, there they come. Why? because there was a magnetic power between the gospel and their hearts. AH! poor sinner, come to Jesus, believe his love, trust his mercy. If thou hast a desire to come, if thou art forcing thy way through the ashes to get to Christ, then it is because Christ is calling thee. Oh! all of you who know yourselves to be sinners-every man, woman, and child of you-yea, ye little children (for God has given me some of you to be my wages), do you feel yourselves sinners? then believe on Jesus and be saved. You have come here from curiosity, many of you. Oh! that you might be met with and saved. I am distressed for you lest you should sink into hell-fire. Oh! listen to Christ while he speaks to you. Christ says, “Come down,” this morning. Go home and humble yourselves in the sight of God: go and confess your iniquities that you have sinned against him; go home and tell him that you are a wretch, undone without his sovereign grace; and then look to him, for rest assured he has first looked to you. You say, “Sir, oh! I am willing enough to be saved, but I am afraid he is not willing.” Stay! stay! no more of that! Do you know that is part blasphemy-not quite. If you were not ignorant, I would tell you that it was part blasphemy. You cannot look to Christ before he has looked to you. If you are willing to be saved, he gave you that will. Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be baptized, and thou shalt be saved. I trust the Holy Spirit is calling you. Young man up there, young man in the window, make haste! come down! Old man, sitting in these pews, come down. Merchant in yonder aisle, make haste. Matron and youth, not knowing Christ, oh, may he look at you. Old grandmother, hear the gracious call; and thou, young lad, Christ may be looking at thee-I trust he is-and saying to thee, “Make haste, and come down, for to-day I must abide at thy house.”
The Honoured Guest
A Sermon by C. H. Spurgeon 1834-1892
“And he made haste and came down, and received him joyfully.”– Luke 19:6 .
Are you prepared, like Zaccheus, to give the Lord Jesus Christ a glad and grateful welcome? If we would obtain the full benefit of his devoted life, his atoning death, and his triumphant resurrection, we must receive him into our hearts by simple faith, and entertain him with tender love. Outside the door of our heart Jesus is a stranger; he is no Saviour to us; but inside the heart which has been opened, by divine grace, to admit him, his power is displayed, his worth is known, and his goodness is felt. My dear hearer, you have heard his fame, you have witnessed the miracles he has wrought upon others, and now it remains that you receive him yourself to ensure your own well-being. He stands at the door and knocks; you must open to him. The promise is, “If any man will open unto me, I will come in and sup with him.” “To as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God.” Not upon all who heard was the privilege conferred, for many, when they heard, did not believe. Alas! they provoked him, and so they perished in their sins. But those who hail Jesus as a friend salute him as an honoured guest, sit at his feet, and hang on his lips, find how he lights every chamber of their soul with joy, satisfies every craving of their better nature, and enriches them with all the endowments of adopted children. In many respects Zaccheus supplies us with a noble example. He shows us how to receive the Saviour. You will observe that he received him speedily. “He made haste and came down.” It is not always easy to come down from a tree with great speed. He came down, however, as fast as he could. There was no demur or hesitancy in his manner. I daresay his heart was down before his feet. In like manner they who would receive Christ must receive him now. This is not a call or a counsel to be trifled with. The procrastination of Felix, which led him to say, “When I have a more convenient season I will send for thee,” is a very dangerous spirit. Let those who talked as Felix talked beware lest they perish as Felix perished. “Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” Zaccheus made haste. They who receive Christ heartily must receive Christ immediately.
We notice, too, that Zaccheus received the Lord obediently. When the Master said, “Make haste,” he made haste. Hardly had he said, “Come down,” when down he came. If thou, my hearer, be likewise willing and obedient, thou shalt eat of the good of the land. Christ likes us to be obedient to him, though he speaks to us less as a Lawgiver than as a Saviour and a Friend. If we refuse to take his yoke upon us, and learn of him, how can we reasonably expect to find rest unto our souls? The words of Jesus must be deeply respected and diligently observed by those who would have him for their Rock, their Refuge, and their Hiding Place. Let him be your Councillor if you want to partake of his redemption. Render allegiance to him as your King, if you would enjoy all the grace of his priestly mediation and intercession.
There was also a thorough heartiness on the part of Zaccheus in receiving Christ. He made a great feast for him. He did not admit him as one who intruded. It was not with cold civility, but with cordial hospitality that he greeted him. I think I see the satisfaction that sparkled in his face! I think I hear the salutation that leaped from his tongue, “Come in– come in, my gracious Lord; never did my house entertain so welcome a guest as thou art!” Would you receive Christ, you must throw the doors of your heart wide open; then your eyes, your lips, every muscle of your body will express your earnestness. Your whole spirit, soul and strength will be stirred to enthusiasm if you know his worth, and feel the honour he confers on you. A man who findeth a treasure hid in a field will congratulate himself on his good fortune. A woman, when she embrace her first-born child, will dote on him with exquisite fondness. Shall no strong emotions prove our sincerity when we receive the Lord of life and glory?
And mark you, too, this Chief of the Publicans received Christ spiritually. His convictions were in keeping with his conduct. When he distributed his goods to the poor, and made a bold confession of his faith before his fellow-men, there was proof positive that Christ had not only crossed the threshold of Zaccheus’s house, but had also penetrated the chambers of his heart. Ah! beloved, it is useless to receive Christ nominally, professionally, ceremonially, or with rites and ceremonies, to do him empty homage. By a sincere reception of him who was sent of God, your nature, your disposition, and your habits will be transformed from what they were, and conformed to what he is; and the change will be conspicuous, for if ye be in Christ, and Christ be in you, all things will become new.
A prominent feature, however, so distinctly stated that it should not be carelessly overlooked was this, that he received him joyfully. This was crowning evidence of the purity of his motives, and the artlessness of his actions. In such mirth there could be no guile. Ask now, Why do not all men thus receive Jesus Christ joyfully? How is it that some men receive him with such exuberant joy? In what ways do those show their joy who have thus received the Master?
I. Why Is It That All Men Do Not Receive Christ Joyfully?
This is our first question. They need him, all of them. There is no difference in this respect. Whether Jews or Gentiles, they are all sold under sin. God has concluded the whole race of man in unbelief. He has shut them all up in condemnation. There is no escape from the universal doom except by the way of the cross. Jesus Christ comes to save; comes with pardon in his hands, with messages of love, with tokens of favour; yet most men bar the doors of their hearts against him. There is no cry heard in their souls, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates! and be ye lifted up, ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may come in!” Instead thereof, there is a sullen cry, “Come prejudice; come unbelief; come hardness of heart; come love of sin; bar ye the doors and barricade the gates lest, perhaps, the King of Glory should force an entrance!” Men treat the Saviour as they would treat an invader who attacked their country. They seek to drive him away; they would fain be rid of him. They cannot endure his presence. Nay, they can scarce endure, some of them, to hear about him in the street. Why is this? The chief reason lies in the depravity of man’s nature. You never know how bad man is till he comes in contact with the Cross.
Although the crimes of savage, uncivilized men may appear to you far more heinous than any that are committed in our favoured country, where just laws are for the most part enacted, and opportunities of education generally enjoyed, yet the propensity to do that which is evil in the teeth of a knowledge of that which is good, the subtlety of perverting truth in the clear light of divine revelation, the perfidiousness of that foul ingratitude which can betray the tenderest friendship, are never so painfully illustrated as in view of the Crucified. To despise the grace of Jesus, to reject the love of God, to conspire against the Ambassador of peace, to take the inhuman, devilish counsel–“This is the heir; let us kill him!”–this was the last offence of the wicked husbandmen in the parable. Nor does the parable exaggerate the treachery. For this is the greatest offence of human nature, when it says, in effect, “This is the Incarnate God, let us reject him; this is the Word made flesh, let us traduce him; this is the Father’s beloved Son–let us betray him!” Oh! Human Nature, how blind must be thy heart, how seared thy conscience, not to see the beauties of Christ! How base must thou be to despise the love and tenderness of such a Saviour!
Were we to select secondary causes, however, which spring out of this deep-seated depravity, and discriminate between the various classes of offenders, we should say that many men reject Christ instead of receiving him joyfully out of sheer ignorance. For this ignorance there is not much valid excuse. There are thousands of persons, even in this highly-favoured greatly- enlightened country, who really do not know what the gospel means. The knowledge of salvation is within their reach, but they have no desire to acquaint themselves with this best of all the sciences. We are all sinners, they say; but they do not know what they mean. In the jargon of general confession they lose sight of their own personal transgressions. The plan of salvation by a Substitute, which is the gist of the whole matter, never dawned on their understanding. They do not know the great truth that Jesus took our sins and suffered for us in our room, and in our stead, that justice might be satisfied, that mercy might be magnified, and that we sinners might be liberated. Hence it comes to pass that whosoever trusteth in Christ is saved. Being ignorant of this, they are still depending upon their own works, merits, and professions, or they are relying upon their baptism, their confirmation, or their identification with some ecclesiastical system by means of some outward ceremony, instead of understanding that salvation is by faith, a thing of the heart in the spirit, and not in the letter. This ignorance of the blessed Saviour prevents many from receiving him joyfully. So was it with the woman of Samaria; hence the Saviour said to her, “If thou hadst known the gift of God, and who it is that speaks to thee, thou wouldst have asked, and he would have given thee living water.” Lest ye perish through lack of knowledge, brethren, do entreat the Lord so to guide you in the reading of Scripture, and in listening to the exposition of Scripture that you may get a clear understanding of the way of the Lord. “That the soul should be without knowledge is not good,” for ignorance is the parent of many infatuations.
To refuse attention, to resist evidence, to rebut exhortation, in the instance of full many exhibits a spirit of gross unbelief. They will not believe in Jesus; they will not acknowledge him to be the Son of God; they will scarcely believe that the man ever lived who had a right to the homage which his few disciples offered him. The Atonement they look upon as an old wives’ fable, and they account the resurrection from the dead as an idle dream. I will say but little of their excuse. They are not open to conviction. They live in darkness because they have barred every window of their soul against the light. The precious doctrine of Christ bears on its face the genuine stamp. Its authenticity is graven upon its very forefront. Their stolid disputations cannot diminish its value or its virtue. They wrong themselves when they denounce or disparage the truth as it is in Christ.
Others are actuated by a positive aversion to the Saviour. They have no sinister reflections to cast on the story of his life, the purity of his manners, the holiness of his character, or the benevolence of his mission, but they do not desire to be saved from their sins; they rather enjoy revelling, unrebuked and undisturbed, in the gratification of their own sensual propensities. They do not want to be saved from drunkenness; they would rather go on with the drink. They do not want to be saved from the lusts of the flesh; they would sooner pamper its gross appetites. They do not want to be saved from pride or self-confidence; they would rather indulge their towering ambition. They do not want, in fact, to have a divorce proclaimed between them and their sins; they would sooner discard the high obligations of the divine law, and act upon the expedience of the life that now is, than forego a pursuit or a pleasure in hope of eternal life. Hence they cannot bear the name of Jesus! they recoil from it, unable to conceal their antipathy. Religion is not merely insipid; it is positively nauseous to them. The singing of a hymn in the house would put them out of temper. Did their wife or their child mention the Cross of Christ, or faith in his precious blood, they would either sneer and ridicule with unseemly jest, or else their temper would boil over with malice and wrath. The Lord pluck that black heart out of thee, man! The Lord give thee a new heart and a right spirit. Thou wilt have to bend or else to break. If thou wilt not turn, thou must burn. If thou dost not repent of this hatred of Christ now, thou wilt feel remorse enough for it hereafter. In the day when he cometh in the clouds of heaven to judge the quick and the dead, thou wilt seek in vain to elude his eye, or escape from his wrath.
You will find that the reason for not receiving Christ in many others is the fact that they are worldly, and eaten up with too many cares. A pitiful apology and very perilous! Such paltry forgets will bring poignant regrets. The hour of death can do little to rectify the years of life misspent. Not then can you seek God, if you have never sought him before. Oh! you are taken up with the farm and the merchandise, with your daily labours and diversions, your losses, and your gains, heaping up, not knowing who shall inherit. These canker-worms eat up your souls. Would that men were not such fools as to be always providing for this poor tenement of the body, while they neglect the precious jewel it encloses–their immortal soul; occupied with trivial personalities, while reckless of their real estate. They are crying, “Buy, buy,” in Vanity Fair, while the Lord of life and glory passeth by. Yet they heed not. Talk of the main chance, but they miss the wise choice. They sell gold for dross; they lose their souls and get perdition.
Still more inexcusable, methinks, are those who reject Christ, because they are taken up with the world’s frivolities. Some people live in a whirl of fashion, where repentance would be accounted vulgar. Not in sportive gaieties, but in pensive solitudes do penitence and contrition find room for exercise. Ridiculous as it may sound, some people are far too genteel, to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. He is fit company, in their esteem, for publicans and sinners, but into their drawing-rooms were he to enter he would soon be expelled. They want him not in the upper circle of the haut ton; neither would he be kindly received in the lower circles, among the frequenters of music-halls and dancing saloons. Ah! no; as of old, so now: “There is no room for him in the inn.” The world is ready enough to welcome actor, singer, dancer, punster, anyone who can amuse them; but as for Christ, who stands with bleeding hands, and cries, “Come unto me and I will give you rest,” they despise him. They miss the soul of beauty for meretricious charms; they turn from the source of joy to indulge in giggling laughter; they spurn the real, and leap after the shadow; they forsake the overflowing fountain, and fly to the broken cisterns that can hold no water.
Ah! brethren, this is a miserable spectacle. It is a dreary sight to see a sinner despising mercy, a drowning man rejecting the life-belt, a sick man declining the physician, a man entering the gates of death refusing life and immortality. Oh! sin, how thou hast befooled men! How thou hast made them hate themselves, and act cruelly to their own souls! What suicides they commit! What a sacrifice of their noblest nature! They go down to hell with a verdict of felo de se. O Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself! Thou hast destroyed thyself! They reject him shamefully whom they should have received joyfully. They carry out their own will, and they perish in their wilfulness. And now we ask in the next place:
II. Why Do Some Men Receive Him Joyfully?
The answer simply is because grace has made them to differ. Grace has subdued their stubborn will, illuminated their darkened understanding, changed their depraved affections, and made their whole mind to judge of things after a different fashion. Do not suppose that we who have received Christ were naturally any better disposed to him than others. Oh! no. If, when the seed was sown, we were like the honest and good ground in which it took root, there had been a previous tillage upon our hearts to make them ready, we should not have been found willing had it not been the day of God’s power. I think we all unite in saying:–
“Twas the same love that spread the feast
That sweetly forced us in;
Else we had still refused to taste,
And perished in our sin.”
As for the reasons and inducements which prompted us to receive Christ joyfully, I may speak very plainly for myself. I received Christ because I could not help it. I was at my wits’ end. Methinks no man ever flees to Christ for refuge, or seeks shelter in the port of gospel peace, until he is quite certain that every other harbour is shut up. We make Christ our last resource. We try everything else–grand resolutions to do good works, or to attend gorgeous ceremonies, trivial formalities, or paltry superstitions; anything, the silliest conceit or the emptiest quackery. We go the round of folly before we discover the path of wisdom. At length I must go to Christ, or else woe is unto me if I win him not. Helpless and hopeless, in sheer distress we cry out, “Give me Christ, or else I die.” Henceforth he is not merely our choice, but a positive necessity to us to have him as our hourly, daily, and eternal portion. Oh! the strait unto which I was brought when I received Christ. It was Christ or death; salvation by Christ, or damnation without him. I received him because I could not help it. I had no alternative. How many of you are in the like dilemma? How many of you will fly to him in similar destitution? Driven before the tempest, catching a glimpse of the lighthouse, you cry out:–
“Jesus, lover of my soul,
Let me to thy bosom fly.”
Well may we receive Christ joyfully since he works such wonderful changes in us, and so beneficent. He cheers the grievous past. It was all black and threatening with the memory of our provocations. He sprinkles his blood upon it, and now it becomes bright and beaming with mementoes of the loving-kindnesses and tender mercies of the Lord. He illuminates the present. There was nought but gloom and blank despair till he shone as the light of life in our dwelling. Then life and salvation dawn upon us like the day-spring from on high. He disperses the clouds that hung over the future. The outlook was dark and threatening till Jesus came, bright and glorious, and discovered a hereafter. Beyond the black river of death we now discern the gleaming of the spirit-land, and the place of meeting where we shall see his face. Thus, when Jesus comes into the heart, the three realms of the past, the present, and the future, all glow with light. When the sun rises, the hills, and valleys, and rivers, above and beneath, are all sown with orient pearl.
Right joyfully do we receive Christ because he comes into our hearts with such gracious offices. He came as a priest to put away sin; who could but be glad? He came as a king; who would not receive such a monarch with sound of trumpets and flaunting of banners? He came to us as a shepherd; shall not the flock of his pasture be glad of the sight of him? He came as a dear and tender friend; does not his sweet sympathy excite any joy? Think, too, of the yet more endearing relationship in which he came. He came as a husband, and our souls are married unto him. Blessed bridegroom! Thou adorable Saviour! Thou hast engrossed our heart and won our love. Does not the bride rejoice when the husband comes home? Is there not gladness in her heart when the nuptial day approaches? Oh! well, well might we welcome Christ when he comes, dressed in such robes and wearing such offices as these! When he came, he came with such wondrous blessings–pardon and peace, justification and acceptance, sanctification and honour, wisdom and righteousness– all these; and now he proclaims himself to be our protector; his paths drop fatness; he maketh rich and addeth no sorrow; such as find him find in him such wealth of goodness–deep, mysterious, unknown–as far exceeds all earthly pleasure, all worldly fortune. Surely on the lowest ground we might afford him the loftiest welcome. Even churlish Laban received Eliezer with courtesy when he saw the presents he brought–the bracelets, and the earrings, and the jewels, and should not we receive Jesus when we mark those costly gifts in his hand, the purchase of his own blood, which he freely gives to those who receive him?
And shall we not receive him joyfully because he comes in such a blessed spirit? He upbraideth not. He was all gentleness, meekness, grace, when here below; though of divine pedigree, the Only-begotten of the Father full of grace and truth. Should we not then receive him with sound of the trumpet, with the psalter and harp, yea, and with joy of heart unspeakable? Let me add that the better we know him the more joyfully we should receive him for his own sake. Oh! I could stand here and weep to think that I do not speak better of my Lord and Master. Truly I know more of his grace and goodness than I should ever be able to tell. I trust you can say the same. It is one thing to know the sweetness of his savour, and quite another thing to have to tell that savour to others. There is no exaggeration in the language of the spouse when she says, “Yea, he is altogether lovely.” Such as receive him with their hearts will find that the most rapturous expressions that saints have ever used do not exceed, but fall infinitely short of the delight, the heavenly joys, which he brings into the soul. If one might choose a heaven upon earth, it would be to rest for ever in quiet meditation upon the beauties of his person, the perfection of his character, the power of his blood, the prevalence of his plea, the glory of his resurrection, the majesty of his Second Advent. Everything about Christ is delightful. There is not a truth he ever teaches but is fragrant with choice perfume. There is not a word he utters but smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia, out of the ivory palaces from which he came. If you have not received Christ, my dear hearer, you have missed the brightest feature of divine revelation. For a foreigner to visit England and never see the Metropolis of London; for a man to have lived in the world without ever seeing the sun; for one to have beheld tables spread with the most sumptuous provisions, but never to have tasted any of them–in any such case there would be little cause for congratulation. So you do not know what life is; you are dead to all its charms; you do not know what light is; you have only dwelt in the shade, or in the twilight at the best, if you have not beheld the Saviour, entertained him, and tasted that he is gracious. You have missed the cream. You have been stopping outside in the farmyard feeding with the swine. You do not know what the fatted calf is, upon which the children feed at the Father’s table. You have been a dog, satisfied with the bones, not knowing the fatness and the marrow of true life. But the Christian, dear friends, finds Christ to be so inconceivably precious, such a fountain of delight, such a river of mercy, that when he receives him, he receives him joyfully, and the longer he knows him the more joyful he is to think that he ever received him at all. And now, such being the reasons why some receive Christ joyfully, let us ask:–
III. How Do They Show It? In What Ways and by What Means Do They Express Their Joy?
I have known some who have taken very strange ways of showing their joy. They have been inclined to stand up and shout in the very place where they found the Saviour, while others could only sit still and water the floor with their tears, feeling as if for the next week or two they did not want to look anybody in the face, but just in solemn silence of the mind to revel in the company of their adorable Lord. We do not wonder that some people show a little strange enthusiasm when they first come to know Christ. It is no marvel. When a man has been in prison for months he may well be a little demonstrative in his joy on obtaining his liberty; so when a soul has been under the burden of sin, and bound with its galling chain, he may well leap, as Bunyan tells us his pilgrim did, when the burden was loosed off him and rolled away.
Yet there are other and better ways of expressing satisfaction and pleasure than these which have much of the flesh, much of the natural disposition about them. Though not to be condemned, still they are not to be commended. A better way of showing that you have received Christ joyfully is by turning out his enemies. When you receive Christ in at the front door, you must not keep the devil in the back parlour. Every traitor sin must be ejected when the Great King takes up his residence in your heart. The thorough cleansing of your house from every defilement is the smallest tribute we can expect you to pay in deference to your royal guest. The soul that receives Christ joyfully sighs and groans because it cannot make, as it would, a clean sweep of its sin. I know you do not love Christ if you cling to your sins; if you love Christ heartily, you will put away your iniquities:–
“The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from its throne,
And worship only thee.”
And when you do receive Christ joyfully, you will be eager to obey his instructions. Like Zaccheus, you will ask, “Lord, what wouldst thou have me to do?” Christ was going to Zaccheus’s house; and you know what people say when they have a guest they are anxious to please. They entreat him thus, “Now just do as you like; consider yourself at home; whatever you want, ask for; only tell us what we can do to make you happy, and we shall be glad to do it.” This is how every cheerful holy soul dealeth with Christ. He says, “Lord, tell us what thou wouldest have me to do; only let me know thy will; tell me by thy Word, by thy minister, by thy Holy Spirit; work in my own heart personally; teach me thy way, and oh! my God, my heart shall be glad to conform to thy wishes.” Have you all done this? Have you been obedient to all the Saviour’s commands, or have you sought to observe them? If you have, this should be an evidence of your receiving him joyfully.
Another proof of our joy in receiving Christ is receiving his people. This, in more ways than one, he has made the test of attachment to himself. “Love one another.” “Feed my lambs.” “If ye have done it unto one of the least of my brethren, ye have done it unto me”. Just as Laban said when he took in Eliezer, “There is room for thee, and room for the camels,” so let there be room in our hearts for Jesus. There will be room for some of these poor troubled ones, these burdened saints. They may not always be pleasant company, but we shall be willing to receive them, and to join with them, because of their Master. Now, dear friend, if you are a Christian, and have received Christ, unite yourselves with his people; make a profession of your faith; come out and join the people of God, and do not be ashamed with them to suffer the reproach of Christ. And if you have received Christ joyfully, you will love his cross. I mean not only the cross which he had to carry, but the cross which you now have to carry for him. You will count it a great privilege to suffer reproach for his sake. You will love the cross. “No cross no crown,” is an ancient motto; but it is just as true today as it was a thousand years ago. The faith that Moses illustrated you will follow, counting the reproach of Christ to be greater riches than the treasures of Egypt. If you receive the Master in good part, you will say, “Come in, my Master; come in, and bring thy cross, too, and I will bear it cheerfully, for thy sake.”
Moreover, you will prove the grateful welcome you give him by wishing that other people may receive him joyfully too. I cannot believe thou knowest my Master if thou doest not wish to make him known. Were you cured of some sad disease, and met with a sufferer as bad as you once were, your tongue would be quick to tell him of the medicine that can cure him. And surely, if you have been saved from the damning power of sin by Christ, you will want to be telling it to the sons of men that there is balm in Gilead, and that there is a physician there. Perhaps you cannot preach. Possibly not half a dozen people might be edified were you to try. But you can talk to a neighbour. You can speak with your children. I was pleased today, in reading the life of John Wesley’s mother, to notice how she set apart Monday to speak to one of her daughters; Tuesday to speak to another; Wednesday to speak, as she says, “to Jack,” meaning John Wesley; and Thursday to speak to Charles; so that they each had a day, and there was an hour each day given to speak to each child about the affairs of the soul. That is the way to win the children for God. Depend upon it, reader, the blessing of God, the Holy Spirit, if we experimentally know the joy of religion ourselves, will be the means of much good to others, if we make it a point to “tell to sinners round what a dear Saviour we have found.”
May the Lord, in his mercy, call you as he called Zaccheus. May many of you receive him joyfully as Zaccheus did. Seek him, and he shall be found of you. Trust him; he will not deceive you. Cast your soul upon him; he will be as good as his Word. Mark his promise, “Him that cometh unto me I will in no wise cast out.” Faithful is he that gives you this grateful encouragement. Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ now, and through countless ages you will look back upon this fleeting hour with joy unspeakable, perennial–with gratitude that eternity cannot exhaust.
A Day To Be Remembered
October 1, 1882 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
“And Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house.” Luke 19:9 .
Observe, dear friends, that our Lord spoke this sentence to Zacchaeus. Some of us may have fancied that he said it to the objecting people, but he did not. They may have heard it, and their objection may have been answered by it, but the main purpose of our blessed Lord, in uttering those words, was not to answer objectors, but to comfort one who might feel dispirited by their murmuring remark. Therefore, “Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house.” It is always better to comfort believers than to answer cavillers. The cavillers scarcely deserve a reply, for they are pretty sure to find fault again; it is according to their nature to do so. But as for the poor distressed people of God, who gladly receive the truth, and yet have to endure unkind observations, let these be cheered, for has not the Lord himself said, “Comfort ye, comfort ye my people”? Now, what could give Zaccheus greater consolation than for the Lord Jesus Christ to bear witness to the fact of his salvation. “Jesus said unto him, This day is salvation come to this house.” I fancy that I can hear some of you say, “We should count it the happiest day in our lives if the Lord Jesus would come and tell us that salvation had come to us.” But, beloved, you cannot have him come, in the flesh, to say that to you, for he has gone away, to carry on his service elsewhere; among other things, he has gone to prepare a place for you who believe in him. But his Spirit is equally divine, and he is with as always; and you may have the Spirit of God bearing witness with your spirit that you are the children of God. Nay, I trust that you not only believe that you may have this witness, but that you actually have had it you have had that secret, silent, inward evidence which no man understands but the one who receives it; and you know, in your own soul, that you have passed from death unto life, because the Holy Sprit has sealed that truth upon your heart. Therefore, dear friend, be joyful; yea, be exceedingly glad. If anything can make a man leap for joy, it ought to be the assurance of his eternal safety. If salvation has come to your heart, you ought to be as happy as an angel; I think that there are some reasons why you should be even happier, for an angel cannot know, by personal experience, the bliss of having his sins forgiven. You, who have realized this wondrous blessing, ought to cause the wilderness and the solitary place to resound with the melody of your thanksgiving, and with the music of your grateful delight you should make even the desert to rejoice and blossom as the rose. Oh, what bliss it is to be assured by the Holy Spirit himself that you have passed from death unto life, and that salvation has indeed come unto you! May many of you enjoy that bliss from this very hour! Now let us come directly to the text. “This day,” says Christ, “is salvation come to this house.” You will not forget the outline of the sermon, for it is very simple, and one that can be easily remembered. First, This day, what? Secondly, This day, why? Thirdly, This day, why not? I. First, THIS DAY, WHAT? What about this day? Christ says, “This day is salvation come to this house.” He seemed to cut that day out of all the rest of time, and to say concerning it, “This day, this particular day, on this very day, is salvation come to you.” Then, let this day be a holy day, and let it be a, holiday; let it be remembered for many a year; yea, let it be recollected throughout all time and throughout eternity, too: “this day.” You know that there are some people who observe certain days which God has not ordained to be kept in any special manner. The Galatians did so, and therefore Paul wrote to them, “I am afraid of you, lest I have bestowed upon you labour in vain.” We do not, judge those who act in a similar way to-day; but, still, like Paul, we are afraid of them; that is to say, we fear they are mistaken in what they do. But there are some days which God commanded to be observed. The first was, the day when the work of creation was finished, concerning which we read, “On the seventh day God ended his work which he had made; and he rested on the seventh day from all his work which he had made. And God blessed the seventh day, and sanctified it: because that in it he had rested from all his work which God created and made.” The completion of the creation, when, “God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good,” deserves to be remembered. And does not the new creation also deserve to be remembered? When the Lord creates in a man a new heart and a right spirit, shall we not say, one to another, “This day this joyful day this divine day this, new creation day is a day to be observed very specially”? It is clear, from the practice of the apostles, that the Lord intends us to observe the first day of the week, because that was the day of Christ’s resurrection from the dead, the day of the completion of our redemption; and well may we commemorate the complete redemption even more than the complete creation. Shall not each saved man specially celebrate the day when he was redeemed from sin? Shall he not count it worthy to be observed, with holy rites of preaching, praise, and prayer, and to be had in grateful remembrance as long as he lives? Each believer can say of the Lord’s day, “This day, the Lord redeemed my soul out of the land of the enemy, and set me free for ever.” God has appointed but one day to be kept sacred above all others; that is the Lord’s day. Your Christmas days, and your Good Fridays, and all such seasons, are only observed by man’s ordinance; but the Sabbath is ordained of God, and that is to be observed as the emblem of rest. Now, surely, when a man comes into rest, and “we which have believed do enter into rest,” then that day should be specially observed by him. It should become a Sabbath unto the Lord throughout the man’s whole life, that happy day in which salvation came to him. Let, then, “this day” stand as a special day in your calendar; mark it with a red line, if you like; or mark it with a golden seal, and let it be had in remembrance evermore. Our Lord said to Zacchaeus, “This day is salvation come to this house.” From these Words I learn, first, that salvation is a speedy blessing. It can come to a house in a day; nay, more, it can take possession of a man’s heart in a day; nay, to go further, this great work can be “accomplished in a single moment. I suppose that the new birth is actually a thing which requires no appreciable period of time; a flash, and it is done. If a man be dead, and he is restored to life:, there may be, in certain respects, a gradual operation upon that man, and some time may elapse before he is able to walk; but there must be a certain instant in which there is life in the man, whereas, a moment before, there was no life in him. The actual quickening must be a thing that is instantaneous, so that the working of salvation in a man may not only be performed this. day, or this hour, or this quarter of an hour, but this minute, or even this second. Between light and darkness there is usually a period of twilight, and so there is in the soul; but, even in twilight:, there is a measure of light, and there must be a moment when the first real beam of light begins to smite the ebonite darkness. So there must be a moment when grace first enters the soul, and the man, who before was graceless, becomes gracious. I think this is a good point to be remembered. You poor deluded souls, who hope to save yourselves by your own works, will have to keep on throughout your whole lives at that useless occupation, and even when you lie dying, you may be sure that you are not saved if you have been trusting to your own works. But he that believes in Christ Jesus is saved there and then, and he can joyfully sing,
“‘Tis done! the great transaction’s done; I am my Lord’s, and he is mine.”
This is a blessed fact, that salvation can come to a soul this very hour; nay, as I have already reminded you, long ere the hand of that clock shall have reached the end of this hour, salvation may have entered into many hearts that are in this place, as truly as it entered into the house of Zacchaeus. Next, I learn from our text that salvation is a discernible blessing: “This day is salvation come to this house.” Christ could see it, so that it was something which could be seen. Ay, and salvation was also seen by Zacchaeus himself, and the fruits of it were soon seen by those who were in the house with him. Do not suppose that a man can be saved, and yet know nothing about the great change that has been wrought in him. It is not every man who can say for certain that he is saved, for faith is a thing of growth and assurance may not come at once; but when a man is really and completely saved, he has but to use the proper means, and he may become absolutely certain of it. God the Holy Spirit is willing and waiting to give the full assurance of faith and of understanding to those who seek it at his hands. Next, salvation is a perfect blessing: “This day is salvation come to this house.” Well, but only as late as yesterday, that man had not even Seen Jesus. Half an hour ago, he was climbing a tree, like a boy might have done, with no wish but just to get a sight of Jesus; and, now, is that man saved! “Yes,” says Christ, “this day is salvation come to this house.” “But, surely, you don’t talk as positively as that concerning a man who came here to-night unsaved, and who has just trusted in Jesus. You must mean that he has reached a hopeful stage in his experience, and that, after several years, he may perhaps come to be really assured that he is a saved man.” I mean nothing of the sort; I mean just what the text implies, which is that, the moment the Lord Jesus Christ crossed the threshold of the house of Zacchaeus, his sins were forgiven him, his heart was renewed, his spirit was changed, and he was a saved man. “But,” someone asks, “is anybody ever saved before he dies?” Yes, certainly. Were those persons dead of whom Paul wrote, “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God.” They were living men and women, yet the apostle said that they were saved, and so they were. And, at the present moment, here are hundreds of thousands of believers in Jesus, upon the face of this earth, who are as truly saved now as they will be when they stand before the burning throne of God “without spot, or wrinkle or any such thing.” In God’s judgment, by virtue of the sacrifice of the Lord Jesus Christ on whom they are resting by faith, they have been delivered from condemnation, they have escaped, from the dominion of sin, and, in a word, they are saved. So, you see dear friends, that salvation is a perfect blessing. Notice, next, that it is a much-containing blessing. A man who believes in Christ is saved directly, but he does not fully know how much that word “saved” means yet. It is like a big box that comes into the house, and you begin to open it, and to take out first one thing and then another. “There,” you say, “that is all.” “Oh, no!” says somebody, who looks more carefully, “here is another packet.” “Well, then, that is surely all; there is nothing but straw now at the bottom of the box.” You put your hand in, and you cry, “Why! there is something more, and something more; what a boxful it is!” And what a boxful salvation is! You have no idea what there is in it, not only the pardon of sin, but justifying righteousness; not only that, but regeneration, a new heart, and a right; spirit; not only that, but sanctification, adoption, acceptance, power in prayer, preservation, perseverance, victory; yea, we are to be more than conquerors through him that hath loved us; and all that is in the box. Ay, and more too; for we are to have a safe and happy departure out of this world, and an abundant entrance into the everlasting kingdom of God our Father. All that is in the box; and all that had come into the house of Zacchaeus when the Lord Jesus Christ came there; and you also have all that if you have Christ, for it is all in Christ. You know how he said, “All things are delivered unto me of my Father; and Paul wrote to the Corinthians, “All things are yours: whether Paul, or Apollos, or Cephas, or the world, or life, or death, or things present, or things to come; all are yours; and ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s.” You will never get to the bottom of that box which bears the name “salvation.” However great your needs may be, you may keep on taking out of it all that you require, and still there shall be more left; or, to change the figure, salvation is a springing well, from which the more you draw the more there is remaining, for drawn wells are always the sweetest, and usually the fullest. So, bring your buckets to this great well of gospel grace that is springing up at your very feet. Thus, you see that salvation is an all-containing blessing. And, next, it is a spreading blessing, for salvation had come to the house of Zacchaeus, not to himself only, but to his wife, his children, and his Servants, I hope it means. I never like to have the servants left out, though I am afraid that they often are. You servants who live in Christian families, mind that you do not get left out; for, remember that Noah, although he was a good man, did not get a servant into the ark with him and his family. Recollect Lot also, he was a good man of a very poor sort, and he only got his two children out of Sodom, and no servant went with them. It is a sad thing when you live and labour in the midst of Christian people, and yet you yourselves remain unsaved. I hope and believe that, in the case of Zacchaeus, all in his house were saved when salvation came there. But, once more, the salvation which had come to the house of Zacchaeus, was an abiding blessing, for I never read that it went away again. If salvation comes to a man’s house, it comes to stay there, as Christ said to Zacchaeus, “I must abide at thy house.” I can never believe in a man being saved for a time, and then falling from grace, and having to begin all over again. If he does not hold on his way to the end, it is clear that he never was really saved at all. As I have often told you, I can understand a man being regenerated:, that is, being born again; but then some people tell us that it is possible for him, afterwards, to fall away from grace. But what is to become of him the next time? Why, I suppose that he must be re-regenerated born again and again; but I never read, in Scripture, anything of the kind. A man may be born again once, but he cannot be born again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again. That cannot be; when the work of regeneration is done once, it is done for ever. The work of man comes to an end, but the work of God fails not. That which is born of God is as immortal as God himself; the new life, that comes into the converted man from God, cannot die. How often do we ring in the ears of our friends those glorious words of our Lord, “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. My Father, which gave them me, is greater than all; and no man is able to pluck them out of my Father’s hand.” Happy is the man to whose house salvation comes, for it comes to stay world without end. That must suffice for the first head, This day, what? II. Now, secondly, we are to think of another aspect of the subject, that is, THIS DAY, WHY? Why had salvation come to the house of Zacchaeus that day? I answer, because, that day, Zacchaeus was called by effectual grace; and whenever effectual grace comes to anyone, it brings salvation. “Wherefore, brethren,” as Peter says, “give diligence to make your calling and election sure,” for these are the “things that accompany salvation.” If you are sure that you are called of God, you may be quite certain that you are saved, for “this day” the day in which a man is effectually called by grace, this day does salvation come to his house. Look, dear friends, God chose his people in his everlasting purpose, but salvation did not come to their houses that day. They knew nothing of it at that time, for they were not then born. Christ redeemed his people when he died on the cross, but salvation did not come to their houses that day, for the most of them were not then in existence. But, in the fullness of time, the gospel was preached to them, and they heard it; yet, in all cases, salvation did not come to their houses that day, for though they heard it, they refused it. But the moment that effectual grace says. to anyone, “To-day I must abide at thy house,” that grace at once gains admission, and salvation comes there and then to that, man’s house. You remember how the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans: “Whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” These great blessings are joined together, like the links of a chain, and you cannot pull them asunder. There is the calling that fits into the justification, and the chain is so made that the two links never can be separated. And then justification fits into glorification in such a way that you cannot possibly part them. It is no use for anyone to try to separate them. The devil may pull and hammer as much as ever he likes, but all his efforts will be in vain. I have sometimes likened that passage in Romans to a vast suspension bridge between earth and heaven: “For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren. Moreover whom he did predestinate, them he also called: and whom he called, them he also justified: and whom he justified, them he also glorified.” If you get your foot firmly resting on that great plank of effectual calling, you may be quite sure that you will be able to cross all the rest of the bridge, and will most certainly reach the other side, and be “for ever with the Lord.” But how do we know that Zacchaeus was really called? I answer in such a way that you may know whether you also are called or not. The call of Zaccheus was an effectual call, first, because it was a personal call. He was up in the sycamore tree, and he heard Christ call, “Zacchaeus.” “Why!” he said to himself, “That is my name; he is calling me.” “Zacchaeus, make haste, and come down.” “Then he can see that I am up here; his description exactly fits my case.” Now, when you come and hear me preach the gospel, I try to put the truth before you in a clear and very pointed manner. Some people say that it is wrong to be personal in preaching, but I always try to be as personal as ever I can. Yet I know that many of my hearers pass on to their neighbours and friends what I say to them. “Oh! that just fits Mrs. So-and-So,” says somebody. No, my dear sir, it is meant for you, but you will not take it home to yourself. But when the Lord Jesus Christ himself calls, then the man says, “Dear me! I do not believe that the preacher can see me right away here, yet he is speaking straight at me; I am sure that he is. How singular! He just mentioned something that cannot have occurred to anybody but me; he has exactly described my case.” Those are the times when God is about to bless the soul, when the man feels himself picked out from the rest of the congregation, and the gospel sharpshooter is just covering him with his rifle of grace. I pray that the blessed bullet of the gospel may find its billet in the very centre of your heart, and bring you down at the feet of Jesus as a weeping penitent: “Zacchaeus!” The Lord knew that was the name of the man up the sycamore; and he also knows your name and your character; and when he means to call you by his effectual grace, he will hold your photograph up, and make you say, “Yes, that is my portrait; there is nobody else exactly like that.” Next, it was a royal call. Jesus said to Zacchaeus, “To-day I must abide at thy house.” One of our proverbs says, “Must is for the king;” and when the King speaks, he must be obeyed. We who are his ministers try to be very pressing and urgent; but when the Master himself utters the call, where: the word of that King is there is power. I hope he is saying to someone here, “To-day I must abide in thy heart.” Now you have come to the point when you also will have to say, “I must.” There must be no turning back now, dear friend; you must not say to Christ, “Go thy way for this time.” No; but you must say, “This time present, is the time when I also will say ‘must’ as Christ says it to me.” That is an effectual call when it comes as a royal mandate, a warrant from the King: “I must.” Then, next, it was a call which produced immediate obedience. The Lord said to Zacchaeus, “Make haste, and come down;” and we read, “He made haste, and came down.” I think I see him coming down that tree a great deal faster than he had gone up; he had not moved at such a rate as that for a long while; but he scurried down, for he was told to make haste by One whose command compelled him to obey. When the Lord Jesus Christ calls any of you effectually, you will not put off your decision till the next morning; you will not say, “I will wait till I can get home and pray;” you will not even say, “I will wait till the end of the service, and then talk with a Christian person;” but your prayer will be, “Lord, help me to look to Jesus now. I yield myself up to thee this very instant. I am in a hurry about it. Lord, I am making haste to get to thee; make haste to come and save me. I would not delay a single second longer. I want to be thine alone, and thine at once.” That is a mark of effectual calling, when immediate obedience is given to the call. Another mark in the case of Zacchaeus was, that it was joyful obedience; “He made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully.” 0h! the joy of the heart that receives Christ when Christ himself does really come to the soul! The moment I believed in Christ, I wanted to shout “Hallelujah”; and if I had done so, I think that I might have been forgiven. The moment one believes in Christ and knows that his sin is all gone, what extravagance would be extravagant under such circumstances! Is not the man justified in being joyful when at length his iniquity is blotted out, and his transgression is covered? It is a mark of effectual calling when we receive Christ joyfully. In the case of Zacchaeus, observe that his obedience was complete, for Christ said, “To-day I must abide at thy house;” and “he made haste, and came down, and received him joyfully” at his house, for the people murmured because Christ had gone to be his guest Now, dear friends, will you also receive Christ? That is the point. Are you willing to let him come unto you, and be your salvation? Are you eager that he should come? Do you beg him to Come? Depend upon it, he will come to you when you are ready to receive him; but mind you do not trust for salvation to anything else or anyone else but Christ. Be satisfied with nothing but the everliving Saviour to be your Saviour from first to last. There was yet one more mark of the effectual calling of Zacchaeus, and that was that he received Christ in a spiritual sense, for he did not only take him into his house, but he took him into his heart. I know that he did so because he began at once to purge his heart by driving out covetousness. That was a splendid way of getting rid of it when he said, “Behold, Lord, the half of my goods I give to the poor?” Then he began to drive put his former grasping habit, for he said, “And if I have taken any thing from any man by false accusation, I restore him fourfold.” That was clear evidence that he meant to receive Christ, in all his holy, gracious teaching, no merely as a man and a stranger; but, spiritually, as his Master, his Ruler, his Teacher, his Guide, in a word, as his Saviour. III. Now, lastly, THIS DAY WHY NOT? And now I change the day altogether, for I mean this very day when I am speaking to you, this first of October in the present year of grace 1882. “This day.” This day, why not. Why should we not, “this day,” give ourselves to Christ. I have tried to think of any reason why a man should not give himself up to the Lord Jesus Christ this day, and I cannot find one. Then, why should he give himself to Christ this day, on this particular day I think I know several reasons why he should do so. First, it is late enough. Surely you do not want to wait any longer, How old did you say you are, friend? Seventy-six? Eighty-six? What! as old as that, and not yet saved? You do not need one like me, so much younger, to urge you to speedy decision. Or did you say that you are not more than my own age, not yet fifty? Well, I find it is quite late enough for me. There are certain influences and sensations creeping over me, which make me realize that I am somewhat different from what I used to be, and I expect it is the same with you. I think it is getting rather late in life for you to be still undecided. Perhaps some younger person says, “But I am only one-and-twenty.” Well, that is late enough to be without Christ; it is a thousand pities that the devil should have had one-and-twenty years of your life. I was converted to the Lord Jesus Christ when I was fifteen, but I wish it could have been fifteen years before. Oh, that I had known and loved him as soon as I knew an thing, and had lisped his name with the first words I ever uttered! I think every Christian will say the same. Whatever our age is, the time past may well suffice to have wrought the will of he flesh. Do not you think so, my friend? Have not you had quite enough of sin? What profit have you ever received from it? It is surely quite late enough for you to receive Christ as your Savior. And, further, it is late enough in the year. It seems to me, when the leaves are falling all around you, as if they all said to you, “We all do fade as a leaf.” Is it not fully time to seek the Lord? I know of no season that seems more suited for pensive thought than just now when the year seems to be weeping itself into its tomb, and burying itself amid falling leaves. Now is the time to yield yourself to the Lord; there cannot be a better period than just now, ere yet the year is fully gone. The mercy is, dear friend, that, though it is quite late enough, it is not too late for anybody here. There is yet time for you to seek the Lord. It is a pity to have put the Lord off until you yourself have got into the sere and yellow leaf; but yet there is time to turn unto him. What! have you reached the eleventh hour of life? It is late, it is very late; but, still, it is not yet too late. It is not yet too late even if you are to die this week; and there are some out of this great company who will, I suppose, pass into the unseen world this week. Dear friend, I know not who you are, but you who stand nearest to your eternal destiny, it is not yet too late even for you. I pray you, clutch at once at the great mercy now offered to you. God help you so to do! Every week, I have to hear of some out of our number who have passed away. There have been some this last week, and some whom I certainly thought we might have had with us for a long time. They were, apparently, in good health, yet now they are to be buried at the beginning of the week, for they have gone from us quite suddenly. And why may not some of you be the next to be taken! Do not postpone your decision any longer; I would that we could say to-night, “This day, October 1st, some soul did receive salvation. Let the recording angel mark it down.” The harvest is not quite over, though I thought it was. We down south have almost forgotten it, but there is a farming friend up-with us to-day, who said to me, “We have not finished our harvest, for we have not got the beans in yet.” So, you see, the harvest is not quite over, but I do not want you to have to say, The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” I would like to get some of you to come in with the beans, just with the last crop. Oh, that you might be brought to Christ just at this fag end of the harvest! The Master is willing that you should come to him even now, so do not delay. “To-day, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts.” “Behold, now is the accepted time: behold, now is the day of salvation.” Remember, also, that to-day is gospel time. Still is Christ preached unto you, still is the door of mercy set open before you, still is the cry “Come” uttered by the Spirit, and the bride, the Lamb’s wife echoes it, “Come.” Still the water of life is freely flowing for all who are willing to receive it. Recollect, too, that this is praying time. You are still on praying ground; a prayer will find God yet. A traveler tells us that, when he was in the East, he saw the procession of a Sultan passing through a certain city. The monarch was there, all bedizened with gems and every kind of barbaric ornament, and surrounded by his guards. There was a poor wretch who wanted to get a petition to the Sultan, and he did not know how to manage it. He had no money with which to bribe the officials, and he could not force his way through the armed men; so, in his desperation, he got near enough to throw the petition down at the monarch’s feet, but one of the soldiers stuck a spear through it, and he held it aloft, and that was the end of it, for the Sultan took no notice of the incident, he was much too great a man to attend to the petition of his poor subject. It is never so with God. Cast your petition, now you may, at his dear feet, he will answer it, and send you on your way rejoicing. You are not only on praying ground, for to-night seems to me to be a very auspicious season, for it is communion time. God’s people are presently coming together around his table to remember Christ. Will not you also remember him? We are about to receive Christ spiritually through the emblems of bread and wine which will et him forth to us. Why should not you also receive Christ, in a spiritual fashion, by faith, as your Savior? Oh, that you would press through the throng, and bow at the feet of Jesus Christ, our Lord! If you do so, he will accept you, and again it shall be said, “This day is salvation come to this house.” God grant it, for Christ’s sake! Amen.
The Mission of the Son of Man
July 11, 1858 by C. H. SPURGEON (1834-1892)
“For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Luke 19:10 .
How fond our master was of the sweet title, the “Son of Man!” If he had chosen, he might always have spoken of himself as the Son of God, the Everlasting Father, the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the Prince of Peace. He hath a thousand gorgeous titles, resplendent as the throne of heaven, but he careth not to use them: to express his humility and let us see the lowliness of him whose yoke is easy and whose burden is light. He calls not himself the Son of God, but he speaks of himself evermore as the Son of Man who came down from heaven. Let us learn a lesson of humility from our Saviour; let us never court great titles, nor proud degrees. What are they, after all, but beggarly distinctions whereby one worm is known from another? He that hath the most of them is a worm still, and is in nature no greater than his fellows. If Jesus called himself the Son of Man, when he had far greater names, let us learn to humble ourselves unto men of low estate, knowing that he that humbleth himself shall in due time be exalted. Methinks, however, there is a sweeter thought than this in that name, Son of Man. It seems to me that Christ loved manhood so much, that he always desired to honour it; and since it is a high honour, and indeed the greatest dignity of manhood, that Jesus Christ was the Son of Man, he is wont to display this name, that he may as it were put rich stars upon the breast of manhood, and put a crown upon its head. Son of Man whenever he said that word he seemed to put a halo round the head of Adam’s children. Yet there is perhaps a more lovely thought still. Jesus Christ called himself the Son of Man, because he loved to be a man. It was a great stoop for him to come from heaven and to be incarnate. It was a mighty stoop of condescension when he left the harps of angels and the songs of cherubims to mingle with the vulgar herd of his own creatures. But condescension though it was, he loved it. You will remember that when he became incarnate he did not become so in the dark. When he bringeth forth the only begotten into the world, he saith, “Let all the angels of God worship him.” It was told in heaven; it was not done as a dark secret which Jesus Christ would do in the night that none might know it; but all the angels of God were brought to witness the advent of a Saviour a span long, sleeping upon a Virgin’s breast, and lying in a manger. And ever afterwards, and even now, he never blushed to confess that he was man; never looked back upon his incarnation with the slightest regret; but always regarded it with a joyous recollection, thinking himself thrice happy that he had ever become the Son of Man. All hail, thou blessed Jesus! we know how much thou lovest our race; we can well understand the greatness of thy mercy towards thy chosen ones, inasmuch as thou art evermore using the sweet name which acknowledges that they are bone of thy bone and flesh of thy flesh, and thou art one of them, a brother and a near kinsman. Our text announces as a declaration of our Saviour, that he, the Son of Man, is come to seek and to save that which was lost. In addressing you this morning, I shall simply divide my discourse thus: First, I shall lay it down as a self-evident truth, that whatever was the intention of Christ in his coming into the world that intention most certainly shall never be frustrated. We shall then in the second place, look into the intention of Christ, as announced in the text, viz., “to seek and to save that which was lost.” Then, in concluding, we shall derive a word of comfort, and perhaps one of warning, from the intention of our Saviour in coming into the world “to seek and to save that which was lost.” I. You are aware that there has been a very great discussion amongst all Christians about the redemption of our Lord Jesus Christ. There is one class of men who believe in what is called general redemption, affirming it to be an undoubted truth that Jesus Christ hath shed his blood for every man, and that the intention of Christ in his death was the salvation of men considered as a whole; they have, however, to overlook the fact that in this case Christ’s intention would be frustrated in a measure. There are others of us who hold what is called the doctrine of particular redemption. We conceive that the blood of Christ was of an infinite value, but that the intention of the death of Christ never was the salvation of all men; for if Christ had designed the salvation of all men, we hold that all men would have been saved. We believe that the intention of Christ’s death is just equal to its effects, and therefore I start this morning by announcing what I regard to be a self-evident truth, that whatever was the intention of Jesus Christ in coming into the world, that intention most certainly shall be fulfilled. But I shall make use of a few arguments to strengthen this doctrine, although I believe that on the very first announcement it commends itself to every thinking mind. In the first place, it seems to be inconsistent with the very idea of God that he should ever intend anything which should not be accomplished. When I look at man I see him to be a creature so distracted with folly and so devoid of power, that I do not wonder that he often begins to build and is not able to finish, I do not marvel that full often he stops short because he hath not counted the cost: I wonder not, when I think how much there is that is above man’s control, that he should sometimes propose but that God should dispose far differently from his proposition. I see man to be the insect of a day, a mere ephemera upon the bay-leaf of existence; and when I see him as a mere drop in the great sea of creation, I do not wonder that when he is ambitious he sometimes fashions in himself great designs which he is unable to accomplish because the wheels of providence and destiny will often run quite contrary to all the frolic of his will. But when I think of God whose name is, “I am that I am,” the self-existent one, in whom we live and move and have our being, who is from everlasting to everlasting, the Almighty God; when I think of him as filling immensity, having all power and strength, knowing all things, having a fullness of wisdom, I cannot associate with such an idea of God the supposition of his ever failing in any of his intentions. It would seem to me that a God who could intend a thing and fail in his intention would be no God, but be a thing like ourselves perhaps superior in strength, but certainly not entitled to worship. I cannot anyhow think of God of a true and real God like Jehovah, except as a being who wills and it is accomplished, who speaks and it is done, who commands and it stands fast, for ever, settled in heaven. I cannot therefore imagine, since Jesus Christ was the Son of God, that in his atonement and redemption, his real intention and desire can in any way be frustrated. If I were a Socinian and believed Jesus Christ to be a mere man, I could of course imagine, that the result of his redemption would be uncertain; but believing that Jesus Christ was very God of very God, equal and co-eternal with the Father, I dare not, lest I should be guilty of presumption and blasphemy, associate with that name of Jehovah Jesus any suspicion that the design of his death shall remain unaccomplished. But again, we have before us the fact, that hitherto, all the works of God have accomplished their purpose. Whenever God has uttered, by the lips of his servants, a prophecy, it has surely come to pass. The instruments of accomplishing that purpose have often been the most factious and rebellious of men: they had no intention whatever of serving God; they have run contrary to his laws; but you will observe that when they have dashed wildly along, his bit has been still in their mouth and his bridle in their jaws. A great monarch has acted like leviathan in the sea; he hath moved himself wherever he pleased; he hath seemed mighty among the sons of men; all the rest of mankind were as minnows, while he was a huge leviathan: but we discover that God has been overruling his thought, that he has been in his council chamber, that the wildest speculations of his ambition have, after all, been but the fulfilling of Jehovah’s stern decrees. Look ye abroad through all the nations of the earth, and tell me, is there one prophecy of God that hath failed? May he not still say, “Not one of them hath lost her mate?” Every word of God hath certainly been accomplished. The kings of the earth stood up and took counsel together against the Lord and against his anointed saying, Let us break his bands asunder and cast his cords from us. But he that sitteth in the heavens did laugh at them; the Lord did have them in derision. Still he worked his own sovereign will; let them do as they pleased, God was over them all, reigning and ruling evermore. If, then, God’s purpose in providence certainly never has been frustrated, am I to imagine that God’s purpose in the glorious sacrifice of Jesus Christ shall be null and void? If there be any of you who have arrived at such a contortion of intellect as to conceive that a less work being accomplished, a greater one shall fail, I must leave you to yourselves, with you I could not argue, I should think you incapable of an argument. Surely, if God the Master, the Judge, the King, hath in all things done according to his own pleasure in this lower world, in the mere creation and preservation of men, it is not to be dreamed of for a moment, that when he stoops himself from the highest heaven, to give his own heart’s blood for our redemption, he shall in that be foiled. No though earth and hell be against him, every purpose of Jesus on the cross shall be consummated, and as the price was “finished,” so shall the purchase be; as the means were fully provided, so shall the end be accomplished to its utmost jot and tittle. But again, I invite you to stand at the foot of the cross, and take a view of Jesus Christ, and then I will put it to you whether you can imagine that Jesus Christ could in any measure have died in vain. Come, believer, place thyself in the garden of Gethsemane, hide thyself among those dark olives, and listen to yonder man who is in agony. Dost hear those groans? They are the groans of an incarnate God. Dost hear those sighs? They are the sighs of the Son of Man. God over all, blessed for ever. Hear thou those strong cries, and dost thou see those tears? They are the crying and the tears of him who is equal with his Father, but who condescended to be a man. Rise, for he has risen, Judas has betrayed him and taken him away. Look on that ground. See thou those gouts of gore? It is the bloody sweat of the man Christ Jesus. I conjure thee, answer this question. Standing in the garden of Gethsemane, with those blood gouts staining the white frost of that cold midnight, canst thou believe that one of those clots of blood shall fall to the ground and not effect its purposed I challenge thee, O Christian, whatever thy doctrinal opinions, to say me “Yes” to such a question as that. Canst thou imagine that a sweat of blood from the veins of incarnate Deity shall ever fall to the ground and fail? Why, beloved, the word of God which cometh forth out of his mouth shall not return unto him void, but it shall accomplish that which he pleases; how much more shall the Great WORD of God, which came forth from the loin; of Deity, accomplish the purpose whereunto God hath sent him, and prosper in the thing for which it pleased God to ordain him! But now come with me to the hall of judgment. See there your Master placed in mock state in the midst of a ribald band of soldiery. Do you see how they spit on those blessed cheeks, how they pluck his hair, how they buffet him? Do you see the crown of thorns with its ruby drops of gore? Hark! Can you hear the cry of the multitude, as they say, “Crucify him, crucify him?” And will you now stand there and look at this man whom Pilate has just brought forth, still bleeding from the lash of the scourge, covered with shame, and spitting and mockery, and as this “Ecce Homo” is presented to you, will you believe that this, the incarnate Son of God, shall be made such a spectacle to men, to angels, and to devils, and yet fail of his design? Can you imagine that one lash of that whip shall have a fruitless aim? Shall Jesus Christ suffer this shame and spitting, and yet endure what were far worse a disappointment in the fulfilment of his intentions? No, God forbid! By Gethsemane and Gabbatha, we are pledged to the strong belief that what Christ designed by his death, must certainly be accomplished. Then again, see him hanging on his cross. The nails have pierced his hands and feet, and there in the broiling sun he hangs, he hangs to die. The mockery has not ceased; still they put out the tongue and wag the head at him; still they taunt him with “If thou be the Son of God come down from the cross.” And now his bodily pains increase, while his soul’s anguish is terrible even unto death. Christian canst thou believe that the blood of Christ was shed in vain? Canst thou look at one of those precious drops as it trickles from his head or his hands or his feet, and canst thou imagine that it shall fall to the ground and perish there? Trust the waters may fail from the sea, the sun may grow dim with age, but I never can imagine that the value, the merit, the power of the blood of Jesus ever shall die out, or that its purpose shall be unaccomplished. It seems to me as clear as noonday, that the design of the Saviour’s death must certainly be fulfilled, be it what it may. I might use a hundred other arguments. I might show that every attribute of Christ declares that his purpose must be accomplished. He certainly has love enough to accomplish his design of saving the lost, for he has a love that is bottomless and fathomless, even as the abyss itself. He certainly has no objection to the accomplishment of his own design, for “As I live, saith the Lord, I have no pleasure in the death of him that dieth, but had rather that he should turn unto me and live.” And certainly the Lord cannot fail for want of power, for where we have omnipotence there can be no deficiency of strength. Nor again, can the design be unaccomplished because it was unwise, for God’s designs cannot be unwise, simply because they are of God that is to say they are of infinite wisdom. I cannot see anything in the character of Christ, nor anything the wide world over, that can for one moment make me imagine that Christ should die, and yet it should be said afterwards, “This man died for a purpose which he never lived to see accomplished: the object of his death was only partially fulfilled; he saw of the travail of his soul, but he was not satisfied, for he did not redeem all whom he intended to redeem.” Now, some persons love the doctrine of universal atonement because they say it so beautiful. It is a lovely idea that Christ should have died for all men; it commends itself, they say, to the instincts of humanity; there is something in it full of joy and beauty. I admit there is; but beauty may be often associated with falsehood. There is much which I might well admire in the theory of universal redemption but let me just tell you what the supposition necessarily involves. If Christ on his cross intended to save every man, then he intended to save those who were damned before he died; because if the doctrine be true, that he died for all men, he died for some that were in hell before he came into this world, for doubtless there were myriads there that had been cast away. Once again, if it were Christ’s intention to save all men, how deplorably has he been disappointed! for we have his own evidence that there is a lake that burneth with fire and brimstone, and into that pit must be cast some of the very persons, who according to that theory, were bought with his blood. That seems to me a thousand times more frightful than any of those horrors, which are said to be associated with the Calvinistic and Christian doctrine of particular redemption. To think that my Saviour died for men in hell seems a supposition too horrible for me to imagine: that he was the substitute for the sons of men, and that God having first punished the substitute punished men again, seems to me to conflict with any idea of justice. That Christ should offer an atonement and satisfaction for the sins of men, and that afterwards those very men should be punished for the sins which Christ had already atoned for, seems to me, to be the most marvellous monstrosity that ever could have been imputed to Saturn, to Janus, ay, to the god of the Thugs, or the most diabolical heathen demons. God forbid that we should ever think thus of Jehovah, the just and wise. If Christ has suffered in man’s stead, God is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and save us from all unrighteousness. II. I have thus started the first thought that the intention of Christ’s death cannot be frustrated. And now methinks every one will anxiously listen, and every ear will be attentive, and the question will arise from every heart, “WHAT THING WAS THE INTENTION OF THE Saviour’s DEATH? AND IS IT POSSIBLE: THAT I CAN HAVE A PORTION IN IT?” For whom, then, did the Saviour die and is there the slightest probability that I have some lot or portion in that great atonement which he has offered? Beloved, my text is the answer to the question “The Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” Now, our text tells us of two things first, the subjects of the Saviour’s atonement, the lost; and, secondly, the objects of it, he came to seek and save. I must now endeavour to pick out the objects of the Saviour’s atonement. He came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” Some of you may turn your heads away at once, and conclude that hitherto you have given no evidence that you have any portion in the death of Christ. You are very good sort of people; you never did much that was wrong perhaps a little now and then; but nothing particular ever troubles your conscience. You have a notion that you shall certainly enter into the kingdom of heaven, for you are no worse than your neighbours, and if you are not saved, God help other people! for if you do not go to heaven, who will? You are trusting in your own good works, and believing you are righteous. Now let us decide your case at once. Since you are ashamed to put yourselves among those who are lost, I have no Christ to preach to you till you are ready to come and confess that you are lost; for Christ himself tells us, that he came “not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance;” and inasmuch as you belong to the righteous, and trust in yourselves that you are good and excellent you may turn upon your heel and go, for in the blood of Christ there is no portion for men who live and die trusting in their own self-righteousness. But I may dismiss another part of you. Some of you are saying, “Well, sir, I know I am guilty, but still I am persuaded that by attention to the law of God in future, I shall certainly be able to take away the demerit of my guilt. I intend henceforward to reform, and I believe that by a consistent course of attention to religious ordinances, and by carefully regarding that which is right and wrong between God and man, and man and man, I shall, without doubt, make an atonement for the sins of the past.” Ah, my friend, hitherto thou givest me no hope that thou had any portion in the death of Christ. Christ came not to die for men who can save themselves without him. If thou thinkest thou canst save thyself remember the door of mercy is shut in thy face. Christ came to bring robes from heaven, but not for you who can spin for yourselves. He came to bring bread for the hungry, but he will give none of it to you who can sow and reap, and make bread for yourselves. Christ helps the helpless, but they who can help themselves and have sufficient of their own strength and merit to carry them to heaven, may fight their way there alone, if they can they shall have no help from him. Whom then did Christ die to save? It is said, he came to save “that which was lost.” Now, you must bear with me while I run over the different ways in which a man may be lost; and then I will conclude by noticing the term as it is used in the proper sense, when we may affirm that Christ died for such. We know that all men are lost in Adam; as soon as we are born into this world, we are lost, when the tiny bark of the infant is launched upon the river of life it is lost; unless Sovereign grace shall stretch forth its hand and save it in infancy, and carry it to heaven or save it afterwards, when it shall have grown up that infant is lost. “Behold,” saith David, “I was born in sin and shapen in iniquity; in sin did my mother conceive me.” “In Adam all die.” The fall of Adam was the fall of the human race; then, you and I, and all of us fell down. Again, we are all lost by practice. No sooner does the child become capable of knowing right and wrong, than you discover that he chooses the evil and abhors the good. Early passions soon break out, like weeds immediately after the shower of rain; speedily the hidden depravity of the heart makes itself manifest and we grow up to sin and so we become lost by practice. But mark, a man may be lost in Adam, and lost by practice, and yet not be saved by Christ; but Christ is able to save you; though you be twice lost, his salvation is able to redeem you from death. Then there be some who go further still. The deadly tree of sin grows taller and taller some become lost to the church. After having been trained up religiously in our Midst, they turn aside; they give up all outward regard to the worship of God, the ministry of the gospel is neglected, the house of prayer is forsaken, and the church tolls its bell and says of such an one, “He is lost to the church.” Some go further still; they are lost to society. I have seen many who are dead while they live. We have in the midst of us the harlot and the drunkard, who, like the leper in the camp of Israel, have to be put away, lest the contagion should spread; and those who seek after right are obliged to turn away from them, lest the evil should spread in the midst of the flock. Now there are many who are lost to society whom Jesus Christ came to save, and whom he will save. But a man may be lost to society and may be lost everlastingly; it is no proof that Christ will save him, because he is thus lost, while at the same time it is no proof that he will not save him, for Christ came to save even men who are lost like this. Again, the man may go further, and be lost to the family. We have known those who have become so vile, that even after society has shut them out, a parent has been obliged to shut then out too. That must be a hell of sin indeed which can make a father say to his son, “My son, you shall not want bread while I have any, but I must forbid you my house, for your brothers and sisters cannot endure your society; I feel you would destroy their souls if I should allow you to associate with them.” Now, a man may be lost thus to his own family, and yet sovereign grace will save him. But, mark, a man may be lost to his family and yet not be saved; yea, that may be the increase of his condemnation, that he sinned against a mother’s prayers and against a father’s exhortations. Now I will tell you the people whom Christ will save they are those who are lost to themselves. Just imagine a ship at sea passing through a storm: the ship leaks, and the captain tells the passengers he fears they are lost. If they are far away from the shore, and have sprung a leak, they pump with all their might as long as they have any strength remaining; they seek to keep down the devouring element; they still think that they are not quite lost while they have power to use the pumps. At last they see the ship cannot be saved; they give it up for lost, and leap into the boats. The boats are beating for many a-day, full of men who have but little food to eat. “They are lost,” we say, “lost out at sea.” But they do not think so; they still cherish a hope that perhaps some stray ship may pass that way and pick them up. There is a ship in the horizon; they strain their eyes to look at her; they lift each other up; they wave a flag; they rend their garments to make something which shall attract attention; but she passes away; black night comes, and they are forgotten. At length the very last mouthful of food has been consumed; strength fails them, and they lay down their oars in the boat, and lay themselves down to die. You can imagine then how well they understand the awful meaning of the term “lost.” As long as they had any strength left they felt they were not lost; as long as they could see a sail they felt there was yet hope; while there was yet a mouldy biscuit left, or a drop of water, they did not give up all for lost. Now the biscuit is gone, and the water is gone; now strength has departed, and the oar lies still: they lie down to die by each other’s side, mere skeletons; things that should have been dead days ago, if they had died when all enjoyment of life had ceased. Now they know, I say, what it is to be lost, and across the shore-less waters they seem to hear their death-knell pealing forth that awful word, Lost! lost! lost! Now, in a spiritual sense, these are the people Christ came to save. Sinner, thou too art condemned. Our Father Adam steered the ship awry and she split upon a rock, and she is filling even to her bulwarks now; and pump as philosophy may, it can never keep the waters of her depravity so low as to prevent the ship from sinking. Seeing that human nature is of itself lost, it hath taken to the boat. She is a fair boat, called the boat of Good Endeavour, and in her you are striving to row with all your might, to reach the shore; but your strength fails you. You say, “Oh, I cannot keep God’s law. The more I strive to keep it, the more I find it to be impossible for me to do so. I climb; but the higher I climb, the higher is the top above me. When I was in the plains, I thought the mountain was but a moderate hill but now I seem to have ascended half-way up its steps, there it is, higher than the clouds, and I cannot discern the summit.” However, you gather up your strength, you try again, you row once more, and at last unable to do anything, you lay down your oars, feeling that if you are saved, it cannot be by your own works. Still you have a little hope left. There are a few small pieces of mouldy biscuit remaining. You have heard that by attention to certain ceremonies you may be saved, and you munch your dry biscuit; but at last that fails you, and you find that neither baptism, nor the Lord’s supper, nor any other outward rites, can make you clean, for the leprosy lies deep within. That done, you still look out. You are in hopes that there may be a sail coming, and while floating upon that deep of despair, you think you detect in the distance some new dogma, some fresh doctrine that may comfort you. It passes, however, like the wild phantom ship it is gone, and there you are left at last, with the burning sky of God’s vengeance above you, with the deep waters of a bottomless hell beneath you, fire in your heart and emptiness in that ship which once was so full of hope, you lie down despairing, and you cry “Lord save me, or I perish!” Is that your condition this morning, my friend, or has that ever been your condition? If so, Christ came into the world to seek and to save you; and you he will save, and no one else. He will save only those who can claim this for their title, “Lost;” who have understood in their own souls what it is to be lost, as to all self-trust, all self-reliance, and all self-hope. I can look back to the time when I knew myself to be lost. I thought that God meant to destroy me. I imagined that because I felt myself to be lost, I was the special victim of Almighty vengeance; for I said unto the Lord. “Hast thou set me as the target of all thine arrows? Am I a seal or a whale, that thou hast set a mark upon me? Hast thou sewed up mine iniquities in a bag, and sealed my transgressions with a seal. Wilt thou never be gracious? Hast thou made me to be the centre of all sorrow, the chosen one of heaven to be cursed for ever?” Ah! fool that I was! I little knew then, that those who have the curse in themselves are the men whom God will bless that we have the sentence of death in ourselves, that we should not trust in ourselves, but in him who died for us and rose again. Come, I will put the question once again can you say that you are lost? Was there a time when you travelled with the caravan through this wild wilderness world? Have you left the caravan with your companions, and are you left in the midst of a sea of sand a hopeless, arid waste? And do you look around you, and see no helper; and do you cast your eyes around and see no trust? Is the death-bird wheeling in the sky, screaming with delight because he hopes soon to feed upon your flesh and bones? Is the water-bottle dry, and doth the bread fail you? Have you consumed the last of your dry dates, and drunk the last of that brackish water from the bottle. and are you now without hope, without trust in yourself; ready to lie down in despair? Hark thee! The Lord thy God loveth thee; Jesus Christ has bought thee with his blood; thou art, thou shalt be his. He has been seeking thee all this time, and he has found thee at last, in the vast howling wilderness and now he will take thee upon his shoulders, and carry thee to his house rejoicing, and the angels shall be glad over thy salvation. Now, such people must and shall be saved. and this is the description of those whom Jesus Christ came to save. Whom he came to save he will save; you, ye lost ones lost to all hope and self confidence, shall be saved. Though death and hell should stand in the way, Christ will perform his vow, and accomplish his design. I shall be very brief in concluding my discourse; but we have now to notice THE OBJECTS OF THE DEATH OF CHRIST he came “to seek and to save that which was lost.” I am so glad that these two words are both there, for if they were not, what hope would there be for any of us? The Arminian says Christ came to save those that seek him. Beloved, there is a sense in which that is true; but it is a lie. Christ did come to save those that seek him, but no one ever sought the Lord Jesus Christ, unless the Lord Jesus first sought him. Christ does not leave it to ourselves to seek him, or else it would be left indeed, for so vile is human nature that although heaven be offered, and though hell thunder in our ears, yet there never was and there never will be any man who, unconstrained by sovereign grace, will run in the way of salvation, and so escape from hell and flee to heaven. It is all in vain for me to preach to you, and all in vain for the most earnest exhortations to be addressed to any of you, unless the Holy Spirit shall be pleased to back them up; for man is so infatuated, his disease is one which causes such a madness of the brain, that he refuses the remedy, and puts away from him the healing draught which alone can give him life from the dead. “Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life.” Let man alone, and with the cross of Christ before him and all hell behind him, he will shut his eyes and prefer to be damned rather than enter into eternal life by the blood of Christ the Lord. Hence Christ came first to seek men, and then to save them. Ah! what a task that is of seeking men! There are some of you to-day on the tops of the mountains of pride, and others of you in the deep glens of despair. Methinks I see the Saviour coming forth to seek you; he finds you to-day in the green pastures of the sanctuary, he comes near to you, and by these hands of mine he seeks to lay hold of you, but no sooner do you discern his approach then you run far away into the wild desert of sin. Perhaps this evening you will be spending the remnant of the Sabbath in profaning God’s day. One of you at least I know who will be in the public house as soon as the evening sermon is over, and most probably will go home very late. If Christ intends to save you, he will go to you there; and while you are in that wild waste of sin, he will send some providence after you, and save you there. Away you fly then to the marshes of reformation, and you say, “The shepherd cannot overtake me. I shall be beyond his reach now, I have left off my drunkenness, I have given up my cursing.” But he will come to you there, and wade for you ankle deep in your own self-righteousness. And then you will run away again and jump into the deep pit of despair, and there you will say to yourself, “He can never find me here.” But I see him coming with that crook of his: he enters the pit, takes you by the feet, and casts you round his neck, and carries you home rejoicing, saying, “I have found him at last! Wherever he wandered, I sought him, and now I have found him.” It is strange what queer places Christ finds some of his people in! I knew one of Christ’s sheep who was found out by his Master while committing robbery. I knew another who was found out by Christ, while he was spiting his old mother by reading the Sunday newspaper and making fun of her. Many have been found by Jesus Christ, even in the midst of sin and vanity. I knew a preacher of the Gospel who was converted in a theatre. He was listening to a play, an old-fashioned piece, that ended with a sailor’s drinking a glass of gin before he was hung, and he said, “Here’s to the prosperity to the British Nation, and the salvation of my immortal soul.”, and down went the curtain; and down went my friend too, for he ran home with all his might. Those words, “The salvation of my immortal soul;” had struck him to the quick; and he sought the Lord Jesus in his chamber. Many a-day he sought him, and at last he found him to his joy and confidence. But for the most part Christ finds his people in his own house; but he finds them often in the worst of tempers, in the most hardened conditions; and he softens their hearts, awakens their consciences, subdues their pride, and takes them to himself; but never would they come to him unless he came to them. Sheep go astray, but they do not come back again of themselves. Ask the shepherd whether his sheep come back, and he will tell you, “No, sir; they will wander, but they never return.” When you find a sheep that ever came back of himself, then you may hope to find a sinner that will come to Christ of himself. No; it must be sovereign grace that must seek the sinner and bring him home. And when Christ seeks him he SAVES him. Having caught him at last, like the ram of old, in the thorns of conviction, he does not take a knife and slay him as the sinner expects, but he takes him by the hand of mercy, and begins to comfort and to save. Oh, ye lost sinners, the Christ who seeks you to-day in the ministry, and who has sought you many a-day by his providence, will save you. He will first find you when you are emptied of self, and then he will save you. When you are stripped he will bring forth the best robe and put it on you. When you are dying he will breathe life into your nostrils. When you feel yourselves condemned he will come and blot out your iniquities like a cloud, and your transgressions like a thick cloud. Fear not, ye hopeless and helpless souls, Christ seeks you to-day, and seeking, he will save you save you here, save you living, save you dying, save you in time, save you in eternity, and give you, even you, the lost ones, a portion among them that are sanctified. May the Lord now bless these words to your consolation! III. I shall not stop to say more, as I intended to have done, lest I should weary you. Let me only remind you, that the time is coming when that word “lost” will have a more frightful meaning to you, than it has to-day. In a few more months, some of you, my hearers, will hear the great bell of eternity tolling forth that awful word lost, lost, lost! The great sepulchres of hell will toll out your doom lost, lost, lost! and through the shades of eternal misery this shall for ever assail your ear, that you are lost for ever. But if that bell is ringing in your ear to-day, that you are lost oh, be of good cheer, it is a good thing to be so lost, it is a happy thing to be lost to self, and lost to pride, and lost to carnal hope. Christ will save you. Believe that. Look to him as he hangs upon his cross. One look shall give you comfort. Turn your weeping eyes to him as he bleeds there in misery. He can, he will save you. Believe on him, for he that believeth and is baptized, shall be saved. He that believeth not must be damned, but whosoever among the lost ones will now cast himself on Christ Jesus, shall find everlasting life through his death and righteousness. May the Lord now gather in his lost sheep, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.