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me ?" And to the interrogatory of Saul, “ Who art thou, Lord ?" the reply is, “ I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest.” And this, beloved, is the case with those who act the contrary part. When Christ instructed his disciples in the mysteries of the kingdom, he said unto them, “He that receiveth you receiveth me." And “ whosoever shall give to drink unto one of these little ones a cup of cold water only in the name of a disciple, verily, I say unto you, he shall in no wise lose his reward."
The Society for which an appeal is made to you this day, has for its object the supply of temporal comfort to the aged and infirm; the distribution of the fruits of Christian love to those who have seen better days; the exhibition of the effects of Christianity in the care which the Church has for all her members. And while I advocate the cause of this excellent, this truly Christian society, may I be permitted to address one word to the directors of it. You, Christian brethren, manifest your concern for the temporal welfare of your aged, of your poorer neighbours : your laudable object is to smooth the rugged path of life's declining days. And ye do well : but while ye provide for the casket, neglect not, I beseech you, the rich jewel therein contained. What an opportunity of pressing the importance of the soul's value ! If so much be done for the mortal clay, 0, what ought not to be done for the immortal spirit! And when the mortal body is brought low by disease, when old age creeps on with steady and with constant pace, the mind is frequently more disposed to attend to the words of wisdom, than in the morning of life when all is young about us. This is frequently the very means which Jehovah in his infinite wisdom devises for bringing home the lost sheep to the fold. “ Before I was afflicted," said one of old, “ I went astray; but now have I learned thy ways,” This is the period when the poor stand more in need of support, and in no way can religion recommend herself so much as in ministering to the temporal wants. Embrace then the golden opportunity; and while you shew a sincere regard for their welfare here, be as earnest in directing them to the heavenly inheritance, the true riches to be obtained alone through the merits and mediation of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.
Much of that bonourable, noble spirit of independence, which was once the glory of our land, and the characteristic of Britons, has from a variety of circumstanoes disappeared from the poorer classes of society. This Institution then comes in to restore, to foster, to invigorate, and cherish, its growth : it holds out a premium to honest industry; it affords a stimulus to exertion. Eight years have elapsed since it was first formed, and during that period nearly one hundred of our poorer brethren have experienced the benefit of its timely aid ; and their declining years have been cheered and comforted by the generous sympathy and substantial charity of their more affluent neighbours. This, therefore, to say nothing of the load of human misery alleviated by this Society, will be a sufficient inducement to the Christian to contribute to its funds.
May the God of all grace dispose your hearts, both to receive and to bestow a blessing ; and may you finally, by his infinite mercy, inherit that everlasting ufe which he has freely given us in his Son, and hear from him the King of glory, at the last great day the joyful welcome,“ Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world"
JOHN STREET CHAPEL, KING'S ROAD, DECEMBER 15, 1835*,
". In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David, and to the inhabitar:#6
of Jerusalem, for sin and for uncleanness.”—ZECHARIAH, xii, 1.
What is“the day" to which the prophet here alludes? It is clearly the Gospel day, the latter day of the church of God; but not the last of the latter days, as is evident from the seventh verse: “Awake, O sword, against my shepherd and against the man that is my fellow, saith the Lord of hosts." The prophet speaks of the great and glorious day, in which Jehovah was to sheathe the sword of his justice in the blood of his own beloved Son; a day which had its fulfilment in the sufferings and death of the Lord Jesus Christ; a day which shall never be seen again; for then did he “ finish transgression, and make an end of sin, and make reconciliation for iniquity, and bring in our everlasting righteousness, which is unto all, and upon all, them that believe."
The prophet also here alludes to those legal uncleannesses so much and so fully developed in the old covenant; and, through them, directs us to that great disease and leprosy of the soul, sin. He then speaks of a fountain for such sin and uncleanness; not, as in the old dispensation, a brazen laver, and a molten sea; but a fountain, ever flowing, and ever full. And this fountain, he describes, moreover, as a fountain open ; not exclusively confined as the molten sea was to the Jew, the priest, and that, too, the priest of the Levitical priesthood; but now opened to the whole “ house of David," and to all “the inhabitants of Jerusalem,"even to the whole elect family of God, from the rising up of the sun to the going down thereof; that they may wash in that fountain, and be cleansed, and purified, and sanctified.
In directing your minds to some of the points alluded to in the text, let us consider, first, the great uncleanness, the great spiritual leprosy, sin. Secondly, I would make a few remarks on the fountain which the Eternal Spirit here speaks of, and to which he directs us. And let us consider, thirdly, what are the great blessings which result to the family of God, in consequence of it3 being an open fountain. May the Lord, the Spirit, give unto us that blessing which maketh rich; that true wisdom which entereth into the truth, and tasteth the sweetness of it, with a personal sanctifying application of it to our own hearts and consciences, for Jesus Christ's sake! For, beloved, precious as is this society, and precious, as ought to be, all societies, which have for their object the glory of God, the exaltation of the name of Jesus, and the good of men's souls, yet is there something infinitely more precious to us than even this
On behalf of the London City Mission.
object-that the name of Jesus may be to our own selves as ointment poured forth.
First, the prophet alludes to those uncleannesses set forth in the old dispensation, leading us, through them, to the GREAT SPIRITUAL LEPROSY-SIN. My dear friends, sin is that which defileth the man. It is not poverty; it is not sickness, nor disease, however terrible and painful they may be. It is not low birth, nor low occupation. It is not mean attainments, nor mean understanding. That which defileth a man is sin. This is the leprosy of the soul; this is the great inward plague; this is that disease which pervades the whole man, makes his understanding dark, his conscience defiled, his will stubborn, and his heart alienated from God. This, too, is that pestilence of the soul which pervadeth the whole of mankind. Go where we will, still we see this leprosy of sin pervading the whole mass of our fellow-men. How painful is it, as we look on those who are amiable in their manner, polished in their demeanour, mild in their temper, gentle in their carriage, still to be reminded, that even in them the “ carnal mind is enmity against God.” Yea, it is a solemn thought, that where a man is a stranger to the fear of God, he is not only evil in himself, but is injurious to those around him; whatever may be his station, his rank, his influence, he is an injury to his fellow-men; nay, the higher, and the more extensive his influence, the more exalted his station, the greater is the evil produced. Whether he be a parent or a child, a master or a servant, a brother or a friend, a neighbour or an acquaintance; in all these relative situations he is an injury to others. Do not be deceived by Satan: wherever the fear of God is not, right principle is not to be found; and right practice can only flow from right principle. Where the principle is evil, the practice can never be right; such a man's religion is always unsound; and even his morality is defective and unequal. Where the fear of God is not, be assured real good can never flow, but positive evil must always spring forth.
But, my brethren, if sin, in its more modified exhibition, be evil, what shall we say, when this inward plague comes out into all its open acts, and unblushing exercise when it shews itself in all the blackness of its baneful and disgusting exuberance? What a picture then presents itself to our eyes! The whole man exhibiting a whole mass of iniquity, eyes full of adultery, a moutlı full of cursing and blasphemy, hands full of theft, and the feet swift to shed blood !
Man, in his natural state, is defiling to his fellow man. But we come to still higher ground than this. It is this inward leprosy which maketh the man an offence to God. Not merely is he offensive by reason of his defiling others, but he is offensive to a holy, pure, just, and righteous God. My brethren, that this offensiveness does not issue in our everlasting destruction, no thanks to ourselves for it: well may we lay our mouths in the dust, whilst we ascribe our deliverance to the sovereignty of divine grace, giving all the glory to the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Man, in his natural state, in his unregeneracy, is not only a homicide, a destroyer of his fellow-men-and not only a suicide, bent upon his own destruction—but he is also, in mind, in principle, a Deicide. A man, in his unregenerate condition, aims at that, in which, could he succeed, he would destroy God himself. In every act of deliberate sin, there is a shaft aimed by the sinner at the very being of the Almighty, at the very perfections of Deity.
This is the great leprosy of the soul. It is this which defileth the man. It is this which maketh him a defilement to his fellow creatures. It is this which renders him offensive to God himself. This evil pervadeth the whole world: and yet men are naturally as insensible as if there were no truth in it. And when we place their real state before them, and tell them awful things; when we preach to them the holiness of the law, and the sanctity and salvation of the Gospel, and then their responsibility; what effect does it produce upon the great mass of our hearers? How comparatively few are made to feel the reality of what we say, on their own consciences! And if this be sad, what think we of the thousands upon thousands who never heard from the lips of man of one of these things; who never heard of the perfect holiness of the law; never had the grace of the Gospel declared unto them; never had yet one moment's conversation with a Christian man or woman; who never had placed before them the awful account which they must render at the last great day, the day of judgment! I do not forget, that, with all the hearing of sermons, there can be no saving change wrought, without the operation of the Eternal Spirit on the heart; but the Spirit of God works by means—and here are no means. The preaching of the Gospel is the great medium of conversion, and they have never heard the Gospel ; they have never had one to read to them, to pray with them, to talk with them. If any doubt this, let them visit the alleys and courts of this vast metropolis, within but a little distance from this very chapel, and he will find thousands who scarcely know whether they have souls to be saved or lost; who know no more of Christ and his Gospel, of themselves and God, than the veriest heathen. O, this leprosy !-this, uncleanness this dreadful evil ! It is a fearful thing to see it pervading the world, and the world insensible to its malignity.
But observe, secondly, the prophet speaks of A FOUNTAIN FOR SIN AND UNCLEANNESS. I need scarcely say, that this fountain is the blood of Jesus Christ; I need not take up your time in attempting to prove it. It is the blood of Him who, «
• by one offering, hath for ever perfected them that are sanctified" (Heb. x. 14): that precious blood which, “through the Eternal Spirit doth purge the conscience from dead works to serve the living God" (Heb. ix. 14): that blood which “ cleanseth from all sin” (1 John, i. 7). Were it possible for us to ask those pure spirits who are escaped the pollutions of this world, and who are passed beyond its troubles, freed from all its tribulation, where they washed their robes, and made them white, they would tell us that it was in the blood of the Lamb—in that blood which is here set forth by“ a fountain open for sin and uncleanness."
There is, my brethren, unutterable sweetness in this truth, when spiritually discerned. It is not as the brazen laver, or as the molten sea : it is a cleansing. purifying, fountain. Whatever might have been the mass of water in that molten sea, yet, if there were many to wash therein, it became defiled and polluted at last; but here, if ten thousand times ten thousand wash therein, it cleanseth the last as the first. In that molten sea there was a power indeed to remove legal defilement; but what power had it to purify the soul ? None. But here is a fountain which cleanseth from all sin. Blessed thought to those who feel weary of sin's pollution, grieved at sin's deflement, who see the evii of sin, and hate it, and long for pardon and holiness; who, experiencing the solemn obligations of God's law upon their hearts and consciences, and in the light of God's love, see what poor, wretched, lost, miserable, and ruined sinners they are; yes, blessed thought to those, there is a fountain for sin and uncleannem ; a fountain which perfectly cleanseth from all sin; so that it shall be sought for, and not be found-it shall be looked for, but there shall be none. This, my dear brethren, is the very glory of the Gospel. At this moment what can whisper peace to the disturbed soul? What can bind up tne bruken heart? What can give us a ray di kacavenly light as we pass through the darkness of the desert ? What can bring in peace to our consciences ? What can raise us above ourselves ? What can cleanse our defiled minds? What, but this precious blood of Jesus, the Son of God, which indeed cleanseth from all sin? And be assured, that this is the blood which purifies the affections alsu. O, yes! nothing like the blood of Jesus can produce sanctity of motive, and holiness of life. No view of sin so touching to the regenerate soul as that which arises fron a sense of sin forgiven. No view does he take of his own delinquency, half so humiliating that which he finds presented to his mind under the touching consciousness of God's forgiving love. The very blood which cleanseth him from a sense of guilt is that which purifieth his affections and desires, which, leading him into peace with his God, causes him to long to be like him, to be holy, even as he is holy.
Though I dare not extend my remarks on this part of my subject, as upon an ordinary occasion I otherwise might, yet I pray that this brief outline may be a deep lesson of holy instruction to you who hear me. Talk not of the cleansing power of Christ's blood, you that know nothing of its sanctifying tendency. The blood sprinkled on the conscience is the blood which purifieth the heart. Is there one place more holy than another? Is there a place where prayer is secreting, penitent, spiritual, and where tears flow for sin, where a stronger motive springs up to go out among those that are ready to perish, and declare Christ crucified unto them? It is the region of the cross of Christ, the hallowed spot where the fountain is opened for sin and uncleanness.
My brethren, there is something delightful in the thought, that this fountain is not stagnant, stationary. It is not as the brazen laver, and the molten sea, a mere mass of water, in a sense, remaining ever the same. This is a bubbling, springing fountain, ever flowing, ever full; and well does it set forth the redundancy of merit there is in the Son of God. Blessed thought! There is an ever-flowing fulness in the atonement of Jesus. Though thousands and miljions have washed therein, yet is it ever flowing, ever full.
My dear friends, the Lord knows my heart. I would pray that you may be in that state of mind, that you may look at sin in its principle, and in its essence (if I may so speak), and hate it with an utter hatred : that ye may have such a view of it as may make you fearful to displease your God, in thought, in word, and in deed, and in practice. This would I say, that if I were preaching my last sermon, I could wish it to be one wherein there would be the largest statement of the full, free, unmerited grace of God in Christ Jesus, and the clearest declarations of its sanctifying tendencies upon the heart of a sinner when led to receive it, leading him to a holy consecration of every faculty of his soul, and every member of his body to bis God and Father in Christ Jesus. But, though this is the very desire of my heart, and the very object I have in poreaching, yet, when I come to weigh the sin of the creature against the merit of Jesus, I can see no sort of parity, no sort of equality. The blood is the blood of Him who is God as well as man-truly God, truly man.
O! the in