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adorned with all that belongs to the followers of Jesus, and then presented at court as those who have overcome through the blood of the Lamb. Imperishable honours pertain to Jesus and to every one of His soldiers, and when the soldiers cast their crowns at His feet, they cry, “ Not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory, for thy mercy and thy truth's sake." It is written by the prophet, that they shall hang upon Him all the glory of His Father's house, and be sure of this, that the higher the honours which true believers realise, the more ready they are to hang them all on the blessed Redeemer, and give them all to their glorious King, who is thus glorified, and they rendered happy. He is honoured, and they share in the honours, just agreeably to His own statement, “The glory which Thou gavest me, I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one." But here the antitype seems to run on a little in advance of the type. David's honours were tarnished. David's crown was laid aside for his son to wear in his stead. David's throne is vacated. But Christ's are imperishable honours which are never to be tarnished, and having no spot, blemish, or failure. There is no Bathsheba in the way here; nothing to tarnish the honours and triumphs of our glorious Christ. On Himself shall His crown flourish, and He will never give it to another. If there be any flourishing at all, it can only be with Jesus' crown. His throne is in the heavens, and ruleth over all. That beautiful expression, cited from the Psalmist by the apostle in writing to the Hebrews, points most cheeringly to His exaltation, “Unto the Son He saith, thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever," and there is no abdicating it. Here then are imperishable honours; and these are the termination of the war—the result of the war. Thy throne, O God! is for ever and ever, and a sceptre of righteousness, is the sceptre of thy kingdom. There is not an inhabitant in the whole of that blissful world, to all eternity, who shall not be willing to ascribe might, and majesty, and dominion, and power, and glory, and honour to Him that sitteth upon the throne, and to the Lamb for ever. And while they are thus engaged in ascribing all glory to His precious name, the smiling monarch reigning over the heavenly world shall look with sacred joy, with high delight, on all His blood has purchased from Saul's ruined house, and say to His Father, " The glory which thou gavest me I have given them, that they may be one even as we are one." What ! precious David! What! precious Jesus ! the glory which the Father gave thee positively to be given to me; and am I to wear it? Is it to adorn this brow unto all eternity in thy holy presence? Oh, give me grace to trample upon, and tread down all the toys and vanities of time, to despise the refuse of earth, and to say to everything that allures here below, “ Away, ye toys, too mean for a soul that is destined to live and reign with the King of kings, and Lord of lords to all eternity."
Moreover, there is a peculiar circumstance in relation to this warfare and its results, which I must not overlook, but will name now, lest I forget it, and that is that with all this fighting, and skirmishing, and wounding, never one soul is killed or destroyed. I do not remember but one instance of this recorded in Scripture and it is so beautiful a one that I would have you turn to it. It is that where God commanded Moses to avenge His honour on the Midianites, and crush, and slay them. Away the armed men of Israel went, and vanquished, subdued, and destroyed the enemy according to the Divine order, and when they came back (you will find it in the 31st chapter of the book of Numbers,)“ the officers which were over thousands of the host, the captains of thousands, and captains of hundreds, came near unto Moses: and they said unto Moses, thy servants have taken the sum of the men of war which are under our charge, and there lacketh not one man of us." They had fought with the Midianitish army, and crushed, and destroyed them, and yet not one man was lacking—not one man was killed of all the Israel of God. When I read the verse my soul leaped within me with exultation ; and I said, surely, I shall be like one of these officers some day, when there will be thousands of Christ's officers before the throne of God, and I shall muster my people from Grove Chapel there, who had fought the good fight till they left this wilderness, and I shall go through the host and say, there is not one man lacking-every soul is here--every elect vessel of mercy is herethe Midianite is destroyed, but all Israel “is saved with an everlasting salvation."
But we must hasten to a close. The throne of our precious David must become noted for its fame, and be exalted above all others. It must be so established as to reign over all dominions, and put down every authority that opposes it, for it is written that He must reign until he has put all His enemies under His feet. Then comes the glorious consummation, eternal peace. You know that there are some instances in which peace is effected by negotiations and compromises after a great many battles have been fought. In these cases there is yielding on both sides, and occasionally terms agreed to, which men of honour and fame call disreputable and disgraceful, yet it is all done for the settlement of peace. Now our's is to be a glorious peace, in which not an atom shall be yielded of the terms proposed in the council of peace. All those terms shall be met. All the rebels must bow. Every enemy must surrender. Every soldier will be preserved. Every particle of the goods and provisions of the covenant of grace, and all the promises of the Word, with all the privileges of the household of faith for the enjoyment of the followers of the Lamb, will all be restored, just as David, after the burning and sacking of Ziklag, had everything restored to him, his wife, his goods and chattels, everything brought back again. So shall be the glorious settlement of our peace, and it is to be to the honour of the Persons and attributes of Deity, to the satisfaction of every angel in heaven and of every redeemed soul, and to the entire destruction of every enemy of our God, and of His Christ. Eternal peace. “A rest that remaineth for the people of God.” Oh! that the Spirit of Jehovah may this morning bring you to a decision as to which house you stand connected with : the house of Saul or the house of David. Which are you of? How is the work of grace going on in your hearts? What is your readiness for the conflict? And what are your anticipations of the final triumph? May the Holy Ghost give you grace to settle these questions, and give you the bliss, joy, and peace which belong to the household of David, and His dear name shall be glorified. Amen.
A Discourse, Delivered in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, Sunday Morning, Oct. 22, 1848,
BY THE REV. JOSEPH IRONS.
"Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the
same example of unbelief.”—Heb. iv. 11. It must be remembered in all our attention to this Epistle, that the apostle was writing to the Hebrews, and, therefore, very skilfully, wisely, and kindly referred them to their own Scriptures, and to their own history, marking what their progress had been through the wil derness, what their rebellion had been, the numberless instances of Divine forgiveness, the weakness and 'frailty of human nature as manifested by them, and the fact that many did not, could not, enter into the rest of Canaan, the literal Canaan, because of unbelief. He elsewhere tells us, that those things are left on record for our ensample; and, in the language I have just read, as the basis of our discourse, he gives a solemn caution, which was the point in my text that first fastened my attention upon it, “ Lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."
The case and character of fallen professors have been very considerably laid upon my mind, and I think there is, probably, no topic relative to personal Christianity, that is so much neglected, and so misunderstood as that. There are fallen professors who lie wallowing and turning about in the filth they have fallen into, and it is of no concern or importance to them. They are apostates. There are also fallen professors, who are really the children of God, who, like David, Peter, and others, have fallen, yet not so that they should perish. The Lord upholdeth all such as fall after that manner, and raiseth up such as are bowed down. It is of vast importance that the
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former of those characters should be exposed, as the Word of God exposes them; and it is of greater importance that the latter of these characters should be picked up and placed upon their feet, according to the advice of the apostle; if any of you be overtaken in a fault, let him who is spiritual restore such an one ; not tread upon him when he is down, but raise him up again.
This point has been kept prominently in view with me, while studying the Scripture before me, and I shall have to detain you for a short time upon that part of the subject with quotations from Scripture, and with some strong remarks to exhibit the difference, with an humble hope of arousing the conscience of the hardened sinner, and of comforting and consoling those who, because they may have fallen, imagine there is no mercy and no hope left for them. I wish to speak to both these characters.
But, first of all, let us look at the “rest” specified in my text, “To enter into that rest "-"that rest." Secondly, the industry enjoined in order to that attainment, “Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest." And then, thirdly, we shall occupy a large portion of our discourse with the mark or beacon set up, “Lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief."
Oh! Holy Ghost, give me liberty, and give me power to speak correctly, wisely, and scripturally upon the whole of this important subject.
1.First of all, then, I shall endeavour to set before you this rest, or, as the phrase is in my text, “ that rest.” I told you in the reading of the chapter, that I did not consider it as pointing directly to the eternal rest of glory, but to a rest which is to be attained to now. We who believe do enter into rest. I regard it as the pledge and the earnest of the end. We may look at it as nothing else than the antepast of that rest which remaineth for the people of God above. But to the point of attaining rest now; it is to me a subject of no small amount of grief, that very many, whose Christianity I do not doubt, are yet very restless. Theyhave not attained to "that rest.” They have not entered into it. They seem to be almost strangers to it, and unacquainted with its very nature. Nay, there are some, whose Christianity one would fain hope well of, who think it a frightful and dangerous presumption to speak of entering into rest by faith. Beloved, I have been living in the enjoyment of “ that rest a great many years; but I have never found out any danger that is in it yet, except it be the danger that it is to Pharisaic pride—it sets fire to, and burns, and destroys that—and the danger that it is to proud free-will, which it tramples down beneath its feet. There certainly is danger of that sort; but, I think I shall be able to set before you sufficient to prove that "rest,” the attainment of rest, even now, is not only a safe thing, but a blessed thing, a desirable thing, a triumphant thing, and a blessed earnest of eternal glory.
Now there are three things, if we look at the verse literally, which are requisite to constitute a rest, and I am sure these things are important spiritually. If you ask a man who toils a great deal in business, who has had a great many troubles, cares, conflicts, trials, anxieties, and dismal forebodings, what the world calls misfortunes, and I know not what besides ; if you ask him, as he advances in years, what he believes would constitute a rest for him, I think he would state it in three words—peace, reliance, and opulence. One without the others will not be sufficient. If there be opulence, yet nothing for him to rely upon, no confidence, no dependence, the man may say, “I may lose it all to-morrow," and, therefore, he cannot be in peace night or day—he has no rest. Then, if there be reliance, it will be suspected as presumption, unless there is also peace. But if he is at peace with his neighbours, and his superiors, and inferiors, and with himself, put his peace, his reliance, and his opulence together; and if the man has not rest, he will not find it on earth.
Now take the spiritual view of these three things. I must first of all have peace, or I shall not be at rest night or day. And here again I shall subdivide, after the plan of the old Scottish divines, the Erskines, and others. There are, then, three parties which I am anxious to be at peace with-the first is God; the second is my conscience; and the third is the Church. Let me have peace with them, and it will go far towards completing my rest.
I must have peace with God. I must know there is no disagreement between Him and me. I must know that we think alike. I must know that His mode of saving sinners is just what I love and trust in. I must know that His appointed way of access to His throne is marked out and revealed, that my soul delights in it, proves it and tries it day by day, and His terms of saving me, that He shall give all, accomplish all, and receive all the glory, exactly meet my necessities, my wants, my helplessness, and my ruin ; and faith has brought me, not only to accept it, but to enjoy it. Then if I have peace with God in this sense, there will be intimacy and fellowship with Him. As for Mount Sinai, if it could be moved between God and the soul, He would come over it to the soul, or enable the soul to go over it to Him; and if not, then there is the precious glorious Lamb of God, who is become the end of the law for righteousness, and He will cause all its awful thunders and lightnings to cease and subside ; so that there is nothing left in the way. Only set the soul be at peace with God, and there is nothing left in the way of union, fellowship, commerce, and my sending forth all my desires to Him, and His sending down all the supplies which my soul requires for its daily enjoyment, Oh! say you, how is this peace to be accomplished? I hear some people talk about making their peace with God, and I recollect trying it myself some forty or more years back, but I failed, utterly failed. “How did you get it," say you? A voice more melodious than musica voice louder to my conscience than thunder-a voice most attractive and constraining pointed me to the Lamb of God, the precious, glorious, suffering, atoning Saviour, and exclaimed, “ He is our peace: Hę is our peace.” We have a union, we have peace by the blood of His cross. Then, if you would know the direct way of having peace with God, as the first feature of our rest, it is just this: carry the blood of the cross to the foot of the throne in the hand of faith, and there confess all your guilt and all your sin, and simply ask, “Lord, will not this blot it out?” “Does not the blood of Jesus Christ, thy Son, cleanse us from all sin ?" Then, having obtained peace with God, and perfect reconciliation, my judgment and all my affections brought to bow to Him, and every thought in captivity to the obedience of Christ, the next thing I want is peace in my own conscience, and how am I to get that? because there is a sad war going on there, as I described in my discourse of last week. Directly the man gets peace with God, the devil tries to set his match to the corruptions of the heart, and there will be a dreadful conflict within ; the flesh lusting