Christ the Glory of His People
“A light to lighten the Gentiles, and the glory of thy people Israel.” — Luke ii. 32.
WE must read this passage literally, for so Simeon intended it. The Lord Jesus Christ, though once despised and rejected by his own countrymen, is the great honour and splendour of God’s people Israel. It is reckoned an honour to a nation when eminent persons are born of its stock and lineage; but Israel can claim the palm above all lands, for she can say that our Lord sprang out of Judah. Put together all the heroic and famous names of Greece and Rome; add all the literary splendours of Germany, and the flashing beauties of France; combine with these the blazing fame of Milton and Shakspeare, of Bacon and of Newton in our own laud — and all countries put together cannot compass so great a glory of manhood as can the nation of the Jews, for they can claim not so much Moses, and David, and the prophets, as Jesus of Nazareth, the King of the Jews, in whom dwelleth the fulness of the Godhead bodily. If mention be made of Egypt and Babylon, or Philistia and Tyre, saying “This man was born there the answer shall be concerning Zion, “The Son of Man was born in her.” It ill behoves us ever to speak slightingly of the Jew. It ill behoves the Christian church to despond concerning the conversion of the seed of Israel, or to be so indifferent as she sometimes is as to the conversion of Israel. Brethren, the day will come when the veil shall be taken from the eye, and the hardness from the heart, and Abraham’s sons shall behold the true Messiah, and accept him as their glory and their all. In that day, after the long time of winter, how bright the summer will be! If their casting away brought the Gentiles so much blessing, what will their gathering together be but life from the dead! After so long an alienation, how ravishing and delightful will be the reconciliation between the Bridegroom and his ancient spouse! How will the earth ring with joy, and every river in Judea’s land flow to the tune of heaven’s own music, when Jesus and the Jew shall be reconciled, and he shall be, as he is prophesied to be, the glory of his people Israel.
“The hymn shall yet in Zion swell
That sounds Messiah’s praise,
And thy loved name, Immanuel!
As once in ancient days.
“For Israel yet shall own her King,
For her salvation waits,
And hill and dale shall sweetly sing
With praise in all her gates.
Hasten, O Lord, these promised days,
When Israel shall rejoice;
And Jew and Gentile join in praise,
With one united voice.”
It would have been wrong to use the text as I am going to use it if I had not first given you its primary meaning. We have no right to use texts for other purposes, without first of all giving the literal meaning, and saying, “Such-and-such is originally the mind of the Holy Spirit.” It is doubtless the mind of the Spirit speaking here by Simeon, that the Lord Jesus shall be a light to lighten the once darkened Gentiles, but peculiarly the glory of the Jewish nation.
We shall now employ the natural Israel as a type of the Lord’s elect ones, and surely there is no straining of the text, when we say that Jesus Christ is the glory of the spiritual seed, the redeemed people, who stand to the Lord actually where Israel of old stood in the type. Jesus Christ is the glory of his people, his spiritual people Israel.
And why, with evident propriety, may the saints of God be compared to Israel? Surely because God has made a covenant with them as he did with Jacob. Jacob at the foot of the ladder saw a way which led from earth to heaven. We at the foot of the cross have beheld the selfsame vision. We see a way from our poor fallen estate up to all the glories of the place where Jehovah dwells. That night a covenant was made with Jacob; and between God and our own souls: in the person of the Lord Jesus, there is a blessed compact made which shall stand secure, though earth’s old columns bow. He will be our God, and we shall be his people. He hath made with us a covenant ordered in all things and sure. This is the great fountain of all our mercies, the ground of all our hopes. Our covenant God is the delight of our inmost souls, our castle and high tower, our sun and our shield.
“He by himself hath sworn;
I on his oath depend;
I shall, on eagles’ wings upborne,
To heaven ascend:
I shall behold his face,
I shall his power adore,
And sing the wonders of his grace
We may be compared with Israel, again, because if we be the children of God we have learned to wrestle with the angel and prevail. It is one mark of the heir of heaven that he understands the value of secret prayer, and that he exercises himself in it; that it is to him as stern a reality as wrestling is to the athlete when he seeks to hurl his antagonist to the ground; not a mumbling of words, but a marshalling of all the powers of manhood to come into contest — loving, blessed contest — with God himself. Well may they be called prevailing princes who are so. Dear friend, if you are a man of secret prevailing supplication, why need you doubt that you are one of the Lord’s Israels?
It maybe that you have another likeness to Israel in the fact that you are much tried. It is not so sure a token of salvation as some would make it out to be, but yet it is written, “Through much tribulation we must enter into the kingdom of God ” Poor Israel said, “All these things are against me,” when one after another his loved children were taken from him, and famine was in the land; perhaps you may be tempted to say the same, and in this you have a likeness to Jacob, from which I could wish you to escape, for it were better far if, taking all these evils as they come, you could believe the heavenly declaration, “All things work together for good, to them that love God.” Faith must be tried. God had one Son without sin, but he never had a son without the rod. “As many as I love, I rebuke and chasten.”
I hope we shall be like Jacob always in our faith, for though he may have distrusted occasionally, yet he was a man of giant faith, and has a place in that battle-roll of heroes in the Epistle to the Hebrews. He blessed the sons of Joseph, leaning upon his staff, and gave commandment concerning the taking away of his bones. He was not content to allow his body to rest in Egypt; he looked for the promised land; and there, there only, would he have his aged body laid in the grave, as if in death he would take possession of the heritage which the Lord had promised to him and to his seed for ever. May you and I have a faith that cannot be satisfied with all the green plains of Goshen, nor the granaries of Egypt, but which longs for the better state, the promised land, which to the eyes of our body may be invisible, but which to the eye of our faith is clearly revealed.
Now, the true Israel, which are spiritually the church of Christ, are said, according to the text, to be the Lord’s people. “The glory of thy people Israel.” Briefly let me remind you, my fellow believers, of the ties which make us the Lord’s. Are we not his to-night by his eternal choice? “You only have I known of all the nations of the earth.” The eternal Father has selected us from amongst the ruins of the fall, and given us into the hands of Christ that we may be his portion, his bride, his jewels, “according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world.” We are Christ’s next by redemption. He has redeemed us from among men by a special and particular redemption which is peculiar to ourselves. A price has been paid for us, an effectual price, which will not permit for a moment that the objects so purchased shall ever be lost. “Ye are not your own, ye are bought with a price.” The saints are redeemed from among men. Thus are you Christ’s by double bonds — the gift of the Father, the purchase of his own blood. The Father gave you to Jesus, and none shall pluck you out of his almighty hands. You are his, too, this night by conquest. You admit it. He has struggled with your sins and overcome them. The Spirit of the living God has taken you, as it were, like a lamb from the jaws of the lion. You were led captives by the devil, but Christ met the devil and overcame him in terrific duel, and you, the once willing captives of the powers of darkness, are now Christ’s portion made free and blessed. You are now the possession of your Conqueror, for he took you out of the hand of the enemy with his sword and with his bow. You belong to Christ as the spoil which he has won from death and hell.
You are his, again, by the voluntary dedication of yourselves to him. Come, beloved, is it not so? Will you not confess —
“‘Tis done! The great transaction’s done:
I am my Lord’s, and he is mine:
He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to confess the voice divine”?
If you feel aright, you will confess that there is not a drop of blood in your veins which does not belong to Jesus, nor a hair on your head which is not his. All the Isle of Man now belongs to Jesus, and you will count it foul scorn that sin should have a lodgment within the territories which belong to your liege Lord and Master: from within the triple kingdom of your spirit, soul, and body, you will, to the best of your power, hunt out every rebel against the dominion of your Lord Jesus. You are his to-night, you know you are; you rejoice to confess the blessed impeachment, and are willing, before men, angels, and devils, to renew the dedication of yourselves to him.
And, once again, you are his in conjugal bonds — married to him as chaste virgins. His unbounded love espoused you before time began, and it has not diminished; he claims you as his own bride, and you call him the Husband of your souls, and delight to have it so. More than that, you are his in vital union as the members belong to the head. You are in personal, vital, actual communion with the Son of God. You are thus his in the fullest and most absolute sense. Oh! you will not start back from being altogether his, but come closer and closer to a full surrender, and desire to feel more powerfully the fact that you are Christ’s people, wholly belonging to him, not in part, not held by a kind of mortgage, but Christ’s freehold, Christ’s absolute property. You bear in your body the marks of the Lord Jesus, and desire to be his now and his world without end.
Now, it is to such as these, who are like Israel, and who belong to Christ, that the text shall be addressed to-night. Jesus Christ is the glory of such. We will pause a moment, and then let us plunge into the centre of the text.
I. When we say that Christ is our glory, we mean that WE GET ALL THE GLORY WE HAVE THROUGH HIM.
Some men go to the schools for glory, others to the camps of war. In all kinds of places men have sought after honour, but the believer saith that Christ is the mine in which he digs for this gold, Christ is the sea in which he fishes for this pearl; he gives up all other searchings and looks for glory in Jesus, and nowhere else. Now, beloved, we find our adorable Lord to be our glory to-night, but in what respects? Well, we have the glory, first, of election, of being chosen by God out of the rest of mankind to be a separated people; a glory before which imperial pomp grows pale; but this comes to us altogether through Jesus Christ. “According as he hath chosen us in him from before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy.”
Our next glory is that we are redeemed. It is no small honour for a man to know that God loved him so well that he gave a price so costly that all heaven and earth could not match it with another, that he gave his only begotten Son that we might be redeemed. Now, beloved, we are not redeemed except through Jesus Christ, and if it be our glory that we are emancipated to-day, that our fetters are all broken, that we are the Lord’s freemen, we know with what a price we gained this liberty, for we were not free-born. Yes, the glory of the Lord’s freeman must be only in the Lord Jesus, who is the Son, who by his blood makes us free indeed.
It is the glory of a Christian that he is adopted, that he is a son of God, but this again is only through Jesus Christ. We are joint heirs with Christ. We have no sonship except through his standing at the top of the page in the family register. He is a Son, and we become the many brethren, but only so because he condescended to take upon him our nature and become the firstborn among us.
Brethren, it is a great joy to know, and a great glory to say, “I am justified.” Who can stand upright to-night and say, “Who shall lay anything to my charge? Before the court of King’s bench of heaven, before the Chancery of the universe, who dare condemn me?” To be pardoned and accepted of God is a matchless privilege. Now, no man can claim justification of a truth except through Jesus Christ, for here is the top and the bottom of a man’s justification, that the righteousness of Christ has been given to him, and that the blood of Christ has washed him. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died, yea, rather that hath risen again; who sitteth at the right hand of God, who also maketh intercession for us.” Remember this, my brethren, we are accepted, but we are accepted in the Beloved; and we are justified, but we are justified in his righteousness. We are a people dear to God, and near unto him, but all this lies in Jesus Christ. We are comely with the comeliness which he puts upon us, and secure in God’s sight because we are preserved in Christ Jesus.
One part of the Christian’s glory, and for my part one which I sigh for more and more, is the glory of sanctification. It is a great glory to have a new heart and a right spirit, and to pant after holiness, but this also comes by the same royal road, for we are sanctified through the blood of Jesus which the Holy Spirit applies to us. There is not a particle of true sanctity in all the world which does not spring from the cross. Everything which makes us like to Christ first comes from Christ, not from the works of the law, nor from the strivings of the flesh, nor the teachings of philosophy, but altogether —
“From the water and the blood
From the riven side which flowed.”
If we glory, then, in sanctification, we dare not glory except in Christ Jesus, whose blood has made us priests and kings unto God.
And, brethren, it is a great glory to a man to know that he is safe. I love our Arminian friends very heartily, but I should not like to be one of them myself, for they have such a precarious salvation that they do not know whether it will ultimately save them or not. It will save them if they be faithful; but ah! that unhappy if it is the one dangerous link in the chain, and I dare not trust my poor unfaithful soul to such a frail support. They are travelling in a carriage the axles of which may break before they reach their journey’s end. I bless God I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him until that day. Well, but if a man knows himself by faith to be saved, his knowledge is baseless presumption if he rests his safety anywhere but on the immovable rock of the finished work of Jesus Christ. He who can say, “Yes, I can trust Christ to save me, not to-day, nor to-morrow, for he has wrought out for me an everlasting salvation; I believe that he will be with me and own my name at the bar of judgment” — such a man knows that he is resting only in Jesus, and then his glory as to his safety is a glory in Christ, and in Christ alone.
Thus I might continue showing you that there is not a single treasure which a Christian possesses which does not come to him through Christ. He has nothing in which he can glory but what he is sweetly compelled to say of it, “I gained this in the market of Calvary; I found this in the mines of a Saviour’s suffering; all this came to me through my bleeding, buried, risen, coming Lord, and he shall have the glory of it as long as I live.”
II. There is a second meaning to the text, namely this: WE SEE A GLORY IN CHRIST which swallows up all other glories, as the sun’s light conceals the light of the stars.
True believers see a glory, first, in Christ's 'person. They are often overwhelmed as they contemplate his Godhead and his manhood divinely blended. All his attributes strike them as glorious. They cannot think of his character as he manifested it while here below, or as it is revealed before the throne above, without falling into raptures of adoring wonder, love, and praise. If others tell them of the glory of such-and-such philanthropists and able men, the saints reply, “We have perceived no glory anywhere comparable with that which gleams in the character of Christ.” Oh, how deeply was Rutherford in love with his sweet, unutterably sweet Lord Jesus! Would to God I were as far gone as he in that heavenly union, communion, and rapture. What expressions he uses! How deep he dips his pen, how glowingly he writes, and yet he never exaggerates. It is impossible. Christ is too lovely for us ever to say a word that shall approach half-way to the fulness of his unspeakable excellence and boundless worth; much less need we ever fear lest we shoot with a bow that shall pass the mark. No, beloved, our Lord’s person is the admiration of the highest intellects that God has ever made, and though angels have been educated in the great science of Christ crucified these many years, yet —
“The firstborn sons of light
Desire in vain its depths to see;
They cannot reach the mystery,
The length, the breadth, the height.”
Incarnate God is yet beyond them; and still instead of being wearied with their pursuit, they are students yet, sitting at the feet of the church of God, that there may be made known amongst principalities and powers the manifold wisdom of God. Oh! you shall never see anything so glorious as the person of the Beloved if your eyes are but once favoured to gaze upon him, and your heads but once permitted to lean upon his loving bosom. Brethren, the moon is a blot, and the sun a burnt-out coal compared with our Immanuel.
The saints see a great glory in the sufferings of Christ. When a base world turns away from the Despised and Rejected, it is then that the regenerate heart clings fastest to him. Oh, how divinely the scarlet of his blood becomes him! Was ever Caesar’s purple half so glorious? He is bright in heaven. Be thou worshipped for ever, Sun of our souls! But if there be a place where, above all others, we would kiss his feet and wash them with our tears, and love him best of all, it is Calvary’s cross. How our hearts burn when we think of his bearing the load of guilt for us — groaning, sweating, bleeding, and painfully yielding up his life! A root out of a dry ground he may be to this blind-eyed world, but to us, beloved, who have been admitted into the mystery of his inmost heart, all over glorious is our precious Lord — a miracle of love, the astonishment of earth, the marvel of heaven, the all in all of our souls.
If there were time, we might say that he has been glorious to us in his resurrection, especially since he has taught us to rise with him in newness of life: glorious in his ascension, now that he is sitting at the right hand of the Father, especially now that we have been raised up together, and made to sit together in heavenly places in him. He is glorious in his intercession. What a comfort it is to us to think that our name is on one of the stones of that glorious breastplate! He is glorious, too, in his second advent. We expect him soon to come. It is earth’s highest hope, the church’s most fervent prayer. Come quickly, Lord Jesus! To see thee we would fain give up the sight of everything beneath the stars. To see the King in his beauty come riding through the streets! To behold him with the rainbow wreath and robes of storm! Ay, but to have one glimpse of that great white throne, though it were but a distance! But to hear him say one word were a kind of everlasting heaven; but for once to have seen him, but for once to have heard him! It might make men content to bear a thousand trials, but for once with heart, and eye, and soul, to drink a full draught of the glory of Christ. Brethren, our soul fires as we proceed, and we long to praise and sing —
“King of kings! let earth adore him,
High on his exalted throne;
Fall, ye nations, fall before him,
And his righteous sceptre own:
All the glory
Be to him, and him alone!”
But we must not stop, nor need we tarry. It is enough to have proved it to every Christian heart, though, indeed, it needed no proof, that Jesus Christ is the glory of his people Israel, in the sense that they shall glory in him.
III. In the third place, the text is true in the sense that WE GIVE GLORY TO HIM.
Alas! alas! It makes a Christian’s blood boil to see glory given in a professed place of worship, ay, and in a professed Protestant church too, to a pack of scamps who call themselves “priests!” I would not call them by such a name if they were honest enough to go off to the Church of Rome, where they ought to be; but having the impudent effrontery to attempt to palm themselves off in this country of ours for what they are not, I know of no words bad enough for them. What reverence or respect, is to be paid to those gentry inside those brass gates, around the thing they call an altar? I suppose those gates enclose a sort of holy place, into which the poor laity must not go! If these priests had their way we should have to go down and lick the soles of their feet, as our benighted forefathers aforetimes bowed before the hirelings of Rome. Does it not make a man feel, when you see pictures of his holiness and the cardinals, and soon, scattering their benedictions at the Vatican, or at St. Peter’s, while admiring crowds fall down and worship them, that it were infinitely better to bow to the devil himself? We give glory unto God, but not a particle of glory to anything in the shape of a man, or an angel either. Have I not stood and seen the crowds by hundreds fall down and worship images and dressed-up dolls? I have seen them worship bones and old teeth; I have seen them worship a skeleton, dressed out in modern costume, said to be the skeleton of a saint; and I have marvelled how we could in this nineteenth century, find people so infatuated as to think that such idolatry was pleasing to the most high God. We, brethren, the people of God, who know Christ, can give no glory to this rubbish, but turn away from it with horror. Our glory must be given to Christ, and to Christ alone. Now, here is the touchstone to try your religion by. When you pray, to whom do you pray? Through whom do you pray? When you sing, for whom is the song meant? When you preach, to whose honour do you preach? To whom do you intend to do service? When you go out among the poor, when you distribute alms, when you scatter your tracts, when you talk about the gospel, for whom do you do this? For, as the Lord liveth, if you do it for yourselves, or for any beside the Lord Jesus, you do not know what the vitality of godliness is, for Christ and Christ only must be the grand object of the Christian; the promotion of his glory must be that for which he is willing to live, and for which, if needs be, he would be prepared to die. Oh! down, down, down, with everything else, but up, up, up, with the cross of Christ! Down with your baptism, and your masses, and your sacraments! Down with your priestcraft, and your rituals, and your liturgies! Down with your fine music, and your pomp, and your robes, and your garments, and all your ceremonials. But up. up, up, with the doctrine of the naked cross, and the expiring Saviour. Let the voice ring throughout the whole world, “Look unto me and live!” There is life in a look at the crucified One. There is life in simple confidence in him, but there is life nowhere else. God send to his church an undying passion to promote the Saviour’s glory, an invincible, unconquerable pang of desire, and longing that by any means King Jesus may have his own, and may reign throughout these realms! In this sense, then, Jesus is and must be the glory of his people.
IV. But there is another sense, namely, FROM JESUS IS REFLECTED ALL THE GLORY WHICH IS PUT UPON HIS PEOPLE.
Whatever glory they have, and they have much in the eyes of angels, and much honour in the eyes of discerning men, it is always the reflection of the Saviour’s glory. I know some holy men and women for whom I cannot but feel the deepest and intensest respect, but the reason is because they have so much of my Master about them. I think I would travel many miles to talk with some of them, because their speech is always so full of him, and they live so near to him. If you take down some of the old books of the Puritans, and others, I know which you will love the best if you love Christ. Why, those that talk of him; and when you get into the middle of the chapter where some holy man of God is extolling him, then you say, “He being dead yet speaketh, and speaketh just that to which my ear would listen.” If there should ever be any glory about you, young man, it will have to come through your having much of Christ in you. Believe me, the true path to glory for a Christian is never to try to excel in literary attainments apart from Jesus. He may lawfully try for that in subservience to the higher aim; still that must not be his glory as a Christian. It never ought to be the glory of the Christian that he is a good business man; he should be a good business man, but still that is not to be the object of his glory. If thou make anything to be thy glory except Christ, God will prepare a worm to eat the root of it, for he will have thee, if thou art his, he will have thee chaste to himself, and thou shalt never have anything to glory in but Christ. You know, beloved, this is a trying point with many of us, for I am afraid that sometimes we even get to glory in our ministry, but if we do it will be all over with our usefulness. We must glory in Jesus, and not in our ministry, “Oh!” said those disciples as they came back, with excited hearts — “Lord, Lord, even devils are subject to us.” “Ah!” said he, “Nevertheless, rejoice not in this, but rather rejoice that your names are written in heaven.” There is the point. You must come back to that — rejoicing in your own personal salvation through the precious blood. You must rejoice in him, and then you will think thus: “Well, even if my ministry should not prosper, though I hope it will, yet if I have glorified Christ, it shall be enough reward for me; if he be lifted one inch the higher, it does not matter if I be trodden like mire in the streets; if his dear name be but made illustrious, I will be nothing. If no one shall ever lisp my name with approbation, then so be it; let thy servant be a dog, and let him be buried and forgotten so long as King Jesus wears the crown, and men cry, ‘Long live the King!’” Oh! this is the Christian’s great desire, that he may win Christ, and this it is which gives glory to him and makes him esteemed of God to have lived with an unselfish passion for Jesus gleaming in his breast, to have lived with so heavenly a brightness shining from his brow, and glittering through his entire life. Thus the true glory of every Christian is his Master’s, and comes from him.
V. But now once more. The text may be read in this sense: Christ is the glory of his people, that is to say, THEY EXPECT GLORY WHEN HE COMES.
“It doth not yet appear what we shall be, but we know that when he shall appear we shall be like him.” Our glory is laid up. We are not wearing our Sunday clothes yet. All this is but the week-day garb, and it is very dusty and commonplace, and with many the poor body is getting very worn out too. You may well —
“Long for evening to undress
That you may rest with God,”
for when you wake up, what a bright suit will be ready for you! Oh! such garments of glory and beauty that you will scarce know yourselves in them. You will not be like your present selves, you will be like Christ.
“Since Jesus is mine I’ll not fear undressing,
But gladly put off this garment of clay;
To die in the Lord is a covenant blessing
Since Jesus to glory through death led the way.”
When you follow Jesus in resurrection, what glory! But we must not begin to speak of that, for we should never leave off at all if we began to talk about that glory — the glory of perfection, the glory of being delivered from sin, the glory of conquest, having trodden Satan under our feet; the glory of eternal rest, the glory of infinite security, the glory of being like Christ, the glory of being in the light and brightness of God, standing, like Milton’s angel, in the very sun itself. If you want to know what heaven is, you can spell it in fire letters, and when you put the five letters together they sound like this: Jesus. That is heaven. It is all the heaven the angels round the throne desire to know. They want nothing better than this, to see his face, to behold his glory, and to dwell in it world without end.
Thus far have we been led into much precious truth: we have now done with the doctrinal part of the text, but we must prolong our meditation two or three minutes to speak a little upon THE PRACTICAL DRIFT OP THE SUBJECT.
We have just two or three things to say. We would give a word of warning to those of you Who seek your glory anywhere else, because as surely as you do so, even if you meet with honour for a time, you will have to loose it. It is always ill to put your treasure where it will be stolen from you. Now, suppose you seek your glory in your learning. Well, well, well! Let the sexton take up your skull after you have been dead a little while, and what learning will there be in it, what show of wisdom will be found in it when it is resolved into a little impalpable brown powder? What will your science, and your mathematics, and your classics do for you in death and judgment? Suppose you seek your glory in fame, and become the favourite of the nation as a great soldier. When the grave-digger rattles your old bones about, what will that signify? You will have great fame, you say, and men will talk about you. Well, will that stop the worms from eating you? Will it give you a single moment’s repose, if you be found in hell, to know that there are those on earth who say that you were a famous man? Great men in hell look very small. Great men in the pit have to suffer as well as others — ay, they endure more of anguish because they were so great, and had so many responsibilities. When you wake up in the day of judgment, you grasper of earthly honours will get reaching for your glory, and trying to find it, but you will be like the sleeper who dreamed that he had much gold, and was gathering it up by handfuls, but when he woke he was in a narrow attic in the abode of poverty, and as penniless as when he fell asleep.. Ah! yes, if you seek your glory anywhere on earth you will loose it, even if for awhile you win it.” But he who hath his glory in Christ, when he openeth his eyes in the next world will see Christ, and so behold his glory safe, and firmly entailed upon him. “There,” saith he, “is my treasure, and I have it, have it for ever.” This is security which no bolts, and iron safes, and Chubb’s locks can ever give you. Do but put your treasures into Christ, and they are all safe. Even infernal pickpockets shall not be able to take Christ from you. If you win Christ, and put your treasure in him, you are secure. God grant, brethren, that we may be wise for eternity, for all other wisdom is but folly.
Another word, and that is a word of rebuke. There are some preachers we know of, and I suppose there will always be some of the genus, who preach, preach, preach, but they never preach what is Israel’s glory. They talk of anything but Christ. Oh! how often have I heard the complaint from Christian people, “Sir, our minister is a talented man, on the whole a sound man doctrinally, and he preaches to us a great deal about the gospel; but oh! we wish he would preach the gospel, not preach about it, but preach the thing itself: O that he would preach Christ!” The best sermons are the sermons which are fullest of Christ. A sermon without Christ, it is an awful, a horrible thing. It is an empty well; it is a cloud without rain; it is a tree twice dead, plucked by the roots. It is an abominable thing to give men stones for bread, and scorpions for eggs, and yet they do so who preach not Jesus. A sermon without Christ! As well talk of a loaf of bread without any flour in it. How can it feed the soul? Men die and perish because Christ is not there, and yet his glorious gospel is the easiest thing to preach, and the sweetest thing to preach; there is most variety in it, there is more attractiveness in it than in all the world besides; and yet so many will gad abroad and make their heads ache, and turn over those heavy volumes, to get something which shall be nothing better than a big stone to roll at the mouth of the sepulchre, and shut in Christ as though he were still dead. O brethren, let us if we cannot blow the silver trumpet, blow the ram’s horn, but let the blast always be Christ, Christ, Christ! Always let us make the walls ring with the dear name of the exalted Saviour, and let us tell men that there is salvation in no other, but that there is salvation and life for them in Jesus — life for them now, life for every soul that looks to Jesus, depending alone in him. Dear teachers in the school, continue always telling the children about Jesus. Dear friends who work in any way for the Lord’s glory, here is your one topic. The old proverb is, “Cobbler, stick to your last;” so, Christian, “Stick to your text,” and let the text be Jesus Christ. Let no glitter or show tempt you away from that. This cool snow of Lebanon: be not taken away to drink of the tepid streams that mock the thirsty soul. This gold of Ophir: there is none like it; seek no other. This is the grandest pasture to wander in — this glorious subject — Jesus, Jesus, Jesus! Let him be preached, since he is the glory of Israel.
There are some of you to whom I have a last word to say, and that is, some of you love Jesus Christ, but you are ashamed to say so. Now, since he is the glory of his people Israel, I shall be afraid of you and for you if you do not make him your glory. Instead of being ashamed to confess him and his cause, why, surely you will count it to be your shame that you are ashamed, and you will come forward and say, “Yes, I cast in my lot with his people; he is such a blessed Christ. I will never turn my back on him; if he will but have me, here I am; put my name down in the church-roll; by all means let me be baptised as he was; let me come to his table, and let me do this in remembrance of him; he is a dear Lord, and I should not like it to be thought that I was ashamed of him.” I shall not press it on you, because a word is enough for a heart that is tender, and if you do love him you will not want any drawing forward. You will say, “Oh! may he only keep me, and make me faithful; but I am all too glad to have the opportunity of saying that I am on his side; for him I am resolved to live, and if need be by his grace for him I would be resolved to die.” Do not put it off then. Come and see the elders of the church. They will be glad to see you upon the matter, that is to say, if you belong to Christ. If you do not, do not profess to be what you are not. Mind you do not come forward and say you are Christ’s if you are not. To you who are not his, let me say, Jesus is to be had for the asking. If you seek him he will be found of you. Go not to your rest to-night till you have said, “Lord, thou art the glory of thy people; be my glory; give me thyself; help me to trust thee.” And after you have done that, then avow him, and God bless you, for his own name’s sake. Amen.