Have You Forgotten Him?
“I do remember my faults this day.” — Genesis xli. 9.
No single power or faculty of man escaped damage at the fall: while the affections were polluted, the will was made perverse, the judgment was shifted from its proper balance, and the memory lost much of its power and more of its integrity. Every observing mind will have noticed that naturally we have a greater power for remembering evil than good. Very plain is this in your children. If you mention anything good in their hearing you had need to say it many times, and very plainly, before they are likely to remember it; but if one ill shall casually meet their ear in the street, it will not be long before you have the pain of hearing them repeat it. Our memory is like theirs, only in proportion as it is developed this peculiarity is more manifest. We have a most convenient warehouse for storing the merchandize of evil, but the priceless jewels of goodness are readily stolen from their casket. We have a fireproof safe for worthless matters, and enclose the rarest gems in mere pasteboard cases. Our memory, like a strainer, often suffers the good wine to pass through but retains all the dregs. It holds the bad in an iron grasp, and plays with good till it slips through the fingers. Our memories, like ourselves, have done the things which they ought not to have done, and have left undone the things which they ought to have done, and there is no health in them.
Among other things, it is not always easy to recollect our faults. We have special and particular reasons for not wishing to be too often reminded of them. Few men care to keep their faults in the front room of the house. Underground, in the darkest cellar, and, if possible, with the door locked and the key lost; it is there we would like to conceal our faults from ourselves. If, however, the grace of God has entered into a man he will pray that he may remember his faults, and he will ask grace that if he should forget any excellences which he once supposed he had, he may not forget his defects, his sins, his infirmities, and his transgressions, but may have them constantly before him, that he may be humbled by them and led to seek pardon for them and help to overcome them.
I do not say that the butler in this case had any work of grace in his heart, but I shall use him as an illustration, and hope by using my watchman’s rattle to wake up some of your sleepy memories, for there are thieves about, and you are being robbed without knowing it. It will be a healthy result to us all if we shall be compelled to say at the end of this sermon, “I do remember my faults this day”
In the first place this morning, using the butler as our illustration, we shall stale his faults; secondly, we shall consider the circumstances which refreshed his memory ; and, thirdly, we shall show the good points in his remembrance.
I. We shall first call your attention to the BUTLER S FAULTS, for his faults are ours, only ours are on a larger scale: “I do remember my faults this day.”
His particular fault was that he had forgotten Joseph; that, having promised to remember him when it should be well with him, he had altogether overlooked the circumstances which occurred in the prison, and had been enjoying himself, and leaving his friend to pine in obscurity.
Here, then, is the first fault, — the butler had forgotten a friend. That is never a thing to be said to a man’s praise. We ought to write the deeds of friendship as much as possible in marble; and that man is unworthy of esteem who can readily forget favours received. Joseph had done all that he could to make the butler’s sojourn in prison comfortable. It was hard, that so soon as the butler had escaped from prison, his friend Joseph had escaped his memory. Save us from men who can so easily forget. But you and I have a Friend: we call him very dear; we are accustomed to speak of him in very rapturous terms. We declare that no others have such a Friend as we have: we have made our boast that there is none other that deserves the name in comparison with him whom we call our best-beloved; and yet how many of us have forgotten him! His name we know, his nature we understand, his blessings we sometimes rejoice in; but frequently his divine person, his blessed self, alas! how cold our love to him! This fault will not strike the carnal mind as being a great one; but, in proportion as our hearts are spiritual and under the influence of the Holy Spirit, we shall feel it a great and grievous sin to have in any measure forgotten our best Friend.
The circumstances were these: — the butler was in prison, and then this friend came to him and spoke comfortably to him. Dost thou remember when thou wast in prison? I never can forget when I was bound in fetters far harder, heavier, and more painful to wear than fetters of iron. It was a dark dungeon, without a ray of light: there was no rest in it neither night nor day. A certain fearful looking for of judgment and of fiery indignation haunted that gloomy cell. I struggled to be free, but the more I struggled the more hard did my bondage become. I was as one in the deep mire, who, by every struggle, only sinks himself the more hopelessly in it. Do you not remember? Oh, believers, you have passed through the same experience: your feet were in the stocks, you laid in the innermost prison, while the whip of the law frequently fell upon your backs, and the sentence of execution thundered in your ears, and you trembled lest you should be dragged forth to your doom. Do you not remember it, the wormwood and the gall? Joseph came to the butler and said, “Why look ye so sadly today?” In our case we have not forgotten how Jesus came to us and enquired into our state. With what tender accents of sympathy did he address our hearts! He told us — and we could readily believe it — that he would not quench the smoking flax, nor break the bruised reed. We had not been accustomed to be addressed in this fashion, for the voice of Moses is far from musical, and his tones are very grating to the ear; but when Jesus spake it was all soft and sweet. “Poor sinner!” he said, as though he pitied rather than blamed. He looked upon us not with an eye searching for iniquity, but with a heart which saw our calamity, and which looked for the means to deliver us. Have von forgotten those times of brokenness of spirit when the only comfort which you knew was the name of Jesus, when the only stay for the hunger and thirst which were in your spirits was a morsel or two of his sweet love which he graciously cast to you to stay you by the way?
Do you remember your dream? The butler had a dream; do you recollect yours? It was more than a night dream; it was a day dream with a terrible interpretation appended to it in your mind. You dreamed of a vine too, and you were the cluster, and you dreamed of the time when you should be cast into the wine-press, and trodden beneath the feet of almighty wrath, until your blood should fill the cup of divine vengeance even to the brim. Do you recollect that dream? how it haunted you, and seemed like some huge bird of prey, with black wings and horrid cries, fluttering over you as though about to tear you in pieces. I recollect when day was night to me, and night was worse than night. “Then thou scarest me with dreams, and terrifiest me through visions,” was the cry of Job, and such has been the lament of many and many a heart under the weight of sin. Oh, how guilt can thunder in our ears! How the Word of God can grow terrible and stern! “God is angry with you! God is angry with the wicked every day! It is appointed unto all men once to die, and after death the judgment.” In our alarms we could see the rider on the pale horse, and feel ourselves overtaken by him, and struck down by the horses’ hoofs! How we saw ourselves cast into the pit of hell, and seemed to be falling, falling, falling, ever sinking from the angry glance of God, and still as dreadfully near to it as before! That was our dream, and the interpretation, the only interpretation which seemed to fit it was this, “You will be banished from his presence into eternal misery.” Beloved, do you recollect when Jesus came with the interpretation of a very different kind, just as Joseph did to the butler? He interpreted to the butler that Pharaoh would lift him up and put him in his place again; and so Jesus came to us, and told us that we were condemned in ourselves that we might not be condemned at the last; that we had a sentence of death in ourselves because God intended never to pass that sentence in the Court of Heaven, and had instead thereof passed it in the Court of our conscience. He told us that God never kills with his law in the heart without intending to make alive, that when he wounds he heals, that when he strips he means to clothe. We did not understand this. We thought that all this terrible dealing within our heart was the prelude of everlasting judgment, but he showed us that as many as God loves he rebukes and chastens, that it is the way with him to break up the clods with the ploughshare before he casts in the golden seed; and to dig out deep foundations before he piles polished stones one upon another to make a temple to his praise. Ah, I never shall forget when, at the foot of the cross, I saw the interpretation of all my inward griefs; when I looked up and saw the flowing of my Saviour’s precious blood, and had the great riddle all unriddled. My brethren, what a discovery was that when we learned the secret that we were to be saved not by what we were or were to be; but, saved by what Christ had done for us! The simplicity of the cross is the grandest of all revelations. “Look unto me and be ye saved, all ye ends of the earth.” Why it is as simple as the interpretation which Joseph gave to the dream; but in its simplicity lies a great part of its sweetness. How was it that I was such a fool as not to understand it before, that for every sinner who was truly a sinner, and had no righteousness of his own, Jesus Christ is made righteousness and salvation; and that every sinner who confesses with broken heart that he deserved God’s wrath, may know that Jesus has suffered all God’s wrath for him, and that therefore God is no longer angry with him, for all his anger has been spent upon the person of Jesus Christ. How sweet it is to understand that all our soul’s terrors and alarms are only meant to bring us to the cross; that they are not intended to make us look at ourselves, to search for comfort there, nor intended to set us upon paving a way to heaven by our own exertions, but to lead us to Jesus. Happy day! we see Jesus as the cluster crushed until the heart’s blood flows, and can by faith go in unto the King, with Jesus Christ’s own precious blood and offer that, just as the butler stood before Pharaoh with the wine-cup in his hand. I bear a cup filled not with my blood but his blood; not the blood from me as a cluster of the vine of earth, but the blood of Jesus as a cluster of heaven’s own vintage, pouring out its precious floods to make glad the heart of God and man.
Here lies our fault; that we have forgotten all this — not forgotten the fact, but forgotten to love him who gave us that soul-comforting, heart-cheering interpretation. Beloved, when Jesus revealed himself at first, our hearts were ready to leap out of our bodies for joy. Do you recollect the time you thought you could sing always and never leave off? Nothing was too hard, no burden was too heavy for you then, for your soul was all on fire with love; but ah! since then, what a sad declension! you forgot your Joseph, you forgot your Friend who gave you this kind interpretation of your dream.
Dear friends, there was something which ought to have made the butler remember Joseph. When I read the story just now, it came very vividly to my own mind; it was this, that there was another in prison at the same time with him, and what had become of him? The taker had been hanged! And if the butler had chosen to walk out, he might have seen the relics of the body of his poor miserable companion, gibbeted to be fed upon by kites and carrion crows. That poor wretch had dreamed a dream too, but the interpretation had been very different. When some of us look back to the time when we were in sin with others, and recollect that although we are here the living, to praise the Redeemer’s name, some of this our old companions are – we shudder to think of it, but it is so – at this moment in hell! How shall we praise the electing grace which has made us to differ? It is a solemn thought that such differences should occur.
“Why were we made to hear his voice,
And enter while there's room,
When thousands make a wretched choice,
And rather starve than come?”
Some of you used to spend hour after hour in the public-house, and you could blaspheme God’s name; and while those whom you once drank with are now drinking the cup of God’s wrath, you, who were not one whit better than they — in some points even worse, are now saved by sovereign grace. Discriminating grace should always give a high tone to our gratitude. He hath not dealt thus with every people. Praise ye the Lord! If you whom God has chosen, and whom Christ has specially and effectually called by grace from among others, if you do not remember him, what shall I say to you? Oh! dear friends, how it should humble you, and bow you down in the dust, that after such remarkable, peculiar, distinguishing love as that of which you have been the subjects, you should still forget your dear Friend, and fail in point of duty where you ought to have been faithful to him.
We have not, however, quite done with the case of the butler and Joseph. The request which Joseph made of the butler has a very natural one. He said, “Think of me when it is well with thee.” He asked no hard, difficult, exacting favour, but simply, “Think of me. and speak to Pharaoh. Thou wilt have his ear in moments when kings are most likely to be in good humour; thou wilt wait upon him at his feasts; then, when it is well with thee and the time is come, put in a word for thy poor friend, who will be pining away in the damps of the dungeon.” It was a very simple thing, and I will be bound to say the butler said to him, “Oh, my dear fellow, I will not only do that, but I do not know what I will not do for you; you shall be out of prison within a week, and 1 will take good care that you have the fat of all the land of Egypt, and I will see that that Potiphar and his wife shall be severely punished for all the wrong they have done you.” But he did nothing of the kind. What the Saviour asks of us, his servants, is most natural and most simple, and quite as much for our good as it is for his glory. Among other things, he has said to all of you who love him, “This do in remembrance of me.” He has asked you to gather around his table, and break bread with his servants, and feast with him. Some of you have never obeyed his command yet; you say you love him, but you forget him. It was kind of him to institute that blessed ordinance to help your memory; it is doubly unkind of you that you not only forget him, hut are not willing to use the means to have that frail memory of yours refreshed. Moreover, of you who come to his table he asks the favour to speak a good word for him wherever you have an opportunity. During the fast week, have you spoken for Jesus? He asks you to spread abroad the savour of his name; have you done so during the last month or not? He requests of you that as you are an heir with him and a partaker of his kingdom, you will help him to spread it, not by word of mouth only, but by your gifts and by your labours. What have you done? Suppose that now the Lord Jesus Christ should occupy this pulpit instead of me, and stand here, and spread his hands, and show you his wounds, could you dare to look at him? Might not some of you have cheeks crimsoned as you would have to confess, “Ah, Master, we have forgotten thee. As to much practical service and honour of thy name, we have been quite as negligent as the butler was concerning Joseph.” Well, he is here in spirit, and he will soon be here in person. Servants of the Master, be faithful to your Master; but. oh, all you who lean upon his bosom, and have familiar intercourse with him, I will not merely speak of faithfulness to you, but I charge you by your love, by the lilies, and by the hinds of the field, see to it, that you forget not your beloved, but day by day, and hour by hour, feast him upon your wine, and with your milk, with the choicest of your gifts, the richest products of your souls. Labour for him, live for him, and be ready to die for him who has done so much for you.
I have thus stated the butler’s case, but I shall want to pause a minute or two over this head just to go into the reason of his fault. Why was it that he did not recollect Joseph? There is always a reason for everything, if we do but try to find it out. He must have been swayed by one of three reasons.
Perhaps the butler was naturally ungrateful. We do not know, but that may have been the case: he may have been a person who could receive unbounded favours without a due sense of obligation. I trust that is not our case in the fullest and most unmitigated sense, but I am afraid we must all plead guilty in a measure. Were there ever such ungrateful ones as the saints of God? We treat no other friend so badly as we treat our Lord. We love our parents, we feel gratitude towards friends who have assisted us in times of need, we are bound by very strong ties to certain persons who were very greatly an assistance to us at a pinch, but our dear Saviour, better than father and mother, fonder than the fondest friend, closer than the most loving spouse, how ill we use Him! I am afraid, brethren, we had better all of us say it is ingratitude here — we are basely ungrateful to him. But let us not confess it as a matter of course; let us be ashamed to have such a thing to say, let us feel that it lowers us more than anything else could lower us; that it proves how total, how abject, how degrading must have been the fall of Adam, that even the love of Jesus Christ shed abroad in hearts like ours in such a remarkable and plenteous manner, yet cannot cure them of the base and detestable vice of ingratitude. Oh thou dear one, can I look upon thy face, all covered with thy bloody sweat, can I view thee again all covered with the spittle from the mouths of thine enemies, can I see thee in thy thirst and anguish on the cross, and know that every pang was for me, and every woe for me, and not a groan or spasm of pain for thyself, but all for love of me who was thine enemy, and can I after that forget thee? Oh my soul, loathe thyself that thou shouldest be ungrateful to him.
Perhaps, however, worldly care choked the memory. The chief butler had a great deal to do: he had many under-servants, and, having to wait in a palace much care was required. He who serves a despot like the king of Egypt must be very particular in his service. It is very possible that the butler was so busy with his work and his gains, and looking after his fellow-servants and all that, that he forgot poor Joseph. Is not it very possible that this may be the case with us? We forget the Lord Jesus to whom we are bound by such ties, because our business is so large, our family so numerous, our cares so pressing, our bills and bonds so urgent, and even because perhaps our gains are so large. There is as much power to divide the heart from Christ in gain as there is in loss; in fact, the sharpest edge of the world’s sword is prosperity. The back cut of adversity very seldom wounds as prosperity does. And yet, dear friends, what are all these cares that they should make us forget our Lord? I know not to what to liken us. Unto what shall I compare our folly? We are like children in the market-place who have their little plays and games, their pieces of broken crock and stick and stone, and these take up all their thoughts; and they forget their dear mother who is calling them. She has nourished these children, and day by day her heart cares for them, but they forget her. They cannot live without her: they must go to her for all their necessities; the very garments on their backs are her workmanship, and the food that keeps life in their bodies she must find; but they are too busy, too busy with these little plays and toys and mere dirt and such things as children in the market will play with, too busy to think of her. Oh! it is base that it should be so, but we are sadly worldly. I am afraid John Bunyan’s picture of the man with the muck-rake is not altogether unlike some of God’s own children. Here we are with the rake groping over the dunghill, although above us stands the angel with the golden crown calling to us to look up from the dunghill and remember our lasting and enduring portion; but no, not we, that dunghill takes up so much of our time and thoughts that the crown is forgotten. Do not misunderstand me, I would not have you be negligent in business, neither reason nor revelation require that; but oh ! if you could recollect the Saviour in it all, and if you traded for his sake and worked for him, and in the ordinary deeds of life did all as unto the Lord (“ whether ye eat, or drink, or whatsoever ye do, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus ” ); then, truly, everything might remind you of him and both gain and loss, mercy and misery, might only drive you nearer to his blessed bosom.
I am half ashamed to have to say one thing more. I am afraid that the butler forgot Joseph out of pride; because he had grown to be such a great man, and Joseph was in prison. He was butler to the king. Now when he was in prison Joseph was his equal, and in some, sense his superior, for he waited on him. But now my lord, the butler, has great interest at court, and he wears splendid garments, and he is very great amongst his fellow-servants. Joseph — Joseph smells of the dungeon, he is a jail bird, and quite beneath him. He knows not what Joseph is to be, that all the glories of the land of Egypt are to lie at Joseph’s foot — but he is ashamed of Joseph. I do not suppose this operates with many of you, but I have known it with some professed believers. When they were little in Israel, when they first professed to have found peace, oh how they acknowledged Jesus! But they got on in the world and prospered, and then they could not worship among those poor people who were good enough for them once — they now drive to a more fashionable place of worship, where the Lord Jesus is seldom heard of. They feel themselves bound to get into a higher class of society, as they call it, and the po r despised cause of Jesus is beneath them, forgetting, as they foolishly do, that the day will come when Christ’s cause shall be uppermost; when the world shall go down and the faithful followers of the Lord Jesus shall be peers and princes even in this world, and reign with him; he being King of kings and Lord of lords, and they sitting upon his throne and sharing in his royal dignity. I hope none of you have forgotten Christ because of that. 1 do not know, though — I have my fears of some of you. I do know this, that many a working man thinks more of Christ while he is so than he does when he rises above his fellows. We have heard of one who used to give much when he was poor, but when he grew rich he gave less, and he said, “when I had a shilling purse I had a guinea heart, and wished I could do much more for Christ; but now I have a guinea purse, I find I have only a shilling heart, and I am for stinting and doing less.” Oh let it not be so! Shall it be that the more He gives the less we give, and the more He shows his love, the less we show our love? God forbid that we should do this, but by every tie of gratitude let us serve him more and more each day.
There was very great heinousness in this forgetfulness on the part of the butler, and he ought to have felt it. Perhaps the way for us to see our own fault is this. Suppose the butler had put himself in Joseph’s place and said, “Now I wonder what Joseph thinks of my conduct. Suppose I were Joseph in prison, and I had done this favour to some one else, how should I feel with regard to his forgetfulness?” My dear friends, can you suppose yourselves in Jesus Christ’s place? Suppose it possible that you could have died for another, and by your death could have saved him and made him the partaker of everlasting joys, what would you think of him if he treated you as you treat Jesus Christ? You would say, “I am ashamed of him. I regret that ever l spent so much love on such a thankless person.” Judge, then — judge your own case.
Again, he might have judged of the heinousness of his forgetfulness by considering his conduct as he would have considered it at the first. Suppose a prophet had told you, when you were first converted, that you would live as you have done, could you have believed it? You would have said “Never! If the Lord Jesus Christ does but take my burden off my back and set me free, there is nothing which I will not do for him. I will be none of your cold, dead professors, not I.” But you have been, dear friends, you have been just as lukewarm as others. Judge of your sin as you would have judged of it at the first.
Again, will you please to judge of it as you judge of other people? What think you of other cold hearts? What think you of other chilly professors, whose lives are lukewarm, and whose love knows no fervency? Judge yourselves by the same judgment. Put your spirit in the same scale, and be humbled; yea, let every one of us lay his mouth in the dust as we confess this day that we are verily guilty concerning the Lord Jesus. Let us all remember our faults this day.
II. The second point is this — WHAT CIRCUMSTANCES BROUGHT THE FAULT TO THE BUTLER S MIND? The same circumstances which surround us this morning.
First, he met with a person in the same condition as that in which he once was. King Pharaoh had dreamed a dream, and wished for an interpretation. Joseph could interpret; and the butler remembered his fault. Brothers and sisters in Christ, there are those in the world who are in the same state of mind as you were once in. They once loved sin and hated God, and were strangers and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel; but in some of them there has been the mysterious working of the Holy Spirit, and they have dreamed a dream. They are awakened, although not yet enlightened. Salvation is a riddle to them at present, and they want the interpretation. Do you not remember how the gospel was blessed to you? Do you not desire to send it to others? If you cannot preach yourself, will you not help me in my life-work of training others to preach Jesus? If I could bring before you this morning a score or two of anxious persons up from country villages and remote parts of our own land, you would say, “Oh, let me tell them about the Saviour, or let me help to send some one to them who will do so.” That is just the effect I want to produce without using that means. I want to make you remember your Lord Jesus; practically remember him, by reminding you that there are persons who are now seeking him, who are now panting after him, who have not yet heard the gospel, and longing for some herald of peace to come to them and proclaim the good news. By the love of souls, aid me in my great anxiety to supply the needs of the age with a ministry called of God to preach his truth.
The next thing that recalled the butler’s thought was this; he saw that many means had been used to interpret Pharaoh's dream, but they $ had all failed. We read that Pharaoh sent for his wise men, but they could not interpret his dream. You are in a like case. There are thousands in England who are trying to minister to spiritual necessities; above all we have Popery in its double form, Romish and Anglican, doing its best to interpret the dream of the human heart. You know what a sad mess it makes of it; it gives a stone instead of bread, brings to poor, needy, guilty man, anything but the Saviour he wants. Now, as you hear these foolish- wise men all blundering over the dream, do not you think of the Joseph who could interpret it? And as you hear these men holding up baptismal regeneration and sacramental salvation, does not your tongue long to say, “O fools! O generation of simple tons! It is Christ Jesus who is the great interpreter; he alone can supply human necessities.” Do not you feel a want, if you cannot go and preach yourselves, to help others to do so? Will you recollect Jesus Christ as you recollect how many are perverting the gospel, and preaching anything rather than the merit of his cross? Pray remember your Lord to-day, and your faults concerning him; but let your remembrance lead to future diligence in his cause.
Then, again, if the butler could have known it, he had other motives for remembering Joseph. It was through Joseph that the whole land of Egypt was blessed. Joseph comes out of prison, and interprets the dream which God had given to the head of the state, and that interpretation preserved all Egypt, yea, and all other nations during seven years of dearth. Only Joseph could do it. Oh brethren, you know that it is only Jesus who is the balm of Gilead, for the wounds of this poor dying world. You know that there is nothing which can bless our land, and all other lands like the cross of Jesus Christ. Have you forgotten practically your Saviour? Have you allowed bis gospel to lie by without preaching it yourselves or helping others to preach it? Have you suffered the precious truth of God to be like Joseph, hidden in prison, when you might have helped to bring it out into open court, that others might hear and know the sound which has made glad your own heart? Then, as you recollect England, the country of your love, as you recollect other lands, which in proportion are dear to you, will you not think of Jesus to-day, and do something for the promotion of his cause?
Once more, surely the butler would have remembered Joseph had he known to what an exaltation Joseph would be brought. Under God it was all through the butler saying “I remember Joseph,” that Joseph came out of prison, that he stood before Pharaoh, that he rode in the second chariot, that the heralds cried before him, “Bow the knee!” and that Joseph, the poor prisoner, became governor over the land of Egypt. Christian, would you like to lift up the name of Jesus from obscurity into the throne of the human heart? At this present moment throughout this world Jesus Christ is still the despised and rejected of men. Still is he a root out of a dry ground to the mass of mankind, and the only way in which he can be exalted is by loving hearts telling of him and helping others to tell of him. Think of the splendour which yet will surround our Lord Jesus! He shall come, beloved, he shall come in the chariots of salvation. The day draweth nigh when all things shall be put under him. Kings shall yield their crowns to his superior sway, and whole sheaves of sceptres, plucked from tyrants’ hands, shall be gathered beneath his arm.
“Look, ye saints, the sight is glorious,
See the Man of Sorrows’ now;
From the fight return’d victorious,
Every knee to him shall bow.”
You by testifying of him are promoting the extension of his kingdom, and doing the best that in you lies to gather together the scattered who are to be the jewels of his crown. Surely the thought of his exaltation fires you with delight: the prospect of magnifying him, of setting him on high and helping to adorn his head, or even to strew the path beneath his feet, must fill your soul with a celestial ardour. Do not forget him then, but let the fact that you are in this position to-day, that you can glorify Jesus, that you can bless the world; let this encourage you to remember your faults this day.
III. In the last place, I have some few things to say by way of COMMENDATION OF THE BUTLER’S REMEMBRANCE.
It is a pity he forgot Joseph, but it is a great blessing that he did not always forget him. It is a sad thing that you and I should have done so little; it is a mercy that there is time left for us to do more. One of our dear friends said this morning, o-ne of our beloved deacons, when I was asking him about some of the Churches he has been to visit — places where we are forming new Churches, what he thought of the work which was going on. “Oh,” he said, “it is such a glorious work, and God is so marvellous in it that I wish I were younger that I might live to see more of it.” He is not old, but he wished he were much younger, that he might see God’s gracious work going on for many years as it is now progressing through God’s grace in our midst. Our College is a mighty lever with which the Lord is working, and if God’s people knew more of it they would help it more.
I like the butler’s remembrance, first of all, because it was very humbling to him. He had to say it to Pharaoh, Pharaoh was wroth and put his servant in ward. That was not a very pleasant thing for the butler to say to the king, “My lord, you were angry with me and put me in prison.” But though it was a humbling thing, it was very necessary that he should say it too and be reminded of it. Let us go before God with the confession, “Lord, I was as base and vile as any: thy cross saved me; I was an heir of wrath even as others. Jesus did all this for me, blessed be his name, and I humble myself to think that I should so treacherously have forgotten him who was so kind to me.”
I commend his remembrance for another thing, namely, that it was to personal. I do remember mg faults this day.” What capital memories we have for treasuring up other people’s faults, for once let us keep to ourselves. Let the confession begin with the minister. “I do remember my faults this day.” This is not the place for me to tell you of them, though I dare say you see them without any telling of mine, but I do remember them. They make a long list. My brethren in office — the deacons and elders — I have no charge against them, but I have no doubt they can all say, “I do remember my faults this day.” You, numbers of this Church, some old and grey, some young beginners, many of you parents and people in middle life, I suppose there is not one of you but what might say, “Yes; I do remember my faults this day” Let it go round; do not let there be an exception to the case; but let each Christian, instead of thinking about others, make it a personal matter. “I do remember my faults this day.” I could wish that the unconverted here would join with us. Your fault — the great fault with you — is, that you do not believe in Jesus Christ, that you do not trust him with your souls, but are still strangers to him. I wish you could say, now, you up in that gallery there, each one of you, “I do remember my faults this day;” and the whole body of you down below stairs, and you around the pulpit, “I do remember my faults this day.” It is a good sign of true repentance when it is personal repentance. Every man must mourn apart, and every woman apart; the husband apart, and the wife apart; the brother apart, and the sister apart. “I do remember my faults this day.”
The best part of it, perhaps, was the practical nature of the confession The moment he remembered his fault, he redressed it as far as he could. He could not make up to his poor friend for the days he had been lying in prison, but he spoke to Pharaoh directly. That action was the means of bringing Joseph out. Now, dear friends, if you recollect your fault to the Lord Jesus, may you have grace not to fall into it again! If you have not spoken for him, speak to-day. If you have not given to his cause, give now! If you have not devoted yourselves as you ought to have done to the promotion of his kingdom, do it now. Oh, sinner, if you have not believed in Christ, may God the Holy Spirit lead you to believe now! It is of no use remembering a debt, if you do not pay it; and it is of no avail to recollect a fault, if you do not repent of it. I have little by way of urging you as a congregation to do more in the service of the Master. Often I feel held back by the thought that you are doing so much, but oh! if we could do as much as possible, if everyone of us felt pledged, for the Lord’s cause and the Redeemer’s kingdom, that there should be nothing within the range of possibility to mortal man, that we would not attempt for such a King, for such a Lord, oh, then we should see blessed days. You have had a zealous spirit, you have it still; but you want still more of it, and may God send it to you! We are helping to send the gospel throughout all this country, and to different parts abroad as well; do not hold back when God is blessing. Your help is still required; be not slow to render it. Do come forward with us, and help us to magnify the Saviour’s name till the ends of the earth shall know it, and all nations shall call him blessed. The Lord bless these words for the sake of Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.