Loved and Laved
“Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him he glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”— Revelation i. 5, 6.
JOHN was the beloved disciple, the choicest spirit of the twelve, the one nearest to the heart of Christ. Not only was he that disciple whom Jesus loved, but he was full of love to his Lord in return. John leaned his head on Christ’s bosom. All his soul seemed to be aflame with affection towards Christ. “We love him, because he first loved us,” are words which come with great power from such a heart; they were so wonderfully true in his own experience. But now, when he comes to sing a psalm of praise to his Lord, he does not mention his love to his Master. He dwells not on that; for his confidence lies deeper than anything in himself, even in the love of the Son of God to him. Would you not wish to be like him? Then “keep yourselves in the love of God,” as, on the opposite page of your Bible, you read in the Epistle of Jude. Meditate much on your Master, and on your Master’s love; dwell with Christ, and whether you realize your love to him or not, drink in daily the sweetness of his wondrous love to you. Live on that, and often let your heart lift up a song of praise because of it. Then shall the blessing of Benjamin be yours: “The beloved of the Lord shall dwell in safety by him; and the Lord shall cover him all the day long, and he shall dwell between his shoulders.”
This verse seems to me to be fit to be the song of heaven. It is indeed the epitome of all those choral symphonies with which redeemed spirits circle the throne of our great Lord and King. John, in vision, had caught glimpses of the glory-land, and had heard the great multitude which no man can number raise their hallelujahs, as they cast their crowns before him that sat upon the throne; and as the refrain of a song hums itself over again even after the singer has ceased, John, when he began to write this book, seems to have remembered the chorus of those who “ came out of great tribulation, and have washed their robes, and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.” I think that I hear them now while we are listening here; and this is the grand chorale of the skies: “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father; to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever.” We, in feebler strains, fervently add our “Amen.”
Would you not wish to be in heaven when your life on earth is over? The time will come when you must die; would you not desire to have a good hope of entering then into the felicities of the perfected ones? I am sure you would; but if you are at last to be numbered amongst the redeemed host on high, you must here learn their song. You cannot be admitted into the choirs above without having practised and rehearsed their music here below. Therefore you must think much and believe much concerning Christs love to his chosen, and how he showed it in washing us from our sins in his own blood. He is coming again; the next verse tells us, “Behold, he cometh with clouds.” When he shall come, and earth shall rock and reel, and the skies shall shrivel up like worn-out parchment, and the stars shall fall like fig-leaves from the trees; in that day you will wish to be found at the right hand of the King, and to cry with rapture, “Welcome, welcome, Son of God!” But you cannot be there unless you first know him as the Christ who hath loved you, and washed you from your sins in his own blood. I pray, therefore, that while I talk feebly enough myself, God’s divine power may go with the word, that you who know the Redeemer’s love may know it better, and feel your hearts swell with glad emotion, till you are ready to stand up and shout, “Glory and majesty, dominion and power be unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins in his own blood!” I pray, too, that others who are strangers to the blood-washing, and have never yet known the power of Christ’s atoning sacrifice, may say, “By the grace of God, we also will know something of that love, if it is to be known, and we will pray that in us also that wondrous washing may take place, that we also may be clean through Jesus’ blood, and stand among the ransomed throng, to shout his praises for ever and ever.”
Notice very specially that the exile of Patmos, having known much of Christ, and lived in his presence for many years, sings of love as manifested in the washing away of sins. Some years before, he had written, by the guidance of the Holy Spirit, that marvellous word, “God is love;” but now, as the end of his life approaches, all love seems for him to be summed up in the blood-washing. This is the climax and summit of the love of Christ. I delight to dwell on this glorious theme. They tell me of God in nature, and speak of the warbling of birds and the beauties of the summer as revelations of the love of God, as doubtless they are. I read of the matchless life of Christ, and I am charmed with its beauties and its blessedness; but when I would speak of the fulness of his love, I can find nothing to express it but the blood which he shed on Calvary. It is a wonderful work which that blood-shedding accomplishes in taking away our sins; for that they are taken away at once and for ever when we trust in the Crucified, is a blessed truth about which the Word of God leaves no manner of doubt. I do not know whether “washed” is the best word to express the meaning of the text. We need something more than the mere removal of outside sin. If, however, this idea is to he kept, I prefer the word “laved”, which gives us a suitable expression of the thought, and also carries us back to the laver used in the typical ordinances of the Tabernacle and Temple of old. The text maybe read, “Unto him that loved us, and laved us from our sins in his own blood.” If we prefer it, we may render our song as the Revised Version has it, with a deeper shade of meaning, “Unto him that loveth us, and loosed us from our sins by his blood,” and with adoring hearts may add, “to him be the glory and the dominion for ever and ever.” In his great love he laves away the defilement of our sins, and then looses us from the chains that those sins had thrown around our life.
“Oh. for this love, let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break,
And all harmonious human tongues
The Saviour's praises speak!”
I shall have only two things to talk about on this occasion. First, let us think of the love of Jesus in the particular way mentioned in the text, as shown in his washing us from our sins in his own blood; and secondly, when we have meditated on his love, let us glorify him for it. I will not attempt to take the whole of verse six; that would be too much for one sermon.
I. First, LET US THINK OF THE LOVE OF JESUS, and as we muse upon it, may the fire burn in our souls! May we be raised out of ourselves, and be seated in the heavenlies, “because the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us”! Our subject at this time is— The love of Christ, as shown in his washing us from our sins in his own blood.
Upon which I remark, first, that he loved us freely. That is clear, if you reflect that he did not love us because we had no sin: if that had been the case, he would not have needed to have washed us in his own blood. He did not love us because we were righteous, because we were obedient, because we had neither omitted any duty nor committed any offence. No; but he saw us foul with sin, and yet he loved us. We are described in Scripture sometimes as crimson, and again as scarlet with sin. These are glaring colours, and sin is a glaring, staring thing, that must be seen. God has seen it; God abhors it. But though he saw it, he loved us: “Christ loved the church, and gave himself for it.” What wondrous love it is, that Christ should love a thief! Yet he did, and took a thief to be the first to enter his kingdom with him. What amazing condescension that Christ should love an outcast! Yet there was one who loved him much, because she had been forgiven much. How marvellous that Christ should love a swearer! Yet he loved Peter, whose swearing was of the worst kind, for he denied his Master with an oath. ’Twas passing strange that Christ should love a persecutor! Yet he loved Saul of Tarsus, who was exceedingly mad against his people. Is not this the greatest marvel of all, that he should love you, and that he should love me; that he has loved us, though we have been utterly unworthy of his love; full of sin, and keeping to the sin; persevering in it; refusing to turn from it when bidden to repent; rejecting Christ and all his love; and year after year continuing with a high hand to rebel against God? Yet he loved us while we were dead in trespasses and sins, loved us out of free, rich, sovereign grace; not because we were lovely, but because he is loving; not because we were gracious, but because ho is full of grace. You see, the text does not say that he washed us and loved us; as if from some high sense of duty he took away our sin, and then loved us when we were clean. No, it is not “laved and loved”, it is “loved and laved.” The love is first, and because he loved us in our sins, and in spite of them, he cleanses them all away. Tell out this glorious gospel, all ye who know the glad tidings! Let men and angels hear it again and again! He loved us while our sin was yet upon us, and therefore he washed us, and made us white through his own blood. It is love most freely given. When I think of it, I feel that I can join with the children, and say—
“Oh, if there’s only one song I can sing
When in his beauty I see the great King,
This shall my song in eternity be—
‘Oh, what a wonder that Jesus loves me!’”
As I think of Christ’s love, I say, next, he loved us condescendingly. He loved us, “and washed us.” Does God take to washing black sinners white? That he should create, I understand; that he should destroy, I also understand; but that he should wash and cleanse those who have made themselves foul with sin, is marvellous. God is so full of power that, if a thing is broken, it is never worth his while to mend it. It is the poverty of our resources that compels us to put up with defiled and broken things, and make them better; but he could, with a word, or without a word, make another race of creatures, and leave sinful men to die, if he would. Yet he loved us, so that he stooped to wash us from our defilement. Oh, when you see the Christ of God kneeling down, girding himself with a towel, like a slave, and bringing forth the ewer and the basin; when you see him pouring water on his disciples’ feet, then taking foot after foot with his own dear hands, and washing them, you see a great sight of love! But when he opens his own side, when he gives his hands and feet to be sacred fountains of blood, and we are cleansed through his death and agony, this is compassion like a God; this is a sight the like of which heaven and earth have never seen. What love must he have to sinful men, that ho should stoop so low as this! The Maker of heaven and earth washing filthy hearts and sinful souls! It almost surpasses human thought; yet it is most certainly true. Glory be unto his name! Well may wo sing praises “unto him that loved us, and washed us.” It is amazing mercy that Christ should ever deal with sin, except to punish it. That he should ever take it on himself that he might remove it from us, is a thing that we shall never fully understand, even in glory itself. Condescending love indeed it was that loved us, and washed us.
“On such love, my soul, still ponder,
Love so great, so rich, so free;
Say, whilst lost in holy wonder,
Why, O Lord, such love to me?
Grace shall reign eternally.”
But, next, he loved us in a holy manner. The love of Christ was as holy as everything else about him. We do not read that he loved us, and therefore winked at our sinfulness. Oh, no; that could never be! The love of Christ never becomes an unholy thing. It never panders to our lust, nor does it cover up our iniquity so that it shall not be punished. He loved us, but because he loved us he must wash us. He could not take us to heaven unwashed. A man cannot remain a sinner, and be at peace with God. Even the Almighty could not make us happy, and let us remain in sin. You cannot be at rest till you are right with God, and you cannot be right with God till you give up evil. He is a holy God; and the love of Christ, mighty as it is, cannot bless you without washing you. You drunkards must give up the cup. You that are dishonest must become honest. You that are unchaste must be rendered pure. You that are selfish must become loving. You that are hot-tempered must be made meek and lowly. It must be done. There is no other way by which you can be saved. Even he that loves you can only bless you thus. You must be washed. Holiness requires it. Oh, what a love it is that will not leave us foul, but loves us out of our sins! Christ “loved us, and washed us.” This, indeed, is holy love.
“Love that condemns the sinner’s sin,
Yet, in condemning, pardon seals;
That saves from righteous wrath, and yet|
In saving, righteousness reveals.”
Christ’s love is seen, next, in that he loved us at a costly rate; he hath washed us from our sins “in his own blood.” Ah, brethren! I wish that I had a tongue that could speak of this wondrous work as it deserves to be spoken of; but human lips are slow and stammering when they approach this theme. Who can measure or express the love which proves itself by the outpoured blood of the Son of God? Yet this is the gift his love hath bestowed upon us. By “his own blood” I understand not merely the actual blood of his body, but the whole of his griefs and woes and sacrificial death; his giving up himself instead of us, to bear the righteous wrath of God, justly our due. It means just that. There could be no washing for us except he should be in a bloody sweat. There was no washing us unless there was—
“A fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel’s veins.”
There was no making us clean, except by his coming into contact with human sin, and that meant to him what the fire meant to the bullock on the altar. It meant being burnt up with a divine wrath, on account of human sin— wrath most just, most true; for God cannot bear iniquity: it is not right that he should do otherwise than hate it with all the infinite hate of his righteous soul. Christ has washed us “in his own blood.” The priests could only cleanse with blood of bulls and goats; but he has washed us from our sins “in his own blood.” Men are willing enough to shed the blood of others. How readily they will enter upon war! But Christ was willing to shed his own blood, to pour out his soul unto death, that we might be saved. No language can ever fully set forth this marvellous mystery; and as the mighty master of painting threw a veil over a face that he never could depict, so would I leave unspoken the great marvel of Christ’s washing us with his own blood. But let us, who know it to be true in our own experience, lift a glad song in our hearts—
“To him that loved the souls of men,
And wash’d us in his blood;
To royal honours raised our head,
And made us priests to God.”
We cannot meditate on the love of Christ without saying that he loved us effectually. The text says that Christ “loved us, and washed us from our sins”; or, “loosed us from our sins.” You that believe in Christ are washed from all your sins. There is no sin remaining upon you now in the matter of guilt before God. “Who is he that condemneth? It is Christ that died.” You are justified, through Christ, from every sin. You are clean every whit if you have believed in him. “There is therefore now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus.” But we can go further than this, and join with the saints in heaven in saying— “He hath loosed us from our sins;” that is, from the dominion of sin. When Christ pardons sin he kills it, he crucifies it; and crucifixion, you know, means death; but it is a lingering death; and a crucified man lives in pain, without power to work or act; he suffers and lingers. So is it with sin in the believer. It is nailed up, crucified with Christ. You cannot do now what your evil nature suggests to you. A respectable man whom I know said that the other night he was driving along with his old horse. Another man came through the fog, and their horses touched each other; “but”, said he, “we passed very civilly.” But there came along one who looked like a gentleman, driving rather fast; he drove into the poor man’s cart, and instead of making any apology, he cut him across the face with his whip. My friend is a decided Christian, yet he said, “I felt that the old man was in me, and I wanted to give him a cut of my whip in return; but I did not. When I got home I said, ‘The old man is not dead.’ If he had been dead, I should not have felt even a momentary passion. I kept him down, but I felt very angry, and I said to myself, ‘Ah! though you have been a Christian a great many years, the old man is still alive.’” So he is every one of us. He lies like a sneak in the corner; but the day shall come when there shall be no remains of the evil, no trace of sin left in us, and in heaven we shall sing, “He hath loosed us from our sins in his own blood. He has taken the last relic of sin away— every tendency to evil, every possibility of evil;” for it is written, “They are without fault before the throne of God,” and no sin shall ever come into their hearts again. Glory be to his name that such a sanctification as this is possible, and that we shall yet have to sing of it as perfected! Praise to his holy name for the love which ends in such bliss! Hallelujah! He looseth us from the chains of sin, that he may bind us with the bonds of love. This is royal liberty.
“Drawn by such cords, we onward move,
Till round thy throne we meet,
And, captives in the chains of love,
Embrace our Conqueror’s feet.”
Once more, this love of Christ is perpetual: he loves us still. Turning to the Revised Version we do not read, “Unto him that loved us,” but “Unto him that loveth us.” I like that. Jesus loves me still. lie did not finish his love by his death. He loves you still. When he was poor on earth, and despised and rejected of men, he loved you; and now that a royal diadem adorns his blessed brow, and all angels fall down and worship him, he loves you still, and he will always love you. You who believe in him are his pride, his Hephzi-bah, his delight is in you. You can hardly love yourself, can you? When you see your own face in the glass of God’s law, is there any beauty there? Did you ever stand and spiritually admire yourself? If you did, you were a fool. If you truly know your own heart, you cannot find there aught to delight in. You blush. You hide your face for shame. But Christ loves you. “I am black,” said the spouse. She felt that she was very black; but when she looked to her Beloved, and saw what he thought of her, she added, “but comely.” And we can appropriate her language. In myself, “as the tents of Kedar, smoke-dried by the Bedouin, yet am I by grace as the curtains of Solomon, bedight with gold lace and all the embroidery of the workman’s needle. I am both— to myself a thing undone, but in him washed and saved; unlovely, but by him beloved.” Oh, it makes my heart beat within me! I feel as if I could leap into heaven when I think “He loves me! He loves me! He loved me when he died for me: he liveth for me, and he loves me still.”
“Now though he reigns exalted high,
His love is still as great;
Well he remembers Calvary,
Nor let his saints forget.”
If you feel as I do, you will go with me into the other part of the subject: “To him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen.”
II. So, in the second place, LET US GLORIFY THIS LOVING, LIVING SAVIOUR. If we were to do it fitly, we should want to have music such as Handel wrote; and when we should sing of it, if we had all of us perfect voices, we should go home and say, “Ah! it was poor praise compared with what he deserves.” So we will not try any singing, but will talk about something practical.
If we are to glorify Christ, we must gladly confess his name. If you have never acknowledged him and confessed him, begin now, and say, “Unto him that loved me, and washed me from my sins in his own blood; to him be glory.” If you really mean that, you are bound to come out and own that you are his disciple. You cannot say, “To him be glory,” and then hide yourself away, and never seek to bring glory to his name by openly declaring that he is your Lord and Master. Some of you are very like a mouse behind the wainscot. You are in the Lord’s house, but you are not known as one of the family: sometimes you give a little squeak in your hiding-place, and sometimes come out at night, as the mouse does, to pick up a crumb or two, without being seen. Is this worthy of yourself? Is it worthy of your Lord and Master? You are a Christian, you say, but you do not want to be known to be a Christian. A soldier in the Lord’s army, but you never put on your regimentals! You like always to be in mufti. You are afraid lest anybody should know that you are a soldier! If a man behaved like that in the British army, they would drum him out of the regiment. What would be the good of such a fellow? If he is ashamed of her Majesty’s uniform, let him be gone. He is not loyal to his sovereign. I am not going to condemn you who have never come out and owned yourselves followers of Christ: I wish that you would hold a little court, and condemn yourself; and that instead of my drumming you out, you would drum yourself out, and say, “I will not stay any longer in a position where I can be talked to like that. Glory be to him who hath loved me, and washed me in his own blood! I will openly confess him. I will unite myself with his people. I will say, ‘I am his, and he is mine.’” Remember that there is no salvation promised to an unconfessed faith. I boldly put it according to the Word of God. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved.” There is no question that confession is here required. And again it is clearly stated, “He that believeth and is baptized”— which is the confession of him that Christ requires— “shall be saved”; and though confession with the mouth and baptism cannot save, yet the faith to which the promise is made is a faith that dares to confess and come out. “Then, I should have to bear a lot of ridicule,” says one. And are you afraid to follow your Master for fear of ridicule? Remember what, for love of you, he bore. Think what scorn from Pharisees, and hatred and malice from the rulers of the Jews, Christ cheerfully accepted that lie might save you. He shirked not the heavy cross for you; will you not take that little cross for him? He shed his blood to cleanse; and it is not likely that you will ever be called to shed your blood for him. Yet many have done this, and counted it all gladness. Oh, by the martyrs who dared to die for Jesus— three of them on this very spot where we are meeting now, many of them across the water in Smithfield— I beseech you, if you love him that loved you and washed you from your sins in his own blood, to give him at least the glory which would come of a confession that you are saved by him.
“It passeth telling, that dear love of thine,
My Jesus, Saviour; yet these lips of mine
Would fain proclaim to sinners, far and near,
A love which can remove all guilty fear,
And love beget.”
Next, if we really do wish to glorify him, we must shun all sin. A man cannot say, “Unto him that loved me, and washed me from my sins be glory,” and then go off to the ale-bench, and drink with the drunkard. You dare not say, “Unto him be glory,” and then, as a professed Christian, go and do a dishonest deed, or speak a lie, or do that which would be discreditable to yourself, and would bring dishonour on his dear name. If he washed me from my sin with his blood, I must hate sin. It murdered my Lord. It cost him his life to save me from it. How, then, can I, how dare I, toy with it? “How shall we, that are dead to sin, live any longer therein?” How shall we that are washed in his blood, go and stain our garments again, and play with iniquity and trifle with transgression? Remember that you are “loosed” from sin. It no longer holds you captive; the chains are dissolved by the blood of atonement. Why, then, should you go about as if you were in bondage? We shall never have done with sin while we are here; but that is no reason why we should be defiled by it; for the fountain wherein we were washed at first is always open. As the spring of love never ceases to flow, so the efficacy of the blood is never lost. “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” Since death has no more dominion over Christ, sin need have no more dominion over us. “It is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy,” and I beseech you to obey the exhortation; for then, and then only, will you bring glory to him who washed you from your sins in his own blood.
“Blest be thy love, dear Lord,
That taught us this sweet way,
Only to love thee for thyself,
And for that love obey.”
Again, if we truly say, “To him be glory and dominion,” then we must give him dominion over ourselves. Each man is a little empire of three kingdoms— body, soul, and spirit— and it should be a united kingdom. Make Christ king of it all. Do not allow any branch of those three kingdoms to set up for itself a distinct rule; put them all under the sway of your one King. My eyes must not look on vanity; my tongue must not talk uncleanness; my hands must not minister to evil; my feet must not carry me where I should not go; my heart must not wander; my thoughts must not go astray; my imagination must not find pleasure in evil. Every faculty of my nature ought to be given “unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins.” Every ability and possibility, every growth and progress made in knowledge and learning, must be laid at Jesus’ feet. Say, “To him be glory and dominion,” and then make a full surrender of yourself to his sway. So many in these days seem only to want the salvation of Christ without the Christ who gives the salvation. Both go together. He must be Lord of the forgiven soul. He only washes those who will enter his kingdom, and come under his government. Are we not glad to proclaim him King? Reign, blessed Jesus, reign! Reign over my body, soul, and spirit; completely reign. Bring every thought into captivity to thy holy love. Is not that what you are now saying, you that have been washed in his blood?
“Lord, thou hast won, at length I yield;
My heart, by mighty grace compell’d,
Surrenders all to thee;
Against thy terrors long I strove,
But who can stand against thy love?
Love conquers even me.”
And then, next, if we say, “To him be glory and dominion,” we must seek to bring others under his sway. There is some way in which every one of us can do it. Dear brothers and sisters, if you have yielded yourselves to Christ, do not be satisfied till you see your children saved. Begin at home; do not be content till the boys and girls all belong to Christ. Then look after your neighbours. You that are large employers, care for the men who work for you. Do not treat them as “hands”; look at them as souls, and regard them as beings made in God’s image and for his praise. Not only talk, but act. When they are in need, help them. Succour them, that you may by any means draw them to think of their souls, and to desire and pray that they also may be washed from their sins in Christ’s own blood. O beloved, if he is to have dominion, let us each one win a little bit for him! You cannot convert idolatrous China, or heathen India, or the dark continent of Africa. These big things are too much for any one of us; but there is a little kingdom for each one of us to win for Christ, a little bit committed to us, that we may go and conquer it, and fulfil the desire expressed in the text: “To him be glory and dominion.” Watch for souls. Be on the look-out for new ways of serving the Master. As African travellers now seem each very eager to be the first to make a treaty with certain chieftains, that their territory may be annexed to this kingdom or that, so seek to win new conquests for Christ, and attach people to his cause, before they are hopelessly lost to the devil. Perhaps the friend sitting next to you at this service does not yet know the Lord. Could you not have a word with that person before you leave the building? Perhaps, through your message, that heart will be won for Christ.
If we really wish that Christ should have glory and dominion because he has washed us from our sins in his blood, we must do nothing to dishonour him ourselves, and we shall do anything sooner than see his blessed gospel and his holy name dishonoured by others. Oh, I would sooner be accounted as the offscouring of all things than have any part with those who reject or dim the gospel of my Lord and Master! I would sooner be accounted the greatest bigot on earth, and the most stupid fool that ever breathed, than enter into any partnership or brotherhood with those who keep back the cross of Christ, or cast a slur upon the inspiration of holy Scripture. Shall I, who am washed from my sin in the blood of Christ, have any fellowship with those who speak of this highest exhibition of my Lord’s love as “the doctrine of the shambles”? or with one who “hath counted the blood of the covenant, wherewith he was sanctified, an unholy thing”? This were a poor return for the love that bled and died to save me; any dishonour is better than that. When Queen Elizabeth came to a miry place in one of her progresses, you remember how Sir Walter Raleigh, without a moment’s thought, took off his new cloak, which had cost him much, and spread it in the way, that her majesty might walk over it. Havel any honour? Have I any reputation? Have I any name? I will throw it down. Let it go on the miry place that my Lord may tread on it, and no mire may come on him. May we all, who know that we are loosed from our sins, get into just that spirit which, whenever men are finding fault with the gospel, will say, “Here, find fault with me; turn all your attention to me; only spare my Lord.” Christ is set in the pillory, and men are pelting him. He is the true lover of Christ who comes up to the pillory, and stands in front of him, ready to take the blows aimed at has Lord; who drinks in so much, of the character of Christ that he can truly use that language which is first employed with reference to the zeal of Christ himself: “The reproaches of them that reproached thee are fallen upon me.” He is not honoured whom men honour. He is honoured who is made a laughing-stock for Christ’s sake. “Blessed are ye when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven.” Get this spirit into you: “Unto him that loved us, and washed us from our sins, be glory and dominion.” “There”, said a dying man, who was in a ditch when the great Emperor Napoleon rode by, and he heard a shout of victory, “let me die: the Emperor has conquered.” And oh! may not you and I be well content to be blotted out and forgotten, so long as Christ the King shall come to his own again? He soon shall triumph. With the ear of faith you may almost hear his chariot-wheels. He cometh! He cometh quickly; and happy shall he be in that day who now has been despised lest Christ should be dishonoured! With what joy shall we meet our Lord when he takes to himself his great power and reigns! With what rapture shall we fall at his feet if we have been true to him and to his truth! For his love is founded on his truth, and triumphs through it.
I have done when I have added this one thing more. Unto him that loved and laved us, let us give all glory and dominion; but if we would do that, we must not be cold and indifferent about holy things. You know what kind of hearers some people are. You may say what you will to them, but they are never moved. I believe that if a half-hundred-weight of dynamite were put under the seat, it would hardly move them. They are so solid, so cold. Can I hear of that dear name, and never catch the sacred fire? Can I think of Calvary, and still my heart remain cold and chill? Can I behold that marred face, that “sacred head once wounded”, and my soul not thrill with gratitude? Can I see those cruel nails and that terrible thorn-crown; can I taste the vinegar, and handle the sponge, and yet never feel one warm affection within my spirit? God forbid! Oh, my Saviour, let my heart rejoice or ache, but let it not be hard and cold! Let me adore thee with every power of my redeemed manhood all aglow with holy fervour.
“But ah! how faint our praises rise!
Sure, ’tis the wonder of the skies
That we, who share his richest love,
So cold and unconcem’d should prove.”
Surely, if “we have known and believed the love that God hath to us,” we shall find some answering spark of affection to him in our hearts. If we mean to give him the glory and dominion, we must give him our love and devotion. Our love must ever be as the echo to his. It cannot be that we can receive such abounding, overflowing bounty, and remain indifferent to the Giver. His interests must surely be our chief concern. We must be moved to seek first the things which concern him who hath bestowed on us such wonderful grace. Wake up, dear brethren, if you are getting into a cold state! Some religion seems to be altogether a matter of the drum; that will not do: but there are occasions when the drum may rightly be used. There are seasons when the cornet, harp, dulcimer, and all kinds of music ought to be heard. There are times for the holy dance and the joyous song. There are periods when enthusiasm must rule the hour, when the spirit must feel that she is all wing, that she mounts and soars, and whether in the body or out of the body, she cannot tell. May such a moment as that be yours just now! Blessed be the name of the Lord for ever! To him be glory and dominion! Hallelujah! Let us all say it. Let us all feel it. Let us all live it. Amen, and Amen!