Members of Christ
“For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” — Ephesians v. 30.
YESTERDAY, when I had the painful task of speaking at the funeral of our dear friend, Mr. William Olney, I took the text which I am going to take again now. I am using it again because I did not then really preach from it at all, but simply reminded you of a favourite expression of his, which I heard from his lips many times in prayer. He very frequently spoke of our being one with Christ in “living, loving, lasting union” — three words which, in addition to being alliterative, are very comprehensive as to the nature of our union with Christ. Those three words, you will remember, were the heads of my discourse, in the presence of that remarkable gathering which crowded this place to do honour to the memory of our brother, whose highest ambition was always to honour his Lord, whom he so faithfully served.
Paul here speaks only of true believers, men who are quickened by divine grace and made alive unto God. Of them, he says, not by way of romance, nor of poetical exaggeration, but as an undisputed matter of fact, “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” That there is a true union between Christ and his people is no fiction or dream of a heated imagination. Sin separated us from God, and in undoing what sin has done, Christ joins us to himself in a union more real than any other in the whole world.
This union is very near, and very dear, and very complete. We are so near to Christ, that we cannot be nearer; for we are one with him. We are so dear to Christ, that we cannot be dearer. Consider how close and tender is the tie when it is true that Christ loved us, and gave himself for us. It is a union more intimate than any other which exists amongst men; for “Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” We were his enemies when Christ died for us, that he might save us, and make us so one with himself, that from him our life should be drawn, and that in him our life should be hid. It is, then, a very near and dear union which Christ has established between himself and his redeemed; and this union could not be more complete than it is.
It is, also, a most wonderful union. The more you think of it, the more you will be astonished, and stand in sacred awe before such a marvel of grace. Well did Kent say—
“O sacred union, firm and strong,
How great the grace, how sweet the song,
That worms of earth should ever be
One with Incarnate Deity!”
But so it is. Even the incarnation of Christ is not more wonderful than his living union with his people. It is a thing to be considered often; it is the wonder of the skies; and is chief among those things which “the angels desire to look into.” On the surface of this truth you may not see much; but the longer you gaze, and the more the Holy Spirit assists you in your meditation, the more you will see in this wonderful sea of glass mingled with fire. My soul exults in the doctrine that Christ and his people are everlastingly one.
This is a very cheering doctrine. He that understands it has an ocean of music in his soul. He that can really grasp and feed upon it will often sit in the heavenly places with his Lord, and anticipate the day when he shall be with him, and shall be like him. Even now, since we are one with him, there is no distance between us, we are nearer to him than anything else can ever be. The very idea of union makes us forget all distance: indeed, distance is altogether annihilated. Love joins us so closely with Christ, that he becomes more to us than our very selves; and though now we see him not, yet believing, we rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.
In passing, I may say that this doctrine is very practical. It is not merely a piece of sugar for your mouth; it is a light for your path, for “he that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk even as he walked.” We must take care that the love that was round about Christ’s feet, is always shining on our path. We must go about doing good, following in the steps of our Lord. It would be giving the lie to this doctrine if we lived in sin; for, if we are one with him, then must we be in this world even as he was; and being filled with his Spirit, must seek to reproduce his life before the world.
These thoughts may serve as an introduction to a fuller consideration of this great subject; and I shall begin by saying that, in Holy Scripture, the union between Christ and his people is set forth under various forms. Then I will try to show you that the metaphor in our text is full of meaning; and, in the third place, I will prove to you that the doctrine of our union with Christ has its practical lessons. As we delight our hearts in the glorious truth that “we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones,” may we determine to live as those who are thus closely joined to the Lord of life!
I. Our first thought is, that THIS UNION IS SET FORTH UNDER SEVERAL FORMS. The blessed fact is almost beyond our highest thought: what wonder, then, that language fails adequately to describe it! Simile after simile is used. I am only going to mention four of them.
The union between Christ and the believer is described as the union of the foundation and the stone. “To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house.” We are built on Christ, and built up into him. We lie upon him just as the stone rests on the foundation. Well may we sing—
“All my hope on thee is stayed,
All my help from thee I bring”!
The stone is one with the foundation in its dependence. In the time of our need we press the closer to Christ; the heavier our hearts, the more we bear our weight upon him. It is the heavy stone that clings to the foundation; the light stone, perchance, might be blown away. But we cling at all times, depending wholly upon him, even as the stone rests upon the rock beneath. The stone does not bear up its own weight: it just rests where it is put. So do we rest on Christ. He is the foundation, and we repose on him.
Again, the stone is one with the foundation in its adhesion. In the course of time, the stone becomes more and more knit to it. When first the mortar is placed there, and is wet, you might shake the stone. But, by-and-by, the mortar dries, and the stone seems to bite into the foundation, and holds fast to it. In old Roman walls, you cannot get a stone away; for the cement, which joins the stone to its fellow, is as strong as the stone itself; and, truly, that which joins us to Christ is stronger than we are. We might be broken, but the bond of love, which holds us like a mighty cement to Christ, who is our foundation, car never be broken away. We have actually become one with him, as I have often seen stones in the walls of an old castle become one with each other. You could not get them away; they were part and parcel of the wall, and it would have been necessary to blow the wall to pieces before you could separate the stones from one another. So have we, by God’s grace, become one with Christ, experimentally and indissolubly. The course of years has bound us still faster to him.
The stone is one with the foundation, moreover, in its design. The architect, in placing the stone, was following out his plan. He planned the foundation, and thought of every course; and the stone is essential to the wall, even as the foundation is essential to the stone. Thus we are one with Christ in the design of God. Reverently we say it, that God’s purpose comprehends not only Christ, but the whole company of his elect; and without his chosen people, the design of Jehovah can never be accomplished. He is building a temple to his praise; but a temple cannot be all foundation. There is a necessity for every stone in the wall; in the divine purpose, there is a necessity that such a one should be a living stone, and such a one should be another living stone. The weakest and the meanest of the Lord’s people are as necessary as the noblest and most beautiful, though indeed all are without any praise until they are built into the wall. He that chose Christ, chose all his people; he arranged that they should be built up together, and in him “all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord.” Oh, I like to think of each one of us, however insignificant we may appear to be, as being bricks or stones in that great temple of almighty grace! Perhaps some of us may stand where everybody can see us. Others may be embedded in the wall, where nobody can see us; but what does it matter? If we are in the wall at all, it is well. Wherever we are placed, we are joined to Christ; and therefore no one has a pre-eminence over any other, because we are all alike built upon the one foundation, even Jesus Christ our Lord, into whom we daily grow, pressing closer and closer to him in experience, and holding tighter and tighter to him by faith.
The second aspect in which our union with Christ is represented in the Scriptures, is that of the vine and the branches. “I am the vine, ye are the branches,” is the word of Christ to his disciples. The former simile of the foundation and the stone does not suggest any idea of life. Hence, the apostle, in using it, had to speak of Christ as a living stone, and of us as living stones. It is a somewhat odd figure, and yet it is strictly true; for you and I have no more spiritual life in us than stones, except as a miracle makes us live; and then, though we are living, yet, like stones, we are apparently inert and lifeless, albeit we are really quickened by a supernatural work, and made living stones. But the figure is not congruous.
This second simile, however, conveys to us the idea of life, for a vine is no vine if it is dead, and its branches are no true branches unless they are alive. There is a living union between Christ and his people; and I hope that I can appeal to the experience of many hero present who know that there is a living union between them and Christ. Happy is the man who can say, “I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me”!
The union is even more than a union of life; it is a union of derived life. The branch is in such union with the stem that it receives all its sap from it; it could not live unless the living juices flowed from the stem into it. And such is our life. Christ pours his lifeblood into us. Perpetually, as long as he exists, he seems to be oozing out into his people. In fact, when his wounds were open, he bled life into us; and when his heart was burst, he changed our hearts, and gave them life, though they once were hearts of stone. We are so one with Christ, that we at first received our life from him, and we continue to receive it from him every moment.
In consequence of the life of Christ in us, we grow. The growing of the branch is really the growing of the vine. It is because the stem grows that it sends its growth into the branch, and manifests it there. As Christ pours his life-force into us, he makes us grow, to the praise of the glory of his grace.
Fruit-bearing is the ultimate end of our union to Christ. We are one with him that we may bring forth fruit unto his praise. Dear friends, are we really doing this? Are we not satisfied with a nominal union to Christ, even though we bear no fruit to his honour? We ought to be very distressed when we are barren and unfruitful; remembering that the great Husbandman has a sharp knife, and that it is written, “Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away.” Oh, that none of my hearers may ever be in Christ in that false way, but may wo all be in him in a union so true and vital as shall cause us to bear fruit to his praise; for then, though we shall be pruned, we shall never be cut off from the vine!
The third metaphor which the Saviour deigns to give of this union is that of the husband and the wife. “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church.” Here you have a union, not only of life, but also of love. It is worthy of notice that the two words, “live” and “love”, should be so like each other. In spiritual things, the two things are not only similar, they are exactly alike. Love is the life; and life is always first sent, and chiefly sent in the form of love.
With the true husband, his wife is himself. The Scripture saith, “He that loveth his wife loveth himself;” and I believe that Christ considers that, when he loves his church, he loves himself. His care for us is now his care for himself. Since he has taken us to be in eternal wedded union with himself, he regards us as himself, and he cares for us as he cares for himself: “For we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” No sane man will injure his own flesh. “No man ever yet hated his own flesh; but nourisheth and cherisheth it, even as the Lord the church.” So Christ takes care of his people, because he regards them as being bound to himself by those bonds which make them to be as himself. Hence we are kept as the apple of his eye.
Remember that, in every family, the wife is the mother of the children; and so it is in the church of Christ. He would have us all bear unto him a holy spiritual seed. If we abide in him, we shall be able to propagate our faith, and bring others into the church. Every believer should have this object before him as the joy of his life; for thus shall Christ “see his seed, he shall prolong his days, and the pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in his hand.”
The wife, too, is the keeper of the house. She takes care of the household concerns of her husband. And so would the Lord Christ have his people care for his interests, and for all that belongs to him; for he has committed these things to us, as the husband commits his treasure to his wife. He has left us in custody of all that he has. In one sense we are the stewards of his household, but in another and a dearer sense, we are united to him by marriage bonds which can never be broken. It is a sweet subject; but I cannot linger upon it. You must let your own thoughts be fragrant with its aroma. However close may be the union of husband and wife, the union between the believer and Christ is closer still. Oh, to realize more and more of it each day!
“O Jesus! make thyself to me
A living, bright reality;
More present to faith’s vision keen
Than any outward object seen.
More dear, more intimately nigh,
Than e’en the sweetest earthly tie!”
All human imagery fails to set forth the union between Christ and his people; but the figure in our text is that of the head and the members. The apostle says of Christ, that “we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” Christ is the Head, and we are members of his body. Wonderful union this! In the first metaphor, the foundation and the stone, we had the idea of rest: in the second the vine and the branches, the idea of life; the union of husband and wife gave us the thought of love; now here we have the suggestion of identity. There are two lives in the husband and the wife, but there is only one life in the head and the body; and in this respect this metaphor brings out the true relation of Christ to his people more clearly than any other.
There is a wonderful union between the head and the members of the body. It is a union of life, and a union of the body which always continues. The husband may have to travel miles away from the wife; but it can never be that the head can travel away from the body. If I were to hear of any man whose head was a foot, or even an inch, away from his body, I should say that he was dead. There must be perpetual union between the head and the members, or else death follows; and the death, mark you, not only of the body, but of the head as well. They are dead when they are divided. How glorious is this thought when we apply it to the Lord and his redeemed people! Their union is everlasting. They would die if separated from him, and even he would cease to be did he lose them; for, somehow or other, they are so joined, that he will not be without them: he cannot be without them, for that were for the Head of the church to be divided from the members of his mystical body. Thus it is that we are able to sing—
“And this I do find, we two are so joined,
He’ll not be in glory, and leave me behind.”
II. having thus shown you these four figures—and there are others, but I have not time to speak upon them—I now come to the one before us in the text, and remark that THIS METAPHOR IS FULL OF MEANING: “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones.” There are seven points to which I would ask your attention.
There is here union of life, union of relationship, and union of service. See what I mean. Your hand never studies what it can do for the head; but when the head wishes the hand uplifted, immediately up goes the hand; and when the head wishes that the hand should go down, down it goes in an instant. There is no deliberation or discussion about the matter. The head and the members, in a healthy body, are practically one. If you happen to be ill, it may be different. I have sometimes seen, in a person semi-paralyzed, the leg throw itself out without any guidance from the head; I have seen the hand quiver and tremble without the will of the head; and sometimes— how often has it happened to me! — the head has willed that the hand should turn over the pages of a book, and the hand has been unable to do it. When disease gets into the system, straightway the members do not obey the head; but in a healthy body, the head does but will a thing, and at once the hand fulfils it. Did you never notice when you were falling, how, without thought, your hands always tried to save your head? If any person were about to strike you, you would not deliberate; but up would go your arm to protect your head. This law is also true in the spiritual life. All true Christians will do anything to save their Head. He saved us, and now our desire is to save him. We cannot bear that he should be insulted, that his gospel should be despised, or that anything should be done against his sacred dignity. We are so one with our glorious Head, that the moment anyone strikes at him, up goes our hand immediately in his defence. Oh! I trust that you know what this means; if you are ever put to the pain of hearing Christ’s gospel falsely preached, or seeing professedly Christian men bringing disgrace upon his dear name, you feel at once that you would rather bear any pain, or any reproach, than that Christ should be injured. The hand is so one with the head, that it endeavours to screen it.
Between the head and the members there is also union of feeling. If the head aches, you feel it all over, you are altogether ill; and if your finger aches, your head does not feel well. There is such a sympathy between all parts of the body that, “whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it. Now, ye are the body of Christ, and members in particular.” Christ is our Head, and the Head specially suffers with the members. I do not know whether it is always so clear that one hand suffers with another hand, as it is clear that the head suffers with either hand. So is it in the church. It may not always be clear that all the members sympathize with one another, but it is always clear that Christ sympathizes with each one of his people. There is a quicker way, somehow, from the head to the hand, than there is from one hand to the other; and there is a keener sympathy between Christ and his people than there often is between one of his servants and another. It is written concerning his people that “In all their affliction he was afflicted.” In all thy sorrows, child of God, thy heavenly Head feels the pain!
There is, moreover, a union of mutual necessity between the members and the head. The head wants the body. Now, I must speak very guardedly here, when I refer the thought to Christ, but still it is true. What would my head be without my body? It would be a ghastly sight. And Christ without his people would be incomplete. A dying Christ, redeeming nobody! A living Christ, with no one to live by his life, would be a grim failure! Christ on Calvary, and souls going down to hell, with none saved by his precious blood! Christ incarnate on the cross, without a single man saved by his incarnation and his death! It would be a fearful sight. The church is said to be Christ’s fulness — “The church, which is his body, the fulness of him that filleth all in all.” This is a wonderful expression. Now, the fulness of the head is the body; take the body away from the head, what is it? As to the body, what could it be without the head? If your head were gone, you could not have swiftness of foot, or deftness of hand, or strength of heart. No; there remains nothing for the head if it is severed from the body; and nothing for the body if it is separated from the head. There is between them a union of mutual necessity.
There is, farther, between the head and the members a union of nature. I will not attempt to describe the chemical composition of human flesh; but it is quite clear that my head is made of the same flesh as my members. There is no difference between the flesh of the one and the flesh of the other. So, though our covenant Head is now in heaven, and his feet are on earth, yet still Christ is so one by nature with his people, that he is very man of very man, as much as he is very God of very God. If you deny his humanity, I do not think that you will long hold his divinity. And if you deny his Deity, you have sadly destroyed the perfection of his humanity; for a perfect man he could not be if he so acted as to make men think that he was God when he was not. To us he is God-Man in one person, whom we love and adore; his nature is the same as our nature, and we are joined to him for ever.
“Lord, Jesus, are we ONE with thee?
Oh, height! Oh, depth of love!
With thee we died upon the tree,
In thee we live above.
“Oh, teach us, Lord, to know and own
This wondrous mystery,
That thou with us art truly ONE,
And we are ONE with thee!”
Between Christ and his people there is also a union of possession. Nothing belongs to my head that does not belong to my hand. Whatever my head can claim as its own, my hand may claim as its own. Whatever belongs to Christ belongs to you, poor believer! Since Christ is rich, can you be poor? Even his Father is your Father, and his heaven is your heaven; for you are so one with him that all the broad possessions of his infinite wealth are given freely to you. He bestows upon you his bounty, not only “to the half of the kingdom”, but the whole of it. Joined to him, all that he has is yours.
Between the Lord and his church there is also a union of present condition. Christ is very dear to his Father’s heart. “This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased,” was the word which came from the opened heaven concerning Christ; and as God delights in Christ, so is he also well pleased with you who are in Christ. Yea, he is as pleased with you as he is with Christ; for he sees you in Christ, and Christ in you. God makes no division between you and him to whom he has joined you. “What therefore God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” Certainly God will never separate that which he has united in Christ. Do not put yourself asunder from Christ, even in your thoughts, by supposing that you are not well-beloved of God even as is your covenant Head.
Last of all, there is a union of future destiny. Whatever Christ is to be, you are to be a sharer of it all. How can you die while Jesus lives? How can the body die, while the head lives? If we go through the waters, they cannot overflow us until they overflow our head. While a man’s head is above water, he cannot be drowned. And Christ up yonder, in the eternities of glory, can never be conquered: neither can those be vanquished who are one with him. For ever and for ever, till the Christ shall die, till the immortal Son of God expires, you who are united to him in the purpose of God, and in the faith which now lays hold of him, shall live and reign. “Because I live, ye shall live also.” Is not that a quietus to every fear of destruction? You are so one with him that, when the sun becomes a burnt-out coal, and the moon is turned into a clot of blood, when the stars fall as the leaves of autumn, and heaven and earth shall melt away, going back into the nothingness from which Omnipotence hath called them, you shall live, for he shall live who is your Head. “We believe that we shall also live with him: knowing that Christ being raised from the dead dieth no more; death hath no more dominion over him.” Where he goes we shall follow. I have heard it said that, when a thief is able to get his head through the bars of the window, his body can easily follow. I am not sure of that; but I know that whore my Lord has gone, his members shall surely be. “I am he that liveth, and was dead; and, behold, I am alive for evermore,” is a word that is meant for your consolation. Take it home. “We are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones,” and, as Doddridge sings—
“Since Christ and we are one,
Why should we doubt or fear?
If he in heaven hath fixed his throne,
He’ll fix his members there.”
III. Lastly, and briefly, THIS DOCTRINE HAS ITS PRACTICAL LESSONS, which I will try to set forth plainly, so that those of us who are members of Christ may bring greater joy and glory to our Head than we have brought aforetime.
To begin with, I would say, if we are indeed one with Christ, we should have no doubt about it. It used to be a fashion, and I fear it is in some quarters still, to think that mistrust of our own condition, and doubt concerning our own salvation, is a kind of virtue. I have met with good people, who would not say that they were saved; they “hoped” that they were; and I have met with others who were not sure that they were cleansed by the precious blood of Christ; they “trusted” that they were. This state of mind is not a credit either to Christ, or to ourselves. If I told my son something, and he were to say to me, “I hope you will keep your word, father,” I should not feel that he treated me as he ought. Surely, to believe Christ up to the hilt is the way to honour him. If we are one with him, we lose the comfort of it if we do not know certainly the fact of our blessed union; we miss much of the confidence that comes of it if we do not clearly apprehend the reality ; and we are robbed of much of the joy which it brings, and know little of the meaning of that word “ the joy of the Lord is your strength,” unless we believe simply like children, and take the word to mean what it says, and are certain about it. This is an age of doubt; but, as for me, I will have none of it; I have doubted enough, and more than enough; I have done with it long ago; and I can say with Paul, “I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day.” Salvation is by faith. Damnation comes by doubt. Doubt is the death of all comfort, the destruction of all force, the enemy of God and man.
If we are one with Christ, we should go through the world like princes ; we should be like Abraham among his fellows, who claimed no princedom, and wore no crown, yet who could say to the King of Sodom what he had already vowed to God, “ I will not take from a thread unto a shoe-latchet, and I will not take anything that is thine, lest thou shouldest say, I have made Abram rich.” If you are one with Christ, treat the world in that way. O world, thou canst not bless me! God hath blessed me. Thou canst not curse me! God hath blessed me. Dost thou laugh? Laugh, if it pleaseth thee. Dost thou frown? What signifieth it to me? If God has smiled upon me, thou mayest spurn me. If I am one with Christ, I expect that thou shouldest think but little of me; for thou didst spurn my Head. Should the body of Christ expect better treatment than the Head received?
If we are one with Christ, we shall remember that to dishonour ourselves is to implicate our Lord. If I dishonour any part of my body, my head feels the shame of it; and since we are the members of Christ, we should be very careful how we behave, lest we should cause him pain. Men will judge of Christ by his people. If I caught sight of a pair of legs very unsteadily walking along the street, I should be inclined to say that they belonged to a drunken head. If our walk among men is not such “as becometh the gospel”, what hard thoughts those around us may have of our Saviour! Of course, we know that any ill estimate of him will be false, for he is all fair, and there is no spot in him; but still his name and his cause will suffer dishonour. Let us not, then, injure or defile ourselves, lest we should bring reproach upon him whom we love!
In the next place, if we are one with him, to think of him should be very natural. There are many of us who could say, without any exaggeration, that, though we do not think so much of our Lord as we should, and are not so much with him in contemplation as we desire, yet we have spent more time with him than we have spent with anybody else, more than with wife, or children, or our dearest companions in the church or in the world. And we know him better than we know anybody else. Little as we know compared with what we hope to know, yet his love has become to us now the brightest, the most conspicuous fact in all our history. We know but few things; but we know that we are one with Christ in a union never to be broken. We know him, too, by our intercourse with him. We saw him this morning; we have seen him during the day; we shall see him again to-night. I should not like to go to bed with any other thought upon my mind than this—
“Sprinkled afresh with pardoning blood,
I lay me down to rest,
As in the embraces of my God,
Or on my Saviour’s breast.”
If we are one with him, to live with him should be the most natural thing in our lives. Have I not heard, however, of some professors who have not had communion with Christ for many a day? I talked once with a brother, who said a great deal about many things; and when he had complained of this and of that, I leant forward to him, and said, “Brother, how long is it since you have had close fellowship with Christ?” He answered, “Oh, there you have got me!” When I asked him, “What do you mean by that?” he answered, “I am afraid that I have not had fellowship with Christ for months.” I had suspected that it must have been so, or else his conversation would not have been of the kind it was. What a sad thing it must be for a wife to live in her husband’s house, and not speak to him for weeks! But how much worse it is for us to profess to be one with Christ, and yet have no sort of communication with him by the month together! This is something perfectly horrible. God save us all from such a thing! May we think continually of our Lord, and ever live with him, because we are one with him!
Again, being one with Christ, to serve him should be very natural. Indeed we exist but to do his will, and to glorify his name. Of what use are my hands and feet unless they move at the impulse of my head? They are but encumbrances unless they are ready to obey the bidding of my mind. If your arms hang helpless, you do not know what to do with them; whichever side you turn, they are in the way. To be paralyzed is most unnatural, yet I fear me there are many of us of but little use to our Master. We hear his word, but do not obey it; he calls for helpers, and we run not at his bidding! Come, come, this will not do. We are members of Christ, and the one purpose of our life should be to serve our Head. God help us all to do it!
I will not continue longer. I leave you to draw the many inferences which naturally spring from our being one with Christ. Our heaven lies in our union with him. Ay, and sometimes when we realize our oneness with Christ, we can hardly think that we should be happier in heaven than we are now! May you all have this enjoyment! Oh, you would think that we raved, if we told you the unspeakable delight, the immeasurable bliss, which communion with Christ has brought into our souls. I desire that all of you should know the same rapture. I never enjoy a thing without wishing everybody to enjoy it; therefore, when I come to this point of being one with Christ, and the delight it brings, I would to God that you all knew it, too! But alas! you do not; some of you do not even desire it. I have been talking something like Dutch to some of you to-night; you have not comprehended my language at all. May the very fact that you have not understood it, or cared about it, lead you to suspect that there is a joy which you have not known, and a life which you have not found; and when you know that it is so, “Seek ye the Lord while he may be found, call ye upon him while he is near.” If you seek him with all your heart, you will surely find him; and very soon you also will be brought into “living, loving, lasting union” with Christ.
Remember that the least touch of faith is sufficient to save the soul. That poor woman, who came behind Christ in the throng, only touched the hem of his garment, yet that timid touch brought healing and health to her. Virtue went out of him into her, and she was made whole of her plague. If thou canst only touch the Lord by the finger of thy faith, ay, though it be thy little finger, it shall be well with thee; though thy hand be quivering with the palsy of unbelief, yet, still, if thou hast faith enough to touch him, to come into contact with him, thou hast set the whole machinery of salvation in motion. God give thee to find eternal life even now! Why not? If my dear friend were here, of whom this drapery is a memorial, he would say to me, “Oh, tell them to taste and see that the Lord is good; blessed are all they that trust in him!” You know how fond he was of that verse we sang yesterday—
“Oh, make but trial of his love;
Experience will decide
How blest are they, and only they,
Who in his truth confide!”
God bless you all, for Christ’s sake! Amen.