Recruits for King Jesus
“And there came of the children of Benjamin and Judah to the hold unto David. And David went out to meet them, and answered and said unto them, If ye he come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you: but if ye be come to betray me to mine enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it. Then the spirit came upon Amasai, who was chief of the captains, and he said, Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee. Then David received them, and made them captains of the band.”— 1 Chronicles xii. 16—18.
AT this time David was in the hold— I suppose in the stronghold of Ziklag, which the king of the Philistines had given to him. It was in that fortress-town that he received a welcome addition to his band. David was an exile; and it is not every man who cares to cast in his lot with a banished nobleman. He was outlawed, and his sovereign would have slain him with his own hand if he had found opportunity: few care to stake their all with a man in such a condition. The many who were on Saul’s side spoke very bitterly of David, and, wishing to curry favour with the king, they slandered him to the blackest degree: few respectable people care to associate themselves with a person who is in ill-repute. Many to whom he had done no ill were eager to betray David, and sell him into the hand of his enemy; for men sought their own gain, and cared not whom they sold, so long as they clutched the price: it was no small thing for a band of men to unite with a man upon whose head a price was set. David had to stand upon his guard, for traitors were all around: the men of Keilah would have delivered him up when he went in all simplicity of heart within their gates. The fortunes of David were at a low ebb, and hence when these men came to David they did a valorous action— an action which he would be sure to remember in the after-days of his triumph.
I want to run a parallel between the case of David and that of our Lord Jesus Christ. At the present moment our Lord Jesus, the Son of David, is still in the hold. Among the men of this world he is not yet enthroned: their hearts go after another prince, and as yet the kingdom has not come to the Son of David. I know that he reigns in heaven, and that he is in very deed King of kings and Lord of lords; but before the eyes of the mass of men he is still despised and rejected. His people, as yet, are but a feeble folk, and often hard put to it; while his kingdom is ridiculed, his claims are derided, and his yoke is scorned. The doctrines which he preached are tossed to and fro like a ball; and men at the present time are glorying in science or tradition, in reason or in speculation; yea, they speak as if human wisdom would soon wipe out the very name of Christianity. It is not so in truth before God; but it is so in appearance before men. This is an age of blasphemy and of rebuke for our Lord the King. Brave are they who will stand to Christ in this, the day of his exile. They shall be right royally rewarded who will now take up his cause, and will go forth to him without the camp, bearing his reproach. He is the man for the Lord Jesus who can now run the gauntlet of miles of scoffers, and be willing to be called a fool, a madman, or an idiot for his name’s sake. Blessed are they who are not ashamed this day to bear the name of Christ written out large; and to confess that, after the way which men call “orthodoxy,” so worship they the Lord God of their fathers. The philosophic Christian may escape if he will drown the Christian in the philosopher; but this is not to stand out square for Christ. It does our heart good nowadays to meet with a few brethren who are not ashamed still to believe in the merit of the Redeemer’s precious blood, and in the power of his Spirit to regenerate. We feel at home when we drop in with a few who believe in prayer, and expect the Lord to interpose on the behalf of his people. I say, blessed are they who, like these men of Benjamin and Judah, are willing to go to the King in the hold, and take up his cause though it be at a low ebb, and stand up for him when the many are ready to trample him down, and are ridiculing his work and his cause. For my own part, I never loved my Lord better than now that he is defamed; and his truth is all the dearer to me because it is flouted by the worldlywise.
It is to those who will volunteer for Jesus that I am about to speak; and our first head is, that using the text as a parable we have here a commendable example. It is a commendable example for men to join themselves with Christ while he is at a discount. Secondly, here is a cautious inquiry. When David sees these men come he does not at once receive them with open arms, but there is a reserve about him till he has asked them a question or two. He wants to know who they are before he writes down their names in his muster-roll. And, thirdly, here is a very cordial enlistment as they answer to bis question, and say, “Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse; for thy God helpeth thee.”
I. First, then, here is A VERY COMMENDABLE EXAMPLE. May the Holy Spirit lead many of my dear hearers to follow it.
Many of these men of Benjamin and Judah, in the first place, went to join themselves to David because they had heard that he was the Lord’s anointed. They understood that Samuel had gone down to Ramah, and, in the days of David’s youth, had anointed him in the name of the Lord to be king instead of Saul. Therefore they said, “Whom God anoints we will follow,” and they came after David. It was fit that they should be loyal to David if they would be obedient to God.
Now, it is within the belief, I trust, of all assembled here, that the Lord God Almighty has anointed “one chosen out of the people” to be his King in Zion— the King of his church for ever and ever; and that one chosen out of the people is Jesus of Nazareth, of the house of David, who is himself, as man, the servant of God, but who is also divine, and counts it not robbery to be equal with God. We have, I trust, all of us drunk in this doctrine, that the Lord Jesus is the Anointed of God, the very Word of God, in whom dwelleth all the fulness of the Godhead bodily. Now, it seems to me that if it be so, the next inevitable step for men who fear God is to go forth and follow the Lord’s Anointed. If Jesus be the Messiah, the sent One of God, in the name of everything that is gracious and right let us follow him. God has given him to be a leader and a commander to the people; let us rally to his banner without delay. If the Lord has anointed Jesus to be a prince and a Saviour, let him be our prince and our Saviour at once. Let us render him obedience and confidence, and openly avow the same. Our Lord puts it thus— “If I tell you the truth, why do ye not believe me?” The argument is irresistible with true-hearted men. If any of you believe that Jesus is anointed to be the Saviour of men, I say that you are unreasonable if you do not practically accept him as such. But if you are willing to come right straight out, and say, “Let others do as they will; as for me, I will be the loving servant of the anointed of the Lord”; then you act rightly, and render a reasonable service. What better argument can I find with just and reasonable persons than this? You believe that God has anointed Jesus, therefore accept him for yourself. If these men followed David because God had anointed him, infinitely more binding is it upon you and upon me, believing that God has anointed Jesus of Nazareth to be the King, for us to follow him, that we may be found faithful to his cause and kingdom. Oh, my dear hearers, I am perplexed about some of you: you call Jesus Lord, and yet you do not obey him; you own that he is the Saviour, and yet you do not trust in him for salvation. Do think this over, and may the Holy Ghost lead you to a sensible decision. If Jesus be God’s anointed, led him be your beloved.
Next, these men, no doubt many of them, followed David because of his personal excellencies. They had heard of him— of what he was in his youth, what he had been at home, and at court, and in the army, and in the day of battle. He had behaved admirably everywhere, and these warriors had heard of it. I should not wonder if some of them remembered that, when he was a youth and ruddy, he came forth with his sling and stone and smote the giant foe of Israel on the forehead. Perhaps they had heard of all his mighty acts that he did when, as Saul’s captain, he went in and out before the host and did valiantly in the name of the Most High. And when they heard of his gentleness, and of his courtesy, and of all the many virtues which adorned him, making him so greatly different from those leaders of freebooting bands who were so common in that land, I do not wonder if they enthusiastically gave themselves up to be the loyal followers of this David the son of Jesse. A good soldier should have a good captain: a good captain deserves good soldiers. These men of war argued well when they enlisted under David. But how shall I commend the Lord Jesus Christ to you that are of a noble spirit? Was there ever any like unto him? Who among the good, the great, the brave, the beautiful, can be likened unto him? He left the courts of heaven that he might save men. Love brought him from glory to be the Redeemer of his enemies! Being found in fashion as a man, he gave himself up to death, even the death of the cross for love of men. All his life long he did valiantly for the Lord his God, in all holiness and righteousness, defeating every temptation and overcoming all evil, and he ended his labour by going up to the cross to enter into personal duel with death and hell, therein overthrowing all the powers of evil on the behalf of his people. Oh, could I paint his face, and could you see it as it is beheld by the eyes of God, you would all be enamoured of him! Oh, could all men know how good he is, how gracious he is, as some of us do know; even if they only went to that partial extent, surely no men would stand out, but the Prince Immanuel would win all hearts! All these young men and all the vast multitude who gather to this Tabernacle would gladly take up their cross, and follow after Jesus at once, if they had any idea of his surpassing excellence. O my soul, how wouldst thou rejoice if men would come at once to Jesus! Oh to hear you all say, “We also will be with Jesus in the day of his derision and his scorn; for we see what he is, and there is none like him. He shall be our King and our Captain, for he is the chief among ten thousand, and the altogether lovely.” He, being such a One, and so worthy of the anointing which he has received of God, I do as his recruiting sergeant commend him to every one here. Oh, that you would all become his true followers at once; for he deserves the love and loyalty of every one of you. If ye would be safe and happy, come to my Lord, and be henceforth his servants. If ye would fight a good fight, enlist beneath this glorious “Captain of our salvation.”
There was a third reason why brave spirits resolved to enlist under David, and that was, that he was so cruelly persecuted by Saul— so misrepresented and abused by his enemies. There are some cringing, fawning spirits in this world, who must always go with the majority. What everybody says they say: they take their cue from those who lead the fashion of the hour. They ask leave of common custom to breathe or eat. They dare not swallow down their spittle till they have obtained permission so to do. Cringing, fawning sycophants of all that is great, and all that is fashionable, scarcely could a soul be found in them if they were searched through and through with a microscope. These will never come to David when he is in the hold, nor need he wish that they would. On the other hand, there are brave spirits who rather prefer to be in the minority. They do not even care if they have to stand alone for truth and righteousness. They could have ventured to say with Athanasius, “I, Athanasius, against the world”; for they know the right and they cling to it; and it is not to them a question whether truth walks in silver slippers or whether she plods barefoot through the mire. It is the truth they care for, and not the habiliments with which she may be adorned or disfigured. Such men took up David’s side chivalrously because it was the right side, and the despised side; and they liked it none the less because so many spake evil of it. Sadly true is it that the Lord Jesus Christ is still of so little account in this world. His name, ah, I am sick of the way in which they use his name to-day! Shame on some that are called Christian ministers! They believe in Christ, but it is a Christ without his crown, his atonement, his judgment-seat, or even his Godhead. They mock us with orthodox phrases, from which the essential truth is gone. They pretend that they believe in the atonement, and when we listen to their atonement we find that it does not effectually atone for any one. It is a mere fiction, and not a fact. It saves nobody, but is a mere sham. They have eviscerated the gospel, and then they hold up the empty carcase, and claim that they are Christians still. Christians who have murdered Christianity! Believers who doubt whether there is anything to be believed! Yet we are entreated in our charity to hug such traitors to our bosom. We shall do nothing of the kind. We would sooner believe in infidels outright than in those who pretend to be Christians and are infidels at heart. “Modern thought” is a more evil thing than downright atheism; even as a wolf in a sheep’s skin is worse than a wolf in his natural form. There are pretty things said of our Lord Jesus by those who deny the faith which are sickening to me. I loathe to hear our true Lord praised by false lips. They deny the doctrines which he taught, and yet prate about believing him. It is a shallow trick, but yet it deceives shallow souls. Poor, weak minds say, “The man speaks so beautifully of Jesus, surely he cannot be in error.” I tell you it is the old Judas trick— the Son of man is betrayed with a kiss. How nauseating their praises must be to him whom they are betraying. Think not that they are honest; their designs are far other than appear upon the surface. They laud him as man that they may dishonour him as God: they cry up his life, and his example, that they may cast his atoning sacrifice into the ditch. They lift up one part of the divine revelation with no other intention than that they may dash down the other: they crouch at his feet that they may stab at his heart.
I avow myself at this hour the partisan of Christ, and of the whole truth of Christ, in its old-fashioned form: the more old-fashioned the better for me. I am for Jesus Christ, the same yesterday, to-day, and for ever. I am for the gospel of martyrs and confessors who gave their hearts’ blood as the seal of their faith. New gospels and new theologies I abhor. I am for that same ancient gospel which to-day is said to be absolutely defunct. Science has wiped out the evangelicals: we are dead: we are gone. So they say of us. Yet in our graves we turn: even in our ashes live our wonted fires: we expect a resurrection. Truth may be crushed down, but it cannot be crushed out. If there survived but one lover of the doctrines of grace he would suffice by God’s Spirit to sow the world again with the verities of our holy faith. The eternal truth which Christ and his apostles taught is not dead but sleepeth; at a touch of the Lord’s hand she shall rise in all her ancient power and look round for her adversaries, and they shall not be: yea, she shall diligently consider their place and they shall not be. Blessed are they who at this time are not afraid to be on the side that is ridiculed and laughed at. Truth will have its turn, and though it now grind the dust it shall be at the top before long, and they who are loyal to it shall share its fortunes. Let us be bold enough to say, “Put down my name among the fools who believe, and not among those whose wisdom lies in doubting everything.” God save us from the wisdom which believes in itself, and give us more of the wisdom which believes in him!
Once more. These men came to David because they believed that David had a great future before him. He was very poor when they came to him, an exile, as we have said, an outlaw, one who could not return to his land because the king himself had a personal feud with him. But they said, “It doth not yet appear what he shall be. This son of Jesse will be king yet, and his enemies shall beg their lives of him.” So, looking to the great future that awaited him, they determined to take shares with him in his present low estate that they might be raised with him in his exaltation. Now, I think that I can say to every one here, “I would that ye would come over to David’s side— to Jesus’s side— for there is a future awaiting him, a glory, a triumph, even here on earth, such as shall make those men gnash their teeth who throw away this opportunity of enlisting in his host.” How will souls lament for ever their neglect of joining themselves to Jesus! It shall be their everlasting regret that they lost the opportunity of standing straight out for truth, and right, and love, as they are seen in the person of the Son of God. Oh, it will be an endless loss to have refused to stand upon the pillory of scorn, and avow Jesus of Nazareth as the Son of God, and the Saviour of men. “Behold he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him.” Woe to those who pierced him by refusing to believe in him. The Lord shall reign for ever and ever, and the shout of “Hallelujah, hallelujah,” shall come up from earth and descend from heaven. He shall sit upon the throne of his father David, and of his kingdom there shall be no end. Who does not desire to be with him and to behold his glory? Cast in your lot with him, then, O ye undecided! Let his cause be as it may in the eyes of worldlings, espouse it at once right heartily; for they that are with him in his humiliation shall be with him in his triumph.
Those are the reasons why, at this time, I stand here, and exhort, beg, beseech, entreat every one among you to be on the side of Jesus Christ our Lord. Woe unto you if you turn your backs upon him! Woe unto you if you attempt to be neutrals! Woe unto you if you are lukewarm followers! Remember, he that is not with him is against him. He that takes not up his cross and follows not after him is not worthy of him, and shall not be counted among his disciples. Oh, that this whole company here to-night were distinctly and avowedly, perfectly and continuously, on the side of Jesus Christ, the Prince of peace, the coming King! O my friend, yonder, I speak to you personally, I would to God that you would at once put on the livery of my Lord Jesus, and become his sworn servant for ever!
II. Now, I have just a few words to say upon the second head. A CAUTIOUS INQUIRY.
These men of Benjamin and of Judah came to David, and David met them as a warrior standing upon his guard. The times were not such as to allow of a negligent confidence in all who professed friendship. The Benjamites were of the same tribe as Saul, and it was singular that they should come and join with David, the rival of their own leader. The men of Judah belonged to the same tribe as those men of Keilah who had betrayed David: therefore the hero was cautious and made careful inquiry. My Lord Jesus Christ is never so eager after disciples as to enrol those who cannot bear to be questioned. He
did not go abroad sweeping up a heap of nominal followers who would increase his apparent strength and prove a real weakness to him. He said to those who offered themselves, “Count the cost.” “Lord, I will follow thee whithersoever thou goest,” says one. Jesus does not there and then enlist him, but calmly replies, “Foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests; but the Son of man hath not where to lay his head.” He wants followers, but he wants them to be of the right kind; therefore he does not delude them and excite them to enter suddenly upon a course which they will, before long, renounce. He does not act as, I am afraid, the recruiting sergeant does when he tells the brave boys of all the glories they will enjoy, and crosses their hands with a shilling, so that they may take Her Majesty’s money and become her servants. The sergeant does not say much about the wounds of battle and the pains of hospital: he does not dwell very long upon wooden legs, and broken arms, and lost eyes, and all that. No; he dwells on pleasure, victory, pension, glory. Our great Captain does not in this manner entrap allies, but he sets the worst part of his service first, and bids men consider whether they will be able to carry out that which they propose to do. I would in this matter imitate my Lord: I have pressed you to come to his banner, but at the same time I would cautiously inquire of you.
Now, see what David said to them: he set before them the right way. He said, “If ye be come peaceably unto me to help me, mine heart shall be knit unto you.” If you wish to join with Christ’s people, and have your name numbered with them, one main question is— Do you come unto him? Do you first give yourselves to the Lord and afterwards unto his people? “If ye be come unto me,” says David. It would have been useless for them to answer, “We have come because we are fond of some of the people that are with you.” “No,” he says, “if ye be come to me, then my heart shall be knit to you. Not else.” Do you come to Christ, dear friend? Are you sure that Jesus is your Leader? Do not profess to be a Christian if you have not come to Christ, for Christ is the soul of Christianity. To come to Christ is this: confessing your sin, look to him as the sin-bearer, trust him with your future, trust him with your soul altogether. By a sincere, simple, undivided faith, you do really come to Jesus: have you such a faith? Let Jesus Christ be first and last with you. Take him to be your Saviour altogether. Do not be your own Saviour even in part. Let him save you from beginning to end, from top to bottom, in all ways and respects. If it be so, come along with you, for our host will be glad to have its number increased by your coming. If you do not thus come to our Lord, pray do not come to us, for you will neither do good, nor get good thereby.
Then David puts the question, “If ye be come peaceably unto me,” and this was needful, for some are captious and quarrelsome. Some profess to come to Christ, but they quarrel with Christ at the very first. They would make terms with him, and they come intending to dispute with his people. From the first they are discontented and fault-finding, rather patronizing Christ and his cause than humbly uniting with him and his people. They do not think half as much of God’s people as God thinks of them. When I hear people say, “Oh, there is So-and-So, who is not what he ought to be, and he is a member of the church,” and then they begin finding fault with this and with that, I say to myself, “That critic is no true friend.” The church is not perfect, but woe to the man who finds pleasure in pointing out her imperfections. Christ loved his church, and let us do the same. I have no doubt that the Lord can see more fault in his church than I can; and I have equal confidence that he sees no fault at all, because he covers her faults with his own love— that love which hides a multitude of sins; and he removes all her defilement with that precious blood which washes away all the transgressions of his people. I dare not find fault with those whom the Lord has loved from before the foundation of the world; more especially since I find that I need all my time to find out my own faults and to get rid of them. If you are a faultless man I do not ask you to join the Christian Church, because I am sure that you would not find anybody else there like yourself. It is true that if you do not join a church till you find a perfect one you will not be a church-member this side heaven; but I may add, that if there were such a church, the moment your name was written in the list it would leave off being a perfect church, for your presence would have destroyed its perfection. If you are coming to pick holes, and quiz, and question, and find fault, and talk about inconsistencies and so forth, then you may pass on and join some other army; but if you be come peaceably to our Lord and to us, then I offer you a hearty welcome. We are not anxious to enlist men who love to have the pre-eminence, nor men of fierce temper, nor unforgiving spirits, nor proud, envious, lovers of strife: we want only those who have the mind of Christ. Come peaceably, or come not at all.
Again David puts the question, “If ye be come peaceably to me to help me” Mind this and mark it well: they that join with Christ must join in his battles, join in his labours, join in his self-sacrifice. We must come to his church not only to be helped, but to help. It is of no use your entering the army if you do not mean to fight; and it is of no use your uniting with the host of God unless you mean to take your share in the holy warfare. Many forget this, and look upon a religious life as one of sanctified selfishness. A great many stop the gospel plough. “Hi!” say they; “stop!” They want to ride on one of the horses. Yes, but the ploughman has no opinion of such friends. Let them lead the horses or hold the plough-handles, or do something, or else let them take themselves off. Of course, I do not mean the sick and faint; but all fit for war must go to the war. There is something for every church member to do as well as to receive. They that join the Church of Christ must come to pull as well as to be pulled— come to work as well as to eat; and usually the rule is true in Christ’s house as it ought to be in everybody else’s, “He that will not work, neither shall he eat.” They that do not labour in the cause of Christ will very soon find that they are not fed in the house of God. Why should they be? I count it no office of mine to carry bread and meat to sluggards and lie-a-beds: I would sooner feed swine. They who never do a hand’s turn among us ought to be turned out from us. If ye be come peaceably to help us, then I speak for my Captain, and bid you welcome; but if you do not mean real service, please to march on.
There are the three questions, then. Do you come to Christ and accept him? If so, come along. Do you come with a desire to maintain peace among your Christian brethren? If so, come! Do you come with the intent of helping the Lord Jesus Christ to spread abroad his truth? Then come, and welcome, and the Lord be with you and with us!
Do you know what Jesus says to you who come to him aright? “My heart shall be knit unto you.” Oh, I think that if I had been Amasai, I should have felt the spirit come upon me to speak just as Amasai did when he so heartily declared that he and his brethren came to join heart and soul with David. With all that loving warmth which was so natural to him, David said, “My heart shall be knit to you.” Now when the Lord Jesus Christ says, “Will you espouse my cause? Will you accept me for leader? Will you come and join with my people? Then my heart shall be knit unto you”— do not your hearts leap within you? What a charming promise it is! What union of soul it sets forth! I do not know much about knitting; but some of you do. Things knit together are not merely joined in one, but they are one. They are not merely sewn together by a machine, so that you can draw out a thread and the pieces divide; but they are knit together and are of one piece, one fabric, one substance. Come, then, ye truly faithful, you shall be knit together with Christ, his heart with your heart; you shall never be separated from him any more. It is a great thing when the hearts of God’s people are knit together; but it is greatest of all when their hearts are knit with Christ’s heart, and his heart is knit with theirs. Come hither, ye true-hearted: cast in your lot with your Lord. Is it not reward enough for coming into his host that his heart shall be knit to you? I count this my heaven upon earth, to have my Lord’s love; do you not agree with me?
Notice how David put the other side of it, and set before them the wrong way;— “But if ye be come to betray me to my enemies, seeing there is no wrong in mine hands, the God of our fathers look thereon, and rebuke it.” Will persons ever join the church to betray the Lord Christ to his enemies? I say not that such is their present purpose; but a great many have acted as if they were from the beginning traitors to him and to his truth. They have come into the church, and yet they have betrayed Christ to his enemies; yea, they have been aided in their treachery by having been admitted within our ranks. Some have done this by giving up the doctrines of the gospel. Falling into this error and that, they have denied the gospel, overthrown the weak, and shaken the strong. Some have proved themselves the enemies of the cross of Christ by their inconsistent lives. People have pointed at them, and said, “Those are followers of Christ, you see. They can lie, and cheat, and get gain as the basest rogues do.” They say that they are Christians, and yet you cannot trust them in trade. They are just as gay, and worldly, and false as if they were not Christians at all. Why, then I suspect that they are not Christians at all; but like Judas Iscariot, they are children of perdition. Then there are some in all ages who betray the Lord Jesus by apostasy. They run well for a time, and then they are hindered. Being armed and carrying bows, they turn back in the day of battle. They are trees twice dead, plucked up by the roots. Such sorrowful heart-breaking cases do occur in all churches, where men come to the very front, and appear to do great service for Christ, and yet forsake him, and walk no more with his people, nor in his ways; even denying that they ever were associated with him and with his cause. They open his wounds! They put him to an open shame! Woe unto them! Sorrowfully, yet sternly would I say, If there should be one here who will in some future day wilfully betray the Saviour on any account whatever, the Lord have mercy upon such, and prevent his joining with our church lest we be overwhelmed with shame and sorrow. Truehearted men, we invite you! Half-hearted, fickle men, we would avoid you! Yet such do come, and will come, and what can we say of them? “The God of our fathers look thereon and rebuke it,”— ay, rebuke it so as to prevent it, that they may not be as thorns in our side.
III. But time fails me, and therefore I must finish up, thirdly, by describing from the text A CORDIAL ENLISTMENT. The captain of these brave men felt the Spirit come upon him, and he spoke up as warmheartedly as David had spoken, saying, “Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse: peace, peace, be unto thee, and peace be to thine helpers; for thy God helpeth thee.”
He began thus:— “Thine are we, David.” Now, that is the first thing I want of those who are going to join the church— “Thine are we, Jesus. We are not our own; we are bought with a price.” Well may that man avow himself to belong to Christ who has been bought with the blood of Christ: “For ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as with silver and gold, but with the precious blood of Christ.” Now, if ye be indeed redeemed by him, I pray you confess that you are altogether and absolutely your Lord’s. Sing with your whole heart—
“All that I am, and all I have
Shall be for ever thine.”
Do not sing it alone, but practise it. Let your lives say— Thine are we, Jesus. Neither count we anything that we possess to be our own; but all is dedicated to thy royal use.
Then Amasai added, “and on thy side, thou son of Jesse:” for, if we belong to Christ, of course we are on Christ’s side, whatever that side may be. In religion, morals, politics, we are on Christ’s side. Here is the side of the learned; there is the side of the ignorant: we are on neither the one, nor the other: we are on Christ’s side. In every political question we desire to be and ought to be on Christ’s side: we are neither of this party nor of that, but on the side of justice, peace, righteousness. In every moral question we are bound to be on Christ’s side. In every religious question we are not on the side of predominant thought, nor on the side of fashionable views, nor on the side of lucre, but on the side of Christ. Make this your oracle— “What would Jesus do?” Go and do that. How would Jesus think? Go and think that. What would Jesus have you to be? Ask God to make you just that. “Thine are we, David, and on thy side, thou son of Jesse.”
Then he added, “Peace be to thee.” “Peace, peace, be to thee.” Double peace to thee. So say we to our Lord Jesus Christ: our heart salutes him and invokes peace upon him. Blessed Master, we are at peace with thee so completely as to be at one with thee. What thou sayest we believe; what thou doest we admire; what thou commandest we obey; what thou claimest we resign; what thou forbiddest we forego. We yield ourselves up to thee wholly, and are at perfect peace with thee in all thy purposes, and designs, and acts. Peace, peace, to thee.
“And peace be to thy helpers.” We desire all good for all good men. We pray for the peace of the peaceful. The day that we were converted we felt that we loved every Christian. I used to say of the little village where I first preached, that I had such an attachment to every inhabitant in it that if I had seen a dog that came from Waterbeach I would have given him a bone. Do you not feel the same towards all the Lord’s people? The proverb hath it, “Love me, love my dog;” and when you love Christ you love the very lowest of his people. Ay, if Jesus had a dog, you would love that dog for Christ’s sake. I am sure that it is so. When a man is always cavilling, I fear he has not the spirit of Christ, and is none of his. We know some people who might he compared to hedgehogs, they cannot be touched by anybody, they are all spines and prickles; such people may think well of themselves, but it is to be feared that the loving Jesus does not think well of them. The man with a hot head and a bitter heart, is he a friend of Jesus? I cannot imagine that such a head as that will lie in Jesus Christ’s bosom. Oh, no, dear Mends; he that loveth is born of Cod, but not the man of hate and spite. Give me the eyes of the dove, and not those of a carrion crow. When the dove soars aloft into the air, what does she look for? Why, for her dovecote, and when she discovers the beloved abode she uses her wings with lightning speed, for there is her delight. If you were to throw a raven or a carrion-crow into the air, it would be looking for something foul which it could feed upon; and there are men and women in every Christian church who are always trying with farreaching and greatly-magnifying eyes to find out some wretched scandal or another. If you want to go to your bed uncomfortable, and to lie awake all night, if you are a pastor of a church, have a few minutes’ talk with a friend of this order. These are the folks who have just sniffed out a matter that ought to be inquired into. When it is inquired into there is nothing to discover, and great heart-burning is caused in the process of investigation. These same scandal-mongers will have something fresh to-morrow morning wherewith to keep their dear tongues going. May we be favoured with very few of these irritating beings. May those that come among us always be those that can say, “Peace be to thy helpers.” Whatever helps Christ I would help. Wherever I see anything of Christ there my heart shall rest. Oh, to have a large increase to this church and all the churches of hearty, loving, peace-making people!
The last word that they said to David was, “For thy God helpeth thee and I shall keep that last sentence very much to myself: I want to feed upon it as my portion of meat: you must not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn, and I am that ox at this time. “Thy God helpeth thee.” How I do rejoice to think that God is helping the Great Son of David. All the powers of the God of nature and providence are working to aid the Lord of grace. The stars in their courses are fighting for our Immanuel. Everything is being overruled for the advance of Christ’s kingdom. We are all on the tremble as to the Soudan and Egypt; but could we see all things we should rejoice. None of us know what is coming. I am no prophet, nor the son of a prophet, but I venture to foretel that mountains will be levelled for the coming of our Lord even by calamities and disasters. There will be a speedier dissolution of the empire of the false prophet and of the false prophet’s imitator because of all this mixing up of the west and the east in an unwilling conjunction. I say not how or when, but the Lord’s purpose shall stand, and he will do all his pleasure. When the ocean roars at its utmost fury, the Lord puts a bit into the mouth of the tempest and reins up the storm. Jehovah maketh a way for himself amid the tumult of great waters. When confusion and uproar predominate everywhere, and old chaos seems to be coming back again, all this is but a phase of unbroken order. How swift and sure are the revolutions of the wheels which are bringing nearer the chariot of the Son of God!
Cast in your lot with “the Leader and Commander of the people,” who has God with him. It is the glory of Christ’s cause that the Lord God is involved in it. Mr. Wesley’s dying words were, “The best of all is, God is with us!” As I repeat the truth my heart cries, “Hallelujah! Blessed be the name of the Lord!” The Lord thy God helpeth thee, O Christ of God! The pleasure of the Lord shall prosper in thy hand. Thou must reign: thy Father swears it to thee. Thou shalt divide a portion with the great, and thou shalt share the spoil with the strong, for thou hast given up thy soul unto death, and permitted thy glory to be rolled in the dust; and thou hast risen and gone into the glory; therefore thou must reign. O Anointed of the Lord, thy throne shall endure for ever! To-night thy servants salute thee again, thou Son of David. Wounded Christ, we lay our fingers in the print of the nails, and say, “My Lord and my God.” Risen Christ, we look upward as the heavens receive thee, and we adore. Ascended Christ, we fall at thy dear feet, and say, “Thine are we, O Son of David, anointed to be a Prince and a Saviour.” Coming Christ, we wait and watch for thine appearing! Come quickly to thine own! Amen and amen.