The Child Samuel's Prayer
“Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.”—1 Samuel iii. 9.
IN the days of Eli the word of the Lord was precious, and there was no open vision. It was well when the word did come, that one chosen individual had the hearing ear to receive it, and the obedient heart to perform it. Eli failed to tutor his sons to be the willing servants and the attentive hearers of the Lord's word. In this he was without the excuse of inability, since he successfully trained the child Samuel in reverent attention to the divine will. 0 that those who are diligent about the souls of others, would look well to their own households. Alas, poor Eli, like many in our day, they made thee keeper of the vineyards, but thine own vineyard thou hast not kept. As often as he looked upon the gracious child, Samuel, he must have felt the heartache. When he remembered his own neglected and unchastened sons, and how they had made themselves vile before all Israel, Samuel was the living witness of what grace can work where children are trained up in God's fear, and Hophni and Phineas were sad specimens of what parental indulgence will produce in the children of the best of men. Ah, Eli, if thou hadst been as careful with thine own sons as with the son of Hannah, they had not been such men of Belial, nor would Israel have abhorred the offering of the Lord because of the fornication which those priestly reprobates committed at the very door of the tabernacle. O for grace so to nurse our little ones for the Lord, that they may hear the Lord when he shall be pleased to speak unto them.
Let us proceed at once to consider our short but very suggestive text in four aspects, and I pray that the Holy Spirit may speak to us through the word. We shall meditate upon this Scripture, first, as the prayer of a little child; secondly, as the cry of an anxious soul; thirdly, as the prayer of an earnest believer; and fourthly, as the spirit of a dying saint.
I. First of all we shall take our text AS THE PRAYER OP A LITTLE CHILD.
Samuel was blessed with a gracious father, and what is of even more importance, he was the child of an eminently holy mother. Hannah was a woman of great poetic talent, as appears from her memorable song—“My heart rejoiceth in the Lord, mine horn is exalted in the Lord; my mouth is enlarged over mine enemies, because I rejoiced in thy salvation.” The soul of poetry lives in every line; a brave but chastened spirit breathes in every sentence; even the Virgin Mary, the most blessed among women, could do no other than use expressions of a similar import. Better still, Hannah was a woman of great prayer. She had been a woman of a sorrowful spirit, but her prayers at last returned to her in blessing, and she had this son given her of the Lord. He was very dear to his mother's heart, and she, therefore, to show her gratitude, and in fulfilment of the vow which in her anguish she had vowed unto the Lord, would consecrate the best thing she had, and presented her son before the Lord in Shiloh—a lesson to all godly parents to see to it, that they dedicate their children unto God. How highly favoured shall we be if our children shall all be like Isaac—children of the promise! What blessed parents should we be if we saw our children all rise up to call the Redeemer blessed. It has been the lot of some of you to see all your children numbered with the people of God: all your jewels are now in Jehovah's casket. In their early childhood you gave them up to God, and dedicated them to him in earnest prayer, and now the Lord has given you your petition which you asked of him. I like our friends to hold little services in their own houses when their family is increased; it seems good and profitable for friends to assemble, and prayer to be offered that the child may be an inheritor of the promises, that he may be early called by mighty grace, and received into the divine family. You will perceive, dear friends, that as Samuel was put under the care and tuition of Eli, Eli had instructed him in some degree in the spirit of religion, but he does not appear to have explained to him the peculiar form and nature of those special and particular manifestations of God which were given to his prophets; little dreaming, I dare say, that Samuel would ever be himself self the subject of them. On that memorable night, when towards morning the lamp of God was about to go out, the Lord cried, “Samuel, Samuel,” the young child was not able to discern—for he had not been taught—that it was the voice of God, and not the voice of man. That he had learned the spirit of true religion, is indicated by his instantaneous obedience, and the habit of obedience became a valuable guide to him in the perplexities of that eventful hour. He runs to Eli, and says, “Here am I, for thou didst call me;” and though this is three times repeated, yet he seems nothing loath to leave his warm bed, and run to his foster-father her, to see if he could get him any comfort that his old age might require during the night, or otherwise do his bidding—a sure sign that the child had acquired the healthy principle of obedience though he did not understand the mystery of the prophetic call. Better far to have the young heart trained to bear the yoke than to fill the childish head with knowledge, however valuable. An ounce of obedience is better than a ton of learning.
When Eli perceived that God had called the child, he taught him his first little prayer. It is a very short one, but it is a very full one—“Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” Many questions have been raised, as to whether children ought to be taught a form of prayer. As far as I can judge I think not, for I do not think that forms of prayer, although they may be allowed, and God may accept them, are ever of very great advantage to those who use them. Forms of prayer are something like the stilts of a cripple; if a man begins with them, it is very probable that he will never be able to do without them. They resemble the copious notes and manuscripts of certain ministers, who began with them, and are quite unable now to preach without them. Children who are taught a form of prayer, may perhaps by divine grace be enabled to use the form in all sincerity of heart: I hope they may; but I think they are more likely to understand the things of God, if instead of teaching them the form, you explain to them the meaning and the value of prayer. I take this to be the best plan. Let the Christian parent explain to the child what prayer is; tell him that God answers prayer; direct him to the Saviour, and then urge him to express his desires in his own language, both when he rises, and when he goes to rest. Gather the little ones around your knee and listen to their words, suggesting to them their needs, and reminding them of God's gracious promise. You will be amazed, and, I may add, sometimes amused too; but you will be frequently surprised at the expressions they will use, the confessions they will make, the desires they will utter; and I am certain that any Christian person standing within ear-shot, and listening to the simple prayer of a little child earnestly asking God for what it thinks it wants, would never afterwards wish to teach a child a form, but would say, that as a matter of education to the heart the extemporaneous utterance was infinitely superior to the best form, and that the form should be given up for ever. However, do not let me speak too sweepingly. If you must teach your child to say a form of prayer, at least take care that you do not teach him to say anything which is not true. If you teach your children a catechism, mind that it is thoroughly scriptural, or you may train them up to tell falsehoods. Do not call the child up, and command him to say, “in my baptism, wherein I was made a member of Christ, a child of God, and an inheritor of heaven.” If you want to educate him for the gallows, teach him to utter untruths about sacred things; if you would make him an habitual deceiver, teach him the Church Catechism, and make him to say, “God the Holy Ghost, who sanctifieth me, and all the elect people of God,” when he is altogether unsanctified, and has no evidence of being elected. I pray you, if you would have an honest son, do not teach him to say that he thanks his heavenly Father, “who hath brought him into this state of salvation,” when he knows, and you know, that he is not saved at all. Teach him nothing but the truth as it is in Jesus so far as he can learn it, and pray the Holy Spirit to write that truth upon his heart. Better to supply no sign-posts to the young traveller than to mislead him with false ones. The light of a wrecker's beacon is worse than darkness. Teach our youth to make untruthful statements in religious matters, and Atheism can scarcely do more to corrupt their minds. Formal religion is a deadly foe to vital godliness. If you teach a catechism, or if you teach a form of prayer to your little ones, let it be all true; and, as far as possible, never put into a child's mouth a word which the child cannot truly say from his heart. Dear friends, we must be more careful about truthfulness and correctness in speech. If a child looked out of a window at anything going on in the street, and then told you that he saw it from the door, you ought to make him tell the tale over again, so as to impress upon him the necessity of being truthful in every respect. Especially in things connected with religion, keep your child back from any form until he has a right to be a partaker of it. Never encourage him to come to the Lord’s Table unless you really believe that there is a work of grace in his heart; for why should you lead him to eat and drink his own damnation. Insist with all your heart that religion is a solemn reality not to be mimicked or pretended to, and seek to bring the child to understand that there is no vice more abhorrent before God than hypocrisy. Do not make your young Samuel a young hypocrite, but train up your darling to speak before the Lord with a deep solemnity and a conscientious truthfulness, and let him never to dare to say, either in answer to a catechismal question, or as a form of prayer, anything which is not positively true. If you must have a form of prayer, let it not express such desires as a child never had, but let it be adapted to his young capacity. At the same time, I would again say, that it would be infinitely better to leave the child alone as to the words, having earnestly inculcated upon him the spirit of prayer. Beloved, when we see any trace of good in our youth, then, like Eli, we should be the more earnest to have them trained up in the faith. Let the child learn the Assembly’s Catechism, even though he does not understand all that is in it; and as soon as the young heart can comprehend the things of Jesus, labour in power of the Holy Spirit to bring it to a simple dependance upon the great sacrifice. It is said of the Rev. John Angell James, “Like most men who have been eminent and honoured in the Church of Christ, he had a godly mother, who was wont to take her children to her chamber, and with each separately to pray for the salvation of their souls. This exercise, which fulfilled her own responsibility, was moulding the character of her children, and most, if not all of them, rose up to call her blessed. When did such means ever fail?” I beseech you, the teachers of the Sunday-school—though I scarcely need to do so, for I know how zealous you are in this matter—as soon as ever you see the first peep of day in your children, encourage their young desires. Believe in the conversion of children, as children; believe that the Lord can call them by his grace, can renew their hearts, can give them a part and a lot among his people long before they reach the prime of life. Oh! that the Lord may give us to see many Samuels added to this Church, as we have seen them in days gone by. You that are little ones, when the Lord speaks to you, cry to him, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth;” and when in the class, or here in the Tabernacle, the Word of God is preached to sinners, remember it is preached to you quite as much as to the men who are six feet high; and do lift up your little hearts to God with the desire that while we are preaching God would speak to you. Do, dear children, expect the Lord to meet with you. Boys and girls have been saved.
“Many dear children are gathering there,
For of such is the kingdom of heaven.”
We have baptized many like you, at twelve, thirteen, and fourteen years of age, who have made a very clear profession of their faith; and rejoiced indeed shall we be if we see you boys and girls coming forward and saying, “God has called us, has brought us to put our trust in Jesus; and here we are.” Young Samuel, the Lord calls you; and thou art a privileged one to be called so soon, for early grace frequently becomes eminent grace; and those who begin early with God, are often preserved in this world to be of distinguished service in the courts of the Lord's house. May that be your lot and mine!
II. We have perhaps spoken enough upon this point, let us now consider the words as THE CRY OF AN ANXIOUS SOUL.
What an overwhelming sight is this vast crowd of immortal souls! What a joy would it be to me if I could hope that you were all anxious to find the Saviour. Many of you who assemble constantly within these walls, though you have had serious impressions, are not yet saved. As you came in to-night this thought may have been uppermost—“Oh, that God would meet with my soul to-night.” Some of you young women have been in my sister's, Mrs. Bartlett's class, this afternoon, and it is very hard to be in that class long without receiving solemn impressions. God has been visiting your class just lately; he has removed a heavenly-minded and well-beloved sister; he has carried her aloft to the upper and better world. She could die singing and rejoicing in her Saviour, for her usual frame of mind was set forth in these words, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” Well, dear friends, this bereaving providence has had a loud voice to your class, God has wrought a solemn impression upon your mind by it, and you prayed as you entered the Tabernacle, “O God, save my soul this night!” Let me recommend you the use of this simple prayer now while you are sitting in the pew, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” “Speak, Lord!" pray that first. “Speak, Lord!” While the minister is speaking, Lord do thou speak. I have heard the minister’s voice, and sometimes it awakens me, but I am not saved, and I never shall be, Lord, if the minister speaks alone. Speak, Lord! My mother has talked with me; my earnest teacher has sought to lead me to the Saviour; but I know that the words of blessed men and women will fall to the ground if they come alone. Speak, Lord! Thy voice said, ‘Let there be light, and there was light. Speak, Lord! and make light in my bedarkened mind! Thy voice called Lazarus from the grave, though he had been dead four days. Speak, Lord! and make me live. Oh, let it be to-night a real work of grace in my soul! Let divine power come and operate upon me.” My dear friend, cannot you follow me in such petitions as these? You know my soul is going up for you, and I am crying to God, “Speak, Lord!” and there are others here that you know of, and who are dear to you, who are even now in earnest wrestling ling with the angel of mercy, and they are saying, “Speak, Lord!" Oh! what would your father give if he should hear that God had spoken to your soul? How would your mother leap for joy if she did but know that God had come to deal with you in away of saving grace! “Speak, Lord!” let that be your prayer. Then put it next, Speak, Lord, to me? For if the Lord speak in a sermon, it may be to another, and then woe is me that I should be denied the priceless boon. I may be lying by Bethesda’s pool, but another man may step in before me, and I may miss the mercy. Speak, Lord, to me, even to me. Say unto my soul, “I am thy salvation.” May there be an unmistakable message to my heart. Thou hast taken away one that I knew. It is a marvel that then thou hast not taken me away. It is a wonder that I am spared—such a rebel as I have been. O how great is thy patience, that thou hast not dashed me in pieces, and cast me into hell! Lord, thou hast dealt graciously with me in sparing my life. Speak to me, Lord. If there be other souls in a like case with me, do thou deal graciously with them, but oh! do chiefly so with me, for if there be one heart that wants thee more than another I am that one. If there be one less likely than another to be saved— one who would give thee more praise than another if saved, I am that one. Lord speak to me!” Dear young friend, you need not go home to pray that prayer. While you are sitting there, I pray God the Holy Ghost to lead you to offer it in silence—“Lord, speak to me.” Personal possession of an interest in Christ Jesus is a blessing to be sought for with strong crying and tears: be not silent till the God of heaven shall grant it to you.
I will add another word to the prayer which I commend to you: it shall be the word of time. “Lord, speak to me now” How old are you? Perhaps you are young. Oh! but how well it is to let the Saviour have the bud of our being—to consecrate to him the early morning of life! Blessed is the day of life when it begins with clear shining, and opens with a morning without clouds. “Lord, I am young, but not too young to die. Speak to me now!” But are there not some of you who are past your one-and-twenty, and are beginning to run into the ways of sin? It may be your feet have slipped. Have you wandered into evil? Are you living in the daily practice of outward vice? You know you have left the right path some of you, and the pangs of conscience are upon you just now. Pray: “Lord, let me have had the last of my sins; let me have done with them now. Sever, once for all, the bonds between me and Satan, and bind me to thine altar fast to-night!” Perhaps you have passed even the prime of life. It may be that your hairs are turning grey. An old sinner is an old fool. He who is out of Christ at sixty or seventy is devoid of understanding. The young may die, but the old must. To be careless in youth is to sleep in a siege; but to be worldly in old age is to sleep in an attack, when already the scaling ladders are at the walls. Take heed, ye who wear grey hairs, for if they be not crowns of glory to you, they will prove to be fools'-caps. Woe unto you who have spent your threescore years and ten, and are yet the enemies of God! What will ye do when he comes to require of you that which is past? O, what will ye do in the day when he shall deal out to you who have followed the flesh, the corruption thereof? O, what will you do when the heavens are in a blaze, and the trumpet rings, and the dead awaken, and you are judged? I put this question to you in deep solemnity this night; and do, I pray you, ere you leave these walls, send up the cry, “Speak, Lord to me, and speak to me now!”
But can you say, like Samuel, “Thy servant heareth?” Truly, I am afraid many of you cannot, for you do not hear God’s word with your hearts. Mine eye runneth down with grief when I think of some of you who listen to my voice year after year, and yet do not hear. You hear me, but you do not hear my Master. Alas! how many have been the arrows out of God's bow which I have shot at you? Have they not been wasted? They have rattled upon your armour, but they have not pierced your hearts. I have run in vain, I have laboured in vain for you. I have beaten the air so far as you are concerned. You would not hear. I can say solemnly I have sometimes stood in this pulpit, and have laboured with your souls to the best of my power, and I have felt that I would have cheerfully resigned all I had on earth if I might but have brought you to Christ. If you, my hearers, who sit here constantly, might but be partakers of eternal life, I will leave my Master to do what he wills with me. Shame, contempt, obloquy—these shall be our joy and our crown for our faithfulness to God and your souls; but, oh! I must have you saved; I must have you lay hold on eternal life; I must see you look to Jesus; and my prayer is that you may this night look to a Saviour crucified! Can you say, “Thy servant heareth?” “Yes,” says one, “I can; if now the Lord would say a word in mercy to me I would gladly hear it.” Then he will speak to thee, poor soul, ere long. If thou wilt hear it he will say it, for he never did give a hearing ear to any heart without intending to speak to it. I know how you want him to speak: you want him to speak with conviction. You want the broken and the contrite heart such as he will not despise. Well, ask for it—say, “Speak, Lord, with thy convincing voice, for I am ready to hear.” But you want him to speak with a converting voice; you desire to be turned from your evil ways, and to follow the Lord. Cry to him then, “Speak, Lord, with the voice that turns men, and turn me now from darkness to light.” Or it may be that you want a comforting word. Well, then, pray for it—“Speak, Lord, with thy voice of comfort: bind up my bleeding wounds, and let my soul rejoice in thee.” Yet, truly, I do not know that he will speak anything more to you than this—“Look to Christ, and live.” He will speak with power, but that is the substance of it. Jesus is the sum of mercy's message He is the word of God. Do not expect to have any other gospel from God’s lips than that which is revealed in God’s word. The gospel of God’s word is, “Believe, and live.” There is life in a look at the crucified One; there is life at this moment for thee. If thou wilt not hear the voice of God when he saith to thee, “Trust Christ,” remember he hath no other glad tidings. Effectual calling may speak this same thing more effectually, but the Holy Spirit never reveals any other gospel. There is no other way to heaven but just this—“Trust thy soul to Christ; thy sins are forgiven thee, and thou art saved.”
I am loath to leave this point, because my heart is panting to know and to feel some inward emotion, which might make me feel confident that some of you had breathed this prayer. O may the good Master who alone can drive these nails home, use the gospel hammer now! I do conjure you, by the shortness of life, by the certainty of death, by the glories of heaven, by the terrors of hell, seek the Lord, and let this be now the voice of your seeking, “Speak, Lord; speak to me; speak now; for thy servant heareth.”
III. We will turn to the third view of the text as the PRAYER OF AN EARNEST BELIEVER. I was led to select this text, by finding it in the letter of one who has just been taken away from our classes, and from our Church. She was about to change her position in life in some degree, and the one prayer that seemed to be ever upon her mind, was a prayer for guidance, and she prayed, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” She said she felt that God was about to do something thing for her, but she did not know what it was; she little dreamed that she was so near the kingdom and the glory, but yet that was the prayer, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” This is a very appropriate prayer for the Christian when he is in providential difficulty. You may not know what you ought to do to-morrow; of two courses open to you, there may appear certain advantages connected with each, and some friends have urged you to one plan, and other friends have urged you to the other. Now if you have used your best judgment, and have endeavoured to direct your steps according to the Word of God, you may expect in answer to prayer, to have a distinct guidance from God—not perhaps from the mouth of man, though that sometimes happens, for even from this pulpit cases which we never heard of have been unravelled, and dilemmas with which the preacher was never acquainted have notwithstanding been solved by what seemed but a stray word, but what was meant by God to be a finger, pointing out to his children—“This is the way, walk ye in it.” Take your difficulty to the God of wisdom; spread it out before him, and having divested yourself of your own will in the matter, having solemnly desired to know the will of God, and not your own wish, then you may expect by some means or other—and God has different ways of doing it—to have an answer from the Most High. Take you this as your prayer, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” We want in our daily life more fully to acknowledge God in all our ways. We are, I am afraid, in this age, in great danger of forgetting God. We ought to acknowledge him in the common transactions of the day, or else like the Israelites with the Gibeonites, we may be betrayed in the simplest transaction, and deceived to our lasting injury. Take thy matters before the God of Abraham, and the Urim and Thummim shall yet speak to thee. Domine Dirige nos, “Lord direct us,” is a good motto, not only for the City of London, but for the citizens of heaven. In points of doctrine this desire humbly uttered may bring us much light. God's Word is not all of it alike plain; sometimes when you have heard conflicting views—this preacher earnestly declaring a doctrine, and another denouncing it—you may be somewhat nonplussed. My advice to you is, take your difficulty before God in prayer, and say, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” Do not ask God to confirm your opinion, but ask him to make your opinion conformable with his truth. Do not go to God's Word to find texts to support your tenets, but go to Scripture for texts and tenets too. Remember that to a true Christian no doctrine has any force upon the conscience, except as it comes with “thus saith the Lord.” Follow the simple Word of God as you find it, and rest assured you shall have the light of the Holy Spirit streaming upon the sacred page, and as you read it you shall hear the Master say, “This is my Word.” He shall make it come to your soul with such power, that you shall have no doubt about it if your heart cries, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.”
The same course should be adopted by every Christian in matters of practice. I am afraid there are many Christians who have stopped their ears up, that they may not hear the teaching of portions of the Word. There are certain Scriptures which they can never abide. I have heard of one who never would read the eighth or ninth chapter of Romans at family prayer. I have heard of another who invariably omitted that chapter in the Acts, about the Ethiopian eunuch—a very awkward chapter, I confess, for any one to read who has not accepted believer's baptism. You will find many professed Christians in these day's who do not like to meddle with certain questions, because they are more than half afraid that a little examination would prove them to be in the wrong. They cannot bear us to put a finger upon their Prayer Book, their creed, or their Church, for they know that they will not bear a close inspection. They will say, “Well, there are faults everywhere where, let well alone;” the fact being that they do not care what truth is, so long as they can be comfortable and go with the fashion of the day. Some whom we fain hope to be true Christians think truth unimportant, and are not prepared to “search the Scriptures whether these things be so or not.” Brethren, I should be afraid of my own doctrine, if I dare not test it both by Scripture and sound argument. If my foundation would not stand a good shaking, I should be afraid that it was not made of very solid material. Some people cry out if we say a word about their Church; it is a sign that their Church is hardly strong enough to endure an honest encounter. Pasteboard and tinsel always pray for peace and charity, but solid metal fears not the day of battle. Be it ours to court the sunlight, and above all let us beseech the Lord our God to be our light, for in his light we shall see light. Sitting at the feet of Jesus be our position! To receive of his words be our sweet employ! As melted wax is fitted to receive the impress of the seal, so let us be ready to accept the Master's teaching. Let his faintest word bind us as with bonds of steel; and let his minutest precept be precious as the gold of Ophir. “To obey is better than sacrifice, and to hearken than the fat of rams;” let it be our chosen privilege to be taught of the Lord, and to maintain his truth. Here, in this house of prayer let us offer the petition, “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.”
As for matters of duty again, be ye ever ready to follow the Master, and him alone. Not Luther, nor Calvin, neither Wesley, nor Whitfield, is to be your Rabbi; Jesus alone is Master in the kingdom of heaven. Whatsoever he saith unto you, do it, but where you have not his warrant, let no traditions or ancient customs make you stir so much as a single inch.
IV. We will close by observing that our text seems to us rightly to express THE SPIRIT OF A DEPARTING CHRISTIAN. There he lies upon the bed; his pulse grows fainter; the many pains of death afflict him. His eye is beginning to glaze, but a brighter light than that of earth has dawned upon him; and while the outward man decayeth, the inward man beginneth to renew his youth. Meihinks I see him when his pains are worst. He desireth to go, but he is willing to remain as long as his Master wills. He says sometimes, “I ill can brook delay,” but the next moment he checketh himself, and he saith, “Not my will, but thine be done.” He sits patiently upon the river's brink, expecting that his Master shall open the passage for him to pass over dryshod. He is praying, ‘Speak, Lord, and the sooner thou wilt speak the more shall I rejoice.’ Say unto me, ‘Come up hither.’ ‘Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth’—heareth now better and more distinctly than he ever did hear before; he is now nearer to thee; the ear is almost closed to the din and bustle of the world, while in secret silence of the mind it waits the still small voice of thy lips. Speak, Lord, and say, “Plunge into the river,” and I will cheerfully do so, if thou wilt but come and meet me. “Speak, Lord; for thy servant heareth.” Methinks I hear that divine and mysterious voice, which, in fact, none can hear but those whose day of glory is dawning. The messenger has come and whispered in the ear of the dying saint, and I pray you mark his joy for you may see it; its light illuminates the countenance; the eye sparkles with supernatural glory. “Now,” saith the man of God, “my journey is over, and I am almost home.” “Now,” saith the expiring sister, “it is victory, glory, triumph! The white horse is at the door: my Master bids me mount and ride in triumph, following my Lord Jesus, and all the conquering ones. The Master is come in his garments of salvation and calleth for me.” The physician says he could see the death-change, and the nurse bears the same witness, but the well-instructed instructed believer calls it the life-change, and reads the true meaning of the mysterious transformation. He sees a something, which is a prognostic of the coming glory; he marks those beaming eyes, and that celestial smile. Now strange words drop from the lips—sometimes words that are scarcely lawful for a man to utter, by reason of the high and awful glory of their meaning. Now come the shouts of victory over death—now the note of defiance of the grave. The soul has left all care, all doubt, all fear behind. Its foot is not only on the Rock of Ages, but on that part of the rock which is on the other side of Jordan; and the soul cries with transport, “I am with him: another moment I shall be in his arms! I see him. The angelic chariots await me; I step into them, and I ride to the kingdom. ‘Victory, victory, victory, through the blood of the Lamb!’” Something like this was the departing scene of our beloved friend who has gone home this week, and something like this, I trust, will be your departure and mine; but it will not, it cannot be thus with us, except we are resting upon Christ.
“None but Jesus—none but Jesus—
Can do helpless sinners good.”
Lo! these fifteen years have I been preaching Jesus' name, and preaching nothing but his name, and it hath a savour about it sweeter than ever; and if I had but one word more to speak, methinks this should be it: none but Jesus, none but Jesus! Oh! fly to him, if ye would have a blessed death and a glorious resurrection. Look out of yourselves away from your frames and your feelings; look away from ceremonies, from priests, and from all men; look only to the bleeding wounds of my Master. Trust Jesus, expiring on the cross, and trust in him alone. You shall find eternal happiness in him. The Lord bless you with his richest blessing, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.