"And it came to pass, when the ark set forward, that Moses said, Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” — Numbers 10:35.
THE people of God in the wilderness were led instrumentally by the wisdom of Moses and his mother-in-law Hobab; but really their guiding-star was the visible presence of God in the pillar of cloud by day and pillar of fire by night. I suppose that the possession of this pillar as a guide did not remove from them the duty and the necessity of using the judgment of Moses and Hobab as to the place where they should encamp. You will remember that Moses expressly said to his relative, “Thou knowest how to encamp in the wilderness, and thou shalt be unto us instead of eyes.” They had the guidance of God, yet were they not to neglect the wisdom which God had given to his servants, and the judgment with which he had endowed them. We ought to learn from this, I think, that while we ever seek the guidance of God in providence, yet we may frequently find direction and guidance in the use of our own common sense, our own discretion with which the Lord hath endowed us. As long as the pillar of cloud tarried the people always waited. However inconvenient the spot might be, if it rested one day, or twenty days, or a month, or a whole year, they stood still; but the moment that cloud moved, whether the fiery column marched through the darkness of the night, or the cloudy pillar mellowed the brightness of the sun, and screened them from its torrid heat, they removed at once. However excellent might be their quarters, they never dared to delay when once the presence of God moved from above them. It was his to lead — it was theirs to follow. Yet, before they began the march, before the standard of Judah was uplifted, and that tribe began to take up its tents to lead the van, the silver trumpet was always blown in the front. It was heard through the entire encampment— the silver trumpet, which seemed to say, “Arise! depart! — this is not your rest. Your God hath removed, and ye must follow.” Then Moses himself came forward, and stretching out his hands, he cried, “Arise, O God, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” When this was done, on marched the mighty host ; and when they came to their halting place again, and the trumpet sounded for the rest of eventide, up came the king in Jeshurun, the prophet of Horeb, and lifting up his hands, again he cried, “ Return unto thy rest and unto the many thousands of Israel,” and the pillar rested over the top of the great encampment, and gave them a bright and flaming light by night, even as it gave them a glorious covering and protection by day. To what use are we to put this prayer of Moses; for no passage of Scripture is of private interpretation. No single text in the word relates simply to the occasion on which it is spoken; but whatever things were written aforetime were written for our learning. The word of God is a living word; not a word that had life in it in the day of Moses and is now dead, but a word which is as living to us at this hour as when it first came from the prophetic lips of the great lawgiver. I think I shall be warranted in using the text in three ways this morning. “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” We shall use it, first, as the watchword of God's Israel in every age; secondly, we are warranted by the sixty-eighth Psalm in referring this text, typically and mystically, to the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ. And I think, also, the guidance of God’s Spirit will warrant us, in the third place, in using this text personally, for ourselves as individuals, and as a church; and we would offer this prayer now that the ark of God in our midst is about to be removed, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee flee before thee.”
I. First, then, THIS HAS BEEN THE WATCHWORD OF THE CHURCH OF GOD IN ALL AGES.
The people of God in the wilderness were in the picture of God’s church upon earth. We are strangers and foreigners upon the earth; we are pilgrims and sojourners as all our fathers were. I was struck last evening, on reading for my own instruction the thirty-third chapter of the book of Numbers, with the constant occurrence of verses concerning the removal of the people. “And they removed from Etham, and turned again unto Pihahiroth.” “And they journeyed in the wilderness of Etham, and pitched in Marah. And they removed from Marah, and came unto Elim.” They went from the place of bitterness to the place of feasting. “And in Elim were twelve fountains of water, and threescore and ten palm trees; and they pitched there. And they removed from Elim, and encamped by the Red Sea. And they removed fromthe Red Sea, and encamped in the wilderness of Sin. And they took their jcurney out of the wilderness of Sin, and encamped in Dophkah. And they departed from Dophkah, and encamped in Alush. And they removed from Alush, and encamped at Rephidim.” And so the whole chapter is a succession of removings and encampings, till at last they ceased to dwell in tents, and came to live in their own walled cities in the land of Canaan. Just such has been the history of the Church — it has always been removing its place, and such has been the condition of each individual. Here we have no abiding city. “We seek a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God.” Here we have but an earthly house of our tabernacle which is soon to be dissolved, and we are continually men of the weary foot, who rest not, but journey onward to the place of rest.
Albeit that they had no habitation except their tents, yet it is true of Israel in the wilderness that they always had an habitation. Do you not remember the song of Moses: — “Lord, thou hast been our dwelling-place in all generations.” Whatever they were, God was their dwelling-place. As I have said before, by day they were covered with his cloud, and they dwelt under the vast canopy like princes in a pavilion; by night they were covered with its fiery lustre, and they rested under it with a light that never made glad the earth by night, save only to their eyes. God’s wings were always over them; he carried them all the days of old, and they did really rest and dwell in him. To-day, in our Father’s house there are many mansions, and it was true of them yesterday that in their Father’s house were many, tents; in those tents they dwelt; but all of them dwelt in their Father’s house. This, too, is true of the entire Church; always wandering, yet never far from home: unhoused, yet always in palaces; sometimes destitute, afflicted, tormented, and yet always Olothed, always rich, always feasting to the full; deserted, yet not alone; forsaken, yet' multiplied; left, yet still abiding with him that filleth all in all.
We might carry the parallel out still further, but it is enough for us to remark this morning that, in another point, the people of God in the wilderness were the picture of the Church of Christ. Wherever they marched, when God went before them, they marched to victory. Lo, the Red Sea rolls in their way; the pillar of cloud moves; they follow; the frighted sea divides, and the Red Sea itself is astonished. What aileth thee, O Sea, that thou wast driven back; and ye waters, that ye stood upright as a heap? It was before the Lord, before the presence of the mighty God of Jacob. They march onward; the Amalekites attack them; they fall upon them on a sudden, when they' are unawares: but God fights for them, Moses’ hands are upheld until the going down of the sun, and Joshua smites the Amalekites, and Jehovah Nissi is all glorious. Then Sihon, king of the Amorites, came out against them, and Og, king of Bashan, and the Moabites attack them, but the Lord is in the front of them, and they suffer no ill. Their enemies melt before them as the fat of rams; into smoke do they consume, yea, into smoke do they consume away. Even so hath it been with the Church of God in all ages; her march has been that of one who is fair as the moon, clear as the sun, and terrible as an army with banners. Let but her silvery trumpet sound, and the echo shakes the vaults of hell. Let but her warriors unsheath their sword, and their enemies fly before them like thin clouds before a Biscay gale. Her path is the pathway of a conqueror: her march has been a procession of triumph. Wherever she has put her foot, the Lord hath given her that land to be her heritage for ever and ever, and as it was in the beginning, it is now, and ever shall be till this world shall end. Amen.
Now, having just touched upon the parallel, let me show how this war-cry has really been heard of God and has been fulfilled to all his people. Turn ye to this book, this book of the wars of the Lord. Wherever his Church has gone and he has risen up, have not his enemies been scattered? Though they were the hundred kings of Canaan, were they not hanged upon trees, or speedily put to death with the edge of the sword? Though it were Agag, king of the Amalekites, was he not hewn in pieces? Though it should be the mighty princes of the Philistines, did not their champions lose their heads and their princes fly apace? Though it should be the embattled ranks of Syria, did not God smite them in the valleys, and chase them on the hills? Though it were Sennacherib, yet did not God rise up, and did not his enemies at once die before his presence? Did they not fall like the leaves of the forest “when autumn hath blown?” Though it were the hosts of Egypt in later times, or the mighty ranks of Babylon, or Mediator Persia, can we not say concerning them all, “Thy right hand, 0 Lord, thy right hand, O Lord, hath dashed in pieces the enemy; thy right hand, 0 Lord, hath done wonderful things, this is known of all the earth?” But when we have read the Bible story through, the book of God’s triumph has only begun. Look ye to the later battles of the Church. You remember the story of Oliver Cromwell and his men at the battle of Dunbar, when before the battle they all of them knelt on the heather and asked the Lord their God to be with them, and then upspringing they chanted this old psalm: —
“Let God arise, and scattered let all his enemies be,
And let all those that do him hate before his presence flee.
As the smoke is driven, so drive thou them. As fire melts wax away,
Before God’s face let wicked men, so perish and decay.”
And then, home went their swords, and their enemies fled down the hill, and a speedy victory was given. I quote not this except as a picture and illustration of the history of the entire Church. Methinks, in a spiritual sense, when Luther first bowed his knee, the Church began to chant, “Let God arise, and let his enemies be scattered.” When Knox in Scotland upheld the glory of Jesus’ name, was it not once again, “O God arise, let them that hate thee flee before thee”? When Whitefield and Wesley, seraphic evangelists of Jesus Christ, went through this land, was not this the very song of Israel, “O God, arise, and let thine enemies be scattered?” And shall it not be ours to-day? Let but God go forth with our arms; let him but speak through our ministers; let him but dwell in our elders; let him but make the bodies of our Church-members his temples, and his enemies must be scattered, and they must consume away. I can well conceive, my brethren, that such a prayer as this would well befit the tongue of a minister who lands as the first herald of the cross in some barbarian land. My brother, a solitary missionary in some populous city in China might bow his knee when first he attempts to preach, and say, “O Lord, arise, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” A Williams landing upon Erromanga might say, even though his blood stained the Wave, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered.” Livingstone and Moffat, toiling in the midst of the thick dense ignorance of central Africa might frequently say from their innermost souls, “ Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered,” Those brave men who risk all for Christ, not counting their lives dear unto them that they might finish their course with joy— methinks when they as pioneers for Christ bear the ark in the midst of the wilderness, they could not breath a better prayer for themselves, and you and I cannot do better than put it up for them now, “ Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered ; let them that hate thee flee before thee.”
Brethren, this ought to be our prayer to-day, in anticipation of the Millennial splendour. When it is to come, I do not know. Dr. Cumming may; but I am not so wise as he. This I know, Scripture says he is to come; but I think it says, “He shall come in such an hour as ye think not” — he cometh as a thief in the night. Whether he shall come in the year 1866,1 do not know; I hope he may; but I had rather that he should come in the year 1861. I should not like to postpone my watchfulness till 1866, but be always looking for him, for whether he shall come in the morning or at cock-crow, in mid-day or midnight, blessed is that servant who, when his Lord cometh, shall be found watching. Cast your eyes mentally over the world, and look to-day in what a state it is. What wonderful changes have taken place, and yet how firm are the roots of evil! How tightly bound around the very granite of earth’s nature are the roots of the great upas tree of iniquity. Who can hope to tear it up by the roots, or cut down this towering cedar? See in one land where liberty was blustered of, the lash still dripping with gouts of gore. See ye in another land where there is much advancement in many things, the people priestridden, and borne down beneath the yoke; look ye at the myriads that have never seen the great light, that sit in darkness and in the valley of the shadow of death. Where is the arm, where is the arm that can put back the world upon its proper pivot ? Where is the almighty power that can turn once again the pole, so that earth shall stand no more oblique, but in uprightness roll before the throne of God ? Where is the arm that can roll up the clouds as a mantle, and the mists as rags ? There is but one. And our business is to cry to-day, “ Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered ; let them that hate thee flee before thee.” Come quickly, come quickly — come, Lord Jesus. Then shall the world be rid of her tyrants. Then shall slavery cease to be. Then shall thy unsuffering kingdom come, the Great Shepherd shall reign, and everywhere shall he be extolled — “to him shall be given of the gold of Sheba; prayer also shall be made for him continually, and daily shall he be praised.”
Before I pass from this head, quietly, for the edification of each individual Christian, let me remark that this prayer will suit your personal difficulties. Have you been in conflict lately? Has old Apollyon put you to your wits’ end? Has he thrown his fiery darts at you thick as hailstones when they fell on Egypt? Have you been crushed beneath his foot? Can you not deliver yourself? Pray “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered.” Do your doubts prevail? Has your faith suffered an eclipse? Has a darkness that might be felt brooded over you? Say “Rise up, Lord.” All that is wanted in the darkest night to clear it away is for the sun to rise. Battle not with your doubts yourself. Wrestle not with your own fears. Pray “Rise up, Lord; these doubts of mine are enemies to thine honour; enemies to thy promise; enemies to thy truth; Rise up, Lord, and let them flee before thee.” You shall soon find peace and quietness, and in assurance and confidence your souls shall rest. Are you beset to-day by men who hate you? As a child of God have you acted with such simplicity and integrity that men not understanding you have imputed to you wrong motives? Have you been slandered and abused? “Avenge not yourself, but rather give place unto wrath. Vengeance is mine, I will repay, saith the Lord.” Let your prayer be, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered.” Are you serving God in some particular work where many are seeking to undo all that you can accomplish? Are you a City Missionary, and do you labour in the midst of a den of iniquity? Does it seem that what you do in one day is undone in one hour by others? Take it to the throne of grace. Say, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered.” Have you a great purpose conceived within your soul, and does providence seem to stand in the way of its accomplishment? Has the Lord commanded you to some special work, and do friends discourage and enemies abuse? This prayer may suit you: “Rise up, Lord.” It needs but that God should make bare his arm; his uprising is enough. As Luther said when opposing the Church of Rome — “They are not strong; God can overthrow them with his little finger.” And so say you. All the foes of the Church with all their battlements behind which they are intrenched are nothing. They but seem to be. They are shadows, emptiness, nought. Do you in confidence cry to your God — “Lord, do you rise; do but stand up; do but manifest thy power in any way whatever, and thine enemies are scattered at once, and those that hate thee must flee before thee for evermore.”
“When he makes bare his arm, what shall his work withstand?
When he his people’s cause defends, who, who shall stay his hand?
Let us, in life and death, boldly thy truth declare;
And publish, with our latest breath, thy love and guardian care.”
II. We shall now take the text IN ITS REFERENCE TO CHRIST. Scripture is the best expounder of Scripture. The diamond is not to be cut except with a diamond. We shall not understand one passage in the Word without another to explain it. That book has keys in its own self for all its own locks, and keys that fit every ward. The sixty-eighth Psalm informs us that the moving of the ark from the lower place of the city of David was typical of the ascending of Christ into heaven. Ah! Methinks, my dear brethren, the sorrowing Church when they beheld their Lord dragged by cruel men to judgement, when they heard him accused and slandered, when they saw him mocked and spit upon, must have considered the battle to be a defeat. The tears must have stood in their eyes when they saw that he who was to be the Deliverer of Israel could not deliver himself. How dense must have been the gloom over the fearing hearts of the Church when they saw their King, their Head, dragged away, and nailed ignominiously to the tree; and how dead must all their hopes have been when at last he bowed his head and gave up the ghost, and the soldier pierced him to the heart, and out there came the blood and water! Was it not the day of hell’s triumph, the hour of earth’s despair, the moment of heaven’s defeat? No; is was the reverse of all this. That moment when Christ died, he gave the death-blow to all his enemies. That hour when they thought they were treading on him, he was crushing them, and bruising the serpent’s head. Even when the Master was laid in the tomb, and had to sleep there his three days as Jonah in the whale’s belly, if the Church had had faith, they might have come early on the dawn of the first day in the week, and standing outside the tomb, they might have begun to sing, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee.”
I think it will be no fantastic imagination if we conceive that the angels did in that hallowed day come down from heaven ere the sun had risen, knowing the appointed time, and while one of them rolled away the stone the rest stood waiting on the wing, and chanting, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, let them that hate thee flee before thee.” Methinks I see the champion awake, he unbinds the napkin from his head, he sees again the light — he rolls off the cerements of the tomb, rolls them up and places them by themselves. He has risen up; the stone has been rolled away; he comes forth into mid air and lives. O Hell, how didst thou shake! O Death, how wast thou plagued! O Earth, thy sun had risen indeed that day! Heaven, surely thou didst rejoice, and the song rolled mightily along thy streets! He rises, and in that moment sin dies. The resurrection of Christ was God’s acceptance of Christ’s sacrifice. It was all that was wanted. The hand-writing of ordinances had once been nailed to the cross — it is now for ever blotted out. Once had he borne the burden, but now the burden is removed from his neck. God accepts Christ as being justified, and therefore he rises from the dead, and by that act all his people are justified. “He rose again for our justification.” The last hope of sin was crushed— its last pretence to any claim upon the people of God was hushed for ever — its last arrogant claim to any right to their souls, or to their bodies, was quashed in heaven’s high court when Christ the Risen came forth in pure white robes to demand the spotlessness of his people in him because of his resurrection for them. Nor was sin alone that day scattered. Did not all the hosts of hell fall before him? How glad they had been! All the demons had exalted themselves with the hope that their reign would now begin. Loosed should be the iron chain, broken should be the bolts at the pit's mouth. Now might they come forth, and revel, for the king who was to destroy them had been destroyed himself. But when he rose, blank despair sat on the face of every fiend. How could they hope to kill his people? “Because he lives, they shall live also.” How could they hope to condemn his people? “Who shall lay any thing to the charge of God’s elect? It is Christ that died, yea rather, that is risen again.” Their hopes were gone, they were scattered indeed. As the wax melteth before the fire, so did their hopes melt away. Where was that day the boast of death? Had Christ remained in the jaws of death — had the Holy One seen corruption? — then had the redeemed remained the bondslaves of death too; but he lives; he hath broken the gates of brass, and cut the bars of iron in sunder. Blessed are they that sleep, for they shall rise too. He hath led the way, the Breaker has gone up before them, the King at the head of them. He has cleared the gap; they have but to follow and enter into the resurrection and the life. That day, methinks, all the gods of the heathen fell down. It is a tradition that, at that hour when the veil of the temple was rent in twain, all the gods tottered on their thrones; they did so spiritually,if they did not literally. That day slavery began to relax its grasp of its whip; that day the tyrant’s throne began to shake; that day heaven shone with greater splendour, and hell was more murky and dull than it had been before; that day Evil heard its own death-knell sound in the air, while Good heard the marriage-peal of rejoicing saints, while angels shouted over a rising Saviour.
Nor was that all. After Christ had thus risen, you will remember that he rose again. He rose from the grave to earth — he next rose from earth to heaven. I think we may again conjecture that the angelic spirits came to meet the Master, and they said, “Rise up,Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” Up he went, dragging sin, death, and hell at his chariot wheels, scattering, as he rode along, those gifts which he had received for men. He went up with sound of trumpet and with shout of archangels. They near the gates, they sing, Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may come in.” The angelic spirits on the other side chant the lay, “Who is the King of Glory?” and once again, in waves of melody, they dash open the pearly gate, singing again, “Lift up your heads, O ye gates, and be ye lift up ye everlasting doors, that the King of Glory may come in.” On, on he rides; having scattered for ever all his enemies; having put all things under his feet, and being crowned King of kings, and Lord of lords; the Wonderful; the Counsellor; the Mighty God; the Everlasting Father; the prince of Peace. Glory be unto thy name; Jesus, my soul warms with thy fire! Glory be unto thee! These hands would put the crown upon thy head; this voice would sing instead of preach thy praise. Blessed be thou, God over all; blessed for ever! Thou hast ascended up on high; thou hast led captivity captive; thou hast received gifts for men. Rise up, Lord; rise up from the throne of thy majesty; come and take “the purchased possession; come to claim thine own, and these hands shall welcome thee with joyful clappings; and this tongue shall welcome thee with joyous songs; yea, even these very feet shall dance like David before the ark, if thou wilt but arise, for thy enemies shall be scattered, and they that hate thee shall flee before thee.
III. But, thirdly, WHAT MESSAGE HAS THIS TEXT FOR US, AND HOW MAY WE USE IT?
In the providence of God we, as a church and people, have had to wander often. This is our third sojourn within these walls. It is now about to close. We have had at all times and seasons a compulsion for moving; sometimes a compulsion of conscience, at other times a compulsion of pleasure, as on this occasion. I am sure that when we first went to the Surrey Music Hall, God went with us. Satan went too, but he fled before us, That frightful calamity, the impression of which can never be erased from my mind, turned out in the providence of God to be one of the most wonderful means of turning public attention to special services; and I do not doubt that it — fearful catastrophe though it was — has been the mother of multitudes of blessings. The Christian world noted the example; they saw its after-success; they followed it, and to this day, in the theatre and in the cathedral, the word of God is preached where it was never preached before. Never could it be more manifestly seen than in that- place, that the word of God when preached simply and earnestly is the power of God unto salvation to every one that believeth. In each of our movings we have had reason to see the hand of God, and here particularly; for there are very many resident in the West-end, who have in this place come to listen to the Word, who probably might not have taken a journey beyond the river; and here God’s grace has broken the hard heart; here have souls been renewed, and wanderers been reclaimed. Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength; give unto the Lord the glory that is due unto his name. And now we journey to the house which God has in so special a manner given to us; I stand before you now as Moses stood before the people of Israel, and with faith like his, though not with such power and might as belonged to that honoured servant of God, I would pray, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee.”
“But what enemies have we?” say you. We have multitudes. We shall have to do battle in our new Tabernacle more nearly with that old enemy of the church, the Scarlet Beast: Rome has built one of its batteries hard by our place, and there is one who styles himself “Archbishop of Southwark.” Well, we shall have to do battle against him, and woe to thee, Babylon! woe to thee, Babylon! Let but Christ be preached, and where is Anti-Christ? Let the cross be lifted up and away with your crucifixes. Let the truth be declared, and where are your lies? This one Book, as the old reformers used to say — this Book against all the popes, and cardinals, and priests, and all the devils in hell. You have seen the picture, I dare say, of a pair of scales, in one of which there is a Bible, very heavy, touching the very ground; and in the other there is a pope with his tiara on, and a cardinal with his scarlet cap, and a whole host of priests, and Virgin Marys, and idols all piled up, but they are all high up in the air; there is another learned doctor just hooking on to the chains and trying to pull down if he can, but all their combined weight cannot reach anything like the weight of this one blessed Book. Why, a farthing candle of divine truth can set on fire a whole prairie of popish error. It needs no great power in the preacher: he needs but to preach Christ’s truth as he finds it in the Word of God, and he shall find it to be a blast from the nostrils of God to wither up the beauty of this towering cedar. What mattereth it to me whether it be a cedar or a fir-tree? In the name of God I feel my axe this morning, it is sharp and keen, and shall be laid to the roots of this tree, and if we cannot avail, yet other hands and other arms should wield that self-same axe so sharp and keen, and thou, towering cedar, whose top is in the stars, but whose roots are in hell, thou shalt yet come down, and the nations of the earth shall rejoice because of thy fall.
Then we shall have another enemy. We have hard by us, almost as a next-door neighbour, Infidelity. There has been one of its special places for display. Well, well, Infidelity is but a very puny adversary comparatively; it is not half so cunning as Popery, and hath nothing like its might. There is something in Romanism that can seize the human mind; but Infidelity is bare, bald, naked, filthy; there are very few who will be overturned by that in an age when men are compelled to come more and' more closely to God in the discoveries of nature, and the wondrous findings out of science. We are not afraid of thee, O Infidelity. Come forth Goliath, it is but David meets thee, the ministers of Christ are but little compared with thy stalking greatness and gigantic might; but the sling and stone of Christ, preached simply, and preached affectionately, shall reach the forehead of thy wisdom and find thee out, and bring thee down.
But worse enemies than this we have. We shall have to deal with the indifference of the masses round about us, and with their carelessness concerning Gospel truth — we shall have to deal with prevailing sin and corruption — sin which at night fall from the very steps of that edifice may be seen in all the colours of its harlotry. And how will we deal with it? Will we bring in some Socialist system? Shall we preach up some new method of political economy? No! the cross, the old cross is enough. This is the true Jerusalem blade, to cut like that razor of old, with which the Tarquia cut the whetstone. We will but preach Christ as the sinner’s Saviour, the Spirit of God as applying Christ’s truth to the soul, and God the Father in his infinite sovereignty saving whom he wills, and in the bounty of his mercy willing to receive the vilest of the vile; and there is no indifference so callous, no ignorance so blind, no iniquity so base, — there is no conscience so seared as not to be made to yield when God wills it, before the might of his strength. “Rise up, Lord; rise up, Lord, and let these thine enemies be scattered, and let them that hate thee flee before thee.” But what is to be our prayer ? Does it say, “Rise up, preacher; occupy thy pulpit”? True we may say, “Awake, Barak, awake, and lead thy captivity captive, thou son of Abinoam;” but that is after the battle is fought, not before. “Rise up, Lord! O God the Father, rise up! Pluck thy right hand out of thy bosom, and let thy purposes be accomplished! 0 God the Son, rise up; show thy wounds, and plead before thy Father’s face, and let thy blood-bought ones be saved.! Rise up, O God the Holy Ghost, with solemn awe, we do invoke thee! Let those that have resisted thee give way! Come, thou, melt thou the ice; dissolve the granite; let the adamantine heart give way; cut thou the iron sinew and bow thou the stiff neck! Rise up, Lord, Father, Son, and Spirit, we can do nothing without thee; but if thou wilt arise, thine enemies shall be scattered, and they that hate thee shall flee before thee.”
Will you and I go home and pray this prayer by ourselves, fervently laying hold upon the horns of God’s altar? I charge you, my brethren in Christ, do not neglect this private duty. Go, each one of you, to your chambers; shut to your doors; cry to him who hears in secret, and let this be the burden of your cry — “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered.” And at your altars to-night, when your families are gathered together, still let the same cry ring up to heaven. And then to-morrow, and all the days of the week, and as often as we shall meet together to hear his word and to break bread, cry, “Rise up, Lord, and let thine enemies be scattered; and let them that hate thee nee before thee.” Pray for your children, your neighbours, your families, and your friends, and let your prayer be — “Rise up, Lord; rise up, Lord.” Pray for this neighbourhood; pray for the dense darkness of Southwark, and Walworth, and Lambeth. And oh! if you cannot pray for others because your own needs come so strongly before your mind, remember, sinner, all thou needest is by faith to look to Christ, and then thou mayest say, “Rise up, Lord; scatter my doubts; kill my unbelief; drown my sins in thy blood; let these thine enemies be scattered; let them that hate thee flee before thee."