Stacks Image 385


CHAPTER XIV.


THE UNSEARCHABLE RICHES.



"Unto me who am less than the least of all saints is this grace given, that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ." — Eph. iii. 8

THESE are the words of a man in jail for preaching Christ. He had been a prisoner several years. His outlook for the future was toward the bloody block on which the headsman's ax would sever his head from his body at the command of Nero. He expresses no regret for the career of missionary travel which has exposed him to this fate. Rather he congratulates himself on the privilege of heralding Christ Jesus to the nations. When he calls himself "less than the least of all saints," by the use of a double comparative, he expresses genuine humility, because he had with a persecuting hand beaten Christians in every synagogue and caused them to blaspheme. He deemed the lowest place on God's footstool too good for a man who had seconded the deliberate murder of Stephen, the first martyr. Some people say that they must sin a little every day to keep them humble; as if sin can cure sin. St. Paul did not need such a remedy, but he kept himself in a lowly place at the feet of all his brethren by the constant memory of his past sins. This was the consideration which kept King David humble — the recollection of the sins of his youth, praying that they might not be remembered against him. This is sufficient to produce constant humility in us all. We note the improved tone of Paul's feelings in relation to preaching the Gospel. A few years before this he wrote to the church in Corinth words seeming to imply that it was a task from which he shrank but did not dare to refuse:—

"For though I preach the Gospel, I have nothing to glory of; for necessity is laid upon me; yea, woe is unto me, if I preach not the Gospel." —
1 Cor. ix. 16.

This sounds like one under a painful constraint. He did not then say that it was more than his meat and drink to point bigoted, bitter Jews to Christ crucified, and persecuting Pagans to the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world. He speaks with an "if" — "for if I do this willingly I have a reward, but if against my will, a dispensation of the Gospel is committed unto me," and I will be a faithful trustee even if I cannot be a jubilant herald. But three or four years afterward he uses words which contain no such implication, "Unto me is this grace given," this great favor, this peculiar privilege, "to preach the unsearchable riches of Christ." To me this language indicates a growth in grace, a more gracious revelation in him of the transcendent preciousness of Christ. In other words, he had been more copiously anointed with the oil of gladness, the Holy Spirit, infusing a passionate love for the Nazarene once despised and hated. His soul had become a furnace flaming with the ardors of love. There is a great difference between the woe and the anointing as motives to actuate the preacher. Yet God honors both, while he bestows his delighted approval on the anointed herald. There is a tinge of legalism about many Christians. They are servants rather than sons. They sigh more than they sing. When such become preachers of the Word, they may become very instructive and persuasive, but they will not touch the zenith of power till the woe has been exchanged for the anointing. It is the office of the Comforter to take of the things of Christ and to show them unto us. This vision of Christ is necessary to genuine and effective eloquence. Some of us can testify to this fact. Nor is this remark limited to preachers. It is true of all Christian workers and of all believers. No man or woman attains the maximum influence for Christ till anointed by the Holy Spirit. The study of the Holy Scriptures is absolutely necessary to intelligent piety and effective labor for others, but it can never be a substitute for the indwelling of the Holy Spirit. There is all the difference between the woe and the anointing that there is between a pump and an artesian well, between a tug and a gush. Oh, the gladness, the spontaneity of the work —
work, did I say? of the privilege of sounding the name of Jesus in the ear of sinners where we feel the throb of an abundant spiritual life leaping through every vein, when we are conscious that soul and body is the habitation of God through the Spirit.

"O, that I could all invite
This saving truth to prove,
Show the length, the breadth, the height
And depth of Jesus' love."

There are too many tinkling cymbals and too much sounding brass in Christian pulpits; too much empty rhetoric and barren philosophy, containing as little spiritual nutriment as the east wind. Only love can awaken love. Only love can feed love. There is nothing like an experience of saving and sanctifying love as the preeminent element of pulpit power. I have now uncovered the secret of success in the Wesleys and the Methodist fathers in England and America. They drank abundantly from the wells of conscious salvation, and then cried out to a generation faint and dying of thirst:—

"Ho! every one that thirsts, draw nigh;
'Tis God invites the fallen race;
Mercy and free salvation buy;
Buy wine, and milk, and gospel grace."

We now call attention to a more cogent proof of Paul's intense love to Christ and his fellowmen, and of his inexpressible delight in heralding the message of free and full salvation. He was a true patriot. He loved the Hebrew nation. He could not suppress the national feeling which frequently flamed out in great intensity. He often prayed for Israel, and, next to Jesus Christ, Jerusalem was his chief joy. To secure the salvation of the Jews he was willing to be accursed from Christ, as the Son was, in the estimation of men, accursed from the Father. He was willing, if possible, in order to save his kinsmen according to the flesh, to make another atonement on top of that made by our Lord Jesus. This is our exposition of Rom. ix. 3. How glad would this Hebrew patriot have been if the great Shepherd and Bishop of souls had appointed him pastor of the Jerusalem parish, where he would be brought constantly into association with his Hebrew brethren, and with tears and loving entreaties and cogent arguments, based on their own Scriptures, he could persuade them to receive Jesus as the promised Messiah. But it was not in the divine order that Paul should ever be the pastor of the Church of Christ in the Jewish capital. He was the chosen vessel in which the water of life was to be carried to the Gentiles, whom he had from childhood been taught to despise as outcasts from the divine regard, and to stigmatize as dogs, just as the haughty Turks now insult Christians with the same epithet. We are now prepared to feel the full force of Paul's self-gratulation because of the favor bestowed on him in permitting him to preach anywhere on earth, even in Dogtown, the unsearchable riches of Christ. How perfectly had the grace of Jesus Christ conquered and eradicated Paul's hereditary repugnance to all non-Hebrew peoples and substituted a world-embracing philanthropy — yea, even a passionate love for the most degraded and unlovely tribes of mankind I Were this spirit universally prevalent in the Christian Church, there would not be any lack of suitable volunteers for foreign missions and for labor in the slums of our great cities; and bishops, charged with the duty of distributing pastoral laborers to the best advantage to the kingdom of God, would be relieved of their chief perplexity — the endeavor to satisfy not a few who seek their own, not the things which are Jesus Christ's.

This brings us to our theme:—

The subject matter of Gospel preaching — the unsearchable riches of Christ.

Let us consider the unspeakable value of Christ's personal relation to every disciple. There were in Rome at this very time when Paul wrote these words men so rich as to lavish myriads of money on a single public dinner, but these men were paupers when compared with the humblest man who was favored with the personal friendship of the Son of God. Beyond all value expressed in human symbols, silver and gold, is the personal regard of him who is the revelation of God to men. Dr. Wayland defines wealth as abundant means for the gratification of desire. Gold gratifies that range of desires which are called sensual, the natural and artificial appetites, the lust of the eye, the pride of life, the love of power, the gratification of cultivated tastes by travel and gazing on the beautiful and the sublime in nature and art. But there is a higher range of desires which millions of gold cannot gratify. The spiritual aspirations demand a spiritual object. We must worship- this is attested by universal man — and we must love the object worshipped, if our religion becomes a source of joy. To worship a being who excites only terror, is to be supremely wretched. President Warren has recently declared that more than half of mankind live in distressing dread of deified snakes and dragons. Parents transmit this superstition to their children. In every religion except Christianity fear predominates, not excepting Judaism, which is summed up in the prevailing Old Testament phrase, "The fear of Jehovah." The happy saints under Mosaism were an infinitesimal fraction of the whole Hebrew nation. When they were obedient God revealed himself in mercy, but when in disobedience he made himself known in judgments. As they were more frequently disobedient, their conception of him became that which inspired dread in a higher degree than love. To reverse this God came into the sphere of our affections, took upon himself our nature with faculties responsive to our own, ministering food to the hungry crowds and healing to multitudes of the sick, weeping at the tombs of their dead and bringing them to life. Beyond this he illumined the darkened minds and pardoned the guilty souls. He gave the greatest possible proof of his love by his voluntary surrender of his own life that he might open to us the gate to life everlasting. Here is an object of adoration and worship whom we instinctively love. To withhold our love is to repress the noblest part of our nature. To refuse to love him is to dash from our lips the full goblet of happiness. Here is true riches satisfying man's noblest aspirations, while it inspires such economic virtues as tend to a full supply of all our lawful animal wants. All these things will Christ add to him who seeks the kingdom of God first.

The riches of Christ not only fully satisfy, they also endure forever. Says the Old Testament preacher, Ecclesiastes (iii. 11,
R. V. margin) "He hath set ETERNITY in their heart." This is the true standard of all values. God has deeply rooted eternity in every human heart, and every considerate man applies this test to all his acquirements and enjoyments. He asks, Is this object for which I have toiled and sacrificed ephemeral, or is it eternal? If it is transitory and limited to the present life, it is of little comparative worth.* Wise men earnestly strive after that which can be carried with them along the ceaseless cycles of eternity. They have observed that Jesus Christ mints the only current coin that they can carry with them to the land of immortality. "The water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life."

Let me ever drink of this water. Let me treasure up riches which will become inwrought in my immortal spirit. That vast multitude, who are in the mad rush and scramble for millions of money, have failed to note the important omission in the customary outfit of the body of one going into the grave. They do not put pockets in shrouds. You brought nothing into this world and it is certain you will carry nothing out — nothing
plus character. If this is modeled after the character of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, you will go into eternity a multi-millionaire. O that men would put the correct estimate upon things in which they should have so deep a concern!

This is the chief work of the preacher to destroy false standards and to put the true standard in their place. In other words it is his great aim to get men to believe the words of Jesus Christ respecting building character and happiness on the rock or on the sand.

We omit because we cannot adequately portray the blessedness of communion with the personal Christ. To the inexperienced we are mystical; we are climbing the clouds and walking on the sky when we talk of conscious intercourse with the invisible Christ at God's right hand. But it is a glorious reality. Human friendships decay with age. We who live in this changeful world must be careful to keep our friendships in repair lest they all perish and we are left in loneliness. But fellowship with Christ compensates for the loss of all other society. The Christian is the only one who can grow old cheerfully. He is going to his treasure. The aging worldling is going from his, and is sorrowful indeed. Satan has no happy old men and women. We do not attempt to itemize and catalogue the unsearchable riches of Christ; for "all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge are hidden in him, in whom dwelleth all the fullness of the Godhead bodily." But we may mention some of the gifts which he has bestowed upon the whole human race.

1. The continued existence of that race after the fall flows from the mediation of the Son of God. Justice demanded the extinction of mankind in the penal death of Adam and Eve in consequence of their sin. God could not be good and holy and just in bringing into being moral intelligences with a bent to sin, nor could it be honorable and right in him to create in a secondary way, or allow the procreation of such beings, under the dispensation of law untempered with mercy and grace.

The new basis on which the offspring of the sinning pair with inherited evil propensities are brought into being in harmony with the moral attributes of God, is distinctly declared to be the mediatorial work of the Son of God foreshadowed by the promise given, at the closed gate of Eden, to our guilty first parents: "The Seed of the woman shall bruise the serpent's head." Here the eye of faith foresees the Son of God come in the flesh, the corner-stone of a new heaven and a new earth in which righteousness and only righteousness shall ultimately dwell. Is life in this world, with the possibility of a glorious immortality, an unspeakable boon? It is to me, and I daily give thanks to my adorable Lord Jesus for this precious gift. Many regard life as a burden, and gravely discuss the question, "Is life worth living?" A life of rebellion against God is not worth living. But no one is obliged to live such a life. Every sinner has freely chosen a career of sin and sorrow when he might have elected a life of obedience and happiness. The best safeguard against the dreadful crime of self-destruction is faith in Jesus Christ, and an unfaltering trust in his promise of the abiding Comforter here and of everlasting life hereafter. "In Greece, at the epoch of Alexander, it was the current saying, and one profoundly felt by all the best men, that the best thing of all was not to be born, and the next best to die."** This shows the awful gloom which paganism produces," having no hope."

2. Initial Salvation. The theologians call it prevenient or provisional salvation. It includes all the gifts of God's grace administered by Jesus Christ to men unconditionally. (1) His atonement as a conditional substitute for the punishment of sin. This is the ground of the pardon of penitent believers. Provisionally all are saved. Actually only those sinners are saved who appropriate this salvation by a faith which lays hold of the Personal Savior, inspires love, purifies the heart, transforms the character, and overcomes the world. All dying in infancy before accountability begins are unconditionally saved through the blood of Christ. More than half the human race are thus saved. Nearly half who are born in the whole world, Pagan and Christian, die before twelve months. Like a great magnet the Redeemer of the whole race attracts these infantile souls to himself.

"I take these little ones, says he,
And lay them in my breast;
Protection can they find in me,
With every blessing blest.
Death may the bands of life unloose,
But can't dissolve my love.
Millions of infant souls compose
The family above."

Thus says the poet. What says the Savior? "Of such is the kingdom of heaven." What says the theologian Paul? "As by the offense of one judgment came upon all men to condemnation; even so by the righteousness of One the free gift came upon all men unto justification of life" (Rom. v. 18). Guilt is not imputed until a voluntary and responsible choice of sin in preference to righteousness has been made.

(2) The gracious ability to repent of sin is another unconditional gift of Christ. "Him hath God exalted to give repentance to Israel," and to all for whom he shed his blood. The value of this gift is not appreciated until the loathsomeness of sin is realized. It is the deadliness of the plague that enhances the value of the remedy. Consider the blight, the corruption, and the destruction wrought by sin, disturbing the just balance of the powers, dethroning Conscience, God's vice-regent in the soul, and enthroning degrading appetites and despotic passions; then will the power to break every fetter, and to throw off every yoke be appreciated by the individual. How terrible the social effects of sin, the wrongs which distress, the oppressions which crush, the wars which desolate, the Armenian massacres which crimson human history from the murder of Abel to the present hour! All these sorrows and sufferings have come from the cockatrice's egg, sin. Could we see with God's eyes the unseen and unwritten pangs of guilty souls, the turpitude, the hideous disfigurement, the indelible defilement of sin, we would shrink back in astonishment. Sin thrust the angels down from heaven, dug hell and lighted all its fires, thrust men out of Eden's bowers into a world of thorns and graves, and made the wide earth a potter's field to bury paupers and strangers in. Sin is the most striking object on which God looks down from heaven. Sin was the burden of every prophet's vision. Sin was the Goliath that challenged the Son of God to mortal combat when he appeared on the earth. When John the Baptist saw him approaching the Jordan he hailed the victor over sin in words which thrilled the world of sinners with hope: " Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world." When Jesus began to preach, his theme was sin, and his urgent exhortation was, "Repent." He works miracles, but his purpose is to show that he can forgive sins. He sees in the paralytic a deeper and deadlier malady, and he bids it depart, saying, "Thy sins are forgiven thee." He individualizes the whole race of men, groaning beneath a burden which they cannot lay down, and in tender compassion he utters the blessed invitation, "Come unto me all ye that labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest."

He groans beneath the sins of the world in Gethsemane, and endures the bloody sweat to place every man on a vantage ground where, if he will, he can conquer sin. On the cross the theme which absorbs his thoughts, and makes him forget his own intense pain, is the sins of his murderers, and he prays, "Father, forgive them." No man can study the fourfold biography of Christ and fail to note the tremendous importance of the great gift of repentance. On the neglect or the right use of this gift hinge eternal destinies, heaven or hell, eternal life or eternal death. Without Christ's help no depraved soul can break the power of sin. All Neptune's great ocean cannot wash away its dreadful stains. But Jesus brings to me and to every one an unsearchable treasure found nowhere else in the whole universe. It is the grace by which I may turn away from the abominable thing which God hateth. Jesus came to bless the entire race by turning every one from his iniquities. How crude and puerile the preference of many to be blessed in their iniquities till the last gasp of the earthly life, and then be taken, unwashed and unforgiven and impenitent, into a holy heaven to dwell in the presence of a holy God surrounded by holy angels to spend eternity in acts of worship which they abominated all their earthly life!

(3) The next unconditional gift to a world of sinners is the convicting agency of the Holy Spirit. It is true that conscience, a natural endowment, enables men to distinguish right from wrong and to feel compunction for wrong actions. But they need more than conscience to feel compunction for the seed of all sin, unbelief towards the Redeemer, who is the way, the only way, to reconciliation with God. Unbelief is not an act, but a state of fallen humanity. For this reason it does not call down the condemnation of conscience in the natural man. Human law never takes cognizance of unbelief. It requires the special illumination of the Holy Spirit to realize its deep and damning guilt. Under the blaze of that light the unbelieving moralist discovers the truth and the justice of these declarations: "He that believeth not is condemned already, because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God: He that believeth not God hath made him a liar; because he believeth not the record that God gave of his Son . . . that eternal life is in his Son." It is not the office of the Spirit to supersede the New Testament, by revealing the historical Christ, his words and works, but to accompany the Gospel record, and the evangelical ministry, and to make Christian truth real to the reader and the hearer. Thus he awakens a sense of guilt for religious indifference, and for neglect of Christ. If he is the Son of God, one with him in nature, he is worthy of worship, trust, and obedience. If he by his atoning death has become the sinner's benefactor, a cold disregard of him is the blackest ingratitude.

3. Let us now consider the conditional gifts which flow from the unsearchable riches of Christ: —

(1) Among these we note the forgiveness of sins. This is not exclusively a New Testament privilege, for it is found in the Old Testament also. The ancient philosophies all taught the impossibility of a righteous forgiveness of the guilty. "Penalty," said they, "must inevitably follow sin, just as the cart-wheel roils in the track of the ox," and as pain follows the infraction of any physical law. Natural law carried into the spiritual realm would entirely preclude forgiveness of sin. The dictum of philosophy is against remission of the penalty of sin. Ethics has no place for pardon. Without the atonement it would neutralize law and overturn God's moral government. The blood of Christ renders the conditional pardon of transgression a safe thing for the author and protector of moral law. The condition is the faith of the heart, not of the head merely, but a faith which instrumentally inspires newness of life. There is a unique phrase in Paul's great theological epistle — "justification unto life." Thus spiritual life is imparted at the moment of the forgiveness of sins. This brings us to another gift depending on the right use of our freedom.

(2) The new birth is a work of the Spirit in us, while pardon is a work done for us, taking place in the mind of God. This change in us is the great safeguard of forgiveness. The governor who proclaims amnesty to rebels has no such safeguard. He cannot create them anew and make them loyal citizens. The priest who in the confessional absolves the penitent "of all his sins in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit," cannot inspire the regenerate life, and thus guard against the abuse of absolution as an encouragement to continue in sin, because its guilt is so easily canceled. God never pardons till he sees real repentance and a genuine loathing of sin. Also he accompanies forgiveness with the implantation of love to the Lawgiver, which insures obedience to the Divine law. This love is not developed from a germ of natural goodness. It comes from above. It is shed abroad in the heart by the Holy Spirit, beginning the reconstruction of the soul in loyalty and holiness. Various are the figures of speech under which it is described in the Holy Scriptures. It is emancipation from slavery. "If the Son shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed." It is a new creation. " If any man be in Christ he is a new creature: the old things are passed away; behold they are become new" (2 Cor. v. 17, R. V.). It is a resurrection from the dead. " If ye be risen with Christ, set your affections on things above." It is the new birth, or birth from above. It is the circumcision of the heart, called also "the circumcision of Christ," because he is the author through the Holy Spirit. It is the stony heart changed into a heart of flesh. It is the inscription of God's law " in the inward parts." It is translation out of darkness into marvelous light. It is putting the Gospel leaven into the three measures of meal, — intellect, sensibilities, and will, — to assimilate the whole man to the image of the Son of God. It is putting off the old man and putting on the new. It is initial purification by water as by the washing of regeneration preparatory to that final and thorough purgation by the fiery baptism of the Holy Ghost. "Ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit." Thus we see that truth believed and obeyed is the instrument of this great change in the hand of the Holy Spirit, the Divine transformer. By the new birth men become partakers of the Divine nature as children of God. We live in an age in which liberalists, so-called, and some called evangelical, talk about the Fatherhood of God as including all men as his children, in the New Testament sense, whether regenerate or unregenerate. Whereas Christ speaks of sonship to God as the distinguishing mark of believers, the peculiar and unspeakable privilege of those who receive him. "Unto as many as received him did he give power, right, prerogative, to become sons of God, even to them that believe on his name." This evidently excludes all others from this spiritual sonship. Still more positive is this exclusion in these words of Christ, "No man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son willeth (is pleased —
Wesley) to reveal him" as Father. Observe that this special revelation is to the individual. Jesus is not speaking of that general revelation of God to the human race by the incarnation, but of the filial feeling inspired by the Holy Spirit in the heart of every one who comes to him in penitent faith weary and heavy laden. Sonship is a treasure in the keeping of Christ for such souls only. To these is the joyful certitude of the Fatherhood of God made known.

(3) This knowledge by the Spirit of adoption is the next item to be specified and dwelt upon as a part of "the unsearchable riches of Christ." Because ye are sons, God sent forth the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, "Abba, Father." Before the mission and message of John Wesley, it was taught that the cry oil the Spirit was only in the Bible revealing the marks of the new birth from which the seeker of salvation, if he found similar marks in his own heart, might infer that he had grounds for a hope that he would be saved at last. Wesley emphasized the place of the Spirit's cry, "in our hearts," thus affording positive assurance, beyond a doubt, that we are adopted into the Divine family. This immediate contact of the Holy Spirit with my spirit is the essential and vital element of the Wesleyan movement. It is called the direct witness of the Spirit which inspires love, joy, peace, and all the other fruit of the Spirit which follow the cry, "Abba, Father," and afford a basis for the inference that I am saved. This fruit of the Spirit is the indirect witness of the Spirit, needful as a safeguard against presumption, and mistaking something else for the voice of the Spirit.

The disciples after Pentecost went everywhere preaching the knowledge of forgiveness of sins. This accounts for their happiness and their joyful endurance of persecution. "Ye took joyfully the spoiling of your possessions, knowing that ye yourselves have a better possession and an abiding one " (Heb. x. 34,
R. V.). The margin reads thus, "knowing that ye have your own selves for a better possession." What a dignity and worth the Gospel imparts! What certitude attends the Spirit's message of salvation, making the fact of my adoption into God's family as sure as that of my personal existence, or any other fact of intuition!

Various metaphors are used to describe this testimony of the Spirit, the chief of which are the earnest and the seal. The earnest is a sum of money paid to bind the bargain. It is also a pledge that the full payment will be made when the service has been rendered or the goods have been delivered. It must be remembered that a part of the blessedness of the Gospel lies beyond the grave, the resurrection of the body and life everlasting. Are these blessings held by naked faith without any present token in aid of faith? No. Let us praise the Lord for that help to faith in the earnest of the Spirit as the divinely appointed and comforting assurance that things to come after death are ours. "In whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession," elsewhere explained as the redemption of the body from the power of the grave. A careful reading of this Scripture shows us in what this earnest consists. The Spirit is Christ's earnest and seal; for he seals believers not
by the Spirit, as an agent, but with the Spirit, as an instrument. The conscious presence of the Spirit in our hearts is our constant surety of the resurrection and eternal well-being. "Now he that hath wrought us for the self same thing is God, who hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Therefore we are always confident," always saved from doubt, "knowing that, whilst we are at home in the body, we are absent from the Lord; for we walk by faith, not by sight." Lest faith should weaken and fail in our long absence from the visible and glorified Jesus, while wishing rather to be absent from the body and to be present with the Lord, Christ stays our faith and cheers our longing hearts by the gift of the indwelling Comforter. The Christian who has not this gift is not claiming his full heritage of the unspeakable riches of Christ.

4. Another gift of Christ is purity of heart. Some deem this too great a gift for our mighty Savior to bestow on us while we dwell in houses of clay. This seems to be the remnant of that dualistic philosophy which the Gnostics early incorporated into Christianity to its great detriment. There is no moral evil inherent in matter. The body is as capable of sanctification as the soul, When the human spirit is entirely purified from the inherited propensity to sin the body becomes the instrument of the sanctified will by which the natural appetites are chastened, and artificial appetites are purged away.

The relation of Christ to sanctification is found in the efficacy of his atonement, and in the sufficiency of the agent whom he provides, the Holy Spirit, the efficient inward worker. Jesus Christ is provisionally the Regenerator and Sanctifier of all mankind. He really regenerates and sanctifies only those who receive the Holy Spirit in these respective operations. It is Christ's part of entire sanctification to provide the means, his own blood, and the agent, the Holy Spirit. It is our part to secure by our faith the act of the Spirit applying to us the cleansing efficacy of the atonement. Hence there is a sense in which we are to "cleanse ourselves from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit." We are to link ourselves to the sanctifier by faith. We are to place ourselves beneath the purifying stream.

After the great work has been wrought we need the gift of wisdom to guide our imperfect judgments, which it is not the province of sanctification to render infallible.

Christ is made unto us wisdom. His wisdom becomes ours when we believe all his words, and obey his commands, and follow his example. This is the short and sure road to wisdom. The follies which disfigure men, and deprave and destroy the individual and society, would all disappear if all mankind would perseveringly trust in Jesus Christ. Life is a school in which all may become wise. There is only one way by which we can appropriate the riches of Christ- the way of faith. Wisdom is the right use of knowledge. It elects the best end and applies the best means for its attainment.

It is related that a young man, half-witted, the heir of a little money, succeeded, to the surprise of everybody, in multiplying it till he became a millionaire. How? He watched a shrewd, successful man and imitated him in all his investments in real estate, and in stocks of various kinds. Thus using another man's wisdom he became very rich. If you wish to keep out of the eternal poorhouse of lost souls, and to have treasures of the gold tried in the fire, watch Jesus Christ, and do as he did, borrow his wisdom and you will attain his eternal wealth.

In this world of bewildering fallacies, where myriads of false lights are luring to destruction, we inexperienced and short-lived mortals may be saved from fatal experiments by availing ourselves of God's experience, and by faith in him, seize success in this life and lay hold of eternal life. What is success? Not money, nor fame, nor power, nor knowledge, but saintly character. It takes faith, great faith, to choose this as the aim of all effort and to persist from youth to old age in making a straight run toward this prize. Such in the sight of God and his holy angels are the only true heroes on the earth. Not one of them escapes God's notice. He wishes to see more. "The eyes of the Lord run to and fro throughout the whole earth to show himself strong in behalf of them whose heart is perfect toward him." 2 Chron. xvi. 9. If there are no such characters on the earth it would seem to be unwise to be on the constant lookout to find them and give them a lift in times of special need. The words just quoted were in rebuke of one who had " done foolishly."

The unsearchable riches of Christ become more and more manifest amid the adversities, the losses, the bereavements and sufferings of life, just as the splendors of the starry heavens become visible in darkness. When worldly possessions vanish, and health fails, and our loved ones sink into the grave, and we begin to realize that all earthly foundations must soon fail, then it is that Jesus Christ, "the same yesterday, to-day and forever," is indeed "the Rock of Ages," worth more to an immortal soul standing thereon than all the material universe. Death, our last enemy, is conquered by him who is the resurrection and the life, whom to know in the evangelical sense is life everlasting. This is being rich enough. It just fills out the meaning of that freshly coined word "multi-millionaire."

We do not deprecate the accumulation of capital for the great enterprises of men, covering the oceans with steamships, and the continents with swiftly moving streams of commerce. These appliances of our Christian civilization have their place, but they are no part of the believer's true riches. They do not satisfy even the unbeliever in whose heart the Creator has set eternity as the only correct measure of values.

5. We have not time to speak of the deliverance from the fear of death, which the believer enjoys in advance, and the complete victory which crowns him on his dying bed; of the glorious resurrection of the body at the coming of the Son of Man to judge the world; of the boldness of the disciple of Christ in that great day, conscious that he is conformed to the moral image of the Son of God who will not condemn facsimiles of himself; and of the crown of life eternal enthroned with our elder brother sharing the throne of his Father.

If, as I have endeavored to show, Christ is the only object which can fully and eternally satisfy desire, and hence, according to President Wayland, the only true riches, it remains for me to inquire individually, are you in possession of this riches? Are you to-day according to God's standard a rich man, or a pauper? It is not agreeable to men who have thought that they were rich, and in need of nothing, to confess bankruptcy. Spiritual bankruptcy is never acknowledged by anybody who does not buy of God, the divine collyrium. "I counsel thee to buy of me gold refined in the fire that thou mayest become rich, and eye-salve to anoint thine eyes, that thou mayest see." To see yourself as related to eternal realities is worth more to you now than all the gold in the Bank of England, for you may now seek and find the true riches; you may now buy God's gold. In the financial history of New York City there stands out a terrible day called black Friday, when a few greedy men made a corner on gold when specie payment was suspended, and brought down financial ruin on scores, if not hundreds, of gold speculators who did not see the plot and escape. They must in an hour buy gold or become bankrupt; but gold could not be had except at a ruinous price. It was ruin to buy and was disaster not to buy. Thus they went down in an hour. Another black Friday is coming when men will find out that they must have God's gold when it is too late. God's gold is on sale only in this life, not in the world to come.

Our subject throws a flood of light on the one absolutely inexhaustible theme of the evangelical preacher in whom the Son of God has been revealed by the promised Paraclete, glorifying Christ and showing to the anointed eye his matchless beauty and worth. A preacher's experience determines his choice of themes. Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh. He who, like Paul, has that inward revelation of Christ will, like that great apostle, not confer with flesh and blood, will not consult men about the topics of his pulpit discourses. After he has been on the Mount of Transfiguration, and had a vision of the glorified Christ, he will never run short of pulpit themes, even though he should preach half a century to the same congregation. He will find no necessity for diluting or watering the Gospel to extend it over many years without the tedium of wearisome repetition. To him Christ will be a theme ever new so long as he dwells on the Mount, and gazes with rapture upon him who is the chief among ten thousand and the one altogether lovely. Such a preacher will be constantly ministering to the deepest needs of his hearers. He will not lack an audience. Says Jesus, "When I am lifted up I will draw all men" unto me." A simple, earnest, warm, and sympathetic herald of Christ will never need to advertise ephemeral secular themes, gathered from yesterday's daily paper, or to magnify the excellences of the quartette and soloist hired from the opera in order to attract an audience.

Daily discovering new beauties in Christ, and daily experiencing new joys in conscious companionship with him, the preacher will come to his pulpit with Christ in his heart and on his tongue as a new theme. This supposes in every preacher a deep spirituality, a heart surcharged with power from on high. Do you ask "How may I get such a heart"? Bow down before the Spirit of grace, of truth, and power, and importunately and trustfully pray,—

"For me thy boundless gifts I claim,
The heart of zeal, the tongue of flame:
To me the wisdom give, and love,
That blend the serpent with the dove.
O bring thy rich endowments near,
Of counsel, might, and holy fear.
Spirit of fire, pervade, enfold,
Consume the dross, refine the gold;
Spirit of life and light, display
Salvation's full and finished day,
That my own gladdened soul may share
The gospel-wealth my lips declare."

Such a prayer offered with the pure desire to glorify Christ before the eyes of the sinful race whom he has redeemed cannot fail. If you are called to preach, there is an equipment, an endowment, a panoply in the arsenal of God belonging to you. Claim it and put it on and wear it evermore.











* Jonathan Edwards in his youth wrote the commendable resolution to live not only for the highest happiness of the present hour, but for his best well-being millions of ages hence. The result of this resolution faithfully kept through his life is well expressed by a writer in the Westminster Review: "From the days of Plato there bas been no life of more simple and imposing grandeur than that of Jonathan Edwards."

** Mommsen, History of Rome, Vol. IV. 586.