by JOSEPH IRONS
Delivered in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, Sunday Morning, July 14, 1850
A religion of contingencies and uncertainties deserves not the name of Christianity, and it is perfectly a misnomer to call it Christianity. You may call it Paganism, or Popery, or Arminianism, three unclean spirits as they are; but never call it Christianity. Christianity is a religion of certainties, originating in the bosom love, purpose, and grace of an unchanging God; settled in the huge volume of immutable, extensive, certain, irrevocable, decrees, transcribed at least in part in this volume of Divine inspiration, written and engraven upon the heart of every elect vessel of mercy, the very banner and glory of the Captain of salvation. "I am the Lord, I change not, therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed," (Malachi 3:6). Let Him forsake one saint, and I would not give a straw for His word any more; let Him forsake but one saint, and I would not place any dependence on what He has said, but turn infidel directly. Sure I am, that no such instance can be found in the 1850 years that have run out, no, nor in all that went before. Well, then, we come to contemplate this morning, as the Lord shall give power, a religion of certainties. If you have brought any of your ifs and buts, and peradventures with you in your pocket, I pray you cut the bottom of it, and let them out; for we mean to dwell upon no such things this morning. What, say you, do you mean to ride the high horse with your Master? Yes, I do, because He has taken me up with Him. You know some people tell me to have a change of air. I will take it this morning, God helping me; and if I inhale a little of the air of heaven, I pray God to breathe it our upon you. Come, O Holy Ghost, and breathe upon these slain (for there are slain ones here, no doubt) that they may live, breathe upon these living, that they may feast, and walk, and run; and breathe upon the poor instrument, that he may be adequate to the work before him.
Will you allow me to tell you how the Lord gave me this portion? On Wednesday morning I despaired of ever entering this sacred place again. I gave up all hope of studying, and without either reading or thought this portion fell upon my spirit, "He forsaketh not His saints; they are preserved for ever." A train of thought rushed in most unctuously and savourily, such as I should never venture to describe upon earth. In came the tempter, "You old fool, why think of studying sermons, you will never preach another." I was not a stranger to whence the suggestion came, and I carried it to my Master. "Lord, dost thou give me this message, and wilt thou not give me strength to deliver it?" And believe me, beloved, I took my precious Lord at His word. Forgive me this digression; I thought you would like to know how I came by the text.
Now, first of all, it struck me that the property of Jehovah is His saints; then the unchanging love of Jehovah is such, that He will never forsake them; and then the triumphs of His grace shall be such, that they are to be preserved for ever. Why, beloved, if I had strength to speak to you till this time tomorrow, I should never exhaust these three thoughts. They have been boiling and foaming in my soul from Wednesday morning till now; and I feel just like Elihu, if I did not let them out, I should burst.
I.) Look for a moment at the all important fact, that the property of Jehovah is not said to be His angels, though they are His; it is not said to be the heavens, though they are His; it is not said to be the earth, with all its fullness, though they are His: but the special claim, the peculiar property of Jehovah, as described in the language of my text, is His saints. Now let me attempt to describe them a little. If one of the first order, one of the highest standing, one of the purest description, one of the most extensive usefulness, were placed before my eyes, and I knew all his history, if you were only to ask the question, do you know, Sir, what he is? I should say he is a transformed sinner. He came into the world as filthy as sin could make him, and as black as the devil could wish him to be, and as full enmity to God as the vilest infidel upon the face of the earth; but he is transformed. He once bore the image of the earthy, now he bears the image of the heavenly. He once manifestly was the seed of the serpent after the flesh; he is now manifestly the seed of Christ after the Spirit. Do not tell me of nominal saints, of saints of human creation, of posthumous saints; saints sainted after their departure from this world, on account of some wondrous deeds which they may have been supposed to have done. I wonder how the common intellect of men who possess any common intellect at all, could be gulled and deceived by such abominable devices. There is not a word of anything of that kind in the Scriptures. A saint in the Bible is the very character I have mentioned, though I shall go on with the description. But the first feature I give is, that there is not one upon earth or in heaven but who is conscious that he was once a vile sinner, deserving nothing but hell. Nay, more, every saint of God, as long as he is upon earth, will be conscious of this. The man of highest attainment, and richest enjoyment, and fullest confidence, and most extensive usefulness, will feel conscious and own it before God day by day, that if He had dealt with him according to his sins, and after his iniquities, he would have been in the gulf of perdition long ago. Therefore his saintship is not in the flesh, not in the creature, not in human doings, but it is in his transformation; that having run the length of sin which the chain permitted him to run, having served divers lusts and pleasures, having yielded his members servants of unrighteousness unto sin, he is made to yield his members as servants of righteousness unto holiness. In love with sin by nature, he would have continued so to the end of his days if untouched by transforming grace; but transformed by omnipotent grace, that object which was so much loved is embittered and abhorred, and though it will struggle and strive for the mastery, grace still unfurls the banner, "sin shall not reign here." A real saint is a transformed sinner. He claims nothing is his highest attainments as pertaining to the flesh, beyond the most degraded being that may be seen around him in the world; but ascribes all that he sees, and knows, and enjoys of holiness, unto the rich, free, sovereign, immutable, eternal grace communicated by the Holy Ghost from the treasure that is in Christ by the sovereign purpose of God the Father.
Saints are the Holy Trinity's workmanship. This is not my thought, but God's: "We are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works." I cannot help taking a threefold view of the workmanship of God upon the poor beings, wretched and ruined in themselves, of whom He makes saints. They are created, they are consecrated, and they are consequently claimed. They thus belong to the Holy Trinity.
They are created anew in Christ Jesus; and hence we read, and that, too, with sacred delight, "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation," (2 Cor. 5:17). We have it in our version, "a new creature." Well, I suppose the terms are nearly synonymous; but I like to look at them in both senses, if there be two. "If any man be in Christ Jesus." Here is an hypothesis, here is a problem to solve, here is an, "if," to get rid of. "If any man be in Christ Jesus." Beloved, is it if with you? Say, is it yet an if? I would not have had an if in my soul last Tuesday night for ten thousand worlds. But, blessed be God, I did not know what an if was. Say you, I want to get rid of my if? I tell you how to do it, then. Examine whether you are a new creature. "If any man be in Christ Jesus, he is a new creation." A new creation might be looked at in rather a limited sense, as if the old materials had been worked up afresh, and yet so newly formed, so nicely shaped and molded, that it looked a new creature. But if you look at the words, "new creation," I think you will find it is a stronger phrase, because it carries us back to the old creation, when there were no materials to work upon. He made the world out of nothing; and this is the case with the new creation. I tell you, beloved, if you are in Christ Jesus, and consequently one of His saints, when God came down to work upon you there was nothing for Him to work upon, except sin, and He would not work upon that. There was not a holy desire, there was not a spiritual emotion, there was not a heavenly flame, there was not a particle of life Divine; all was chaos, the very gulf of ruin, and the mire and clay, and wretchedness of sin into which the fall had plunged us. In the new creation the life of God comes down, the light of God shines in, the power of God is felt, and therefore the real Christian, the true saint, is created anew, and is holy, after the image of Him that created him.
Moreover, he is consecrated, or he could not be a saint. Mind you, I do not believe that this means, nor do I mean by it, the consecration of a mumbling old man, in a frock with lawn sleeves, which he is well paid for; but the consecration I mean is an entire dedication, and surrender, and devotedness of body, soul, and spirit to the glory of God, one made a partaker of life Divine, one really consecrated by Divine unction, set apart in Christ, seen complete in Him, and having all the powers of his soul called forth under the mighty constraining influence of the Holy Ghost to be devoted to God.
Now God claims such a saint. He says, "This is one of mine; the devil shall never have him." The powers of darkness cannot wrest him from the grasp of Jehovah, and therefore my precious Lord, in whom all saintship centers, and who is the King of saints, says, "None shall pluck them out of my Father's hand," (John 10:29). They are secure in my Father's hand, according to eternal purpose of electing love; and they are secure enough in me by virtue of covenant union in covenant bond; and therefore the Father claims them as His choice, the Son claims them as His purchase, the Spirit claims them as His workmanship, His saints, His property.
Go on to mark, that His saints are eternally set apart as such. Such is the signification of the word saint, or sanctified, they who are set apart. If you look at the expression which the Holy Ghost taught the apostle to set down, it runs in most interesting words: "To them that are sanctified by God the Father, preserved in Christ Jesus, and called," (Jude 1). See the order. Eternally set apart, sanctified by God the Father in His ancient settlements, in His own fixed purpose, in His own predestinating enactments, in His own revealed will, in every page of His own inspired word, under the fixed, positive, unalterable covenant engagements of the eternal Three; in which eternal setting apart the Father gives His oath that they shall all be given to Christ, and that He shall see His seed, the Son gives His oath, "Lo, I come; in the volume of the book it is written of me, to do thy will, O my God," (Heb. 10:7), and the Holy Ghost confirms the oath in the glorious book of decrees, pledging Himself to carry them out and write them off a fair copy, and send the first original down from heaven into the poor sinner's heart when He transforms them by His grace.
Moreover, they are not only set apart eternally as Jehovah's own, and consequently claimed as His saints, but we ought to view, for a moment, the varied characters in which they are set apart for Himself. And here both time and strength would fail me even to read the catalogue, the list of significant and expressive names given to the children of God. Suffice it that I condense them in three. They were eternally set apart by Jehovah as His own sons, as servants, and as especial treasures. Why put sons before servants? Say you. They are servants before they are sons. No, verily, they are often servants before they know they are sons, but never servants before they are sons, their sonship is first. That runs back in parallel with the Sonship of Christ, the ancient settlements of love Divine. "O righteous Father," said Jesus, "thou hast loved them as thou hast loved me, and thou lovedst me before the foundation of the world," (John 17:23,24). They were sons before they were born into the world, sons before the angels fell, sons before the fall, yea, truly, they were sons in their primitive state. They were sons because Jehovah set His love upon them as such, and recorded them as such in the book of life. They were set apart as such; and if you can destroy the sonship that exists between a parent and a child among poor worms of earth, do that first, and then go to work to destroy the sonship existing between Jehovah and His Church. I presume you would count it a hopeless task to destroy the sonship that is graven upon a parent's heart concerning the most rebel son, the most ungrateful son, the most profligate son, the most abandoned son that can be found in the creation of God. Ephraim is a pleasant child after all, a dear son. Well, if you cannot alienate, if you cannot withdraw nature's sonship, is it possible to imagine that the sonship existing between Jehovah and His saints can ever be abolished.
Moreover, they are set apart as servants. And this is a peculiar feature of Jehovah's eternal appointment; for you must know that servants set apart for the service of any great house, (and Jehovah's is a very large house), are numerous and varied, and appointed to different offices, and the master of the house takes upon himself to direct and determine, however arbitrary he may be called, so much the better, what each servant shall do, where he shall go, and when and how. He appoints each a station, and a position, and gives him both his wages for it, and his meat in it, and his pleasure and comfort in performing it. Bear with this illustration. Thus has God set apart His saints, mind you, they are all to do something, all to be servants, in His great house, His Church, and He has directed each servant what to do, and when and how to do it. See, for instance, how He set apart His servant Moses. Now, says He, go and deliver my message to Pharaoh. "I cannot go, I will not go, I am a man of slow speech, I am not at all eloquent." Just to meet his unbelief, for our God is a condescending God, He says, "You shall have your brother to accompany you, but you shall not make use of his eloquence, you shall speak after all." And so it was. God thus appointed His servant to bring His people out of Egypt, and bring them through the wilderness, and appointed him as king in Jeshurun; and throughout that time would let no man interfere with His work; and when Korah, Dathan, and Abiram presumed to do it, He commanded the earth to open her mouth and swallow them up out of the way, that His servant might go on. God confined Himself to that servant, and would not employ any other for the purpose for which He had chosen him; but He would not let Moses be His servant to conduct the children of Israel into the land of Canaan. He had eternally fixed in His infinite mind that Joshua should conduct the tribes over Jordan into the land of Canaan; Moses could not do it, it was no part of his commission; Joshua was to be the honoured instrument of conducting the Israelites into the land of promise, and subduing the nations before them; and God says to Moses, "Go up to mount Nebo and die." Take another sample. Look at David, a man after God's own heart, a servant employed to vanquish the Philistines, and all the armies around, a servant employed to such an extent as God's mighty warrior, that neither lions, nor bears, nor giants, nor armies, nor dangers of any kind could overcome and subdue him. Now says David, "I will build Him a temple." "No you shall not; I have limited your work. I am determined that you shall conquer all the enemies, and be the instrument to bring about a settled peace for the entire people, and your son Solomon shall be a man of peace, and have nothing to fight about; you shall not lay a stone of the building, your son shall begin it and finish it." And only one more instance. Ezra and Nehemiah were to be appointed to be the pioneers of deliverance in the captivity; they were to be the instruments and servants in building the walls of Jerusalem, but not the temple. That was the work of Zerubbabel. "He shall lay the foundation, and he shall bring forth the topstone with shoutings of grace, grace, unto it." Now, if you will read your Bibles attentively and prayerfully, you will find that God has eternally appointed, determined, set apart, I might say, confined Himself to work by the instruments of His own appointment, as He will, how He will, where He will, and when He will. Angels, men, and devils, are at His command; nature moves on at His fiat; time exists only to accomplish His purpose; and eternally shall consummate only what God designs, and by His own plans.
Moreover, His saints are set apart as His special treasure. "They shall be mine, saith the Lord, in that day when I make up my jewels;" the margin of which reads, "my special treasure." Well, you know, many persons that are rich, have got some treasures which they do not care much about; and they throw this into that lumber room, and this into that loft, and the other they perhaps put in the open air. It may be worth something perhaps some day, but it is not a special treasure, of every day use, really of value, such as gold and jewels, and they will be taken special care of. "They shall be mine when I make up my special treasure." Now, you must mark, beloved, that Jehovah's Church, His saints, are His special treasure. "The earth is the Lord's and the fullness thereof;" the gold and silver are the Lord's, He claims them as His property, although some take great pains to rob Him of it. "The cattle upon a thousand hills are the Lord's;" but none of these are His special treasure. The saints are set forth as His special treasure, so special that His highest tokens of love are manifested to them, the highest gifts of His hand are bestowed upon them, the highest climes of bliss are prepared for them, ever mansions, the highest decrees of His mind are settled irrevocably for them.
Moreover, they are manifestly His saints. He does not want them hidden and concealed. Now it is the practice of Antichrist, "the mother of harlots," to shut up here saints, as if they were too good to be seen, that they can only be confined within massive walls, locked up as prisoners, as I hear, for the basest of purposes. Now God does not want His saints put into nunneries. He does not want them secluded and excluded from public observation; but His proclamation to them is, "Ye that sit in darkness go forth and show yourselves." The Son of God says to every one of them, "Let your light shine before men;" not put it in a dark lantern, and carry that down into a dark cell, but, "let it shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." O beloved, put the question home to your own souls, am I manifestly His? Perhaps some of you are saying, my horse is not rather too high for you, "I like the doctrines well; these ancient settlements of love, these decretive enactments of the Divine mind; they seem to give me something firm to rest upon; but do not be presumptuous."
II.) Pursue our subject to its second feature. I have detained you long in describing His saints, which He claims, and will claim at the last, ("They shall be mine in that day when I make up my jewels)," that my hearers might not be mistaken, and charge the deception on me at the last. God helping me, you shall not. Now proceed just to mark the unchanging love which Jehovah expresses. "He forsaketh not His saints." How so? Why, because He set His love upon them as a parent, and, consequently, could not forsake them; and He is the everlasting, unchanging God, "without variableness or shadow of turning." I will give you a problem, if you can solve it. He will forsake them, if they should ever forsake Him to such an extent that He could not foresee. Can you solve that problem? In attempting to do so, you must admit that He is not omniscient, that the end and the beginning were not one with Him, and consequently, that He was not God. Therefore, we must turn Atheists. But we must keep to our principles, or, rather to His. "He forsaketh not His saints." What! Did He not forsake them when they fell in Adam? No, only as regarded the manifestation. They that were registered in heaven were not allowed to forsake Him when the fallen angels did; but all that the Father gave to Christ, and accounted His brethren, all for whom He had covenanted, as well as the rest of the posterity of Adam, did forsake Him. "Sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, because all have sinned." What! Did not God forsake them then? No, not in covenant love, not in relationship, not in ancient settlements, not in fixed purpose; but He withdrew His face; He made them to feel the consequences of sin; He brought sorrow upon Adam and Eve, and said to Eve, "In sorrow shalt thou conceive and bring forth." What! Did not God forsake Moses when He threw down the tables of stone, and broke them in pieces? What! Did not God forsake Israel when they made the golden calf? No; He forsake them not as regarded His covenant; He was their God after all. Did He not forsake David after all his wickedness, almost too awful to rehearse? No; "the Lord hath put away thy sin;" "thou shalt not die." So of many others recorded in the Word of God. One Scripture might seem contradictory, if I were not to quote it. "If we forsake Him, He will forsake us." That was under the law, and so it is even now. If we forsake Him, as regards His doctrines, or close fellowship with Him, our use of means, He will forsake us as regards comfort, as regards feastings. "He will visit their sins with a rod, and their iniquities with stripes: nevertheless, His lovingkindness will He never take away from them." He will never forsake them. What a mercy that, amidst all the frailties, and all the departures, and wanderings, and frightful instances of depravity, which every real Christian can discover in himself daily, (he cannot discover them if he is blind), God will not forsake him! He is the same unchangeable God: He emancipated them from eternal ruin officially, as well as having loved them paternally; and until paternal ove can change, Jehovah will not; cannot forsake the work of His own hands; and until the official engagements of Christ can perish, the emancipation which He has effected by His doing and dying for all, the election of grace can never be frustrated, destroyed, or reversed. "He forsaketh not His saints." "He forsaketh not His saints." The Father will not forsake them, because He has sworn not to do so; the Son will not forsake them, because they are so eternally one with Him that He cannot; and He has made them so emphatically His own by purchase, as well as by covenant engagements, and by bringing them to surrender at His feet, that we may sing with Paul, "I am persuaded that there can be no separation." But I may separate from Him for all that. I may finally perish, I may become an apostate, I may commit the sin against the Holy Ghost! Well, now hear what God says in the text, which we have repeatedly quoted, "This is the covenant that I will make with them in those days saith the Lord. It shall be an everlasting covenant, that I will not turn away from them to do them good; and I will put my fear in their hearts, that they shall not depart from me," (Jer. 32:40). He engages on both sides; and therefore, while I view the paternal love of God my Father as immutable as His existence, so I view the emancipating undertaking and engagement of the work of Christ as infallible as His name, His nature, and His official character. He did it as the covenant Head; and He must cease to be a covenant Head before He can forsake His Church.
Nor can the conquering and constraining operations of the Holy Ghost be frustrated. Whom He conquers He also constrains. I limit myself here, though there are three or four things more which I wanted to name. Whom He conquers He conquers by powerful invincible grace. And I will tell you again, as I have often told you, that you may have these things always in remembrance after my decease, that no sinner upon the face of the earth ever became a saint but by Divine conquest, and if you forget all I have said this morning besides, do not forget that. You are not and cannot be one of God's saints, though you may be one of the Pope's, or one of the devil's, unless Divine grace has conquered your heart, brought you to Jesu's feet, and put Divine life into your soul. Whom He thus conquers, He lays so low as to bring every thought into subjection to the obedience of Christ, and I have found, (bear with me if there is any egotism in this), I have found those to be the sweetest moments in my life when, like David, I have been able to say, "If He have done with me, if he says I have no more pleasure in Him, let Shimei curse, let Absalom fight, let Israel desert me, let Him do what He will with me,
Let Him do what seemeth Him good." And when He has done this work, and made the sinner cast away his weapons of warfare and make full surrender, then He constrains that poor sinner to love his Conqueror. Talk about loving Christ in an unconquered state? It is most ridiculous presumption, it is really playing with Christianity. There is not a sinner who really loves Christ as God, until He has been conquered by His grace and brought down to His feet.
All this He does in His own time and way, yea, by instruments of His own appointing and preparing, as we have shown in our first head of discourse, nor will He work by any other. Moses cannot do Joshua's work; David cannot do Solomon's work, Paul cannot do Apollo's work, the one must plant and the other must water. There is a hackneyed phrase common among Christians, "God is not confined to means." This may be true with regard to means of man's arranging; but He has, in the sense I have mentioned, condescended to limit or confine Himself to the instruments or means of His own appointing. He said to Cyrus, "He is my shepherd, and shall perform all my pleasure." Hence no other man but Cyrus could do His work, because God had appointed him to liberate His people from Babylon. This fundamental principle is followed out in all the departments of nature, providence, and grace, especially in the work of the ministry. No other man could do dear old Dr. Hawker's work, Dr. Hawker could not do William Huntington's work, nor can any other man do mine. This should stimulate ministers, deacons, and all Christians to inquire, what is the work which God hath appointed me to do? And then to bestir themselves very zealously to the performance of it, in obedience to the sacred injunction, "Son, go work in my vineyard today." And if each would keep in his proper department, there would be no room for jealousies and animosities among the servants of God, but each would find room enough to employ all his powers, Paul planting and Apollos watering, and both content to be nothing, so that God may give the increase and receive all the glory. The conquests of sinner's hearts would extend, the comfort of the household of faith would increase, and the crown would flourish upon the head of our most glorious Christ, who is still going on from conquering to conquer, and must go on until the last elect vessel of mercy is vanquished by His grace, enlisted into His army, and made more than conqueror over all the enemies that once held him in captivity.
III.) I hasten on for a word or two very briefly, relative to the triumphs of grace as set forth in the expression, "they are preserved for ever." What! While many of them are martyrs? What! While many of them are backsliders? What! While many of them seem to turn back to the world? I tell you, "they are preserved for ever," and however far they may roam, even into Babylon God says, "I will bring them back, and they shall come; with weeping and with supplication will I lead them," (Jer.31:9), and there shall not be one of them left behind, "root and branch, men, women, and little ones." "Not a hoof," as it was said with regard to the deliverance from Egypt, "not a hoof shall be left behind." God claims them all. I know very well my preservation is almost ended. Some of us old labourers have nearly done our work and the Jesuitical spies in England say, "Let them alone, they will soon be gone, let us lay snares for the rising generation, we shall get rid of these old Antinomians very soon." No, no, says God, they are preserved under all circumstances. They are preserved from foes, preserved from themselves, preserved from falling, for the Lord says He will raise them up again; preserved from darkness, preserved from sickness, preserved from pain, preserved from reproached, preserved from losses, and crosses, and cares, and reverses, and from everything of a temporal or spiritual kind that can befall them in the wilderness. They are preserved for ever. Oh! What a mercy! "Kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation, ready to be revealed in the last time," (1 Pet. 1:5).
What will unbelief say to this doctrine? Is it not silenced? At least for the present. Read those sweet promises, beloved, in the 121st Psalm: "The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. The Lord shall preserve thee from all evil, He shall preserve thy soul." No circumstances can place a believer out of the reach of Divine preservation; no changes can alter the fact recorded in our text, "They are preserved for ever." Poverty may strip them, wealth may ensnare them, enemies may menace them, Satan may tempt them, corruptions within may annoy them, but nothing can destroy them. They may, like Paul, be, "in perils of waters, in perils of robbers, in perils by their own countrymen, in perils by the heathen, in perils in the city, in perils in the wilderness, in perils in the sea, in perils among the false brethren; in weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fasting often, yea, in cold and nakedness," (2 Cor. 11:26,27); but all these things shall only serve to display more gloriously and manifestly the preserving hand of God, as well as to call into exercise all the graces of the Spirit in the soul. The rage of a heathen despotic monarch, his den of lions, and his fiery furnace, may all be put in requisition, just to try the faith of God's heroes, but not to do them any real injury, for, "they are preserved for ever."
Popish persecution, coupled with Infidel fury may again be permitted to test the faith of God's elect, but shall never pluck one of them out of that hand by which, "they are preserved for ever." Take courage then, ye tempted, tried harassed souls, for Omnipotence is your defence, Omniscience watches over you, and immutable love can never forsake you. And when the earth and all things therein are burnt up, when the heavens shall be wrapped together as a scroll, and time shall be no longer, then shall the apostle's exultation be fully realized by every heir of God, every joint-heir with Christ. "The Lord shall deliver me from every evil work, and will preserve me unto His heavenly kingdom, to whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen."
Moreover, replenishing grace is also poured forth; and this is the way they are preserved. Replenishing grace, always flowing from the fullness of Christ. "He giveth more grace," and, "grace for grace out of His fullness have all we received," (John 1:16). I meant to have illustrated this, but I must draw to a close. Glory to His precious name, that there is a fixed and efficient reason to be ascribed, once for all, why they are preserved. Why, He means to employ them for ever, He will not part with the labourer, He will not part with one singer out of His choir above, He will not part with one occupant of the mansions which He has prepared, He will not see it written upon it, "To let," for ever and ever, to disgrace the heavenly mansions. No, no, He will have them all employed in glorifying, and praising, and exalting Him, singing, "To Him that loved us and washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priest unto our God and Father, to Him be glory, and honour, might, majesty, and dominion for ever and ever," (Rev. 1:5,6). That long, that beauteous, that melodious, that eternal Amen, shall be poured forth from these lips, and all the harps in heaven shall echo it for all eternity.
May God Almighty command a blessing on these few hints, and His name shall have all the glory.