Help from the Santuary (Part 2)

When, then, he is brought down from unwavering confidence into doubts, fears, and suspicions lest the whole work should be unsound from the beginning, his eyes are opened to see where his former associates are; and as he freely speaks what he deeply feels, it calls forth their wrath and contempt. Their taunts and jeers wound him, as they wounded David when he said, "Our soul is exceedingly filled with the scorning of those that are at ease, and with the contempt of the proud." I must say for myself, that though for a short time I was connected with some of these vain, confident professors, I never could get into their security. I could not see where the fault lay, but there was a hardness about them, which always repelled me; and when I found the lives of some of the highest in faith were to the grossest degree immoral, the thread of our connection was soon broken. But it is not so with all; and when their taunts are painfully felt, it needs the name of the God of Jacob to defend the soul.

But why should it be the "name of the God of Jacob?" Because such is the name of a covenant God. We therefore read that "Jacob is the lot of His inheritance." It is only as a covenant Jehovah that the name of God can be known, or when known can defend the soul. Then, by "the God of Jacob" we are to understand the Three-One Jehovah in eternal covenant engagements; and by His "name" we are to understand all His revealed offices, attributes, and perfections, as engaged on behalf of the elect. This name of the Lord is a strong tower, and upon all the glory manifested in it shall be a defence.

III.-"Send thee help from the sanctuary." The church goes on with her prayer, supplicating help from Him from whom alone help comes. But whence is this help to spring? "From the sanctuary." That is the place whence the help must come. Not from the exertions of free-will; not from attempts to work out a righteousness with which God may be well pleased; not from making one s self a Christian by taking up at random the opinions of others; not by plastering and white-washing ourselves over with "decided piety;" not by stealing an experience from others, and going about dressed up in borrowed plumes; not by resting upon doubts and fears, guilt and corruption, as evidences; not by pinning our eternal all-in-all upon the sleeve of some good man; not by creeping under the wing of a minister, and there getting warmth and shelter. All these delusions and devices of Satan and the flesh are swept away when God puts forth His hand upon a man s conscience. It must then be "help from the sanctuary."

But what is the sanctuary? It is not any building made with hands, though the tabernacle under the Levitical dispensation was called by that name, but only so as a standing type of the human nature of Jesus, "the true tabernacle which the Lord pitched, and not man" .{Heb 8:2} Paul therefore calls the Levitical tabernacle, "a worldly sanctuary" Heb 9:1 as opposed to the heavenly sanctuary. I therefore understand by "the sanctuary" in the text, not the typical sanctuary below, but the antitypical sanctuary above, the immediate presence of Jehovah, Holy, Holy, Holy, the Lord God of hosts; the eternal abode of light, life and glory; the throne of holiness, majesty and power; whence the eternal covenant, ordered in all things and sure, originated, and out of which everything that blesses, comforts, strengthens and satisfies the soul proceeds.

Now this is the place whence the child of God wants help. And if this help comes out of the sanctuary, it will be filled with the fragrance and odour of the sanctuary. Before the high priest, under the Levitical dispensation, entered into the most holy place on the great day of atonement, he was to take a censer full of burning coals from off the brazen altar, and his hands full of sweet incense beaten small, and bring it within the veil. He was then to put the incense upon the fire, that the cloud of the incense might cover the mercy-seat. Le 16:12,13 This was typical of the intercession of Jesus, now in the sanctuary as the "High Priest over the house of God." The incense of His mediatorial work fills and perfumes the court of heaven. But when the high priest came out of the sanctuary, did not his garments smell of the incense, which had filled the most holy place? Would he not come forth fragrant with the odour? And as the incense was only burnt before the mercy-seat, would not the fragrance which surrounded and came from him be a certain proof to the people that he had been within the veil? So it is with every blessing that comes out of the sanctuary, where Jesus now sits at the right hand of God. It comes down as a good gift and a perfect gift from the Father of lights, and perfumed with the incense of the sanctuary. Coming from heaven, it breathes forth the air of heaven, and conveys a measure of heaven into the soul.

Thus it carries with it His own stamp; it bears with it His own signature. And it is this heavenly fragrance, which distinguishes all fancied blessings from real blessings; all presumptuous confidence from living faith; all false religion from true religion; all the delusions of enthusiasm and wild dreams of insanity, from the witness of the Holy Ghost in the soul. There is no fragrance, no savour, no power, no sweetness, no heavenly dew in any counterfeit that comes from Satan, from men, or from ourselves. They may imitate the shape and colour of the flower, but they cannot give it fragrance. But wherever help comes out of the sanctuary, out of the fullness of the church s covenant Head, out of the presence of God and the Lamb, out of the courts of heaven, directly and immediately into the soul, it comes laden with heavenly fragrance and divine odour. It therefore carries with it a reality, a sweetness and a savour, which nothing but a testimony from God Himself can communicate. Now here is a test to try your faith by. If you have no doubts about your state, and stand, as you believe, secure in Christ, whence arose that confidence? Did it spring from, and is it continued by, "help from the sanctuary?" And did this help come in the way of some word, some promise, some smile, some manifestation, some sweet discovery out of the courts of heaven into your conscience? And when it did so come, did it come down into your soul fragrant with holy odour? did it breathe a heavenly atmosphere? and, letting down a measure of Christ s presence into your heart, did it fill you with love to Him? You may well doubt whether you have received any testimony from God, unless it has wrought some of these effects in your soul. If it came down from heaven, it carried your soul up to heaven whence it came down. All true religion comes down from the Father of lights. Not one grain or atom of it did nature ever manufacture. Satan may counterfeit the operations of the blessed Spirit, and the imitation may be so near the original as to perplex, if not deceive, the most discerning; but Satan cannot communicate what he does not possess, and what he cordially hates-the heavenly savour, sweetness, power and holiness, that accompany the Spirit s testimonies. These must be breathed into the soul from the lips of God Himself, or we can never have one grain or atom of them.

"Send thee help from the sanctuary." When the soul has to pass through the trying hour of temptation, it wants help from the sanctuary. And nothing but help from the sanctuary can ever stand it in any stead. All other help leaves the soul just where it found it. Now why does the Lord send help from the sanctuary, but because the soul to whom help is sent stands interested in the Father s love, the Saviour s blood, and the Spirit s teachings-interested in the eternal covenant transactions of the Three-One Jehovah. Help is sent him from the sanctuary, because his name has been from all eternity registered in the Lamb s book of life, graven upon the palms of His hands, borne on His shoulder, and worn on His heart. He was in the sanctuary when his covenant Head stood up on his behalf, and in the Lord s book all His members were written when as yet there was none of them. He was then virtually in the sanctuary before all time, and he will be  personally in the sanctuary after all time. But he must be "made meet to be a partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light." As he is predestinated to inhabit that sanctuary, he must have a nature suited for its holy delights. Now it is receiving help from the sanctuary that fits him to inhabit it.

Communications of life and grace out of it make him a new creature, and produce spirituality and heavenly mindedness. The breath of heaven in his soul draws his affections upward, weans him from earth, and makes him a pilgrim and a sojourner here below, "looking for a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." Heb 11:10

IV.-"And strengthen thee out of Zion." What is Zion? It is "the city of the living God" Heb 12:22 "the heavenly Jerusalem." Zion is the place, which God hath eternally blessed; to which His eyes are from one end of the year to the other; and out of which He has promised every blessing that His loving heart can bestow. It is on this holy hill of Zion that He has set His King; Ps 2:6 He hath chosen it, and said of it, "This is My rest for ever; here will I dwell, for I have desired it" Ps 132:13,14 It is out of Zion, then, thus blessed, that the Lord strengthens His saints. Through ignorance and self-righteousness, the newly quickened soul will often be looking for help to Mount Sinai; but that mountain is a mountain of curses. It was "the mount that burned with fire, and where was blackness, and darkness and tempest" Heb 12:18 No dew of God s favour, nor "small rain" of His tender mercy ever fell there; nor can  strength ever come from that fiery mount. The law is weak through the flesh, Ro 8:3 and therefore cannot minister strength to those that are under it. It says, "Do, and live;" but it cannot give power to perform, nor communicate life. Every spiritual blessing and strength, then, comes out of Zion, for "there the Lord hath commanded the blessing, even life for evermore." All the treasures of grace and glory are in Mount Zion, and out of Zion do they therefore come into believing souls. God has blessed the church with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Eph 1:3 and out of His fullness do all His members receive, and grace for grace. {Joh 1:16} One of these spiritual blessings is  strength;  and therefore the church says, "In the Lord have I righteousness and strength" Isa 45:24 Yea, the Lord Himself is the strength of His people, as David says, "The Lord is the strength of my life" Ps 27:1 and "God is our refuge and strength" Ps 46:1

But what does strength imply when spoken of as a communicated blessing? "The Lord strengthen thee out of Zion." Surely it implies weakness in the party strengthened. Just as mercy implies guilt, and can only suit the guilty, so strength implies weakness, and can only suit the weak. We therefore read of Jesus that He is "a strength to the poor,  a strength to the needy in his distress." Isa 25:4 "They that stumbled" (that is, through tottering knees) "are girt with strength" 1Sa 2:4 and again, "He giveth power to the faint, and to them that have no might He increaseth strength." Isa 40:29

Now we gather from this that there are testimonies from God in the soul, short of a full deliverance into the light and liberty of the glorious gospel. For if we look at the prayer offered up here, we read of defence,  of help,  of strength,  and it would indeed be hard to say that there was no help nor strength communicated short of full deliverance. These things admit of degrees from their very nature, and are proportionate to the necessity of the case. There is a being "holpen with a little help" Da 11:34 and strength according to the day De 33:25. Now, however men high in the letter of truth, but destitute of the feeling power, may jeer at everything short of a full deliverance and a constant assurance, the exercised children of God prize any testimony that comes from Him. Any coin that bears the stamp of Heaven s mint, any testimony that carries with it an evidence that it came from the courts of heaven, will be highly prized by the living soul. For what such want is realities. If the Lord is pleased to give him but a small coin, if it comes from the courts above, and bears the image and superscription of dying love, it makes him rich indeed; it is an evidence of eternal bliss, a sure testimony that his name is in the book of life.

But proud professors, who feel nothing of the difficulties of the way, who are never tried nor harassed with temptations, and know nothing of what it is to pour out their souls before God, despise the small coin, and would rather have a forged piece of money, provided it were bulky and large, than have a smaller piece stamped in heaven s own mint, which they could not make so great a display of.

I have sometimes said that if a thief come into a man s house, and see a sovereign and a halfpenny lying upon the mantel-piece, he will take the sovereign in preference to the halfpenny. And so you will find in religious matters that a hypocrite in Zion will rarely choose a little experience. He will steal the best he can lay his hands on, and the more deeply dyed in hypocrisy, the more will he usually boast of his depths and heights. You will never find professors in dead assurance prizing small testimonies. There is no crying in their soul after a smile from the Lord, or a word from His gracious lips. Nor do such ever sigh after true humility, or tenderness of conscience, or brokenness of heart, or access unto God. Such things are too little and too low for them to prize. They cannot make a show with them before men, and that is all the religion they understand or care about; for they know nothing of being solemnly blessed in the depths of conscience.

Now I am well convinced that when the soul is passing through spiritual trouble, what it wants is something from God; but it never presumes to dictate to Him in what way the blessing shall come, nor how great it shall be. The living soul cannot go with daring presumption to the throne of grace to claim spiritual blessings; but its cry is that the Lord would bestow His favours in a way of mercy through the blood of the Mediator. And this it seeks and pleads for in a way of special manifestation, and that often in the smallest degree. Thus when pressed with guilt and shame, it seems brought often to this, that if God will give it but one word, it will for ever praise and bless His holy name; if He will bestow but one smile, it will ask no more; if He will but drop one sweet soft testimony, that will satisfy him of his adoption into the family of God.

"Ah! but," say our towering professors, "nothing but the full assurance of faith will ever do." Why, if the soul is in trouble and distress, and wants relief, strength, and help from God, it does not dare to prescribe to God how much to give. Does the beggar, standing at my door in rags, reject the copper coin? If he does, it shows he is an impostor, and only fit for the tread-wheel. No, if he is really what he professes to be, he will thankfully take a penny. So the child of God who knows what it is to be a beggar, spiritually to feel soul poverty, will not dare, with the presumptuous professor, to claim mercy and grace; but will come as a poor needy insolvent and bankrupt, thankful to receive any crumbs that may fall from God s table, or any drops from that river "which maketh glad the city of God." If the widow s mite was acceptable to God, as showing the widow s heart, shall not any token from God, however small (though in reality no gift from Him can be so called), be acceptable to us as showing God s heart towards us?

The communication of strength is perhaps the least perceptible of God s gifts. We find it out often by the absence of it, as Samson "wist not that the Lord had departed from him," until the Philistines came upon him. Till the moment came for him to defend himself, he said, "I will go out as at other times before, and shake myself." Jud 16:19,20 And the Lord makes us sensibly, and often very painfully, feel that "without Him we can do nothing," before He leads us into that other and brighter mystery, "I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Let me run over the chief particulars that I have laid before you from the text, and see how truth and conscience can answer them throughout. Has the Lord then raised up in your hearts and mine some of the feelings that I have been attempting this morning to describe? And first, with respect to the day of trouble spoken of in the text, has this day passed upon you? I am not asking when it came, nor how it came. I am not going to inquire whether it came through some sermon heard, or passage of Scripture applied with power, or in a less marked manner. Such circumstances vary in nearly every case, and do not affect the reality and genuineness of the work. The most important point is, Has it come at all? Have you ever passed under God s rod? "Yes," say you, "I have known a day of trouble. I have passed through a season of spiritual distress."

Let us go now a step further. Let us have things as plain as we can make them. What were your feelings under this day of trouble? Had you any earnest groans and sighs for deliverance? Was there poured out upon you a Spirit of grace and of supplications, whereby you were enabled to pour out your hearts unto God? It was so with Hannah, 1Sa 1:15 with David Ps 18:6, with Hezekiah Isa 38:2,3, with Jeremiah La 3:55, and even with the Lord Himself in the days of His flesh Heb 5:7. And here lies the great difference between the elect in trouble and the reprobate in trouble, that the former seek the Lord, but the latter do not; as Elihu speaks Job 36:13, "The hypocrites in heart heap up wrath; they cry not when He bindeth them." Was this the experience of your soul in the day of trouble?

Again, when in the day of trouble, what did you petition the Lord for? Could anything satisfy you short of a testimony of His mercy? The conscience, when there is divine life in the soul, cannot be quieted with the mere act of prayer? It has no real peace until it is purged by the blood of sprinkling; and if the burden go off without it, it will return again and again until atoning blood speaks pardon. And we do well to remember that this help comes from the sanctuary, and this strength out of Zion. Many people s religion seems to be of this kind. They have passed through convictions, and from those convictions have received some deliverance, not, however, out of Zion, but out of Sinai. A few resolutions to mend their lives-if churchmen an attendance at the Sacrament, if Dissenters a getting themselves baptized and joining the church-some such reformation heals all the wounds of conscience. But this is obtaining a deliverance from Sinai, not from Zion. Nay, a person may have gospel language in his lips, and yet cleave to the law of works in his heart. He may profess to believe all the doctrines of grace, and never have felt the power of any one of them, may be sound in the letter of gospel truth, and never have been divorced from the first husband. Legality and self-righteousness are not confined to Arminians and Pharisees. They often come abroad in gospel attire, and reign and rule unsuspected where most loudly disclaimed.

To some here it may be now a day of trouble-I mean spiritual trouble; and as you are passing through it, many sighs and cries are going up out of your heart. "The Lord hear thee in the day of trouble; the name of the God of Jacob defend thee." And may we not turn the prayer into a promise, and say to every mourner here present, "He will surely send thee help from the sanctuary, and will strengthen thee out of Zion."