April 27th, 1873
"Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God."—Matthew v.8.
It was a peculiarity of the, great Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour, that his teaching was continually aimed at the hearts of men. Other teachers had been content with outward moral reformation, but he sought the source of all the evil, that he might cleanse the spring from which all sinful thoughts, and words, and actions come. He insisted over and over again that, until the heart was pure, the life would never be clean. The memorable Sermon upon the mount, from which our text is taken, begins with the, benediction, "Blessed are the poor in spirit," for Christ was dealing with men's spirits,—with their inner and spiritual nature. He did this more or less in all the Beatitudes, and this one strikes the very centre of the target as he says, not "Blessed are the pure in language, or the pure in action," much less "Blessed are the pure in ceremonies, or in raiment, or in food;" but "Blessed are the pure in heart. O beloved, whatever so-called "religion" may recognize as its adherent a man whose heart is impure, the, religion of Jesus Christ will not do so. His message to all men still is, "Ye must be born again;" that is to say, the inner nature must be divinely renewed, or else you cannot enter or even see that kingdom of God which Christ came to set up in this world. If your actions should appear to be pure, yet, if the motive at the back of those actions should be impure, that will nullify them all. If your language should be chaste, yet, if your heart is reveling in foul imaginations, you stand before God not according to your words, but according to your desires; according to the set of the current of your affections, your real inward likes and dislikes, you shall be judged by him. External purity is all that man asks at our hands, "for man looketh on the, outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart;" and the promises and blessings of the covenant of grace belong to those who are made pure in heart, and to none, besides.
In speaking upon our text, I want, to show you, first, that impurity of heart is the cause of spiritual blindness; and, secondly, that the purification of the heart admits us to a most glorious sight: "the pure in heart, shall see God." Then I shall have to show you, in the third place, that the purification of the heart is a divine operation, which cannot be performed by ourselves, or by any human agency; but must be wrought by him who is the thrice-holy Lord God of Sabbath.
I. First, then, I have to remark that IMPURITY OF HEART IS THE CAUSE OF SPIRITUAL BLINDNESS,—the cause of a very large part it not if not all of it.
A man who is intoxicated cannot see clearly, his vision is often distorted or doubled; and there are other cups, besides those which intoxicate, which prevent, the mental eye from having clear sight, and he who, has once drunk deeply of those cups will become spiritually blind, and others, in proportion as they imbibe the noxious draughts, will be unable to see far off.
There are moral beauties and immoral horrors which certain men cannot see because they are impure in heart. Take, for instance, the covetous man, and you will soon see that there is no other dust that blinds so, completely as gold dust. There is a trade which many regard as bad from top to bottom; but if it pays the man who is engaged in it, and he is of a grasping disposition, it will be almost impossible to, convince him that it is an evil trade. You will usually find that the covetous man sees no charm in generosity. He thinks that the liberal man, if he is not actually a fool, is so near akin to one that he might very easily be mistaken for one. He himself admires that which can he most easily grasped; and the more of it that he can secure, the better is he pleased. The skinning of flints and the oppression of the poor are occupations in which he takes delight. If he has performed a dirty trick in which he has sacrificed every principle of honour, yet, if it has turned out to his own advantage, he says to himself, "That was a clever stroke;" and if he should meet. with another man of his own kind, he and his fellow, would chuckle, over the transaction, and say how beautifully they had done it. It would be useless for me to attempt to reason with an avaricious man, to show him the beauty of liberality; and, on the other hand, I should not think of wasting my time in trying to get from him a fair opinion as to the justice of anything which he knew to. be, remunerative. You know that, some years ago, there was a great fight in the United States over the question of slavery. Who were the gentlemen in England who took the side of the slave-owners? Why, mostly Liverpool men, who did so because slavery paid them. If it had not done so, they would have condemned it; and I daresay that those of us who condemned it did so the more readily because it did not pay us. Men can see very clearly where there is nothing to be lost either way; but if it comes to be a matter of gain, the heart being impure, the eyes cannot see straight. There are innumerable things that a man cannot see straight. There are innumerable things that a man cannot see if he holds a sovereign over each eye; he cannot even see the sun then; and if he keeps the gold over his eyes, he will become blind. The pure in heart can see; but when covetousness gets into the heart, it makes the eye dim or blind.
Take another sin,—the sin of oppression . There are men who tell us that, in their opinion, the persons who are in the highest positions in life are the very beauty and glory of the nation, and that poor people ought to be kept in their proper place, because they were created on purpose that "the nobility" might be sustained in their exalted positions and that other highly respectable persons might also gather to themselves any quantity of wealth. As to the idea of men wanting more money for their services, it ought not to be encouraged for a single moment, so these gentlemen say; and if the poor needlewoman toils and starves on the few pence she can earn, you must not say a word about it, these are "the laws of political economy" that govern all such cases, so she must be ground between the wheels that abound in this age of machinery, and nobody ought to interfere in the matter! Of course, an oppressor cannot or will not see the evil of oppression. If you put before him a case of injustice which is as plain as the nose on his face, he cannot see it, because he has always been under the delusion that he was sent into the world with a whip in his hand to drive other people about, for he is the one great somebody, and other people are poor nobodies, only fit to creep under his huge legs, and humbly ask his leave to live. In this way, oppression, if it gets into the heart, completely blinds the eye, and perverts the judgment of the oppressor.
The same remark is true concerning lasciviousness. I have often noticed, when men have railed at religion, and reviled the holy Word of God, that their lives have been impure; seldom, if ever, have I met with a case in which my judgment has deceived me with regard to the lives of men who have spoken against holy things. I remember preaching once in a country town, just, about harvest time, and in commenting on the fact that some farmers would not let the poor have any gleanings from their fields, I said I thought there were some, who were, so mean that, if they could rake their fields with a small tooth comb they would do so. Thereupon, a farmer marched noisily out of the place in high dungeon, and when he was asked why he was so wrathful, he answered, with the greatest simplicity, "Because I always rake my fields twice." Of course, he could not perceive any particular pleasure in caring for the poor, neither could he submit with a good grace to the rebuke that came home to him so pointedly. And when men speak against the gospel, it is almost always because the gospel speaks against them. The gospel has found them out, it has charged them with the guilt of their sins, and has arrested them. It has come to them like a policeman with his dark lantern, and turned the bull's eye full upon their iniquity, and therefore it is that they are so indignant. They would not be living as they are if they could see themselves as God sees them; they would not be able to continue in their filthiness, corrupting others as well as ruining themselves, if they could really see. But as these evil things get into the heart, they are certain to blind the eyes.
The same thing may be said with regard to spiritual truth as well as moral truth. We frequently meet with persons who say that they cannot understand the gospel of Christ. At the bottom, in nine cases out of ten, I believe that it is their sin which prevents their understanding it. For instance, last Lord's-day evening,* I tried to preach to you upon the claims of God, and sought to show you what right he has to us; there may have been some of my hearers who said, "We do not recognize the claims of God to us." If any one of you talks like that, it is because your heart is not right in the sight of God; for if you were able to judge righteously, you would see that the highest claims in all the world are those of the Creator upon his creatures, and you would at once say, "I recognize that be who has created has the right to govern,—that he should be Master and Lord who is both greatest and best,—and that he should be Lawgiver who is infallibly wise and just, and always kind and good." When men practically say, "We would not cheat or rob our fellow-men; but as for God, what matters it how we treat him?" the reason is that they are unjust in heart, and their so-called justice to their fellow-men is only because their motto is "honesty is the best policy;" and they are not really just in heart, or else they would at once admit the just claims of the Most High.
The great central doctrine of the atonement can never be fully appreciated until a man's heart is rectified. You have probably often heard such remarks as these, "I don't see why there should be any recompense made to God for sin. Why could he not, forgive transgression at once, and have done with it? What need is there of a substitutionary sacrifice?" Ah, sir! if you had ever felt the weight of sin upon your conscience, if you had ever learnt to loathe the very thought, of evil, if you had been broken-hearted because you have been so terribly defiled by sin, you would feel that the atonement was not only required by God, but that it was also required by your own sense of justice; and instead of rebelling against the doctrine of a vicarious sacrifice, you would open your heart to it, and cry, "That is precisely what I need." The purest-hearted people who have ever lived are those who have rejoiced to see God's righteous law vindicated and magnified by Christ's death upon the cross as the Substitute for all who believe in him, so that while God's mercy is displayed in matchless majesty, intensest satisfaction is felt that there could be a way of reconciliation by which every attribute of God should derive honour and glory, and yet poor lost sinners should be lifted up into the high and honourable position of children of God. The pure in heart see no difficulty in the atonement; all the difficulties concerning it arise from the want of purity there.
The same may be said of the equally-important truth of regeneration. The impure in heart cannot see any need of being born again. They say, "We admit that we are not quite all that we should be, but we can easily be made all right. As to the talk about a new creation, we do not see any need of that. We have made some few mistakes, which will be rectified by experience; and there have been some errors of life which we trust may be condoned by future, watchfulness and care." But if the unrenewed man's heart were pure, he would see that his nature had been an evil thing from the beginning; and he would realize that thoughts of evil as naturally rise in us as sparks do from a fire, and he would feel that it would be a dreadful thing that such a nature as that should remain unchanged. He would see within his heart jealousies, murders, rebellions, and evils of every kind, and his heart would cry out to be delivered from itself; but just because his heart is impure, he does not see his own impurity, and does not and will not confess his need to be made a new creature in Christ Jesus. But as for you who are pure in heart, what do you now think of your old nature? Is it not the heavy burden that you continually carry about with you? Is not the plague of your own heart the worst plague under heaven? Do you not feel that the very tendency to sin is a constant grief to you, and that, if you could but get rid of it altogether, your heaven would have begun below? So it is the pure in heart who see the doctrine of regeneration, and those who see it not, see it not because they are impure in heart.
The like remark is true concerning the glorious character of our blessed Lord and Master, Jesus Christ. Who has ever found fault with that, except men with bat's eyes? There have been unconverted men who have been struck with the beauty and purity of Christ's life, but the pure in heart are enamored of it. They feel that it is more than a human life, that it is divine, and that God himself is revealed in the person of Jesus Christ his Son. If any man does not see the Lord Jesus Christ to be thus superlatively lovely, it is because he is himself not purified in heart; for if he were, he would recognize in him the mirror of all perfection, and would rejoice to do reverence to him. But, alas! it is still true that, as it is with moral matters, so is it with that which is spiritual, and therefore the great truths of the gospel cannot be perceived by those whose heart is impure.
There is one form of impurity which, beyond all others, seems to blind the eye to spiritual truth, and that is duplicity of heart. A man who is simple-minded, honest, sincere, childlike, is the man who enters the kingdom of heaven when its door is opened to him. The things of the kingdom are hidden from the double-minded and the deceitful, but they are plainly revealed to the babes in grace,—the simple-hearted, transparent people who wear their heart upon their sleeve. It is quite certain that the hypocrite will never see God while he continues in his hypocrisy. In fact., he is so blind that he cannot see anything, and certainly cannot see himself as he really is in God's sight. The man who is quite satisfied with the name of a Christian without the life of a Christian will never see God nor anything at all until his eyes are divinely opened. What does it matter to anybody else what his opinion is upon any subject what ever? We should not care to have praise from the man who is double minded, and who is practically a liar; for, while he is one thing in his heart, he endeavours to himself off for another thing in his life.
Formalism, too, will never see God, for formalism always looks to the shell, and never gets to the kernel. Formalism licks the bone, but never gets to the marrow. It heaps to itself ceremonies, mostly of its own invention; and when it has attended to these, it flatters itself that all is well, though the heart itself still lusteth after sin. The widow's house is being devoured even at the very time when the, Pharisee is making long prayers in the synagogue or at the corners of the streets. Such a man cannot see God. There is a kind of reading of the Scriptures which will never lead a man to see God. He opens the Bible, not to see what is them, but to see what he can find to back up his own views and opinions. If the texts he wants are not there, he will twist others round till he, somehow or other, gets them on his side; but he will only believe as much as agrees with his own preconceived notions. He would like to mould the Bible, like a cake of wax, to any shape he pleases; so, of course, he cannot see the truth, and he does not want to see it.
The crafty man, too, never sees God. I am afraid for no man so much as for the crafty, the man whose guiding star is "policy." I have seen rough sailors converted to God, and blasphemers, harlots, and great sinners of almost all kinds brought, to the Saviour, and saved by his grace; and very often they have told the honest truth about their sins, and have blurted out the sad truth in a very outspoken fashion; and when they have been converted, I have often thought that they were like the good ground of which our Saviour spoke, with an honest and good heart in spite of all their badness. But as for the men of snakelike nature, who say to you, when you talk to them about religion, "Yes, yes," but do not mean it at all,—the men who are never to be trusted, Mr. Smooth-tongue, Mr. Facing-both-ways, Mr. By-ends, Mr. Fairspeeeh, and all that class of people, God himself never seems to do, anything but let them alone; and, so, far as my observation goes, his grace seldom; seems to come to these double-minded men who are unstable in all their ways. These are the people who, never see God.
It has been remarked, by a very excellent writer, that our Lord probably alluded to, this fact in the verse which forms our text. In Oriental countries, the king is seldom to be seen. He lives in retirement, and to get an interview with him is a matter of great difficulty; and there are all sorts of plots, and plans, and intrigues, and perhaps the use of backstairs influence, and in that way a man may at last get to see the king. But Jesus Christ says, in effect, "That is not the way to see God." No; no one ever gets to him by craftiness, by plotting, and planning, and scheming, but the simple-minded man, who goes humbly to him, just as he is, and says, "My God, I desire to see thee; I am guilty, and I confess my sin, and plead with thee, for thy dear Son's sake, to forgive it," he it is who sees God.
I think there are some Christians who never see God so well as others do;—I mean some brethren who, from their peculiar constitution, seem naturally of a, questioning spirit. They are generally puzzled about some doctrinal point or other, and their time is mostly taken up with answering objections and removing doubts. Perhaps some poor humble countrywoman, who sits in the aisle, and who know, as Cowper says, nothing more than that, her Bible is true, and that God always keeps his promises, sees a great deal more of God than the learned and quibbling brother who vexes himself about foolish questions to no profit.
I remember telling you of a minister, who, calling on a sick woman, desired to leave a text with her for her private meditation. So, opening her old Bible, be turned to a certain passage, which he found that she had marked with the letter P. "What does that. P mean, my sister?" he asked. " That means precious, sir. I found that text very precious to my soul on more than one special occasion." He looked for another promise, and against this lie found in the margin T and P. "And what do these letters mean, my good sister?" They mean tried and proved, Sir; for I tried that promise in my greatest distress, and proved it to be true, and then I put that mark against it so that, the next time I was in trouble, I might be sure that promise was still true." The Bible is scored all over with those Ts and Ps by generation after generation of believers who have tested the promises of God, and proved them to be true. May you and I, beloved, be among those who have thus tried and proved this precious Book!II. Our second remark was that THE PURIFICATION OF THE HEART ADMITS US TO A MOST GLORIOUS SIGHT: "The pure in heart shall see God."
What does that mean? It means many things; I will briefly mention some of them. First, the man, whose heart is pure, will be able to see God in nature. When the heart is clean, he will hear God's footfall everywhere in the garden of the earth in the cool of the day. He will hear God's voice in the tempest, sounding in peal on peal from the tops of the mountains. He will behold the Lord walking on the great and mighty waters, or see him in every leaf that trembles in the breeze. Once get the heart right, and then God can be seen everywhere. To an impure heart, God cannot be seen anywhere; but to a pure heart God is to be seen everywhere, in the deepest caverns of the sea, in the lonely desert, in every star that gems the brow of midnight.
Further, the pure in heart see God in the Scriptures. Impure minds cannot see any trace of God in them; they see reasons for doubting whether Paul wrote the Epistle to the Hebrews, they doubt the canonicity of the Gospel according to John, and that is about all that they ever see in the Bible; but the pure in heart see God on every page of this blessed Book. As they read it devoutly and prayerfully, they bless the Lord that he has been pleased so graciously to reveal himself to them by his Spirit, and that he has given them the opportunity and the desire to enjoy the revelation of his holy will.
Beside that, the pure in heart see God in his Church. The impure in heart cannot see him there at all. To them, the Church of God is nothing but a conglomeration of divided sects; and looking these sects, they can see nothing but faults, and failures, and imperfections. It should always be remembered that every man sees that which is according to his own nature. When the vulture soars in the sky, he sees the carrion wherever it may be; and when the dove on silver wings mounts up to the azure, she sees the clean winnowed corn wherever it may be. The lion sees his prey in the forest, and the lamb sees its food in the grainy meadow. Unclean hearts see little or nothing of good among God's people, but the pure in heart see God in his Church, and rejoice to meet him there.
But seeing God means much more than perceiving of him in nature, in the Scriptures, and in his Church; it means that the pure in heart begin to discern something of God's true character. Any man who is caught in a thunderstorm, and who hears the crash of thunder, and sees what havoc the lightning flashes work, perceives that God is mighty. If he is not so foolish as to be an atheist, he says, "How terrible is this God of the lightning and the thunder!" But to perceive that God is eternally just and yet infinitely tender, and that he is sternly severe and yet immeasurably gracious, and to see the various attributes of the Deity all blending into one another as the colors of the rainbow make one harmonious and beautiful whole,—this is reserved for the man whose eyes have been first washed in the blood of Jesus, and then anointed with heavenly eye-salve by the Holy Spirit. It is only such a man who sees that God is always and altogether g, and who admires him under every aspect, seeing that all his attributes are beautifully balanced, and that each one sheds additional splendour upon all the rest. The pure in heart shall in that sense see God, for they shall appreciate his attributes and understand his character as the ungodly never can.
But, more than that, they shall be admitted into his fellowship. When you hear some people talk about there being no God, and no spiritual things, and so on, you need not be at all concerned at what they say, for they are not in a position to warrant them in speaking about the matter. For instance, an ungodly man says, "I do not, believe there is a God, for I never saw him." I do not doubt the truth of what you say; but when I tell you that I have seen him, you have no more right to doubt my word than I have to doubt yours. One day, at an hotel dinner-table, I was talking with a brother-minister about certain spiritual things when a gentleman, who sat opposite to us, and who had a serviette tucked under his chin, and a face that indicated his fondness for wine, made this remark, "I have been in this world for sixty years, and I have never been conscious of anything spiritual." We did not say what we thought, but, we thought it was very likely that what he said was perfectly true; and there are a great many more people in the world who might say the same as he did. But that only proved that he was not conscious of anything spiritual; not that others were not conscious of it. There are plenty of other people who can say, "We are conscious of spiritual things. We have been, by God's presence among us, moved, and carried forward, and cast down, and then lifted up into joy, and happiness, and peace; and our experiences are as true phenomena, at least to us, as any phenomena under heaven; and we are not to be beaten out of our beliefs, for they are supported by innumerable undoubted experiences." "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." "But there is no such secret place," says one, and "no such shadow." How do you know that? If someone else comes, and says, "Ah! but I am dwelling in that secret place, and abiding under that shadow," what will you say to him? Yon may call him a fool if you like, but that does not prove that he is one; though it may prove that you are one, for he is as honest a man as you are, and as worthy to be believed as you are.
Some years ago, a lawyer in America attended a religious meeting, where he heard about a dozen persons relating their Christian experience. He sat with his pencil in his hand, and jotted down their evidence as they gave it. At last, he said to himself, "If I had a case in court, I should like to have these persons in the witness box, for I should feel that, if I had their evidence on my side, I should gain the case." Then he thought, "Well, I have ridiculed these people as fanatics, yet I would like their evidence in court upon other matters. They have nothing to gain by what they have been saying, So I ought to believe that what they have said is true;" and the lawyer was simple, enough, or rather, wise enough, and pure enough in heart to look at the matter rightly, and so he also came to see the truth, and to see God. Many of us could testify, if this were the time to do so, that there is such a thing as fellowship with God even here on earth, but men can enjoy it only in proportion as they give up their love of sin. They cannot took with God after they have been talking filthiness. They cannot speak with God as a man speaketh with his friend if they are accustomed to meet boon companions in the alehouse, and delight to mingle with the ungodly who, gather there. The pure in heart may see God, and do see him;—not with the natural eye, and far from us be such a carnal idea as that, but with their inner spiritual eye they see the great God who is a Spirit, and they have spiritual but, very real communion with the Most High.
The expression, "They shall see God," may mean something else. As I have already said, those who saw Oriental monarchs were generally considered to be highly-privileged persons. There were certain ministers of state who had the right to go in and see the king whenever they chose to do so, and the pure in heart have just such a right given to them to go in and see their King at all times. In Christ Jesus, they have boldness and access with confidence in coming to the throne of the heavenly grace. Being cleansed by the precious blood of Jesus, they have become the ministers, that is, the servants of God, and he employs them as his ambassadors, and sends them on high and honourable errands for him, and they may see him whenever their business for him entitles them to an audience with him.
And, lastly, the time shall come when those who have thus seen God on earth shall see him face to face in heaven. Oh, the splendour of that vision! It is useless for me to attempt to talk about it. Possibly, within a week, some of us will know more about it than all the divines on earth could tell us. `T'is but a thin veil that parts us from the glory-world; it may be rent asunder at any moment, and then at once,—
With God eternally shut in,—
the pure in heart shall fully understand what it is to see God. May that be your portion, beloved, and mine also, for ever and ever!III. Now, lastly, and very briefly, I have to remind you that THIS PURIFICATION OF THE HEART IS A DIVINE WORK.
And, believe me when I tell you that it is never an unnecessary work. No, man (except the man Christ Jesus) was ever born with a pure heart; all have sinned, all need to be cleansed, there is none good; no, not one.
Let me also assure you that this work was never performed by any ceremony. Men may say what they please; but no application of water ever made a man's heart any better. Some tell us that, in baptism, by which they mean baby sprinkling as a rule, they regenerate, and make members of Christ, children of God, and inheritors of the kingdom of heaven; but those who are sprinkled are no better than other people. They grow up in just the same way as others; the whole ceremony is useless, and worse than that, for it is clean contrary to the example and teaching of the Lord Jesus Christ. No aqueous applications, no outward ceremonies can ever affect the heart.
Neither can the heart be purified by any process of outward reformation. The attempt has often been made to work from the outside to the inside, but it cannot be done; you might as well try to give a living heart to a marble statue by working upon the outside of it with a mallet and chisel; and to make a sinner pure in heart is a great a miracle as if God were to make that marble statue live, and breathe, and walk.
The heart can only be purified by God's Holy Spirit. He must come upon us, and over shadow us, and when he thus comes to us, then is our heart changed, but never before that. When the Spirit of God thus comes to us, he cleanses the soul—to follow the line of our Saviour's teaching in the chapter before us,—by showing us our spiritual poverty: "Blessed are the poor in spirit." That is the first work of God's grace,—to make us feel that we are poor, that we are nothing, that we are undeserving, hell-deserving, ill-deserving, sinners. As the Spirit of God proceeds with his work, the next thing that he does is to make us mourn: "Blessed are they that mourn." We mourn to think that we should have sinned as we have done, we mourn after our God, we mourn after pardon; and then the great process that effectually cleanses the heart is the application of the water and the blood which flowed from the riven side of Christ upon the cross. Here it is, O sinners, that ye will find a double cure from the guilt and from the power of sin! When faith looks to the bleeding Saviour, it sees in him not merely pardon for the past, but the putting away of the sinfulness of the present. The angel said to Joseph, before Christ was born, "Thou shalt call his name JESUS: for he shall save his people from their sins." The whole process of salvation may be briefly explained thus. The Spirit. of God finds us with foul hearts, and he comes and throws a divine light into us so that we see that they are foul. Then he shows us that, being sinners, we deserve to endure God's wrath, and we realize that we do. Then he says to us, "But that wrath was borne by Jesus Christ for you." He opens our eyes, and we see that "Christ died for us,"—in our room, and place, and stead. We look to him, we believe that he died as our Substitute, and we trust ourselves with him. Then we know that our sins are forgiven us for his name's sake, and the joy of pardoned sin goes through us with such a thrill as we never felt before; and the next moment the forgiven sinner cries, "Now that I am saved, now that I am pardoned, my Lord Jesus Christ, I will be thy servant for ever. I will put to death the sins that put thee to death; and if thou wilt give me the strength to do so, I will serve thee as long as I live!" The current of the man's soul ran before towards evil; but the moment that he finds that Jesus Christ died for him, and that his sins are forgiven him for Christ's sake, the whole stream of his soul rushes in the other direction towards that which is right; and though he still has a struggle against his old nature, yet from that day forth the man is pure in heart; that is to say, his heart loves purity, his, heart seeks after holiness, his heart pines after perfection.
Now he is the man who sees God, loves God, delights in God, longs to be like God, and eagerly anticipates the time when be shall be with God, and see him face to face. That is the process of purification; may you all enjoy it through the effectual working of the Holy Spirit! If you are willing to have it, it is freely proclaimed to, you. If you truly desire the new heart and the right spirit, they will be graciously given to you. There is no need for you to try to fit yourselves to receive them. God is able to work them in you this very hour. He who will wake the dead with one blast of the resurrection trumpet can change your nature with the mere volition of his gracious mind. He can, while you sit in this house, create in you a new heart, renew a right spirit within you, and send you out as different a man from what you were when you came in as if you were a new-born child. The, power of the Holy Spirit, to renew the human heart is boundless. "Oh," says one, "would that he would renew my heart, that he would change my nature!" If that is your heart's desire, send up that prayer to heaven now. Let not the wish die in your soul, but turn it into a prayer, and then breathe it out unto God, and hearken to what God has to say to you. It is this: "Come now, and let us reason together, saith the, Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool;" or this: "Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,"—saved from thy love of sin saved from thy old habits, and so completely saved that thou shalt become one of the pure in heart who see God.
But perhaps you ask, "What is it to believe in the Lord Jesus Christ?" It is to trust him, to rely upon him; oh, that we could all rely upon Jesus Christ now! Oh, that troubled young man over there could come and trust in Jesus! You will never get rid of your troubles till you do; but, dear friend, you may be rid of them this very moment if you will but believe in Jesus. Yes, though you have struggled in vain against your evil habits, though you have wrestled with them sternly, and resolved, and re-solved, only to be defeated by your giant sins and your terrible passions, there is One who can conquer all your sins for you. There is One who is stronger than Hercules, who can strangle the hydra of your lust, kill the lion of your passions, and cleanse the Augean stable of your evil nature by turning the great rivers of blood and water of his atoning sacrifice right through your soul. He can make and keep you pure within. Oh, look unto him! He hung upon the cross, accursed of men, and God made him to be sin for us, though he knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. He was condemned to die as our Sin-offering that we might live for ever in the love of God. Trust him, trust him! He has risen from the dead, and gone up into his glory, and he is at the right hand of God pleading for transgressors. Trust him! You can never perish if you do trust him, but you shall live, with ten thousand times ten thousand more who have all been saved by grace, to sing of a mighty Saviour, able to save to the uttermost all them that come unto God by him. God grant that you may all be thus saved, that so you may be, among the pure in heart who shall see God, and never leave off seeing him, and he shall have all the glory. Amen and Amen.
Bible Bulletin Board
Columbus, New Jersey, USA, 08022
Websites: www.biblebb.com and www.gospelgems.com
Online since 1986