Precious Jesus

"Afresh, precious, precious Jesus, I resign this body to You, for doing or suffering, for living or dying. Will You accept it? Will You use me for Your glory more than heretofore, that You may have some little return for all the benefits You have done to me? Oh, do grant this request; my heart longs for it, my spirit pleads for it; and "if You will, You can." You know the hot temptation of which I am the subject. Bring Your glory out of it, and keep me from the evil, and it shall be well." - Ruth Bryan

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

The Barbaric acts of Planned Parenthood

This is so disturbing, I can hardly speak. What kind of people commit such barbaric acts?! How true is this, "For the love of money is the root of all evil" 1 Timothy 6:10

It does NOT get any more evil than Planned Parenthood, and all who support their demonic acts. May God rise up and judge these barbarians.

the birth-day of blessing

"From this day I will bless you." Haggai 2:19

The affairs of the Jewish church had a remarkable turn given to them, both in history and prophecy, by the captivity in Babylon. Nine out of twelve of the prophets that are known to us as "the minor," lived and prophesied before the captivity, and often the "burden of the Lord" was denunciations of the people's sins, and stern threatenings of the punishment in store for them. With sad heart and in solemn language they foretold the doom that hung over the heads of the guilty nation.
The three remaining minor prophets commenced their work sometime after the return of the captivity — Haggai and Zechariah about eighteen years after. The building of the temple was at this time being greatly neglected, not only through the opposition of the enemy — but far more through the lack of spirit on the part of Israel. Both of these prophets sought by strong and stirring words to arouse the energy of the people in the prosecution of so good, as well as so national a work. Haggai began his exhortations some two months prior to Zechariah — but the latter continued them about two years longer.
In the chapter from which I have selected my text, you will find three distinct sermons for the encouragement of those who, under the influence of the words recorded in the previous chapter, had at last commenced the work in right down earnest.
1. From the first to the ninth verse he cheers the builders by the declaration that the house they were now rearing would far exceed in spiritual glory, though not in outward splendor, the one that bore the name of Solomon. It was in this temple that the Desire of All Nations, Hag 2.7 the "greater than Solomon," Mat 12.42, would walk and speak.
2. From the tenth verse to the nineteenth he comforts them with the assurance that though their own prosperity had been blasted through their previous slothfulness in the matter — yet from the time of their revival in the work, a renewed blessing would be given them.
Surely we may learn from this in passing, that neglect of God's work is often, to say the least, bad policy for our own success. They are short-sighted people indeed, yes, blind as bats, who imagine that by stinginess in the work of God, they will gain personal advantage. I venture to assert that the cause of much ill-success in life is often to be found in the lack of zeal for God's house. With the knife of their so-called economy, they cut their own fingers, and prune away their own fruitfulness. As they put their own affairs before God, He permits them to have but little to put. The best investment is consecration to the Lord and His work; and often the quickest way to fill our own barns is by emptying them into His lap. You look after God's cause — and He will look after yours.
Doubtless many of these Jews, like those of the present day, thought they could ill afford the time or expense of looking after a work not connected with their own private advancement; but they had to learn by experience the folly of their calculations, for God struck the produce of their selfish labors with mildew and with blasting.
3. In the third and last sermon, the prophet assures Zerubbabel, the governor of Judah, and the foremost in the work, that he would have the high honor of being one of the ancestry of the Messiah. It is from the closing sentence of the second sermon I would speak to you this evening, "From this day I will bless you."
I think you will at once perceive the drift of my sermon when I remind you that the temple was a type of that church of which every individual believer is a living stone. From the day when the foundation of that temple is laid, the promise is ours.
When is the foundation day from which the blessing dates? This question may be answered in more than one way.
1. In one sense it is from everlasting, for God's people are in purpose part of the building from before all time. That day when sovereign love chose me, and enrolled my name in the list of the elect, was a day from which God says, "I will bless you" — that day when Jehovah chose me in the rubbish of the fall, to be a stone later quarried out and planted in the walls of his mystic temple. Every child of God will be able to trace back the blessing that has culminated in glory to the fountainhead of divine and imperial decree.
2. In a second sense, the foundation day may be dated as the day on which the atoning sacrifice was made. That day constitutes an epoch in the history and genealogy of blessing. It was the wondrous method of carrying out the gracious purposes of eternity. It was there that the rough material was bought at an dreadful cost. It was then gushed forth with the blood and water from the Savior's side, the silver stream of blessing, the praises of which we desire this night to sense. Every trembling penitent and humble saint can read o'er Calvary's cross, "From this day I will bless you!"
3. But the day whose blessing I want to tell, is the day when the result of the two previous ones mentioned, actually becomes ours. Not the day in which the rough material is chosen, nor the day on which the purchase price is paid — but rather the day in which the elected, blood-bought stone is raised from the dark quarry, and with shouts of "grace, grace to it," it is triumphantly placed on the rising walls. In other words, the day of conversion — the day in which is laid, as far as our experience is concerned, the foundation of our salvation — the day of which we often sing,
"Oh, happy day, that fixed my choice,
On You, my Savior and my God;
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.
Happy day! Happy day!
When Jesus washed my sins away!"
Let us then look at the subject in this light. And to do so, we will divide our subject into two divisions, both found in the text.
First we have a specified day; and
secondly we have a declared blessing commencing from that day.

I. A Specified Day.
 This blessed day of conversion goes by different names in Scripture. It is too glorious to be described by any one name alone. I will mention only three.
1. The day of conversion is termed the "day of espousals" in Song of Solomon 3:11. It is the day in which Jesus, our Heavenly Bridegroom, wins the heart of His bride. He . . .
reveals to her His love,
shows her His beauties,
tells her of His sufferings for her sake.
He woos her by His sighs and tears and agonies, and lays siege to her heart on every side — while His lips drop honey-words of loving affection. Unable to resist such heavenly importunity, she finds her prejudices melting fast away; one barrier after another is broken down, and at last, allured by the magnetic power of His love, she gives herself to Him, and with tears of joy exclaims, "My Beloved is mine — and I am His!"
Oh, happy day, when the soul is espoused to Christ. All Heaven looks on and rings a marriage peal, while the sweetest music fills the new-born heart!
2. The day of conversion, is also spoken of as the "day of power." Psalm 110.3. This gives us a different view of the same transaction. It is a mighty act to convert a sinner — infinitely beyond the power of man, and glorifying even to the omnipotence of God. The sinner has been a rebel in arms, defying his God to the battle. There has been, if I may so express it, many a skirmish, in which the Lord has withheld His great strength. He has struck only lightly, and the sinner has been astonished and dismayed — but now in this day of conversion, He comes forth to certain victory. The strong man armed, may fight with all the fury of despair but 'tis a hopeless conflict, for the one "stronger than he" has taken the field against him, and taken it to win. Rampart after rampart is taken — stronghold after stronghold is carried. Before His mighty blows, doors of adamant give way, and bars of brass and steel are shivered to pieces. And now that the combatants have met, one sweep of the God's sword breaks down the uplifted shield and cleaves the boasted helmet. It is the day of the Lord's power, and conquered at His feet the rebel cries, "Lord, what will you have me to do?" "God be merciful to me, a sinner!"
Behold, mercy triumphs in the triumph. The same hand that struck the rebel down — now raises him from the dust! The arm that fetched the blow — now brings the balm! He who killed — now makes alive, and the repentant singer sings for his defeat
"Your mercy is more than a match for my heart,
Which wonders to feel its own hardness depart;
Dissolved by Your goodness, I fall to the ground,
And weep to the praise of the mercy I've found!"
3. The day of conversion, is moreover spoken of as "the day of salvation." Isaiah 49.8. There is no need for me to spend much time on this. The name describes itself. It is the day of salvation. It is the day in which the man is saved. It is the day in which the purposes and plan of salvation receive in him, their fulfillment. It is a glorious day, by whatever name it is called. I would to God that everyone in this great company had seen it.
We will now endeavor to speak a little about this day in detail, and first I would remark:
1. This day often has a CLOUDY MORNING. As in the creation of nature — so in the commencement of grace — the evening and the morning constitute the first day. The day of grace begins before there is actual light. The evening of the conviction of sin must be reckoned among the hours of the day. And how dark often is this night, and with what lowering clouds the dawn at last appears. The old adage says "it is always darkest just before dawn." Whether it is so in nature or not, I am not prepared to say — but I am sure of this, that it holds true to the breaking of this blessed day. Just before the light breaks in — the power of darkness makes its most desperate resistance. Just prior to the gladsome entrance of hope — the soul is often nearest to despair. And when standing closest to the frontier of salvation — it feels, it trembles, nearest Hell. Let those who like, make little of conviction of sin — we dare not. It is the evening that forms the early hours of the day.
We venture to declare that only those are pardoned — who have seen themselves condemned. Only those are saved — who have known themselves as lost! Amid the number of the white-robed saints in Heaven, there are none but those who have worn the sackcloth of repentance.
There are also many who are quite unable to call to remembrance the experience we have described. Their change has been so gradual, that no clear line is visible between the darkness and the light. But that does not alter the fact. The evening may have melted very slowly into day — and if you ask them now, they will with tears plead guilty to every sin, and say they were but Hell-deserving wretches when the grace of God first appeared to them — though when the grace of God appeared in all its fullness, they cannot now determine.
There are many here this evening now experiencing the darkness prior to the dawn. Legal terrors frighten them. Past sins appall them, and doubts and fears rend their hearts with anguish. They see their need of a Savior — but not the Savior whom they need. They behold a Hell that yawns to engulf them — but not the road that leads from the wrath to come. Their sins stare them in the face, and dazzle them by their scarlet hue — but at present they cannot perceive the atoning blood that washes white as snow. All the lightnings of Sinai flash before them, and its deep thunder they hear rolling over head — but as yet they have been unable to leave Sinai for Calvary, or hear the sound "that mercy utters from the cross."
With them, it is a season of gloom and struggle. Night and Day are doing battle in their breast, and it is no wonder if their soul is torn asunder between such mighty combatants. Satan, seeing he is about to lose them, makes one final horrid effort to retain them. Their case becomes the same as that lad possessed with the devil, who as he was still coming to Jesus, was hurled to the ground, and torn by the demon within. The most crushing falls and the most dreadful tearings are those the sinner has as he comes. Few, if any, find that the blessed day of our text commences as a "morning without clouds." 2 Samuel 23.4.
Now, dear friends, and I speak to those of you who are anxious — is there not something here to comfort you and cheer your hearts? Your sorrow of soul is only the dawn — your tears are only the harbingers of morning.
There was a time when you felt none of these things; when you lived in a deathly calm. Would you like to return to it? "Ah no," I hear you reply, "painful though it is, it is better than that. I would sooner spend years of anguish seeking Him, than be dead to all desire." True, dear friend; but believe me, the time of your rejoicing is at hand. The very darkness of your night tells me the dawn is near. Does your heart cry out as one of old from Seir, "Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?" Listen then to the answer, "The watchman said, The morning comes." Isaiah 21.11-12. You will yet thank God for your griefs, and praise Him for your sorrows. Do not think, dear friend, that there is no "blessed day" for you — there is! The hour of dawn is just about to chime, for this, the brightest of days, usually has the darkest of dawnings.
2. This day often has a SECRET DAWNING. I now desire to say a few words of encouragement to an exceedingly large class of Christians — a class I have already alluded to — those who cannot say exactly how or when they were converted. Every minister of the gospel is sure to have many come to him in anxiety, because they lack the clear remembrance many possess of the day of their espousals. Foolishly they fear that they can never have been converted at all, as they are unable to say it exactly when it was.
Am I speaking to such now? My dear friend, there is no cause why this should trouble you. If you know it is daylight with you now, then what does it matter as to what precise moment the dawn first broke? Indeed, I doubt if there are any of God's saints who do know the precise moment. They know the time when they were first conscious of the light; but before that, there had been the breaking of the day.
Can you tell me the exact moment when this morning commenced? Where there are two consecutive minutes in which you could say "now it is night" — and "now it is day"? No! Imperceptibly the darkness melted into dawn. Undetected by your eye, the night began to ebb and the light began to flow. Will you say on this account there is no day? You cannot; there are a thousand things that prove it.
You see its light — you feel its warmth — you have done its work. So it is with your spiritual life. You are not what you were — your loves and fears and hopes are the very reverse of what they used to be. You see things you once did not — you feel things you once did not — you delight to do things you once did not. "Old things have passed away, all things have become new." 2 Cor 5.17. Rejoice in the light, dear friend and be glad in the day, for it is not one whit the less real, because its dawning is too secret for you to detect.
Sometimes this day has an early dawn — and sometimes a long delayed dawn. God has no fixed age at which to convert. I grant that the vast majority are brought to the Lord in the days of youth and early manhood; but at the same time, there is no restriction to that age. The sun does not rise at the same hour all year round. Sometimes the early hours witness his glory, and at another season, those hours are dark as night; and it is left to later ones to see his light.
So it is in grace. Now it is the child in whose heart the dawn breaks — and now the aged white-haired sinner. I would remark here that sometimes the sun rises very early in the soul; far earlier I believe than many think.
There is, we know, a certain class of Christians — a class that we hope is lessening daily — which makes it a point to sneer at the idea of children Christians. "Pack of stuff!" they say "what can they know about these things; they don't know their own minds yet." And when the little ones are received into the Church, these wiseacres shake their silly heads, and say, "it will be the ruin of the Church." For a soul not to have been permitted by God to wallow in sin before conversion, seems to them rather a pity and a drawback.
I think those who know the most about Churches will bear me out in saying that it is not these little ones who generally bring disgrace upon their profession — but the contrary.
At all events, it is summer when the sun rises early, and winter when it rises late; and who would not rather have the long bright day than the short cold day? We have known Christians of seven years of age, whose piety it would be atrocious to doubt, and whose devotion and consecration would make many of riper years blush. Yes, thank God, in childhood's day the blessed day may have its dawn.
But it can rise late. Long may anxious friends have cried, "Watchman, what of the night?" Long may the answer have been, "Tis dark, 'tis dark, 'tis murky dark!" And yet, just when despair was about to set in, and hope flee, the joyful sound has been heard in the aged sinner's heart, "the morning comes!"
3. This day, like all others, has a SILENT DAWN. It is seen, but not heard. "Wait," says one, "is that correct? Can I not hear the rooster crowing and the tramp of the laborers going to their work? Is that not the dawn?" No, it is the result of the dawn — but not the dawn itself. If I may so express it, when she comes to open the gates of light, and unbar the doors of day — she comes with a tread so light, that it does not shake the dew from the blade of grass; and she draws on so silently, the keenest power of hearing finds the silence still unbroken. As silently as the snow melts upon the hillside, revealing by slow degrees the verdure that it covered — the darkness of night departs.
The work of grace within the heart can be perceived by its results — but not heard in its working. One yonder sighs, and says, "God be merciful to me a sinner!" Give thanks for it; it is the music of the dawn; but before that cry was heard, the dawn had come. "Lord save me, or I perish," prays another. It is a precious prayer; the dawn has given it birth — but not it the dawn. Perhaps the very one, who is now sitting by your side, has within his heart the breaking of day — but do you hear it? Like the dawn, grace comes with noiseless step.
4. The dawning of the day, like the dawning of all other days, is IRRESISTIBLE. Who can say to the advancing morn, "thus far but no further"? Suppose all the parliaments of the world were to decree that the dawn of the following day should fail. What effect would it have? Why, while they were resolving, the rosy light would come, and gliding through the windows of "the house," they would gently laugh in the faces of the senators, and bid them see their folly. If all the armies of the earth were to gather themselves together to war with the advancing dawn, it would but shine upon their weapons, and tell them they had no arms to combat her.
So it is with grace in the heart. No power of earth or Hell, or both combined, can delay the day of God's power for one moment. Scoffing shop-mates may say of the newly converted hand, "we will soon laugh religion out of him," but they will find their boast is vain. If the work is of God, it must stand. O, persecutors and opponents of the convert, your opposition is miserably futile. Go place a bit and bridle on the dawn, and hold it back — before you talk of arresting the onward march of this blessed day in the weakest saint.
5. The dawn is but the COMMENCEMENT of the day. There is a vast difference between the misty beauty of the early morning — and the magnificent glory of the noon tide. Yet they are but one day. The morning is the noon in childhood — and the noon is but the dawn fully developed. There is yet a greater difference between the trembling sinner as he casts himself in half despair upon the atonement — and the same soul as he stands in white before the throne; and yet the two things are but the result of the same grace. When he sought the Lord with tears — it was grace in the bud. And when he stands arrayed in glory — it is the same grace in full bloom. The one leads to the other, as surely as the dawn ripens into day.
And now, before we pass into the second part of our subject, for which only a few minutes remain, I want to ask my soul and yours one question of supreme importance: Have we ever known this day in our own experience? Has this red letter day — this never-to-be-forgotten day — dawned upon us? May the Lord help us now to answer this question as in His sight. And if we are obliged out of truthfulness to say, "No," then let the prayer now arise, "O, you, who said in creation's morn, 'Let it be light,' speak that word to me; and concerning my benighted heart, may rejoicing angels cry: Behold the dawn!"
II. A Declared Blessing. I will only be able to give you the outlines of this part of the sermon, and leave it to you, in quiet meditation, to fill up the details.
"I will bless you." A sermon might be preached from every word.
"I" — Behold here the person who blessed — The God of Heaven.
"Will" — Behold here the certainty.
"Bless" — Behold here the promise. What does this word not include?
"You" — Behold here the condescension.
We will, however, take it as a whole, and try, in a few words, to show what the blessing is.
1. It includes, first — all SPIRITUAL blessings.
Is PARDON a blessing? It comes with the dawn of this day, for in its hours the soul hears with joy, "your sins, which are many, are all forgiven!"
Is PEACE with God a blessing? It is on this day that Jesus walks upon the troubled waters of the soul, as He did on the waves of the lake of Tiberias, and says, "Peace, be still!" — and at his word there comes a great calm.
It is a blessing to be ADOPTED into God's family. From this day the sinner can look up and say with truth, "My Father, who is in Heaven."
Time would fail to tell of all the spiritual blessings with which we are blessed in Christ Jesus. The rosy hand of morn as it unbars the gates of light, throws open at the same time the treasury of God, and says to the new illumined one, "Take whatever you will." "Take whatever you will."
2. But this blessing is not confined to only mercies for the soul. It rests on all our temporal affairs. Do you ask, "How?" I answer, "It makes our little much, and our much a great deal more. The dry crust with His blessing — satisfies far more than the banquet without it. All comforts with His blessing, are multiplied a thousand-fold. Doubtless you have often had in your hand the ripe fruit and admired its beauty. But was it not "the bloom" upon the fruit that gave it, in your eyes, its special loveliness? Yes — God's blessing is the bloom that rests upon His gifts.
This blessing, moreover . . .
sanctifies our troubles,
removes the sting from our trials, and
takes away the bitterness of our grief.
God's blessing . . .
abides on our persons,
dwells in our homes, and
descends on our experiences.
3. Lastly, God's blessing extends to all future things. I can imagine one of you saying, "If it commences from this day — then how far does it reach?" Let us take a few steps and see.
The first step is to the SICK BED. All of us must come to that. Does the blessing extend to here? Listen! "You will make all his bed in his sickness," or as it may be translated, "you will turn his bed," even as the considerate nurse does. The blessing reaches here.
Let us take the next step. It is to the DEATH BED. Can you ask if His blessing abides here? The triumphant happy departure of a host that no man can number declares it to be so. "Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of his saints." Psalm 116.15
Shall we take another step? It is to the GRAVE. Lo! Here we find the blessing, for the grave has no longer any victory, and it is now but the quiet resting place of dust that is dear to God, and which He will raise again at the resurrection morning.
One step more, and it is the last. HEAVEN! Here is the blessing that dates from the conversion day — now crowned! I read that there is no curse there. Blessing, and nothing but blessing, fills the heavenly courts.
Oh! What a happy thought it is that in the day of conversion, a seed of blessing is sown that shall bloom with increasing splendor throughout the ages of eternity!

Poor sinner, attracted by this thought, cry out this evening, "Lord, give the dawn — Lord, give the dawn, even to this dark heart, for Jesus' sake!" Amen.

Archibald G. Brown, August 7th, 1870, Stepney Green Tabernacle

Sunday, July 26, 2015

A song about redemption

"Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel." Isaiah 44:23

What is redemption, and what is there in it that particularly calls for a song? This is our subject for this evening's meditation. Deliverance by redemption is not a deliverance obtained by mere pardoning mercy, as in the case of the debtor, set free at his earnest entreaties; nor is it a deliverance accomplished by rescue, obtained by the exertion of force only; but it is a deliverance gained by the payment of a price — the full discharge given on receipt of the full amount due. When our Lord hung in "unknown agonies" upon Calvary's tree, he made Salvation certain for his own elect, by then and there paying down, not in gold or silver but in precious blood-drops, the redemption price demanded by an inflexible justice:
"From Bethlehem's inn to Calvary's cross,
Affliction marked his road;
And many a weary step he took
To bring us back to God.
But darker far the awful hour
When on the cross he cried,
'Tis finished,' the full ransom's paid,
Then bowed his head and died."

Yes, beloved, we have been bought by Christ; we no longer belong either to Satan, self, or the world — but to Him who has purchased his church with his blood, "In whom we have redemption."
The text which I have selected for this evening is a magnificent call to Heaven and earth to join in singing the glories of redemption — to preach from it in any measure as it should be preached from, the preacher ought to be in possession of a heart burning with gratitude through a more than usual consciousness of his saving interest in that redemption. How can he rise to the sublimity of the text, unless it is but the echo of his own soul's experience? May the Lord graciously aid and send "help from on high" while we endeavor to show:
first — In what particulars redemption call for a song,
and then — Who those are who should sing the song.
1. In what particulars does redemption call for a song?
My difficulty here will only be one of choice, for every particular of redemption is worthy of a sonnet. The whole is a golden harp, and every string has only to be touched in order to give the sweetest melody.
1. Certainly redemption calls for a song when we remember, first, ITS AUTHOR. Our text seems to teach this in its very wording, "Sing O heavens!" Why? "For the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree!" Why? "For the Lord has redeemed Jacob." In this is indeed a marvel of grace, demanding the highest anthems ransomed lips can raise.
What could man have been to Him? What shadow of obligation was there on God's part to put forth the slightest effort to save a single rebellious sinner? Had the whole human race like a roaring torrent been turned to Hell and left to roll its awful course until the end of time, who could have dared to impugn the justice of the doom? What could it have been to God whether man was saved or damned? He would have been glorified in either case, and still remained "The blessed (happy) God."
But sweet thought! It was much to him; his sovereign unaccountable love said, "Deliver him from going down to the pit — I have found a ransom!" The Lord has done it, and done it alone. With whom did he take counsel in this matter? Who paid part-price with him? Redemption is no work of the many; it is God's own in plan and execution; he came forth to the work "in the greatness of his strength," "mighty to save."
It is through the person of the Redeemer, that redemption gains its infinite value. He threw the weight of Deity in the scale. It was the altar of his Godhead, that made his atonement of boundless price; sufficient to make a just substitute for a myriad host of fallen men.
Let me try and more clearly explain my meaning by an anecdote. There was once a lady who undertook the task of instructing a deaf and dumb lad in the things of God; of course she could only speak to him by signs and pictures. She drew upon a paper a picture of a great crowd of people, old and young, standing near a wide and deep pit, out of which smoke and flames were issuing — on a corner of the paper she drew the figure of One coming down from Heaven on purpose to save them. She explained on her fingers to the boy that when this person came, he asked God not to throw the people into the pit, if he himself agreed to be nailed to a cross for them; and how sacrificed Himself upon the cross, and the pit was shut up! The deaf and dumb boy made signs that the person who died was only one, and the people saved many. How could God take one for so many?
The lady taking off a gold ring, put it beside a heap of withered leaves, and asked the boy which was the best, "the one gold ring — or the many dry leaves?" The boy clapped his hands, and spelled "the one! the one! the one!"
The Lord Jesus is the one gold ring whose atonement is sufficient for the many dry leaves. Think of redemption's author, and then "Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel."
2. Another particular in redemption that specially calls for a song is ITS COST. Well may the believer stand aghast at the infinite price his soul's redemption cost. What that price was Peter tells us, 1Peter 1:18-19: "Not with corruptible things as silver and gold; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot." And well also may he stand astonished at that incomparable love that paid the price demanded.
"This was compassion like a God,
That when the Savior knew
The price of pardon was his blood,
His pity never withdrew!"
The value of any article is in proportion to its cost to procure. The pearl that gleams on the brow of yonder bride is immensely precious, because of its rescue from the great deep at the risk of the pearl-diver's life as he was dragged into the boat, half-dead, with the blood gushing from his nostrils. Estimating redemption by this test, who can reckon its worth? The heavenly pearl-diver beheld us deep-sunken in the sea of depravity and sin; he not only saw — but he coveted the jewel, that it might forever flash in his imperial diadem. Stripping himself of the robes of Heaven, and laying aside the purple of royalty, he stood upon the battlements of Heaven, and sprang into the deepest part of the black ocean! Down, down he went — the floods roared over his head; "all your waves and your billows went over me!" He reached the holiest depth, for "he became obedient to the death, even the death of the cross;" and at the lowest depth he grasped the jewel and bore it triumphantly above! O ineffable love!
Gethsemane's bloody sweat; the bloodier scourging in Pilate's hall; and the ignominious death at Golgotha — were all part of the price he paid to ransom fallen man.
Behold, O saint, redemption's cost, and then, "Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel."
3. Thirdly, I would try and strengthen the reasons for song by reminding you of ITS COMPLETENESS. Christ has so gloriously completed the work of redemption, that nothing can possibly be added to it, "the Lord has done it!" Isaiah 44:23 Unlike the atonement made by the Aaronic priesthood — Christ's atonement lasts forever. In their sacrifices, there was a continual remembrance made of sin. Year after year the high-priest entered into the holiest of all; every entrance witnessing that the previous atonement made was but of limited efficacy.
Paul, in his own masterly style, draws the vivid contrast between the two, in his Epistle to the Hebrews, "Neither by the blood of goats and calves — but by his own blood he entered in once into the holy place, having obtained eternal redemption for us." "Nor that he should offer himself often, as the high-priest enters into the holy place every year with blood of others; for then must he often have suffered since the foundation of the world. But now once in the end of the world, he has appeared to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself," Hebrews 9:12, 25-26. And once more, "Every priest stands daily ministering and offering often the same sacrifices, which can never take away sins: but this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins forever, sat down on the right hand of God." Hebrews 10:11-12.
Yes, the atonement of Christ is so infinite, that nothing more can or will be demanded by God throughout all ages. Never more shall the "Son of God" become the "man of sorrows;" Isaiah 53.3 never more shall Calvary's hill run red with a Redeemer's blood. If you are not saved by the atonement made, you must be most certainly damned — it is your only hope, "The Lord has done it," and will never repeat it.
View, believer, redemption's completeness, and then exclaim, "Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel."
4. I would have you observe as a fresh incentive to song, ITS COMPREHENSIVENESS. Redemption has a giant's span. To dwell on all we are redeemed FROM, and redeemed TO — would take a week of preaching; and still we would then be no nearer the conclusion of the matter. It will take eternity to reveal all.
Let me therefore only mention a few of the most prominent evils from which we are redeemed. Beloved, if we are Christ's, then we have been redeemed from bondage to Satan. By sin, man has sold himself to the devil, "you have sold yourself for nothing!" The devil can claim his own; but those for whom Christ died are not his, for "they have been redeemed without money," Isaiah 52:3. Therefore his power over them is usurped.
Hands off! Hands off that man in the gallery! He is not yours, O Satan — but Christ's. Hands off that trembling sister in the aisle! She has been redeemed; washed in blood! Behold the Lord's mark on her forehead. Claim your own swine — but leave Christ's sheep alone. Yes, blessed be God, Christ has "delivered the lawful captive" Isaiah 49:24 from him that was too strong for him.
Are we not also redeemed from the guilt of sin? The black cloud that hung over us has been blotted out; as the verse previous to our text says, "I have blotted out as a thick cloud your transgressions, and as a cloud your sins; return to me, for I have redeemed you;" Isaiah 44.22. Our guilt has been removed so clean away that even God's holy eyes behold "no spot or wrinkle or any such thing." Eph, 5.27.
With the guilt, away goes the power of sin. We are no longer galley slaves to our own lusts — but Christ's free men to follow after holiness.
If we are redeemed from the guilt and power of sin — then we are also redeemed from the consequences of sin. "There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus." Romans 8.1. In relation to the saint, redeeming blood has put Hell's fire out. What Hell is — a redeemed soul never has and shall never know.
He has also redeemed us from the power of death. In Hosea 13.14, we read, "I will ransom you from the power of the grave; I will redeem them from death. O death, I will be your plagues; O grave, I will be your destruction." There is no death for the child of God — he has only to walk through "the valley of the shadow of death." Death left its sting in Christ; the only sting death ever had was sin, and that is gone!
"It is not death to die,
To leave this weary road;
And 'midst the brotherhood on high,
To be at home with God.
O Jesus, prince of life!
Your chosen cannot die;
Like You they conquer in the strife,
To reign with You on high."
And to close this point, Christ has redeemed the bodies of his saints for the glories of the resurrection morn. "Even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption, namely, the redemption of our body." Romans 8.23. The sleeping dust of God's departed host is included in the Redeemer's purchase; and when the archangel's trumpet sounds to announce the dawning of the resurrection day, then from marble sepulchers, forgotten graves, and the deep ocean — that dust shall arise in glorified bodies to proclaim the comprehensiveness of God's Redemption! Then "Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel."
5. Fifthly and lastly, the highest cause for song is redemption, being that in which God has been pleased to glorify himself the most. "The Lord has glorified himself in Israel." All the attributes of God are most gloriously seen in Christ's work of redemption!
JUSTICE stands forth in magnificent grandeur right through the whole of the Old Testament — it was displayed in awful splendor . . .
when the rebel angels were hurled from thrones in Heaven — to beds in Hell;
when the old world was destroyed by a watery deluge; and
when Sodom and Gomorrah were turned to ashes with a rain of fire.
But Jesus hanging on the cross between two thieves until death terminated His agony — is the most amazing evidence of God's stern justice that ever has or ever shall be given throughout time or eternity! Never was justice so glorified, as when the cry rang through Heaven, "Awake, O sword, against My Shepherd, against the Man who is close to me! Strike the Shepherd!" declares the LORD Almighty!" Zechariah 13:7
Think, moreover, of the glory that accrues to the infinite WISDOM of God through redemption.
"All worlds His glorious power confess,
 His wisdom all His works express."
But amid all the varied works of God, none so loudly proclaim "the depth of the riches both of the wisdom and knowledge of God — as that of redemption. Pause for a moment, and consider the demands made upon that wisdom. A plan of salvation was required which would . . .
show the greatest hatred for sin — and at the same, the greatest love for the sinner;
leave justice unimpaired, truth unviolated — and yet allow mercy to triumph;
at one and the same time fulfill all the threats against sin — and all the promises and types of a Savior;
satisfactorily and forever answer the question "How then can man be justified with God?"
This is a problem, which if all the angels had met in solemn conclave for ten thousand years to solve, would still have been infinitely beyond them. But divine wisdom triumphed, it found the answer that led to the solution, and in redemption, "Mercy and truth have met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." Psalm 85:10
God is glorified,
sinners are saved,
and Satan is confounded!
That the POWER of God is magnified, I need only refer you to one passage — Ephesians 1:19-20. "The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know... what is the exceeding greatness of His power toward us who believe, according to the working of His mighty power, which He wrought in Christ when He raised Him from the dead, and set Him at His own right hand in the heavenly places."
The last attribute I will mention which received exceeding glory through redemption, is MERCY. "In this the love of God was manifested towards us, because God sent His only begotten Son into the world, that we might live through Him." 1 John 4:9
Would you know what God's love and mercy is? Then you must stand before the bleeding Savior on Calvary's tree, and read it there drawn out in crimson characters! In Christ, behold mercy incarnated — love embodied! It has pleased God to make redemption His chosen panorama of mercy. An old divine has well said: "May not a Christian turn Psalm 136 into gospel-language and say,
"O give thanks to our Redeemer; for His mercy endures forever.
To Him who said 'Lo, I come!' — for His mercy endures forever.
To Him who was born in a stable — for His mercy endures forever.
To Him who fulfilled the law for us — for His mercy endures forever.
To Him who expired upon a cross — for His mercy endures forever.
To Him who rose again from the dead, and ascended into Heaven to manage our affairs — for His mercy endures forever!"
Now, believer, rejoice, for your Lord is superlatively glorified in redemption. Make the language of the text your own, "Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel."
II. Who those are, who should sing this Song.
I have dwelt so much longer on the first division than I intended, that but very little time is left for describing who the songsters ought to be. I will therefore only briefly mention them, and leave you to supply the deficiency in your private meditations.
1. The first called on in the text is, Heaven! "Sing, O heavens," and well you may, for redemption has shed fresh luster on your glories. The highest joy the angels can have, is that which arises from seeing their King glorified.
I have already endeavored to show that a glory beyond all glories flows to Christ through the channel of redemption. Therefore I am in no wonderment at the marked interest displayed by the angelic world in every step of that redemption. It was indeed the true Jacob's ladder, linking Heaven and earth, and therefore on every rung an angel stood. Sweetly they broke the still silence of that first Christmas morn, with such a carol as the world had never heard before. A shepherd band was "abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flocks by night," when, "lo, an angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them," and then the angel said, "Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people."
No sooner had this sweet gospel song died away into the previous stillness of the night, than a very constellation of angels shone round the astonished band, and sang as never mortal ear had heard before, "Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men!" Luke 2:10, 14. Those who are "ministering spirits" to the saints, were also constant attendants on our Lord in his thirty years of sojourn here — this we know, that when our Savior was in Gethsemane weeping, all bathed in bloody sweat, there appeared "an angel strengthening him." Luke 22.43
In wondrous awe they must have grouped themselves, unseen to mortal eye, around the cross, and marveled at the love that would not call them to the rescue! With what ecstatic joy that angel (on the third morning's dawn) rolled back the stone. In what a delirium of rejoicing was Heaven thrown when the conqueror ascended,
"With scars of honor in his flesh,
 And triumph in his eyes!"
How the very walls of Heaven shook when all the assembled host shouted, "Lift up your heads, O you gates, and be lifted up you everlasting doors; and the King of glory shall come in!" Psalm 24.7
Sing, O you heavens! The answer comes rolling back, We do — we do!
Behold also the redeemed in Heaven!! Listen to their song, sweeter even than an angel's, "To him who loves us and has freed us from our sins by his blood, and has made us to be a kingdom and priests to serve his God and Father — to him be glory and power forever and ever! Amen!" Do you tell them to sing? They answer back, We do — we do — and ever will. All Heaven unites in this redemption song.
Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the LORD has redeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel
2. Let the Ransomed on earth take their part. "Shout for joy, O depths of the earth!" Whoever else may be silent, you must not. O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good; for his mercy endures forever, let the redeemed of the Lord say so, whom he has redeemed from the hand of the enemy." Psalm 107:1-2.
Behold . . .
your serfdom gone,
your bonds broken,
your chains snapped,
your sins forgiven,
your Heaven secured
 — and then sing! Oh shame on us that we sing so seldom, and when we do, so faintly.
Where is our harp tonight? Hanging on yonder willow? Let us get it down, and
"Loud to the praise of love divine,
Bid every string awake!"
Believer, you are the lamb taken out of the lion's jaw, and delivered from the paw of the bear. Then sing your David's praise. Do not let the stars of Heaven make the stars of the Lord blush. They sing their Maker's praise — so you shout your Redeemer's praise!
3. Surely those who have loved ones that have been redeemed should join us in the song. Parents, do you not remember how you used to pray and weep, and then weep and pray, over that son of yours? Do you not remember how you almost despaired of his conversion? And do you not, above all, remember that day when those prayers were answered, that day when for the first time you beheld him seeking Jesus? Did he not, last Lord's-day evening, sit with you at the table of his Savior and yours? Oh sing, for the Lord has done it!
Are there not many of us who can think of parents — sisters — brothers — husbands — wives — that have been brought in by grace, and made truly one with us in the very closest of bonds, and should we not to be among the singers? We should indeed. Lord, help us tonight to sing that You have "done it."
4. Let me close by saying the trembling sinner has good cause indeed to join his voice with ours. Ah, anxious penitent, is tonight's text not a gleam of sunshine in your darkness? "The Lord has done it!" If done, then there can be no necessity for any addition of yours.
"Nothing either great or small,
Nothing, sinner, no;
Jesus did it, did it all,
Long, long, ago!"
Was blood required for your cleansing? It has been shed.
Was a righteousness necessary for your acceptance? It has been worked out.
All that the salvation of your soul demands, has been done. Cease then from trying to add to a perfect work. Go in your emptiness to the Redeemer's fullness. Venture your soul on him. Stake all your eternal interests on the complete atonement he has made; God help you to do that now, and then before you leave this tabernacle, you will say with a heart overflowing with gratitude, "Sing, O heavens, for the LORD has done this wondrous thing. Shout for joy, O depths of the earth! Break into song, O mountains and forests and every tree! For the LORD hasredeemed Jacob and is glorified in Israel."

God grant that this may be the blessed result, for Jesus' sake. Amen.  
Archibald G. Brown