From Morning and Evening:
Even death itself, with all its terrible influences, has no power to suspend the music of a Christian’s heart—but rather makes that music become more sweet, more clear, more heavenly—until the last kind act which death can do—is to let the earthly strain melt into the heavenly chorus, the temporal joy into the eternal bliss!
Are you conscious of a growing failure of your bodily health? Do you expect to suffer long nights of languishing and days of pain? O do not be sad! That sick-bed may become a throne to you. You little know—how every pang that shoots through your body—may be a refining fire to consume your dross—a beam of glory to light up the secret parts of your soul. Are the eyes growing dim? Jesus will be your light. Do the ears fail you? Jesus’ name will be your soul’s best music, and His person your dear delight.
But my heart has a deeper and more bitter cause to mourn— MY SINS were the scourges which lacerated those blessed shoulders, and crowned that bleeding brow with thorns! My sins cried, “Crucify Him! Crucify Him!” and laid the cross upon His gracious shoulders! His being led forth to die, is sorrow enough for one eternity—but MY having been His murderer—is more, infinitely more grief, than one poor fountain of tears can express!
We would never have known Christ’s love in all its heights and depths—if He had not died; nor could we guess the Father’s deep affection—if He had not given His Son to die.
The common mercies we enjoy, all sing of love; just as the sea-shell, when we put it to our ears, whispers of the deep sea whence it came. But if we desire to hear the ocean itself, we must not look at every-day blessings—but at the transactions of the crucifixion. He who would know love, let him retire to Calvary and see the Man of sorrows die!
It is well for us when prayers about our sorrows are linked with pleas concerning our sins—when, being under God’s hand, we are not wholly taken up with our pain—but remember our offences against God. It is well, also, to take both sorrow and sin—to the same place. It was to God that David carried his sorrow—it was to God that David confessed his sin.
But we must also take our sins to God. We must carry them to the cross, that the blood may fall upon them, to purge away their guilt, and to destroy their defiling power.
A Christian counts his sorrow lighter in the scale than his sin. He can bear that his troubles should continue—but he cannot support the burden of his transgressions.
My soul, remember the fall—for it was your fall.
There is enough in Christ for all my necessities; let me not be slow to avail myself of Him.
From the beginning of the year to the end of the year, from the first gathering of evening shadows until the day-star shines, in all conditions and under all circumstances—it shall be well with the righteous.
To know “our “sins” is the first letter in the alphabet of saving religion. To understand our position in the sight of God is one step towards heaven.
The true secret of peace of conscience is to feel “our sins” put away. If we love life we ought never to rest till we can give a satisfactory answer to the question,--“WHERE ARE MY SINS?”
My first remark is this. You have many sins. I say this boldly, and without the least hesitation. I know not who you are, or how the time past of your life has been spent. But I know, from the Word of God, that every son and daughter of Adam is a great sinner in the sight of God.
Does any one doubt the truth of these words? Then go and examine the law of God, as expounded by the Son of God Himself. Read with attention the fifth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel.
And now turn to the history of your own life, and try it by the standard of this holy law.
And then turn to the history of your own heart. Consider how many evil things have gone through it, of which the world knows nothing at all.
Do you doubt whether you have sinned many sins?--Then go and examine the twenty-fifth chapter of St. Matthew’s Gospel.
The mere fact that they have left undone things which they ought to have done, is sufficient to ruin their souls for ever.
A man’s sins of omission alone are enough to sink him into hell!
I have learned by mournful experience that the last thing a man finds out and understands, is his own state in the sight of God.
He that has any feeling of his own sinfulness, ought to thank God for it. That very sense of weakness, wickedness, and corruption, which perhaps makes you uncomfortable, is in reality a token for good, and a cause for praise.
The first preparation for heaven, is to know that we deserve nothing but hell. Before we can be counted righteous we must know ourselves to be miserable sinners. Before we can have inward happiness and peace with God, we must learn to be ashamed and confounded because of our manifold transgressions.
It is important to have our sins put away. My second remark is this. It is of the utmost importance to have our sins taken off us and put away.
Let us remember there is a God above us.
Let us remember, furthermore, that death is before us.
Let us remember, furthermore, that resurrection and judgment await us. All is not over when the last breath is drawn and our bodies become a lump of cold clay. No: all is not over! The realities of existence then begin.
We want you to understand that religion does not consist in professing certain opinions, and performing certain outward duties, and going through certain outward forms. It consists in being reconciled to God, and enjoying peace with Him. It consists in having our sins cleansed away, and knowing that they are cleansed. It consists in being brought back into friendship with the King of kings, and living in the sunshine of that friendship.
The very foundation of real Christianity is to know that you have many sins, and deserve hell,--and to feel the importance of having these sins cleansed away, in order that you may go to heaven.
My third remark is this. We cannot cleanse away our own sins.
Man’s guilt in the sight of God, is enormous. Man’s danger of hell, after he dies, is imminent and tremendous. And yet man cannot cleanse away his own sins! It is written, and it is true, “By the deeds of the law shall no flesh be justified.” (Romans 3:20.)
It will not cleanse away your sins to be sorry for them. You may mourn over your past wickedness, and humble yourself in sackcloth and ashes. You may shed floods of tears, and acknowledge your own guilt and danger. You may--you must,--you ought to do this But you will not by so doing wipe out your transgressions from the book of God. SORROW CANNOT MAKE ATONEMENT FOR SIN.
It will not cleanse away your sins to mend your life. You may reform your conduct, and turn over a new leaf you may break off many evil habits, and take up many good ones; you may become, in short, an altered man in all your outward behaviour. You may,--you must,--you ought to do so. Without such change no soul ever was saved. But you will not, by so doing, wipe away one particle of your guilt in God’s sight. REFORMATION MAKES NO ATONEMENT FOR SIN.
It will not cleanse away your sins to become diligent in the use of the forms and ordinances of religion. FORMALITY CANNOT MAKE ATONEMENT FOR SIN.
It will not cleanse away your sins to look to man for help. It is not in the power of any child of Adam to save another’s soul. NO CHILD OF ADAM CAN TAKE AWAY HIS BROTHER’S SINS.
The fourth remark I have to make is this, The blood of Jesus Christ can cleanse away all our sins.
The quantity of that blood may very likely have been small; the appearance of that blood was doubtless like that of our own: but never since the day when Adam was first formed out of the dust of the ground, has any blood been shed of such deep importance to the whole family of mankind.
It was blood that had been long covenanted and promised. In the day when sin came into the world, God mercifully engaged that “the Seed of the woman should bruise the serpent’s head.” (Genesis 3:15.)
It was blood that had been long typified and prefigured. Every sacrifice that was offered up by patriarchs, was a testimony of their faith in a greater sacrifice yet to come.
It was blood which was of infinite merit and value in the sight of God. It was not the blood of one who was nothing more than a singularly holy man, but of one who was God’s own “Fellow,” very God of very God. (Zechariah 13:7.)
That thing which you cannot do for yourself can be done in a moment by this precious fountain. YOU CAN HAVE ALL YOUR SINS CLEANSED AWAY.
The fifth, and last remark I have to make, is this. Faith is absolutely necessary, and the only thing necessary, in order to give us an interest in the cleansing blood of Christ.
My first word of application shall be a question. I address it to all into whose hands this paper may fall, without distinction or exception. It is a question which concerns deeply every man, woman, and child in the world, whatever be their rank or station. It is the question which rises naturally out of our subject: “Where are your sins?”
Either your sins are UPON YOURSELF, unpardoned, unforgiven, uncleansed, unwashed away,--sinking you daily nearer to hell! Or else your sins are UPON CHRIST, taken away, forgiven, pardoned, blotted out and cleansed away by Christ’s precious blood!
Forgiven or unforgiven,--pardoned or not pardoned,--cleansed away or not cleansed,--this, according to the Bible, is the exact position of every one’s sins. How is it with you? “Where are your sins?”
My second word of application shall be an invitation. I address it to all who feel unable to give a satisfactory answer to the question of my paper. I address it to all who feel sinful, and lost, and condemned, and unfit to die. It is that invitation which is the glory of the Gospel. I say to you, “Come to Christ, and be cleansed in His blood without delay.”
My last word shall be an exhortation. I address it to all who have been taught by the Spirit to feel their sins, and have fled to the hope set before them in the Gospel. Cling to Christ, I say: and never forget your debt to Him. Sinners you were, when you were first called by the Holy Ghost, and fled to Jesus. Sinners you have been, even at your best, from the day of your conversion. Sinners you will find yourselves to your dying hour, having nothing to boast of in yourselves. Then cling to Christ.