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ever be able to put asunder. Oh, my beloved, it is a blessed truth to be able to meditate upon, that in consequence of this gift of the church of God to Christ before the world, time cannot, by any possibility, undo what eternity hath established, and to see, that even on this decree stands our everlasting security, by reason of the firm, immaculate, unchangeable purpose and gift of God!
But again, let us observe why the church was so given to Christ? What was the purpose of God respecting it? We see this purpose in the words immediately following the text, for says Christ, "Him that cometh unto me, I will in no wise cast out; for I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of Him that sent me. And this is the Father's will who hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again on the last day. And this is the will of Him that sent me, that every one who seeth the Son and believeth on him, may have everlasting life, and I will raise him up at the last day." We read to the same purpose when in his last prayer, our Saviour prays that the church might be one in him, "I in them and they in me, that they maybe made perfect in one, that the world may know that thou hast sent me, and hast loved them as thou hast loved me." Oh, when will the world know this great truth, that God hath loved the church in Christ with an everlasting love? Oh, it will not be in this present imperfect state of existence. Now they do not know it—now they cannot bear to be told it—now they spurn the people of God from them that have the mark of Christ Jesus and his blessed spirit upon them—now they hate those whom God loveth, and they will not know that they are the favourites of God our Heavenly Father; but they shall see it; yea, at that
blessed time, when this holy union is perfected, is consummated, when the whole church is brought up into its glorious state, according to the pattern to which it was predestinated, and which was shewn to the Son by the Father in the eternal settlements. I say when they are brought home to eternal glory, then the world shall know at length, in spite of themselves, that God hath loved his church; but it will be at the very brink of destruction; yea, when they are about to fall into hell itself, they shall be obliged to confess that these are they on whom God hath fixed his love in Christ Jesus, and whom he will delight to honour for ever and ever.
Now, beloved, let us ask ourselves again another question. Why hath God determined thus to glorify the church? Why hath he thus given them to Jesus? If the church are to be glorified, and if that was the purpose why God gave them to Jesus, still chere is a further purpose behind this, and that is, that Jesus himself may be glorified in them; for says he "All mine are thine, and thine are mine; and I am glorified in them." But how is Jesus glorified in the glorification of his church? Beloved brethren, he is. Jesus is glorified in his office. What is Jesus? He it is said is the good shepherd, he is the shepherd of his sheep. But he could not be the good shepherd, if he did not keep those sheep that were entrusted to his keeping.— What, should he lose but one of those which the Father hath given him, would he not at once lose his title? Would he not lose the glory which belongs to a faithful fulfilment of his office ? Therefore you observe in the seventeenth chapter of John's Gospel, when, as the good shepherd, he comes home at the end of the day, and gives an account of all the sheep which the Father hath given into his hands, having lost one, mark, what is the excuse he then makes? He says, "Those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the Scripture might be fulfilled." Here was his reason. The Scriptures were fulfilled in the loss of Judas, God having determined that so it should be; he was but a wolf in sheep's clothing, otherwise never would he have been lost out of the hands of Jesus. And when he shall come in the latter days, when he shall have gathered his elect people into one, when the last sheep shall be gathered into the fold, then, beloved brethren, he will have again to give in his account as the good shepherd. And 'what, then, shall his language be? "Behold, I and the children whom God hath given me, and of all those thou hast given me I have lost not one." Thus, then, will Jesus be glorified. Then will he be proved to be the good and faithful shepherd in keeping that which God hath committing to his trust.
But, again, will not Jesus be glorified in another way by the glorification of his church? Yes, beloved, Jesus will be glorified in the persons of his people. What image will the persons of his people then bear? What do they now through grace? Is it not his own image? Is not his image enstamped on his people? So that when Jesus looks upon his own when they are assembled around the throne— when he sees his whole family, he shall see them all like him; and in looking at his own, he will be, as it were, looking in a glass in which he shall see his own true image reflected, and thus will he be glorified.
But, again, beloved, further than this, the end and object of all this is, that God himself may be glorified. This, I say, is the object of God's choice of the church from eternity. It was for the praise of the glory of his grace. Why does Jesus himself
pray to be glorified? Is it not that God may be glorified. You remember the moment that Judas left the supper. "Now," said Jesus, " is the Son of man glorified, and God is glorified in him." Immediately after he turns his eyes toward heaven, and says, "Father, the hour is come; glorify thy Son, that thy Son also may glorify thee." So .that this was the main end and intention of Christ's coming into the world; this was the grand reason of his taking the church out of the Father's hand, that he might thereby gain glory to the Father, and so this was the great end of God's giving the church to Christ, that all might be to the praise of his glory. This, beloved, being so, how is God glorified in the glorification of his church? Then, indeed, it will be seen how his grace has been surpassingly great, then it will be seen how unchangeable, how immutable his love, how great his condescension, to come down from heaven and become God manifest in the flesh for sinners, in order that he might raise them up, in order that he might bring them up to sit with himself on a throne of glory. And how great also was his wisdom in enabling them to resist, successfully, the wiles of the world, of the flesh, and of the devil; and, finally, to be more than conquerors through Christ, who hath loved them. Beloved, God will have all the glory in this, and therefore we see it is for the praise and glory of his grace; it is likewise to the praise and glory of his wisdom; it is for the praise and glory of his love that he first gave the church to Christ, so that Christ says to him, "All that the Father giveth me shall come to me."
But, again, there is one more view of these words which I would bring before you. The Father is said to give the church to Christ. But let us remember here, that the Father never gave the church away, so as to be absolutely and completely out of his hands. When the Father gave the church to Christ, he did not give them to Christ so absolutely, but that he held them fast in his own hands, so that we may say that the church has always been secure in the hands of the Father and of the Son together. Hence Jesus says, in the tenth chapter of John, "My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me: and I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any pluck them out of my hand. My Father which gave them me is greater than all; and none is able to pluck them out of my Father's hand. I and my Father are one." Here, then, we have the church of Christ in the hands of Christ and of the Father.
And so likewise, beloved brethren, there is one thing more I will call to your attention, which is this, the care which Jesus takes of those whom God the Father hath put into his hands. We see, in the seventeenth chapter of John, when he comes to give an account of them, he says, " Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, for they are thine." And then he says again, "Whilst I was with them in the world I kept them in thy name and now come I unto thee." Now, he says, I am no more in this world, and, therefore, having kept them, as it were, until he could keep them no longer, for he was now about to die; therefore, in consequence of his care over their persons he gives them over again into those very hands from which he received them, in order that they might be kept safe and secure from all harm. Oh, then, the blessed view of this truth, that Jesus Christ so keeps his people, whom the Father hath given to him, that he will suffer them to pass into no other hands but those of the Father, from whom he received them.
But in the next place, observe further, he says, "All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me." Observe, then, beloved brethren, here is no doubtful issue. All shall come. There can be no doubt whatever, because he that speaks the word is possessed now of the power to put that word into effect. But some will say, perhaps, And what is there so great in this, that All shall come? Beloved brethren, to bring a sinner to Christ requires the same exercise of Almighty and sovereign power, as it did at first to create the world and bring it out of nothing. Think not it is a small matter to bring a sinner to Jesus. Consider the state in which you are by reason of sin—consider the total corruption of your nature—consider what you are in the flesh, how that in your flesh dwelleth no good thing, and "he that is born of the flesh is flesh;" yea, it is corrupt flesh also, and that none of its propensities tend heavenward, but all tend to the ground from whence we were first taken out. Beloved brethren, what are we but dust and ashes, yea, sinful dust and ashes? We are under the bondage of Satan— we are under the corruption of sin— we are the children of wrath, even as others, until we come to the blessed knowledge of Jesus Christ, by the power of his Spirit. There is no good thing in us; there is no power; nay, there is no will whereby we may come to God in Christ Jesus. There are two texts which show both the one and the other. "No man," says he, "can come unto me, except the Father, who hath sent me, draw him." And again he says, concerning the will, "Ye Will not come unto me that ye might have life." What, then, shall we say, when both these powers are corrupt? What can we, poor sinful mortals, do? Therefore we depend on the drawing of God's Holv Spirit; we depend on the teaching of Goo our Father; for it is said, concerning all God's elect, that " all thy children shall be taught of the Lord; and great shall be the peace of thy children." And Jesus himself hath taught us, that "It is the Spirit that worketh in us to will and to do of his own good pleasure."
But Then What Is It To Come? Let us explain the words as we find them explained for us. To come is no other than to believe. Hence, in the sixth of John, "I am the head of life; he that cometh to mc shall never hunger; and he that believeth on me shall never thirst." Again, in the seventh of John, "In the last day, that great day of the feast, Jesus stood and cried, saying, If any man thirst let him come unto me and drink. He that believeth on me, as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water." We see, then, in both cases, the word coming 'explained by the word believing—and, beloved brethren, so it is that faith is not of our own power, but it is the gift of God. Oh! faith is something greater than many are apt to imagine. Faith is not the bare believing with the head a certain portion of truths which are contained in the Divine word; but it is the inward power of the soul—it is the implantation of the Spirit of God —it is a firm persuasion concerning those things which are spoken in God's word—it is giving a firm assent —a laying hold on those truths and those testimonies which God hath given us in his word concerning his Son and concerning salvation by him. The faith of a natural man is but a natural faith; the faith of a spiritual man is a spiritual faith. In order to have a spiritual faith we must first be made spiritual men; for in our natural state we are incapable of any thing above nature. We know, beloved brethren, that things cannot rise above their own level, so that the flesh can
never know any thing but flesh. Man, in his unconverted state, is incapable of rising above that state; and so in converted people, the flesh that still remains in them is incapable of rising higher than itself; therefore, a man who has a true and spiritual faith, it comes down from above; it is implanted in him by the mighty power of the Spirit of the living God, sent forth from the hands of Christ Jesus his Saviour.
Now, then, Jesus says " All that the Father giveth me shall come." And, blessed be God, this has been fulfilled, day after day, even down unto the present time. All those that have been given, all these shall come to Christ. But how do they come? It is by the preaching of the Gospel—it is by the power of the word in their souls; for, as the Apostle Paul says to the Romans, "Faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God." Beloved brethren, then it is a most sure and certain truth, that God's elect, be they scattered wherever they may in the midst of this wicked, and sinful, and lost generation, amongst whom we live, God will find opportunities, Goo will find means, God will find ministers, God will raise a testimony which those that are dead shall hear, and hearing shall come forth unto life. Yes, beloved brethren, All must be brought to him. Our present state, indeed, is comparable to the state of the children of Israel during their bondage in Egypt. We find that Pharaoh oppressed them—we find that their task-masters oppressed them— and we find that Pharaoh did all that he could to prevent their exodus from the land of Egypt, but still how could he, or all his opposition, stand against the unchangeable and firm purpose of God? because God had said, at a certain period of time, that they should come forth; therefore all Pharaoh's endeavours were vain, and forth they must needs come. We see, therefore. that although Pharaoh endeavoured to compromise the matter, for, after certain of the plagues of God had fallen on him he would have let part of them go, but still he says, your little ones and your cattle must stay behind. But no, the word of God, by the mouth of Moses, is this, "We will go with our young and our old, we will go with our wives and our children, yea, with our flocks and our herds we will go, and not a hoof shall remain behind." Oh! this is the case with the church of God in this present time. There is not a single member of Christ's mystical body but must, in God's appointed time, be brought to the knowledge of God; and every one of those so put into the hands of Christ, at the set time, must be brought home to the spiritual light and life, and become heirs of the everlasting kingdom which God hath prepared for them that love him. "All that the Father giveth me shall come unto me."
But, beloved, let us now speak a word concerning the blessed state of those who do so come. In what state are they as viewed before God? Oh, we feel in ourselves—when we have once felt the arrows of conviction sticking fast within us—we feel—we know—we cry out under the sense of it, that we are indeed lost and miserable sinners! We say, with Paul, "I know that in my .flesh dwelleth no good thing; I know that I am a sinner; I know that I .deserve eternal death; therefore enter not into judgment with me, O Lord! for in thy sight shall no man living be justified;" and therefore it is, that out., of the depths we cry,unfo Gaprr.in the distress of our souls -we come unto him, and blessed be the Lord, he hcareth our voice, and he does for us exceeding abundantly above all we could ask or think. Beloved brethren, though we feel therefore, and know that sin dwelleth in us, and that in ourselves we are
nothing but sin, yet, blessed be God! he views us not as sinners, but he views us as saints; he views us as righteous—he views us as perfect, clothed with the perfection, with the loveliness, and with the holiness of Christ Jesus, his well-beloved Son.
For see, beloved, how this comes to pass, because the man who comes to Christ is, as we know, a believer in Christ; and so in the sixth of John we have believing in Jesus set forth under a blessed figure. What is it? "As the living Father hath sent mc, and I live by the Father, so he that eateth me, even he shall live by me." He that eateth Christ in the same manner as the food enters into the body, and so becomes as it were a part of the body, so, likewise, he who feedeth on the Lord Jesus Christ becomes a part of him, and we are really and truly united unto Christ, our head, our husband, our sovereign, and our Lord ; we are truly one with him, and he is truly one with us. There is this blessed union between Christ and his people, and between his people and the Lord Jesus Christ. By reason of this union, whatsoever belongs to the Lord Jesus Christ belongs to me, therefore I have his righteousness, therefore I have his holiness, therefore I have all things, yea, and all things are mine if I am but Christ's; for, as he says, " We are the members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones." What more blessed union can there be? What can be more sweet than this, to be made so completely one with Christ our Lord? Then, brethren, if the case be thus, if I have this oneness with Christ, God looks upon me not as I am in myself, but as I am in Christ Jesus. Now, then, who shall dare to say, that although in ourselves we are evil and sinful, yet, when considered and viewed in Christ we are or ever can be any thing else than righteous or holy.., For, mark what thje word of the Lord says-'