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Ah! how one loves to comfort the poor awakened soul! There may be one here this morning, writing bitter things against himself; he may be saying, “Alas,
; for me! I have nothing, I am not a believer, I am not happy; if I were to die there would be no heaven for me ; I am not at peace with God.” You are saying, “Oh, that I had God! When shall I say, 0 God, Thou art my God.'”
I do not hesitate to pronounce it on you this morning, that you have so far got God—that you
have so far been under the powerful operation of God Himself. For, “it is God that quickeneth! it is God that maketh alive!” No dead soul ever longed after God. Oh, clap your hands, poor seeking ones; or, rather, hark to the triumphant songs in heaven, where they are saying, “ Here is a brother who was dead and is alive again, he was lost and is found.” Speak we of souls in pangsseeking after God-of crying out, “My soul thirsteth for thee, my flesh longeth for thee!” I could tell
you, beloved friends, where this has been literally true. I have seen men and women as if going into actual consumption, with heart and flesh failing them, because they had not God. I have seen them with their very countenances waxing wan and death-like, because they had not known God. And yet how God wants such. God draws such to Himself. God wants you to have Him by believing. God says you may have Him by believing His own word. Truly it is a blessed thing to be longing for God, and saying, “My soul thirsteth for thee, and my flesh longeth for thee.”
Let me ask thee, and do thou answer me, anxious sinner, Who planted that longing in thy soul for God? Tell me, beloved, who it was that gave thee thy inward thirsting after God ? It does not come of nature—it does not come of the devil-it does not come of the world—it comes of God. I will linger here a little that I may comfort you, O man! 0 woman!
you who have been seeking God. It is not so much you who have been seeking God, as it is God who has been seeking you
" As rivers to the ocean run,
Nor stay in all their course;
Both speed them to their source;
Pants to view his Father's face,
To rest in His embrace.” May my God comfort you with this thought, that if you are longing for God - longing for salvation – longing after heaven, it is God who is quickening you -it is God working with and in you. “It is God that quickeneth, it is God that maketh alive.” But I tarry not here.
Go with me now to the Blessed memories. For we have here blessed memories. Says the Psalmist, “ To see thy power and thy glory, so as we have seen thee in the sanctuary.” If the memories, beloved, were, in the first instance, the memories of David, then we can understand something of his condition; for, when far away in the desert, what was it he longed for ? Not to have his royal crown or equipage restored to him; not to be placed at the head of his armies again. How beautiful ! for what he did say wasnot them, but “thy power and thy glory."
Or if the language be, as some suppose, the language of the Jewish remnant, still you can understand it. You remember how glory has been connected with Israel from the very first. You remember how Stephen said, “ The God OF GLORY appeared to Abraham.” Why did the God of GLORY appear to him ? God came to Abraham, and said, " Abraham, get out of thy country and thy kindred." Said Abraham to God, " Am I to leave them." - Yes." And what enabled Abraham to get out of them ? It was the God of
66 To see,”
glory—the glory of God-it was something that drew him, that attracted him, so that he could go out on a long pilgrimage, and look for a country out of sight, belonging to the God of glory.” You understand me, beloved friends, when God meets with the sinner, He comes to him, and presents Christ to him, and Christ, “the hope of glory," is revealed to him.
You remember when the tabernacle was set up, Israel saw the visible glory between the cherubim, there the shekinah sent down its mystic beams of glory; and the blood was on and before the mercyseat, and the shekinah shed down its glorious beams on the drops of blood, which blood showed that God required death, and also that death had transpired, and that God could receive the sinner in virtue of that blood.
And then, when Solomon's temple was opened, the priests could not go in, because of the excess of the glory; they had to cover their faces. And Moses, when on the Mount, received the glory on his countenance, so vast was it that he had to put a veil on him. Israel had long been accustomed to “glory;" and we
s can imagine Israel saying, in the latter days, “We will seek thee early; our soul thirsteth for thee, our flesh longeth for thee; for we would see thy power and thy glory, so as we have seen thee in the sanctuary.”
And I am not sure that the Lord of glory Himself does not come in here. He speaks of the glory which He had with the Father before all worlds. But He became man, and was “acquainted with grief.". His visage was marred more than any man's, and His countenance more than the sons of men. He bared His back to the smiter, and His cheek to them that plucked off the hair. He could say when here, I have seen “thy power and thy glory”—“Father, glorify thou me with thine own self, with the glory which I had with thee before the world was.”
But, not to delay you here, beloved, we ourselves this morning adopt the language as our own. Your preacher adopts it. He longs for more of what he has known.
Why, when only seventeen years old, in that beautiful isle, I mean the Isle of Wight, (I tell it for the dear young disciples this morning,) I remember taking a little book on Communion with God; I remember reading it inside the lovely grounds at Norris, where our dear Queen, when a child, spent her happy childhood; I remember reading about God and the sinner meeting in Jesus. I shall never forget it; it
; seemed as if the heavens were opened over that spot, and I felt I was not down here upon the earth ; I felt as if I were with Jesus in the midst of glory. Oh, many of us at conversion got such a glimpse of God, that we felt—well do I remember feeling-something akin to what Bunyan says—“When I saw God in Christ taking away my sins, I felt sorry there was no ploughman near to tell my joy to, and I said, [he was in a field,] • Stop, 0 crows, till I tell you of my joy. . ,
”” Ah, yes, there are many of us who
We have seen the power, we have felt the glory.
Oh, to have such visits of His grace repeated! Oh, to have the visits of His love repeated! Lord, we want to see Thy glory, so as we have seen Thee ! Beloved, some of you know what blessing is. But
our blessings brighten as they take their flight.” Some of
know this. You never valued your own precious dead as you have since they were placed beneath the silent sod. That mother never loved her babe so much as since that babe was taken to stand as a little swift messenger before the throne of God. Some of you never thought you valued your Sabbaths and your sanctuaries so much as since laid on beds of pain and sickness; you have said, When shall I come and appear with the saints before God? “Our bles
sings brighten as they take their flight.” Ah, as I gazed on the dying face of my own loved mother, as I watched her declining moments, and saw her last love, I said, “Oh, that I had only felt in years gone by, what I feel now.'
And oh, dear sinner, these are moments of opportunity, now that God Himself has come downthis very day. Oh, believe me, if you let opportunities like these go by—my God knows it, and your own soul knows it—if you live and die without God who puts Himself at your very feet to-day, ah! then, as at death the world slips beneath you, and eternity bursts on your view; as you try to soar to heaven, your dark wing will drop-trying for heaven, you will fall into hell! for “the wicked shall be turned into hell," where they cannot forget God. There memories will darken. O memory! to blot it out would be an advantage to your existence, for it will be in hell that lost blessings will haunt you-blessings which you might have had, but which you neglected. But we are now the rather talking of the blessed memories we cherish this day.
Dear people, let us send up this prayer this morning, that we may see God's power, and grace, and love again, as we have seen it.
Some of us have indeed seen His awakening power. We have seen sinners crying out,
- What must we do to be saved ?” Some of us have seen His remarkable renewing power-we have seen the sinner stand out, in a moment, a new creature in Christ Jesus. And we have seen God's comforting power--how the sorrowful have been made happy-how the anxious have been blessed in the knowledge and sense of God's love; and, oh! what we now want to see, is God's love-God's power repeated ; and our cry to Him is, “ that we may see that power and that glory, as we have seen it in the sanctuary.”