The Masters of Assemblies.

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" The words of the wise are as goads, and as nails fastened by the Masters of asbcmbiies, which are given from one Shepherd." — Eccles. xii. 11. IT is a covenant mercy, and a distinguishing favour from the God of all grace to be led by the blessed Spirit into the treasures of spiritual and heavenly instruction, which are to be found in the deep couching beneath the letter of God's written Word. To some this gracious urivilege is granted, from others it is withheld. To the wise ana prudent of this world blindness and hardness of heart is given, while to the babes, weaklings, and little ones in God's family, those who feelingly and experimentally have no wisdom, and who can cry from the depths of their sorrows sincerely unto Him, " Lord, we are fools,' He is graciously pleased to reveal Himself as their Wisdom and their All. Apart from Him they are destitute of wisdom, understanding, and knowledge; but in Christ Jesus they have Wisdom, Righteousness, Sanctification, Redemption, and Glory. Into the hands of His tried and tempted, scattered and peeled ones, He puts His blessed Book and engrafts its gracious and glorious contents in their hearts. In the written Word His mind is declared, in the engrafted Word His life is deposited. Yes, He deposits His will in a God-given, Spirit-enlightened, and graciously opened understanding, and we are led to see and speak of the glory of God's grace, which is, hidden from the worldling and mere professor, m a manner which causes them to look on and wonder whether we have the same Bible as they possess. The genuineness of mv Bible has been called into question many times, but it has been my mercy to know that the Bible 1 possess is the old one written by ho^y men who wrote as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. It contains a Fathers o. 124.— Paics Onk Pikmy.

234 GROVE CHAPEL PULPl¥. gracious message of love and salvation to His elect children, the heirs of grace, the heirs of a kingdom which can never be moved, the heirs of God. Upon its title page may well be written without doing violence to its contents, "FOR GOD'S ELECT." It may be asked. Why then distribute it indiscriminately throughout the world t I answer. Because it is not ours to judge who are God's elect and who are not. We can only lieht upon certain here and there in whom the truth of God has graciously wrought and brought to a saving knowledge of Himself, to whom He has shown tokens for good, and from whom He has drawn gracious evidences of their election and redemption. Therefore we circulate the Scriptures and preach the Word at every opportunity, knowing that it pleases Him through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. Let us notice the design of the Holy Ghost in this book of Ecclesiastes. What is it? It is to set forth the utter ruin, total depravity, and universal comiption of fallen humanity, and that everything apart from the Lord Jesus Christ can yield nothing but vanity and vexation of spirit. In the contemplation of a niin so vast we may well sing, — " Change and decaj in all around I see : Thou who changest not abide with me." A characteristic phrase of the book is, '' under the sun.'" If we lose sight of the truth which the Spirit conveys in these three words, we must fail to apprehend His mind throughout the whole Book. In it He is pleased to reveal the folly, madness, and vanity of man, and show unto His own that nought but the fulness of Christ's grace and glory will truly satisfy their waiting hearts. ** Under the sun.'^ What sun see we here but that set forth in Mai. iv. 2 ? — " But unto you that fear My name shall the Sun of

Righteousness arise with healing in His wings." In a spiritual and heavenly manner the saints are in this Sun, the beams of which dart light, health, comfort, and consolation to them while they remain here below. In Him we have life eternal, love unchangeable, light unsullied, and liberty inalienable. In Christ Jesus we have blessings which can never be forfeited, and bounties which can never fade, while out of Him is nothing but ** vanity and vexation of spirit." Mark you ; if there is a man in all (rod's creation who has greater cause than another to live a life of unceasing gratitude and thankfulness, I am the man. There is not one in tnis congregation can see greater cause for constant praise than I ; yet, where am I ? In my feelings ofttimes ^^ under the sun,^' mourning and murmuring, with no sweet enjoyment of the presence and preciousness of Him who is my All in all. . , tized by GoogL^

"THE MASTERS OF ASSEMBLIES." 235 ow look at the couclusion of this inspired argument which you find in the thirteenth verse of the last chapter, "Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter : Fear God, and keep His commandments; forthisisthe whole rf?^y of man." Dutyl Do I love itt Yes, in its proper place. Can I do it ? If I were to say I could, I should be a Pharisee. My desire is to act in perfect accordance with the mind and will of God as revealed in His blessed Word ; but imperfections and failures are mine. Look at this command : '^ Fear God, and keep His commandments." To whom is this addressed. To all mankind ? o ; for the mind of the reprobate is void of judgment in Divine things, the understanding is darkened, the will perverse, and the whole nature enmity against God. To give such a commandment to these would be utter folly and contrary to the wisdom and omniscience of JEHOVAH. In our day there are thousands with an open Bible before them, but the spiritual meaning is hidden from their view. With all the ramifications and efforts of missionary societies there are yet millions who have never heard the glorious sound of the Gospel, nor even a missionarv^s voice. This is proof sufiicient that the command is

not for all mankind. It is for all those to whom God will speak His glorious command set forth b^ the pen of Solomon, " My son, give me thy heart " (Prov. xxih. 26). This is a portion of God's Word from which wondrous capital has been made in Arminian communities and free-will fraternities. Perverters of God's truth address indiscriminately whole congregations and call upon them to give God their hearts. These see not that the command flows from covenant relationship. Look at the address, " My son." ow notice the demand : ** give me thy heart." The question with me is, Have I such a heart as God can accept! We read, " They that are of a fro ward heart are abomination to the Lord " (Prov. xi. 20) ; a^in, " He that hath a froward heart findeth no good " (Prov. xvh. 20). Here we see that a man who possesses only a froward heart cannot be he to whom this command is addressed, and that indiscriminate commands, invitations, exhortations, or entreaties by a minister to a congpres^tion are contrary to the mind and will of God. The command of God issuing from the pen of Solomon simply means, " My son, give me thine undivided attention while I reveal to thee the mysteries of My love, and the riches of My grace." When the Father speaks to us bjr the power of the Holy Ghost after that fashion, don't you think our eara and hearts are all attention? Ay, indeed they are. Compliance with, and obedience to, the commands of JEHOVAH can only be found in the person and work of the God-Man, the Surety of the covenant, and the Saviour of His people. "Fear God." According to the mind of the Father, none ever did this fully and perfectly but the Lord Jesus Christ. Turn with me to Heb. v. 7 : '* Who in the days of His flesh, when He hacl offered up Digitized by LjOOQ IC

236 GROVE CHAPEL PULPIT. prayers and supplications with strong cryings and tears unto dim that was able to save Him from death, and was heard in that He feared.'* Christ, as the Covenantee and Representative of His people, feared God without intermission from first to last.

" And keep His commandments." Who has ever done this 1 Can you nnd one mortal in all God's creation, who, invariably, in thought, purpose, imagination, desire, look, word, and act, keeps God's commandments 1 You cannot ; but God has found one perfect Man in the person of His own dear Son who kept all His commandments for all the members of His mystical body. ^* This is the whole of man." The word diUi/ you will see is in italics. Satan knew what he was doing when he made that interpolation through our translators. Fearing God and keeping His commandments, thus working out a glorious righteousness, is the whole mind and desire of the God-Man for elect men in Him. Let us look at that word diUj/ for a moment or two. It is an elegant word in some places, but a verv ugly one here. It is a word utterly at variance with that glorious liberty of the Gospel with which Chiist makes His people free. Our Gospel of free and sovereign giace knows notning of the creature's duty. Some of you may be ready to say, "You renounce the word duty in connection with the Gospel and yet you find it in your 318th hymn." Yes, and I thanlc God that we have it in that precious hymn by Dr. Watts, — " My dear Redeemer and my Lord, I read my duty in Thy Word." That justly condemns me ; but this graciously justifies me, — ** But in Thy life the law appears, Drawn out in living characters." Tell me it is my duty to pray, repent, and believe t I reply, 1 can neither pray, repent, nor believe on that ground. Turn to Luke xvii. 10 : ** So hkewise ye, when ye shall have done all those things which are commanded you, say. We are unprofitable servants: we have done that which was our duty to do." Mark the order. Duty, unprofitableness, death, damnation. It is ours now for a little while, in humble dependence upon the guidance and grace of God the ever-blessed Spirit, to seek His mind in the precious portion I have read by way of text.

I.— The wise— Who are they t II. — Their words — What are they ? Goads and nails. III.— The workers— Who are they? "The Masters of assembUes." IV.— The Communicator— Who is He? "The One Shepherd.'' I. — The wise — Who are they ? In Job xxviii. 12, the question is asked, " But where shall wisdom be found ? and where is the place of understanding? " Again, ver. 20 : " Whence then cometb wisdom? and where is the place of understanding?" Digitized by LjOOQ IC

^«THE MASTERS OF ASSEMBLIES." 237 Search through the sacred Scriptures and you will see that from Adam's fall to the end of time, spiritual, heavenly wisdom cannot be found in man naturally. Solomon tells us very plainly, " Foolishness is bound up in the heart of a child " (Prov. xxii. 15). He means every child springing by natural descent from the loins of Adam, and nothing is wanting but time and opportunity for the display of that foolishness. Look at that terrible description of the whole human family given in the latter part of Romans i. : " For the invisible things of Him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being underatood by the thinffs that are made, even His eternal power and Godhead; HO that they are without excuse ; because tnat, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful ; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened. Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools.'' This is a very humbling truth — the greater the wisdom a man possesses being destitute of the wisdom which is from above, tne greater fool he is in Divine things. See how Paul states man's ignorance in Ephi iv. 18 : ** Having the underatand-

ing darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance thatis in them, because of the blindness of their hearts." See how he describes himself as he stood in nature's folly: "For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another " (Titus iii. 3). Where, then, is wisdom to be found t or, where are the wise to be found ? ot among the sons and daughters of Adam according to natural descent. The wise, who are they ? We will commence with the fountain, and hope we shall not end with the streams. We love to begin with God and end with Him, the Fountain, Source, and Sum of all spiritual wisdom. Of the Father it is said, " Blessed be the name of God for ever : for wisdom and might are His: He giveth wisdom unto the wise, and knowledge to them that know understanding" (Dan. ii. 20, 21). The Son 18 styled, " The Wisdom of God " (1 Cor. i. 24). otice how the passage reads: ** Where is the wise? where is the scribe T where is the disputer of this world ? Hath not God made foolish the wisdom of this world ? For after that in the wisdom of God the world by wisdom knew not God, it pleased God by the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe. For the Jews require a sign, and the Greeks seek after wisdom : but we preach Christ crucified, unto the Jews a stumblingblock, and unto the Greeks foolishness ; but unto them whicn are called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God, and the Wisdom of God." But not only is the Father the Fountain of wisdom, and Christ the Wisdom of God, but the Holy Ghost is equally so with them. See Eph. i. 17 : •* That the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father ot glory, may give unto vou the Spirit of wisdom and revelation in the knowledge of Him."

238 GROVE CHAPEL PULPIT. Thus we see all wisdom treasured up in the great Three-in-One, Father, Sou, and Holv Ghost. This is fully set forth in Col. ii. 2, 3 : " That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery

of God, and of the Father, and of Christ In whom " — that is, in the Divine Three-in-Onc — ** are hid all the treasures of wisdom and kno.wledge." It is our mercy to know that all the election of gi-ace, in God's appointed time, the set time of favour, shall be made wise unto salvation through the operation and grace of God the eternal Spirit. In the riches ot His grace the Father hath abounded toward His elect in all wisdom and prudence (Eph. i. 8), and by the Spirit they are filled with the knowledge ot His will in all wisdom and spiritual undei-standing (Col. i. 9). Here we see the communication of that which the apostle calls " The manifold wisdom of Goil " (Eph. iii. 10). It is God's wisdom revealed in the choice of His people in Christ Jesus, the means He has in His own hands for bringing His people to Himself, their redemption by the precious blood of Chnst, their being cleansed from all sin in the fountani opened for Israel's uncleanness, their justification in the spotless obedience of the God-Man, their sustenance by the spiritual provisions of His house, and their safe conduct to the inheritance which is incorruptible and undefiled, and reserved in heaven for them. This wisdom He displays and reveals in a sovereign manner, according to that marvellous statement in Luke x. 21, 22 : "In that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit, and said, I thank Thee, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, that Thou hast hid these things from the wise and prudent, and hast revealed them unto babes: even so. Father ; for so it seemed good in Thy sight. All things are delivered to Me of My Father : and no man knoweth wno the Son is, but the Father ; and who the Father is, but the Sou, and he to whom the Son will reveal Him." Christ, by the Eower of the Holy Ghost, is the Revealer of all spiritual and eavenly wisdom ; and all those to whom this wisdom is revealed and communicated are wise in the wisdom of the Father, wise in the person of a precious Christ, and wise by the grace and indwelling of the Spirit of wisdom and revelation. We are now brought to notice — II.— Their WORDS— What are they? They are described as goads and nails. The words of the wise, revealed in the glori-

ous Gospel of the blessed God, were given by the Father to the Son before the worlds were framed, for the communication of His mind to His people. Turn with me to John xvii. 8, where the words of the Surety of the covenant, and the Father's righteous Servant are recorded : " For I have given unto them the words which Thou, gavest Me, and they have received them, and have known surely that I came out from Thee, and they Digitized by LjOOQ IC

"THE MASTERS OF ASSEMBLIES." 239 have believed thai Thou didst send Me." This reveals a Godsent Christ communicating heavenly wisdom and life-giving words to His elect disciples by His Spirit's power. Thus we see that the words which convey the mind of JEHOVAH the Father to our hearts, were given by Him to the Son for that Eurpose before the worlds were framed. These words of eavenly wisdom prove to be words of Divine power in the experience of every elect son and daughter of the Lord Almighty. You see this in the precious statement of Psalm ex. 2, 3: *<The LORD shall send the rod of Thy strength out of Zion : rule Thou in the midst of Thine enemies. Thy people shall be willing in the day of Thy power." This is the Gospel of God which is His power unto salvation to every one that believeth (Rom. i. 16). If you will search thrpugh the Scriptures of truth, you are sure to see that every God-sent messenger delivered his commission in Divinely-appointed words, and not in his own. This appears in the declaration of Micaiah to the messenger of the king : " And Micaiah said, As the LORD liveth, what the LORD saith unto me, that will I speak." Look at God's commission to Jeremiah : *^ He that nath My word, let him speak it faithfully" (chap, xxiii. 28). Have you not noticed JEHOVAH'S charge to Ezekiel ?— " And thou shalt speak Mv words unto them, whether they will hear, or whether tney will forbear" (chap. ii. 7). In strict accordance with this, Paul addressed the Ephesian elders at Miletus : " Wherefore I take

you to record this day, that I am pure from the blood of all men. For I have not shunned to declare unto you all the counsel of God " (Acts XX. 20, 27). These last wordjs are generally altered and perverted into " the whole counsel of God.** Mark you, the apostle never aspired to such heights as to be able to declare the whole of God's counsel. Divinely-communicated wisdom laid him low at the feet of sovereign mercy and caused him to confess, "For we know in part, and we prophesy in part" (1 C!or. xiii. 9 — 12). I do not know the whole counsel of God ; but all the counsel that He is pleased to reveal to me, it is my privilege to deliver in your ears. Happy minister of God is he who can face his people before the great Heart-searcher and say, " 1 have kept oack nothing that was profitable unto you " (Acts XX. 20). "The words of the wise" are JEHOVAH'S own words. They form His own glorious. Gospel. This Gospel is styled, ** the Gospel of the grace of God" (Acts xx. 24) ; "the glorious Gospel of the blessed God" (1 Tim. i. 11); "glad tidings" (Acts xiii. 32). Blessed be God, the Gospel is glad tidings for all to whom He sends it. Glad tidings to prisoners groaning for liberty. Glad tidings conveying unsearcnable riches to bankrupt sinners. Glad tiding proclaiming salvation to those who are feelingly lost. Glad tidings revealing the wisdom of God to those who mourn over their spiritual ignorance. Glad tidings

240 GROVE CHAPEL PULPIT. imparting spiritual life to favoured sinners dead in trespasses and sin. God's Gospel reveals not vague propositions; but sets forth unfailing puiposes, faithful promises, and perfect performances. Man's inability and God's ability is the theme throughout. God All in all ; man nothing. The Father planned, the Son performed, the Spirit perfects my salvation. God for me, God with me, and Goa in me is my salvation. othing short of God in Christ by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost will do for me. Christ Jesus my Wisdom 1 Christ Jesus my Righteousness ! Christ Jesus my Sanctification ! Christ Jesus my

Redemption 1 Christ Jesus ray Glory ! Christ Jesus my All in all I 1 need not to be told that I am put in possession of a stock of grace by Him, whereby I may work my way to heaven, for I am sure if aught depends upon me, I shall work my way to hell. I love to read my Father's will as revealed in the person and work of Jesus. I love to trace the workings of that will in me by the guidance of the Holy Ghost. It is His to bring me into spots of felt necessity where the voice of the Beloved will be sweet, where His promises will be precious, where His gracious communications will be comforting, and His revelations of Himself will be prized more than hid treasure, or all that this world calls good and great. ^^The words of the wise are as goads.^^ "What is a goad? A sharp pointed stick or stave used for the purpose of inciting, urging, and encourap:ing oxen in the yoke to increased speed and labour. Whatare JEHOVAH'S own words? Listen! "Where the word of a Kins: is, there is power : and who may say unto him, What doest Thou" (Eccles. viii. 4). The power of the King's words was known and felt on the day of Pentecost, when the three thousand " were pricked in the heart and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles. Men and brethren, what shall we do ? " (Acts. ii. 37). Here God's goads were applied by His own power, awaking elect souls to a sense of their sin, guilt, shame, and due desert, and causing them to seek the Lord and His salvation with full purpose of heart. You see this again in the case of Saul of Tarsus when the Lord Jesus Christ Himself appeared to him on his way to Damascus. ** And he fell to the earth, and heard a voice saying unto him, Saul, Saul, why persecutest thou Me ? And he said. Who art Thou, Lord ? And the Lord said, I am Jesus, whom Thou persecutest : it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks " (Actjg ix. 4, 5). There are the goads, not in the hands of any God-sent minister, or by the declaration of any deeply-taught or highly-favoured one. The piercing of JEHOVAH'S goads of conviction are described by Paul in Rom. vii. 9 — 11 : " For I was alive with the law once ; but when the commandment came, sin revived, and I died. And the commandment which was ordained to life, I found to be unto death. For sin, taking occasion by the commandment, deceived me, and by it slew me." Such goading, piercing, and

"THE MASTERS OF ASSEMBLIES." 241 killing work is but the evidence of eternal life begun. But God has His goads for drowsy, declining saints. " Thou art the man," from athan's lips was God's goad to the heart of sinning, guilty David (2 Sara. xii. 1 — 14). " Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou Me I " were Christ's goads to incite the love of weak and wavering Peter (John xxi. 15 — 17). "7%^ words of the wise are as nails J** As the goads indicate perseverance and encouragement, so the nails set forth endurance and establishment. These nails, no doubt, refer to the nails or pegs of the shepherds' tents. Against the storms and tempests to which Eastern shepherds are subject it was necessary for them to secure themselves by driving firmly in the ground the pegs or nails to which their tent cords were secured. In this we have a hidden meaning. Wheh God will make the poor frail tent or tabernacle of His child His dwelling-place, He fastens home His nails of Divine truth and His pegs of spiritual promise. When His word is spoken home to the heart of His child by Divine power and fastened by covenant love, not all the storms of earth, and sin, and hell can remove it. Peter knew something of this when he wrote to the scattered strangers: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever'' (1 Pet. i. 2;i\ James grasped the same truth when he wrote of the engrafted Word which is able to save the soul (James i. 21). It was the possession of this truth that caused the apostle Paul to write at the close of that marvellous piece of Divine logic, 1 Cor. xv. : " Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye stedfast, unmoveable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labour is not vain in the Lord." ni. — The workers— Who are they? The Masters of assemblies. Let . me ask. Did you ever hear this sentence quoted correctly ? I never did. Scores of time I have heard it misquoted in prayer meetings. The Master of assemblies has

been asked to be present. Look at the text and you will find the word in the plural. It is the Masters, not " the Master of assemblies." We will notice first the assemblies. What are they ? They are the assemblies of God's elect, redeemed, and Hving people; God's scattered and peeled ones gathered together by the power of the Holy Ghost to the person, perfections, and preciousness of Jesus. As vou see this people gathered togetner, according to that {Scripture which I endeavoured to speak to you from one Sunday morning a short time ago, the text of that published sermon entitled, " Consecrated Ground," "For where two or three are gathered together in My name," you are sure there must be a Gatherer, or Gatherers. ow, the Gatherers of the scattered elect are Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. That was a glorious gathering in the purpose of the Father, before all worlds, when He gave the whole body of His elect to Jesus. Digitized by LjOOQ IC

242 GROVE CHAPEL PULPIT. " Twas with an everlasting love That Qod His own elect embrac'd, Before He made the worlds above, Or earth on her huge columns plac'd." Here in covenant we see the Head, with all His inembei's, forming one glorious Man in the view of the Father. In the time arranged and settled in the eternal counsels, these are fathered together in the assemblies of God's Zion, where EHOVAH will be to them a refuge from the storm, and a shadow from the heat, and Christ will be experienced in them the Hope of glory. In ew Testament times He graciously appeared in the midst of His assemblies. Sometimes they clustered round His feet to leani His will, while at others they gathered round His table to feed upon the provisions of His

grace, where He said unto them, " For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or He that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat ? but I am among you as He that serveth " (Luke xxii. 27). The Servant of the covenant is one of the Mastei^s of assemblies. ow notice that assembly on the day of Pentecost. " They were all with one accord in one place. And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wincJ, and it filled all the house where they were sitting " (Acts ii. 1, 2). The voice of God was heard in the house, and His power was felt in the heart through the testimony of Peter, which proved to be goads from God to drive them out of self and enshrine a precious Christ in their affections. As He was experienced in their hearts, He showed Himself a Master in the midst of their assembly. Turn with me now to Hebrews xii. 22 — 24 : ** But ye are come unto Mount Sion, and unto the city of the living God, the heavenly Jerusalem, and to an innumerable company of angels, to the general assembly and Church of the First-bom, which are written in heaven, and to God the Judge of all, and to the spirits of just men made perfect, and to Jesus the Mediator of the new covenant, and to the blood of g)rinkling, that speaketh better things than that of Abel." Blessed with privileges so great and gracious, the Hebrew Christians were thus counselled bv the apostle : " ot forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another ; and so much the more, as ye see the day approaching " (chap. x. 25). Blessed assembly where Jesus is first, last, and All in all. See what a glorious description we have of this in Rev. xiv. 1 — 5. The Lamb on Mount Sion, surrounded with His reserved, redeemed and rejoicing company. " Bre long I hope to join the throng, And bow b^ore the King ; And in one eyerlasting song My hallelujah bring." ow look Scripturally at the Masters of assemblies. Come with me to Malacni i. 6 : "A son honoureth his father, and a ^.yitized by LjOOQ;

"THE MASTERS OP ASSEMBLIES.'* 243 servant his master: if then I bo a Father, where is Mine honour? and if I be a Master, where is My fear? saith the LORD of hosts," There we see the Father claiming His honour ; the Master of the household of faith calling for His fear. ow turn to Matt, xxiii. 8 — 10 : '* But be not ye called, Rabbi ; for one is your Master, even Christ, and all ye are brethren. either be ye called masters; for one is your Master, even Christ." The Father and the Son are bleseedly set forth as the Masters, Teachers, and Guides of an elect people. See John vi. 45 : " It is written in the prophets, Ana they shall be all taught of God. Every man therefore that hath heard, and hath learned of the Father, cometh unto Me." ow turn to John xiv. 26 : " But the Comfoi*ter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you." But mark especially John xvi. 7 — 15 : " It is expedient for you that I go away; for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you ; but if I depart, I will send Him unto you. And when He is come, He vnll reprove "—or convince by His piercing words, which are as goads — "the world of sin, and of righteousness, and of judgment : of sin, because they believe not on M^ : of righteousness, because I fo to My Father, and ye see Me no more; of judgment, ecause the prince of this world is judged. I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye. cannot bear them now. Howbeit when He, the Spirit of tnith is come. He will guide you into all truth; for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak ; and He will show you things to come. He shall glorify Me ; for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it unto you." There you see the Masters of assemblies. Tell me ! Do you wish to assemble as the children of the Father without His gracious presence ? Do you desire to assemble together in the name of Jesus without His blessed person ? Do you want to hear of the Father's

love and of the Son's grace without the indwelling and guidance of the Holy Ghost? I know you do not. Blessed with the inspiring power and establishing grace of the Three Masters of assembhes, we can sing, " Glory be to the Father, and to the Son, and to the Holy Ghost; as it was in the beg^inning, is now, and ever shall be, world without end. Amen." The words of the wise are fastened to the hearts of elect sinners by the Three Divine Mastere. I may preach to the ear, but I cannot reach the heart. My words are but as empty vapour without the Spirit's power. Joseph Irons's hymn is painfully, yet pleasantly, true : — " We have listened to the preacher, Truth bj him has now been Bho>vn ; But we want a greater Teacher From the eyerlasting throne. (^ r^r^r^\r> Application Digitized by V^OOg IL Is the work of Ood alone.*'

244 onoVE CHAPEL PULPIT. Peter knew this when he wrote of the preaching which is " with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven ** ^1 Epistle i. 12). I cannot tell the peculiar spots in providence with the temptations, doubts, fears, and unbelief that mav possess the minds of many of you this morning ; but the Masters know all about them and can direct right home and fasten in a sure place words of consolation and sweet encouragement. IV. — The Communioator — Who is He ? The One Shepherd. This takes all the conceit out of those who think they are something because of their position as pastors, or shepherds. The man who is brought to see the trutn revealed in that precious chapter I read to you just now, Ezek. xxxiv., is sure to experience great searchings of heart. I know it, and ask myself. Why am I here? For placet Yes, in your hearts. For

money? Yes, for that of His own giving. For power t Yes, that of love and aflTection for His own people. And these 1 have, only as I am brought into spiritual identity with the One Shepherd of the Father's appointing. He knows where to find hungry lambs and sheep to feed, bruised ones to heal, weary ones to refresh, and burdened ones to bless with His own sweet peace. The One Shepherd is He of whom the Father spake, ** Awake, sword, against My Shepherd " (Zech. xiii.) ; and because of that awaking of the sword against Him, the ransomed sheep can sometimes sing, " JEHOVAH is my Shepherd, I shall not want " (Psa. xxiii. 1). When I am sluggish, I shall not want or lack a goad to quicken me. When I atn wavering, I shall not want a nail to fasten me to Him. He is the Good Shepherd in redemption grace (John x. 11); He is the Great Shepherd in resurrection-power (Heb. xiii. 20) ; He is the Chief Shepherd in ascension-glory (1 Peter v. 4). When all His ransomed flock shall meet around His throne, they will praise and adore Him for ever and ever for the achievements of His grace, for all spiritual blessings which flowed through Him alone, and for the all-conquering power of His love. May He add His blessing for His name's sake. Amen.



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