C H SPURGEON
1Peter 1:1, 2. To the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, elect accordingly to the foreknowledge of God the Father,-
1 Peter 1:1, 2. Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the strangers scattered throughout Pontus, Galatia. Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia. Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification of the Spirit unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1Peter 1:2. Through sanctification of the Spirit, unto obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ: Grace unto you, and peace, be multiplied.
1Peter 1:3. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead,—
1 Peter 1:3-5. Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to his abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Peter 1:4, 5. To an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that faith not away, reserved in heaven for you, who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time.
1Peter 1:6. Wherein ye greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, ye are in heaviness through manifold temptations:
1 Peter 1:7. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.
1Peter 1:7, 8. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and Amour and glory at tice appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, we love; in whorn, though now ye see him not, pet believing, ye rejoice with Joy unspeakable and full of glory:
1 Peter 1:8-10. In whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and starched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you:
1 Peter 1:8-10 Whom having not seen, ye love in whom, though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: Receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you.
1Peter 1:7-9. That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ: whom having not seen, ye love; in whom though now ye see him not, yet believing, ye rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory: receiving the end of your faith, even the salvation of your souls.
1Peter 1:9-11. Receiving the end of pour faith, even the salvation of your saute. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow.
1 Peter 1:11, 12. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was- in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven;
1 Peter 1:11-12. Searching what, or what manner of time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
“Never did angels taste above
1 Peter 1:12. Which things the angels desire to look into.
1Peter 1:10-12. Of which salvation the prophets have enquired and searched diligently, who prophesied of the grace that should come unto you: searching what or what manner of the time the Spirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow. Unto whom it was revealed, that not unto themselves, but unto us they did minister the things, which are now reported unto you by them that have preached the gospel unto you with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven; which things the angels desire to look into.
1Peter 1:13-16. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ; as obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation; because it is written, be ye holy; for I am holy.
1 Peter 1:13. Wherefore gird up the loins of your mind,
1 Peter 1:13. Be sober, and hope to the end for the grace that is to be brought unto you at the revelation of Jesus Christ.
“O long expected day, begin!
1Peter 1:14, 15. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in pour ignorance: but as he which hath called you is holy, so be ye holy in all manner of conversation;
1Peter 1:16. Because it is written, Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1 Peter 1:14-16. As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance: But as he which hath called you is holy, as be ye holy in all manner of conversation: Because it its written. Be ye holy; for I am holy.
1Peter 1:17. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of pour sojourning here in fear:
1 Peter 1:17. And if ye call on the Father, who without respect of persons judgeth according to every man’s work, pass the time of your sojourning here in fear:
1Peter 1:18, 19. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot:
1 Peter 1:18, 19. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ
1Peter 1:18-21. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
1 Peter 1:18-25. Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; but with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot, who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
1Peter 1:20, 21. Who verily was foreordained before the foundation of the world, but was manifest in these last times for you, who by him do believe in God, that raised him up from the dead, and gave him glory; that your faith and hope might be in God.
1Peter 1:22. 23. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
1 Peter 1:22, 23. Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again
1 Peter 1:23. Not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.
1Peter 1:22-25. Seeing ye have periled your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently: being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which, liveth and abideth for ever. For all flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth for ever. And this is the word which by the gospel is preached unto you.
1 Peter 1:24, 25. For all flesh is as grass and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the lord endureth for ever.
1 Peter 2:1-3. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1 Peter 2:1-3. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings, as newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby: if so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1 Peter 2:1. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies and envies, and all evil speakings,
1 Peter 2:1. Wherefore laying aside all malice,
1 Peter 2:1. And all guile,
1 Peter 2:1. And hypocrises, and envies,
1 Peter 2:1. And all evil speaking,
1 Peter 2:1. Wherefore laying aside all malice, and all guile, and hypocrisies, and envies, and all evil speakings,-
1 Peter 2:2. As newborn babes desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1 Peter 2:2. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1 Peter 2:2. As newborn babes, desire the sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby:
1 Peter 2:3. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1 Peter 2:3. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious.
1 Peter 2:3, 4. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. To whom coming, as unto a living stone,-
1 Peter 2:4. Disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,-
1 Peter 2:4. To whom coming, as unto a living stone, disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious.
1 Peter 2:4. To whom coming,-
1 Peter 2:4. To whom coming,-
1 Peter 2:4. As unto a living stone,-
1 Peter 2:4. Disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious,
1 Peter 2:4, 5. Disallowed indeed of men, but chosen of God, and precious, ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5. As unto a living stone, disallowed instead of men, but chosen of God, and precious,-
1 Peter 2:5. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual horse, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5. Ye also, as living stones, —
1 Peter 2:5. We built up a spiritual house, —
1 Peter 2:5. An holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifice, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:5. Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priest-hood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.
1 Peter 2:6. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Zion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1 Peter 2:6. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. See Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, No. 1,429, “Faith’s Sure Foundation.”
1 Peter 2:6. Are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ,
1 Peter 2:6. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded.
1 Peter 2:6, 7. Wherefore also it is contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that beIieveth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.
1 Peter 2:6-8. Wherefore also is it contained in the scripture, Behold, I lay in Sion a chief corner stone, elect, precious: and he that believeth on him shall not be confounded. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient whereunto also they were appointed.
1 Peter 2:7. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious: but unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner,
1 Peter 2:7. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious:
1 Peter 2:7. Unto you therefore which believe he is precious
1 Peter 2:7, 8. But unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
1 Peter 2:7, 8. But unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient whereunto also they were appointed.
1 Peter 2:7, 8. But unto them which be disobedient, the stone which the builders disallowed, the same is made the head of the corner, and a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
1 Peter 2:8. And a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense, even to them which stumble at the word, being disobedient: whereunto also they were appointed.
1 Peter 2:9. That ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;
1 Peter 2:9. That ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light:
1 Peter 2:9. But ye are a chosen generation,-
1 Peter 2:9. A royal priesthood,-
1 Peter 2:9. An holy nation, a peculiar people, that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
1 Peter 2:9. But ye are a chosen generation,-
1 Peter 2:9. A royal priesthood,-
1 Peter 2:9. An holy nation, a peculiar people;-
1 Peter 2:9. That ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:-
1 Peter 2:9. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light:
1 Peter 2:9, 10. But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priest flood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvelous light: which in time past were not a people,
1 Peter 2:10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, b ’t now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2:10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2:10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2:10. Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God:-
1 Peter 2:10. Which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2:10, 11. But are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
1 Peter 2:11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you —
1 Peter 2:11. As strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;
1 Peter 2:11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;-
1 Peter 2:11. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims,-
1 Peter 2:11, 12. Abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul: having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers,-
1 Peter 2:11-17. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; having your conversation hone among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; as free, and not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men.
1 Peter 2:12. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they ask against you as evildoers,-
1 Peter 2:12. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers,-
1 Peter 2:12, 13. Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, when they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake:
1 Peter 2:12, 13. They may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinances of man for the Lord’s sake:” —
1 Peter 2:12-14. They may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
1 Peter 2:13. Whether it be to the king, as supreme;
1 Peter 2:13-15. Whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
1 Peter 2:14-16. Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: all free, —
1 Peter 2:15, 16. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: as free,-
1 Peter 2:16. And not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the Servants of God.
1 Peter 2:16. As free,-
1 Peter 2:16. And not using your liberty for a cloke of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.
1 Peter 2:16, 17. And not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honor all men. Love the brotherhood: Fear God. honor the king.
1 Peter 2:17. Honour all men.
1 Peter 2:17-19. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the forward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
1 Peter 2:17-19. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully.
1 Peter 2:17-20. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
1 Peter 2:18–20. Servants, be subject to your masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward. For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
1 Peter 2:20. For what glory is it, if, when ye are buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently? But if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God.
1 Peter 2:20-21. For what glory is it, if, when ye are buffeted for your faults, we take it patiently? but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, we take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. For even hereunto were ye called:
1 Peter 2:21. For even hereunto were ye called-
1 Peter 2:21-23. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again: when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls,
1 Peter 2:21-23. Because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not: but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
1 Peter 2:21–23. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps: who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously:
1 Peter 2:24. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, —
1 Peter 2:24. That we, being dead to sins, —
1 Peter 2:24. Should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed.
1 Peter 2:24, 25. Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness: by whose stripes ye were healed. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1 Peter 2:25. For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.
1 Peter 3:1, 2. Likewise, ye wives be in subjection to your own husbands; that, if any obey not the word, they also may without the word be won by the conversation of the wives; while they behold your chaste conversation coupled with fear.
1 Peter 3:3, 4. Whose adorning let it not be that outward adorning of plaiting the hair, and of wearing of gold, or of putting on of apparel; but let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.
1 Peter 3:5-7. For after this manner in the old time the holy women also, who trusted in God, adorned themselves, being in subjection unto their own husbands: even as Sara, obeyed Abraham, calling him lord: whose daughters ye are, as long as ye do well, and are not afraid with any amazement. Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with them according to knowledge, giving honor unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.
1 Peter 3:8. Finally, be ye all of one mind, —
1 Peter 3:8. Having compassion one of another, —
1 Peter 3:8. Love as brethren, be pitiful, be courteous:
1 Peter 3:9. Not rendering evil for evil, —
1 Peter 3:9. Or railing for railing: but contrariwise blessing; knowing that ye are thereunto called, that ye should inherit a blessing.
1 Peter 3:10. For he that will love life, and see good days, let him refrain his tongue from evil, and his lips that they speak no guile:
1 Peter 3:11, 12, Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. For the eyes of the Lord are over the righteous, and his ears are open unto their prayers: but the face of the Lord is against them that do evil.
1 Peter 3:13–15. And who is he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good? But and if ye suffer for righteousness’ sake, happy are ye: and be not afraid of their terror, neither be troubled; but sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:
1 Peter 3:16, 17. Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ. For it is better, if the will of God be so, that ye suffer, for well doing, than for evil doing.
1 Peter 4:1. Forasmuch then as Christ hath suffered for us in the flesh, arm yourselves likewise with the same mind: for he that hath suffered in the flesh hath ceased from sin: —
1 Peter 4:2. That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.
1 Peter 4:3. For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, —
1 Peter 4:3, 4. When we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excesses of wine, revellings banquetings, and abominable idolatries. Wherein they think it strange that ye run not with them to the same excess of riot, speaking evil of you:
1 Peter 4:5, 6. Who shall give account to him that is ready to judge the quick and the dead. For for this cause was the gospel preached also to them that are dead, that they might be judged according to men is the flesh, but live according to God in the spirit.
1 Peter 4:7, 8. But the end of all things is at hand; be ye therefore sober, and watch unto prayer. And above all things have fervent charity among yourselves: for charity shall cover the multitude of sins.
1 Peter 4:9, 10. Use hospitality one to another without grudging. As every man hath received the gift, even so minister the same one to another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God.
1 Peter 4:11-13. If any man speak, let him speak as the oracles of God; if any man minister, let him do it as of the ability which God giveth: that God in all things may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom be praise and dominion for ever and ever. Amen. Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you. But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ’s sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy.
“The precious blood of Christ.” — 1 Peter 1:19.
We have come in our theological conversation to use that word “blood” somewhat lightly. Methinks it should scarcely ever be pronounced without a shudder. “The blood is the life thereof.” When shed, it indicates suffering — suffering more intense than that of chastisement or bruising. Wounds are inflicted which make the life-blood to flow out. In the case of our Lord Jesus Christ, the term “blood” brings before us all his griefs and anguish, and where the thorn crown pierced him. Behold the man! Think, of Gethsemane, where he sweat, as it were, great drops of blood failing to the ground! Think of Gabbatha, the pavement, where they scourged him with rods, and with the scourge of the roman lictors; where the thorn crown pierced him. Behold the man! Think, lastly, of Golgotha! There they pierced his hands and his feet, and at length, pierced by the spear, out of his side there came blood and water. Pass not lightly, therefore, over such a word as this — blood — the blood of Jesus Christ, God’s dear Son; and when you read of its being “precious,” remember that the word never had such a wealth of meaning in it before, in any of its applications. Precious metals — gold and silver; precious stones — sardonyx, and agate, and diamond — these are but gaudy toys compared with Christ’s precious blood; precious, for he is God as well as man; precious, for he is Jehovah’s darling the Lamb of God, without spot or blemish; precious, when you think of God’s design; precious, when you see the effects which it produces; precious, certainly, to the heart of every pardoned sinner, and precious in the song of every glorified spirit before the throne.
It is not, however, my object this evening to pursue the sacred history, so much as to set forth the saving doctrine, while I remind you of some of the uses of this precious blood; for, after all, the standard of preciousness, when we come to the very essence of it, is not scarcity, but usefulness; for there be things in this world exceedingly scarce, and, therefore, precious among the sons of men, which will be left out, and treated with contempt, when we get into the land where the true standards of value are in use. That is the most precious which is the most serviceable. So in truth the precious blood of Christ is beyond all estimation. I walls to conduct you step by step through the application of this blood, and its effects upon the heart and conscience; and I shall pause at each step to ask you, dear hearer, and to ask myself this question — Dost thou know the blood, the precious blood, in this respect? Hast thou felt it in this peculiar form of its efficacy? Beginning thus at the first: —
I. The Blood Of Jesus Christ Is The Blood Of The Atonement.
We read of the blood of the atonement under the old law. Christ, now, under the gospel, is the propitiation for our sins. It is through the blood that God, the infinitely just, without the violation of his character, can pass by the transgression of the guilty. It is not possible that any one attribute of God should ever shadow another. He is perfect. Infinitely merciful he is, but he will not be merciful at the expense of justice. Justice shall never triumph against mercy; mercy, on the other hand, shall never cut off the skirts of the flowing robe of justice. It is in the person of Jesus, and especially in the blood of Jesus, that the great riddle of the ages is unriddled. God can be just, and yet the Justifier of him that believeth in Jesus. We have sinned. God must punish sin. According to the inexorable laws which God has stamped upon the: universe, the sinner cannot go unpunished. His sin is, in fact, its own punishment, and becomes the mother of unnumbered griefs. The Mediator steps in — the Son of God and the Son of Man, eternal, and yet as man, born of Mary, and slumbering in Bethlehem’s manger — he comes as the substitute for the guilty. “The chastisement of our peace was upon him, and by his stripes we are healed,” and “now in Christ Jesus, we who some time were afar off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.” God can be gracious without the violation of the severity of his judgment. His moral government remains untarnished in all the majesty of its purity, and yet he puts out the right hand of reconciliation, and love to all who approach him, making mention of the blood of the atonement of his dear Son.
Art thou, then, thus reconciled to God by the death of his son, or art thou an enemy still? Hast thou ever seen the distance between thee and God bridged by the cross? Hast thou seen as once how God, the infinitely just, can commune with thee without consuming thee, because he poured his wrath upon Christ, instead of thee; and then, accepted in him and for his merits, thou livest because Jesus lives? Ah! dear hearer, if thou hast not seen this, the Lord open those blind eyes of thine, and by his eternal Spirit bring thee, with thy burden of sin upon thy back, to the foot of the Master’s cross, where thou mayest look up and sing: —
“Oh! how sweet to view the flowing
The blood of Jesus Christ has another effect upon us, namely,
II. It Cleanses From Sin.
Surely we can never fail to remember that choicest of all Scriptural texts, “The blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin.” There is such music in it that when the spirits before the throne desire to have a song of which they might never grow weary, they select that sentiment, and they sing before the throne that they have washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb. Their purity before God is due to the fountain filled with blood, wherein their stained garments, all soiled with sin, have been made clean. When the soul comes to Jesus Christ by faith, and relies upon him, then the sentence of the perfect pardon goeth forth from God, and the soul is purged from all the stains of accumulated years. In a single moment those who were black as hell become white as heaven, through the application of the blood of sprinkling; for all sin disappears as soon as the blood falls on the conscience. That which the blood of bulls and of goats could not do, the blood of Jesus effectually accomplishes cleansing from all sin.
Now, dear hearer, hast thou ever been thus cleansed? Say not thou hadst never need of cleansing, else thou knowest not thy natural condition, and thine actual transgressions. Man! thou canst never have seen thyself in the glass of the Word, else thou wouldest perceive thyself to be totally defiled and altogether as an unclean thing. Thou wouldest have bowed thyself before the Lord, and joined in the confession, “We have erred and strayed from thy ways like lost sheep; we have done those things which we ought not to have done, and we have left undone those things which we ought to have done; and there is no health in us.” Well, if thou hast ever thus felt thy guilt, hast thou ever realised thy pardon? If not, give thyself no sleep till thou hast. Canst thou bear to live unpardoned, or in doubt whether or not God has absolved thee? Canst thou ever take any kind of rest, much less indulge thy soul with mirth, until the word “Absolvo” has come from God himself, the eternal Spirit bearing witness with thy spirit that thou art born of God? Happy are they who have been washed; they have need to come each night (even as Peter the apostle had need) to wash their feet; but they need not except to wash their feet, for they are clean every whit. Jesus has made them clean through his blood. The third step is that: —
III. The Blood Of Jesus Christ Is The Great Price Of Our Redemption.
Redemption sometimes in Scripture is spoken of as being the same thing as pardon, and I shall not at all dogmatically attempt to-night to draw any nice distinction between the two. “We have redemption through his blood — to wit, the forgiveness of sin — according to the riches of his grace.” But redemption seems rather to be in some sense the effect produced by a pardon than the actual pardon itself. Man is a slave. As long as guilt is written in God’s book against us, we are in bondage. We feel for the present that we are slaves to sin, and that for the future the punishment of sin will inevitably come upon us to our eternal destruction. But the moment we are purged from the guilt of sin we are set free from the slavery of it; Jesus Christ takes us from being bond-slaves, and makes us to be children; gives us no longer “the spirit of bondage again to fear, but the spirit of adoption whereby we cry, Abba, Father!” He was slain, and he hath redeemed us unto God by his blood, and in the liberty wherewith Christ makes us free we rejoice to see that it was the blood which was the price thereof, and because he suffered, therefore our chains have dropped from off us. We are free — the Lord’s free-men; free henceforth to serve him with renewed love and renewed hearts, because of the abundance of the grace which he has manifested towards us.
Now, beloved, hast thou ever been redeemed by the blood of Jesus? I am not talking to thee now about a redemption effected upon the cross, but hast thou ever felt redemption in thine own spirit from the curse of the law, from the thraldom of a guilty conscience, and from the power of sin? Let me ask thee, art thou the Lord’s free-man to-night? Oh! happy art thou then, for thou canst say, “Lord, thou hast loosed my bonds, and, therefore, I am thy servant.” “We are not our own, because we are bought with a price”; and inasmuch as we are no more slaves to the law from henceforth, for the love we bear his name who hath redeemed us with such a price, we reckon ourselves to be his servants, and we bear in our body the marks of the Lord Jesus. Ah! friends, if you were never redeemed by the precious blood, then you are slaves still — slaves to sin and Satan, slaves under the vengeance of God, and slaves to the law. But may you never be content in slavery! May you pine after freedom, and may Jesus give it to you — give it to you to-night, if it be his blessed will! In the fourth place, the blood of Jesus is spoken of in Scripture as: —
“The blood of sprinkling speaketh better things than that of Abel.” It is said to he sprinkled within the veil, so that where the high-priest could only go once a year we may now go at all times, for the blood is there, interceding for us perpetually. Well, in fact, says one of our poets: —
“The wounds of Christ for us Incessantly do plead.”
Even after his death, remember, his heart for us poured out its flood. After death that heart was pierced, and blood and water came. So, after his voice was silent, and he could no longer say, “Father, forgive them,” the wounds were still eloquent, and even when the suffering passed they continued still to plead with God.
Now, soul, hast thou ever come to God through the intercession of the blood? Thou hast said prayers, thou hast repeated forms of devotion, thou hast gone to church or to meeting-house. This is all well enough; but hast thou gone farther? for if not, all outward forms of devotion are but frivolous puerilities that may allure, but will deceive thee. Didst thou ever come to God by the blood, and didst thou ever by faith fix thine eye upon “the High Priest who ever liveth to make intercession for us,” who with our names upon his bosom, offering still the blood, stands at this moment before the Father, God pleading for us who love him and trust him? Happy they who look to the interceding Savior, and who feel that his blood speaks, not revenge, but cries at every vein, “Mercy, mercy for the chief of sinners!” This leads me to remark that the blood of Jesus: —
V. Becomes The Mode And Way Of Access To God.
We have boldness to enter into the holiest through the blood of Christ. After first cleansing the man, and making him fit to come as a priest and a king unto God, then the blood, as it were, takes away the veil and opens up the pathway to God himself for the forgiven and redeemed soul. Never let us attempt to come to God by anything but the blood. All other ways to God, except through the blood of Jesus, are presumptuous. All other fire that we may put upon the altar, except this, is strange fire, and the Lord’s anger will go forth against us. May I never plead when on my knees before God anything but the precious merits and the dear wounds of the Man of Sorrows who is now exalted at the right hand of God. How close to God we should come if we did but always bring Christ with us; but what are our prayers when we leave him behind? What are our devotions when we are met together, or when we are in secret, and we go to the mercy-seat, but forget the blood that was sprinkled on it, oblivious of the new and: living way through the rent body of Immanuel? Come, brethren and sisters, let us chide ourselves for having forgotten our Lord sometimes, and henceforth be it ours never to think of drawing near to God, except by this way of access — the crimson road which the blood has paved for us. To advance farther, the blood of Jesus Christ, according to the Word, is: —
Jesus sanctified his people by his own blood, and, therefore, suffered without the gate By sanctification is usually meant in Scripture the setting apart of anything for the service of God, and so making it holy. Now, the blood separates the saints from all others. It was the blood that was the distinguishing mark of Israel in Egypt. Every Egyptian house was without the blood, but every house of the seed of Abraham had the blood mark upon the lintel and the two side-posts, and when God saw the blood he passed over them, and spared them in the night of his furious anger. The blood, then, beloved, if thou hast ever had it on thy soul, is to be the distinguishing mark between thee and the ungodly in the day of wrath, and it should distinguish thee now. Thou shouldest, by thy life and thy conversation, make thyself to appear to be as the blood has made thee really to be a separated one. We are not of the world, even as Christ is not of the world. We have heard the mandate — “Come ye out from among them; be ye separate; touch not the unclean thing.” We have left the world’s sin, and we have left the world’s religion, too We have separated ourselves at once from the world’s goodness, as well as from the world’s vileness, to walk in the path of nonconformity to the world, that we may tread in the footsteps of our crucified Redeemer; and the more the blood is applied, the more the obedience of Jesus is trusted in, and the sprinkling of the blood is relied upon, the more shall we become sanctified in spirit, and soul, and body, by the power of the Holy Ghost. Let us never forget the purifying power of Jesus in the heart. Wherever he is trusted in to take away the guilt of sin, we must seek next the water which flowed with the blood to take away the power of sin, and we must ask to see him sit as a refiner to purify, yea, it must be our prayer that he would take his fan in his hand and purge our hearts as he doth his floor. Refining fire, go through my soul! Oh! sweet love of Jesus, burn up the love of the world! Oh! death of Jesus, be the death of sin. Oh! life of Christ, be the life of everything that is gracious, God-like, heavenly, eternal! So; shall it be in proportion as we partake of the power and the efficacy of that blood. The blood, furthermore, is: —
We must not forget this one effect of it. It is called the blood of the covenant — the blood of the testament — the blood of the new testament. The covenant was not in force in the olden times until there had been a sacrifice to confirm it, and a will stands not until the death of the testator has been proved to make it valid. The heart’s blood of Jesus is, as it were, the establishment of his last will and testament. Jesus, the great testator, has died, has made an end of sin, and his blood is the great seal of his testament, and makes it valid to us. If he had never died! Oh! dreadful “if,” only equalled in horror by that other “if” — if he had never risen again from the dead! But now is Christ risen from the dead. Now has Christ slept, and awoke as the first-fruits of them that slept. Never doubt the promise of God, for the blood confirms it. Never doubt the love of God, for he spared not his own Son, but freely delivered him up for us all; how shall he not with him also freely gives us all things? If you want evidence as to the eternal goodness of God, his willingness to pardon, his power to save and to bless, look to the cross of Calvary, and see the bleeding Savior, and never doubt again.
Dear hearer, did the blood so come to thee as to confirm thy hope, or is thy hope a fancy, a delusion? Dost thou think it needs no confirmation? Hast thou ever in thy moments of questioning and anxiety gone over again to the altar where is the Great Victim? Hast thou said one more: —
“Just as I am, without one plea
But that thy blood was shed for me.
And that thou biddist me come to thee,
Oh! Lamb of God, I come!”
Hast thou, then, got thy consolation back again? Hast thou received the witness of God? Hast thou heard the voice which bears witness both in heaven and earth, the voice of the Spirit, and the water, and the blood, and hast thou been satisfied because thou wantedst no better confirmation than the witness of the blood of Jesus applied with power to thy soul? The blood of Jesus has another effect of which we ought to think more than we do — that of: —
VIII. Nourishing, Cheering, And Sustaining The Believer.
To this end the ordinance of communion with Christ in the breaking of bread, and partaking of the cup of blessing has been instituted. When we come to the Lord’s table we have set before us in the broken bread whereof we eat, and in the wine whereof we drink, this present fact, that the sufferings of our Master are now at this moment for our nourishment, sustenance, consolation, and exhilaration. We have been washed in the blood; we are now to receive, after a spiritual sort, the precious blood of Jesus to nourish our faith, to comfort our hope, to excite in us the liveliest joy, and to make us sing and be merry with holy confidence in him who hath redeemed us from all iniquity, and made us unto God priests and kings to reign with Christ for ever and ever. There is no cordial for the heart like the blood of Jesus. To think of the atoning sacrifice is the readiest way to consolation. Our sorrows are not worth a thought when once compared with his. Sit down under the shadow of the cross, and you will find a cooler shade than that of a great rock in a weary land. There is no pasturage for the sheep of Christ like that which grows on Calvary. There is nowhere to be found such wine, that maketh glad the heart of God and man, as that which comes from the sacred cup of his heart, whereof believers drink by faith when they have fellowship with him, and come into near and dear communion with him. Although we do sometimes enjoy this without any emblems, without the bread, and without the wine, still these are great assistants, blessed exponents, and they graciously help our forgetfulness. We are yet in the body, and we need something that shall aid this lagging flesh to see something of the Lord.
Oh! feed ye, then on Christ, and do not be content unless day by day he is your daily bread. He who has given you life must sustain that life. He who has taught you how to rejoice must still supply you with power to continue in your daily rejoicing. The blood without cleanses; the blood within cheers, yea, sacredly inebriates the soul, till the sinner drinks and forgets his sorrow, and remembers his misery no more, and in the fullness of his delight becomes sweetly oblivious, whether in the body or out of the body, as he rises into almost celestial communion with his unseen, but ever-present Lord. Once again, the blood of Jesus Christ has the effect of: —
IX. Uniting Christians Together.
Paul, speaking of Jew and Gentile, says that he “has made both one through the blood of Christ,” and surely there is nothing that unites different denominations of Christians together like the precious blood of Jesus. Brethren, we may dispute, I think we do well to dispute, over important ordinances and doctrines, for wherein men err we are not to wink at their errors, neither ask them to wink at ours. I have sometimes heard it said, “Spare such a brother.” Yes, as a brother; but who am I that I should be spared if I err, or who is he that he should be spared? What are we, or what are our feelings compared with truth? Nay, let questions be fought out as kindly, as lovingly, as valorously, as honorably as they possibly can be. Truth fears not the shock of arms. Let the controversies go on. I believe that, after all, there is more truth in this world now with all the apparent divisions of Christians by ten times than there would have been if we had been united in a nominal union into some one great church, which might, perhaps, have rotted as thoroughly as the old Church off Rome did before the days of Luther. But when we come to the cross-foot, what union there is! If the saints in prayer appear as one, if in the praise of the infinite Jehovah they are one, much more, and much more tenderly, are they one when they behold Jesus bleeding and dying for them. My heart melts and breaks when I hear Christ preached. He who lifted up Christ would have offended me had he preached some other part of his creed. Had he talked over some doctrine which I hold to be erroneous, he and I had differed, but when it comes to this, “HE loved me and gave himself for me he is the chiefest among ten thousand, the altogether lovely — his blood is precious” — I feel inclined to cry, “Brother, keep to that; praise him louder, give him all the honor;
“Bring forth the royal diadem
And crown him Lord of all.”
While we keep to that we are none of us heretics over that. There shall be no schisms and divisions over the matter. Son of God and Son of Man, Redeemer of our souls from death and misery, all thy mother’s children praise thee. Every sheaf bows before thy sheaf; sun, and moon, and every star do obeisance unto Thee, King of Kings, and Lord of Lords, Head over all things unto thy church, Which is thy dwelling-place, the fullness of him that filleth all in all! Since here we are one, when we get together as believers I wish we oftener struck that key — the precious blood of Christ — and in our walks and talks with those Christians who differ from us in many points let us try sometimes to turn those points aside, and say, “We do agree to speak well of that dear name which is above every name, that name which charms all our fears, and bids all our sorrows cease, that name which is the joy, of the believer on earth and the bliss of the saints in heaven. I close now when I have noticed that the blood of Jesus Christ may be looked upon by us every day as: —
X. The Great Instructor And The Cardinal Witness Of Divine Truth.
God is to be seen in nature, and seen vividly there, but not as he is to be seen in Christ Jesus. Instruction as to the eternal power of the Godhead some find in the skies above, in the fields around, and in the sea beneath, but in the cross there is more of God than in all the world besides. I have often felt, when I have been rambling in the Alps, that nature was too small to set forth God. The mirror is not large enough to reflect the face of the Eternal. You stand in the Alps and hear the avalanche, like claps and peals of thunder resounding in the air, you gaze afar off, and there it is, and it looks to you like the falling of a few grains of snow. It is so inconsiderable that the grandeur seems to be destroyed. Though every one of those granules may be a block of ice weighing a hundred tons, at such a distance the thing grows small. The water leaps down hundreds of feet from the crags, but up in the mountains it appears to be a little trickling rill scarcely worth notice. The very Alpine summits seem to dwindle down to small heaps of stones when one grows used to the scenery. God is too great for this earth to bear him. The axles of this world’s chariot would snap beneath the weight of Deity. We talk of going from nature up to nature’s God, but the top of the highest Alps is far below his footstool. We do not get any conceptions of God out of nature worthy of his august majesty. But in contemplating the cross, in discerning there how God can forgive, how willing he is to save the guilty, how his justice is magnified at the same time as his grace, I am persuaded that those who have tried both forms of contemplation will tell you that this last is the better by far. You see God through the wounds of Christ as through windows of agate, and gates of carbuncle, and you cry, “My Lord, and my God!”
In winding up this poor discourse of mine, let me say to you, Beloved, be more in meditation upon Jesus. I say to myself — Preacher, preach thy Master more; preach him more after his own sort, and endeavor to be thyself more like him. Dear hearer, live nearer to the cross. With all your study of doctrine — and you do well to study it thoroughly make Jesus Christ the first. Believe in him. Let him be your greed. Speak of a body of divinity — there never was in this world but one body of divinity, and that is Jesus Christ, and he that understands Jesus Christ has got the only system of theology that is worth the knowing. Get right into him. Some of the early Fathers used to study every wound. They would write a treatise almost on every different spot where he was scourged. They had some tears to let fall and some sweet songs to sing for every step along the Via Dolorosa. Let us not treat lightly what those nearer to the light treated so solemnly, but regarding the Master, and thinking much of even the littles that concern him (for the leaves of this tree of life are for the healing of the nations), let us study to understand him, and ask to be conformed to him, even in his sufferings to be like him, and when we suffer to see him in our pangs. Let every grief be a glass through which to look into his life and love, and understand his grace.
I wish you all knew this, and more than this. Oh! that I could hope that all this assembled company did trust in my Master! Poor sinner, why not trust him? You will never be saved else. There is no other door of mercy for you than that. Come, come, come, even though you think he will cast you away. If Christ had a drawn sword in his hand yet I would bid you come. It were better to fall on the point of his sword than to live without him. Come and rest upon him. He never did reject a sinner yet, and he never can. The vilest of the vile can find mercy in him, and all he asks — and that he gives — is, that you do rely on him with all your heart, and you shall be saved. God grant that you may, “He that believeth and is baptized shall be saved.” Obey the second precept as you have attained to the first. When you have believed in Christ crucified, dead, and buried for you, then be dead and buried with him in baptism. Take the outward symbol of his death, burial, and resurrection, and ask to have the inward spiritual grace, that you, being dead to the world, and dead with Christ, and buried with him, may rise again to newness of life through his quickening Spirit.
The Lord thus bless you, for Jesus’ sake!
An holy priesthood -1 Peter 2:5
IN this epistle Peter is speaking of the scattered saints in all parts of the world, and, taught by the Holy Spirit, he says of them that they were “ an holy priesthood.” He is not talking about ministers: he is not speaking of a certain number of men who have passed through divers grades of office, and are thereby qualified to wear robes of a certain color, but he is speaking of every believer, and he calls every saint a member of “ an holy priesthood.” Every Mary and every John, every peasant girl and every laborer that puts his hand upon the plough, every servant of God in every capacity, is a member of this “holy priesthood”: at least so Peter says, and Peter was not mistaken, for he spake as he was “ moved by the Holy Ghost. “
Let us for the ten-thousandth time state our own solemn conviction, that it is time for England to wake up, and solemnly rebuke the priestcraft that seems rising up in our midst. No man has any right to call himself, in any exclusive sense, a priest. When I take down the Book of Common Prayer and read “ Then shall the priest say,” I shut it up again with detestation. And if it were the best human book ever printed and had no other blunder and error in it, yet if it ventured to call any class of men priests, I should denounce it as being tainted with Romanism. Christ is the only priest who can offer sacrifice for the expiation of sin. He is “the Great Apostle and High Priest of our profession.” But there is another priesthood-one of offering prayers, and praises, and this belongs not to me because I am a minister, nor to any number of men who are called “Reverend,” or “Very Reverend,” or Right-Reverend,” but to you as well, and to every one else who by faith has believed in Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord. If truly converted be God, a man though scarce able to read his Bible, is a priest unto him, because he has a new heart and a right spirit. He may never mount a pulpit, nor preside at a church-meeting: but the may be a priest unto God.
His only pulpit may be a cobbler’s stall: his only platform for witnessing to Christ may be behind the counter or in the factory, but he is a priest for all that.
Or if the Lord call a sister to himself, she is to be silent in the church-meeting, but she belongs to the Divine priesthood, and her prayers and praises will go up with as much acceptance before God, through Jesus Christ, as if she were an eminent divine, or the most gifted of the saints. All God’s children are priests, and this is the song of all in heaven and all on earth who are truly saved. “He hath made us kings and priests unto God, and we shall reign for ever and ever.”
Now, it is on this theme of priesthood that I desire to speak to-night; and the way in which priests were made under the law is described for us in the 8th chapter of Leviticus. So I invite you to turn with me and look at the subject as expounded there; for surely the way in which the sons of Aaron were ordained to their earthly and temporal priesthood is richly suggestive, and intentionally typical of the manner in which God calls all his people to their holy priesthood. On turning to that chapter we find that one of the first things with regard to the ordination; of Aaron and his sons to their priesthood was that, They Were Cleansed. We read in Leviticus 8:6, and Moses brought Aaron and his sons, and washed them with water.” That was one cleansing. But several times in the chapter we find that a second cleansing was theirs and that by blood! In verse 2 we find that they brought a bullock far a sin-offering, and two rams, and with the blood of one of the rams, and the blood of the sin-offering they sprinkled, that they might be clean before God. This powerfully teaches that every one of us aspiring to be a priest for God must first be cleansed, and that with a double purifying.
“Let the water and the blood,
If we look closer into this cleaning by blood we see that Aaron and his sons put their hands upon the ram, confessing their sins. Then the ram was slain, the blood sprinkled upon the altar, and the laver, and upon all the vessels of the sanctuary, and then upon Aaron and his sons. What deep instruction is here! If we are God’s priests we lay our hand upon Christ, accept him as our substitute, trusting in that blood shed for the remission of sins. He will have no priests in his sanctuary who have not been cleansed with the blood of Christ. All service until this is experienced is a vain oblation, which he cannot accept. Go to the altar, confess thy sin, and lay it upon the Lamb of God, and then, but not until then, canst thou be a holy priest.
Moreover, the priests were afterward also washed in water. On this first occasion they were cleansed from head to foot: but on later occasions when going into the tabernacle, they needed only to wash their hands and feet. So is it with our Christian life. By the Holy Spirit’s application of our Lord’s merits believers are completely cleansed, and there remains neither spot nor wrinkle on their acceptance with him. But though a man be perfectly clean who leaves his bath, yet his feet may be soiled as he goes to his room and he needs again to wash them. So you and I need to pray, “Forgive us our sins,” though they have all been forgiven. We are washed, but daily defiling calls for constant cleansing. Though every true Christian has been cleansed, as was Peter, he must not say, “Thou shalt never wash my feet.” When Jesus comes by his cleansing word and spirit, and girt with the towel and carrying the bason, we must be willing to let him cleanse, nay beg of him to wash our feet, that we may be clean, every whit. We do need to pray “Forgive us our sins.” It is not in the least in conflict with the doctrine of a complete sanctification, or complete justification.
The priest, every one of them, were washed, they had a clear right to go into the sanctuary; yet none the less, they must wash their hands and feet each time they entered.
So we are clean; God accepts us; we are his children and yet, day by day, we must go with the prayer to him, “Lord cleanse me again in the Redeemer’s Blood: make me pure by the washing of water by the Word!” So if defiling come, his cleansing power my be proved again and again.
Well, beloved, have we ever attempted to serve God without this cleansing? If so, may we repent of our imagined righteousness as much as of our sins; for even our righteousnesses are nothing but sins until we have been washed. Do we long for this perfect cleansing! The fountain is full: the blood, the water, have the same efficacy as they ever had. “Though your sins be as scarlet they shall be white as snow, though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool.” Step down into this heavenly bath. Trust Christ to save you, and being cleansed by him, you shall be for ever a member of this “holy priesthood.”
Referring again to Leviticus 8., we see that the second thing in the ordaining of the priesthood was They Were Divinely Clothed. However clean they were, they must be suitably arrayed, or they cannot appear before the Lord. We have given to us, a list of the garments, and find that Aaron as High Priest was sumptuously clothed, but not so his sons. In the 13th verse we are told that they had coats, and girdles, and bonnets. Let us glance at each of these for they are packed with spiritual significance. The “ Coat” is a priestly robe. Everyone who ministered at the altar put on an ephod, a coat hanging from, the shoulder, generally in one piece, and woven from the top throughout, like that which the Lord Jesus wore. So every believer is to put on the imputed righteousness of Jesus, given to us at our conversion.
He officiates as High Priest before the throne clothed in white linen, and so do all the saints-”white linen which is the righteousness of the saints,” says John in the Revelation. Now we have no righteousness of our own, but the voice from heaven speaks, “I counsel thee, buy of me white raiment that thou mayest be clothed.” We come to Christ just as we are, and he clothes us with his righteousness, active and passive, and this is the ephod in which we minister unto God. With our Lord’s righteousness clothing us, we can stand without fear before the awful searching eyes of God, now and hereafter and not fear.
“Bold shall I stand at that great day For who aught to my charge shall lay, While through thy blood absolved I am From sin’s tremendous curse and shame?”
Are you, beloved, robed in the righteousness of your Savior? Then come forward, and officiate as his priest!
Next to the ephod, came the girdle. In the case of Aaron we are told it was a “curious” girdle. Ah! how curious, how matchless, how marvellous is the girdle which encircles the loins of Christ! He is girt about the waist with a golden girdle. His faithfulness, his truth, his love, his every attribute of excellency combined, make up this curious girdle comprising the ephod. But every other true priest has his girdle. You and I, if called to this holy office, are to have our loins girt about, standing always ready, instant to obey God’s command, and rover in his service. Orientals wore flowing garments and when these were loose they could not hasten in their activities. So they used the girdle to brace themselves, gathering up their robes for special labor, or conflict, or flight. So every priest of Christ must wear his girdle of faithfulness. There is a wicked world always on the watch. Be careful: be vigilant. You may be tripped up by the sin that cloth so easily beset us. See to it that you are well braced, so that if the enemy came suddenly you may meet him with courage, or if a message came from your master you may run upon it with diligence.
Yet another part of the priest’s clothing is called “the bonnet”; literally, the turban. This, so we are told, “ was for glory and for beauty.” Truly our Lord has put upon his people his own glory and beauty. We are not merely acceptable, but beloved: not passable, but admirable: not merely not to be condemned, but full of imparted loveliness. Jesus says to every saved soul, “Thou hast ravished my heart my-sister, my spouse-with one look of thine eyes, with one chain of thy neck.” Jesus so falls in love with his own image in each saved soul, that his heart is captured. Here is “ the glory and beauty “ with which he has invested us. Every believer is looked upon by God as if he, were Christ. Christ took your place, and was cursed for you; you take Christ’s place, and notwithstanding all the blemishes, all the back-slidings, all the hardness you may feel within, if you are truly in Christ, you are so clothed that glory and beauty, and that Divine, is yours! The priests were not only washed but clothed. My soul, what joy is this! Ponder it, until it masters and enthrals thee!
After the cleansing and clothing, came this to the priests, They Were Anointed. This is mentioned more than once. Aaron had the holy oil poured upon his head, until it ran down to the skirt of his garment. So Jesus was anointed of the Holy Spirit without measure. The other priests were also touched with the oil-sprinkled with it.
And you and I, if we have been both washed and clothed, must yet be anointed. Child of God, cost thou distinctly and intensely recognize thy need of this anointing! If I have preached without the Holy Spirit I have preached in vain. If I have gone to my prayer-chamber, no matter how earnest I desired to be, I have prayed in vain unless the Spirit of God has been upon me. This anointing is the Christian’s supreme need. Dear Joseph Irons very often used to say as he went into the pulpit, “ Oh! for an unction from on high!” Sunday-school teacher, you are a priest: and this is your great want-anointing. You who preach in the streets, you who are intercessors in private for Christ, you who seek to show God in your daily life, you need the anointing. What can we not do when the Spirit is in us: What can we do if he is with, holding his presence and power? As God’s priests we may, we must, have a daily unction-anointing-from the Holy One!
After this, They Were Consecrated. Here I must enlarge more than upon the last point. This setting apart to priestly function and work was very remarkable. We find that blood was taken, and that Moses touched the priests with it (according to the 24th verse) first “upon the tip of the right ear, then upon the thumbs of their right hand and then upon the great toes of their right feet; and Moses sprinkled the blood upon the altar round about.” This description is very full and suggestive. Every Christian is to be consecrated to God by blood as to his ear. That is, we are to be eager to hear God’s voice, whether in his, Word printed or preached. “Blessed are the people that know the joyful sound!” They only recognize it because the blood is on the ear. We are to hear God’s voice in providence. When there is a sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees, like David, we are be bestir ourselves. We are to be willing to hear even the rod and him that hath appointed it. There are many voices that the sanctified ear detects that the carnal ear has never listened to. The godly man has monitions from the Most High when the natural man catches no whisper. To hear the “still, small voice” always, is the listening we should desire. So too, with regard to man, we should hear his misery and feel for it: hear his sin, and pray to God for its full forgiveness as Jesus did. Yet on the other hand, there are some sounds that the ear so consecrated must not hear. We are deaf to the insinuations of suspicion, the slander of calumny, aye! to many any intended insult that else might have provoked and angered us. May we ever feel that as there was blood on the priest’s ear, so all our reception powers are to be consecrated to God. If so, I shall feel that there are some books I cannot read: for have blood on my ear: some songs I dare not listen to: some talk I dare not share in, for I have a consecrated ear. I am to use that for him, for I am his priest.
Next in order, was the thumb. This consecrated the hand. And as the ear stands for our receptive faculties, so the hand represents our active powers. There are some things we must not touch nor handle: some things we cannot do, in which we can have no hand, nay, cannot finger. Since our hand is sanctified by the blood, all it does must be pleasing to God. I know that a common mistake is to think that you cannot serve God unless you get into a pulpit, or attend a prayer-meeting. Nonsense! You can truly serve God behind the counter, in the work-room-serve God by digging a ditch, or clipping a hedge. I believe that God is often served by the tailor or shoemaker who is conscientious in his calling, quite as well as by bishops and archbishops, or by men of any church in the world. At any rate if you cannot serve God in all that you do, you have need to ask to be taught the secret of the Christian life: for that secret is, the consecration of everything to Jesus Christ.
You are to make your garments vestments, your meals sacraments, your every day a holy day, your every hour a consecrated season unto God. Our hand, with all its manifold activities, is to be consecrated-blood-marked-to him.
After this, came the foot. The blood was put on the great toe of the right foot, so the feet were set apart for God. Ah! these legs of ours used to carry us to theatres! We could run fast enough the downward road with them. I recollect a man who would stand in the aisle for a long time-he said he would “serve his legs out”; they had served the devil so long, that they should bear a little hardship for his new lord and master, Jesus Christ. I know some of you, who used to walk many miles to come to the house of God-six miles. I used to say to you that it was too far. It was not too far for you then, but lately it has become much too far. The road has not grown longer, but you have gone backward as to your zeal, and when the zeal declines, the miles get dolefully long. But I have marked that when men and women are in a right state of mind and soul, it does not matter how far they walk, not what they have to do for Christ, the consecrated foot can do it joyfully. If I have a consecrated foot, I must not let it take me into bad company. If anybody say to you, “Can you come with me to such and such a place?” You must answer, “ No! I cannot: I have a foot that won’t go, and I cannot go without; that!” And if any should say, “ What is the matter with your foot?” say, “I have a foot that has blood upon it!” They will say: “Strange!” They will not understand you: but if you attempt to explain to them that the blood of your Lord Jesus Christ bought you and so, your foot, then they will understand that it cannot go anywhere except where Christ would have it go. It may mean that you will have to change your position in life-you have to move, and have a choice as to where you shall go. Make that choice on the principle of having a consecrated foot. Do not go where you cannot bear the pure Word of God. A Jew heard of a good business where there was much money but no synagogue; and of another where there was a synagogue though but little trade, and being a pious Jew, he chose the place with the synagogue. I am afraid that there are but few Jews who would do that: and quite as few Christians who think first of God’s house and the hearing of the Gospel. Better to have a dinner of herbs and the Gospel with it, than a stalled ox and not to listen to the truth of our Lord Jesus Christ. In choosing your home, in fact, in everything that concerns your progress in life, act as if you had, and knew you had, a consecrated foot!
Gathering up all, it surely teaches that, a Christian is always, and everywhere, and altogether, not his own, but consecrated to Christ. Not merely to be baptized, to come once a month to the Lord’s table: to take a pew, and sit and look so heavenly-minded. Any hypocrite can do that. But it is the mark of a Christian to be so honest, upright, charitable, kind, Christlike, holy, that all who see may be compelled to say, “That man differs from other men.” The secret, though they may not discover it, is, that whilst other men are but common men, where father Adam left them in the fall, this man has been found, and made anew in Jesus Christ. Ear, thumb, and foot, all consecrated to Christ’s service!
Hastily running through the rest of this chapter (Leviticus 8) we observe that the consecration was very thorough. There is mention made of unleavened bread. This teaches, that a Christian is not to follow religion for the sake of honor, gain, or fame. None of the leaven of hypocrisy, or mere formalism, is to be tolerated. We are to serve Christ for Christ’s sake, and follow God because our heart is right with him.
Again, the consecration is set forth though I have little time to notice it, by the different parse of the victim being offered to God. You will observe that the deepest feelings of the Christian are to be with God-that the inwards and the fat of the kidneys were to be burnt upon the altar. Thus the richest and fullest emotions of the Christian’s minds and heart are to belong to God, for the fat and marrow were to be burned as well: and the Christian’s greatest strength is to be the Lord’s: for the right shoulder was to be offered as a wave offering, and then to be consumed with fire. We are to give God our inmost thoughts, our deeper passions, our greatest strength. “Blessed is the man whose strength is in thee!” Some people can call loud enough to wake up a town when they are in their business, but when they come to pray you can scarcely hear them. But I would have a Christian never so much, or so fine a man, as when he is serving God. Give the world, if you will, the fag-ends of your mind, soul and strength: but give God your whole man, your inward and your outward life, every part and power and passion, strung to its greatest height, and all devoted to him!
But to conclude once more, the Christian’s consecration is to be constant. This remarkable chapter has greatly interested me in observing that these priests were to be for one whole week associating in the tabernacle. They were not either by day or night to leave their holy work. How they found strength enough, or whether this really included absolutely necessary seasons of rest, I cannot tell. But it says: that for seven days they were to serve without intermission both by day and night. So the Christian priesthood is to be perpetual. We are never to cease to serve God. You have heard of one that was so in love, that he did eat, and drink, and sleep for such an one: so the Christian is to “do all to the glory of God.” Says one, “ Can this be done? Are we to follow Romish monks and get into a monastery?” No! I have no doubt they are right in shaving their heads: shore is probably a great necessity for it. But unless we become demented, there is no need for us to imitate their example. The Christian is not to shut himself up, and become a hermit, and think that thereby he can cultivate holiness. That is unholiness: Christian holiness is social: the light of the world, the salt of the earth. We are to be in the world, though not of it; our priesthood exercised in the street, the shop, the family, and at the fireside. By day and night, to offer up prayers and praises and thanksgivings unto God, and so be perpetually a priest.
But what am I talking about? There are some, here; that have never yet been priests to God. What have they been doing to-day? Why even on God’s holy day they do not serve him but themselves. Why, Sir! God has never reaped a solitary ear of grain from your field. Take care lest having lived to yourself, you die to yourself, having lived without God, you die without God, and find it a tremendous thing to stand and be judged without a Savior to be your helper, or interceding priest. I say nothing to you about being a priest to God. You need a priest for yourself, first. Do not go to any man. No man has power to help your soul, except to pray and plead for you. The saving, pardoning power lies only with Jesus Christ. Look away to him: he died: trust in his sacrifice: he rose, he ascended: he is standing at God’s right hand. There is life for a look at him. Look! trust! and you shall then be cleansed, clothed, anointed, consecrated, and so serve God. But your first business is to go to Christ. Oh! may Christ come to you, and save you now, and he shall have glory out of us, world without end! Amen.
“Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.” — 1 Peter 2:7.
Not only was this the first text from which Dr. Spurgeon preached, but it was his theme on many subsequent occasions. Two of these discourses bear the same title, — “Christ Precious to Believers,” although one of them is No. 242 in the New Park Street Pulpit and the other is No. 2,137 in the Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit.
MY brethren! I am quite out of order for addressing you tonight. I feel extremely unwell, excessively heavy and exceedingly depressed, and yet I could not deny myself the pleasure of trying to say a few words to you. I have taken a text upon which I think I could preach in my sleep; and I believe that, if I were dying, and were graciously led into the old track, I could, with my last expiring breath, pour out a heartful of utterance upon the delightful verse which I have selected. It happens to be the passage from which I first essayed to speak in public when I was but a boy of sixteen years of age; and I am sure it contains the marrow of what I have always taught in the pulpit from that day until now. The words are in the second chapter of the first Epistle of Peter, and the seventh verse: “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.”
We might find “ample room and verge enough” if we were to enlarge upon the preciousness of Christ in his person as God and perfect man; his preciousness to his Father, his preciousness to the Holy Spirit, his preciousness to angels and glorified men. We might next speak of him in the preciousness of his work; showing his preciousness as the Mediator of the new covenant, and at the incarnate Messenger of that covenant on earth; his preciseness as working out a perfect righteousness, and as rendering a complete expiation. We might dwell upon his preciousness in all his offices, whether as Prophet, Priest, or King, and in all his relationships as Friend, Brother, as Bridegroom. Indeed, we have before us a subject as inexhaustible as the river of God, and as bright as the sapphire throne. If we should endeavor to show how precious the Well-beloved, which to complete is in all respects, we should need eternity in the task.
“Precious is the name of Jesus,
“Precious when to Calvary groaning,
“Precious when the bloody scourges
“Precious in his death victorious,
Precious, Lord! beyond expressing,
The wording of the text binds our thoughts to one point. “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious;” it is not so much how precious he is, as how precious he is to you. If you are a believer, the text affirms that Jesus Christ is, without any adverb to limit the extent of the descriptive word, precious to you.
I. We shall, first, talk awhile upon the truth that Jesus Christ Is Now Precious To Believers.
Notice, attentively, how personally precious Jesus is. There are two persons in the test: “Unto you therefore which believe HE is precious.” “You” and “he.” You are a real person, and you feel that you are such. To yourself, you must over be the most real of existences. You do not think of yourself as a person of whom you have read in history, or heard of in discourse, or seen from a window years ago. You have (to use an ugly word, since I do not know any substitute for it,) realized yourself; you are quite clear about your own existence. Now, in the same way, I pray you strive to realize the other Person! Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.” Jesus exists just as really as you do, and you must not regard him as a personage who was here one thousand eight hundred and sixty-nine years ago, or one of whom you have heard, and whom you like to think of as a poetical conception; but there is a real Christ now existing; in spirit existing here; in real flesh and blood now standing at the right hand of the Father; and between him and you, if you are a believer, there exists a bond of unity which, though invisible, is nevertheless most matter-of-fact and positive. You believe in him, he loves you; you love him in return, and he sheds abroad in your heart a sense of his love. You twain are bound together fastly and firmly; there is neither myth, nor dream, either in him or in your union to him. He is and you are, and he is in very deed most precious to you.
Notice, too, that while the text gleams with this vividness of personality, to which the most of professors are blind, it is weighted with a most solid positiveness: “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.” It does not speak as though he might be or might not be; but “he is precious.” There are some things about myself as a Christian which are frequently matters of question. I may gravely question whether I am growing in grace; and under such a doubt I may search my heart to see whether I love my Lord better, or whether I have more fully conquered my sins; but one thing I do not question, namely, that being a believer in him, Jesus Christ is unutterably precious to my soul. If thou doubtest thy faith, thou mayest doubt whether Christ is precious to thee; but if thy faith be certain, the preciousness of Christ to thy heart is quite as certain. “He is precious.” If the new life be in thee, thou art as sure to love the Savior as fish love the stream, or the birds the air, or as brave men love liberty, or as all men love their lives. Tolerate no peradventures here; allow no debate upon this vital point of thy religion. Jesus must be precious to thee. Cleanse thine eye if any dust hath dimmed thy sight of Jesus’ preciousness, and be not satisfied till, in the language of the spouse, thou canst say, “My Beloved is the chiefest among ten thousand;” “yea, he is altogether lovely.”
Mark, further, the absoluteness of the text: “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.” It is not written how precious he is. The text does not attempt, by any form of computation, to measure the price which the regenerate soul sets upon her bosom’s Lord. There is no hint that he is moderatedly precious; it does not even say positively or comparatively precious. I infer therefore that I may, if I choose, insert the word “superlatively”; and, certainly, if I did so, there would be no exaggeration, for more dear than light to the eyes, or life to the body, is Jesus to the sanctified heart. Each saint can truthfully sing, —
“Yes, thou art precious to my soul,
My transport and my trust:
Jewels to thee are gaudy toys
And gold is sordid dust.”
Since no sparkling gems or precious metals, no royal regalia, or caskets of rare jewels can ever equal the value of Jesus, the comparison is vain. We therefore place him by himself alone, and say that he is absolutely precious to believers. Gold is precious, but the diamond is more so; and, in comparison with the diamond, the gold is of small account. The diamond is precious; but give a man a bagful of diamonds of the first water, and put him down in a desert, or let him be out on the wild waste of ocean, he would give all his diamonds for a draught of pure water to drink, or a crust of bread to eat; so that, in certain cases, even the excellent crystal would lose its value. In fact, mineral substances are merely arbitrary signs of value, they have but little worth in themselves; gold in itself is less useful than iron, and a diamond of little more account than a piece of glass. They have no absolute intrinsic value which would remain the same under all contingencies. But Christ is absolutely precious; that is to say, nothing can ever match him, much less excel him; and he is precious under all circumstances. There never can arrive a time when we shall be compelled to confess his want of value, or lower our estimate of him. He is infinitely precious. O my soul, dost thou esteem him so? My heart, art thou sure of this, that unto thee he is precious beyond compare; precious positively, precious comparatively, though heaven itself were compared, precious superlatively, beyond all things that can be dreamed of, or imagined. Is he to them essential preciousness, the very standard of all value! Thus it should be, for the text means no less: “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.”
The thought which I desire to bring out into fullest relief is this, that Jesus Christ is, today, continually precious to his people. The moment a soul believes in Jesus, his sins are forgiven. Well, then, the precious blood that washes all sin away, is not that done with, Oh, no! Unto you that believe, though you have believed to the saving of your soul, he is still precious; for your guilt will return upon your conscience, and you will yet sin, being still in the body, but there is a fountain still filled with blood, and thus unto you, experimentally, the cleansing atonement is as precious as when you first relied upon its expiating power. Nay, Jesus is more precious to you now than when first you were washed in his blood, and were made white as snow; for you know your own needs more fully, have proved more often the adaptation of his saving grace, and have received a thousand more gifts at his blessed hands. I do fear me that some Christians imagine that, after believing, all is done; but my Lord Jesus Christ is no old Almanack, used up, and of no further service. He is not like the physic which I took months ago, which then healed me of my disease, so that now I can afford to put the rest of it on the shelf, and laugh at it; oh, no! he is still my divine medicine. Still I need him, and still I have him. If I believe in him, I feel I want him more than ever I did, and he is dearer to me than ever he was. If I needed him aforetime as a poor guilty sinner, I want him, just as much as a poor needy saint, hanging upon his daily bounty, deriving life perpetually from his life, peace from the virtue of his precious blood, and joy from the outflowings of his love to me. Instead of Christ’s losing value to the believer, the pith of the text is this, — that you, believer, when you get Christ, and get what Christ bringeth to you, instead of esteeming him as though he were an empty vessel, out of which you had drained the last drop, prize him most highly than ever you did before. He is not a gold mine worked out and exhausted, a field reaped of its harvest, or a vineyard where the grape gleaning is done: he has still the dew of his youth, the fullness of his strength, the infinity of his wealth, the perfection of his power.
II. Now, beloved, just for a minute or two, let us think how Christ Is Today Precious To You.
He is today precious to you because his blood, even now this day, is the only thing which keeps him from being a condemned sinner, exposed to the wrath of God. There has been enough sin upon your soul, my brother, my sister, this very day, to cast you into hell, if your surety had not stood between you and God’s justice. You have been into no sinful company today; you have been in your Sunday-school glass, and I have been in the pulpit; but, ah! my pulpit sins would have damned me today, if it had not been for that precious blood, and thy Sunday-school sins would have shut thee up in hell, if that dear Mediator had not stood between thee and God. So, you see, it is not merely the first day in which you believe in which he is precious to you, but right on still, as long as you are a sinner, the Intercessor stands and pleads for you, evermore putting your sin away; being yesterday, today, and for ever, your Savior, your shield, and your defense, and therefore evermore supremely precious.
Remember, too, he is precious, because the only righteousness you have is still his perfect righteousness. That which pleads with God for you is not what you are, but what HE is. You are accepted at this moment, but you are only “accepted in the Beloved,” You are not justified because you feel in a sweet frame of mind, or because your heart rejoices in the name of God. Oh, no! your acceptance is all in your great Surety; and if it could be possible that he and the entire system of his grace could be withdrawn, and covenant engagements abrogated, you would be as unacceptable as even lost spirits are, and would be like them, for ever driven from the face and favor of God. Is he not, then, as your accepted Substitute, at this hour most precious to you?
Moreover, beloved, Jesus Christ is precious to you at this moment, as much as ever he was, because from henceforth it is his example which you strive to initiate. So far as he is an example to his people, his character has always been most admirable in your esteem, and this day you delight to know that, in his life, God’s law appears--
“Drawn out in living characters.”
You aspire to be like him now; you expect to be perfectly like him in the day of his appearing. Now, because he shows you what you shall be, and because in him lies the power to make you what you shall be, is he not therefore daily precious to you? In proportion as you fight with sin, in proportion as you seek for holiness with inward longings and sublime partings, in that proportion will Jesus Christ, the Paragon of all perfection, be precious in your esteem. Beloved, you are to be crucified with him; your flesh, with its corruptions and lusts, must die upon his cross as he died. Is he not precious when you believe that it will be by virtue of his death that sin will die in you? You are to rise in him; nay, I trust you have already risen in him, into newness of life; I hope you are panting more and more after the resurrection life, that you may no longer regard the dead things of this world, but live for eternal things, as those whose “life is hid with Christian God.” If so, I know you will prize a risen Savior, and your appreciation of him will increase as you drink more deeply into the fellowship of the risen life. Forget not, beloved, that our Redeemer has ascended, and in that ascension every saint has his share. I do not say that you all enjoy your share yet; but, in proportion as you do so, you will reckon Christ to be precious; for he “hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places;” “our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,” whose Second Advent is to be the perfection of our spiritual life, the unveiling of the hidden beauties and manifestations of the sons of God. Just in proportion as you enter into your royal heritage, and live in it, and believe in it, in this proportion Jesus Christ will be precious to you.
Beloved, let me tell you a secret. To many of you, there is as much in Christ undiscovered as you have already enjoyed. Your faith has only yet grasped Christ as saving you from going down to the pub, — Christ is precious to you so far; but if your faith could even now comprehend the fact that you are one with Christ, members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, that you are heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ, ah, then, how doubly precious would Jesus be! As surely as your faith grasps more, and becomes more capacious, and appropriating, Christ will grow in preciousness to you. I am persuaded that there is a meaning in these words which none of God’s saints have yet been able to discover, a deep mysterious preciousness of Jesus, only to be known by a close and intimate acquaintance with him such as falls to the lot of few. “Unto you therefore which believe,” — just in proportion as you believe, the larger, the stronger, the deeper, the purer, the sublimer, the more full-grown your faith, the more unto you Jesus Christ is precious. Ask, then, for more faith, that Jesus may be more precious to you, and God grant it to you, for his name’s sake!
III. Thus much on that point, now a few words on another. Because Jesus Is Precious To Believers, He Efficaciously Operates Upon Them. The preciousness of Christ is, as it were, the leverage of Christ in lifting up his saints to holiness and righteousness.
Let me show you this. The man who trusts Christ values Christ; that which I value I hold fast; hence, our valuing Christ helps us to abide steadfast in times of temptation. The world saith to a Christian, “Follow me, and I will enrich thee.” “Nay,” saith the Christian, “Thou canst not enrich me; I have Christ, and I am rich enough.” “Follow me,” saith the world, “and I will bless thee; I will give thee the delights of the flesh.” “Nay,” saith the heart, “thou canst not bless me, for these things are accursed, and would bring me sorrow, and not pleasure; Jesus Christ is my pleasure, and to love him and to do his will is my joy.” Do you not see that the greater your value of Christ, the greater your strength against temptation? Although the devil may tempt you with this and that, yet Jesus Christ, being more precious than all else, you say, “Get thee behind me, Satan; thou canst not tempt me while Christ is dear to my spirit.” Oh, may you set a very high value upon Christ, that thus you may be kept firm in the day of temptation!
Notice further this valuing of Christ helps the believer to make sacrifices. Sacrifice-making contributes a large part of any high character. He who never makes a sacrifice, in his religion, may shrewdly suspect that it is not worth more than his own practical valuation of it. When a man hath a very important document about him, on which depends his title to his estates, if a thief should try to take it from him, he will suffer the thief to tear away his garments, to rob him of anything he has except his treasure; that he takes care to hold fast as long as he can. Indian messengers, men entrusted with jewels, have been known to swallow them to preserve them from robbers, and to allow themselves to be stripped naked of every rag they wore, but they would not lose the jewel with which their prince had entrusted them. So the Christian will say to the world, “Take away my fortune; take away my livelihood; take away my good name, if thou wilt, O lying world; but, despite all, I will retain my Savior, for he is precious! “Skin for skin; yea, all that a man hath will he give for Christ, and he never will or can give Christ up if Christ be precious to him.
See, then, that believing in Jesus makes him precious, and his being precious helps us to make sacrifices most cheerfully for his dear sake.
Moreover, brethren, this valuing of Christ makes us jealous against sin. What, I say, does Jesus Christ deign to live under my roof? Then, while he lives in my heart, I will give no roostingplace to any foul bird of sin that might begin hooting in his ear. No, ye enemies of Christ, begone, begone, begone! My Beloved shall have the best chamber of my spirit, undefiled by your filthy feet. We are afraid lest we should do anything to grieve the heavenly Lover of our souls; this makes us keep our garments white, and pick our steps through this miry world. Hence, a right valuing of Christ promotes direly the highest degree of sanctification. He who loves the Redeemer best purifies himself most, even as his Lord is pure.
Besides, beloved, high valuing of Christ helps the Christian in the selection of his associates in life. If I hold my Divine Lord to be precious, how can I have fellowship with those who do not esteem him? You will not find a man of refined habits, and cultured spirit, happy amongst the lowest and most illiterate. “Birds of a feather flock together.” Workers and traders unite in companies according to their occupations. Lovers of Christ rejoice in lovers of Christ, and they delight to meet together; for they can talk to each other of things in which they are agreed. I would recommend you to choose the church of which you would be a member, and the pastor whom you would hear, by this one thing; by how much of Christ there is in that church, and how much of the savor of Christ there is in that ministry. It is an evil thing for a child of God to be enchanted by mere rhetoric as well might you choose a table to feast at merely on account of the knives and forks, or the polish of its mahogany. You require food for the soul, and there is nothing that will long feed a true heart but Jesus Christ, who is the meat and the drink of his people. Love to Christ soon makes a Christian discontented with mere oratory. He cannot be satisfied even with the best doctrine apart from Jesus. “They have taken away my Lord,” saith he, “and I know not where they have laid him.” I must hear about Jesus; and if that silver bell does not ring, then all the rest may chime as they may, but my ear is at unrest until I hear that celestial sound.
Thus, a lofty estimate of Christ will be seen, if I had time to track it, to operate through the entire history of a Christian.
Little need is there more fully to particularize, but we must not fail to remark that a sense of the Redeemer’s preciousness makes the Christian useful, for that which is much on the heart will soon creep up to the tongue, and the testimony of the heart is a notable method of spreading the gospel. If thou lovest Christ much, thou wilt speak about him. Thy restrained speech will almost choke the thy soul will be hot within thee whilst thou art silent, till, at last, like a fire in thy bones which cannot longer be concealed, it will break out, and thou wilt say to others, “My Beloved is the fairest and noblest of all beloveds; oh, that you all knew him and loved him as I do! If you see him, his face is brighter than the sun in its strength; if you hear him, his voice is sweeter than the chorus of heaven; if you draw near to him, his garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia; and if you trust him, you will find him to be faithfulness and truth itself.” Broken the words may be, the sentences may not flow with rhythmical harmony, but he who really loves Christ must out with it, somehow or other. Thus, telling out, with a burning heart, the things which he has made touching the King, others will hear the good news, and they will ask, “Who is this Precious One?” and they will, by God’s good Spirit, be led to seek him and find him too. So, the Christian valuing Christ will come to be useful to the souls of men; indeed, as I have said before, it will exercise an operating power on the entire Christian manhood, and render it holiness unto the Lord.
IV. Christ being thus precious, His Preciousness Becomes The Test Of Our Christianity.
I shall not prolong this humble talk; but shall, in conclusion, put a question to you, Beloved brother or sister, you know very well that I would be the last person in the world to speak lightly of the value of sound doctrine. I wish we were all far more acquainted with the Scriptures than we are; and that the doctrines of grace were more clear to our understandings, and more imprinted upon our hearts; but there are some people, who love a certain set of doctrines so much, that, if you diverge a hair’s breadth, they will denounce you as rotten at the core. They will not associate with any who do not say, “Shibboleth,” and sound the “ah” very harshly too. They will cut off and condemn all God’s people who do not precisely agree with them. Now, mark you, it is not written, “Unto you that believe a code of doctrines will be precious,” That is true, but it is not written so in the text. The text is, “Unto you therefore which believe he is precious.” It is better to count Christ precious than it is to count orthodoxy precious. It is not loving a creed, but it is loving Jesus, that proves you a Christian. You may become such a bigot that it may be only the laws of the land which keep you from burning those who differ from you, and yet you may have none of the grace of God in your heart. I love Protestantism; but if there is anything in this world that I have a horror of, it is that political Protestantism which does nothing but sneer and snarl at its fellow-citizens, but which is as ignorant as a sow about what Protestantism truly is. The great truths of Protestantism — not merely Protestant ascendancy, — and the great secret power of those truths, far more than the mere letter of them, is the thing to be prized. You may get it into your head that you are a member of the one only true church, you may wrap yourself about with any quantity of self-conceit, but that does not at all prove you to be a possessor of grace. It is love to Christ that is the root of the matter. I am very sorry, my dear brother, if you should hold unsound views on some points; but I love you with all my heart if Jesus is precious to you. I cannot give up believers’ baptism; it is no invention of mine, and, therefore, I cannot give up my Master’s ordinance. I am sure that it is Scriptural. I cannot give up the doctrine of election, it seems to me so plainly taught in the Word; but over the head of all doctrines and ordinances, and over everything, my brother, I embrace thee in my heart if thou believes in Jesus, and if he be precious to thee, for that is the vital point. These are the matters of heart-work that mark a Christian; nothing else is so true a test. If you cannot say, “Jesus is precious to me,” I do not care to what church you belong, or what creed you are ready to die for, you do not know the truth of God unless the person of Christ is dear to you.
This may serve as a test for each one here. My brother, my sister, dost thou believe in him who is the Son of God, and yet was born of the Virgin here on earth? Dost thou rely alone on him who, on the cross, poured out his heart’s blood to redeem sinners? Dost thou depend on him who now standeth with his priestly garments on before the throne of the infinite majesty, pleading for the unjust, that they may live through him? If thou dost, then answer this question: Dost thou love Jesus now? Dost thou love him with thy heart and soul? Wouldst thou serve him? Dost thou serve him? Wilt thou serve him? Wilt thou subscribe thy hand to be his servant from this day forth? Didst thou declare now, if not with lip, yet honestly with thy soul, “He is precious to me, and I would give up all else sooner than give up him?” Then it is well with thee! Be thou happy and rejoice. Come thou to his table, and feast with him at the banquet of love.
If not, thou hast not built on the rock. If thou art not loving Christ, I pray thee examine thyself, and see where thou art, for there is but a stop between them and hell. Repent! May God convert thee, and give them now to put thy confidence in Jesus, and now to be saved, that he may be glorified in thee, for hitherto he has had no glory from thee. Unto you that do not believe, Christ is not precious, and you will go your way, and despise him. Oh, that you were made wise by the Holy Ghost, and taught to consider things aright! Then Christ would be precious indeed to you. He is the only way for your escape from the wrath to come. He is the only hope for you of ever entering the gates of heaven. He must be your only shelter when the world will be all ablaze, as soon it shall; when the stars shall fall, like withered leaves from the trees; when all creation shall rock and reel, and his voice shall resound in earth, and heaven, and hell, “Awake, ye dead, and come to judgment!” The only hope of a Savior, in that last tremendous day, must be found in Jesus. Oh, seek him now while he may be found, call upon him now while he is near! Turn not your heel away him now, lest you turn once for all to perdition. Come to him now; believe in him now; and he shall have the glory. Amen.