To execute on them the judgment written: this honor have all his saints. Praise you the LORD.
Our present aim is to point out some of the choice gifts and privileges which pertain to all saints, but of which through mistaken ideas many deprive themselves; our anxiety is to encourage the most distrustful of God's people to claim the fulness of the blessing of the Gospel of Christ. We specify —
I. COMMUNION WITH GOD. That all have a personal and equal access to the heavenly Father is a precious truth.
1. Yet thousands, from a sense of personal unworthiness, touch not the sacramental cup, shutting themselves out from this fellowship with their dying Lord. They cheerfully acknowledge a fitness in others, whilst they sorrowfully fail to find that fitness in themselves. "This honour have all His saints." If Christ received only perfect ones to His table, He would sit there alone; but He receives sincere souls, whatever may be their faults, and sitting with Him they become perfect.
2. This same self-depreciation expresses itself in the straitened supplication and lowered expectancy of many of God's people. The Old Testament is full of glorious records of the power of prayer; the New Testament is not less rich in similar instances; and we know still that God's ear is not heavy nor His arm shortened. Here, again, we bring in the idea of privilege, and limit marked answers to prayer and large answers to prayer to special men and extraordinary times. Yet is God's Word most clear in this matter, levelling all up to the open throne. In our sorrow, feebleness, want, danger, fear, any of us may come to God with the confidence of Moses, the importunity of Jacob, the undeniableness of Daniel, the sweet, filial freedom of Jesus Himself. Let us act like princes of God.
II. THE INFLUENCE OF THE HOLY SPIRIT. There is unquestionably much that is sovereign in the gifts and movements of the Spirit of God. Gifts of healing, utterance, interpretation, etc., are peculiar to certain epochs and persons. The Spirit divideth "to every man severally as He will." But the grandest influences of the Holy Ghost — His enlightening, quickening, purifying powers — are imparted without partiality. His sovereign gifts and appointments are secondary; His essential and choicer influence is poured forth with undistinguishing richness on all receptive hearts. Let us make the great surrender, let us live in resolute purity, and concealed depths of our nature shall be broken up, unsuspected powers evoked, latent forces and talents shall surprise us into greatness. Those who can hardly stammer a testimony shall become clear and bold as golden trumpets filled with God's breath; the coldest glow as shining braziers full of live coals; the harshest characters become "musical instruments, and that of all sorts"; the weak pottery strong and bright as adamant; the coarse, crooked instrument a polished shaft; and the vessels of wood and iron shall be transmuted into vessels of alabaster and gold full of incense and odours.
III. THE WITNESS OF THE SPIRIT. For each doubting soul there is assurance: a scroll for every bosom. The prodigal son moaned: "I am no more worthy to be called thy son; make me as one of thy hired servant:"; and this sentiment of mistrust is so deep in our heart we fail to see when the robe and ring are positively ours. Seek the sense of sonship as something belonging to you, waiting for you, and you shall not walk in darkness. Seek it with resolution. Plead for it in this very hour.
IV. ENTIRE SANCTIFICATION. We believe in the ability and purpose of Christ to cleanse us from every defilement, and to keep us in perfect purity of flesh and spirit. But are all to be thus saved? Here we falter. We think some are destined to attain pre-eminent excellence, whilst others must abide frail and faulty. Is the young student taught that some impracticable barrier separates him from the highest intellectual excellence? On the contrary, he is taught to cherish a sense of brotherhood with the illustrious spirits of all time. And it would be fraught with endless mischief if we were to deny the student the hope of utmost mental eminence. Surely then we ought to hesitate to place any gulf between the grandest characters of the Church of God and the lowliest of its members. The purpose of God is not realized in the occasional brilliant fruition of a Leighton, a Baxter, a David Stoner or a John Smith; God watches over His vineyard, watering it every moment, to the end that every flower should be full of beauty, every plant reach the ideal grace, every branch bend with the largest, ripest clusters.
V. Even into OUR ULTIMATE GLORIFICATION we carry the depreciating idea of ourselves. Many of God's people live with the hope of just getting through at last; they believe "they shall not arrive in the ship, but float ashore on a plank"; they figure to themselves some subordinate place in heaven they will be thankful to secure. A false humility is about as bad as a false ambition; and it will be well for us, thinking as meanly as we please about ourselves, to cherish to the full the great promises and immortal hopes of Christianity.
(W. L. Watkinson.).
Parallel VersesKJV: To execute upon them the judgment written: this honour have all his saints. Praise ye the LORD.