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Zion's Gatekeepers.

Zion's Gatekeepers.

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Published by GLENN DALE PEASE
BY THOMAS BRADBURY


*' Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in."— Isa. xxvi. 2.
BY THOMAS BRADBURY


*' Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in."— Isa. xxvi. 2.

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Published by: GLENN DALE PEASE on Sep 23, 2013
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ZIO 'S GATEKEEPERS.

BY THOMAS BRADBURY

*' Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in."— Isa. xxvi. 2. WE are told in the preface at the commencement of this chapter that the words of my text form part of **-4 song inciting to confidence in God.'' As we read the chapter with SDiritual intelligence, cwid by the guidance of God the everblessed Spirit, we cannot fail to see much that is calculated to strens^hen our faith, confirm our hope, and unite our love in the one Object of heaven's worship, and the redeemed sinner's delight. It has been our privilege on recent Sunday mornings to meditate upon the personal beauties and excellencies of our Lord Jesus Christ as portrayed in chap. v. of Solomon's Song. The reason why I have diverged from the course of expositions on that precious Scripture is simply because of our entenng upon the 60th anniversary of the opening of Grove Chapel. Sixty years ago there stood in this place a man who passed through much peraecution and contention, but who, by the ^^ce of his God, Drought to a successful issue the work of erecting this place for the worship and service of JEHOVAH, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. As he surveyed the completion of the work, with a grateful and adoring heart he prayed that the eye and heart of his covenant God might be upon this place perpetually. He thus asked that there might never be a tmie wnen the worshippers of the great and sovereign JEHOVAH should be lacking within these walls. His prayer has been answered. His desire has been fulfilled. Earnest, anxious, i^iritual worshippers come to this spot to hear their covenant God and Father glorified, their covenant God and Saviour exalted, and their covenant Ood and Comforter honoured. Throughput this cpuntry, and a i49.-Paioi 0«i Pwimy. C^n,r\n]r> Digitized by VjOOy Ic

536 OROVE OHAFEL PULPIT. to earth's remotest bounds God's omniscient eye behotds those who drew their first breath of spiritual life under this roof, who received as little children the spiritual kingdom of God, and fell under the powerful and irresistible srace of that great and glorious Saviour who was then exalted, extolled, and lifted very high in the faithful testimony of the highly-honoured Joseph Irons. Sixty years have passed away, during which time Satan has done his utmost to chase God's truth and people from this place; but, God is greater than the devil. My spirit is filled with wonder and amazement when I consider now I have been kept, and taught, and brought to stand in this spot before God and His Uving people to declare the same glorious truths, to open up the same mysteries of electing, redeeming, and regenerating love, and to be the instrument in God's hand for the comforting, consoling, and building up of some of His poor children. In connection with the present circumstances I have been led to direct your minds this morning to a suitable portion of the good old Book, which contains in its unfoldings this oft-repeated testimony, — " The only Gospel we can own Sets Jesus Christ upon His throne: Proclaims salvation full and free, Obtained on Calvary's rugged tree." This is a purely evangelical chapter appertcdning to ew Testament times. Some, who do not enjoy the liberty of the children of God which is opened up and revealed to the election of grace, even in the midst of abounding error, superstition, and idolatry, may be allotting the events recorded here to a future dispensation ; but, £ls I have told you before, my soul loves to revel in present realities. Peter, writing to the elect strangers, says, '* I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though ye know them, and be established

in the present truth " (2 Peter i. 12). This is truth revealed to our present necessity, and communicated by the Holy Ghost causing our hearts to rejoice in the assurance of His love, and the sweet hope than when He has perfected His designs of love, grace, and mercy in our hearts* experience, He will receive us into His everlasting habitation, where we shall praise Him with unsinning hearts, without doubt, fear, or amazement. Yes, this is truly an evangelical chapter. It contains blessings rich and rare for those who are brought by the power of Divine grace into the spiritual land of Judah, the land of EKvine revelation, spiritual promise, and covenant relationship, to sing with their voice and make melody in their hearts before Him. These have a glorious theme for their rejoicing : ** We have a strong city.** This is Zion, God's city, of which the Psalmist saiig so sweetly: ** Glorious things are spoken of thee, city of Qt)d." And in the immediate context, -'The LORD loveth the gates of Zion Digitized by LjOOQ IC

ZIO 'S OATEEXEFERS. 537 more than all the dwellings of Jacob.'" Again, in Psa. xlviii. yon read, '^ Great is the LORD, and greatly to be praised in the city of onr God, in the mountain of His holiness. Beautiful for sitaation, the joy of the whole earth, is Mount Zion, on the sides of the orth, the city of the great King. God is known in her palaces for a refuse. Let Mount Zion rejoice, let the daughters of Judah be rfad, because of Thy judgments. Walk about Ziou, and go round about her : tell the to wera thereof. Mark ye well her bulwarks, consider her palaces ; that ye may tell it to the generation following. For this God is our God for ever and ever : He will be our guide even unto death." "TFe have a strong city J* It is not we shall have, but ^^we Jiave a strone city." We know that when we have done with time, we shall have a glorious one without bulwarks or fortifications. We desire a better than any this sinful earth can provide — that is, a heavenly : wherefore God is not ashamed to be called our

God : for He bath prepared for us a city (Heb. xi. 16). " We look for a city which hath foundations, whose Builder and Maker is God " (Heb. xi. 10). This heavenly city was prepared by the Father, and is possessed by the Son for all the seed-royal of heaven. In it tney shall sit do^vn with the King in His throne as sharers of His majesty, glory, and kingdom. But the heavenly city differs from that of our text. One is upon earth, the other is in heaven. One is Zion militant, the other is Zion triumphant. Here all the citizens are surroimded with sin, death, and hellish foes. Yonder they are far removed from every opposing power, according to the sweet declaration of Kelly, — ** Oh. what pleasnres there await us ; There the tempests cease to roar: There it is that tnose who hate ns Shall molest our peace no more ; Trouble ceases On that tranquil, happy shore.** The Canaanite shall not dwell in that land. ear its gates the accursed Amalekite shall never be seen. '^ Th^ twelve gates are twelve pearls^ every several gate was of one pearl " (Kev. xxi. 21). '' And the gates shall not be shut at all by day : for there shall be no night there " (Rev. xxi. 25). These Rates are not ajar, but wide open for the free and uninterrupted admission, to the abounding glory within, of every elect, redeemed, and regenerate sinner who has spent his allotted time upon earth. Look at the dimensions of the heavenly city. It is foursquare. ^* The length and the breadth and the hei^t of it are equal." Twelve thousand furlones (Rev. xxi. 16). What will those say to this who are perpetually contending for a literal interpretation of a spiritual Book! Where are the pearls to be found of which these gates are formed? We may rest assured that God has precious instruction and spiritual consolation couching beneath all these metaphors, to be communicated to His living ..tized by Google

538 GROVE OHAFEL PULPIT. children in His own time. The gates of thie city alluded to in Isa. xxvi. are shut. Bnt they rnnst be opened to all who have right to the tree of life and to enter into the city. This brings MB to notice for a short time this morning the precions words of our text. May we be privileged to see lignt in God's hght g^sa. xxxvi. 9), and be blessed with the grace and guidance of is Spirit. ** Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in." I. — The gatekeepers — " Open y^." II. — The gates — " Open ye the gates.'' m. — The gracious privileges — "That the righteouB nation which keepeth the truth may enter in." I. — The gatekeepers — " Open ye:' It is a marvellous mercy to be spiritually acquainted with these highly-privileged and nonoured persons. It has pleased God, in the riches of His ^race and goodness, to separate to Himself certain persons in His Church who shall be heralds of His will, proclaimers of His truth, and leaders or ^ides of His ^ople. These He will bring prominently forward to declare faithtully, fearlesslv, and firmly His mind, His message, His Word. Mark well tiiat Eersonal pronoun, His. Those whom God commissions to preadi [is Gospel are not to parade their own whims and notions, frames and feeHngs. Ofttimes their frames and feelings run counter to the blessing a gracious God has designed to falfil in them. For instance, this verj morning, had I been left to act according to my fleshly feelmgs, I should not have taken one step toward this pulpi^ but should have left it for another to have stood here. Ix is not mine to act according to my frames and feelings, bnt according to the Word of tiie Lord,

though it be dead against them. It is not mine to deal out my own ideas or opinions, but the mind of my God which He graciously reveals to me, and in me. It is my blessed lot, as one of JEHOVAH'S sent servants, to preach His Word, to declare His counsel, to publish His decrees, and to proclaim His glorious salvation. It has pleased Him to separate to Himsetf certain persons in the Church, and distinguish them from the rest of His people as under-shepherds, watchmen, g^des, and >eaders. K you will turn to that glorious resurrection and ascension Psalm, the 68th, you will read, at the 10th verse : " Thy congregation hath dwelt therein : Thou, God, hast prepared of Thy goodness for the poor." Again, at the 17th verse : '' The chariots of God are twenty thousand, even thousands of angels : the Lord is among them, as in Sinai, in the holy place. Thou hast ascended on high. Thou hast led captivity captive. Thou hast received gifts for men : yea, for the rebeUious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them." The rebeUious! Who are theyl The very same persons mentioned in the 6th verse ; «* God setteth the solitary in families : He bringeth out ^.yitized by VjC ^ .^^^

2I0K*S dAT£^EEP£RS. 539 those which ate bonnd with chains ; but the rebellious dwell in a dry land*^ Though they are rebellious, and experience the effects of their rebelliousness, He will never leave them nor forsake them. He has an abundance of gifts treasured up, in the person of the Man Christ Jesus, for them; and He will dwell among them, to secure the communication of them to those for whom they were designed. This produces an exclamation of adoring gratitude as we read, at the 19th verse: *' Blessed be the Lord, who daily loadeth us with benefits, even the God of our salvation." ow, what are these benefits I Turn with me to Eph. iv. 7, and you see in a moment. The apostle, quoting from this very Psalm, says : " But unto every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ. Wherefore He saith, when He ascended up on hi^, He

led captivity captive, and gave gifts unto men. ( ow that He ascenaed, what is it but that He also descended first into the lower parts of the eailh ? He that descended is the same also that ascended up far above all heavens, that He might fill, or fulfil, all things.) And He gave '* — here He loads His people with spiritual benefits — "And He gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachera; for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ." When our Lord .Jesus Christ rose again from the dead, He said to His disciples who were with Him on resuiTection-ground : " Behold, I send the promise of My Father upon you : but tarry ye in the city of Jerusalem until ye be endued with power from on high" (Luke xxiv. 49). They tarried at Jerusalem, but in tarrying, I believe through their fleshly impatience, they went before the Spirit in their choice of Matthias in the room of Judas. The choice of an apostle was not theirs, but Gcd's. I know it is the custom in some places to flatter and bolster up the people with that cursed hell-cry : '* Vox pomdi, vox Dei " — ^* The voice of the people is the voice of God." That infidel cry filled France with anarchy and blood. The voice of the people is ever contrary to that of God, and to the voice of the Holy Ghost in the heart, of the living in Jerusalem. Even what is styled the voice of the Church is almost sure to be contrary to the will and Word of God. But the disciples tarried at Jerusalem until the day of Pentecost, when they were endued with power from on high. Men sent out to declare God's mind and will in the salvation of His covenant people must have a Divine commission. We see this in Acts xiii. 2: "The Holy Ghost said. Separate me Saul and Barnabas for the work whereto I have called them." To all who are thus Divinely called to the work of the ministry, the Holy Ghost will reveal those glorious truths which Paul spake in the presence of Agrippa, recorded in Acts xxvi, 16 — 18 : Jesus said unto him, •' Rise, and stand upon thy feet : for I have appeared unto thee for this purpose, Digitized by LjOOQ IC

540 GEOVlfi GHAPKL PULPtT. to make thee a minister and a witness both of those things which thou hast seen, and of those thinm in the which I will appear unto thee ; delivering thee from the people." What an odd thing I Sent to them, yet delivered from them. It is a marvellous mercy for a minister of Christ to know that the great Head of the Church has revealed Himself unto him as his own God, Redeemer, Saviour, Brother, and Friend, and delivered him from all human authority, power, dominion, and domineering, thus makiDg him subject to Him alone. " Delivering thee from the people, and from the Gentiles, unto whom now I send thee, to open their eyes" — testimonially and as God's instrument — "to turn them from darkness to Ught, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in Me." Sanctifying faith in Paul's case was not so much in himself as in his Head, and was commimicated to him at those very times when it was feelingly and experimentally needed. God's sent servants are commissioned, qualified, and named as pleaseth Him. otice the variety of their titles : ministers, stewards, messengers, labourers, watchmen, and — wondrous title!—" The Glory op Christ" (2 Cor. viiL 23). 1. Ministers. Here I would place on record that I have no desire to be styled a pastor according to the popular idea of what a pastor should be. I feel I have no right to assume that title, for I find myself utterly insufficient in this matter : but I long to be — and He has given me very blessed evidence again and again that I am made to some of His own — " a minister of Christ." Some have the hardihood to affirm that a one man ministry — that is, one man as a minister or pastor settled over a Church — is contrary to the mind and will of God. I have no desire to have anything to do with that party. I shun and dread them as much as I do the accursed sacerdotalism and Sriestcraft of the Romish, Greek, and Anglican confederacies, ut a one man ministry is a Divine institution, and by it the great and glorious Head has been pleased to feed, instruct,

strengthen, and establish the little hills of His Zion here and there in the midst of this naughtpr world. Each of the seven Churches in Asia had its angel, bishop, or overseer. Paul left Titus at Crete to ordain elders in every city (Titus i. 5). I know it is a lamentable • fact that many occupy pastoral offices who have no more idea of ruling a Church than a Zulu would have. Why is this t Because they are ever ready to listen to what some grumbling old gentleman or murmuring old lady has to say. It will be well for murmurers and complamers to keep a distance from me. Those who attempt to rule Churches bv their own wit, wisdom, or experience, are sure to meet with miserable failure. I can tell you where is the best wot to manage and govern a Church I Bending lowly, with a broken Digitized by LjOOQ IC

zion's qatskeepbrs. 541 and melted heart at the footstool of sovereign mercy, in pure dependence upon a precious Christ for all things. " Sweet in the confidence of faith To tnut His Ann decrees ; Sweet to lie passive in His hands, And know no will bat His." Such a spirit will find its way, by the power of the Holy Ghost, from the pulpit to the pews. As the minister who distrusts himself proclaims the ricnes of electing, redeeming, and regenerating grace, imfurls the glorious standard of JEHOVAH'S everlasting love, upon which the eye of faith sees inscribed in shining characters the names of those places where marvellous victories have been achieved by the Captain of our salvation, the hearts of God's elect are cheered and comforted. We will notice this honourable name given by the Holy Ghost to Zion's gatekeepers — Ministers. They are styled ''Ministers of th$ Word'' (Luke i. 2); 'Hhe ministers of Christ'' (1 Cor. iv. 1); '* ministers of the ew Testament " (2 Uor. iii. 6) ; " the ministers

of God " (2 Cor. vi. 4). What is a minister ? He is one whom the Master has graciously singled out from the rest of His servants to do His bidding in respect to the wants, necessities, and infirmities of His household. He is one who is taught to be anxious to wait upon the weak, the weary, and the infirm in God*s family, and minister to them that supply which He has graciously entrusted to them. In Col. i. 7, you read of " Epaphras our dear fellow-servant, who is for you a faithful minister of Christ." What an honourable distinction ! "^ faithful minister of Christ." He is one who is not contented with contending for the truth of God in the letter of the doctrines of grace, but one to whom God has given to experience his place in the one body as a suffering member of the now glorified Head, to be brought into deep places to learn his nothingness, and into high places to enjoy his portion in fulness of grace and of glory abounding in Christ Jesus, and thus go forth as an instructor and guide of God's appointing. Those whom God brings into His Church to attend upon the sick, strengthen the weak, and console the disconsolate, will find that their service ceases not with the public ministrations. The work of a faithful minister of Christ is not finished for the day with the end of the sermon, or the pronouncing of the benediction, for ofttimes wearisome and wakeful nights are his lot. Then he remembers upon his bed many of God's tried and tempted ones, and names them to the Master, that they may be blessed with association, communion, and fellowship with a covenant God in Christ. I love to be a minister of Christ, and to minister for Christ. As a faithful one, I shall endeavour, with all the wisdom and strength He bestows upon me, to meet the necessities of the old sheep as well as those of the lambs. The commission which the Lord Jesus Christ gave to Peter is still in force : ^' Feed My lamf)^ Digitized by LjOOQ IC

542 GROVE CHAPEL PULPIT. Feed my sheep." That is a delicate and difficult position for a faithful minister of Christ. I know and feel it to be so. In a

congregation like this, there is a variety of experience. One child of God is in the depth of soul trouble, while another is soaring away on the wings of faith and love, and with a freedom from care and trouble. One would have me to be incessantly E reaching his experience, feelings, and frames; but God will not ave His servant always grovelling in the mire of human corruptions, and wholly occupied with the little ones to the neglect of those who can be satisfied with nothing short of the strone meat and wine of God's everlasting covenant. As a faithful minister of Christ, I shall know what it is to "serve the Lord with all humility of mind, and with many tears and temptations " (Acts XX. 19), while I clinff tenaciously to the injunction, *' Ye are bought wth a price; be not ye the servants of men" (1 Cor. vii. 23). 2. Stewards. See 1 Cor. iv, 1 : " Stewards of the mysteries of God." What is a steward t He is one who manages the concerns of a family, institution, or estate. He has the arrangement of the provision department in his trust, and has a general oversight over his employer's businessaffairs. So God's ministers are entrusted with the mysteries of God, and it is their delight to bring forth out of the treasury of the Word and their heart's experience, things new and old for the refreshment, nourishment, and comfort of the Church of God, over which the Holy Ghost has made them overseers. ow here comes a question, and you may rest assured it is ofttimes a searching one m the experience of every God-sent minister : Have I really and truly been put in trust by God with the mysteries of His love? If He has committed to my trust so honourable a charge, I shall be privileged to dispense that which He has made spiritually and experimentally mine, but not mine for my fleshly giatification, pleasure, or profit. That which He commits to me is for the comfort, C(msolation, and joy of those to whom He sends me. This is the point. I stand up to preach God's election, but what know I of God's election personally, feelingly, and experimentally ? I preach particular and personal redemption, but wbat know I of my redemption by precious blood from condemnation, death, and hell? I preach spiritual regeneration, but what know I of the regenerating grace and indwelling of the ever-

blessed Spirit? 1 preach the sure and certain glorification of the elect and redeemed of God, but what know I of the glory of my Father's house, the blessing of His table, and the love of His heart, causing me to rejoice in the blessed assurance that by-and-bye He will take me home to Himself? Well, He knows He has brought me here and given me in some little measure to experience those blessed truths which He is pleased to minister to the wants and necessities of His popr children who naay hang upon the words which fall from my lips, and by which I am Digitized by LjOOQ IC

ZIO 'S OATEEEBFERS. 543 privileged to meet them in their need. But " it is required in stewards, that a man be found faithful " (1 Cor. iv. 2). Who shall find him faithful I His God. He will not be found holding back, or appropriating to His own use or pleasure, part of those spiritual provisioDS entrusted to him by the Father to meet the spiritual wants and necessities of His family. Look here I I have ofttimes been tempted in the pulpit, when a precious view of a portion of the Word has come up before me> and has caused my heart to bubble up like a well-spriug of life, to keep it back as suitable for some mture time ; but Satan has been baffled, grace was triumphant, the truth was dealt out, and some poor children of God have found in it their food from the Master's table. God's stewards are faithful to the babes in grace^ to the hoarj-headed pilgrims, and to the groaning veterans who have received many a wotmd from Satan, sinners, and saints, and who kuow what that means, — ** From tinner and from saint They meet with many a blow.*' 3. Mes8enger8, A messenger is one who is sent with a certain message. JEHOVAH has His messengers of covenant love and mercy. The Chief of these is Jesus, the JEHOVAH-A GEL (Zecn. iii. 1) ; the Messenger of the covenant (Mai. iii. 1) ; and

the Apostle of our profession (Heb. iii. 1). This glorious Messenger calls certain of His redeemed people into oneness with Himself in this office, to carry His message of redeeming love to whom He will. It is to call, ordain, commismon, and send whom He will TMark iii. 18, 14). To Jeremiah He said, "Thou shalt eo to all tnat I shall send thee, and whatsoever I command thee tnou shalt speak '' (Jer. i. 7). Of these messengers Paul sa^s, " How shall they preach, except they be sentf as it is written, How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the Gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things t " (Rom. X. 15.) These are bearers of no incBstinct, or indefinite meswige to the elect of God. They go forth from Him with glad tidings of g^at joy, with the message of full, free, and unconditional salvation to an eternally-loved people. This is welcome news to waiting, wanting, and weary souls. ow turn to 2 Cor. viiL 23, where you find God's ministers have this title, '* the meBsengert of the Churches'* This expresses a blessed truth. The message of God's ministers is not confined to man-made limits. Blessed be God, there are some of His in the EstabKshxnent whose ministry is welcome to those whose dissenting preTudices will not allow them to speak of that system but with bitterness. And it is a positive fact that there are those in onconforming communities whom God makes His messengers of love and mercy to those who fancy it would be almost a crime to soil their shoes with the dust of a cUaeenting eotiventicle. But, my dear friends, God, in the riches of His grace, by the power

544 GROVE OHAFEL PULPTT. of His truth, smashes in pieces all denominational distinctions and sectarian barriers, and reveals, to the joy and delight of His Spirit-taught children, that He knows of no Church apart from His Christ, and of no Christ apart from His Church. 4. Labourers. Turn to 2 Cor. vi. 1 : " We then as workers together vnth HtmJ^ Some of you may be ready to say those words " with Him " are in italics and ought not to be there. Well, let me ask you to turn to 1 Cor. iii. 9 : " For we are

labourers together with God : ye are God's husbandry, ye are God's building." You may depend upon this fact, if a man is commissioned and qualified by Qod to stand up before a people as His messenger, that man will, and must be a labourer. He labours in prayer (Col. iv. 12) ; he labours in the word and doctrine of Christ (1 Tim. v. 17). (concerning them Paul said, " And we beseech you, brethren, to know them which labour among you, and are over you in the Lord, and admonish you ; and to esteem them very highly in love for their work's sake " (1 Thess. v. 12, ISV They find rest from their labours only when God takes tnem home. By night, when everjr voice is hushed save that of sorrow, when the weary and aching head seeks in vain for rest and repose, then there is a labouring for Erecious souls. At such times there is a delving and digging eneath the surface of God's Word for precious treasure, a labouring at the throne of the heavenly grace that the preached word may be conveyed and applied to the hearts of God's children, and they brought into the glorious liberty of the Gos{)el and to the enjoyment of covenant relationship with theu* gracious Lord. Yes, they are labourers with Ood. Would you Eke to have to do with those who labour without God ! You know you would not. I should not like to labour in this pulpit without Him. 5. Watchmen. The Lord has given these gracious promises to Zion : " Thv watchmen shall lift up the voice ; with the voice together shall they sing : for they wiall see eye to eye, when the LORD shall bring again Zion " (Isaiah Iii. 8). *^ I have set watchmen upon thy walls, Jerusalem, which shall never hold their peace aay nor night : ye that make mention of the LORD, keep not silence, and give Him no rest, till He establish, and till He make Jerusalem a praise in the earth " (Isaiah Ixii. 6, 7).^ It is not simplv in the pulpit, but in private, the longings, desires, and sighs of this heart are heard by Him that He may make His own little hill of Zion at the Grove a praise to His scattered ones in the earth. God's ministers are watchmen on the look out for the appearance of evil to guard their people against it. They watch tne approach of en*or to guide their loved ones from it. Mark well Paul's testimony in Heb. xiii. 17 : '*Obey them

that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves : for they watch for your souls*'* These faithful and honest men are watct ing — ^for your money ? ot a bit of it. Though, mark you. Digitized by LjOOQIC

zion's gatekeepers. 545 they cannot live without it When a man has a wife and seven lumps of dust to provide for, and in a position like that to which God has lifted the minister of Grove chapel, it takes more than a little to keep things straight. I do not say this with a desire to operate upon your liberality, while I do hope that for the truth's sake there may be expressions of love and attachment to him who labours in weakness, fear, and much trembling for you. what a precious declaration, ** they watch for ycur aoukJ' They watch to see your souls glistening in the tears of Jjrod's own riving. They watch to see God s joy beaming in your faces. As His oil makes the face to shine, the ministers of God receive a good reward. They watch not so much for the perishing bodies to fill the pews, but for souls loved by JEHOVAH, redeemed by blood, quickened by His Spirit, preserved by His power, and which snail be presented by Him perfect and complete before His throne in glory. 6. Guides. Paul says, ''Remember them which are tJie guides " (Heb. xiii. 7, margin). A minister placed over a people ought to be a leader, for the moment he loses that position and comes cringing behind the deacons, or, if he bows to the voice of the Church in anything which ^oes against his judgment, it' is time for him to quit. Grod's minister must, and will by God's help, be a leader. He loves to lead the flock in the footsteps of the great and glorious Leader, Christ. He labours to leaa His charge to the living fountain of eternal truth, to the green pastures of eternal love, and to the still waters of everlasting consolation. He longs to lead God's pilgrims through the varied intricacies of a Spirit-wrought experience, and into paths which

may be painful to the flesh, but profitable to the spirit. It is his delignt to lead them, I was about to say, to the foot of the cross ; but I hate that Popish expression, therefore I will say, to the feet of Jesus, who hung upon the cursed cross for His people. 1 love to lead and guide my friends in Him on to resurrection ground where the affrighted, timid, mourning, weeping, and unbelieving disciples meet with Him, and where He graciously reveals Himself to them. It is a blessed privilege to be a leader of the weak, the weary, and the wanting, and sometimes to take them in the arms of precious faith right up to the throne and heart of God. Sometimes a poor lamb of Christ's flock faints and falls. Question it cm to its faith. It has none. Where is its hopet Shrouded in darkness. Where is its lovet It is weak and cold. In such expressions as these the God-sent minister detects the faith of God's giving, the hope of His own implanting, and the love of His own inspiring, and is enabled in his prayers to carry the fallen one to the heights of covenant favour where sweet fellowship is experienced with the Father and with His Son Jesus Christ (1 John i. 3). 7. The GLORY op Christ" (2 Cor. viii. 23). Is that my title t Ah, my dear friends, as memory retraces certain parts of Digitized by VjOOQ IC

546 GBOVE CHAPEL PULPIT. m;^ pathway, my oonscieDce is smitten, my heart is sad, and my spirit qaesnons, Am I the glory of Christ ? A poor dunghiit worm honoured with so glorious a title I What I a poor helldeserving sinner, ofttimes carried hither and thither with discontent, repining, and rebellion, the glory of Christ? I, an unbelievmg one, who almost questions the possibility of Christ coming with me into this pulpit to reveal Himself in the glorious ministrjr of the Word, and yet, the gloir of Christ t Weak, infirm, ignorant, needy, yet dignified with the illustrious title, •* The glory of Christ/' How is this? It is in the fact that

my testimony by the teaching of the Holy Ghost is, Christ first, Christ last, and Christ the All in all of His people's salvation ; that the glory of His redemi)tion work shall never be sullied ; that the glory of His mediatorial crown shall never be tarnished ; that the glory of His sacred person shall never be diminished. The glory of Christ and His salvation is the burden, spirit, and all in all of the testimony of this place. Do you not sometimes find it so ? Yes, blessed be God, some of you can testify that it has often been so to your souls within these walls. In this highly-favoured spot of JEHOVAH'S own consecrating, He has made the place of His feet glorious in the eyes of some who are now present. Only last Wednesday but one, in the little chapel of Silverend, Olney, Bucks, the glory of JEHOVAH'S grace was such to some of us that our hearts bounded with spiritual joy. The effect upon one was so precious as to cause him to exclaim, " Is the Lord about to take my friend, His servant, home? " And a few of us can abundantly testify that on Thursday evening last at dear old Dulwich, the glory of God's grace went forth from a fluttering heart and from a stammering tongue, yet was carried by the power of sovereign, reigning grace to the hearts of His waiting children. It was a sweet season of refreshing from His presence, a blessed foretaste of that glory which shall be revealed in all its fulness to all the members of His one glorious Church. The time is past. Having noticed the titles of Zion's gatekeepers, we will ask the Lord to come up with us in the evening and explain to us the nature and position of Zion's gates. May He add His blessing for His own name's sake. Amen.

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