A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, January 4, 1857, By Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, At The Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
Mighty to save. (Isa 63:1)
1. This, of course, refers to our blessed Lord Jesus Christ, who is described as “coming from Edom with dyed garments from Bozrah,” and who, when it is questioned who he is, replies, “I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save.” It will be well, then, at the commencement of our discourse to make one or two remarks concerning the mysteriously complex person of the man and God whom we call our Redeemer, Jesus Christ our Saviour. It is one of the mysteries of the Christian religion, that we are taught to believe that Christ is God, and yet a man. According to Scripture, we hold that he is “very God,” equal and co-eternal with the Father, possessing, as his Father does, all divine attributes in an infinite degree. He participated with his Father in all the acts of his divine might; he was concerned in the decree of election, in the fashioning of the covenant; in the creation of the angels, in the making of the world, when it was wheeled from nothing into space, and in the ordering of this fair frame of nature. Before any of these acts the divine Redeemer was the eternal Son of God. “From everlasting to everlasting he is God.” Nor did he cease to be God when he became man. He was equally “God over all, blessed for evermore,” when he was “the man of sorrows, acquainted with grief,” as before his incarnation. We have abundant proof of that in the constant affirmations of Scripture, and, indeed, also in the miracles which he did. The raising of the dead, the treading of the billows of the lake, the hushing of the winds and the rending of the rocks, with all those marvellous acts of his, which we have no time here to mention, were strong and potent proofs that he was God, most truly God, even when he condescended to be man. And Scripture, most certainly teaches us, that he is God now, that he shares the throne of his Father—that he sits “high above all principalities and powers, and every name that is named,” and is the true and proper object of the veneration, the worship, and the homage of all worlds. We are equally taught to believe that he is man. Scripture informs us that, on a day appointed, he came from heaven and became man as well as God, taking upon himself the nature of a babe in the manger of Bethlehem. From that babe, we are told, he grew to the stature of manhood, and became “bone of our bone, and flesh of our flesh,” in everything except our sin. His sufferings, his hunger, above all, his death and burial, are strong proofs that he was man, most truly man; and yet it is demanded of us by the Christian religion, to believe, that while he was man he was most truly God. We are taught that he was a “child born, a son given,” and yet, at the same time, “the Wonderful, the Counsellor, the mighty God, the everlasting Father.” Whoever would have clear and proper views of Jesus, must not mingle his natures. We must not consider him as a God diluted into deified manhood, or as a mere man officially exalted to the Godhead, but as being two distinct natures in one person; not God melted into man, nor man made into God, but man and God taken into union together. Therefore, we trust in him, as the Daysman, the Mediator, Son of God, and Son of Man. This is the person who is our Saviour. It is this glorious yet mysterious being, of whom the text speaks, when it says, he is mighty—“mighty to save.”
2. That he is mighty we need not inform you; for as readers of the Scriptures you all believe in the might and majesty of the Incarnate Son of God. You believe him to be the Regent of providence, the King of death, the Conqueror of hell, the Lord of angels, the Master of storms, and the God of battles, and, therefore, you can need no proof that he is mighty. The subject of this morning is one part of his mightiness. He is “mighty to save.” May God the Holy Spirit help us in briefly entering upon this subject, and make use of it to the salvation of our souls!
3. First, we shall consider that what is meant by the word, “to save;” secondly, how we prove the fact that he is “mighty to save;” thirdly, the reason why he is “mighty to save;” and then, fourthly, the inferences which are to be deduced from the doctrine that Jesus Christ is “mighty to save.”
4. I. First, then, WHAT ARE WE TO UNDERSTAND BY THE WORDS “TO SAVE?”
5. Commonly, most men, when they read these words, consider them to mean salvation from hell. They are partially correct, but the notion is highly defective. It is true Christ does save men from the penalty of their guilt; he does take those to heaven who deserve the eternal wrath and displeasure of the Most High; it is true that he does blot out “iniquity, transgression, and sin,” and that the iniquities of the remnant of his people are passed over for the sake of his blood and atonement. But that is not the whole meaning of the words “to save.”
6. This deficient explanation lies at the root of mistakes which many theologians have made, and by which they have surrounded their system of divinity with mist. They have said that to save is to pluck men as brands from the burning—to save them from destruction if they repent. Now, it means vastly, I had almost said, infinitely more than this. “To save” means something more than just delivering penitents from going down to hell. By the words “to save” I understand the whole of the great work of salvation, from the first holy desire, the first spiritual conviction, onward to complete sanctification. All this done by God through Jesus Christ. Christ is not only mighty to save those who do repent, but he is able to make men repent; he is engaged not merely to carry those to heaven who believe, but he is mighty to give men new hearts and to work faith in them; he is mighty not merely to give heaven to one who wishes for it, but he is mighty to make the man who hates holiness love it, to constrain the despiser of his name to bend his knee before him, and to make the most abandoned reprobate turn from the error of his ways.
7. By the words “to save,” I do not understand what some men say they mean! They tell us in their divinity that Christ came into the world to put all men into a savable state—to make the salvation of all men possible by their own exertions. I believe that Christ came for no such thing—that he came into the world not to put men into a savable state, but into a saved state; not to put them where they could save themselves, but to do the work in them and for them, from the first even to the last. If I believe that Christ came only to put you, my hearers, and myself into a state where we might save ourselves, I would give up preaching henceforth and for ever; for knowing a little of the wickedness of men’s hearts, because I know something of my own—knowing how much men naturally hate the religion of Christ—I would despair of any success in preaching a gospel which I had only to offer, its effects depending upon the voluntary acceptance of it by unrenewed and unregenerate men. If I did not believe that there was a might going forth with the word of Jesus, which makes men willing in the day of his power, and which turns them from the error of their ways by the mighty, overwhelming constraining force of a divine and mysterious influence, I would cease to glory in the cross of Christ. Christ, we repeat, is mighty, not merely to put men into a savable condition, but mighty absolutely and entirely to save them. This fact I regard as one of the grandest proof’s of the divine character of the biblical revelation. I have many a time had doubts and fears, as most of you have had; and where is the strong believer that has not sometimes wavered? I have said, within myself “Is this religion true, which, day after day, I incessantly preach to the people? Is it the correct one? Is it true that this religion has an influence upon mankind?” And I will tell you how I have reassured myself. I have looked upon the hundreds, no, upon the thousands whom I have around me, who were once the vilest of the vile—drunkards, swearers and such like—and I now see them “clothed and in their right mind,” walking in holiness and in the fear of God; and I have said, within myself “This must be the truth, then, because I see its marvellous effects.” It is true, because it is efficient for purposes which error never could accomplish. It exerts an influence among the lowest order of mortals, and over the most abominable of our humanity. It is a power, an irresistible agent of good; who then shall deny its truth. I take it that the highest proof of Christ’s power is not that he offers salvation, not that he bids you take it if you will, but that when you reject it, when you hate it, when you despise it, he has a power by which he can change your mind, make you think differently from your former thoughts, and turn you from the error of your ways. This I conceive to be the meaning of the text: “mighty to save.”
8. But it is not all the meaning. Our Lord is not just mighty to make men repent, to quicken the dead in sin, to turn them from their follies and their iniquities. But he is exalted to do more than that: he is mighty to keep them Christians after he has made them so, and mighty to preserve them in his fear and love, until he consummates their spiritual existence in heaven. Christ’s might does not lie in making a believer, and then leaving him to shift for himself afterwards; but he who begins the good work carries it on; he who imparts the first germ of life which quickens the dead soul, gives afterwards the life which prolongs the divine existence, and bestows that mighty power which at last bursts asunder every bond of sin, and lands the soul perfected in glory. We hold and teach, and we believe upon Scriptural authority, that all men to whom Christ has given repentance must infallibly hold on their way. We do believe that God never begins a good work in a man without finishing it; that he never makes a man truly alive to spiritual things without carrying on that work in his soul even to the end, by giving him a place among the choirs of the sanctified. We do not think that Christ’s power dwells in merely bringing me one day into grace, and then telling me to keep myself there, but in so putting me into a gracious state, and giving me such an inward life and such a power within myself that I can no more turn back than the very sun in the heavens can stop itself in its course, or cease to shine. Beloved, we regard this as signified by the terms “mighty to save.” This is commonly called Calvinistic doctrine; it is none other than Christian doctrine, the doctrine of the holy Bible; for despite that it is now called Calvinism, it could not be so called in Augustine’s days; and yet in Augustine’s works you find the very same things. And it is not to be called Augustinism; it is to be found in the writings of the apostle Paul. And yet it was not called Paulism, simply for this reason, that it is the expansion, the fulness of the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. To repeat what we have before said, we hold and boldly teach, that Jesus Christ is not merely able to save men who put themselves in his way and who are willing to be saved, but that he is able to make men willing—that he is able to make the drunkard renounce his drunkenness and come to him—that he is able to make the despiser bend his knee, and make hard hearts melt before his love. Now, it is ours to show that he is able to do so.
9. II. HOW CAN WE PROVE THAT CHRIST IS “MIGHTY TO SAVE?”
10. We will give you the strongest argument first; and we shall need only one. The argument is, that he has done it. We need no other, it would be superfluous to add another. He has saved men. He has saved them, in the full extent and meaning of the word which we have endeavoured to explain. But in order to set this truth in a clear light, we will suppose the worst of cases. It is very easy to imagine, say some, that when Christ’s gospel is preached to some here who are amiable and lovely, and have always been trained up in the fear of God, they will receive the gospel in the love of it. Very well, then we will not take such a case. You see this South Sea Islander. He has just been eating a diabolical meal of human flesh; he is a cannibal; at his belt are slung the scalps of men whom he has murdered, and in whose blood he glories. If you land on the coast he will eat you too, unless you mind what you are after. That man bows himself before a block of wood. He is a poor ignorant debased creature, only slightly removed from the brute beast. Now, has Christ’s gospel power to tame that man, to take the scalps from his belt, to make him give up his bloody practices, renounce his gods, and become a civilised and Christian man? You know, my dear friends, you talk about the power of education in England; there may be a great deal in it; education may do very much for some who are here, not in a spiritual, but in a natural way; but what would education do with this savage: go and try. Send the best schoolmaster in England over to him: he will eat him before the day is up. That will be all the good of it. But if the missionary goes with Christ’s gospel, what will become of him? Why, in multitudes of cases, he has been the pioneer of civilisation, and under the providence of God has escaped a cruel death. He goes with love in his hands and in his eyes; he speaks to the savage. And mark, we are telling facts now, not dreams. The savage drops his tomahawk. He says, “It is marvellous; the things that this man tells me are wonderful, I will sit down and listen.” He listens, and the tears roll down his cheeks; a feeling of humanity which never burned within his soul before is kindled in him. He says, “I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ,” and soon he is clothed and in his right mind, and becomes in every respect a man—such a man as we would desire all men to be. Now, we say, that this is proof that Christ’s gospel does not come to the mind that is prepared for it, but prepares the mind for itself; that Christ does not merely put the seed into the ground that has been prepared beforehand, but ploughs the ground too—aye, and harrows it, and does the whole of the work. He is most able to do all this. Ask our missionaries who are in Africa, in the midst of the greatest barbarians in the world—ask them whether Christ’s gospel is able to save, and they will point to the kraal1 of the Hottentot, and then they will point to the houses of the Kuraman, and they will say, “What has made this difference, but the word of the gospel of Christ Jesus?” Yes, dear brethren, we have had proofs enough in heathen countries; and why need we say more, but merely to add this—we have had proofs enough at home. There are some who preach a gospel which is very well fitted to train man in morals, but utterly unfitted to save him, a gospel which does well enough to keep men sober when they have become drunkards. It is a good thing enough to supply them with a kind of life, when they have it already, but not to quicken the dead and save the soul, and it can give up to despair the very characters whom Christ’s gospel was most of all intended to affect. I could a story unfold, of some who have plunged head first into the blackest gulfs of sin, which would horrify you and me, if we could allow them to recount their guilt. I could tell you how they have come into God’s house with their teeth set against the minister, determined that say what he would they might listen, but it would be to scoff. They stayed a moment; some word arrested their attention; they thought within themselves, “I will hear that sentence.” It was some pointed, terse saying, that entered into their souls. They did not know how it was, but they were spell bound, and stood to listen a little longer; and by and by, unconsciously to themselves, the tears began to fall, and when they went away, they had a strange, mysterious feeling about those who led them to their rooms. Down they fell on their knees; the story of their life was all told before God; he gave them peace through the blood of the Lamb, and they went to God’s house, many of them to say, “Come and hear what God has done for my soul,” and to
Tell to sinners round
What a dear Saviour they had found.
Remember the case of John Newton, the great and mighty preacher of St. Mary, Woolnoth,—an instance of the power of God to change the heart, as well as to give peace when the heart is changed. Ah! dear hearers, I often think within myself, “This is the greatest proof of the Saviour’s power.” Let another doctrine be preached: will it do the same? If it will, why not let every man gather a crowd around him and preach it. Will it really do it? If it will, then the blood of men’s souls must rest upon the man who does not boldly proclaim it. If he believes his gospel does save souls, how does he account for it that he stands in his pulpit from the first of January until the last of December, and never hears of a prostitute made honest, nor of a drunkard reclaimed? Why? For this reason, that it is a poor dilution of Christianity. It is something like it, but it is not the bold, broad Christianity of the Bible; it is not the full gospel of the blessed God, for that has power to save. But if they do believe that theirs is the gospel, let them come out to preach it, and let them strive with all their might to win souls from sin, which is rife enough, God knows. We say again, that we have proof positive in cases even here before us, that Christ is mighty to save even the worst of men—to turn them from follies in which they have too long indulged, and we believe that the same gospel preached elsewhere would produce the same results.
11. The best proof you can ever have of God’s being mighty to save, dear hearers, is that he saved you. Ah! my dear hearer, it would be a miracle if he should save your fellow who stands by your side; but it would be more a miracle if he would save you. What are you this morning? Answer! “I am an infidel,” one says; “I hate and despise Christ’s religion.” But suppose, sir, there should be such a power in that religion that one day you would be brought to believe it! What would you say then? Ah! I know you would be in love with that gospel for ever; for you would say, “I above all men was the last to receive it; and yet here I am, I do not know not how, brought to love it.” Oh! such a man when constrained to believe makes the most eloquent preacher in the world. “Ah! but,” says another, “I have been a Sabbath breaker upon principle, I despise the Sabbath, I hate utterly and entirely everything religious.” Well, I can never prove religion to you to be true, unless it should ever lay hold of you, and make you a new man. Then you will say there is something in it. “We speak of what we do know, and testify of what we have seen.” When we have felt the change it works in ourselves, then we speak of facts, and not of fancies, and we speak very boldly too. We say again, then, he is “mighty to save.”
12. III. But now it is asked, WHY IS CHRIST “MIGHTY TO SAVE?” To this there are various answers.
13. First, if we understand the word “save,” in the popular acceptation of the word, which is not, after all, the full one, though a true one—if we understand salvation to mean the pardon of sin and salvation from hell, Christ is mighty to save, because of the infinite efficacy of his atoning blood. Sinner! black as you are with sin, Christ this morning is able to make you whiter than the driven snow. You ask why. I will tell you. He is able to forgive, because he has been punished for your sin. If you do know and feel yourself to be a sinner, if you have no hope or refuge before God but in Christ, then let it be known that Christ is able to forgive, because he was once punished for the very sin which you have committed, and therefore he can freely remit, because the punishment has been entirely paid by himself. Whenever I get on this subject I am tempted to tell a story; and though I have told it times enough in the hearing of many of you, others of you have never heard it, and it is the simplest way I know of explaining the belief I have in the atonement of Christ. Once a poor Irishman came to me in my vestry. He announced himself in this way: “Your reverence, I’m come to ask you a question.” “In the first place,” I said, “I am not a reverend, nor do I claim the title; and in the next place, why do not you go and ask your priest that question?” He said, “Well, your rev—sir, I meant—I did go to him, but he did not answer me to my satisfaction exactly; so I have come to ask you, and if you will answer this you will set my mind at peace, for I am much disturbed about it.” “What is the question?” I said. “Why this. You say, and others say too, that God is able to forgive sin. Now, I cannot see how he can be just, and yet forgive sin: for,” said this poor man, “I have been so greatly guilty that if God Almighty does not punish me he ought, I feel that he would not be just if he were to allow me to go without punishment. How, then, sir, can it be true that he can forgive, and still retain the title of just?” “Well,” I said, “it is through the blood and merits of Jesus Christ.” “And” he said, “but then I do not understand what you mean by that. It is the kind of answer I got from the priest, but I wanted him to explain it to me more fully, how it was that the blood of Christ could make God just. You say it does, but I want to know how.” “Well, then,” I said, “I will tell you what I think to be the whole system of atonement, which I think is the sum and substance, the root, the marrow, and the essence of all the gospel. This is the way Christ is able to forgive. Suppose,” I said, “you had killed some one. You were a murderer; you were condemned to die, and you deserved it.” “Faith,” he said, “yes I would deserve it.” “Well, her Majesty is very desirous of saving your life, and yet at the same time universal justice demands that someone should die on account of the deed that is done. Now, how is she to manage it?” He said, “That is the question. I cannot see how she can be inflexibly just, and yet allow me to escape.” “Well,” I said, “suppose, Pat, I would go to her and say, ‘Here is this poor Irishman, he deserves to be hanged, your Majesty; I do not want to quarrel with the sentence, because I think it is just; but, if you please, I so love him that if you were to hang me instead of him, I would be very willing.’ Pat, suppose she would agree to it, and hang me instead of you, what then? would she be just in letting you go?” “Aye” he said, “I would think she would. Would she hang two for one thing? I should say not. I’d walk away, and there is not a policeman that would touch me for it.” “Ah!” I said, “that is how Jesus saves. ‘Father,’ he said, ‘I love these poor sinners; let me suffer instead of them!’ ‘Yes,’ said God, ‘you shall;’ and on the tree he died, and suffered the punishment which all his elect people ought to have suffered; so that now all who believe on him, thus proving themselves to be his chosen, may conclude that he was punished for them, and that therefore they never can be punished.” “Well,” said he, looking me in the face once more, “I understand what you mean; but how is it, if Christ died for all men, that notwithstanding, some men are punished again? For that is unjust.” “Ah!” I said, “I never told you that. I say to you that he has died for all who believe on him, and all who repent, and that was punished for their sins so absolutely and so truly, that not one of them shall ever be punished again.” “Faith,” said the man, clapping his hands, “that is the gospel; if it is not, then I do not know anything, for no man could have made that up; it is so wonderful. Ah!” he said, as he went down the stairs, “Pat’s safe now; with all his sins about him he will trust in the man that died for him, and so he shall be saved.” Dear hearer, Christ is mighty to save, because God did not turn away the sword, but he sheathed it in his own Son’s heart; he did not remit the debt, for it was paid in drops of precious blood; and now the great receipt is nailed to the cross, and our sins with it, so that we may go free if we are believers in him. For this reason he is “mighty to save,” in the true sense of the word.
14. But in the larger sense of the word, understanding it to mean all that I have said it does mean, he is “mighty to save.” How is it that Christ is able to make men repent, to make men believe, and to make them turn to God? One answers, “Why by the eloquence of preachers.” God forbid we should ever say that! It is “not by might nor by power.” Others replying, “It is by the force of moral persuasion.” God forbid we should say “aye” to that; for moral persuasion has been tried long enough on man, and yet it has been a complete failure. How does he do it? We answer, by something which some of you despise, but which, nevertheless, is a fact. He does it by the Omnipotent influence of his Divine Spirit. While men are hearing the word (in those whom God will save) the Holy Spirit works repentance; he changes the heart and renews the soul. True, the preaching is the instrument, but the Holy Spirit is the great agent. It is certain that the truth is the means of saving but it is the Holy Ghost applying the truth which saves souls. Ah! and with this power of the Holy Ghost we may go to the most debased and degraded of men, and we need not be afraid that God is not able to save them. If God should please, the Holy Spirit could at this moment make every one of you fall on your knees, confess your sins, and turn to God. He is an Almighty Spirit, able to do wonders. In the life of Whitfield, we read that sometimes under one of his sermons two thousand people would at once profess to be saved, and were truly so, many of them. We ask why it was. At other times he preached just as powerfully, and not one soul was saved. Why? Because in the one case the Holy Spirit went with the Word and in the other case it did not. All the heavenly result of preaching is owing to the Divine Spirit sent from above. I am nothing; my brethren in the ministry around are all nothing; is God that does everything. “Who is Paul, who is Apollos, and who is Cephas, but ministers by whom you believed, even as God gave to every man.” It must be “not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the Lord.” Go forth, poor minister! You have no power to preach with polished diction and elegant refinement; go and preach as you can. The Spirit can make your feeble words more mighty than the most ravishing eloquence. Alas! alas! for oratory! Alas! for eloquence! It has long enough been tried. We have had polished periods, and finely turned sentences; but in what place have the people been saved by them? We have had grand and gaudy language; but where have hearts been renewed! But now, “by the foolishness of preaching,” by the simple utterance by a child of God’s Word, he is pleased to save those who believe, and to save sinners from the error of their ways. May God prove his Word again this morning!
15. IV. The fourth point was, WHAT ARE THE INFERENCES TO BE DERIVED FROM THE FACT THAT JESUS CHRIST IS “MIGHTY TO SAVE?”
16. Why, first, there is a fact for ministers to learn—that they should endeavour to preach in faith, nothing wavering. “Oh God,” cries the minister at times, when he is on his knees, “I am weak; I have preached to my hearers, and have wept over them; I have groaned for them; but they will not turn to you. Their hearts are like the nether millstone; they will not weep for sin, nor will they love the Saviour.” Then I think I see the angel standing at his elbow, and whispering in his ear, “You are weak, but he is strong; you can do nothing, but he is "mighty to save."” Think of this. It is not the instrument, but the God. It is not the pen by which the author writes which is to have the praise of his wisdom of the making of the volume, but it is the brain that thinks it, and the hand that moves the pen. So in salvation. It is not the minister, it is not the preacher, but the God who first designs the salvation, and afterwards uses the preacher to work it out. Ah! poor disconsolate preacher, if you have had very little fruit in your ministry, go on still in faith, remembering it is written, “My word shall not return to me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” Go on; be of good courage; God shall help you; he shall help you, and that very soon.
17. Again, here is another encouragement for praying men and women, who are praying to God for their friends. Mother, you have been groaning for your son for many a year; he is now grown up and has left your house, but your prayers have not been heard. So you think. He is as carefree as ever; not yet has he made your heart rejoice. Sometimes you think he will bring your grey hairs with sorrow to the grave. It was only yesterday you said, “I will give him up, I will never pray for him again.” Stop, mother, stop! By all that is holy and that is heavenly, stop! Do not utter that resolution again; begin once more! You have prayed over him; you have wept over his infant forehead, when he lay in his cradle; you taught him when he came to the age of understanding, and you have often warned him since; but all of no avail. Oh! do not give up your prayers, for remember, Christ is “mighty to save.” It may be that he waits to be gracious, and he keeps you waiting, so that you may know more of his graciousness when the mercy comes. But pray on. I have heard of mothers who have prayed for their children twenty years; aye, and of some who have died without seeing them converted, and then their very death has been the means of saving their children, by causing them to think. A father once had been a pious man for many years, yet he never had the happiness of seeing one of his sons converted. He had his children around his bed, and he said to them when he was dying, “My sons, I could die in peace, if I could only believe you would follow me to heaven; but this is the most sorrowful thing of all—not that I am dying, but that I am leaving you to meet you no more.” They looked at him, but they would not think about their ways. They went away. Their father was suddenly overtaken with great clouds and darkness of mind; instead of dying peacefully and happily, he died in great misery of soul, but still trusting in Christ. He said, when he died, “Oh! that I had died a happy death, for that would have been a testimony to my sons; but now, oh God, this darkness and these clouds have in some degree taken away my power to witness to the truth of your religion.” Well, he died, and was buried. The sons came to the funeral. The day after, one of them said to his brother, “Brother, I have been thinking, father was always a pious man, and if his death was yet such a gloomy one, how gloomy must ours be, without God and without Christ!” “Ah!” said the other, “that thought struck me too.” They went up to God’s house, heard God’s Word, they came home and bent their knee in prayer, and to their surprise they found that the rest of the family had done the same, and that the God who had never answered the father’s prayer in his life had answered it after his death, and by his death too, and by such a death as would appear to be most unlikely to have brought the conversion of any. Pray on, then, my sister; pray on, my brother! God shall yet bring your sons and daughters to his love and fear, and you shall rejoice over them in heaven, if you never do on earth.
18. And finally, my dear hearers, there are many of you here this morning who have no love for God, no love for Christ; but you have a desire in your hearts to love him. You are saying, “Oh! can he save me? Can such a wretch as I be saved?” In the thick of the crowd there you are standing, and you are now saying within yourself, “May I one day sing among the saints above? May I have all my sins blotted out by blood divine?” “Yes, sinner, he is ‘mighty to save;’ and this is comfort for you.” Do you think yourself the worst of men? Does conscience smite you as with a mailed fist, and does he say it is all over for you; you will be lost; your repentance will be of no avail; your prayers never will be heard; you are lost to all intents and purposes? My hearer, do not think so. He is “mighty to save.” If you cannot pray, he can help you to do it; if you cannot repent, he can give you repentance; if you feel it is hard to believe, he can help you to believe, for he is exalted on high to give repentance, as well as to give remission of sins. Oh poor sinner, trust in Jesus; cast yourself on him. Cry, and may God help you to do it now, the first Sunday of the year; may he help you this very day to cast your soul on Jesus; and this will be one of the best years of all your life. “Turn, turn; why will you die, oh house of Israel?” Turn to Jesus, you wearied souls; come to him, for lo, he bids you come. “The Spirit and the bride say come; and let him who hears say come; and whoever will let him come and take of the water of life,” and have Christ’s grace freely. It is preached to you, and to all of you who are willing to receive it, it has been already given.
19. May God from his grace make you willing, and so save your souls, through Jesus Christ our Lord and Saviour. Amen.