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February 14th.—I feel powerless to think a good thought; I have been on my knees trying to cry unto the Lord, but it seemed like kneeling down in darkness, bondage, and death ; yet my soul is somewhat encouraged by these words, “ Who delivered us from so great a death." Yes, He does deliver the soul from death, and can remove death from the soul.
If any poor man was ever plagued with the fretting leprosy in his soul, I believe I am the man. I dread hard thoughts of God; things may be right when they seem wrong. Though “cast down,” I am “not in despair.” The time may not be far distant when the Lord may effect a full deliverance for me from all my fears, and out of all my troubles. Oh for grace to wait upon the Lord, to expect His gracious interposing hand ! Though the vision tarry, Lord, help me to wait for it. The place where a sinner learns of Christ is a very low one.
February 29th.-How ungrateful I am! I have been trying to read God's holy word, but felt grieved on account of not being able to understand it. I do not know how it is, or why it is, but the Lord of late seems to keep me very poor. I have not that quickness in perceiving the truth, nor that dew and unction resting upon the reading of it, which I have felt in times past. I am a mourning soul, not a rejoicing one. If I were to die just now, I do not feel certain that I should go to heaven. I have been thinking that I am one of the bondwoman's children, and, if so, what a hell I shall have! Can a man be a child of God, and yet be in bondage from day to day-have longings of soul after the blessing and felt presence of the Saviour, and yet no heed seem to be taken of them ? Can this state of things continue for weeks together, and yet grace be in the soul? If so, then I am not without a hope that the Lord will appear and set my soul at blessed liberty.
Sermons and Notes of Sermons.
NOTES OF A SERMON
(Concluded from page 207.) “ And He humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which Thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that pro
ceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live." —Deut. viii. 3. III. How the wants of the Lord's people are supplied ! With reference to natural Israel, the Holy Ghost saith in the text,
“He fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not.”—The children of Israel did not know what that small round thing, as small as the hoar-frost, on the ground was, and therefore they called it manna, the meaning of which is,“ what is this?” Now, in explaining to the promiscuous multitude the spiritual meaning of His feeding the Israelites with the manna in the wilderness, Christ said unto them, “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Moses gave you not that bread from heaven ; but my Father giveth you the true Bread from heaven. For the Bread of God is He which cometh down from heaven, and giveth life unto the world.” God therefore feedeth His people with Christ, who is the living Bread; and Christ explained to His
disciples how it is that He is the living Bread to the soul: “Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of Man, and drink His blood, ye have no life in you; whoso eateth my flesh and drinketh my blood hath eternal life.”
“And fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not." 1. It is living manna.
When the Holy Ghost enables the hungry soul to feed upon Christ crucified with the mouth of faith, he finds Him to be living Manna. The language of the believer is, “I live, yet not I, but Christ liveth in me." Christ living in him causes him to feed upon Christ's sacrificial death, and upon His finished work. He knows by experience that Christ is his daily food; and that which makes Christ crucified living manna is the fact that He is the covenant Head of His people, given to Him by the eternal Father; that “He was made sin” for them, stood in their stead, and “by one offering perfected for ever them that are sanctified.”
2. It is soul-satisfying manna; when the Spirit of God enables the believer to feed upon Christ as his great covenant Head, his Substitute, his Sin-bearer, He gives to him an inward feeling of satisfaction that his sins are pardoned through a Saviour's blood, and that he is accepted in Christ and complete in Him. It is given to God's regenerate babes to taste that the Lord is gracious; but that taste is not sufficient. In proportion as they grow in grace, God feeds them with living bread; He gives them to know more of Christ and of His atoning work; He gives them to know their union to Him, and to know “the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death."
3. It is soul-refreshing manna. For, when the Holy Ghost manifests Christ crucified with fresh power to the believer's soul, he finds it to be a “ time of refreshing from the presence of the Lord.”
4. It is soul-strengthening manna, as every believer knows by experience; for he is strong in proportion as he is enabled to feed upon Christ by faith. Now, mark, it is God that feeds the soul with manna. It is not enough for the regenerated man to have the Gospel preached in his hearing—not enough to have Christ crucified set before him, as the living Bread sent down from heaven; but he requires God the Holy Spirit to feed him, that is, to reveal Christ crucified in him savingly; and this is what he needs to have done, not only now and again, but constantly.
IV. And this manna with which God feeds the souls of His people is that respecting which it may be said to each of them, “thou knewest not.” The child of God in his nature-state knew not Christ in His saving character; he knew not what it was to eat the flesh of Christ, and to drink His blood ; indeed, he may have heard Christ preached thousands of times whilst in his nature-state, but he knew nothing of Christ revealed in him feelingly and savingly. There are thousands who know Christ in an historical sense ; they know, as an historical fact, that He is the Son of God and the Saviour of sinners, but they don't know Him savingly; they do not live upon His finished work, as that which is food to their souls. This is the condition of all the Lord's people, before the Holy Ghost brings them to feed upon
Christ. “ And He fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not,” implying that the believer who is fed with this spiritual Manna-oven Christ does know Him.
1. He knows Him as the Incarnate God, not only as man made like unto His brethren, of whom He is the First-born, but as God, equal with
the Father. This is that knowledge which is revealed to him by the Holy Spirit.
2. He knows Him as his Conqueror, having conquered death and the grave on behalf of His people, and is now "exalted a Prince and a Saviour, for to give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins."
3. He knows Him as the Captain of his salvation, who was made “ perfect through sufferings,” and is therefore able to bring the “ many sons" given to Him in covenant love to glory.
4. He knows Him as his King, ruling his affections, and causing him to serve Christ willingly.
And thus the words, “ fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not," imply, that the believer does know this spiritual Manna, that he does know Christ as revealed in him, though he knew Him not in his naturestate, as dead in trespasses and sins.
V. And, then, this manna is that, respecting which it may be said, “neither did thy fathers know.” The patriarchs, Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, greatly distinguished as they were by God, were not fed with manna. Indeed, it seems that no miracle was wrought on their behalf to sustain them; for, when there was a famine throughout the land of Canaan, Jacob. hearing that there was corn in Egypt, said unto his sons, “Why do ye look one upon another? Behold, I have heard that there is corn in Egypt; get you down thither and buy for us from thence, that we may live and not die.” Thus God conferred greater blessings upon the children than upon the fathers. This holds good in a spiritual sense to God's people under the New Testament. True it is, that the Old Testament saints were all saved “by grace through faith" in the blood of the Lamb slain ; they were all taught by the blessed Spirit to see themselves pardoned and justified on the grounds of His sacrificial death and perfect righteousness; they were all taught to feed upon the bleeding Lamb as the living Bread from heaven; even as Abel, when “he brought of the firstlings of his flock, and of the fat thereof;" "and the Lord had respect unto Abel and to his offering." But the Old Testament saints, did not know Christ just in the sense in which they under the New Testament know Him; they knew Him in a typical sense. Our fathers, under the Old Testament, looked through types to a Saviour who was promised to come; and the Holy Ghost enabled them to feed upon that promised Saviour as the hope of the Church. “Your Father Abraham rejoiced to see my day; and he saw it, and was glad.” God the Spirit enables the saints, under the New Testament, to feed upon a Saviour that has been; so that the redemption work of the Church is under the New Testament completed. Christ has purchased His people, and they are His by gift, by purchase, and by conquest. This perfected work of Christ as the covenant Head of His people, is what the Holy Ghost calls “the hidden wisdom of God, ordained before the world unto our glory.” So that, in God feeding His saints under the New Testament with that living manna, it may be said of that manna, “neither did thy fathers know.” They did not know Christ with that clear light which it is given unto the saints under the New Testament to know Him. Here let me ask, Do you know what it is to be fed with the living manna? Mark! I do not ask, Will you feed upon this living manna? It is not a question of will : all through the text God acts as sovereign; and “He humbled thee, and He suffered thee to hunger, and He fed thee with manna." So that the whole work is of God; there is the bringing a man into a hungering state, and in that state it is that God
feeds him. I simply ask, therefore, Do you know what it is to feed upon Christ the living Bread ? If you do, then I say, “Oh, magnify the Lord with me, and let us exalt His name together.” For great is the grace, rich is the mercy, eternal is the love which He hath bestowed upon you.
VI. The purpose for which the Lord brings His people into a state of dependence. “That He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only.”—The miraculous supply of manna every morning, was intended to teach the Church through all time, that to live for the bread that perisheth is not the purpose, for which God hath placed her in the world, but merely to accomplish in her His purposes of grace. The reason, therefore, why God humbles a man, which He does when he bestows upon him His quickening grace, and suffers him to hunger for the bread of spiritual life, is, that He might make him to “know that man doth not live by bread only.” But you will see that this word “ man” requires some qualifying in order that its spiritual application may hold good. If we take the word MAN in a universal sense, it is not true, as fact, that God brings all men into that state in which He might make them know that they do not live by bread only. We prove this first from Scripture : speaking to His disciples, the Lord saith, “Take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink?" &c. “For after all these things do the Gentiles (unregenerated world] seek; for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things." The meaning of the Lord is, that the unregenerate world live by bread only, and only for that. They have no spiritual life brought into existence, which requires living bread to sustain it. And, then, we prove from fact that God doth not make man universally know that he doth not live by bread only. Millions there are who live for nothing else but the bread that perisheth, and pass off the stage of life as those who are carnally minded, dead in trespasses and sins, to the place prepared for them. It follows, therefore, that the man whom the Lord maketh to know that he doth not live by bread only, is the regenerated man—the man whom God has humbled by His quickening grace, and opened his eyes to his ruined, helpless condition. He it is, whom God maketh to know that he doth not live by bread only. Give to the regenerated man all the bread in the world, all the wealth of the world, all the rich dainties which the earth produces, they cannot satisfy his spiritual hunger; he can satisfy his animal hunger with these perishing things, but he cannot satisfy his spiritual appetite with such things as these. And thus, God maketh him to know, that regenerated “man doth not live by bread only." He knows this experimentally. What do those spiritual longings which he often has after Christ show, when he wants the Lord graciously to manifest Himself afresh to his soul, and to apply His precious blood with fresh power to his heart and conscience? Why, they show that he doth not live by bread only; he has another appetite, another mouth open waiting to be fed. This brings us to notice
VII. By what it is that the Lord's people live. “By every WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man (regenerated] live.”— The term “WORD" is in italics, and is not in the original; but word is understood, as we learn from Matt. iv. 4, where Christ answered to the devil, “Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every WORD that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.” Every word of God centres itself in Christ, for He is the eternal Word. Hence the Holy Ghost saith, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was
God.” “And the Word was made flesh, and dwelt among us, (and we [apostles] beheld His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father,) full of grace and truth.” So that the reason, why regenerated man liveth by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord is, because every word of promise, teaching, and exhortation has its meaning in Christ. It centres in Him; and, since the whole regenerated family, as living members of His body, are united to Christ their living Head, therefore it is, that regenerated man “liveth by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord.” He liveth by Christ living in him ; he feeds, he lives upon a crucified, suffering, bleeding Christ, as God incarnate. Is his attention drawn to some promise, which, by the silent workings of grace within, he finds most sweet and precious ? What makes it so? The simple reason is, that all the promises of God are in Christ Jesus “ yea, and in Him Amen.” That is, they are all unconditionally fulfilled in the experience of the regenerated family who are in Christ. The promises of God to His Church are not “ yea and nay;" that is, " YEA” if a certain condition be fulfilled by the creature, then the promise shall be fulfilled ; and if it be not fulfilled, “NAY,” that is, the promise shall not then be fulfilled. But the promises of God are in Christ “yea, and in Him Amen." And thus every word of God is made precious to regenerated man, simply because it proceeds from, and centres in, our precious Christ. We cannot separate Christ from the Old Testament, nor can we read the Old Testament without Christ. He is the Eternal Word upon which the patriarchs lived from day to day, when they “ endured, as seeing Him that is invisible.” He was the substance of all the types and shadows under the Old Testament; it was His word which the prophets spake; for they “searched what, or what manner of time the Špirit of Christ which was in them did signify, when it testified beforehand the sufferings of Christ, and the glory that should follow." Thus we see, that when the Spirit of God causes the regenerated man to feed upon Christ for salvation, and he finds Him to be precious to his soul, then it is, that he feeds upon every word of God, and is enabled to say experimentally, “Thy words were found of me, and I did eat them; and Thy word was unto me the joy and rejoicing of my heart.” And therefore to every regenerated man, in respect to all God's dealings with him in the wilderness, it may be said, “And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, that He might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.”
"A double-minded man is unstable in all his ways.”—JAMES i. 8. This verse seems to be explained by the preceding ones: “If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally, and upbraideth not; and it shall be given him. But let him ask in faith, nothing wavering. For he that wavereth is like a wave of the sea driven with the wind and tossed. For let not that man think that he shall receive anything of the Lord.” But it is only the carnal professor that is here spoken of, who is not merely unstable in matters of religion, but also in all his dealings with his fellow-men, and double-minded in that he is aware of the importance of the things which concern his soul, yet too much engrossed with the things of this life to give that attention to those of eternity which the importance of them demands.