II. This brings me to my second head, upon which I shall be brief. Is it so? IF IT IS SO, WHAT THEN?
If it is so, why am I doubtful today? Why is my spirit questioning? Why do I not realize the fact? My hearer, if the Son is given to thee, how is it that thou art this day asking whether thou art Christ’s, or not? Why dost thou not labor to make thy calling and election sure? Why tarriest thou in the plains of doubt? Get thee up, get thee up to the high mountains of confidence, and never rest till thou canst say without a fear that thou art mistaken, “I know that my Redeemer liveth. I am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him.” I may have a large number of persons here to whom it is a matter of uncertainty as to whether Christ is theirs or not. Oh, my dear hearers, rest not content unless you know assuredly that Christ is yours, and that you are Christ’s.
Suppose you should see in to-morrow’s newspaper, (although, by the way, if you believed anything you saw there you would probably be mistaken) but suppose you should see a notification that some rich man had left you an immense estate. Suppose, as you read it, you were well aware that the person mentioned was a relative of yours, and that it was likely to be true. It may be you have prepared to-morrow for a family meeting, and you are expecting brother John and sister Mary and their little ones to dine with you. But I very much question whether you would not be away from the head of the table to go and ascertain whether the fact were really so. “Oh,” you could say, “I am sure I should enjoy my Christmas dinner all the better if I were quite sure about this matter;” and all day, if you did not go, you would be on the tip-toe of expectation; you would be, as it were, sitting upon pins and needles until you knew whether it were the fact or not.
Now there is a proclamation gone forth today, and it is a true one, too, that Jesus Christ has come into the world to save sinners. The question with you is whether he has saved you, and whether you have an interest in him. I beseech you, give no sleep to your eyes, and no slumber to your eyelids, till you have read your “title clear to mansions in the skies.” What, man! shall your eternal destiny be a matter of uncertainty to you? What! is heaven or hell involved in this matter, and will you rest until you know which of these shall be your everlasting portion? Are you content while it is a question whether God loves you, or whether he is angry with you? Can you be easy while you remain in doubt as to whether you are condemned in sin, or justified by faith which is in Christ Jesus? Get thee up, man. I beseech thee by the living God, and by thine own soul’s safety, get thee up and read the records. Search and look, and try and test thyself, to see whether it be so or not. For if it be so, why should not we know it? If the Son is given to me, why should not I be sure of it? If the child is born to me, why should I not know it for a certainty, that I may even now live in the enjoyment of my privilege—a privilege, the value of which I shall never know to the full, till I arrive in glory?
Again, if it be so, another question. Why are we sad? I am looking upon faces just now that appear the very reverse of gloomy, but mayhap the smile covers an aching heart. Brother and sister, why are we sad this morning, if unto us a child is born, if unto us a Son is given? Hark, hark to the cry! It is “Harvest home! Harvest home!” See the maidens as they dance, and the young men as they make merry. And why is this mirth? Because they are storing the precious fruits of the earth, they are gathering together unto their barns wheat which will soon be consumed. And what, brothers and sisters have we the bread which endureth to eternal life and are we unhappy? Does the worldling rejoice when his corn is increased, and do we not rejoice when, “Unto us a child is born, and unto us a Son is given?” Hark, yonder! What means the firing of the Tower guns? Why all this ringing of bells in the church steeples, as if all London were mad with joy? There is a prince born; therefore there is this salute, and therefore are the bells ringing. Ah, Christians, ring the bells of your hearts, tire the salute of your most joyous songs, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a Son is given.” Dance, O my heart, and ring out peals of gladness! Ye drops of blood within my veins dance every one of you! Oh! all my nerves become harp strings, and let gratitude touch you with angelic fingers! And thou, my tongue, shout—shout to his praise who hath said to thee—”Unto thee a child is born, unto thee a Son is given.” Wipe that tear away! Come, stop that sighing! Hush yon murmuring. What matters your poverty? “Unto you a child is born.” What matters your sickness? “Unto you a Son is given.” What matters your sin? For this child shall take the sin away, and this Son shall wash and make you fit for heaven. I say, if it be so,
“Lift up the heart, lift up the voice,
Rejoice aloud! ye saints rejoice!”
But, once more, if it be so, what then? Why are our hearts so cold? and why is it that we do so little for him who has done so much for us? Jesus, art thou mine? Am I saved? How is it that I love thee so little? Why is it that when I preach I am not more in earnest, and when I pray I am not more intensely fervent? How is it that we give so little to Christ who gave himself for us? How is it that we serve him so sadly who served us so perfectly? He consecrated himself wholly; how is it that our consecration is marred and partial? We are continually sacrificing to self and not to him?
O beloved brethren, yield yourselves up this morning. What have you got in the world? “Oh,” saith one, “I have nothing; I am poor and penniless, and all but homeless.” Give thyself to Christ. You have heard the story of the pupils to a Greek philosopher. On a certain day it was the custom to give to the philosopher a present. One came and gave him gold. Another could not bring him gold but brought him silver. One brought him a robe, and another some delicacy for food. But one of them came up, and said, “Oh, Solon, I am poor, I have nothing to give to thee, but yet I will give thee something better than all these have given; I give thee myself.” Now, if you have gold and silver, if you have aught of this world’s goods, give in your measure to Christ; but take care, above all, that you give yourself to him, and let your cry be from this day forth,
“Do not I love thee dearest Lord?
Oh search my heart and see,
And turn each cursed idol out
That dares to rival thee.
Do not I love thee from my soul?
Then let me nothing love:
Dead be my heart to every joy,
When Jesus cannot move.”
(To be continued)