G. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) Hallock.

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

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Immanuel shall sway his sceptre from the northern to the southern
pole, when he shall extend his illimitable dominion, so as to receive
the homage and the adoration of all the creatures he has formed, then
the demon of war shall die, then the temple of Janus shall be closed,
then the sword shall be put into an eternal scabbard, then a heaven-
directed messenger shall wave the olive branch over the distracted na-
tions, then a voice, louder than a thousand thunders, coming from the
excellent glory, shall be heard amidst the tumults of our world, crying,
" Peace, peace ; be still, be still." The children of the same Father
and creatures of the same God shall crowd around the cross as their
centre, with redemption for their theme, and with heaven for their
home ; and then the triumphant watchword of all the tribes and fami-
hes of man shall be, " Here there is neither barbarian, Scythian, bond
nor free, Greek nor Jew ; Christ is all and in all." Hasten on, ye
circling years, and bring this blessed period, when all the inhabitants
of the earth shall praise him — come, happy and holy day, which our
inspired prophets have described, and of which our holy poets have
sung, when the Savior's name shall endure for ever, when it shall con-
tinue as long as the sun and the moon, when the whole earth shall be
blessed in him, and all nations shall call him blessed.

You perceive, then, my dear friends, why it was that the angels,
when they heard of the mediatorial work of Christ, not only exclaimed,



SONG OF THE ANGELS. 145

" Glory to God in the highest," but connected that exclamation with
the words, " on earth peace."

And then, thirdly, you must advert to the immensity of the di-
vine LOVE. Now here alone there is abundant matter for a sermon ;
but, inasmuch as I have to set before you the claims of an institution,
which solicits the approval and liberal contributions of all who are
within these walls, I shall waive many of the topics which otherwise I
should have presented, and I shall only suggest those particular thoughts
which may bring the subject to a happy conclusion.

There is something truly astounding in the declaration, " Good-will
toward men ; " the good-will of God toward man, rebel man, insulting
man, blaspheming man, man — though wooed and awed, blessed and
chastised — a rebel still, a rebel amidst the thunders of the throne. —
" Good- will toward men ! " no good-will of this description was dis-
played to the angels ; when they sinned they were irrecoverably lost ;
when they sinned, they were exiled from their seats of bhss ; but
when men sinned, we find them elevated to those vacant thrones.

" O, love of infinite degree '.

Unmeasuiable grace !
MuBt lieav'n's eternal darling die.

To save the trait'rou!^ race ?

Must angelj sink for ever down,

To burn in quenchless fire,
While God forsakes Uia shining throne.

To raise us wretches higher ?

O for this love let rocks and hills

Their lasting silence break,
And all harmonious human tongues
The Savior's praises speak."

" Good-will toward men ! " Now in order to understand the com-
prehensive meaning of this, ponder upon the words, " God commended
his love toward us, in that while we Avere yet sinners Christ died for
us." Ponder again upon this declaration, " God, who is rich in mercy,
for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when we were dead in
sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved,)
and hath raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly
places in Christ Jesus." Ponder again, " Not by works of righteous-
ness which we have done, but according to his mercy he hath saved
us, by the washing of regeneration and renewing of the Holy Ghost,
which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior, that,
being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the
hope of eternal life." " Good-will toward men ! " Only refer, my
friends, to the appropriateness, to the applicable power of the good-
will of God to our circumstances and wants ; and then let your hearts
10



146 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

bound witli love, and let your bosoms burn with gratitude. Think of
the hours of penitence ; then think of the good-will of God, and go on
your waj "with the prophetic song, " Lord, I will praise thee ; though
thou wast angry with we, thine anger is turned away, and thou com-
fortest me." Think of affliction ; and then think of the good-will of
God, and come to the conclusion of the apostle, when he said, " Our
light affliction, which is but for a moment, worketh for us a far more
exceeding and eternal weight of glory." Think of the hour of death ;
and then think of the good-will of God to man, and confront the last
enemy with the triumphant exclamation, " grave, where is thy vic-
tory ? death, where is thy sting ? " Think of the judgment-day,
of the conflagration of the globe, of the melting of the elements, of
the passing away of the heavens, of the burning of the earth, of the
rearing of the great white throne, and of the pronunciation of the irre-
vocable destiny of the whole human race ; and then think of the good-
will of God, and anticipate the utterance of the words, " Well done,
good and faithful servant, enter thou into the joy of thy Lord." Think
of the ages of eternity, rolling for ever and for ever, either in heaven
or in hell ; and then think of the good-will of God, and you may turn
to " the peace of God, which passeth all understanding," flowing from
his throne, interminable like the perfections of his nature, and passing
all knowledge like the heights and depths of his love.

Thus you see, my dear friends, that, if you advert even to the sur-
face of the subject, if you even contemplate it as it presents itself to
the most superficial observer, you find abundant reason why the song
of the angels at the birth of the Savior should be, " Glory to God in
the highest, and on earth peace, good-will toward men."

Now it would ill become me to apply these principles to the matter
that has convened us this evening, if I did not, before I proceed, make
my appeal to this numerous auditory, while I ask of all the individuals,
of whom it is composed, if they have any acquaintance with the medi-
ation of Christ, thus bringing " glory to God," thus diffusing " peace
on earth," and thus connected with " good-will to men." Ah ! my
dear hearers, it will be of no consequence to you who may be saved
if you are not ; and it will be of no avail to you who may pass through
the golden gates of the celestial city into the new Jerusalem, if you
are not there. Allow me this evening to make my appeal to you. I
remember how, two and twenty years ago, in this place, I first com-
memorated the Savior's dying love, at a Missionary Communion ; since
that time I have never been within the walls of this edifice ; and such
is the uncertainty of human life, that it is exceedingly probable we
never shall be collected together again, until we stand before the judg-



SONG OF THE ANGELS. 147

ment-seat of Christ. Now I must be permitted, under these circum-
stances, though " in weakness, and in fear, and much trembling " — I
must be permitted, before I bring this discourse to a conclusion, to
make one appeal to jou. Now I ask you — I ask you — if jou have
any experimental and personal acquaintance with the mediation of
Christ, the sum and the substance of which are presented to you in
the song of the angels. Yonder, I fear, may be found an individual,
who, after having heard the gospel month after month and year after
year, has only realized one influence from it, hardening his heart and
preparing him as fuel for the flame. And I fear, many in this place at
the present tune, know not the power of prayer, have never uttered
the words, " Lord, save us, or we perish," and are still at a distance
from the shelter of the Redeemer's love. Poor, unfortunate individ-
uals ! have pity, have pity upon yourselves ; if you turn aside from
the Savior, there is no other sacrifice for sin, and you are actually per-
petrating, with suicidal hands, the murder of your everlasting peace.
Poor, unfortunate individuals ! have pity, have pity upon yourselves ;
days are passing ; time is receding ; eternity is advancing ; many, on
your right hand and on your left, have recently been taken to their
long home. 0, why are you unconcerned ? If the stubborn knee
has never bent in prayer before, let it begin to bend to-night. If
the callous soul has never uttered the exclamation for mercy before,
let it plead to-night. By all the perfections of God, which have
this evening been presented to your view — by all the sweet influences
of the gospel of everlasting peace — by all the immensity of the love
of God — by all the songs of angels — by all the transports of the re-
deemed on the one hand, and by the weeping, and the wailing, and
the gnashing of teeth of the damned on the other, I entreat you, I
implore you, I charge you, that this evening you begin to attend to
the things which belong to your peace. Spirit of the living God !
descend and rest upon this congregation. Spirit of grace and of sup-
plication ! descend and rest upon this congregation. Spirit of power,
and of love, and of a sound mind, and of holiness, and of peace ! de-
scend and rest upon this congregation. Spirit of glory and of God !
descend and rest upon this congregation. Oh! that now — oh! that
now there may be a shaking among the dry bones. Oh ! that now —
oh ! that now it may be said of many of you, " Behold, he prayeth ! "
Oh ! that now — oh ! that now there may be rejoicing in the presence
of the angels of God, over many sinners that are repentuag here.
Then our meeting together will have been for the better and not for
the worse ; and then, in a brighter world of loveliness and of day, we
shall strike together our golden harps to the Savior's praise, and cast



148 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

our starry crowns at his feet, -while, with the whole celestial universe,
we unite in the acclamation, " "Worthy is the Lamb that was slain !
worthy is the Lamb that was slain ! "

Now, my friends, the engagements of this Sabbath have drawn to a
close. Now the shadows of the evening have gathered around us.
Novj we are another Lord's day nearer to eternity. How long we may
be spared we cannot tell ; how many more opportunities we may have
of hearing of the glad tidings of great joy we cannot tell ; how long
we may live to call upon the mercy of God, and to present ourselves
before the throne of grace, we cannot tell. But as you go out at those
doors to-night, and as you return to your respective places of abode,
let the following inquiry dwell upon your minds, and be connected with
your prayers : " The friend or the foe of the Savior, which am I ? "
I have heard to-night of the angelic ascription, now let me bring the
matter to a test and to a close. " The friend or the foe of the Savior
— which am I ? " All eternity, all heaven, all earth, all hell, await
your reply. " The friend or the foe of Christ — which am I ? "

Arise, God, and plead thine own cause ! arise, God, and plead
thine own cause !



SERMON XII,

A COMING LORD.



BY REV. JOSEPH WOLFF, D. D.,

A COHTEBTED JEW.



" And the angel said unto her, Fear not, Mary : for thou hast found favor with God And, behold,
thou shalt conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and ehalt call his name Jesus. He shall be
great, and shall be called the Son of the Highest : and the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of
his father David : and he shall reign over the house of Jacob for ever ; and of his kingdom there shall
be no end." — Loke i. 30 — 33.

You perceive, my friends, that this is prophecy. Therefore, for
the better understanding of it, we must first of all give you the defini-
tion of prophecy. Prophecy is a prediction of an event, which is still
to come ; a prediction of history.

Now how must such a prophecy be construed, in order to find out
the real sense of it ? We must try to find out the grammatical mean-
ing of it ; and then we must examine whether such a prophecy has
really been fulfilled. This is quite common sense ; and every one of
you will agree with me. Moses himself gives us, in Deuteronomy,



A COMING LORD. 149

this direction, how we may know that a prophet has spoken. If the
event he predicted has come to pass, then we may know that a prophet
has been among us ; if the event does not come to pass, then he has
spoken presumptuously and rashly.

Let us now examine this prediction ; which had been given already
in the twenty-third of Jeremiah, and seventh of Isaiah.

" Fear not, Mary ; for thou hast found favor with God." And in
what was this favor to consist ? " And behold, thou shalt conceive in
thy womb, and bring forth a son, and shalt call his name Jesus."
This verse needs no interpretation at all. Every one knows, it is ad-
mitted by all, by profane history, by the Jews, in Josephus and in
their other writers, the most deadly foes of Christ, that Jesus was
born, and that the Virgin Mary was his mother.

" He shall be great." Every one will admit this again — will admit
that he was great. The mode of establishing his religion by twelve
fishermen, proved that he was great. His conduct on the cross proved
that he was great ; he looked down upon his enemies and prayed for
them. His resurrection proved that he had some higher power than a
mere creature. That he was great. Infidelity has witnessed in a most
remarkable manner. I was struck lately in reading a book I brought
from Bokhara ; where it is said that Mahomet has predicted that his
religion shall altogether pull down the rehgion of the Nazarene through-
out the East, and the religion of the Koran be established. Now it is
very remarkable, that when his mighty officer and general went into
Armenia, and tried to sweep away Christianity there, (where there
was a convent which is still existing, as some travellers who are here
well know, and where the great Ignatius Alnoorane, " the enlighten-
er," had preached the gospel in the second century,) he was not able
to convert to Mahomedanism one single district of that territory. Con-
tinually their exclamation was — "Christ, God and very Christ, God
of very God ! " Voltaire also tried to pull down Christ ; his exclama-
tion was — "Down with the infamous;" has he succeeded? That
this church is full now, is witness that Christ is great in the nineteenth
century, as he was proved in the seventeenth, and in the middle ages,
when he still had servants who " worshipped him in spirit and in
truth." This has taken place, then ; it is no more prophecy; it has
become history.

" He shall be called the Son of the Highest." How do you, mem-
bers of the Church of England, call him? " Son. of the Highest."
The Independents ? " Son of the Highest." The Kirk of Scotland?
" Son of the Highest." I have seen Nestorians in their own moun-
tains, and I asked them — How do you call Christ ? Their answer



150 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

•was — "Jesus, the Son of the living God; Jesus, the Son of the
Highest." So far, still, the text has become history. But let us
go on.

" And the Lord God shall give unto him the throne of his father
David." Has this taken place ?

Before we give any opinion, let us examine how he was the son of
David. It is wonderful how Scripture explains Scripture. In the
first of the Romans we read, in the fourth verse, that he was " declared
to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit ; " but how
was he the Son of David? Why, in the third verse we read that he
was " made of the seed of David" — according to the Spirit? no —
" according to the flesh." Then if he was the son of David according
to the flesh, the throne of David which he has must also be accord-
ing to the flesh. And that he is to sit upon the throne of his father
David " according to the flesh," is decidedly predicted also in the
second chapter of the Acts of the Apostles : " Therefore being a
prophet," (speaking of David,) " and knowing that God had sworn
with an oath to him, that of the fruit of his loins, according to the
flesh, he would raise up Christ to sit on his throne."

Here let us examine what is " the throne of David." Now the
New Testament is the inspired commentary on the Old, and let us not
depart from it ; but let us lay altogether aside all human opinions,
whether of antiquity or of modern times. " The throne of David "
in the whole of the books of Samuel and the Kings, and in Isaiah and
all the prophets, refers us to Palestine, of which Jerusalem is the cap-
ital. If this, after Christ's coming, in the dispensation of the New
Testament, was to be something quite different — if there was to be
another "throne of David," the New Testament, which is a commen-
tary, would have given us quite different words for it. But does it ?
No ; you have the same words — " the throne of David " in the Old
Testament, " the throne of David " in the New.

Then, is this prophecy fulfilled ? No : it is not yet fulfilled ; and
shall not be fulfilled until his second coming in glory.

Here I give you two axioms, which are carried through the whole
of the Old and New Testament. Christ was anointed to the three-
fold office of priest, prophet and king. As High Priest, he was an-
ointed, and visibly manifested ; he was sacrificed on the cross, and
passed visibly into heaven. As prophet, he was also anointed and vis-
ibly manifested ; he spake as "never man spake^" and he stood upon
the mountain, and multitudes saw the great prophet — " the prophet,"
as he was called. As king, he was also anointed, but is not yet visi-
bly manifested. Just as David his father, and the type of Christ, was



A COMING LORD. 161

anointed by Samuel, but had not entered his kingly office until Saul
■was slain ; so Christ, who is also anointed as king, has not yet entered
that kingly office, and shall not enter it until the antitype of Saul —
Antichrist — shall be slain.

This is the drift of Christ's instructions to his disciples on this sub-
ject. I know that there are many who do not completely agree with
me ; such as Butler, and Bishop Maltby, and several bishops in our
time. There is a general opinion current ui the Christian Church,
that the great fault of the Jews was, that they expected a temporal
kingdom, and Christ intended merely to estabhsh a spiritual kingdom,
and therefore they disbelieved. Now I ask, is there one single text in
the whole of the Scripture, which proves this ? On the contrary, he
continually tried to prove to the Jews, and to his disciples, who were
of the same opinion, that their error consisted, not in expecting such a
kingdom, but in forgetting that a great event was to intervene. I
refer you to the twenty-fourth of Luke. The disciples, after his cru-
cifixion, had got quite discouraged ; they said, " We trusted that it
had been he which should have redeemed Israel," — and they (with
the rest of the Jews) understood by that their being redeemed from
the captivity of the Romans ; to-day is the third day, they said,
and we see nothing ; we are disappointed ; we are still slaves of the
Romans. Now Christ appears ; and what does he say to them ?
You have misunderstood the prophets ? No : not a word of it.
On the contrary, he says — " fools, and slow of heart to believe all
that the prophets have spoken ! " You believe only one part, with re-
gard to the glory ; you forget altogether the other part. " Ought not
Christ to have suffered these things, and to enter into his glory ? "

The same method which Christ thus took to set them right, was
pursued afterwards by the apostles, as you will see in the third of the
Acts. " And now, brethren," says the apostle, " I wot that through
ignorance ye did it, as did also your rulers ; " and in what did consist
their ignorance ? " But those things which God before had showed
by the mouth of all his prophets that Christ should suffer, he hath so
fulfilled ; " he does not say, that all with regard to the glory had been
fulfilled, but only the suffering part. " Repent ye, therefore, and be
converted, that your sins may be blotted out," (for there is another
time to come, which is also predicted,) " when the tunes of refreshing
shall come from the presence of the Lord ; and he shall send Jesus
Christ," (this is the second time,) " which before was preached unto
you; whom the heaven must receive" — for ever to be there? no,
" until the times of restitution of all things," (the times of the bring-
ing back of all things to their former condition,) " which God hath



152 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

spoken by the mouth of all his holj prophets," and which has not yet
been fulfilled.

Now go to a further question : how shall he appear, when he is to
come ? Again let Scripture answer. I read in the first chapter of the
Acts, when they were on the mount of Olives — "And when he had
spoken those things, while they beheld, he was taken up : and a cloud
received him out of their sight. And while they looked steadfastly
toward heaven as he went up, behold, two men stood by them in white
apparel ; which also said, Ye men of Galilee, why stand ye gazing up
into heaven ? this same Jesus, which is taken up from you into heaven,
shall so come in like manner as ye have seen him go into heaven.
Then returned they unto Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet."
He shall so come " in hke manner: " " in the self-same manner" —
is the idea conveyed in the Greek text. So then, he was conveyed to
heaven by a cloud. How shall he come again ? I refer you to the
seventh chapter of Daniel. " I saw in the night visions, and behold,
One like the Son of man came with the clouds of heaven ; " in the
selfsame manner as he went up.

Where did he stand when he went up ? On " the mount called
Olivet." Where shall he stand when he shall come again in glory ?
I refer you to the fourteenth chapter of Zechai'iah. " I will gather
all nations against Jerusalem to battle. Then shall the Lord go forth,
and fight against those nations, as when he fought in the day of battle.
And his feet shall stand in that day upon the mount of Olives " — the
real mount of Olives, not a spiritual one, for it is added — " which is
before Jerusalem on the east ; " exactly as we find it in the present
day, and the self-same spot where he stood when he went up.

Those who. deny the personal reign of Christ, (which I believe,) tell
us — Yes, he will come, he will appear visibly, but it will be on the
day of judgment. Then I ask, what do you understand by " the day
of judgment ? " The idea generally is, that this earth shall be alto-
gether annihilated, and the saints shall be taken away to another
place, which is not at all defined. Now let me tell you, if this is spir-
ituality, the Lamas of Thibet believe the same. But to Scripture we
must go continually, like Luther, who said, " Hear Scripture — Scrip-
ture ; " and by this Word we must sift every thing. And where is
it said that this world shall be annihilated ? There is not one single
text to that effect, in the whole of Scripture. That it shall be puri-
fied by fire, as it was purified by water, is true ; but it was not anni-
hilated by water — only purified. So it shall be, says St. Peter, by
fire.

That Christ is to come for the purpose of building up Jerusalem, ia



A COMING LORD. 153

clearly stated in the hundred and second psalm ; " When the Lord
shall build up Zion, he shall appear " (in the Hebrew, " he shall be
seen visibly ") " in his glory " — as his glory was frequently seen by
the whole nation upon Horeb and mount Sinia. That he shall come
to establish a kingdom here on earth, is clearly said in the seventh
chapter of Daniel : " I saw in the night visions, and behold, he came
with the clouds of heaven, and there was given him dominion and glo-
ry and a kingdom, that all people, nations and languages should serve
him." That this is not to be in what we call heaven, but that his saints
at that time shall reign with him under the sky, we are told in the twen-
ty-seventh verse of that chapter : " The kingdom and dominion, and
the greatness of the kingdom under the whole heaven, shall be given
to the people of the saints of the Most High." And afterwards, in
the Revelation, when John, caught up in spirit into heaven, hears the
song of the glorified saints, which tells him what their final destiny
shall be, what does he hear ? I read in the fifth chapter — "And
they sung a new song, saying, Thou art worthy to take the book, and
to open the seals thereof: for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 17 of 45)