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

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

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to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people,
and nation ; and hast made us unto God kings and priests : and we
shall reign on the earth." " On the earth : " you cannot make of this
earth heaven, and of heaven earth.

At his first coming Christ distinctly said to Pilate, " Now is my
kingdom not from hence." Shall it never be ? Again, go to the Rev-
elation — the eleventh chapter : " And the seventh angel sounded ;
and there were great voices in heaven, saying, The kingdoms of this
world " (which were not his at his first coming,) " are become the
kingdoms of our Lord and of his Christ, and he shall reign for ever
and ever."

In what state shall the earth be at that time ? Filled with sorrow ?
No : it shall be a beautiful earth. Let me read to you from the sev-
enty-second psalm. " He shall come down like rain upon the mown
grass ; as showers that water the earth. In his days " (it shall not
be as at present, when the righteous are often oppressed, and the un-
righteous flourish, but) " the righteous shall flourish, and abundance
of peace so long as the moon endureth. He shall have dominion also
from sea to sea," (there is no sea in heaven,) " and from the river
unto the ends of the earth. They that dwell in the wilderness shall
bow before him : " I have too much experienced that it is not so now,
but it is not proper in the pulpit to speak of myself; " God and noth-
ing but God, and Mahomed the ambassador of God," is their outcry,
and the defenceless traveller is frequently put to death. Shall it be



154 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

80 then? " The J that dwell in the wilderness shall bow before him ;
and his enemies shall lick the dust. Yea, all kings shall fall down
before him : all nations shall serve him."

But it would detain you too long to enter into the predictions of that
time, when " the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the Lord,
as the waters cover the sea." I must conclude with that which shall
be the song of the redeemed creation here on earth. You will find it
in the ninety-eighth psalm. " Oh ! sing unto the Lord a new song ;
for he hath done marvellous things ; his right hand, and his holy arm,
hath gotten him the victory. The Lord hath made known his salva-
tion : his righteousness hath he openly showed in the sight of the hea-
then. He hath remembered his mercy and his truth toward the house
of Israel ; all the ends of the earth have seen the salvation of our
God. Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all the earth ; make a loud
noise, and rejoice, and sing praise."

Until that time come we have to watch and to pray. " Come, Lord
Jesus; come quickly."

At that time, the great test of our discipleship shall be, as Christ
says in the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew, acts of benevolence —
acts of philanthropy. And how can you prove that spirit better than
by promoting those societies which try to proclaim Christ our Lord,
and the great doctrine of repentance and forgiveness of sins in him,
and his final coming in glory ? There are two societies established,
for which a collection will be made — the one for the purpose of pro-
moting Christian knowledge, the knowledge of that Lord Jesus Christ
who " is great," and has proved through ages that he is great ; and
the other, the society for providing additional curates. I am sure
you will contribute towards the support of these societies.

I am very glad to have seen you so attentive ; for the coming of
our Lord in glory is a solemn subject. But how much more shall you
be solemnised, when you shall one day be stopped in your worldly busi-
ness, and look out and hear the shout of the angels, and the sound of
the trumpet — " Behold, he cometh ! "

" Lo ! he comes, with clouds descending,
Once for favored sinners slain ;
Thousand, thousand saints attending,
Swell the triumph of his train.
Hallelujah ! see the Son of God appear."



EARLY DEDICATION TO GOD. 155

SERMON XIII.

THE IMPORTANCE OF EARLY DEDICATION TO GOD.
BY REV. D. E. FORD.

" Wilt thou not from this time cry unto me, My Father, thou art the guide of my youth." — Jer. iii. 4.

The verse which I have now read in your hearing is part of the
parable which the prophet Jeremiah set before Israel to show their
transgressions and their sins, and to justify the ways of God to man in
sending upon the rebellious nation the afflictions and the judgments
which were about to befall them The rebellious children, however, of
that age, have long since gone to their last account : no divine remon-
strances, no invitations of .mercy, now sound in their ears ; " the sum-
mer is ended, the harvest is past, and they are not saved." But, my
beloved young friends, God is waiting for you ; is " waiting to be gra-
cious ; " has not " in anger shut up his tender mercies ; " and there is
repeated in your hearing the gracious invitation which sounded in the
ears of lost sinners in by-gone ages. " Wilt thou not from this time
cry unto me. My Father, thou art the guide of my youth ? " The
God of Israel is gracious as ever. Ages have not worn out his for-
bearance, have not exhausted his compassion, have not diminished his
resources. There is the same tenderness in infinite mercy ; there is
the same condescension in infinite love. Nay, brethren, more plainly
is his tenderness seen now than then ; more strikingly is his compas-
sion seen now than then ; for " God, who at sundry times and in divers
manners spake unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last
days spoken unto us by his Son, whom he hath appointed heir of all
things, by whom also he made the worlds." And he is speaking to
you. It is the language of him who agonized upon the cross ; it is
the language of him who came down from heaven to renew and sanc-
tify the human heart — " Wilt thou not, from this time, cry unto me,
My Father, thou art the guide of my youth ? "

The Lord grant us his special help and blessing, this evening, while
I direct your attention, first, to the assumption, and then to the invita-
tion of the text.

I. First, to the assumption ; namely, that the individual addressed
has not said it. Look at the text. Is it not assumed that the indi-
vidual to whom it is addressed, has never said, " My Father, Thou art



156 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

the guide of mj youtli ?" " Wilt thou not from this time " do it ? —
" Wilt thou not, from this time, cry unto me, Mj Father, thou art the
guide of my youth ? " The assumption, then, is, that the person is in
a state of unregeneracy, in a state of unpardoned guilt ; has never
^ven his heart to God, in a covenant which shall not be broken.

My hearers, multitudes are in this awful condition. While God is
inviting and commanding and exhorting by his Word, by his Spirit, and
by his ministers, they are refusing to listen ; they are refusing to obey ;
they " wUl not hearken to the voice of the charmer, charm he never so
wisely." And in that condition there are some — I fear that in that
condition there are many — of you. Up to this very hour, every in-
vitation that you have heard has been in vain ; up to this very hour,
every command of God to which you have listened, has been in vain ;
up to this very hour, every promise which has invited your attention,
has been in vain ; you have " loved your idols, and after them you
would go." Could I converse with you alone, as it has often been my
happiness to converse with the young, I doubt not that many a young
heart here would confess the awful fact, that the controversy between
the soul and God is yet unsettled. Oh ! how often have my ears and
my heart been pained by the confessions, even of the children of many
prayers, that they have not given their hearts to God ! that they know
that there is an unsettled controversy between Jehovah and themselves,
and yet they can eat and drink and sleep, as though there were nothing
the matter, as though there were nothing amiss ! The truth is, that
they disbelieve the facts of the gospel, or regard them with such indif-
ference, or such unbelief, as almost to amount to infidelity. Ah ! my
dear young friends, remember that the theory of the gospel will never
save the soul ; remember, that a mere admission that Christ is the Son
of God in so many words, will never secure your salvation, if you are
■withholding from him your heart. What is the difference between you
and the avowed infidel, excepting that the latter is consistent in his
wickedness, and you are not so ? To acknowledge him in words, but
to deny him by deeds ; to say that he is your Father, while you are not
doing the things which he commands — is but to add the guilt of in-
consistency to all your other crimes. Now is it not an awful fact, that
there are many of you (I wish you not to hear for your young com-
panions, but every one to hear for himself) — is it not a fearful fact,
that many of you have never yet committed one act of devoted conse-
cration to the service of the Lord God Almighty ? You have never
gone to the throne of grace, and said, " Lord, here is my heart ; take
it, and make it thine own for ever ; " you have never said there, —
" other lords have had dominion over me, but by thee only will I make



EARLY DEDICATION TO GOD. 157

mention of thy name." On the other hand, your conduct, if not your
language, has been that of the proud monarch of Egypt — " Who is
the Lord, that I should obey his voice ? " Now, my dear young
friends, if you for one moment suspect that this is the fearful truth, I
beseech you to think of nothing else until you have settled this matter,
and decided whether God is worthy of your love. If he be, give him
your heart ; and do it at once. If he be not, why should you trouble
yourselves with religion any more ? " Choose ye this day whom ye
will serve ; but if the Lord be God, serve him." Oh ! it is a melan-
choly sight to see the young rising around us with no notions of piety
but those of restraint, and melancholy, and dreariness ; they soon throw
off the restraints of early instruction, and they break loose into all
manner of wickedness. And why ? Because their hearts are un-
changed. Why ? Because their souls are unredeemed, and they
have never learnt by practical experience that " the ways of wisdom
are ways of pleasantness " and that " all her paths are peace." But
oh ! let us bring the young to Christ ; let his love be shed abroad in
their souls, and then his voice will have music for their ears, which
shall for ever incapacitate them to listen to the syren song of pleasure ;
and then his fellowship shall have charms for their understandings and
for their hearts, such as shall give them a perpetual and increasing dis-
relish for all worldly and improper associations.

In the neglect of the claims of God there is an amount of daring,
a degree of moral madness, of which we can hardly form a concep-
tion ; especially in the case of the child of many prayers, who has been
nurtured in the lap of piety, who has been led to the footstool of mercy
by the hand of maternal affection, and has been taught from a moth-
er's lips to lisp the name of Jesus. I am addressing many such ; and
their advantages are beyond all price. It is better to be the child of
many prayers, than to be the heir of a dukedom ; it is better to be the
child of many prayers, than to draw one's descent from a line of kings
and princes. See the superior advantages with which such a person
is endued throughout all his future life. That young man who has been
" trained up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord," can never
pretend that religion is priestcraft, and that godlmess is superstition.
Many think so ; and they really fancy that they are men of sense
while they think so. The fact is, that this arises from their ignorance ;
they have never seen religion exhibited in its proper light ; and as Je-
sus said for his murderers on the cross, " Father, forgive them, for
they know not what they do," so we say, concerning many of the
proud despisers and blasphemers of the Son of God. But the child
of many prayers can never be placed in such circumstances as theirs.



158



THE ENGLISH PULPIT.



He has seen that religion sweetens the cup of human sorrow ; he has
seen that religion adds refinement to all the pleasures of which social
life is capable : he knows, or ought to know, that " the ways of wis-
dom are pleasantness, and that all her paths are peace ; " and he is
left without excuse, should he neglect the great salvation.

Here, however, I would carefully guard against mistake. Let no
one suppose that I am framing excuses for those who are not the chil-
dren of many prayers ; let no one go away from the sanctuary to-night,
and say, " I feel that the warning did not apply to me, because I have
had none of those advantages of which the preacher spoke." Remem-
ber, whatever may have been your birth or your parentage, you are an
immortal being. • Remember, whoever may have been your father or
mother, you have a soul to be saved or lost. Remember, that you
must give an account of yourself unto God ; and it will be but a poor
solace in hell to find that the mother who bare you, and the father
who begat you, are companions in your misery, aiding to increase the
bitterness of your doom throughout eternity. Remember, whatever
may have been your disadvantages, Christ is now setting before you
the light of life, that God is now setting before you the gracious invi-
tations of his love ; and that whatever may have been your neglect of
the great salvation, either from want of opportunity or from disincli-
nation, still " now is the accepted time, now is the day of salvation."
In a word, let the unconverted youth, of whatever class, pause ; let
him look at his standing. He is on the brink of eternity, on the brink
of eternity without God and without hope : it is but another step, and
he may be in ruin, in everlasting ruin, in remediless woe.

I once saw a profligate young man expire. He had been the child
of many prayers, and he had wasted his father's substance in riotous
living, and he Avas brought home to die. I visited him on the bed of
death. He looked at me with anguish which I cannot describe, and
said, " Why should you come to torment me " — I think he gasped as
well — " before the time ? " I said, "My young friend, I am not
come to torment you ; I am come to tell you that there is mercy in God
even at the last hour." " No mercy for me," he said ; " I have sinned
through all, I have neglected all, I have despised all." He was ex-
hausted when he had made this reply. I endeavored to say a few
words more, directing him to " the Lamb of God that taketh away the
sins of the world ; " but he said, " I cannot hear you, I cannot hear
you ; I am dying, and I am damned." He fetched the most hideous
groan I ever heard in my life ; his jaw fell, his eye was fixed, his spirit
was gone to take its stand at the judgment seat. I shall never forget
that scene to my dying day. And oh ! perhaps there is some young



EARLY DEDICATION TO GOD. 159

man here to-night, who is running through precisely the same course,
and whose dying confession will be of the same order — "I am dying,
and I am damned."

Did time allow, I might occupy it to a considerable extent by bring-
ing before you those varieties of character which are presented to our
view by the unconverted youth around us. There are some who seem
to lack but one thing ; and that, the one thing needful. There are
others, who are impatient of parental restraint, and anxious to forget
their own responsibility in the gaieties of life and in the follies of sin-
ful pleasure. But I stay not to classify these young persons ; for I
conceive that the task after all is needless. " Broad is the way that
leadeth to destruction, and many there be that go in thereat." You
may find variations of character and of creed almost to infinity. But
no matter v/hat those variations may be, how near they come to the
gate of life, or how far from that gate they may be found, provided
they will not enter there. Remember, that if " one thing be lacking,"
that one thing is fatal ; remember that " he who ofiends in one point is
guilty of all." I wish most distinctly to impress upon the minds of
all the unconverted youth before me, that they are involved in one com-
mon ruin ; that if they have not " fled for refuge to the hope set before
them in the gospel," there " remaineth no more sacrifice for sin, but a
certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which
shall devour the adversaries." There may be, and there undoubtedly
will be, degrees in future punishment ; for " where much is given, much
will be required." But all must perish in their sins, who have not
come to Jesus that they may have life. Take the loveliest specimen
of unsanctified humanity ; you may admire it and praise it as you will,
but that loveliest specimen of unsanctified humanity is doomed to per-
ish, apart from the blood of sprinkling. Now does any young friend
here say, " That is meant for me ? " It is ; I wish it so to be under-
stood. You are trifling away your privileges, you are spurning the
offers of grace and mercy through the crucified Savior ; and I pray
God that you may listen to this warning, and that it may not be in vain.

II. In the second place, then, I proceed to direct your attention to
the invitation of the text. " Wilt thou not from this'time cry unto me,
My Father, thou art the guide of my youth ? " Will you not say it
now, supposing you have never said it ? Will you not say it from this
time, supposing that the whole of your life has previously been lost ?
The object of this discourse is to persuade you to say it — the object
of this discourse is to prevail upon you to say it ; and to say it, not as
a matter of course, not as the result of mere transient excitement, but



160 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

to say it as the result of a stern and steadfast resolve that, whatever
others may do, you will henceforth serve the Lord God of Israel.

I shall now proceed, in his faith and fear, to set before you some
powerful reasons, why from this time you should say, he is " the guide
of your youth."

1. My first reason shall be drawn from the claims of him who asks
it. It is the Almighty God. He is the speaker who invites your con-
fidence and demands your love ; it is he who says in my text, " Wilt
thou not from this time cry unto me. My Father, thou art the guide of
my youth ? " He has said it again and again, and you have neglected
the invitation. Let me ask you, does he deserve such treatment at
your hands ? Think of his claims, and then ask your conscience
whether he does. Is it fitting that you should thus treat the Almighty
God, your Creator — that you should thus treat him who loved the
world, and " so loved it as to give his only begotten Son, that whoso-
ever believeth in him might not perish, but have everlasting life ? " —
Is it meet that you should thus treat him, who " desires not the death
of a sinner, but rather that he may turn from his wickedness and live ? "
Is it meet that you should thus treat him, who " willeth all men to be
saved, and to come to the knowledge of the truth ? " You have no
right to plead his designs or decrees, as a reason for your ignorance
and guilt. God " will have all men to be saved ; " he commands you
to submit to his authority ; he invites you to venture upon his love ; he
bids you welcome to his throne ; and he says " Wilt thou not from this
time cry unto me. My Father, thou art the guide of my youth ? " Or,
if you regard the author of my text as the Savior of the world, does
not he deserve better treatment at your hands ? He who died for
your redemption ; he, who waits upon his glorious throne that he may
" see of the travail of his soul, and be satisfied ;" he who Avill have you
to participate in the fulness of his grace, and to submit to his authori-
ty, and to welcome his love ; does he not deserve your confidence ? —
does he not deserve your devout afiection ? and will you withhold from
him the spontaneous tribute of your praise ? Or, if you regard the
invitation of the text as coming from the Holy Spirit of God ; it is he
that strives with your sins, it is he that remonstrates with your per-
verseness, it is he that would overcome your unbelief; it is he that sets
before you the path of life, that asks you to walk in it. Does he not
deserve better treatment at your hands ? I call upon you, then, in
the name of the everlasting Father ; I call upon you, in the name of
him who died for the world's redemption ; I call upon you, in the name
of the Holy Ghost, the Sanctifier — ■ no longer to persist in this contro-
versy with God, but to yield your heart to his service, and to do it now.



EARLY DEDICATION TO GOD. 161

2. As another reason, I would set before you the dangers of delay.
Remember that your soul is in peril all the while you are hesitating.
Remember, too, that all additional delay makes the matter worse. You
feel it difficult to turn to Jesus now ; you will find it more difficult to-
morrow, more difficult the day following, and so on to the end of Ufe.
There is a hardening tendency in transgression ; there is a downward
progress in sin, which hardens the heart, defiles the soul, perverts the
judgment, and, humanly speaking, renders salvation impossible. It is
the merest, and, at the same time, the most fearful delusion of Satan,
that leads many a young person to conclude that he will have a more
favorable season than the present for giving himself to Christ. Many
pretend to be waiting for God, while God is all the while waiting for
them. I have often told such, that in plain matter of fact they are
not waiting God's time, but they are waiting the devil's time. God
says, " Now is the accepted Wxae^now is the day of salvation." Sa-
tan says, " To-morrow, or the day following, will be the accepted time."
" Go thy way for this time," replies the sinner, " when 1 have a con-
venient season I will send for thee." I remember an incident which
may illustrate and impress upon the memory of the young the danger of
delays in religion. You have all heard of the samphire gatherer, whose
deadly trade lies on the brink of ruin. An instance some years ago occur-
red in the neighborhood in which I dwelt, in which a man's life was placed
in the most imminent danger whilst he was engaged in that dangerous
occupation. It is customary, and in fact it is the only way of pursu-
ing that perilous trade to advantage, for the man who follows it as his
livelihood, to fasten a rope round his waist, which rope is fastened to a
crow-bar that is well secured in the ground, and taking the other end
of the rope to lower himself over the cliffs, perhaps from four to six
hundred feet in height, swinging himself by his own exertions, so as to
catch the various ledges of rock where the samphire grows. A man
was one day pursuing, according to his custom, this dangerous occupa-
tion, when, with great difficulty, he contrived to swing himself on one
of the ledges of rock ; and in the exertion of grasping the rock, he let
go the rope by which he was suspended. You see at once the immi-
nent danger in which he was placed. There was the yawning gulph
beneath ; not a human being could come to his rescue from above, for
no one could tell from what part of the cliff he had descended ; his
only chance of escape was to gain the rope, of which he had quitted
his hold. That rope was of immense length, swinging from the cliff
above, high in the air, coming toward him, moving further off, coming
toward him again. The thought struck him that at every motion of
the rope he would be left further off; he knew, that were it in a per-



162 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

pendicular line with the crow-bar to which it was affixed, it would be
altogether beyond his reach, and that therefore, should he remain where
he was, escape would be impossible. The only possible method of sav-
ing his life was to make a desperate aim at the rope when it came the
nearest to him. Accordingly, the next time it came towards him he
made a desperate plunge, and threw himself off at the height of four
hundred feet, and providentially grasped the rope and was saved. —
My young friends, I ask you to make that plunge now. I ask you,
now, while God's salvation is coming nigh, to grasp the offers of mer-
cy. I ask you now to close with God, to " lay hold of the hope that
is set before you in the gospel." You may do it — it is coming to-
wards you — welcome it — clasp it — hold it fast, and you will be
saved for ever.

3. And then, in the third place, I would direct your attention to the



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 18 of 45)