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

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

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tific eminence, with personal accomplishments, and what are all these
to the blood of Christ ?

Vain, delusive world, adieu !

With all thy creature good ;
Only Jesus I pursue,

Who bought me with his blood.

All thy pleasures I forego I

I trample on thy wealth and pride !
Only Jesus wiU I know,

And Jesus crucified.

Compare it with religious experience. Some have substituted alms,
mortifications, penances, penitence and prayers ; and even works of
faith, as an instrument, are too often substituted by the weak and
unenlightened mind, for the meritorious cause of pardon ; but with this
blood all these are unnecessary, and without it they are unavailable ;
with it they are superfluous, without it they are absolutely worthless,
and of no account in the sight of God.

Compare this sacrifice with all those by which it was typified under
the law. There is a remarkable reference in the context to this sub-
ject : " Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with
corruptible things, as silver and gold, but with the precious blood of
Christ." The reference is possibly to the price at which the sacrificial
victims were purchased, and the costliness of the vicarious sacrifice of
Christ. " Ye know," says the apostle with reference to the propitia-
tory sacrifice, " that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things,
such as silver and gold " — your lamb is not bought, and his virtue,
his merit, is incorruptible ; it always flows — it flows to the uttermost
end of time : it flows for ever ; it will sustain the favor of God through
the ages of eternity. It is incorruptible, it does not need to be renewed ;
" for by one offering he hath perfected for ever them that are sanc-
tified."

Compare — in order that the close of the climax may rise to its
highest point — compare it with every other part of the Savior's work,
with his personal and official character, with his divinity, with his incar-
nation, with his teaching, his miracles, his power, his mercy, his acta
of obedience, his sufferings, his life, his death ; and after death, with
his resurrection, his commission to his apostles, with the regal preroga-
tive and power which enters into every thing which belongs to him as
a mediator. " All," as Bishop Hall says, " have a reference to the
atonement, all parts of the Savior's character work by virtue of the
16



226 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

atonement," have a relation to it, and have their end in it. So that,
after comparing it to every thing in the universe, such is its richness
and merit, that we must sum all up in the conclusion, that it is the
super-eminentlj precious blood of CJirist.

VI. By way of application, let us see whether this blood be not
precious to every rightly affected human heart. Mark its efficacy and
power over every class of sinners, who are resting upon its sovereign
influence through the power of the Holy Spirit. " To you he is
precious."

1. Look at the half-awakened sinner, he that is convicted of sin by
the power of God ; he anticipates judgment, he anticipates hell beyond
it ; the lightnings of God's wrath flash in the face of his conscience ;
he hears the thunders of the broken law, he is disturbed, alarmed,
unhappy ; but let him stop here, and then he will soon find that all is
hardness and despair ; he wants the thunder-shower, the softening influ-
ence — you have it here. He is brought in contact with the cross, he
is pointed to Christ crucified, he is led to reflect on what Christ has
done and suffered for him, and these sufferings carried home to his heart
by the Holy Spirit, he cries.

By thy Spirit, Lord, reprove.

All my inmost sins reveal ;
Sins against thy light and love,

Let me see, and let me feel ;
Sins that crucified my God,

Spilt again his precious blood.

And here comes the thunder-shower, the relieving influence, he sor-
rows for sin, he hates it for its own sake ; and because it is obnoxious
to God, to God in Christ, to the divine Savior crucified for that sin,
and thus he is led to a real and true repentence towards God.

2. Now take the penitent sinner to the same cross, let him be
brought under the same influence ; hope springs up in his bosom ; he
sees that God is merciful as well as just ; he rejoices in the hope of
pardon and salvation ; he looks and sees the sunshine stealing through
the shower, it glistens in the cloud before the shower is over ; and then
he looks again, he contemplates more attentively, the troubles of his
breast are calmed, his fears are removed, and he forms a proper spirit-
ual estimate of the preciousness of the Savior's blood. When the
sinner can be brought to see the atonement in the light in which God
sees it, he beheves in his heart unto righteousness ; Christ interposes
between an offended God and condemned, self condemned, miserable
man ; he points to his blood, the Father looks down upon it, and then



DOCTRINE OF THE ATONEMENT. 227

he is ready to pardon, he makes haste to be gracious, he burns to spare
the sinner, he wishes him to take the same interest which he does in
the atonement of the Son of God, and the same impression from it. —
What does he do ? he sends his Spirit into his heart, and transfers, or
rather communicates something of his own impression of the atonement
to the heart of the sinner ; the sinner looks up to Christ's blood, his
face is towards his God, his face is towards it, by the power of God he
is induced to look up for pardon, and then he pardons him freely, he
freely justifies him, and by that power the sinner is induced to trust in
him for the promised pardon : the moment the sinner so trusts he
believes in his heart unto righteousness ; he goes home to his house
justified, he is made accepted in the beloved, and justified by his
blood.

3. Mark its effects upon the Christian, whether newly made in
Christ, or the more established Christian. What is its influence upon
that character — for instance upon his worship, he goes to the altar of
God to worship him ; he enters into the temple to offer his sacrifices,
he bends his way to the altar of Atonement, he approaches it with
reverence and adoration, he makes haste to worship God, he finds the
altar of incense sprinkled with the blood of that atonement, the incense
ascends and mingles with the wreaths of smoke from the altar of the
great atoning sacrifice, and thus becomes acceptable to God. What a
stimulus to his activity, for the love of Christ constraineth him ! What
a support under suffering, for he believes there is no way for him in
the time of trial and suffering but to lean upon the Lord, to depend
upon his tenderest sympathies, arising out of what he has done and
suffered for him ; and, therefore, he takes his whole burthen to the
cross, and leans upon it with his whole weight ; he does not cast his
burthen upon God, he does not expect to do so, he is not to be so
entirely disengaged from it, " Cast thy burden upon the Lord and he
shall sustain (not it, but) thee." But he does not suffer his beloved
to stoop under the weight of it, he sustains him by his cross : — the
Christian leans his weight upon Christ's cross, and he finds that prom-
ise true.

And oh, what a support is it in death ! If we read the history of
the most evangehcal and spiritually-minded Christians in the article of
death, whose spirits are just about to take their flight to their kindred
element, wl^iat references do we see them making to the atoning sacri-
fice of Christ.

Other title I disclaim,

This, only this, is all my plea :
I the chief of sinners am,

But Jesus died for me.



228 THE ENGLISH PTILPIT.

In these moments of parting nature, it possesses an incomparable
charm. All things then are but loss to the excellency of the kno-wl-
edge of Christ Jesus ; their desire is then to be found in Christ Jesus,
not having on their own righteousness, but that of him who died to
purchase pardon for penitent sinners.

I was extremely struck with an incident which, as it bears some rela-
tion to this part of my subject, you will excuse my repeating. You
are aware that the supplement to our excellent and long-established
hymn-book was arranged under the direction of my late friend Mr.
Watson. I remember that upon one occasion, having the privilege of
conversing with him, he distinctly stated that he suffered pain in his
mind in mentioning two or three hymns out of the collections of Dod-
dridge and Toplady ; and there was one which he expressed the strong-
est aversion to introduce into the supplement, chiefly as a matter of
taste. The hymn in question had some grammatical improprieties
which ought not to be admitted ; and besides that, it held too familiar
language in reference to our Savior, which he considered ought not to
be sanctioned in any of our standards of theology or forms of worship.
But I was struck on hearing my excellent friend in his last days in the
habit of referring to that very hymn, more than any other, either in
the original hymn-book or the supplement, as, through the blessing of
God, a source of consolation to him — of dying consolation. We are
not, indeed, to wonder that as piety matures it should exhibit an
increasing softness, susceptibility, and tenderness : ripe fruit is tender
and mellow. This was the hymn which was excluded on the ground
of taste, and which was yet found to be so precious a support in the
time of trial : —

" Thou dear Redeemer, dying Lamb,

We love to hear of thee ;
No music's like thy charming name.

Nor half so sweet can be."

It thus closes : —

" When we appear in yonder cloud.
With all the favored throng ;
Then will we sing more sweet, more loud,
And Christ shall be our song."

This blood will be the plea in judgment, of those who stand in that
great day clothed in the righteousness of Christ — the comprehensive
merit and all-powerful eflScacy of his blood. It will be their theme,
their delight, and their song of rejoicing throughout all eternity, to
attest how precious it was to their happiness and their salvation, and
how dear to their hearts. Precious is this blood ! Oh, be thankful to
God for his bountiful provision ! Oh, tremble at the idea of trifling



THE LAST JUDGMENT. 229

"with it, and trampling it under your feet ! Christian, make use of
its powerful influence with God for yourself! Hitherto you have asked
nothing in Christ's name, nothing worthy of the plea, and the influence
and merit of his death, you have hitherto asked nothing : " Ask, and
ye shall receive." Ask something, something proportionate to Christ's
merit and his death ; " Ask and receive, that your joy may be full."

Finally, my brethren, as you have felt the value of this blood in
your own case, use all your influence to spread the fame of it among
your fellow-creatures. What a shame it is that the world needs these
exertions ! What a shame it is that efibrt must be used to propagate
a knowledge of its influence, and that this precious blood is not univer-
sally welcomed and confided in, — this state of things must be correct-
ed and reversed ; — it can only be so by the combined efibrts of those
who have experienced the value of the atoning efficacy of this blood,
and God working with them as his instruments in the great work, and
performing mighty spiritual wonders.

Lamb of God, who bear'st away

All the sins of aU mankind,
Bow a world unto thy sway ;
Let thy dying love constrain

Those who disregard thy frown ;
Sink the mountain to a plain ;

Bring the pride of sinners down ;
Soften the obdurate crowd ;

Melt the rebels with thy blood !



SERMON XIX.

THE SCENE OF THE LAST JUDGMENT
BY REV. R. W. HAMILTON, D. D., L. L. D.



" And 1 saw a great white throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and
the heaven fled away ; and there was found no place for them. And I saw the dead, small
and great, stand before God ; and the books were opened : and another book was opened,
which is the book of life : and the dead were judged out of those things which were writ-
ten in the books, according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were in
it ; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them ; and they were judged
every man according to their works." — Revelation xx. 11 — 13.

In looking around this congregation, beloved hearers, I feel at this
moment Avell nigh overwhelmed. So many eyes — so many ears — all
the organs and the representatives of immortal souls !



280 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

Suffer me to relieve my emotions by an allusion to a well-known fact.
When IMassillon pronounced one of those discourses which have placed
him in the first class of orators, he found himself surrounded by the
trappings and pageants of a royal funeral. The temple was not only
hung with sable, but shadowed with darkness, save the few twinkling
lights of the altar ; the beauty and the chivalry of the land were
spread out before him ; the censers threw forth their fumes of incense,
and they mounted to the gilded dome. There sat majesty, clothed in
sackcloth and sunk in grief. All felt in common, and as one. It was
a breathless suspense ; not a sound broke upon the awful stillness. —
The master of mighty eloquence arose. His hands were folded on his
bosom : his eyes were lifted to heaven ; utterance seemed denied him ;
he stood abstracted and lost. At length his fixed look unbent ; it hurried
over the scene, where every pomp was mixed and every trophy strewn.
It found there no resting-place, amidst all that idle parade and all that
mocking vanity. Once more it settled ; it had fastened upon the hier,
glittering with escutcheons and veiled with plumes. A sense of the
indescribable nothingness of man " at his best estate," in that hearsed
mortal, overcame him. His eye once more closed ; his action was sus-
pended ; and in a scarcely audible whisper he disturbed the long-drawn
pause — " There is nothing great but Crod."

It would be in vain for me to attempt his power of impression ; but
it may not be wrong to covet his depth of feeling. And Avhile these
words are yet vibrating on your ears, and are harrowing up your souls,
I take the abrupt sentence and fit it to the present theme. There is
nothing solemn hut Judgment.

The thunder-storm is solemn ; when the lightnings, " as arrows,
shoot abroad ; " when the peals startle up the nations ; when the dread
artillery rushes along the sky. But what is that to the far-resounding
crash, louder than the roar and bellow of ten thousand thunders,
which shall pierce to the deepest charnels, and which all the dead shall
hear ?

The seartempest is solemn : when those huge billows lift up their
crests ; when mighty armaments are wrecked by their fury ; broken as
the foam, scattered as the spray. But what is that to the commotion
of the deep, when " its proud waves " shall no more " be stayed," its
ancient barriers no more be observed, the great channels be emptied,
and every abyss be dry ?

The earthquake is solemn : when without a warning cities totter, and
kingdoms rend, and islands flee away. But what is it to that tremor which
shall convulse our globe, dissolving every law of attraction, untying



THE LAST JUDGMENT. 2&1

every principle of aggregation, heaving all into chaos and heaping all
into ruin?

The volcano is solemn : when its cone of fire shoots to the heavens ;
when from its burning entrails the lava rushes, to overspread distant
plains and to overtake fljing populations. But what is that to the con-
flagration, in which all the palaces and temples and the citadels of the
earth shall be consumed ; of which the universe shall be but the sacri-
fice and the fuel ?

Great God ! must our eyes see — our ears hear — these desola-
tions ? Must we look forth upon these devom-ing flames ! Must we
stand in judgment with thee ? Penetrate us now with thy fear ; awak-
en the attention, which thy trump shall not fail to command ; surround
our imagination with the scenery of that great and terrible da3^ Let
us now come forth from the graves of sin, of unbelief, of worldliness,
to meet the overture of thy mercy, as we must perforce start then from
our sepulchres to see the descending Judge. Judge us now, that thou
mayest not condemn us then. Let thy terror persuade, that it may
not crush us.

Yes, it is no illusion. The heavens shall be as the shrivelled scroll
of parchment ; this solid earth sJiall stagger as the drunken man, and
cry as the travailing woman. The period is long since determined,
when time shall have completed its course, when probation shall have
run its measure, and when all the signs in the present system shall be
fulfilled : when " the stars shall fall " as the leaves of autumn, when
" the heavens shall pass away with a great noise, and the elements
shall melt with fervent heat," and " all these things shall be dissolved."

It is the day of God. It is " the judgment of the great day." —
" And I saw," says the prophet of the New Testament, " a great white
throne, and Him that sat on it, from whose face the earth and the
heaven fled away, and there was found no place for them. And I saw
the dead, small and great, stand before God ; and the books were open-
ed ; and another book was opened, which is the book of life ; and the
dead were judged out of those things which were written in the books,
according to their works. And the sea gave up the dead which were
in it ; and death and hell delivered up the dead which were in them ; '
and they were judged every man according to their works."

I. Let us consider the scenery which shall attend this

SUBLIME EVENT.

Let us consider the scenery which shall attend this august
assize : the multitude that shall be summoned to it : the process which
must adjudicate it.



232 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

The " throne " is the emblem of royal dignity. " Only," said
Pharaoh to Joseph, " on the throne will I be greater than thou." It
is the symbol of Divine supremacy. " The Lord hath established his
throne in the heavens, and his kingdom ruleth over all."

" His throne is as a fiery flame,
Rolling on wheels of burning fire."

It is a " throne of glory," -which he will " not disgrace." It is a
" throne of holiness," which he will remember. It is a throne of mer-
cy, to which we have access. It is a throne which " is for ever and
ever." It is a throne which is " high " and which is " lifted up."
Sometimes he holdeth back the face of this throne. Sometimes " clouds
and darkness are round about him ; " " righteousness and judgment,"
however, are alike its " habitation " and its base.

But this " throne " is new to heaven. It is specially prepared ; and
he sitteth upon it, w^ho judgeth right.

It is "a great white throne." Refulgent in its purity and right-
eousness ; formed of the fleecy vapors, burnished with the radiance
of sun-beams, woven from the garniture of the sky. Sunrise and sun-
set never imprinted that stately purple, that glowing vermilion, that
molten gold. It is vast, shadowy, undefined. No rainbow of the cov-
enant girdles it ; no suppliants or penitents sue before it ; no pardons
are issued from it. It is a tribunal throne.

It is occupied. There is One that " sitteth upon it." Sometimes
it is distinctively the throne of the Father. JTere is no room for dis-
crimination — there is no manner of similitude. For need we be at
loss ? " We must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ ; "
" When the Son of Man shall come in his glory, and all the holy
angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory." He
is now enshrined with all the splendor, as he ever possessed all the
fulness of the Godhead. Sometimes he is " seated with his Father on
his throne ; " sometimes we look forth on " the throne of God and of
the Lamb." He now " thinketh it no robbery to be equal with God,"
and as God he is " Judge himself." And yet we are to be called the
idolaters of the nineteenth century, because we " honor the Son even
as we honor the Father." Blessed Jesus ! if ive be idolaters, who —
what — are the multitudes bending around thy throne, casting their
diadems at thy feet, and crowning thee Lord of all ?

" From the face " of him who sitteth upon the throne, " the earth
and the heaven flee away." He " gave his cheeks to them who
plucked off the hair ; " they " struck him with the palm of their hand,"
they " smote him with a reed," they " blindfolded him ; " he " hid not



THE LAST JUDGMENT. 233

his face from reproach and spitting." Those brows were lacerated
with thorns ; those eyes overflowed with tears ; blood trickled down
those channels which violence had furrowed and grief had worn. Into
what expressions must that countenance have now kindled ! with what
terrors must it now be clothed ! Things inanimate, insensible, smitten
with a strange panic and with a sudden dismay, start back ; and those
bright heavens and this fair earth shrink into primeval disorder and
anarchy and night. But. not so can the sinner " flee away ; " rocks —
mountains cannot cover him ; there is no hiding-place for " the workers
of iniquity."

Heaven and earth having fled away, " no more place is found for
them." It may denote the dissolution of the whole created economy ;
it may simply refer to the dissolution of our planetary system, with its
canopied atmosphere and with all that belongs to it. It makes little
diflerence, whether It be the greater catastrophe or the inferior ; the
larger could not strike a deeper terror — the smaller could not induce
a less. It is all to us, though the universe is rolling in its path ; our
heaven and our sky " find no more place." What matters to the ani-
malcule, that noble streams are flowing, when its own drop is exhaled ?
What matters to the insect, that majestic forests flourish, when its own
leaf has decayed ? What matters to the emmet, that chains of mag-
nificent mountain heights are mingling with the heavens, when its own
hillock is overturned ?

And why do heaven and earth pass away ? and why is no more place
found for them ? They have realized their end. They were but as
the platform and the scaffolding ; the erection is complete. " The mys-
tery of God" is " finished." There is the consummation ; and time,
therefore, " need be no longer."

Another remark is due to the personage who sends forth an aspect
so strange, so glorious, that even heaven and earth cannot endure the
sight : it is the crucified One. It is he whose doctrine has been so long
a stumbling-block ; it is he, who was put to death in weakness and in
shame. Complex was his person ; mysterious was his investure. But
why is lie the Judge ? " All judgment is committed unto him," —
" because he is the Son of man." " God hath appointed to judge the
world in righteousness by that man, whom he hath ordained : " of whom
he hath given this notification, " that he hath raised him from the dead."
The clouds, then, now disperse ; that which was hidden is proclaimed ;
that which was perverted is disabused. Jesus is vindicated ; every
reproach is rolled away. All will acknowledge that he has made good
each challenged right, that he has made clear each suspected trans-
action, that he has made honorable each aspersed attribute : while the



234 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

cross stands up as the very index and basis and trophy of all, and he
•who now " comes the second time " throws the renown and the tri-
umph of Ills second coming over all that was misunderstood and mis-
construed in the first.

Another remark is also due to the whole of this great and singular
process : it is incapable of description and embellishment. We take
the scenery as it is delineated ; and with that we must satisfy ourselves.
It is unsusceptible of exaggeration. If any of us could overleap the
boundaries of time, and could see the winduig up of the great drama
of human events and moral interests, would any of us report that the
judgment was too greatly described ? that the clangor of the trumpet
was not so piercing, that the conflagration of the elements was not so
vehement, that the apparition of the rising dead was not so appalling
and so strange ? Should any of us say that it was overdrawn, and
that it had been extravagantly represented ? Faint is every metaphor,
feeble is every description, unworthy is every imagining, when com-
pared — rather when contrasted — with that which the reality shall
prove.

There is "a throne," " a great white throne ; " it is occupied by him
whom the people despised and the nations abhorred ; from his face,
suddenly transformed and transfigured, " heaven and earth flee away ; "
they are superseded in every design and use ; but Jesus is vindicated,



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 26 of 45)