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

The English pulpit : collection of sermons online

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it is our duty, but we go also because it is a pleasure and delight ; and
those very men that you and your author describe as gloomy and
joyless — why they are the happiest men that breathe.

Duties of justice, too ; and which is the happy man — he that always
makes that golden rule of love the rule of his actions, " As ye would
that men should do to you, do ye even so to them " — or he that is
overreaching and taking advantage wherever he can, taking advantage
of the ignorance, the weakness, or the necessity of his fellow-creatures ?
Which of the two is a happy man, I need not tell you. And then,
again, duties of mercy — duties of charity. Why, a good man is to
show favor and lend, a good man is to be merciful after his power, and
Christian people are " to visit the fatherless and widows in their
affliction ; " what, does this make them unhappy ? Little do those know
of the joys of benevolence, and the pleasure connected with the exer-
cise of the various affections of the human heart, who would represent
such persons as unhappy. When was it you visited the widow or the
fatherless, or some sad fellow-creature in a state of wretchedness, and
had it in your power to afford relief ? Why, when you saw the uplifted
eye suffused with tears, and when you heard the expressions of grati-
tude, first to God for disposing you thus to act, and then to you as the
instrument of relief — I put it to you, oh ! what a sweet satisfaction,
that you have had the power and the grace, the means and the dispo-



288 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

sition, to alleviate the sufferings and the woe of your fellow-creatures !
Why, then, I say, all these, instead of hindering our bliss, greatly
augment the amount, and still the text is true — " Happy is that
people, whose God is the Lord."

3. But then, it is urged again — Religion sometimes exposes a man
to trials, and afflictions, and persecutions, and sometimes even to death ;
where then is the happiness of " the people whose God is the Lord ? "

My dear friends, told I you not, sometime ago, in this discourse, that
this is a happiness which depends not either upon the smiles of the
world, or the frowns of men ? I admit a good man may have " his
name cast out as evil ; " I admit that " all manner of evil may be said
of him " ( but it is " falsely " said of him, or he is not a good man,)
" for the Lord's sake ; " but then he is not unhappy for this ; no,
" rejoice and be exceeding glad," the Spirit of God and of glory is
resting upon you. I admit a good man may be persecuted ; but then
" blessed are ye, when men shall persecute you, for so persecuted they
the prophets before you." Oh ! you are treading in the right path ;
you are walking in the high way, in which kings, and confessors, and
righteous men went before you. Push your objection to its utmost
limit ; let a pious man be incarcerated in a dungeon, and let him be
beaten, and let his feet be made fast in the stocks ; what then ? is he
unhappy ? answer me Paul and Silas, blessing God ; they had been
preaching the good news of the kingdom, and they had been beaten,
and put in prison, and their feet were made fast in the stocks, and it
was midnight — and what then ? at midnight " Paul and Silas prayed "
— ah! but they did more than that — "at midnight Paul and Silas
prayed, and sang praises to God." Then they were happy ; they were
so happy they could not but sing the praises of God, even in a dungeon ;
and though it was midnight, perhaps it was the happiest hour they ever
spent, up to that period.

I said, push your objection to its utmost extent ; let the good man
be called to suffer martyrdom in the cause of Jesus ; what then ? Oh !
he is not unhappy. I remember a case, where a man whom I could
name, a martyr to the truth, said while the flames were consuming his
body, " I feel no pain, this to me is a bed of roses." Perhaps the
philosophy of the case is this — the sensations of Divine love were so
powerful in the man's soul, as to overpower the sensation of pain. So
that living or dying, " happy is that people whose God is the Lord."

4. However it is urged again, (and this is the last objection that I
will state,) " I have made the trial, and I have not found it so."

Now, this objection really appears plausible — "I have made the
trial, and I have not found it so." You have made the trial. And



THE HAPPY MAN A KELiaiOUS MAN. 289

let me ask, then, Who are you, that have made the trial ? Why, of
course, you say, you are a Christian. And what evidence have you to
give that you are a Christian ? Why, you bear a Christian name, your
name is registered yonder as a Christian ;, and, moreover, you have
been the subject of a Christian ordinance, you were recognized in the
rite of water baptism ; and, moreover, you have attended to certain
Christian duties, you have read the Scriptures — a Christian duty, you
have attended a place of worship — a Christian duty, you have (occa-
sionally at least) approached the table of the Lord — a Christian duty
to do so regularly, and you sometimes give a portion of your property
to maintain the cause of God at home, or send the gospel abroad among
heathen nations — Christian duties these. Well, wha# more ? Ah!
but if you falter, I must speak out. What ! do you think nobody
knows what more ? Ah ! to-night at the house of God — and to-morrow
night yonder at the contaminating house of Rimmon ; in the morning
associating with those who keep holy-day — but, before noon or night,
commingling with those whose conversation savors not of religion, and
of the things of God ; to-day engaged in religious exercises — and
to-morrow pursuing worldly vanities ; a wordly-minded Christian, a
pleasure-taking Christian, a sporting Christian, a wine-bibbing Christian.
Oh \ I wonder not that 9/our Christianity did not make you happy ; it
could not. How can the most sovereign specific restore a diseased man
to health and soundness, if all the while he will be eagerly swallowing
large portions of contrary aliment, which tend directly to irritate and
feed the disease. It cannot be. And let me say to that man, Whoever
thou art, God has made no half-engagement with either thee or me.
He has not said he will make us happy if we will give half our heart
to him, and the other half to the world, and if we try to bring together
and to unite what God has put asunder. " Ye cannot serve God and
Mammon." Oh ! we must come to a decision. " Who is on the
Lord's side ? " The religion of the Bible will not, and cannot make
you happy, unless you give up every thing inconsistent with it. There
must be the abandonment of all sin. Give up sin, or God will give up
you. You must part with all, if you would find all. Oh ! abandon all
sin ; and not only renounce sin, but renounce all dependence upon your
virtues, and come, stripped of all, poor, helpless, hell-deserving sinners,
and cast yourselves upon the mercy of Jesus Christ. Believe on him,
who died for you ; believe on him who lives for you, your advocate
before the throne ; God will reveal himself to you in Jesus Chi-ist, as
your God, and you shall know him, and you shall love him, and you
shall delight in him, and, as sure as God is true, and as sure as this is
his book, you shall be happy.



290 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

And then, realizing all this happiness yourselves, you will be
concerned that others should be as happy as you are, that others should
be as blessed as you are, that others should enjoy the security you
enjoy. And I know not the man that enjoys religion himself, and that
wishes to keep religion to himself. What ! a monopoly in religion ; the
worst monopoly of all, the most unnatural monopoly of all. Why,
religion is not weakened by its diffusion. The sun in the firmament of
heaven, is not less valuable to me, because it gives light to you. No,
my friends ; and religion is not less a treasure to me, because it is a
treasure to you. If there be any pleasure at all, in giving we receive,
and in blessing we are blessed.

You are co*e here this evening under the influence of religion. It
would be an affectation in this heart of mine, which I should utterly
despise, were I capable of .seeming to be indifferent to the spectacle
now displayed in this house — a week-day evening, and such a crowd
of blood-bought souls before me. It is a rich recompence for the toils
of the past night. For I was in the town of Leeds at the same
hour, last night, that I entered this place of worship for this service ;
and some might suppose that having attended a public meeting there
last evening, I was more fit for some other place than where I now am,
on arriving in your metropolis this evening. But it is. all too little in
the service of God. Besides, we need only come to the fire in order
to be warmed ; and we need only meet with those that love our Savior
in order to be refreshed ; " iron sharpeneth iron, and a man the coun-
tenance of his friend." If the Lord be pleased to use even physical
strength, (that is his gift, and we must not boast as if we had not
received it; " let not the strong man glory in his strength ; ") we owe
our blessed master all ; oh ! to him our more than all is due. Permit
me to say, however, I am refreshed in meeting you on this occasion in
this sanctuary.

The Trustees of this place make their respectful annual appeal to
you. You are aware that they have taken the whole responsibility,
and without having any property in the place themselves, and that they
have done so for the glory of God and the good of souls. They have
become the guardians of the place, according to the provisions of the
Trust, for the benefit of the Society worshipping here, while bricks,
and stones, and timber, shall cleave together. Then if they have done
this, and from these motives, they ought to be encouraged. I think
so ; and you think so, and your conduct will say the same thing this
evening. I know to whom I speak ; and I will not detain you longer,
as though to this good work you were reluctant. Let the fire of love
glow in your bosoms, and then it will speak to your hearts, and your



COME AND SEE JESUS. 291

hearts will speak to your hands, and your hands, thus spoken to, -mil
know where to go, and what to do, (for the heart is intimately
connected with the hand,) and then we shall have a noble collection,
and glory will redound to the name of the Lord.



SERMON XXIV.

AN ADDRESS TO CHILDREN.

BY REV. A. FLETCHER, D. D.

" Sir, we would see Jesus." — John xii. 21.

I DO not know if there is a child present, who has ever read the
whole of the Bible, from the first verse of Genesis to the last verse of
Revelation. It is probable some of you may have done so ; I cannot
tell but some hundreds of you may. Now you know, my dear young
friends, that in the Bible there is an astonishing number of names, both
in the Old Testament and in the New. But I ask you, did you ever
meet in the whole Bible so beautiful a name as that of Jesus ? /never
did. You may read the whole of the Bible through, and you will not
find in it a lovelier, a sweeter, a more blessed, a more comforting name,
than the name of Jesus.

Do you know the meaning of the name Jesus ? It signifies a Savior.
It is a Hebrew name, and it corresponds with the name Joshua in the
Old Testament. You recollect the noble captain of the Lord's host
— captain Joshua. He was a wonderful man, a very holy man as well
as a great captain and a great general, and his name Joshua signifies a
Savior ; he got the name because he led the children of Israel through
the river Jordan into the land of Canaan, and conducted them in all
their battles, and succeeded in getting possession of the land, and
delivered it up to the Israelites ; therefore he was called Joshua, because
he was their Savior. Now this name is given to the Lord Jesus Christ
because he is a Savior. Joshua was a great savior ; but Christ is a
Savior infinitely greater. Joshua saved the Israelites from temporal
enemies ; but our Jesus saves his people from spiritual enemies. Joshua
saved the children of Israel from the giants — the Anakim, as they
called them ; great tall men, of such extraordinary size, that if one of
them stood in this middle aisle, his head would be as high as that clock



292 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

in front of the gallery ; Joshua fought with them, and destroyed them.
But the Lord Jesus Christ delivers his people from three greater giants ;
their names are — Sin — Satan — and the World. And Jesus is such
a mighty Savior that he delivers from hell. Joshua led the children
of Israel to a most beautiful country called Canaan, the loveliest spot
upon the face of the earth ; oh ! it was beautiful — beautiful for its
mountains and its lovely green hills and its valleys and its meadows and
plains, beautiful for its lakes and its streams a|^ its rivers, beautiful
for its noble cities, and the chief of them was called Jerusalem ; but
Christ gives to his people, and to little children that love him, a far
better land than Canaan ; he gives them the heavenly Canaan, he ^ves
them heaven, he gives them the heaven of heavens —

- " the land of pure delight,



Where samts immortal reign ;
Infinite day excludes the night,
And pleasures banish pain."

Now, my dear young friends, I have to ask you this question — a
very serious one, but a very plain one — and I ask all the teachers too :
do you love the name of Jesus ? Every pious child does. You that
have loving fathers and mothers, do not you love the name Father, and
the name Mother ? — and the name Sister, and the name Brother, you
that have loving brothers and sisters ? — and the name Minister, and
the name Teacher, you that have loving ministers and loving teachers ?
The very names are pleasant to your ears. But if you are the chil-
dren of God, the name of Jesus will be more delightful to your ear
than any of these, or the name of the nearest and the dearest friend
on earth. Oh ! I hope that a great many of these dear Httle children
can join with their hearts in the following beautiful lines :

" Jesus ! I love thy charming name ;
'T is pleasure to my ear ;
Fain would I sound it out so loud,
That heaven and earth might hear."

I must explain to you, before I enter upon the illustration of the
text, that these words — " Sir, we would see Jesus" — were spoken
by some Greeks, who came to Jerusalem to observe the feast of the
Passover. They came a great many hundred miles ; for if you have
got in your school the map of Palestine or of the journeys of Paul,
you may see that Greece is a very long way off from Jerusalem. Now
you know, strangers from the country, when they come to London, are
anxious to hear the news that is to be heard in this great city ; and one
day somebody told these Greeks, while they were in Jerusalem, that
there was a very wonderful person about, called Jesus ; that he opened



COME AND SEE JESUS. 293

the eyes of the blind and the ears of the deaf, made the dumb to sing
and the lame to -walk, and healed all diseases, and a little while before
had gone to a village called Bethany, (about the same distance from
Jerusalem that IsHngton is from London,) and there he went to the
burying ground, where a friend of his, of the name of Lazarus, had
been laid in the grave, and he stood beside it with the tears running
down his cheeks, and he actually raised the dead man to life. But,
said the Greeks, is this true ? we never heard such wonderful things.
Oh ! yes, says one, it is true, for I have a friend that saw the very
man that was raised from the dead. Perhaps one comes up at the
time — a most respectable man, of excellent character and piety, and
says, I saw the man yesterday ; I went to his house to see him, and
there was a crowd of people round the door, and at last he came out
and showed himself. Oh ! said the Greeks, we should like to see this
Jesus ; where can we get a sight of the performer of these mighty
miracles ? Then there was just passing by a plain, decent looking
man, and some one said — Do you see that man ? that is Philip, one
of his disciples. Oh ! said the Greeks, let us go and ask him ; and
they went up to him, and said, " Sir, we would see Jesus." We are
not told whether they did see hira, but there is every probability that
they did ; and I trust they saw him, not only as a wonderful man, but
as God and man in one person. Oh ! remember, little children, he
was not only a man, but he was God and man — man and God ; his
humanity was not his divinity, nor was his divinity his humanity, but
both were united in one person — God and man — the Savior of lost
sinners.

Now, my dear young friends, I want to show you Jesus to-day.
Do you not know he is in London ? A great many saw him yester-
day ; hundreds, if not thousands. But they did not see his body ;
that is in heaven, and they will not see it till they get there ; they saw
him with the eye of the understanding and the eye of faith — saw
him in his divinity. And the Lord Jesus in his divinity is here in this
chapel — the very Jesus, whose body was nailed to the accursed tree.
And I have come this afternoon expressly to show you Jesus ; that is
all my business ; I have nothing else to do ; and when I have given
you a sight of Christ, I will leave you in his blessed hands. Then you
and I shall part ; but I hope, if we do not meet again on earth, we
shall meet in heaven.

I hope you desire to see him. If I were to ask you, Do you wish
to see Jesus ? — I hope you would exclaim with one voice, — Sir —
Minister — " we would see Jesus." Then, my dear young friends,
I say to you, come and see him. Come and see Jesus in Beth-



294 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

lehem ; come and see Jesus in Egypt ; come and see Jesus in
Nazareth ; come and see Jesus in the temple ; come and see Jesus
on the cross ; come and see Jesus in the grave ; come and see Jesus
in heaven.

I. Mj beloved little children, come and see Jesus in Bethlehem.

Do you know the meaning of that word ? It is a Hebrew word,
and it signifies the house of bread : beth the house, lehem of bread.
Is not that an extraordinary name to be given to a town ? I believe
that name was given to it, because the Lord Jesus Christ was to be
born in that town, and he is bread. Little child, whenever you see a
loaf, remember that — Jesus is bread. When I see the little lambs
going along the street, I say to myself, Ah ! Jesus is the lamb of God ;
and when you see bread, remember Jesus is bread — the bread of life.
Bethlehem was called by this name, because he was to be born in it ;
it was prophesied that he should, many hundreds of years before, by
the prophet Malachi, and therefore it was even then called Bethlehem
— the house of bread — and is called so to the present day.

Bethlehem is six miles south of Jerusalem ; and it is the town where
king David was born, and therefore it was also called the City of David,
or David's Town. And now let us, in our meditations, take a walk to
Bethlehem, and go and see Jesus.

Suppose we have passed through the gate of the city, and got into
one of the main streets ; how shaU we proceed ? If we ask where it
is that Christ is born, the person we ask very likely cannot tell. Per-
haps some little child present is ready to say. Oh ! surely Jesus, the
Son of God, must be born in some great palace, more splendid and
magnificent than the queen's palace, where she receives her nobles and
her ministers of state. Ah ! my young friend, that was not the case ;
Jesus was not born in a palace, though he made the heavenly palace.
Suppose we go to the chief hotel of the town, and ask if Jesus is born
there ; and the porter answers — " No, I do not know such a person ;
but I did hear this morning that a poor woman from Nazareth is lodg-
ing in that stable with her husband, Joseph, and that a little child has
been born there." Then we enter the stable ; I think I am now walk-
ing up to the manger ; and there, in the manger that holds the food
for the horses and oxen, while they eat it, we see a beautiful babe, and
his name is — Jesus. And there by his side sits his mother Mary —
a humble, unassuming, pious individual, not the fine lady represented
in Popish pictures in the shop windows, dressed out in fine clothes, but
a poor woman in coarse attire, though with meekness and gentleness
and humility beaming in her eye. There is Joseph too, the supposed



COME AND SEE JESUS. 295

father of Christ ; but he was not his father — he was only his protects
ing father, raised up to watch over the dear child, during the early
years of his existence. Oh ! what a sight, my beloved young friends !
Jesus, the babe, lying in a manger.

There were a number of shepherds that evening conversing together,
and praying, and singing hymns, in a beautiful field in Palestine, not
far from Bethlehem ; and on a sudden they thought they heard music.
The sun was set, and the stars were sparkling in the sky ; but said
one, " I think I hear music ; " and said another, " I think I hear it
too ; " but so sweet as they never heard before. Then it became
louder, till at last there was a full chorus ; and when they lifted up
their eyes to the heavens, they saw a multitude of angels, and heard
them singing this hymn to the most melodious music — " Glory to God
in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men." And one
of the angels alighted down upon the earth, and came up to them ;
the shepherds were all pale with fear, and ready to faint, but the angel
said to them, " Fear not, for behold, I bring you good tidino-s of
great joy."

" ' Ye shepherds go,' the angel said,
To Bethrem's city fly ;
The promised infant, bom to-day,
Doth in a manger lie."

There are some venerable looking men going to the stable, with
long robes and long beards, and turbans on their heads, and parcels or
bundles in their hands. I do not know how many there were of these
wise men, but they came from a distant part of the earth, and they
went softly and gently up to the manger ; and when they saw the
babe, probably upon Mary's knees, they fell down and worshipped
him, and they opened their parcels > and one poured into Joseph's lap
a quantity of silver, and another a quantity of gold, and others frank-
incense and myrrh and precious ointment ; and in one moment Joseph
and Mary were put in possession of great property. And the reason
was this. Joseph and Mary had a long journey before them ; they
must fly out of the town as quickly as possible, for there is a great
murderer upon the throne — murderer Herod — and he will send his
men of war, his blood-hounds of death ; and if Joseph and Mary do
not escape at once, his messengers will soon enter the stable, and
plunge the dagger into the bosom of the infant ; so God sent these
wise men, with the gold and the silver and the spices, to defray the
expenses of a long journey to a country I am about to mention, where
they must remain till the murderer is dead.



296 THE ENGLISH PULPIT.

II. I ask you, then, next, come and see Jesus in Egypt.

Egypt, as some of you know, is situated upon the sea called the
Mediterranean, or, in the Bible, the great sea. It is a country that is
about six hundred miles long, and three hundred broad ; and there is
a great river flowing through it, called the river Nile. That astonish-
ing river overflows its banks twice a year ; it becomes amazingly large
for a short time, and then it becomes small again, and leaves the
ground that it had covered exceedingly fruitful, so that it is never
necessary to put any manure upon it, and Egypt produces the richest
crops. You recollect, that Joseph was in Egypt, and he rose, from
being a slave, to be the second person in the land. And you recollect,
that the Israelites remained in Egypt between three and four hundred
years ; they were very happy at first, but at last they were very mis-
erable, because they were all made slaves ; God, however, sent a
deliverer to them, called Moses, who led them out of the land, and
they escaped from the hand of their enemies. And now the Lord
Jesus Christ was taken to Egypt. I cannot tell you how he was con-
veyed there, over the deserts of Arabia ; but so it was, he was con-
veyed in safety. And I do not know whether any people went with
Joseph and Mary ; as far as I know, they went alone ; but I have no
doubt angels were with them, and it is probable (though the Bible
does not speak expressly upon it,) that they conversed with angels by
the way, as Jacob did at Bethel. However, they reached Egypt, and
took a little cottage on the banks of the Nile. I dare say, the idol-



Online LibraryG. B. F. (Gerard Benjamin Fleet) HallockThe English pulpit : collection of sermons → online text (page 33 of 45)