John Cawood.

Sermons (Volume 1) online

. (page 25 of 27)
Online LibraryJohn CawoodSermons (Volume 1) → online text (page 25 of 27)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

sinful ways and from all sinful companions ; and turn
to God in Christ crucified for pardon and salvation.
Use all the means of grace which God has appointed.
" Search the Scriptures." Attend the preaching of
the Gospel. " Take heed what you hear." Pray
earnestly to God, and offer your prayers in the name
of Christ. Pray for the Holy Spirit; pray that
" He would create a clean heart, and renew a right
spirit within you." Be sincere in confessing and
forsaking your sins. Be diligent in searching the
Scriptures. Be regular and attentive in hearing


the Gospel. Be importunate and unwearied in
prayer to God. Then will He, according to His pro-
mise, " grant you repentance unto life ;" and give
you " faith unto salvation. " " Then will He
sprinkle clean water upon you, and ye shall be
cleansed from all your sins. A new heart also will
He give you, and a new spirit will He put within
you. He will take away the stony heart out of your
flesh, and will give you a heart of flesh." " He will
put His Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in
His statutes." Then, as he guided His people Israel
through the wilderness, and gave them the promised
rest in Canaan ; so will He guide you by His Holy
Spirit through this vain world, and bring you to His
eternal rest in heaven !





HOSEA ix. 8.
The watchman of Ephraim was with my God.

" I THINK," says Luther, " that Hosea in this
place is contrasting the prophets of times past with
the prophets of his own times. Former times had
true prophets, who with great boldness condemned
idolatry, and taught the true worship of God ; but
the prophets of the present times are the occasion of
false doctrine, and of ungodly conduct." " The
watchman of Ephraim was with my God ; but the
prophet is a snare of a fowler in all his ways, and
hatred in the house of his God." " The watchman
in the text," writes Bishop Horsley, " is evidently a
title by which some faithful prophet is distinguished
from temporizers and seducers." The watchman of
was with my God.

* This sermon was preached in Cradley Chapel, Worcester-
shire, on occasion of the death of the Rev. Thomas Best, late
Minister of Cradley, on Sunday, August 5th, 1821.


These words are descriptive of THE FAITHFUL AND

Let us consider,


He is a WATCHMAN. " The watchman of Ephraim,
or of Israel.

We may here notice his COMMISSION to his ex-
alted office, his QUALIFICATIONS for his important
services, and THE MANNER in which he performs
his public duties.

We notice,

1. His COMMISSION to his exalted office.

(1.) His commission is divine. God himself or-
dained in the primitive church the various orders of
ministers ; of Apostles and Prophets ; of Evange-
lists, Teachers, and Pastors. It is the Holy Ghost
alone, who now spiritually separates men for the
work of the ministry, and makes them labourers in
the work of salvation, overseers in the church of God,
and watchmen in the army of Christ. And when
the Holy Ghost spiritually separates men for the
work of the ministry, God in His providence always
opens a way, through the agency of scriptural au-
thorities, for the admission of such men, as Pastors,
into His church. No man must unbidden touch the
ark of God, nor rush unauthorized into the priest-
hood. He must not be guilty of the folly of self-
appointment, nor of the impiety of self-ordination.
In assuming the ministerial character he must not,


like the wild enthusiast, prefer the impulse of a
heated imagination to the plain declarations of Scrip-
ture ; nor like the hungry, or the indolent, or the
ambitious hireling, seek only the emoluments, or the
ease, or the honours of the church. He must re-
ceive his commission from the proper authorities, in
the way of primitive and scriptural order. For the
Holy Ghost, who alone sanctifies the faithful watch-
man of the church, is not a spirit of confusion and
discord, but a spirit of order and peace. The blessed
influence, which He sheds on the whole church, is
orderly, rational, and holy ; the manner, in which
He particularly disposes men to the ministerial office,
is always in perfect harmony with the mode of ap-
pointing ministers revealed in the New Testament :
and, with respect to that mode, an Apostle has
clearly told us, that " No man taketh this honour to
himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron."
For the language of God to every faithful minister
is, "0 son of man, / have set thee a watchman unto
the house of Israel : therefore thou shalt hear the word
at my mouth, and warn them from me." " Now, there-
fore, are we ambassadors for Christ, as though God
did beseech you by us, we pray you in Christ's stead,
be ye reconciled to God."

Further :

(2.) His commission is to watch for souls.

" Obey them that have the rule over you ; for
they watch for your souls." The Christian pastor
watches neither for the applause nor the pleasures
of the world ; neither for the wealth nor the digni-


ties of the church ; but for the everlasting welfare
of his flock. With respect to the object before him,
he humbly identifies himself with his Saviour, be-
comes a fellow-labourer with Jesus Christ, and
watches for the salvation of those souls for whom the
Son of God shed His precious blood. He is more
delighted to save a soul, than to gain a world. Look-
ing on the world with all its treasures and splen-
dours as less than the dust of the balance, when
compared with the soul of man and the kingdom of
heaven : viewing men, as perishing, yet immortal
beings, and this life as the only state of preparation
for life eternal ; beholding around him multitudes of
souls in a sinful and perishing state, and some of them
dying and going into perdition every moment ; he
feels, and watches, and prays for souls with a ten-
derness, and a solicitude, and an earnestness, altoge-
ther indescribable.

Justly appreciating things seen and temporal, and
rightly contrasting them with things unseen and
eternal, the Christian minister regards supremely not
the casket but the jewel ; not the mortal tabernacle,
but the immortal inhabitant; not the creature of
time, but the being of eternity ; not the weeping
pilgrim of a vale of tears, but " the heir of God,
and the joint heir with Christ," of uncreated and
boundless glory. He watches for souls. His anxious
and continual care rests on the deathless spirit: his
great and glorious object is the sentient and inde-
structible mind : the prize, which he desires
to win, and to present to God faultless in Christ


Jesus, is the immortal soul : that spirit, which the
Almighty, as the glory of all His works, breathed
into man : that soul, for whose redemption the blood
of God was shed : that mind, which was created by
infinite wisdom and love to reign in glory unuttera-
ble and everlasting : for this mind, for this spirit, for
this soul, the Christian pastor watches with pains, de-
sires, and doubts incessant, predominant, and over-
whelming. " My little children ! of whom I tra-
vail in birth again, until Christ be formed in you.
I desire to be present with you, and to change my
voice ; for I stand in doubt of you."
Again :

(3.) His commission is accompanied with a most
tremendous responsibility.

" Son of man, I have made thee a watchman unto
the house of Israel : therefore, hear the word at my
mouth, and give them warning from me. When I
say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die : and thou
givest him not warning ; the same wicked man shall
die in his inquity ; but his blood will I require at thine
hand. Again, when a righteous man doth turn from
his righteousness, and commit iniquity ; because thou
hast not given him warning, he shall die in his sin;
but his blood will I require at thine hand." These
words are enough to make the heart of every watch-
man shake, and the ears of every watchman tingle.
For the most faithful minister may well fear that,
among the people of his charge, there will be found,
at the last day, some wicked man, whom he had not
faithfully warned, some backslider, whom he had not


tenderly admonished, some hypocrite, whom he had
not skilfully unmasked, some contemner of God,
whom he had not fearlessly withstood. Well also
may he fear lest there should be found, in the day
of account, some ignorant soul, whom he had not
plainly instructed, some sorrowful spirit, whom he
had not gently comforted, some weak brother,
whom he had not seasonably strengthened, or some
thoughtless wanderer, whom he had not diligently re-
claimed. What, then, may be the dread, and what
certainly will be the doom, of the blind, or the igno-
rant, or the dumb, or the greedy, or the sensual, or
the slumbering watchman, who has neither warned the
wicked, nor admonished the backslider, nor unmasked
the hypocrite, nor withstood the infidel ? Who has
neither instructed the ignorant, nor comforted the
sorrowful, nor strength ened^he weak, nor reclaimed
the wanderer ? Who being a mere " hireling," and
not a shepherd, cared not for the sheep, but left
them to be scattered, and to perish ? " Woe to the
idol shepherd, that leaveth the flock ! the sword shall
be upon his arm, and upon his right eye ; his arm
shall be clean dried up, and his right eye shall be
utterly darkened." " Take heed, therefore," Chris-
tian pastors, " unto yourselves, and to all the flock,
over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you over-
seers, to feed the church of God, which he hath
purchased with his own blood." And " so watch
for souls as those that must give account, that ye may
do it with joy, and not with grief."

When the faithless watchman, and all the souls


whom he has ruined, shall appear together before the
tribunal of God ; when these miserable souls shall
charge their endless ruin to the ignorance, or indo-
lence, or example of their watchman; when the
Eternal Judge shall admit their charge and demand
their blood at the watchman's hand ; when the Judge,
in all His majesty, shall pronounce the irreversible
sentence, and the sentence in all its unutterable
terrors shall be executed upon him ; then, what
agonies will rend, what horrors will overwhelm the
faithless watchman ! With the accumulated curse,
and burning wrath of God on his head, he will sink
into his place, and dwell among the souls whom he
has ruined for ever ! The view of their misery will
be always in his sight, and the blood of their souls
will cry in his ears for ever ! The cry of their blood
will be the hell of his hell, and the sight of their
woe will be the sting of his damnation for ever and
ever ! " Lord Jesus Christ ! give thy feeble servant
grace, that being faithful now, he may be found
faithful in that day."

But if the watchman blew the trumpet, and
warned the people, then the blood of all, who heard
the trumpet, but took not warning, will be on their
own heads. He has delivered his own soul. Though
he have laboured in vain and spent his strength for
nought; yet his judgment is with the Lord, his work
and his reward with his God. " If thou warn the
wicked, and he turn not from his wickedness, nor
from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity,
but thou hast delivered thy soul." But wherever the


gospel of Christ is faithfully preached, and the doc-
trines of the gospel are duly exemplified in the
preacher's life, the Lord Jesus will always, I believe,
be glorified in the conversion and salvation of sin-
ners. " My word shall not return unto me void,
but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it
shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it." And
whenever the faithful pastor sees the work of the
Lord prosper in his hands ; when he sees souls be-
gotten again by his ministry of the word, and train-
ing up for heaven under his care ; though he will
ascribe all the glory to the effectual operation of the
Holy Spirit, yet will he anticipate something of that
joy and of that reward, which God will publicly
and abundantly give him on the last day.

And when that day arrives with all its wonders ;
when the Lord Jesus shall appear with all His
angels, and in all His glory ; then also shall the
faithful pastor, and his faithful flock, appear the
most interesting and happy spectacle before the
throne. Then shall the pastor say, " Through thy
grace, O blessed Saviour, I now present every one
of these, my flock, perfect and holy in Thee." " Lo !
here am I, and the children, which Thou hast given
me." And then shall the Saviour reply, " Well
done, good and faithful servant ! enter thou," and
thy children, " into the joy of thy Lord."

0, when I hear, or seem to hear, the cry of tor-
mented souls in hell, rising up and thundering in
the ears of their unfaithful watchmen; when that
thundering cry is eternal, and the eternal cry is


" Blood, blood on the head of the unfaithful watch-
man !" When I hear, or seem to hear, the high
commendations of the Redeemer, and the redeemed,
which heighten the bliss and brighten the glory of
faithful pastors in heaven ; surely I may declare in
the name of all Christian ministers, " We will, in
the service of our blessed Lord, ' contend like
ministering angels, or die an army of martyrs.'"

We further notice,

2. His QUALIFICATIONS for his important services.

The indispensable qualifications of a Christian
watchman are biblical learning, and personal piety.
If I am silent on merely human qualifications, it is
not because I undervalue them, but because I sup-
pose them all to be adequately present in every
Christian pastor. If I advert not to classical learn-
ing^ it is because I cannot conceive how any one
will presume, without a competent acquaintance
with the learned languages, to aspire to that high
vocation in which the most extensive and profound
acquirements, both literary and scientific, will find
their most useful and hallowed exercise. If I do
not dwell on the art of teaching, and the powers of
elocution, it is because I cannot imagine how any
man, who is not " apt to teach," or who has not a
clear enunciation, will dare to take upon him the
function of a divine teacher, and to read almost
daily the most sublime and important service in the
world. If I say nothing of studious habits, or of
the faculty of ready composition, it is because I
cannot divine how any person, who dislikes study,


or is unpractised in composition, will be bold
enough to enter into that sacred office, in which the
minds of the most diligent students will sometimes
despond, and the pens of the readiest writers will
sometimes fail. Give me, then, the man, who is
solidly learned ; whose enunciation is sufficiently
loud and distinct ; whose habits are decidedly studi-
ous; whose mind is ready to conceive, his tongue to
express, and his hand to write. Give me such a
man, and even then you give me, if I may so speak,
only the unformed substance out of which the Chris-
tian pastor must be made. Still there is needed the
hand of God to form the divine image in his heart.
Still there is needed the Spirit of holiness to breathe
divine life into his soul. Still there is needed the
Almighty energy of divine grace " to make him a
new creature in Christ Jesus." For, however vari-
ous, profound, and splendid his merely human quali-
fications may be, yet allow me to repeat it, BIBLICAL


biblical learning will appear in the doctrines which
he inculcates, and in the morals which he teaches.
His personal piety will be seen in his example.

Ponder deeply, then,

(1.) The doctrines which he inculcates.

His doctrines are exclusively scriptural. He
preaches the everlasting gospel of the blessed God,
Salvation by grace through faith in the Redeemer.
The death of Jesus Christ for sinners is the founda-
tion of all his doctrines. Here his religious system


centres, and hence it radiates. For all the essential
doctrines of Christianity are comprehended in the
one glorious doctrine of Christ crucified. What
are these essential doctrines ? Are they not, the
Trinity in Unity of the incomprehensible Godhead ;
the divine glory and mysterious incarnation of the
Second Person in the Trinity ; the fall, corruption,
misery, and perishing state of mankind ; repentance
for sin, conversion to God, justification through
faith in the blood and righteousness of the Lord
Jesus Christ ; regeneration and sanctification by the
Holy Spirit ; a participation of a divine nature, an
imitation of Christ's example, and a continuance in
well-doing to the end of life, as evidences of faith,
as a preparation and a meetness for heaven ; and after
all, the obtaining of eternal life, not as the reward
of merit, but as the gift of God through Jesus Christ
our Lord ? These are the essential doctrines of the
gospel ; and all these are inseparably connected
with Christ crucified.

For why did Jesus die? Because it had been de-
termined in the councils of the eternal Trinity that
He should die for sinners ; and " He died for all,
because all were dead ;" " He died for our sins,
and rose again for our justification ;" He died that
we might look with godly sorrow on Him, whom we
have pierced, and believe in Him " to the salvation
of the soul." Why did Jesus die ? That He might
send the Holy Spirit to sanctify, and make us meet
for that glorious inheritance, which He has pur-
chased by His precious blood ; that He might " leave


us an example to tread in His steps ; that we might
be crucified with Him ; that the life which we now
live in the flesh might be by faith in the Son of
God, who loved us, and gave Himself for us ;" and
finally, that all creatures in all worlds through all
eternity might sing, as the highest bliss of heaven,
" Worthy is the Lamb that was slain."

The death of Christ is the centre, through which
all the lines of evangelical truth must pass. It is
the soul, which must vivify the whole system of
Christian doctrines. It is the blood, which must cir-
culate through the whole body of Christian duties. It
is the sun, which must enlighten the whole world of
practical godliness. Here, then, by the Cross, the
Christian watchman stands, and looking backwards,
he sees the counsels of everlasting love to save man-
kind by Christ crucified ; looking upwards, he sees
those counsels carried on towards consummation by
Christ crucified ; looking forwards, he sees the same
counsels completed in the everlasting salvation of
sinners by Christ crucified. Here he stands, and
looking on every side, as far as the eye of faith can
reach, he sees all the events of time, all the sons of
men, and all the kingdoms of the world ministering
to the plan of salvation by Christ crucified. For all
the course of Providence, all the lights of prophecy,
the desires of all nations, the hopes of all mankind,
the eyes of all angels, are fixed on Christ crucified.
All Scripture is illustrated, sinners are saved, divine
dispensations are consummated, God is chiefly
glorified, by Christ crucified. Here stands the



Christian watchman, and, " like the angel in the
Apocalypse standing in the sun," he stands amid the
radiant splendours of the divine perfections, and
wishes for an angel's tongue to proclaim to all the
world, how these perfections unite and shine in the
eternal redemption of the world by Christ crucified.
Viewing, therefore, the death of Christ in this
comprehensive and scriptural light, as including all
essential doctrines, he " determines," with St. Paul,
" to know nothing, to preach nothing, and to glory in

Again : examine closely,

(2.) The morals which he teaches.

The morality of the Gospel is quite distinct from
the morality of the world. The morality of the
world, however useful and commendable it may be,
is altogether worldly. Its utility, and its commen-
dation, are entirely worldly, and therefore its reward
is of the world. In its motive, in its exercise, and
in its object, it has no more regard to God, or to
His word, than if there were no such being, and no
such book.

But the morality of the Gospel regards God in
everything. It springs entirely from Christianity.
It grows only from the doctrines of the Cross.
Christian morals are called in Scripture " fruits of
the Spirit," and " fruits of righteousness," or " holi-
ness," holy in their Author, and holy in their nature,
growing only from the root of faith in Christ. With-
out faith in Christ there can be no fruits of holiness,
no Christian morals, no good works in the sight of


God. To preach faith in our Lord Jesus Christ is
the right way to promote good works. For we might
as well expect fruit from a tree which has not one
fibre of root, as expect Christian morals without
living faith in Christ.

With the Christian watchman, Christian prin-
ciples and Christian morals are inseparable. If he
preaches Christian doctrines, he always enforces that
holy practice, to which those doctrines always lead.
If he preaches Christian practice, he never forgets
to state the doctrines, from which alone that practice
flows. He derives the most tremendous warnings
against sin, the most powerful persuasives to holi-
ness, the most stirring arguments for exertion, the
most cheering encouragements in trials and dangers,
the most reviving consolations in sorrow, in sick-
ness, and in death, from the doctrines of Christ
crucified. " For the love of Christ constrameth us ;
because we thus judge, that if one died for all, then
were all dead : and that he died for all, that they,
which live, should not henceforth live unto them-
selves, but unto him who died for them."

What, then, are the morals, which the Christian
pastor teaches? He teaches, " Let him, that nameth
the name of Christ, depart from iniquity" He
teaches that, " Denying ungodliness and worldly
lusts, we must live soberly, righteously, and godly, in
the present world." He teaches that we must with
all our heart, and through all our life, keep all
God's commandments, not merely in the letter, but
in the spirit ; not from earthly motives, but from

E E 2



love to Christ; not according to the fancies of men,
but according to the word of truth ; not for selfish
purposes, but to the glory of God. " Whatever ye
do, in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord
Jesus Christ'' 1 " Whether ye eat or drink, or
whatever ye do, do all to the glory of God" " Be
zealous of good works." " Be filled with the fruits
of righteousness." Observe " whatsoever is true
and honest, just and pure, lovely and of good
report." " Add to your faith virtue, and know-
ledge, and temperance, and patience, and godli-
ness, and brotherly kindness and charity." " Let
these things be in you and abound" " For hereby
is my heavenly Father glorified ; if ye bring forth
much fruit." " Blessed are they that do his com-
mandments, that they may have a right to the
tree of life, and enter through the gate into the city."

Further : contemplate seriously

(3.) The example which he exhibits.

He is well aware that a dumb orator, or a blind
painter, or a deaf musician, are not greater incon-
sistencies than a Christian pastor without personal
piety. A soldier without courage, a lawyer without
learning, a physician without skill, are less objection-
able, and less odious, because less pernicious, than a
minister of God without a godly life. For they watch
merely for the liberty, and property, and health of
the body; but he watches for the glorious freedom,
the imperishable inheritance, and the everlasting
salvation of the soul. The doctrines, therefore, which
he inculcates, animate his own heart ; and the morals,


which he teaches, adorn his own conduct. He is
what he preaches. He practises what he recom-
mends. His heart is honest and upright ; his tem-
per is meek and subdued ; his conversation is instruc-
tive and edifying ; his conduct is consistent and cir-
cumspect, humble and holy. He is disinterested,
merciful, and generous. He is a constant friend of

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 25 27

Online LibraryJohn CawoodSermons (Volume 1) → online text (page 25 of 27)