The Intercessor Head
by JOSEPH IRONS
Delivered in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, Lord's day Morning, July 28th, 1850
The one great object and purpose which the dear Redeemer kept in view, during His sojourn upon earth, as well as in all the preceding ages wherein He was set forth in type, and shadow, and figure, was the glory of Jehovah's name; and just in proportion as you and I are like Him, we shall make that the business of our life, to glorify Jehovah's name. The apostle enjoins it in very strong terms, when he says, "Ye are not your own, for ye are bought with a price; whereby, glorify God with your bodies, and your spirits, which are God's." (1 Cor. 6:20) I was led yesterday a little to analyse this matter, and inquire seriously for myself, and then I extended it in thought, and inquired for you, how much of my time, what portion of my thoughts, to what extent are my energies thrown forth, with this single object in view? Alas! alas! How much time is spent in what the dear Redeemer prohibited to His disciples. "What shall we eat, and what shall we drink, and wherewithal shall we be clothed?" (Matt. 6:31) Had our Lord pursued a course like ours when on earth, there had never been a full salvation wrought. "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" (Luke 2:49) was His appeal when only twelve years of age, and He pursued the same course during the eighteen years which followed, before His public ministry, His life was that of a holy, sinless, perfect obedience, when working with His parents as a carpenter, it carried on the face of it, whilst He was pursuing that lawful avocation, the glory of God the Father, a sinless life of holy, spotless perfection! The matters which His hand pursued was not the object of His heart, it was the glorifying of His Father's name in them. While He was obliged necessarily to pursue those objects of labour, because it was part of the curse which He should bear, "in the sweat of thy brow shalt thou eat thy bread;" (Gen. 3:19) and it ought always to soften down, and alleviate, nay, more, silence all fretfulness about any hard labour, any excessive exertion which we may be put to, when we recollect that our beloved Lord went through the same, and eat His bread by the sweat of His brow. This was done for the express purpose of affording evidence that He bore every part of the curse for us, and I believe He worked harder than any other carpenter either before or since, because He was to have the pre-eminence in all things; but above this, we have Him seeking the glory of His Father. "Wist ye not that I must be about my Father's business?" Presently He comes forth at thirty years of age to enter on His public ministry, and then we find Him stating that personal comfort was never that which He sought after. He might have been made king, He might have lived in Herod's palace, He might have dwelt among the rich and the great, many of whom invited Him to their houses. But no. "The foxes have holes, and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man hath not where to lay His head." (Luke 9:58) He must stoop to the very lowest point of humiliation, that Jehovah, Father, Son, and Spirit might be glorified; and, when He comes to the very eve of His sufferings, the position in which my text is placed, it is truly interesting. I have looked at it until my soul has been overwhelmed, I hope I may say with love to Him, that this precious Christ of God, when He knew that the hour was to come in which He was to be crucified, He spake of His death like a corn of wheat falling into the ground, to become decomposed in order that it might bring forth much fruit. (John 12:24) And then He says, "If any man serve me, let him follow me, and where I am there also shall my servant be. If any man serve me, him will my Father honour." (John 12:26) After this preface, see what follows: "Now is my soul troubled, and what shall I say?" (John 12:27) This is the point that leads to, and introduces our text. "What shall I say? Father, save me from this hour:" I wish that little colon had been made a note of interrogation. The punctuation is not always right in our translation. "Shall I say, Father, save me from this hour?" Shall I utter such a word? Oh! no. "For this cause came I unto this hour." I foresaw this hour from everlasting, I had fixed the date myself, and engaged in covenant bonds for it, and therefore I cannot, dare not, will not say, "Father, save me from this hour." What then shall I say? I will say, "Father, glorify thy name." (John 12:27) It was the saying of all His life, the business of all His miracles, the end and object of all His preaching, the design of all He submitted to, and instructed, all His disciples in, the design of His entire life and death. "Father, glorify thy name." And now, when He comes to the eve of His sufferings, He shrinks not back, He says He will not say, "Father save me from this hour," but, "Father, glorify thy name." This is the grand point kept continually in view, and I must live and die to carry it out, aye, and rise and reign to carry it out; and I believe He is now pleading in the realms of bliss "Father, glorify thy name."
From these words there are two things that demand our prayerful attention. The first is, the glorious Intercessor, sending up His request; and the second is, His obtaining an immediate answer. I shall only parcel out my text into these two leading features.
I. The great and glorious Intercessor, who had been given the introduction I have just named, sends up His request to His Father; and a very significant and expressive one it is. "Father, glorify thy name." It is as though He should say, "Take the full amount of the penalty; I do not want to be spared one stroke of the sword; I do not want to be spared one particle of the amount of suffering and sorrow for which I stipulated in behalf of my Church; take full payment, let the debt be entirely cancelled which my Church has contracted, let law and justice be fully satisfied, let my obedience be followed out to the end, even when My Father demands my life, let my obedience be followed by my offering when I shall make my soul an offering for sin, that both law and justice may be fully and eternally satisfied, in behalf of the whole elect family of God."
Now just mark, for a moment, here, how beautifully this was typified in His type, I mean Isaac, when about to be offered up by his father. It seems that he had been a very obedient son; and when his father demands his company to go to Mount Moriah I believe there was no demur. He goes on, innocently conversing with his father all the way, they came to the foot of the mount of Divine appointment, and the father says to the servants, "Tarry ye here with the asses; I do not want your interference, there must be none with me, there must be only the one victim, typifying Christ in this point, that He should tread the wine press alone, and of the people there should be none with Him." (Isa. 63:3) We then find Abraham building the altar, and his dear boy saying, "Father, here is the altar, and here is the wood, but where is the lamb for the sacrifice?" "God shall provide Himself a lamb," (Gen. 22:7,8) said the father, still proceeding to bind his son. I hear of no resistance. Abraham still proceeds to bind his son, and lay him upon the altar. I do not read of so much as a cry, so much as a repining or resistance, not a kick or struggle. Isaac is bound and laid upon the altar. Fine type, beautiful representation of the obedience of Christ unto death. We find He will not, in the language preceding our text, He will not say, "Father, save me from this hour." No; He only asks the question, as if it might be supposed that He would claim the privilege, and assert His desire, according to human nature which He was sustaining, and say, "Let the hour pass, spare me this trouble. What! shall I say this?" This seems to me to be the spirit of the verse: "Shall I say, Father, save me from this hour, and let my whole Church perish, my obedience come to naught, Satan triumph, hell be filled with those who were elected for heaven? No, no; I cannot say this. What then shall I say? I will say, Father, glorify thy name. Take the last drop of vital fluid from this animal frame, take the heart's blood of the Surety of my people to atone for them, and accept the perfect obedience which has magnified the law and made it honourable. (Isa. 42:21) Oh! my hearer, had not this been the full determination, the obedience, and the yielding of our precious Christ, to what was fixed and settled from everlasting, His Church had never been saved. Had He said, "Father, save me from this hour," and obtained as immediate an answer as He did to what He said in the text, you and I had writhed in hell for ever, you and I had perished under the vengeance of Almighty God. But no; "they are dear to my heart, and graven on the palms of my hands; they are the gift of my Father, the objects of my love, betrothed to me from everlasting; I came on purpose to save them, and I will not go back without accomplishing the errand; and therefore, instead of saying, Father, save me from this hour, I will say, Father, glorify thy name, by taking full payment, taking all which is due to the last mite, by my perfect satisfaction of law and justice, so that neither law nor justice may have anything to claim of my bride, my Church.
Again, when Jesus sends up this request, "Father, glorify thy name," He asks the Father to receive all the honour due to the Divine perfections in the great work which He was performing. The Psalmist sang, "Give unto the Lord, O ye mighty, give unto the Lord glory and strength, give unto the Lord the glory due unto His name." (Ps. 29:1,2) Our blessed Lord seems to request the same thing. No doubt the Psalmist personated Him, and it may in a certain sense be viewed as Christ's own language penned by the Psalmist, and here it seems almost a repetition. "Now, Father, I have yielded the obedience, and I am about to pay the penalty, and to make my soul an offering for sin, receive the honour, receive the glory, and receive the praise that belongs to all the perfections of Deity." And here I beg of you to mark, that in the Father's glorifying the Divine name, we are to view all the attributes and perfections of Deity in harmony, for if they were not in harmony they could not receive the honour and glory due. If, as some people would insinuate, mercy were a darling attribute, and justice thrown into the shade, or robbed of something that was its due, I know not how Jehovah could receive the honour due unto His name. I have for many years despised the expression which I have heard some people use in their ignorance, "Jehovah's mercy is His darling attribute." I believe that all His attributes are dear to Him; that His justice, His holiness, and His truth are as dear to Him as His mercy, His love, and His compassion. So that if I view the revelation made of the perfections and attributes of Deity in His own precious Word, I look for, in the Person and work of Christ, and in the answer to this prayer, which He sends up to the throne of His Father, an equal amount of honour in the harmony ascribed and brought to all the attributes of Deity. Justice says, "I am satisfied, there is no more to demand;" holiness says, "I am magnified, I see in the Person of Christ, and it belongs to all the members of His mystical body, and shall be imputed to them, and imparted to them;" truth says, "I am glorified, for not a jot or tittle of the word has failed. I have not cleared the guilty, but cleared away the guilt, that those who were guilty might be accepted of God." Mercy says, "I stretched my balmy wings, besprinkled by atoning blood, and am glorified and honoured in stretching them forth to lost and miserable sinners, to bedew their consciences and speak peace thereby to their souls." Holiness is magnified, without it, no man shall see the Lord. The holiness of God is honoured and exalted in the perfect work of Christ. Then the glory due to Jehovah's glorious name, which the Saviour asks Him to receive, is sung around the throne, and saints on earth catch the sound, and endeavour to copy the pattern set them on high, in the anticipation of joining their choir shortly. "Not unto us, not unto us, they cry perpetually "not unto us, but unto thy name be the glory, for thy mercy, and for the truth's sake." (Ps. 115:1) See how they harmonize, for thy mercy, and for thy truth's sake" mercy displayed and truth maintained. "Mercy and truth are met together; righteousness and peace have kissed each other." (Ps. 85:10) All the perfections of Deity in harmony. Now you cannot look anywhere else but into the grand scheme of grace, the glorious gospel of the blessed God, to find the harmony of the Divine perfections, and I want my hearers to fix their attention firmly and constantly on this one point, because it is the best key to orthodoxy you can possible have. In real vital orthodoxy all the perfections and attributes of Deity must harmonize. I cannot allow that one perfection is to trample upon another, I cannot allow that one perfection is to be satisfied at the expense of another. I remember perfectly well a conversation which I had with a universal redemption gentleman, that is, a modern Papist, under a Protestant name, upon this very point; the harmony of the Divine perfections in all the attributes and Persons of the Deity, and he could not for a moment attempt to harmonize them. The poor vain worldling could not understand the answer to Jesus' prayer, which we shall have to illustrate, under the second head of discourse. But do listen to the praises of them that surround the throne, as far as they are recorded. "Unto Him that loved us, and hath washed us from our sins in His own blood, and hath made us kings and priests unto God and His Father, unto Him be glory for ever and ever." (Rev. 1:5,6) There they are agreed; and their hymns of praise are received and accepted, and constitute the harmony of heaven. Moreover, every saint upon earth, without a single exception, every soul taught of God, is quite ready to yield the sacred truth that Jonah proclaimed, when he came forth from the fish's belly, "Salvation is of the Lord." (Jonah 2:9) There is not a soul of Adam's race that is taught of the Spirit of God, but is anxious that Divine justice should be honoured and magnified, as that mercy should be displayed; as anxious that truth should be maintained, and our God be manifested as the God of truth, as that love should be exercised, and that with lovingkindness He should draw us. My hearers, that is not gospel which does not harmonize all the perfections of Deity, all the attributes of God, in the method of Jehovah's saving sinners.
Just go on to mark, that the Saviour's prayer seems to me to request the unfolding of the glories of the Trinity in distinct personality in the grand matter of salvation, the displaying of how all that pertains to the choice, and adoption, and security of the whole election of grace originated with God the Father, how all that constitutes the terms and conditions of their redemption and salvation, for they must not be separated, is entrusted in sovereign bond to God the Son, and how all the registration, and all the revelation, which is contained in this book of truth, and all which is made to the hearts of the Lord's people, is the business, the ministry, the work of God the Holy Ghost. So that in the Saviour's request, I see nothing more nor less than His ardent desire for the agreement of all the Persons of the Deity, who have mutually pledged themselves each to other in the eternal unalterable covenant bond, for the salvation of the whole Church of God. Therefore, the Redeemer's work on earth was to glorify the Father. "I have glorified thee on the earth, I have finished the work which thou gavest me to do," (John 17:4) Moreover, it is the office of the Spirit to glorify Christ. "He shall glorify me, for He shall receive of mine, and shall show it unto you." (John 16:14) Christ glorifies the Father in His finished work, and promises the Spirit, on His own authority, "If I go away, I will send Him unto you." The Spirit glorifies Christ in all He does, in the visible, spiritual, and invisible Church of the living God. So that Father, Son, and Holy Ghost having settled the matter of the Church's entire and perfect salvation before all time, are mutually agreed to be honoured and glorified in carrying it out. So that while they are pledged each to other, while the Father is pledged to the Son to give Him the travail of His soul for His satisfaction, and the Son is pledged to His Father to honour and exalt His name, and do His will, and have His law written in His heart, and accomplish all the Father's designs, in making His soul an offering for sin, and the Holy Ghost is pledged to both, in the registration He has made in the Lamb's book of life; and I admire the statement of Scripture, because the book is called "the Lamb's book of life" while the Holy Ghost has recorded their names there, and His name in their hearts in due time, as though the Lamb should say, "It is my book, in which I am pledged and engaged to the Father, but I will hand it to you, that you may register there the name of every elect vessel of mercy." So that the very same finger which wrote the name in the Lamb's book of life writes and engraves his (saith the apostle) with the finger of God. "Ye are our epistles, written with the finger of God, not upon tables of stone, but upon fleshly tables of the heart." (2 Cor. 3:2,3) Well then, it must follow, that whom the Father loved and chose, the Son loved and redeemed, and the Spirit loves and regenerates: and we never can allow these three things to be separated, without rejecting the gospel and turning Atheists. I do not know how to admit those neutralists that will neither be on God's side, nor on the devil's. I must come to the point of my text, that when Jesus says, "Father, glorify thy name," that name includes all the Trinity. The Father's name is glorified in the gift of His Son to His Church, and the gift of His Church to His Son, in the choice of them, and in their adoption, the Son's name will be glorified as their covenant Head and Surety in accomplishing redemption and salvation eternally for them, and the Holy Spirit's name will be glorified as the Sanctifier, Comforter, and Testifier of the Lord Jesus; yea, the indwelling witness, that hath made, and will make, every elect vessel of mercy a temple to dwell in.
Go one step further, "Father, glorify thy name," and thus exalt the Son in His official character, as well as in His glorious Person and perfect work. I must dwell a moment here, because there are such erroneous notions abroad in the world relative to the things I have just named. The Person of Christ. Who is He? Why He with confidence looks up to the throne, and says, "Father." I grant it is true He said to His disciples, "When ye pray, say, Our Father;" but the manner in which you and I say it, and the manner in which He said it, are quite different. He looked up to Jehovah as His Father in eternal glory, and not as some modern Arians would tell us merely in His manhood. If the Sonship of Christ were only in His manhood, then He is not a whit higher or more glorious in His Sonship than you or I; but if His Sonship be, as verily it is, in His essential Godhead, He claims equality with the Father. I am sure you and I dare not say, "I and my Father are one." Again, He declared when He was upon earth, "It is the will of the Father, that all men glorify the Son, even as they glorify the Father." Hence we must mind and glorify the Son in His essential Deity, in His true and proper Sonship. And therefore, He appeals to the Father on the ground of co-equality, on the ground of eternal self-existence with Him, relative to the glory which He had with the Father before the world was. And this marks in very strong and striking terms that Jehovah Jesus is the co-equal, co-eternal, and essential Son of the Father in grace and truth, in His right and proper Deity. Now, as such, we look with sacred delight on the glory of His Person; for though He veiled the dignity and glory of His everlasting Deity and Sonship in humanity, when He took upon Him the form of a servant, and humbled Himself unto death, even the death of the cross, yet He occasionally lets His Deity shine out, as on the Mount of Transfiguration, in His miracles, at the grave of Lazarus, and at His dying hour.
Moreover, Jesus is exalted in His true and proper Sonship, viewed officially as the covenant Head, and in His official character, He is exalted and glorified, according to the prayer He here sends up, because that official character laid responsibility upon Him, and that responsibility was carried out. All that the Father gave Him to perfect and accomplish He carried out, He shrank back from nothing. The cold night air, upon the top of lofty mountains, did not dismay Him, forty days' temptation of the devil in the wilderness did not check the zeal of the Lord of Hosts, which had eaten Him up, the Pharisees' persecutions and revilings did not hinder Him in His work. The matter stood thus: I must go through all, or my Church must perish; and He being the official Head of the Church, betrothed to her from everlasting, shrank not from the great work which His Father had given Him to do.
Then view for a moment His perfect work, and see if He is not exalted in this. He has left no obedience to perfect officially or meritoriously, though we shall have to show a sense, by-and-bye, in which there is an obedience accomplished by His people, but officially and meritoriously there is none. He was the end of the law, He went to the very end of the law for righteousness to every one that believeth, (Rom. 10:4) followed it all out, magnified it, and made it honourable, (Isa. 42:21) met all the accusations and demands which it had urged, took its very curse into His own Person, for cursed is every one that hangeth on a tree, was "made a curse for us, (Gal. 3;13) that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him." (2 Cor. 5:21)
Now, beloved, is not Jesus to be exalted by all this? If the Father's purposes must be maintained and accomplished, if the Holy Spirit's ministry must go on, and be perfected to its utmost extent, and the Person, official character, and perfect work of our all-glorious Christ, demands of all the saints in heaven, and all the believers on earth, one perpetual effort to exalt and glorify His precious name.
Now let me pause here a moment, before I quit this head of discourse, to appeal to my hearers as I would appeal to my own conscience. To what extent, pray be honest with yourselves, to what extent is Jesus Exalted, and honoured, and glorified day by day, in you and by you? What are your pursuits? What are your primary objects? What are your perpetual energies put forth for? Is it after what the Gentiles seek? I pity you from my heart. But if everything is made subservient, even things literally temporal, as well as things openly and avowedly spiritual, if everything is made to bend in that direction, to glorify Christ, in walk, in talk, in labour, in merchandize, in things pertaining to domestic peace and comfort, in active life, as well as in things pertaining to secrecy and holy communion and fellowship with God, "Christ shall be magnified in my body, whether it be by life or by death."
II. Now let us pass on, in the second place, just to notice His obtaining an immediate answer. Surely, if God says to His people, "It shall come to pass, before they call I will answer, and while they are yet speaking I will hear," (Isa. 65:24) the faithful, glorious covenant Head might well expect the same. But do mark here, before I enter upon this particular, how ignorant the world is of the voice of God. They do not understand it. "Some said it thundered, and some said an angel had spoken to Him." They were carnal, they did not understand the voice of God. Now, beloved, do you? When Jehovah speaks in His still small voice, or by His precious promises, or through His precious gospel, do you understand it? Does it find its way to your hearts? Jesus knew the voice, "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again," is the answer. Ten thousand thanks to our covenant God, that this answer is recorded. The Father might have spoken in secret whispers to Christ, and assured Him that it should be so, but He would have it published aloud, and put down as the language of inspiration for the comfort of His Church.
Mark, then, I beseech you, the past, "I have glorified it." Yes, Jehovah glorified His name when He instituted the grand plan of substitution and suretyship.
So Watts expresses it. It must be more wisdom than they possessed, more power than they were in possession of to meet my case. But Jehovah's infinite wisdom and eternal love instituted the plan of salvation by substitution, to make Him "sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in Him" (2 Cor. 5:21)to take His covenant bond under solemn responsibility, so that the sheep might all go free. And I glory in the thought of looking back to the covenant bond which instituted the grand and glorious plan of substitution for the salvation of sinners, because that bond threw open the door for the admission of thousands of true believers in His dear name before He became incarnate. How do you think Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob got to heaven? How do you think David, and Solomon, and all the rest of the worthies recorded in the Old Testament got to heaven? There had been no sacrifice of a meritorious kind. It is true, there had been the sacrifice of thousands of lambs, and rams, and bullocks, and he-goats, but the blood of these could not take away sin. How then did these old patriarchs, and kings, and prophets get to glory? By virtue of Christ's bond, in which the institution of suretyship and substitution was planned, decreed, and fixed upon mutually by all the Persons of Deity. Ah! my hearer, believe me while I declare it with all possible solemnity, that those who reject God's plan of saving sinners, which plan is by substitution, must perish eternally. "For this is their condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light, because their deeds were evil." (John 3:19) I saw it in print the other day, and my blood chilled when I read it. I had heard it before, but I had never seen it in print before. Yet there it is, in one of the vile publications of the present day, where the writer says, that he would rather be damned than accept of salvation through the righteousness of another, especially that of an innocent man. Now that man is as sure to be damned, if he continues in that state, as the devil is. "There is no other name than that of Jesus under heaven whereby men can be saved." (Acts 4:12) Consequently, whoever rejects the perfect work and the imputed righteousness of the Son of God, seals his own eternal destruction by his own proud free-will. But when I come to contemplate the glory which Jehovah gets by this doctrine of substitution, I may well read the answer, "I have glorified it," in appointing such a plan of salvation; "I have glorified it," in devising a scheme for saving sinners, which cannot fail, in which there shall be no contingencies, which shall never be left to the caprice of worms. I will not ask their will, I will not woo or solicit their consent. "I will have compassion on whom I will have compassion, and I will have mercy on whom I will have mercy;" (Rom. 9:15) and having received (as we have shown) full payment, perfect satisfaction, the obedience of the Son of God, and His pouring out His soul unto death, in perfect consistency with all the attributes and perfections of Deity, He can now accept you and me; He can pardon us, and justify us, and adopt us, and sanctify us, and preserve us, and instruct us, and train us up for glory, and take us there without violating one of His perfections, without doing violence to one attribute of His nature. This could not possibly be by any other scheme. Take the scheme of Papists and Puseylites. I do not know whether I can give them two different names, for they are virtually one. Why, if you look apart from all the fooleries and absurdities which insult common sense, their scheme lies in a conditional salvation, that man is to do this and the other, and to please God; and if he does not, he will perish. The whole mixture of Popery is summed up in this short sentence, a contingent salvation; and the whole mixture of Puseyism, which I call properly, though you may think vulgarly, its bastard, for it is just the illegitimate offspring of Popery, is just this one thing, salvation by contingencies, conditions, uncertainties. If we descend a little lower, and speak of those who would fain be called evangelical among both Conformists and Non-conformists, so sure as they hold that ridiculous nonsense of universal redemption and limited salvation, a salvation of contingencies and uncertainties, it is all Popery from first to last. Now in all these schemes, and in many others which I might mention, there is no glory to God; for if, after all, any poor sinner should meet the terms, and overcome the contingencies, and accomplish the conditions, and get to heaven, the glory is his, not God's. He could not join the song, "Not unto us, O Lord, but unto thy name, be the glory." He would certainly halve it, "Unto us and unto thee." Unto us, for we decided the matter, unto us, for we put forth our energies to meet the conditions proposed us, or God could not have saved us with all His mercy. Now we pass by all this as another gospel, which Paul calls an accursed gospel, and we come to the point of substitution, and see how the very institution of a Substitute and Surety, upon whom all the iniquities of the Church should be laid, and to whom the victory over the prince of darkness and his powers should be carefully committed, and view Him glorifying all the perfections of Deity. "I have glorified it," in instituting a method of saving sinners that shall not forfeit a single iota of the glory of one Divine perfection, but shall mutually and eternally honour them all.
Again, "I have glorified it," in the satisfaction I have proclaimed. Now this carries us back a little in the history of Christ's incarnation and ministry on earth, and they are three or four times recorded, as if God would have them impressed on the hearts of His people. Three or four times did Jehovah proclaim audibly His satisfaction in Christ and His perfect work; first of all, at His baptism, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased;" (Matt. 3:17) "You need not look any more to John, for his baptism was with water; look to Him He shall baptize you with the Holy Ghost." (Matt. 3:11) Then, again, at His transfiguration, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased." (Luke 9:35) And while, in the first instance, it was just to put an end to John's ministry (we hear no more of John afterwards;) on the other, it was to meet Moses and Elias, one the giver of the law, and the other the head of the prophets, that He might talk to them, to show them that He was the end of the law, and that they must be saved by His blood and righteousness, and that Elias, the representative of the prophets, should receive his justification and salvation only in Christ. And when this conversation was ended, which we may readily suppose to have been upon the subject I have mentioned, though the Holy Ghost has not recorded it, the Father glorifies Him. A voice comes out of the cloud, which the disciples, poor things, were so alarmed to enter; they did not know what voice they were to hear. A voice comes out of the cloud, repeating, "This is my beloved Son, in whom I am well pleased; hear ye Him." Just repeating the injunction which Moses, who was part of the company, then and there present had set down, "It shall come to pass when the Lord God shall have raised up a prophet like unto me, Him shall ye hear; and the soul that will not hear that Prophet, shall be cut off from among His people." (Deut. 18:15-19) And the voice from heaven says, "Hear ye Him." O beloved, believe me, when, with all affection and solemnity, I assert it, you shall never hear His voice in glory, unless you are brought to hear His voice by grace now. He must speak to your heart, and humble it before Him, or He will never invite you, as the blessed of His Father, to come and inherit the kingdom prepared for you. (Matt. 25:34) Oh, ask the question, Do you, as His sheep, know His voice? "My sheep know my voice." (John 10:27) Has He spoken to you at any time? Has He spoken to you this morning? Is He speaking peace to you now? Is He setting forth His own glory to enrapture your soul even now? Then, depend upon it, you will hear Him by-and-bye saying to His Father, "Here am I, and the children whom thou hast given me." (Isa. 8:18; Heb. 2:13) The third instance (as far as my memory goes) in which the Father thus approves of the Son, is in the language of my text, "I have glorified it, and will glorify it again." And the fourth is at His death; and though the Father's voice was not heard speaking audibly and comfortably to Him, as on the former occasion, it was not the time for it, it was the time for the Father to hide His face, and to appear to have forsaken Him, that the Saviour might cry, "My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?" (Ps. 22:1; Matt. 27:46) It was the time for all the arrows of stern justice and the curse of the law to seize upon Him, and the frown of Jehovah to be such as to go well nigh to break the Redeemer's heart. Oh, how solemn the position in which He is then placed! And is the Father's glory to be there proclaimed? Is the glory of all the Persons and perfections of Deity to be there proclaimed amidst so much solemnity? Hear the dying Surety-exult with a loud voice, "It is finished! it is finished!" (John 19:30) All that can glorify the Father. And as if His own voice alone was not sufficient, it summoned an echo, and the heavens drank in the sound, it summoned an echo, and the graves gave back their dead, it summoned an echo, and the vail of the temple was rent from the top to the bottom, (Matthew 27:52-54) that all might echo the cry, "It is finished!" Will you dare attempt to put your hand to it? Will you dare offer anything of the creature? Will you dare even talk about human effort? You may talk about merit in the devil, as soon as talk about it in man, and you will find it just as soon. My hearer, this is God's economy of grace, by which He glorifies His own name.
But, further, "I will glorify it again." I will glorify it again in the grace to be bestowed in the conversion of sinners and in the renewing of saints. Now this is both past and future. Why, He has glorified His name in the grace bestowed on the thousands and tens of thousands that are now in glory. He glorified His name in conquering their hearts and in bringing them to His feet. He glorified His name in giving them His own life, His own nature, the life of God in their souls. He glorified His name in upholding them and preserving them, and keeping them as the apple of His eye; (Deut. 32:10; Zech. 2:8) meetening them for heaven, and bringing them there. But mind you, He has got to do this again and again. My Father, wilt thou do it this morning? wilt thou do it this hour? "I will glorify it again." No doubt in the first allusion here the Father referred to the glorifying of His name in Christ's sufferings both in Gethsemane and on Calvary, and in His resurrection from the dead. But He will glorify it again and again. Oh, how my soul would rejoice if He were to glorify it this morning in breaking some poor sinner's heart, in bringing some poor outcast rebel, ready to perish, to bow at His feet. Oh if He would but glorify it again, in bursting legal bonds from some poor soul who is tied and bound with them; in opening the eyes of the blind, and unstopping the ears of the deaf, and bestowing grace for grace. Bring it a little nearer home, beloved, in what is yet future. How many temptations has Jehovah delivered you and me from, and thereby glorified His name. Mind you, it still stands on record, "There shall no temptation happen to you but such as is common to men, and with the temptation He will also make a way for escape, that ye may be able to bear it." (1 Cor. 10:13) "I will glorify it again." The next temptation shall not be too strong for you; the tempter's arts shall not prevail. Your soul, safe in the hands of Christ, shall never be plucked thence. I will glorify my name in your preservation, in your perseverance, in your growth, in your feastings, in your comforts, in your happiness, and at last in glorifying you above. "I have glorified it, and I will glorify it again."
Let me advance to show that Jehovah glorifies His name in the obedience wrought in the hearts and lives of His children. Ah, say some lovers of sin, he is going now to give us a little of his Arminianism. Very well, if you will turn it to that account, I cannot help it. God knows that I hate it as much as you can; but I do not hate the obedience of faith. I rather insist and urge (and that I mean to do constantly) that those who have received the grace of God, and appropriated the righteousness of Christ as their own, and feel that they stand complete in it, have dismissed their slavish fears, and are living in the anticipation of heaven, and the believing assurance of glory which the Father has given to them, and which they shall by-and-bye enjoy to all eternity, are as obedient children enjoined by every argument in Scripture to glorify God with their bodies and their spirits, which are God's. I want my hearer to keep an eye a little watchfully and strictly upon this practical point of vital godliness, as well as upon the principles and possession. The principles we have insisted on in Divine substitution, the possession we have in our union with Christ, God having bestowed upon us the grace we have just named; but I want practice, I want to know how men work, and how they walk, and how they war, and how they wait. This is practical godliness. I want to know how they walk, whether they walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise; (Eph. 5:15) whether they walk in the narrow way; whether they walk by faith; whether they walk with God. I want to know how they work, for Jehovah says to them all, "Son, go work today in my vineyard." (Matt. 21:28) What work have we been at for God during the week that is past? I want to know how they can war; whether they have proclaimed perpetual war with the world, the flesh, and the devil; and I want to know how they wait, whether they are waiting at the posts of God's doors "Blessed is the man that waiteth at the posts of God's doors, and watcheth daily at thy gates." (Prov. 8:34) "What, say you? Daily? Is there such a word? Why, I thought Sunday was often enough, one day in seven." Ah, but mark the reading of the word, if you would have the blessedness; it is in waiting daily, and watching daily, that God meets His people, and blesses them. I want to know how they are waiting in providence; whether they are waiting for God to deal with them according to His wisdom; and if the way is hedged up with thorns, and evils seem besetting you on every hand, are you waiting patiently till he makes a way for you in the wilderness, and a path in the great deep? Are you waiting patiently till He says, "This is the way, walk ye in it?" Moreover, what says your waiting faith about the manifestation of His love, and the communications of rich grace to personal experience? Now, if you thus show us how you walk, and how you work, and how you war, and how you wait, and prove that these four actings of practical godliness are all according to the word of God, we hail you as one in whom Jehovah is glorified by the obedience He has wrought in you as obedient children.
A word more, and I will draw to a close. I will glorify it (as I have done) in the decision of character I shall effect, and in the destiny I have described. I put these two thoughts together for brevity's sake. I have glorified it in the decision I have wrought in many that rather to suffer affliction with the people of God, than to enjoy pleasures of sin for a season." (Heb. 11:25) As for instance, Daniel choosing rather to be thrown into a lion's den, than to violate God's law to obey an impious monarch. Here was decision!
May God Almighty command His blessing upon these truths, and make us more decided, and His name shall have all the glory.