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or to seal their utterance with the very blood of the Lamb.
To this word, this new or added word of God, it is here said that we, if we be Christians indeed, are all witnesses. They overcame him in virtue of the word of their testimony. My brethren, in what sense can any of us be called witnesses to God's Word, to God's Revelation? How is our evidence given ? how is our testimony borne? Is it borne by a brave avowal of our convictions? Is it borne by never being ashamed of Christ? Is it borne by obedience? Is it borne by bringing every part of our life; thought, motive, aim, word, spirit, act; into conformity with that word which we call our creed and our Gospel ? These are serious questions: God give us grace to ponder them, and to answer them as we must one day answer them to Himself!
3. There is yet a third instrument of victory, And they loved not their life unto death. They carried their life's devotion even to the length of death. They overcame the devil by a self-sacrifice which stopped not short of death. Of whom, my brethren, is this written? Who has any conception now of such self-devotion? God does not call us, at this time—He may call us to it, such judgment 1 Pet. 4. 17. may begin again at the house of God—but at present God does not call us to the endurance of persecution
commonly so called, of martyrdom commonly so called, in attestation of our faith in Christ. We are not called, now, to show our self-devotion by dying for Christ: but we are all called, at all times, to show our self-devotion by living for Christ. Let us read the words as though they were for us, They loved not themselves unto the life: they loved not their own pleasure, their own inclination, their own ease, their own will, even to the length of life: they were ready even to devote a life, a whole life, with all its pleasures and interests, with all its enjoyments and all its occupations, to the glory of God and to the service of their Saviour. Yes, my brethren, this it is, chiefly, to which we are now called: and it is of more consequence that we fix our thoughts calmly and steadily upon that which God commonly demands of us, than that we should be gazing backward into the far past, or onward into the possible future, at that which He did once, or which He may yet again, require of His people. He may bid us die for Him: He does bid us live for Him. If we do not the one, the less, we may be quite sure that we shall never rise to the other, the higher and the
more glorious. Which of all us is giving his life, 1 Tim. 4. 8. the life that now is, and while it still is, to his
Saviour ? Which of us is subordinating all his wishes to that Saviour's will, regulating all his words by that Saviour's rule, and all his acts by that Saviour's example? He, and he only, is overcoming the devil by not loving himself unto the life. He, and he only, should the fires of persecution and of martyrdom be again kindled, will be made willing and made able to overcome the devil by not loving life itself unto the death.
Let us reflect thoughtfully upon the three topics now presented. The blood of the Lamb, the word of the testimony, and the devotion of life even unto death. The atonement which is our hope, the word which is our testimony, the self-surrender which is our obedience. May He, in whose hand are the hearts of all men, give meaning within to the sounds heard outwardly! May He quicken in us a wholesome dread of doctrine disjoined from practice; of revelations accepted, not used; of a seed falling upon Mat. 13. 5, stony places or among the thorns, and bringing no fruit Lu. 8. 14. to perfection! Surely of all the terrors of the last great day none will be so appalling to witness, none so agonizing to endure, as that of him who shall
say, I ate and I drank in Christ's presence, but He never Lu. 13. 26, knew me: I called Him my Saviour, but He never Mat. 1. 21. saved me from my sins: I trusted in the blood of Heb.10.29. sprinkling, but I treated it all the time as an un- ch. 12. 24. holy thing, and did despite day by day to the Spirit of grace!
As yet the day of grace holds out, and the door of acceptance is not closed. Seek ye the Lord while Is 55.6,7.
He may be found ; call ye upon Him while He is near : let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts ; and let him return unto the Lord, and He will have mercy upon him; and to our God, for He will abundantly pardon.
SUNDAY NEXT BEFORE ADVENT,
November 24, 1861.
REVELATION XII. 12--17.
THEREFORE rejoice, ye heavens, and ye that tabernacle 12 therein. Woe to the earth and to the sea, because the devil is gone down to you, having great wrath, knowing that he hath a short season.
AND when the dragon saw that he was cast unto the 13 earth, he persecuted the woman who bare the man (child.] And there were given to the woman the two wings of the 14 great eagle, that she might fly into the wilderness unto her place, where she is nourished for a season and seasons and half a season from the face of the serpent. And the serpent 15 cast out of his mouth after the woman water as a river, that he might make her [to be] carried away by the river. And 16 the earth helped the woman, and the earth opened her mouth and drank up the river which the dragon cast out of his mouth. And the dragon was angered at the woman, and 17 departed to make war with the rest of her seed, who keep the commandments of God, and have the testimony of Jesus.