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of such He says, “ And they shall be Mine, saith the Lord of Hosts, in that day when I make up jewels, and I will spare them as a man spareth his own son that serveth him.”

May this be the holy, practical resolve of our souls till we join with the ransomed around the throne on high !

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If we are called to be saints, we are the sons of God ; and if sons, then heirsheirs of God, and joint heirs with Christ Jesus. Having received the spirit of adoption, we can call God our Father, Christ our Brother, and Heaven our eternal home. Being confident of this very thing, do we not sometimes long to leave our lodge in the wilderness for our home on high? Having a desire to depart, to say farewell to this cold world, and this house of clay, and to hear our Father's welcome at the gates of heaven : Child, come home. In this we groan, being burdened ; but in that we shall sing ! In this we have to do with darkness, doubts, and the devil; but in that it will be light, songs of praise, and Jesus !

At home we shall be with the Father! Now it is our unspeakable privilege to draw near to Him through the Person and work of the Lord Jesus. We call Him our Father who is in heaven, and He speaks to us from His throne in glory, and calls us children. We wonder at and adore the great grace which put such great sinners as we among the children, and exclaim with great joy, “ Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed on us !" We go to His foot-stool and tell Him, as children do, our feelings and our fears, and He opens the windows of heaven, and lifts upon us the light of His countenance, and gives us some tokens of His love. But at home we shall be before Him in His immediate presence, where there is fulness of joy ; at His right hand, where there are pleasures for evermore ! Here we wait on Him. There we shall be with Him. Here we serve Him. There we shall see Him. · The pure in heart shall see God.

At home we shall be with the Elder Brother! He is with the Father, where He was before He came into our sin-cursed world. He came down from heaven to earth, that we might go up from earth to heaven. He was made a little lower than the angels for the suffering of death, that we might be as the angels of God. He came to be the Son of man, that men might receive the privileges

of the sons of God. He took our nature that He might take away sin by the sacrifice of Himself ; was made under the law, that He might redeem His people from its tremendous curse ; was crowned with thorns, that we might be crowned with glory. He was made a sin-offering for us ; our iniquities were laid on Him, and the wrath due to us fell on Him. He magnified the law, and made it honourable by meeting all its righteous and immutable claims. The flaming sword of Justice was plunged into His sacred heart, and eternal redemption was secured for His people. He put the finishi stroke to the great work His Father gave Him to do, and then went home, where He sits at the Father's right hand. He lives enthroned in glory, and because He lives, all for whom He died shall live also,


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and they shall see His face. When we sit at His feet now, and see His smiling face, 'tis heaven begun below; but, oh, what njust it be to see Him at home without anything to obscure the vision ?

At home we shall be with the angels ! Now, they come to us. "They are sent to minister unto the heirs of salvation.” “He shåll give His angels charge over thee." We do not see them as the Old Testament saints did, nor hear their voice, nor feel their touch, yet they are as really with us. We sometimes feel lonely; but we are never alone, for our Father says, "I will never leave thee." He is our constant Guardian and Guide, and the angels are our unseen attendants ; and when we leave our earthly house, they will escort us to our house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens.

At home we shall be with the dear departed! Those we knew and loved, who are fallen asleep in Jesus. “The loved and lost," not lost though, but gone home before us to welcome ts when we are called to go. We used to meet them for prayer and praise, for work and for worship; but their seat here is empty now, and they are missed. We meet, but we miss them. The hands we loved to grasp are vanished, and voices we loved to hear are still. We think of them as they were, and we are sad. Then we think of them as they are, and we are glad. Oh, could we see the fair immortals, how pleased they look, and how bright they shine, we should devoutly wish ourselves among them. They are at home with the Lord they loved here so well; they are before the throne; they see the King in His beauty ; they wear white robes, and wave the immortal palm ; they see and share the glory of Christ; they have entered into rest, where there is activity, but no weariness. Yes, the workman is gone to his rest and reward, and the warrior's brow is wreathed with conquest. Here they sometimes groaned, because of burdens and bondage ; but there they sing the anthem of the blest and the free, and we hope to meet them there. They will not come to us, but we shall go to them, and it will not be long; the night will soon be o er, and we shall see the morning break on the golden shore. Jesus says, “A little while and ye shall see Me;" only a little while, then home, sweet home! A little more work, then rest; a little more of these rough and thorny roads, then the shining streets of the city of our God; a little more of the battle-field, and the garments rolled in blood, then the garments immaculate, and the conqueror's song. Dying is but going home ; the dark valley is, to the sons of God, but as the vestibule of glory. 6 Soon shall we hear our Father say, Ye blessed children, come. Soon will He call us hence away To our eternal home. There shall our raptured tongues His endless praise proclaim, And sweeter voices tune the song Of Moses and the Lamb."


The King's Banqueting I couse. Notes of a Sermon preached by Mr. W. Kern, at Bethesda Chapel, Ipswich, on

Lord's-day Morning, May 6th, 1883. “ He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over love.”-Song ii. 4.



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1. The Person : “He.” 2. The Place: “The banqueting house." 3. The Process : “Brought me.”

4. The Privilege : "His banner over me was love." 1. The Person : He! In the chapter we read, the first of this book, He is depresented as the King—the Husband. Is not Christ our beloved King-our

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beloveil Husbind? There is no king so high, so holy, so great, so tender. With these qualities coinbined He reigns over us God blessed for evermore. Our beloved Husband -the kindest, the wisest, the richest husband-who never was unkind to his wife. He will reprove her, but it will be in love, not unkindly. I think the wife is the most proper person to give a true character of the husband. What says the Church, the Spouse of Christ, of her Husband ? In chap. v. 10 she says, “My beloved is white and ruddy, the chiefest amongst ten thousand.” My beloved is white, pure, holy, without a spot, without a blemish, yet red with the blood He shed for me. "He is the chiefest amongst ten thousand ;" yea, altogether lovely. Methinks this is the person we have to deal with in our text.

2. The Place : “ The banqueting house,” or house of wine. The ancient rendering is the wine cellar, so that you see it is a rich place, having costly wine in it. No poor person could provide a banquet. A royal banquet literally would be very costly ; nothing would be spared in preparing it for the guests. Poor persons could not provide a banquet, but poor persons can be invited to it ; favourites are invited ; none can come to this banquet in any other way than by invitation. Oh, friends, is not Zion's house a house of banqueting? A royal banquet literally would have all suitable things prepared for it. Spiritually, ar not all suitable things prepared for this banquet? Yea, suitable and precious things too. 1. Precious promises : precious because they are “Yea and Amen,” and have never been forfeited yet. Those who get one in their hand will never sink, and those who get one in their heart will never be without a plea at a throne of grace. I do not believe it possible for a child of God to come into any trouble, or condition of distress, sorrow, or want, without there being some precious promises to meet their case. Oh, this book is full of precious promises, provided for the guests to partake of in this banqueting house. 2. Precious blood. That precious blood of Christ's heart which He shed for me :

Not all the blood of beasts

On Jewish altars slain,
Could give the guilty conscience peace,

Or wash away the stain;
But Christ, the Heavenly Lamb,

Takes all our sins away :
A sacrifice of nobler name,

And richer blood than they."
Happy person who feels the efficacy of precious blood. 3. Precious mercy.


. Mercy is the first thing the awakening sinner seeks, and mercy is the last thing he will require. I feel that, if now called to die in my pulpit, I would go down upon my knees and cry, “God be merciful to me a sinner."

“Without His sweet mercy I could not live here;

Sin soon would reduce me to utter despair." Oh, this precious mercy is a suitable provision in this banqueting house."4. Precious salvation. Salvation planned, accomplished, revealed, enjoyed. Oh, yes, enjoyed, or the Psalmist would not have said, “Restore unto me the joy of Thy salvation.” It is a reality given to us ; a full, free salvation provided for the guests invited to this royal banquet. 5. Precious manna. Hungry souls can eat! only pure

food. He made it. He sent it. He gave it. “Day by day the manna fello;* but it was not to be hoarded only received, as needed, day by day. İs not Christ our Manna ? Who can tell how precious this true Manna is—the true : Bread—the Bread of Life? “If any man eat of this bread, he shall live for ever." Some receive a crumb, some a morsel, some a handful - not all the same quantity ; but no one can eat without an appetite. God gives the eye to see, the heart to desire food. Ignorance, in “Bunyan's Progress," when. he came to the


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gate had no passport. Ah, friends ! if he had tasted this manna, if he had realised

“ Ere since by faith I saw the stream

Thy flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,

And shall be till I die."

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And it says,

He would have had the new name, and that would have been his passport. None, who possess this language in their heart, will be without a passport when they come to the gate. O precious manna ! 6. Oil of joy. For the wounded, the broken-hearted. Jesus heals the broken-hearted. 7. A precious robe. Beautiful robe, no seam in it ; it cost a great deal to weave it; yea, it cost Incarnate God His life ; it was woven with wonderful care, wonderful patience, wonderful power, wonderful love. Who for? For all who are found naked! These, friends, are some of the things suggested to my mind as found in the banqueting house.

3. The process. He brought me-I was wandering far from God. He brought me; He found me; He stopped me. He had my name down as one of the guests to be invited to this banquet. He fuund me in a desert land, a waste howling wilderness, on my way to hell. He did not ask me if I would go to the banquet. He did not persuade me ; but He brought me. He made me willing in the day of His power. He gave me the will ; He turned me ; He drew me. In the first chapter we read, “Draw me, we will run after thee." “The king hath brought me into his chambers." I was so weak, so helpless ; but He drew me-tenderly drew me-to Himself. He did not drag me, but He drew me with the cords of everlasting love—the cords of loving kindness; drew me by His Divine power. The Devil says to one, You are too young ; to another, You are too old. But ah, Devil! you cannot prevail ; for if He says, “I have loved thee with an everlasting love, therefore, with loving kindness, have I drawn thee,” then you must go-no devil can hinder you coming to this banquet to partake of the suitable provision in this royal entertainment. I trembled, I faltered, but He helped me. Many may try to put the fire out of such a soul, but there is the secret hand pouring in the oil so that the “bruised reed is not þroken, and the smoking fax is not quenched.” Such He draws into His banqueting house, and brings to His dear feet.

4. The privilege. “His banner over me was love." This is a military idea ; and does not Christ our King receive all over whom He spreads His banner? Do they not realise Him as their Friend, their Brother, their Saviour, their Monarch? Outsiders cannot read the banner's inscription-only those who are brought into the banqueting house can read the inside folds. I think the first fold reads-Predestinating love. Some would tear this down, but they cannot. He holds it, and those inside rejoice in this predestinating love, for without it we could never have come to the banquet, and it will never do any one harm Again, I think I see in its folds---Providing love. Love provided everything ; love was the origin, the source, the very atmosphere. Read of love's provision in the 68th Psalm. Again I see-Prevailing love. See after battle the soldiers gathering around their king to speak of and share in the glories of the victory gained. How much more the glory gained by our King in proving Himself victorious over Sin, Satan, and Death. Yea, He prevails over all our enemies ; and now, Who is this that cometh up from the wilderness leaning upon her beloved ?" Who, indeed, but the sinner invited to this banquet, for whom love will prevail, and each shall say :

'My dark, my black, my dismal score,

My God, remember them no more.' Some may ask, How long before the seeker can say this? I cannot tell ; some

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not long, others all their life seeking ; but every true seeker will say it sooner or later. Methinks I see the banner waving again, and in its folds I see-Preserving love. No evil can touch thee under it; here they shall eat and drink, here they are happy. Are you a poor, sensibly vile, guilty sinner ? Has He lifted you up out of your trouble? Has His love preserved you from the path of sin and sorrow? Can you rejoice in preserving love? That, and that alone, can preserve you from danger and death. Again I look up, and within those folds I seePraising love. Bye-and-bye we shall change worlds, but not company. Our company here will be our company the other side of the river ; our songs here will be our songs there ; if godly people are our companions here, godly people will be our companions there; if Christ is our song here, Christ will be cur song there-He did all for us. If I have this great Friend, I cannot be friendless. “He cheers my heart, my wants supplies," &c. Oh, what a Friend is Christ to those who are invited to this royal banqueting house ; they must praise Him here—'tis praisin. love here, and it will be praising love there, when we meet in the great banqueting house above, to be presented to His Father-there to dwell praising Him for ever! Amen.


The Bible and the Books of Good nen.


“The Word of God shall stand for ever," and " is quick and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword,” hence the efforts of all its enemies to destroy it have proved futile, and have only resulted in its being held with increasing tenacity by the Lord's people, and in its wider diffusion amongst the nations of the earth. Those who can say, “Thy word hath quickened me," never relivquish their hold upon it, and in the sorest distress and persecution of past ages the members of the suffering church have esteemed the Book of God to be dearer than life itself.

The intense importance of the Bible has always been evident to the enemies of God, and in the persecutions of Rome Pagan and Rome Papal the utmost endeavours were used to rid the world of that Book which exercised such a potent and mysterious influence over those whom they strove to crush. In the most severe of the persecutions under the Roman Emperors—that under Diocletian, 300-6-a determined effort was made to destroy all copies of the Scriptures, and a decree was issued that when found they were to be burnt. It was a war not only against the

persons of Christians, but against the Holy Book, and many were slain for the Word of God.” Through Divine Providence copies and versions of the Scriptures had been so multiplied that total destruction was impossible, and Origen, in the previous century, in an interval of peace, had made his famous edition of the Old Testament in six versions, called the Hexapla.

The ignorance of the Scriptures displayed in the dark ages was the fruit of the efforts of both the Greek Church and the Papacy to confine their perusal to the priests only, and the witnesses for truth in the East and the West were those whose faith was not founded upon the decrees of Councils, or of Popes and Patriarchs, but had been produced in them by God's Spirit through His Word. The Pauliciansor Eastern line of Witnesses-arose through their first leader receiving, in about the middle of the seventh century, a present of the four Gospels and the fourteen Epistles of Paul. The Holy Spirit wrought in his heart, and he came out from the superstitious and apostate church, and so powerfully proclaimed the Gospel, that a band of followers gathered round him, and they and their

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