Editor’s Note: The is from The Earthen Vessel and Christian Record, the August, 1851 issue, pages 185 – 186.
BRINGING IN, AND THE BLESSEDNESS OF THE LORD’S PEOPLE
THE SUBSTANCE OF A SERMON
by MR. JAMES WELLS
Preached at the Baptist chapel, charles Street, camberwell new road, on Sunday afternoon, june 15th 1851
“Thou shalt bring them in, and plant them in the mountain of thine inheritance; in the place, O Lord, which thou hast made for thee to dwell in; in the sanctuary, O Lord, which thy hands have established.”-Exod. xv. 17.
I do not know anything more clear in the Old Testament than the truth of Gods absolute sovereignty in all his dealings with his people. His eye and his heart were upon his children throughout all their wanderings. And though in Egypt another king arose who “Knew not Joseph,” still the Lord kept his eye upon him, and upheld him with his right hand. It will do us but little good to acknowledge the abstract fact of divine sovereignly, unless that sovereignty be exercised in our favor. Divine sovereignty becomes a matter of delight to the real Christian— “The Lord God omnipotent reigneth.” There is a hell, and some will surely come to it; and there is a heaven, and some will surely come to it There are in our text four ideas: —
I. —The Introduction.
II. —The Plantation.
III. —The Description.
IV. —The continuation implied.
The land into which the Lord will bring his people—the gospel Canaan. The Israelites were so placed that none but the Lord could bring them into it, lest they should say that their own arm brought them in. There were many impediments to the children of Israel entering into the promised land. There was the river Jordan, and there were the walls Jericho, and the various kingdoms which fought against them—impediments which the Lord alone could remove. When a sinner is convinced of what he is, he begins to see what stands in his way. First, there is the law of God; then there is the curse of the law; then our state by nature; our blindness, our hardness of heart, and everything that tends to keep us away from God. But all these impediments are removed by the Lord Jesus Christ. He is our Forerunner; he goes before us to remove all impediments. No weapon formed against those who love Jesus Christ shall prosper, nor can any tongue rise in judgment against them to condemn them. Hindrances shall prove helps, curses shall prove blessings, enemies shall prove friends, crooked things shall be made straight, rough places shall be made plain, darkness shall be turned into light.
There is a “needs be” for all these things. If there is no legal impediment in the way of your salvation, there is in reality no impediment at all.
Some have the notion that the evils of our nature, hardness of heart, darkness and carnality hinder us from praying as we would, from entering into fellowship with God as we would, and that they not only hinder us, but that they hinder God also. They are quite welcome to this notion. That minister is serving the devil rather than God that would set any man’s sin above the Savior’s blood. God has removed all impediments. The language of the new covenant is, “Who can hinder him?” The waves of his love and mercy roll in, and rollaway all impediments, so that the soul can sing with dear Watts
“It rises high, and drowns the hills,” &c.
And if you are taught of God you will know something of these things. Man is a sinner; he is a poor, lost, guilty, helpless worm of the earth; and when these things are known and felt, the Redeemer appears precious, and hindrances are turned into helps. All these things “Work together for good to them who love God, and who are the called according to his purpose.’’ If you belong to the Lord the nearer you get to your journey’s end the more the devil will hate you; but the Lord will carry on his own work. Some people say, “Oh, if the Lord will carry on his own work we need not trouble ourselves about it.” But, my friends, it is the work of the Holy Ghost to make us trouble ourselves about it, as Job says, “The Almighty troubleth me.”
“Troubles,” as Mr. Huntington says, “make more work for faith and prayer,” and the dear Lord will take care that the prayers of his people shall not be mere form but real. The Lord will bring his people into the chosen land-into the land of electing grace-the land which yields fruit all the year round. As soon as you have reaped one crop you can sown another.
I have been living in this land for some years, and I like it much. There is no night there, there is no winter there. It is also the land of freedom, wherein we are free from all condemnation-free from all the power of the adversary, so that he is not able to substantiate any charge against us.
It is said of some that “They could not enter in because of unbelief,” and the Lord’s solemn oath was that they should not enter in. We have here to distinguish between the unbelief of infirmity, and the unbelief of infidelity. What kind of unbelievers are those who are shut out? That man that denies the great truth of eternal election is an unbeliever to all intents and purposes; and I hesitate not to say that a soul never yet entered heaven without believing in election either actually or by implication. All that is done for a soul towards its salvation is done by the Lord. That man that is settled down to enmity against God’s truth and God’s people is an unbeliever, but that man that is a free-will man by profession, but a free-grace man by experience, will be a free-grace man altogether bye and bye.
It is a great mercy to be concerned about eternal things at all. It matters not what you are, whether you are a free-willer, a Roman Catholic, a Socinian, or whatever you may be, if you have a restless concern about your future destiny it a good sign-you are standing in a good position. God makes his own people willing to have salvation in his own way. Many go unto him in their own way, and say that others will not come unto him in that they might have life. Unto such election says, “Come unto me that ye might have life;” but they will not, they prefer to choose their own road. If you posses a conviction of your state by nature, an understanding of God’s truth, so as to appreciate it, and a love to the truth, you are alright-you will do. God will work this faith in the hearts of his people, which will unite them to his truth, and bring them in.
It was forty years after the words of our text were uttered, before the Lord brought the children of Israel into the promised land; but they were brought in. As the Lord’s people are planted, so they will be nourished; the truths of the gospel will and do nourish them. What ever losses or crosses they may encounter, their sufficiency is of the Lord; they will grow, and bring forth leaves, and buds and blossoms, and fruit, unto the Lord. Their being planted by the Lord, implies fixation.
“The mountain of the Lord-the mountain of his inheritance.” It is called a mountain, because of its stability, the kingdom of God cannot be moved. What a blessed hope, to be planted where ye cannot be removed! All the fulness of the Godhead bodily, dwells in Christ; and the people are brought to dwell in Christ, and God dwells in them by his dear Son, and there can be no reason assigned why he should leave them. Their sins will not cause him to withdraw his presence from them; he is the Lord and “changeth not;” therefore, it is that they are not consumed. All the peace which we have in the churches, must arise from a participation in these things; there may be differences, there may be disagreements, but we are at peace on this one point-the love of God. I am persuaded that the more we know of the deep things of God, the less we shall fall out by the way. Nothing but these things will spiritualize the people.
There is a region in which there is no sin. There is a region into which death cannot enter. All other kingdoms will be rooted up and come to naught, but this kingdom shall stand. Why? Because sin can never enter, and Jesus Christ is there, and shall dwell in it with his people for ever and ever.