SURREY TABERNACLE PULPIT.
A GOODLY HERITAGE
A SERMON – by Mister JAMES WELLS
PREACHED ON SUNDAY Morning, 4 September, 1870
Volume 12 - No. 617.
“I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.” — Zechariah 8, 12.
How essential is the teaching of the Holy Spirit in order to enter into the spiritual meaning and derive the advantages of the Holy Scriptures. And wherever there is the teaching of the Holy Spirit, it is sure to convince men personally, in their own consciences, souls, and experiences, of their need of God’s Christ, of God’s grace that is by Jesus Christ, of his eternal mercy, and the certainty of his promise. Oh, how many in our day—at least if I may judge from what I meet with in my being led hither and thither, —what a number in our day are there that make a sort of loose, learned sort of profession of the Lord Jesus Christ; and their various articles of faith, if I may so call them, are matters of mere opinion, floating about upon the sands of logical premises and deductions. But when the Lord becomes the teacher, and makes the sinner feel that he is a sinner, he wants nothing else then to teach him that he is a sinner, —God has made him feel it; and when the man contrasts himself with the purity of God’s law, he sees that he is in an evil case, and that he needs a Mediator who is the end of that law for righteousness, and the end of sin. It is not then a matter of mere opinion; —he begins to read the Scriptures, and to see the truth of the Savior’s words. One would think, to listen to the many things we hear in our day, that the Savior must have made a mistake when he says, “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me;” that is, the Old Testament Scriptures. That, therefore, was the main business of the Old Testament Scriptures, as it is the main business of the New Testament Scriptures—to testify of Christ. And while many professors are running about, and ministers telling the people that the Old Testament saints knew hardly anything at all about futurity, the Savior, “beginning at Moses and all the prophets, expounded unto them in all the Scriptures the things concerning himself.” As Christians, then, it is your privilege to understand these things; for he which is spiritual judges all things, discerns all things essential to his welfare, yet he himself is discerned of no man. Now, if to Jesus Christ all the prophets give witness, I would ask this question—Could an Old Testament saint, or can a New Testament saint, scripturally see the Lord Jesus Christ without seeing that the chief business of the Old Testament was to set him forth, and that this also is the chief business of the New Testament? Can any man scripturally see the Lord Jesus Christ without seeing in him eternal life, without seeing in him everlasting light, without seeing by him a kingdom that is founded in equity, in truth and righteousness, in grace and mercy? Any one that sees Christ scripturally will see these eternal things. Therefore, instead of stopping in the mere temporal meaning of the Scriptures, such will see that while the Holy Scriptures, especially the Old Testament, speak of temporal things, those very temporals are typical of eternals. And so, in the same manner, the things we have to speak of this evening, although temporal in the first place, or at least they might appear so in the letter, yet the meaning and spirit thereof go on to eternity. Let us have the Lord Jesus Christ with us, and then we are sure to be safe.
I will look at our text in a threefold form. Here are first the possessions: — “I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.” Secondly, how they are brought to possess them; and thirdly, the ultimate design thereof.
First, the possessions; and the people will be distinguished by that which they are to possess. There are two orders of things spoken of in this chapter which they are to possess; —the first is the city of freedom. The Lord says in the third verse, “l am returned unto Zion, and will dwell in the midst of Jerusalem; and Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth; and the mountain of the Lord of hosts the holy mountain;” and “I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.” The first thing, therefore, that we may here notice they are to possess is the new Jerusalem; in other words, they are to be citizens of the new Jerusalem. There is no sense I can think of in which in this possession freedom is not implied. The Jerusalem that is above is free for us all. Let us therefore look first, if we can only realize the scene, at the freedom of the Jerusalem which is above. And of course, the first feature of that freedom is freedom from sin. Hence you read that not anything that defiles, or works abomination, or makes a lie, shall enter into this city, shall possess this freedom, shall possess this heavenly Jerusalem; “but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.” This just shows that those who shall enter into this Jerusalem are so brought down into the dust of humiliation as to trace their salvation up to the right source, —those whose names are written in the Lamb’s book of life.
Now all of us who are believers, we at least that profess these things, are believers in eternal election; and that is a doctrine that is implied there in their names being written in the Lamb’s book of life. Then the question is, how we came into submission to this election. The convinced sinner is brought to feel his need of God’s Christ, and God’s Christ is the true Christ, the perfect Christ, that great high Priest who has perfected forever all them that are sanctified. Therefore, when you are brought thus to receive God’s Christ, you see in the light of that Jesus Christ that those who are thus brought, one of the great reasons why they are thus brought is because they were blessed with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, according as they were chosen in him before the foundation of the world. Now it may not perhaps at first strike your minds what this has to do with the idea of freedom, but it is this; —you see that you cannot be entirely free except by a perfect Jesus Christ; you can have perfect freedom from sin only by a perfect Jesus Christ; you can have perfect justification only by a perfect righteousness, and you can have victory only by a perfect victory, and the victory that Christ has wrought is a perfect victory. You will therefore perceive that those who are thus brought to know their need of such a Christ as this, and to receive him, are by this Jesus Christ free from sin, and trace up their interest in these things to the good pleasure of God; they rejoice in his sovereignty, that he does as he pleases among the armies of the heavens and the inhabitants of the earth. And so, it is that they cannot defile that heavenly city, because they enter by the perfection of the righteousness of Christ, they enter by the perfection of the covenant that is ordered in all things and sure; or else, in and of themselves they are made to feel, and see, and know what they are. This is one thing, then, which they are to possess—this heavenly city; in other words, this heavenly freedom, by a perfect Jesus Christ. Our religion is as perfect now as ever it will be; you never read of our religion being perfected, —it is as perfect as ever it will be. We are not as perfect as we shall be; we have not reached perfection; but the religion we have—for Christ is our religion—is perfect. So, the apostle said, “That we may present every man perfect in Christ Jesus.” This is one of the things that the remnant of this people shall possess; and we possess it by faith—as I have said, made to feel our need of it. I have been lately very much impressed with this solemn matter—namely, whether we have that discriminating experience that proves that our souls are born of God: for if we have not so as to recognize the infinite and eternal value of the Christ of God, we shall someday let him go, or give up, because we have made a profession, but have never known the real value of that glorious Person where everything is settled, where every blessing dwells. If we have any favor whatever, it must be of his fulness; and if we can say that daily experience makes us mourn over what we are in ourselves, yet sometimes the Lord is pleased so to favor us as to enable us, while we mourn what we are in ourselves, to rejoice in what we are in Christ; as says the apostle, “Thanks be to God. that always causeth us” —and he does not cause us to triumph anywhere else. — “that always causeth us to triumph in Christ." So then this freedom is one of the things the people are to possess: — “I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things."
Then it is said, “Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth." I do not seem weary, and I flatter myself with the idea that you yourselves are not getting weary, of the word “truth," especially as looked as in the gospel sense. This new Jerusalem shall be a city of truth. Shall I name, as a sample, two or three of the truths that characterize this city, truths that are self-evident, truths that the youngest, I was going to say, in grace may understand? One truth belonging to this city is this, —that we are saved from first to last entirely by the grace of God, entirely by the riches of his grace, the abounding’s of his grace. It was a matter simply of divine favor to record our worthless names on high; as said the apostle, “the election of grace;” and the consequence is, being an election of grace, that “the election hath obtained it." And it was a matter simply of favor, of infinite favor, for the Lord Jesus Christ to live and die for us. “Ye know the grace of our lord Jesus Christ, who though he was rich, yet for our sakes became poor, that we through his poverty might be made rich." It was a matter simply of grace and of favor that discovered to us our condition, and gave us a praying heart, and that opened our eyes, and turned our faces toward Zion; it has been a matter simply of grace that has kept us to this day, and will not let us go; and it will be an act of grace simply, divine favor, to keep us all our journey through; and it will be an act simply of favor or of grace to bring home the top stone to finish and complete the whole at the last Now this is one of the truths, including all the truths, I may say, for which the city of Jerusalem is distinguished; and we cannot be too plain upon this matter, that it is from first to last the grace of God. But while we thus speak, I do think there are two or three things upon which we ought to be careful; and the first is that this grace or this favor is entirely by the Lord Jesus Christ; so that as John says when speaking of believers, “We have received of his fulness, and grace for grace.” The second thing to be careful upon here is that I have already hinted at, -namely, regeneration, for this is one part of the work of grace. Oh, how wonderfully this distinguishes one man from another.
Now there are persons, and persons that I very much respect and highly esteem, who have attended on Lord’s days, and sometimes on week evenings, at this place: they hear these truths, and they have a sort of indescribable liking for what they hear; but with all this there is no soul-trouble, with all this the fountains of the great deep are not broken up within them, with all this they are too contented with merely hearing the word, with all this they are too contented to be as they are; so that we can hardly think there is any supernatural life in their souls. And it is not very often that such persons stop very many years—generally, some about twelve months, some two years, and I have known some stop with us perhaps five or six years; but by degrees they get weary, and away they go, heaven knows where. But on the other hand I must not forget that some that have thus heard at our place for years, at the end of one, two, three, four, five, or six—aye, seven years I have known some, when the case seemed hopeless, the Lord has at last sent home an arrow of conviction, brought them into such soul-trouble as they have never been brought into before, brought them to see themselves as they never saw themselves before; and now they hear the word in a way they never heard it before; now they hear it with earnestness, with eagerness, now they understand it. Now, when the minister descends to describe what darkness and hardness and doubts and fears are, they can understand it; and they will gather a little hope from his description of their desponding’s and trials. Therefore, while I thus speak, I would not discourage any from hearing the word, whether they are Christians or not; only I say we ought to be careful upon this matter. There stands the solemn declaration that, “If any man have not the spirit of Christ, he is none of his.” We may have the name of Christ, and we may be pretty right in our creed; but if it is only a creed, only a matter of opinion, as an old divine said, it will be only like a bag of gold round the neck of a drowning man; it will only sink us the lower and can do us no good. But where there is real soul-trouble, where there is this real earnestness, there will be appreciated this Jesus Christ and this wonderful freedom.
Perhaps I need not branch out any further upon this department, that “Jerusalem shall be called a city of truth.” This one truth, taking it, of course, from first to last, includes every truth of the gospel; and for me now, from these words, to run over the several departments of truth, would be, perhaps, not altogether profitable, so, I will not do so. Let us then content ourselves this time with that one thought, —that it is all of grace from first to last, —and that is one feature by which the citizens of the new Jerusalem are distinguished; and this is the promise to those who are brought to know their need, and believe in Christ: “I will pour upon the house of David, and upon the inhabitants of Jerusalem,” —not, of course, the literal, but the spiritual Jerusalem, — “the spirit of grace and of supplication; and they shall look upon me whom they have pierced, and they shall mourn for him as one mourneth for his only son, and shall be in bitterness for him as one that is in bitterness for his firstborn.” There shall be a mourning which Christ alone can take away; a bitterness of spirit, —trouble and doubts and fears, which Christ alone can take away. Then, when the Holy Spirit is pleased to bring home some word concerning Christ with mighty power, then our mourning is turned into dancing, then our bitterness is taken away. “For peace,” said one, “I had great bitterness, but thou hast in love to my soul brought it up from the pit of corruption; thou hast cast all my sins behind thy back.” “I will cause the remnant of this people” to possess this freedom, and to possess this delightful and blessed truth, that it is all of grace from first to last.
But Jerusalem shall not only be free, and be called a city of truth, but also “the mountain of the Lord,” —that is another feature. Why is it called the mountain of the Lord? Why, friends, because he is there; and that the Lord was in the cloud that separated the Israelites from the Egyptians, just as he is now in Zion, or in the truth. Now the right-minded Israelite knew that the Lord was in the cloud, and the man taught of God knows that God is in the truth. The Egyptians did not know that God was there; for had they have known God even as the supreme God, and have known he was there, they would not have pursued. It is, then, the privilege of the people of God to know that God dwells in the truth, for Jerusalem shall he called a city of truth, the mountain of the Lord, because the Lord dwells there, and the holy mountain, to denote eternal consecration to God. If we do not find the Lord in these eternal truths, we shall find him nowhere; if we do not find him in Zion, we shall find him nowhere else. Was it not a beautiful exemplification of this when the wind rent the mountains in the days of Elijah at Horeb? The Lord was not in the wind, because the wind is a figure of the wrathful law of God, that sweeps everything away. Then there was the earthquake, and the Lord was not in the earthquake, because that also is a figure of the wrathful law of God swallowing up sinners. And then there was the fire, and the Lord was not in the fire, because that represents also the fiery law of God; meaning that the Lord will not deal with his people by his fiery law; there is a fiery law for them, but not a fiery law against them. Then came the still small voice, and there the Lord was. And so, it is here in Zion; the blessed truth that I have stated, that all is of grace from first to last, this is the still small voice by which the Lord speaks to his people and causes them to rejoice in the possession of this freedom, of this truth, of this holy mountain. The Lord Jesus Christ is by his mediatorial work that holy mountain, in which none shall ever hurt or destroy; and it is in Christ Jesus that the feast is made; it is in the faith, and by Christ Jesus, that the veil of ignorance is rent from top to bottom; it is in and by Christ Jesus that death is swallowed up in victory, and all tears wiped away from off all faces. “I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.”
But there is another order of things spoken of in the 12th verse, in connection with the text, which I will just name. The Lord said, “The seed shall be prosperous; the vine shall give her fruit, and the ground shall give her increase, and the heavens shall give their dew; and I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.” The first thing here to be possessed is the prosperous seed: — “the seed shall be prosperous.” I like the marginal reading, — “The seed shall be a seed of peace;” —that it shall bring peace. How sweetly true is this. The dear Savior so prospered as to make eternal peace, the dear Savior so prospered as to establish eternal quietude. “Thine eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down;” and again, “My people shall dwell in peaceable habitations and in sure dwellings, and in quiet resting places.” Jesus Christ has so prospered, then, as to establish peace. And old Christians do, more than any other age or stage of Christians, appreciate peace. Old Christians have learnt the wretchedness of contentions, quarrels, disputations, and ill feelings; they have learnt that all these abominations are thieves and robbers to the soul. Therefore, the aged Christian especially says, let me walk quietly along in fellowship with the God of peace, in fellowship with Jesus, who is meek and lowly in heart, and who is our peace, and who has said, “In me ye shall have peace;” who hath said, “My peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you.” “I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.” Mark the man that is by faith perfect in Christ, behold the upright; the end of that man is peace. Good old Simeon was an aged man, and though as bold and decided as ever for God's blessed truth, yet this was that which he so highly appreciated—peace. Good old Simeon had lived in God’s gospel, and enjoyed the advantages of it, and he said, “Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, according to thy word, for mine eyes have seen thy salvation,” it is thy salvation that brings peace. What a sweet thing is this peace with God; and when this peace spreads itself among the family of God, and they are as olive plants round about the Lord’s table, and the Lord in the midst of them, — “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the children of God” “I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.” Therefore, old Christians especially desire peace. Young ones, they get a little into liberty, and get a little zealous, without much knowledge: they are pretty hot and quarrelsome, and going to overturn the world and upset these quiet, steady old Christians. They are worn out, and belong to four or five generations ago; we never mean to be such quiet; steady going old stagers as they are; we mean to be jumping and leaping, and quarrelling and fighting all our days; You will have enough of it by and by, and you will be glad to drop the subject, and to enter into peace.
You will say, I will leave these empty disputations and contentions; and where I see I could quarrel I won’t quarrel, because I do not want my peace broken; let me go on in sweet peace with God. So, then the seed, Christ Jesus, shall be so prosperous as to make eternal peace. When the nations make peace, see how uncertain the continuation of it is. Why, this world is but a volcano at the best; it has in it all the elements of its own destruction, and we know not when those elements may break out and work dreadful havoc. But not so in Christ, not so in our God, not so in the truth; there is peace divine, peace eternal. “I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.” Here we have this prosperous seed, this seed of peace, that brings peace unto us. And when you come to die, to feel you have the peace of God, why, you won’t regret that you are going. Your friends will come and say, Poor dear, you are dying. Well, you will say, I am glad of it; I have had enough of this world, but I have not had enough of the eternal world; I have had enough of mortality, but I have not had enough of immortality; I have had enough of the things that are seen, but I have not had enough of the things that are not seen; the endearments of this divine peace infinitely surpass all others. So that the Lord knows how to make his people willing to depart, and to enter into that peace where eternal tranquility reigns as Watts nicely has it,
“Not a wave of trouble rolls,
Across their peaceful breast.”
And when we can appreciate these things it will make us love the Lord our God with all our minds, with all our hearts, with all our souls, with all our strength, and regret that we cannot love him more. But here is not only a prosperous seed, but a fruitful vine. Who is this fruitful vine? "The vine shall give her fruit.” Who is this fruitful vine? Well, we have no trouble to find out who the fruitful vine is; —the fruitful vine is the Lord Jesus Christ. Will he ever cease to yield that wine that cheers, but does not inebriate? Will he ever cease to yield that divine consolation that shall cheer our hearts when nothing else can? He is the fruitful vine, the very leaves of which are for the healing of the nations; he is the fruitful vine that yields the pure blood of the grape. And whenever the Lord is pleased to bless us to sit down under this vine, and to drink the pure blood of the grape, how it heals all our diseases, cheers our hearts, expands our minds, and makes us feel, as I said at the grave this afternoon, that of all things there is nothing so blessed as being Christians, of all things there is nothing so blessed as an interest in the double promise that godliness hath—the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. Earthly vines must presently wither, and all be gone; but here is a Vine on high, Christ Jesus the Lord, that will never wither. “Sing ye unto her, a vineyard of red wine,” consolation here that can never, never run dry. Then here is also a plentiful land. “The ground shall give her increase.” The promised land is called a plentiful land; and this land is a type of Christ; a land that flows with milk and honey, and Christ, as it were flowed with milk and honey. Milk and honey are indeed under his tongue. How nourishing are his words! the sincere milk of the word; and how sweet are his words! I care not what bitterness of sin or guilt, I care not what bitterness of trouble, I care not what bitterness of loss, I care not what bitterness of affliction, I care not how bitter the cup is the Lord puts into my hand, if Jesus will but drop in words from his heavenly lips; those words drop as honey and the honeycomb into the soul, they take away all the bitterness. “Thy words were found, and I did eat them; they were the joy and rejoicing of my heart; they were sweeter than honey and the honeycomb.” I cannot describe, but you that are Christians can understand it, —when you have been in the experience of great bitterness of spirit, a word from Jesus, as one of our hymns says, —
“A single smile from Jesus given,
Can raise a drooping soul to heaven.”
I will cause the remnant of the people to possess this freedom, this truth, this mountain of God, this holy mountain, this prosperous seed, this fruitful vine, and this plentiful land; “the ground shall give her increase,” and that land, as I have said, is a type of Christ; for as the great abundance was by the land, so the great plenty we have of supply is by Jesus Christ. “Be glad, then, ye children of Zion, and rejoice in the Lord your God; for he hath given you the former rain moderately, and he will cause to come down for you the rain, the former rain, and the latter rain in the first month. And the floors shall be full of wheat, and the vats shall overflow with wine and oil. And ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied.” Now that is a wonderful thing; if you were to make a feast for fifty people, with all the most beautiful things you could get, I will undertake to say that some among them would not be satisfied; they would be sure to find some fault, some way or another. I have noticed it at the few great civic feasts I have been at, and I do not want to be at any more. I only went just to see what they were; I would not give a button for them; I have heard one find fault with this, and another find fault with the other. I thought to myself, how different from the provision of the gospel; there I can eat and be satisfied; I am perfectly satisfied with what there is; there is none too little, there is none too much; it is not the wrong, but the right sort; and so “we shall be satisfied with the goodness of thy house, even of thine holy temple.” “Ye shall eat in plenty, and be satisfied.” Jesus sees of the travail of his soul and is satisfied; and he so leads his people into these things that they are satisfied; and all the time a person is satisfied you know he is not dissatisfied; he does not care to go away from where he is satisfied. You cannot move my soul from these things; I have been there for more than forty years, —pretty well half a hundred years, and so satisfied with the gospel that all the gospels the devil has offered to me,—for he deals in offers, as you are aware—since I have known the true gospel, they have been mere cobwebs to me, mere husks to me; I can smell the leeks, the onions, and the fleshpots, —oh, you will not do at all. But bring me to the Lord’s house, to the feast of fat things, to the pure blood of the grape, to this fruitful vine, all savoring of free grace, of great love, of Christ, and of eternal things, and purity and perfection, there I can eat and be satisfied, and can praise the name of the Lord my God, that hath dealt wondrously with me. Then the Lord says, “And the heavens shall give their dew.” Now no man can command the dew. Is it not just so, that God’s blessed truth is to distil as the dew, but we cannot command it? There are times when these heavenly truths give their dew, and refresh our souls; oh, what sweet times those are! I do like it when the truth comes to me just as it did this morning. I was going through the fourth of John, and when I came to the Savior’s words about the living water, it almost broke my heart, I felt so happy; I thought, What a Savior this is! And then presently, when I came to the part where the disciples said to him, “ Master, eat,” and he said, “ I have meat to eat that ye know not of,” and they said, “Hath any man brought to him aught to eat?” then his answer came to my soul so sweetly I felt I could die: “My meat is to do the will of him that sent me, and to finish his work.” Oh, said I, that was for us too; his meat was to do God’s will, and a most solemn work it was; but solemn and awful as the work was, it was his very meat to do the will of him that sent him, and to do it effectually, and to finish his work. Oh, I thought, this is refreshing. And it is a wonderful thing to me for my heart to have any feeling at all; it is like the nether millstone, —hard, dead, carnal, and sometimes as full of the devil as it can hold; it makes me sometimes think I should be glad to get rid of it. But when the dew descends, oh, how it refreshes us, how happy it makes us! Some, of us can understand what Job means when he says, “The dew lay upon my branch.” How long, Job? “Oh,” he says, “all night.” I have often thought, I do not care how dark outward circumstances are, if I can but get the dew of heaven; then our attention will be so much led to the refreshing of the gospel, that, by the happiness of the internals, we shall forget the unpleasantness of the externals. All the time the dew rested upon Job he could say, “The Lord gave, and the Lord hath taken away and an awful taking away it was, looked at through the medium of nature, —his property and his family all gone at one fell swoop; yet so happy was he that he could say, “Blessed be the name of the Lord.” He has not taken himself away; he is my portion still, my peace still; I still possess the freedom, the truth, the mountain of the Lord, and the Lord of the mountain; still possess the holy mountain, still possess the prosperous seed, the fruitful vine, the plentiful land, and the dew of heaven. It is a great thing when we can see that all our real treasures are thus in Christ.
But I must notice, in the second place, how the people are brought to possess these things. “I will cause the remnant of this people to possess all these things.” We will first take it literally, in order more clearly to get at the spiritual meaning. We will take the Jews in their return from captivity, and coming back to their land, and the Lord making the land fruitful, as here stated. Now what was the reason that the Lord brought them back from captivity, that they might possess these things temporally, literally—taking that view of it now. What was the reason he brought them back from captivity? Well, say you, because the seventy years were expired; he said it was for seventy years, and because the seventy years were up he brought them back again. Yes, that is very good indeed, very good; but why did he say he would bring them back at all? that is the question. We know that one reason why he brought them back from Babylon to Judaea was because the seventy years were up; but there is a very much deeper reason than that. Why did he say he would bring them back at all? You will see in the Bible that there was a genealogy that could not be broken up, a tribe that could not be broken up; you will see that Jesus Christ was to be born in Bethlehem, and that he was to dwell in that land. Now it was on Christ’s account—that was the deep and foundation reason why they came back from captivity at all. And why will they never come back from their present captivity? Because there is no Christ in them to bring them back. Christ was then in the Jewish genealogy, that genealogy was not yet completed; God took care it should remain unbroken, and that Christ should be born where prediction had placed him; and that prediction was put upon record three or four hundred years before the Babylonish captivity; Jesus Christ was in that tribe genealogically, and that is the real secret of their being brought back to Judaea. But there is no Christ now in the Jewish genealogy. I have shown in my lectures upon the Book of Revelation (which will be out soon, I hope), that Jesus Christ was the last of their generations, he was the last of that genealogy. This, then, is the great secret of their being brought back from Babylon; and there being no Christ in them now is the reason why they will never again return. Now you can apply it in the spiritual sense very easily indeed. How is it you return to Zion? How is it your faces are turned towards eternal glory? Why, it is because God chose you in Jesus Christ before the foundation of the world; and your names were written in the genealogy of the blest, called the Lamb’s book of life. Therefore, by virtue of this secret relationship existing between you and Jesus Christ, you are brought to possess all these things. I need not quote scriptures, you are so familiar with all the scriptures upon this matter, —such as “i have loved thee with an everlasting love; therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.” such as, “The redeemed of the Lord shall return;” and such as, “Because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father.” and again, “Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself.” and again, “He hath saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to his own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began.” Therefore, it is on the ground of this secret relation which he hath formed, that he thus brings us to Christ? and will by and by bring us to heaven.