Out of Egypt 

A SERMON – Preached on Sunday morning Dec. 4th 1864, by

MR.   JAMES   WELLS

 

AT THE SURREY TABERNACLE, Borough Road

 

"Out of Egypt have I called my son:”-Matt. ii. 15.

 

There is a prediction that the Saviour should grow up before God as a tender plant.   All kinds of plants and flowers have been admired by men, and women too, and against that I say nothing.    But this plant of plants, this plant  that  sends forth  a  fragrance that no other plant did or can; this rose  that  infinitely surpasses  in  beauty and attraction, where there is life to feel the attraction,  all others; this  tree  of  life, infinitely surpassing all others, has nevertheless been passed by as a plant of no importance to man, as a tree under which none have ever sought any pleasure or found any delight.  So that if  Jesus  Christ had come into the world, and  died, and risen  again just  as he did, and gone to heaven, and there left the matter, his name would  have been  forgotten  long  and  long  ago. And therefore not unto man, not unto man, be the honor that the name of Jesus is still remembered.    Hence the Lord himself would not leave this matter with man, but saith concerning his dear Son, "I will make thy name to be remembered in all generations."  Oh, how great, then, is that change wrought in us!   There was when we saw no beauty in him, and now he is to us the chiefest of ten thousand, and altogether lovely.   There was when we cared naught for him; now; we feel that all is really worth seeking is embodied in him.  There was when we  sought him  not;  now we feel that all that  is really worth seeking is embodied in him, and ministered to man  by  his  Spirit by  what he hath  done  and all things we can  desire are not  to  be  compared  unto  the  excellency of this plant  of great renown,  to the excellency of the  Son of God, to  the  excellency  of  this  messenger  of the  everlasting  covenant, in which  is  all  our  salvation, and, when in our right minds, all our desire.   You will observe that our text is a quotation from the 1st verse of the 11th chapter of Hosea.  We should hardly think, in reading that chapter that the Saviour was here referred to.   Here is another proof that the Old Testament scriptures speak concerning Christ, and that they perhaps point to him in many cases where we little think the Old Testament doth point to him.   And  there are (and that will be the texture and substance of our discourse this morning)---:there  are analogies between the Saviour being  called  out  of  Egypt  and  the  children  of Israel analogies-only a sample of them, for I should not be able, in the limited space and time of a sermon, to point out one quarter of those analogies; noticing the differences as I go along, because they will apply, as we go along, to us in our being called spiritually out of the Egypt of this world, where our Lord and  Saviour is still crucified.  Suffice it first just to observe that, as the prediction stood, this plant of great renown was to grow up before the Lord.   See what care the Lord took of the infancy of the Saviour; so that the adversary, mighty as he was-namely, Herod,­ with all the powers he had at command, was not able to reach or injure the holy child Jesus.   And just the care he took of him he takes of you; for he looks upon his people as one with him; loving them with the same love.  So that even now he takes just the same care.  If there be a Herod after you, and if there be powers called into action against you, nevertheless there is the throne of grace open to you; and their schemes and plans may indeed surpass all-easily so-the wisdom and power you possess; but if you are enabled to commit your way unto the Lord, he will take you to some Egypt, some BabyIon, some Moab, some place where perhaps you would rather not go, nevertheless there shalt thou be delivered, there shall the hand of the Lord redeem thee.   "Let my outcasts dwell with thee, Egypt; let my outcasts dwell with thee, Moab; let my outcasts dwell with the, Babylon." as the matter may require.

 

But I come at once then to the language of our text,   "Out of Egypt, have l called my son."    First, to serve God.   The Lord said to Pharaoh, “Let Israel go, that he may serve me."  The Israelites, therefore, were called out of Egypt to serve God.   Jesus Christ was thus called out of Egypt to serve God.   And I may, perhaps, before  I enter into that service, just  remind  you  of  the difference  here.   It is true there is an analogy; both were called to serve God;  But the  Israelites who were called to  serve God, when they came  to encounter some of the difficulties connected  with that service, they: rebelled again, and again, and again.  And so it has been with us; the Lord hath called us out of darkness into his marvelous light; and yet, under many of  the  circumstances connected  with  the  service   of God; we have murmured  at this,  rebelled at  this,  sinned here and sinned there; so that our best righteousness  are but as filthy rags, and we dare not appear before  the Lord  in them.  Yet our services,   notwithstanding these drawbacks, are accepted as evidence of belonging to the Lord.   Let us, then, I hope with a little holy and sacred pleasure, mark the contrast here.   Let us hear what the Saviour himself saith upon this very subject. He was called out of  Egypt  in order  to serve  God, for  the  eternal  justification  and  eternal redemption of  his people. Hear the Saviour’s own account of it, and see his confidence, in it and see the care he has through it all for his people.  Hence, “The Lord God,” saith Christ,   50th of Isaiah, "hath opened mine ear, and I was not rebellious."   Those words come like oil into my   soul, and like wine into mine heart.   "I was not rebellious."   Bless his holy name,  then, while we rebel, we will plea the name  of  Him   that  never   rebelled;  that  while  we  in  a  thousand   things rebel,--as  saith one, " In many things,"  not  in a few things, but  "in many things” we  all offend,"-our plea shall be that Jesus never rebelled, and that his obedience was not for angels, was not for himself, but for him that believeth.  If thou art conscious of thy rebellion, oh, how eagerly thou wilt lay hold, by faith and hope and love, of His name that never rebelled!  “I was not rebellious, neither turned away back." Alas! alas! I have not turned back, from the truth; no thanks to me I have not done that; but I have shrunk from a great many trials and a great many services.   I have  not served God with that constancy of devotion,  I have not  served  God  up  to  that  standard of satisfaction, that I could wish, and I suppose never shall.   What then must be my plea?  We must come before the Lord, and bless him for one that never turns back.  Yea, he says, "I gave my back to the smiters”    Here I am; If you wish to scourge me  do so  Here I am if you wish to smite me, do so; here I am; if you wish to crucify me, do so. Here I am, Judas; you have been and arranged-I know it, though you think I do not, you have been and arranged with the Pharisees to buy me for thirty pieces of silver.   Well; I will not run away; I will not go away; you shall have your way: that thou doest, do quickly. And if he had not given his back to the smiters, they never could have reached him; if he had not given himself so far, they never could have betrayed him; and if he had not laid down his life; they never could have crucified him '' Think ye not "-and there mark his humility; he speaks as a man when he says," Thinkest thou that I cannot now pray to my Father, and he shall presently give me more than twelve legions of angels?  But how then shall the scriptures be fulfilled? “Nothing could make Him rebel nothing could make him turn back.  He saw our sins, but turned  not back from them; he saw all that would be inflicted upon Him of men and devils, but he turned not back from it; he saw the awful flaming sword that cut angels off forever from all Hope and  help; He  saw  that fiery sword that would  cut  unnumbered  millions  off  at  the  last day from all hope and help, and banish them  to damnation eternal; he saw this sword before him, but turned not back.  He knew he could endure it; he knew he could survive it; he knew he could endure the stroke; he knew he could quench the fire; he knew in his own personal worth he could meet all law’s demands, rise triumphant from the dead, and bring his people into all the blessedness that should result from the perfection of his obedience to God.   "Out of Egypt l have I called my son," to serve me.  Now mark his confidence in God; we must look upon the Saviour as speaking there as man; in other words as the Son of God: "The Lord God will help me: therefore I shall not be confounded."   When  I am baptized, my Father will show his approbation of me;  that will help me as man; he will  recognize my Sonship; when I am in the northern part of Canna , the hill Hermon,  I shall  be  transfigured,  and  he will  again testify of who I am. Three days before I lay down my life at Jerusalem my Father will appear again; I shall always have his approbation, because I always do those things that please him.  “The Lord God will help me" –so he did , by his approbation,-" therefore shall I not be confounded; therefore have I set my face like flint, and  I know that  I shall not  be ashamed,”  He despised the thought of ever being ashamed; he endured  the cross, despised the shame, and that for the joy that was set before him.  Wondrous Person!  Ah, then, if we serve God, if we believe in God, if we pray to God, if we praise God, if we are with God, it must be by what this wondrous Person has done.  But let us hear him again.  He saith, “Who will contend with me?”  I will, says the enemy, well then “Let us stand together; who is mine adversary? Let him come near to me.”  So, says the enemy, I will, when I get a chance.  And so, when Satan saw him in the wilderness solitary, Satan did go near to him, and tempted him forty days. Perhaps one of the things not yet revealed, that will be revealed to us when we get home to glory, will be what was going on in that forty days.  My opinion is, something not fit to be revealed; my opinion is that during that forty days Satan brought up all the dregs of hell, and hurled them at the Saviour; dregs of hell that no human language can describe; that is my opinion of the forty days,-just as Satan, when he sees us cast down and solitary, that is the time he comes in upon us.  Then, after the forty days, when Satan had exhausted all the counsels of hell, hardly knew what to do, after the forty days he tempted him with three more temptations; and I need not enlarge here to show, or to remind you, rather, how this adversary was defeated, how he was cast down, how he gained not one inch of ground. Can you and I say so?  If David were here he would say, Ah, Satan was too much for me; he stirred me up to number the people, and to put confidence in human strength, numerical strength, instead letting my confidence be in the Lord. If Joshua were here he would say, Ah, Satan stood at my right hand; I could not move him; he did not care for me, I could not move him until the Lord came and put him under my feet. And if Peter were here he would say, Satan desired to have me; got me into his sieve, and sifted out of me what I did not mean. Every Christian will bear testimony that in many respects Satan has been too much for him; in many instances Satan has been too many for him. Not so with Jesus; the dear Saviour's conquest over him was entire, was complete. If you and I could understand that scripture a little more clearly than we do, it would be to our advantage. The Saviour says," These things”-and it is by these things we have peace with God-" have I spoken unto you, that in me you might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation, but be of good cheer,"-you will overcome the world?  No, he does not say that; the world overcomes us more or less every day.  What is there a Christian that does not, at all times feel himself just that character,-I mean that of the stony-ground hearer?  The cares of this world, and other things, entering in choke the word, and it choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful; and do not these things hinder us?  Have we not to lament that very much of the word is choked in us? and but for grace in the heart the whole of it would be choked.  But, bless the Lord, where grace is, though the memory may be plundered, the heart cannot be deprived of the grace, the life, the spirit, and the truth of the blessed God.  But the Saviour places our comfort in what he has done.  He says," Be of good cheer."  Well, but, Lord, I am half swallowed up in worldly cares, and family cares, one thing and the other; I do not see how I can be of good cheer.  Well, but "I overcome the world."   Yes, Lord, if I could do it as thou hast done it! Ah, then you would not want me; you are proud enough as it is; you are important enough as it is; you are consequential enough as it is; and you would be a thousand times more so then.  But ''be of good cheer; I have overcome the world."  As though he should say, Find out, if you can, one single instance in which the world has overcome me: it has never drawn me from the truth; it has never driven me from the truth; it has never overcome me in one instance.   Now, then, let that be your comfort.  Confess that you are a poor captive; confess how the world chokes much of the word in you; confess what a poor creature you are, and plead my righteousness, plead my name, plead my obedience.  Thus, then, I think I need not say more upon this point.  Jesus was called out of Egypt to serve God, to live that life and to die that death that should bring in everlasting perfection, and he never rebelled during that service.  The Israelites did rebel; we have rebelled, and do rebel, and I fear shall, at many circumstances, as long as we live.        Bless his holy name, then,  that  he  has  made  us  acquainted  with  our  need  of  him,  and his  suitability to  us,   and  how welcome  the  poor  and  needy  are  to him! It is for   these very destitute people   that   he wrought   this   righteousness.   Go   into   the hedges   and   highways,   to   the   penniless,   and   the houseless,   and   the friendless,   and   the outcast, and the   helpless,   and compel them to come in.    Let no argument they can use prevail with you.  If  they  say they  have  not  a garment fit to appear in,  tell  them I have a wedding garment for them;  if they say they have no worthiness, tell them that  all their  worthiness   is  in  my  name;  If  they  say they   are  ignorant, tell them  that I have compassion  on the ignorant  and  them  that  are out of the way.  If they   say,  That  is   the  very  person  that  we  have   sinned against,  and he only wants  us  to condemn  us;  tell them that my language is, "I," the  very_  person   against  whom  they  have  sinned  with  a  high hand;  "I, even I, am  he that  blotteth  out  their  transgressions,  and will not  remember  their sins."     And  if two  or three should stand out and say, Well,  it is  very  right,  but  we  certainly  are too bad   to  come;  tell them that my language is, that" him  that  cometh," let him  be who he may, or what  he  may,  "to me,  I will  in  no wise  cast out."    Thus, then, Jesus was  called  to  a  service  he  performed   in  perfection;  we  are  called  to serve God  by  faith, but  called  at  the same  time  to know  that  we carry with  us  a  nature that  serves sin, while the mind  serves  the law of  God; and  hereby the Lord  doth, by various thorns in the flesh, teach  us our own nothingness,  the sufficiency of his grace, and the excellency of the service of  Jesus  Christ.

 

Secondly, God called him out of Egypt, not only to serve him as the substitute, but he called him out of Egypt because he was his Son.   He was his own Son, and he therefore called him out of Egypt.  The apostle saith  (and it is one of  our privileges  to  understand  that) to those who were led into these very things, by which things we escape the wrath  to come,   and  get  to heaven at  last, "Because ye  are  sons, God  hath   sent forth  the  Spirit  of  his  Son  into  your  hearts,   crying,  Abba,  Father."  Whom he  constituted his sons before  he  created  the globe;  he  constituted his sons before Adam was formed; he constituted his sons in the depths   of  eternity;  his  goings  forth  in  his  eternal  choice  of  his  people were   from  everlasting;  chosen, adopted,  and  made heirs  of  God,  joint-heirs with Christ, before the world was.  God called him because he was his son.  And  he convinced  you  of  your  state  as  a  sinner  because  you were one of his sons;  he  gave  you  the  spirit   of   faith,   and   wisdom, and revelation concerning Christ, because you were one of  his sons,  constituted so before Adam  was.  Thus the analogy, and a beautiful analogy it is to.

 

But now for the  difference  between  the  two  callings-a  difference I dwell  upon,  and  have dwelt  upon, with  very   great  pleasure;  to my mind  it  is illustrative  and very encouraging.        And  it is this,-Jesus Christ was  called  out of Egypt on  the ground  not only  that  he was the  Son of  God, but on the ground  of  his own personal  worth  and worthiness.   He was something worth calling; he was something worth going after; he was something worth having; he was something worth being required; he was something worth being sought for.   That is the ground upon which he was called, - his own worthiness; he was called to the priesthood on the ground of his own worthiness; he was called to heaven on the ground of his own worthiness; he was called to God's right hand on the ground of his own worthiness, - "Thou art worthy” he is called to govern all nations, and to have power over all flesh, on the ground of his own worthiness.  Thus he was called on the ground of his own worthiness.   On what ground were we called?  Let us come to the Scriptures.  God give us grace to bless his dear and precious, precious name for the grounds upon which we are called.  He, on the ground of his own worthiness; we, on the same ground,-on the ground of his worthiness.  For we, as sinners, we were not worth calling; we were not worth  the  grace ;  we were not  worth  the price ; we were not  worth the mercy; we were not worth the trouble of calling; we were not worth the millionth   part  of  the  trouble  the  blessed  God  hath  taken  with us.   But let us be careful now upon this matter.  "Art thou not it"--here is the work of Christ, and here is the ground of his calling-" that hath cut Rahab," meaning Egypt, "and wounded the dragon?" the Egyptian power, represented by the king, Pharaoh.  "Art thou not it which hath  dried the sea, the waters of  the great deep; that  hath made the  depths of  the sea a  way"   that  is something towards it­ '' for the ransomed  to pass  over?”  “Therefore," as  the redemption  is wrought in "the redeemed of the Lord,”  on the ground of Christ's redemption,  on the ground of the sufficiency  of his sacrifice,-" the redeemed of the Lord shall return, and come with  singing unto Zion;" 'there the Lord shall command the blessing, even life for evermore. Oh, you Wesleyans, who think that the great God tries to call people, and they will not come, and will not come, and will not come, and that there ought to be something in them to make them a consenting party, and that there ought to be something in them that will help the Almighty, - you get that from creatures, that doctrine not from the blessed God; no.  And you duty-faith people, you are just the same; you do not like to be called free-willers, but you are no better, you are rather worse, because one part of your gospel contradicts the other.  Well now, look at those words; not only shall they return and come to Zion, but mark the final triumph of the same people, on the same ground; “everlasting joy shall be unto them;" just as sure as he has taken possession of the joy, so shall they;  " everlasting  joy  shall be unto them; sorrow and sighing shall flee away." Thus he was called on the ground of his own worth and worthiness; we are called on the ground not of any worth in us, but on the ground exclusively of the worth of the Lord Jesus Christ.   I will have two more scriptures yet upon this; 31st of Jeremiah; “The Lord hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger the he; “ah! That is it, Jeremiah ushers in thus: “Publish ye, praise ye,”-something wonderful; it is wonderful in our eyes, the Lord’s work, and marvelous in our eyes.  Well, suppose he was ransomed from the hand of him that was stronger than he;- ­ what shall be the result? “Therefore”-Jeremiah was a good  logician as well as a good theologian- “Therefore they shall come,' -that are thus redeemed,  thus ransomed,-“ and sing in the height of Zion;" that height of Zion means two things;  Christ  in   his  perfection,  and  Christ  in eternal glory; "and shall flow together to the goodness of the Lord;" having no goodness of their own, they flow together to his goodness;  “for wheat," and Christ is that wheat; "and for wine," and Christ is that wine: the blood of the everlasting covenant; "and for oil,"  and  the grace of God by Christ Jesus is the olive oil that maketh the face to shine; "and for the young of the flock and of the herd," there are the little ones; that is milk, and the gospel is that milk,-" sincere milk of the word, that ye may grow thereby;" "and their soul all be as a watered  garden; and they shall not sorrow any more at all.

 

"Out of Egypt have I called my son?"  Volumes contained in our text; I would venture to preach ten Sunday mornings! or ten Sunday evenings, upon such a text as this,  and  have  something  fresh, every time;  for the analogies are almost  endless  between  the  Saviour’s call out of Egypt and our call; at the same time the contrast, setting forth those things  that  so  attract  a  poor,  sensible  sinner,  and  them that love the Saviour; he was called  on  the  ground of  his  own  worthiness. Let us now come to the New Testament, and see on what ground we are thus brought to seek the Lord.  Here it stands; "God, who rich  in  mercy;"  there  was  rich  mercy  in  the  background,   unknown   to us; "and for his great love wherewith he loved us, even when dead in sins;"  here is mercy in the background, and love in  the background. There is the sinner going to hell fast as his sins and  time can carry him; mercy steps in, ministers life, stops him;  he begins to sigh,  “God be merciful to me a sinner; and finds  out there  is not  only mercy, but also love, great love. "Quickened us together  with Christ  Jesus;" nothing without Christ Jesus; "made us sit together in heavenly by Christ Jesus; that in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches  of  his  grace  in  his  kindness  toward   us through  Christ Jesus."

 

Now my object this morning is to get near to God, and be the means of bringing you near to God.  Oh, what a release it Is when we get, If  It  Is only  a few moments, rid  of  our  customary  burdens  and  cares, and  can leave everything behind, forget our poverty, remember our misery no more; if it be only a few moments sweet fellowship with the blessed  God by Jesus Christ!  We feel and see, then, in how many senses God calls his people out of Egypt; it will apply not only to their first calling, but every call out of trouble, every call out of difficulty, every call out of prison, as it were, every call out of captivity, every turn of our captivity, nothing but a call out of Egypt into the promised land.  Thus, then, Jesus Christ was called to serve God, did so, and never sinned. The Israelites were delivered to serve God, but they mingled many rebellions.  Jesus Christ did no sin; we must therefore plead not our own righteousness but his.   Jesus Christ was called because he was the Son of God; so we are called because we are sons, only he was so direct, we by adoption.  He was called on the ground of his own worthiness; we were not worth calling, we were therefore called on the ground of the worthiness which the blessed God had provided.   

 

One more point amidst the numbers that rise to my mmd on the subject, and then I must close.  I told you a first I should give you only a sample; I have left the whole heap behind; May you find it out, and profit by it.   Fourth, the Israelites were called out of Egypt to possess a promised land.   So was Jesus Christ; he was called out of Egypt to serve God in the wilderness of this world, and to reach the Promised Land.  Ah, did the blessed Son of God come short? Did he, like Moses, view the Land   but never reach the place?    No, no, no, no.   Jesus  Christ  went lower  than any man ever went; he went down to the deeps of  God's wrath, deeper than hell, overturned the mountains of sin by their roots, rose triumphant  from  the dead, reached  the promised   land, has  full  possession,  universal   and  infinite   welcome,   there.     Would that   the Lord would give me not only grace, but more gifts to set forth some of these things!  Now here is a thought strikes me here, that If I had gifts to do so how I should like to run out a long train  of contrast  between  the treatment the Saviour met with in this world, and the welcome which he meets in heaven.  Could language describe it?   No; I must not attempt it.  Take up all his grief’s here in his humiliation; see how they contrast; look at him as a man of  sorrows, acquainted with grief, wounded  for our transgressions,  bruised  for  our  iniquities, and  with  his  stripes  we  are healed,  and  so on; take  all  these up, and  all you can think  of, and  see how  they  contrast  with  the universal  welcome,  blessedness,  and  glory, which he now possesses.  He himself saith, "Thou"-and every Christian in the  minor  sense  can  adopt  the  same  language – “Thou”,  which  hast showed  me great  and  sore troubles,  shalt  quicken me again,  and  shalt bring me up  from the depths of the earth.   Thou shalt increase my greatness, and comfort me on every side."   See the difference again, then.    The Israelites came out of Egypt to possess a promised   land; but   alas!   alas!  what   thousands    upon  thousands   came   short   or  the same,  fell  in  the  wilderness,  never   reached  that  land  of  brooks  of water,  of  fountains  and  depth.   springing out of the valleys and out of the hills; never  reached  that Land of wheat and  barley, of vines  and fig trees,  of  pomegranates  and  olive  oil,  and  of  honey;  never  reached that  land  whose  stones are iron, and out  of  whose hills, for permanent dwellings,   thou  mayest   dig   brass;   see  how  many  thousands   never reached  that land!    But Jesus did reach it.    And how is it that you and I shall reach it?  Are we better than the Israelites that came short?  No, by no means;  we should come short as they did, were there not this great difference between  them  and  us ; -theirs was  an  external call to an external  and  temporal  possession;  their  coming out of Egypt  did not change their heats;  the man on the one side of the Red Sea was the same as he was on the other side.  But our being called spiritually did change  our  hearts,  and  the  Lord  gave  us  a  new  heart,  and   he   that has begun  the good work  will  perform  it  unto the day  of  Jesus Christ.  "I will never leave thee nor forsake thee" Just a word upon this:-the secret that we do not could not come short is not because of any worth or worthiness in us; it is because of the eternity of the   Saviour's work, the eternity of the new covenant, the faithfulness of God the Father, the power of the Holy Spirit.  But I cannot close without one more word; though I have not applied this call, as you see, friends, out of Egypt, to one quarter of the circumstances to winch it does apply, such as the resurrection at the last day, and so on-all applies;  Out of Egypt  have  I  called  my son."  But there is just a word or two, and it is this.  It is, friends, believe me when I say it, a great a great mercy not only that He who began the good work will carry it on, but it is a great mercy for us to be ourselves concerned that it should go on.  The evil works in our hearts will go on fast enough of themselves, and it is great mercy to be concerned that the good work should go on. I hope most of you are come this morning with that feeling,-Now what do I desire to-day?  Why, that the good work  should be revived, that faith should strengthen, that charity should abound, that love should increase, spirituality should rise, that  I may feel that the things of God are not passing  by me, nor  passing by them, and that  I  do wish above all to live that good   life of faith upon the Son of God, and  that  I   do  wish above all that in that good  life I may have fellowship with the Father, and with his Son Jesus  Christ.    I know not, even taking that comparatively low view of it, I know not what may overtake me, and the nearer I am to the Lord the safer I am; for "they that dwell in the in the secret place" –And Christ is that secret place--" of the most High shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." No plague shall come nigh thee there; no arrow shall reach thee there; there thou art in safe guard.

 

Thus, then, friends, while Jesus reached the land, he himself is the author, and he will be the finisher of our faith; the end of our faith shall be the salvation of our souls. May it be increasingly our concern to know that the good work is going on.