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"My Lord and My God!"
A SERMON DELIVERED ON LORD'S-DAY MORNING, APRIL 13, 1884,
BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE METROPOLITAN TABERNACLE, NEWINGTON.
"And Thomas answered and said unto Him, 'My Lord and my God!'" John 20:28.
WHEN the Apostles met on the first Lord's Day after Jesus had risen, Thomas was the only disciple absent out of the eleven. On the second Lord's Day, Thomas was there and he was the only disciple doubting out of the eleven. How much the fact of his doubting was occasioned and helped by the fact of his former absence, I cannot say, but still, it looks highly probable that had he been there at the first, he would have enjoyed the same experience as the other 10, and would have been able to say as they did, "We have seen the Lord." Let us not forsake the assembling of ourselves together as the manner of some is, for we cannot tell what loss we may sustain thereby. Though our Lord may reveal Himself to single individuals in solitude as He did to Mary Magdalene, yet He more usually shows Himself to two or three, and He delights, most of all, to come into the assembly of His servants.
The Lord seems most at home when, standing in the midst of His people, He says, "Peace be unto you." Let us not fail to meet with our fellow Believers! For my part, the assemblies of God's people shall always be dear to me. Where Jesus pays His frequent visits, there would I be found—
"My soul shall pray for Zion still,
While life or breath remains.
There my best friends,
My kindred dwell.
There God my Savior reigns."
I know that full many of you can most heartily say the same. Oh, that we may behold the Lord Jesus in the present assembly! On the second occasion, Thomas is present, and he is the only one out of the 11 who is vexed with doubts. He cannot think it possible that the Lord Jesus, who was nailed to the Cross, and whose side was pierced, could have really risen from the dead. Observe joyfully the Lord's patience with him. All the others had been doubtful, too, and the Lord had gently upbraided them for their unbelief and the hardness of their hearts.
But Thomas is not convinced by the ten-fold testimony of his Brothers, who, each one, well deserved his implicit confidence. After the plain way in which the Lord had told His disciples that He should be crucified and would rise again from the dead, they ought to have expected the Resurrection—and inasmuch as they did not, they were to be blamed— but what shall we say of him who, in addition to all this, had heard the witness of his 10 comrades who had actually seen the Lord? Yet there he is, the one doubter, the one sturdy questioner who has laid down most stringent requirements as to the only way in which he will be brought to believe. Will not his Lord be provoked by his obstinacy?
See how patient Jesus is! If we had been in that case and had died for those people—and had passed through the grave and risen again for them—we would have felt very greatly grieved and somewhat angered if they had refused to believe in what we had done. But our Lord shows no such sign. He is tender among them as a nursing father. He rebukes their unbelief—that was necessary for their sakes—but He manifests no vexation of spirit. Especially on this occasion He shows His tenderness toward Thomas and addresses His first words to him. If Thomas will not be convinced except by what I must call the most gross and materialistic evidence, our Master will give him such evidence!
If he must put his finger into the print of the nails, he shall put his finger there! If he must thrust his hand into His side, he shall be permitted to take that liberty! Oh, see how Jesus condescends to the weaknesses and even to the follies of His people! If we are unbelieving, it is not His fault, for He goes out of His way to teach us faith—and sometimes He even gives what we have no right to ask, what we have no reason to expect, what it was even sin in us to have desired! We are so weak, so ignorant, so prone to unbelief that He will do anything to create, sustain and strengthen our faith in Him! He condescends to men of low estate. If through our own folly we are such babes that we cannot eat the meat which is fit food for men, our Lord will not grow weary of giving us milk, but He will even break the bread into morsels and take away the hard crusts that we may be able to feed thereon. It is not His will that one of His little ones should perish and, therefore, He chases away unbelief, which is their deadliest foe.
Our Lord had special reasons for turning as He did to Thomas, that day, and for taking so much trouble to bring Thomas out of his unbelieving condition. The reason must have been, surely, first, that He desired to make of Thomas a most convincing witness to the reality of His Resurrection. Here is a man who is determined not to be deceived—let him come and use the tests of his own choice. If you tell me that the Resurrection of our Lord from the dead was witnessed by men who were prepared to believe it, I reply that the statement is totally false! Not one among that company even knew the meaning of the Lord's prophecy that He would rise, again, from the dead! It was hard to make any of them catch the idea—it was so foreign to their thought—so far above their expectation. In Thomas we have a man who was especially hard to be convinced. A man who was so obstinate as to give the lie to 10 of his friends with whom he had been associated for years!
Now, if I had a statement to make which I wished to have well attested, I would like to place in the witness box a person who was known to be exceedingly cautious and wary. I would be glad if it were known that, at the first, he had been suspicious and critical, but had, at length, been overwhelmed by evidence so as to be compelled to believe. I am sure that such a man would give his evidence with the accent of conviction as, indeed, Thomas did when he cried, "My Lord and my God!" We cannot have a better witness to the fact that the Lord is risen, indeed, than that this cool, examining, prudent, critical, Thomas arrived at an absolute certainty!
Further, I conceive that our Lord thus personally dealt with Thomas because He would have us see that He will not lose even one of those whom the Father has given Him. The Good Shepherd will leave the 99 to seek the one wanderer! If Thomas is the most unbelieving, Thomas shall have the most care! He is only one, but yet he is one, and the Lord Jesus will not lose one whom He has ordained to save! You and I might have said, "Well, if he will not be convinced, we must leave him alone. He is only one—we can do without his testimony—we cannot be forever seeking a solitary individual. Let him go." Thus might we have done, but thus Jesus will not do! Our Good Shepherd looks after the units—He is tenderly observant of each separate individual—and this is a ground of comfort to us all! If one sheep is lost, why not the whole flock? If one is thus cared for, all will be cared for!
This note is also to be heard in reference to this matter—it is to be feared that the dull, the slow, the questioning, the anxious, the weak in faith make up a very considerable part of the Church—I do not know that they are in the majority, but they are certainly far too numerous. If all Christians were arranged and classified, I fear we could not, many of us, place ourselves in the front rank, but a large portion would have to go among the Little-Faiths. Our Lord here shows us that He has a condescending care for those who lag behind. Thomas is a week behind everybody else, yet his Lord has not lost patience, but waits to be gracious.
The other 10 Apostles have all seen the Lord and been well assured of His Resurrection for the last seven days. But that is no reason why the latecomer should be left out in the cold. Our Lord does not leave the rear rank to perish. We know that in the wilderness, the Amalekites slew the hindmost of the children of Israel. But when King Jesus heads the army, no Amalekites shall smite even the hindmost of His people, for the Glory of the Lord shall bring up the rear! The walls of Zion enclose babes as well as veterans! The Ark of our salvation preserves mice as well as bullocks! Our Solomon speaks of the hyssop on the wall as well as of the cedar in Lebanon—and the Glory of the Lord may be seen in the preservation of the glowworm's lamp as truly as in the sustenance of the furnace of the sun!
Now, if there should be any in this assembly who honestly have to put themselves down in the sick list, I beg them to take comfort while I try and set forth the experience of Thomas and what came of it. First, I shall call your attention to the exclamation of Thomas, "My Lord and my God!" Secondly, we will consider, how he came to it. And thirdly, how we come to it, for I trust many of us have also cried, "My Lord and my God!"
I. Let us consider THE EXCLAMATION OF THOMAS, "My Lord and my God!" This is a most plain and hearty confession of the true and proper Deity of our Lord Jesus Christ. It is as much as a man could say if he wished to assert indisputably and dogmatically that Jesus is, indeed, God and Lord. We find David saying, "O Lord of Hosts, my King,
and my God," and in another place, (Psa. 35:23), he says, "My God and my Lord," terms only applicable to Jehovah! Such expressions were known to Thomas and he, as an Israelite, would never have applied them to any person whom he did not believe to be God! We are sure, therefore, that it was the belief of Thomas that the risen Savior was Lord and
If this had been a mistake, the Lord Jesus would have rebuked him, for He would not have allowed him to be guilty of worshipping a mere man. No good man among us would permit a person to call him God and Lord—we would feel like Paul and Barnabas when they tore their clothes because the men of Lystra were ready to sacrifice to them—how much more would the holy Jesus have felt a revolting of spirit against the idea of being worshipped and called, "My Lord and my God," if He had not been of such a Nature that He "thought it not robbery to be equal with God!" The perfect Jesus accepted Divine homage and, therefore, we are assured that it was rightly and properly given. And we here, at this moment, offer Him, by His Grace, the same adoration!
To escape from the force of this confession, some who denied our Lord's Deity in olden times had the effrontery to charge Thomas with breaking the Third Commandment by uttering such a cry of surprise as is common among profane talkers. Just as thoughtless persons take the Lord's name in vain and say, "Good God!" or, "O Lord!" when they are much astonished, so certain ancient heretics dared to interpret these words—"My Lord and my God!" It is clear to any thoughtful person that this could not have been the case. For, in the first place, it was not the habit of a Jew to use any such exclamation when surprised or amazed. An irreligious Gentile might have done so, but it was the last thing that would occur to a devout Israelite.
If there is one thing about which the Jews in our Lord's times were particular beyond everything, it was about using the name of God. Why, even in their sacred books they have omitted the word, "Jehovah," and have only written "Adonai," because of a superstitious reverence for the very letters of the Divine name! How can we, then, believe that Thomas would have done what no Jew at that time would have dreamed of? Israel, after the Babylonian captivity, had many faults, but not that of idolatry or irreverence to the Divine name! I do not know what an Israelite might have said under the influence of a great surprise, but I am absolutely certain that he would not have said, "My Lord and my God!"
In the next place, it could not have been a mere exclamation of surprise, or an irreverent utterance because it was not rebuked by our Lord—and we may be sure He would not have suffered such an unhallowed cry to have gone without a reprimand. Observe, too, that it was addressed to the Lord Jesus—"Thomas answered and said unto Him, My Lord and my God!" It was not a mere outburst of surprise addressed to no one, but it was an answer directed to the Lord who had spoken to him. It was also such a reply that our Lord Jesus Christ accepted it as an evidence of faith, for in the 29th verse He says, "You have believed," and that confession was the only evidence of His believing which our Lord had received from Thomas. A mere outcry of confused astonishment in irreverent words would never have been received as a satisfactory proof of faith!
Sin is not an evidence of faith! The slander proposed by the Arian must, therefore, be rejected with derision. I am almost ashamed to have mentioned it, but in these days, when every kind of error is rife, it is necessary to bring to light and break in pieces many idols which we had rather have left with the moles and bats. I regard this cry of Thomas, first, as a devout expression of that holy wonder which came upon him when his heart made the great discovery that Jesus was assuredly His Lord and God. It had flashed upon the mind of Thomas that this august Person whom he had regarded as the Messiah was also God. He saw that the Man at whose feet he had sat was more than man and was assuredly God, and this amazed him so that he used broken speech.
He does not say, "You are my Lord and my God," as a man would say who is making a doctrinal statement, but he brings it out in fragments. He makes adoration of it. He cries in ecstasy, "My Lord and my God!" He is amazed at the discovery which he has made and probably, also, at the fact that he has not seen it long before. Why, he might have known it and ought to have perceived it years before! Had he not been present when Jesus trod the sea? When He hushed the winds and bade the waters sleep? Had he not seen Him open the blind eyes and unstop the deaf ears? Why did he not cry, "My Lord and my God," then?
Thomas had been slow to learn and the Lord might have said to him, as He did to Philip, "Have I been so long time with you, and yet have you not known Me?" Now, all of a sudden, he does know his Lord—knows Him to such a surprising extent that such knowledge is too wonderful for him! He had come to the meeting to prove whether He who appeared
to his Brothers was the same Man who had died on Calvary, but now he seems to have forgotten that original question— it is more than answered—it has ceased to be a question! He is carried far further by the flood of evidence! He is landed in a full belief of the Godhead of Jesus! He spies out within that wounded body the indwelling Godhead and, at a leap, he springs beyond the conviction that it is the same Man, to the firm assurance that Jesus is God and, consequently, in broken accents, but with double assurance, he cries, "My Lord and my God!"
My Brothers and Sisters, how I wish you would all follow Thomas this morning! I will stop a minute that you may do so. Let us wonder and admire! He that had not where to lay His head. He that suffered scourging and spitting, and died on Calvary is, nevertheless, God over all, blessed forever! He who was laid in the tomb lives and reigns, King of kings and Lord of lords! Hallelujah! Behold, He comes in the Glory of the Father to judge the quick and the dead! Let your spirits drink in that Truth of God and be amazed at it! If the fact that Jesus, the Son of God, suffered and bled and died for you, never astonishes you, I fear that you do not believe it, or have no intelligent apprehension of the full meaning of it! Angels wonder, should not you?! Oh, let us feel a holy surprise, today, as we realize the Truth that He who has redeemed us from our sins by His blood is the Son of the Highest!
Next, I believe that this was an expression of immeasurable delight, for you observe he does not say, "Lord and God," but, "My Lord and my God!" He seems to take hold of the Lord Jesus with both hands, by those two blessed "mys"— "My Lord and my God!" Oh, the joy that flashed from the eyes of Thomas at that moment! How quickly his heart beat! He had never known such joy as at that instant and, though he must have felt deeply humbled, yet in that humiliation there was an excessive sweetness of intense satisfaction as he looked at His Divine Lord and gazed on Him, from the pierced feet up to the brow so marred with the crown of thorns, and said, "My Lord and my God!" There is, in these few words, a music akin to the sonnet of the spouse in the Canticles when she sang, "My Beloved is mine, and I am His."
The enraptured Apostle saw the Friend of his heart standing before him, shining upon him in love and knitting His heart to him. I pray you follow Thomas in this joy in Christ. I pause a minute that you may do so. Jesus now stands before you, visible to your faith. Delight yourselves in Him! Be always ravished with His love! He is altogether lovely and altogether yours! He loves you with all the infinity of His Nature! The tenderness of His Humanity and the majesty of His Deity blend in His love to you. Oh, love the Lord, you, His saints, for He deserves your hearts! Therefore at this moment say, "My Lord and my God!"
More than this, I believe that the words of Thomas indicate a complete change of mind—in other words, a most hearty repentance. He has not asked of the Lord Jesus to be permitted to put his finger into the print of the nails. No, all that has gone without debate. If you look at the chapter you will find no statement that he ever did handle the Lord as he had, at first, proposed. Whether he did put his finger into the print of the nails and his hand into His side must forever be unknown to us until we see Thomas in Heaven and ask him the question. If you read the Savior's words as commanding him to do so, then we may conclude that he did so—but if you read them as only permitting him to do it—then I think he did not do it.
I put the question to a dear companion of mine—I read the passage and then I asked—"What do you think, did Thomas put his hand into Christ's side?" And the answer from a thoughtful mind and a gentle heart was this—"I do not think he could. After the Master had so spoken to him, he would shrink from doing so, and would think it willful unbelief to attempt it." This reply coincided exactly with my own convictions. I feel sure that had it been my case, I would have felt so ashamed at ever having proposed such a test, and so overwhelmed to find the Lord yielding to it, that I could not have gone an inch further in the way of seeking tokens and proofs unless I had been absolutely commanded to do so. So, judging Thomas to be like ourselves and, indeed, much better than any of us, notwithstanding his imperfection, I gather that he completely turned round and, instead of putting his finger into the print of the nails, he cried, "My Lord and my God!"
The Savior said to him, "Because you have seen Me, you have believed." Now, I lay no stress upon it, but it would seem probable that the Savior might have said, "Because you have touched Me, you have believed," if Thomas had, indeed, touched Him. But inasmuch as He only speaks of sight, it may be that sight was enough for Thomas. I do not insist upon it, but I think it right to suggest it. I feel it is not unreasonable to conclude that all Thomas did was to look at his Lord. He could do no more—the delicacy of his spirit would not permit him to accept the offered test—his reverence
stopped him. He saw and believed! In Him we see a complete change of feeling—from being the most unbelieving of the 11, he came to believe more than any of them and to confess Jesus to be God!
This exclamation is also a brief confession offaith, "My Lord and my God!" Whoever will be saved, before all things, it is necessary that he is able to unite with Thomas heartily in this creed, "My Lord and my God!" I do not go in for all the minute distinctions of the Athanasian Creed, but I have no doubt that it was absolutely necessary, at the time it was written, and that it materially helped to check the evasions and tricks of the Arians. This short creed of Thomas I like much better, for it is brief, pithy, full, sententious and it avoids those matters of detail which are the quicksands of faith. Such a belief is necessary—and no man can truly hold it unless he is taught by the Holy Spirit. He can say the words, but he cannot receive the spiritual Truth! No man can call Jesus, "Lord," but by the Holy Spirit. It is, therefore, a most necessary and saving creed that we should cry to the Lord Jesus, "My Lord and my God!" I ask you to do this, now, in your hearts. Renew your faith and confess that He who died for you is your Lord and God.
Socinians may call Jesus what they please—to me He is God over all, blessed forever! I know that you say, "Amen!" Further than this, do you not think that these words of Thomas were an enthusiastic profession of his allegiance to Christ? "My Lord and my God!" It was as though he paid Him lowliest homage and dedicated himself, then and there, in the entirety of his nature to His service. To Him whom he had once doubted, he now submits himself, for in Him he fully believes. He does as good as say, 'Henceforth, O Christ, You are my Lord and I will serve You. You are my God, and I will worship you."
Finally, I regard it as a distinct and direct act of adoration. At the feet of the manifested Savior, Thomas cries, "My Lord and my God!" It sounds like a rehearsal of the eternal song which ascends before that Throne where cherubim and seraphim continually cry, "Holy, holy, holy, Lord God of Sabaoth." It sounds like a stray note from those choral symphonies which day without night circle the Throne of the Eternal! Let us, in solemn silence, now present our souls before the Throne of God, bowing in reverent adoration unto Him that was, and is, and is to come, even the Lamb that was slain, who is risen, and who lives forever.
"My Lord and my God!" O Son of Mary, you are, also, Son of the Highest, and unto my heart and spirit you are my Lord and my God and I worship you this day! We have not time or else I would sit down and invite you to spend a few minutes in private, personal worship, following the example of Thomas in adoring our Lord and God.
II. Our next division is to be headed with the question—HOW DID HE COME TO THAT EXCLAMATION? Have
you ever thought what Thomas's feelings were when he went to the meeting that evening? His going needed a complicated explanation. Why did he mingle with men whose assertions he doubted? Could he have fellowship with them and yet call them liars? Suppose Jesus Christ to be dead and not risen—why does Thomas go? Is he going to worship a dead man? Is he about to renounce the faith of the last two years? How can he hold it if Jesus is not alive? Yet how can he give it up? Was Jesus Christ, Lord and God to Thomas when he first entered that meeting? I suppose not. He did not, when he entered the room, believe Him to be the same Person who had died.
The other disciples believed and Thomas was now the lone doubter—peculiar, positive, obstinate. Has it never happened to other disciples to drift into much the same condition? Thomas was a lot out of catalog that evening—he was the odd person in the little gathering and yet, before service was over, the Lord had completely changed him. "Behold, there are last which shall be first, and there are first which shall be last." The first thing, I think, that led Thomas to this confession of his belief in Christ's Deity was that he had his thoughts revealed. The Savior came into the room, the doors being shut—without opening the doors He suddenly appeared before them by His own Divine Power.
Then and there, pointing to Thomas, He repeated to him the very words which Thomas had said to his Brothers. They had not been reported to the Savior, but the Savior had read Thomas' thoughts at a distance and He was, therefore, able to bring before him, his exact words. Notice that the Savior did not say, "Stoop down and put your finger into the nail prints in My feet." Why not? Why, because Thomas had not said anything about His feet and, therefore, the Savior did not mention them! Everything was exact. We, in looking at it, can see the exactness, but Thomas must have felt it much more. He was overwhelmed! To have his thoughts put in plain words and to hear his own words repeated by Him whom they concerned, this was truly amazing! "Oh," he says, "He who now speaks to me is none other than God! And He shall be my Lord and my God." This helped him to his assured conviction that the One who had read his thoughts must be God.
He was aided still further, for as soon as he perceived that this was the same Jesus with whom he had conversed before, all the past must have risen before his mind and he must have remembered the many occasions in which the Lord Jesus had exercised the attributes of Deity. Those past conversations, thus revived before him, must all have gone to support the conviction that Jesus was none other than Lord and God. And then, I think, the very air, and manner, and Presence of the Savior convinced the trembling disciple. They say there is a divinity that hedges a king—that I am not prepared to believe, but I am sure there was a majesty about the look of our Lord—a more than human dignity in His manner, tone, speech and bearing! Our Lord's personal Presence convinced Thomas, so that he saw and believed.
But perhaps the most convincing arguments of all were our Lord's wounds. It seems a long way round to infer the Deity of Christ from His wounds, yet it is good and clear argument. I shall not set it out in order before you, but leave you to think it out for yourselves! Yet one little hint I would give you—here is a wound in His side more than sufficient to have caused death. It has gone right to the heart—the soldier pierced His side with a spear and forthwith flowed there out blood and water—proving that the heart was pierced. The opening was still there, for the Lord invited Thomas to thrust his hand into His side—and yet Jesus lived!
Heard you ever such a story as this—a man with a gaping wide death wound inviting another to thrust his hand therein? Had our Lord been living after the way in which we live, by the circulation of our blood, one can hardly see how this could have been possible! Flesh and blood, being subject to corruption, cannot inherit the Kingdom of God, but the Savior's risen body came not under that description, as, indeed, His buried body did not, for He saw no corruption. I invite you to note well the distinction which may be seen in our Lord's words concerning His own body. He does not speak of His body as flesh and blood, but He says, "Handle Me and see; for a spirit has not flesh and bones as you see I have." It was a real body and a material body, for He took a piece of a broiled fish and honeycomb and did eat before them—but still His Resurrection body, living with an open wound in His side, reaching to the heart, was not after the manner of men.
So even in the wounds of Christ, we read that He is Man, but not mere man! His wounds, in various ways, were evidence to Thomas of His Deity. Anyway, the glorious fact rushed upon Thomas's astonished mind in a single moment and, therefore, he cried out, "My Lord and my God!"
III. Finally, let us see HOW WE MAY COME TO IT. That is our final point and the most practical of all. I doubt not that the Spirit of God was at work with Thomas, at that time, very mightily—and that the true cause of his enlightenment was heavenly illumination. If ever any one of us shall cry in spirit and in truth, "My Lord and my God!" the Holy Spirit must teach us. Blessed are you who can call Jesus, "Lord and God," for flesh and blood has not revealed this unto you, but the Father from Heaven.
But I will tell you when Believers do cry, "My Lord and my God!" I remember the first time it filled my heart. Burdened with guilt and full of fears, I was as wretched as a man could be outside of Hell, when I heard the voice of the Lord saying, "Look unto Me, and be you saved, all the ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is none else." I did look, then and there, by His Grace! I gave a faith-glance to Him who suffered in my place and, in an instant, my peace was like a river! My heart leaped from despair to gladness and I knew my Lord to be Divine! If anyone had said to me, then, "Jesus Christ is not God," I would have laughed him to scorn! He was beyond all question, my Lord and my God, for He had worked a Divine work in me!
It may not be an argument to anybody else, but forgiveness consciously known in the soul is a conclusive argument to the man who has ever felt it! If the Lord Jesus turns your mourning into dancing! If He brings you up out of the horrible pit and out of the miry clay and sets your feet upon a rock and establishes your goings, He is sure to be your Lord and God from that time on and forever! In the teeth of all that deny it—in the teeth of all the devils in Hell—the redeemed heart will assert the Godhead of its Savior! He that has saved me is, indeed, God, and beside Him there is none else. This first avowal has proved to be only the beginning of these confessions. We remember many other acknowledgments of the same fact.
We were severely tempted and yet we did not slip, nor stain our garments, a wonder that we escaped! He that kept us from falling, must be God. I know some moments in my life when I could stand and look back in the morning light upon the valley through which I had passed in the dark—and when I saw how narrow the pathway was; how a little step to the left or to the right must have been my total destruction and yet I had never tripped, but had come straight through in
perfect safety—I was astounded and, bowing my head, I worshipped, saying, "The Lord has been my refuge and my defense. He has kept my soul in life and preserved me from the Destroyer, therefore will I sing songs unto Him as long as I live." Oh, yes, dear children of God, when your heads have been covered in the day of battle, you have magnified the Keeper of Israel, saying, "My Lord and my God!"
We have felt that we could not doubt, again, and have joyfully committed ourselves to His keeping as to the guardian care of a faithful Creator. Such, also, has been the case in time of trouble, when you have been comforted and upheld. A very heavy affliction has fallen upon you and yet, to your surprise, it has not crushed you as you feared it would have done. Years before you had looked forward to the stroke with agonizing apprehension and said, "I shall never bear it." But you did bear it and, at this moment, you are thankful that you had it to bear! The thing which you feared came upon you and when it came, it seemed like a feather compared with what you expected it to be—you were able to sit down and say, "The Lord gave, and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord."
Your friends were surprised at you—you had been a poor, wretchedly nervous creature before, but in the time of trial you displayed a singular strength such as surprised everybody! Most of all, you surprised yourself, for you were full of amazement that in weakness you were made so strong. You said, "I was brought low, and He helped me." You could not doubt His Deity then—anything which would rob Him of Glory you detested, for your heart said, "Lord, there is none that could have solaced my soul in this fashion save only the Lord God Almighty." Personally I have had to cry out, "It is the Lord," when I have seen His wonders in the deep. "O my Soul, you have trodden down strength." My soul shall magnify my Lord and my God, for, "He sent from above, He took me; He drew me out of many waters. He brought me forth, also, into a large place: He delivered me, because He delighted in me."
There have been other occasions less trying. Bear with me if I mention one or two more. When we have been musing, the fire has burned. While studying the story of our Lord, our faith in His Deity has been intensified. When the Spirit of God has revealed the Lord Jesus to us and in us, then we have cried, "My Lord and my God!" Though not after the flesh, yet in very deed and truth we have seen the Lord. On a day which I had given up to prayer, I sat before the Lord in holy peacefulness, wrapped in solemn contemplation. And though I did not see a vision, nor wish to see one, yet I so realized my Master's Presence that I was borne away from all earthly things and knew of no man save Jesus, only. Then a sense of His Godhead filled me till I would gladly have stood up where I was and have proclaimed aloud, as with the voice of a trumpet, that He was my Lord and my God!
Such times you, also, have known. Jesus is often known of us in the breaking of bread. At the Communion Table many a time we have seen and adored. It was very precious—we were ready to weep and laugh for joy. Our heart kept beating to the tune of, "My Lord and my God!" Perhaps it was not in any outward ordinance that your soul thus adored, but quite away in the country, or by the seaside, as you walked along and communed with your own heart, you were suddenly overpowered with a sense of Jesus' glorious Majesty, so that you could only whisper to yourself as in a still small voice, "My Lord and my God!" Or perhaps it was when you were laid aside with illness that He made all your bed and then you knew His Divine Power.
It was a long and weary night to those who watched you, but to you it was all too short and brimmed with sweetness, for the Lord was there, and He gave you songs in the night! When you awoke you were still with Him and felt ready to faint with overwhelming delight because of the brightness of the manifestation. At such a time you could have sung—
"My Christ, He is the Lord of lords,
He is the King of kings!
He is the Sun of Righteousness,
With healing in His wings!
My Christ, He is the Hea ven of heavens,
My Christ, what shall I call?
My Christ is first, my Christ is last,
My Christ is All in All!"
I will tell you, yet again, when Jesus has been Lord and God both to me and to you—and that is in times when He has blessed our labors—and laid His arm bare in the salvation of men! When our report has been believed by those who rejected it, before, and the Lord has sent us a happy season of revival, we have given to Him the glory and rejoiced in His Omnipotent Love!
We prayed for our children and when, to our surprise—it is a shame to say, "to our surprise," for it ought not to have surprised us—the Lord heard our prayer and, first one, and then, another, came to us and said, "Father, I have found the Lord!" Then we knew that the Lord, He is God, and our God, too! We looked up from our prayers with tears in our eyes to think the Lord Jesus could have heard such weak petitions. And we said in the depths of our hearts, "My Lord and my God!" We went out and tried to teach a dozen or two in a cottage—poor, broken words were all that we could utter—but the Lord blessed it and we heard a poor woman crying for mercy as we came out—and we said inwardly, "My Lord and my God!"
If you have been in the Enquiry Room after some Brother, whom God greatly honors, has been proclaiming the Word with power, and if you have seen the people falling right and left under the shafts of the Divine Word, you must have cried, "This is no cunningly devised fable, no fiction, and no fancy," and your heart must have throbbed with all its life, "My Lord and my God!" Have you not felt as if you would dare to go through the very streets of Hell and tell the grinning fiends that Christ is King and Lord forever and ever? The time is very soon coming with some of us when we shall have our last opportunities in this life to find this true. How comforted and refreshed have I often been when visiting dying saints. Truly the Lord has prepared a table for them in the presence of the last enemy.
I can truly say that no scenes that these eyes have ever beheld have so gladdened me as the sight of my dear Brothers and Sisters when they have been departing out of the world unto the Father! The saddest scene has been the happiest! I have known some of them in life as self-distrusting, trembling, lowly-minded Believers—but when they have come into the Valley of Death, they have displayed no fear, no doubt, but all has been full assurance! Placid, calm, beautiful, joyful and even triumphant have been the last hours of timid Believers! As I have heard their charming words, I have been certain of the Godhead of Him who gives us victory while we die! It is faith in His name that makes men strong in death! When heart and flesh fail us, only the living God can be the strength of our life and our portion forever.
How sweet to know Jesus as our living God in our dying moments! In Him we rejoice with unspeakable joy and full of glory, as we say unto Him in death, "My Lord and my God!" Come, Brothers and Sisters, be of good cheer! A little further on and we shall come to the narrow stream! This we shall cross in an instant and then it will be but a short, short time! Twenty years is soon gone, a hundred years, even, fly away as on eagles' wings—and then we shall be forever with the Lord in Glory! How sweetly will we sing to His eternal praise, "My Lord and my God!"
There shall be no doubters in Heaven! No skeptics shall worry us there! But this shall be the unanimous voice of all the redeemed—"Jesus is our Lord and God." The united Church, freed from every spot and wrinkle, and gloriously arrayed as the Bride of Christ, shall be conducted to His Throne and acknowledged as the Lord's Beloved. And then shall she with full heart exclaim, "My Lord and my God!"
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