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God's Valiant Right Hand
A SERMON PUBLISHED ON THURSDAY, JULY 3, 1913.
DELIVERED BY C. H. SPURGEON,
AT THE OPENING OF THE EAST LONDON TABERNACLE, ON THURSDAY, FEBRUARY 22, 1872.
"The right hand of tie Lord is exalted: the right hand of the Lord does valiantly." Psalm 118:16.
THIS verse might full often have leapt from the lips of Believers in the olden times. This verse might have constituted part of the Song of Moses at the Red Sea, for how wondrously did God there overthrow the host of His enemies, when, after dividing the sea, Egypt was swallowed up in it, God, Himself causing the last foe of Israel to be swept away by the mighty waters! "Sing unto the Lord," they said, "for He has triumphed gloriously," and by the shores of the Red Sea they knew that "The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly." It was so in the wilderness when Joshua fought with Amalek and Moses held up his hands in prayer. It was so when they smote Sihon, king of the Amorites, and Og, king of Bashan. Are not these things written in the Books of the wars of the Lord, and is it not said, "The Lord is a man of war; the Lord is His name"? It was conspicuously so in the driving out of the Canaanites. When the people of Israel, untrained for war, marched into the land, they found that their enemies had chariots of iron and they were entrenched in cities that were walled up even unto Heaven—but yet all the Canaanites, the Hivites and the Jebusites could not stand against the twelve tribes of Israel! They fled before them like chaff before the wind! They were scattered like the clouds before the tempest! "Oh, praise you the Lord and magnify Him, for He cast out the heathen and He planted His people in their own land." The right hand of the Lord was that day exalted, for His right hand does valiantly!
And was it not so throughout the period of the Judges? Time would fail us to tell you of Samson, of Gideon, of Barak and all those mighty men who were as weapons in the hands of Jehovah—javelins cast forth by Omnipotence! Truly in those days, also, the right hand of the Lord did valiantly! David, who penned this Psalm, knew this in his own experience, for he smote the Philistines hip and thigh with great slaughter. And long after David had slept with his fathers, others arose and God was with them—and the Lord did mighty deeds. Have you forgotten how the hosts of Sennacherib lay like the sere leaves of autumn when the breath of the archangel had blasted them? Right onward throughout the whole history of Israel, the foes of God had made headway for a while, for He put His hand, even His right hand, into His bosom. But when the Lord has risen and His people have chanted the solemn Psalm, "Let God arise and let His enemies be scattered," then they that hated Him have fled before Him! Into smoke have they been consumed like the fat of rams! Into smoke have they been consumed away! "The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly."
But from those triumphs of physical might over warlike powers we turn our eyes to another field of battle—a spiritual one! And God who was mighty with weapons of war, we find mighty with the sword of the Spirit and with the weapons of the Gospel! And we claim the verse which is now before us as a song of the New Testament as well as a chant of the Old! The right hand of the Lord is this day exalted and still it does valiantly!
We shall ask your attention not to a very lengthy sermon, but to these three points—The triumphs of the Lord Jesus; the triumphs of the Gospel in the Church; the triumphs of Grace in individual hearts. To all these, and I know not to which one more than another, the text is most appropriate.
I. CONCERNING THE TRIUMPHS OF THE LORD JESUS IT MAY BE SAID, "The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly." He did not come as a Man of war, for He is the Prince of Peace. He came not here with sword, shield and buckler, but He came with a body fitted to suffer and with a heart that was made
strong to endure. The Christ of God came in lowliness and in shame, to be despised and rejected of men, but for all that He fought great battles in the midst of His weakness and won for Himself wondrous spiritual victories. Observe, dear Friends, with holy adoration, how our Lord Jesus Christ met Satan in conflict, not once nor twice, but many times! In fact, throughout the Savior's life, the prince of the powers of the air assailed our Master. That was a glorious duel which was fought in the wilderness and on the lofty mountain, from which those two contending spirits had a view of the whole world! And on the pinnacle of the Temple, too. Sharp was the sword of Diabolus when he sought to smite the Savior under the fifth rib and make a full end of His innocence. But oh, how glorious the strokes of the Lord, Himself, with the sword of the Spirit, when He said, "It is written," and yet again, "It is written," and yet again, "It is written," and He chased the fiend away! And then triumphant angels came and ministered to the Conqueror amidst the loneliness of the desert. Oh, you Spirits, you might have sung that day, "The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly." All through His life our Savior kept His vantage ground. The prince of this world assailed Him, but he made no dent upon His armor, much less wound upon His soul! He was tempted in all points—the darts flew so thick that they assailed Him from head to foot—but He was without a wound at the close of the conflict! He was tempted, but yet without sin. And you know how it came to the last tug of all in the Garden of Gethsemane. Oh, what a wrestling was that, when, as it were, the arch-fiend grappled close with Christ and gripped Him so that—
"That desperate tug His soul might feel, Through bars of brass and triple steel."
It brought the bloody sweat down the Master's face, but He did not relinquish His hold upon the foe and gave him such a fall that he never shall recover the defeat which he sustained amidst the olive trees of Gethsemane! And on the Cross, too, when he rallied his forces for the last time and assailed the Spirit of our Lord with all the malice of his infernal nature, there the great Michael, the true Archangel, set His foot upon the dragon's head—and though His heel was wounded—yet He broke that head! And the strength of the power of evil is gone forever! Its monarchy is finally destroyed. "The right hand of the Lord," though it was a pierced hand, "the right hand of the Lord," though it had grasped a scepter of reed, "does valiantly"! "The right hand of the Lord is exalted."
The same might be said, but we should go over the same ground, again, if we spoke of the conquests which our Lord achieved over sin in every shape and form. It mattered not how it approached Him—He repelled it! He overthrew it as far as He was personally concerned. And when the sins of His people were laid upon Him, oh, Brothers and Sisters, how dreadful was that hour, but how ought we to look back upon it with devout thankfulness! When the sins of His people came like an avalanche to crush Him, how gloriously did He sustain the load! With what wondrous power of angels did He suffer the wrath of God which was due for the sins of His people—
"Bore all Incarnate God could bear, With strength enough, but none to spare."
And when He had made Atonement forever for all His people's sins and brought in everlasting righteousness for all His chosen, and could say, "It is finished"— when He gave up the ghost—then truly the right hand of the Lord was exalted and the right hand of the Lord had done valiantly! Brothers and Sisters, the Lord Jesus has this day conquered all our sins! There is not a transgression left to accuse His people! There is no record against them in God's book! He has perfected forever them that are set apart. The work is finished! Salvation is complete! The right hand of the Lord has done for us what we could not have done for ourselves! What the angels of Heaven would not have been so foolish as to have attempted, the Lord Jesus Christ has most surely completed for all Believers! Heaven rings this day with the joyful songs of His triumphant saints who tell how "the right hand of the Lord is exalted."
Our precious Lord is to be praised in language like our text for having vanquished death as well as sin. Satan and sin He overthrew and virtually therein He conquered death. It did not seem as if He would vanquish death, my Brothers and Sisters, when He lay in the grave. The image of death was set as with a seal upon His brow! The Lord of Life and Immortality seemed, and was as really dead as any of the sons of Adam! The three days passed—the appointed time in which He should be, like Jonah, in the bowels of the earth. But on the third day He could not be held by the bonds of death. I think
1 see Him, like another Samson who had been bound with cords, awakening from His slumber like a strong man refreshed, and He snaps the bonds of death, for it was not possible that He could be held by them! Then the stone was rolled away from the door of the sepulcher and out He came, resplendent in the glory of His Resurrection body! From that moment death has been destroyed! Children of God shall pass through the grave, but they cannot be confined in it. "Oh,
death, where is your sting? Oh, grave, where is your victory?" Christ has forever taken away the gates of the Gaza of the grave, carried them far away where Satan can never bring them back, and death cannot restore his stronghold. Glorify the ever-living Christ, for His right hand is exalted!
And the same was conspicuously true in the day when our Lord left this world and rose to the Father Our imagination can hardly depict that scene, when they who received Him after the Apostles had lost sight of Him, brought His chariot from on high to bear Him to His Throne. Oh, what an ascent was that, when flashed the eternal coursers up the celestial hills. For He comes, mighty to save! He went forth to battle, but He comes back from conquest to wear His well-earned renown. Do you not see at His chariot wheels the bound monsters? They must be dragged to the very gates of Heaven and then hurled down again! He has led captivity captive and received gifts for men. Oh, in that day of our Lord's ascending up on high, they who gazed upon the matchless spectacle of the returning King of kings must have said, if not in words, yet certainly in sense, "The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly."
In those victories, Beloved, you and I have a share. Satan was conquered for us! Sin was overcome for us! Death was bound for us—
"Hell and our sins obstruct our course, But Hell and sin are vanquished foes! Our Savior nailed them to His Cross, And sang the triumph when He rose."
Believe it and be glad of it! All your enemies are overcome! You still have to battle, but you fight with conquered foes. The dragon who is most dreadful to you carries a deadly wound about him. Your sins with which you have to contend from day to day are virtually slain. They have their death wound—they shall not be able to follow you into Heaven. Oh, rejoice in your Lord, conquer in His conquests, be victorious in His victory, overcome through the blood of the Lamb, and give Him all the glory of your triumph! Now, I pass on to note, in the second place, that our text is very applicable to—
II. THE PERPETUAL TRIUMPHS OF THE CHURCH OF JESUS CHRIST.
The Church began with feeble numbers, with small wealth. I might add, with comparatively little talent, but she was clothed with the Holy Spirit—she was, therefore, mighty! Let us just look at the history of the Church a minute or two, that our souls may be comforted with the prospect of the like victories in days to come. When first the Church was in the world like a new-born child, the dragon vomited forth torrents with the hope of drowning it. You know the rough weapons with which the world assailed the Church at first. The sword was unsheathed, prisons were put into use, the rack, unutterable torments, shame, reproach, every infernal art of persecution was pressed into the diabolical service to put down, if possible, the cause and Kingdom of Christ in the world. Now, only think for a minute what became of the continued attempts, the cruel attempts of the world against the Church, for the result conspicuously shows how the right hand of the Lord was exalted! The more they persecuted Israel in Egypt, the more they multiplied—and it was the same with the Church of God. They that were persecuted went everywhere preaching the Word. They might have tarried at home, perhaps, and been corn in the garner, but persecution broke down the door and they were thrown, like handfuls of wheat, broadcast over the nations—and everywhere the precious Seed sprang up! It was of no use killing the Christians—it was like the killing of the Hydra—the cutting off of one head made a hundred fresh ones spring up!
Young men went to see the martyrdom of saints and as they saw their holy patience, they came to be Believers themselves, till dying Christians became the most powerful preachers of the Gospel and even the saints that believed were comforted by the sight of the death of the martyrs—they went to see how to die, they went to learn the way to give themselves up for Christ! The anvil never smites the hammer in return, but it breaks many hammers. It wears out the hammer. Here is the patience of the saints. God being in His Church, she has borne year after year, and God has forborne to avenge her, but she has triumphed! Her weak, feeble maidens and her illiterate men, her sons and her daughters who lifted not a hand in self-defense, have vanquished those that were armed to the teeth and had the power of Imperial Rome and of all empires at their back! "The right hand of the Lord," amidst the hosts of martyrs who wear the ruby crown in Heaven today, "is exalted," for "the right hand of the Lord does valiantly."
Then, at the same time, the Church was sent into the world to combat with the superstitions which existed in that age and, Brothers and Sisters, the superstitions of ancient Rome were very attractive, very venerable. They had existed
through long ages. They were interwoven with the daily life of the people. Poetry, art, philosophy, all lent their power to maintain the old heathenism with which the Christian Church came in contact. I have no doubt whatever that the Pontifex Maximus of the day, if he had been told that in Paul he saw a rival, teaching a religion which would break down all the old altars and the temples of Rome, would have ridiculed the statement. And yet it was so, for where are the gods of old Rome today? Who worships Jupiter today? Who bows before Saturn, father of the gods? Or who pays reverence to Venus or Diana? These have gone—and what has smitten them and broken them in pieces? The stone cut out of the mountain without hands has dashed them all in pieces and broken their power like potters' vessels! And none shall set up these false gods again. Nor was it so in Rome, alone. In all countries, the Church of God has had a complete triumph. Weird superstitions woven with stories of magic which alarmed the multitudes have fled like the birds of night before the rising sun! No form of superstition which the enemy has been able to devise has had power to retain its hold where the Gospel has been fully preached. The superstition might seem to stand like the eternal hills, but Faith has said, "Who are you, great mountain? Before Zerubbabel you shall become a plain," and the mountain of superstition has melted away! "The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly."
But, my Brothers and Sisters, the Church has been assailed by heresies within herselfand if anything might have destroyed her, surely it would have been these! I will single out but one—the Arian heresy. You that are well read in Church History will know how very potent at one time the Arian heresy was in the ancient Church. The Divinity of our Lord became almost universally denied! He was a great man, a good man, perhaps the best of men, but they said that He was nothing more. It was a grand day when Athanasius declared that Christ was "very God of very God," and, finding himself alone, yet said, "I, Athanasius, against the world." It did seem an unequal combat, for there were monarchs on the side of the Arians—bishops and the power of the then Church, as well as the power of the world! But Arianism— where is it now? The pure faith of God has flung it off like drops of rain that are cast off from the housetops and remain not! There may be some sleeping in the dens and corners of the earth, to hide their ignoble heads, but the heresy is dead for any power that it has in the Christian Church. And so shall every heresy die. As the eternal God lives, nothing is immortal but the Truth of God—nothing is eternal but the Gospel! The right hand of the Lord fights not for a lie, but it is lifted up and His arm is made bare for the truth of His Son Jesus Christ! And all along through the pages of Church History this is true—that the right hand of the Lord is exalted, and does valiantly in overthrowing error!
But the Church had to suffer from something which excelled heresy because it was the aggregation of heresy, superstition and apostasy. I mean the spread of Popery. In the Middle Ages the night was sevenfold. There was scarcely light enough for the anxious seeker to see his Lord! And men were crushed by the Inquisition, by the practice of priestly confession, by the domination of priests, bishops and popes. And if any man had then bewailed the absence of the light, as some few did, and an angel had said to him, "Courage, my son. The day shall come in which all this system shall lose its power and the old Gospel shall come back"—I can imagine I hear the weeper say, "If the Lord should open windows in Heaven, could such a thing be?" But such a thing was! God found the man and gave him a heart of iron and a brow of brass—and Martin Luther's voice was heard ringing across these waters, saying, "Therefore is a man justified by faith, and not by the works of the Law." And other voices took up that strain till in regions where that Truth of God was an utterly unknown thing, it became familiar to the peasant at the plow and humble men and women, hiding away from the powers that would have destroyed them, cheered one another with the gladness of that Gospel sound! Oh, you know, Beloved, how God smote the church of Rome in those days gone by, and as you read the story of the Reformation, you can say, "The right hand of the Lord is exalted."
Now, I shall not detain you with history. I shall bring you to today, for the truth of the olden times is fulfilled in your ears again this day. Wherever the Gospel is preached, the right hand of the Lord is exalted! We have seen it and, therefore, we speak what we know. If the Gospel of Jesus Christ is faithfully preached, no matter by whom—if it is the whole Gospel affectionately declared, prayed over, believingly delivered—it will always glorify God's name! I want you to notice in these days how the Lord's hand is exalted in some respects.
First, in this respect—in awakening the attention of a negligent people to the Gospel. There is nothing in the world that makes so much stir as preaching Christ! You shall preach anything else you like and the people will sleep. But if you will preach Christ out and out simply, in plain Saxon, as Paul would have Him preached, not with wisdom of words, you shall find the people will come together! I know not why it is, but so it is, that even those who dislike the Gospel will
come to hear it! And though sometimes they set their teeth together and curse the men that preach it, yet they come again—they cannot help it. A Gospel preacher has charms coming from his lips that bind themselves around men's hearts. And he holds them captives, unwilling at first, and afterwards joyful captives, to the power of the Word He preaches! There should be little need of advertisements with a simple, plain, bold Gospel preacher. You shall put him down a back street, you shall give him a passage down a court, you shall then do nothing more for him but let him speak to a handful of people—and the first news you will hear of him is that he is eccentric, that he is extraordinary, that he is a fool, that he is a madman! This is always good news! There is a man of God somewhere about when we hear that noise! Straightway people want to hear this enthusiast, this Methodist, this Presbyterian—and they rush to listen—and then it is that there is power felt by the people! They do not know what it is, but there is a something in it which seems to grip their hearts and hold them! It is nothing other than this—that the Lord has said of Christ that if He is lifted up, He will draw all men to Him! And where Christ is lifted up, people will be drawn to hear. They must hear! We need not ask them to come—they must come!. Where His body is, there will the eagles be gathered together! Where the Savior Christ is proclaimed, there shall they come who need to feed upon a Savior! Does philosophy achieve such a triumph as this? You call it a poor triumph. So it may be in itself, but in its ulterior results it is a very great one. There are wise men on the earth that would give their eyes and ears if they could but get the people to listen to them—but where Christ is not preached, there are generally more spiders than there are human souls. Put Unitarianism in the pulpit and you shall soon find how the pews begin to multiply in emptiness! Little else comes of it. A gospel with no Gospel has great power of dispersion, but it has little power of attraction—but the Gospel of Jesus Christ soon draws a multitude together and, "the right hand of the Lord is exalted."
But you will still say this is little, and I shall confess it is comparatively little, but mark you, if the Gospel is preached, it does not end in coming and going to hear it, for soon that Gospel comes like an eagle from afar and pounces down on men's hearts and makes them a prey to its power! They that came to scoff, remain to pray! They that looked in from curiosity, remain to receive the Savior into their hearts! And those who came from enmity become converted into friends! Oh, how the right hand of the Lord was exalted in the days of Whitfield and Wesley! The stories of these two eminent men have been written lately by many loving pens—and I must confess I am always to read the narratives, however they may be written. Though I have read them many times, I can always read them again. Oh, it was wonderful when the whole land was asleep! The Church of England was asleep in the dark and the Dissenters were asleep in the light— but there suddenly arose up a man who dared to stand upon his father's grave in the churchyard and to preach the Gospel! And then there came another, a twin seraph, with equal wings, who went into fields and began to proclaim the strange Doctrine of Faith as a saving Grace, the necessity of regeneration and the work of the Holy Spirit! Oh, those were brave days—the days of the early Methodists—when the time of the singing of birds was come and the land was full of the power of the Holy Spirit! And it is just so now. Anywhere where the Gospel is preached, and preached with the Holy Spirit sent down from Heaven, there are conversions, there are broken hearts, there are spirits held by Jesus' love, there are glad ones consecrating themselves to the Redeemer's service! "The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly."
And we have seen the truth of this in some of the very darkest parts of London. What a wonderful instance of what God's Grace can do can be seen by anyone who chooses to see it in such spots as Seven Dials, where God's love has blessed the earnest Evangelist. Or in Golden Lane, where a dear Brother of our own, labors amidst the poverty and sin of the masses. Why, when I have gone there to see my Brothers and Sisters meet together, the poorest of the poor—fruit sellers, men that were drunks and blasphemers, women that were thieves and harlots—and have heard them sing the praises of Jesus and rejoice in His dear name, I have felt "the right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly." And so here and all around! I need not quote instances, for you know them better than I do, of how lions are turned into lambs and ravens into doves, and the most unlikely spots in East London—that were deserts, salt lands and not inhabited, that looked as if they were cursed of God—have been made to rejoice and blossom, as the rose, when the preacher of the Gospel has come into the place and His master with him! Oh, yes, "the right hand of the Lord is exalted."
But they say the Gospel has lost its power. I read the other day that some of us were the echoes of a dead Puritanism, that we were not abreast of the age and were preaching a faith that was practically dead! Sirs, they lie in their throats that say so, and some of them know it, for the Gospel is no more dead than they are, nor half as much! It lives and lives in all its energy! And they speak not the truth that dare to say it has lost its force. But it is unphilosophical! Hair-splitters do not care about it! Neological divines toss it out as a thing fit for old women! Glory be to God! If it suits old women, it will suit us and all kinds of people! But inasmuch as it is not philosophical according to their declaration, that word of God is fulfilled in our ears, "The foolishness of God is wiser than man, and the weakness of God is stronger than men."
Then they turn round and say, "But look at those who preach it—uneducated men—men that are not of the higher classes of society, unskilled in the refinements, not able to always give the original word of the Scripture upon which they preach." Yes, Sirs, and it would be a difficult task for any man to prove that the early triumphs of the Gospel owed a solitary jot to education and learning! In looking at the inscriptions in the catacombs a few days ago, when in Rome, I could not help the observation continually coming to my lips that the early Christians must all, or almost all of them, have been so illiterate as scarcely to have been able to write their own names, for the most common words that are upon the slabs of stone that face the graves of the early Christians are badly spelt—and there are Greek letters and Latin letters intermingled, showing that they hardly knew how to finish a word in one language, but must piece it out with another, not knowing completely either the one or the other! Yes, but it was because God had put His Truth into the mouth of babes and sucklings, and established strength, that when the Church had conquered by such humble instrumentalities, and the Truths of God had been mighty when preached by such simple men, the right hand of the Lord was exalted, for the right hand of the Lord had done it—not the wisdom, nor the craft, nor the energy of man! God's arm was the more conspicuous because of the feebleness of the instrumentality! Much rather, then, will we glory in infirmities, because the power of God does rest upon us, for He it is that does valiantly! But now I must, in the third place, say a few words, and but a few, for time fails us, upon—
III. THE TRIUMPHS OF GRACE IN INDIVIDUALS.
Let us talk together. You remember, some of you who are this day converted, the time when first the Gospel had power over your soul I remember how I fought against it. A mother's tears would not move me, nor a father's earnest rebukes. I heard the Gospel, sometimes, and I was a little affected by it, but I threw it off! But I shall never forget when it came with power to my soul. I had no shield that could keep off its darts—the arrows of God found a ready way into my conscience—and they seemed to drink my very blood! My wound rankled and was corrupt. My soul refused to be comforted. Then, as I used to go up to my little chamber and bow my knees in prayer and come down more wretched than when I entered it, when I would search the Word of God to find comfort, but could not find it—then it was that he who knew me might have said, "The right hand of the Lord is exalted in that young man, for he was proud and lofty, and self-righteous, but now he lies in the very dust, and wonders that God lets him live, and marvels that there should be a Gospel for him, and can only half believe it true that such a wretch as he should ever be saved." Oh, I wish the Lord would come with power to some self-righteous ones that are here this afternoon! You are as good as your neighbors? Ah, suppose you are condemned with your neighbors, will that help you? To be lost in company is small benefit. Oh, but you have never done anybody any harm? No, except your God—and you have robbed Him of all the praise that was due to Him! And you have lived in this world just as you might have lived if there had been no God! Oh, proud Sinner, I cannot bring you down, but God can! Oh, for a blow from the mighty arm to level you and roll you, biting the dust in shame and self-abasement! Some of us know what that means. May you know it, too, and then you will say, though your heart is breaking as you say it, "The right hand of the Lord is exalted! He is good, but I am evil! He is great and I am nothing! He is infinitely holy, but I am shamefully impure! God be merciful to me a sinner! God save me for His Name's sake." It is in such a thing as this that the right hand of the Lord is exalted.
But let me talk with you further, you that know the Lord. Beloved, do you remember when you sought to escape from the multitude of your sins? Do you recollect when they compassed you about like bees? You could not count your sins—you had forgotten them—they seemed dead and buried, but they all came to life, again, and they swarmed about you! They buzzed about you at your table. They stung you in your sleep, in your dreams. They stung you at your work. You had no peace because of your sins! And do you remember the place, the spot of ground, where you met with Jesus? Some of us recollect it to a yard. We looked to Him upon the Cross and the battle was over at once! One look to Jesus, Crucified, and the sins that compassed us about were destroyed in the name of the Lord—and the fires that threatened to devour us were quenched as a fire of thorns through the precious blood of Jesus! Do you remember it? Oh, let your soul go back to your spiritual birthday. Ring the bells of your heart, again, and hang out the streamers of your soul for that
happy day when Jesus washed your sins away! Oh, Beloved, that day beyond all others, the right hand of the Lord was exalted, the right hand of the Lord did valiantly for you! It is a grand picture. I should like to see some artist attempt to sketch it, but he certainly must fail. I would like to hear some poet sing it, but I think that he could hardly reach the dignity of the argument. When Miriam and the daughters of Israel took their timbrels and went forth with the song and the dance to sing because Egypt had been destroyed, and Israel was free, do you know the note in that song that pleases me best of all is this, when they said, "The depths have covered them; there is not one of them left." Why, they looked upon the Red Sea and could not see a trace of their foes! And I think I hear them singing it, "The depths have covered them; there is not one, not one," and they answered each other, "Not one, not one, not one of them left." And so when you and I looked to Christ and saw His atoning Sacrifice like a mighty sea roll over all our sins—in that blessed day our spirits sang, "The depths have covered them; there is not one, not one, not one of them left." Every sin is gone, every transgression swallowed up in superabounding Grace. "The right hand of the Lord does valiantly."
The same has been true, beloved Friends, in the many cases in which you and I have had to overcome our troubles. What sore afflictions have we passed through! Some to whom I speak, it may be, have had mountains of tribulation. Yes, Beloved, but when God has been with you, you have stepped from mountaintop to mountaintop without going down into the valley at all!
And, beloved Friends, to close all, where there was much room for great enlargement, let me say, when you and I shall come to die—as soon, thank God, we shall, for it is a subject to be treated of with thankfulness—we shall find in our dying moments that "the right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly." I might almost say that I came here from the grave, for it is in truth but a day or so since I went to bury one of the holiest men I ever knew and, I may add, the happiest man I ever saw in all my life! He fell asleep at a good old age, but as I stood by his bedside often in his last illness, I envied him. Covered from head to foot, as he said, with the boils of Job and the sores of Lazarus in one—with all his bones aching as though they were out of joint, yet he said to me—"What a happy thing it is to be here." And I said, "What a happy thing to be upon a dying bed?" "Yes," he said, "for I am with God, and God is with me, and Christ is mine and I am His, and it is the happiest day I ever lived." He had often said that in his lifetime, for I never knew him otherwise than rejoicing in his God. But I was glad to hear him, when his eyes were almost glazed with death, say, "It is the happiest day I ever lived." And just before he died, instead of expressing any regrets at the pain he was feeling, or at his departure, he turned round and said to his dear ones around the bed, "You seem all changed to me from what you were. I love you, but I have reached a higher stage than things that are seen. I have seen the King in His beauty in the land that is very far off—and I have heard words which it is not lawful for a man to utter." And they said, "Can you not tell us something of what you have seen?" He said, "You must pardon me. I am forbidden to tell you. But henceforth, I have done with all things here below, and I am taken up with the joy and glory of my Lord." "My bliss is so great," he said, "it kills me! I cannot live much longer through the excess of joy I feel!" In a few short minutes he had closed his eyes and was with God.
The Negro said of his minister, "Sir, he is dying full of life!" So have I seen them die, full of life—the best of life! And I have then thought, "Sing unto the Lord, for He has triumphed gloriously. The right hand of the Lord is exalted; the right hand of the Lord does valiantly." Fear not! The last conflict shall be the chief of your victories this side the river! The Lord bless you and make you a blessing. Amen.
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