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NO. 1235



MAY 16TH, 1875,






The backslider in heart shall be filled with his own ways: and a good man

shall be satisfied from himself.” — Proverbs 14:14.


A common principle is here laid down and declared to be equally true in

reference to two characters, who in other respects are a contrast. Men are

affected by the course which they pursue; for good or bad their own

conduct comes home to them. The backslider and the good man are very

different, but in each of them the same rule is exemplified — they are both

filled by the result of their lives. The backslider becomes filled by that

which is within him, as seen in his life, and the good man also is filled by

which grace implants within his soul. The evil leaven in the backslider

leavens his entire being and sours his existence, while the gracious fountain

the sanctified believer saturates his whole manhood, and baptizes his

entire life. In each case the fullness arises from that which is within the

man, and is in its nature like the man’s character; the fullness of the

backslider’s misery will come out of his own ways, and the fullness of the

good man’s content will spring out of the love of God which is shed

abroad in his heart.


The meaning of this passage will come out better if we begin with an

illustration. Here are two pieces of sponge, and we wish to fill them: you

shall place one of them in a pool of foul water, it will be filled, and filled

with that which it lies in; you shall put the other sponge into a pure crystal

stream, and it will also become full, full of the element in which it is placed.

The backslider lies asoak in the dead sea of his own ways, and the brine

fills him; the good man is plunged like a pitcher into “Siloa’s brook, which

flows hard by the oracle of God,” and the river of the water of life fills him

to the brim. A wandering heart will he filled with sorrow, and a heart

confiding in the Lord will be satisfied with joy and peace. Or take two

farmsteads; one farmer sows tares in his field, and in due time his barns are

filled therewith; another sows wheat, and his garners are stored with

precious grain. Or follow out our Lord’s parable: one builder places his

frail dwelling on the sand, and, when the tempest rages, he is swept away

in it, naturally enough; another lays deep the foundations of his house, and

sets it fast on a rock, and as an equally natural consequence he smiles upon

the storm, protected by his well-founded dwelling-place. What a man is by

sin or by grace will be the cause of his sorrow or of his satisfaction.


I. I shall take the two characters without further preface, and first let us

speak awhile about THE BACKSLIDER. This is a very solemn subject, but

one which it is needful to bring before the present audience, since we all

have some share in it. I trust there may not be many present who are

backsliders in the worst sense of the term, but very, very few among us are

quite free from the charge of having backslidden, in some measure, at some

time or other since conversion. Even those who sincerely love the Master

sometimes wander, and we all need to take heed lest there be in any of us

an evil heart of unbelief in departing from the living God.


There are several kinds of persons who may with more or less propriety be

comprehended under the term “backsliders,” and these will each in his own

measure be filled with his own ways.


There are, first, apostates, those who unite themselves with the church of

Christ, and for a time act as if they were subjects of a real change of heart.

These persons are frequently very zealous for a season, and may become

prominent, if not eminent, in the church of God. They did run well, like

those mentioned by the apostle, but by some means they are, first of all,

hindered, and slacken their pace; after that they linger and loiter, and leave

the crown of the causeway for the side of the road. By-and-by in their

hearts they go back into Egypt and at last, finding an opportunity to return,

they break loose from all the restraints of their profession, and openly

forsake the Lord. Truly the last end of such men is worse than the first.

Judas is the great type of these pre-eminent backsliders. Judas was a

professed believer in Jesus, a follower of the Lord, a minister of the gospel,

an apostle of Christ, the trusted treasurer of the college of the apostles, and

after all turned out to be the “son of perdition” who sold his Master for

thirty pieces of silver. He ere long was filled with his own ways, for,

tormented with remorse, he threw down the blood-money he had so dearly

earned, hanged himself, and went to his own place. The story of Judas has

been written over and over again in the lives of other traitors. We have

heard of Judas as a deacon, and as an elder; we have heard Judas preach,

we have read the works of Judas the bishop, and seen Judas the missionary.

Judas sometimes continues in his profession for many years, but, sooner or

later, the true character of the man is discovered; his sin returns upon his

own head, and if he does not make an end of himself, I do not doubt but

what, even in this life, he often lives in such horrible remorse that his soul

would choose strangling rather than life. He has gathered the grapes of

Gomorrah, and he has to drink the wine; he has planted a bitter tree, and he

must eat the fruit thereof. Oh sirs, may none of you betray your Lord and

Master. God grant I never may. Traitor! Traitor!” Shall that ever be

written across your brow? You have been baptised into the name of the

adorable Trinity, you have eaten the tokens of the Redeemer’s body and

blood, you have sung the Songs of Zion, you have stood forward to pray in

the midst of the people of God, and will you act so base a part as to betray

your Lord? Shall it ever be said of you, “Take him to the place from

whence he came, for he is a traitor?” I cannot conceive of anything more

ignominious than for a soldier to be drummed out of a regiment of Her

Majesty’s soldiers, but what must it be to be cast out of the host of God!

What must it be to be set up as the target of eternal shame and everlasting

contempt for having crucified the Lord afresh, and put him to an open

sham! How shameful will it be to be branded as an apostate from truth and

holiness, from Christ and his ways. Better never to have made a profession

than to have belied it so wretchedly, and to have it said of us, “it is

happened unto them according to the true proverb, the dog is turned to his

own vomit again; and the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the

mire.” Of such John has said, “They went out from us, but they were not of

us; for if they had been of us, they would no doubt have continued with us:

but they went out, that they might be made manifest that they were not all

of us.”


This title of backslider applies also to another class, not so desperate but

still most sad, of which not Judas but David may serve as the type: we refer

to backsliders who go into open sin. There are men who descend from

purity to careless living, and from careless living to indulgence of the flesh,

and from indulgence of the flesh in little matters into known sin, and from

one sin to another till they plunge into uncleanness. They have been born

again, and therefore the trembling and almost extinct life within must and

shall revive and bring them to repentance: they will come back weary,

weeping, humbled, and brokenhearted, and they will be restored, but they

will never be what they were before; their voices will be hoarse, like that of

David after his crime for he never again sung so jubilantly as in his former

days. Life will be more full of trembling and trial, and manifest less of

buoyancy and joy of spirit. Broken bones make hard travelling, and even

when they are set they are very subject to shooting pains when ill weathers

are abroad. I may be addressing some of this sort this morning, and if so I

would speak with much faithful love. Dear brother, if you are now

following Jesus afar off you will, ere long, like Peter, deny him. Even

though you will obtain mercy of the Lord, yet the text will certainly be

fulfilled in you, and you will be “filled with your own ways.” As certainly

as Moses took the golden calf and ground it into powder, and then mixed it

with the water which the sinful Israelites had to drink, till they all tasted the

grit in their mouths, so will the Lord do with you if you are indeed his

child: he will take your idol of sin and grind it to powder, and your life

shall be made bitter with it for years to come. When the gall and

wormwood are most manifest in the cup of life it will be a mournful thing

to feel “I procured this unto myself by my shameful folly.” O Lord, hold

thou us up, and keep us from fulling belittle and little, lest we plunge into

overt sin and continue in it for a season; for surely the anguish which

comes of such an evil is terrible as death itself. If David could rise from his

grave and appear before you with his face seamed with sorrow and his

brow wrinkled with his many griefs, he would say to you “keep your hearts

with all diligence, lest ye bring woe upon yourselves. Watch unto prayer,

and guard against the beginnings of sin lest your bones wax old through

your roarings, and your moisture be turned into the drought of summer.” O

beware of a wandering heart, for it will be an awful thing to be filled with

your own backslidings.


But there is a third sort of backsliding, and I am afraid a very large number

of us have at times come under the title — I mean those who in any

measure or degree, even for a very little time, decline from the point

which they have reached. Perhaps such a man hardly ought to be called a

backslider, because it is not his predominant character, yet he backslides. If

he does not believe as firmly, and love as intensely, and serve as zealously

as he formerly did, he has in a measure backslidden, and any measure of

backsliding, be it less or be it more, is sinful, and will in proportion as it is

real backsliding fill us with our own ways. If you only sow two or three

seeds of the thistle there will not be so many of the ill weeds on your farm

as if you had emptied out a whole sack, but still there will be enough and

more than enough. Every little backsliding, as men call it, is a great

mischief; every little going back even in heart from God, if it never comes

to words or deeds, yet will involve us in some measure of sorrow. If sin

were clean removed from us sorrow would be removed also, in fact we

should be in heaven, since a state of perfect holiness must involve perfect

blessedness. Sin, in any degree, will bear its own fruit, and that fruit will be

sure to set our teeth on edge; it is ill therefore to be a backslider even in the

least degree.


Having said so much, let me now continue to think of the last two kinds of

backsliders, and leave out the apostate. Let us first read his name, and then

let us read his history, we have both in our text.


The first part of his name is “backslider.” He is not a back runner, nor a

back leaper, but a backslider, that is to say he slides back with an easy,

effortless motion, softly, quietly, perhaps unsuspected by himself or

anybody else. The Christian life is very much like climbing a hill of ice. You

cannot slide up, nay, you have to cut every step with an ice axe; only with

incessant labor in cutting and chipping can you make any progress; you

need a guide to help you, and you are not safe unless you are fastened to

the guide, for you may slip into a crevasse. Nobody ever slides lip, but if

great care be not taken they will slide down, slide back, or in other words

backslide This is very easily done. If you want to know how to backslide,

the answer is leave off going forward and you will slide backward, cease

going upward and you will go downward of necessity, for stand still you

never can. To lead us to backslide, Satan acts with us as engineers do with

a road down the mountains side. If they desire to carry the road from

yonder alp right down into the valley far below, they never think of making

the road plunge over a precipice, or straight down the face of the rock, for

nobody would ever use such a road; but the road makers wind and twist.

See, the track descends very gently to the right, you can hardly see that it

does run downwards; anon it turns to the left with a small incline, and so,

by turning this way and then that, the traveler finds himself in the vale

below. Thus the crafty enemy of souls fetches saints down from their high

places; whenever he gets a good man down it is usually by slow degrees.

Now and then, by sudden opportunity and strong temptation, the Christian

man has been plunged right from the pinnacle of the temple into the

dungeon of despair in a moment, but it is not often the case; the gentle

decline is the devil’s favourite piece of engineering, and he manages it with

amazing skill. The soul scarcely knows it is going down, it seems to be

maintaining the even tenor of its way, but ere long it is far below the line of

peace and consecration. Our dear brother, Dr. Arnot, of the Free Church,

illustrates this very beautifully by supposing a balance. This is the heavy

scale loaded with seeds, and the other is high in the air. One morning you

are very much surprised to find that what had been the heavier scale is

aloft, while the other has descended. You do not understand it till you

discover that certain little insects had silently transferred the seeds one by

one. At first they made no apparent change, by-and-bye there was a little

motion, one more little seed was laid in the scales and the balance turned in

a moment. Thus silently the balance of a man’s soul may be affected, and

everything made ready for that one temptation by which the fatal turn is

made, and the man becomes an open transgressor. Apparently insignificant

agencies may gradually convey our strength from the right side to the

wrong by grains and half-grains, till at last the balance is turned in the

actual life and we are no more fit to be numbered with the visible saints of



Think again of this man’s name. He is a “backslider,” but what from? He is

a man who knows the sweetness of the things of God and yet leaves off

feeding upon them. He is one who has been favored to wait at the Lord’s

own table, and yet he deserts his honorable post, backslides from the things

which he has known, and felt, and tasted, and handled, and rejoiced in —

things that are the priceless gifts of God. He is a backslider from the

condition in which he has enjoyed a heaven below; he is a backslider from

the love of him who bought him with his blood; he slides back from the

wounds of Christ, from the works of the Eternal Spirit, from the crown of

life which hangs over his head, and from a familiar intercourse with God

which angels might envy him. Had he not been so highly favored he could

not have been so basely wicked. O fool and slow of heart to slide froth

wealth to poverty, from health to disease, from liberty to bondage, front

light to darkness; from the love of God, from abiding in Christ, and from

the fellowship of the Holy Ghost into lukewarmness, worldliness, and sin.


The text, however, gives the man’s name at greater length, The backslider

in heart.” Now the heart is the fountain of evil. A man need not be a

backslider in action to get the text fulfilled in him, he need only be a

backslider in heart. All backsliding begins within, begins with the heart’s

growing lukewarm, begins with the love of Christ being less powerful in

the soul. Perhaps you think that so long as backsliding is confined to the

heart it does not matter much; but consider for a minute, and you will

confess your error. If you went to your physician and said, “Sir, I feel a

severe pain in my body,” would you feel comforted if he replied “There is

no local cause for your suffering, it arises entirely from disease of the

heart”? Would you not be far more alarmed than before? A case is serious

indeed when it involves the heart. The heart is hard to reach and difficult to

understand, and moreover it is so powerful over the rest of the system, and

has such power to injure all the members of the body, that a disease in the

heart is an injury to a vital organ, a pollution of the springs of life. A

wound there is a thousand wounds, a complicated wounding of all the

members a stroke. Look ye well then to your hearts, and pray, “O Lord

cleanse thou the secret parts of our spirit and preserve us to thy eternal

kingdom and glory!”


Now let us read this man’s history — “he shall be filled with his own

ways.” From which it is clear that he falls into ways of his own. When he

was in his right state he followed the Lord’s ways, he delighted himself in

the law of the Lord, and he gave him the desire of his heart; but now he has

ways of his own, which he prefers to the ways of God. And what comes of

this perverseness? Does he prosper? No; he is before long filled with his

own ways; we will see what that means.


The first kind of fullness with his own ways is absorption in his carnal

pursuits. He has not much time to spend upon religion; he has other things

to attend to. If you speak to him of the deep things of God he is weary of

you, and even of the daily necessaries of godliness he has no care to hear

much, except at service time. He has his business to see to, or he has to go

out to a dinner party, or a few friends are coming to spend the evening: in

any case, his answer to you is “I pray thee have me excused.” Now, this

pre-occupation with trifles is always mischievous, for when the soul is

filled with chaff there is no room left for wheat; when all your mind is

taken up with frivolities, the weighty matters of eternity cannot enter.

Many professed Christians spend far too much time in amusements, which

they call recreation, but which, I fear, is far rather a redestruction than a

recreation. The pleasures, cares, pursuits, and ambitions of the world swell

in the heart when they once enter, and by-and-bye they fill it completely.

Like the young cuckoo in the sparrow’s nest, worldliness grows and grows

and tries its best to cast out the true owner of the heart. Whatever your

soul is full of, if it be not full of Christ, it is in an evil case.


Then backsliders generally proceed a stage further, and become full of their

own ways by beginning to pride themselves upon their condition and to

glory in their shame. Not that they really are satisfied at heart, on the

contrary, they have a suspicion that things are not quite as they ought to

be, and therefore they put on a bold front, and try to deceive themselves

and others. It is rather dangerous to tell them of their faults, for they will

not accept your rebuke, but will defend themselves, and even carry the war

into your camp. They will say, “Ah, you are puritanical, strict and straightlaced,

and your manners and ways do mischief rather than good.” They

would not bring up their children as you do yours, so they say. Their

mouths are very full because their hearts are empty, and they talk very

loudly in defense of themselves, because their conscience has been making

a great stir within them. They call sinful pleasure a little unbending of the

bow, greed is prudence, covetousness is economy, and dishonesty is

cleverness. It is dreadful to think that men who know better should attempt

thus to excuse themselves. Generally the warmest defender of a sinful

practice is the man who has the most qualms of conscience about it. He

himself knows that he is not living as he should, but he does not intend to

cave in just yet, nor at all if he can help it. He is filled with his ways in a

boasted self-content as to them.


Ere long this fullness reaches another stage, for if the backslider is a

gracious man at all, he encounters chastisement, and that from a rod of his

own making. A considerable time elapses before you can eat bread of your

own growing: the ground must be ploughed and sown, and the wheat has

to come up, to ripen and to be reaped, and threshed and ground in the mill,

and the dour must be kneaded and baked in the oven; but the bread comes

to the table and is eaten at last. Even so the backslider must eat of the fruit

of his own ways. “Be not deceived; God is not mocked, whatsoever a man

soweth, that shall he also reap.” Now look at the backslider eating the fruit

of his ways. He neglected prayer, and when he tries to pray he cannot; his

powers of desire, emotion, faith, and entreaty have failed; he kneels awhile,

but he cannot pray; the Spirit of supplications is grieved, and no longer

helps his infirmities. He reaches down his Bible; he commences to read a

chapter, but he has disregarded the word of God so long that he finds it to

be more like a dead letter than a living voice, though it used to be a sweet

book before he became a backslider. The minister, too, is altered; he used

to hear him with delight; but now the poor preacher has lost all his early

power, so the backslider thinks. Other people do not think so, the place is

just as crowded, there are as many saints edified and sinners saved as

before; but the wanderer in heart began criticizing, and now he is entangled

in the habit, and he criticises every thing, but never feeds upon the truth at

all. Like a madman at table he puts his fork into the morsel and holds it up,

looks at it, finds fault with it, and throws in on the floor. Nor does he act

better towards the saints in whose company he once delighted; they are

dull society and he shuns them. Of all the things which bear upon his

spiritual life he is weary, he has trifled with them, and now he cannot enjoy

them. Hear him sing, or rather sigh —


                        “Thy saints are comforted, I know,

                        And love thy house of prayer;

                        I sometimes go where others go,

                        But find no comfort there.”


How can it be otherwise? He is drinking water out of his own cistern and

eating the bread of which he sowed the corn some years ago. His ways

have come home to him.


Chastisement also comes out of his conduct in other ways. He was very

worldly and gave gay parties, and his girls have grown up and grieved him

by their conduct. He himself went into sin, and now that his sons outdo his

example, what can he say? Can he wonder at anything? Look at David’s

case. David felt into a gross sin, and soon Amnon his son rivalled him in

iniquity. He murdered Uriah the Hittite, and Absalom murdered his brother

Amnon. He rebelled against God, and lo, Absalom lifted up the standard of

revolt against him. He disturbed the relationships of another man’s family

in a disgraceful manner, and behold his own family rent in pieces, and never

restored to peace; so that even when he lay a-dying he had to say, “My

house is not so with God.” He was filled with his own ways, and it always

will be so, even if the sin be forgotten. If you have sent forth a dove or a

raven from the ark of your soul, it will come back to you just as you sent it

out. May God save us from being backsliders lest the smooth current of

our life should twin into a raging torrent of woe.


The fourth stage, blessed be God, is at length reached by gracious men and

women, and what a mercy it is they ever do reach it! At last they become

filled with their own ways in another sense; namely, satiated and

dissatisfied, miserable and discontented. They sought the world and they

gained it, but now it has lost all charms to them. They went after other

lovers, but these deceivers have been false to them, and they wring their

hands and say, “Oh that I could return to my first husband for it was better

with me then than now.” Many have lived at a distance from Jesus Christ,

but now they can bear it no longer; they cannot be happy till they return.

Hear them cry in the language of the fifty-first psalm, “Restore unto me the

joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” But, I tell you,

they cannot get back very easily. It is hard to retrace your steps from

backsliding, even if it be but a small measure of it; but to get back from

great wanderings is hard indeed, much harder than going over the road the

first time. I believe that if the mental sufferings of some returning

backsliders could be written and faithfully published they would astound

you, and be a more horrible story to read than all the torments of the

Inquisition. What racks a man is stretched upon who has been unfaithful to

his covenant with God! What fires have burned within the souls of those

men who have been untrue to Christ and his cause! That dungeons, what

grin and dark prisons under ground have saints of God lain in who have

gone aside into By-path meadow instead of keeping to the king’s highway.

Their sighs and cries, for which after all they have learned to be thankful,

are dolorous and terrible to listen to, and make us learn that he who sins

must smart, and especially if he be a child of God, for the Lord has said of

his people, “you only have I known of all the people of the earth, therefore

I will punish you for your iniquities.” Whoever may go unchastised, a child

of God never shall: the Lord will let his adversaries do a thousand things

and not punish them in this life, since he reserves vengeance for them in the

life to come, but as for his own children, they cannot sin without being

visited with strikes.


Beloved friends, let all go straight away to the cross at once for fear we

should be backsliders —


            “Come, let us to the Lord our God

            With contrite hearts return

            Our God is gracious, nor will leave

            The penitent to mourn.”


Let us confess every degree and form of backsliding, every wandering of

heart, every decline of love, every wavering of faith, every flagging of zeal,

every dulness of desire, every failure of confidence. Behold, the Lord says

unto us, “Return”; therefore let us return. Even if we be not backsliders it

will do us no hurt to come to the cross as penitents, indeed, it is well to

abide there evermore. O Spirit of the living God, preserve us in believing

penitence all our days.


II. I have but little time for the second part of any Excuse me therefore if I

do not attempt to go into it very deeply. As it is true of the backslider that

he grows at last full of that which is within him and his wickedness, is true

also of THE CHRISTIAN that in pursuing the paths of righteousness and the

way of faith, he becomes filled and contented too. That which grace has

placed within him fills him in due time.


Here then we have the good man’s name and history.


Notice first, his name. It is a very remarkable thing that as a backslider if

you call out his name will not as a rule answer to it, even so a good man

will not acknowledge the title here assigned him. Where is the good man?

Know that every man here who is right before God will pass the question

on, saying, “There is none good save One, that is God.” The good man will

also question my text and say “I cannot feel satisfied with myself.” No,

dear friend, but mind you read the words aright. It does not say “satisfied

with himself,” no truly good man ever was self-satisfied, and when any talk

as if they are self-satisfied it is time to doubt whether they know much

about the matter. All the good men I have ever met with have always

wanted to be better; they have longed for something higher than as yet they

have reached. They would not own to it that they were satisfied, and they

certainly were by no means satisfied with themselves. The text does not say

that they are, but it says something that reads so much like it that care is

needed. Now, if I should seem to say this morning that a good man looks

within and is quite satisfied with what he finds there, please let me say at

once, I mean nothing of the sort. I should like to say exactly what the text

means, but I do not know quite whether I shall manage to do it, except you

will help me by not misunderstanding me, even if there should be a strong

temptation to do so. Here is the good man’s history, he is “satisfied from

himself,” but first I must read his name again, though he does not own to

it, what is he good for? He says, “good for nothing,” but in truth he is

good for much when the Lord uses him. Remember that he is good

because the Lord has made him over again by the Holy Spirit. Is not that

good which God makes? When he created nature at the first he said of all

things that they were very good; how could they be otherwise, since he

made them? So in the new creation a new heart and right spirit are from

God, and must be good. Where there is grace in the heart the grace is good

and makes the heart good. A man who has the righteousness of Jesus, and

the indwelling of the Holy Spirit is good in the sight of God.


A good man is on the side of good. If I were to ask, who is on the side of

good? we would not pass on that question. No, we would step out and say

“I am. I am not all I ought to be, or wish to be, but I am on the side of

justice, truth, and holiness; I would live to promote goodness, and even die

rather than become the advocate of evil.” And what is the man who loves

that which is good? Is he evil? I trow not. He who truly loves that which is

good must be in a measure good himself. Who is he that strives to be good,

and groans and sighs over his failures, yea and rules his daily life by the

laws of God? Is he not one of the world’s best men? I trust without

self-righteousness the grace of God has made some of us good in this sense, for

what the Spirit of God has made is good, and if in Christ Jesus we are new

creatures, we cannot contradict Solomon, nor criticize the Bible if it calls

such persons good, though we dare not call ourselves good.


Now, a good man’s history is this, “He is satisfied from himself.”

That means first, that he is independent of outward circumstances. He does

not derive satisfaction from his birth, or honors, or properties; but that

which fills him with content is within himself. Our hymn puts it so truly —


                        “I need not go abroad for joys,

                        I have a feast at home,

                        My sighs are turned into songs,

                        My heart has ceased to roam.

                        Down from above the blessed Dove

                        Is come into my breast,

                        To witness thine eternal love

                        And give my spirit rest.”


Other men must bring music from abroad if they have any, but in the

gracious man’s bosom there lives a little bird that sings sweetly to him. He

has a flower in his own garden more sweet than any he could buy in the

market or find in the king’s palace. He may be poor, but still he would not

change his estate in the kingdom of heaven for all the grandeur of the rich.

His joy and peace are not even dependent upon the health of his body, he is

often well in soul when sick as to his flesh; he is frequently full of pain and

yet perfectly satisfied. He may carry about with him an incurable disease

which he knows will shorten and eventually end his life, but he does not

look to this poor life for satisfaction, he carries that within him which

creates immortal joy: the love of God shed abroad in his soul by the Holy

Ghost yields a perfume sweeter than the flowers of Paradise. The

fulfillment of the text is partly found in the fact that the good man is

independent of his surroundings.


And he is also independent of the praise of others. The backslider keeps

easy because the minister thinks well of him and Christian friends think well

of him, but the genuine Christian who is living near to God thinks little of

the verdict of men. What other people think of him is not his chief concern;

he is sure that he is a child of God, he knows he can say, “Abba, Father,”

he glories that for him to live is Christ, and to die is gain, and therefore he

does not need the approbation of others to buoy up his confidence. He runs

alone, and does not need, like a weakly child, to be carried in arms. He

knows whom he has believed, and his heart rests in Jesus; thus he is

satisfied, not from other people and from their judgment, but “from



Then, again, the Christian man is content with the well of upbringing water

of life which the Lord has placed within him. There, my brethren, up on the

everlasting hills is the divine reservoir of all-sufficient grace, and down here

in our bosom is a spring which bubbles up unto everlasting life. It has been

welling up in some of us these five and-twenty years, but why is it so? The

grand secret is that there is an unbroken connection between the little

spring within the renewed breast and that vast unfathomed fount of God,

and because of this the well-spring never fails; in summer it still continues

to flow. And now if you ask me it I am dissatisfied with the spring within

my soul which is fed by the all-sufficiency of God, I reply, no, I ant not. If

you could by any possibility cut the connection between my soul and my

Lord I should despair altogether, but as long as none can separate me from

the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord, I am satisfied and at

rest. Like Naphtali we are “satisfied with favor and full of the blessing of

the Lord.”


Faith is in the good man’s heart and he is satisfied with what faith brings

him, for it conveys to him the perfect pardon of his sin. Faith brings him

nearer to Christ. Faith brings him adoption into the family of God. Faith

secures him conquest over temptation. Faith procures for him everything

he requires. He finds that by believing he has all the blessings of the

covenant daily to enjoy. Well may he be satisfied with such an enriching

grace. The just shall live by faith.


In addition to faith, he has another filling grace called hope, which reveals

to him the world to come, and gives him assurance that when he falls

asleep he will sleep in Jesus, and that when he awakes he will arise in the

likeness of Jesus. Hope delights him with the promise that his body shall

rise, and that in his flesh he shall see God. This hope of his sets the pearly

gates wide open before him, reveals the streets of gold, and makes kiln

hear the music of the celestial harpers. Surely a man may well be satisfied

with this.


The godly heart is also satisfied with what love brings him; for love though

it seem but a gentle maid, is strong as a giant, and becomes in some

respects the most potent of all the graces. Love first opens wide herself like

the flowers in the sunshine, and drinks in the love of God, and then she

joys in God and begins to sing: —


            “I am so glad that Jesus loves me.”


She loves Jesus, and there is such an interchange of delight between the

love of her soul to Christ and the love of Christ to her, that heaven itself

can scarce be sweeter. He who knew this deep mysterious love will be

more than filled with it, he will need to be enlarged to hold the bliss which

it creates. The love of Jesus is known, but yet it passeth knowledge. It fills

the entire man, so that he has no room for the idolatrous love of the

creature, he is satisfied from himself, and asks no other joy.


Beloved, when the good man is enabled by divine grace to live in

obedience to God, he must, as a necessary consequence, enjoy peace of

mind. His hope is alone fixed on Jesus, but a life which evidences his

possession of salvation casts many a sweet ingredient into his cup. He who

takes the yoke of Christ upon him and learns of him finds rest unto his

soul. When we keep his commandments we consciously enjoy his love,

which we could not do if we walked in opposition to his will. To know that

you have acted from a pure motive, to know that you have done the right

is a grand means of full content. What matters the frown of foes or the

prejudice of friends, if the testimony of a good conscience is heard within?

We dare not rely upon our own works, neither have we had a desire or

need to do so, for our Lord Jesus has saved us everlastingly; still, “Our

rejoicing is this, the testimony our conscience, that in simplicity and godly

sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had

our conversation in the world.”


The Christian needs to maintain unbroken fellowship with Jesus, his Lord,

if he would be good as a soldier of Christ, but if his communion be broken

his satisfaction will depart. If Jesus be within we shall be satisfied from

within, but not else; if our fellowship with him be kept up, and it may be

from day to day, and month to month, and year to year (and why should it

ever be snapped at all), then the satisfaction will continue, and the soul will

continue to be full even to the brim with the bliss which God alone can

give. If we are by the Holy Spirit made to be abundant in labor or patient in

suffering, if, in a word, we resign ourselves fully up to God, we shall find a

fullness of his grace placed within ourselves. An enemy compared some of

us to cracked vessels, and we may humbly accept the description. We do

find it difficult to retain good things, they run away from our leaking

pitchers; but I will tell how a cracked pitcher can be kept continually full.

Put it in the bottom of an ever-flowing river, and it must be full. Even so

though we are leaking and broken, if we abide in the love of Christ we shall

be filled with his fullness. Such an experience is possible; we may be


            “Plunged in the Godhead’s deepest sea,

            And lost in his immensity,”


Then we shall be full, full to running over; as the Psalmist says “my cup

runneth over.” The man who walls in God’s ways, obediently resting

wholly upon Christ, looking for all his supplies to the great eternal deeps,

that is the man who will be filled, filled with the very things which he has

chosen for his own, filled with those things which are his daily delight and

desire. Well may the faithful believer be filled, for he has eternity to fill him

— The Lord has loved him with an everlasting love; — there is the eternity

past: “The mountains shall depart and the hills be removed, but my

covenant shall not depart from thee” — there is the eternity to come. He

has infinity, yea the infinite One himself, for the Father is his Father, the

Son is his Savior, the Spirit of God dwells within him — the Trinity may

well fill the heart of man. The believer has omnipotence to fill him, for all

power is given unto Christ, and of that power Christ will give to us

according as we have need. Living in Christ and hanging upon him from

day to day, beloved, we shall have a “peace of God which passeth all

understanding to keep our hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” May we

enjoy this peace and magnify the name of the Lord for ever and ever.



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