Isaiah 54:17
No weapon formed against you shall prosper, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the LORD's servants, and their vindication is from Me," declares the LORD.
Sermons
Justification Through Imputed RighteousnessD. Wilson.Isaiah 54:17
The Christian's HeritageD. Jamison, B. A.Isaiah 54:17
The Excellent Properties and Qualities of that Righteousness by Which Believers are JustifiedD. Wilson.Isaiah 54:17
The Godly Man's HeritageW. G. Lewis.Isaiah 54:17
The Heritage of Faithful ServiceW. Clarkson Isaiah 54:17
The Saint's Heritage and WatchwordCharles Haddon Spurgeon Isaiah 54:17
Worthless WeaponsT. R. Stevenson.Isaiah 54:17
Isaiah 54W. H. Barlow, B.D.Isaiah 54:1-17
Jerusalem: Barren, Then FruitfulF. Delitzsch, D.D.Isaiah 54:1-17
Sing, O BarrenIsaiah 54:1-17
The Church of the FutureC. Clemance, D.D.Isaiah 54:1-17
The Future of the ChurchE. Johnson Isaiah 54:1-17
The Gentile Church a Joyful MotherR. Glover, M. A.Isaiah 54:1-17
The Relation Between Isaiah 53. and 54Prof. G.A. Smith, D.D., Prof. J. Skinner, D.D.Isaiah 54:1-17
BlueH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
Fair ColoursS. Cox, D. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
Foundations of SapphiresH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
God's Promise to the Afflicted ChurchB. Beddome, M. A.Isaiah 54:11-17
I Will Lay Thy Foundations with SapphiresH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
Sapphire FoundationsH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
Stones with Fair ColoursH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
The Adornments of GraceH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
The Beautifying Power of Divine GraceH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
The City of GodF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 54:11-17
The City of GodF. B. Meyer, B. A.Isaiah 54:11-17
The Co-Operation of Providence and GraceH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
The Decorations of NatureH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
The SapphireH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
The World Unfavourable to Beauty of Christian CharacterH. Macmillan, LL. D.Isaiah 54:11-17
Zion's Foundations, Windows, Gates, and BordersJ. C. Philpot.Isaiah 54:11-17
Hope for the Church in the Sovereignty of GodJ. A. Alexander.Isaiah 54:16-17
The Church's Fears SilencedJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 54:16-17


From the beginning to the end of the Scriptures the service of God is represented as the only wise course for men to take. All paths of disobedience are spoken of as ways of folly as well as of sin. It is godliness that has the promise of all things, here and hereafter. The heritage of the holy is very variously defined, the most remarkable definition being that given by our Lord in reply to Peter (vide Mark 10:28-31). In the text we have it presented to us as a continual victory. No weapon formed against the righteous shall prosper, and every accusation shall be silenced. God will justify them. The faithful service of Christ is marked by victory over -

I. SUCCESS IN OUTWARD LIFE. Few weapons are so powerful as this in the hand of the enemy. Many are they who, in their folly, have allowed their prosperity to destroy them (Proverbs 1:32). The sense of power, the enjoyment of popularity, the command of comforts, the continuance of success in the chosen vocation, - these things prove too much for many souls. Under their influence men swerve from the straight line of simplicity of life, humility of spirit, purity of heart, integrity of character.

II. ADVERSE CIRCUMSTANCES. These are often found to be victorious over men, triumphing over their faith in God, their gratitude, and their submission; leading down to sullenness and moroseness of spirit; in some cases conducting to unbelief and impiety.

III. PRIVATION OF PRIVILEGE. When it is a man's fortune to be separated from the community and to lead a life of comparative loneliness, he is cast much on his own resources. He misses the encouragement and inspiration which come from social worship and collective piety. Without the aid and influence of these, he is in danger of fainting and falling in his Christian course.

IV. EXPOSURE TO CORRUPT COMPANIONSHIP. This is often a matter of necessity and not of choice. The best may have to submit to it, and the peril of spiritual injury from it is very great.

V. THE FORCE OF A SURROUNDING SCEPTICISM. A force which either vigorously assaults the main fortress of the faith or sedulously and stealthily undermines the wails - a great and growing peril. It is promised to the servants of the Lord that they shall triumph over these various enemies. "No weapon that is formed," etc. But while

(1) God's promise may well cheer his servants, helping them to pursue their troubled path, and to do their difficult or dangerous work with alacrity and hope; it is well that

(2) his conditions should be remembered. There is no absolute, unconditional guarantee; the careless, the disobedient, the negligent servant will be, nay, he is, defeated by the enemy; he yields and falls. But let a man be a faithful servant, studious of Christ's will and daily seeking his Holy Spirit's aid, and he will find that his Divine Lord will "always cause him to triumph;" he will know "the exceeding greatness of his power" to uphold and to perfect. Meantime, to those who are observers,

(3) God's sustaining grace will prove the sign and seal of his Divine favour. "This is their righteousness [justification] of me." - C.









No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper.
I. GLANCE AT THE WEAPONS WHICH HAVE BEEN USED AGAINST THE CHURCH COLLECTIVELY.

1. The first weapon that we notice is an old one — Infidelity. Nothing can be more palpable than this — humanity refuses to be infidel.

2. Behold another of these hostile implements is the weapon of persecution. A weak weapon, nevertheless.

II. AS REGARDS THE CHURCH INDIVIDUALLY "NO WEAPON THAT IS FORMED AGAINST IT SHALL PROSPER."

1. The weapon of slander shall not prosper.

2. The weapon of doubt.

3. The weapon of death.

(T. R. Stevenson.)

I. THE ARMOURY OF SATAN. The enemy of souls is likened by our Lord to "a strong man armed;" He commands principalities and powers; skilled in hostilities, He has different modes of attack; He employs a great variety of weapons.

1. Persecution. And yet, when we estimate the results of persecution, we have to confess it has not prospered. It has been mightily restrained, and its remains have been turned to the praise of God. It has purified the Church, and given new impetus to the truth. Sometimes it has united the despised forces of Zion, so that their strength has been greatly increased.

2. Temptation. With this weapon the archer sorely wounded our first parents, and he has ever since too successfully hurled it against their progeny. But it does not prosper; it strips us of self-confidence, eradicates pride, drives us for safety to the Hiding Place, and presses upon us the constant necessity for that shield of faith which "quenches all the fiery darts of the wicked." You cannot afford to despise temptations; but you need not despair under them while you call in the aid engaged to you.

3. False teaching. Clothed as an angel of light, the tempter first instilled error into the mind of Eve, before he could produce disobedience. It is no light affliction to have the mind's view of Divine truth perverted. Various, however, as are the shades of false teaching, they do not prosper — they flourish for a time like grass upon the housetops, but they fill no man's bosom with harvest sheaves. The "Word of God outlives them all. Each of those weapons was directed with fullest force against the Son of God.

II. THE WORLDLY MAN'S MALICE. "Every tongue that shall rise against thee in judgment thou shalt condemn." The slightest whisper of suspicion is greedily sought after, if it cast but a shadow on the character of any saint, and it, is repeated till it grows to calumnious dimensions, and eateth as doth a canker. The worst manifestation of this malignant plague is that which makes its appearance within the Church: when those who should be the guardians become the assailants of a brother's character, and prejudice and suspicion displace confidence and charity. In the ease of the true Christian, integrity of life will disappoint all the aspersions of the wicked.

III. THE GODLY MAN'S VINDICATION. "This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord." What an inheritance it is! It comprises all the blessings contained in God's Word; and the fulfilment of all His gracious, promises.

(W. G. Lewis.)

I. THE CHRISTIAN'S EXPERIENCE.

1. Weapons are formed against him. No Christian need expect aught else. As Israel's experience in the wilderness, so the Christian's in the world.

2. Tongues rise against him. From the days of Cain it has been so, and will be so to the end. So they treated the Lord, and so they will treat His disciples.

II. THY CHRISTIAN'S SECURITY.

1. No weapon shall prosper. The Christian's enemies may be mighty, malignant, crafty, constant; but more mighty, more wise, more watchful, more indefatigable and loving is his protector.

2. Every tongue he shall condemn.

(1)He shall do it himself by well-doing (1 Peter 2:15).

(2)God shall do it for him.

(3)It shall be done sufficiently on earth (Psalm 37:6).

(4)Perfectly in eternity (Job 19:25).See also Zechariah 3. Let Christians see to it that they so live that men speaking evil of them shall do it falsely, and God shall fully vindicate them. Who has this security? and in answer see —

III. THE CHRISTIAN'S CHARACTER. "The servants of the Lord." This security is described as —

IV. THY CHRISTIANS HERITAGE; and this description may teach us —

1. That while the Christian is a servant, he is also a son and heir.

2. That his security is a thing not of merit, but of inheritance. It is a legacy secured to him by the death of Christ. It is the Father's good pleasure to give them the kingdom.

3. We may be sure that a heritage from God is a certain possession. He is "without variableness or shadow of turning."

V. THE CHRISTIAN'S TITLE. Perhaps this last clause had been better translated uniformly with previous one: "And this is their righteousness (justification) from Me. But taking it as we have It, we may interpret it as teaching us

1. That the Christian's justification is of God. It is the righteousness which is of God by faith.

2. That the Christian's sanctification is of God. It is He who worketh in him "to will and to do of God's good pleasure."

3. That boasting is excluded. "What hast thou that thou hast not received?"

4. That security is perfect; for if God justify, who can condemn (Romans 8:34)? and if God sanctify, He will "perfect that which concerneth" us. This clause thus explains as well as ratifies the promise, and, farther, it tells us how we may secure this promise for ourselves. Righteousness we have not by nature, righteousness we cannot attain of ourselves — but righteousness we may receive from God.

(D. Jamison, B. A.)

Their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord.
In these words, which are spoken of all true believers, more particularly, we may observe —

I. THE FOUNDATION OF THEIR ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD, AND OF ALL THE GLORIOUS PRIVILEGES THAT THEY ENJOY OR ARE ENTITLED TO. It is "a righteousness;" such a righteousness as answers all the demands of the Divine law, a righteousness with which God is well pleased.

II. HOW BELIEVERS BECOME POSSESSED OF THIS RIGHTEOUSNESS, They have it not of themselves. It is not a righteousness wrought out by them or inherent in them, but a righteousness which they have of God. God, in the person of the Father, devised and provided it; God, in the person of the Son, wrought it out for them. It is also through the gracious operation of the Holy Spirit, enabling them to believe the report of the Gospel, and receive Christ exhibited and freely offered to them in it, that they come to be actually possessed of this righteousness.

III. THE INTEREST THAT BELIEVERS HAVE IN THAT RIGHTEOUSNESS WHICH IS THE GROUND OF THEIR JUSTIFICATION. It is called "their righteousness." Though it is not theirs originally or subjectively, it is theirs really. It is theirs by the free gift of God.

IV. THE CERTAINTY OF THE GREAT AND IMPORTANT TRUTH ASSERTED IN THE TEXT, namely, that the righteousness of believers, or that righteousness by which they are justified, and on which their title to everlasting life and all the blessings of salvation is wholly founded, is a righteousness which they have not of themselves, but of God, or by His free gift and gracious imputation. This is what Jehovah Himself declares and attests in the plainest manner: "Their righteousness is of Me, saith the Lord."

(D. Wilson.)

It is —

1. A perfect righteousness.

2. A Divine righteousness.

3. A justice-satisfying righteousness.

4. A law-magnifying righteousness.

5. A God-glorifying righteousness.

6. A righteousness that is freely given to the unworthy and the guilty.

7. An everlasting righteousness.

(D. Wilson.)

He, every one that thirsteth.
Public messages [Isaiah] would, as a matter of course, deliver publicly in the frequented streets and bazaars, and in khans, and in the temple area, frequently using the common cries of the forerunners of the nobles, the morning call of the temple watchmen, who had been waiting to proclaim the striking of the sun's first rays upon the pinnacles, the groans of the sabbals (or burden-bearers), the tumult of the buyers and sellers, and the sing-song invitation of the water-carriers, and purveyors of wine and cooling drinks, as his texts, — just such cries and invitations as one may hear to-day in Cairo, Jerusalem, or Damascus. Standing at a street corner he hears a voice, "All ye that arc thirsty, buy my cooling waters, and refresh your hearts," and he forthwith bursts out with his own competitive cry, "Ho, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters," etc.

(F. Sessions.)

Hitzig, Hendewerk and Knobel understand water, wine and milk as the rich material enjoyments which the exiles have in prospect on returning to their fatherland, whereas they are now paying tribute in Babylon, and rendering personal service to their masters without deriving any benefit therefrom. But the prophet knows of a water even higher than natural water (Isaiah 44:3; cf. 41:17), and a higher than the natural wine (Isaiah 25:6); he knows of an eating and drinking surpassing mere material enjoyment (Isaiah 65:13). As shown by the very fact that water is placed first, water, wine and milk are not the products of the Holy Land, but figures of spiritual revival, refreshing and nourishment (1 Peter 2:2, τὸ λογικὸν ἄδολον γάλα).

(F. Delitzsch, D. D.)

God would have the attention of sinners; He calls for it. Are not sinners eager for God? Oh, no. It is God who is eager for sinners; and so He calleth Ho! Men pass by with their ears full of the world's tumult; and God calleth, again and again, "Ho! ho!"

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

A great appeal is addressed to those who are athirst. Thus the Lord accommodates His ministry to human necessity. When men are thirsting for water He does not offer them sublime visions of the future, or stately ideas concerning the economies and dominions of time. He would say to men, Let us, in the first place, supply your need; until your thirst is quenched your mind cannot be at rest; until your bodily necessities are supplied your imagination will be unable to exercise itself in high thoughts. The promises of God are addressed to our necessities for more than merely temporary reasons. There is a whole philosophy of government in such appeals. Only at certain points can we profess to understand God, and those points touch our need, our pain, our immediate desire; when we are quite sure that God gives us water for our bodily thirst we may begin at least to feel that there is a possibility that He may not neglect the more burning thirst of the soul. God approaches the spirit through the body. The God who grows corn for our hunger may also have bread for our spirits cry of weakness.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

It is " Come — come." That is the most familiar word in the Bible! It seems to be a favourite word. The word "Come" occurs six hundred and forty two times in the Bible. It is "Come to the supper;" Come to the waters" "The Spirit and the Bride say, Come." Through all sorrows, through all trials: through all nights of darkness, through all calamities, through all temptations, it rings out, "Come! Come!, Come!" I remember, when I was a boy in the country, being envious of the old sexton who used to lay hold of the bell-rope, and start the bell that shook the meeting-house, calling the people for miles around to prayer. The poorest man, trudging along the turnpike-road, knew that the bell called him just as much as it called the rich farmer riding behind his prancing and capering pair. And so this Gospel bell calls to palaces and to huts, to robes and to rags, saying, "Whosoever will, let him come." When the sexton had struck one stroke, why did he not wind up the rope and stop? The people had all heard it. But no; he kept on ringing, until, besweated and exhausted, he sat down. When he began to ring there were none present. When he concluded ringing, the roads were full of waggons, and the church door was thronged with people who had come to worship God. And so we must keep on ringing this Gospel bell. Though, perhaps, few may now come, we will keep on ringing, until, after a while, men shall come as clouds, and as "doves to their windows."

(T. De Flirt Talmage, D. D.)

In a man spiritually athirst there are seven qualities answerable to those in a man naturally athirst.

1. Emptiness.

2. Exquisite sense — a painful sense.

3. Peculiar cares and thoughts. All a man's thoughts, in such a condition, are for water to cool and refresh him (Acts 2:37; Acts 16:30).

4. Impatience (Exodus 17:3).

5. Vehemeney of desire.

6. Diligent endeavour.

7. Constant languishing. Delay doth but increase the thirst the more. Nothing will put an end to spiritual thirst but Jesus Christ.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Who are these thirsty souls, panting for a satisfaction which they have not yet found? They are the people of the hill country, now exiled to the plains. They have been bereft of the companionable apocalypse of the heights, and they are now immured in the unsuggestive monotony of the plains. I do not think you will. find a single helpful figure in the entire Bible borrowed from the plains. The plains lie prone as a speechless sphinx. The hill country is full of voices, loud in their intimations, prodigal in revelations. Its phenomena are the messengers of the infinite. There towers the rugged height, firm and immovable, standing sure and steadfast through the fickle and varied years. What is its suggestion? " Thy righteousness is like the great mountains." Yonder come the treasure-laden clouds, driving in from the great deep. They unburden their wealth upon the shoulders of Carmel, clothing it with a garment of rare and luxuriant beauty. What is their significance? "Thy mercy reached even unto the clouds." Here, on these bare, basaltic heights the tired and heated traveller rests in the cool and healing shadow of a friendly rock. What is the speech of the shadow "He that dwelleth in the secret place of the most high shall abide under the shadow of the Almighty." In the hill country all things are but the vestures and vehicles of larger things of spiritual import. T" he light, soft wind that stirs and breathes in the dawn — it is God who rides upon a cherub, yea, who "flies upon the wings of the wind." The gentle, mollifying rain falling upon the parched, bruised, broken stems of grass: "He shall come down like rain-upon the mown grass." The end of the drought; the unsealing of the springs among the hills; the gladsome sound of the river as it laughs and dances down the bare and rocky gorge: what is its significance? "Thou shalt make them drink of the river of Thy pleasures. ' It was an expressive, voiceful, suggestive land. Its features interpreted the face and character of God. Land and people were in communion, and their intercourse concerned the nearness and the favour and the providence of the Lord of hosts. But now the land and the people are divorced. The people are borne away into captivity. They leave the hill-country, so rich in interpreting speech, and they pass into the speechless monotony of the plains. Their environment is dumb. Their dwelling-place is no longer a sacrament: it is common, insignificant, speechless. They have passed from nature to art, and from art to artifice. They have left the shepherd and have met the merchant. They have left the work of the labourers in pastures and dressers of vineyards for a swift and feverish civilization. Now, take the people of the bracing, speaking, hill country, and immure them in this sweltering and superficial plain. In all the crowded interests by which they are engirt there is nothing suggestive of God. There was grandeur, but the grandeur had no voice. It was grandeur without revelation, and grandeur without revelation is never creative of awe. Where there is no awe, men step with flippant tread. The exile felt the glamour, felt the power of the grandeur, but in .the glamour and grandeur forgot his God. His vision was more and more horizontal, and less and less vertical. Ambition waxed feverish, and aspiration waxed faint. The spirit of the conqueror infected the captive. The babble of Babylon entered into Israel. Success was enthroned in place of holiness, and the soul bowed down and worshipped it. The exile embraced the world, and shut out the infinite. Now, what was the issue of that Y The exile made money. His body revelled in conditions of ease. His carnal appetites delighted themselves in fatness. He climbed into positions of eminence and power. What else? "In the fulness of his sufficiency he was in straits.' The body luxuriated; the soul languished. He drenched the body with comforts; but he couldn't appease its tenant. "Soul, thou hast much goods laid up, eat, drink, and be merry! And still the soul cried out, "I thirst," and disturbed him like an unquiet ghost, he spent money and more money, but was never able to buy the appropriate bread. He plunged into increased labours, but his labours reaped only that "which satisfied not." The body toiled, the brain schemed, the eyes coveted, and still the soul cried out, "I thirst. Now, when there sits in the soul a hungry unrest and a feverish thirst, life will drop into faintness, weariness and despair. All things become stale, flat, and unprofitable. We "spend our money for that which is not bread, and we labour for that which satisfieth not.' "All is vanity and vexation of spirit."

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

Has this no pertinency for our own day? Acquisition and expansion are the primary notes of modern life. And is there no thirst, no disquietude of spirit? Our novels and our poetry are full of the drooping leaf. Behind the droop there is the thirst. The literature only reflects the people. Business circles never abounded as they do to-day in faint and weary men. They get and spend, and spend and get, but through it all persists the inward thirst. England is thirsting for life. What we need is the infinitely gracious ministry of the Eternal Son of God. "He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters."

I. There is to be THE DISCIPLINE OF THE EAR. There is to be a determined, resolute effort to listen to God. When I turn over the pages of the New Testament, and the Old Testament as well, I am greatly surprised at the emphasis with which is given the injunction to hear. " Hear, ye deaf. Every page sends out the cry of the herald — Hearken, listen, incline your ear. It is wonderful how often the Master repeated the injunction, "He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." That is not a kind of mild, kindly counsel, but an urgent, strenuous appeal to men and women in imminent peril. As though they were disinclined, or did it lazily and easily. He seems to say, Put work into hearing, make it a business, put some intenseness into it. The voices of the world are so clamorous, so fascinating, so easily enticing, that you are in great danger of being allured unless you set yourself resolutely to attend to God. "Hearken diligently unto Me;" put work into listening to Me, in the Parliament, in the Council House, on the Exchange, in the shop and the warehouse, and in the pulpit. There are many clamorous voices around you, those of Mr. Worldly-Wiseman, Mr. Pliable, Mr. Time-Server, Mr. Love-of-the-World. Then pull yourself together, says the Master and the prophet; engage yourself with such intenseness amidst all the bustling clamour, that you may catch the upward calling of your God.

II. The discipline of the ear is accompanied by THE DISCIPLINE OF THE HEART. Listen and then yield. "Let the wicked forsake his way (and then something infinitely harder), "and the unrighteous man his thoughts." I find it a comparatively easy thing to forsake a way; but I find it almost insuperably difficult to forsake a thought. Hear the Highest and then uncompromisingly obey. You say impossible! Idleness creates the impossible, says Robert South. I think perhaps one of the great needs of our time in personal and national life, is that some nation should resolutely address itself to listen to the voice of God, and when she has resolutely listened and confidently heard, then to resolutely and deliberately attempt the impossible. Let her begin by forsaking her own wicked ways. Let her hearken diligently to the Divine voice and then definitely and unwaveringly follow in pursuit, even though the way lead apparently to an impassable height. Let her return to the Lord, and let there be no longer a democracy, an aristocracy, a plutocracy, but a Theocracy willing gladly to be counselled by Jehovah.

III. "WHAT IS THE ISSUE OF THIS OBEDIENCE? Suppose the thirsty nation oppressed, turned herself to listen to Jehovah and began to interpret the voice Divine, and suppose she addressed herself with all the majesty of Divine power to the pursuit of the ideal discerned, what would happen? The issue of-such a demeanour is portrayed for us with wonderful prodigality in the chapter.

1. There is the assured promise of fuller life. "Hear, and your soul shall live." Hitherto life had been a thin existence, a mere surface glittering, a superficial movement. Now there shall be vitality, awakening and stirring in undreamed-of depths. Life shall be no longer confined to the channels of the appetites; life shall no longer be a mere matter of senses and sensations confined to the outer courts and corridors of the life, but you shall begin to live in the innermost self. The unused shall be aroused and exercised;, the unevolved shall be unpacked; benumbed instincts shall be liberated; buried powers of discernment shall come trooping from the grave; new intelligence shall be born, and the sea of iniquity shall ebb, and the sea shall give up its dead. Life shall be no longer scant and scrimpy. You shall delight yourself, not in leanness but in fatness, every tissue of yourself shall be fed, and the outer life shall bear all manner of fruit, and the leaves of the tree shall be for the healing of the nations.

2. Mark the succession, and we get an exceedingly pregnant suggestion. We have got a nation listening, we have got a nation doing, we have got a nation now living, with its powers evolved, and in active exercise. What next? "Behold, thou shalt call a nation that thou knowest not." What is that'? It means that a true and glorified national life is to be followed by a true and glorified imperialism. "Nations that knew not thee shall run unto thee because of the Lord thy God.' That is the true imperialism — empire by moral and spiritual sovereignty, allurement of dominion by the fascinating radiance of a pure and satisfied life. "Gentiles shall come to the light, and kings to the brightness of the rising." It is empire not merely by the aid of Maxim guns, but by great heartening: Gospels proclaimed by a great redeemed, glorified people. This is to be the shining goal of true national ambition. The mission of the great people, according to this chapter, is to be this: We are to be witnesses to the people, leaders and commanders of the people, witnesses ceaselessly reiterating the truths of the heartening Gospel, proving in the power of our own redemption our fitness to be leaders of the people, going out as path-finders amongst the benighted peoples. "They shall be called" (I want no more glorious title for the country) "the restorer of paths to dwell in."

3. Now, mark further the issue. A true imperialism, I will not say is to be succeeded, but is to be accompanied by a splendid magnanimity. When the nation has hearkened diligently unto God, and follows determinedly in the pursuit of His will, all little-mindedness has to pass away in the great spacious ambitions. The pure and the exalted people are to share the spacious thought of God, and this I take to be the meaning of the word, "My thoughts are not your thoughts." "What are Thy thoughts like?" "As the heavens are higher than the earth. God's thoughts are lofty, spacious, broad; so our thoughts must be comprehensive, full of an all-inclusive sympathy which vibrates to the interest of each, as though each contained the welfare of the other. The truly imperial people are to share this largeness of idea and ideal and all inclusive sympathy. All parochial peddling and sterile individualism shall yield to a pregnant altruism, and mean patriotism is to be supplanted by a generous fructifying cosmopolitanism. The annexation of territory will be regarded as infinitely inferior to the salvation of the world. Influence shall not be measured by mileage, but by magnanimity. Empire will not be computed by so many leagues of earth, but by the multitude of redeemed and liberated souls. And the outskirts of sovereignty will not be contained by bristling guns, but "They shall call her walls salvation and her gates praise."

4. We have an exalted, glorified empire, and according to this prophet, there is to be nothing wavering or uncertain about the moral empire of such a people. For them a help-giving ministry,, will be inevitable. "As the rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, etc. The rain cometh down and the snow from heaven, the bringers of the spring time; and the nation truly imperial, and filled with the living Spirit of the living God, shall be the spring-time maker amongst the children of men, and the creator of gladness and music and song. The prophet himself bursts into song: "The mountains and the hills shall break forth before you into singing, and all the trees of the field shall clap their hands." That is to be the ministry of the nation. "Instead of the thorn shall come up the fir tree." The thorn with the sharp-piercing, pain-giving spikes: instead of that shall come up the fir tree — from which were made the musical instruments, and especially the framework of the harp; "instead of the thorn, the pain-making thing, shall come up the fir tree," the music-making thing; the glorified people shall move among the scattered peoples, and shall exercise the beautiful ministry of changing the creators of pain into the makers of melody and praise. "Instead of the briar," with its bitter, poisonous sting, "shall come up the myrtle tree, with its glossy leaves, and white flowers and grateful perfume. The redeemed and consecrated nation shall exult in a missionary enterprise which shall change the poisonous enmities and jealousies of the people into the perfume of sweet and gracious sentiments, and the chastened delights of a holy and blameless life. Is not this an ambition worthy of the English people of our own day?

(J. H. Jowett, M. A.)

I. THE INVITATION ITSELF.

1. The universality of the offer.

2. The freeness of the gift. "He that hath no money ' — he that is in spiritual bankruptcy.

3. The fulness of the blessings which this salvation contains. They are represented by the three terms, water, wine and milk.

II. THE ENCOURAGEMENTS TO ACCEPT THE INVITATION. These are manifold and various.

1. There is, the contrast between the blessings offered and those for which men are now so laboriously toiling.

2. The character of Him through whom the blessings are to be obtained.

3. The present nearness of God to us and His abundant willingness to pardon.

4. The fact that God's "ways are not our ways, nor His thoughts our thoughts." He pardons like a God.

5. God's Word "shall not return unto Him void. There is profound encouragement in the thought that back of these agencies of the Gospel, which seem so weak as compared with those powers of depravity in the soul with which they must contend, lies the changeless purpose of Him who "worketh all things after the counsel of His own will."

6. The profound interest felt by all holy beings everywhere in the salvation of the sinner. That profound sympathy with man in his efforts for salvation which our Lord so beautifully represents by the joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth, the inspired prophet; here represents by the joy of inanimate nature over this return of the sinner to Him who is the Fountain of life.

7. The beneficent results of the acceptance of this invitation. "Instead of the thorn," etc. Divine grace works a complete transformation in the heart into which it comes. It roots out the thorns and briars of selfishness, of pride, of avarice, of unbelief and every hurtful lust. It implants in their room all the graces that adorn the Christian character.

(T. D. Witherspoon, D. D.)

Man may erect his barriers around that fountain, God erects none. It is not, Come by laboured preparation — by penance and fasting, by pilgrimage and mortification, It is not, "Come" — but you must come by dogma and rubric, by sect and shibboleth. Neither is it, "Come" — but you must come with some golden or jewelled bucket to fetch up the water; you must come like Naaman of old, laden with, costly offerings, talents of silver and gold, and changes of raiment. But, "Come, just as you are, without money and without price;" without distinction, whether natural or spiritual, of class or rank or caste, birth or blood or pedigree. "Come," though you may have but. an earthen pitcher to draw with; "come," though you can only lave up the water in the rough palm of your hands.

(J. R. Macduff, D. D.)

The Lord even thirsteth to be thirsted after.

(J. Trapp.)

I. SIN IS MISERY, FAILURE, KEEN AND URGENT WANT. Isaiah draws a picture which Orientals would appreciate far more vividly than we, whose utmost pain from thirst only means that on some holiday excursion we have felt the heat inconvenient, and have not; happened immediately upon a fountain. He speaks, not of one thirsty man, but of a number, evidently a caravan of travellers. No one who heard him would fail to think of the burnt and sandy plains, a little to the south, on which sometimes a whole company of travellers might wander from their way, and exhaust their provisions, and grow feeble and gaunt and desperate. The hot breeze whirls the burning sand around them. The simoom wind wails in the distance. Phantom waters gleam with a cruel mockery on this side or that. Their own fever creates illusions which distract them. The skeletons of others, lost like themselves, glare upon them. Their steps are feeble, and their tongues cleave to their mouths, when suddenly all that they could not find finds them, and a glad voice calls, "He, every one that thirsteth, come ye to the waters! This fountain is deep enough for all, and here, in our tents, is Oriental hospitality besides; buy and eat, buy wine and milk without money and without price. Our own countrymen, exploring the deserts of Australia even now, would understand it well. Many a brave man has sunk down there and died.. One band of early explorers survived to tell how in their extremity they climbed a hill and saw below them a rolling water, right into which with one consent; they rushed, and eagerly drank, only to find that it was salt as brine. O mockery, like the mockery of earthly pleasure when the heart is athirst!

II. GOD CALLS THE DISAPPOINTED, the fevered, the men and women who have found the world desolate and dry; whose very wishes give them not their wish, who succeed perhaps, and are all the more unhappy because they know that success also is vanity; whose affection prospers, only to teach them that, after all, there are depths in every heart which resound to no human voice. You may not as yet feel any more than this burning, secret want; but this is enough, if only it leads you to the fountain. Does not the very word "come" imply the leaving of something, as well as approach to something else? And this purchasing is not entirely defined in the words, "Let the wicked man forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts," for much more than sin must be surrendered. St. Paul tells us of the price he himself paid when, having reckoned up his advantages, and how, as touching the righteousness that is by the law, he was blameless, he adds, "What things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ," etc. Yes, for Christ. For it is He who interprets this verse of Himself, though it is plainly spoken of Jehovah. He, on the great day of the feast, stood and cried, "If any man thirst, let him come unto Me and drink." Here, then, is the one test of earnestness: Will you, at the bidding of your God, renounce what has failed to quench your thirst, for the sake of the waters of life?

(G.A. Chadwick, D.D.)

I. TO WHOM THIS OFFER IS MAKE. It is to every one thirsty and penniless. That is a melancholy combination, to be needing something infinitely, and to have not a farthing to get it with. But that is the condition in which we all stand, in regard of the highest and best things.

1. "Every one that thirsteth." That means desire. But it means need also. And what is every man but a great bundle of yearnings and necessities? There are thirsts which infallibly point to their true objects. If a man is hungry, he knows that it is food that he wants. We have social instincts; we need love; we need friendship; we need somebody to lean upon; we thirst for some breast to rest our heads upon, for hands to clasp ours; and we know where the creatures and the objects are that will satisfy these desires. And there are higher thirsts of the spirit, and a man knows where and how to gratify the impulse that drives him to seek aider some forms of knowledge and wisdom. But besides all these there come in a whole set of other thirsts that do not in themselves carry the intimation of the place where they can be. slaked. And so you get men restless, dissatisfied, feeling that there is something wanting, yet not knowing what. You remember the old story in the "Arabian Nights," of the man who had a grand palace, and lived in it quite contentedly, until somebody told him that he needed a roc's egg hanging from. the roof to make it complete, and he did not know where to get that, and was miserable accordingly. We build our houses, we fancy that we are satisfied; and then there comes the stinging thought that it is not all complete yet, and we go groping in the dark, to find out what it is. Do you know what it is that you want? It is God! Nothing else, nothing less. There are dormant thirsts. It is no proof of superiority that a savage has fewer wants than you and I have, for the want is the open mouth into which supply comes. And it is no proof that you have not, deep in your nature, desires which unless they are awakened and settled, you will never be blessed, that these desires are all unconscious to yourselves. And yet there are no desires — that is to say, consciousness of necessities — so dormant but that their being ungratified makes a man restless. You do not want forgiveness, but you will never be happy till you get it. You do not want to be good and true and holy men, but you will never be blessed till you are. You do not want God, but you will be restless till you find Him.

2. "And he that hath no money." Who has any? Notice that the persons represented in our text as penniless are, in the next verse, remonstrated with for spending "money." So then the penniless man had some pence away in some corner of his pocket which he could spend. He had the money that would buy shams, "that which is not bread," but he had no money for the true thing. Which, being translated out of parable into fact, is simply this, that our efforts may win, and do win, for us the lower satisfactions which meet the transitory and superficial necessities, but that no effort of ours can secure for us the loftier blessings which slake the diviner thirsts of immortal souls.

II. IN WHAT IT CONSISTS. They tell an old story about the rejoicings at the coronation of some great king, when there was set up in the market-place a triple fountain, from each of whose three lips flowed a different kind of rare liquor which any man who chose to bring a pitcher might fill from, at his choice. Notice my text, "come ye to the waters"... "buy wine and milk. The great fountain is set up in the market-place of the world, and every man may come; and whichever of this glorious trinity of effluents he needs most, there his lip ,may glue itself and there it may drink, be it "water that refreshes, or "wine that gladdens, or "milk" that nourishes. They are all contained in this one great gift that flows out from the deep heart of God to the thirsty lips of parched humanity. And what does that mean? We may say salvation; or we may use many other words to define the nature of the gifts. I venture to take a shorter one, and say, it means Christ. He is the all-sufficient supply of every thirst of every human soul.

III. HOW DO WE GET THE GIFTS? The paradox of' my text needs little explanation. "Buy without money and without price.' The contradiction on the surface is but intended to make emphatic this blessed truth theft the only conditions are a sense of need and a willingness to take — nothing else and nothing more.

(A. Mallard, D. D.)

Homilist.
Men know what bodily hunger is, some have felt it to an agony, but there is a soul hunger far more distressing than this. It is depicted on the countenances of those whose bodies fare sumptuously every day. Men also know what bodily thirst is. But there is a soul thirst infinitely worse than that which was ever felt by the most parched of Oriental travellers. That all unregenerate souls are thirsting, with more or less intensity, for that which they have not, will neither be debated nor denied. Christianity is a provision for such, and as a provision it is marked by three things.

I. IT IS EFFICACIOUS. It is "water." The Gospel is to the thirsty soul what the cool refreshing stream is to a thirsty body. It satisfies —

1. The guilty conscience,

2. The longing heart,

3. The worshipping spirit of man. All who have truly received the Gospel give this testimony.

II. IT IS GRATUITOUS. "Without money and without price." Water is one of the freest things in the world. It is a ubiquitous element; it not only floats in the cloud, descends in the showers, and rolls in the rivers, but bubbles up at our feet and oozes out in all the things around us.

III. IT IS UNRESTRICTED. "Ho, every one that thirsteth." The Gospel is not for any type of mind, any class of character, any condition of society, any tribe of men. Like the light of heaven, it is for all.

(Homilist.)

Lira of Faith.
I. The spiritual appetite.

1. It results from the constitution of our nature. We cannot go deeper than nature. We cannot go behind or beyond it, for nature is what has been born (Latin natura), born out of God's thought by God's power. When we speak of nature we must pass in thought from her to her parent God, and find a sufficient answer to all questions and difficulties by saying: "God has so willed it, therefore it is as it is." All the strong basal instincts of human nature must be traced back to the make of our moral being as it was planned by almighty wisdom, and wrought by infinite power. We hunger and thirst, because our physical nature has been so created that it must needs go out of itself for its supplies of nutriment. Similarly, God made our souls for Himself. Deep within us, lie has put necessities and desires, that crave for satisfaction from the Unseen, Eternal, and Divine.

2. It produces pain. There are many sources of pain; but perhaps primarily God has instituted it to compel us to take measures for our health and salvation. The pain of hunger and thirst in designed to force us to take food, without which the body would become exhausted and die. So, in the moral sphere, we should be thankful when we are discontented with ourselves, when in self-abhorrence we cry out for God's unsullied righteousness, when we go about smitten with infinite unrest.

3. It is universal. As we have never met man or woman incapable of hunger or thirst, so there is no human soul which is not capable of possessing God, and does not need Him for a complete life. Often the spiritual appetite is dormant. The invalid, who has long suffered under the pressure of a wasting illness, may have no appetite, but at any moment it may awake. Thus with the hunger of the soul for God.

II. THE NURTURE OF SPIRITUAL APPETITE.

III. THE CERTAIN GRATIFICATION OF THIS APPETITE. God never sends mouths, the old proverb says, but He sends with them the food to fill them. Young lions never seek that which His hand does not open to give. The fish, and the fly at which it snatches; the bird, and the berries on the hawthorn bush; the babe, and the milk stored in its mother's breast, are perfectly adapted to each other. Whatever you and I have longed for in our best and holiest moments may have its consummation and bliss, because God has prepared for our perfect satisfaction.

(Lira of Faith.)

I. THE STATE OF THE PERSONS ADDRESSED. II. THE NATURE OF THE PROVISION PREPARED.

III. THE FORCE OF THE INVITATION OFFERED. What is it to corals? coming signifies believing. Observe how this invitation is reiterated. It corrals in with a shout; then it is plainly stated — then it is repeated — and a third time it is urged.

1. Let the extent of the call induce you to come.

2. Let the freeness of the supply induce you to come.

3. Let the sufficiency of the provision induce you to come.

4. Let the impossibility of finding redemption elsewhere induce you to come.Conclusion:

1. Some of you have heard in a spirit of levity.

2. Some in a spirit of neglect.

3. Some in a spirit of doubt and despondency.

(J. Parsons.)

I. WHAT THESE WATERS ARE WHICH ARE PROVIDED FOR THIRSTY SINNERS.

II. EVERY THIRSTY SINNER MAY AND OUGHT TO COME TO THEM.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

There are eight things which thirsty sinners should set together.

1. All their sins and Christ's merits.

2. All their distresses and Christ's compassions,

3. All their wants and Christ's fulness.

4. All their unworthiness and Christ's fresness.

5. Their desires and Christ's invitations.

6. Their thirstings and the promises of Christ.

7. Their own weakness and Christ's strength.

8. Satan's objections and Christ's answers.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Dr. Faustus was very dear to legend in the Middle Ages. He burned with desire to drink his fill of all the pleasures of this life; but he could not gain them by his own unaided skill. He therefore made a contract with Satan. It was drawn out in the most lawyer-like style, and Faustus signed it with his own blood. It was stipulated that during the next twenty years he should have the run of all earth's pleasures, and then his soul and body were to be given over to Satan. He began with the sweets of knowledge, but soon he forsook them in disgust, and plunged into the fiercer and coarser excitements of the senses. Amid many horrors the body and soul of Faustus were seized by Satan just as the clock struck twelve at night on the last day of the specified period. These legends hold some of the most solemn secrets of life. They teach that every man has a soul to dispose of; that men, like the fallen angels, may ruin themselves with their eyes open; and that the greatest transactions of the soul may be likened to buying and bargaining.

I. WHEN I BUY, I DESIRE. And I desire what I must fetch from without. Were I entirely self-supporting, had I everything I, need "within myself," as the saying is, I should never go to any market. Isaiah's words for "buy" means to buy provisions. Lost in the desert, parched by thirst, gnawed by hunger, duped by the mirage, ready to perish — that is the standing biblical picture of a sinful man when he realizes his soul's needs. It is he who is urged to come to the waters, and to buy wine and milk. "But I have no heart, no desire for these things: what am I to do?" That is the great trouble; indifference or downright indolence of soul the most common obstacle. But God's appeal is, "Come now, and let us reason together." He sets forth the alternatives as to a reasonable being. Water, wine, milk, good, fatness, life, covenant-mercy — all these are freely offered instead of starvation and death. How unreasonable you must be if anything on earth can keep you from what you know to be your highest good!

II. WHEN I BUY, I CHOOSE The essence of a bargain is an act of choice. Choose I the Bible keeps that word ever ringing in our ears. And so does profane literature. Hercules, the greatest hero of heathendom, was made by his deliberate choice of virtue and rejection of vice. Pythagoras put this great truth into one of the most popular of object-lessons. He compared life to the letter y. The parting of the ways is symbolized by the two limbs of the letter. A man must go forward; and he must go left or right; he must walk in the way of evil or in the way of good. This choosing is the biggest thing you can do in this world. When I buy I consent to the price. Buying is simply avowed consent in action. "Come buy... without money and without price." By this double phrase the prophet assails the deep-seated self-righteousness of the heat. And he assails it wit's its own favourite ideas and phrases. You will buy. Well, then, let him buy who has no money, and let him buy without money and without price. Buying has a legal suggestion; but buying without money more than neutralizes every such suggestion. The most capacious mind, the liveliest imagination, could not suggest a more effective way of setting forth the utter freeness of Gods grace.

III. WHAT I BUY, I OWN. The Gospel is here staten in the language of the market-place, so that all may perfectly understand it. All just laws and our moral instincts make me the undoubted possessor of that which I have fairly bought and paid for. It is my very own. This buying is all you need. The goods are yours in offer; and they are yours in full possession n you accept them.

IV. WHAT I BUY, I USE. Unused milk and flesh are of no value to me. The bread of life, which Christ is and offers, is ours only in so far as we appropriate and assimilate it. "Buy and eat. The buying is useless without the eating. Eating is the most vital, personal, and experimental thing in the world. The bread eaten becomes part and parcel of myself.

(Monthly Visitor.)

I. THE PROCLAMATION OF MERCY.

1. The blessings offered.(1) "Waters." Men need cleansing and refreshing. The word is "waters," not water. Some waters are good for domestic purposes only, others for medicinal purposes, and others again for purposes of cleansing. Thus, the water that may be suitable for one purpose may be unsuitable for other purposes. Not so the blessings of the Gospel; not so Christ, who is the Gospel. He meets all the needs of the soul. He pleases the imagination, satisfies the affections, calms the conscience, purifies the heart.(2) "Wine." Christ is like wine, in that He gladdens the heart. He is unlike wine in this — while we may have too much wine, we can never have too much of Christ.(3) "Milk." Milk is nourishing food; milk is natural food. A taste for milk is possibly the only taste we have by nature. All our other likings are more or less acquired. But, we refuse Christ, because what we popularly can a state of nature, is not a state of nature. To live naturally we must feed naturally. He only, so lives who feeds on Christ.

2. The terms propounded.(1) We must "thirst" for Christ. We shall be blessed as soon as we wish to be. We are welcome to Christ when He is welcome to us.(2) We must come to Christ.

II. THE GLORIOUS RESULTS which accrue from compliance with these conditions. Men are invited to buy, etc., so, of those who comply it may be said —

1. They "buy" soul-food, i.e. they appropriate as verily their own the blessings purchased by Christ.

2. They "eat," i.e. they have experimental knowledge of Christianity.

3. Their soul "delights itself in fatness." The more of Christ men have, the more they desire

III. THE LORD'S GRACIOUS EXPOSTULATION. It is an appeal to their reason and their experience. God knows what man is, and what he feels. It is as if God had said: "I know your case entirely; you are toiling for happiness and toiling in vain, and you know it. You are always pursuing some ideal good, with which, when you get it, you are satiated. Why go on thus, when peace and rest may be had? The argument used by God teaches that sin is —

1. Costly. "Wherefore do ye spend money, etc. Sin is costly." —

(1)A pecuniary sense.

(2)A mental sense.

(3)A moral sense.

(4)A spiritual sense. It costs money, health, mental quiet, character, heaven.

2. Laborious.

(1)Men labour to accomplish their evil purposes.

(2)Men labour to conceal their evil deeds, etc.

3. Unsatisfying.

(J. S. Swan.)

I. AN EVANGELICAL INVITATION. "Come ye."

1. The persons invited.

2. The matter of the invitation. Jesus Christ is an only good, and He is an universal good. "Waters; bread; milk; wine."

3. The manner of the invitation.

(1)Earnest. "Ho!"

(2)Serious. "Come, come, come; buy, buy."

(3)General. "Every one."

(4)Gracious. "Buy wine and milk, without money and without price."There is much good to be had, and at a very easy rate. Jesus Christ, and the things of Christ, are above price and without price.

II. A COMPLAINING EXPOSTULATION. "Wherefore," etc. Here we have charged on sinners —

1. Their neglect.

2. Their folly.

III. A RENEWED SOLICITATION OR ENTREATY. How patient is God, even to sinners who neglect the offers of His grace! This renewed entreaty is —

1. Very vehement. "Hearken diligently; incline your ears; hear."

2. Very persuasive.

3. Very satisfactory. "I will make an everlasting covenant with you," etc.I will give My bond for it; all this shall be as surely made good as the mercies which I performed to My servant, David.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Sunday School Chronicle.
What does the hungry man want? Money? Not at all. Fame? No. Good clothes? Not a bit. He wants food. What does the thirsty man want? Reputation? Bonds and stocks? No! He wants water. When we are dead in earnest, and want the bread of heaven and the water of life, we shall not stop till we get them.

(Sunday School Chronicle.)

He that hath no money; come ye, buy, and sat.
We have before us the figure of a merchant selling his wares, and crying like a chapman in the market, "He!" To attract attention he calls aloud, "Come! Come! Come!" three several times; and he adds to this the cry of "Buy! Buy!" Shall the Great King thus liken Himself to a trader in the market earnest to dispose of his goods? It is even so, and I therefore call upon you to admire the mercy of the Lord. In the fifty-third and fifty-fourth chapters this Divine Merchantman has been spreading out His wares. What treasures they are!

I. A DESCRIPTION OF THE BUYER. It is the portrait of a poor, penniless, broken-down creature reduced to the extremity of want: "He that hath no money. Of course, by this is meant the man who literally has no money. Having nothing, you may yet possess all things. But we understand the reference of the text to be mainly spiritual, and so the portrait here is that of a man who has no spiritual money, no gold of goodness, no silver of sanctity.

1. His fancied stock of natural innocence is spent.

2. He thought that he had accumulated some little savings of good works; but his imaginary righteousness turns out to be counterfeit.

3. He is in a still worse plight, for he is also too poor to get anything; the procuring power is gone, for he has "no money " that is to say, nothing wherewith he can procure those good things which are necessary to salvation and eternal life.

4. Moreover, his stock with which to trade is gone. Money makes money, and he that has a little to begin with may soon have more; but this man, having no stock to start with, cannot hope to be rich towards God in and by himself. No money!

(1)Then, he cannot pay his old debts. His sins rise up before him, but he cannot make amends for them.

(2)Moreover, he cannot meet his present expenses.

(3)He cannot face the future.

(4)The only hope for a man who has no money must he outside himself.

II. THE SELECTION OF THE BUYER. It is a strange choice, and it leads to a singular invitation, "He that hath no money; come, buy, and eat." What is the reason?

1. These need mercy most.

2. This character is chosen because he is such a one as will exhibit in his own person the power of Divine grace.

3. The Lord Jesus delights to make evident the freeness of His grace.

4. He is the kind of man that will listen. A wretched sinner jumps at mercy like a hungry fish leaping at the bait.

5. Such an empty, penniless soul, when he does get mercy, will prize it and praise it. He that has been shut up in the dark for years values the light of the sun. He that has been a prisoner for months, how happy he is when the prison doors are opened, and he is at liberty again! Let a man once get Christ, who has bitterly known and felt his need of Him, and he will prize Him beyond all things.

III. THE INVITATION. The man who has no money is to come, buy, and eat. It looks odd to tell a penniless man to come and buy, does it not? and yet what other word could be used? Come and buy, has a meaning of its own not to be otherwise expressed. In buying there are three or four stages.

1. Desiring to have the thing which is exhibited.

2. This means next, to agree to terms.

3. When the terms are carried out, the buyer appropriates the goods to himself.

4. But the text says, "Buy, and eat, as much as to say, make it yours in the most complete sense. If a man buys a loaf of bread it is his: but if he eats it, then all the lawyers in the world cannot dispute him out of it — he has it by a possession which is not only nine points of the law, but all the law. Christ fed upon IS ours beyond all question.

IV. By way of ASSURANCE, to show that this is all real and true, and no make-believe.

1. It is not God's way to mock men. He hath Himself declared, " I said not unto the seed of Jacob, seek ye My face in vain."

2. God is under no necessity to sell His benefits. He is not impoverished: He is so rich that none can add anything to His wealth.

3. There is no adequate price that we could bring to God for His mercy.

4. Remember that Jesus must be meant for sinners, for if sinners had not existed there never would have been a saviour.

5. It must be true that God will give these blessings to men who have no merits, and will bestow them as gifts, because Jesus Himself is a gift.

6. Beside that, Christ is all.

7. The Gospel of Jesus Christ is blessedly free from all clogging conditions, because all supposed conditions are supplied in Christ Jesus.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

You may have seen persons in a shop who, when they have been shown almost all the contents of the shop, — when article after article has been brought down from the shelves for their inspection, have at last, to the no small disappointment of the shopkeeper, gone out without buying anything. And we who have the Gospel wares to dispose of, are subject to like disappointments. We also have customers who, when they have looked at, and turned over, so to speak, again and again, the goods which we offer them, as though they would make an offer for them, content themselves with the looking at them, hear and listen to the Gospel, that you would think they were going to embrace it, yet go out of Church, ah! and out of the world, without embracing it.

(W. Cleaves, M. A.)

It will be seen whether we have been indeed buyers, or like those who content themselves with looking at what is to be sold without buying. If a man has been buying clothes, for instance, he will be seen wearing the clothes; if he has been buying cattle, he will stock his land with the cattle; if he has been buying provisions, his table will be supplied with the provisions; if he has been buying furniture, his house will be furnished with it; and if we have been buying of Christ, the heart and mind will be furnished, we shall be clothed, we shall be adorned with what Christ has for those who buy of Him.

(W. Cleaves, M. A.)

1. In Christ there is very good fare to be had for poor sinners.

2. The enjoyment of it is limited by their coming to Christ and buying of Him.

3. Upon their coming to Christ all that good doth certainly come to them.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

He that is willing to buy —

1. Will go to the market.

2. Doth like the wares which are to be bought.

3. Will come up to the price at which they are to be bought.

4. Will watch the time, and take the time of buying.

5. Is willing to sell that he may compass the things he is very desirous to buy (Genesis 47:17-19; Matthew 13:44).There are three "alls" which a poor sinner is willing to sell that he may have Christ.

(1)All his sinful lusts and his former sinful courses of life.

(2)All his worldly estimations and advantages (Hebrews 11:24-26).

(3)All his serf. His serf-wisdom, his serf-will, his serf-righteousness, his self-sufficiencies and his serf-confidence, his self-seekings and his self-advantages (Philippians 3:8).

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

You may know that you have indeed bought of Christ by something in yourselves.

1. Your hearts will be much endeared to Christ for what He hath sold unto you.

2. You will spend what you have bought of Christ, upon Christ.

3. You will so like the bargain that Christ shall have your custom as long as you live.

4. You will not sell what you have bought.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

There are seven arguments to persuade poor sinners to come and buy of Christ.

I.THE EXCELLENCE OF THE WARES.

II.THE NECESSITY OF THE PURCHASE.

III.THE GOODNESS OF THE SELLER.

IV.THE EASINESS OF THE PRICE.

V.THE OPPORTUNITY OF THE MARKET.

VI.THE BENEFIT OF THE BARGAIN.

VII.THE LOSS BY NEGLECT.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

By buying of Christ you gain —

1. Losses. It is no gain to lose a soul, yet it is an exceeding gain for a soul to lose some things — the dominion of sin, the love of sin, a condemning conscience, our corrupt vices, etc.

2. Yourselves. We never come to enjoy ourselves until we come to enjoy Christ.

3. Your own souls — they are safe and secured for ever.

4. All. All the purchase of Christ, all the good of all the offers of Christ, all the fruits of the Spirit of Christ, all the promises of God in Christ, all the revealings of the ordinances of Christ, all the immunities and privileges of Christ, all the hopes by Christ. You gain all the good which concerns soul and body in this life, and all the good which concerns them in the life to come.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Those who have bought of Christ are —

I.THE WISEST MERCHANTS.

II.THE SUREST POSSESSORS.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

It is a virtue here to be a holy glutton.

(J. Trapp.)

Yea, come, buy wins and milk.
As water, on account of its commonness and abundance, is often apt to be despised, the prophet farther speaks of the blessings of salvation under the symbols of wine and milk.

(R. Jones, M. A.)

I. I have to preach WINE AND MILK. The Gospel is like wine which makes us glad. Let a man truly know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, and he will be a happy man, and the deeper he drinks into the spirit of Christ, the more happy will he become. The Gospel is like milk too, for there is everything in it that you want, Do you want something to bear you up in trouble? It is in the Gospel — "a very present help in time of trouble." Do you need something to nerve you for duty? There is grace all-sufficient for everything that God calls you to undergo or to accomplish. Do you need something to light up the eye of your hope? There are joy-flashes in the Gospel that may make your eye flash back again the immortal fires of bliss. Do you want something to make you stand steadfast in the midst of temptation? In the Gospel there is that that can make you immovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord. The Gospel was evidently meant for manhood; it is adapted to it in its every part. There is knowledge for the head; there is love for the heart; there is guidance for the foot. And I think there is another meaning in the two words "wine and milk." Wine is a rich thing, something that requires much time to manufacture. There has to be vintage and fermentation and preservation before wine can come to its full flavour. The Gospel is like that; it is an extraordinary thing for feast days; it gives a man power to use a vintage of thought, a fermentation of action, and a preservation of experience, till a man's piety comes forth like the sparkling wine that makes the heart leap with gladness. But milk is an ordinary thing; you get it every day, anywhere. So is it with the Gospel: it is a thing for every day.

II. Having thus exhibited the article, my next business is to BRING THE BIDDERS UP TO THE AUCTION BOX AND SELL IT. My difficulty is to bring you down to my price. Here comes some one up to the sacred desk, transformed for the moment into an auction-box, and he cries, "I want to buy." What will you give for it? He holds out his hands, and he has such a handful; he has to lift up his very lap with more, for he can hardly hold all his good works. He has Ave-Marius and Paternosters without number, and all kinds of crossings with holy water, and bendings of the knee, and prostrations before the altar, and reverence of the host, and attending at the mass, and so on. And so, Sir Romanist, you are coming to get salvation are you? and you have brought all this with you. lava sorry for thee, but thou must go away from the box with all thy performances, for it is without money and without price, and until thou art prepared to come empty-handed thou canst never have it. Then another comes up and says, "I am glad you have served the Romanist like, that" I hate the Church of Rome; I am a true Protestant, and desire to be saved. What have you brought, sir? "Oh I have brought no Ave-Marias, no Paternosters. But I say the collect every Sunday; I am very attentive to my prayers. I got to church almost as soon as the doors are open," or "I go to chapel three times on the Sabbath and I attend the prayer-meetings; and beside that, I pay everybody twenty shillings in the pound; I would not like to hurt anybody; I am always liberal, and assist the poor when! can. I may make a little slip just now and then. Still, if I am mot saved I do not know who will be. I am as good as my neighbours, and I think I certainly ought to be saved, for I have very few sins, and what few there are do not hurt other people; they hurt me more than any one else. Besides, they are mere trifles." I will send you away; there is no salvation for you, for it is "without money and without price;" and as long as you bring these fine good works of yours, you cannot have it. Mark, I do not find any fault with them, they are good enough in their place, but they won't do here, but they won't do at the judgment bar of God. Suppose I see a man building a house, and he were fool enough to lay the foundation with chimney-pots. If I should say, "My dear man, I do not like these chimney-pots to be put into the foundation, ' you would not say I found fault with the chimney-pots, but that I found fault with the man for putting them in the wrong place. So with good works and ceremonies; they will not do for a foundation. The foundation must be built of more solid stuff. But see another man. He is a long way off, and he says, "Sir, I am afraid to come; I could not come and make a bid for the salvation. Sir, I've got no larnin', I'm no scholard, I can't read a book, I wish I could. My children go to Sunday-school; I wish there was such a thing in my time; I can't read, and it's no use my hoping to go to heaven. I goes to church sometimes, but oh dear I it's no good; the man uses such long words I can't understand 'em, and I goes to chapel sometimes, but I can't make it out." It wants no scholarship to go to heaven. Now, I see a man come up to the stall, and he says, "Well, I will have salvation, sir; I have made in my will provisions for the building of a church or two, and a few almshouses; I always devote a part of my substance to the cause of God; I always receive the poor, and such-like; I have a pretty good share of money, and I take care not to hoard it up; I am generous and liberal. Won't that carry me to heaven?" Well, I like you very much, and I wish there were more of your sort. But if you bring these things as your hope of heaven, I must undeceive you. You cannot buy heaven with gold. Why, they pave the streets up there with it. Wealth makes distinction on earth, but no distinction at the Cross of Christ. You must all come alike to the footstool of Jesus, or else not come at all. I knew a minister who told me he was once sent for to the dying bed of a woman who was very well to do in the world, and she said, "Mr. Baxter, do you think when I get to heaven Betsy my servant will be there?" "Well," he said, "I don't know much about you, but Betsy will be there; for if I know any one who is a pious girl, it is she." "Well," said the lady, "don't you think there will be a little distinction? for I never could find it in my heart to sit down with a girl of that sort; she has no taste, no education, and I could not endure it. I think there ought to be a little difference." "Ah I you need not trouble yourself, madam," he said, "there will be a great distinction between you and Betsy, if you die in the temper in which you now are; but the distinction will be on the wrong side; for you see her in Abraham's bosom, but you yourself will be cast out. As long as you have such pride in your heart, yon can never enter into the kingdom of heaven." The highway is as much for the poor man as the rich man; so is the kingdom of heaven — "without money and without price."

III. I have to use A FEW ARGUMENTS with you.

1. I would speak to you who never think about these things at all.

2. I have now the pleasing task of addressing men of another character. You do feel your need of a Saviour. Remember, Christ died for you.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I dare say in this congregation I have a hundred different phases of this singular fatuity of man — the desire to bring something to Christ. "Oh, ' says one, "I would come to Christ, but I have been too great a sinner.' Self again, sir, your being a great sinner has nothing to do with that. Christ is a great Saviour, and however great your sin, His mercy is greater than that. He invites you simply as a sinner. Another says, "Ah, but I do not feel it enough." Self again. He does not ask yon about your feelings; He simply says, "Look unto Me and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth." "But, sir, I cannot pray." Self again. You are not to be saved by your prayers; you are to be saved by Christ, and your business is simply to look to Christ; tie will help you to pray afterwards. But, says another, "if I felt as So-and-so did. Self again. "Yes," you say, "I think He would receive anybody but me." Please, who gave you any leave to think at all in the matter? Does He not say, "Him that cometh unto Me I will in nowise cast out"? Give up thinking, and believe. Are your thoughts as God's thoughts, "But," says one, "I have sought Him, but I have not found Him." Can you truly say that you have come to Christ with nothing in your hand, and have looked alone to Him, and yet He has cast you away T Do you dare to say that? No: if God's Word be true, and you are true, you cannot say that. If you will come down to this prince," and take Christ for nothing, just as He is, "without, money and without price," you shall not find Him a hard Master.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

I. THE SURPRISING NATURE OF THIS FACT, for it is very surprising to mankind to hear that salvation is "without money and without price." It is so surprising to them that the plainest terms cannot make them understand it; and, though you tell them a thousand times a day, yet they persist in thinking that you mean some. thing else. Why is it when man does see it he is surprised at it?

1. Because of man's relation to God, and his wrong judgment of Him. Man thinks that God is a hard master.

2. No doubt, also, the condition of man under the fall makes it more difficult for him to comprehend that the gifts of God are "without money and without price," for he finds that he is doomed to toil for almost everything he needs.

3. Again man recollects the general rule of men towards each other, for in this world what is to be had for nothing except that which is worth nothing?

4. Another matter helps man into this difficulty, namely, his natural pride. He does not like to be a pauper before God.

5. Once more, all religions that ever have been in the world of man's making teach that the gifts of God are to be purchased or merited. Though I have thus shown grounds for our surprise, yet if men would think a little they might not be quite so unbelievingly amazed as they are; for, after all, the best blessings we have come to us freely. What price have you paid for your lives? and yet they are very precious. What price do you pay for the air you breathe? What price does a man pay for the sunlight? Life and air and light come to us "without money and without price." And our faculties, too — who pays for eyesight? The ear which hears the song of the bird at dawn, what price is given for it? The senses are freely bestowed on us by God, and so is the sleep which rests them. It is clear then that some of the best blessings we possess come to us by the way of free gift; and come to the undeserving, too, for the dew shall sparkle to-morrow upon the grass in the miser's field, and the rain shall fall in due season upon the rising corn of the wretch who blasphemes his God.

II. THE NECESSITY OF THE FACT mentioned in our text.

1. From the character of the Donor. It is God that gives. Would you have Him sell His pardons?

2. Because of the value of the boon. As one has well said, "it is without price because it is priceless."

3. From the extremity of human destitution. The blessings of grace must be given "without money and without price," for we have no money or price to bring.

III. THE SALUTARY INFLUENCE. OF THIS FACT. If it be "without money and without price," what then?

1. That enables us to preach the gospel to every creature.

2. This fact has the salutary effect of excluding all pride. If it be "without money and without price," you rich people have not a halfpennyworth of advantage above the poorest of the poor in this matter.

3. It forbids despair.

4. It inspires with gratitude, and that gratitude becomes the basis of holiness.

5. It engenders in the soul the generous virtues. The man who is saved for nothing feels first with regard to his fellow-men that he must deal lovingly with them. Has God forgiven me? Then I can freely forgive those who have trespassed against me. He longs to see others saved, and therefore he lays himself out to bring them to Jesus Christ. If he had bought his salvation I dare say he might be proud of it, and wish to keep it to himself Then the free gifts of grace, working by the power and energy of the Holy Spirit, create in us the generous virtues towards God.

6. I cannot think of anything that will make more devout worshippers in heaven than this.

( C. H. Spurgeon.)

" — Linger not, loiter not, frame not excuse, strain not courtesy, hang not off by sinful bashfulness: it is good manners to fall to your meat.

(J. Trapp.)

" —

1. This gracious way of a sinner's full enjoyment of Christ stands not in opposition to praying, attendance upon the ministry of the "Word, or believing.

2. This is to be understood in an opposition to the price and value of our works. You can lay down nothing that hath merit or recompense in it; that hath answerable value, or any value in it.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

All that poor sinners need may be bought of Christ upon gracious terms. Six things demonstrate it.

1. The sinner's insufficiency.

2. His unworthiness.

3. The inconsistency of any other way of trading with Christ (Romans 4:4; Romans 11:6).

4. The invaluableness of the commodities.

5. The quality of the contract. "Ask." "Believe."

6. The work of the Seller.

(1)He is to find all that poor sinners need.

(2)Upon His own proper costs and charge.

(3)He is to give all to them.

(O. Sedgwick, B. D.)

Mr. Webb-Peploe tells of a wealthy man whom he had never known to give five farthings a year in charity, who sent for him once when ill with paralysis. The man said to the minister, "I am afraid [ may die. I have sent for you that I may do what is right before God; I want to go to heaven, and I want you to take a hundred pounds for the poor." The man of God looked the sinner straight in the face and said, "Do you think you are going to buy your soul's way to glory with a dirty hundred pounds? Give your money where you like, I will not touch it." That was bitter medicine, but some diseases require sharp treatment. The man lived, and learned that salvation is not to be bought with money.

(Christian Budget.)

Roland Hill was once preaching at a fair within earshot of the rival gongs of the vagrant merchantmen. Pointing to them, he said, "They and I are both offering goods for sale. But their difficulty is to get you up to their price; my difficulty is to get you down to mine. I offer you goods without money and without price.

(Christian Budget.)

Zeuxis gave his pictures to his native city for nothing, because they were too good to be bought with gold. To offer money for them was to undervalue them. Can I buy pardon with anything I can call mine?

(Christian Budget.)

A man lands in a far country with English shillings in his pocket, but he finds that no coins go there but thalers, or francs, or dollars, or the like; and his money is only current in his own land, and he has got to get it changed before he can make his purchases. So with a pocketful of it he may as well be penniless. And, in like fashion, you and I, with all our strenuous efforts, which we are bound to make and which there is joy in making, after these lower things that correspond to our efforts, find that we have no coinage that will buy the good things of the kingdom of heaven, without which we faint and die.

(A. Maclaran, D. D.)

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