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flee from all other priests-flee to Jesus only, for He only is “able to sare to the uttermost all that come unto God by Him." The city of refuge is still open, and every forlorn sinner whom the Holy Ghost enables to flee thither, is housed, fed, and safe as long as that glorious High Priest lives, who" ever lives to make intercession for us.
Before I quit this part of the subject do allow me to invite your attention (I cannot bring it, God must do that) to invite your attention to this matter of fact. Is He your refuge. “God is our refuge." Has He forbidden your quitting His refuge? Has He shown you the fulness of His grace, and made known to you the fact that the refuge is well stored for time and for eternity, that we cannot be driven out or starred out of it, but shall abide there for ever and ever. “ He that dwelleth in the secret place of the Most High, shall abide under the shadow of His wings.”
Let me put one question before I pass on to the third head of our discourse. "Is God your refuge? I should like here to quote, as your reply, a sentence from the Marriage Service, which I think very beautiful. The sentence is, “Forsaking all others, keep thee only unto him so long as ye both shall live." Apply this to the refuge. Apply this to the precious Christ. Have you forsaken all others? Are you keeping only to Him? Is the fact that “Because He lives, ye shall live also,” precious to you? This will settle the matter. If you have forsaken all other refuges, it must be by the grace of God that you have done it. If you cleave close to Him, as Paul exhorted, “cleaving to the Lord with full purpose of heart," and if you fasten upon that identity of interest, then you may say indeed, “God is our refuge."
III.—Now a word or two, if you have been able to go with me thus far, relative to the exultation on account of having attained to this refuge. “God is our refuge.” It appears to me that multitudes who pass for Christians are living a very meagre, unbecoming life. Their Christianity seems to be made up of little more than slavish fears and apprehensions; and these slavish fears and apprehensions just ebb and flow as their passions may be moved, and their peculiar frame and exercise of mind may vary. Miserable living indeed is this! I know there is a class of persons in the world who think those variations of feeling everything in the gospel. I think they ought to be all put on one side. I know there are persons who imagine that unless we are continually harping on the corruption and depravity of human nature, and poring over the mud-pool of fallen man, until half suffocated with the stench,—we don't preach the gospel. I know enough of what that is without having to preach much about it; and I have to tell you that the more you know of what exists in poor Adam-nature, the more desirous you will be to be secure in the refuge, that you may exult there according to the language of my text. How is this? By the unctuous ministrations of the Holy Ghost bringing your souls into the enjoyment of its stores. The soul that is brought to this refuge will find it stored with pardons, with peace, with feasting, with the bread of life, with the water of life, with old wine, with first-ripe fruits, with adoption privileges, with the fulness of the promises, and with abundance of covenant provisions. Together with all that paternal love can bestow upon an adopted family, all that the fulness of Christ can unfold for the enjoyment of His inystical members, all that the Holy Ghost is engaged to minister and impart for the enjoyment of precious souls on their way
to glory. Getting within the refuge, and taking shelter in the bosom of Deity, these enjoyments are not only open to your view, but by the unctuous ministrations of the Holy Ghost, you are made the partakers of them-you are made to realize them.
Come, I beseech you then, to this refuge; for a sound theory is not enough of itself to prove that you belong to God. I want myself more of these unctuous communications, agreeably to the Holy
birit's statement as recorded by John, “Ye have an unction from the Holy One." We will not take the bare word of those who have dwelt in the refuge—we will not take the bare word of the handpost set up to point us thereto, having written upon it, “Refuge, refuge "-we will not take the bare word of the sent servants of God whose office it is to proclaim it. We must come, and ourselves sit down at the banquet, share in the privileges, have our pardons sealed, enjoy the comforts of covenant love, and know our adoption character by extensively sharing in adoption privileges. This would make us exult if anything will. We should go on singing, “God is our refuge, God is our refuge.”. Tell me no more of your castles and fortifications, of names and dignities, of your armies and mighty troops of warriors as a security, of your money, or your property, or any other thing that may be accounted refuges among mortals.
o God is our refuge. In Him we have all that we want, an infallible security, a blessed home, an earnest and a foretaste of everlasting blessedness.
I want to say a word or two now as to the growth in grace, a point which always lies near to my heart—the growth in grace of those refugees who have taken shelter in the personalities, the perfections, and the covenant immutabilities of a Triune Jehovah. I want to see their grace to be growing from the blade to the ear, and to the full corn in
I want their grace to be growing from desire to hope-from hope to faith—from faith to the assurance of faith—from the assurance of faith to the full assurance and the triumphing always in Christ. You say these are high expectations, bold aspirations, far beyond our capacities and attainments; but what if they are? Do you suppose that you
have attained all that is to be attained? Do you mean to stay where you are, or do you think we may invite you farther? Look at Paul's statement to the Philippians, “ Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect.” And who is perfect ? “But,” said he, “ I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.” Now Christ had apprehended him, and brought bim to the refuge, and given him a secure abiding place there. Yet he had a great deal more to apprehend, discover, and enjoy. Just so in tbe 6th of Hebrews, which we have read. “ Therefore, leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection." I then showed you that by leaving them the apostle did not mean to abandon them; but that he meant to go on advancing in the use of them—not to abide by mere principles, however good and precious in themselves, but to make use of them, to put them together, derive comfort from them, obtain education and information from them, and bring forth fruit to the praise and glory of God. Now it is just this I want to have among Christians, as the apostle says, “Grow in grace and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ.” And though I am reviled and reproached for these things, yet my soul still aspires after more, to rise higher, and obtain a stronger and more habitual assurance relative to the refuge in which I have taken shelter. I want
the believing family of God to cherish this ardent desire. We have not yet attained to it; and I think our attainments are small and low as compared with the hope set before us in the gospel.
Oh, let us cry for grace to press on our way until we reach the fulness of the stature of Jesus Christ, grow up into Him in all things, be transformed to His image ; and, as we have born the image of the earthly, bear the image of the heavenly, get away from the world and its trifles, and become absorbed in the preciousness of the provisions which we have found in our refuge. Oh, the vast importance of this growth! Growth has been looked at with deep interest by our agriculturists for some time, and they have witnessed, if they are not the most ungrateful of beings, that growth in nature has been prodigious and abundant. We want now suitable weather for the ingathering of the harvest. So I want this growth amongst you. I would look at this congregation as so many ears of corn. I want to see you full, plump, and ripe for eternal blessedness. Do not be content with being a mere blade or a mere ear. So far so good; but we want the full growth, and my soul desires both for you and myself in our personal experience that we may not grovel so much in harping upon human depravity and corruption, which are as bad as they can be. What I want is, that you should grow out of them, above them, and superior to them. Why should I be always grovelling about the root of the corn, where the muck and manure were first carted, as if that were all? No; I like to see the corn grow above it, to hide and conceal the clod from my view, so that I may see nothing but the waving corn-field before me. I want your souls to aspire after those rich enjoyments and spiritual blessings, and that full assurance which are to be found in our glorious refuge, until that refuge shall prove itself to be heaven unto our souls, eternal glory, eternal blessedness, eternal happiness, life, and peace. Oh, blessed refuge! We can want no other heaven ; and if we did, we can have no other. To dwell embosomed in Deity ard enjoy God, is heaven-to have right views of the glorious Trinity, and of our relation to Jehovah, is heaven-to hold fellowship with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, is heaven, though we see "through a glass darkly "here below. Then all I
expect for heaven in eternity beyond this, is every clog, every interruption, and every impediment, entirely and eternally removed, and one vast round of ages spent in the enjoyment of the Persons and perfections of Deity: Oh, the blessedness of such a prospect! How little does the world seem in comparison with it-how contemptible the things of time how puerile all the amusements and entertainments of carnal mindshow puny the efforts of the Prince of Darkness to oppose us with all his fiery darts! Our refuge is secure and invulnerable, and it opens to us eternal blessedness, and the enjoyment of God Himself.
Now before closing allow me to appeal once more to you, and ask whether you can say,
"God is our refuge?” I do not ask how forlorn, how destitute, how wretched, how impoverished, how rebellious, and how sinful you may have been. I know the worst of it, make as much as you can of it, but I simply ask if God is your refuge! If He is your refuge, He has a fountain to wash you in, a table to feed you at, and a wardrobe to clothe you with ; a harp to put in your hands for music, a golden sceptre for you to touch, a mansion for you to occupy, a throne for you to sit upon; and He has sworn that all who flee for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before them in the gospel, shall be pillars in His temple, to go no more out for ever.
Woe to the hapless sinner who rejects this refuge! Woe to the hapless sinner who lives and dies in ignorance of this refuge! Woe to the hardened sinner who despises this refuge!
Unawakened sinners, if such be present here this morning, believe me that I must be a witness against you at the last day, that I told you of this refuge, that Christ is the door to it, that every poor sinner who can take refuge there by faith, is saved for eternity; and if you perish, you perish with your guilt on your own heads : I am clear of it. Oh that the Spirit of the living God may awaken some poor sinner to a sense of his need of this refuge, bring him to it this day, and make him as happy as he can be in the enjoyment of the Saviour's countenance, and His dear and precious name shall have all the glory for ever and ever. Amen.
THE 81st SONG IN MR. IRONS' NEW VERSION OF THE BOOK OF PSALMS.
God is our refuge, we abide
In Him, and He in us;
While we are shelter'd thus.
When troubles rise and swell;
Where'er His people dwell.
Though earth's huge pillars shake;
He never will forsake.
Into the depths of sea;
Upheld by fix'd decree.
Descending from the throne,
Where peace and joy are known.
Within His holy place,
Enriching her with grace.
A Discourse, Delivered in Grove Chapel, Camberwell, Sunday Morning, Aug. 20, 1848,
BY THE REV. JOSEPH IRONS.
“ Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits, whether they are of
God.”—1 John iv. 1. Never since this precept was penned has it been more needed than in the day in which we live. It, in the early part of the apostle John's ministry, many false prophets were gone out into the world; if in that early era of the Church, in which he was banished to the isle of Patmos, he was constrained to write to the Church at Ephesus, to try them who said they were apostles and were not, and to find them liars—what has been the amount of false prophets and apostles that have increased and multiplied in the Church in the ages that have run out since then? If I look around me upon the present state of the Churches of the living God, and take but the most superficial glance at them, I am appalled ! And it is under that appalling feeling that this portion of Scripture was suggested to my mind by a power that I could not reject; though probably I have never tried more earnestly to evade à portion of Scripture suggested to my mind as a text than the one I have just read. It has been with extreme reluctance that my Master has dragged my mind to meditate upon it, and to determine to address you upon it; however, I trust that it is of the Lord, that He has something to do among my hearers this morning in the way of establishing their hearts in the truth of God, for we hear all around us the cry of “Lo here! and Lo there!” and the simple seeker after Christ seems to be often quite at a loss which way to steer, what course to take, what creed to adopt, what congregation to associate with. I frequently hear such say, “Such and such a great man writes so and so, and such Duhlished in Weekly Numbers, 1d., and Monthly Parts, price bd.