The Coming of Shiloh: A Sermon,
by Rev. R. B. C. Howell, of Nashville, Tenn.
From The Baptist Preacher, 1844
“The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come, and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” - Genesis xlix: 10.
A proper understanding of some of the most important terms which occur in this passage, and a comparison of their import with the events of sacred history, will afford us most gratifying incidental testimonies of the claims to Messiahship, of Jesus of Nazareth. He is the Divine Shiloh, and it is of his coming we here have prophetic assurance. Let us attentively consider these, and afterwards we will refer, briefly, to the glorious events which shall characterise the spread of the Gospel - the conversion of the nations, - and the universal dominion of Christ, predicted as the results of his coming.
In the prosecution of this design our attention is first arrested by the name Shiloh, as the most striking in the passage.
This name, as to its literal and grammatical signification, has been the subject of a debate equally protracted and useless. Some critics, rendering it into English, read the whole passage thus “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from between his feet until he comes to whom it [i. e. the sceptre ] belongs.” Others give it this form - “The sceptre shall not
depart from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from between his feet until the coming of the Peacemaker." Others again understand the name to mean prosperity, supposing that Shiloh is derived from Shalah, and should, therefore, receive the same interpretation. The agreement, however, is general, among both Jews and Christians, that this is but another appellation for Messiah. The Vulgate renders the name, “Qui mittendus est," and makes it describe "the Apostle, and High Priest of our profession," Jesus Christ. Beyond this point, which is on all hands cheerfully conceded, I need not now extend critical investigation. The occasion demands not recondite exegesis so much, as plain exposition, and practical application of divine truth. The name Shiloh in our text, unquestionably designates the Messiah.
Sceptre is another word in our passage, which requires a more careful and extended examination. This term usually expresses regal authority. Such is its general acceptation in the estimation of all writers, sacred and profane. The text, it would therefore, seem, secures to Judah the regal authority over the twelve tribes until the coming of Messiah. “The Sceptre shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh come.” This is the exposition which is generally adopted; and historical testimony is zealously sought to prove that Judah, in the persons of his distinguished sons, either as kings or governors, continued to reign over the Hebrews, until Herod the Idumean was placed upon the throne of their nation, by the Roman Emperor, at which time Messiah came, and the sceptre departed from Judah.
Could this popular interpretation be sustained by the requisite facts, it would not on other accounts, be particularly objectionable. This, however, I imagine, cannot be done. If kingly rule must be adopted as the true sense of the word sceptre, as it occurs in this text, one of two conclusions is inevitable - either Jesus of Nazareth is not the true Messiah; or the prophecy in the text has signally failed of its accomplishment; neither of which can for a moment be entertained. I assume, and shall now attempt briefly to demonstrate, that the word translated sceptre does not predict the regal authority of Judah, but simply his continuance as a distinct and separate Tribe, until the coming of the Shiloh.
In support of this proposition I, in the first place, remark, that the Hebrew word translated sceptre, is shevet, or as sometimes pronounced shebet. Judah had the shevet, whatever it was, at the time the prophecy in the text was uttered. This fact is evident from the form of expression employed - “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah until Shiloh come." Were I, for example, to say of my friend, disease shall not depart from hịm until he employ a specified remedy, would you not understand me as affirming that he is now sick. Could I with any propriety declare that I will not part with my farm until a designated future time, unless I now possessed a farm. Judah, then had the shevet,
(the sceptre) at the time of the prophecy. He certainly had (for it was by his dying Father in that hour conferred upon him, and the same organization was also simultaneously conferred on his brethren) a separate and distinct existence as a family, or tribe, but no one presumes that he had any regal rule, or the least authority of any kind, over the families or tribes of his brethren, either at that time, or during more than six centuries afterwards. Jacob died in the year of the world, two thousand three hundred and fifteen; but David, who was the first king of Israel belonging to the tribe of Judah, did not begin to reign over all the tribes, until the year of the world two thousand nine hundred and fifty-six. Judah therefore, although he had the sceptre (the shevet) at the time of the prophecy, had no regal rule until six hundred and forty-one years afterwards The shevet, or sceptre in our text cannot therefore mean the regal authority.
I, in the second place remark, that the kingly sceptre of Israel did not originate in the tribe of Judah. Saul, who was the first king of the Hebrew people, was a member of the tribe of Benjamin. It is written -1 Samuel ix:16, 17. The Lord said unto Samuel, I will send thee a man out of the land of Benjamin, and thou shalt anoint him to be captain over my people Israel - and when Samuel saw Saul, the Lord said unto him, “Behold the man whom I spake to thee of! This same shall reign over my people.”
I observe, in the third place, that although the tribe of Judah, in the person of the illustrious son of Jesse, succeeded Benjamin in the throne, the sceptre of regal authority did not continue in Judah, over all the tribes, but for two generations.
The melancholy death of Saul on the mountain of Gilboa, left the Hebrews without a ruler. David was elected monarch of his own tribe. By degrees he succeeded in extending his authority to the limits of the nation, and reigned happily over the whole house of Israel nearly half a century. His wisdom, moderation and prudence, secured for him unrivaled prosperity, and elevated his country to a high degree of power and wealth. After a long and brilliant administration he died, transmitting the kingdom to his son, the magnificent Solomon, under whose dominion the temple was reared, and the nation enjoyed its most palmy and prosperous days. Solomon, on his demise, transferred the throne peacefully to his son Rehoboam. But a few years, however, passed before this young prince, so unlike his predecessors in every respect, superficial in intellect, and intoxicated with power, by the cruelty of his measures, and the haughtiness of his bearing, lost the confidence, as he had forfeited the regard of his people. Jeroboam, the son of Nebat, seized the advantage offered by the general disaffection, placed himself at the head of the insurgents, who were willing to adopt any expedient likely to extricate them from the iron grasp of tyranny, and thus crushed the power of
Rehoboam. Ten of the tribes who followed this daring and popular leader, becoming completely dissevered, formed the kingdom of Israel, and they were never afterwards recovered to Judah. To you all, I doubt not, these events are most familiar. It may therefore, in truth be said, so far as all Israel was concerned, that the sceptre did at this time depart from Judah. Consequently, if it is to be understood as expressing regal authority, as the Shiloh certainly did not come at that time, the prophecy in our passage signally failed of its accomplishment.
The sceptre of the native rule of Judah over herself, did not continue until the coming of Messiah. This is a fourth fact of importance upon the topic before us, and the truth of which, we shall presently see, is capable of the most satisfactory demonstration.
Judah was prone, like his brethren, to forget God, and rebel against his laws. His departures were most numerous and criminal. The cup of his iniquity ultimately became full. The long threatened vengeance of Jehovah so often denounced by the holy prophets, and so wickedly scorned by the people, could no longer sleep. The Babylonians became the instruments of the divine wrath. The army of Nebuchadnezzar, in number like the locusts, appeared before the walls of Jerusalem and commenced a vigorous siege. The desperate citizens held out against them for two years, but subdued at last, more by the ravages of famine, and the violence of internal broils, than by the arms of their invaders, in the year of the world three thousand four hundred and fifteen, the city was taken and sacked, the temple was burned to the earth, and the people who survived the ruthless massacre inflicted by the soldiery, were carried into captivity. The kingdom of Judah here ended; native rule over herself ceased, and the sceptre finally departed. These events occurred five hundred and eighty-nine years before the advent of Messiah-the divine Shiloh. Judah, however, ultimately returned, and it will be asked, whether the regal authority was not restored ; and that this period, therefore, should not be regarded simply as an interregnum.
I remark, in reply, that the captivity in Babylon continued seventy years. After the return, which consisted only of a small remnant of the people, a favor granted them by the clemency of Cyrus, Judah was ruled a hundred and twenty-eight years by Zerubbabel, Ezra and Nehemiah. The first of these Governors was of the race of David, but both the second and the third were of the tribe of Levi. During the two hundred and forty-two years next succeeding, Judah was governed by her High Priests, all of whom were of the house of Aaron. The nation was, in this period, successively tributary to the Persians, the Greeks, the Egyptians, and the Syrians. From the close of this era, until Judah became a Roman province under Herod, who ascended the Jewish throne, aided by the power, and subject to the authority of the emperor, the Jews were under the government of the Asmonean
family, known in sacred history as the Maccabees, either as kings, princes, or priests; and the Maccabees, as you are fully aware, were all descendants of Levi, and belonged to the Sacer. dotal tribe. Thus it is seen, that after the Babylonish captivity, except for a few years under the government of Zerubbabel, who ruled simply as a governor and not as a king, the sceptre never returned to Judah.
The sketch of Jewish history now submitted, with reference to their rulers, proves that the word in the text translated sceptre does not in this connection mean the exercise of government, or kingly rule; or if it does, that it is certain, the prophecy wholly failed of its accomplishment, and that Jesus of Nazareth is not the true Messiah; because Judah had the sceptre, or shevet, at the time of the prophecy, but he had no kingly rule; because the sceptre of Israel did not originate in the tribe of Judah; because when Judah obtained the sceptre over all the tribes it was continued in his house but for two generations; because the sceptre of the native rule of Judah over herself did not continue until the coming of Messiah, but departed finally more than four hundred years before the advent of Shiloh. The sceptre therefore, if Jesus of Nazareth is the true Messiah, and this fact no one questions, does not mean regal authority. But if not, what is its meaning? To this enquiry we consider ourselves under obligations to render a full and satisfactory reply. The usus loquendi of the Hebrew language justifies us in assuming for this purpose the postulate, that the term is designed to express simply (and nothing more, as we have before intimated) the separate and distinct endurance, or continued existence of the tribe of Judah until the fulfilment of the promise of God with relation to Messiah, the Redeemer and Savior of men. This proposition I shall now attempt by adequate testimony to sustain.
The word shevet here translated sceptre, is literally rendered a rod or staff. Such is its plain sense. A rod or staff, is in the Bible very frequently employed as a metaphor emblematical of a tribe or family. Asaph - Psalm lxxiiii: 2, for example, thus utters his prayer to God: “Remember thy congregation, which thou hast purchased of old; the ROD (the shevet, the staff, the SCEPTRE,) of thine inheritance, which thou hast redeemed.” Again, Jeremiah the prophet exclaims Jeremiah x:16 - God “is the former of all things; and Israel is the rod (the sceptre) of his inheritance.” In both of these instances the rod, or sceptre, is used as a metaphor for the family of Israel.
An event occurred, during the passage of the Israelites from Egypt to the land of promise, which will illustrate still more fully the correctness of our proposition.
A controversy originated between Korah, Dathan, Abiram, and two hundred and fifty others, princes and distinguished men, on the one side, and Moses and Aaron on the other. These men
approached Moses and Aaron, and said to them - Numbers 16:2 “Ye take too much upon you, seeing all the congregation are holy, every one of them, and the Lord is among them. Therefore then, lift ye up yourselves above the congregation of the Lord.” They thus upbraided their rulers with reference to the priesthood particularly, and to the officers of the nation, generally, which they believed Moses was too much disposed to distribute among the members of his own family. They demanded to share in these honors and emoluments. The excitement became painful in the highest degree, and the result was most disastrous. Jehovah interposed, and – Numbers 17:1 - “Spake unto Moses, saying - Speak unto the children of Israel, and take of every one of them a rod (shevet-a sceptre) according to the house of his Father, of all their princes, according to the house of their Fathers, twelve rods" (sceptres.) “Write thou every man's name upon his rod; and thou shalt write Aaron's name upon the rod of Levi; for one rod shall be for the head of the house of their Father. And thou shalt lay them up in the Tabernacle of the congregation, before the testimony, where I will meet with you. And it shall come to pass that the man's rod (sceptre,) whom I shall choose, shall blossom, and I will make to cease from me the murmurings of the children of Israel.
“And Moses spake unto the children of Israel, and every one of their princes gave him a rod (a sceptre) a piece, for every prince, one according to their Father's house, even twelve rods. And Moses laid up the rods before the Tabernacle of Witness. And it came to pass, that, on the morrow, Moses went unto the Tabernacle of Witness, and behold the rod of Aaron for the house of Levi, had budded and brought forth buds, and blossomed blossoms, and yielded almonds."
During this whole transaction each family of Israel, as you have seen, was designated by a rod - a shevet, which in the text is called a sceptre - as its emblem, and the favor of God was intimated by its flourishing condition. The use of this term in the several passages quoted, affords us ample means of understanding its exact import in the passage. In the oriental style of the dying Jacob, each one of his sons was considered as a rod, or scion, all of whom were to be transplanted into Canaan, and there to grow and flourish, through different periods. “Behold,” said he, "I die; but God shall be with you, and bring you into the land of your Fathers. The patriarch foresaw that all the other tribes would melt away and be lost, long before the coming of Messiah - that the several scions, rods, of his family, would wither, and perish, except the favored Judah. They accordingly shared the common destiny of nations. They were scattered, intermingled with each other, and with the neighboring nations, and finally disappeared among the tribes of the east. This catastrophe befel[l] them more than seven hundred years before the coming of Shiloh. But
the tribe of Judah, while the fulfilment of the promise lingered, continued, like a speck in the midst of the ocean. Although possessing no kingly rule, and perpetually harrassed, and driven before their enemies, they were as indestructible as their own native hills.
These remarks render it, I trust, sufficiently apparent that the word in the passage before us translated sceptre, means simply a rod, is used not literally, but as a metaphor, and is employed to express only the distinction of the Judean tribe from the other tribes, and to guarantee its safety until God's promise should be fulfilled in the gift of his Son Jesus Christ.
“The promised land” - Bishop Newton very justly observes - “Jacob might divide among all his children, but the promise of being the progenitor of Messiah must be confined to one only. He assigned to each his portion of Canaan, but Judah was honored as the Father of Shiloh.” On this account the tribe in question ever occupied a distinguished position, and the utmost care was always exercised in relation to its genealogy. Other means existed, by which Israel was distinguished from surrounding nations, such as their language, and the numerous and striking ceremonies of their religion. But the tribes had all the same manners, language and religion. They were, and could be, known from each other only by their genealogies. Consequently in the days of David - 1 Samuel 24:9 - Judah was numbered apart from the other tribes. From Ezra and Nehemiah we ascertain that during the captivity in Babylon, the prophets were particularly careful in regard to the genealogy of this tribe. The Scriptures, and doubtless for this special reason, abound with catalogues, which are continually repeated till Shiloh came. Then arose upon our world the glorious sun of righteousness. Christ came at the time predicted, performed his amazing work of mercy, and ascended up on high, leading captivity captive, that he might give gifts unto men. The prophecy of Jacob was fulfilled. The separate existence, the rod, the sceptre, of Judah as a tribe, was no longer necessary. Jerusalem incurred the guilt of crucifying the Son of man, and principally for this reason, was by the providence of God, soon invaded by the armies of the victorious Romans - the abomination that maketh desolate.” The city was broken up, the Temple was destroyed, the records were lost, the nation was dispersed, and the sceptre - the separate existence of Judah as a tribe - forever departed. If we have not erred in this statement of facts, and it is presumed we have not, how exactly did the events fulfil the prophecy in the passage! And how perfectly do they establish the Messiahship of Jesus! Shiloh came, and the nation existed no longer! Was not Jesus the Christ? If not, then no Christ can ever come, or if he does, it can never be certainly known to Jew or Gentile. It is conceded that no son of Judah, or other Israelite, even though, perchance, he may be of the family of David, can now trace his
lineage, nor for a thousand years past has he been able, to do so. For the correctness of this statement we have the authority of the Jews themselves. The posterity of the tribe of Levi, divided into Priests and Levites, are still distinguished from the other Israelites by the ceremonies and duties of their religion, some of the forms of which, like the ruins of their ancient cities, still linger to impart additional solemnity to their utter desolation. These facts are sufficiently striking, and satisfactorily illustrate the glorious truth that he for whom was ordered the sceptre, and the genealogy of the tribes was preserved, to mark his descent from the seed of Abraham, the tribe of Judah, and the family of David, in whom all the families of the earth are to be blessed, has come, and having fulfilled the object of genealogies, they exist no more.
Such, without question, as appears to me, is the sense of the word in our text translated sceptre.
One other word in the passage requires a brief notice. It is the term Lawgiver. “The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a Lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh come.”
The enquiry is of some importance whether this title is to be here understood in its usual sense. Solon was a Lawgiver; so was Lycurgus. Was Judah to supply, in succession, until the coming of Shiloh, men of this class. If so, neither was this part of the prophecy realized by the event! Until Shiloh, Judah never, in truth, had a Lawgiver in the popular sense of that word. All Israel produces but one, who appeared in the person of Moses, and he belonged to the tribe of Levi. Nor, indeed, can it be said ever of Moses, legitimately, that he was a Lawgiver, although he is usually honored as entitled to that distinction. The laws he delivered were all uttered by the mouth of God himself, and Moses was but the instrument by which they were communicated to his people. It is sufficient for us to state, without entering into any critical investigation in proof of the correctness of the exposition, that the word means simply a Teacher, or Prophet, and nothing more, and ought to have been so rendered.
The phrase, “from between his feet," to comport with the genius of the English language, should be translated by the word offspring, or descendants. This emendation we shall assume as granted.
The sense of this part of the prophecy is obvious. It declares that among the offspring of Judah, a Teacher, or what is the same thing, a Prophet, shall not be wanting, until the coming of Shiloh. Accordingly, the most eminent Teachers and Prophets, of all Israel, were of the family of Judah. Such was David; the immortal melody of whose harp falls upon the senses as -“Sabian odours, from the spicy shore
Of Araby the blest.”
Such was Solomon, who breathed divine wisdom, and poured forth the knowledge of God -
“From lips wet with Castalian dews.”
And Isaiah who “sung beside Siloa's brook,” the glory of Messiah; and most of the noble army of whom our Saviour bears testimony, establishing the fulfilment of this prediction, in the memorable declaration - “The law and the prophets continued until John” the Baptist, the commencement of whose administration introduced the Gospel of Christ.
If we adopt as correct, the expositions now submitted, and apply them, we shall find that the true reading of the
thetext is as follows: “From Judah his distinction as a tribe shall not depart, nor a Teacher from his offspring, until Messiah come; and unto him shall the gathering of the people be.”
Such are some of the testimonies that establish, incidentally, the Messiahship and divine mission of Jesus, and demonstrate the claims of his religion to the faith and obedience of his people.
Let us now refer, for a moment, to the glorious events which will characterize the spread of the Gospel, the conversion of the nations, and the universal dominion of Christ, predicted in our passage as the result of the coming of Shiloh.
These results are expressed in the text in brief, but emphatic language. “Unto him shall the gathering of the people be.” It is in another place predicted of him that “He shall gather together in one all things in Christ; both which are in heaven and which are on earth; even in him, in whom we have redemption by his blood, the forgiveness of sins.” This whole world shall be subdued unto him, and
“Jesus shall reign where’er the sun
Does his successive journeys run.”
Reference is had, in the form of the language in the passage, to the military gathering of a tribe to the standard of their leader. The ensign of Judah was a Lion, which marched in the van of their victorious armies. On this account Christ is sometimes called “The Lion of the tribe of Judah.” In every movement which characterized the deadly conflict upon the field of battle, the eye of the soldier was fixed upon the advancing standard, around which gathered, for the honor of their country, the noble, the generous, and the brave. Such a centre of attraction, amidst the conflicts and strifes of this world, is Jesus Christ; not to Judah and the Hebrew tribes alone, but to all the kingdoms, and nations, and people, of the earth; not to contend for the honor, and power, and wealth of this world, which will so soon fade away and perish, but for enduring honors, and glory and immortality - eternal life.
God is no respecter of persons. Consequently in Shiloh, the Messiah, the middle wall of partition between the Jews and Gentiles is broken down. In him there is neither Jew nor Greek, Barbarian, Scythian, bond, nor free; but all are one in Christ. He is the supreme ruler, and all of every nation, are invited to him, and those who come and are renewed by his Spirit, are entitled to all the advantages and blessings which belong to citizens of his spiritual kingdom.
As the centre of so great and glorious a union, Jesus Christ is all that is required. He is our prophet, our priest, and our king; to foretell, and consequently to prepare us for every event; to offer for us acceptable sacrifice, and to direct and lead us in every action.
To gather to him all nations, languages and people, of our round earth, various and efficient instrumentalities are to be employed, the principal of which is the preaching of the gospel. “Go ye" said the ascending Shiloh to his ministry - “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature. He that believe eth and is baptized shall be saved, and he that believeth not shall be damned.” And for your encouragement, remember that all power in heaven and on earth is committed unto me." You are my servants, sent to do my work, and you shall be successful. To guide in the accomplishment of this great achievement, he has given his revelation; the Holy Ghost has been sent forth to make effectual his written and preached word ; and he has constituted the Church his representative on earth to facilitate the merciful designs of his infinite grace, and to fill the earth with his glory. Through these means shall all the people be gathered unto him.
When we look abroad upon the nations, we cannot but perceive that much of this work yet remains to be accomplished. Eighteen hundred years have passed since the Gospel Kingdom was visibly established. During the primitive ages of the Church, when to profess the religion of Christ was to forfeit honor, wealth and life, religion, in both its doctrines and its practices, remained comparatively pure. No man entered, except in rare instances, the sacred ranks in whose heart the love of the world was a predominant principle. Under these circumstances, notwithstanding the barriers by which it was opposed, the zeal of the Christians by the blessing of God, pushed the conquests of the cross into most of the nations then known to history. Falsely imagining that the victory was now almost gained, religion, hitherto simple and unassuming, began to feel the spirit of ambition, and panting for earthly distinction and honors, she clothed herself in purple, and ascended the throne of the Caesars. From that hour the receding darkness began to steal back upon the world, and the minds of men to grow more and more shadowy and dark. The Church of God returned into obscurity: the wicked world assumed her name and station; the ministers of iniquity reveled in her forsaken sanctuaries; the Bible was suppressed to give place to the
Missal; and Popery, gaining unresisted rule, locked in the chains of ignorance, the nations of the world.
The true Church of Christ, branded with the odious name of heresy, was hunted, persecuted, and destroyed, for a thousand years, but the “gates of hell” did not prevail against her. The mercy of God was not destined to sleep forever. The sun of what has usually been called the reformation, but which was, indeed, not a reformation of the Church, because Popery had no claims to be considered a Church; but of a revival, or resuscitation, of religion, at last arose. One after another the manacles of superstition have been broken. The Bible has been restored to its place in the sanctuary, and at the domestic altar; the truth has again found admittance to the hearts of men; sacred learning is attracting interest; his holy word is rapidly going forth in all the languages spoken by the human race; and the Church has once more emerged to view, “fair as the moon, clear as the sun and terrible as an army with banners.” Missionaries are penetrating all lands. Still, of the nine hundred millions of inhabitants that at present people our earth, but a small part recognize, even nominally, our heavenly Shiloh. We cannot, however, be deceived as to the fact that the full period of the gathering together to Christ is not distant. The Church, like a mighty army, is deliberately forming herself into battle array. Already at some points, the conflict is raging. The war shout swells from the valleys, and echoes among the hills.
A part of Europe has long since submitted, and all her teeming nations shall soon throw aside her rosary and her images, and be gathered to Christ. Luxurious Asia, forgetting, on the one hand her Koran, and on the other her idols, and sable Africa, abandoning her fitishes [sic], shall come. Boodh [Budah], and Confucius, and Juggernaut, shall cease to reign, and the millions of China, shall be gathered; and Hindostan, and Siam, and Burmah, shall bow themselves; and the war-whoop of the American savage shall be strangely transformed into songs of praises. The heathen will have been given to Christ for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for a possession. His Kingdom shall fill the universe, and he shall reign forever and ever. For unto him shall be the gathering of the people. How full of delight will be that glorious period! The earth shall again bloom in the purity and freshness of Paradise!“One song shall employ all nations, and all cry
Worthy the lamb, for he was slain for us.
The dwellers in the vales and on the rocks
Shout to each other, and mountain tops
From distant mountains catch the flying joy;
Till nation after nation taught the strain,
Earth shall roll the rapturous hosannah round.”
We have now examined the most important terms in this passage, and by a comparison of their import with the events of sacred history, have seen the testimony they give to establish the Messiahship of Jesus Christ, and we have referred briefly to the conversion of the nations, and the universal dominion of Christ predicted as the results of his coming. Did time permit, I would close this discourse by an attempt to make an APPLICATION of this subject.
Degraded, fallen, ruined, our sinful world had no claims to the divine mercy. Our ingratitude was loathsome to him, and our transgressions had placed our recovery beyond the reach of our own power. The compassion of our Heavenly Father was not however exhausted; He pitied our miseries and sent his Son, who, by the sacrifice of himself upon the cross, redeemed from eternal death all those who come to God by him. The distinction of his people is holiness, which is at the same time, the source of happiness in this life, and the condition of eternal glory with him in the world to come. Where then, permit me to ask, is the heart so wedded to misery and death, as to be unwilling, joyfully, as the only return which it is in our power to make for grace so boundless, to offer soul and body a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable unto God. Do you draw back from a service so reasonable? God forbid. May the declaration of all hearts in this assembly now be,
“Here Lord I give myself away,
'Tis all that I can do.”
Who of this assembly, conscious of your sinfulness, and of the necessity of religion to save you, have come to Christ? Permit me once more, affectionately to remind you that out of Christ, who can be approached only by repentance and faith, there is no salvation. Eternal death is inevitable. Suffer me to beseech you then, that you delay no longer your submission to your only Redeemer, whose favor is life and whose loving kindness is better than life.
In the conquest of the world to the dominion of Messiah, I remark finally, our Heavenly Father has been pleased to honor his people as the great instrumentality. We recognize in this arrangement, the same exhibition of grace by which the whole Gospel dispensation is distinguished. Our aid is not essential to him. The slightest exertion of his omnipotence would renew in a moment the face of the earth. But our participation in the conquest at once stimulates us to duty, heightens our joys, and constitutes us partakers of his glory. Who is there among us who does not burn to enter the work. Let the world, my brethren, around you in every part, feel your power. Be workers together with God. The event shall elevate your thrones, and add brilliancy to your crowns, in the world of immortality.
[From Editor Henry Keeling, The Baptist Preacher Original Monthly, Volume III, October, 1844, p. 167-178; on-line edition. Scanned and formatted by Jim Duvall.]
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