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upon an old garment. I need not say what then takes place. The rent is made worse.
The stitches will not hold. Man's righteousness and God's righteousness will not hold together. If one goes up the other must go down. If man's righteousness ascends, God's descends. What does the King do in this stripping chamber?' I think he tears off all rags and makes a sinner feel that there is no goodness in him, that he can do no good thing, that he cannot please God, and he must come before Him "wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked." As in one of our hymns.
“Nothing in my hand I bring,
to Thy cross I cling,
Wash me, Saviour, or I die.” Man may wash himself with snow water, and make his hands never so clean ; yet God shall plunge him in the ditch and make his own clothes to abhor him (Job ix. 30-31). When the sinner has been stripped and made to feel his own defilement what is the next chamber ?
We shall call it the bath chamber or the cleansing chamber. What does this mean? You see that he is naked and his sins exposed. This is just the man that needs a bath in the cleansing chamber. He needs the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness, the fountain filled with the blood of the Son of God. “In that day there shall be a fountain opened to the house of David and to the inhabitants of Jerusalem for sin and for uncleanness” (Zechariah xiii. 1). 6 The blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanseth us from all sin ” (I John i. 7). O! what a cleansing chamber. You see how it is that our sins are done away. Jesus Christ Himself takes away all our filth and all our rotten rags. The blood of Jesus Christ has effectually cleansed the sinner, so that he can sing :
• There is a fountain filled with blood,
Drawn from Immanuel's veins,
Lose all their guilty stains." Beloved, have you been into this chamber? Have you been stripped and cleansed ?
What then is the next chamber ? We shall call it the robing chamber? You will see in that 3rd chapter of Zechariah that when "Joshua was clothed with filthy garments, and stood before the angel,” that it was said “unto those that stood before him," " Take away
the filthy garments from him. And unto him, He said, behold, I have caused thine iniquity to pass from thee, and I will clothe thee with change of raiment” (Zechariah iii. 3, 4). This change of raiment ! What is it? Isaiah says, in his 61st chapter, and the 10 verse : “He hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, He hath covered me with the robe of righteousness." Why, this is a King's son ; this is a prodi
, gal returned. Put a ring upon his hand, and shoes upon his feet; and bring forth the best robe, and put it upon him (Luke xv.
22). Put a fair mitre upon his head for he is a priest unto God, and crown him for he is a King. Thus cleansed and robed, he is made pure and white, and fit to appear in the presence of the great King.
The King will now give Him an audience. Hence the next chamber may be called the audience chamber. Now what takes place in this audience chamber? What do you think? I think that the King will speak very comfortably to the sinner in this chamber, just as He spoke to that poor woman who came behind Him, “and stood at His feet behind Him weeping, and began to wash His feet with tears, and did wipe them with the hairs of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment.” The Pharisee, the great feast-giver, seemed to scorn this conduct of hers. But how did the King of kings treat her? He takes her into the audience chamber and speaks comfortably to her : “Woman, Woman, thy sins are forgiven thee, go in peace ; thy faith hath saved thee" (Luke vii. 36-50). The audience chamber is the place in which the King speaks peace to the soul, sealing it and making it feel sure of salvation, giving it an earnest of that kingdom which remains for the people of God. We need not enlarge upon the audience chamber. I have thrown out these things by the way. You can carry out the idea further for yourselves.
After this comes another chamber, which I must describe as the feasting chamber. The feasting chamber is sometimes called the guest chamber. Our Lord said, “Where is the guest chamber, where I shall eat the passover with My disciples ?” (Mark xiv. 14). Now, as regards this guest chamber, or feasting chamber, I understand it to be the place where the King brings forth the living bread and water for His guests. These two things would be sufficient, but there are all the precious refreshments which the King of kings has provided for the children of His kingdom. “Bread to strengthen man's heart, and oil to make his face to shine, and wine that maketh glad the heart of man" (Psalm civ. 15). Bread, and wine, and oil. Spiritually consider these things, for in this chamber you will find that there are some precious things on the table. Let us look into the second chapter of this Song. Bread and water; these are two of the things perpetually upon the table for the guests. And these two things alone would be sufficient for us, and much more than we could ever merit. The promise is certain : “ Bread shall be given him; his waters shall be sure ” (Isaiah xxxiii. 16). Now look at the 2nd chapter : “There are some apples for you.”
á As the apple tree among the trees of the wood, so is my
I sat down under His shadow with great delight, and His fruit was sweet to my taste" (3rd verse). The fruit of the Lord Jesus Christ. Delightful fruit, pleasant fruit, sweet fruit, precious fruit. Redemption, resurrection, and eternal salvation. All covenant blessings. What abiding fruit! The fruits in the way of graces which the Holy Ghost takes of Christ's and fills the soul withal. His fruit is sweet to the taste. If so be ye have tasted that the Lord is gracious. “He brought me to the banqueting house," or house of wine, “and His banner over me was love." “How. I love Thee ” says the Queen to the King, “How I love Thee, Thou art mine." But then Thy love to me was first, because Thou hast made this great feast for me. The Queen now sits at the King's table, and feasts with Him. What honour and what distinction. "Stay me with flagons of wine," "comfort me with apples; for I am
sick of love." "I am wholly taken up with Thee, O my King." Thou art “ the chiefest among ten thousand" (Song of Solomon v. 10). “I cannot do without apples, I cannot do without wine, I cannot do without the dainties of the King. But what I desire most is to abide in Thy presence !” Brethern, have you ever been in this chamber? Some of you have, and know these things spiritually for yourselves.
The next chamber we shall call the side chamber, or the secret chamber, or the private chamber. And I think that this is the idea intended in the text. It is a special communion and fellowship chamber. It is like that direction of our Lord's when He told His disciples where to pray. See in the 6th chapter of the Gospel according to St Matthew : “When thou prayest, enter into thy closet, and when thou hast shut thy door, pray to thy Father which is in secret, and thy Father which seeth in secret shall reward thee openly.” Is not this communion ? Is not this spiritual fellowship? Is not this fellowship with the Father, and with His Son Jesus Christ? This is being brought into the secret or private chamber. You know that when this takes place the world cannot see you. Sometimes it happens that you enjoy real fellowship with the Father and with the Son while you are walking along the streets. This is communion without an effort. I like this. It is so real and often so unlooked for. And then, on the other hand, you may be attempting to pray in a secret or in a private chamber, and you feel that you cannot enjoy any fellowship whatever. Is this the case with any of you?
Another chamber is the chamber of safety and protection. Well, the King brings you when He pleases into this chamber of safety and protection to hide you in the day of storms and tempests. Turn to the Book of the Prophet Isaiah, and read the 20th verse of the 26th chapter. “Come, My people"—you to whom this invitation is given—" Come, My people, enter thou into thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee : hide thyself as it were for a little moment, until the indignation be overpast.
Well, hide where ? In Christ. He is a safe hiding place. Thou art my hiding place.
“Let me hide myself in THEE.” And yet I am helpless to do so. Lord, do Thou hide me under the shadow of Thine own almighty wings, and then I shall be safe. behold, the Lord cometh out of His place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity : the earth also shall disclose her blood, and shall no more cover her slain ” (Isaiah xxvi. 21). This is a very trying time. But when these things begin to come to pass, and things are growing darker and darker, then we have safety and protection only in this chamber of the King of kings.
Notice another chamber. But, perhaps, some of you think that it is about time we had done with these chambers. My brethren, I hope I shall never have done with them. I shall put the last two chambers together, and I shall call them the chambers of rest and glory. resting chamber! The Lord rested from His work. " On the seventh day God ended His work which He had made ; and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had made” (Genesis ii. 2). Chirst rested from His own works. Believers rest from their own works,
O for a
because they have entered into the rest of Christ. We who believe do enter into rest. And this is a pledge of another rest.
“ Blessed are the dead which die in the Lord from henceforth : ‘Yeag' saith the Spirit, that they may rest from their labours; and their works do follow them." O to rest in this chamber. To rest safely in the arms of Jesus. We shall have a full entrance into His chambers of glory. I think I see the glory in the picture drawn by our Lord in that 14th chapter of St. John's Gospel. “In My Father's house are many mansions : if it were not so I would have told you. I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go
and prepare a place for you, I will come again,”-and when I come again, -"I will receive you unto Myself ; that where I am, there ye may be also.”
The chambers of rest and glory. A rest from everything that is evil, but not a rest from praise and thanksgiving unto our God, for we shall desire to speak well of His name for ever and
And as to the glory of the upper chambers. It will be the glory of God and the everlasting light of the Lamb. These are some of the King's chambers. “The King hath brought me into His chambers.”.
I shall now offer a few words upon our last head: the King's gracious work, or the action of the King. “ He hath brought me." There is this word “me." I have already stated that it may refer to the Queen, or to believers. Now believers are described in Isaiah, in the 43rd chapter, and the 6th verse, as God's sons and daughters. The Lord will have these sons, and these daughters; they are His. They are His by choice. They are His by redemption. They are His in the fulness of time, by being called of the Spirit of God. Well, then, they are His sons and daughters.
But where are they to come from? Well, from every part of the world. That is very wide you say. Yes: “Bring My sons from far, bring My daughters from the ends of the earth” (Isaiah xliii. 6). What, from China and from India ? Yes! from the north and from the south, from the east and from the west. God has a family of sons and of daughters whom He will bring from the ends of the earth. You will now see the beauty of our Lord saying to His disciples : “Go ye into all the world, and preach the Gospel to every creature” (Mark xvi. 15). He did not say :
“Every creature will believe it.” He undertakes to be responsible for the effect of the preaching of the Gospel. He makes it a nail in a sure place wherever He pleases (Isaiah xxii. 23). You see whence He brings these sons and these daughters. The Lord said that He would send forth His angels with the sound of the trumpet. This means the Gospel trumpet. And it is to be blown in the east, and in the west, and in the north, and in the south. And what for ? For His sons and for His daughters,—that they may come into His kingdom, and be obedient subjects of the same. Well, you see where they are to come from.
But in what condition were these sons and these daughters ? I think that they were in a state of misery, and of sin. In the 40th Psalm and the 2nd and 3rd verses we read : “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay.” Out of the miry clay of my sins. That is where He found me. In the pit,-in the horrible pit of con
fusion. This is the pit where the Lord smites a man, and makes him feel that he can do nothing for himself, and that He (the Lord) must do all for him ; then he brings him up out of this pit of noise and confusion, out of the miry clay of his sins, and sets his feet upon a rock, upon the Rock of Ages, Christ Jesus, the Lord. He establishes his goings, and He puts a new song into his mouth, even praise and thanksgiving unto our God,—unto God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost. Now, you see the state in which a sinner is when the King meets with him.
Why did they not come without the help of the King ? Why not? Many will talk about being able to come to Him according to their own will and by their own power.
Brethren, they do not know their own weakness when they talk in this way. When the Lord wants them He teaches them their own weakness, and how they need a power greater than their own, and because they have no power, and no strength, and no might of their own, the Lord employs a threefold cord which brings them safely to Himself. This threefold cord I take to be that spoken of in such verses as these. In the 6th chapter of St. John's Gospel and verse 44, Jesus said : “No man can come to Me, except the Father which hath sent Me draw him." Here is the drawing power of the Father. “O! but,” you say,
we can please ourselves, whether the Father draws us or not." Can you please yourselves? I do not believe that you can.
This drawing power is so mighty and so effectual that it makes you willing. And then there is the drawing power of the Lord Jesus Christ, Who said : “And I, if I be lifted up from the earth, will draw all men unto Me” (John xii. 32). He will draw all men unto Himself, He will have them for His own. There is another cord drawing men. It is the Spirit of God. There are some men who reason as if they were free to contest the work with the Spirit of God. But the Spirit will slay them, depend upon it, and He will bring them down, and make them willing to fly to the fountain open for sin, and willing to rest on the Lord Jesus Christ, on His complete and perfect work. This, I should say, is the reason why they are brought into His chambers : not because they could come of themselves, but because they could not. Therefore, the King does for them what they could never do for themselves.
How are they to be brought ? You say, triumphantly. Yes, but we find that they are to be brought into His presence, in perfect beauty. Just take one verse out of that 45th Psalm, in connection with this subject. We read that the King's daughters are to be brought to Him “ in raiment of needlework : the virgins her companions that follow her shall be brought unto Thee. With gladness and rejoicing shall they be brought.” They shall come with rejoicing: “They shall enter into the King's palace. This is how they shall be brought. They come up out of the wilderness leaning upon the Beloved.
And now, my brethren, to conclude this subject, I say to conclude this subject. But 0! that I could find words to magnify it sufficiently. I shall take an illustration to set out our King to you. It is that which is contained in the 10th chapter of the 1st book of Kings, l'especting