19 April 2015 by Published in: Hazelton's Sermons No comments yet

A Sermon Preached by Mr. Hazelton, At Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell Street, Clerkenwell, On Lord’s-Day Evening, 1st November, 1874.

“And my delights were with the sons of men.”—Proverbs 8:31

Our beloved Lord, in the days of his flesh, said to his disciples and others, “Search the Scriptures, for in them ye think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” Now, it should be always borne in mind, that all the Scriptures which then existed, were the Old Testament writings. The Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, had not been given to the world, nor had the Epistles of Paul or of Peter, of Jude or of James; and therefore, by “the Scriptures” there, we must understand the Old Testament—the writings of Moses, of David, and of the Lord’s holy prophets. The Lord said, “Search them, for in the ye [Jews] think ye have eternal life, and they are they which testify of me.” The Lord Jesus Christ is to be found, therefore, in the Book of Genesis. His face, yea his heart, appears everywhere in that part of the writings of Moses; just as the blood of his heart, and the merit of his person, and the perfection of his work, seem to flow everywhere in the Book of Leviticus. Yes; in the writings of Moses, both we ourselves have, and the Old Testament church had, a full and sufficient revelation of the person and work of God’s dead Son. In the New Testament, we have the Old Testament illustrated—a divine commentary upon it. But the two books are inseparably one: for both treat continuously of one grant Person, and on one great and glorious theme—the salvation of the Triune God. Now, just as Christ may be found everywhere in the Pentateuch, so you will find him the Book of Judges and the Book of Joshua. He is also very clearly and beautifully exhibited in the Book of Ruth; and although the Book of Esther is somewhat strange and mysterious book, even that is connected with the name and glories of the Lord Jesus Christ. And then you may proceed to the life of David, and run through the voluminous writings of the “man after God’s own heart,” and you feel obliged to say that the Saviour’s face sweetly appears almost in every page of his writings. You proceed from the times and life of David, to those of his marvelous son Solomon, and what can you see? What can you see in the Song of Solomon but the church’s great Bridegroom, and the Bridegroom’s bride? And what can you see in the Book of Ecclesiastes, but the person and very much of the work, especially of the providential government of the dear and blest Redeemer? And what is to be seen in the Book of Proverbs? There we read—“A man that hath friends, must show himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.” “A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.” A great deal has been said by commentators generally on this book, that it treats more especially of moral duties; but he that sees nothing more than morality in the Book of Proverbs, does not see very much therein; and he that does not see anything more than human virtues and vices in the Book of Proverbs, does not discover the face, the name, nor the heart of the Lord Jesus Christ.

In the chapter out of which I have taken my text tonight, we have a very comprehensive, and perhaps I might say, a deep and abstruse description of the person and offices, the character, work, and triumphs of the Lord Jesus Christ. It has been said that by “wisdom” here, we should understand the divine attribute of wisdom,—not a divine person, but a divine attribute. But I do not think that it is usual for any one of the attributes of God to be represented as wisdom here appears, as speaking.—“I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me.” If the attribute of wisdom were referred to, ought we not to read the verse something like this: The wisdom of God loves those that love it, and those that seek it early shall find it? For the wisdom of God, considered as an attribute, is not a person, but the attribute of a person, the perfection of a person. But the personal pronoun is used here—“I love them that love me, and those that seek me early shall find me.” “By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.” In this manner Christ proceeds to speak: for I understand that the Lord Jesus Christ is the person that appears before us in this chapter. I shall not take up any of your time in attempting to prove this. For many years I have believed with all my heart, that Christ is the speaker here; and I feel satisfied that all, or nearly all, my hearers have believed the same fact; and, therefore, it is not necessary that I should prove that which is generally or universally believed. Christ proceeded to say, “When he prepared the heaven, I was there: when he set a compass upon the face of the depth: when he established the clouds above: when he strengthened the fountains of the deep: when he gave to the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment: when he appointed the foundations of the earth: then was I by him as one brought up with him: and I was daily his delight, rejoicing always before him; rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.”

I believe that Jesus Christ here speaks in his mediatorial character; but I shall not go into any nice, abstruse, or difficult question tonight. Let me look at the text as a very blessed assertion of a very very blessed fact. Christ says, “My delights were with the sons of men.” Now, I want in the first place to illustrate the fact itself; and then, secondly, to point out some of the proofs of this fact.

I.—In the first place, let me try to illustrate the fact itself, which is indicated in the text before us tonight: “And my delights were with the sons of men.” When the heavens were prepared, and when God gave the sea his decree, that the waters should not pass his commandment, and so on, then Christ says, “I was with him, and my delights were with the sons of men.” This text is, therefore, no very unlike some of those sweet texts which occur in the epistles of Paul—“Accepted in the Beloved,” “Approved in Christ.” Christ says, “My delights were with the sons of men.” And what is there in those sons of men that he refers to, that he delights in? He delights in their persons; in their graces; in their character in their spiritual services; and even in their sufferings, when they suffer for the truth’s sake, and for his own sake. He even delights in their tears; in the groans that proceed from their hearts; in their songs of praise with they say say are “miserably sung;” and in the prayers which they call “broken petitions.” “The Lord teeth not as man teeth;” and it may here be said of Christ, as it is said of him in other connections, “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.” You despise your tears: he takes delight in them. You despise many of your prayers: they are music to his ears. You think your services are completely spoiled by the many shortcomings which are inseparable from them: the dear Redeemer delights in them. You speak, and very properly too, of the fact, that there is no merit in the sufferings of a sinner, and there is none in point of fact; but the Saviour takes delight in the sufferings of those who conscientiously and believingly suffer for his great name’s sake.

1. But, first, I notice that Christ’s delights were with the sons of men, considered as the sons of God. He delighted in their relationship—their high, holy, heavenly, and spiritual relationship. And do you not think that he delighted in the consideration of the fact, that whilst he called them the sons of men, he himself would be called in the days of his flesh, “the Son of man”? When here, he rejoiced in the fact that he was the Son of man. When he stood upon the threshold of Old Time, and looked forward into the future, he saw the great world before his mighty mind, and the church of the living God in the midst of the world, and said, My delights were with them as I say them in the glass of my Father’s purposes; as I foresaw them in the distant future; as I loved them, I smiled upon them, my delights were with them; I regarded them as what God himself had constituted them— his own dear children in me; and I saw them, the sons and daughters of God, my delights—not merely my delight—my delights were with them; and as they would be the sons of men, and were then in my mind the sons of men, I resolved that I too would be the Son of man, and identify myself publicly and visibly with them for ever.

Thus Christ rejoiced in their spiritual relationship, in the fact that they were God’s dear children; that they were his own dear brethren; that they were his own near kinsmen, bone of his bone, and flesh of his flesh. He took infinite delight in the fact that he himself was regarded as the elder Brother, and that he should be attended through all eternity by such as multitude of younger brethren,—he say them all from the days of Abel to the last hour of time, when the last son of God should be regenerate by his grace; and he looked upon the whole race, the whole succession of saints, as they should come into existence, with infinite complacency, satisfaction, and delight; and he said, “I rejoiced in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men.” Thus Christ rejoiced in the relationship in which they stood to God and to himself. He foresaw them all upon the face of the earth, and rejoiced further in the fact, that as his beloved Bride, every one would wear his name; that as his disciples, every one would become a follower of himself; that as his own brethren, everyone would be recognized in heaven. And then, Christ looked beyond time into the eternal future, into the world of everlasting glory, which he meant us to possess and reign in for ever, and by a mysterious operation of his mind, he conveyed the countless thousands into the distant and future eternity, and viewed us all as sharing heaven with himself, and the great fact filled him with great delight, and he said, “I rejoiced in the habitable part of his earth, and my delights were with the sons of men.” This was delighted love, which subsequently became love in sorrow,—bleeding love. But at the time of which we are speaking, it was love smiling upon its objects with sweet complacency and satisfaction. But did not Christ look complacently and satisfactorily upon the objects of his love when he died? Yes. But then his love delighted in the forethought that he should bleed to redeem the sons of men. But on Calvary, we have the same person delighting in the same manner in the sons of men. Love to the sons of men, brought him down from heaven, and constrained him to be nailed upon the accursed tree; and there we have love bleeding, love meriting, love removing the curse—love holding fast her objects, notwithstanding their vileness, and love resolving practically to fulfill all its own behests. Now, when Christ looked forward into the future, and beheld the sons of men, there was nothing foreseen or foreknown to qualify or moderate his delights. “Did he not foresee that some of them would be unwilling to be saved?” He foresaw that they all would be unwilling to be saved; but then that did not change his delight in them. “Did he not foresee the conditionality of salvation?” Yes; he foresaw that salvation would be conditional, and contingent upon good works; but then he foresaw that he himself should fulfill the conditions of salvation, and that the good works upon which salvation should be dependent, should be his own; and therefore, friends, there was nothing in his foreknowledge of the fact that we should be unwilling, to chill his delight. He said, I will make them willing—“My people shall be willing in the day of my power,” and when I pour my Spirit into their hearts, they will flock to me, and I myself am pleased with the idea of receiving them. “My delights were with the sons of men.”

And what about final apostasy? Because we are told, that they who have the grace of God may finally lose it, and that they who are once saved for ever and ever, may afterwards be eternally lost.” Strange logic that. But that is the kind of logic which is introduced into religion. It would be scouted with supreme contempt from the commercial world; but then, much that is incongruous and inconsistent is admitted into theology and divinity. He that is once for ever saved, may after all, be for ever damned? Christ, however, foresaw nothing of the sort; he foresaw no final apostasy; he foreknew nothing but everlasting life. His delights were with them, because he resolved, and the Father concurred with him, and both concurred with the Spirit, that their life should be everlasting, and their safety should be eternal and divine. Hence it is recorded—“The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from thee, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed, saith the Lord that hath mercy on thee.”

2. But let us notice in the second place, that Christ delighted himself with the prospect of visiting the sons of men. He not only delighted himself with the foreknowledge and forever of them,—he delighted himself with the prospect of visiting them. And he has paid the visit, and gone again. He came a long way, blessed be his name! For his “delights were with the sons of men.” It was a long journey to take; but his delights were with his people, and he paid the visit. When it was decreed and appointed that he should pay this visit, he expressed his pleasure and delight; and when he came down to fulfill his decree, he said, “Lo, I come,”—I have been waiting for the time—“Lo, I come, to do thy will, O God.” So important was this visit, that the decree was put into writing, and the written decree constituted a promise, which was yea and amen in Christ Jesus, and the promise constituted the ground of hope and expectation; and therefore Christ, under the Old Testament dispensation, was “the hope of Israel, the Saviour thereof in the time of trouble.” Millions were expecting this heavenly Visitor, because the decree had been declared that he should come; and at the appointed time he came, and fulfilled the promise. And the visit was so remarkable in itself, that a host of angels appeared to announce the fact that the Son of God had become the Son of man, and had pitched his tabernacle for a time among the sons of men, in whom he so greatly delighted. And what was the purport of this visit? He came to redeem the sons of men with his blood, and this was foreknown and foreseen; hence he is called, “The Lamb slain from the foundation of the world.” Decretively wounded and slain, his blood flows through all the Old Testament dispensation; and when at the appointed time, he was literally and actually smitten, was there any regret of his heart? Did the terrible storms of that raged against him, and the floods that rolled over him, chill his delight or damp his affections? Nay. “Many waters cannot quench love, neither can the floods drown it.” The infinite delight of the Son of God in the sons of men, the objects of his love, remained unabated; and the divine fire of love, burnt triumphantly in all the depths of condemnation into which he sank; and out of them all he came, burning with supreme delight and everlasting love.

He tarried with us three-and-thirty years, and did a wonderful work during that time, and accomplished all the purposes for which he came, and then went away. But what did he leave behind him? Ah! He delighted to contemplate on the threshold of time, what he should leave behind him; and what did he leave behind him? “Peace, I leave with you.” I came to make it, I came to bring salvation; and now it is expedient for you that I go away; but before I go away, I will leave these words, and these promises, and these facts, “Peace I leave with you, my peace I give unto you; not as the world giveth, give I unto you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid;” for I have loved you with an everlasting love, and my delights are all with you. And what else did he leave behind him? An open fountain, robes of righteousness, bread enough and to spare for every child in his and our Father’s house. And what else did he leave behind him? So much, that we sing—and we are correct in singing,—

“Safety on earth, and after death,
The plentitude of heaven.”

We shall see him again. We have seen him only with the eye of faith. Christ will come again, and the contemplation of his second coming gave him pleasure and delight. He will come again “the second time without sin unto salvation,” and oh! What a gathering there will then be! Oh! What a smiling Christ, and what smiling Christians!

“A few more rolling suns, at most,
Will land us on fair Canaan’s coast.”

Why, the other day we were black-haired, youthful, nimble, and full of vigor, and now we are getting near to the grave. Well, I hope we form a part of that vast army which the delighted Jesus will lead into glory, and present at last to his Father.

3. But, thirdly, he was delighted with the prospect of receiving the sinner and introducing him to his Father,—pleased with the prospect of the Spirit’s work in the heart, and with the results of it. He foresaw himself on the throne, as the risen and ascended Saviour of the sons of men, and as waiting to receive them; because, having redeemed them, they are sure to be brought, and therefore, he contemplated himself as sitting on the throne, and waiting to receive them. And by and by, Peter preached the first sermon that he ever preached with the Holy Ghost sent down from heaven, and he that sat on the throne sent three thousand arrows from his bow, and they entered into as many hearts, and three thousand rebels of the sons of men fell down before Immanuel’s throne, crying, “Men and brethren, what shall we do?” Now Christ delighted himself before time with the contemplation of that sight. And then a little later, five thousand more; and then a few years subsequently to this, a wretch, a rebel, but one of the sons of men that was beloved, was on his way to Damascus, thirsting for blood, and just as he reached the gates of the city, a light from heaven shone upon him, struck his heart, and killed his natural enmity, and he became, as an enemy, a dead man on the spot. And what was it that killed Saul as a Pharisee? Christ’s delight was in him. What was it that killed Saul as an enemy? Christ’s delight was in him. What was it that brought Paul to pray? The delight of the dear Redeemer in his person; and therefore he said with infinite delight, “Behold! He prayeth!” Father, I will that he be with me. Behold he is on his knees. He is mine; and Ananias, go to such a house and enquire for Saul of Tarsus, for “Behold, he prayeth!” And although it was astonishing information from Christ to Ananias, the heart of the dear Redeemer was full of delight and pleasure when he pointed to Saul of Tarsus, wretched, and with scales all over his eyes, and said, “Behold, he prayeth!” What was it that caused him to fall from his horse? A ray of the Mediator’s delight. What was it that conveyed new life into his heart? It was that light that shone from heaven,—an emanation of the Mediator’s delight. The Lord delighted in him, and therefore he brought him down from his pride, and arrogance, and height of conceit into a state of humility and eternal life. Christ took infinite pleasure, and delight, and satisfaction in the contemplation of all this before time begun. During the first ages of time, when God stood upon the threshold of the newly-made world, when he prepared the heavens, and set a compass upon the face of the deep, and gave the sea his decree, then Christ rejoiced “in the habitable part of his earth, and his delights were with the sons of men.”

4. Fourthly, He delights in managing their affairs. Bless his name!—he stoops very low, and concerns himself about many matters which do not give me much concern or thought. Oh! If I had not some one who thought more about me than I think about myself, I should be badly off. Id I had not a Friend who managed for me better than I could manage for myself, I do not know what the consequences would be. “But,” you say, “You can manage better for yourself than anybody can manage for you?” I cannot. “You know your own affairs better than anybody else knows them.” No, I do not. I have a Manager, I hope; I believe he has managed my affairs, or I should not be where or what I am tonight. I think and believe he has managed my affairs, and taken the deepest concern in all my matters ever since I have known him, aye! And before I knew his dear name. “He fixed the bounds of their habitation.” Do you believe that? And when was that done? Providentially in time; but, decretively, before time, and hence Christ says, “I rejoiced in the habitable part of his earth,” I had the great map before me—and the habitable parts of his earth were marked, and the habitations of the saints were indicated, and when I foresaw the spot where David would live and obtain victories, it gave me delight. When I foresaw the spots where Jacob would want me, and where Jacob should have what he wanted, the sight gave me pleasure and delight. Yes; when he made a decree for the sea, then he made a decree for the sons of men, fixed the bounds of their habitation,—the bounds of their trouble, the bounds of their enemies, the bounds of their pilgrimage, and the bounds of everything that relates to their welfare here and their happiness hereafter; and Christ looking at the work that he had undertaken to do for all, and for each of them, said, Father, it pleases me well. My delights are with the sons of men, and I will never remove my eye from them, never withdraw my hand from them. I will hold them up all the days of their pilgrimage life, and present them before thy glory at last.

5. Fifthly, Christ rejoices in the public assemblies of his people. I believe our Lord included this when he said,—“Rejoicing in the habitable part of his earth; and my delights were with the sons of men.” The public assemblies of his people. Did he, then, on the map that lay before him as the world and time were meted out, did he see where churches should be formed? Yes; and rejoiced in the spots. I do not believe that so important a thing as the formation of a church escapes the regard and attention of the great God of heaven, or ever takes place, irrespective of the ancient purpose and decree of the everlasting God. I believe that our beloved Lord marked out these green spots in the desert, on the map that lay before him, and looking at them foresaw their fertility, and rejoiced in them, as habitable parts of his earth. Where the sons of men would be gathered together,—where they would meet for praise and prayer: for “The Lord liveth the gates of Zion more than all the dwellings of Jacob.” He chose the sites of worship, the local sites where his saints met together to sing the praises of their Redeemer, to celebrate his greatness, and to remember with adoring gratitude his word. The Saviour said to himself, and said to his Father,—I shall be there in the midst of that assembly; hence when here on earth he said, “Where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I.” And it pleased him to contemplate this fact before, or at the commencement of time. Have we ever been blest here? Have we met here in vain, for twenty-two years or thereabouts? Hundreds of times have I been here in the pulpit,—and has it always been in vain? Hundreds of times have you been in your pews,—and has it always been in vain? No; we cannot believe this. We have had barren opportunities. Who has not? The preacher has had barren opportunities, and the people, perhaps, at times, have been barren in their feelings; but it has not been all barrenness. There has been a little fertility, and fruitfulness, and moisture now and then. Christ’s delight is in us. I hope it is. I believe it is. And sometimes he has been in our midst, and this has been, although a Strict Baptist Chapel, a Calvinistic place of worship,—one of the habitable parts of God’s earth, where, I think we may say we have realized the fulfillment of his word, “My delights were with the sons of men.”

6. Sixthly. Then lastly, he delighted in the prospect that was before him of raising them all from the grave, taking his position at the head of countless millions, and leading them all into glory. Our dear Lord’s delight will not be perfectly fulfilled until all the sons of men intended here are sharing his glory with him in another world. With what delight will he take his dear church up to his Father’s throne, and say, “Here am I, and the children whom thou hast given me!” With what delight will he take his Bride and present her to his Father all-glorious within, and clothed with wrought gold. Ah! She shall be brought unto the King in raiment of needlework, the virgins her companions shall also be brought, And with what pleasure, and delight, and satisfaction, will the King, the royal Bridegroom, the royal Saviour of the church survey his work, and survey the results of the same in the perfected and glorious character of all his redeemed people! Dear brother, you and they, and all the objects of God’s love, are to be the everlasting exponents of the glory of Immanuel. You and to be pillars in the temple of God, upon which God shall inscribe his name, the name of Christ, and the name of his city. And that marvelous city of eternal glory, the new Jerusalem cannot be perfect without you; Christ’s delights with the sons of men arose from the certain prospect of the completion of that city with its ornamental pillars, its monuments of everlasting praise.

II. The evidence of the fact, “My delights were with the sons of men.” Has he proved this? And if so, how?

1. The first evidence we have, or the first I will mention,—for the Bible is full of them—is, his own conformity to the sons of men. Love is imitative, and we aim to imitate him we love, especially when we believe his wisdom and character are superior to our own. Will these observations apply to Christ and his church? So far as his love was concerned, they will? But not as regards her character. I speak of his conformity to her, not of his imitation of her. “He himself likewise took part of the same.” Part of flesh and blood. Because the children were “partakers of the flesh and blood,” he would be like them in that respect. “My delights were with the sons of men.” I will put on their nature, and I will wear it for ever. I delight in it. And so he possesses a body and an immortal soul, the soul of a man, notwithstanding that he is the infinitely great and everlasting God. He said, I will become a man, for I love them; and I will be like them, and wear their nature on the throne of infinite majesty! And what does it indicate? Why, that Christ delights in it; or he would not wear it at God’s right hand. He wears your nature there, and he means to save it perfectly, not only the soul, but the body also. And he means to have eternal fellowship and communion with the sons of men; and therefore he will will wear their nature for ever. That is one evidence of the fact that his delights were with the sons of men.

2. And then, secondly, he says, I will represent them all; and so their names are on his breastplate. His delight is with them, and he will not have one lost, nor a single name overlooked or forgotten. And by way of raising a high idea in their minds of the greatness of the delight he takes in them, he says, “I have graven thee on the palms of my hands thy walls are continually before me.” Why, you see, this is just what the church wanted. She said, “Set me as seal upon thy heart, as a seal upon thine arm.” And he says, “O Israel, thou shalt not be forgotten of me:” therefore, Christ appears before the throne of God as the great representative of the sons of men, and that in order that they should never be forgotten, lost sight of, or overlooked by him. A brother said, “Pray for me.” My dear friend, I said, I will if I can, and hope to be interested in the prayers of my brother. But there is a brother, the best brother of all, who never forgets to pray for us. He is always praying for his brethren, he delights in doing so, he loves them so deeply, and love, you know, will prompt one to pray for another. He that loves me will pray for me. My Saviour, my Brother, love me I hope, and therefore he is always praying for me, and will as long as I am his brother, and his delight is in me. All, this is another proof, he is representative of the whole.

And looking at ordinances, means of grace, Christian sabbaths, the Bible, the Lord’s-table, the institutions of divine mercy, the appointments of heaven; what are they all for? Why, they are all so many ways in which God has appointed to meet his people. Christ says to those in whom he delights, “I will come and bless you:” in the ordinance of my house, the means of grace. Thus—

“Here to these hills my soul would come,
Till my Beloved lead me home.”

And, then, as my delights are with them, just as I, in one respect, became like them, they shall all be made like me; and therefore the Spirit comes to conform the sons of men to the image of God’s dear Son, and he will not have done with us, nor be satisfied with his work, until we are perfectly like him in another world.

Lastly, to sum up all in one word, and that word a monosyllable, but very full of meaning, Christ says, I will be their all, my delights are with the sons of men, and if you ask me what I mean to do for them, I say, All that they require to be done; or what I mean to be unto them, I will be all unto them for ever and ever, all that God requires, and all that they require, their Saviour, their Friends, their all externally, their all internally, their all eternally; for “my delights are with the sons of men.” God bless you, and his truth to your hearts, for Christ’s sake. Amen.



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