William Gadsby Sermons (Complete)

31 The Cloud Of Witnesses

“Wherefore, seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset ns, and let us run with patience the race set before us.”—Hebrews 12:1
First, Who are these witnesses? They are those who have witnessed to God’s truth, as Abraham, Isaac, and others, as mentioned in the preceding chapter; also apostles, ministers, and people who have borne testimony to the truth as it is in Jesus.

Secondly, What did they witness to? Salvation being all of grace, through faith; not of works, lest proud men should boast.

Thirdly, Why called a cloud? Because, when gathered together, they are a number which no man can number, any more than he can tell how many drops of water there are in a cloud, or grains of sand on a sea shore. What a crowd, or cloud, will appear in glory, when all those who are gone, those who are going, and those yet to go, will all appear in one glorious body before the throne of God, praising redeeming grace!

Because as a cloud is a recipient of water, and drops down rain, «o are the witnesses of God recipients of the Water of Life, Christ Jesus; and at times they drop down showers of blessings upon the earthen vessels around them, filling them instrumentally with heavenly treasure.

What is this race? In order to run in this race, you must have no legs of your own to stand upon. That is, you must be stripped of all dependence upon yourself, and stand alone upon the finished work of Christ; and then, when you are enabled to do this, you will run well.

What is it to lay aside every weight? For your mind to be divested of worldly care, sinful company, sinful propensities, which are heavy weights to the mind. The blood of the Lamb, when applied to your conscience by the Holy Ghost, will affect this; nothing else can.

What is the besetting sin? Not only any evil propensity of the heart, such as to drunkenness, lewdness, and other works of the flesh, with temptations to which some are beset and tortured; but legality and unbelief combined. This, more or less, besets us all.

What is it to run with patience? Those who go smoothly on have no work for patience to do; but those who run in this race have need of patience that, after they have done the will of God, they may inherit the promise. Tribulation worketh patience; therefore in patience may you possess your souls; the Lord help you so to do.—Jan. 9th, 1842.