A Sermon Preached By William Gadsby At Zoar Chapel, Great Alie Street, London, On Thursday Evening, June 1st, 1843
Perhaps some child of God may say, “Well; a text like this cuts me up, root and branch; for I consider it the language of a child of God, and I cannot, I dare not, say that my tongue speaks of God’s righteousness and praise all the day long!” But, then, poor benighted soul, you should recollect it is not always day with God’s people; there is night as well as day; and when night comes on, darkness appears, and the beasts of prey begin to show themselves. Unbelief, carnal reason, and unhallowed feelings rise up, thick and foul; and when in this state, we see very little in the soul to talk about God’s righteousness, or of his praise; and if we say anything at all, it appears nothing but a little moving of self-pity; we want to be pitied, and for others to think our case a pitiable one; and if we meet with any of our brethren and tell our case to them and they do not pity us, we think them very hard and very unkind towards us. But as soon as the Sun of Righteousness arises and shines on our souls; as soon as day breaks and we are brought sweetly and spiritually to see light in God’s light and to enter unctuously into the mysteries of his grace, we then know a little what it is for the mouth of the dumb to speak, and the tongue of the stammerer to be unloosed and to speak plainly, so that, while it is day in our souls, we are blessedly employed in speaking forth God’s righteousness and praise. “My tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.”
But, on this portion of God’s Word, I shall, as the Lord may direct,
I. Drop a hint or two upon the nature of God’s righteousness.
II. Give a short description of the tongue speaking of this righteousness; and then,
III. Notice what it is to praise God, and how the tongue is employed in speaking of it.
But of the righteousness of God, what can I say, or where shall I begin? We will look at it in three bearings. First, that righteousness which God, in the riches of his grace, imputes unto and puts upon his people, and wherein he justifies them fully and freely. Secondly, the solemn (and solemn they are) righteous acts of God in executing his judgments upon his foes and his people’s foes. And thirdly, the solemn acts of God in communicating special mercies unto his people, in supplying their needs, and in defending them in the midst of all the trials and difficulties they have to encounter. And I consider each of these things is couched in God’s righteousness.
I. Then what is the nature of the righteousness of God, which is “unto and upon all them that believe,” and upon (and may God apply the truth to our souls to-night) the heart of every poor, sensibly-ruined, lost, and ungodly sinner? And here I would say to such a poor creature, that he is as naturally destitute of holiness in and of himself as hell itself; but here the soul is fully and freely justified from all its enemies that come up against it, on the great account of God’s righteousness. It is upon this solemn ground that God says, “There is, therefore, now no condemnation to them which are in Christ Jesus!” Now you and I, at least I know for myself it is so, are naturally prone to bring a righteousness of our own. We want some pretty work of our own to recommend us to God; but when we have done all that we can do, what does it produce? A clothing of filthy rags, put upon an unclean thing! Poor polluted wretches, we want to come before God as an unclean thing covered with these filthy rags, and for God to be pleased with us on this account; but he will not! What does he do? Why, he sets fire to it, and burns it all up; and you will find sometimes when you want to appear before the Lord in some decent work of your own, Satan will be at your right hand to oppose you, as he did Joshua, when he was clothed in filthy rags. He will do with you as he did with him; he shook his filthy rags in his conscience, and said, “You appear before God? You plead with God? You have hope in God? What, such a filthy wretch as you are? For shame! Stop your mouth; never open your lips again, such a vile, loathsome, detestable creature as you are!” And thus the poor sinner before the Lord is ready to conclude there is no hope left; till God, in the riches of his grace, is pleased to come forth and show him that he is clothed in his righteousness; and when he applies it to the conscience, gives us unctuously to know that we have on the Lord’s righteousness, are arrayed in the Lord’s strength, and that it is the Lord himself that justifies us; I say, when the Spirit of the living God reveals this to the heart, it sets the tongue going to talk of God’s righteousness and to show forth his praise. And though all the devils in the world may be in the way, it could not prevent him; for when the heart is under the blessed unction and anointing of the Holy Spirit, feeling the glory of Christ’s righteousness, which is “unto and upon all them that believe,” it is sure to cause the tongue to speak forth the amazing wonders of God’s matchless grace!
Perhaps some high-gifted professor may say, “For my part, I never for a moment forget it, but I always sing of the righteousness of Christ; I want no other. Here I stay and rest, and can speak of this, let what -will take place. As for sin and filthy rags which you are talking about, I can get above all that!” I had like to have said then you can get above the devil, for the devil is obliged to sink under sin; and I believe in my heart some professors have more impudence than the devil himself. But when God winds up the business, and they come to stand before him, they will find their false confidence to be not only a delusion, but a strong delusion; that they have been left to believe a lie, and will discover that their refuge was a” refuge of lies,” and no shelter at all for them. But the soul whom God is teaching and whom he clothes in this righteousness is brought really to feel what a lost and ruined sinner he is, what a weak and guilty sinner he is, what a vile, loathsome, and polluted sinner he is, and to say, “Do you think there ever was such a sinner as I?” Some say I never preach to sinners; but, bless you, I find none else but sinners to preach to! If I should meet with a man who was not a sinner, I should have nothing for him; there is not a particle that would suit him in my ministry. A sinner, really and truly in his feelings, such as God saith he is, is a sacred thing. He is solemnly set apart for the Lord and by the Lord. He is a sacred sinner, as I call him; and such a one shall speak forth the matchless righteousness and glory of God in blessing his soul. Such a sinner as this finds God’s righteousness suited to his state and condition; and when God is pleased to make known Jesus Christ as his Representative, as having stood in his law-place and stead, between an insulted God and him; and how he has engaged to be responsible for all his sinful practices and transgressions, and to work out a righteousness in every sense suited to the requirements of the law, the claims of justice, to honour and glorify the perfections of God, and to impute that righteousness to him for his entire justification before the Lord, he cannot but speak of his righteousness and praise, and rejoice that he is “justified freely by his grace, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
Now if the law gets hold of your conscience, and God’s Spirit should at the same time reveal this righteousness, it will answer all law claims that come against you. Suppose we look at it for a moment or two. The law saith, “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might.” Well, now, I tell you what—if you cannot bring a righteousness to God adequate to this, your soul is ready to sink into black despair. And where will you find it? We have some who attempt to moderate it; and they say, if we are sincere in our desires, God will accept of our sincerity, and so Christ is put in the back ground in their mode of obedience. But this will not do. We must have a righteousness, not only in which you and I cannot find a flaw, but in which God cannot find a flaw. And if we ourselves see nothing but sin in our own, and find fault with the very best that we can do and gay all our righteousnesses are but filthy rags, how heart-breaking must we feel to present such a one before infinite purity and perfection I We must have a righteousness in which Jehovah himself cannot find a flaw, a righteousness which Jehovah cannot mend, a righteousness which neither sin nor Satan can mar; and unless we have on a righteousness of this nature, we can never enter into the blessedness of the world to come.
Where, then, are we to find it? Eternal praises to the matchless mercy of a covenant God, we have it in the blessed Person, glorious work, and spotless obedience of the Lord Jesus Christ! And, therefore, as it was essential for him to fulfill all righteousness for his people, he loved the Lord his God with all his heart, with all his mind, and with all his strength. He began at the beginning, and went through holily, righteously, and steadily every step of the law of God; and all in justice and righteousness. He fulfilled every iota of it, and gave it immortal glory and honour. The law could only require the perfect obedience of a perfect man, but he gave it the perfect obedience of the God-man, and stamped for ever a holy dignity and majesty on it, in order to manifest that this glorious righteousness is suited to every sinner’s case, to all their needs, and to honour and glorify all the perfections of God; and thus he has “for ever perfected them that were sanctified,”—all those who were set apart for himself. They are perfected for ever in his own blessed obedience and spotless righteousness; and this righteousness which God gives shall endure for ever. As for you who have a righteousness of your own, you never can feel your need of Christ’s righteousness; and if any one should insult you by speaking of it, you are wrapped up so snugly in your own pretty works that it would be an insult to your dignity to have his. The same as it would be an insult to the queen for you to make a basket of bulrushes, and present it to her as something very valuable; she would not receive it at your hands. So it is with you, when we speak of this blessed righteousness. You do not know your need of it, and it is an insult to your pride to mention it. But for the poor creature who feels himself to be a loathsome, vile, and ruined sinner, and is brought experimentally to feel what he is before a heart-searching God, and that every iota of the law is against him—for God to give this righteousness to him, to put it upon him and communicate the power of it to his soul, why it will raise and exalt him to such a blessed enjoyment of God’s righteousness that his tongue will sing aloud and speak forth praise to the honour and glory of his blessed name; and he will say, “My soul shall be joyful in my God; I will glory in the God of my salvation; for he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness; he hath adorned me with the garments of salvation.” And thus his tongue shall speak of God’s righteousness and of his praise all the day long.
Now, let me ask, does this righteousness suit you? For observe, when it is realized in the conscience by faith, through the Spirit’s teaching, the sinner will not bring forth his goodness or worthiness to make a kind of exchange with God; for he enters now into what the Holy Ghost saith, “Now to him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth”—Who? The pious? No! The holy? No! The good? No! Who then? “The ungodly!” What an ungodly world? Yes, those who are brought to feel in their consciences that they are vile and ungodly, and that they must be lost for ever without a better righteousness than their own! “To him that worketh not, but believeth on him that justifieth the ungodly, his faith is counted to him for righteousness.” Such a poor soul as this hath worked till he could work no longer; he hath worked till he has worked himself into wretchedness; he hath worked till he has worked himself into despair; he hath worked till he has worked himself into self- desperation. Nothing now is left for him to bring to God. His soul is out of heart of any more working and he is obliged to lie where he is, without anything of his own to present before the Lord, and to come as a poor, ruined, wretched, and undone sinner! And God imputes this righteousness to such a soul as this; he puts it on all those who are led to believe in Jesus by a living faith. This righteousness is imputed to them; and so they stand complete before the Lord. As it is written: “Ye are complete in him.” And this blessed righteousness makes the sinner just before him.
I will tell you how I found it. Until God was pleased to reveal it to my conscience I never could find peace; and until you have a measure of it brought into your heart, you can never have solemn confidence before God; for on every occasion Satan will be sure to be too much for you. He will tell you you are blind, and cannot see; he will tell you you are lame and cannot walk; he will tell you you are dumb and cannot speak; he will tell you you are hardhearted and that you cannot pray; that you have left off watching, that the world has got hold of you, and that you are trying to get hold of the world; he will tell you if you love the world you have not the love of the Father; and thus he will cause you to faint, and you will have nothing to say on your own behalf. But if the Lord bless you with a faith’s view of the mediatorial work of Jesus, with the active and passive obedience of Jesus, and show you that all his infinite purity and perfect obedience to the law of God is yours, that ha has honoured the perfections of God for you, and blesses your conscience with an apprehension of it, then you can say to Satan, “I acknowledge that all thy accusations are true, Satan. I am ashamed of myself, and confess that I am nothing hut a vile, crawling, sinful worm; but then, believing and resting on Jesus, the righteousness of God is unto and upon all them that believe.” So that now he is ready to submit to this description of his state,—that he is as an unclean thing, and that all his “righteousnesses are but as filthy rags;” and he is led to ask himself the question, if his righteousness and the best of his works are but filthy rags, what indeed must his sins be? What must his guilty acts be, when the best that he can do are nothing but filthy rags? Thus he sees that his best and his worst are all as an unclean thing; and then this, through the matchless mercy and grace of God, brings him feelingly and solemnly to enter into and rest upon the perfect obedience of Christ. And when his faith, through the Spirit’s blessed teaching, is thus stayed upon the Lord, he can present the spotless obedience and perfect righteousness of Jesus, as his acquittance before God and the ground of his future bliss and joy. Satan cannot come in here; none of his enemies can approach him here; there is no coming short, no deficiency here. There is nothing wanting in the perfect obedience of Christ; and the sinner that is hurled out of every other refuge, from necessity creeps into this. Here he stands complete before the Lord, “accepted in the Beloved;” and the Lord declares that he is beautiful through the comeliness which he hath put upon him. O how the soul then rejoices in this salvation, in this glorious righteousness, which justifies the ungodly! “My tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.”
Now, perhaps, there may be some here who have but little light, I mean spiritual light; and have never known the necessity of the imputation of this righteousness in a doctrinal way. I speak this from some past feelings. I recollect the period when I rejoiced in Christ, and was enabled to sing of the wonders of his salvation; but I knew nothing about imputed righteousness, as to the doctrine of it. A familiar friend at that time, on one occasion, said, “Why, William, we are justified freely by another, through the righteousness of Christ imputed to us.” I said to myself, what does she mean? Is it a new doctrine? But to ask her I could not, for I was afraid; so I said, “Good night,” and went home burdened in my conscience to know what this could be which was to be my justification; and as I did not know what it was, I thought after all I may be deceived, and be lost at last! It was such a weight on my soul that I was led diligently to seek after a knowledge of this righteousness of God, the imputed righteousness of Christ. And after some searching of the Word, and crying to the Lord, I began to think, “Surely it must be the perfect obedience of Christ.” But, then, there was this word “imputed,” which I could not make out; for I knew no more about it than an infant, I was such a dexterous scholar; and I said, “What can this word ‘imputed’ mean, which must, according to her account, be our justification before God; for without it the sinner must sink into hell.” I was so puzzled for some time with this word “imputed,” that I sent to a neighbour to borrow a dictionary to make out the meaning of the word; but when I got it, somehow or other, it did not help me, for I was such a poor bewildered fool that it seemed to plunge me deeper in confusion; till at last the Lord was pleased to bring home with power this portion of Scripture, with some others: “He was made sin for us, who knew no sin, that we might be made the righteousness of God in him!” I said, “O! I should not wonder if this is the meaning of the word ‘imputed!’ Christ taking our sins, and giving us his righteousness!” And by and by the Lord led me on, step by step, until at last he showed me that it was a divine transfer,- —-a taking away of my guiltiness and a putting upon me the obedience of Christ, so that I might stand complete before the Lord without sin! Aye, I had believed this truth before in the spirit of it; but I did not know that this was the meaning of ” imputed righteousness;” and I believe many have the spirit and glory of it in their souls who cannot understand it in the letter, so as to explain it; while hundreds have it correct in the letter and can contend for it who have never received it in the spirit, who are nothing more than mere speculatists in religion. But when God reveals it in the conscience, and they are brought to understand it through the Spirit’s teaching, they have it both in the spirit and in the letter; and then the poor soul will come from necessity and build upon Christ, rest upon Christ, and trust in Christ alone. And I believe further, that nothing will bring glory to God but a divine resting and trusting in Christ. Take away Christ, and you must sink for ever. Without Christ, how can you face law, or how can you face justice? But with Christ, you can make a solemn stand. If the Lord the Spirit has brought you to feel this, if he has assured you of this, poor trembling sinner, this righteousness is thine; and thou shalt, in the Lord’s own blessed time, enter fully into the mystery of it, and speak forth the riches of God’s glorious grace. “My tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.”
But we observe further. David, in this psalm, is speaking of the ungodly and of his enemies, and of the head they had made against him, and of God’s judgments being executed upon them. Now if there should be an enemy here to-night, who is taking pleasure in persecuting the church of God, and in defaming the character of God’s people, and who is laying plans and schemes to bring them into wretchedness and ruin, by spreading some trap to catch their feet, I tell thee, in the name of the Lord, according to what is revealed in this psalm, that into the very snare, into the very trap, which thou hast laid for them shall thy own feet fall. God, to vindicate the honour of his people, will execute righteously and justly against thee all that thou hast plotted against Christ and his church. For mind, all thy rage and wrath, directed against the church of God, or against any individual believer, is considered as against Christ; for he says, “In all their affliction he was afflicted,” and, “He that toucheth you, toucheth the apple of his eye;” so that whosoever persecutes the church of God, persecutes Christ. Hence says the Lord the Redeemer to Saul, “Saul, why persecutest thou me?” We may suppose that Paul might have said, “I am not persecuting thee, Lord; it is only a few fanatics, some poor bewildered creatures, who are disturbers of the neighborhood. I only want to scatter these troublers, to make Jerusalem quiet, and to get rid of these fanatics.” But the Lord says, “Why persecutest thou me?” and when he replies, “Who art thou, Lord?” he says, “I am Jesus, whom thou persecutest. It is hard for thee to kick against the pricks.”” Sinner, self-righteous sinner, God-dishonoring and believer-despising sinner, who art laying plans and schemes to bring the church of God into disrepute, and doing what thou canst to injure the Lord’s people, beware, for a holy God is wetting his sword for retribution, and by and by he will come forth and not spare. He will mow thee down, cut thee up, and lay thee low; and the righteousness of God shall be seen in executing his vengeance, and in sending thee to hell for thy persecutions against his people! Thus, the church of God, under the teachings of the blessed Spirit, shall be brought in solemnity to speak of his mighty acts. Now this was the case with the church of old. They sang of God’s judgments in executing his vengeance on their enemies, in overthrowing “Pharaoh and his host in the Red Sea, for his mercy endureth for ever;” and in destroying “famous kings, for his mercy endureth for ever.” “What!” say some. “Was it mercy in God to drown the Egyptians, and mercy in God to destroy these famous kings?” It was all in solemn and righteous judgment. And when God’s righteous judgments are executed in the destruction of the ungodly, it is always in mercy to his own people. This was the cause of raising them to hope, and showing them that the Lord was their defense; and here they traced his everlasting mercy to them, in bringing these judgments upon the ungodly and upon their foes. And thus they sang of his righteousness in his solemn acts of judgment. “My tongue shall speak of thy righteousness, and of thy praise all the day long.” I will tell you one thing I have proved, and it is well for the church of God that it is so. You and I may have met with some other foes, who have been laying plans and schemes against us, and digging pits to engulf us; who have been working secretly, and at other times more openly, to do us some injury; but God’s eye is fixed upon them, and it is written, “Vengeance is mine, and I will repay it, saith the Lord!” But in the hook of Isaiah, it is said, “He that believeth shall not make haste.” Now, perhaps, for a moment or two we believe God will accomplish his word; but, if we are called to wait long, and there appears a delay in the accomplishment of God’s word, we become hasty, and think him so long that we set on to do it ourselves; but for one stroke that we lay upon our enemies, we inflict a dozen upon ourselves. And a blessed mercy it is, for here we see that the Lord will execute his righteous judgments upon our enemies, appear for the defense of his people, and cause us to speak forth the honours of his name. “My tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.”
But we observe further. Another branch of this righteousness is, a revelation of the righteous acts of God’s grace to such poor sinners as we are. I do not know what you may feel at what I am now going to say, but there is such a solemn disparity between God and ourselves that the soul is brought to wonder how God can be righteous without sending it to hell! This is the difference between the poor child of God, and a self-righteous free-wilier. A self- righteous free-wilier thinks that God cannot he just without giving him a chance of being saved; and the poor child of God wants to know how he can be just without damning him! Now, have you ever been here? I remember the time when this text was applied with great power to my soul: “A just God and a Saviour;” and, “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” Have you entered into a feeling sense of this? I recollect an old friend of ours, in dying moments, said to the brethren, “God has been pleased to bless that text to my soul in a wonderful way! O what an amazing thing that he should be faithful and just, not merely in forgiving sins, but in forgiving me! I wonder he is not faithful and just to damn me!” And the poor child of God knows what it is, before a heart-searching God, to feel so convinced of his sin and sinfulness as to know that God would be faithful and just to damn him, if he were to enter into judgment with him; but, being brought sweetly and spiritually to see that he is pleased not to impute sin unto him, that he delights in his mercy, that he has forgiven him all his sins and transgressions, is pleased to seal home pardon in his conscience, and bring him to feel reconciliation through the blood of the Lamb, the poor soul is brought to speak forth his honour and praise for his righteous acts, in thus bringing salvation to him; so that he honours his justice, as well as his mercy. And here he sees that the work is complete. And when God confirms these things in the conscience, by the teachings of the blessed Spirit, then the soul sings of God’s righteousness and of his praise all the day long.
Now have you never been brought into very great straits, either in your soul, family, or circumstances, not able to see any way of escape, and that all your contrivances to extricate yourselves have served only to plunge you into greater difficulties? And have you not found that so long as you could contrive any way of deliverance or make any plan of your own, you never came to the Lord or entirely depended upon him; but when all your plans and schemes have failed and come to ruin, being nothing but useless lumber, and you were brought from necessity to come and spread out your case before the Lord, and lay low in the dust at his blessed feet, sink or swim, that then he has risen up for your help, and graciously smiled upon you? How then you were enabled to speak of his mercies and, with the church of old, to “rehearse the righteous acts of the Lord,” show forth his praise, and say, in the language of the text, “My tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.”
II. But we pass on to give a description of the tongue that will really, truly, and spiritually speak of God’s righteousness. It is not the tongue of man by nature, for he never speaks of it spiritually. It is true, he may speak of it in the letter, but he can never understand it in the spirit, until he is made a partaker of it. God tells us in his Word, “The natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness unto him; neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” I tell you what I have often wondered at,—that professors in our day have not petitioned the legislature to alter the Bible, that they might take out some passages to make it fit to their creed. “Well,” say some, “a natural man may repent and believe, if he will; he has it in his power.” But God says he cannot, for it is “foolishness unto him.” God says “he cannot know them, for they are spiritually discerned.” Now, who tells the truth,—God, or these accomplished fools? Why, God tells the truth; and his people are brought to know that no man can believe spiritually till he is quickened by the Holy Ghost, and made a new creature in Christ. Well, then, all the natural ability, natural strength, and natural wisdom of man must give up the ghost. So that the man who is brought to wait patiently till the mercy of the Lord brings a little hope, a little life, and a little deliverance and peace into his conscience, will bless and praise God for his righteous acts of mercy towards him, in bringing him peace, strength, and prosperity. And here God reconciles the mind to his sovereign pleasure, in a way of providence, to see that his dispensations are right; so that whatever he may have to suffer from the unrighteousness of men, and whatever he may be called to pass through or endure from friends or enemies, he is brought to see that it is all right and under the sovereign control of the Lord; and when he thus appears and manifests his love to our hearts, we are satisfied with all his ways and dealings towards us; we sing of his righteous acts and talk of his praise; and then, O what peace these Sowings of mercy bring into the soul!
I have known many of God’s wonderful dealings in a way of providence towards me, and I could tell you of several of them, if I had time. But I will relate one in particular, and a striking one too. When my family were young, we had a large school-bill came in, and where the money was to come from to pay it, neither wife nor myself could possibly tell; and she gave me a few pillow pills to know how the money was to be had. “O!” said I, “We shall have it in good time; the Lord will appear for us!” “Ah, there it is,” she said. “You have all the faith, and I have all the tugging, sighing, and mourning;” while, in point of fact, I had not much more faith than she had; but it was no use for me to cherish her unbelief. You husbands, do not nurse up the unbelief of your wives, when they discover it, for that will make it double unbelief; and you wives, whose husbands are cast down, do as Manoah’s wife did, cheer them up, and say, “If the Lord had meant to have destroyed us, he would not have shown us the things which he has!” And whatever trouble you may be in, never try to deliver yourselves in any unlawful way, but may you be led to be earnest at the throne of grace in prayer, that he would not lead you into temptation, but that he would keep you waiting at his throne of grace until he appears for you in your distresses. I make these remarks, because some poor child of God may be tempted to do that for his own profit, to save himself from ruin, which carnal reason may suggest, but which can never meet with the Lord’s sanction; therefore follow no one to do evil; it will bring disgrace upon the cause of truth, and wound your own soul. And ever recollect that God knows all about you; his eye is fixed upon you and watching for your good; his ear is open to all your cries; he knows all your necessities, and in his own good time he will come and make good every promise that he has made concerning you.
But to return to the deliverance which God wrought for me. The following morning a young man called upon me, and brought me a twenty-pound-note (See note in Sermon on Heb. 10:36, farther on). I was so amazed that I hardly knew what to say, for such a thing had never entered into my heart; but he said, “Do you not recollect what you said last night, how God knew all the wants and distresses of his people, and would be sure to appear for them, and deliver them out of their troubles? It is the Lord that has sent you the money!” So that I was constrained to bless and praise his name, and my tongue was enabled to speak of his righteousness all the day long. And O! How wonderful our God appears in these acts of mercy! What a kind God he is in his providence. He will not allow anything really to hurt us. His arm is stretched out for the defense of his church. He will uphold and protect them from the spite and malice of their foes and execute vengeance upon their enemies. He will ram down blessings upon them, preserve them on every hand, make them victorious over every trial; and bring them to praise and adore him for revealing a precious Christ and his salvation to them, in unfolding the riches of his grace, in bringing them to feel his everlasting love, the preciousness of his blood and obedience, and the glories of his righteousness. And thus their tongues will be constrained to speak of it all the day long.
But what is the tongue that speaks of this righteousness spiritually? It is the tongue that David speaks of, where he says, “My tongue is the pen of a ready writer. I will speak of the things which I have made, touching the King.” Now mind, what was David’s tongue like? It was like “the pen of a ready writer.” But who is that ready writer? It is God the Holy Ghost! He is the great Writer of God’s law in the heart, and the great Writer of God’s salvation. David’s tongue then was the pen; but it was a very dry pen in itself; it made no impression, though used by a dexterous penman. But when the divine Spirit makes use of the pen, that is, the tongue, and dips it in the love and blood of Christ, then the words that are written will be full of sweetness to the church, and words that come with power, being full of grace and truth, when they are thus sent by the Holy Ghost to feed and comfort his people. Now when the poor sinner’s tongue is moved by the blessed Spirit and he feels a divine unction resting upon him, he wants both his heart and tongue to go together; for “with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the tongue confession is made unto salvation;” and when that is the case, the heart and the tongue will both go forth in speaking of the righteousness of God. “My tongue shall speak of thy righteousness and of thy praise all the day long.”
Now do you know what it is to have the tongue thus solemnly moved, at times, under the teachings of the blessed Spirit, to speak of God’s righteousness? If you do, you are sure to speak forth God’s praise and give him all the glory. You will speak of the praises due unto his name; you will speak of the honours of Jesus,, of his glorious characters, of his preciousness, of his suitability, and of his fulness. And as the ‘Lord the Spirit leads and guides you, you will make mention of it in your dying moments, and then speak forth the matchless mercy of his amazing grace.
May the Lord, therefore, give you and me, while here, to speak more and more of the matchless wonders of his grace!
William Gadsby (1773-1844) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher, writer and philanthropist.