64 An Exposition: Preaching Good Tidings Unto The Meek
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek.”—Isaiah 61:1-3
What a divine cluster of immortal blessings rests in the Man Christ Jesus; and how blessed it is for poor sinners that he is appointed to give them these blessings and is filled with the Spirit without measure, that he might give them in measure to such poor vile sinners, loathsome sinners, God dishonoring sinners as we; and his blessed Majesty has to deal out these blessings to these poor sinners. However men may despise these poor hobbling creatures, the Lord will find them out, in some corner or another. God’s method is to deal out his pity to these poor, forlorn creatures.
Now, if the Lord has given you to feel something of the blessedness of these three verses, when you come on a death bed you will out shout angels and triumph in the mysteries of the cross.
Who shall be redeemed priests? Why, these poor hobbling creatures, these poor captives, these sin-sick souls—they shall be named Priests; and God the Spirit shall so direct them that he will show them the mysteries of the cross. God’s method is to take these poor creatures from the dust and the beggars from the dunghill; he lifts them up and he rejoices over them.
“For your shame ye shall have double.” “Ah!” says some poor soul. “I am afraid I shall have double confusion and condemnation; for I feel so much boiling-up of my inward sins that I am almost distracted.” Notwithstanding all this, and all the shame and confusion that it produces, still the Lord says, “Ye shall have double.” Double of what? A double knowledge of God’s method of salvation; first, that all the human race were ruined and that he came into the world to save sinners; and, next, that he came to save you. You shall have this double in your land here, and instead of confusion you shall rejoice in your portion, and everlasting joy shall be your portion hereafter. Dear forlorn child of God, can you have a better double than this? And are you not often ashamed, when you think of God’s goodness and your sinfulness? Well. Some commentators say this should read, “For your double shame you shall have a double inheritance.” The greater your shame, the greater will be your rejoicing when the blessing comes.
“And their seed shall be known among the Gentiles,” &e. These poor broken-hearted sinners, men despised,—this obscure family, is the seed which the Lord hath blessed. Yes, and their enemies shall see it and acknowledge it too. And when God makes this manifest you will be enabled to say with Isaiah, “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord; my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness.”
Has the Lord the Spirit brought this feeling into your hearts and consciences? Since I saw you last, I have been laid on a bed of affliction. But while there, I was brought to feel that he had wrapped me up in his righteousness; and he passed the sentence of death so on self and all connected with self, that I felt no solid pleasure out of Christ. I want nothing else. Let others have what they may, I want to be wrapped up in Christ’s righteousness and to feel the mysteries of redeeming love.
William Gadsby (1773-1844) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher, writer and philanthropist. John Hazelton wrote of him—
“[Gadsby’s] labours extended to well-nigh every part of the country, and who by his sermons, hymns, and other writings, exerted a wide spiritual influence, and his interest in the poor and needy in Lancashire and elsewhere rendered his public advocacy of their cause of great value. In him we have a man of eminent public spirit, as well as of originality and spiritual force…The first time he preached was in 1798, in an upper room in a yard at Bedworth, from the words, "Unto you therefore which believe, He is precious." His Hymn Book, now so widely known, was first published in 1814, his desire being "to have a selection of hymns free from Arminianism and sound in the faith, that the Church might be edified and God glorified.” He removed to Manchester in 1805, and while over the Church there he travelled over 60,000 miles and preached nearly 12,000 sermons.”