Mount Zion Chapel, Chadwell Street, Clerkenwell,
On Lord’s-Day Evening, 28th June, 1874
It is infinitely important to possess the Spirit of God, and to have “the love of God shed abroad in one’s heart by the Holy Ghost which is given unto us.” Having this, of course we are lovers of God; and if lovers of God, we are lovers of everything that is godly, or God-like; and therefore, it is a very great mercy for us that the Holy Spirit has condescended to mention a very considerable number of infallible evidences of Christianity,—of interest in the everlasting love of God. The child of God has frequently derived comfort from the declaration of Divine truth by the Apostle John,—“By this we know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren.” If, therefore, we love Christians, we love Christ. If we love the brethren because they are brethren, we love the Father. If we love a godly man or woman, because he or she is godly, we love God himself. And if we love the image of Jesus Christ wherever it appears, we love Jesus Christ himself, the great Original of that image. Now let us try to inspect our own hearts, our affections and feelings, in relation to this point. We know that we are not in this respect where we were, or what we were. We can remember the time when we hated the people of God because they were God’s people; and when we hated saints because they were saints, and therefore we hated professors of religion and members of Christian churches, strictly speaking, for God’s sake. God was in them: the power of God appeared on them, and they were, in some respects and to some extent, representatives of God here upon the earth, and we hated them on that account. We dare not now say that we hate God’s representatives on the earth. We dare not say that in this respect a change has not taken place. “Old things have passed away, and, behold, all things are become new.” And therefore, if we are lovers of the brethren, we are lovers of their Father, and of the great Elder Brother himself; and therefore we may say, “We love Him, because He first loved us.”
And then again, if we are lovers of God’s children, and followers of God, we are lovers of God’s house. It appears to me that David’s heart was very warm, and his affections very strong towards the house of God. ” Yet,” said he, when contemplating the building of the temple, “I have set my affections unto the house of my God.” And here, in the Psalm out of which I have taken my text, David expresses his feelings, his affections towards the house of God:—“How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!” and again in the tenth verse,—“For a day in thy courts is better than a thousand. I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness. Now, If we are lovers of God, we love his people, and also his residence,—the courts of our heavenly Father; and I do believe in my heart that we can say with David,—“How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts!” One thing should be borne in mind in relation to what is before stated:— The temple was not in existence in David’s days; there was no magnificent and costly building for the public worship of God. The old, tent which Moses had made in the wilderness was the only residence of God in the land of Canaan in the days of David. That tent must have been repaired very considerably. There Were the old badgers’ skins and the ark of the covenant, and the old altar which Moses made in the desert; and all these were connected with the earthly residence of God; but David went into that old tabernacle or tent, and took his station before that old altar, and, when David thought of the victims whose bodies were burning thereon, he said, “How amiable are thy tabernacles, O Lord of hosts! One thing have I desired of the Lord, that will I seek after, that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to behold the beauty of the Lord and to enquire in his temple.” Now, we may take this as a test, and apply it to our own principles and feelings when we meet together as we are met together tonght. Are we anxious to have the presence of God, anxious that our minds might be divinely absorbed, and all our thoughts sweetly and graciously engaged? Are we desirous that all that is within us might, for the time, be separated from the world, elevated, as it were, to heaven, and sweetly connected with the Christ of God? If so, God’s heavenly residence is our home, and—
“There we shall see his face,
And never, never sin:
And from the rivers of his grace
Drink endless pleasures in.”
David, then, having, this experience, said, “The Lord God is a sun and shield: the Lord will give grace and glory, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.” It was not the whole verse, however, that occurred to my mind, but that clause of it which I have read—“The Lord (or Jehovah) will give grace and glory.”
Let us look at the two branches into which the subject seems to divide itself. First, the Divine and infinite donation—“The Lord God will give grace and glory”; and secondly, the confidence expressed in relation to this fact. David said, (and he was divinely inspired) “Jehovah will give grace and glory.”
I. Now in the first place, let us contemplate the two blessings indicated, or the marvelous and infinite donation expressed in the text, “grace and glory.” I do not expect that I shall be able to say anything new, or to add anything fresh to what you have frequently heard on this subject. Grace and glory comprehend all our religion, here and hereafter. Grace for this world, and glory for a better;—grace to prepare us for heaven while on the earth and glory as that “city” which God has prepared for us in the world to come.
The grace of God means the sovereign favour of the Most High. It is divided into a multitude of branches, and every branch of Divine grace is an infinitely rich and important favour. Let us notice—
1. The great Giver himself; for I shall try to confine my attention as far as possible to the phraseology of the text. The Lord (or Jehovah; for the noun Lord is in Roman capitals, and it should have been translated Jehovah,) will give grace and glory. The Father will give grace, the Son is giving and will continue to give grace, and the Spirit of God is giving grace, and will continue to give it down to the end of time; and then a triune Jehovah will give eternal glory beyond death, beyond time, beyond sin, and beyond our imperfections in a better world. And I may say of that better world, what the Apostle Paul says of another subJect, “I cannot now speak particularly.” I hope, however, with you, and with countless millions, to see the face of God in the Lord Jesus Christ. But all our knowledge of glory must be gleaned from the Bible together with our little shallow experience of the grace of God in our hearts here on the earth. “Jehovah will give grace and glory.” None else can give grace. The creature is as capable of giving me heaven, as he is of giving me grace; and he that gives me grace can give me glory. The fact is, it is God’s prerogative, and God’s only, to give grace and glory. Grace emanates from God’s high and glorious throne; for John says, “I saw a river of water of life, clear as crystal, proceeding from the throne of God and the Lamb.” All the grace, therefore, that flows in this wilderness-world, takes its rise in the heart of God, and flows from his throne. My brother, there is not a drop of grace proceeding from an angel’s throne, not even from the throne of Gabriel. They see grace flowing from God, but they are unable to communicate it to poor sinners. As the grace of God flows, and, as sinners receive that grace, and are meetened for heaven, again and again they sing Hallelujah! But, if heaven depended upon the grace or the power of Gabriel, or upon the united powers of all the millions of angelic spirits that are before the throne, not a single lost sinner would ever reach the climes of everlasting bliss; and therefore God gives grace, and God only can give grace.
No grace ever flows efficiently from the pulpit; all grace is poured into the lips of Jesus Christ. If grace, in a certain respect, may be said to flow from the pulpit, it flows first from the heart of God, through the pulpit into the pew; it flows, first from the throne of God, through the ministry of the word into the hearts of the hearers: and therefore, dear brethren, whilst sitting to hear the gospel preached, always see God’s throne of grace above the pulpit; and whilst the preacher pours forth a stream of words, and your hearts are more or less divinely blest, remember that the grace that comes with his declarations flows from God. And therefore, looking at the phraseology of the text, it expresses a naked fact, “The Lord will give grace and glory.”
It is also a fact, that no spiritual creature can share his grace with a fellow-creature. I do not know whether we commit sin against God or not, by wishing that we could communicate grace to our fellow-creatures. When a father wishes he could give his children grace, no doubt there is a good deal of the parent in our religion here, a good deal that is natural, connected with our spiritual affection; but, whatever our wishes may be for our children, or for those that are near and dear to us, it is not possible that one creature can share the grace that he has with another, and, if I understand Scripture aright, the twenty-fifth chapter of Matthew aright, this truth is taught therein. The lamps of the foolish virgins went out, and they said to the wise, “Give us of your oil, for our lamps are gone out.” And the wise said, “not so; lest there be not enough for us and you.” No; every man must retain for himself all the grace that God has given him, and however much he may love his children, and yearn over them and weep, he feels his impotence, in relation to their salvation. There is grace in his heart for personal purposes, but he cannot share it with his children. I do not know, again I say, whether the wish that he could do so, be criminal—be a guilty wish in the sight of God or not; but we are forced to acknowledge the fact, we learn it every day, that it is God’s only prerogative to give grace and glory.
Since Jehovah gives grace and glory, he does it with a Godlike freeness, he does it like a God. Those of you who are parents, when you bless your children with all your heart, you do it accordIng to your ability; and if you are poor, your blessings, although they come from the heart, are not large, nor perhaps intrinsically valuable; but when God blesses a sinner, when Jehovah gives grace and glory, he gives in a manner that is worthy of himself, and corresponds to his greatness, his majesty, and his glory. Your God never gave you a little grace, a little mercy. He never gave you, in connection with salvation, anything that was light or little; but when he gives to sinners for saving purposes, he gives like a God,—like the great Monarch of the universe, the infinite majesty of heaven and earth, and therefore, if be has given you grace, he has given you inestimable favour; and he gives it with all the love, with all the freeness of his heart; he gives it with infinite pleasure, satisfaction, and delight.
Is it a pleasure for a naturally humane and sympathising individual to help a fellow-creature,—practically to pity him, to bind up his wounds, to alleviate his pain, and to ease him in privation and poverty? Is it a pleasure to relieve necessity, and to alleviate pain? That principle, that feeling, that quality or property of our nature, came from God; and he who is the Author of feelings so fine, and so desirable, must possess those qualities and properties in himself, in all their infinite greatness and perfection; and therefore, when he comes to bind up the heart, he does it with ten thousand smiles on his face; when he comes to give a sinner grace, he does it with all the pleasure and delight of a God. The Lord will give, with infinite freeness and fulness, grace and glory.
And those blessings, be it observed, are from the great depths; they are not surface favours. God is constantly giving what I will call surface favours to his cretures. The world is constantly receiving the surface mercies, and the surface favours of God, such as natural health and strength. “The silver and the gold,” God says, “are mine, and the cattle upon a thousand hills;” and so God distributes temporal and natural favours. But he will give grace, and grace comes not from the surface, but from the great depths: “He gave them to drink as from the great depths.” God stretches out his bounteous hand, and gathers ten thousand surface blessings, and scatters them down upon a nation, lavishes them upon England, for instance. But when he comes to save a sinner, he puts his hand into his heart, and brings out the deepest treasure therein, and gives the best blessing he can convey. The Lord will give grace and glory. We infer from this, therefore, that, if there is any measure of grace in the heart, there is a saving connection between us and God. If there is any grace in my mind, I may easily know where it came from. If there is anything spiritual in your breast, you may at once know what has been done to you, and what has been done for you, Well, there is some grace in the heart. Well, then, you know where it came from, for there is only one hand in the universe that can convey grace; “The Lord will give grace and glory.”
Well dear Christian friends, the Lord, having resolved to do this, that is to say, give grace and glory to his people, he proceeded to give the gospel, which is a declaration of that fact. He proceeded to erect a throne of Divine mercy, that grace and glory might issue therefrom, and to institute a multitude of means of grace. What is the intention of the means of grace? When we see workmen laying a multitude of pipes in the streets, we conclude that certain houses are to be connected with the gas-works or the water-works, and that those pipes are to be the means of conveying the gas from the one, and the water from the other. And God has laid down many pipes, as it were, in this world; and every one is connected with his heart, and with his church. Those pipes show that God will give grace and glory; they are the means of grace, and, as the water flows to our houses through the pipes from the water-works, so the means of grace are pipes of conveyance from the heart of the God of grace to the hearts of his dear people.
This will apply to the observation I made just now upon the minister, and upon the pulpit. Whatever we have of grace, whatever we have of saving blessing, we have from God, whatever may be the pipe through which it flows. It may flow through a minister, in connection with the ordinances of God’s house, or it may flow into the heart by means of trouble. Oh! brethren, these are mean’s of grace, and we have our grace from our God through those means; but let us never forget the height of their source, that they come from the heart of Deity. Therefore, having resolved to give these, he issued the gospel, erected the throne, appointed the means of grace, instituted the ordinances of his house, and the Christian ministry, and is raising up and qualifying men for the work of preaching the gospel. Oh! is he doing it now? Let us tarry here just a moment. This is a very important aspect of the question. Is he doing it now? Is not Zion in a low and languishing condition? Where are her godly, spiritual, holy, and useful ministers? Brethren, let us pray that the God of grace would raise up faithful labourers, and thrust them into his vineyard: for, depend upon it, they are as pipes between the church and God himself, and their labour fulfill spiritualizing and saving purposes. Every God-qualified and God-sent minister is an indication, a demonstration of the fact, that the Lord will givee grace and glory. O that I might never be a cloud without water! Ministers are in some respects clouds; they are to the church what the clouds of nature are to the earth. May I, may my brethren that preach the gospel, never be as clouds without water. May that God who charges yonder clouds with all the refreshing water they contain, charge all his dear servants with his Spirit and blessing; and then, as these clouds float in the new heavens and over the new earth, and as I come and float over you, may we be enabled, by grace divine, so to preach, that your hearts may be rained upon, and watered, and refreshed; but again, again be it remembered—
“All the glory,
All the glory, Lord, is thine.”
“The Lord will give grace and glory.” I have, perhaps, tarried too long on this point, and therefore, let us hasten to a second.
2. The order of the blessings. “The Lord will give grace,” and then “glory.” This is the order in which they are conveyed, and the order, too, in which they are experienced by all that receive them. He will give grace and glory. To reverse this order would be unreasonable; to reverse this order would destroy everything like harmony, sympathy, and symmetry in the gracious government of the Lord our God. Indeed, I think I may say, and I speak it with reverence, that God cannot give glory without giving grace. “The Lord will give grace and glory.” What would you think of taking an unregenerate man to heaven? Why, that would be glorifying death; that would be surrounding moral death with the Divine splendour; that would be like putting, if I may so speak, a corpse into a glorious coffin, and decking and adorning it with ten thousand precious gems and jewels. Would a corpse be the better for a golden coffin, for the precious stones and jewels with which it might be covered? Well, this I think is not a far-fetched or strained illustration. If God should take an unregenerate man to heaven, and thus give glory without grace, he would glorify death; and the glory of God would be as a rich shroud or coffin for him. Repulsive, abominable, death would be surrounded by everything that was divine and glorious. How incongruous! How inconsistent and how impossible—is it not? No; the Lord will give grace, and with it life, glory, and eternal perfection. To take an unpardoned sinner to heaven would be to glorify a rebel, to surround a bitter foe with tokens of the Divine pleasure. A cursing wretch, surrounded by the glorifying blessings of God! How abominable is the thought! And yet that is the thought of most ungodly men, so far as they think of heaven. They do not want grace, but they want glory.
My friend, you would hate God in glory, if he did not give you grace before he took you there. It is not the glory of heaven, merely, that constitutes the happiness of the blest; it is the preparedness of the mind for that glory. “The Lord will give grace and glory,” and therefore he will not take a dead soul into a living world, and keep it there in death for ever; he will not take an unpardoned man into his glory, as the God pardoning iniquity, transgression, and sin; he will not take dwarfs and deformed beings there; but he will justify, and beautify, and perfect every spirit before he takes it to that glory world. And there shall be nothing inconsistent with his character, nor incompatible with eternal glory, in the experience or the character of the thousands that shall stand there.
We shall not appear in heaven as so many dark spots, as characters incapable of reflecting the honour of God. No; just as ten thousand times ten thousand dewdrops on a beautiful May morning, sweetly, and beautifully, and gloriously reflect the sun, and shine like bright, pure, transparent pearls, so God will make every sinner transparent before he takes him to heaven, and, like transparent drops, graciously saved sinners shall surround God’s throne, and reflect the glory and grandeur of their Saviour.
This is the order. The Lord will give grace and glory. He will regenerate the soul, and then take it to heaven; he will pardon the sinner, and then put him in his bosom; He will justify the ungodly, and then glorify him with himself, and no good thing will he withhold from them that walk uprightly.
My brother, grace is the ground of glory; grace is that spiritual power or capability of heart which will imbibe the glory of God. If it rains upon a stone, the rain does not penetrate the stone. If it rains upon a rock, the rain falls off again; but when it rains upon the thirsty and parched earth, the earth imbibes the rain, and is cooled, moistened, refreshed, and softened thereby. And so God will destroy the stony character of the heart, and give a nature to the sinner, that shall be capable of receiving, imbibing, and retaining the glory of the everlasting God. Throw a stone into the water, or hold it in water in your hand—no matter how long, the water will never penetrate the stone; but thrust an absorbent into the water, and hold it there a moment, and it will imbibe and become saturated with the water; and so, the soul of a gracious man will naturally imbibe and receive, and become saturated, as it were, with the glory of God. Thrust a piece of iron into the fire, and let it remain there for a time and it will imbibe the heat and take the colour of the fire, and become fiery itself; and so, when the gracious mind is put into God’s glory, it will become transformed by that glory, and imbibe and retain for ever, all the bliss, the glorious bliss, and pleasure of heaven.
Thirdly. We may notice the inseparable connection that exists between these two blessings. The Lord will give grace and glory. The “and” is placed here by God. It is God’s copulative, if I may so speak. It is that link that God himself has made, to connect the two great things together, grace and glory. And this connection is a very important one, because it is a heavenly one; and it connects not merely the two words, it connects the two thing’s—grace and glory; and that they are not to be separated, and there is no power in heaven that can separate them. The dawn cannot be separated from the day. The bud here must become a flower; the babe must become a man; and the little beginning in connection with the kingdom of grace must end in all God-like greatness, glory, and perfection; and therefore concerning this mystery, it is said, “The path of the just is as the shining light which shineth more and more unto the perfect day.” Is there regenerating grace in your heart? The Lord help you to be thankful; for all the rest must follow. Fall from grace, sir? I do not understand it; I cannot. “Well,” you say, ”I do not believe it either.” But has grace ever fallen into my heart? I must leave that between God and your own soul. I can only say, if regenerating grace has ever fallen into your heart, you will rise into heave, and heaven at last will surround you for ever and ever. The Lord will give grace, and glory also. They are inseparable in the purposes of God. He dreceed—
“Infinite years before the day,
And heavens began to roll,”
that a state of grace should be inseparable from a stare of glory. And, moreover, they are inseparable in their nature. They are not different; the nature of both is identical. Grace here is glory begun. Glory there is grace completed; and therefore they are inseparable in their nature. They are inseparable as the gifts of God, and in the intercession of Jesus Christ. He prays that God would keep his disciples, and preserve them, and guard them, and favour them with his presence in every way whilst here; and then he proceeded to say—for he could not separate grace from glory,—“I will, that they also whom thou hast given me be with me where I am, that they may behold my glory.”
My dear Christian friend, grace is simply fitting the head for the crown. The crown is ready, and because God means to crown every child, he gives grace to fit the head for that crown. The thrones are ready, and every dear child of God is to occupy a throne. But it requires peculiar qualifications and excellencies to occupy a throne with honour and credit. Take a poor labourer for instance: I do not speak contemptuously of him, God forbid that I should!—Take an uneducated labourer, and set him on the throne of England, he would be as miserable as possible; he would rather be in his thatched cottage, and sit at his deal table, covered with a coarse table-cloth, and furnished with coarse fare. He has not been trained for the palace—has not been educated for it. Now God has prepared thrones of glory for his people, and he will give grace to train them for their princely palaces and royal thrones; and therefore, when we get to heaven, we shall be at home, and not be awkward nor embarrassed on our thrones of eternal glory. The two blessings are inseparable. “He will give grace and glory.” And then, he will give a sufficient measure of grace to ensure glory; and grace itself guarantees glory. I have said that God does not give little blessings. Let me repeat it. He does not give a little grace. I do not know whether we are correct in our mode of speaking of the grace of God. I acknowledge that I very frequently talk about a little grace. I very frequently say, that God gives more grace to one of his children than he does to another. But many of our observations will not, perhaps, bear strict comparison with the Word of God. Does God give a little grace to one, and a greater measure to another? Does he not give great grace wherever he gives grace?—grace sufficient to save the soul, preparing it for heaven, and raise to glory? What would you think of a little pardon? But little grace must mean little pardon. What would you think of a little justification or a little salvation? Many of our observations will not bear critical inspection, will not bear the daylight of heaven. “The Lord will give grace.” He gives it all; as the Lord liveth, he gives it all. But are there not babes, young men and fathers? That is another view of the subject. Are there not the blade, the ear and then the full corn in the ear? That is another view of the subject. But surely the babe is a whole child;—and surely it is loved with all the father’s love, and surely, the new born babe is the rightful heir, and the rightful heir to the whole inheritance. Poor little thing! he has no consciousness of it, no knowledge of it. He must live awhile and be educated; but the whole is his, however young and little he may be. And therefore, however weak you may be, however earnestly you may complain of a want of growth as a child, do not forget that all God’s children are perfect ones. It is so in nature,—that is the rule, the other is the exception. It is so in grace. All God’s children are perfect children, whether one be a day old, or fifty or sixty years old; but while here they are in a state of infancy, if I may so speak; here they are growing, but in heaven they will be full-grown saints. The Lord will give grace, and as much grace as shall be necessary to secure eternal glory.
Does it not convey to the mind, in the next place, the idea of time? Yes; and I ought to be thinking about time also. It conveys also to the mind the idea of time. He will give grace. He has given regenerating grace, and pardoning grace,—grace for thirty or forty years;—and the Lord will give grace down to our latest hour; and then—what then?—why, then he will give glory. And how long after death will it be before we shall have glory? Instantaneously; “Absent from the body, present with the Lord.” Now, you see one of these gifts is a time gift, and the other is an eternity gift, or, in other words, God will cease to give the blessing in one of its forms, whilst he will never cease to give it in the other form. The Lord will give grace as long as the world stands, and when time is ended, and the world is destroyed, he will cease to give grace. He will never cease to be a Giver he will give glory for ever, and ever, and ever.
Glory! What must that be! I have been dwelling on grace—I know more about that than glory. He will give glory. I take it that glory is the completeness, the completion, and the perfection of all the salvation of our God. All God’s purposes will be completed there; all his promises fulfilled,—all your desires satisfied,—all your prayers answered, and all the requirements of the mediation of Jesus will be crowned there. The work of the Holy Spirit will be completed, and hence it is said, that all shall be “crowned with glory.” God will do all he can. Oh! I feel it is a solemn, an important thing to preach; I speak strongly sometimes, but I speak advisedly. God will do all he can to make you glorious and perfect. Christ did all that was necessary; the Holy Ghost is at work, and the triune God will give you the highest seat, the richest crown, and the greatest pleasures and raptures that eternal love and power could ever contrive. There shall not be a desire unfulfilled, a want unsupplied. There shall not be a hope unsatisfied. Rivers of bliss, perpetually flowing,—nothing to occasion a sigh, a tear, or a groan; and no room for a desire. Heaven is a roomy world, but there is not room enough for desire, because glory fills it everywhere. Nor any room for prayer.
“There we shall see his face,
And never never sin;
There from the rivers of his grace
Drink endless pleasures in,”
May God give us grace in rich abundance here, and may the sweet prospect of heaven cheer our hearts; whist, as gracious travelers, we wend our way to a better world on high.
I must leave the assurance, or the confidence expressed; because time is gone. May the Lord command his blessing, for Christ’s sake. Amen.
John Hazelton (1822-1888) was a Strict and Particular Baptist preacher. He served for thirty-six years as the Pastor for Chadwell Street Chapel, Clerkenwell. His sermons were printed monthly and gathered into a five volume set. William Styles wrote of him:
"When fairly underway there was a dignity in his carriage, a grandeur in his steady flow of appropriate language, and a majesty in his thoughts that commanded close attention. At times his heart caught fire and he rose to flights of eloquence of no common order. We never knew him embarrassed for want of a thought, or at a loss for the very word he required. In a sermon delivered at the settlement of a minister he said: 'Preach a four-square Gospel, in which election, redemption and regeneration are co-extensive. Preach salvation by mercy, by merit, and by might; by love, by blood, by power. The Father's love, the moving cause; the Saviour's blood, the meritorious cause; and the Spirit's power, the efficient cause—to the praise of the glory of free and sovereign grace.' His ministry was heartily received by all who loved distinctive truth. The writer remembers the late Mr. John Gadsby once speaking of it to him in affectionate terms. Part of the inscription on the memorial tablet in the chapel contains all that is necessary to sum up this reference: ‘Called by sovereign grace in early life, and qualified by the Holy Spirit for the work of the Christian ministry, he was enabled to proclaim the truth as it is in Jesus, in all its fulness and sufficiency. Bold in the advocacy of those doctrines which the Holy Spirit had revealed to him, it was his delight to set forth the love of a Triune Jehovah in the salvation of His Church; the Cross of Christ and His righteousness were to him a glorious reality, and "Jesus only " was ever the theme of his ministry.'"