Each Sunday we post a short classic piece from famous Christians used by God down through the history of the church. Our focus today is on Daniel Rowlands (1713-1790).
This follows up on yesterday’s post when we offered a brand new Free eBook – “Daniel Rowlands” by J.C.Ryle. It’s an outstanding short biography that everyone should read. Get it from our DOWNLOAD PAGE – CLICK HERE.
The Voice of the Turtle
by Daniel Rowlands
“Behold, I stand at the door, and knock.” (Revelation 3:20)
‘Behold’ is the first word of the text, and not last in significance. It is like a star or finger indicating some important matter. It is used in the Scriptures for many purposes:
- To awaken our faith: ‘Behold, a virgin shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel’ (Isaiah 7:14).
- To awaken our expectation: ‘Behold, I come quickly; and my reward is with me, to give unto every man according as his work shall be’ (Revelation 22:12).
- To awaken our love: ‘Behold, what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God’ (1 John 3:1).
- To awaken our fear: ‘Behold, he cometh with clouds, and every eye shall see him’ (Revelation 1:7).
- To awaken our joy: ‘Behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy’ (Luke 2:10).
- To awaken our gratitude: ‘Behold, bless ye the Lord, all ye servants of the Lord’ (Psalm 134:1).
- To awaken our compassion: ‘Behold, is there any sorrow like unto my sorrow?’ (Lamentations 1:12).
- To awaken us to gaze on things that are excellent, as here in the text, where there are wonders to be seen-the God of all glory coming to man, who is all wretched, man, a filthy unclean rag, being made a temple of God, who is all holy.
What great distance was there between God and man! what disagreement! what indignation! But O happy union! that both can come under the same roof, to the same table. What an astounding sight! It is appropriate to set above it the word ‘Behold’, which has such enormous significance. If this star is above the door then Jesus is within. Whenever this guards the door, inside are princes. You should not pluck presumptuously the fruit of that paradise where this cherub guards the way. If ‘Behold’ is written on the box, you can be sure that the ointment within is precious.
Great things follow when ‘Behold’ leads the way. So it is here. The great God bows his heavens and comes down to the sons of men; not armed with thunder, or clothed with majesty and thick darkness round about, as he did to the Israelites on mount Sinai; nor as he came to the sanctuary, when ‘the singers went before, the players on instruments followed after, and among them were the damsels playing with timbrels’ (Psalm 68:25). This would have been a glorious sight to every eye. But he comes sub forma pauperis (as a beggar), begging alms, for God’s sake. He does not demolish our houses, but stands at our doors. His breath could break the gates of hell, and reduce its iron bars to dust. Here is patience and humility as great as any wonder — he stands at the door. Each word is astonishing.
- It would have been sufficient if it had only been an angel, the guardian of some monarch, one of the holy band of the prophets, or the least of the winged seraphs above; but I, the Prince of peace, the King of glory, the Lord of heaven and earth.
- I stand: not sit on a kingly chair, or rest on some comfortable cushion; but I stand, in order to show my readiness to come in, and my patience to wait outside.
- I stand at the door: not in the hall before a cheerful fire, or in a chamber to rest my weary limbs on an ivory bed; but I stand at the door, without shelter, where the cold dew soaks me, and the stormy winds beat on me,-where ‘my head is filled with dew, and my locks with the drops of the night.’
- I stand at the door and knock: not like the harlot in Proverbs 9:2-4, singing in order to draw and allure travellers to her foolishness; nor like the Sodomites at Lot’s door, to shed innocent blood; nor with my arms folded, gazing around, like the idlers in the marketplace — but I knock. Nor just one tap, and then away like a shot, but I stand and see if they will open to me so that I may make them happy.
O Lord! what is man? even the greatest of men, that thou, the mighty God at whose presence the heavens drop (Psalm 68:8), and out of whose mouth proceed devouring flames (Psalm 18:8), whose voice rends the rocks, and strips the forests bare, shouldest stand at our doors and knock?
How many rungs does this ladder have? By thy help, O Lord, I will dig for some of them. The first I find, on the surface of the mine, is the Person who stands – I!
Consider that it is the mighty God, in comparison with whom the sun is nothing but a ball of darkness. One without parallel. None of the glorious company of angels in heaven, nor of men in the world can show another like him — the great Messiah, the God-man.
- View him in his generation, as true God become true man-God, of his Father, without a mother; man, of his mother, without a father: Melchizedek himself.
- View him in his birth. Behold, he who inhabits eternity, having spent some months in the womb, is born into the world; the everlasting Father, as a little child; the Word, not able to speak; Wisdom itself, not knowing the difference between good and evil; he who upholds all things, himself held in the arms of a woman; the Invisible, seen by poor shepherds (Luke 2:15-17); he who feeds every living thing, sucks at the breast; David’s Lord, as David’s son; the Lord of all, as the servant of all. In the beginning of the creation, man was made in the image of God. Now, behold God in the image of man, yea, truly man. This is the greatest wonder ever seen. The sun was seen to stand still (Joshua 10:13), and go back ten degrees (2 Kings 20:11). This was indeed a great wonder, but see, the Sun of Righteousness coming down from heaven to earth; from the Father’s bosom to a virgin’s womb. Moses saw the bush burning without it being consumed; but see here a girl’s virginity, although she is a mother (Isaiah 7:14). Aaron’s dry rod budded, but here Jesse’s dry and withered stem blossomed, and brought forth fruit (Isaiah 11:1). Mannah came out of the clouds; Christ from the bosom of the Father (John 1:18). Elijah was received up into heaven; behold one greater than he come down from heaven (John 3:13). Further, we say with one of the ancient fathers, ‘I do not wonder at the extent of the world, the sure nature of the earth, the waxing and waning of the moon, etc.; but I wonder to see God in a womb, the Almighty in a cradle!’ No doubt this is a most amazing thing, and a great cause for rejoicing. Rejoice, old father Adam; thy wife Eve hath brought forth the promised seed who shall bruise the serpent’s head. Rejoice, father Abraham; the day hath come that thou didst earnestly long to see (Genesis 22:18). Rejoice, prophets; your prophecies are fulfilled (Luke 1:70). Rejoice, men; the Son of God hath been made man (Galatians 4:4). Rejoice, women, for a woman is a mother to God! (Luke 1:48). Rejoice, virgins, for ‘a virgin hath conceived and brought forth a son’ (Isaiah 7;14). Rejoice, young men, for the Son of God hath been made a boy (Isaiah 9:6). And rejoice, ye who sit in darkness; the Sun of Righteousness hath arisen (Malachi 4:2). Rejoice, ye hungry; the bread from heaven hath come (John 6:41). Rejoice, ye sick; the Physician hath come (Matthew 9:12). Rejoice, ye sinners; a Saviour is born (Luke 2:14). Sing, O sing, ‘Glory to God in the highest,’ etc. Hear the song of Chrysostom, ‘O the height and depth of God’s mercy! O the bowels of the love of Christ! A plant thou art, O Saviour, from the heavenly paradise! What finger could draw thee thence? Who could draw thee from thy Father’s bosom, the palace of thy glory? None but thyself. O the depths of thy goodness!’ See the kind of person who stands.
- Consider the reason he came; not to make himself happy, but to do us good. He cannot be benefited by his creatures, or he would have created them much sooner — for who could prevent him? How is the sun the better for the earth? Is it warmer or brighter? No, the earth’s vapour and smoke would darken the sun, but the sun’s own powerful rays scatter them. What can our God receive from us? ‘Our goodness extendeth not unto thee,’ says the Psalmist. He was perfectly happy before we ever existed: the Father rejoiced in his Son, and the Son in the Father, and both in the Spirit (Proverbs 8:30). The sun is not any brighter for many eyes beholding it. God shows how little need of man he has in Psalm 50:9-12; he has no more need of man’s help to make him glorious, than the heavens need the help of a gnat to keep them turning, or the sun the help of a glow-worm to make it shine more brightly. God would have the same loss, if we were all to die, as a nobleman would have at the death of a hundred crippled beggars who were all supported by him. So, he came, not to receive anything from us, but to give everything to us. What a wonder!
- Let us consider to whom he commends himself: not to angels, but to men, made of earth — that is base; and to sinful men — earth that is polluted, worse than reptiles, a stable full of filth. Miriam with her leprosy was never as loathsome as we; no Ethiopian as black, no leopard as spotted. We are, as Homer paints Thersites, a lump of deformity. Our best garments are filthy rags. We are blind cripples, embittered and sour; a generation of vipers; enemies of Christ, in their thoughts, in their hearts, and in their lives; hating him without a cause and with a deadly hatred; and they do not cease hating until the old heart is taken from their flesh (Ezekiel 11:19 etc.). Hear what Jehovah says in Ezekiel 16:4-8. O soul, soul, soul, be greatly amazed! Does Immanuel have pity on those no one else will pity? not even they themselves? Behold such tenderness towards sinners; yea, the chief of sinners, the worst, the most loathsome that earth or even hell can produce. If men will not wonder at this, heaven and earth are amazed.
Consider that he stands. [Standing is the attitude of readiness. In Acts 7:55, Stephen, when sinking under a shower of stones, saw the heavens opened, and the Son of man standing on the right hand of God. He was frequently seen sitting there, when the trials of his church were not bloody; but here he is standing. His saints are fighting to the death, and he (like a warrior), with his sword girt upon his thigh (Psalm 45:3), is ready to rush into the battle, in order to bring out his saints as conquerors, though in one sense they were conquered. Likewise in the text, Christ stands at the door, his attitude clearly showing, like the brightest ray of the sun, that he, together with a multitude of his graces, is ready to take possession of our hearts, if we have grace to open them. O! what a blessing it is to be the dwelling or abode of the blessed Trinity: which is the fulness and pleasantness of heaven itself. Jesus is ready to give us this happiness, and lest our eyes be drawn by the charms of the world, as in an agony of love expresses his desire, saying, ‘O that there were such an heart in them, that they would fear me always’ (Deuteronomy 5:29). With what stirring speech does he persuade us, ‘Return, return, O Shulamite, return, return, that we may look upon thee’ (Canticles 6:13). With what deep sighs and floods of tears does he lament, ‘O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, thou that killest the prophets, and stonest them which are sent unto thee, how often would I have gathered thy children together, even as a hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and ye would not!’ (Matthew 23:37). Jesus does not jest when he weeps, like an actor or a hypocrite; but it is our prosperity or adversity that draws forth tears from him; if he groans, it is because of our hardness of heart. He would have us lay hold on his mercy, yet we refuse him; if he were not willing to come in, he would not stand at the door.]
To show his readiness to come in. See the King of heaven at the house of the slave, who chooses to die rather than to come to have life. Christ’s loud complaint is, ‘Ye will not come to me, that ye might have life.’ Words able to rend the rock itself. Have the hearts turned into stones, and the stones into hearts?
- Standing, to show patience. Standing, though we reject. He stands in spite of our refusal. He knocks at the door that he has never seen open. Here shines the patience of my Saviour, and the longsuffering of my God: there is power in his hand to open by force, but there is patience in his heart to stand. He could threaten to destroy us with fire, but would rather soften us with his dew. For forty years he endured Israel, and all that time his soul was grieved; in half the time he could have afflicted every vein in their bodies. What man would have spared a brother for so long, especially when his blood was up? Furthermore, he has a complaint against them concerning their obligations, ‘For the children of Israel and the children of Judah have only done evil before me from their youth: for the children of Israel have only provoked me to anger with the work of their hands, saith the Lord. For this city hath been to me as a provocation of mine anger and of my fury from the day that they built it even unto this day’ (Jeremiah 32:30,31). Where is Plato, whose cheeks were never flushed with anger? Where is Socrates, with his face always happy, despite the violence of Xanthippe? Yea where is Job? Man’s patience is great, but compared with God’s, it is as a drop to the ocean. God alone is untainted patience. O! it is a great pity that there are some spiders that can suck venom from this sweet flower: the atheists say, ‘He is delaying; where is the promise of his coming?’ There is no place to pursue them, I must turn to the door to see if the Lamb is still standing there. Yes, yes, he is; but he will not wait for ever. The sun that shines will set. Long is he jealous without his wrath kindling, but when it is kindled, not all the rivers of the south can extinguish it. My soul, answer when he calls; open when he knocks. May the love of the Lamb overpower thee.
- Furthermore, consider what encouragements he employs. Sometimes the sinner flings him away with excuses-that are sometimes very weak — having some more important business than to run to the door. ‘Come some other time, I have other strangers in the house whom I love more.’ He sees sin being entertained within; yet, ‘I stand,’ says he, ‘at the door of sinners — the worst of all my creatures. My enemies are welcomed within, and I am without. O heart! heart! heart! open unto me.’ [Open, open what? Answer: The heart. The door of the heart must be open, not just the doors of our lips. They must be opened as well, for the Saviour said, ‘When ye pray, say’ — not meditate, but say (Luke 11:2); yet we must do more than confess with the mouth, and that is believe with the heart (Romans 10:10) – -not the mouth alone, but the heart also. It is this root, and not the bark of the other that he requests. ‘My son, give me thine heart;’ not thine outward form, not thine eyes darting to the sky, nor thy knees kissing the ground, nor thine hand beating thy breast — a talent of speech without an ounce of love is of no use (1 Corinthians 13:1,2). Æschines brought the best gift to his master, and that was himself; and his master Socrates prized it more highly than the great gifts of his other scholars. The heart is a pearl; give it to thy God — he would rather have this little thing than a mountain of diamonds. All thy sacrifices without this are but sacrileges. If thine heart is upright and pure, thou art all white, as snow in Salmon. The Lord made it pure — give back to him his own workmanship (Psalm 51:10). It was he who created it pure. Keep thine alms, though they are a sweet-smelling savour in the nostrils of the Lord; thy prayers, though they are as incense in his sight; thy thousands of rams, and thy ten thousands of rivers of oil. It is true that a crown of glory awaits your alms, and every other good work, if done through faith: yet what are all these without godliness in the heart? The temple must sanctify the gold, and the altar the gift (Matthew 23:17,18). As Daniel said (Daniel 5:17), ‘Let thy gifts be to thyself, and give thy rewards to another;’ so says Jehovah, unless thine heart be with thy gift. Prayer is a heavenly conversation, yea, a speaking of the soul with its Maker. It is a chain which serves to keep heaven and earth together; I say it with reverence — it brings the Lord down to us. ‘For the Lord is nigh unto all them that call upon him’ (Psalm 145:18). Yet what are our prayers without devotion of heart? They are but idle words, deserving a curse rather than a blessing.]
And knock. How?
- Through the ministry of his Word. This is a powerful knocking. What strongholds are not pulled down? It pulls down, says Paul, ‘every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ’ (2 Corinthians 10:5). Men have stony foreheads, necks of adamant, ribs of marble around their hearts, and they do not bleed, they do not bend, they do not blush. The word is the hammer to break the rock, and the fire to melt it. Men, like the serpent, close their ears, press one ear to the ground to fill it with the filth of coveteousness, and place their tails in the other to fill it with a chorus of lust. Yet some of these serpents have been charmed by the Word, their deaf ears unstopped by the heavenly songs, and they have danced to the pipes of the gospel. Aaron’s silver bells have ravished them. Now there are no songs like the songs of Zion. Oh! how barren and unfruitful is man’s soul, before the Word descends like dew upon it. And oh! what fruits will come from a few drops. Is the heart malicious? No bended knee can obtain its pardon; it is easier to calm the sea when it is tossed by winds. Is it covetous? No misery will soften it to show compassion; not a penny can be drawn from it. Is it wanton? It is as easy to fill the sea with gold as to satisfy it; but see (Deuteronomy 32:2) — ‘The word shall drop as the rain, and distil as the dew, as the small rain upon the tender herb, and as showers upon the grass.’ Then suddenly the flint turns to flesh, the rough sea is calmed. Gilboa is covered with grass, where, a little before, there was not a blade. See the great change! Zaccheus is merciful, — Paul as meek as a lamb, — Ahab in sackcloth, — Felix trembling like an aspen leaf, — Peter leaving his nets, and catching thousands of souls at one draught. See the world brought to the faith, not by the wise men of Egypt, but by the sweepings of Judea; and these master the magicians. ‘The words of fishermen,’ says Augustine, ‘are read, but the throats of orators are conquered.’ The Roman Emperor could not glory in his veni, vidi, vici (i.e. I came, I saw, I conquered), more than they, for they conquered as many nations as they saw, not with the mouth of the sword, but with the sword of the mouth, which separates soul and spirit. O nations! what ails you? Psalm 114:5,6: ‘O sea, wherefore hast thou fled? thou Jordan, why wast thou driven back? Why O mountains, did ye skip like rams, and ye little hills like lambs?’ — words revealing the victory of the Israelites going to the land of Canaan. What came over men to leave their own ways, and flee at a man’s voice like fightened sheep? Doubtless the finger of God has done this. May this finger come through the lattice and touch all your hearts to be stirred for his sake.
- His mercies. A suitable subject for angels to sing upon, the most precious of God’s attributes, the object of his delight, without which heaven would be a hell. Hear the glorious choir sing, and sing with them, ‘The Lord is gracious, and full of compassion: slow to anger, and of great mercy. The Lord is good to all: and his mercy is over all his works’ (Psalm 145:8,9). What? Over all his works! What is the starry roof above our heads? How many thousands of lights shine there? What is higher than these? The heavens and its height are great — a journey of five hundred years say some. Is thy mercy here, O Lord? Doubtless it is, ‘Thy mercy is in the heavens’ (Psalm 36:5). Is this the end of it? No, ‘it is above the heavens’ (Psalm 108:4). Behold, ‘yet, the earth is full of his goodness’ (Psalm 119:64). Moses spoke of his goodness to Israel. ‘He kept them as the apple of his eye. He bare them on his wings like an eagle. He gave them the increase of the fields to eat, and made them suck honey out of the rock. He fed them with butter of kine, and milk of sheep, with fat of lambs and rams of the breed of Bashan’ (Deuteronomy 32:10ff). O for strength to speak to all your consciences. Which of you has not experienced that God is good? We sit under our fig tree, basking in the heat of the sun, our bones full of marrow, and our bellies with the hid treasures of God. We cannot say with the prince of the apostles, ‘Silver and gold have we none,’ but with Pindar, concerning the city of Rhodes, — ‘The waves bring us gold, and the clouds shower richer dew upon us than the dew of Hermon.’ See, how sweetly he knocks! ‘Arise, my beloved, and open unto me.’ ‘Behold, I stand at the door and knock.’
- Afflictions. These are God’s messengers, and their knocking is most earnest. O let them give you their message; it is in order to turn us that they have been sent, and it is better to have them than to be without them. Demetrius says, ‘To lack misery is to be unhappy.’ The ten lepers came to Christ; nine left him when healed. Leprosy brought Naaman to the prophet in Israel. The prodigal son remembered his father’s house at the swine’s troughs. But for the messenger of Satan buffeting Paul, Paul would have buffeted God, by exalting himself too much. They have been instruments used to make evil ones good, such as Manasseh, Nebuchadnezzar, etc., and continually make the good better. [If there were to be success all the time, like sweet dew on our faces, what a wandering star would man be? How far would the monster have spread his wings? When Alexander is great, there is great flattery in his court, clinging like burdock to his clothes, babbling to him his right of immortality, calling him a god. It is easy to deceive ourselves to set a greater price on ourselves than we are worth; this is what he did, until he saw his blood when struck by an arrow. Behold, the adversity was much better than the prosperity. How can it be full tide in the mind, when it is low ebb in the possessions? Or, when the breasts of the world are embittered, who will suck vanity out of them? What makes home sweeter to us, than to be in great difficulties away from home? But for the frost and cold of winter, we would not be so glad to see the summer. When the prodigal was feeding upon husks, he thought best of his home (Luke 15:16,17). Conversely, the remembrance of the flesh-pots and plenty of Egypt made Israel loathe Canaan itself. When do we pant least for heaven, but when pride lounges in its silks, and when greatness is clothed in its finery, when plenty pours upon us like rain descending on fleeces of gold, when honour smiles, and all things prosper? See that it is a wretched thing to be successful, without grace. Ephraim, unaccustomed to the yoke, lifts up his heel against heaven; but Israel, smitten and slain, ‘returned and enquired early after God’ (Psalm 78:34). David’s sweetest songs were written in tears; therefore he says, ‘It is good for me that I have been afflicted’ (Psalm 119:71). Worthy of being kissed is that rod that beats out our sins.
- He knocks by his judgments. ‘In the way of thy judgments, O Lord, have we waited for thee… Lord in trouble have they visited thee; they poured out a prayer when thy chastening was upon them’ (Isaiah 26:8,16). Sometimes he knocks next door to thee. Know this, that by knocking at their door, he is warning thee. The judgment of others is an example to us, ‘Except ye repent, ye shall all likewise perish’ (Luke 13:5). If the cedars are falling, let the fir trees tremble: they may be uprooted by the same tempest. Though the cloud is gathering at a distance, it may yet break over our heads. The sword that has drunk the blood of those yonder, may possibly not be satisfied till it has drunk thy blood also. If my neighbour’s house is on fire, will I warm my hands at its flames? May not a spark fly from it and catch my roof also? Let Nero play while Rome burns, but let the loss of others be a warning to us —
Happy the man that taketh warning
Seeing another under chastening.
- He knocks by the law. It shows sin in its true colours, as it was given at the first, with thunder and lightning, so it ever falls like a thunderbolt on the heart of man. It has indeed a thunderous force! The experiences of thousands bear testimony to this, though fleshly hearts despise and disbelieve it. Thus it sounds in the sinner’s ears — O wretched sinner! the wrath of God is kindled in thine heart; thy sins are a continual fuel to it; unless thou dost open and let Christ in to put it out, it will burn to the depths of hell. As when he knocked at the door of Laodicea, thou saidst, ‘I am rich, and have need of nothing’ (Revelation 3:17). Thou thinkest (and this is the thought of every unregenerate sinner) that thy soul is happy and thy condition safe and good. So is every natural man, before the law knocks at his heart. Paul says (Romans 7:9), ‘For I was alive without the law once’; I had good opinions of the state of my soul; but when the law came, I died, all my good hope and high opinions withered and died-one blow from the law and it all fell headlong. Likewise thou, sinner, thou must hear similar things to these before thou art awakened; it is necessary for thee to hear this great truth, ‘Thou art blind and miserable;’ as blind as the prince of darkness can make thee; so naked that thou dost not possess a rag to cover thy nakedness. This is thy condition, and so it shall be for all eternity, if thou keepest Christ out of thine heart.
- He knocks by the gospel. This sets forth the preciousness of the Lord Jesus, and the richness of his love, the sufficiency of redemption, and overflowing pardoning grace through his blood. This is its voice in the ears of the sinner. ‘Thou art naked, open to me, and I will clothe thee with mine own garments. Thou art blind, open to me, I have eye-salve, that those born blind may see. Thou art poor, open to me, and I will enrich thee with the unsearchable riches of my grace. Thou art wretched, open to me, and then if my love, my blood, my consolations, my kingdom, myself, can make thee happy, happy shalt thou be.’ But if he refuse this, what will the Son of God do, but put on human infirmity, that is weep? (Luke 19:41) See the wonderful compassion of our dear Saviour. If thou wert to ask him, like the woman was asked in John 20:15, ‘Why weepest thou?’ he would say, ‘Not for mine own sake, but because sinners would rather perish than open to me; would rather forsake me than their sins. When I come to them, they will not know me; when I knock, they will not open; when I promise to them, they will not believe me. As my compassions cannot reach them, there is no remedy for them.’ ]
More could be added to what has been said, but with the blessing of God, this is sufficient to cause your hearts to open to Jesus Christ.
Objection: We can do nothing, why are we asked to do what we cannot? Answer:
- If you really believed that you are not able, it would be well: this is the obstacle in men’s way; they think that they themselves have the power, therefore they do not go to God to ask. While I have food, I do not beg. When I see my weakness, I turn all God’s demands into prayers. When he says, ‘Turn ye,’ I say, ‘Turn thou us;’ when he says, ‘Return ye,’ — ‘Bring thou us back;’ ‘Understand ye,’ — ‘Cause us to understand;’ ‘Pray,’ — ‘Teach us to pray.’ ‘If he gives us whatsoever he commands, then let him command whatsoever he will,’ says Augustine.
- God has not lost his authority to demand righteousness, though we have lost our ability to obey. If a loan of money was given to someone, and he lost it, may you not demand it back, though he did not have it? We received, and we lost all in Adam. If it is said, we did not agree with Adam, I answer: If a king gave someone an inheritance on these conditions:- it is thine, and thine heirs’ forever, if thou dost obey me: disobedience would forfeit not only the right to the inheritance, but that of the heirs also.
- The Word of God enables the soul to obey. ‘Let there be light, and there was light;’ he sent out his Word and he healed them. You say that it is great foolishness to command the dead: but if there is authority with the word to quicken, it is sufficient. This is what Christ did to Lazarus and the dry bones, ‘The hour is coming, and now is, when the dead shall hear the voice of the Son of God: and they that hear shall live’ (John 5:25). It was the voice of Christ that quickened then, so it will be to the end of the world; therefore, let not the preachers imagine that they can convert souls by their own gifts, but let them remember the promise, ‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the world.’ And if anyone causes souls to turn to God, it is this I who will be the cause; for ‘the Spirit convinces the world of sin.’ Paul is nothing, Apollos is nothing, but ministers by whom you believed.
And I, the least and most unworthy of them, I end my message today with the following considerations:-
- Consider on whose behalf I call. It is for him who preserves the life in your blood; ‘The Lamb of God, which taketh away the sin of the world.’ O that you would see him who is ‘white and ruddy, the chiefest among ten thousand.’ As the prophet prayed for his servant, so say I, God open the eyes of my hearers.
- What do I desire. Give place to Christ in thine heart. I greatly fear that we do with Christ as did the Bethlehemites: keep our own rooms, but give only the manger to him. Lamb of God, Lamb of God, make thy throne in our hearts, and cause us to cry before thee, Hosanna to the King of saints.
Last of all, what will you obtain. Every happiness that the heart of man can imagine-God and his sufficiency. You will have here a fulness of his own grace, and in heaven eternal glory. [He will be with you here; and support you in death; and in that fearful day, when the heavens will be rent like a veil above your heads, and folded like a book; when his almighty arm will arrest the sun in its journey, and dash in pieces the fabric of the world — then, yea, then he will strengthen thee to look fearlessly and calmly upon the terrible convulsions of nature as it collapses. He has prepared eternal glory for all his followers. O! what scribe can declare the blessedness of Immanuel’s land; Eden itself in comparison was but a barren, thorny, desolate wilderness, and every beautiful spot on earth is repulsive and ugly. May God of his infinite mercy, bring us all to that land, through Jesus Christ, Amen.]
Daniel Rowlands (1713-1790) was a clergyman in Llangeitho, Wales who was greatly used by God in bringing one of the earlier revivals to that Principality. J.C.Ryle referred to him as “The Apostle of Wales”. His story is remarkable, and we have published Ryle’s brief account of his life as a downloadable eBook which we urge everyone to read. CLICK HERE to download it in .pdf format, or visit our download page.