It is the Monarch and not the Throne that we Esteem

    There is a tendency, however, on the other hand in certain quarters, to make doctrinal knowledge everything.  I have seen, to my inexpressible grief, the doctrines of grace made a huge stone to be rolled at the mouth of the sepulcher of a dead Christ, and I have seen sound doctrine, so called, made as a very seal to seal in the dead Christ, lest by any means the energy of his grace should come out for the salvation of sinners. Oh, what is doctrine after all but a throne whereon Christ sitteth, and when that throne is vacant what is the throne to us? It is the monarch and not the throne that we reverence and esteem.

    Doctrines are but as the shovel and tongs of the altar, while Christ is the sacrifice smoking thereon. Doctrines are Christ’s garments; verily they all smell of myrrh, and cassia, and aloes out of the ivory palaces, whereby they make us glad, but it is not the garments we care for so much as for the person, the very person of our Lord Jesus Christ.  And therefore, I entreat you, (and I hope not to be misunderstood here), while I entreat you to be very jealous and earnest in attaining unto a clear doctrinal knowledge of the love of Christ to His people, yet when you have got it, do not say -- "I am the man!  I have attained to eminence.  I may now sit still and be content."

    Sirs, this is but the threshold.  This is but one of the first arches of a long vista of glorious Truths of God.  This is but the lowest step of the ascent.  You have but sat down on the lowest form in the school.  You have much to learn yet!  Oh, be not wise in your own conceits, lest you lose the blessed things which as yet have not been discovered by you.  Verily it is a sweet thing to know Christ's love in the doctrine, and to understand that it is without beginning.  That it existed when as yet this world had not been made.  When sun and moon and stars slept in the mind of God, like unborn forests in an acorn cup.  When as yet the solemnity of silence had never been startled by the songs of seraphs, and the wings of cherubs had never stirred the unnavigated ether!  It is delightful to believe that -- 

    "Before the day star knew its place, Or planets went their round, The saints in bonds of Sovereign Grace, were one with Jesus found."

    Equally precious is it to know the doctrine that this love is without end.  When all we see around us shall have passed awayas the foam dissolves into the waves that bear it, the love of Christ to His people shall be the same.  And on and on and on throughout eternity He shall never cast them from His heart.  Sweet, too, is it, passing sweet, to know that He loves them without change and without limit.  That He loves them because He will love them.  That He loves them not for anything in them, but simply because He has so much love in His heart that He must let it out -- and that He ordains to let it flow forth to them that they may rejoice in it.

   All this is precious but, O Brothers and Sisters, if you only know these things as they stand in the creed book -- if you only understand them as you find them in the catechism -- I tell you that you know nothing yet as you ought to know.  If this is all your knowledge, you have just begun to learn.  May God help you to go further, and to mount to higher and clearer regions than these.  It is a blessed privilege to know Christ doctrinally, but it is only the beginning, the stepping-stone to something better, even as love longs for intimacy.

Topics: Church Bulletin Articles Neo-Gnosticism
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