“There shall not a hoof be left behind.”
THE controversy between Jehovah, the God of the whole earth, and Pharaoh, king of Egypt, was intended to be remembered and spoken of throughout all generations. On that occasion God permitted human nature to arrive at its highest degree of stubbornness and obstinacy. But He, nevertheless overcame it. He did, indeed, raise up Pharaoh for this purpose, that He might show forth His power in him. Pharaoh, as an absolute monarch, is permitted to go to the utmost degree of hardness of heart and yet the Lord would show to all coming generations that His decrees shall stand and He will do all His pleasure.
You will remember that the quarrel was about this–God had sent His people into Egypt in the olden times, there to dwell in the land of Goshen. They had multiplied exceedingly. They had been favorably treated by succeeding kings, till at length a new king arose who knew not Joseph. He began to oppress the people, but the more he oppressed them, the more they increased. He made their lives bitter with hard bondage. In mortar and in brick and in all manner of service of the field, did he make them to serve with rigor. Probably they were employed in building many of those mighty piles, the pyramids, which now stand upon the plains of Egypt.
He subjected them to the most rigorous tasks. They worked under the whip continually and had to make bricks without straw, the hardest possible exaction that even a tyrant could have imagined. At last the cry of the people went up to their God in Heaven. He saw their affliction, He heard their cry, He knew their sorrows and He determined, with His own bare arm, to be avenged on Pharaoh and to bring out all his people, the seed of Jacob, from their house of bondage.
He raised up Moses and He sent him in with this message to Pharaoh, “Thus says the Lord, let My people go, that they may serve Me.” Pharaoh laughs at it, “You are idle,” says he, “you are idle, you shall not go.” A plague at once is God’s answer to Pharaoh’s laughter. He turns their water into blood and the fish that were in the river died. Pharaoh gives way a little. For, if he must yield, it must be by degrees. “You shall have,” says he, “two or three days of rest, to serve your God, but it must be in this land.” “No,” says Moses, “We cannot serve our God in this land, we must go forth into the wilderness.” Pharaoh bids them be gone.
Another plague and yet another. And now Pharaoh yields this much–“They may go into the wilderness, but they must not go very far.” “No, but,” says Moses, “we will have no such stipulation.” Pharaoh, therefore, again deals deceitfully, again refuses, again grows angry and waxes proud. And God smites the land with lice, with flies, with a very grievous disease, with all manner of plagues. Then Pharaoh says, “You may go, you may go into the wilderness. But only the strong men among you shall go. You shall leave your wives and your little ones. "No,” says Moses, “we must all go, with our wives and with our little ones must we serve the Lord our God.” Pharaoh again refuses–his heart is hardened. He will not yield.
Moses, at the command of the Lord, then stretched forth his hand toward Heaven and there was a thick darkness in all the land of Egypt, even darkness that might be felt. Then Pharaoh’s subjects clamored to him, “Let these men go.” Pharaoh yields again–“For,” he says, “You shall go, your wives and your little ones, but you shall leave your cattle and your goods behind.” “No,” says Moses, “We must have all or none. Not a hoof shall be left behind. Not a single sheep shall stay in Egypt. The whole of God’s host and all they have, their sick, their aged and all their possessions must go forth out of Egypt.” And you will remember that the Lord never yielded a single point to Pharaoh, but exacted all of him and at last buried him with his horses and his riders, in the depths of the sea.
Now it seems to me, that this grand quarrel of old is but a picture of God’s continual contest with the powers of darkness. The mandate has gone forth to earth and Hell–“Thus says the Lord, let My people go that they may serve Me.” “No,” says Satan, “they shall not.” And if he is compelled to yield one point, he still retains his hold upon another. If he must give way, it shall be inch by inch. Evil is hard in dying, it will not readily be overcome. But this is the demand of God and to the last will He have it–“All My people.” The whole, every one of them and all that My people possess, all shall come out of the land of Egypt. Christ will have the whole. He will not be contented with a part and this He vows to accomplish. “Not a hoof shall be left behind.”
I think you will now see the drift of the discourse. I use the text as an aphorism which I hope to be enabled to illustrate. God bless it to our souls. “Not a hoof shall be left behind.” Christ will have all that He has died to purchase. All that He has bought with blood He will have. Not a fraction of the purchased possession will He lose.
First, then, Christ will have the whole man–“Not a single hoof shall be left behind.” In the next place, He will have the whole Church–“Not a hoof shall be left behind.” In the next place, He will have the whole of the lost inheritance of His Church–“Not a hoof shall be left behind.” And at last, in the fourth place, He will have the whole world to serve Him–“Not a hoof shall be left behind.”
- First, then, Christ will have THE WHOLE MAN. In His people whom He has purchased with His blood, He will reign without a rival. As for the world that lies in the Wicked One, the prince of this world shall have his power over it, until his time shall be accomplished. But as for the Lord’s people whom He has redeemed, on whom His heart is set, He will not have a single hair of their heads to be alienated from Himself. “They shall be Mine,” says the Lord, “they shall be wholly Mine.‘’ Christ will not be part proprietor of any man. He will not have one part of the man and leave the other part to be devoted to Satan.
In entering upon this point, that Christ will have the whole man, I shall have to notice that He does already possess the whole of His people in their intent and purpose and that by-and-by, when He has sanctified them wholly, He will then actually possess the whole spirit and soul and body of the man whom He has purchased with His precious blood. Mark then, my Hearers, if you are children of God, if you are saved, you belong wholly and entirely to Christ. By this may you know this morning whether you are subjects of that old Pharoah, or whether Jehovah is the Lord your God and your great Deliverer. Are there not multitudes of men who seem to imagine that if they save a corner in their souls for their religion, all will be well? Satan may stalk across the broad acres of their judgment and their understanding and he may reign over their thoughts and their imaginations–but if in some quiet nook there is preserved the appearance of religion, all will be right.
Oh, be not deceived, Brothers and Sisters, in this. Christ never went halves in a man yet. He will have the whole of you, or He will have none of you. He will be Lord paramount, Master supreme, absolute Lord, or else He will have nothing to do with you. You may serve Satan, if you will, but when you serve him, you shall not serve Christ, too. He will not permit you to have your right hand in His service and your left hand employed for the black designs of Hell. The whole man, Christ died to purchase, and if you are not wholly given up to God, if in the intent and purpose of your souls every thought and wish and power and talent and possession, are not devoted and consecrated to Christ, you have no reason to believe that you have been redeemed by His precious blood.
Christ will not allow us to spare a single sin. We may not select some favorite evil and say, I will give my heart wholly up to God, but this vice is to be spared. No, no, my Hearers, you are not Christ’s if you have one pampered lust, one sin which you fondly indulge. Sin you will, even though you are Christ’s, but if you indulge sin, if you love it and delight in it, if it is not to you a plague and a curse, you have no reason whatever to conclude that your name is on His breast, or that you belong to Christ at all.
Suppose a house is attacked by seven thieves. The good man of the house has arms within and he manages to kill six of the thieves. But if one thief survive and he permits him to be in his house, he may still be robbed, perhaps still be slain. And if I have seven evil vices and if by the grace of God six of these have been driven out, should I yet indulge and pamper the one that remains, I am still a lost man. I am not His so long as I willingly yield and joyfully hold fellowship with a single evil and false thing.
I contend not for creature perfection–I believe it to be impossible for us to attain it in the present life–but I do contend for perfection in purpose, perfection in design and if we wantonly and willfully harbor a solitary sin, we are no friends of Jesus Christ. Not one sin, then, is to be spared. And as no sin is to be spared, so no duty is to be neglected. If I am Christ’s, I am not to look down His Law and say, “Such-and-such a precept is agreeable to me, I will keep it.”
No, as I hate every foolish way, so must I love every right one. I count all Your precepts concerning all things to be right. We have not come to be Christ’s verified property, to be Christ’s disenthralled people–unless we feel that in all the commandments of God we desire to walk blamelessly. “Not a hoof is to be left behind.” As no sin is to be spared and no service to be shunned, so no power is to be reserved from entire consecration. Christ bought the whole man and the whole man must be devoted to Christ. I am not to use my judgment for the Savior and let my imagination lie idle. I am not to reserve for sin the freedom of my will, while I give to God my conscience. The whole man is to be given up to Christ–he is not enlisted in Jesus Christ’s army, who has not given up to Christ–head and hands and feet and heart and all.
I am told that in Scotland, in the olden times, the farmers used to save one field which they did not sow. They saved that for the devil, it was called, “The gude man’s croft”–so that Satan might roam there as much as he liked and not disturb the crops elsewhere. A strange whim. Oh, how many Christians have tried to do the same in their hearts? They have had just the gude man’s croft, a little corner where Satan might have his way, but, oh, this will never do–the whole land must be tilled. Every acre must be sown with the good seed, for it is all Christ’s, or else it is none of it Christ’s–we are wholly consecrated, or else unconsecrated. We belong from the crown of our head to the sole of our feet to Christ, or else we do not belong to Christ at all. Man–the entire nature must be surrendered. The demand is imperative. To the letter it shall be verified, “there shall not a hoof be left behind.”
Yet, further–if no power is to be unconsecrated, how much less will Christ ever permit our hearts to be divided? If we seek to serve God and mammon, God and self, God and pleasure, we don’t serve God at all. When the Romans erected the statue of Christ and put it up in their pantheon, saying that he should be one among their Gods, their homage was worthless. And when they turned their heads, first to Jupiter, then to Venus, and then to Jesus Christ, they did no honor to our Lord, they did but dishonor Him. Their service was not acceptable and so if you imagine in your heart that you can sometimes serve God and sometimes serve self–and be your own master–you have made a mistake.
Christ will have no such service as this–He will have all or nothing. And indeed, Brothers and Sisters, it is necessary for us to escape entirely from the snares of sin, or else we cannot be saved. A quaint old Divine uses the following figure–“If,” says he, “a hart be caught in a trap and it shall extricate all its limbs except one foot, it has not escaped as long as the foot is in the trap. And if a bird is taken and if with much struggling it gets its liberty all but one wing, yet when the fowler comes he will seize it unless that wing also is delivered.”
So is it with you and me. If any part of our heart is devoted to Satan we might as well devote the whole, for we are still his bondslaves. If you say, “Well, I was once bound hand and foot, but now I have broken off the chain from my hand.” Yes, but if the ring of iron encircles one foot and it is fastened down to the floor, you are still a slave. You may have filed through the chain of your drunkenness, but if you have not filed through the chain of your self-righteousness, you are still as much a bondman as ever. It is all in vain for you to fight half the battle. It is not the half but the whole that gives the victory.
It is not the slaying of here and there a sin, like the stopping of here and there a leak in the ship. She must be rekeeled, or else she will sink. She must be new-bottomed and newly made. And so must you. All those slight amendments and improvements, good as they are in a moral aspect, are worthless as to any spiritual salvation of your soul. Remember this, you who think you are a Believer, see whether it can be said of you, “I have wholly come out of Egypt in my heart’s intent, ‘not a hoof has been left behind.’ ”
But to proceed–what is already true in our intent and purpose shall before long be true in reality. Tarry a little while, Christian, a few more struggles against the flesh, a little more battling and of warring against the evil powers within you and you shall put your foot upon the neck of your old corruptions–sin and self shall both be slain and Jesus Christ shall reign triumphantly. What a joy it is to the Christian to believe that he shall one day be perfect. As we have worn the image of the earthy, so shall we also wear the image of the heavenly. The tongue that has spoken many an evil thing–bought with the blood of Christ–shall one day be full of the sonnets of Paradise.
There shall be no strife in the soul. The Canaanite shall no more dwell in the land. We shall be vessels fully purged as by fire, fully sanctified and made fit for the Master’s use. When we shall come up dripping from the shelving banks of Jordan, we shall have left behind us all our sins. Up those celestial hills our feet shall climb and our garments shall be whiter than any fuller can make them. Not Jesus in His transfiguration shall be more complete and perfect than we shall be in ours. The black drops of depravity will have been wrung out of our hearts. The virus of deep corruption shall have been extracted and we shall take our place among the angels, pure as they–among the perfect spirits, the Prophets and the glorious host of martyrs–as truly sanctified, as fully redeemed, as effectually delivered from sin, as even they are. The redemption shall be complete–“not a hoof shall be left behind.”
Before I leave this point, let me remark that there is one part of man seemingly the most worthless, which we sometimes think will be left behind. The poor body! It shall be put into the grave, the worms shall hold a carnival within it and soon it shall crumble down into a few atoms of dust. But Christ, who redeemed His people, bought their flesh and their bones as well as their souls, “and not a hoof shall be left behind.” Not the eye shall be left any more than the judgment, nor the arm any more than the spiritual vigor. For the Redeemer lays claim to the organs of the body as well as the faculties of the mind. He will raise from the dead the very bones of His people and as the whole host shall go marching up behind their conquering Leader, He shall cry, “Of them that You have given Me I have lost none, not a bone in My own body has been broken and not a bone of their bodies has been left behind.”
The whole man, body, soul and spirit–all consecrated–all filled with the Spirit, shall stand before the Throne and clap its hands and sing the everlasting song of glory unto God forever and ever. “Not a hoof shall be left behind.”
II. To proceed to the second part of our discourse–it is equally true of THE WHOLE CHURCH as of the whole man–“Not a hoof shall be left behind.” I never have subscribed–I think I never shall–to the doctrine of universal redemption. I believe in the limitless efficacy of the blood of Christ. I would not say, with some of the early Fathers, that a single drop of Christ’s blood would have been sufficient for the redemption of the world. That seems to me to be an expression too strained, though doubtless their meaning was correct. I believe that there is efficacy enough in the blood of Christ if it is applied to the conscience to save any man and every man. But when I come to the matter of redemption it seems to me that whatever Christ’s design was in dying, that design cannot be frustrated, nor by any means disappointed.
When I look at the Person of our Lord Jesus Christ, I cannot imagine that such an One, offering such a sacrifice, can ever be disappointed of the design of His soul. Hence I think that all whom He came on purpose to save He will save–all who were graven on the strong affections of His heart as the purchase of His blood He assuredly shall have. All that His heavenly Father gave Him shall come to Him. All that He chose from before the foundation of the world, He will raise up at the last day. All who were included among the members of His mystic body, when He was nailed to the tree, shall be one with Him in His glorious resurrection–“not a hoof shall be left behind.”
I know there are some who believe in a disappointed Christ, who affect to lament concerning Christ a design not accomplished–a frustrated Cross, agonies spent in vain–blood that was poured out on the ground as water that cannot be gathered up. I believe in no such thing. God creates nothing in vain, nor will I believe that Jesus Christ died on the Cross in vain in any sense or in any degree whatever. Not a hoof of all His purchased flock shall be left behind.
Come, then. Methinks I see before my mind’s eye the countless multitudes whom Jesus bought with His blood. The day shall come when their great Shepherd, walking in front of them, shall lead behind Him the entire flock and not one shall be absent. But suppose for an instant–we take that ground to see how untenable it is–suppose for an instant that one of those purchased ones should be absent. Of what sort shall that one be?
Suppose it to be a suffering one, one that has lain tossing on the bed of pain for many months and years, some aged disciple filled with twitching and convulsions, who for the last few years seemed to suffer pains like those of Hell, though she lay on the borders of Paradise–shall she be left behind? Such a supposition impugns the love of Christ. If He left any, certainly it should not be the suffering ones. If one should be cast away, certainly not of that martyr band who for His sake endured, nor of that pilgrim band of the despised who through much tribulation inherit the kingdom of Heaven.
Who, then, shall it be? Shall it be the strong ones that shall be lost? Imagine it so. But how were they strong? They were strengthened through Christ and yet can they perish? Such a supposition impugns the immutability of God. Did He gird them with strength one day and leave them helpless the next? What? Did God pour the full vigor of His Grace into a heart and then restrain that vigor and suffer the strong one to perish? Samson, shall you be lost after you have slain heaps upon heaps, your thousand men? Shall you at last die ingloriously? No, if you die upon earth you shall hear the groans of your Philistine enemies about you, and die, as a warrior should, in the midst of battle, an undefeated one.
Shall the minister of Christ whom God has greatly blessed be deserted by the faithful God and shall the shame of his fall ring round the world and become the jest and mockery of drunkards and harlots? God forbid! He shall keep the strong and they shall enter into life. But suppose for a minute it should be one of our weak ones, our poor friend, Mr. Feeble Mind, or our excellent sister, Miss Despondency. Suppose these must perish? Ah, then this would impugn the power of God, for then the enemy would cry, “Aha! Aha! He kept the strong but He could not keep the weak. Those who took care of themselves He kept, but the weak ones He suffered to perish.” Yes, Beloved, but there shall “not a hoof be left behind.” Not that poor lingering sheep, not that poor newly-born and feeble lamb. They shall, every one of them, be brought in. No, “not a hoof shall be left behind.”
“But,” says one, “perhaps it will be the erring ones among them.” Ah, but if the erring ones in the Church are lost then should all be lost, for they all err. “But suppose there be some that specially err?” Well, if these were lost, it would be to impugn the Grace of God, because then it might be said and said with truth, “It was of works and not of grace.” For if it is of Divine Grace, then must the erring be brought back and forgiven and even those sheep that break the hedge and leave the pasture–these must be brought in, that it may be said on earth and sung in Heaven that it was of Divine Grace, free grace and grace alone, that any were saved–that all were saved–that none are left behind.
Methinks I see the great Shepherd, now, and there are all His sheep. They have been wandering. They have got into a dark glen in the mountains and a snowstorm is coming on and He goes to seek them. There they are. The grim spirit of the tempest, the Prince of the power of the air meets Him and says, “Back, Shepherd! What are You doing here?” “I have come to reclaim My own.” “They are not Yours now,” says Satan, “they have strayed into my grounds and they are mine, not Yours.” “No, Fiend,” Jesus says, “they are Mine. They have My blood-mark on them. They were given Me of My Divine Father and I am bound by solemn obligations to keep every one of them safely.”
“You shall not have them,” says Satan. “I must, I will,” says Jesus. They fight and the Good Shepherd overcomes. He dashes down the enemy and tramples him under foot and crushes him–crushes the serpent. Then the serpent with wily craft replies, “They are Yours–Yours I confess, and I will give You some of them–the fattest of them.” “No,” says Jesus, “No, Satan, I have bought them all and I will have them all.” And there they come, a goodly company. But He keeps back a few.
“They are not all here,” says the Shepherd, “and I will have all.” “But,” says Satan, “there are some of them that are speckled sheep and some that are black and diseased. Do You want them, too? Let me have a few at least.” “No,” says He, “No. I must have the black ones, the speckled ones, the diseased ones–let them all come. Fiend, stand back, let them come, I tell you, or my right arm shall fell you to the ground again.” And now they all come but one, and Satan says, “No, but this is such a little one. This one is so weak. You would not have such a shriveled, scabby one as this in Your bright flock, You fair Shepherd of God.” “Yes,” says He, “but sooner than lose one of them I will die again and shed My blood once more to buy it back. All that My Father gave Me I will have.”
And now methinks I see Him in the last tremendous day when the sheep pass again under the hand of Him that counts them. He cries, “Of all You have given Me, I have lost none. They have none of them perished. The lion has not devoured them, nor has the cold destroyed them. I have brought them all safely here, "not a hoof is left behind.”
III. The third point was to be this–Jesus Christ will not only have all of a man and all the men he bought, but He will have ALL THAT EVER BELONGED TO ALL THESE MEN. That is to say, all that Adam lost, Christ will win back. All that we fell from in Adam, Christ will restore us to and that without the diminution of a single jot or tittle. Not an inch of Paradise shall be given up, nor even a handful of its dust resigned. Christ will have all, or else He will have none–“Not a hoof shall be left behind.”
Very briefly let me run through a list of all those precious things which we lost in Adam. And first, with reference to God. Christ’s blood-bought ones once enjoyed in their father, Adam, Divine likeness. “Let Us make man in Our own image, in Our own likeness,” says God. Alas, that likeness has been defiled and debased. Like the king’s superscription on the coinage, which has been worn for many a year, you cannot tell whose image and superscription it now is.
Yes, but we shall have that back again. God will re-stamp His precious things–re-engrave His name upon His gems and we shall wear the likeness of God as Adam did, when he came fresh from his Maker’s hand. We have lost, too, as we know to our cost, by nature, the Divine favor. God loved Adam, He showed that love to him, but when Adam sinned, though God was merciful, He could not show love to one who had become a rebel. I mean–not the love of complacency–though the love of benevolence never ceased for a moment.
Yes, but God delights in His people now in Christ. Christ has gotten back for us the full light of God’s favor. The sun shone fully on Adam, and it will not shine on us with less brightness. God loved Adam very tenderly but He loves us just as much. We have gotten back the two Divine privileges of heavenly likeness and heavenly favor. But you will remember, also, Adam had the celestial blessing of Divine fellowship–“The Lord God walked with Adam in the garden in the cool of the day.”
And some of you know what it is to have that blessing again, for he has walked with us and God has talked to his people till our eyes have shone and our hearts have been ready to break for very joy. Our poor weak body was not able to contain its overflowing bliss. Christ will get back for his people all the likeness of God, all the favor of God and all the fellowship with God, of which Satan robbed them. Not a particle less shall they have–but I think I may venture to say even more–God loved Adam for Adam’s sake–He loves you and me for Christ’s sake and that is a better motive. A higher, a deeper and grander consideration, than loving a man for his own sake. Because of His only-begotten and wellbeloved Son, He loves all His people with an infinite, unfailing affection. This is the first part of the inheritance which we lost and which Christ will get us back.
Then again, Adam lost happiness and we have lost it, too. And we have become the heirs of sorrow–and like our Master we are acquainted with grief. Yes, but He will get us back our happiness. We have had some portion of it already. That well of living water into which Satan cast a great stone so that it could not spring up–Christ has rolled away the stone and now we drink the water. If a man drinks, he shall never thirst and shall never need to go to earthly fountains to draw. Oh, courage, courage, Christian, in all your sorrows–Christ will win you back that glorious happiness which Adam lost for you. Besides, you all know that in Adam we lost the right to live. “In the day that you eat thereof, you shall surely die.” Man became a dying soul and not a living soul any more. But Christ has brought life and immortality to light by the Gospel and because He lives, we shall live also.
And yet again, Adam of old was king. Wherever he went there was a dignity about him that made the lordly lion crouch and lick his feet. The birds of the air did him homage. He bade the fish of the sea leap in their waters and they did it–for he was king–God’s crowned cherub who walked in the Garden of Eden like a king in his palaces. But now, what are we? The servants of servants, toiling creatures that wipe the sweat from our face and strain our nerves and empty out our veins with labor. Yes, but that dignity is restored already to the people of God, for He has raised us up together and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus our Lord.
And visibly shall that dignity come back to us. When the leopard shall lie down with the kid, when the lion shall eat straw, like the ox–man on earth shall be lord of the creation just as he was of old. The master of the sea, the leviathan, shall do his bidding and the behemoth shall stay in his course to hasten to the voice of puny, but redeemed man. We shall have back, I believe, everything that Adam had and much more. “Not a hoof shall be left behind.”
And yet further, not to keep you longer, we believe that in Adam we lost sonship–but in Christ we have received the adoption. In Adam we lost safe standing–but he has plucked us out of the miry clay and set our feet upon a rock. In Adam we lost righteousness–but he that believes is justified from all things. Whatever Adam lost, Christ has found and infinitely more. A man once wrote a book to prove the devil a fool. Certainly, when all matters shall come to their destined consummation, Satan will prove to have been a magnificent fool. Folly, magnified to the highest degree by subtlety, shall be developed in Satan.
Ah, you trailing serpent, what have you now, after all? I saw you but a few thousand years ago twining around the tree of life and hissing out your deceptive words. Ah, how glorious was the serpent then–a winged creature, with his azure scales. Yes, and you did triumph over God. I heard you as you did go hissing down to your den, I heard you say to your brood–vipers in the nest as they are–“My children, I have stained the Almighty’s works–I have turned aside His liege subjects, I have injected my poison into the heart of Eve and Adam has fallen, too. My children let us hold a jubilee, for I have defeated God.”
Ah, Satan, I think I see you now, with your head all broken and your jaw-teeth smashed and your venom-bags all emptied and you, yourself, a weary length of agony, rolling miles afloat along a sea of fire–tortured, destroyed, overcome, tormented, ashamed, hacked, hewed, dashed in pieces and made a hissing and a scorn for children to laugh at and made a scoff throughout eternity. Ah, well, Brethren, the great Goliath has gained nothing by his vaunting. Christ and His people have really lost nothing by Satan. All they lost once has been retaken. The victory has not simply been a capture of that which was lost, but a gaining of something more. We are in Christ more than we were before we fell. “Not a hoof shall be left behind.”
IV. I shall want your patience and your prayers while I now attempt to dwell upon my last illustration. CHRIST WILL HAVE THE WHOLE EARTH–“not a hoof shall be left behind.”
God has made this world for Himself and when He made it He looked around on all His works and He said, “They were very good.” All creation was meant to be a grand orchestra, the angels occupying the higher seats and sounding the higher notes, while descending in the scale, the inhabitants of the various worlds, which are perhaps countless in multitude, taking their places in the one harmonious song.
In one place there was an old and almost empty spot without a singer–blessed be God, the singers have, many of them, taken their places already and there are others on the way. That spot was left for men to sing in, for men who should praise God and magnify His name always. Yes, but Satan came and took away all the singers, spoiled their voices and ruined them, and now this world, instead of being an orchestra for God’s praise, has become an arena for evil passions, a battlefield for lust and plunder and murder and sin.
But mark this, God will not be disappointed of His purpose. This ruined world shall yet sing forth His praises and without a marring or a jarring voice, the whole of His creatures shall magnify His holy name. Satan is now lord of most of the world and he seems to say today, “You King of kings, take England for Yourself and America be Yours, here and there You shall take an island, or a city, but let me have the masses of mankind, I will be lord of China’s teeming multitudes and India shall lie within my coils.”
Brethren, shall it be so? Shall it be so?–Are you content in your Master’s name to resign those mighty empires to the Prince of Darkness? Unanimously your hearts speak out your Master’s language, “it must not and it shall not be!” The tramp of Christian heroes shall yet shake those nations and the trumpet of Jubilee shall proclaim liberty to those sons of Adam that are weeping there in bondage. They must–they shall belong to Christ. And now the black prince comes forward and he proposes another thing. “Oh,” says he “great King why this perpetual duel, why must Your servants fight and live, and my servants continually be defeated? Let us divide the empire.”
You remember that in the olden times of England, when Chanute and the Danes were fighting against the Saxons under Edmund, it was decided at last that the two kings should fight it out. A most agreeable and proper method. I only would that it were always taken in hand and that all kings who choose to engage in warfare had to fight their own battles. I am sure we should all be patrons of their encounters and we should sincerely thank God that there was such a saving of blood. Let them fight if they will, but why should their poor subjects die?
The fight went on with various success and at last, the champions having parted, it was decided that one should take one part of England and the other the other and so a truce was made. And so, black fiend, you propose this to the king of Heaven, do you? A division, shall it be, shall the fight be suspended, shall Christ have half and Satan the other half? No, listen to the cry of that half, which we might give up. “You men, you men of Israel, come here, help! Help! Come to the help of the Lord against the mighty! Why should we be given up to intolerable tyranny and devoted forever to Hell’s monarch and his mighty power?” No, we cannot consent, you Fiend! that you should have one half.
Imagine, then, that the Gospel has spread in every country, but one, and now Satan pleads, “No missionaries shall be sent there to disturb their unhallowed peacefulness. Let me reign there,” says he, “and I will be content.” But it must not be–Soldiers of Christ to the battle! To the battle! All the line, all the rampart must be stormed. Not a single castle must be left in the possession of the enemy. We must dash him down from his hills and rend him up from his valleys. He must not have a single spot whereon to place his foot.
Now I hear him flap his broken wings and fly into the grim north. “There are a few Eskimos,” says he, “who live in the dreary region long consecrated to my power. I will betake myself to the land of icebergs and of rocks, of the wild bear and of the dog and there will I keep my last resting place.” Brethren, shall it be, shall it be? Shall he reign king of the icebergs and lord even of the frozen north? No, by Heaven and Him that redeemed the earth, out even of that region must he be dashed–as of old he fell from Heaven, so must he fall from earth.
And now I see the Icelanders bowing before Christ and the vilest and most depraved of men submitting to Jehovah’s sway. But Satan has one dark-soured being–the last man that is left unconverted. Ring your Sabbath bells, my Brethren! Go up to your House of Prayer! Be happy! But I see a gloom upon your face. What does it mean? You reply, “there is one man left unsaved, Satan has still a lodging place in the heart of one man–surely our songs would lose their melody if that were the case.” No, Master, no! “Not a hoof shall be left behind.” You shall walk through this world and meet no more with sin. There shall not be found one inhabitant of this globe who is not Your subject, not a single being who is not fully consecrated to Your will.
That is a consummation devoutly to be wished. Equally may I say, it is a consummation confidently to be expected. Wait a little while, labor a little longer, and He that will come shall come and will not tarry–then shall the world see and Hell shall tremble at the sight–that Christ has conquered and has taken back all His possessions. “Not a hoof shall be left behind.”
And now, before you disperse, I have just a word or two of practical doctrine to deliver, Give me your solemn attention. I will not detain you more than one or two minutes. On whose side are you, Man, Woman? Are you Christ’s, or are you Satan’s? Remember, if your soul belongs to sin, living and dying as you are, Hell’s greedy jaws must devour you. For Satan says, as Christ says, “Not a hoof shall be left behind.” The waves of the deluge of wrath shall drown every man who is not in the ark. Not a single thorn, or tare, shall be left to grow–they must all be bound up in bundles to be burned and cast into the fire. Answer that question, then–Whose are you?
Answer now, another. If you hope that you are Christ’s, Christ’s motto with every man is, “Aut Caesar, aut nullus.” He will be Caesar in your hearts, king, emperor, or nothing at all. He will reign entirely over you, or not at all. Christ will not go shares in your heart. Are you wholly Christ’s, then? “Oh,” says one, “I hope so.” Yes, but take care it is not mere hope, but that it is the fact. And lift up your heart and pray, “Great God sanctify me wholly–spirit, soul and body–take full possession of all my powers, all my members, all my goods and all my hours, all I am and all I have. Take me and make me what You would have me to be.” God hear that prayer for you and make you wholly Christ’s.
Yet, one other question. Is there one who says, “I fear I am not Christ’s, but I wish to be”? Is that a sincere wish? I am happy, happy, thrice happy, that you feel thus–for you could not even wish to be Christ’s–unless Christ’s Grace had made you wish. Oh, remember, if you will to have Christ, there is no question about Christ’s willingness to have you. Come just as you are and with a full surrender, say–
“Just as I am without one plea
But that His blood was shed for me,
And that He bids me come,
Oh, Lamb of God, I come.”
Trust Christ and you are saved. Rely on Jesus and your sins are forgiven and you are Christ’s and shall be Christ’s in that day when He makes up His jewels. May God bless these thoughts and meditations to each and all of us. Amen.