The Clean And The Unclean
“Speak unto the children of Israel, saying, These are the beasts which you shall eat among all the beasts that are on the earth. Whatever parts the hoof and is cloven footed and chews the cud, among the beasts, that shall you eat.”
Leviticus 11:2, 3
THE Mosaic law attached great importance to meats and drinks–the Christian religion attaches none. The Apostle Peter was shown by the vision of a sheet let down from Heaven not only that all nations were now to receive the Gospel message, but that all kinds of food were now clean, and that all the prohibitions which had formerly been laid upon them for legal purposes were now, once and for all, withdrawn. A Christian may, if he pleases, put himself under restrictions as to these matters. You will remember that the Apostle Paul says, “I know and am persuaded of the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself, but to him that esteems anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean.”
I know our Apostle was tender of weak consciences, but he could expostulate with the Brothers and Sisters somewhat thus, “If you are dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you dogmatize–touch not this, taste not that, handle not the other–and all about things which perish with the using?” The doctrine of the New Testament is expressly laid down, “Every creature of God is good, and nothing to be refused, if it is received with thanksgiving.” And as for the practice enjoined upon Believers, “All things are lawful, but all things are not expedient.”
In the example of Paul we have full liberty. He would put no embargo upon the conscience. But in his example we have also fervent charity–he would put no stumbling block in his Brother’s way. “If meat makes my brother to offend, I will eat no flesh while the world stands.” The Levitical law enjoined many precepts as to meats and drinks–and those carnal ordinances were imposed until the time of reformation. Since then, this Mosaic institution was not designed to be perpetual, we feel certain that it must have had some use at the time when it was first established, and during the time in which it was sustained.
As that was peculiarly a typical dispensation, we feel persuaded that we shall not exaggerate the uses of the text if we show that there was something instructive to us, and something typical of the better Covenant in the command that the people were to eat no creatures but those which divided the hoof and those which chewed the cud.
- It is our firm belief that these distinctions of meats were laid down on purpose TO KEEP THE JEWS AS A DISTINCT PEOPLE, and that herein they might be a type of the people of God, who are also, throughout all ages, to be a distinct and separate people–not of the world, even as Christ was not of the world.
You that are conversant with the old Levitical rule, well know that it was quite impossible for the Hebrews to mix with any other nation without violating the statutes they were commanded to keep. Their food was so restricted that they could not possibly enter into social intercourse with any of the neighboring peoples. The Canaanites, for instance, ate everything–even the flesh that had been torn by dogs–and the dogs themselves. Now, a Jew could never sit at a Canaanites table, because he could never be sure that there would not be the flesh of some unclean and accursed thing upon it.
The Jews could not even eat with the Arabs, who were near akin to them, for they frequently partook of the flesh of the camels, the hare and the coney, all which, as we shall see presently, were forbidden to the Jew. The Arabs on the south, and the Canaanite nations all round Palestine, were the most likely people with whom the Jews would associate. But this command about what they should and should not eat prevented them, forever, from mingling with these people, and made them a distinct and isolated republic so long as they were obedient to the Law. We are told by Eastern travelers that the Mohammedan regulations, which are far less strict than those of the Jew, prevent their becoming socially intermingled either with the idolaters or with Christians.
It is a well-known fact that no people that have prescriptions about meats and drinks have ever changed their religion to that of another people, because the familiarity which seems necessary, in order to proselyte, is quite prevented by the barrier that precludes from dining at the table. It is at the social table men enjoy the most genial dealings–it is there they pour out their souls with the least reserve, and mix their thoughts, one with another, in the greatest freedom of conversation. Check them there–prevent their sitting at the same table, and there is no likelihood that they will ever blend or intermingle in any kind of affinity–the races must be distinct.
I believe, dear Friends, though I have been somewhat prosy in explaining myself, that it was God’s real intention to keep the children of Israel, until the coming of Christ, separate from all the nations that were upon the face of the earth. They could not join in the worship of other nations, for other nations sacrificed to their gods the very animals which to the Jew were unclean. They could not join in social contact, as we have already seen. And therefore marriage with any other nation would be, not only, as it were, prohibited by the Law, but would be actually prevented by the possibilities of the case. It must, in each instance, put the transgressor beyond the pale of his own tribe.
They would remain as much a distinct people as if a great wall of brass had been built all around them, or as if they had been transported to some island, and an impassable gulf had been put between them and any other kindred upon earth. They were separated forever. Now Friends, you will say, “What is the use of this to us?” I answer, it is the earthly type of a heavenly mystery. When the Jews were put away as the people of God for a time, then the Gentiles were grafted into their olive branch, and though we did not inherit the ceremonies, we did inherit all the privileges to which those ceremonies point. Thus all of you who name the name of Christ, and are truly what you profess to be, are solemnly bound to be forever separated from the world.
Not that you are to leave off your daily dealings with men. Our Savior did not do so. He was holy, harmless, undefiled, and separate from sinners. Yet, you know, He was always in the company of sinners, sitting at their table, seeking their good, and hunting after their souls. He was with them, but He was never of them. He was among them, but always distinct and separate from them–not conforming Himself to them, but transforming them to Himself. He has set us an example. It is not the seclusion of a hermit, nor the exclusion of yourselves in a monastery, where you would be of no service to your fellow men.
It is a higher and more spiritual separation which I claim of Christians tonight. You are to be in the world, and among the world. You are to mingle with all sorts and conditions of men–but still to maintain the dignity of your newborn character, and to let men see that you are among them as a speckled bird, as a light in the midst of darkness, as salt scattered over putridity, as heavenly angels in the midst of fallen men. So are you to be a distinct people, a chosen generation.
But you will ask of me in what respects are you to be distinguished? In a pure consistency always–in a vain eccentricity never–this shall be my first reply. Not in your garments, my Brothers and Sisters. All those inventions of broadbrimmed hats, and coats without collars, perish in the using. Let your dress be, nevertheless, so distinguished from that of some other men, that there shall be none of the pride and foolish quality in which they delight. The Apostle Peter has well laid down the regulations by which our Sisters in Christ are to adorn themselves. But I need not mention what you know so well and practice so little–that chaste and becoming neatness which is always right in the sight of God–and beautiful in the assembly of Christians.
Not by any peculiar dialect in your speech are you to be known. For my part I abhor in any man that sanctimonious tone and sacred whine which many affect–even in the pulpit I despise it. I believe that the reason why the pulpit has lost so much of its former power is because men must needs mouth our blessed Saxon tongue, and talk as if everything natural were to be eschewed there, and men, metamorphosed into ministers, were to be as unnatural and grotesque in their modes of speech as possible. No, not these, not these! All such artificial separations we leave to the people whose vanity feeds on its own conceit.
Nor need you make any straining effort to be distinguished by any stiff rigid formality of your own. Do not try to make yourself look like a Christian. True Christians can do a great many things that sham Christians must not do. As for me, I am never afraid to laugh, for I shall never crack the paint on my face, laugh as I may. A sincere man may do a great many things that a hypocrite dare not do, for he will split the garments of his hypocrisy if he ventures to run as a Christian may. Heavenly realities within do not always need to be plastered up and labeled outside, so that everybody may see and recognize you and say, “There goes a saint.” There are other modes of being distinguished from the world than any of these.
What are they, then? Well, Brothers and Sisters, we ought ever to be distinguished from the world in the great Object of our life. As for worldly men, some of them are seeking wealth, others of them fame. Some seek after comfort, others after pleasure. Subordinately you may seek after any of these, but your main and principal motive as a Christian should always be to live for Christ. To live for glory? Yes, but for His glory. To live for comfort? Yes, but be all your consolation in Him. To live for pleasure? Yes, but when you are merry, sing Psalms and make melody in your hearts to the Lord. To live for wealth? Yes, but to be rich in faith. You may lay up treasure, but lay it up in Heaven, where neither moth nor rust does corrupt, where thieves break not through, nor steal.
It is thought, you know, that ministers live for God–merchants should do the same. I would, my Brothers and Sisters, that you would trade and do your merchandise for His service. Do your plowing, and sowing, and reaping, and mowing–do it for Christ! Would God you could do this quite as much in His service, as we do ours, when we preach for Christ! You can make the most common calling become really sacred. You may take the highest orders by dedicating your daily life wholly to the service of Jesus. There is such a thing–and let those that deny the possibility stand selfconvicted that they obey not the precept–“Whether you eat or drink, or whatsoever you do, do all to the glory of God.”
By your spirit, as well as your aim, you should likewise be distinguished. The spirit of this world is often selfish–it is always a spirit that forgets God, that ignores the existence of a Creator in His own world, the land which He makes fat by His own bounty. Men with God’s breath in their nostrils forget Him who makes them live. Now, your spirit should be one of unselfish devotion, a spirit always conscious of His Presence, bowed down with the weight, or raised up with the cheer of Hagar’s exclamation–“You God see me.” A spirit which watches humbly before God and seeks to know His will and to do it through the Grace of God given to you–such a spirit as this–without the drab of one sect, or the phylacteries of another, will soon make you quite as distinct from your fellow men as ever meats and drinks could make the Jews a separate people.
Your maxims, too, and the rules which regulate you, should be very different from those of others. The world says, “Well, it is usual in the trade. There is no use in being over scrupulous. We must not be too Puritanical, or too severe–we shall never get on if we are picking at this, and frowning at that.” A Christian never considers what is usual, but what pleases God. He does not estimate a wrong by its commonness–he counts that a fraud, and a falsehood will be a fraud and falsehood–though all the world shall agree to practice it. The Believer reads things, not in man’s light, in the obscurity of which so many blind bats are willing to fly, but he reads things in the sunlight of Heaven.
If a thing is right, though he lose by it, it is done. If it is wrong, though he should become as rich as Croesus by allowing it, he scorns the sin for his Master’s sake. We want our merchants on the Exchange, our traders in their shops, and our artisans in their factories. Yes, and we want all masters, employers, and overseers, too, to be distinguished as the clean from the unclean, in the maxims that govern their daily life, and thus manifestly separate them from the world.
This will naturally lead to the next point–the Christian should be separate in his actions. I would not give much for your religion unless it can be seen. I know some people’s religion is heard of–but give me the man whose religion is seen. Lamps do not talk, but shine. A lighthouse sounds no drum, it beats no gong, and yet, far over the waters its friendly spark is seen by the mariner. So let your actions shine out your religion. Let your conduct talk out your soul. Let the main sermon of your life be illustrated by all your conduct, and it shall not fail to be illustrious. Have I not told you before that the only bit of ecclesiastical history we have in the whole New Testament is–what? The sermons of the Apostles? No, no, the “Acts of the Apostles.” So let your history be written, so that it may have this title–“The acts of such-and-such a man.” This will furnish the best proof that you have been with Jesus.
A Christian is distinguished by his conversation. He will often trim a sentence where others would have made it far more luxuriant by a jest which was not altogether clean. Following Herbert’s advice–“He pares his apple–he would cleanly feed.” If he would have a jest, he picks the mirth but leaves the sin. His conversation is not use to levity–it is not mere froth–it ministers Divine Grace unto the hearers. He has learned where the saltbox is kept in God’s great house, and so his speech is always seasoned with it, so that it may do no hurt but much good.
Oh, commend me to the man who talks like Jesus, who will not for the world suffer corrupt communications to come out of his mouth! I know what people will say of you if you are like this–they will say you are straight-laced, and that you will not throw much life into company. Others will call you mean-spirited. Oh, my Brothers and Sisters! Boldhearted men are always called mean-spirited by cowards. They will admonish you not to be singular, but you can tell them that it is no folly to be singular, when to be singular is to be right. I know they will say you deny yourselves a great deal, but you will remind them that it is no denial to you.
Sheep do not eat carrion, but I do not know that sheep think it a hardship to turn away from the foul feast. Eagles do not prefer to float on the sea, but I do not read that eagles think it a denial when they can soar in higher atmosphere. Do not talk of self-denial. You have other ends and other aims–you have wells of comfort that such men know not of. It would be a shame for you to be eating husks with swine, when your Father’s table is loaded with dainties.
I trust, my dear Brothers and Sisters, that you know the value of the gold of Heaven too well to pawn it away for the counterfeits of earth. “Come you out from among them. Be you separate, and touch not the unclean thing.” By a holiness which merely moral men cannot equal, stand as on a pedestal aloft above the world. Thus men may know you to be of the seed of Jesus, even as they knew the Jew to be the seed of Israel.
How shall I urge you to give more earnest heed to this holy separation? Let me add the voice of warning to that of entreaty. If we do not see to this matter we shall bring sorrow on our own souls. We shall lose all hope of honoring Christ, and we shall sooner, or later, bring a great disaster on the world. You know the world is always trying to nationalize the Church. What a mercy it is that there are some who will not have it! If you could once make the Church and the nation one, what would follow? It must be destroyed–it must fall. It was when the Church and the world became one in Noah’s day that the Lord sent the flood to destroy all people.
No, the proper position of a Christian is not with the world, even in its best state, and its most exalted condition. We are to be separate from this present evil world according to the will of God. Our position today is as much as in Christ’s day–outside the camp–not in it. We are still to be protesters, still to be testifiers against the world. “You are of God, little children, and the whole world lies in the Wicked One.” Scripture never supposes that the world will get better till the coming of Christ. It does not propose to lift the world up, and marry it with the Church. It always supposes the Church to be as an alien and a stranger here until Christ, her Husband, shall come.
On which side will you rank? Truce there cannot be! Links between the two there must not be. God and mammon cannot go together. For which will you be–for God–for Truth–for right? Or for Satan–for Hell–for the wrong? Which shall it be? May the Spirit of God whisper in your heart tonight and say, “Believe in Christ Jesus. Take up your cross and follow Him, and be enlisted on His side from now on and forever.”
II. We have now a second and an important matter to bring forward. The distinction drawn between clean and unclean animals was, we think, intended by God TO KEEP HIS PEOPLE ALWAYS CONSCIOUS THAT THEY WERE IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF SIN.
Just let me picture it. I have caught the idea from Mr. Bonar, though I fear I cannot paint it in words so well as he has done. An Oriental Jew, sensible and intelligent, walks out in the fields. He walks along close by the side of the high road, and what should he see but a string of camels going along? “Ah,” he says to himself, “those are unclean animals.” Sin, you see, is brought at once before his mind’s eye. He turns away from the road and walks down one of his own fields, and as he goes along a hare starts across his path. “Ah,” says he, “an unclean animal again. There is sin in my path.”
He gets into a more retired place, he walks on the mountains. Surely he shall be alone there. But he sees a Coney burrowing among the rocks–“Ah,” he says, “unclean. There is sin there!” He lifts his eye up to Heaven–he sees the osprey, the bald eagle, flying along through the air and he says, “Ah, there is an emblem of sin there!” A dragonfly has just flitted by him–there is sin there. There are insects among the flowers.
Now every creeping thing and every insect, except the locust, was unclean to the Jew. Everywhere he would come in contact with some creature that would render him ceremonially unclean, and it were impossible for him, unless he were brutish, to remain even for ten minutes abroad without being reminded that this world, however beautiful it is, still has sin in it.
Even the fish, in sea, or river, or inland lake, had their divisions–those that had no scales or fins were unclean to the Jew. So the little Hebrew boys could not even fish for minnows in the brook, but they would know that the minnow was unclean, and so their young hearts were made to dread little wrongs and little sins–for there were little sins in the little pools–even as there were leviathan sins floating in the deep and nude sea. Ah, Friends, we want to have this more before our minds. Look at the fairest landscape that your eye has ever beheld–see the towering Alps, the green valley and the silver stream–
“These are Your glorious works,
Parent of good, Almighty,”
but the slime of the serpent is on them all–
“Keep me, O, keep me King of kings,
Beneath the shadow of Your wings.”
When I walk abroad in this temple of nature and seek to behold nature’s God, I may not light upon a spot in the universe where the curse of sin has never inflicted a blight, or where the hope of redemption should not inspire a prayer. Sometimes, Brothers and Sisters, you get all alone and quiet, but do not imagine that you are even, there, free from sin. As the most beautiful landscape, so the sweetest retirement cannot shut out uncleanness. As the fly or the insect would intrude into the arbor where the Jew would worship, so sin will haunt and molest us even in the closet of devotion.
Get up, Christians, and be upon your watchtowers. You may sleep, but your enemies never will. You may suppose yourselves safe, but then you are most in danger. See that you put on the whole armor of God, and are armed from head to foot. And having done all, watch and pray lest you enter into temptation. Every morning we ought to ask the Lord to keep us from unknown sins, to preserve us from temptations that we cannot foresee, to check us in every part of life if we are about to go wrong, and to hold us up every hour that we sin not.
You will say it must have been an unpleasant thing for the Jew always to have sin before his eyes, nor would you wish every aspect of life to be thus fouled before your eyes. But it will not be so unpleasant for you, my Brothers and Sisters, because you know there is a redemption, and your faith can realize the end of the curse by sin being put away. Shut not your eyes to sin, but keep Christ always before you, and you will walk aright.
I wish that some of my Hearers had sin before their eyes now. Oh, you that trifle with it, you do not know what it is! Fools make a mockery of sin. You laugh at it now–you do not understand what a fire it is that you have kindled to consume your soul! Oh, you that think it is such a little thing, its deadly poison will soon envenom all your blood–and then you will discover that he that plays with sin plays with damnation. May the Lord set sin straight before your eyes, and then set the Cross of Christ there, too, and so you will be saved.
Two prayers I ask all my hearers to pray–they are very brief–“Lord show me myself.” If there is any man here who says he would pray, but he does not know what to pray for–pray that every night and morning–“Lord show me myself.” And if God hears you, you will soon be in such a wretched state that you will want another prayer. And then I give you this–“Lord show me Yourself.” And then if He shall show you Himself hanging on the Cross, the expiation for guilt, the Great God become Man that He might put away sin–your salvation will be accomplished. It is all the prayer that is wanted–“Lord show me myself. Lord show me Yourself. Reveal sin and reveal a Savior.” Lord, do this for all of us for Your name’s sake.
III. And now, I come to show you a third teaching of my text. As this injunction was meant to separate the Jews from other nations, and to keep the pious Israelite in constant remembrance of his danger of falling into sin, so it was also intended to be A RULE OF DISCRIMINATION BY WHICH WE MAY JUDGE WHO ARE CLEAN AND WHO ARE UNCLEAN, THAT IS, WHO ARE SAINTS AND WHO ARE NOT.
There are two tests, but they must both be united. The beast that was clean was to chew the cud–here is the inner life–every true-hearted man must know how to read, mark, learn, and inwardly digest the sacred Word. The man who does not feed upon Gospel Truth and so feed upon it, too, that he knows the sweetness and relish of it, and seeks out its marrow and fatness–that man is no heir of Heaven. You must know a Christian by his heart, by that which supports his life, and sustains his frame.
But then the clean creatures were also known by their walk. The Jew at once discovered the unclean animal by its having an undivided hoof. But if the hoof was thoroughly divided, then it was clean, provided that it also chewed the tests alone–you must have them both. But while you use them upon others, apply them to yourselves. What do you feed on? What is your habit of life? Do you chew the cud by meditation?
When your soul feeds on the flesh and blood of Christ, have you learned that His flesh is meat, indeed, and that His blood is drink, indeed? If so it is well. What about your life? Are your conversation and your daily walk according to the description which is given in the Word of Believers in Christ? If not, the first test will not stand alone. You may profess the faith within, but if you do not walk aright without, you belong to the unclean. On the other hand, you may walk aright without, but unless there is the chewing of the cud within, unless there is a real feeding upon the precious Truths of God in the heart, all the right walking in the world will not prove you to be a Christian.
That holiness which is only outward in moral, and not Spiritual, does not save the soul. That religion, on the other hand, which is only inward is but fancy–it cannot save the soul, either. But the two together–the inward parts made capable of knowing the lusciousness, the sweetness, the fatness of Christ’s Truth. And the outward parts conformed to Christ’s image and Character–these conjoined point out the true and clean Christian with whom it is blessed to associate here, and for whom a better portion is prepared hereafter.
If you read the chapter through you will find there were some two or three animals about which the Jew would have some little difficulty. There was the camel that did chew the cud, but did not exactly divide the hoof. Now this animal seems to me fitly to represent–though it may not have been so intended–those men who seem really to feed on the Truth of God, and yet their walk and conversation are not aright. Their feet have been formed rather for the sandy desert of sin than for the sacred soil of godliness.
Oh, I know some of you! Come, let us be personal–there are some of you, if I would always preach the doctrine of predestination, or some other doctrine of that kind, how sweet it would be to you! But your lives are not what they should be. Thank God there are not many of that sort who come here. They get angry with me very quickly and go off to other places where they can get sweet and savory morsels, which exactly suit their taste. They hear no admonitions about their lives whatever. May the Lord, for my Master’s sake, deliver my ministry from ever being comfortable and flattering to souls that live in sin!
I hope you will sometimes have to say, “I must either give up that sin or else give up my seat here.” I know one who said, “Well! It has come to this–I cannot go there on Sunday evening, and keep my shop open in the morning. It will not do for me to go and sit there and hear the Word and sing with those people on Sunday evening, and then hear songs and join in revelries on weeknights.” I hope the Word of God here will be such a searching Word to some of you that you will even gnash your teeth at the preacher. He would sooner for you to do that than for you to say, “Peace, peace, where there is no peace,” sucking in sweet doctrine and yet living in sin.
God deliver us from Antinomianism! We do preach against Arminianism, but that is a white devil compared with the black devil of Antinomianism. God save us from that! If there is any religion that will drug consciences, stimulate crime, crowd jails, and turn this world into an Aceldama, it is the religion of the man who preaches Divine sovereignty, but neglects human responsibility. I believe it is a vicious, immoral and corrupt manner of setting forth doctrine, and cannot be of God.
It would undermine morality and put the very life of society in peril if it were largely believed, or if it were preached by men of any great weight who should have any great numbers to follow them. Oh, dear Friends! Be not as the animal which chews the cud, but yet divides not the hoof. Seek not merely to get precious doctrine, comforting to yourselves–but see that your walk is such as it should be.
Then there was another animal. It did not chew the cud, still the Jews thought it did. This was the Coney–the nearest approach to it is the rabbit of our land–“The Coney, because he chews the cud, but divides not the hoof, he is unclean.” The Coney was a very timid creature, which burrowed in the rocks. “The conies are a feeble folk, but they make their dwellings in the rocks,” says Solomon. Now, there are some people who seem as if they like the Gospel Truth, and they may be put down in the class in which Moses puts the Coney–which appeared to chew the cud–though it did not really do so.
We know there are hundreds of this sort. They like the Gospel, but it must be very cheap. They like to hear it preached, but as to doing anything to extend it, unless it were to lend their tongues an hour, they would not dream of it. The Coney, you know, lived in the earth. These people are always scraping. John Bunyan’s muck rake is always in their hands. Neither to dig nor to beg are they ashamed. They are as true misers, and as covetous as if they had no religion at all. And many of these people get into our Churches and are received, when they ought not to be.
Covetousness ought to exclude a man from Church fellowship as well as fornication, for Paul says, “Covetousness, which is idolatry.” He puts the brand right on its forehead, and marks what it is. We would not admit an idolater to the Lord’s Table–nor ought we to admit a covetous man–only we cannot always know him. St. Francis Sales, who had a great many people come to him to confession, makes this note, that he had many men and women come to him who confessed all sorts of most outrageous crimes, but he never had one who confessed covetousness.
It is a kind of sin that always comes in at the backdoor and it is always entertained at the back part of the house. People do not suspect it as an inmate of their own hearts. Mr. Covetousness has changed his name to Mr. PrudentThrifty–and it is quite an insult to call him other than by his adopted name. Old vices, like streets notorious for vice, get new names given them. Avaricious grasping, they call that, “the laws of social economy.” Screwing down the poor is, “the natural result of competition.” Withholding corn until the people curse, oh, that is, “just the usual regulation of the market.”
People name the thing prettily and then they think they have rescued it from the taint. These people, who are all for earth, are like the conies, who, though they chew the cud, burrow in the ground. They love the precious Truths of God and yet they are all for this earth. If there are any such here, in spite of their fine experience, we pronounce them unclean–they are not heirs of Heaven.
The next creature mentioned in the chapter is the hare–“The hare, because he chews the cud, but divides not the hoof, he is unclean.” See how he flies with bounding step over the ground! A clapping of the hands, and how he starts and is away! The hare is such a timid creature. She leaves her food and flees before the passerby. I would not say a harsh thing, but there are some people who appear to chew the cud, they love to hear the Gospel preached. Their eyes will sparkle sometimes when we are talking of Christ, but they do not divide the hoof. Like the hare, they are too timid to be domesticated among the creatures whom the Lord has pronounced clean.
They do not come out from the world, enter into the Church, and manifest themselves wholly on the Lord’s side. Their conscience tells them they should be baptized as Believers–but they dare not. They know they should be united with the people of God, and confess Christ before men–but they are ashamed, ashamed, ashamed! One fears lest his wife should know it, and she might ridicule. Some start abashed lest their friends should know it, for the finger of scorn or the breath of raillery could frighten them out of their senses. Others of them are alarmed because the world might, perhaps, give them an ill name.
Do you know where the fearful go? Not the fearing, not the doubting–for there are many poor, humble, doubters and fearers that are saved–but do you know where the fearful go? The fearful that are afraid of being persecuted, mocked, or even laughed at for Christ–do you know where they go? You will find it in the Book of the Revelation–“But the fearful and unbelieving shall have their part in the lake which burns with fire and brimstone, which is the second death.”
Have you ever read that sentence which says, “Whosoever shall be ashamed of Me and of My words, of him shall the Son of Man be ashamed when He shall come in His own glory and in His Father’s and of the holy angels”? There you are, young men! You are ashamed of Christ. You have just come up from the country, and you did not pray to God the other night because there was another young man in the room, and you were ashamed of Him! In the name of God I entreat you. No, I COMMAND you–be not ashamed of your Master, Christ, and of the religion which you learned at your father’s knee.
There are others of you who work in large shops, and you do not want to be jeered at, as the other young fellow is who works with you, because he is a Christian. You keep your love as a secret, do you, and will not let it out? What? If Christ had only loved you in secret, and had never dared to come here on earth to be despised and rejected of men, where would you have been? “No man lights a candle and puts it under a bushel.” Do you think that Christ has lit a candle in your hearts that you may hide it?
Oh, I pray you, be not like the hare. Let your hoof be so divided from the rest of mankind that they may say, “There is a man–he is not as bold as a lion, perhaps–but he is not ashamed to be a follower of Jesus Christ. He does bear the sneer and gibe for Him and counts it his honor to be thought evil of for Jesus' sake.” Oh, be not, I pray you, like the timid hare, lest you be found among the unclean!
There is one other creature mentioned–“The swine, though he divides the hoof and is cloven-footed, yet he chews not the cud, he is unclean to you.” Now, the swine is the emblem of those who do act rightly. They make a profession–before men they are the most upright and the most devout. But then the inner part is not right. They do not chew the cud. The foot is right, but not the inward part. There is no chewing, no masticating, no digesting the Word of Life.
“But,” says one, “why pick out a swine, because that does not seem to be a fair comparison.” Yes it is, for there are no people in the world more like swine than those Pharisees who make clean the outside of the cup and the platter–whose hoof is divided enough–but whose inward part is very wickedness. I do not know an animal that might more fitly picture out those vile, unclean Pharisees. You may say you think it is too harsh a picture for you. You are put down, thus, in the catalog, and I have no other place in which to put you. You are like swine, unless the Grace of God is in you.
What good does the swine do? Of what concern is life to him but to feed grossly and slumber heavily? And so your life, since the inward part is wrong, brings no glory to God–you bring no good to your fellow men. Oh, that the Lord would show you that dead morality, unattended by the love of God in the soul, will most certainly be of no avail! “You must be born again.” “Except you are converted and become as little children, you shall in no wise enter into the kingdom of Heaven.”
My text seems to be a dividing one–it divides the house in two. Remember, dear Friends, the day is coming when a greater division than any which can be described will occur to all of us. But the same rule will be enforced. We shall be assembled in one crowd, a mightier crowd than language can picture, or imagination grasp. The books shall be opened–books more terrible than this Book of Mercy. The Book of Life shall be unfolded and read, in which those washed in Jesus' blood, and so made clean, shall find their names recorded.
They will be borne to Heaven. Listen to the music of the angels as they bear them up to God’s right hand! Where will you be? Will you be with those who mount to Heaven, or with yonder trembling, shrieking, screaming souls, who, as Hell opens her mouth, descend alive into the pit? God help you if you are not on the right hand side!
It is not too late. Jesus Christ is still preached to you. The way of salvation is very plain. It is this–Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved. Believe in Jesus. Then make a profession of your faith in God’s own ordained way, and method, and you have His promise for it that you will be saved. God help you to believe, and you shall be saved through Jesus–and unto Him shall be the glory forever and ever. Amen.