Deep Calls Unto Deep
“Deep calls unto deep.”
IN the grandeur of Nature there are awful harmonies. When the storm agitates the ocean below, the heavens above hear the tumult and answer to the clamor. Down comes a deluge of sonorous hail or swift-descending rain, attended with peals of thunder and flashes of flame. Frequently the waterspout, of which David speaks in the next sentence, evidences the sympathy of the two great waters above and beneath the firmament–the great deep above stretches out its hands to the great deep below and in voice of thunder their old relationship is recognized. It is almost as if the twin seas remembered how once they lay together in the same cradle of confusion till the decree of the Eternal appointed each his bounds and place.
“Deep calls unto deep”–one splendor of creation holds fellowship with another. Amazed and overwhelmed by the spectacle of some tremendous tempest upon land, you have yet been able to observe how the clouds appear to be emptying themselves each into each and the successive volleys of Heaven’s artillery are answered by rival clamors, the whole chorus of sublimities lifting up their voices. It has seemed to me that a strange wild joy was moving all the elements and that the angels of wind and tempest were clapping their awful hands in glorious glee. Among the Alps, in the day of tempest, the solemnly silent peaks break through their sacred quiet and speak to each other in that dread language which is echoing the voice of God–
From peak to peak the rattling crags among,
Leaps the live thunder!
Not from one lone cloud,
But every mountain now has found a tongue,
And Jura answers, through her misty shroud,
Back to the joyous Alps, who call to her aloud.”
Height calls unto height even as “deep calls unto deep.” David, perceiving these solemn harmonies, uses the metaphor to describe his own unhappy experience. I suppose that when he wrote this Psalm he was an exile from his throne and country, driven out by the rebellion of his favorite son. He crossed the brook Jabbok in fear and hastened by night over Jordan and withdrew to a dry and thirsty land where there was no water. He was saddened, most of all, at the remembrance of the sacred shrine to which he had so often gone with the multitude that kept holy day, because he was now unable to join with that hallowed throng in worship so refreshing to his soul.
Everything around the Psalmist was like an ocean tossed with tempest–his outlook was unmingled trouble. His sorrows were like Job’s messengers followed on one another’s heels. His griefs came wave upon wave. There was no intermission to his woe. At the same time his heart sank within him. The deep outside called to the deep within. Conscience, as with a lightning flash, lit up the abyss of the sufferer’s inward depravity and made him see the darkness of the sin into which he had fallen with the wife of Uriah in days gone by and filled him with despondency and sad forebodings.
While outside everything was comfortless, within him there was nothing to cheer him. Bitterly did he enquire, “Why are you cast down, O my Soul? Why are you disquieted within me?” Externally and internally, rest was removed far from him. Outside were fights, within were fears. Deep called unto deep at the noise of God’s waterspouts–all the waves and billows of God’s Providence had gone over him.
But now, no longer confining so grand a thought to the mere manner in which David employed it, namely, to the double trouble of many of God’s saints when two seas meet and when internal and external sorrows combine, I purpose to use the general principle in other directions and to show that everywhere where there is one deep it calls to another and that especially in the moral and spiritual world every vast and sublime truth has its correspondent, which, like another deep, calls to it responsively.
- First, we shall consider this fact in connection with THE ETERNAL PURPOSES OF GOD AND THEIR FULFILMENT IN FACT. The eternal purpose–what a deep! He who pretends to understand predestination, misunderstands himself! We have no unit for measurement when we strive to fathom the decrees of God. We are like the astronomers in attempting to measure the distances of those stars which are as remote from the ordinary fixed stars as the fixed stars are from us–they fail from lack of a measuring-line which may serve as a unit–scarcely does the diameter of the earth’s orbit suffice for a basis of numeration. They have no unit by which to estimate.
What do you and I know of infinity, Omnipresence, and self-existence? We are far beyond our depth when we come to the ocean of Divine purposes. We may gaze into the mystery with awe, but to profess to comprehend it is vanity itself. What a depth! What an inscrutable mystery, that the infinitely pure and holy God should have determined to allow the intrusion of sin into His universe! That He should allow evil to drag down an angel and debase him into a devil! That the adoring hosts of Heaven should be thinned by sinful desertion from a loyalty so well deserved! How came it that moral evil was suffered to come into this fair world, to spoil Eden, to pollute mankind, to fill the grave and populate Hell?
Why was it that after sin had broken out in the universe, it was permitted to remain in existence? Why not shut up the first devil as in a plague ward, build a jail in Tophet–surround it with walls of flame and never let the demon wander forth? Why should the Evil One be permitted, like a roaring lion, to roam abroad seeking whom he may devour? When sin infected the race of men, why not destroy them all and stamp out the disease, as we did lately when the disease came among our cattle? Why not purge it with fire till the last speck of the leprosy was burned out? What mattered the destruction of a race if sin were destroyed with them?
Strange decree that sin should be tolerated–permitted first, to enter–and then allowed afterwards to spread its mischievous poison. What a depth, my Brethren, is revealed in the Divine decree of election, that there should be vessels unto honor, fitted for the Master’s use–men chosen to show forth the riches of His Grace, not for any good thing in them–but because the Lord will have mercy upon whom He will have mercy and will have compassion on whom He will have compassion! And what a more solemn depth, still, is revealed in those whom He passed by–that there should be vessels of wrath fitted to destruction–men permitted to continue in sin and to harden themselves against the Gospel and so to illustrate the awful wrath of God throughout eternity!
Brothers and Sisters, I cannot contemplate the doctrines connected with predestination, true as they are, without a shudder of reverential awe! Read that ninth chapter of Romans and while you are silenced by the voice of Paul, “No, but O man, who are you that replies against God? Shall the thing formed say to Him that formed it, Why have You made me thus?” Yet a thrill of awe passes through your souls and you whisper–
“Great God, how infinite are You,
What worthless worms are we!”
If we could turn over those awful pages in which every event has been recorded. If it were permitted to us to see that book of fate chained to the Throne of God, in which every angel’s form and size is drawn by the eternal pen. In which everything is written down–from the falling of a sere leaf from an oak to the tumbling of an avalanche from its Alp–in which God has as much arranged the course of yonder dust blown in the wind as of the planet which He steers in its mighty orbit. If we could see it all, we should exclaim, “O wondrous depth, how can I measure you? My plummet utterly fails. I will adore, for I cannot comprehend.”
Beloved Friends, we need not allow ourselves to be depressed by the mystery of the doctrine of Eternal Decrees, for even if these decrees were not in existence, there would still remain the other deep, the mystery of fact. It is a fact that sin is in the world. It is a fact that sorrow is here. It is a fact that death is here–and how can you understand these things? Shut your eyes to the depth above the firmament if you will, but here is depth nearer home which will still amaze you! Remember that all men are not saved. It is a dreadful Truth of God that multitudes tread the broad road and reach eternal destruction! Why is this when God is good and Omnipotent? Can you understand Providence?
Is not Providence, as we see it, quite as mysterious as predestination? Are not the mysteries rather in the facts, themselves, than in the purposes which ordained them? Are they not, both the facts and the decrees, mysteries and equal mysteries? But what a wonderful harmony there is between the two depths! And to this it is I call your attention. Observe how deep has called unto deep! Whatever God ordained has been accomplished! His will has been done! You will tell me that this is nothing amazing, since God is Omnipotent. I reply, yes, but you will remember that He was pleased to create beings who should be free agents and to that extent actors independent of Himself.
Therefore, it is not to the solitary attribute of Omnipotence that you can refer the fact that Providence coincides with predestination. Here were angels free in their will and yet they sinned. Here are men upon this stage of action willful and resolute and yet fulfilling the unknown foreordination. Herein lies the marvel–that with voluntary agents, who do as they will–yet the eternal purpose in every jot and tittle has to this moment been fulfilled! And as the impression answers to the die, so has the history of the universe answered to the eternal purpose and to the solemn decree of the Most High.
My Brothers and Sisters, listen in solemn awe to the voices of these twin depths as they call to one another. Famine, plague, pestilence, devastated nations, fallen empires, wars and bloodsheds–who shall understand why these are permitted? How shall we reconcile our souls to them at all, until we look up to the great Father sitting on the Throne of Wisdom and Love, and say, “You know what the end will be. You have ordained all things and from the seeming evil You will bring forth good and from the good a something better and from the better a something better still, in infinite progression, to the praise and glory of Your name”? “Deep calls unto deep.” The deep of Predestination answers to the deep of Providence and both together magnify the name of God!
II. We now come to another case somewhat akin to this, more nearly concerning ourselves and perhaps more practical. Brethren, SOME OF YOU ARE ENDURING DEEP AFFLICTION. All are not tried alike. God has not been pleased to deal out the wormwood and the gall to all in a cup of the same fashion and the same measure. There are some whose pathway to the skies is comparatively smooth. Others go through fire and through water–men ride over their heads.
My Brethren who have done business in the great waters, I speak to you. Yours has been a stormy and tried life. Well, I can sympathize with you, for with all the mercy of God, the preacher has not been free from many and severe trials and, oh, they are deep, indeed–when a depressed spirit unites with our outward afflictions–when Church troubles, family troubles, personal troubles and the world’s troubles, all aided and abetted by Satanic temptation and by an evil heart of unbelief. Do not, however, think yourselves harshly dealt with, my dear Brothers and Sisters, in being singled out as a special target for the arrows of grief.
Do not wish that you could be the obscurest of all the saints, to find some quiet nook in which you might be left alone to rest in forgetfulness! Rather let me remind you that if in your experience there is a deep of extraordinary trial, there is most surely another deep answering to it. Open now your ears and your hearts to hear the calling of this deep unto its brother deep. Hearken while I translate the echoes of the Truth of God. Inasmuch as you have many trials, remember the depth of the Divine faithfulness. You have not been able to comprehend the reason for your trials, but I beseech you believe in the firmness and stability of the Divine affection towards you.
In proportion to your tribulations shall be your consolations! If you have shallow sorrows, you shall receive but shallow Graces. But if you have deep afflictions, you shall obtain the deeper proofs of the faithfulness of God! I could gladly lay down and die when I think of the trials of this life, but I recover myself and laugh at them all, even as the daughter of Zion shook her head and laughed at her foes, when I remember that the mighty God of Jacob is our refuge and that He will not fail us, nor take away His hand till He has effected His purpose concerning us! Great deeps of trial bring with them great deeps of promise!
For you much afflicted ones, there are words, great and mighty, which are not meant for other saints of easier experience. You shall drink from deep golden goblets reserved for those giants who can drink great potions of wormwood and are men of capacity enough to quaff deep draughts of the wines on the lees well refined. Trials are mighty enlargers of the soul! We are contracted, narrowed, pent up and we rightly pray, “Lord, enlarge my heart.” Yes, but the opening of capacious reservoirs within us can only be effected by the spade of daily tribulation, and then, being dug out by pain and trouble, there becomes room for the overflowing promise!
A great adversity will, to the Believer, bring with it great Grace. Whenever the Lord sets His servants to do extraordinary work He always gives them extraordinary strength. Or if He puts them to unusual suffering He will give them unusual patience. When we enter upon war with some petty New Zealand chief, our troops expect to have their charges defrayed and accordingly we pay them gold by the thousands, as their expenses may require. But when an army marches against a grim monarch in an unknown country who has insulted the British flag, we pay, as we know to our cost, not by thousands but by millions!
There is a difference in the payment of an attack upon petty chieftains and a war against an emperor. And so, my Brethren, if God calls you to common and ordinary trials, He will pay the charges of your warfare by thousands, but if He commands you to an unusual struggle with some tremendous foe, He will discharge the liabilities of your war by millions–according to the riches of His Grace in which He has abounded towards us through Christ Jesus! I would not, then, in my better mind, if I could, escape great labors or great trials since they involve great Graces! If one deep calls to the other deep, let the Lord lay on the strokes and let Him add to the burden! If as my days so shall my strength be, then let the days be long and dark, for so the strength shall be mighty and God shall be glorified and His servants shall be blessed!
I would earnestly urge every tried Christian to dwell upon this Truth, for it may be of great comfort to you. You may, perhaps, have had a comparatively easy life until just lately, but you have reached a turning point where disaster has befallen you. You are fallen into poverty, or else that time for the break-up of your family has lately come upon you. Your father is gone. Your mother is on the verge of the grave. Your friends have one by one been taken from you. Yes, feel the loneliness of life! Here is a dreadful deep for you to sail on and a tempestuous deep much to be feared, for your little boat may easily be wrecked.
But don’t forget that there is another deep, whose remembrance will remove from you the bitterness of your present sorrow–there is love in Heaven towards you which will never grow cold–immortal and unchanging love! And besides, there is a royal oath which never can be broken, a Covenant ratified with blood that never can be dishonored! You must be helped through–you cannot be left. God might sooner cease to be than cease to be faithful! You must be borne up amid the billows and safely landed. Be of good courage and He shall strengthen your heart this day!
III. We have not time to linger. We must pass on to a third point. “Deep calls unto deep.” HUMAN WRETCHEDSESS IS PARALLELED BY DIVINE GRACE. Brothers and Sisters, into what an awful state our race fell! We were tainted with high treason through the sin of our father, Adam. The dignity and honor of our race were forfeited. We were, each one of us, born in sin and shaped in iniquity–with a natural tendency towards evil we came into this world–and since we have been in this world, we have wickedly and willfully rebelled against God.
We have rendered ourselves obnoxious to the Divine justice. We deserve to be driven from the Glory of His Presence by the power of His wrath! And beside all this, we are desperately set upon rejecting any offers of mercy on the part of God. Our will has become stubborn, our heart is hard. There are no known human means which can bring a soul to God. Man is such an enemy to God that he will not be reconciled to Him. Human eloquence and human sympathy are, alike, powerless against human depravity.
This leviathan laughs at our sword and spear. Oh, sad, sad, sad case is that of fallen man! Sinner, sad, sad is your case–lost, utterly, hopelessly, everlastingly lost are you by nature! As in yourselves considered, there is no remedy for the disease which rages within you! There is no escape from that eternal fire which must consume you! I would never, for a moment, attempt to make out the abyss of the Fall to be less deep than it is–it is bottomless! The miseries of mankind cannot be exaggerated. Could our tears forever flow–could we be turned each one into a Jeremiah–yet could we never weep enough for the slain of the daughter of our people. Human misery is deep beyond expression.
But what shall I say? How shall I speak? Where shall I find words to express the delight of my soul that I have such a Truth to tell you? There is a deep which answers to the deep of human ruin and it is the deep of Divine Grace. There can be no evil in man which the infinite mercy of God cannot overcome! Behold, God Himself, Incarnate in the Person of the Nazarene! Behold the Son of God spending on earth a life of service and of condescension! Behold Him dying a death of ignominy and pain! The Atonement of Christ is such a Red Sea that all the Egyptians of a Believer’s sins shall be drowned in it! There is such virtue in the redemption offered up by Christ, that it meets the full extent of the guilt which any sinner who seeks Him may have incurred!
Moreover, to meet the obstinacy and depravity of our hearts, behold how deep calls unto deep! God’s Eternal Spirit has deigned to dwell in these hearts of ours! He quickens death into life! He fills the thirsty soul with rivers of Divine Grace! He turns the stone to flesh and makes the adamant palpitate with tenderness. Blessed be His name, He has done wonders in our souls! He has brought Christ home to our hearts and made us willing to rejoice in Christ and to be saved by Him! Myriads of spirits now before the Throne attest to the fact that the Grace of God is deeper than the depths of our sin, higher than the heights of our rebellion, broader and longer than the breadths and lengths of our depravity! Oh, the exceeding riches of the Grace of God!
“Oh, the depth,” says the Apostle, and we may well say the same. My Hearer, ought not this to encourage you? Are you a burdened, conscience-stricken sinner, brought so low as to be all but a damned sinner? You are only just this side of Hell! You almost smoke like a brand in the fire, yet is there mercy enough to rescue you and to give you a place among them that are glorified at the right hand of God! The deep of your misery calls to the deep of sacred mercy and faith shall hear a favorable answer.
IV. Fourthly and with brevity, THE DEPTH OF DIVINE LOVE TO THE SAINTS CALLS FOR A DEEP OF CONSECRATION IN EVERY BELIEVING HEART. Study, my dear Brothers and Sisters, quietly, the depth of the love of God to you, His people. He loved you without a cause–
“What was there in you that could merit esteem,
Or give the Creator delight?
‘Twas even so, Father,’ you ever must sing,
For so it seemed good in Your sight.‘ ”
He loved you without beginning. Before years and centuries and millenniums began to be counted, your name was on His heart. Eternal thoughts of love have been in God’s bosom towards you! He has loved you without a pause–there never was a minute in which He did not love you. Your name, once engraved upon His hands has never been erased, nor has He ever blotted it out of the Book of Life.
Since you have been in this world He has loved you most patiently. You have often provoked Him. You have rebelled against Him times without number, yet He has never stopped the outflow of His heart towards you. And, blessed be His name, He never will! You are His and you always shall be His. Jesus says, “Because I live, you shall live also.” God’s love to you is without boundary. He could not love you more, for He loves you like a God–and He never will love you less. All His heart belongs to you. “As the Father has loved Me,” says Jesus, “even so have I loved you.”
Contemplate for a moment what you have received as the result of this love. You have received, first of all, the gift of the only begotten Son. He left the Throne of honor for the Cross of shame, the brightness of Glory for the darkness of the tomb. Oh, the depths of the love which is revealed in Calvary! You will never, never be able to fathom the depth of the love of God towards you in the gift of His dear Son to be your Redeemer! Think, now–the Holy Spirit brought Jesus Christ to you! And what were you then? It is a shame to speak of some of the things which you then loved, but you are washed, you are cleansed and sanctified. Oh, that blessed bath filled with blood!
Oh, the depth of love there is in the forgiveness of sins according to the riches of His Grace! What a work of Divine Grace was that which changed your nature to make you love what once you hated! And what a work it has been to keep the helm of your vessel right–oftentimes the current would have drifted you back again to the old rock and wrecked you–but a strong hand has kept the head of the vessel heavenward. A blessed wind has filled the sail. And though you have made but slow progress, you are still on the way to the fair haven. The love of God which has been manifested in you is a very Heaven of love.
I cannot measure the love which God has shown towards me, poor me, though I am only one of His family. I feel as if it were deeper than Hell and higher than Heaven–as long as eternity and wide as immensity. I cannot understand it. But what does this love say to me and to you but this–it calls to another deep! Oh, how I ought to love my God who has so loved me! Oh, how I ought to hate the sin which made my Savior bleed! Deeps of the Savior’s grief, you call to deeps of spiritual repentance. The agonies of Christ call us to the slaughter of our sins. Brethren, if God so loved us, it calls to another deep–we ought also so to love one another! If God forgave us, behold another deep of obligation to forgive all those who have offended us!
How can I love the saints of God enough who are the Brethren of Him who loved me even to the death? As for poor through the blood of the Cross, how I ought to seek the lost sheep, still lost and wandering, as I also once was! If Jesus has so loved me, how I ought to love Him! Brethren, I dare not, at this hour, say a word against other Christian people, though I might fairly do so. But I will accuse myself and admit that I have hardly caught so much as an idea of what a consecrated man ought to be.
I have read the lives of those of God’s servants whose enthusiasm has been fervent and whose consecration has been complete and I have felt that they were like a huge Colossus and I a dwarf walking under their huge legs. Oh, but to serve Christ as He ought to be served does not mean giving Him a trifle, now and then, out of our estate and never knowing that we have given it! It means pinching ourselves right cheerfully to serve His cause. It does not mean saying a good word, sometimes, for Him when it would be shameful to be silent! It means making our whole life a testimony to His dear love. It does not mean giving Him the candle ends and cheese parings of our soul, stingingly doling out to Him what we would give a beggar at the door. It means the rendering up of body, soul and spirit–the surrender of our entire nature to be offered in sacrifice!
As the bullock was brought to the altar–bound to the horns thereof, killed and offered up–with the fat and the inwards, so must we be entirely given up to our Lord! O for more real consecration! Jesus has done so much for us–let us endeavor to do more for Him! And this morning let the deeps of Divine Love call to the deeps within our grateful souls and let those deeps cry to the deeps of the Eternal Spirit as we ask to be perfectly given up to the cause and honor of our Lord!
- Time fails me, therefore I must notice another deep. There is a depth in this world, A DEPTH OF DIVINE FORBEARANCE towards impenitent and graceless men. And depend upon it, it answers to another deep, A DEEP OF IMMEASURABLE AND NEVER-ENDING WRATH IN THE WORLD TO COME. It is a very solemn subject and I desire to speak most solemnly. Therefore I entreat you to hear most earnestly, especially you unconverted ones.
It is a very great mystery that God permits the ungodly to go on as they do. Walk down some of our streets at night, if you dare, and mark what you see. You inwardly exclaim, “I wonder why God permits it! Here is a reeking Sodom in the heart of a so-called Christian city.” Step into some of the dens of infamy and you will feel, “God could, if He would, suppress this in a minute–why doesn’t He?” Hearken for a moment to the talk of blasphemers–what atrocious insults they perpetrate upon the Majesty of Heaven. They go out of their way to imprecate curses upon themselves, their limbs, their eyes, their souls. What are they doing? If they will not obey God, could they not at least let Him alone and not insult Him to His face?
We have heard in these days a blasphemer stand upon a public platform and say, “There is no God and if there is a God,” taking out his watch, “let him strike me dead in five minutes.” When he still found himself alive, he argued that there was no God. The fact was, God was much too great to be put out of patience by such an insignificant wretch as he! Had God been less than God He would have struck him dead, but being God He passed him by with sublime indifference, as a hero would pass by the chirping of a grasshopper. Yet the Divine forbearance is certainly very wonderful, very marvelous.
I have heard say that when Mr. John Ryland was present at a certain meeting when the slave-trade question was first agitated, a story was told in that meeting of atrocities perpetrated in the middle passage between Africa and the States. And those atrocities were so enormous that John Ryland, in the exuberance of his wrath, knelt down and said to God, “Lift up Your thunderbolt and damn these wretches, O righteous God.” I know that in sight of oppression and cruelty I have felt a longing for speedy vengeance on the tyrant and have been very thankful to think that I had not the handling of the thunderbolts. But God has looked on, calmly looked on, and suffered infamies which were nothing less than infernal to be perpetrated, again and again! He appears to wink at men’s sins.
Ah, my Brethren, can you think for a minute what you and I would do if some cruel wretches should take our children and torture them and burn them alive? How would our wrath be up and how would we strike in their defense! But remember that from the days of Christ until now the dear children of God, dearer to Him than our children are to us, have been shut up in prison to rot. They have been sawn asunder. They have wandered about in sheep skins and goat skins. They have been burned at Smithfield and a thousand other places and have crimsoned the snows of the Alps with their blood. And yet God, in the great deeps of His forbearance, has been still.
There has been, it is true, a vengeance in Providence in the long run–the reader of history knows how God has avenged every persecution. Still, the recompense was slow. There were no fiery arrows to pierce Bishop Bonner when he condemned Anne Askew. There were no immediate lightning flashes to wither Domitian or Nero when they insultingly put the people of God to death. No, the Lord bears long with them and His longsuffering is a deep–a great deep! In this house, to come back to ourselves, what deeps of forbearance have been shown in the cases of some of you! You have often heard of Jesus Christ, my dear Hearers, but you have not received Him. You have known the way of salvation, but you have not run in it.
I have pleaded with you–I hope with all honesty and earnestness–and you have been awakened, too, and aroused, but you have stifled your convictions! You have deliberately chosen your sins and you have presumptuously turned away from the blood of Christ. O my unconverted Hearers, those of you, especially, who still continue regularly to come to these seats until I almost wonder to see you here–I cannot imagine what pleasure you can derive from having your consciences continually whipped up! I beg you to consider that men, and women, too, among you have chosen the lusts of the flesh and ungodly gain, or drunkenness, when you know better, know much better! Some of you have had a degree of Divine light shed across your souls and yet you have deliberately chosen to rebel against God! I fear you have, some of you, done so to the hardening of your hearts even to final impenitence!
Listen, now, I pray you! As surely as God has shown towards you a great deep of forbearance, He will show an equal depth of justice. He may pay slowly, but He will pay in full! God’s mill grinds slowly, but it grinds most surely and thoroughly, even to powder. The feet of the avenging angels are shod with wool, but they never turn aside from their path. According to this Book there is a Hell into which those who reject Christ will be cast, the misery of which is dimly to be guessed at, but can never be fully described–a misery of which it is said, “Their worm dies not and their fire is not quenched”–a misery which will last as long as the enjoyments of Heaven shall last! For while the saints shall go away into everlasting joy, the punishment of the ungodly has, according to the testimony of Jesus, the same eternal duration.
Do not deceive yourselves by any dream of annihilation! Do not imagine there shall come an end to your woe! If there were the shadow of a ground for that statement, Hell would cease to be Hell, for hopelessness is of the essence of Hell. O, by the boundless love treasured up in Christ Jesus, remember there is equal terror in His wrath! The hand that is mighty to save is equally mighty to destroy! All Omnipotence has been put out to save, but this rejected, an equal Omnipotence shall be put out to crush. Tempt not the Lord! The deeps of your sin are already challenging the deeps of His justice. “Turn you, turn you, why will you die?”
Awaken not the fury which you cannot endure, overcome, or avoid! Kindle not the fire which, like flames among stubble, will burn furiously and cannot be stopped! O dash not your souls upon the bosses of Jehovah’s buckler! Cast not yourselves upon the point of His glittering spear! God grant of His eternal mercy that you may not tempt those deeps.
VI. Now to close with a more cheerful theme. There is, Brethren, A BLESSED DEEP OF HOLY HAPPINESS AND BLISS FOR THE SAINTS IN HEAVEN, AND TODAY IT CALLS TO THE DEEP OF JOY AND THANKFULNESS WITHIN SAINTLY HEARTS who are lingering here below. Yes, the day is coming and all the wings of time are bringing it nearer, when we shall be emancipated from the body of this death! We are not forever to be sickly, sinful and sorrowing. We shall soon be set free from everything that encumbers us.
If Christ come not in our lifetime to take us to Himself, we shall go to Him to dwell with Him where He is. And what are the delights of being in Heaven! To be with Christ! The spouse forever with the Bridegroom! The child forever in His Father’s bosom! What must it be to dwell above! Forever pure! Forever beyond the danger of temptation! Safe and blessed! Shielded from all fear! Enriched with all blessedness! Christian, you shall soon be like Jesus as well as with Him. You shall be crowned as He is and blessed as He is. Oh, how satisfied shall you be when you wake up in His likeness!
I cannot go further, for though I were to talk of the harps of gold, of the streets that shine with unearthly light, of gates of pearl, of the never-ending song and of the gentle flowing river of the Water of Life amidst the trees that yield their 12 manner of fruits, yet all would be less than what I have said already. You shall be with Christ and you shall be like He is! Indeed, Heaven is a great deep! The glorious history of the Church of God in years to come is a great deep, too. That reigning of Christ on the earth. That judging of the angels. That being caught up together with the Lord in the air. That resurrection of the body in the likeness of His glorious body. That being forever with the Lord–why, these are things which eye has not seen and ear has not heard! Heaven is a blessed deep.
I see it as a sea of glass mingled with fire and almost hear the harpers who stand forever harping on that glassy sea. O let the thought of it awaken the deeps of your souls! Heaven is yours, for He has said, “I go to prepare a place for you. And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and receive you unto Myself; that where I am, there you may be also.” “For we know that if our earthly house of this tabernacle were dissolved, we have a building of God, a house not made with hands.” I blush to think that I should ever be downcast! I am ashamed to think that I should dare to be sad! Oh, it is blessed work to anticipate that joy, yet it makes one ashamed of the depression which our present light afflictions so easily cause to our feeble minds!
O you mourning saints, you have been putting on your sackcloth today, and you arranged it so carefully, for there is a kind of foppery about grief that makes it strew its ashes with deliberation. O Sirs, could you not have spent some of your time at another wardrobe and in putting on another dress? Come, you afflicted one, array yourself, for a minute, with the robe of whiteness, without spot or blemish! How well it will become you! How soon you will wear it! Now, put that unfading crown upon your head. You are a poor servant or a working man, and, ah, that head has often ached with weariness and woe–but put on the crown now! How royally it adorns your brow! It would not fit any other head, it was made for you–and you will soon have it! In a few days, or a few months, you will go by the way of the sepulcher, or else by the way of the second coming up to your throne and your kingdom!
Now hold that palm branch in your hand! How delightful it looks! How your eyes gleam at the thought of the victory which it betokens! Arise, I say, and put the silver sandals upon those weary feet! Bedeck yourself with the jewels and ornaments prepared for your wedding. Take down the harp and try your fingers among its celestial strings. “Wake up, my glory! Wake, psaltery and harp! I myself will awake right early.” Blessed be the Lord who has prepared for His people rivers of pleasure at His right hand forevermore!
Our souls anticipate the day of enjoyment! And at this hour, by faith, we eat the fruit of the trees of life and drink from the living fountains of waters. O clap your hands, you righteous! Sound the cymbals, even the high-sounding cymbals, and give praise unto your God even forever, who has prepared for you the rest that knows no end!
Thus “deep calls unto deep.” May the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God the Father, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit abide with you forever. Amen and Amen. PORTION OF SCRIPTURE READ BEFORE SERMON–Psalm 77.