GOSPEL THE MAGAZINE. 11 COMFORT YE, COMFORT YE !lIY PEOPLE, SAITH YOUR GOD." "ENDEAVOURING TO KEEP THE UNITY OF THE SPIRIT IN THE BOND OF PEACE," U JESUS CHRIST, THE SAME YESTERDAY, AND TO-nAY, AND FOR EVER." No. 477, } NEW SERIES. SEPTEMBER, 1905. i No. 1,677, , OLD SERIES. ~fJt .:ftamilJ} Uortion; OR, WORDS OF SPIRITUAL CAUTION, COUNSEL, AND COMFORT. Who comforteth us iu all Oill' tribulation, that we may be able to comfort them which are in any trouble, by the comfort wherewith we ourselves are comforted of God."-2 Cor.. i. 4. THE APPOINTED PLACE. " But when thou m·t bidden, go and sit down in the lowest 1"OO1n."-LIJKE xiv. 10. THEGospel of the sovereign grace of GOD is spoken of in the Scriptures as a spiritual feast; ani!. the final gathering of the redeemed people of GOD,when "the whole family in heaven and earth" shall be gathered, as "the Marriage Supper of the LAMB." TheGospel of our salvation may well be likened to a banquet, or feast, for it comprises an endless, bountiful variety of spiritual dainties, provided for hungering and thirsting souls, who are thus lovingly bidden by the King of kings :-" Eat, 0 friends, drink, yea, drink abundantly, 0 beloved" (Song of Solomon v. 1). The HOLY SPIRIT describes the Gospel of CHRIST as a "feast of fat things, of wines on the lees well refined." The late beloved DEAN LAW once wrote :-" On this board there is the rich abundance of the Holy Word-refreshment of exuberant promises. There is the Bread of Life-His body and His blood, and all the discoveries of redeeming love manifested in His deep humiliation, that He might represent, redeem, and save." The same Evangelical writer, quoting the words, "He brought me to the banqueting house, and His banner over me was love," sweetly proceeds -" This portion unfolds a splendid scene. A royal apartment is opened. We discern a board spread with all luxurious viands. Like the ancient halls of earth's nobles, it is decorated with flags 33
514 TheGospelMagazine. and ensigns, proclaiming ancestral exploit&. To this grand guestchamber CHRIST leads the Church. Over her seat a banner floats, emblazoned with emblems of love. The spectacle is resplendent with profuse magnificence. May the HOLY SPIRIT teach us by these images of greatness." The choice of guests to partake of these royal bounties is the prerogative of the KING of GLORY Himself. It being a feast of grace, He chooses such characters as man in his pride and ignorance would reject. JEHOVAH'S choice does not fall on those who can, or think they can, requite Him. There is no room at His Gospel table for self-righteousness. Those whom the GOD of SALVATION has selected to sit down at His table answer to the following description-" the poor, and the maimed, and the halt, and the blind." By His SPIRIT-appointed messengers and ministers, who preach the glad tidings of free grace in the name of JESUS, He calls from the highways and hedges the objects of His everlasting love. These He "compels" to come in, that His" house may be filled." And as they" come in," a willing people in the day of His power, each seeks for the last place-" the lowest room" at the King's table. Each sin-convinced, SPIRIT-led soul reckons himself the chief of sinners, and, among all the in-gathered company, deems himself the most unworthy of "dainties such as angels have, or of the children's bread." We trace this lowliness and self-loathing in the called ones according to GOD'S purpose alike in the Old Testament and the New. Thus, we find the Psalmist in his day pouring out his heart's experience in such forcible terms as these: "I had rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my GOD, than to dwell in the tents of wickedness;" or, as the margin speaks :-" I would choose rather to sit at the threshold in the house of my GOD." He sought" the lowest room "-or last place-just inside the Father's house as best befitting one so vile a sinner. We see the same grace of humility and self-consciousness in the case of the Syro-Phmnician woman. A place among the dogs under the table, if only a few crumbs might fall to her lot from the MASTER'S table, sufficed her needy soul. It is thus still with all who are the subjects of the SPIRIT'S gracious unction and in-dwelling presence. One of the leading principles of the sovereign grace of the Gospel is this-" Many that are first shall be last; and the last shall be first" (Matt. xix. 30). "Many be called, but few chosen" (Matt.