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blessing to those who know it. The text stands thus :-Firstly, "The joyful sound." Secondly, the Blessing—“ Blessed is the people that know" it. Thirdly, the Promise, or Privilege—" They shall walk, O Lord, in the light of Thy Countenance."
The first point then is this," The joyful sound." And now let me speak to you in a very plain and familiar way this evening, upon what appears to me to be a very easy, and yet a very beautiful subject-"The joyful sound." But stay a moment," The joyful sound." Before persons appreciate "the joyful sound," they must know something about the woful sound. I shall, therefore, have a word or two to say about the woful sound. And what do I mean by the woful sound? If you look into the 6th chapter of Isaiah, you will find what I mean in the 5th verse. Isaiah saw "the Lord sitting upon a throne, high and lifted up." And when he saw the Lord in His glory, he cried out: "Woe is me! Woe is me! I am a sinful man, O Lord. I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I dwell in the midst of a people of unclean lips. Woe is me." Brethren, do you know anything about this woful and sorrowful sound? It is an afflicted and bitter cry. Paul said, "When the commandment came, sin revived and I died;" "O wretched man that I am, who is to deliver me?" A sorrowful soul feels under a burden like the Psalmist when he said, I am troubled; and I am bowed down greatly; I go mourning all the day long. A broken heart, and a troubled soul! Woe is me!" Beloved, if there be any person present this evening who is labouring under such a state of mind as this, I have got some good news for him. Now, what is the good news that I have got for a poor creature that has heard the woful and sorrowful sound in his own soul? Just read Luke ii. 10,11. At the birth of our Lord, the angel said unto the shepherds who were sore afraid, "Fear not; for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the City of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord." Good news! A Saviour is born! Jesus is His name! Just such a Saviour as the sin-stricken soul needs; a Saviour that meets all his necessities and supplies all his requirements. His name is Jesus, or Saviour. And why? Because "He shall save His people from their sins." This is the good news then. And there is salvation in no other. "For there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved," but by the Name of Jesus, the Saviour. Now, you see this is very plain and simple, but it is just what a sorrowful sinner needs when he feels himself lost. Jesus came to seek and to save that which is lost. If then the Spirit of God reveals Jesus to a sinner's soul, then to that soul the good news will be, as in the language of my text, a "joyful sound," a sound that gladdens his heart, and gives him peace with his God in and through his glorious Saviour.
I think there is an allusion in my text to one or two incidents as recorded in the Old Testament. I shall endeavour to point them out to you. There may be an allusion in the text to the silver trumpets of which you read in the 10th chapter of Numbers. The Lord gave direction to Moses to make two trumpets of silver, and they were to be
made of a whole piece. Then you have the use of these trumpets. They were to be used "For the calling of the assembly" together. When the Israelites journeyed these trumpets were to be sounded. And when they went to war these trumpets were to sound an alarm. Another use
was this that in the day of their gladness and joy, and in their solemn days, and in the beginnings of their months they were to blow with these trumpets, over their burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of their peace offerings. Consider for a moment, the silver trumpets were to be of a whole piece. Well, what is the Gospel? It is all of a piece, and when we speak of it being all of a piece, we mean that it is all of grace, --the grace of our God and Father, the grace of our Lord Jesus, the grace of the Holy Spirit. It was settled in the Covenant of Grace that the Gospel should be of a whole piece. That it should be a whole Christ for a wholly lost sinner. If the Gospel depended upon either the creature or the preacher, I fear it would not be all of a piece, but patchwork mixture. I am quite aware that some prefer mixtures; but a mixture does not suit the sinner. The broken-hearted sinner wants a Gospel which is like the silver trumpets, of a whole piece.
The silver trumpets were used for gathering the assembly together. Well, what is the Gospel for but to gather the saints of God together? When the Gospel trumpet is sounded Jesus Christ is exalted. The Spirit goes forth in the word and reaches the heart. The alarm is heard and felt within, and by the Gospel Trumpet men are gathered to Him who said—" And I, if I be lifted up, shall draw all men unto Me." This is the work of the minister, to preach the Gospel faithfully. To proclaim Jesus as the great Shiloh, the great pacificator who was to come, to Whom shall be the gathering of the people. Blow the trumpet then, be not afraid, for to the Lord shall be gathered His people both now and for ever. Another use was this, the silver trumpets were to be sounded when the Children of Israel were about to take their journeys. I think we have some spiritual instruction here. Is not the life of the Christian man described, here upon earth, as a pilgrimage or journey? He is passing through a waste, howling wilderness. It is a sore country through which he wends his way. Well, then, he journeys along as the Gospel Trumpet sounds. He must not go to the right hand nor to the left. He must follow the sound of the Gospel trumpet. He feels that he is journeying to another land. He knows that he is a stranger and pilgrim and that this is not his rest, but that he is looking forward to a city which hath foundations, whose builder and maker is God." "This is not his rest, but he seeks one that is to come." He is journeying-journeying homeward and heavenward. Thus, then, one of the uses of the trumpets, shews us one of the uses of the Gospel when it is preached, which is to direct the Christian in his journey to the city prepared for him.
Again, another use of the silver trumpets was that they were to be blown at the time when they were going to war. My brethren, is not the life of the Christian man here on earth one of war? He has many enemies. What did Paul say to Timothy? He was to be "a good soldier of Jesus Christ," and to war a good warfare." And what was
he to war against? You have done with sin in its condemning power before God. True! But you have still to fight against sin as it bubbles up and annoys within. You have to war against this enemy. Again, you have to war against the temptings of the world. You have to war against your own proud promptings. You have to war against the devil himself, "for we are not ignorant of his devices." We know the "fiery darts" which he hurls at us, and that it is a spiritual conflict in which the child of God is engaged. He needs the sound of the silver trumpet, the sound of the blessed Gospel to encourage him in the contest. A further use of the silver trumpets was this,-In the day of their gladness and joy, and in their solemn days, and in the beginnings of their months they were to blow with these trumpets, over their burnt offerings, and over the sacrifices of their peace offerings. There is something here that brings out the idea of gladness, and joy, and victory. This will be found to be another feature of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In the time of Hezekiah (II Chronicles, xx, 27th and 28th verses) we read:-"Hezekiah commanded to offer the burnt offering upon the altar. And when the burnt offering began, the song of the Lord began also with the trumpets, and with the instruments ordained by David, king of Israel. And all the congregation worshipped, and the singers sang, and the trumpeters sounded and all this continued until the burnt offering was finished." You see how the sounding of the trumpets was connected with peace offerings and with burnt offerings, and this blowing of the trumpets had to continue all the time that the sacrifices were being offered. Typically, this points to the offering of the Lord Jesus Christ, who is our whole burnt offering, and only sacrifice. But there is this difference—that now the ministers blow the trumpet over the victim that has been offered. It is not during the offering of a sacrifice, but because the sacrifice has been offered. Jesus has come and "put away sin by the sacrifice of Himself." And by this " one offering once offered He hath perfected for ever them that are sanctified." This is the joyful sound which the trumpeters of the Gospel have now to sound forth, which is indeed a day of joy and gladness.
The other incident in the Old Testament to which my text alludes is recorded in Leviticus xxv. We have in this chapter an account of the year of jubilee. In the year of jubilee there occurred three or four things which we must notice. There was to be rest to the land. Liberty had to be proclaimed throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof. All debtors and captives were to be released; and there was to be a full restoration of inheritance. Now, look at this and I think you will agree with me that the jubilee trumpet must have been a joyful sound-a real sound of joy and gladness. There was rest unto the land. Where is rest to be found? Have weary pilgrims no resting place? Is there no rest to the weary soul? The Lord speaks. He speaks to the weary and heavy laden, and He says:-" Come unto Me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest." is the year of jubilee to the sinner's soul. Jesus promises rest. There is rest when the Lord Jesus Christ speaks peace within. This is that rest which it was my privilege to speak of in this large city of yours on
a former occasion.
Verily, there is a rest that remains and abides for ever sure to the people of God. It is in Jesus. This is a sweet, blessed, and an everlasting rest. It is the year of jubilee. Again liberty was to be proclaimed to all the inhabitants of the land. Consider this in a
gospel and spiritual sense. And what a grand thing it is when the Lord speaks liberty to a sinner's soul-liberty from sin, and from sinful self-liberty from the yoke and bondage of the law-a liberty which is only known to the Sons of God by the power of the Holy Ghost. Liberty in Christ. A year of jubilee. All those who were in debt were allowed to go free. Well, my brethren, have you been awakened to a sense of your sins? Have you felt how great debtors you were on account of your transgressions? Debtors; debtors to the law; debtors to do the whole law of God! And if God dealt with you according to your sins, or according to the debts you have incurred, you could never, never escape the prison. But the Gospel shows us that our debts have been paid, and that the year of our jubilee has come. Christ Jesus is the debtors' surety, He pays the bill, He settles the account.
The gospel trumpet is the sound of love and mercy. Have you felt this in your hearts, the liberty of the year of jubilee in your souls? Has the Spirit told you by the gospel that your sins are pardoned—that you are free men in Christ Jesus-and that you can now walk forth at liberty, none daring to make you afraid? Again, in the year of jubilee there was to be a restoration of inheritance. The gospel trumpet sounds forth the restoration of inheritance by the blood of Jesus. Think of what we lost in Adam-everything!! What have we gained in Christ Jesus the Lord? Everyone that is born again of God knows what he has gained. He has "the witness in himself that he is born of God." "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance incorruptible, and undefiled, and that fadeth not away, reserved in Heaven for you" (I Peter i. 3, 4). This is consolation. Do not think for a moment that I have been dealing with fancies as regards that chapter in Leviticus. Take the words of our Lord in the 4th chapter of St. Luke's Gospel and the 18th verse- "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because He hath anointed me to preach the Gospel to the poor; He hath sent me to heal the broken-hearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, to preach the acceptable year of the Lord." This is indeed the Gospel year of jubilee, the joyful sound in the text. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound. I now wish to show you one or two more passages before I leave this first head. There is that passage contained in the 27th chapter of Isaiah and the 13th verse, I think it refers to the very same subject. "And it shall come to pass in that day,"—that is the Gospel day" that the great trumpet shall be blown, and they shall come which were ready to perish in the land of Assyria, and the outcasts in the land of Egypt, and shall worship the Lord in the Holy Mount at Jerusalem." Great, indeed, is the gospel trumpet ;
great, because it has the great God for its author; great, because it meets the needs of great sinners; great, because it extends to the ends of the earth; great, because it saves the outcasts and those that are ready to perish with a great salvation. But before I enlarge upon this, do you know anything about being an outcast? Do you know anything about being in a perishing state ? If so, then the "outcasts" and those ready to perish "shall hear the sound of the great Gospel trumpet, and they shall come to Zion, and worship the Lord in Jerusalem, that is, in the Church of God. Read once more our Lord's words in Mat. xxiv. 31. "And He (the Lord Jesus Christ) shall send His angels with a great sound of a trumpet, and they shall gather together his elect from the four winds, from one end of Heaven to the other." He, the Lord Jesus, shall do this "He shall send His angels." He gives His ministers their commission, when He sends them forth as His messengers, for by this word "angels" we must understand "ministers," or messengers.' They are His trumpeters, and they shall go forth "with a great sound of a trumpet," in preaching the glorious Gospel. And what is it that gives the Gospel its power? It is the Spirit Himself who accompanies the Gospel and makes it all powerful in the salvation of souls. But who are those that are to be gathered together to Christ from the four winds of heaven? They are here declared to be "His elect." These are vessels of mercy. Their hearts are broken. They hear the trumpet of Salvation sound. To them it is a joyful sound. It is good news from a far country. I cannot see why we should be ashamed to speak thus of the glorious Gospel of the blessed God. Many of my brethren say to me, "I quite agree with you, but is it not rather dangerous, indeed, it is not quite safe to say so much as you do, for you frighten the people?" Friends, I say it is no bad thing to frighten people sometimes-specially if they are frightened out of their sins into the Lord Jesus Christ. is a joyful sound in the end, though at first it may be a very woful sound. First, bitterness and sorrow for sin, but in the end rejoicing and safety in Jesus. Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound.
This leads me to consider, somewhat more briefly, my second point :"Blessed is the people that know the joyful sound." And now, here are three things:-"The people," "They know," and they are "Blessed." This is the first, "the people." Now, who do you think they are? Because it says: "Blessed is the people." Who are they? I read in Isaiah xliii. 21, these words :-" This people have I formed for Myself, they shall shew forth My praise." Now, I understand "the people in my text to be the people which Jehovah has formed for Himself. This people, then, is a chosen people in Christ; this people is a redeemed people by Christ; this people is a called people by the spirit of our God. Now, this is the people that believe the Gospel and have the Spirit of God dwelling in them. They are the temple of the Holy Ghost. This is the people that "shall not be ashamed" when they "shall speak with their enemies in the gate," for they are able to give a reason of the hope that is in them, with meekness and fear. They speak well of His name, and sing of His goodness. This is the people.
It is said that this "people KNOW the joyful sound."