The Pamphlet Collection of Sir Robert Stout: Volume 84
Now, at last, the "labouring" and enlightened soul, who could not find rest in the world, in the Law, or in his own righteousness, finds "rest"—sweet and lasting "rest"—in Jesus. But who can tell what that "rest" in Jesus means? A tired workman ending his hard day's work, a sailor coming from the stormy sea into the calm harbour, a soldier coming from the battlefield into his own family-circle, and a dying person getting a few minutes' interval in his great agony, all those may know a little of the meaning of "rest." But never has any sick person felt so much pain from bodily disease, as the sin-sick soul feels for his corrupted nature. The pain in the soul far outweighs the pain in the body, as the "rest" in Jesus also far outweighs all bodily and earthly rest and pleasure. All God's children agree that they can feel, but not fully explain that great change, when Christ gave them pardon, peace, a good conscience, a new heart, and the Holy Spirit, which always bears witness with their spirit that they are God's children (Rom. viii, 16). Christ not only saves his people from the guilt and fear of sin, but he also saves them from the power, dominion, and impurity of sin in their hearts (Matt, i, 21; v, 8). "There is," says Wesley, "no Gospel without salvation from sin." By faith in Christ true believers not only shall be saved when they die, but they are saved (Eph. ii, 8), and as such they share already a portion of the same joy and happiness, which glorified saints feel in heaven, as being God's children and heirs and the joint heirs with Christ (Rom. viii, 17). Truly, that life and communion with Christ may be called a "rest," a sweet calming "rest," after such great struggles, which they have passed through. The Gospel's powerful effect in the soul is one of the strongest evidences of Christianity. If a Jew, sceptic, freethinker, or infidel be asked: How can you allow yourself a moment's doubt that Christ is the true God, when he actually works such a wonderful change in his believers' souls? How can it be that while we knew not Christ, sin, against our will, had dominion over us (as all true believers confess), but as soon as we did know Christ we got dominion over sin? Surely, none of Christ's enemies have yet been able to answer those questions, except they may say: "Thou art beside thyself; much learning doth make thee mad, we do not believe a jot of what you tell us" (Acts xxvi, 24). True Christians' confession is always a subject which unconverted people more or less hate, scorn, and blaspheme. But it does not matter, when we truly know Christ as our Saviour, we need no testimonies of unbelievers, as we feel "rest"—blessed continual "rest" and ease in our souls—having no doubt, not for a single moment, about the sufficiency of Christ's merits and grace and our own adoption. It is therefore no wonder God's children always feel "rest," feel so page 18 unspeakably happy and thankful to our most merciful God for His free grace, which He, in His bountiful mercy, has bestowed upon them, and from the bottom of their hearts exclaim : "Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, which according to His abundant mercy hath begotten us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead" (1 Peter i, 3). But the gracious God and our Father, who hath called and justified us, is also able to sanctify and glorify us "(Rom. vii, 30). If then God be for us, who can be against us ? All things therefore shall work together to our salvation. As many of us, who have found the grace of God through Christ, will praise Him, while living here below, and then, after a happy death, praise Him through all eternity. Amen.