No. 6

Rev 19 6

No. 6 [1]

Revelation 19:11

[1st sermon on this text]

And he was clothed with a vesture dipped in blood: and his name is called The Word of God.
An emblem of his victory and the great slaughter he had already made of his enemies.  Thus he appeared to Isaiah (chapter 63), which sublime passage bears a near relation to this.  The prophet foresaw, what John saw in the accomplishment.  Viewing him as a Conqueror, his garments stained with blood, we are led to say it is the blood of his adversaries.  It is so.  But if we consider the manner in which he overcame them, it will lead us likewise to view him as wearing a vesture stained with his own blood.  He obtained a glorious victory; he signally and totally defeated all that opposed him, but it cost him dear, it cost him his life, the blood of his body, the blood of his heart.  Witness Gethsemane, where the blood stained his garments from every pore.  Witness Golgotha, where he hung covered and, as it were, clothed with blood.  And thus his vesture is dipped or dyed in blood. He is represented as still retaining the marks of suffering in his glorified body – a Lamb as it had been slain.

Doubtless these things are figurative.  He wears the nature and appearance of a Man, but it called a Lamb because he offered himself as a sacrifice for sin.  So in my text his bloody vesture as he appeared in vision, is figurative of his sufferings and his conquests.  Apply it:
1. to his sufferings
  That which the law eminently required of our surety and without which it could not have been satisfied was his death.  But it was a bloody death, and therefore he is said to have redeemed us by his blood; we may in like manner include all his sufferings in the meaning of the word.  He was not only sprinkled but dipped in blood.  The agonies of his soul, what he felt when he was sore amazed and very heavy – when the powers of darkness pressed upon him, when it pleased the Father himself to bruise him, is inconceivable by us.  We cannot impute the atonement of one sin, much less of all the sins of all his people with which he was then charged.  We are sure the torments he endured in soul and body sufficiently justify the representation here given, as if he had been plunged in blood.

Two or three reflections are obvious from this part of the subject:
  1.1 The greatness of his love to us
    Herein is love indeed, that distances all comparison with creature love.  We may love our friends, but few would be willing to die for them, still less to die such a death, least of all to endure the wrath of God for them.  But Jesus endured all this for those who by nature and practice were his enemies!
  1.2 The coldness and disproportion of our love to him
    Alas – was it not enough that we should neglect him during the years of our ignorance – but that we should have such faint and low thoughts of his love, now we profess to love him.  Alas how hard are our hearts – surely had we any due sense of these things he would never be out of our minds.   His love would be our first thought in the morning, and the last at night.
  1.3 Our unspeakable obligations
    When he has bought us with such a price, shall we bear to be any longer our own, or think anything too much to do or suffer, to bear or forebear, for such a Saviour?
2. to his victories
  In suffering he conquered; by dying he obtained such a victory that he destroyed all our enemies and dyed his garments in their blood.  He trod them as grapes are bruised in the wine, pressed and totally despoiled them of all their powers.  Here again the expression is figurative, for our worst enemies have properly no blood.

The greatest events depending upon the death of Christ took place in the invisible world; to outward appearance there was only a man suffering upon the cross – but the Scripture assures us that he then spoiled principalities and powers, made a show of them openly leading captivity captive and destroyed death, and him that had the power of death, that is the devil.
  2.1 [Satan and the powers of darkness]
    Satan and the powers of darkness were our chief enemies – detaining souls in sin, working in the hearts of men and leading them blindfold at his will.  But Jesus delivered the prey out of the hand of the mighty, broke open his prison, and provided for their relief – he put their enemies in chains.  Satan has a permission still to disturb and distress, but in all he is overruled and made an instrument of promoting what he chiefly aims to hinder.  But for these ends he could not move against them, and when these ends are answered he will be shut up forever.
  2.2 Sin and guilt are destroyed
    So that whenever a sinner is made sensible of this great work he is freed from condemnation, and the power of sin in him dies.  The very being of it will likewise be destroyed shortly.
  2.3 Death
    Considered as penal, and the sentence due to sin.  In this sense death is utterly destroyed.  He that believeth shall never die. [2]  And though the body, filled with depravity, must suffer dissolution, the nature of death is changed, its sting taken away and they who feel the power of redemption, no longer look upon death with dread but desire, as a welcome messenger approaching to put an end to their sins and sorrows and to open them a door to their heavenly home that they may be forever with their Lord.
  2.4 The world
    This consolation he himself gives, Be of good cheer, I have overcome the world. [3]  The rage of the world only promotes his glory and the sanctification of his people and what is not necessary to these ends shall be restrained.

By the world likewise we may understand all the evils of this mortal life and all its snares.  Afflictions which in themselves are the fruits of sin, are taken into the number of covenant blessings and means of grace. [4]  They are now tokens of love, and supported by his strength and consolations, his people are taught to rejoice in them. [5]
    Rev 19 6 smiles
    It is an effectual victory when things in themselves evil are constrained to work for good.  Jesus likewise overcame in himself, and overcomes in his people, all that is in the world suited to poison and alienate their hearts, so that by faith in him they are enabled to withstand not only its frowns but its smiles, which are perhaps the more dangerous weapons, with which the world can assault them.
  He has conquered and he will conquer. [6]  Much he has done, and he will do more.  He is going forth upon his white horse to farther victories, and must reign till he has subdued all that opposes – ignorance, error, force and fraud, [7] antichrist in all its branches, shall fall before him and the earth at length be filled with the knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea. [8]
[1.] Rejoice for the church – though assaulted on all sides, it is founded on a rock against which the gates of hell cannot prevail. [9]
[2.] Rejoice believers [10] for yourselves.  No weapon formed against you can prosper.  Go forth after the Captain of your salvation, lifting up your banners in his name, and he shall tread all your enemies under his feet. [11]
[3.] Let careless sinners tremble, and seek his mercy in time.  Resistance is in vain, flight impossible.  O be wise and choose the strongest side, lest at last you be found amongst his enemies, and perish without mercy.

[1] Another busy week had passed, including his weekly session with the two Oxford students on Wednesday: ‘A lecture this morning to the young men on faith. The subject last week was inspiration. Thou givest me freedom at these times, afford thy blessing likewise.’ He had begun reading James Beattie, An Essay on the Nature and Immutability of Truth. Polly was well enough to attend church for this first sermon on Revelation 19:13 on Sunday morning 31 August 1777. His diary: ‘Blessed be thy name my Lord, for the liberty of another Sabbath, that my whole family were enabled to attend to thy house, and that I was furnished and supported in the several services of the day. Oh, that a savour of thy truths may rest upon my heart! I speak with earnestness and confidence to others; let me not live in contradiction to my own principles, but as thou hast given me a desire of usefulness to thy people, let me in watering them be also watered myself, and help me to lie low under a conviction of the evil which defiles my best services. In reading the prayers, my mind was occupied and engrossed by thoughts, which though they would not have been amiss in their proper season, were at that time impertinent and wrong. It is thus I am often disturbed in the performance of present duty, by thinking of what is foreign to the purpose. I have thoughts (with thy leave and assistance) of writing something with a view to alleviate the animosities which obtain amongst thy professing people, by which the exercise of love is prevented, and their attention drawn from the main point, to things comparatively of small importance, and often of no importance at all. If this service is agreeable to thy will, to[do] thou influence my heart and thoughts to the performance of it, and enable me to manifest a Christian spirit myself, and to be instrumental in promoting it in others.’ (This would become Apologia – see Sermon No. 12, Endnote 1, for further mention)
The hymn he wrote for this day was ‘Prayer for the Lord’s promised presence’, Zechariah 2:10, Son of God! thy people’s shield!, Olney Hymns, Book 1, Hymn 76. Newton’s ms of this hymn is headed: ‘Horace, Book 4, Ode 5, Imitated’. See here for the week’s diary quotes and a link to his hymn in manuscript form.
[2] Newton to Thomas Haweis, 7 February 1763: ‘What scenes were those displayed in Gethsemane, and upon Golgotha! Can even angels conceive that a redeemed sinner can read the account of his Saviour’s passion with indifference? Yet how often has this been my case?’
[3] John 11:26 And whosoever liveth and believeth in me shall never die. Believest thou this?
[4] John 16:33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
[5] This is well illustrated in Olney Hymns, Book 3, Hymn 36, ‘Prayer answered by crosses’, I asked the Lord that I might grow:
v7 "These inward trials I employ,
From self, and pride, to set thee free;
And break thy schemes of earthly joy,
That thou mayst find thy all in me."
[6] e.g. Newton’s hymn on Judges 14:8, ‘Samson’s lion’, The lion that on Samson roared, Olney Hymns, Book 1, Hymn 24:
v5 Afflictions make them love the word,
Stir up their hearts to prayer;
And many precious proofs afford,
Of their Redeemer’s care.
[7] ms written as: ‘conquered’
[8] [not certain of this word – Ed]
[9] Habakkuk 2:14 For the earth shall be filled with the knowledge of the glory of the Lord, as the waters cover the sea.
[10] Matthew 16:18 And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.
See also Newton’s hymn Glorious things of thee are spoken, on Isaiah 33:20,21; Olney Hymns, Book 1, Hymn 60, 'Zion, or the city of God':
v1 Glorious things of thee are spoken,
Zion, city of our God!
He, whose word cannot be broken,
Formed thee for his own abode:
On the rock of ages founded,
What can shake thy sure repose?
With salvation's walls surrounded
Thou mayst smile at all thy foes.
[11] ms written as: ‘Beleivils’
[12] e.g. Psalm 60:12 Through God we shall do valiantly: for he it is that shall tread down our enemies.

Cowper & Newton Museum, Olney

Marylynn Rouse, 09/08/2016