In Brussels I heard a good sermon in a Romish church. The church was crowded with people, many of them standing, though you might have a seat for a halfpenny or a farthing. But I stood too. And that good man—for I believe he is a good man—preached the Lord Jesus with all his might. He spoke of the love of Christ, so that I, a very poor hand at the French language, could fully understand him, and my heart kept beating within me as he spoke of the beauties of Christ and the preciousness of his blood, and of his power to save the chief of sinners. He did not say justification by faith, but he did say, “Efficacy of the blood,” which comes to very much the same thing. He did not tell us we were saved by grace and not by our works, but he did say that all the works of men were less than nothing when they were brought into competition with the blood of Christ, and that that blood was in itself enough. True there were objectionable sentences, as naturally there must be, but I could have gone to that man and could have said, “Brother, you have spoken the truth;” and if I had been handling the text myself, I must have done it in the same way, if I could have done it as well. I was pleased to find my own opinion verified in that case, that there are some, even in the apostate church, who cleave unto the Lord; some sparks of heavenly fire that tremble amidst the rubbish of old superstition, some lights that are not blown out, even by the strong wind of popery, but still cast a feeble gleam across the waters sufficient to guide the soul to the rock Christ Jesus.
For meditation: We may find it impossible to understand or agree with their position, but the true believing saints of God can sometimes be found in the most unexpected places (1 Kings 18:3-4; Philippians 4:22. NB: The Caesar in question was Nero!)
Part of nos. 331-332 20 July ( From A Lecture on August 21 1860 )