‘Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children, whom thou mayest make princes in all the earth.’ Psalm 45:16
Suggested Further Reading: 2 Kings 2:1–15
The fathers must depart. We will not dwell on that, lest we indulge in dreary apprehensions as to our church’s future, though that would be folly and sin, for in looking back on the past, we have seen such a marvellous succession in the ministry, and also in all the offices of the church, that we cannot but thank God that he does walk still among the golden candlesticks and trim the lamps! But let us turn to the pleasing reflection, ‘Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children.’ When the fathers die, God shall find other men who, trained while their fathers yet lived, shall be ready and ripe to take their places. Very often we hear the question, ‘If such-and-such a minister should die, who could occupy his pulpit? What would be the use of such-and-such a building, if So-and-so were taken to his rest?’ Ah! you know not what you ask, nor what you say—‘Instead of thy fathers shall be thy children.’ Men of faith are followed by men of faith. They who trust God, when they die, shall be succeeded by others who shall walk in the same divine life, and shall see the same promises fulfilled. The love which burned in the heart of one, when quenched there by death, shall burn in the breast of another; the hope that gleamed from one joyous eye, shall soon gleam from the eyes of another whom God has raised up to be his successor. The work shall not stop for want of a workman; supplication shall not cease for want of righteous men to pray; the offering of praise shall not be stayed from the absence of grateful hearts to offer joyous songs. God shall be pleased to raise up one after another, as he said to Joshua, ‘Moses my servant is dead; now therefore arise, go over this Jordan, thou, and all this people.’
For meditation: It is God’s right to appoint successors to his servants (Numbers 27:18–20), but they still need training (Deuteronomy 1:38; 3:28; 31:7–8). The trainee soon becomes the trainer (2 Timothy 2:1–2).
Sermon no. 424
15 December (1861)