‘And Jacob awaked out of his sleep, and he said, Surely the Lord is in this place; and I knew it not.’ Genesis 28:16
Suggested Further Reading: Ephesians 4:25–5:4
Cheerfulness is a virtue, levity a vice. How much foolish talking and jesting would at once end if we said, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place.’ The next time you have been indulging in mirth—I mean not innocent mirth, but that which is connected with uncleanness, or with any sort of ill, imagine you see a finger lifted up, and that you hear a voice saying, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place.’ Let your recreation be free from sin; let your amusements be such that you can enjoy them while God looks on. If, too, we felt that God was in this place, how much oftener should we talk of him and of Christ. This afternoon what will many of you talk of? Sunday afternoon talk is generally a great difficulty to some professors. They do not like to go right down into what they think worldly conversation, so they generally talk about ministers. They consider that to be a spiritual subject; and generally, this talk about ministers is more wicked than talk about the devil himself, for I had rather you should speak religiously concerning Satan, than irreligiously concerning even the angels of the churches. There is one tale retailed about this minister, and another tale about the other, and the conversation gives no edification. If they heard an angel say, ‘The Lord is in this place,’ the afternoon of the day of rest would be spent in much more profitable conversation. But suppose that I have some here today who have been lately exposed to personal danger and peril; brethren, do you not think if in the midst of the storm you had heard a voice saying, ‘Surely the Lord is in this place,’ you would have been perfectly at rest?
For meditation: ‘I am with you alway’ (Matthew 28:20) is a great encouragement to Christians both when alone (Acts 18:9–10) and when together (Matthew 18:20). It should also be a check on our behaviour. In everything you should be able to thank God and ask for his blessing (Romans 14:6). Don’t do anything which your conscience prevents you from committing to him (Romans 14:23).
Sermon no. 401
21 July (1861)