'Grove Chapel Pulpit Sermons' By Joseph Irons 9 Volumes
"II. Let me now lead you to the second point in our discourse, the miraculous preservation which Jacob experienced in the circumstances which threatened to overwhelm him. "My life is preserved."
This was impossible in the order of nature; and it made the patriarch wonder, for Jehovah has declared, "there shall no man see me and live." And how is this? said Jacob, how marvelous is it that I am not struck dead! that my powers and faculties are not literally destroyed with this overpowering view, this exercise of wrestling with God, and seeing Him face to face! That my life is preserved-what a marvel! The Lord Jesus Christ authorized the same thing to be said in His day, "No man hath seen God at any time." Of course Jacob was included, and as mere man he could not; as a natural carnal man he could not. I have given you one quotation from the Old Testament and one from the New, to show that it is impossible for human nature, in its fallen state, to have any believing view, any spiritual intimacy with the Most High God. Jehovah, the Father, said to Moses, "There shall no man see me and live." In order that Moses' request to be shown His glory might be granted him, He puts him in the "cleft of a rock," and "covers him with His hand while He passed by" to display somewhat of His glory. Now, was not that a beautiful type of the manner in which God gives the awakened sinner a view of Himself. He puts him in the cleft of the rock-the wounded side of Christ-the precious mediatorial office of the Lord Jesus, and there he is covered with the paternal hand; he cannot tumble out, or run away, or be lost; none of the forked lightnings of Mount Sinai can strike him, or the thunderbolts of Divine vengeance touch him; he is in the "cleft of the rock," covered with the paternal hand of Deity, and there he obtains a glimpse of the Divine glory-a view of God the Father-a discovery of the matter of fact that all the perfections and attributes of Deity are united and glorified in the grand plan of salvation which is revealed in the precious Christ of God. So John the Baptist, in adverting to the same merciful dispensation, the same miracle of grace, saith, "No man hath seen God at any time." and immediately adds, "The only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father hath declared Him." And then, as the only-begotten Son which is in the bosom of the Father hath declared Him, Christ Himself says, "He who hath seen the Son hath seen the Father also." Nature, in a fallen, ruined, depraved, degenerate state, is incompetent to anything like this communication with the Most High. We must first have a new capacity created. Of the wicked it is said, that God is not in all their thoughts. "God looked down from heaven upon the children of men to see if there were any that did understand and seek God;" but every one was doing evil, and pursuing his own free will by nature; "they were all gone aside, they are all together become filthy; there is none that doeth good-no, not one." So that I come to the point of vast importance in this marvellous preservation, that it is nothing less than a miracle when Jehovah puts forth His power, displays His glory, and reveals Himself to the ruined sinner, that poor human nature is not at once overwhelmed. I know a little of this by blessed experience. There have been seasons of sweet and blessed memory in which every power and faculty of this frame of mine has trembled almost to dissolution with the joy, ecstasy, and the bliss that my heavenly Father has revealed to my soul, both in public and private. "My life is preserved."" pg. 41,41 Joseph Irons Volume 1 'Grove Chapel Pulpit' Volume 1