The Voice of the Charmers
by James Smith, 1860
The everlasting gospel is the greatest blessing which God can confer on a people. It has lifted our own country from a state of barbarism, delivered it from oppression and despotism, and made it the wonder of the world! And as much as it does for countries and communities, it does more for individuals; and yet, such is man's enmity to God, and the delusion under which he labors — that he rejects that gospel, and all the blessings which it presents. To this subject may be applied the language of the Psalmist, "Their venom is like the venom of a snake, like that of a deaf adder that has stopped up its ears, that will not hearken to the voice of the charmers, however skillful the enchanters may be." Psalm 58:4-5.
The everlasting gospel is the instrument intended to charm sinners. It is God's voice in its most melodious tones — not like his voice in the law, which was harsh, solemn, and alarming; it is gentle, sweet, and winning.
It is God's voice to adders — or to men as fallen, accursed, and depraved. As the adder is one of the most poisonous, degraded, and hateful of reptiles — so sinners of mankind are represented as . . .
having adder's poison under their lips,
their mouth being an open sepulcher, and
their hearts deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked.
It is God's voice proclaiming . . .
pardon for the guilty,
righteousness for the ungodly,
holiness for the polluted, and
Heaven for the wretched, the miserable, and undone!
It is God's voice, beseeching sinners to be reconciled, and become his friends; that they may live in fellowship with him on earth, and enjoy all the glory of his happy home.
It reveals God in a charming character — as a Father pitying his prodigal and apostate children.
It reveals the Son of God in a charming relation — as the Savior of sinners.
It reveals the Holy Spirit in a charming office — as the Paraclete — or monitor, instructor, and comforter of poor sinners.
This instrument is used, not by angels, who may by their glory and majesty fill us with fear and dread; but by men, men of like passions with ourselves. Men whom God has appointed to the work, anointed with the Holy Spirit, and so qualified them for the business. Men whom God has commissioned — and so authorized them to speak for him. Men whom God has owned — so making them blessings to their fellow men. O what wisdom they need to charm souls! What patience is required to endure their discouragements! What fortitude is necessary to face their foes! What perseverance is demanded, until God crowns their efforts with success! Well may the ministers of Christ cry, "Brethren, pray for us!"
The treatment these servants of God receive is here set forth. Like the deaf adder, who thrusts its tail into one ear, and presses the other so firmly on the ground that no sound, however sweet, can enter; so some openly refuse to listen to them. They will not even lend an ear, or give God's message a thought.
Others hear — but will not be charmed; they stifle convictions, and get rid of all impressions. They put the gospel away from them. They will not yield.
To be charmed, is to be drawn forth from all their holes and hiding-places; from all their old customs, companions, and enjoyments — from the hole of self-righteousness and self-dependence.
To be charmed, is to be rendered harmless — the charmed adder will not sting; so the sinner, however hurtful once, is hurtful no longer. As it is written, "They shall not hurt nor destroy in all my holy mountain."
To be charmed, is to be led to the Savior:
to his throne for pardon,
to his cross for peace,
to himself for satisfaction and joy.
To be charmed, is to be delighted with the gospel, and its gracious doctrines, precious promises, and holy precepts.
To be charmed, is to surrender themselves up to the music, so as to be ruled by it; then . . .
the name of Christ is sweet,
the work of Christ is precious, and
the example of Christ is captivating.
To one that is charmed by the gospel — Christ is all. His blood, his word, his Spirit, his ordinances, and his people — are prized above all things!
See then, God's view of the gospel:
it is a charm;
its sound is a charming sound;
its theme is a charming theme;
its proposals are charming proposals.
See, also, the notice he takes of the reception it meets with; he observes . . .
whether sinners listen — or refuse to hear;
whether they embrace — or neglect it;
whether they yield themselves to its influence — or thrust it from them.
See, too, the source to which its rejection is traced, to man's sinful will, "they will not hearken to the voice of the charmers," they will not come to Jesus, that they might have life.
See, finally, the consequences of its rejection — they remain adders, dangerous, and doomed to destruction. They are under God's curse; to the earth they cleave, and with an everlasting destruction shall they be destroyed. May God give us grace to listen to, believe, and be charmed by the Gospel — to our own salvation and his glory.