Transcription of Sermon notes found on the back of a Sheffield Circuit Primitive Methodist Preachers’ Plan, Jul-Oct 1855
[And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: and he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver. That they may offer unto the Lord an offering of righteousness.]
Old Book: 321, 259 or 260, 313
New Book: 453, 405 or 394, 438
It is the heritage of the Saints upon earth; It applies to all God’s people – and pre-eminently to those who are to become the instruments of great good – and extensive usefulness.
Abraham & Joseph, Moses & David – Daniel & the 3 Hebrew children – Peter & Paul, all passed thro’ the furnace of Affliction to the Glory Land – & even the Captain of our Salvation was made perfect etc. There is no New Way to Heaven – thro’ the fire is the Way.
(3) But the process of purification by the Fiery Furnace is often dreadfully severe.
Here is Poverty coming as an armed man – against whom resistance seems useless: Losses in Business – pecuniary difficulties: Then comes Persecution – because a Man is down – his character is kicked about as if God was angry with him. So thought Job’s 3 friends. Slander & reproach. Old friends looking shy and goes rejoicing. Then follows Temptations from Satan – the fiery darts of the Devil flying thick as hail about us. Then comes affliction of Body and dismemberment of Families:
O Yes – You are in the Furnace now: Subject to a scorching fire Difficulties accumulate – troubles increase – the fire grows hotter – and more than one of you can say “I am the man that hath seen affliction.”
3. The Refining process is carried on under the special attention of our Lord Jesus Christ. “He shall sit as a refiner etc.”
Here introduce the substance of the interesting illustration in the Revivalist Vol 2 page 27 – particularly – I must keep my eye steadily fixed on the furnace for if the Silver remains too long under the intense heat it is sure to be damaged.
Then the Refiner – Jesus Christ sits to watch the process – the Christian is not left to the mercy of the flames: An ever observant eye is on you – an Almighty hand is with you: Infinite Wisdom & love directs the process. He tempers the heat – carries on the work gradually with a gentle but firm hand. Hear him say – Fear not – for I am with thee when thou walkest thro’ the fire thou shalt not be burned – neither shall the flame enkindle upon thee etc. Isaiah 42. 1-2. “I will lay no more on you than you are able to bear – We have not an High Priest who can not be touched with the feeling of our Infirmities etc.”
As he was with the 3 Hebrews in the Furnace; so he is with his people now. He does not leave you when you are poor – persecuted falsely etc. See Hebs 5. 5-11.
1. The furnace will not be a bit too hot – nor will you be a moment too long in it. It is not your destruction – but your purification that the Refiner intends.
2. The mind like silver will be agitated during the process of Refinement – many a sigh heaved – perhaps many a tear dropped – many a fear excited – and sometimes perhaps an expression or thought – that we are hardly dealt with – that our burden is heavier than we can bear – but not so: that is the language of fear and unbelief.
3. The fire our Graces shall refine – till Moulded from above. We bear the character divine – the stamp of perfect love. Faith purifies from unbelief – Love from anger – Humility from Pride – etc – It is unbelief, pride – worldliness, sensuality etc – that are to be consumed: they are the dross to be destroyed.
4. The happy consummation of the refining process: I will refine them etc – when the Refiner sees his own Countenance in the Silver then the purifying process is complete – the dross is separated – it has then a placid smooth surface. So the Christian is refined to bear the Image of God – the impurities of Sin thrown off – and the whole man assimilated to the likeness of God. Passive in trouble – Not my will but Thine be done – rejoicing in tribulation – and exhibiting the mind of Christ. “Holiness to the Lord” stands legibly written on the Man’s temper – Words and life.
To accomplish this holy purpose God puts his people again and again into the furnace – and when purified He will either assign to them higher duties and more extensive usefulness upon each – or receive them to Himself in Glory.