Over sixty years ago someone said, “Robert Chapman is always dropping pearls wherever he goes.” A few of such pearls are given in following pages; but a further brief statement of his own experience, as carefully written by himself after he was ninety, may be acceptable.
For some years in early youth I diligently sought eternal life by the works of the law, works proceeding from myself, hoping that by God’s mercy in Christ I might be saved. According to Romans 7:9, “I was alive without the law once”; but when the Spirit of God revealed to me the holiness of God and the glorious rigour of His justice, I discovered that, whatever my righteousness was between myself and my neighbour, I was, as between myself and God, utterly destitute of holiness or righteousness.
Thus reduced to beggary, and having nothing to call my own but sin and its wages, which is death, I took my place according to 1 Samuel 2:8—which verse the Spirit of God has been engraving upon my heart with deeper and yet deeper assurance of its truth—“He raiseth up the poor out of the dust, and lifteth up the beggar from-the dunghill, to set them among princes, and to make them inherit the throne of glory.”
Through the Great High Priest I am enabled, by the teaching of the indwelling Spirit of God, to know that my worship and service are well-pleasing to God, who hides from His holy eyes my imperfections, while He reveals them to mine. Thus I cannot but reckon myself to be less than the least of all saints, and chief of sinners.
I am ready at any moment to depart and to be with Christ; but, according to the good pleasure of God, willing to tarry here awhile to be doing good to all men, specially to the household of faith.
My heart inclines more and more to depart and to be present with the Lord; but I am more and more happy in being here.
The following, selected from Mr. Chapman’s Meditations, give a little glimpse of his experience when comparatively young:—
It is by grace I differ from those whom the god of this world has blinded, lest the light should shine into their hearts. Once I, with the rest, was his slave, his faithful servant, his captive. I hugged my chains! I would not—could not—hear the voice of Jesus!
But Thou, Lord, didst teach me by Thy strong hand. Gentle and gracious was the still, small whisper of Thy love! and yet mighty! for it broke my bonds and melted my heart! The lawful captive was delivered, and the prey of the mighty and terrible taken from him.
How glorious the revelation of Thy Spirit! When He declares Thy name to mourners Thy cross becomes their joy and salvation. And shall they not sing and be glad, and take their harps from the willows?
How much of the proud Pharisee cleaves to me still, who washes the outside of the cup and the platter, heedless of that which is within!
Thou knowest, Lord, I hate with perfect hatred this host of inward foes; they rise up against Thee, and I count them both Thine enemies and mine. Chiefly, Lord, I hate and dread the pride and spiritual wickedness of the flesh, its worship, faith, repentance, prayers, and praises.
The entrance of Thy words, my Lord and Saviour, giveth light; Thou art the Sun of Righteousness, and wherefore this? Because Thou art the Lamb of God. Thy blood speaks peace, purging the conscience.
In Thy blood of redemption am I justified; Thou dost present me in Thyself. For ever am I accepted before God, Thyself my robe of righteousness.
In vain I sought my guiltiness to hide,
While I was blind and void of holy fear;
I hewed out broken cisterns; had no ear
For truth that makes man free. I walked in pride;
My wisdom scorned the Christ once cruciffed,
The Saviour pierced with the soldier’s spear.
My life was only death; yet I could sneer
At Jesus’ name, and Jesus’ grace deride.
Now, O my God, I enter into rest,
Led by Thy Spirit to the spotless Lamb,
In whom I glory, smiting on my breast:
Thy Son for men a sacrifice became,
Of savour sweet, and I, in Jesus blest,
My God and Father, praise Thy holy name.
By grace teach me to purify myself from all filthiness of the flesh and spirit, and to walk in white with Thee, that so Thine image may be seen in me; and what though the world hate and revile? all is well if Thou commend and bless.
Thou, Lord, art my joy and heaven; and here in my pilgrimage I am a stranger and sojourner with Thee. My soul followeth hard after Thee, allured by Thy beauty and excellency, O Lord Jesus, who art altogether glorious, altogether lovely.
Here a sojourner, happy am I, for Thou art my portion, O Lord; I am glad in heart, for I dwell within the veil. I rest in Thee who sittest, Prince of Peace, upon Thy priestly throne, showing Thyself there for Thy Church’s admiration and praise.
To me to live is Christ, and to die is gain; for to depart and be with Christ is far better, in the balances of my love and admiration of Thee, than to abide on earth. But patience and submission whisper in mine ear that waiting my Lord’s time is His will and best for His glory. I know, Lord, Thou dost commend my longing, as also my patient waiting—both Thine own work within me.
Lord! I wait for the time—I wait for it more than they that watch for the morning—when I shall behold Thee face to face! I long for Thy glorious appearing; but my waiting is patient, for Thou art indeed swift to succour me.
Salvation and Happiness
The natural man turns his back upon God; yet it is not only impossible for man to be happy without God, but (I say it with reverence) God Himself cannot make us happy save in Himself.
The property of sin is to blind the eye of the sinner to its guilt.
The Blood of Christ to cleanse is available for every poor and needy one who stands self-condemned before God.
By the infinite justice, greatness, holiness, and grace of God no poor sinner can be lost. Sinners are as plenteous as stones; poor sinners are as diamonds and rubies.
No sinner who has weighed himself in God’s balances, and has heartily and unreservedly come to self-condemnation before God, can ever be lost.
Our dependence is on the work of Christ for us, not the work of God in us.
If I look away from everything to Christ, that is a proof that I am born again.
The scanty apprehension of the word justification lies at the root of all the evil in the Church of God; right thoughts of justification sanctify our affections.
Religious men who are not born again have perhaps “a humble hope,” but no certainty of eternal life, and they charge us who trust in “It is finished” with presumption. It is presumption for the child of Adam who has not learned that the heart is desperately wicked to have any hope, and it is presumption for the child of God to have any doubt.