And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said to them.…
"Being let go, they went to their own company." That means for one thing that we do not know until straits come, what a man's heart and real disposition are. You have your children with you at home, and think that your children have a love for this, and a liking for that, and a strong desire for the other, but "let them go," and then you will see; as long as they are under parental restraints, you really do not know what they are. They must be tested by being let go. They go to their own resort, and to their own set. Oh, what painful things happen in family life when the children are old enough, and you must let them go, when home restraints are removed! Then you thought they loved whatsoever things were honourable and of good report, and they, perhaps, themselves thought it too. It is not so much hypocrisy as an illustration of the solemn truth that the heart is deceitful and full of evil things. Being let go, the real heart in them takes command, the real pilot takes the wheel and guides the vessel according to his liking. "Being let go they went to their own company." See, for example, the restraints of religion. I think I am a religious man, you think that you are religious people, but if in some way I could be let go from the ministry, and if you could be let go from the eyes that are upon you in this place, from the associations and routine that brings you here, where would you go? What is in the heart determines the life. To-night you are set free from business, and in a sense you are let go from the office, but are you, is your heart really let go? Are you going into the holy work before us to-night, or is it not the case that even while you are sitting here, that being let go, your heart is back to the stocks and shares, the buying and the selling, that even here your heart is seeking its true home, its true happiness.? It is not in this thing, is it? There are reasons why we come, why in a sense we like it, but let us be honest with ourselves. It is what we like that is the true man or the true woman. How does the heart go when we are let go? But if I have thus spoken of the dark side, bless God there is a brighter side, and I trust that we can even, when we meet here to.night, experience the happiness and brightness of the better side. When we come to the House of God, to the prayer-meeting, from all outward life, because we like to do it, we like to come, like bairnie with her mother, a wee bird to her nest, we fly home to God, to the Bible, to God and the Book of God, and the House of God, when we are let go. We delight when the cords are snapped, and when we can come into the House of God. Only during the day there is a kind of chafing restlessness within us. Oh that the evening would come that I might get to my own company I "Being let go they went to their own company." Just as at school, I suppose we looked as if we liked our school, we looked as if we were diligent, we had to be so outwardly, but when four o'clock came and the doors were open, did you ever see the schoolboys that departed reluctantly, as if they could hardly cross the threshold and go away from the blessed place? We nearly tumbled over each other rushing away. Being let go, out we went home. And yet we were not hypocrites. It is that our heart was in it, and we were restrained; we were tied up, held back, but being let go, the full momentum and swing of our disposition got out. Thank God, then, for the bright side, and I would say you are encouraged to make much of the bright side. If you know God, then thank God, for that is a fruitful plant that never grew up in the dry dreary sand of our worldly heart. And if I speak to any to whom this word is sad, you say, "Well, brother, I wish I was like it, I wish I could rush to the fellowship of God's people, as those apostles rushed to their own company, and as children rush home from school, and the tired business men flying home by bus and train to the sweetness and seclusion of their own homes in the suburbs. I wish I had that desire for the House of God." There is more gladness of heart here than if I were in the theatre or music-hall, or giddy dance or banquet, with its so-called "feast of reason and flow of soul." Here the best and deepest, the truest thoughts in you get out, and lay hold of the deep, true, living, satisfying God. "Being let go, they went to their own company." It is that, let me just urge, that we should cultivate still more, this company and fellowship. Do not let a little keep us back. How disappointed the apostles would have been if they went to their own company, and found a small meeting when such great interests were involved. My father said, when he was a lad going to school, they had to take their own fire with them, the coals were not then provided as they are now, and every lad carried his peat under his arm. That was his contribution of heat. Bring your peat under your arm, and like one that is let go, like an arrow from the string, come gladly and brightly, and I will try and come with mine, and "every little makes a mickle," and it is wonderful what a roaring, open fire we may have, even in this dull neighbourhood of Regent's Square, what light and warmth before God, and to His praise. Let us come as the apostles did, when being let go they went to their own company. I like to think of the text in its final application. There is a day coming when we shall be let go. The dark side and the bright side of my text will receive its final and truest illustration then, for every man goes to his own place. And when the stroke of death cuts all our cords, and we drop this muddy vesture of clay, and are, at last, let go, we will hardly need the judgment day and verdict of God. Some will rise as glorious ones, treading the way unto the throne of God, and some will go into outer darkness, for they always loved darkness rather than light, and they will get it. Being let go, God at last will say, "I will restrain you no more, I will argue with you no more, you would be free, be free. He that is filthy, let him be filthy still, he that is holy, let him be holy still. Be let go and find your own company." This is the Lord's election. This is the natural law that runs through the spiritual world, even He that worketh in all our fellowships and friendships, our likes and dislikes, our drawings and repentings. It is being let go that a man finds his level, and seeks and gets his own company. At the great day when some of us go past the judgment seat on our way home, and hear the word, "Come ye blessed," it will just be a re-echo of this, for you have been always coming ever since you were converted. It was the end and trend, a focus of all your way and work. Only when some of us hear the thundering curse, "Depart!" we shall understand then that we were, always cursed. "I never knew you," what a solemn word! How bright! How black! Thank God that grace can make it for you and me all bright. The Ethiopian can change his skin, the leopard can change his spots, the vilest can be changed, and changed by the abundant grace of Christ, received through simple faith in Christ. Another few minutes and you are let go, and you go to your own house, and a rebound will take place. The heart will slip round to its true base. Watch it, for God's sake, and your own. Being let go when the preacher's voice is still, the holy words are no longer spoken, the holy place with its associations no longer present here, God grant that it may be all bright.
Parallel VersesKJV: And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.