Spurgeon: Provoking Unjust Wars

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Imagine a conqueror’s deathbed…

He has been a man of blood from his youth up. Bred in the camp, his lips were early set to the bugle, and his hand, even in infancy, struck the drum. He had a martial spirit; he delighted in the fame and applause of men; he loved the dust of battle and the garment rolled in blood. He has lived a life of what men call glory. He has stormed cities, conquered countries, ravaged continents, overrun the world. See his banners hanging in the hall, and the marks of glory on his escutcheon. He is one of earth’s proudest warriors.

But now he comes to die, and when he lies down to expire, what shall invest his death with horror? It shall be his sin. Methinks I see the monarch dying; he lies in state; around him are his nobles and his councilors; but there is somewhat else there. Hard by his side there stands a spirit from Hades; it is a soul of a departed woman. She looks on him and says, “Monster! My husband was slain in battle through thy ambition: I was made a widow, and my helpless orphans and I were starved.” And she passes by. Her husband comes, and opening wide his bloody wounds, he cries, “Once I called you monarch; but, by thy vile covetousness thou didst provoke an unjust war. See here these wounds “I gained them in the siege. For thy sake I mounted first the scaling ladder; this foot stood upon the top of the wall, and I waved my sword in triumph, but in hell I lifted up my eyes in torment. Base wretch, thine ambition hurried me thither!” Turning his horrid eyes upon him, he passes by. Then up comes another, and another, and another yet: waking from their tombs, they stalk around his bed and haunt him; the dreary procession still marches on, looking at the dying tyrant. He shuts his eyes, but he feels the cold and bony hand upon his forehead; he quivers, for the sting of death is in his heart. “O Death!” says he; “to leave this large estate, this mighty realm, this pomp and power” this were somewhat; but to meet those men, those women, and those orphan children, face to face; to hear them saying; ‘Art thou become like one of us?’ while kings whom I have dethroned, and monarchs whom I have cast down shall rattle their chains in my ears, and say, ‘ you were our destroyer, but how art thou fallen from heaven, 0 Lucifer, son of the morning! How you are brought down as in a moment from thy glory and thy pride!’

There, you see, the sting of death would be the man’s sin. It would not sting him that he had to die, but that he had sinned, that he had been a bloody man, that his hands were red with whole sale murder –this would plague him indeed, for “the sting of death is sin.”

The Token

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There has been a war…

…and a wounded soldier comes home, and he goes to the home of a very wealthy family who have a son out in the army, and he inquires, “Is this the home of George, whom I left in the army?  He was my dear comrade. I have a letter.”

“Are you sure you have such a letter?” The man looks disreputable, and his garments are torn, and he is evidently very poor, but he replies,” Yes, I have the letter from your son.” He puts his hands into his pockets, and he cannot find it. The master of the house becomes very angry, and says, “It is of no use your coming here with this tale, you are deceiving me.” But the poor young man fumbles still in his pockets, until at last he brings it out.

…Yes, there is the token, the father knows the handwriting of his dear boy. The letter says, “Father, this is a choice companion of mine, and I want you, when he reaches home, to treat him kindly for my sake. Tell mother that anything she does for him shall be the same as if she had done it to her own boy.”

See how well he is now received at sight of that token?  It is even so when we present the blood-mark of Christ, we say to the Lord, “There is the token that we are Jesus’ friends,” –and the Lord does not then look at the rags in which our poor nature is arrayed, but he looks at the token of his own Son’s blood and accepts us for his sake. What surer and more suggestive token could we desire? For when we are cleansed in the blood of Jesus we are comely with his comeliness, and dear to the heart of God for his Son’s sake.

–Adapted from, C.H. Spurgeon

THE FOLLY, MISERY, GUILT, AND DANGER OF SECRET SINS

Taken and adapted from a sermon delivered on Sabbath morning, February 8, 1857, at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
Written by, Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892)

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“Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.”
—Psalm 19:12

I AM going after a certain class of men who have sins not unknown to themselves…

…but secret to their fellow creatures. Every now and then, we turn up a fair stone that lies upon the green earth of the professing church, surrounded with the healthiness of apparent goodness; and to our astonishment, we find beneath it all kinds of filthy insects and loathsome reptiles. In our disgust at such hypocrisy, we are driven to exclaim, “All men are liars; there are none in whom we can put any trust at all!” It is not fair to say so of all, but really, the discoveries that are made of the insincerity of our fellow-creatures are enough to make us despise our kind because they can go so far in appearances, yet have so little soundness of heart. To you, sirs, who sin secretly and yet make a profession: you break God’s covenants in the dark and wear a mask of goodness in the light—to you, sirs, who shut the doors and commit wickedness in secret—to you I shall speak this morning. O may God also be pleased to speak to you and make you pray this prayer: “Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” I shall endeavor to urge upon all pretenders present to give up, to renounce, to detest, to hate, to abhor all their secret sins.

FIRST, THEN, THE FOLLY OF SECRET SINS.

Pretender, thou art fair to look upon—thy conduct outwardly upright, amiable, liberal, generous, and Christian. But thou dost indulge in some sin that the eye of man has not yet detected. Perhaps it is private drunkenness. Thou dost revile the drunkard when he staggers through the street; but thou canst thyself indulge in the same habit in private. It may be some other lust or vice. It is not for me just now to mention what it is. But, pretender, we say unto thee, “Thou art a fool to think of harboring a secret sin, and thou art a fool for this one reason: thy sin is not a secret sin. It is known and shall one day be revealed—perhaps very soon. Thy sin is not a secret: the eye of God hath seen it. Thou hast sinned before His face. Thou hast shut-to the door, drawn the curtains, and kept out the eye of the sun. But God’s eye pierceth through the darkness: the brick walls that surrounded thee were as transparent as glass to the eye of the Almighty. The darkness that did gird thee was as bright as the summer’s noon to the eye of Him Who beholdeth all things. Knowest thou not, O man, that “all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do” (Hebrews 4:13)?

As the priest ran his knife into the entrails of his victim, discovered the heart and liver and what else did lie within, so art thou, O man, seen by God, cut open by the Almighty. Thou hast no secret chamber where thou canst hide thyself. Thou hast no dark cellar where thou canst conceal thy soul. Dig deep, ay, deep as hell, but thou canst not find earth enough upon the globe to cover thy sin. If thou should heap the mountains on its grave, those mountains would tell the tale of what was buried in their bowels. If thou could cast thy sin into the sea, a thousand babbling waves would tell the secret out. There is no hiding it from God! Thy sin is photographed in high heaven. The deed, when it was done, was photographed upon the sky; and there it shall remain. Thou shalt see thyself one day revealed to the gazing eyes of all men—a hypocrite, a pretender who didst sin in fancied secret, observed in all thine acts by the all-seeing Jehovah. O what fools men are to think they can do anything in secret! This world is as the glass hives wherein bees sometimes work: we look down upon them, and we see all the operations of the little creatures. So God looks down and sees all our eyes are weak: we cannot look through the darkness. But His eye, like an orb of fire, penetrates the blackness, reads the thought of man, and sees his acts when he thinks himself most concealed. Oh, it is a thought enough to curb us from all sin if it were truly applied to us: “Thou God seest me” (Gen 16:13)!

Stop thief! Drop thou that which thou hast taken to thyself. God sees thee! No eye of detection of earth hath discovered thee, but God’s eyes are now looking through the clouds upon thee. Swearer! Scarce any for whom thou carest heard thy oath; but God heard it. It entered into the ears of the Lord God of Hosts. And [thee] who leads a filthy life and yet art a respectable merchant bearing among men a fair and goodly character: thy vices are all known, written in God’s book. He keeps a diary of all thine acts. What wilt thou think on that Day when a crowd shall be assembled, compared with which this immense multitude is but a drop of a bucket? God shall read out the story of thy secret life, and men and angels shall hear it! Certain I am there are none of us who would like to have all our secrets read, especially our secret thoughts. If I should select out of this congregation the most holy man, should bring him forward, and say, “Now, sir, I know all your thoughts and am about to tell them,” I am sure he would offer me the largest bribe that he could gather if I would be pleased to conceal at least some of them. “Tell,” he would say, “of my acts; of them I am not ashamed; but do not tell my thoughts and imaginations—of them I must ever stand ashamed before God.” What then, sinner, will be thy shame when thy privy lusts, thy closet transgressions, thy secret crimes shall be trumpeted from God’s throne, [and] published by His own mouth with a voice louder than a thousand thunders preached in the ears of an assembled world? What will be thy terror and confusion then, when all the deeds thou hast done shall be published in the face of the sun, in the ears of all mankind? O renounce the foolish hope of heresy; for thy sin is this day recorded and shall one day be advertised upon the walls of heaven.

IN THE NEXT PLACE, LET US NOTICE THE MISERY OF SECRET SINS.

Of all sinners, the man who makes a profession of religion and yet lives in iniquity is the most miserable. A downright wicked man who takes a glass in his hand and says, “I am a drunkard. I am not ashamed of it,” shall be unutterably miserable in worlds to come. But brief though it be, he has his hour of pleasure. A man who curses and swears and says, “That is my habit. I am a profane man,” and makes a profession of it, he has, at least, some peace in his soul. But the man who walks with God’s minister, who is united with God’s Church, who comes out before God’s people and unites with them, and then lives in sin—what a miserable existence he must have of it! Why, he has a worse existence than the mouse that is in the parlor, running out now and then to pick up the crumbs, and then back again to his hole. Such men must run out now and then to sin. Oh! How fearful they are to be discovered! One day, perhaps, their character turns up; with wonderful cunning, they manage to conceal and gloss it over. But the next day something else comes, and they live in constant fear, telling lie after lie to make the last lie appear truthful, adding deception to deception in order that they may not be discovered…

If I must be a wicked man, give me the life of a roistering sinner who sins before the face of day. But, if I must sin, let me not act as a hypocrite and a coward! Let me not profess to be God’s and spend my life for the devil. That way of cheating the devil is a thing that every honest sinner will be ashamed of. He will say, “Now, if I do serve [the devil], I will serve him out and out. I will have no sham about it. If I make a profession [of Christ], I will carry it out. But if I do not—if I live in sin—I am not going to gloss it over by cant and hypocrisy.” One thing that has hamstrung the Church and cut her very sinews in twain has been this most damnable hypocrisy. Oh! In how many places have we men whom you might praise to the very skies, if you could believe their words, but whom you might cast into the nethermost pit if you could see their secret actions! God forgive any of you who are so acting! I had almost said, “I can scarce forgive you.” I can forgive the man who riots openly and makes no profession of being better. But the man who fawns, cants, pretends, prays, and then lives in sin, that man I hate—I cannot bear him, I abhor him from my very soul. If he will turn from his ways, I will love him. But in his hypocrisy, he is to me the most loathsome of all creatures…A mere profession, my hearers, is but painted pageantry to go to hell in! It is like the plumes upon the hearse and the trappings upon the black horses that drag men to their graves, the funeral array of dead souls. Take heed above everything of a waxen profession that will not stand the sun. Take care of all that needs to have two faces to carry it out: be one thing or else the other. If you make up your mind to serve Satan, do not pretend to serve God! If you serve God, serve Him with all your heart. “No man can serve two masters” (Mat 6:24). Do not try it; do not endeavor to do it, for no life will be more miserable than that. Above all, beware of committing acts that it will be necessary to conceal…

Secret sins bring fevered eyes and sleepless nights until men burn out their consciences and become in very deed ripe for the pit. Hypocrisy is a hard game to play at: it is one deceiver against many observers; [certainly] it is a miserable trade that will earn at last, as its certain climax, a tremendous bankruptcy. Ah! Ye who have sinned without discovery, “Be sure your sin will find you out” (Numbers 32:23); and bethink you, it may find you out ere long. Sin, like murder, will come out. Men will even tell tales about themselves in their dreams. God has sometimes made men so pricked in their consciences that they have been obliged to stand forth and confess the story. Secret sinner! If thou wantest the foretaste of damnation upon earth, continue in thy secret sin! For no man is more miserable than he who sins secretly and yet tries to preserve a character. Yon stag, followed by the hungry hounds with open mouths, is far happier than the man who is followed by his sins. Yon bird, taken in the fowler’s net and laboring to escape, is far happier than he who hath weaved around himself a web of deception and labors to escape from it day by day by making the toils more thick and the web stronger. Oh! The misery of secret sins! Truly, one may pray, “Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

BUT NOW…THE SOLEMN GUILT OF SECRET SIN.

Now, John, you do not think there is any evil in a thing unless somebody sees it, do you? You feel that it is a very great sin if your master finds you out in robbing the till; but there is no sin if he should not discover it—none at all! And you, sir, you fancy it to be very great sin to play a trick in trade, [if] you should be discovered and brought before the court. But to play a trick and never be discovered—that is all fair. “Do not say a word about it, Mr. Spurgeon! It is all business.” You must not touch business. Tricks that are not discovered, of course—you are not to find fault with them. The common measure of sin is the notoriety of it. But I do not believe in that. A sin is a sin, whether done in private or before the wide world…Do not measure sin by what other people say of it. Measure sin by what God says of it and [by] what your own conscience says of it…

Brethren, do not, I beseech you, incur the fearful guilt of secret sins. No man can sin a little in secret: it will certainly engender more sin. No man can be a hypocrite and yet be moderate in guilt. He will go from bad to worse and still proceed until his guilt shall be published. He shall be found to be the very worst and the most hardened of men. Take heed of the guilt of secret sin…“Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord” (Jeremiah 23:24). I would…that I could make every man look to himself and find out his secret sin. Come, my hearer, what is it? Bring it forth to the daylight. Perhaps it will die in the light of the sun. These things love not to be discovered. Tell thine own conscience now what it is. Look it in the face! Confess it before God! And may He give thee grace to remove that sin and every other. Turn to Him with full purpose of heart. But know that thy guilt is guilt, [whether] discovered or undiscovered. If there be any difference, it is worse because it has been secret. God save us from the guilt of secret sin! “Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

AND NOTE, NEXT, THE DANGER OF SECRET SIN.

One danger is that a man cannot commit a little sin in secret without being by-and-by betrayed into a public sin. You cannot, sir—though you may think you can—preserve a moderation in sin. If you commit one sin, it is like the melting of the lower glacier upon the Alps: the others must follow in time. As certainly as you heap one stone upon the grave today, the next day you will cast another, until the heap, reared stone by stone, shall become a very pyramid…Sin cannot be held in with bit and bridle. “But I am going to have a little drink now and then; I am only going to be intoxicated once a week or so. Nobody will see it; I shall be in bed directly.” You will be drunk in the streets soon. “I am only just going to read one lascivious book; I will put it under the sofa-cover when any one comes in.” You will keep it in your library yet, sir. “I am only going into that company now and then.” You will go there every day—such is the bewitching character of it. You cannot help it. You may as well ask the lion to let you put your head into his mouth. You cannot regulate his jaws; neither can you regulate sin. Once go into it, you cannot tell when you will be destroyed…You may labor to conceal your vicious habit, but it will come out. You cannot help it. You keep your little pet sin at home, but mark this: when the door is ajar, the dog will be out in the street. Wrap him up in your bosom, put over him fold after fold of hypocrisy to keep him secret, and the wretch will be singing some day when you are in company…

A man who indulges in sin privately gets his forehead as hard as brass by degrees. The first time he sinned, the drops of sweat stood on his brow at the recollection of what he had done. The second time, no hot sweat [stood] on his brow, only an agitation of the muscle. The third time, there was the sly, sneaky look, but no agitation. The next time, he sinned a little further. And by degrees, he became the bold blasphemer of his God, who exclaimed, “Who am I that I should fear Jehovah, and who is He that I should serve Him?” Men go from bad to worse. Launch your boat in the current: it must go where the current takes it. Put yourself in the whirlwind: you are but a straw in the wind; you must go which way the wind carries you, for you cannot control yourself. The balloon can mount, but it cannot direct its course: it must go whichever way the wind blows. If you once mount into sin, there is no stopping. Take heed if you would not become the worst of characters! Take heed of the little sins: they, mounting one upon another, may at last heave you from the summit and destroy your soul forever. There is a great danger in secret sins.

But I have here some true Christians who indulge in secret sins. They say it is but a little one, and therefore do they spare it. Dear brethren, I speak to you, and I speak to myself when I say this: Let us destroy all our little secret sins. They are called “little”; and if they be, let us remember that it is the foxes, even the little foxes that spoil our vines (Song of Solomon 2:15). For our vines have tender shoots. Let us take heed of our little sins. A little sin, like a little pebble in the shoe, will make a traveler to heaven walk very wearily. Little sins, like little thieves, may open the door to greater ones outside. Christians, recollect that little sins will spoil your communion with Christ. Little sins, like little stains in silk, may damage the fine texture of fellowship. Little sins, like little irregularities in the machinery, may spoil the whole fabric of your religion. The one dead fly spoileth the whole pot of ointment. That one thistle may seed a continent with noxious weeds. Let us, brethren, kill our sins as often as we can find them. One said, “The heart is full of unclean birds; it is a cage of them.” “Ah, but,” said another divine, “you must not make that an apology, for a Christian’s business is to wring their necks.” And so it is: if there be evil things [in the heart], it is our business to kill them. Christians must not tolerate secret sins. We must not harbor traitors. It is high treason against the King of Heaven. Let us drag them out to light and offer them upon the altar, giving up the dearest of our secret sins at the will and bidding of God. There is a great danger in a little secret sin. Therefore avoid it, pass not by it, turn from it and shun it (Pro 4:15); and God give thee grace to overcome it.

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Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892): English Baptist preacher; his sermons fill 63 volumes and include 20–25 million words, the largest set of books by a single author in the history of Christianity; born at Kelvedon, Essex, England.

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Take heed of secret sins. They will undo thee if loved and maintained: one moth may spoil the garment; one leak drown the ship; a penknife stab will kill a man as well as a sword. So one sin may damn the soul.—Jeremiah Burroughs

Yet There is Room

Taken and adapted from, “Yet There is Room”
Written by C.H. Spurgeon

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Although there are still many sinners who seem to have no room for Christ…

yet there is plenty of room for sinners in the heart and love of Christ, and I am going to give them an earnest, tender, affectionate invitation to come to Christ while “yet there is room.” Ye who have hitherto been strangers to the grace of God, ye who, as yet, have never feasted at the gospel banquet, ye who have, until now, been content with this world’s frothy dainties, and have never tasted that which is substantial and satisfying for time and for eternity—to you, even to you, comes the message of our text, “yet there is room.”

My first question concerning the text is, where is there room? And the answer is, there is room in the fountain opened for sin and for uncleanness, room for you to be washed and to be made clean. Vast multitudes have gone into that fountain black as the thickest night, and they have come up from the washing “whiter than snow” (Psalm 51:7). Innumerable offenses have there been washed away, but the fountain has lost none of its cleansing power, nor will it until the last elect soul has been washed therein, as Cowper (1731-1800) so confidently and so truly sings,

“Dear dying Lamb, thy precious blood
Shall never lose its power,

Till all the ransom’d Church of God
Be saved to sin no more.”

It is our joy to be able to assure you that, in that blessed bath of cleansing, “yet there is room.”

There is room, too, in that chariot of love which carries the washed ones all the way to heaven—that chariot of which Solomon’s was a type, and of which we read, “he made the pillars thereof of silver, the bottom thereof of gold, the covering of it of purple, the midst thereof being paved with love, for the daughters of Jerusalem” (Song of Solomon 3:10).

In this chariot there is room for millions more; if thou art washed in His precious blood, He who is greater than Solomon will take thee up, and carry thee on and over the rough and rugged road of this wilderness world, and conduct thee safely to His Father’s house above. Thou shalt travel joyously in the best of company; so, enter while there is room, sinner, and there is room now.

There is room, too, in the Father’s great family. He has adopted an innumerable multitude of those who once were children of wrath and servants of Satan. He has selected some of the vilest of the sons and daughters of Adam, but they are washed, they are cleansed, they are regenerate, and they have received the seal of their adoption into the family of God, and are joyously crying, “Abba, Father” (Rom 8:15)—but there is room for millions more in that great family. Earthly fathers, as a general rule, have no room for strangers in their home; the house is crowded already with their own boys and girls, so they cannot receive other people’s children into their family. But there is still room in the great Father’s heart for all who will come unto Him by Jesus Christ His Son. All whom He has chosen unto eternal life have not yet believed in Jesus, and been “sealed with that Holy Spirit of promise, which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession” (Ephesians 1:14). All whom He intends to save have not yet been brought to recognize Him as their Father and their God. So again I say that there is still room in the great Father’s heart for all who will come unto Him by Jesus Christ His Son.

There is room, too, in the church visible here below. We gladly welcome every new convert, and we say to each one,

“Come in, thou blessed of the Lord,
Stranger nor foe art thou;

We welcome thee with warm accord,
Our friend, our brother now.”

“The Lord knows them that are his” (2 Timothy 2:19), but all that are the Lord’s are not yet added to His visible church. Thousands of them still stray in the paths of sin, millions of them are as yet like jewels hidden away in the mire, or pearls lying many fathoms deep in the caverns of the sea. There is still room for more stars in the diadem that adorns the brows of the church on earth; there is still room for more golden candlesticks to give her light; room hath she still for many more children to be dandled on her knees, and to suck at her breasts. Use whatever metaphor we may, we can still say, in the words of our text, “yet there is room.”

There is room, too, in the ordinances of God’s house. There is room for thee, Christian brother or sister, in the liquid tomb which is the emblem of thy Savior’s grave; thou may be buried with Him by baptism into death, and rise from the baptistery in the likeness of His resurrection, thenceforth to walk with Him in newness of life (Rom 6:4-6). There is room for thee, too, at that communion table where, in eating bread and drinking wine, we spiritually eat Christ’s flesh and drink His blood, and so prove that He dwells in us, and we dwell in Him.

There is room for thee at the children’s table; thou wilt not overcrowd us. We are not like the elder brother, who was jealous because the prodigal was welcomed back to his father’s house and his father’s table (Luke 15). We shall have none the less enjoyment, but all the more, if thou wilt come and join us at the feast of love; there is abundant room for thee there.

Better still, and more to thy soul’s solace, there is room for thee in heaven. The long procession has been streaming through the gates of pearl from the day when Abel, the proto-martyr, entered the heavenly city until this moment, while I am speaking to you. The last emancipated soul has just flapped its wings for joy, left its mortal cage behind, and entered into everlasting liberty. The redeemed from among men have been taking their appointed places before the throne, waving their palms, wearing their crowns, playing their golden harps, and singing their songs of victory—but there is still room in heaven for many more.

There are crowns there without heads to wear them, and harps without hands to play them, and mansions without tenants to inhabit them, and streets of gold that shall have something lacking until you have trodden them, if you are one of the Lord’s own people. There is room for multitudes, whom God has chosen, yet to come to swell the hallelujah chorus of the skies. It is very sweet even now, but it has not yet reached its full force and grandeur; it needs to have ten thousand times ten thousand voices added to the already mighty choir. And then the glorious chorus shall roll up to the throne of God louder than the noise of many waters, and as the voice of a great thunder, Hallelujah! Hallelujah! Hallelujah! “For the Lord God omnipotent reigns” (Rev 19:7); and He shall reign forever and ever.

What a dreary message I should have to deliver if I had to tell you that there was no room! Let me give you one or two illustrations. In passing over some of the more difficult passes of the Alps, the traveler sees small habitations by the side of the road, marked “Refuge No. 1,” “Refuge No. 2,” and so on, up to the hospice on the summit, and then down the other side more refuges similarly marked. When the storm comes on and the wind and snow beat in the man’s face so that he cannot discover his road, and he sinks more than knee-deep in the drifts, it is a happy circumstance for him that, perhaps a little way ahead, there is a refuge where he and others in the like plight may find shelter till hospitable monks come and take them to the hospice, or send them on their way. Imagine that, one dark night, the snow is pouring down; the flakes fall so thickly that you cannot see a star; the wind howls among the Alps. And the poor traveler, nearly blinded, staggers up to the door of the refuge, but he sees outside of it a dozen or two other travelers all clustered together, nearly frozen to death, and they say to him, “The refuge is crammed; we can’t get in, so we must perish though we have reached the door of the refuge, for there is no room for us inside.”

Ah! But I have no such ill news as that to bring to you. Crowded as you are here, this great building has scarcely room enough to hold you; but the love of Christ is not so cramped that I need say to you, “There is no room here.” “Yet there is room.” All who are inside the refuge are but a small number compared with those who are yet to come; for, in later and brighter ages, of which this is but the dawn, we believe that conversion work will go on far more rapidly, and that the Lord’s elect will be brought to Him in much greater numbers than in these days. Whether it will be so or not, it is our joy to tell you that “yet there is room” in the great gospel refuge which the Lord of the way has so graciously provided for all who will enter it.

Here is another picture. There has been a wreck out there upon the coast. The ship has struck upon the rocks, and she is fast going to pieces. Some of the poor mariners are clinging to the mast; they have been hanging there for hours. Heavy seas have broken over them and they can hardly retain their hold. Some of the crew have already become exhausted and have fallen off into the deep, and the others, who are clinging for dear life, are almost frozen with cold. But see there! a rocket goes up; they believe that they have been perceived, and after a while, they see that the lifeboat is coming to their rescue. Perhaps the brave men give a cheer as they row with all their might to let the poor shipwrecked sailors know that there is help at hand.

As the lifeboat comes nearer, its captain cries, “Oh, what a lot of men! What can we do with so many? We will take as many of you as we can, but there is not room for all.” The men are helped off the wreck one after the other until they seem to fill the boat. Each man’s place has two crammed into it, but at last the captain says, “It’s no use; we can’t take any more. Our boat is so full that she’ll go down if we put in another man.” It’s all over with those poor souls that must be left behind; for before the gallant boat can make another trip, they must all have fallen into the trough of the sea and been lost.

But I have no such sad tale to tell you, for my Master’s gospel lifeboat has thus far taken in but few compared with those she will yet take. I know not how many she will hold; but this I know, that a multitude which no man can number shall be found within her (Rev 7:9), and amid songs of everlasting joy they shall all be safely landed on the blessed shore, where rocks and tempests will never again trouble them. The lifeboat is not yet full; there is still room in her for all who will trust in Jesus. Poor mariner, give up clinging to that wreck on the rocks! Poor sinner, give up clinging to thy works and to thy sins.

There is room in the gospel lifeboat for thee, and all who will put themselves under the care of the great Captain of salvation, our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Grace by Force?

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“But God, being rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in our transgressions, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved),…”
–Eph. 2:4:5

When we see a casket wrenched open…

…the hinges torn away, or the clasp destroyed, we mark at once the hand of the Spoiler; but when we observe another casket deftly opened with a master-key, and the sparkling contents revealed, we note the hand of the Owner.

Conversion is not, as some suppose, a violent opening of the heart by grace, in which will, reason, and judgment are all ignored or crushed. This is too barbarous a method for him who comes not as a plunderer to his prey, but as a possessor to his treasure.

In conversion, the Lord who made the human heart deals with it according to its nature and constitution. His key insinuates itself into the locks; the will is not enslaved but enfranchised; the reason is not blinded but enlightened, and the whole of man is made to act with a glorious liberty which it never knew till it fell under the restraints of grace.

By C.H. Spurgeon

A Warning to Those who Follow Modern-day Prophets –such as Ellen G. White. A Sermon by Charles Spurgeon

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Is the truth that which I imagine to be revealed to me by some private communication?

Am I to fancy that I enjoy some special Revelation and am I to order my life by voices, dreams and impressions? Brothers and Sisters, fall not into this common delusion! God’s Word to us is in Holy Scripture. All the Truth that sanctifies men is in God’s Word! Do not listen to those who cry, “Lo here!” and, “Lo there!” I am plucked by the sleeve almost every day by crazy persons and pretenders who think that they have Revelations from God. One man tells me that God has sent a message to me by him—and I reply, “No, Sir, the Lord knows where I dwell and He is so near to me that He would not need to send to me by you.” Another man announces, in God’s name, a dogma which, on the face of it, is a lie against the Holy Spirit. He says the Spirit of God told him so-and-so, but we know that the Holy Spirit never contradicts Himself. If your imaginary Revelation is not according to this Word of God, it has no weight with us! And if it is according to this Word, it is no new thing!

Brothers and Sisters, this Bible is enough if the Lord does but use it and quicken it by His Spirit in our hearts. Truth is neither your opinion, nor mine—your message, nor mine! Jesus says, “Your Word is truth.” That which sanctifies men is not only truth, but it is the particular Truth of God which is revealed in God’s Word—“Your Word is truth.” What a blessing it is that all the Truth that is necessary to sanctify us is revealed in the Word of God, so that we have not to expend our energies upon discovering the Truth of God, but may, to our far greater profit, use Revealed Truth for its Divine ends and purposes! There will be no more Revelations—no more are needed! The Canon is fixed and complete—and he that adds to it shall have added to him the plagues that are written in this Book! What need of more when here is enough for every practical purpose? “Sanctify them through Your truth: Your Word is truth.

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(from: Our Lord’s Prayer for His People’s Sanctification, Sermon #1890, delivered on Lord’s Day Morning, March 7, 1866, C.H. Spurgeon) A Warning To Those Bringing Supposed New Revelation — Charles Spurgeon Eric T. Young  February 21, 2011

Do you trust the Captain?

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“Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved–you and your household.”   
–Acts 16:31
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Spurgeon tells of a story that took place during a severe storm at sea…

…it seemed that the ship could last but little longer, and that the precious cargo of human life would soon find their graves in the raging billows. The waves were already coming over the deck, and passengers were rushing hither and thither, wringing their hands and weeping, each one expecting every moment to be their last. In their midst sat a young man, who unconcernedly watched the mad waves as they dashed against the vessel. Some of the passengers asked him how he could be so calm in such an hour, when his life hung by a very slender cord; he replied, “I feel no fear whatever; why should I? My father is commanding the ship, and he knows what he is doing. I trust him –he will bring us through safely.”

Fellow-traveler, when danger, trouble, disaster, and reverses overtake you, will you trust the Lord Jesus to see you through? He is the captain who has never lost a soul who trusted in him. “…the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out.”  –John 6:37

A Thought for Those Who Minister: The Road to Honor…

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When the Spartan king advanced against the enemy…

…he always had with him someone who had been crowned in the public games of Greece. And they tell us that when a Lacedaemonian from Sparta was offered a large sum of money on condition that he would not enter the Olympic lists, he refused the bribe.

After the final match, having with much difficulty thrown his antagonists in wrestling, one put this question to him, “Spartan, what will you get by this victory?” He answered with a smile, “I shall have the honor to fight foremost in the ranks of my prince!”

The honor which appertains to office in the church of God lies mainly in this, that the man who is set apart for such service has the privilege of being first in holiness of example, abundance of liberality, patience of long-suffering, zeal in effort, and self-sacrifice in service.

O, Thou gracious King of kings, if thou hast made me to minister in thy church, enable me to be foremost in every good word and work, shunning no sacrifice, and shrinking from no suffering. May I live always unto thee.

–Adapted from the writings of C.H. Spurgeon.

Jesus Only!

Taken and adapted from, “Around the Wicket Gate”
Written by Charles Haddon Spurgeon, (1834-1892)

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We cannot too often or too plainly tell the seeking soul…

…that his only hope for salvation lies in the Lord Jesus Christ.

It lies in Him completely, only, and alone. To save both from the guilt and the power of sin, Jesus is all-sufficient. His name is called Jesus, because “He shall save his people from their sins” (Mat 1:21). “The Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins” (Mat 9:6). He is exalted on high “to give repentance…and forgiveness of sins” (Act 5:31). It pleased God from of old to devise a method of salvation which should be all contained in His only-begotten Son. The Lord Jesus, for the working out of this salvation, became man, and being found in fashion as a man, became obedient to death, even the death of the cross. If another way of deliverance had been possible, the cup of bitterness would have passed from Him. It stands to reason that the darling of heaven would not have died to save us if we could have been rescued at less expense. Infinite grace provided the great sacrifice; infinite love submitted to death for our sakes. How can we dream that there can be another way than the way which God has provided at such cost, and set forth in Holy Scripture so simply and so pressingly? Surely it is true that “Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved” (Act 4:12).

To suppose that the Lord Jesus has only half saved men…

…and that there is needed some work or feeling of their own to finish His work, is wicked. What is there of ours that could be added to His blood and righteousness? “All our righteousnesses are as filthy rags” (Isa 64:6). Can these be patched on to the costly fabric of His divine righteousness? Rags and fine white linen! Our dross and His pure gold! It is an insult to the Savior to dream of such a thing. We have sinned enough, without adding this to all our other offences.

Even if we had any righteousness in which we could boast; if our fig leaves were broader than usual, and were not so utterly fading, it would be wisdom to put them away, and accept that righteousness which must be far more pleasing to God than anything of our own. The Lord must see more that is acceptable in His Son than in the best of us. The best of us! The words seem satirical, though they were not so intended. What best is there about any of us? “There is none that doeth good; no, not one” (Rom 3:12). I who write these lines, would most freely confess that I have not a thread of goodness of my own. I could not make up so much as a rag, or a piece of a rag. I am utterly destitute. But if I had the fairest suit of good works which even pride can imagine, I would tear it up that I might put on nothing but the garments of salvation, which are freely given by the Lord Jesus, out of the heavenly wardrobe of His own merits.

It is most glorifying to our Lord Jesus Christ that we should hope for every good thing from Him alone. This is to treat Him as He deserves to be treated; for as He is God, and beside Him there is none else, we are bound to look unto Him and be saved.

This is to treat Him as He loves to be treated, for He bids all those who labor and are heavy laden to come to Him, and He will give them rest. To imagine that He cannot save to the uttermost is to limit the Holy One of Israel, and put a slur upon His power; or else to slander the loving heart of the Friend of sinners, and cast a doubt upon His love. In either case, we should commit a cruel and wanton sin against the tenderest points of His honor, which are His ability and willingness to save all that come unto God by Him.

The child, in danger of the fire, just clings to the fireman, and trusts to him alone. She raises no question about the strength of his limbs to carry her, or the zeal of his heart to rescue her; but she clings. The heat is terrible, the smoke is blinding, but she clings; and her deliverer quickly bears her to safety. In the same childlike confidence cling to Jesus, who can and will bear you out of danger from the flames of sin.

The nature of the Lord Jesus should inspire us with the fullest confidence. As He is God, He is almighty to save; as He is man, He is filled with all fullness to bless; as He is God and man in one Majestic Person, He meets man in His creatureship and God in His holiness. The ladder is long enough to reach from Jacob prostrate on the earth, to Jehovah reigning in heaven. To bring another ladder would be to suppose that He failed to bridge the distance; and this would be grievously to dishonor Him. If even to add to His words is to draw a curse upon ourselves, what must it be to pretend to add to Himself? Remember that He, Himself, is the Way; and to suppose that we must, in some manner, add to the divine road, is to be arrogant enough to think of adding to Him. Away with such a notion! Loathe it as you would blasphemy; for in essence it is the worst of blasphemy against the Lord of love.

To come to Jesus with a price in our hand, would be insufferable pride…

…even if we had any price that we could bring. What does He need of us? What could we bring if He did need it? Would He sell the priceless blessings of His redemption? That which He wrought out in His heart’s blood, would He barter it with us for our tears, and vows, or for ceremonial observances, and feelings, and works? He is not reduced to make a market of Himself: He will give freely, as beseems His royal love; but He that offers a price to Him knows not with whom he is dealing, nor how grievously he vexes His free Spirit. Empty-handed sinners may have what they will. All that they can possibly need is in Jesus, and He gives it for the asking; but we must believe that He is all in all, and we must not dare to breathe a word about completing what He has finished, or fitting ourselves for what He gives to us as undeserving sinners.

The reason why we may hope for forgiveness of sin, and life eternal, by faith in the Lord Jesus, is that God has so appointed. He has pledged Himself in the gospel to save all who truly trust in the Lord Jesus, and He will never run back from His promise. He is so well pleased with His only-begotten Son, that He takes pleasure in all who lay hold upon Him as their one and only hope. The great God Himself has taken hold on him who has taken hold on His Son. He works salvation for all who look for that salvation to the once-slain Redeemer. For the honor of His Son, He will not suffer the man who trusts in Him to be ashamed. “He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life” (Joh 3:36); for the ever-living God has taken him unto Himself, and has given to him to be a partaker of His life. If Jesus only be your trust, you need not fear but what you shall effectually be saved, both now and in the day of His appearing.

When a man confides, there is a point of union between him and God, that union guarantees blessing. Faith saves us because it makes us cling to Christ Jesus, and He is one with God, and thus brings us into connection with God.

Years ago, above the Falls of Niagara, a boat was upset, and two men were being carried down by the current, when persons on the shore managed to float a rope out to them, which rope was seized by them both. One of them held fast to it, and was safely drawn to the bank; but the other, seeing a great log come floating by, unwisely let go the rope, and clung to the great piece of timber, for it was the bigger thing of the two, and apparently better to cling to. Alas! The timber, with the man on it, went right over the vast abyss, because there was no union between the wood and the shore. The size of the log was no benefit to him who grasped it; it needed a connection with the shore to produce safety. So, when a man trusts to his works, or to his prayers, or almsgivings, or to sacraments, or to anything of that sort, he will not be saved, because there is no junction between him and God through Christ Jesus; but faith, though it may seem to be like a slender cord, is in the hand of the great God on the shore side; infinite power pulls in the connecting line, and thus draws the man from destruction. Oh, the blessedness of faith, because it unites us to God by the Savior, whom He has appointed, even Jesus Christ! O reader, is there not common sense in this matter? Think it over, and may there soon be a band of union between you and God, through your faith in Christ Jesus!

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Meet the Author and part of your Christian heritage: Charles Haddon Spurgeon (19 June 1834 – 31 January 1892) was a British Particular Baptist preacher. Spurgeon remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is known as the “Prince of Preachers”. He was a strong figure in the Reformed Baptist tradition, defending the Church in agreement with the 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith understanding, and opposing the liberal and pragmatic theological tendencies in the Church of his day.

It is estimated that in his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, Spurgeon was the pastor of the congregation of the New Park Street Chapel (later the Metropolitan Tabernacle) in London for 38 years. He was part of several controversies with the Baptist Union of Great Britain and later had to leave the denomination. In 1857, he started a charity organization which is now called Spurgeon’s and works globally. He also founded Spurgeon’s College, which was named after him posthumously.

chspurgeon2Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, commentaries, books on prayer, devotionals, magazines, poetry, hymns and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. Spurgeon produced powerful sermons of penetrating thought and precise exposition. His oratory skills held his listeners spellbound in the Metropolitan Tabernacle and many Christians have discovered Spurgeon’s messages to be among the best in Christian literature.

The True and the False, and Why it Matters To Be, or Not To Be…. Decided

Excerpts taken from, Lectures to my students, XVI
Written by, C.H. Spurgeon,
Edited for thought and space

 

Some things are true and some things are false: I regard that as an axiom…

…but there are many persons who evidently do not believe it. The current principle of the present age seems to be, “Some things are either true or false, according to the point of view from which you look at them. Black is white, and white is black according to circumstances; and it does not particularly matter which you call it. Truth of course is true, but it would be rude to say that the opposite is a lie; we must not be bigoted, but remember the motto, ‘So many men, so many minds,’”

Our forefathers were particular about maintaining landmarks; they had strong notions about fixed points of revealed doctrine, and were very tenacious of what they believed to be scriptural; their fields were protected by hedges and ditches, but their sons have grubbed up the hedges, filled up the ditches, laid all level, and played at leap-frog with the boundary stones. The school of modern thought laughs at the ridiculous positiveness of Reformers and Puritans; it is advancing in glorious liberality, and before long will publish a grand alliance between heaven and hell, or, rather, an amalgamation of the two establishments upon terms of mutual concession, allowing falsehood and truth to lie side by side, like the lion with the lamb. Still, for all that, my firm old-fashioned belief is that some doctrines are true, and that statements which are diametrically opposite to them are not true,–that when “No” is the fact, “Yes” is out of court, and that when “Yes” can be justified, “No” must be abandoned.

We have a fixed faith to preach, my brethren…

…and we are sent forth with a definite message from God. We are not let to fabricate the message as we go along. We are not sent forth by our Master with a general commission arranged on this fashion: “As you shall think in your heart and invent in your head, so preach. Keep abreast of the times. Whatever the people want to hear, tell them that, and they shall be saved.” Verily, we read not so. There is something definite in the Bible. It is not quite a lump of wax to be shaped at our will, or a roll or cloth to be cut according to the prevailing fashion. Your great thinkers evidently look upon the Scriptures as a box of letters for them to play with, and make what they like of, or a wizard’s bottle, out of which they may pour anything they choose, from atheism up to spiritualism. I am too old-fashioned to fall down and worship this theory. There is something told me in the Bible–told me for certain–not put before me with a “but” and a “perhaps,” and an “if,” and a “may be,” and fifty thousand suspicions behind it, so that really the long and the short of it is, that it may not be so at all; but revealed to me as infallible fact, which must be believed, the opposite of which is deadly error, and comes from the father of lies.

Believing, therefore, that there is such a thing as truth, and such a thing as falsehood, that there are truths in the Bible, and that the gospel consists in something definite which is to be believed by men, it becomes us to be decided as to what we teach, and to teach it in a decided manner. We have to deal with men who will be either lost or saved, and they certainly will not be saved by erroneous doctrine.

We have to deal with God, whose servants we are, and He will not be honoured by our delivering falsehoods; neither will He give us a reward, and say, “Well done, good and faithful servant, thou hast mangled the, gospel as judiciously as any man that ever lived before thee.” We stand in a very solemn position, and ours should be the spirit of old Micaiah, who said, “As the Lord my God liveth, before whom I stand, whatsoever the Lord saith unto me that will I speak.” Neither less nor more than God’s word are we called to state, but that word we are bound to declare in a spirit which convinces the sons of men that, whatever they may think of it, we believe God, and are not to be shaken in our confidence in Him.

Brethren, in what ought we to be positive? Well, there are gentlemen alive who imagine that there are no fixed principles to go upon. “Perhaps a few doctrines,” said one to me, “perhaps a few doctrines may be considered as established. It is, perhaps, ascertained that there is a God; but one ought not to dogmatize upon His personality: a great deal may be said for pantheism.” Such men creep into the ministry, but they are generally cunning enough to conceal the breadth of their minds beneath Christian phraseology, thus acting in consistency with their principles, for their fundamental rule is that truth is of no consequence.

As for us–as for me, at any rate–I am certain that there is a God, and I mean to preach it as a man does who is absolutely sure. He is the Maker of heaven and earth, the Master of providence, and the Lord of grace: let His name be blessed for ever and ever! We will have no questions and debates as to Him.

We are equally certain that the book which is called “the Bible” is His word, and is inspired: not inspired in the sense in which Shakespeare, and Milton, and Dryden may be inspired, but in an infinitely higher sense; so that, provided we have the exact text, we regard the words themselves as infallible. We believe that everything stated in the book that comes to us from God is to be accepted by us as His sure testimony, and nothing less than that. God forbid we should be ensnared by those various interpretations of the modus of inspiration, which amount to little more than frittering it away. The book is a divine production; it is perfect, and is the last court of appeal–“the judge which ends the strife.”

I would as soon dream of blaspheming my Maker as of questioning the infallibility of His word.

We are also sure concerning the doctrine of the blessed Trinity. We cannot explain how the Father, Son, and Spirit can be each one distinct and perfect in himself, and yet that these three are one, so that there is but one God; yet we do verily believe it, and mean to preach it, notwithstanding Unitarian, Socinian, Sabellian, or any other error. We shall hold fast evermore the doctrine of the Trinity in Unity.

And, brethren, there will be no uncertain sound from us as to the atonement of our Lord Jesus Christ. We cannot leave the blood out of our ministry, or the life of it will be gone; for we may say of the gospel, “The blood is the life thereof.” The proper substitution of Christ, the vicarious sacrifice of Christ, on the behalf of His people, that they might live through Him,–this we must publish till we die.

Neither can we waver in our mind for a moment concerning the great and glorious Spirit of God–the fact of His existence, His personality, the power of His working, the necessity of His influences, the certainty that no man is regenerated except by Him; that we are born again by the Spirit of God, and that the Spirit dwells in believers, and is the author of all good in them, their sanctifier and preserver, without whom they can do no good thing whatsoever: we shall not at all hesitate as to preaching these truths.

The absolute necessity of the new birth is also a certainty. We come down with demonstration when we touch that point. We shall never poison our people with the notion that a moral reformation will suffice, but we will over and over again say to them, “Ye must be born again.” We have not got into the condition of the Scotch minister who, when old John Macdonald preached to his congregation a sermon to sinners, remarked, “Well, Mr. Macdonald, that was a very good sermon which you have preached, but it is very much out of place, for I do not know one single unregenerate person in my congregation.” Poor soul, he was in all probability unregenerate himself. No, we dare not flatter our hearers, but we must continue to tell them that they are born sinners, and must be born saints, or they will never see the face of God with acceptance.

The tremendous evil of sin–we shall not hesitate about that. We shall speak on that matter both sorrowfully and positively; and, though some very wise men raise difficult questions about hell, we shall not fail to declare the terrors of the Lord, and the fact that the Lord has said, “These shall go away into everlasting punishment, but the righteous into life eternal.”

Neither will we ever give an uncertain sound as to the glorious truth that salvation is all of grace. If ever we ourselves are saved, we know that sovereign grace alone has done it, and we feel it must be the same with others. We will publish, “Grace! grace! grace!” with all our might, living and dying.

We shall be very decided, also, as to justification by faith; for salvation is “Not of works, lest any man should boast.” “Life in a look at the Crucified One” will be Our message. Trust in the Redeemer will be that saving grace which we will pray the Lord to implant in all our hearers’ hearts.

And everything else which we believe to be true in the Scriptures we shall preach with decision.

If there be questions which may be regarded as moot, or comparatively unimportant, we shall speak with such a measure of decision about them as may be comely. But points which cannot be moot, which are essential and fundamental, will be declared by us without any stammering, without any enquiring of the people, “What would you wish us to say?” Yes, and without the apology, “Those are my views, but other people’s views may be correct.” We ought to preach the gospel, not as our views at all, but as the mind of God–the testimony of Jehovah concerning His own Son, and in reference to salvation for lost men. If we had been entrusted with the making of the gospel, we might have altered it to suit the taste of this modest century, but never having been employed to originate the good news, but merely to repeat it, we dare not stir beyond the record. What we have been taught of God we teach. If we do not do this, we are not fit for our position. He that hath God’s Word, let him speak it faithfully, and he will have no need to answer gainsayers, except with a “Thus saith the Lord.” This, then, is the matter concerning which we are decided.

How are we to show this decision?

We need not be careful to answer this question; our decision will show itself in its own way. If we really believe a truth, we shall be decided about it. Certainly we are not to show our decision by that obstinate, furious, wolfish bigotry which cuts off every other body from the chance and hope of salvation and the possibility of being regenerate or even decently honest if they happen to differ from us about the colour of a scale of the great leviathan. Some individuals appear to be naturally cut on the cross; they are manufactured to be rasps, and rasp they will. Sooner than not quarrel with you they would raise a question upon the colour of invisibility, or the weight of a non-existent substance. They are up in arms with you, not because of the importance of the question under discussion, but because of the far greater importance of their being always the Pope of the party. Don’t go about the world with your fist doubled up for fighting, carrying a theological revolver in the leg of your trousers. There is no sense in being a sort of doctrinal game-cock, to be carried about to show your spirit, or a terrier of orthodoxy, ready to tackle heterodox rats by the score. Practise the suaviter in modo as well as the fortiter in re. Be prepared to fight, and always have your sword buckled on your thigh, but wear a scabbard; there can be no sense in waving your weapon about before everybody’s eyes to provoke conflict, after the manner of our beloved friends of the Emerald Isle, who are said to take their coats off at Donnybrook Fair, and drag them along the ground, crying out, while they flourish their shillelaghs, “Will any gentleman be so good as to tread on the tail of my coat?” These are theologians of such warm, generous blood, that they are never at peace till they are fully engaged in war.

If you really believe the gospel, you will be decided for it in more sensible ways. Your very tone will betray your sincerity; you will speak like a man who has something to say, which he knows to be true. Have you ever watched a rogue when he is about to tell a falsehood? Have you noticed the way in which he has to mouth it? It takes a long time to be able to tell a lie well, for the facial organs were not originally constituted and adapted for the complacent delivery of falsehood. When a man knows he is telling you the truth, everything about him corroborates his sincerity. Any accomplished cross-examining lawyer knows within a little whether a witness is genuine or a deceiver. Truth has her own air and manner, her own tone and emphasis. Yonder is a blundering, ignorant country fellow in the witness-box; the counsel tries to bamboozle and confuse him, if possible, but all the while he feels that he is an honest witness, and he says to himself, “I should like to shake this fellow’s evidence, for it will greatly damage my side of the question.” There ought to be always that same air of truth about the Christian minister; only as he is not only bearing witness to the truth, but wants other people to feel that truth and own the power of it, he ought to have more decision in his tone than a mere witness who is stating facts which may be believed or not without any serious consequences following either way. Luther was the man for decision. Nobody doubted that he believed what he spoke. He spoke with thunder, for there was lightning in his faith. The man preached all over, for his entire nature believed. You felt, “Well, he may be mad, or he may be altogether mistaken, but he assuredly believes what he says. He is the incarnation of faith; his heart is running over at his lips.”

If we would show decision for the truth, we must not only do so by our tone and manner, but by our daily actions. A man’s life is always more forcible than his speech; when men take stock of him they reckon his deeds as pounds and his words as pence. If his life and his doctrines disagree, the mass of lookers-on accept his practice and reject his preaching.  I can conceive no surer method of prejudicing men against the truth than by sounding her praises through the lips of men of suspicious character. When the devil turned preacher in our Lord’s day, the Master bade him hold his peace; He did not care for Satanic praises. It is very ridiculous to hear good truth from a bad man; it is like flour in a coal-sack.  How strange it would be to hear a man say, “I am a servant of the Most High God, and I will go wherever I can get the most salary. I am called to labour for the glory of Jesus only, and I will go nowhere unless the church is of most respectable standing. For me to live is Christ, but I cannot do it under five hundred pounds per annum.”

Brother, if the truth be in thee it will flow out of thine entire being as the perfume streams from every bough of the sandal-wood tree; it will drive thee onward as the trade-wind speeds the ships, filling all their sails; it will consume thy whole nature with its energy as the forest fire burns up all the trees of the wood. Truth has not fully given thee her friendship till all thy doings are marked with her seal.

We must show our decision for the truth by the sacrifices we are ready to make.

This is, indeed, the most efficient as well as the most trying method. We must be ready to give up anything and everything for the sake of the principles which we have espoused, and must be ready to offend our best supporters, to alienate our warmest friends, sooner than belie our consciences. We must be ready to be beggars in purse, and offscourings in reputation, rather than act treacherously. We can die, but we cannot deny the truth. The cost is already counted, and we are determined to buy the truth at any price, and sell it at no price. Too little of this spirit is abroad nowadays. Men have a saving faith, and save their own persons from trouble; they have great discernment, and know on which side their bread is buttered; they are large-hearted, and are all things to all men, if by any means they may save a sum. There are plenty of curs about, who would follow at the heel of any man who would keep them in meat. They are among the first to bark at decision, and call it obstinate dogmatism, and ignorant bigotry. Their condemnatory verdict causes us no distress; it is what we expected.

Above all we must show our zeal for the truth by continually, in season and out of season endeavouring to maintain it in the tenderest and most loving manner, but still very earnestly and firmly. We must not talk to our congregations as if we were half asleep. Our preaching must not be articulate snoring. There must be power, life, energy, vigour. We must throw our whole selves into it, and show that the zeal of God’s house has eaten us up.

My brethren, you will strengthen your decision by the recollection of the importance of these truths to your own souls. Are your sins forgiven? Have you a hope of heaven? How do the solemnities of eternity affect you? Certainly you are not saved apart from these things, and therefore you must hold them, for you feel you are a lost man if they be not true. You have to die, and, being conscious that these things alone can sustain you in the last article, you hold them with all your might. You cannot give them up. How can a man resign a truth which he feels to be vitally important to his own soul? He daily feels-“I have to live on it, I have to die on it, I am wretched now, and lost for ever apart from it, and therefore by the help of God I cannot relinquish it.”

Your own experience from day-to-day will sustain you, beloved brethren. I hope you have realised already and will experience much more the power of the truth which you preach.

I believe the doctrine of election, because I am quite sure that if God had not chosen me I should never have chosen Him; and I am sure He chose me before I was born, or else He never would have chosen me afterwards; and He must have elected me for reasons unknown to me, for I never could find any reason in myself why He should have looked upon me with special love. So I am forced to accept that doctrine.

I am bound to the doctrine of the depravity of the human heart, because I find myself depraved in heart, and have daily proofs that there dwelleth in my flesh no good thing. I cannot help holding that there must be an atonement before there can be pardon, because my conscience demands it, and my peace depends upon it. The little court within my own heart is not satisfied unless some retribution be exacted for dishonour done to God.

They tell us sometimes that such and such statements are not true; but when we are able to reply that we have tried them and proved them, what answer is there to such reasoning? A man propounds the wonderful discovery that honey is not sweet. “But I had some for breakfast, and I found it very sweet,” say you, and your reply is conclusive. He tells you that salt is poisonous, but you point to your own health, and declare that you have eaten salt these twenty years. He says that to eat bread is a mistake–a vulgar error, an antiquated absurdity; but at each meal you make his protest the subject for a merry laugh. If you are daily and habitually experienced in the truth of God’s Word, I am not afraid of your being shaken in mind in reference to it. Those young fellows who never felt conviction of sin, but obtained their religion as they get their bath in the morning, by jumping into it–these will as readily leap out of it as they leaped in. Those who feel neither the joys nor yet the depressions of spirit which indicate spiritual life, are torpid, and their palsied hand has no firm grip of truth. Mere skimmers of the Word, who, like swallows, touch the water with their wings, are the first to fly from one land to another as personal considerations guide them. They believe this, and then believe that, for, in truth, they believe nothing intensely. If you have ever been dragged through the mire and clay of soul-despair, if you have been turned upside down, and wiped out like a dish as to all your own strength and pride, and have then been filled with the joy and peace of God, through Jesus Christ, I will trust you among fifty thousand infidels. Whenever I hear the sceptic’s stale attacks upon the Word of God, I smile within myself and think, “Why, you simpleton! how can you urge such trifling objections? I have felt, in the contentions of my own unbelief, ten times greater difficulties.” We who have contended with horses are not to be wearied by footmen. Gordon Cumming and other lion-killers are not to be scared by wild cats, nor will those who have stood foot tofoot with Satan resign the field to pretentious sceptics, or any other of the evil one’s inferior servants.

If, my brethren, we have fellowship with the Lord Jesus Christ, we cannot be made to doubt the fundamentals of the gospel; neither can we be undecided.

A glimpse at the thorn-crowned head and pierced hands and feet is the sure cure for “modern doubt” and all its vagaries. Get into the “Rock of Ages, cleft for you,” and you will abhor the quicksand. That eminent American preacher, the seraphic Summerfield, when he lay a-dying, turned round to a friend in the room and said, “I have taken a look into eternity. Oh, if I could come back and preach again, how differently would I preach from what I have done before!” Take a look into eternity, brethren, if you want to be decided. Remember how Atheist met Christian and Hopeful on the road to the New Jerusalem, and said, “There is no celestial country. I have gone a long way, and could not find it.” Then Christian said to Hopeful, “Did we not see it from the top of Mount Clear, when we were with the shepherds?” There was an answer! So when men have said, “There is no Christ–there is no truth in religion,” we have replied to them, “Have we not sat under His shadow with great delight? Was not His fruit sweet to our taste? Go with your scepticisms to those who do not know whom they have believed. We have tasted and handled the good word of life. What we have seen and heard, that we do testify; and whether men receive our testimony or not, we cannot but speak it, for we, speak what we do know, and testify what we have seen.” That, my brethren, is the sure way to be decided.