In the simplest of words, Rev. Charles Spurgeon writes the following on the Law and its purpose for mankind,
The law is also very useful, because it shows us our defections and stains. It is like the looking-glass which my lady holds up to her face, that she may see if there be any spot on it. But she cannot wash her face with the looking-glass. When the mirror has done its utmost, then there are the same stains. It cannot take away a single spot, it can only show where one is. And the law, though it reveals our sin, our shortcomings, our transgressions, it cannot remove the sin or the transgression. It is weak for that purpose, because it was never intended to accomplish such an end.
God has, in great mercy, given us a day, one day in seven, wherein to rest, and to think of holy things. There were seven days that God had in the week. He said, “Take six, and use them in your business.” No, we must have the seventh as well. It is as if one, upon the road, saw a poor man in distress, and having but seven shillings, the generous person gave the poor man six; but when the wretch had scrambled on his feet, he followed his benefactor to knock him down, and steal the seventh shilling from him. How many do this! The Sabbath is their day for sport, for amusement, for anything but the service of God. They rob God of his day, though it be but one in seven. This is base unthankfulness.
I am persuaded that the use of a good Catechism in all our families will be a great safeguard against the increasing errors of the times, and therefore I have compiled this little manual from the Westminster Assembly’s and Baptist Catechisms, for the use of my own church and congregation. Those who use it in their families or classes must labour to explain the sense; but the words should be carefully learned by heart, for they will be understood better as years pass. May the Lord bless my dear friends and their families evermore, is the prayer of their loving Pastor. – C. H. Spurgeon
- Q. Which is the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment is, “Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the Sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shalt not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor they cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and hallowed it.”
- Q. What is required in the fourth commandment?
A. The fourth commandment requires the keeping holy to God such set times as he has appointed in his Word, expressly one whole day in seven, to be a holy Sabbath to himself (Lev. 19:30; Deut. 5:12).
- Q. How is the Sabbath to be sanctified?
A. The Sabbath is to be sanctified by a holy resting all that day, even from such worldly employments and recreations as are lawful on other days (Lev. 23:3), and spending the whole time in the public and private exercises of God’s worship (Ps. 92:1-2; Isa. 58:13-14), except so much as is taken up in the works of necessity and mercy (Matt. 12:11-12).
It is of no more use to give advice to the idle than to pour water into a sieve; and as to improving them, one might as well try to fatten a greyhound. Yet, as The Old Book tells us to cast our bread upon the waters,” we will cast a hard crust or two upon these stagnant ponds; for there will be this comfort about it: if lazy fellows grow no better, we shall be none the worse for having warned them, for when we sow good sense, the basket gets none the emptier. We have a stiff bit of soil to plow when we chide with sluggards, and the crop will be of the smallest. But if none but good land were farmed, plowmen would be out of work, so we’ll put the plow into the furrow. Idle men are common enough and grow without planting, but the quantity of wit among seven acres of them would never pay for raking: nothing is needed to prove this but their name and character; if they were not fools they would be idlers; and though Solomon says, “The sluggard is wiser in his own conceit than seven men that can render a reason,” yet in the eyes of every one else, his folly is as plain as the sun in the sky. If I hit hard while speaking to them, it is because I know they can bear it; for if I had them down on the floor of the old barn, I might thresh many a day before I could get them out of the straw, and even the steam thresher could not do it. It would kill them first; for laziness is in some people’s bones and will show itself in their idle flesh, do what you will with them.
Well, then, first and foremost, it strikes me that lazy people ought to have a large looking glass hung up, where they are bound to see themselves in it; for sure, if their eyes are at all like mine, they would never bear to look at themselves long or often. The ugliest sight in the world is one of those thoroughbred loafers, who would hardly hold up his basin if it were to rain with porridge; and for certain would never hold up a bigger pot than he wanted filled for himself. Perhaps, if the shower should turn to beer, he might wake himself up a bit; but he would make up for it afterwards. This is the slothful man in the Proverbs, who “hideth his hand in his bosom; it grieveth him to bring it again to his mouth.” I say that men the like of this ought to be served like the drones which the bees drive out of the hives. Every man ought to have patience and pity for poverty; but for laziness, a long whip or a turn at the treadmill might be better. This would be a healthy purgative for all sluggards; but there is no chance of some of them getting their full dose of this medicine, for they were born with silver spoons in their mouths, and like spoons will scarce stir their own tea unless somebody lends them a hand. They are, as the old proverb says, gas lazy as Ludham’s dog, that leaned his head against the wall to bark”; and like lazy sheep, it is too much trouble for them to carry their own wool. If they could see themselves, it might by chance do them a world of good; but perhaps it would be too much rouble for them to open their eyes even if the glass were hung for them.
Everything in the world is of some use; but it would puzzle a doctor of divinity, or a philosopher, or the wisest owl in our steeple to tell the good of idleness: that seems to me to be an ill wind which blows nobody any good—a sort of mud which breeds no eels, a dirty ditch which would not feed a frog. Sift a sluggard grain by grain, and you’ll find him all chaff. I have heard men say, better do nothing than do mischief but I am not even sure of that: that saying glitters well, but I don’t believe it’s gold. I grudge laziness even that pinch of praise; I say it is bad and bad altogether. For look ye, a man doing mischief is a sparrow picking the corn—but a lazy man is a sparrow sitting on a nest full of eggs, which will all turn to sparrows before long and do a world of hurt.
Even bad men praise consistency. Thieves like honest men, for they are the best to rob. When you know where to find a man, he has one good point at any rate; but a fellow who howls with the wolves and bleats with the sheep gets nobody’s good word unless it be the devil’s. To carry two faces under one hat is, however, very common. Many roost with the poultry and go shares with Reynard. Many look as if butter would not melt in their mouths and yet can spit fire when it suits their purpose. I read the other day an advertisement about reversible coats; the tailor who sells them must be making a fortune. Holding with the hare and running with the hounds is still in fashion. Consistency is about as scarce in the world as musk in a dog kennel.
You may trust some men as far as you can see them, but no further, for new company makes them new men. Like water, they boil or freeze according to the temperature. Some do this because they have no principles; they are of the weathercock persuasion and turn with the wind. you might as well measure the moon for a suit of clothes as know what they are. They believe in that which pays best. They always put up at the Golden Fleece; their mill grinds any grist which you bring to it if the ready money is forthcoming. They go with every wind, north, south, east, west, northeast, northwest, southeast, southwest, north-northeast, southwest-by-south, or any other in all the world. Like frogs, they live on land or water and are not at all particular which it is. Like a cat, they always fall on their feet and will stop anywhere if you butter their toes. They love their friends dearly, but their love lies in the cupboard; if that be bare, like a mouse, their love runs off to some other larder. They say, “Leave you, dear girl? Never, while you have a shilling.” How they scuttle off if you come to the bad! Like rats, they leave a sinking ship.
When good cheer is lacking,
Such friends still be packing.
Their heart follows the pudding. While the pot boils, they sit by the fire; when the meal tub is empty, they play at turnabout. They believe in the winning horse; they will wear anybody’s coat who may choose to give them one; they are to be bought by the dozen like mackerel, but he who gives a penny for them wastes his money. Profit is their god; and whether they make it out of you or your enemy, the money is just as sweet to them. Heads or tails are alike to them so long as they win. High road or back lane, all’s the same to them as long as they can get home with the loaf in the basket. They are friends to the goose, but they will eat his giblets. So long as the water turns their wheel, it is none the worse for being muddy; they would bum their mother’s coffin if they were short of fire wood and sell their own father if they could turn a penny by the old gentleman’s bones. They never lose a chance of minding the main chance.
Others are shifty because they are so desperately fond of good fellowship. “Hail fellow, well met,” is their cry, be it traveler or highwayman. They are so good-natured that they must agree with everybody. They are cousins of Mr. Anything. Their brains are in other people’s heads. If they were at Rome, they would kiss the Pope’s toe, but when they are at home they make themselves hoarse with shouting, “No Popery.” They admire the Vicar of Bray, whose principle was to be the Vicar of Bray whether the Church was Protestant or Popish. They are mere time-servers, in hopes that the times may serve them. They belong to the party which wears the yellow colors not in their button-holes, but in the palms of their hands. Butter them, and like turnips you may eat them. Pull the rope, and like the bells they will ring as you choose to make them, funeral knell or wedding peal, come to church or go to the devil. They have no backbones; you may bend them like willow wands, backwards or forwards, whichever way you please. Like oysters, anybody may pepper them who can open them. They are sweet to you and sweet to your enemy. They blow hot and cold. They try to be Jack-o’-both sides and deserve to be kicked like a football by both parties.
Some are hypocrites by nature, slippery as eels, and piebald like Squire Smoothey’s mare. Like a drunken man, they could not walk straight if they were to try. They wind in and out like a Surrey lane. They were born of the breed of St. Judas. The double shuffle is their favorite game, and honesty their greatest hatred. Honey is on their tongues, but gall in their hearts. They are mongrel-bred, like the gypsy’s dog. Like a cat’s feet, they show soft pads but carry sharp claws. If their teeth are not rotten, their tongues are, and their hearts are like dead men’s graves. If speaking the truth and lying were equally profitable, they would naturally prefer to lie; for, like dirt to a pig, it would be congenial. They fawn, and flatter, and cringe, and scrape; like snails they make their way by their slime, but all the while they hate you in their hearts and only wait for a chance to stab you. Beware of those who come from the town of Deceit. Mr. Facing-both-ways, Mr. Fair-speech, and Mr. Two-tongues are neighbors who are best at a distance. Though they look one way, as boatmen do, they are pulling the other; they are false as the devil’s promises, and as cruel as death and the grave.
Religious deceivers are the worst of vermin, and I fear they are as plentiful as rats in an old wheat stack.
They are like a silver pin, Fair without but foul within.
They cover up their black flesh with white feathers. Saturday and Sunday make a wonderful difference in them. They have the fear of the minister a good deal more before their eyes than the fear of God. Their religion lies in imitating the religious; they have none of the root of the matter in them. They carry Dr. Watts’ hymn book in their pocket and sing a roaring song at the same time. Their Sunday coats are the best part about them; the nearer you get to their hearts, the more filth you will Cad. They prate like parrots, but their talk and their walk do not agree. Some of them are fishing for customers, and a little pious talk is a cheap advertisement; if the seat at the church or the meeting costs a trifle, they make it up out of short weights They don’t worship God while they trade, but they trade on their worship. Others of the poorer sort go to church for Soup, and bread, and coal tickets. They love the communion because of the alms’ money. Some of the dear old Mrs. Goodbodies want a blessed almshouse, and so they profess to be so blessed under the blessed ministry or their blessed Pastor every blessed Sabbath. Charity suits them if faith does not; they know which side their bread ice buttered on.
Others make a decent show in religion to quiet their consciences; they use it as a salve for their wounds. If they could satisfy heaven as easily as they quiet themselves, it would be a fine thing for them. It has been my lot to meet with some who went a long way in profession, as far as I could see, for nothing but the love of being thought well of. They got a little knot of friends to believe in their dime talk, and take all in for gospel that they liked to say. Their opinion was the true measure of a preacher’s soundness; they could settle up everything by their own know, and they had gallons of XXX experience for those who liked something hot and strong; but dear, dear, if they had but condescended to show a little Christian practice as well, how much better their lives would have weighed up! These people are like owls, which look to be big birds, but they are not, for they are all feathers; and they look wonderfully knowing in the twilight, but when the light comes, they are regular boobies.
Hypocrites of all sorts are abominable, and he who deals with them will rue it. He who tries to cheat the Lord will be quite ready to cheat his fellow men. Great cry generally means little wool. Many a big chimney in which you expect to see bacon and hams, when you look up it, has nothing to show you but its empty hooks and black soot. Some men’s windmills are only nutcrackers, and their elephants are nothing but sucking pigs. It is not all who go to church or meeting that truly pray, nor those who sing loudest that praise God most, nor those who pull the longest faces who are the most in earnest. What mean animals hypocrites must be! Talk of polecats and weasels, they are nothing in comparison to them. Better be a dead dog than a live hypocrite. Surely when the devil sees hypocrites at their little game, it must be as good as a play to him; he tempts genuine Christians, but he lets these alone, because he is sure of them. He need not shoot at lame ducks; his dog can pick them up any day.
Depend upon it, friends, if a straight line will not pay, a crooked one won’t. What is got by shuffling is very dangerous gain. It may give a moment’s peace to wear a mask, but deception will come home to you and bring sorrow with it. Honesty is the best policy. If the lion’s skin does not do, never try the fox’s. Be as true as steel. Let your face and hands, like the church clock, always tell how your inner works are going. Better be laughed at as Tom Tell-truth than be praised as Crafty Charlie. Plain dealing may bring us trouble, but it is better than shuffling. At the last, the upright will have their reward; but for the double-minded to get to heaven is as impossible as for a man to swim the Atlantic with a millstone under each arm.
“You have but one day in the week, as it were, devoted to these things; one day of building, and six of pulling down. With many it is one day’s storing, and six days scattering. It is but a slight advance that we make towards heaven.”
“These who saw Christ’s day before it came, had great differences as to what they knew,… But they were all washed in the same blood, all redeemed with the same ransom price, and made members of the same body, Israel in the covenant of grace is not natural Israel, but all believers in all ages.“
Well, that answers our question, doesn’t it?
Quote taken from “Jesus Christ Immutable,” Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, Vol. 15 – page 8.
“God has, in great mercy, given us a day, one day in seven, wherein to rest, and to think of holy things. There were seven days that God had in the week. He said, “Take six, and use them in your business.” No, we must have the seventh as well. It is as if one, upon the road, saw a poor man in distress, and having but seven shillings, the generous person gave the poor man six; but when the wretch had scrambled on his feet, he followed his benefactor to knock him down, and steal the seventh shilling from him. How many do this! The Sabbath is their day for sport, for amusement, for anything but the service of God. They rob God of his day, though it be but one in seven. This is base unthankfulness.” – Charles Spurgeon
“The Lord will perfect that which concerneth me.” — Psalm 138:8
Most manifestly the confidence which the Psalmist here expressed was a divine confidence. He did not say, “I have grace enough to perfect that which concerneth me—my faith is so steady that it will not stagger—my love is so warm that it will never grow cold—my resolution is so firm that nothing can move it; no, his dependence was on the Lord alone. If we indulge in any confidence which is not grounded on the Rock of ages, our confidence is worse than a dream, it will fall upon us, and cover us with its ruins, to our sorrow and confusion. All that Nature spins time will unravel, to the eternal confusion of all who are clothed therein. The Psalmist was wise, he rested upon nothing short of the Lord’s work. It is the Lord who has begun the good work within us; it is he who has carried it on; and if he does not finish it, it never will be complete. If there be one stitch in the celestial garment of our righteousness which we are to insert ourselves, then we are lost; but this is our confidence, the Lord who began will perfect. He has done it all, must do it all, and will do it all. Our confidence must not be in what we have done, nor in what we have resolved to do, but entirely in what the Lord will do. Unbelief insinuates— “You will never be able to stand. Look at the evil of your heart, you can never conquer sin; remember the sinful pleasures and temptations of the world that beset you, you will be certainly allured by them and led astray.” Ah! yes, we should indeed perish if left to our own strength. If we had alone to navigate our frail vessels over so rough a sea, we might well give up the voyage in despair; but, thanks be to God, he will perfect that which concerneth us, and bring us to the desired haven. We can never be too confident when we confide in him alone, and never too much concerned to have such a trust.
(Thanks Jesus is Savior.com)
Charles Haddon Spurgeon is history’s most widely read preacher (apart from the biblical ones). Today, there is available more material written by Spurgeon than by any other Christian author, living or dead.
One woman was converted through reading a single page of one of Spurgeon’s sermons wrapped around some butter she had bought.
Spurgeon read The Pilgrim’s Progress at age 6 and went on to read it over 100 times.
The New Park Street Pulpit and The Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit – the collected sermons of Spurgeon during his ministry with that congregation – fill 63 volumes. The sermons’ 20-25 million words are equivalent to the 27 volumes of the ninth edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. The series stands as the largest set of books by a single author in the history of Christianity.
Spurgeon’s mother had 17 children, nine of whom died in infancy.
When Charles Spurgeon was only 10 years old, a visiting missionary, Richard Knill, said that the young Spurgeon would one day preach the gospel to thousands and would preach in Rowland Hill’s chapel, the largest Dissenting church in London. His words were fulfilled.
Spurgeon missed being admitted to college because a servant girl inadvertently showed him into a different room than that of the principal who was waiting to interview him. Later, he determined not to reapply for admission when he believed God spoke to him, “Seekest thou great things for thyself? Seek them not!”
Spurgeon’s personal library contained 12,000 volumes – 1,000 printed before 1700. The library, 5,103 volumes at the time of its auction, is now housed at William Jewell College in Liberty, Missouri.
Before he was 20, Spurgeon had preached over 600 times.
Spurgeon drew to his services Prime Minister W. E. Gladstone, members of the royal family, members of Parliament, as well as author John Ruskin, Florence Nightingale, and General James Garfield, later president of the United States.
The New Park Street Church invited Spurgeon to come for a 6-month trial period, but Spurgeon asked to come for only 3 months because “the congregation might not want me, and I do not wish to be a hindrance.” When Spurgeon arrived at The New Park Street Church, in 1854, the congregation had 232 members. By the end of his pastorate, 38 years later, that number had increased to 5,311. Altogether, 14,460 people were added to the church during Spurgeon’s tenure. The church was the largest independent congregation in the world.
Spurgeon typically read 6 books per week and could remember what he had read, and where, even years later.
Spurgeon once addressed an audience of 23,654 without a microphone or any mechanical amplification.
Spurgeon began a pastors’ college that trained nearly 900 students during his lifetime -nd it continues today.
In 1865, Spurgeon’s sermons sold 25,000 copies every week. They were translated into more than 20 languages.
At least 3 of Spurgeon’s works, including the multi-volume Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit series, have sold more than 1,000,000 copies. One of these, All of Grace, was the first book ever published by Moody Press (formerly the Bible Institute Colportage Association) and is still its all-time bestseller.
During his lifetime, Spurgeon is estimated to have preached to 10,000,000 people.
Spurgeon once said he counted 8 sets of thoughts that passed through his mind at the same time while he was preaching.
Testing the acoustics in the vast Agricultural Hall, Spurgeon shouted, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the world.” A worker high in the rafters of the building heard this and became converted to Christ as a result.
Susannah Thompson, Spurgeon’s wife, became an invalid at age 33 and could seldom attend her husband’s services after that.
Spurgeon spent 20 years studying the Book of Psalms and writing his commentary on them, The Treasury of David.
Spurgeon insisted that his congregation’s new building, The Metropolitan Tabernacle, employ Greek architecture because the New Testament was written in Greek. This one decision has greatly influenced subsequent church architecture throughout the world.
The theme for Spurgeon’s Sunday morning sermon was usually not chosen until Saturday night.
For an average sermon, Spurgeon took no more than one page of notes into the pulpit, yet he spoke at a rate of 140 words per minute for 40 minutes.
The only time that Spurgeon wore clerical garb was when he visited Geneva and preached in Calvin’s pulpit.
By accepting some of his many invitations to speak, Spurgeon oft preached 10 times in a week
Spurgeon met often with Hudson Taylor, the well-known missionary to China, and with George Mueller, the orphanage founder.
Spurgeon had two children – twin sons – and both became preachers. Thomas succeeded his father as pastor of the Tabernacle, and Charles, Jr., took charge of the orphanage his father had founded.
Spurgeon’s wife, Susannah, called him Tirshatha, a title used of the Judean governor under the Persian Empire, meaning “Your Excellency.”
Spurgeon often worked 18 hours a day. Famous explorer and missionary David Livingstone once asked him, “How do you manage to do two men’s work in a single day?” Spurgeon replied, “You have forgotten that there are two of us.”
Spurgeon spoke out so strongly against slavery that American publishers of his sermons began deleting his remarks on the subject.
Occasionally Spurgeon asked members of his congregation not to attend the next Sunday’s service, so that newcomers might find a seat. During one 1879 service, the regular congregation left so that newcomers waiting outside might get in; the building immediately filled again.
“It is a sweet and blessed event which will occur to all believers in God’s own time—the going home to be with Jesus. In a few more years the Lord’s soldiers, who are now fighting “the good fight of faith” will have done with conflict, and have entered into the joy of their Lord. But although Christ prays that his people may eventually be with him where he is, he does not ask that they may be taken at once away from this world to heaven. He wishes them to stay here. Yet how frequently does the wearied pilgrim put up the prayer, “O that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away and be at rest;” but Christ does not pray like that, he leaves us in his Father’s hands, until, like shocks of corn fully ripe, we shall each be gathered into our Master’s garner. Jesus does not plead for our instant removal by death, for to abide in the flesh is needful for others if not profitable for ourselves. He asks that we may be kept from evil, but he never asks for us to be admitted to the inheritance in glory till we are of full age. Christians often want to die when they have any trouble. Ask them why, and they tell you, “Because we would be with the Lord.” We fear it is not so much because they are longing to be with the Lord, as because they desire to get rid of their troubles; else they would feel the same wish to die at other times when not under the pressure of trial. They want to go home, not so much for the Saviour’s company, as to be at rest. Now it is quite right to desire to depart if we can do it in the same spirit that Paul did, because to be with Christ is far better, but the wish to escape from trouble is a selfish one. Rather let your care and wish be to glorify God by your life here as long as he pleases, even though it be in the midst of toil, and conflict, and suffering, and leave him to say when “it is enough.”
THERE are many occasions in our experience when we may very rightly, and with benefit, renew our covenant with God. After recovery from sickness when, like Hezekiah, we have had a new term of years added to our life, we may fitly do it. After any deliverance from trouble, when our joys bud forth anew, let us again visit the foot of the cross, and renew our consecration. Especially, let us do this after any sin which has grieved the Holy Spirit, or brought dishonour upon the cause of God; let us then look to that blood which can make us whiter than snow, and again offer ourselves unto the Lord. We should not only let our troubles confirm our dedication to God, but our prosperity should do the same. If we ever meet with occasions which deserve to be called “crowning mercies” then, surely, if He hath crowned us, we ought also to crown our God; let us bring forth anew all the jewels of the divine regalia which have been stored in the jewel-closet of our heart, and let our God sit upon the throne of our love, arrayed in royal apparel. If we would learn to profit by our prosperity, we should not need so much adversity. If we would gather from a kiss all the good it might confer upon us, we should not so often smart under the rod. Have we lately received some blessing which we little expected? Has the Lord put our feet in a large room? Can we sing of mercies multiplied? Then this is the day to put our hand upon the horns of the altar, and say, “Bind me here, my God; bind me here with cords, even for ever.” Inasmuch as we need the fulfillment of new promises from God, let us offer renewed prayers that our old vows may not be dishonoured. Let us this morning make with Him a sure covenant, because of the pains of Jesus which for the last month we have been considering with gratitude.
The Lord shall command the blessing upon thee in thy storehouses, and in all that thou settest thine hand unto. (Deuteronomy 28:8)
If we obey the Lord our God He will bless that which He gives us. Riches are no curse when blessed of the Lord. When men have more than they require for their immediate need and begin to lay up in storehouses, the dry rot of covetousness or the blight of hard-heartedness is apt to follow the accumulation; but with God’s blessing it is not so. Prudence arranges the saving, liberality directs the spending, gratitude maintains consecration, and praise sweetens enjoyment. It is a great mercy to have God’s blessing in one’s iron safe and on one’s banking account.
What a favor is made ours by the last clause! “The Lord shall bless thee in all that thou settest thine hand unto.” We would not put our hand to anything upon which we dare not ask God’s blessing, neither would we go about it without prayer and faith. But what a privilege to be able to look for the Lord’s help in every enterprise! Some talk of a lucky man: the blessing of the Lord is better than luck. The patronage of the great is nothing to the favor of God. Self-reliance is all very well; but the Lord’s blessing is infinitely more than all the fruit of talent, genius, or tact.
My God shall supply all your need according to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)
Paul’s God is our God and will supply all our need. Paul felt sure of this in reference to the Philippians, and we feel sure of it as to ourselves. God will do it, for it is like Him: He loves us, He delights to bless us, and it will glorify Him to do so. His pity, His power, His love, His faithfulness, all work together that we be not famished.
What a measure doth the Lord go by: “According to his riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” The riches of His grace are large, but what shall we say of the riches of His glory? His “riches of glory by Christ Jesus”-who shall form an estimate of this? According to this immeasurable measure will God fill up the immense abyss of our necessities. He makes the Lord Jesus the receptacle and the channel of His fullness, and then He imparts to us His wealth of love in its highest form. Hallelujah!
The writer knows what it is to be tried in the work of the Lord. Fidelity has been recompensed with anger, and liberal givers have stopped their subscriptions; but he whom they sought to oppress has not been one penny the ~ nay, rather he has been the richer; for this promise has been true, “My God shall supply all your need.” God’s supplies are surer than any bank.
He that humbleth himself shall be exalted. (Luke 18:14)
It ought not to be difficult for us to humble ourselves, for what have we to be proud of? We ought to take the lowest place without being told to do so. If we are sensible and honest, we shall be little in our own eyes. Especially before the Lord in prayer we shall shrink to nothing. There we cannot speak of merit, for we have none; our one and only appeal must be to mercy: “God be merciful to me a sinner.”
Here is a cheering word from the throne. We shall be exalted by the Lord if we humble ourselves. For us the way upward is downhill. When we are stripped of self we are clothed with humility, and this is the best of wear. The Lord will exalt us in peace and happiness of mind; He will exalt us into knowledge of His Word and fellowship with Himself; He will exalt us in the enjoyment of sure pardon and justification. The Lord puts His honors upon those who can wear them to the honor of the Giver. He gives usefulness, acceptance, and influence to those who will not be puffed up by them but will be abased by a sense of greater responsibility. Neither God nor man will care to lift up a man who lifts up himself; but both God and good men unite to honor modest worth.
O Lord, sink me in self that I may rise in Thee
I shall not die, but live, and declare the works of the Lord. (Psalm 118:17)
A fair assurance this! It was no doubt based upon a promise, inwardly whispered in the psalmist’s heart, which he seized upon and enjoyed. Is my case like that of David? Am I depressed because the enemy affronts me? Are there multitudes against me and few on my side? Does unbelief bid me lie down and die in despair-a defeated, dishonored man? Do my enemies begin to dig my grave?
What then? Shall I yield to the whisper of fear, and give up the battle, and with it give up all hope? Far from it. There is life in me yet: “I shall not die.” Vigor will return and remove my weakness: “I shall live.” The Lord lives, and I shall live also. My mouth shall again be opened: “I shall declare the works of Jehovah.” Yes, and I shall speak of the present trouble as another instance of the wonder-working faithfulness and love of the Lord my God. Those who would gladly measure me for my coffin had better wait a bit, for “the Lord hath chastened me sore, but he hath not given me over unto death.” Glory be to His name forever! I am immortal till my work is done. Till the Lord wills it, no vault can close upon me.
But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. (Matthew 6:33)
See how the Bible opens: “In the beginning God.” Let your life open in the same way. Seek with your whole soul, first and foremost, the kingdom of God, as the place of your citizenship, and His righteousness as the character of your life. As for the rest, it will come from the Lord Himself without your being anxious concerning it. All that is needful for this life and godliness “shall be added unto you.”
What a promise this is! Food, raiment, home, and so forth, God undertakes to add to you while you seek Him. You mind His business, and He will mind yours. If you want paper and string, you get them given in when you buy more important goods; and just so all that we need of earthly things we shall have thrown in with the kingdom. He who is an heir of salvation shall not die of starvation; and he who clothes his soul with the righteousness of God cannot be left of the Lord with a naked body. Away with carking care. Set all your mind upon seeking the Lord. Covetousness is poverty, and anxiety is misery: trust in God is an estate, and likeness of God is a heavenly inheritance. Lord, I seek Thee; be found of me.
Lo, the people shall dwell alone, and shall not be redeemed among the nations. (Numbers 23:9)
Who would wish to dwell among the nations and to be numbered with them? Why, even the professing church is such that to follow the Lord fully within its bounds is very difficult. There is such a mingling and mixing that one often sighs for “a lodge in some vast wilderness.”
Certain it is that the Lord would have His people follow a separated path as to the world and come out decidedly and distinctly from it. We are set apart by the divine decree, purchase, and calling, and our inward experience has made us greatly to differ from men of the world; and therefore our place is not in their Vanity Fair, nor in their City of Destruction, but in the narrow way where all true pilgrims must follow their Lord.
This may not only reconcile us to the world’s cold shoulder and sneers but even cause us to accept them with pleasure as being a part of our covenant portion. Our names are not in the same book, we are not of the same seed, we are not bound for the same place, neither are we trusting to the same guide; therefore it is well that we are not of their number. Only let us be found in the number of the redeemed, and we are content to be off and solitary to the end of the chapter.
The Lord thy God in the midst of thee is mighty; he will save, he will rejoice over thee with joy; he will rest in his love, he will joy over thee with singing. (Zephaniah 3:17)
What a word is this! Jehovah God in the center of His people in all the majesty of His power! This presence alone suffices to inspire us with peace and hope. Treasures of boundless might are stored in our Jehovah, and He dwells in His church; therefore may His people shout for joy.
We not only have His presence, but He is engaged upon His choice work of salvation. “He will save.” He is always saving: He takes His name of Jesus from it. Let us not fear any danger, for He is mighty to save.
Nor is this all. He abides evermore the same, He saves, He finds rest in loving, He will not cease to love. His love gives Him joy. He even finds a theme for song in His beloved. This is exceedingly wonderful. When God wrought creation He did not sing but simply said, “It is very good”; but when He came to redemption, then the sacred Trinity felt a joy to be expressed in song, Think of it, and be astonished! Jehovah Jesus sings a marriage song over His chosen bride. She is to Him His love, His joy, His rest, His song. O Lord Jesus, by Thine immeasurable love to us teach us to love Thee, to rejoice in Thee, and to sing unto Thee our life-psalm.
Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house. (Acts 16:31)
This gospel for a man with a sword at his throat is the gospel for me. This would suit me if I were dying, and it is all that I need while I am living. I look away from self, and sin, and all idea of personal merit, and I trust the Lord Jesus as the Savior whom God has given. I believe in Him, I rest on Him, I accept Him to be my all in all. Lord, I am saved, and I shall be saved to all eternity, for I believe in Jesus. Blessed be Thy name for this. May I daily prove by my life that I am saved from selfishness, and worldliness, and every form of evil.
But those last words about my “house”: Lord, I would not run away with half a promise when Thou dost give a whole one. I beseech Thee, save all my family. Save the nearest and dearest. Convert the children and the grandchildren, if I have any. Be gracious to my servants and all who dwell under my roof or work for me. Thou makest this promise to me personally if I believe in the Lord Jesus; I beseech Thee to do as Thou hast said.
I would go over in my prayer every day the names of all my brothers and sisters, parents, children, friends, relatives, servants, and give Thee no rest till that word is fulfilled, “and thy house.”
The Lord will be with you. (2 Chronicles 20:17)
This was a great mercy for Jehoshaphat, for a great multitude had come out against him; and it will be a great mercy for me, for I have great need, and I have no might or wisdom. If the Lord be with me, it matters little who may desert me. If the Lord be with me, I shall conquer in the battle of life, and the greater my trials the more glorious will be my victory. How can I be sure that the Lord is with me?
For certain He is with me if I am with Him. If I trust in His faithfulness, believe His words, and obey His commands, He is assuredly with me. If I am on Satan’s side, God is against me and cannot be otherwise; but if I live to honor God, I may be sure that He will honor me.
I am quite sure that God is with me if Jesus is my sole and only Savior. If I have placed my soul in the hands of God’s only-begotten Son, then I may be sure that the Father will put forth all His power to preserve me, that His Son may not be dishonored.
Oh, for faith to take hold upon the short but sweet text for today! O Lord, fulfill this word to Thy servant! Be with me in the house, in the street, in the field, in the shop, in company, and alone. Be Thou also with all Thy people.
Although my house be not so with God; yet he hath made with me an everlasting covenant, ordered in all things, and sure: for this is all my salvation, and all my desire, although he make it not to grow. (2 Samuel 23:5)
This is not so much one promise as an aggregate of promises—a box of pearls. the covenant is the ark which contains all things.
These are the last words of David, but they may be mine today. Here is a sigh: things are not with me and mine as I could wish; there are trials, cares, and sins. These make the pillow hard.
Here is a solace—”He hath made with me an everlasting covenant.” Jehovah has pledged Himself to me, and sealed the compact with the blood of Jesus. I am bound to my God and my God to me.
This brings into prominence a security, since this covenant is everlasting, well ordered, and sure. There is nothing to fear from the lapse of time, the failure of some forgotten point, or the natural uncertainty of things. The covenant is a rocky foundation to build on for life or for death.
David feels satisfaction: he wants no more for salvation or delectation. He is delivered, and he is delighted. The covenant is all a man can desire.
O my soul, turn thou this day to thy Lord Jesus, whom the great Lord has given to be a covenant to the people. Take Him to be thine all in all.
Surely the wrath of man shall raise thee: the remainder of wrath shalt thou restrain. (Psalm 76:10)
Wicked men will be wrathful. Their anger we must endure as the badge of our calling, the token of our separation from them: if we were of the world, the world would love its own. Our comfort is that the wrath of man shall be made to redound to the glory of God. When in their wrath the wicked crucified the Son of God they were unwittingly fulfilling the divine purpose, and in a thousand cases the willfulness of the ungodly is doing the same. They think themselves free, but like convicts in chains they are unconsciously working out the decrees of the Almighty.
The devices of the wicked are overruled for their defeat. They act in a suicidal way and baffle their own plottings. Nothing will come of their wrath which can do us real harm. When they burned the martyrs, the smoke which blew from the stake sickened men of popery more than anything else.
Meanwhile, the Lord has a muzzle and a chain for bears. He restrains the more furious wrath of the enemy. He is like a miller who holds back the mass of the water in the stream, and what He does allow to flow He uses for the turning of His wheel. Let us not sigh, but sing. All is well, however hard the wind blows.
And whatsoever ye shall ask in my name, that will I do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son, (John 14:13)
It is not every believer who has yet learned to pray in Christ’s name. To ask not only for His sake, but in His name, as authorized by Him, is a high order of prayer. We would not dare to ask for some things in that blessed name, for it would be a wretched profanation of it; but when the petition is so clearly right that we dare set the name of Jesus to it, then it must be granted.
Prayer is all the more sure to succeed because it is for the Father’s glory through the Son. It glorifies His truth, His faithfulness, His power, His grace, The granting of prayer, when offered in the name of Jesus, reveals the Father’s love to Him, and the honor which He has put upon Him. The glory of Jesus and of the Father are so wrapped up together that the grace which magnifies the one magnifies the other. The channel is made famous through the fullness of the fountain, and the fountain is honored through the channel by which it flows. If the answering of our prayers would dishonor our Lord, we would not pray; but since in this thing He is glorified, we will pray without ceasing in that dear name in which God and His people have a fellowship of delight.
Every branch in me that beareth not fruit he taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, he purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit. (John 15:2)
This is a precious promise to one who lives for fruitfulness. At first it seems to wear a sharp aspect. Must the fruitful bough be pruned? Must the knife cut even the best and most useful? No doubt it is so, for very much of our Lord’s purging work is done by means of afflictions of one kind or another. It is not the evil but the good who have the promise of tribulation in this life. But, then, the end makes more than full amends for the painful nature of the means. If we may bring forth more fruit for our Lord, we will not mind the pruning and the loss of leafage.
Still, purging is sometimes wrought by the Word apart from trial, and this takes away whatever appeared rough in the flavor of the promise. We shall by the Word be made more gracious and more useful. The Lord who has made us, in a measure, fruit-bearing, will operate upon us till we reach a far higher degree of fertility. Is not this a great joy? Truly there is more comfort in a promise of fruitfulness than if we had been warranted riches, or health, or honor.
Lord Jesus, speedily fulfill Thy gracious word to me and cause me to abound in fruit to Thy praise!