Charles Spurgeon Sermon – Special Thanksgiving to the Father (audio video and transcript)

spurgeonCharles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (June 19, 1834 January 31, 1892) was a British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the „Prince of Preachers.” In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons have been translated into many languages. Spurgeon was the pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London for 38 years. In 1857, he started a charity organization called Spurgeon’s which now works globally. He also founded Spurgeon’s College, which was named after him after his death.

Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, a commentary, books on prayer, a devotional, a magazine, and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. Arguably, no other author, Christian or otherwise, has more material in print than C.H. Spurgeon.

Special Thanksgiving to the Father

This message was preached on February 15, 1860. The sermon is prefaced by a letter, which Mr. Spurgeon wrote in June of that same year, as he was on the continent. This is the letter:

MY DEAR BRETHREN,
    I have journeyed happily to the borders of Switzerland, and already feel that the removing of the yoke from the shoulder is one of the readiest means of restoring the metal powers. Much of Popish superstition and idolatry has passed under my observation, and if nothing else could make me a Protestant, what I have seen would do so. One thing I have learned anew, which I would have all my brethren learn, the power of a personal Christ. We Protestants are too apt to make doctrine everything, and the person of Christ is not held in sufficient remembrance; with the Roman Catholic doctrine is nothing, but the person is ever kept in view. The evil is, that the image of Christ before the eye of the Papist is carnal and not spiritual; but could we always keep o’er Lord before our eyes, his spiritual sense, we should be better men than any set of doctrines can ever make us. The Lord give to us to abide in him and so to bring forth much fruit.

Baden-Baden, June 15th, 1860                     C. H. Spurgeon

You can read the sermon, from Spurgeon.org below this video, or you can listen to the sermon being read here, on this VIDEO by Christian Praise and Worship in Songs, Sermons, and Audio Books

There is also a video playlist of Spurgeon sermons available here –
Charles Spurgeon Sermons Playlist 2: http://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=…

A Sermon(No. 319)
Delivered on Sabbath Evening, January 15th, 1860, by the
REV. C.H. SPURGEON
At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

„Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”—Colossians 1:12, 13.

THIS PASSAGE IS A MINE of riches. I can anticipate the difficulty in preaching and the regret in concluding we shall experience this evening because we are not able to dig out all the gold which lies in this precious vein. We lack the power to grasp and the time to expatiate upon that volume of truths which is here condensed into a few short sentences.
    We are exhorted to „give thanks unto the Father.” This counsel is at once needful and salutary. I think, my brethren, we scarcely need to be told to give thanks unto the Son. The remembrance of that bleeding body hanging upon the cross is ever present to our faith. The nails and the spear, his griefs, the anguish of his soul, and his sweat of agony, make ouch tender touching appeals to our gratitude—these will prevent us always from ceasing our songs, and sometimes fire our hearts with rekindling rapture in praise of the man Christ Jesus. Yes we will bless thee, dearest Lord; our souls are all on fire. As we survey the, wondrous cross, we cannot but shout—

„O for this love let rocks and hills
Their lasting silence break,
And all harmonious human tongues
The Savior’s praises speak.”

It is in a degree very much the same with the Holy Spirit. I think we are compelled to feel every day our dependence upon his constant influence. He abides with us as a present and personal Comforter and Counsellor. We, therefore, do praise the Spirit of Grace, who hath made our heart his temple, and who works in us all that is gracious, virtuous, and well-pleasing in the sight of God. If there be any one Person in the Trinity whom we are more apt to forget than another in our praises, it is God the Father. In fact there are some who even get a wrong idea of Him, a slanderous idea of that God whose name is LOVE. They imagine that love dwelt in Christ, rather than in the Father, and that our salvation is rather due to the Son and the Holy Spirit, than to our Father God. Let us not be of the number of the ignorant, but let us receive this truth. We are as much indebted to the Father as to any other Person of the Sacred Three. He as much and as truly loves us as any of the adorable Three Persons. He is as truly worthy of our highest praise as either the Son or the Holy Spirit.
    A remarkable fact, which we should always bear in mind, is this:—in the Holy Scriptures most of the operations which are set down as being the works of the Spirit, are in other Scriptures ascribed to God the Father. Do we say it is God the Spirit that quickens the sinner who is dead in sin? it is true; but you will find in another passage it is said „The Father quickeneth whom he will.” Do we say that the Spirit is the sanctifier, and that the sanctification of the soul is wrought by the Holy Ghost? You will find a passage in the opening of the Epistle of St. Jude, in which it is said, „Sanctified by God the Father.” Now, how are we to account for this? I think it may be explained thus. God the Spirit cometh from God the Father, and therefore whatever acts are performed by the Spirit are truly done by the Father, because he sendeth forth the Spirit. And again, the Spirit is often the instrument—though I say not this in any way to derogate from his glory—he is often the instrument with which the Father works. It is the Father who says to the dry bones, live; it is the Spirit who, going forth with the divine word, makes them live. The quickening is due as much to the word as to the influence that went with the word; and as the word came with all the bounty of free grace and goodwill from the Father, the quickening is due to him. It is true that the seal on our hearts is the Holy Spirit, he is the seal, hut it is the Eternal Father’s hand that stamps the seal; the Father communicates the Spirit to seal our adoption. The works of the Spirit are, many of them, I repeat it again, attributed to the Father, because he worketh in, through, and by the Spirit.
    The works of the Son of God, I ought to observe are every one of them in intimate connection with the Father. If the Son comes into the world, it is because the Father sends him; if the Son calls his people, it is because his Father gave this people into his hands. If the Son redeems the chosen race, is not the Son himself the Father’s gift, and doth not God send his Son into the world that we may live through him? So that the Father, the great Ancient of Days, is ever to be extolled; and we must never omit the full homage of our hearts to him when we sing that sacred doxology,

„Praise Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.”

    In order to excite your gratitude to God the Father to-night, I propose to dilate a little upon this passage, as God the Holy Spirit shall enable me. If you will look at the text, you will see two blessings in it. The first has regard to the future; it is a meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. The second blessing, which must go with the first, for indeed it is the cause of the first, the effective cause, has relation to the past. Here we read of our deliverance from the power of darkness. Let us meditate a little upon each of these blessings, and then, in the third place, I will endeavor to show the relation which exists between the two.
    I. The first blessing introduced to our notice is this—”God the Father has made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” It is a PRESENT BLESSING. Not a mercy laid up for us in the covenant, which we have not yet received, but it is a blessing which every true believer already has in his hand. Those mercies in the covenant of which we have the earnest now while we wait for the full possession, are just as rich, and just as certain as those which have been already with abundant lovingkindness bestowed on us, but still they are not so precious in our enjoyment. The mercy we have in store, and in hand is after all, the main source of our present comfort. And oh what a blessing this! „Made meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.” The true believer is fit for heaven; he is meet to be a partaker of the inheritance—and that now, at this very moment. What does this mean? Does it mean that the believer is perfect; that he is free from sin? No, my brethren, where shall you ever find such perfection in this world? If no man can be a believer but the perfect man, then what has the perfect man to believe? Could he not walk by sight? When he is perfect, he may cease to be a believer. No, brethren, it is not such perfection that is meant although perfection is implied, and assuredly will be given as the result. Far less does this mean that we have a right to eternal life from any doings of our own. We have a fitness for eternal life, a meetness for it, but we have no desert of it. We deserve nothing of God even now, in ourselves. but his eternal wrath and his infinite displeasure. What, then, does It mean? Why, it means just this: we are so far meet that we are accepted in the Beloved, adopted into the family, and fitted by divine approbation to dwell with the saints in light There is a woman chosen to be a bride; she is fitted to be married, fitted to enter into the honorable state and condition of matrimony; but at present she has not on the bridal garment, she is not like the bride adorned for her husband. You do not see her yet robed in her elegant attire, with her ornaments upon her, but you know she is fitted to be a bride, she is received and welcomed as such in the family of her destination. So Christ has chosen his Church to be married to him; she has not yet put on her bridal garment, beautiful array in which she shall stand before the father’s throne, but notwithstanding, there is such a fitness in her to be the bride of Christ, when she shall have bathed herself for a little while, and lain for a little while in the bed of spices—there is such a fitness in her character, such a grace given adaptation in her to become the royal bride of her glorious Lord, and to become a partaker of the enjoyments of bliss—that it may be said of the church as a whole, and of every member of it, that they are „meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.”
    The Greek word, moreover, bears some such meaning as this though I cannot give the exact idiom, it is always difficult when a word is not used often. This word is only used twice that I am aware of, in the New Testament. The word may be employed for „suitable,” or, I think, „sufficient” „He hath made us meet”—sufficient—”to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” But I cannot give my idea without borrowing another figure. When a child is born, it is at once endowed with all the faculties of humanity. If those powers are awanting at first, they will not come afterwards. It has eyes, it has hands, it has feet, and all its physical organs. These of course are as it were in embryo. The senses though perfect at first, must be gradually developed, and the understanding gradually matured. It can see but little, it cannot discern distances. it can hear, but it cannot hear distinctly enough at first to know from what direction the sound comes; but you never find a new leg, a new arm, a new eye, or a new ear growing on that child. Each of these powers will expand and enlarge, but still there is the whole man there at first, and the child is sufficient for a man. Let but God in his infinite providence cause it to feed, and give it strength and increase, it has sufficient for manhood. It does not want either arm or leg, nose or ear. you cannot make it grow a new member; nor does it require a near member either; all are there. In like manner, the moment a man is regenerated, there is every faculty in his new creation that there shall be, even when he gets to heaven. It only needs to be developed and brought out: he will not have a new power, he will not have a new grace, he will have those which he had before, developed and brought out. Just as we are told by the careful observer, that in the acorn there is in embryo every root and every bough and every leaf of the future tree, which only requires to be developed and brought out in their fullness. So, in the true believer, there is a sufficiency or meetness for the inheritance of the saints in light. All that he requires is, not that a new thing should be implanted, but that that which God has put there in the moment of regeneration, shall be cherished and nurtured, and made to grow and increase, till it comes unto perfection and he enters into „the inheritance of the saints in light.” This is, as near as I can give it to you, the exact meaning and literal interpretation of the text, as I understand it.
    But you may say to me, „In what sense is this meetness or fitness for eternal life the work of God the Father? Are we already made meet for heaven? How is this the rather’s work?” Look at the text a moment, and I will answer you in three ways.
    What is heaven? We read it is an inheritance. Who are fit for an inheritance? Sons. Who makes us sons? „Behold what manner of love the Father hath bestowed upon us, that we should be called the sons of God.” A son is fitted for an inheritance. The moment the son is born he is fitted to be an heir. All that is wanted is that he shall grow up and be capable of possession. But he is fit for an inheritance at first. If he were not a son he could not inherit as an heir. Now as soon as ever we become sons we are meet to inherit. There is in us an adaptation, a power and possibility for us to have an inheritance. This is the prerogative of the Father, to adopt us into his family, and to „beget us again unto a lively hope by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.” And do you not see, that as adoption is really the meetness for inheritance, it is the Father who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light?”
    Again, heaven is an inheritance; but whose inheritance is it? It is an inheritance of the saints. It is not an inheritance of sinners, but of saints—that is, of the holy ones—of those who have been made saints by being sanctified. Turn then, to the Epistle of Jude, and you will see at once who it is that sanctified. You will observe the moment you fix your eye upon the passage that it is God the Father. In the first verse you read, „Jude, the servant of Jesus Christ, and brother of James, to them that are sanctified by God the Father.” It is an inheritance for saints: and who are saints? The moment a man believes in Christ, he may know himself to have bean truly set apart in the covenant decree; and he finds consecration, if I may so speak, verified in his own experience, for he has now become „a new creature in Christ Jesus,” separated from the rest of the world, and then it is manifest and made known that God has taken him to be his son for ever. The meetness which I must have, in order to enjoy the inheritance of the saints in light, is my becoming a son. God hath made me and all believers sons, therefore we are meet for the inheritance; so then that meetness has come from the Father. How meetly therefore doth the Father claim our gratitude, our adoration and our love!
    You will however observe, it is not merely said that heaven is the inheritance of the saints, but that it is „the inheritance of the saints in light.” So the saints dwell in light—the light of knowledge, the light of purity, the light of joy, the light of love, pure ineffable love, the light of everything that is glorious and ennobling. There they dwell, and if I am to appear meet for that inheritance, what evidence must I have? I must have light shining into my own soul. But where can I get it? Do I not read that „every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and Cometh down”—yea verily, but from whom? From the Spirit? No—”from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” The preparation to enter into the inheritance in light is light. and light comes from the Father of lights; therefore, my meetness, if I have light in myself, is the work of the Father, and I must give him praise. Do you see then, that as there are three words used here—”the inheritance of the saints in light,” so we have a threefold meetness? We are adopted and made sons. God hath sanctified us and set us apart. And then, again, he hath put light into our hearts. All this, I say, is the work of the Father, and in this sense, we are „meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.”
    A few general observations here. Brethren, I am persuaded that if an angel from heaven were to come to-night and single out any one believer from the crowd here assembled, there is not one believer that is unfit to be taken to heaven. You may not be ready to be taken to heaven now; that is to say, if I foresaw that you were going to live, I would tell you you were unfit to die, in a certain sense. But were you to die now in your pew, if you believe in Christ, you are fit for heaven. You have a meetness even now which would take you there at once, without being committed to purgatory for a season. You are even now fit to be „partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” You have but to gasp out your last breath and you shall be in heaven, and there shall not be one spirit in heaven more fit for heaven than you, nor one soul more adapted for the place than you are. You shall be just as fitted for its element as those who are nearest to the eternal throne.
    Ah! this makes the heirs of glory think much of God the Father. When we reflect, my brethren, upon our state by nature, and how fit we are to be fire-brands in the flames of hell—yet to think that we are this night, at this very moment if Jehovah willed it, fit to sweep the golden harps with joyful fingers, that this head is fit this very night to wear the everlasting crown, that these loins are fit to be girded with that fair white robe throughout eternity, I say, this makes us think gratefully of God the Father; this makes us clap our hands with joy, and say, „thanks be unto God the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” Do ye not remember the penitent thief? It was but a few minutes before that he had been cursing Christ. I doubt not that he had joined with the other, for it is said, „They that were crucified with him reviled him.” Not one, but both; they did it. And then a gleam of supernatural glory lit up the face of Christ, and the thief saw and believed. And Jesus said unto him, „Verily I say unto thee, this day,” though the sun is setting, „this day shalt thou be with me in Paradise.” No long preparation required, no sweltering in purifying fires. And so shall it be with us. We may have been in Christ Jesus to our own knowledge but three weeks, or we may have been in him for ten years, or threescore years and ten—the date of our conversion makes no difference in our meetness for heaven, in a certain sense. True indeed the older we grow the more grace we have tasted, the riper we are becoming, and the fitter to be housed in heaven; but that is in another sense of the word,—the Spirit’s meetness which he gives. But with regard to that meetness which the Father gives, I repeat, the blade of corn, the blade of gracious wheat that has just appeared above the surface of conviction, is as fit to be carried up to heaven as the full-grown corn in the ear. The sanctification wherewith we are sanctified by God the Father is not progressive, it Is complete at once, we are now adapted for heaven, now fitted for it, and we shall enter into the joy of our Lord.
    Into this subject I might have entered more fully; but I have not time. I am sure I have left some knots untied, and you must untie them if you can yourselves; and let me recommend you to untie them on your knees—the mysteries of the kingdom of God are studied much the best when you are in prayer.
    II. The second mercy is A MERCY THAT LOOKS BACK. We sometimes prefer the mercies that look forward, because they unfold such a bright prospect.

„Sweet fields beyond the swelling flood.”

But here is a mercy that looks backward; turns its back, as it were, on the heaven of our anticipation, and looks back on the gloomy past, and the dangers from which we have escaped. Let us read the account of it—”Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” This verse is an explanation of the preceding, as we shall have to show in a few minutes. But just now let us survey this mercy by itself. Ah! my brethren, what a description have we here of what matter of men we used to be. We were under „the power of darkness.” Since I have been musing on this text, I have turned these words over and over in my mind—”the power of darkness!” It seems to me one of the most awful expressions that man ever attempted to expound. I think I could deliver a discourse from it, if God the Spirit helped me, which might make every bone in your body shake. „The power of darkness!” We all know that there is a moral darkness which exercises its awful spell over the mind of the sinner. Where God is unacknowledged the mind is void of judgment. Where God is unworshipped the heart of man becomes a ruin. The chambers of that dilapidated heart are haunted by ghostly fears and degraded superstitions. The dark places of that reprobate mind are tenanted by vile lusts and noxious passions, like vermin and reptiles, from which in open daylight we turn with disgust. And even natural darkness is tremendous. In the solitary confinement which is practiced in some of our penitentiaries the very worst results would be produced if the treatment were prolonged. If one of you were to be taken to-night and led into some dark cavern, and left there, I can imagine that for a moment, not knowing your fate, you might feel a child-like kind of interest about it;—there might be, perhaps, a laugh as you found yourselves in the dark; there might for the moment, from the novelty of the position, be some kind of curiosity excited. There might, perhaps, be a flush of silly joy. In a little time you might endeavor to compose yourself to sleep; possibly you night sleep; but if you should awake, and still find yourself down deep in the bowels of earth, where never a ray of sun or candle light could reach you; do you know the next feeling that would come over you? It would be a kind of idiotic thoughtlessness. You would find it impossible to control your desperate imagination. You heart would say, „O God I am alone, alone, alone, in this dark place.” How would you cast your eyeballs all around, and never catching a gleam of light, your mind would begin to fail. Your next stage would be one of increasing terror. You would fancy that you saw something, and then you would cry, „Ah! I would I could see something, were it foe or fiend!” You would feel the dark sides of your dungeon. You would begin to „scribble on the walls,” like David before king Achish. Agitation would cease hold upon you, and it you were kept there much longer, delirium and death would be the consequence. We have heard of many who have been taken from the penitentiary to the lunatic asylum; and the lunacy is produced partly by the solitary confinement, and partly by the darkness in which they are placed. In a report lately written by the Chaplain of Newgate, there are some striking reflections upon the influence of darkness in a way of discipline. Its first effect is to shut the culprit up to his own reflections, and make him realize his true position in the iron grasp of the outraged law. Methinks the man that has defied his keepers, and come in there cursing and swearing, when he has found himself alone in darkness, where he cannot even hear the rattling of carriages along the streets, and can see no light whatever, is presently cowed; he gives in, he grows tame. „The power of darkness” literally is something awful. If I had time, I would enlarge upon this subject. We cannot properly describe what „the power of darkness” is, even in this world. The sinner is plunged into the darkness of his sins, and he sees nothing, he knows nothing. Let him remain there a little longer, and that joy of curiosity, that hectic joy which he now has in the path of sin, will die away, and there will come over him a spirit of slumber. Sin will make him drowsy, so that he will not hear the voice of the ministry, crying to him to escape for his life. Let him continue in it, and it will by-and-bye make him spiritually an idiot. He will become so in sin, that common reason will be lost on him. All the arguments that a sensible man will receive, will be only wasted on him. Let him go on, and he will proceed from bad to worse, till he acquires the raving mania of a desperado in sin; and let death step in, and the darkness will have produced its full effect; he will come into the delirious madness of hell. Ah! it needs but the power of sin to make a man more truly hideous than human thought can realize, or language paint. Oh „the power of darkness!”
    Now, my brethren, all of us were under this power once. It is but a few months—a few weeks with some of you—since you were under the power of darkness and of sin. Some of you had only got as far as the curiosity of it; others had got as far as the sleepiness of it; a good many of you had got as far as the apathy of it; and I do not know but some of you had got almost to the terror of it. You had so cursed and swore; so yelled ye out your blasphemies, that you seemed to be ripening for hell; but, praised and blessed be the name of the Father, he has „translated you from the power of darkness, into the kingdom of his dear Son.”
    Having thus explained this term, „the power of darkness,” to show you what you were, let us take the next word, „and hath translated us.” Whet a angular word this—”translated”—is. I dare say you think it means the process by which a word is interpreted, when the sense is retained, while the expression is rendered in another language. That is one meaning of the word „translation,” but it is not the meaning here. The word is used by Josephus in this sense—the taking away of a people who have been dwelling in a certain country, and planting them in another place. This is called a translation. We sometimes hear of a bishop being translated or removed from one see to another. Now, if you want to have the idea explained, give me your attention while I bring out an amazing instance of a great translation. The children of Israel were in Egypt under taskmasters that oppressed them very sorely, and brought them into iron bondage. What did God do for these people? There were two millions of them. He did not temper the tyranny of the tyrant; he did not influence his mind, to give them a little more liberty; but he translated his people; he took the whole two millions bodily, with a high hand and outstretched arm, and led them through the wilderness, and translated them into the kingdom of Canaan; and there they were settled. What an achievement was that, when, with their flocks and their herds, and their little ones, the whole host of Israel went out of Egypt, crossed the Jordan, and came into Canaan! My dear brethren, the whole of it was not equal to the achievement of God’s powerful grace, when he! brings one poor sinner out of the region of sin into the kingdom of holiness and peace. It was easier for God to bring Israel out of Egypt, to split the Red Sea, to make a highway through the pathless wilderness, to drop manna from heaven, to send the whirlwind to drive out the kings; it was easier for Omnipotence to do all this, than to translate a man from the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son. This is the grandest achievement of Omnipotence. The sustenance of the whole universe, I do believe, is even less than this—the changing of a bad heart, the subduing of an iron will. But thanks be unto the Father, he has done all that for you and for me. He has brought us out of darkness, he has translated us, taken up the old tree that has struck its roots never so deep—taken it up, blessed be God, roots and all, and planted it in a goodly soil. He had to cut the top off, it is true—the high branches of our pride; but the tree has grown better in the near soil than it ever did before. Who ever heard of moving so huge a plant as a man who has grown fifty years old in sin? Oh! what wonders hath our Father done for us I He has taken the wild leopard of the wood, tamed it into a lamb, and purged away its spots. He has regenerated the poor Ethiopian—oh, how black are were by nature—our blackness was more than skin deep; it went to the center of our hearts; but, blessed be his name, he hath washed us white, and is still carrying on the divine operation, and he will yet completely deliver us from every taint of sin, and will finally bring us into the kingdom of his dear son. Here, then, in the second mercy, we discern from what we were delivered, and how we were delivered—God the Father hath „translated” us.
    But where are we now? Into what place is the believer brought, when he is brought out of the power of darkness? He is brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son. Into what other kingdom would the Christian desire to be brought? Brethren. a republic may sound very well in theory, but in spiritual matters, the last thing we want is a republic. We want a kingdom. I love to have Christ an absolute monarch in the heart. I do not want to have a doubt about it. I want to give up all my liberty to him. for I feel that I never shall be free till my self-control is all gone; that I shall never have my will truly free till it is bound in the golden fetters of his sweet love. We are brought into a kingdom—he is Lord and Sovereign, and he has made us „kings and priests unto our God,” and we shall reign with him. The proof that we are in this kingdom must consist in our obedience to our King. Here, perhaps, we may raise many causes and questions, but surely we can say after all, though we have offended our King many times, yet our heart is loyal to him. „Oh, thou precious Jesus! we would obey thee, and yield submission to every one of thy laws, our sins are not wilful and beloved sins, but though we fall we can truly say, that we would be holy as thou art holy, our heart is true towards thy statutes; Lord, help us to run in the way of thy commandments.”
    So, you see, this mercy which God the Father hath given to us, this second of these present mercies, is, that he hath „translated us out of the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son.” This is the Father’s work. Shall we not love God the Father from this day forth? Will we not give him thanks, and sing our hymns to him, and exalt and triumph in his great name?
    III. Upon the third point, I shall be as brief as possible; it is to SHOW THE CONNECTION BETWEEN THE TWO VERSES.
    When I get a passage of Scripture to meditate upon, I like, if I can, to see its drift, then I like to examine its various parts, and see if I can understand each separate clause; and then I want to go back again, and see what one clause has to do with another. I looked and looked again at this text, and wondered what connection there could be between the two verses. „Giving thanks unto God the Father, who hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light.” Well, that is right enough; we can see how this is the work of God the Father, to make us meet to go to heaven. But has the next verse, the 13th, anything to do with our meetness?—”Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” Well, I looked it over and I said I will read it in this way. I see the 12th verse tells me that the inheritance of heaven is the inheritance of light. Is heaven light? Then I can see my meetness for it as described in the 13th verse.—He hath delivered me from the power of darkness. Is not that the same thing? If I am delivered from the power of darkness, is not that being made meet to dwell in light? If I am now brought out of darkness into light, and am walking in the light, is not that the very meetness which is spoken of in the verse before? Then I read again. It says they are saints. Well, the saints are a people that obey the Son. Here is my meetness then in the 13th verse, where it says „He hath translated me from the power of darkness into the kingdom of his dear Son.” So that I not only have the light, but the sonship too, for I am in „the kingdom of his dear Son.” But how about the inheritance? Is there anything about that in the 13th verse? It is an inheritance; shall I find anything about a meetness for it there? Yes, I find that I am in the kingdom of his dear Son. How came Christ to have a kingdom? Why, by inheritance. Then it seems I am in his inheritance; and if I am in his inheritance here, then I am meet to be in it above, for I am in it already. I am even now part of it and partner of it, since I am in the kingdom which he inherits from his Father, and therefore there is the meetness.
    I do not know whether I have put this plainly enough before you. If you will be kind enough to look at your Bible, I will just recapitulate. You see, heaven is a place of light; when we are brought out of darkness, that, of course, is the meetness for light. It is a place for sons; when we are brought into the kingdom of God’s dear Son, we are of course made sons, so that there is the meetness for it. It is an inheritance; and when we are brought into the inherited kingdom of God’s dear Son, we enjoy the inheritance now, and consequently are fitted to enjoy it for ever.
    Having thus shown the connection between these verses, I propose now to close with a few general observations. I like so to expound the Scripture, that we can draw some practical inferences from it. Of course the first inference is this: let us from this night forward never omit God the Father in our praises. I think I have said this already six times over in the sermon. Why I am repeating it so often, is that we may never forget it. Martin Luther said he preached upon justification by faith every day in the week and then the people would not understand. There are some truths, I believe, that need to be said over and over again, either because our silly hearse will not receive, or our treacherous memories will not hold them. Sing, I beseech you, habitually, the praises of the Father in heaven, as you do the praises of the Son hanging upon the cross. Love as truly God, the ever-living God, as you love Jesus the God-man, the Savior who once died for you. That is the great inference.
    Yet another inference arises. Brothers and sisters, are you conscious to-night that you are not now what you once were? Are you sure that the power of darkness does not now rest upon you, that you love divine knowledge, that you are panting after heavenly joys? Are you sure that you have been „translated into the kingdom of God’s dear Son?” Then never be troubled about thoughts of death, because, come death whenever it may, you are meet to be a „partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.” Let no thought distress you about death’s coming to you at an unseasonable hour. Should it come to-morrow should it come now, if your faith is fixed on nothing less than Jesu’s blood and righteousness, you shall see the face of God with acceptance. I have that consciousness in my soul, by the witness of the Holy Spirit, of my adoption into the family of God, that I feel that though I should never preach again, but should lay down my body and my charge together, ere I should reach my home, and rest in my bed, „I know that my Redeemer liveth,” and more, that I should be a „partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.” It is not always that one feels that but I would have you never rest satisfied till you do, till you know your meetness, till you are conscious of it; until, moreover, you are panting to be gone, because you feel that you have powers which never can be satisfied short-of heaven—powers which heaven only can employ.
    One more reflection lingers behind. There are some of you here that cannot be thought by the utmost charity of judgment, to be „meet for the inheritance of the saints in light.” Ah! if a wicked man should go to heaven without being converted, heaven would be no heaven to him. Heaven is not adapted for sinners; it is not a place for them. If you were to take a Hottentot who has long dwelt at the equator up to where the Esquimaux are dwelling, and tell him that you would show him the aurora, and all the glories of the North Pole, the poor wretch could not appreciate them; he would say, „It is not the element for me; it is not the place where I could rest happy! And if you were to take, on the other hand, some dwarfish dweller in the north, down to the region where trees grow to a stupendous height, and where the spices give their balmy odours to the gale, and bid him live there under the torrid zone, he could enjoy nothing; he would say, „This is not the place for me, because it is not adapted to my nature.” Or if you were to take the vulture, that has never fed on anything but carrion, and put it into the noblest dwelling you could make for it, and feed it with the daintiest meals, it would not be happy because it is not food that is adapted for it. And you, sinner, you are nothing but a carrion vulture; nothing makes you happy but sin, you do not want too much psalm singing, do you? Sunday is a dull day to you; you like to get it over, you do not care about your Bible; you would as soon there should be no Bible at all, You find that going to a meeting-house or a church is very dull work indeed. Oh then you will not be troubled with that in eternity; do not agitate yourself. If you love not God, and die as you are, you shall go to your own company, you shall go to your jolly mates, you shall go to your good fellows; those who have been your mates on earth shall be your mates for ever; but you shall go to the Prince of those good fellows, unless you repent and be converted. Where God is you cannot come. It is not an element suited to you. As well place a bird at the bottom of the sea, or a fish in the air, as place an ungodly sinner in heaven. What is to be done then? You must have a new nature. I pray God to give it to you. Remember if now you feel your need of a Savior, that is the beginning of the new nature. „Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ;” cast yourselves simply on him, trust in nothing but his blood, and then the new nature shall be expanded, and you shall be made meet by the Holy Spirit’s operations to be a „partaker of the inheritance of the saints in light.” There is many a man who has come into this house of prayer, many a man is now present, who has come in here a rollicking fellow, fearing neither God nor devil. Many a man has come from the ale house up to this place. If he had died then, where would his soul have been? But the Lord that very night met him, There are trophies of that grace present here to-night. You can say, „Thanks be to the Father, who hath brought us out of the power of darkness, and translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.” And if God has done that for some, why cannot he do it for others? Why need you despair, O poor sinner? If thou art here to-night, the worst sinner out of hell, remember, the gate of mercy stands wide open, and Jesus bids thee come, Conscious of thy guilt, flee, flee to him. Look to his cross, and thou shalt find pardon in his veins, and life in his death.

Păziţi-vă de câini

ngm.nationalgeographic.com

Tăbliţa pe care o citeşti pe unele porţi CÂINE RÃU o cunoşti prea bine şi ştii ce măsuri trebuie să iei când un câine legat se aruncă asupra ta, atât cât îi permite lanţul.

E bine de ştiut că în Biblie nu se spun lucruri frumoase despre câini; poate pentru că rasa lor orientală este rea, sau pentru că aleargă pe toate străzile flămânzi şi fără stăpâni. Câinii sunt ca oamenii: le merge rău când n-au alt stăpân decât pe sine. Pentru noi e mai bine când avem pe cineva, spre care ne putem ridica ochii. Iar cei care spun: „Nu mă interesez de nimeni şi nimeni nu se interesează de mine!”, sunt nişte câini de cel mai rău soi.

Dar eu vreau să ţin o predică cu introducere, cuprins şi încheiere, ca un adevărat pastor.

l. FEREŞTE-TE DE UN CÂINE MURDAR, sau, după cum scrie în cartea veche, „Fereşte-te de cel nelegiuit, care iubeşte murdăria şi se tăvăleşte în ea.” Câinii murdari îţi strică hainele şi te murdăresc, la fel cum sunt şi ei de murdari. Spune-mi cu cine te întovărăşeşti, şi-ţi voi spune cine eşti. Dacă te însoţeşti cu oameni josnici, vei fi vopsit cu aceeaşi pensulă şi vopsea, care îi vopseşte pe ei.

Oamenii nu prea fac deosebire. Dacă văd o pasăre zburând împreună cu ciorile, cu care mănâncă şi-şi face cuibul, o numesc şi pe ea cioară. Şi 99 % au dreptate. Dacă te simţi bine într-un coteţ de câini şi dacă alergi mult împreună cu câinii de vânătoare, nimeni nu te va socoti un mieluşel. Afară de asta: „Tovărăşia rea strică obiceiurile bune” sau, cum spune un alt proverb: „Cine se culcă împreună cu câinii, se scoală plin de purici.”

Þine-te la zece paşi depărtare de un bolnav de friguri şi de un nelegiuit. Dacă o femeie bine îmbrăcată zăreşte un câine ieşind dintr-o cloacă de bălegar şi se scutură, în timp ce aleargă spre dânsa, ea îi fereşte calea cât poate de mult. Ce învăţăm de aici? Când cineva e afumat şi împroaşcă în jurul său cuvinte murdare, atunci cu cât te fereşti mai mult de el, cu atât mai bine.

2. PÃZEŞTE-TE DE CÂINII CARE MÂRÂIE. Sunt o mulţime de acest soi. De obicei, sunt mici, dar fac cu atât mai mare zgomot. Umblă neîncetat, gâfâind, să apuce ceva. Bineînţeles, trebuie să lăsăm câinilor bucuria lor, căci Dumnezeu i-a creat astfel, încât să latre şi să muşte. Dar eu vorbesc acum de câinii cu două picioare, pentru care nu găsesc asemenea scuză. Dumnezeu nu i-a făcut aşa. Diavolul şi inima lor răutăcioasă i-a făcut ceea ce sunt. Pentru ei, nimic nu este bine. Dacă pot, urlă, şi dacă nu pot urla, atunci stau lungiţi cu botul pe labe şi mârâie. Păziţi-vă de aşa oameni.

Pe omul arţăgos, pornit spre mânie, să nu ţi-l faci prieten, căci tot atât de bine ai putea dormi pe un pat cu urzici sau ai putea purta un guler de viperă vie. Poate un asemenea om te doreşte ca prieten, tu însă păzeşte-te de el. Dacă latră azi pe alţii, pentru o nimica toată, mâine va mârâi împotriva ta fără nici un motiv. Nu-i da coteţ în curtea ta.

Dacă vezi că un om are un caracter grosolan şi nu găseşte pentru nimeni cuvinte bune, vezi-ţi liniştit de drum şi ţine-te cât mai departe de el. Puştile încărcate şi oamenii arţăgoşi sunt primejdioase. Ei n-au intenţii rele, dar se descarcă mai înainte de a-ţi da seama, şi-ţi produc pagube înainte de a te gândi. Este bine să te ţii cât mai afară din bătaia puştii. Ocoleşte gâlceava, chiar de ar trebui să faci un mare ocol. Mai bine să stai pe vârful a o duzină de cuie, decât să te legi de un vecin pornit la ceartă.

3. PÃZEŞTE-TE DE CÂINII LINGUŞITORI. Îţi sar în poală şi întipăresc laba lor murdară pe hainele tale. Ei îţi sărută mâna şi te linguşesc, atât timp cât pot căpăta de la tine un ciolan, ca bărbatul, care spuse nevestei sale, o bucătăreasă: „Eu să te părăsesc pe tine, comoara mea iubită? Niciodată, cât timp vei avea un leu la ciorap.”

Când vorba e prea dulce, trebuie să ne temem că inima e amară. Dacă cineva te laudă în faţă, fii cu băgare de seamă, căci tot el este acela care te bârfeşte pe la spate. Dacă unul se osteneşte a te linguşi, să ştii că pentru asta aşteaptă răsplată din partea ta. Aceia care sunt atât de proşti şi se lasă linguşiţi de el trebuie să plătească un asemenea serviciu. Dacă cineva se apleacă, o face ca să ridice ceva, şi cine se înjoseşte, pentru a te linguşi, o face pentru că vrea ceva de la tine. Politeţea multă este întotdeauna suspectă. Voi, tinerilor, păziţi-vă de linguşitorii şireţi!

4. PÃZEŞTE-TE DE UN CÂINE LACOM sau de un om care nu se mai satură. Cârtirea este molipsitoare; un singur nemulţumit ispiteşte pe alţii să se plângă. Nemulţumirea este un viciu. Lacomul este de multe ori şi necinstit. Dacă se prezintă ocazia, îşi vâră repede lingura în borşul altora; oare de ce nu şi într-al tău? El este în stare să scoată un rând de piele de pe o cremene; curând îi va veni pofta să tragă un rând de piele şi de pe tine, iar dacă nu eşti obişnuit la aşa ceva, ca un ţipar, atunci ţine-l pe jupuitorul de piei cât mai departe de trupul tău.

Când cineva se laudă că nu are obiceiul să dăruiască, atunci spune-ţi: „Păzeşte-te de câini!” Un om darnic, un prieten binevoitor, te va ajuta să-ţi stăpâneşti egoismul, dar un om strângător, lacom, te va face să-ţi coşi un nasture în plus la buzunar. Câinii mâncăcioşi înghit tot ce capătă şi apoi se uită împrejur dacă mai pot înghiţi ceva; iar oamenii lacomi înghit casa şi curtea altuia şi apoi scotocesc pe unde mai este ceva de înghiţit. Felul acesta îmi este nesuferit, atât la oameni cât şi la câini.

Dacă unui om îi place să vorbească mai mult de felul cum se poate câştiga şi economisi mai mulţi bani – atunci, mai bine să treacă în şleahta câinilor de vânătoare, care se ceartă pentru un cal mort. Nu se poate spune câtă pagubă sufletească produce zgârcitul semenilor săi şi cât de mult sunt de dispreţuit. Să fii muşcat de un câine turbat nu este mai mare rău, căci lăcomia de avere este o boală fără leac. (sursa)

Spurgeon

Spurgeon – Dumnezeu e lângă noi

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Îl cauți pe Dumnezeu? Photo credit solidrockcounseling.wordpress.com

Dacă Dumnezeu nu e departe de niciunul dintre noi, atunci căutarea noastră e plină de speranță. Dacă eu Îl caut pe Dumnezeu şi El nu e departe, atunci sigur Îl voi găsi. Nu trebuie să mă urc în ceruri, nici să mă cobor în adâncuri, căci El e aproape! Ah, să ai doar credință ca să-L vezi şi atunci ajungi la EL fără să te mişti de pe scaun. Dacă Îl cauți şi El te caută sigur, căci altfel nu ți-ar fi venit gândul să-L cauți. Când păcătosul Îl caută pe Dumnezeu, atunci şi Dumnezeu caută pe păcătos şi ei se vor găsi repede. Oare nu e scris că, dacă Îl cauți Se va lăsa găsit? Căutați pe Dumnezeu până se poate găsi, chemați-L sincer.

Cât de bine vede Domnul pocăința noastră! Dacă este aproape El vede lacrima care curge acum pe obrazul tău, El vede povara păcatului care apasă inima ta, cunoaşte tulburarea sufletului tău şi îți pricepe neliniştea. Când stau aproape de o persoană care e chinuită, nu pot să n-am milă de ea. Tatăl din ceruri este mult mai milos decât noi, şi după cum se îndură un tată de copiii săi, aşa se îndură Domnul de cei ce se tem de El.

Dacă inima ta e zdrobită, Domnul te înțelege. Dacă vrei să scapi de păcat, El aude strigătul tău: „Cum voi fi mântuit?”. Vederea lacrimilor tale mişcă: auzul strigătului tău Îl umple de milă. Nu te îndoi de acest fapt: Dumnezeu nu poate fi aproape şi totuşi să fie nepăsător, căci numele Său e iubirea. El te-a auzit şi S-a îndurat de tine ieri, când ruşinea de păcatul tău te-a chinuit. Te vede acum în singurătatea ta şi în zbuciumul tău. Chiar de ai fi un cerşetor fugar şi atunci Domnul e aproape de tine.

revista Farul creştin, 23 martie 1946 monergism.ro

How to proclaim Christ (even at Christmas) by Spurgeon

Reasons why we hesitate to proclaim Christ to other people

  1. We might not feel worthy because of our own lack of devotion to Christ in our personal life?
  2. We don’t know where to begin or what  exactly we should say?
  3. We are afraid of insulting the unbeliever by something that we say and thus turning them off to the Gospel altogether?
  4. We think the person we are talking to will never come to believe anyways?

It is not about us. It is all about Christ and the power of God’s word. We forget that when we worry about these peripheral issues. In Isaiah 55:11 it is written:

…so is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.

In looking at several commentaries on this verse, this particular one was the most impactful, because it reminds one that it is not about us the messenger, nor our delivery (the talk/speech we give) but it’s all about the Word of God which we must use to proclaim Christ’s Salvation and reconciliation to God:

That whatever is his design in giving the gospel, it shall be accomplished. It is never spoken in vain, and never fails to produce the effect which he intends. The gospel is no more preached in vain than the rain falls in vain. And though that often falls on barren rocks, or on arid sands; on extended plains where no vegetation is produced, or in the wilderness ‘where no man is,’ and seems to our eyes in vain, yet it is not so. God has a design in each drop that falls on sands or rocks, as really as in the copious shower that falls on fertile fields. And so the gospel often falls on the hard and barren hearts of men. It is addressed to the proud, the sensual, the avaricious, and the unbelieving, and seems to be spoken in vain, and to return void unto God. But it is not so. He has some design in it, and that will be accomplished. It is proof of the fullness of his mercy. It leaves people without excuse, and justifies himself. Or when long presented – apparently long in vain – it ultimately becomes successful, and sinners are at last brought to abandon their sins, and to turn unto God. It is indeed often rejected and despised. It falls on the ears of people apparently as the rain falls on the hard rock, and there are, so to speak, large fields where the gospel is preached as barren and unfruitful of any spiritual good as the extended desert is of vegetation, and the gospel seems to be preached to almost entire communities with as little effect as is produced when the rains fall on the deserts of Arabia, or of Africa. But there will be better and happier times. Though the gospel may not now produce all the good effects which we may desire, yet it will be ultimately successful to the full wish of the widest benevolence, and the whole world shall be filled with the knowledge and the love of God. (Barnes’ Notes on the Bible)

Here is also a Spurgeon sermon that is a model on how to preach Christ crucified to an unbeliever. In it he addresses

  1. What we preach? In order to preach the gospel fully, there must be a very clear description of the person of Christ, and we preach Christ as God
  2. To whom are we to preach this?  “Go into all the world and preach the good news to all creation.”
  3. How are we to preach Christ crucified? Boldly!

Preaching Christ Crucified

August 23, 1863

by  C. H. Spurgeon

(1834-1892)

“We preach Christ crucified.” — 1 Corinthians 1:23.


© Copyright 2001 by Tony Capoccia.  This updated file may be freely copied, printed out, and distributed as
long as copyright and source statements remain intact, and that it is not sold.  All rights reserved.

Verses quoted, unless otherwise noted, are taken from the HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION
©1978 by the New York Bible Society, used by permission of Zondervan Bible Publishers.

This sermon, preached by Tony Capoccia, is now available on Audio Cassette or CD: www.gospelgems.com 

In the verse preceding our text, Paul writes, “Jews demand miraculous signs.” They said, “Moses performed miracles; let us see miracles performed, and then we will believe,” forgetting that all the miracles that Moses did were completely eclipsed by those which Jesus did while he was on the earth as the God-man. Then there were certain Judaizing teachers who, in order to win the Jews, preached circumcision, exalted the Passover, and endeavored to prove that Judaism might still exist side by side with Christianity, and that the old rites might still be practiced by the followers of Christ. So Paul, who was “all things to all men so that by all possible means he might save some,” put his foot down, and said, in effect, “Whatever others may do, we preach Christ crucified; we dare not, we cannot, and we will not alter the great subject matter of our preaching, Jesus Christ, and him crucified.

Then he added, “and Greeks look for wisdom.” Corinth was the very eye of Greece, and the Corinthian Greeks sought after what they regarded as wisdom; that is to say, the wisdom of this world, not the wisdom of God, which Paul preached. The Greeks also treasured the memory of the eloquence of Demosthenes and other famous public speakers, and they seemed to: think that true wisdom must be proclaimed with the graces of skillful elocution; but Paul writes to these Corinthian Greeks, “I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified.” And my speech and my preaching was not with enticing words of man’s wisdom, but with the demonstration of the Spirit and of power; that your faith would not be based in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”

Now, today, there are some who would be glad, if we would preach anything except Christ crucified. Perhaps the most dangerous among them are those who are continually crying out for intellectual preaching, by which they mean preaching which neither the heavens nor the preachers themselves can comprehend, the kind of preaching which has little or nothing to do with the scriptures, and which requires a dictionary rather than a Bible to explain it. These are the people who are continually running around, and asking, “Have you heard our minister? He gave us a wonderful sermon last Sunday morning; he quoted Hebrew, and Greek, and Latin, and he gave us some charming pieces of poetry, in fact, it was overall an intellectual treat.” Yes, and I have usually found that such intellectual treats lead to the ruination of souls; that is not the kind of preaching that God generally blesses to the salvation of souls, and therefore, even though others may preach the philosophy of Plato or adopt the arguments of Aristotle, we preach Christ crucified,” the Christ who died for sinners, the people’s Christ, and “we preach Christ crucified” in simple language, in plain speech such which the common people can understand.

I am going to try to put our text into practice by telling you, first, what we preach; secondly, to whom we preach it; and, thirdly, how we are to preach it.

Mai mult

Spurgeon – Secret Sins

spurgeon-preachingIn this sermon, Spurgeon strives to show the folly of secret sins; secondly, the misery of secret sins; thirdly, the guilt of secret sins; fourthly, the danger of secret sins; and then he says, „I shall try to apply some words by way of remedy, that we may all of us be enabled to avoid secret sins.”

Here is a glimpse into what Spurgeon thought about secret sins:

Now, I hold that secret sin, if anything, is the worst of sin; because secret sin implies that the man who commits it has Atheism in his heart. You will ask how that can be. I reply, he may be a professing Christian, but I shall tell him to his face that he is a practical Atheist, if he labours to keep up a respectable profession before man, and then secretly transgresses. Why, is he not an Atheist, who will say there is a God, yet at the same time thinks more of man than he does of God? Is it not the very essence of Atheism—is it not a denial of the divinity of the Most High when men lightly esteem him and think more of the eye of a creature than of the observation of their Creator?

Photo credit fishforpeople.tumblr.com

February 8, 1857  Sermon #116 from http://www.spurgeon.org

„Cleanse thou me from secret faults.—Psalm 19:12.

SELF-RIGHTEOUSNESS arises partly from pride but mainly from ignorance of God’s law. It is because men know little or nothing concerning the terrible character of the divine law, that they foolishly imagine themselves to be righteous. They are not aware of the deep spirituality, and the stern severity of the law, or they would have other and wiser notions. Once let them know how strictly the law deals with the thoughts, how it brings itself to bear upon every emotion of the inner man, and there is not one creature beneath God’s heaven who would dare to think himself righteous in God’s sight in virtue of his own deeds and thoughts. Only let the law be revealed to a man; let him know how strict the law is, and how infinitely just, and his self-righteousness will shrivel into nothing—it will become a filthy rag in his sight, whereas before he thought it to be a goodly garment.
Now, David, having seen God’s law, and having praised it in this Psalm, which I have read in your hearing, he is brought, by reflecting on its excellency, to utter this thought, „Who can understand his errors?” and then to offer this prayer, „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

In the Lateran Council of the Church of Rome, a decree was passed that every true believer must confess his sins, all of them, once a year to the priest, and they affixed to it this declaration, that there is no hope of pardon but in complying with that decree. What can equal the absurdity of such a decree as that? Do they suppose that they can tell their sins as easily as they can count their fingers? Why, if we could receive pardon for all our sins by telling every sin we have committed in one hour, there is not one of us who would be able to enter heaven, since, besides the sins that are known to us and that we may be able to confess, there are a vast mass of sins, which are as truly sins as those which we do observe, but which are secret, and come not beneath our eye. Oh! if we had eyes like those of God, we should think very differently of ourselves. The sins that we see and confess are but like the farmer’s small samples which he brings to market, when he has left his granary full at home. We have but a very few sins which we can observe and detect, compared with those which are hidden to ourselves and unseen by our fellow creatures. I doubt not it is true of all of us who are here, that in every hour of our existence in which we are active, we commit tens of thousands of unholinesses for which conscience has never reproved us, because we have never seen them to be wrong, seeing we have not studied God’s laws as we ought to have done. Now, be it known to us all that sin is sin, whether we see it or not—that a sin secret to us is a sin as truly as if we knew it to be a sin, though not so great a sin in the sight of God as if it had been committed presumptuously, seeing that it lacks the aggravation of willfulness. Let all of us who know our sins, offer this prayer after all our confessions: „Lord, I have confessed as many as I know, but I must add an etcetera after them, and say, ‘Cleanse thou me from secret faults.'”

That, however, will not be the pith of my sermon this morning. 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 which lies upon the green sward of the professing church, surrounded with the verdure of apparent goodness, and to our astonishment we find beneath it all kinds of filthy insects and loathsome reptiles, and in our disgust as 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 which 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, and 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 endeavour to urge upon all pretenders present to give up, to renounce, to detest, to hate, to abhor all their secret sins. And, first, I shall endeavour to show the folly of secret sins; secondly, the misery of secret sins; thirdly, the guilt of secret sins; fourthly, the danger of secret sins; and then I shall try to apply some words by way of remedy, that we may all of us be enabled to avoid secret sins.

I. 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 which 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 harbouring a secret sin; and thou art a fool for this one reason, that 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, and drawn the curtains, and kept out the eye of the sun, but God’s eye pierceth through the darkness; the brick walls which surrounded thee were as transparent as glass to the eye of the Almighty; the darkness which 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 open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do?” 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 shouldst heap the mountains on its grave, those mountains would tell the tale of what was buried in their bowels. If thou couldst 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, and 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 like the glass hives wherein bees sometimes work: we look down upon them, and we see all the operations of the little creatures. So God looketh down and seeth all. Our eyes are weak; we cannot look through the darkness; but his eye, like an orb of fire, penetrateth the blackness; and readeth the thoughts of man, and seeth his acts when he thinks himself most concealed. Oh; it were a thought enough to curb us from all sin, if it were truly applied to us—”Thou, God, seest me!” Stop thief! Drop thou that which thou hast taken to thyself. God seeth thee! No eye of detection on 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 Sabbaoth. Ah! thou who leadest 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 keepeth a diary of all thine acts; and 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, and 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 gazetted from God’s throne, published by his own mouth, and 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 secresy, for thy sin is this day recorded, and shall one day be advertised upon the walls of heaven. Photo credit below revivenations.org

II. 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,” he 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 parlour, 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; and 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.

„Oh! ‘tis a tangled web we weave,
When once we venture to deceive.”

If I must be a wicked man, give me the life of a roystering 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 which every honest sinner will be ashamed of. He will say, „Now, if I do serve my master I will serve him out and out, I will have no sham about it; if I make a profession, 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 which has hamstringed 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, and cants, and pretends, and 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. ‘Tis said the toad doth wear a jewel in her head, but this man hath none, but beareth filthiness about him, while he pretends to be in love with righteousness. 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 which 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 a life 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; and if you serve God, serve him with all your heart. „No man can serve two masters;” do not try it, do not endeavour to do it, for no life will be more miserable than that. Above all, beware of committing acts which it will be necessary to conceal. There is a singular poem by Hood, called „The Dream of Eugene Aram”—a most remarkable piece it is indeed, illustrating the point on which I am now dwelling. Aram has murdered a man and cast his body into the river—”a sluggish water, black as ink, the depth was so extreme.” The next morning he visited the scene of his guilt:

„And sought the black accursed pool,
With a wild misgiving eye;
And he saw the dead in the river bed,
For the faithless stream was dry.”

Next he covered the corpse with heaps of leaves, but a mighty wind swept through the wood and left the secret bare before the sun:

„Then down I cast me on my face,
And first began to weep,
For I knew my secret then was one
The earth refused to keep;
On land or sea though it should be
Ten thousand fathoms deep.”

In plaintive notes he prophesies his own discovery. He buried his victim in a cave, and trod him down with stones, but when years had run their weary round the foul deed was discovered and the murderer put to death.

Guilt is a „grim chamberlain,” even when his fingers are not bloody red. 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, for it is one deceiver against many observers; and for certain it is a miserable trade, which 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;” 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 sins; for no man is more miserable than he who sinneth secretly, and yet trieth to preserve a character. Yon stag, followed by the hungry hounds, with open mouths, is far more happy than the man who is followed by his sins. Yon bird, taken in the fowler’s net, and labouring to escape, is far more happy than he who hath weaved around himself a web of deception, and labours to escape from it day by day by making the toils more thick and the web more strong. Oh! the misery of secret sins! Truly, one may pray, „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.” (Photo credit below hannapot.wordpress.com)

III. But now, next, the guilt 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, in case 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. It is singular how men will measure guilt. A railway servant puts up a wrong signal, there is an accident; the man is tried, and severely reprimanded. The day before he put up the wrong signal, but there was no accident, and therefore no one accused him for his neglect. But it was just the same, accident or no accident, the accident did not make the guilt, it was the deed which made the guilt, not the notoriety nor yet the consequence of it. It was his business to have taken care; and he was as guilty the first time as he was the second, for he negligently exposed the lives of men. Do not measure sin by what other people say of it; but measure sin by what God says of it, and what your own conscience says of it.

Now, I hold that secret sin, if anything, is the worst of sin; because secret sin implies that the man who commits it has Atheism in his heart. You will ask how that can be. I reply, he may be a professing Christian, but I shall tell him to his face that he is a practical Atheist, if he labours to keep up a respectable profession before man, and then secretly transgresses. Why, is he not an Atheist, who will say there is a God, yet at the same time thinks more of man than he does of God? Is it not the very essence of Atheism—is it not a denial of the divinity of the Most High when men lightly esteem him and think more of the eye of a creature than of the observation of their Creator? There are some who would not for the life of them say a wicked word in the presence of their minister, but they can do it, knowing God is looking at them. They are Atheists. There are some who would not trick in trade for all the world if they thought they would be discovered, but they can do it while God is with them; that is, they think more of the eye of man than of the eye of God; and they think it worse to be condemned by man than to be condemned by God. Call it by what name you will, the proper name of that is practical Atheism. It is dishonoring God; it is dethroning him; putting him down below his own creatures; and what is that, but to take away his divinity? 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 when his guilt shall be published, he shall be found to be the very worst and most hardened of men. Take heed of the guilt of secret sin. AH, now if could I preach as Rowland Hill did, I would make some people look to themselves at home, and tremble too! It is said that when he preached, there was not a man in the window, or standing in the crowd, or perched up anywhere, but said, „There, he is preaching at me; he is telling me about my secret sins.” And when he proclaimed God’s omniscience, it is said men would almost think they saw God bodily present in the midst of them looking at them. And when he had done his sermon, they would hear a voice in their ears, „Can any hide himself in secret places that I cannot see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” I would I could do that; 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, and turn to him with full purpose of heart! But this know—that thy guilt is guilt discovered or undiscovered, and that 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.” Photo credit http://www.shimmerzineff.webs.com

IV. 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 cairn to-day, the next day you will cast another, until the heap, reared stone by stone, shall become a very pyramid. See the coral insect at work, you cannot decree where it shall stay its work. It will not build its rock just as high as you please, it will not stay until it shall be covered with weeds, until the weeds shall decay; and there shall be soil upon it, and an island shall be created by tiny creatures. 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 be such a fortunate individual, that like Van Amburgh you may put your head in and out a great many times; reset assured that one of these days it will be a costly venture. Again, you may labour 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, the wretch will be singing some day when you are in company; you cannot keep the evil bird still. Your sin will gad abroad; and what is more, you will not mind it some of these days. A man who indulges in sin privately, by degrees gets his forehead as hard as brass. 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 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—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 for ever. 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; 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 traveller 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, it is our business to kill them. Christians must not tolerate secret sins. We must not harbour 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; and God give thee grace to overcome it!

V. And now I come, in finishing up, to plead with all my might with some of you

whom God has pricked in your consciences. I have come to intreat you, if it be possible, even to tears, that you will give up your secret sins. I have one here for whom I bless God; I love him, though I know him not. He is almost persuaded to be a Christian; he halteth between two opinions; he intendeth to serve God, he striveth to give up sin, but he findeth it a hard struggle, and as yet he knoweth not what shall become of him. I speak to him with all love: my friend, will you have your sin and go to hell, or leave your sin and go to heaven? This is the solemn alternative: to all awakened sinners I put it; may God choose for you, otherwise I tremble as to which you may choose. The pleasures of this life are so intoxicating, the joys of it so ensnaring, that did I not believe that God worketh in us to will and to do, I should despair of you. But I have confidence that God will decide the matter. Let me lay the alternative before you:—on the one hand there is a hour’s merriment, a short life of bliss, and that a poor, poor bliss; on the other hand, there is everlasting life and eternal glory. On the one hand, there is a transient happiness, and afterwards overwhelming woe; in this case there is a solid peace and everlasting joy, and after it overflowing bliss. I shall not fear to be called an Arminian, when I say, as Elijah did, „Choose you this day whom you will serve. If God be God, serve him; if Baal be God serve him.” But, now, make your choice deliberately; and may God help you to do it! Do not say you will take up with religion, without first counting the cost of it; remember, there is your lust to be given up, your pleasure to be renounced; can you do it for Christ’s sake? Can you? I know you cannot, unless God’s grace shall assist you in making such a choice. But can you say, „Yes, by the help of God, earth’s gaudy toys, its pomps, pageantries, gewgaws, all these I renounce?—

„These can never satisfy,
Give me Christ or else I die.”

Sinner, thou wilt never regret that choice, if God help thee to make it; thou wilt find thyself a happy man here, and thrice happy throughout eternity.

„But,” says one, „Sir, I intend to be religious, but I do not hold with your strictness.” I do not ask you to do so; I hope, however, you will hold withGod’s strictness, and God’s strictness is ten thousand times greater than mine. You may say that I am puritanical in my preaching; God will be puritanical in judging in that great day. I may appear severe, but I can never be so severe as God will be. I may draw the harrow with sharp teeth across your conscience, but God shall drag harrows of eternal fire across you one day. I may speak thundering things! God will not speak them, but hurl them from his hands. Remember, men may laugh at hell, and say there is none; but they must reject their Bibles before they can believe the lie. Men’s consciences tell them that

„There is a dreadful hell,
And everlasting pains;
Where sinners must with devils dwell,
In darkness, fire and chains.”

Sirs, will ye keep your secret sins, and have eternal fire for them? Remember it is of no use, they must all be given up, or else you cannot be God’s child. You cannot by any means have both; it cannot be God and the world, it cannot be Christ and the devil; it must be one or the other. Oh! that God would give you grace to resign all; for what are they worth? They are your deceivers now, and will be your tormentors for ever. Oh! that your eyes were open to see the rottenness, the emptiness and trickery of iniquity. Oh! that God would turn you to himself. Oh! may God give you grace to cross the Rubicon of repentance at this very hour; to say, „Henceforth it is war to the knife with my sins; not one of them will I willingly keep, but down with them, down with them; Canaanite, Hittite, Jebusite, they shall all be driven out.”

„The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from its throne,
And worship only thee.”

„But oh! sir, I cannot do it; it would be like pulling my eyes out.” Ay, but hear what Christ says: „It were better for thee to enter into life with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” „But it would be like cutting my arms off.” Ay, and it would be better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, than to be cast into hell fire for ever. Oh! when the sinner comes before God at last, do you think he will speak as he does now? God will reveal his secret sins: the sinner will not then say, „Lord, I thought my secret sins so sweet, I could not give them up.” I think I see how changed it will be then. „Sir” you say now, „you are too strict;” will you say that when the eyes of the Almighty are glowering on you? You say now, „Sir, you are too precise;” will you say that to God Almighty’s face? „Sir, I mean to keep such-and-such a sin.” Can you say it at God’s bar at last? You will not dare to do it then. Ah! when Christ comes a second time, there will be a marvellous change in the way men talk. Methinks I see him; there he sits upon his throne. Now, Caiaphas, come and condemn him now! Judas! comes and kiss him now! What do you stick at, man? Are you afraid of him? Now, Barrabbas! go; see whether they will prefer you to Christ now. Swearer, now is your time; you have been a bold man; curse him to his face now. Now drunkard; stagger up to him now. Now infidel; tell him there is no Christ now—now that the world is lit with lightning and the earth is shaken with thunder till the solid pillars thereof do bow themselves—tell God there is no God now; now laugh at the Bible; now scoff at the minister. Why men, what is the matter with you? Why, can’t you do it? Ah! there you are; you have fled to the hills and to the rocks—”Rocks hide us! mountains fall on us; hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne.” Ah! where are now your boasts, your vauntings, and your glories? Alas! alas! for you, in that dread day of wonders.

Secret sinner, what will then become of thee? Go out of this place unmasked; go out to examine thyself, go out to bend thy knee, go out to weep, go out to pray. God give thee grace to believe! And oh, how sweet and pleasant the thought, that this day sinners have fled to Christ, and men have been born again to Jesus! Brethren, ere I finish, I repeat the words at which so many have cavilled—it is now, or never, it is turn or burn. Solemnly in God’s sight I say it; if it be not God’s truth I must answer for it in the great day of account. Your consciences tell you it is true. Take it home, and mock me if you will; this morning I am clear of your blood: if any seek not God, but live in sin, I shall be clear of your blood in that day when the watchman shall have your souls demanded of him; oh, may God grant that you may be cleared in a blessed manner! When I went down those pulpit stairs a Sabbath or two ago, a friend said to me words which have been in my mind ever since—”Sir, there are nine thousand people this day without excuse in the day of judgment.” It is true of you this morning. If you are damned, it will be not for want of preaching to you, and it shall not be for want of praying for you. God knoweth that if my heart could break of itself, it would, for your souls, for God is my witness, how earnestly I long for you in the bowels of Christ Jesus. Oh, that he might touch your hearts and bring you to him! For death is a solemn thing, damnation is a horrible thing, to be out of Christ is a dreadful thing, to be dead in sin is a terrific thing. May God lead you to view these things as they are, and save you, for his mercy’s sake! „He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.”

„Lord, search my soul, try every thought;
Though my own heart accuse me not
Of walking in a false disguise,
I beg the trial of thine eyes.Doth secret mischief lurk within?
Do I indulge some unknown sin?
O turn my feet whene’er I stray,
And lead me in thy perfect way.”

Short Biography of C.H. Spurgeon:

spurgeonCharles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (June 19, 1834 January 31, 1892) was a British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the “Prince of Preachers.” In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons have been translated into many languages. Spurgeon was the pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London for 38 years. In 1857, he started a charity organization called Spurgeon’s which now works globally. He also founded Spurgeon’s College, which was named after him after his death.

Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, a commentary, books on prayer, a devotional, a magazine, and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. Arguably, no other author, Christian or otherwise, has more material in print than C.H. Spurgeon.

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C.H.Spurgeon -The Holy Spirit and the One Church (Classic)

spurgeon
A Sermon
(No. 167)

Delivered on Sabbath Morning, December 13, 1857, by the
REV. C. H. Spurgeon
at the Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.

„These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”—Jude 1:19.

HEN a farmer comes to thrash out his wheat, and get it ready for the market there are two things that he desires—that there may be plenty of it, of the right sort, and that when he takes it to market, he may be able to carry a clean sample there. He does not look upon the quantity alone; for what is the chaff to the wheat? He would rather have a little clean than he would have a great heap containing a vast quantity of chaff, but less of the precious corn. On the other hand, he would not so winnow his wheat as to drive away any of the good grain, and so make the quantity less than it need to be. He wants to have as much as possible—to have as little loss as possible in the winnowing, and yet to have it as well winnowed as may be. Now, that is what I desire for Christ’s Church, and what every Christian will desire. We wish Christ’s church to be as large as possible. God forbid that by any of our winnowing, we should ever cast away one of the precious sons of Zion. When we rebuke sharply, we would be anxious lest the rebuke should fall where it is not needed, and should bruise and hurt the feelings of any who God hath chosen. But on the other hand, we have no wish to see the church multiplied at the expense of its purity. We do not wish to have a charity so large that it takes in chaff as well as wheat: we wish to be just charitable enough to use the fan thoroughly to purge God’s floor, but yet charitable enough to pick up the most shrivelled ear of wheat, to preserve it for the Master’s sake, who is the husbandman. I trust, in preaching this morning, God may help me so to discern between the precious and the vile that I may say nothing uncharitable, which would cut off any of God’s people from being part of his true and living and visible church; and yet at the same time I pray that I may not speak so loosely, and so without God’s direction, as to embrace any in the arms of Christian affection whom the Lord hath not received in the eternal covenant of his love.
    Our text suggests to us three things: first, an inquiry—Have we the Spirit? secondly, a caution—if we have not the spirit we are sensual; thirdly, a suspicion—there are many persons that separate themselves. Our suspicion concerning them is, that notwithstanding their extra-superfine profession, they are sensual, not having the Spirit; for our text says, „These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.”
    I. First, then, our text suggests AN INQUIRY—Have we the Spirit? This is an inquiry so important, that the philosopher may well suspend all his investigations to find an answer to this question on his own personal account. All the great debates of politics, all the most engrossing subjects of human discussion, may well stop to-day, and give us pause to ask ourselves the solemn question—”Have I the Spirit?” For this question does not deal with any externals of religion, but it deals with religion in its most vital point. He that hath the Spirit, although he be wrong in fifty things, being right in this, is saved; he that hath not the Spirit, be he never so orthodox, be his creed as correct as Scripture-ay and in his morals outwardly as pure as the law, is still unsaved; he is destitute of the essential part of salvation—the Spirit of God dwelling in him.
    To help us to answer this question, I shall try to set forth the effects of the Spirit in our hearts under sundry Scriptural metaphors. Have I the Spirit? I reply, And what is the operation of the, Spirit? How am I to discern it? Now the Spirit operates in divers ways, all of them mysterious, and supernatural, all of them bearing the real marks of his own power, and having certain signs following whereby they may be discovered and recognised.
    1. The first work of the Spirit in the heart is a work during which the Spirit is compared to the wind. You remember that when our Saviour spoke to Nicodemus he represented the first work of the Spirit in the heart as being like the wind, „which bloweth where it listeth;” „even so;” saith he, „is every one that is born of the Spirit.” Now you know that the wind is a most mysterious thing; and although there be certain definitions of it which pretend to be explanations of the phenomenon, yet they certainly leave the great question of how the wind blows, and what is the cause of its blowing in a certain direction, where it was before. Breath within us, wind without us, all motions of air, are to us mysterious. And the renewing work of the Spirit in the heart is exceedingly mysterious. It is possible that at this moment the Spirit of God may be breathing into some of the thousand hearts before me; yet it would be blasphemous if any one should ask, „Which way went the Spirit from God to such a heart? How entered it there?” And it would be foolish for a person who is under the operation of the Spirit to ask how it operates: thou knowest not where is the storehouse of the thunder; thou knowest not where the clouds are balanced; neither canst thou know how the Spirit goeth forth from the Most High and enters into the heart of man. It may be, that during a sermon two men are listening to the same truth; one of them hears as attentively as the other and remembers as much of it; the other is melted to tears or moved with solemn thoughts; but the one though equally attentive, sees nothing in the sermon, except, maybe, certain important truths well set forth; as for the other, his heart is broken within him and his soul is melted. Ask me how it is that the same truth has an effect upon the one, and not upon his fellow: I reply, because the mysterious Spirit of the living God goes with the truth to one heart and not to the other. The one only feels the force of truth, and that may be strong enough to make him tremble, like Felix; but the other feels the Spirit going with the truth, and that renews the man, regenerates him, and causes him to pass into that gracious condition which is called the state of salvation. This change takes place instantaneously. It is as miraculous a change as any miracle of which we read in Scripture. It is supremely supernatural. It may be mimicked, but no imitation of it can be true and real. Men may pretend to be regenerated without the Spirit, but regenerated they cannot be. It is a change so marvellous that the highest attempts of man can never reach it. We may reason as long as we please, but we cannot reason ourselves into regeneration; we may meditate till our hairs are grey with study; but we cannot meditate ourselves into the new birth. That is worked in us by the sovereign will of God alone.

„The Spirit, like some heavenly wind,
Blows on the sons of flesh,
Inspires us with a heavenly mind,
And forms the man afresh.”

But ask the man how: he cannot tell you. Ask him when: he may recognize the time, but as to the manner thereof he knoweth no more of it than you do. It is to him a mystery.
    You remember the story of the valley of vision. Ezekiel saw dry bones lying scattered here and there in the valley. The command came to Ezekiel, „Say to:these dry bones, live.” He said, „Live,” and the bones came together, „bone to his bone, and flesh came upon them;” but as yet they did not live. „Prophesy, son of man; say to the wind, breathe upon these slain, that they may live.” They looked just like life: there was flesh and blood there; there were the eyes and hands and feet; but when Ezekiel had spoken there was a mysterious something given which men call life, and it was given in a mysterious way, like the blowing of the wind. It is even so to-day. Unconverted and ungodly persons may be very, moral and excellent; they are like the dry bones, when they are put together and clothed with flesh and blood. But to make them live spiritually it needs the divine afflatus from the breath of the Almighty, the divine pneuma, the divine Spirit, the divine wind should blow on them, and then they would live. Say, my hearer, hast thou ever had any supernatural influence on thine Heart? For if not I may seem to be harsh with thee, but I am faithful: if thou hast never had more than nature in thy heart, thou art „in the gall of bitterness and in the bonds of iniquity.” Nay, sir, sneer not at that utterance; it is as true as this Bible, for tis from this Bible it was taken, and for proof thereof hear thou me. „except a man be born again (from above) of water and of the Spirit, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” What sayest thou to that? It is in vain for thee to talk of making thyself to be born again; thou canst not be born again except by the Spirit, and thou must perish, unless thou art. You see, then, the first effect of the Spirit, and by that you may answer the question.
    2. In the next place, the Spirit in the word of God is often compared to fire. After the Spirit, like the wind, has made the dead sinner live, then comes the Spirit like fire. Now, fire has a searching and tormenting power. It is purifying, but it purifies by a terrible process. Now, after the Holy Spirit has given us the life of Christianity, there immediately begins a burning in our heart: the Lord searches and tries our reins, and lights a candle within our spirits which discovers the wickedness of our nature, and the loathsomeness of our iniquities. Say, my hearer, dost thou know anything about that fire in thine heart? For if not, thou hast not yet received the Spirit. To explain what I mean, let me just tell a piece of my own experience, by way of illustrating the fiery effects of the Spirit. I lived careless and thoughtless; I could indulge in sin as well as others, and did do so. Sometimes my conscience pricked me, but not enough to make me cease from vice. I could indulge in transgression, and I could love it: not so much as others loved it—mine early training would not let me do that—but still enough to prove that my heart was debased and corrupt. Once on a time something more than conscience pricked me: I knew not then what it was. I was like Samuel, when the Lord called him; I heard the voice, but I knew not whence it came. A stirring began in my heart, and I began to feel that in the sight of God I was a lost, ruined, and condemned sinner. That conviction I could not shake off. Do what I might it followed me. If I sought to amuse my mind and take it off from serious thoughts it was of no use; I was obliged still to carry about with me a heavy burden on my back. I went to my bed, and there I dreamed about hell, and about „the wrath to come.” I woke up, and this dreary nightmare, this incubus, still brooded on me. What could I do? I renounced first one vicious habit, then another: it mattered not; all this was like pulling one firebrand from a flame, that fed itself with blazing forests. Do what I might, my conscience found no rest. Up to the house of God I went to hear the gospel: there was no gospel for me; the fire burned but the more fiercely, and the very breath of the gospel seemed to fan the flame. Away I went to my chamber and my closet to pray: the heavens were like brass, and the windows of the sky were barred against me. No answer could I get; the fire burned more vehemently. Then I thought, „I would not live always; would God I had never been born!” But I dared not die, for there was hell when I was dead; and I dared not live, for life had become intolerable. Still the fire blazed right vehemently; till at last I came to this resolve: „If there be salvation in Christ, I will have it. I have nothing of my own to trust to; I do this hour, O God, renounce my sin, and renounce my own righteousness too.” And the fire blazed again, and burned up all my good works, ay, and my sins with them. And then I saw that all this burning was to bring me to Christ. And oh! the joy and gladness of my heart, when Jesus came and sprinkled water on the flame, and said, „I have bought thee with my blood; put thy trust in me; I will do for thee what thou canst not do for thyself; I will take thy sins away; I will clothe thee with a spotless robe of righteousness; I will guide thee all thy journey through, and land thee at last in heaven.” Say, my dear hearer, Dost know anything about the Spirit of burning? For if not, again I say, I am not harsh, I am but true; if thou hast never felt this, thou knowest not the Spirit.
    3. To proceed a little further. When the Spirit has thus quickened the soul and convinced it of sin, then he comes under another metaphor. He comes under the metaphor of oil. The Holy Spirit is very frequently in Scripture compared to oil. „Thou anointest mine head with oil; my cup runneth over.” Ah! brethren, though the beginning of the Spirit is by fire, it does not end there. We may be first of all convinced and brought to Christ by misery; but when we get to Christ there is no misery in him, and our sorrow results from not getting close enough to him. The Holy Spirit comes, like the good Samaritan, and pours in the oil and the wine. And oh! what oil it is with which he anoints our head, and with which he heals our wounds! How soft the liniments which he binds round our bruises! How blessed the eye-salve with which he anoints our eyes! How heavenly the ointment with which he binds up our sores, and wounds, and bruises, and makes us whole, and sets our feet upon a rock, and establishes our goings! The Spirit, after he has convinced, begins to comfort; and ye that have felt the comforting power of the Holy Spirit, will bear me witness there is no comforter like him that is the Paraclete. Oh! bring hither the music, the voice of song, and the sound of harps; they are both as vinegar upon nitre to him that hath a heavy heart. Bring me here the enchantments of the magic world, and all the enjoyments of its pleasures; they do but torment the soul and prick it with many thorns. But oh! Spirit of the living God, when thou dost blow upon the heart, there is not a wave of that tempestuous sea which does not sleep for ever when thou biddest it be still; there is not one single breath of the proud hurricane and tempest which doth not cease to howl and which doth not lie still, when thou sayest to it, „Peace be unto thee; thy sins are forgiven thee.” Say, do you know the Spirit under the figure of oil? Have you felt him at work in your spirits, comforting you, anointing your head, making you glad, and causing you to rejoice?
    There are many people that never felt this. They hope they are religious; but their religion never makes them happy. There are scores of professors who have just enough religion to make them miserable. Let them be afraid that they have any religion at all; for religion makes people happy; when it has its full sway with man it makes him glad. It may begin in agony, but it does not end there. Say, hast thou ever had thine heart leaping for joy? Hath thy lip ever warbled songs of ecstatic praise? Doth thine eye ever flash the fire of joy? If these things be not so, I fear lest thou art still without God, and without Christ; for where the Spirit comes, his fruits are, joy in the Spirit, and peace, and love, and confidence, and assurance for ever.
    4. Bear with me once more. I have to show you one more figure of the Spirit, and by that also you will be able to ascertain whether you are under his operation. When the Spirit has acted as wind, as fire, and as oil, he then acts like water. We are told that we are „born again of water and of the Spirit.” Now I do not think you foolish enough to need that I should say that no water, either of immersion or of sprinkling, can in the least degree operate in the salvation of a soul. There may be some few poor creatures, whose heads were put on their shoulders the wrong way, who still believe that a few drops of water from a priest’s hands can regenerate souls. There may be such a few, but I hope the race will soon die out. We trust that the day will come when all those gentry will have no „other Gospel” to preach in our churches, but will have clean gone over to Rome, and when that terrible plague-spot upon the Protestant Church, called Puseyism, will have been cut out like a cancer, and torn out by its very roots. The sooner we get rid of that the better; and whenever we hear of any of them going over to Rome, let them go—I wish we could as easily get rid of the devil, they may go together—we do not want either of them in the Protestant Church, anyhow. But the Holy Spirit when he comes in the heart comes like water. That is to say, he comes to purify the soul. He that is to-day as foul a liver as he was before his pretended conversion is a hypocrite and a liar; he that this day loveth sin and liveth in it just as he was wont to do, let him know that the truth is not in him, but he hath received the strong delusion to believe a lie: God’s people are a holy people; God’s Spirit works by love, and purifies the soul. Once let it get into our hearts, and it will have no rest till it has turned every sin out. God’s Holy Spirit and man’s sin cannot live together peaceably; they may both be in the same heart, but they cannot both reign there, nor can they both be quiet there; for „the Spirit lusteth against the flesh, and the flesh lusteth against the Spirit;” they cannot rest, but there will be a perpetual warring in the soul, so that the Christian will have to cry, „O wretched man that I am! who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” But in due time the Spirit will drive out all sin, and will present us blameless before the throne of his Majesty with exceeding great joy.
    Now, my hearer, answer thou this question for thyself, and not for another man. Hast thou received this Spirit? Answer me, anyhow; if it be with a scoff, answer me; if thou sneerest and sayest, „I know nothing of your enthusiastic rant,” be it so, sir; say, nay, then. It may be thou carest not to reply at all. I beseech thee do not put away my entreaty. Yes or no. Hast thou received the Spirit? „Sir no man can find fault with my character; I believe I shall enter heaven through my own virtues.” It is not the question, sir. Hast thou received the Spirit? All that thou sayest thou mayest have done; but if thou hast left the other undone, and hast not received the Spirit, it will go ill with thee at last. Hast thou had a supernatural operation upon thine own heart? Hast thou been made a new man in Christ Jesus! For if not, depend on it, as God’s Word is true, thou art out of Christ, and dying as thou art thou wilt be shut out of heaven, be thou who thou mayest and what thou mayest.
    II. Thus, I have tried to help you to answer the first question—the inquiry, Have we received the Spirit? And this brings me to the CAUTION. He that has not received the Spirit is said to be sensual. Oh, what a gulf there is between the least Christian and the greatest moralist! What a wide distinction there is between the greatest professor destitute of grace, and the least of God’s believers who has grace in his heart. As great a difference as there is between light and darkness between death and life, between heaven and hell, is there between a saint and a sinner; for mark, my text says, in no very polite phrase, that if we have not the Spirit we are sensual. ” Sensual!” says one; „well, I am not converted man—I don t pretend to be; but I am not sensual.” Well, friend, and it is very likely that you are not—not in the common acceptation of the term sensual; but understand that this word, in the Greek, really means what an English word like this would mean, if we had such a one—soulish. We have not such a word—we want such a one. There is a great distinction between mere animals and men, because man hath a soul, and the mere animal hath none. There is another distinction between mere men and a converted man. The converted man hath the Spirit—the unconverted man hath none; he is a soulish man—not a spiritual man; he has got no further than mere nature and has no inheritance in the spiritual kingdom of grace. Strange it is that soulish and sensual should after all mean the same! Friend, thou hast not the Spirit. Then thou art nothing better—be thou what thou art, or whatsoever thou mayest be—than the fall of Adam left thee. That is to say, thou art a fallen creature, having only capacities to live here in sin, and to live for ever in torment; but thou hast not the capacity to live in heaven at all, for thou hast no Spirit; and therefore thou art unable to know or enjoy spiritual things. And mark you, a man may be in this state, and be a sensual man, and yet he may have all the virtues that could grace a Christian; but with all these, if he has not the Spirit, he has got not an inch further than where Adam’s fall left him—that is, condemned and under the curse. Ay, and he may attend to religion with all his might—he may take the sacrament, and be baptized, and may be the most devout professor; but if he hath not the Spirit he hath not started a solitary inch from where he was, for he is still in „the bonds of iniquity,” a lost soul. Nay, further, he may pick up religious phrases till he may talk very fast about religion; he may read biographies till he seems to be a deep taught child of God; he may be able to write an article upon the deep experience of a believer; but if this experience be not his own, if he hath not received it by the Spirit of the living God, he is still nothing more than a carnal man, and heaven is to him a place to which there is no entrance. Nay, further, he might go so far as to become a minister of the gospel, and a successful minister too, and God may bless the word that he preaches to the salvation of sinners, but unless he has received the Spirit, be he as eloquent as Apollos, and as earnest as Paul, he is nothing more than a mere soulish man, without capacity for spiritual things.
    Nay, to crown all, he might even have the power of working miracles, as Judas had—he might even be received into the church as a believer, as was Simon Magus, and after all that, though he had cast out devils, though he had healed the sick, though he had worked miracles, he might have the gates of heaven shut in his teeth, if he had not received the Spirit. For this is the essential thing, without which all others are in vain—the reception of the Spirit of the living God. It is a searching truth, is it not, my friends? Do not run away from it. If I am preaching to you falsehood, reject it; but if this be a truth which I can substantiate by Scripture, I beseech you, rest not till you have answered this question: Hast thou the Spirit, living, dwelling, working in thy heart?
    III. This brings me, in the third place, to THE SUSPICION. How singular that „separation” should be the opposite of having the Spirit. Hark! I hear a gentle man saying, „Oh! I like to hear you preach smartly and sharply; I am persuaded, sir, there are a great many people in the church that ought not to be there; and so I, because there is such a corrupt mixture in the church, have determined not to join anywhere at all. I do not think that the Church of Christ now a days is at all clean and pure enough to allow of my joining with it. At least, sir, I did join a church once, but I made such a deal of noise in it they were very glad when I went away. And now I am just like David’s men; I am one that is in debt and discontented, and I go round to hear all new preachers that arise. I have heard you now these three months; I mean to go and hear some one else in a very little time if you do not say something to flatter me. But I am quite sure I am one of God’s special elect. I don’t join any church because a church is not good enough for me; I don’t become a member of any denomination, because they are all wrong, every one of them.” Hark ye brother, I have something to tell you, that will not please you. „These be they that separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” I hope you enjoy the text: it certainly belongs to you, above every man in the world. „These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” When I read this over I thought to myself, there be some who say, „Well, you are a dissenter, how do you make this agreeable with the text, ‘These be they who separate themselves;’ ” you are separated from the Church of England. Ah, my friends, that a man may be, and be all the better for it; but the separation here intended is separation from the one universal Church of Christ. The Church of England was not known in Jude’s day: so the apostle did not allude to that. „These be they who separate themselves,”—that is from the Church of Christ; from the great universal body of the elect. Moreover, let us just say one thing. We did not separate ourselves—we were turned out. Dissenters did not separate themselves from the Church of England, from the Episcopal church; but when the Act of Uniformity was passed, they were turned out of their pulpits. Our forefathers were as sound Churchmen as any in the world, but they could not take in all the errors of the Prayer Book, and they were therefore hounded to their graves by the intolerance of the conforming professors. So they did not separate themselves. Moreover, we do not separate ourselves. There is not a Christian beneath the scope of God’s heaven from whom I am separated. At the Lord’s table I always invite all Churches to come and sit down and commune with us. If any man were to tell me that I am separate from the Episcopalian, the Presbyterian, or the Methodist, I would tell him he did not know me, for I love them with a pure heart fervently, and I am not separate from them. I may hold different views from them, and in that point truly I may be said to be separate; but I am not separate in heart, I will work with them—I will work with them heartily; nay, though my Church of England brother sends me in, as he has done, a summons to pay a churchrate that I cannot in conscience pay, I will love him still; and if he takes chairs and tables it matters not—I will love him for all that; and if there be a ragged-school or anything else for which I can work with him to promote the glory of God, therein will I unite with him with all my heart. I think this bears rather hard on our friends—the Strict Communion Baptists. I should not like to say anything hard against them, for they are about the best people in the world, but they really do separate themselves from the great body of Christ’s people. The Spirit of the living God will not let them do this really, but they do it professedly. They separate themselves from the great Universal Church. They say they will not commune with it; and if any one comes to their table who has not been baptized, they turn him away. They „separate,” certainly. I do not believe it is willful schism that makes them thus act; but at the same time I think the old man within has some hand in it.
    Oh, how my heart loves the doctrine of the one church. The nearer I get to my Master in prayer and communion, the closer am I knit to all his disciples. The more I see of my own errors and failings, the more ready am I to deal gently with them that I believe to be erring. The pulse of Christ’s body is communion; and woe to the church that seeks to cure the ills of Christ’s body by stopping its pulse. I think it sin to refuse to commune with anyone who is a member of the Church of our Lord Jesus Christ. I desire this morning to preach the unity of Christ’s church. I have sought to use the fan to blow away the chaff. I have said no man belongs to Christ’s church unless he has the Spirit; but, if he hath the Spirit, woe be to the man that separates himself from him. Oh! I should think myself grossly in fault if at the foot of these stairs I should meet a truly converted child of God, who called himself a Primitive Methodist, or a Wesleyan. or a Churchman, or an Independent, and I should say, „No, sir, you do not agree with me on certain points; I believe you are a child of God, but I will have nothing to do with you.” I should then think that this text would bear very hard on me. „These be they who separate themselves, sensual, having not the Spirit.” But would we do so, beloved? No, we would give them both our hands, and say, God speed to you in your journey to heaven; so long as you have got the Spirit we are one family, and we will not be separate from one another. God grant the day may come when every wall of separation shall be beaten down! See how to this day we are separate. There! you will find a Baptist who could not say a good word to a Poedo-Baptist if you were to give him a world. You find to this day Episcopalians who hate that ugly word, „Dissent;” and it is enough for them that a Dissenter has done a thing; they will not do it then, be it never so good.
    Ah! and furthermore, there are some to be found in the Church of England that will not only hate dissent, but hate one another into the bargain. Men are to be found that cannot let brother ministers of their own church preach in their parish. What an anachronism such men are! They would seem to have been sent into the world in our time purely by mistake. Their proper era would have been the time of the dark ages. If they had lived then, what fine Bonners they would have made! What splendid fellows they would have been to have helped to poke the fire in Smithfield! But they are quite out of date in these times, and I look upon such a curious clergyman in the same way that I do upon a Dodo—as an extraordinary animal whose race is almost, if not quite extinct. Well, you may look, and look and wonder. The animal will be extinct soon. It will not be long, I trust, before not only the Church of England shall love itself, but when all who love the Lord Jesus shall be ready to preach in each other’s pulpits, preaching the same truth, holding the same faith, and mightily contending for it. Then shall the world „see how these Christians love one another; ” and then shall it be known in heaven that Christ s kingdom has come, and that his will is about to be done on earth as it is in heaven.
    My hearer, dost thou belong to the church? For out of the church there is no salvation. But mark what the church is. It is not the Episcopalian, Baptist, or Presbyterian: the church is a company of men who have received the Spirit. If thou canst not say thou hast the Spirit, go thy way and tremble; go thy way and think of thy lost condition; and may Jesus by his Spirit so bless thee, that thou mayest be led to renounce thy works and ways with grief, and fly to him who died upon the cross, and find a shelter there from the wrath of God.
    I may have said some rough things this morning, but I am not given much to cutting and trimming, and I do not suppose I shall begin to learn that art now. If the thing is untrue, it is with you to reject it; if it be true, at your own peril reject what God stamps with divine authority. May the blessing of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit rest upon the one church of Israel’s one Jehovah. Amen and Amen.

(source Spurgeon.org)
C.H.Spurgeon -The Holy Spirit and the One Church (Classic)

Smooth Stones Taken from Ancient Brooks – Spurgeon on Renowned Puritan Thomas Brooks (296 pages) Online Book

spurgeon 2
Spurgeon book on Thomas Brooks

Description:

As a writer, Brooks scatters stars with both his hands: he hath dust of gold; in his storehouse are all manner of precious stones. So wrote C.H. Spurgeon in his Preface to this book. He counted Thomas Brooks among his favourite Puritan authors, and it is not hard to see why. Brooks’ popularity lies both in his subjects – practical truths, central to the Christian life – and in the manner of his presentation. He is ever direct, urgent, fervent, full of Scripture, and able to choose words which make his sentences stick in one’s mind.

This book is a collection of sentences, illustrations, and quaint sayings from this renowned Puritan. Gathered by Spurgeon out of the 6 volume set of Brooks’ Works, it remains an excellent introduction to both the man and his writings.

View this document on Scribd

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C. H. Spurgeon, "The Prince of Preachers&...

Kirk Cameron mentions this quote in his interview with Dr. Bryan Smith at First Baptist Church Roanoke. I have heard this quote before, and today, I tried researching it on the internet. Thankfully, I came across the fruit of this work from another fellow blogger named Daniel who blogs over at – http://doulogos.blogspot.com:

The saving of souls, if a man has once gained love to perishing sinners, and love to his blessed Master, will be an all-absorbing passion to him. It will so carry him away, that he will almost forget himself in the saving of others. He will be like the stout, brave fireman, who careth not for the scorch or for the heat, so that he may rescue the poor creature on whom true humanity hath set his heart. – Charles Spurgeon, One Antidote for Many Ills (Sermon #284, November 9, 1859, see: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0284.htm)

…if sinners will be damned, at least let them leap to hell over our bodies; and if they will perish, let them perish with our arms about their knees, imploring them to stay, and not madly to destroy themselves. If hell must be filled, at least let it be filled in the teeth of our exertions, and let not one go there unwarned and unprayed for.” – Charles Spurgeon, The Wailing of Risca (sermon #349, December 9, 1860 see: http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0349.htm)

The original quote however is taken from a sermon preached by Spurgeon in 1888 at the Metropolitan Tabernacle entitled, „She was not Hid” (see: http://www.spurgeongems.org/vols34-36/chs2019.pdf) and is pulled from the following paragraph:

„But the confession had to be made for the sake of others. Do any of you wish to live unto yourselves? If you do, you need saving from selfishness. I have seen it brought as a charge against evangelical religion that we teach men to look to their own salvation first and that this is a kind of spiritual selfishness. Ah, but if that salvation means salvation from selfishness, where is the selfishness of it? It is a very material point in salvation to be saved from hardness of heart and carelessness about others. Do you want to go to Heaven alone? I fear you will never go there. Have you no wish for others to be saved? Then you are not saved yourself. Be sure of that. What is the most natural plan to use for the salvation of others but to bear your own personal testimony?”

Thank God for restraining grace! Spurgeon

spurgeon-preachingthanks to Gabi Bogdan for this excerpt:

How many saints fall into sins which they have to regret even after conversion, while others are saved from leaving the path of morality to wander in the morass of lust and crime! Why, some of us were, by God’s grace, placed in positions were we could not well have been guilty of any gross acts of immorality, even if we had tried. We were so hedged about by guardian-care, so watched and tended on every side, that we should have been dashing our heads against a stone wall if we had run into any great or open sin.

Oh! what a mercy to be prevented from sinning, when God puts chains across the road, digs ditches, makes hedges, builds walls, and says to us, “No, you shall not go that way, I will not let you; you shall never have that to regret; you may desire it, but I will hedge up your way with thorns; you may wish it, but it never shall be yours.”

Beloved, I have thanked God a thousand times in my life, that before my conversion, when I had ill desires I had no opportunities; and on the other hand, that when I had opportunities I had no desires; for when desires and opportunities come together like the flint and steel, they make the spark that kindles the fire, but neither the one nor the other, though they may both be dangerous, can bring about any very great amount of evil so long as they are kept apart.

Let us, then, look back, and if this has been our experience bless the preventing grace of God.

Again, there is another form of grace I must mention, namely, restraining grace. Here, you see, I am making a distinction. There are many who did go into sin; they were not wholly prevented from it, but they could not go as far into it as they wanted to do. There is a young man here to-night—he will say how should I know—well, I do know—there is a young man here tonight who wants to commit a certain sin, but he cannot. Oh! how he wishes to go, but he cannot; he is placed in such a position of poverty that he cannot play the fine gentleman he would like.

There is another; he wants to be dancing at such-and-such a place, but thank God he is lame; there is another, who, if he had had is wish would have lost his soul, but since his blindness has come upon him there is some hope for him. Oh! how often God has thrown a man on a sick bed to make him well! He would have been such as he was even unto death if he had been well, but God has made him sick, and that sickness has restrained him from sin. It is a mercy for some men that they cannot do what they would, and though “to will is present” with them, yet even in sin, “how to perform that which they would they find not.”

Ah! my fine fellow, if you could have had your own way, you would have been at the top of the mountain by now! So you think, but no, you would have been over the precipice long before this if
God had let you climb at all, and so he has kept you in the valley because he has designs of love towards you, and because you shall not sin as others sin.

Divine grace has its hand upon the bridle of your horse. You may spur your steed, and use the lash against the man who holds you back; or perhaps it is a woman, and you may speak bitter words against that wife, that sister, or that mother, whom God has put there to hold you back; but you cannot go on, you shall not go on. Another inch forward and you will be over the precipice and lost, and therefore God has put that hand there to throw your horse back on its haunches, and make you pause, and think, and turn from the error of your ways.

What a mercy it is that when God’s people do go into sin to any extent, he speaks and says, “Hitherto shalt thou go, but no further; here shall thy proud sins be stayed!” There is, then, restraining grace.

Metropolitan Tabernacle Pulpit, volume 11, sermon number 656, „Prevenient grace.”

Charles Spurgeon on True Spiritual Worship

In this sermon Spurgeon addresses worship. Because of man’s fallenness, Spurgeon contends that worship in spirit is a rarity. Here is a snippet of what he means (you can read the entire sermon afterwards):

Since that day the Lord has been treated by carnal men in one of three ways; either God is adored by outward symbols as among Brahminists, Romanists, Puseyites, and other idolaters; or else he is worshipped through ritualism, as among too many who claim to be orthodox, who contend for pre-arranged, and unbending forms; written or unwritten as the case may be: or else men show an utter indifference to God altogether, and then rush into superstitious reverence for something or other which is evil, and therefore to be dreaded and spoken of with awe. This is the history of religious worship, that let spiritual worship assume what form it may, man always will if he can, get away from it and forget his God and set up something seen, instead of bowing down before the unseen; hence the necessity of the second commandment in the Decalogue, „Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, and so on.” This is not a command against worshipping another God, that is the first commandment, but a command against worshipping God under any shape, or through any medium or under any symbol; for he is a spirit, and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth and not by symbols. Against this command the human mind is always dashing itself, and in one shape or another idolatry is the ruling religion of mankind.

The entire sermon is printed below. Source – http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0695.htm

Sermon (No. 695) Delivered on Sunday Morning, June 17th, 1866, by
C. H. SPURGEON, At the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington

The Axe at the Root—A Testimony Against Puseyite Idolatry

„But the hour cometh, and now is, when the true worshippers shall worship the Father in spirit and in truth, for the Father seeketh such to worship him. God is a Spirit: and they that worship him must worship him in spirit and in truth.”—John 4:23-24.

THE WOMAN’S CONSCIENCE had been aroused by Christ’s declaration of her sin. He was touching upon matters of the most vital importance, and her depraved heart naturally shrunk from the lancet, From the truth which was becoming inconveniently personal she flew to that natural resort of the carnal mind, namely, to religions discourse upon points of outward observance. Instead of confessing her sin, and asking how it may be forgiven, she must needs say, „Our fathers worshipped in this mountain; and ye say, that in Jerusalem is the place where men ought to worship.” The carnal heart dreads the contact of spiritual truth, and finds a most convenient way of avoiding it by running to questions of holy places, holy times, and holy customs. Jesus, to her astonishment, informs her that the question which she had asked was of only temporary importance. There had been a time when it was well to know that salvation was of the Jews, and that the rival temple of the Samaritans was an imposture; but he says in effect to her, „Woman, believe me that question is of no importance now, for the hour cometh, yea and now is, when the external is to be abolished and the ritualistic is to be put away, and a purer, simpler, and more spiritual worship, is to take its place.”

The worship which our Lord Jesus Christ established involved a change. That is implied in the expressions here used. He announced to her that the hour was just then come when all questions about this or that place must cease, and be superseded by spiritual worship. Our Lord gave a very brief, but I think a very instructive description of what this worship was to be. If you observe carefully the words, you will see that it was a distinguishing kind of worship, for he mentions true worshippers. There had been but little distinction before; so long as they all passed through the same outward form they all seemed to be worshippers; but a distinction was now to be made clear and manifest. Merely outward worshippers were now false worshippers, and only those who pressed into spiritual worship were to be regarded as true. The gospel of Christ is a great discerner and an accurate judge. Christ has the winnowing fan in his hand; he sits as a refiner; he is compared by the prophet to the „refiner’s fire” and to „fuller’s soap;” and hence you see he discerns at once between worshippers and worshippers. There they stand both alike with bended heads, perhaps both repeating the same words, but the Savior distinguishes: „there is,” saith he, „a false worshipper, and there is a true worshipper, and he alone who is spiritual is true.” He announces further that under the gospel God is to be worshipped in the character of a Father; true worshippers shall worship the Father. This had not been the case before. The Lord had been adored as the Adonai, and reverenced as Jehovah; but to say „Our Father which art in heaven” remains the prerogative of the enlightened Christian who, having believed in Christ, has received power to become a son of God. True Christian worship addresses God, not merely as Creator and Preserver, or as the great Lord of the Universe, but as one who is very near of kin to us, our Father, beloved of our souls. Jesus likewise states that gospel worship is to be of a kind which does not result from the man himself merely, but comes from God, and is a work of grace. This is implied in the sentence, „The Father seeketh such to worship him,” as if no true worship would come from any man unless God sought it. True devotion under the Christian dispensation is not merely human but also divine. It is the work of the Spirit in the soul returning to its author; or as our hymn puts it—

„Prayer is the breath of God in man,
Returning whence it came.”These are very grave points, and draw a broad line of distinction between the living worship of the chosen of God and the dead formal worship of the world which lieth in the wicked one.
Furthermore, the Savior goes on to say that they who worship God are to worship him „in spirit.” No longer with the visible sacrifice of a lamb, but inwardly trusting in him who is the Lamb of God’s passover; no more with sprinkled blood of goats, but heartily relying upon the blood once shed for many; no longer worshipping God with ephod, breastplate, and mitre, but with prostrate soul, with uplifted faith, and with the faculties not of the body but of the inward spirit. We who worship God under the Christian dispensation are no longer to fancy that bodily exercise in worship profiteth anything, that genuflexions and contortions are of any value, but that acceptable worship is wholly mental, inward, and spiritual.

But he adds, lest there should seem an omission in the description, „must worship him in spirit and in truth;” for though we should profess to worship God only with the spirit and so despise forms, yet unless the soul shall truly love, and really adore, and sincerely bow, our worship will be as unacceptable as though it were formal and outward. See then, brethren, putting the whole three together, the worship under the Christian dispensation which God ordains, and which he accepts through Christ Jesus, is a worship distinguished by an inward vitality from the outward worship of the carnal mind. It is the worship of a child towards a father, feeling within himself a kinship with the divine; it is a worship wrought in us by God the Holy Ghost, because the Father has sought us out and taught us how to worship him. It is a worship which is not outward, but of the inner man, and occupies not hand, eye, and foot, but heart and soul and spirit: and it is a worship which is not professional and formal, but real, hearty, earnest, and so acceptable before God.

Let me give a sketch of this worship as it actually exhibits itself. A man may have been to a place of worship from his youth up, and he may have fallen into a habit of repeating a sacred form every morning and every evening, he may even have been a tolerably diligent reader of the Word of God, and yet though this may have been continued for sixty years and more, he may never once have worshipped God after the fashion prescribed in the text. But see him! the Father seeks him, truth comes home to his soul, and in the light of that truth he feels himself a sinner, and feeling himself so, he cries, „Father, I have sinned.” That is his first true worship. See, brethren, his spirit feels it, he means what he says. All that he said before was as nothing, but that first cry „I have sinned” has in it the vitality of worship. He hears the story of the cross, the full atonement made by God’s appointed sacrifice, and he prays, „Lord, I believe in Jesus, and I trust him;” here is another specimen of true worship; here is the spirit resting upon God’s appointed sacrifice, and reverencing God’s way of salvation by accepting it. Being saved by the precious blood of Jesus, he cries, „Father, I bless thee that I am saved, I thank thee that my sins are washed away.” This is true worship. Whether a man sings in the assembly, or sings alone; whether he prays aloud, or prays in silence, if he feels gratitude to God for pardon received, he offers the true worship. The whole of the Christian’s life, consisting as it must do of dealings with the invisible God through Jesus Christ by his heart, is a life of worship, and when at last he comes to die, you perceive that his worship will not cease with death, because it has always been spiritual, and did not depend upon the body. So that while the outward man faileth him, the inward spiritual man grows more strong in devotion than ever it was before; and when at last the spirit leaves its earthly tenement, and is disembodied, it has still a song for God, and throughout eternity its spiritual worship can continue; which worship must have been suspended if it had been connected with the body, and not with the immortal part of man.

If I understand the Savior’s words, and I hope I do, not only theoretically but practically, he means that those of us who are his true worshippers must worship him with our better and our nobler part, and our soul, with all the power she has, must pay reverence to the unseen God, Brethren, this is the kind of worship that men will not render to God; they will render him anything else but this; and until divinely effectual grace shall work such worship in man’s heart it is obnoxious to him; he will worship God with robes, and incense, and flowers, and banners, but he will not consent to worship him in spirit and in truth.

I. I shall proceed to my work by giving A BRIEF OUTLINE OF THE HISTORY OF WORSHIP, in connection with the doctrine that we are now to worship more manifestly than ever God in spirit and in truth. It appears from Scripture that worship before the flood was of the very simplest form. The outward ordinances were very few; the chief of them being the offering of sacrifice. This was probably instituted by God himself when he clothed Adam and his wife with skins of beasts; it has been thought that he then indicated to them the slaughter of beasts for sacrifice. Certain it is that the first worship of fallen man was by sacrifice. There was connected with this no doubt the meeting of gracious hearts for prayer, and also the ministration of truth, for Enoch also, the seventh from Adam, prophesied concerning the coming of the Lord; so that they appear to have had what was tantamount to a ministry, and the sons of God had appointed times for meeting. But this simple form of worship seems to have been too high, too spiritual for fallen man at the first; at any rate the seed of the serpent could not endure it, for Cain at the very first commenced a schism; instead of bringing a sacrifice by blood he must needs bring a sacrifice of the fruits of the ground. Perhaps he was a man of taste, and desired to bring something that should look more decorous than a poor bleeding victim; he would lay those rich grapes, those ruddy fruits upon the altar; and those fair flowers that gemmed the bosom of earth, surely he might consecrate those. At any rate he was the first man who set up taste and self as the guide in religious worship, and God had no respect unto his sacrifice. The two stood by their altars; Abel by faith, exercising spiritual worship, offered a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain; Cain’s offering was possibly even more fair to look upon but it was of his own invention; Abel was accepted, but Cain discarded. The ultimate result of man’s sinfulness in connection with this early type of worship was general neglect of all religion. The sons of God seem to have maintained their simplicity for a time, but at last by unholy alliances with the ungodly race there arose a widespread neglect of all thought of God, so that they were married and given in marriage, they ate and they drank till the day when the flood came and swept them all away. Depraved nature thus refused to render spiritual worship. After the flood we find worship restored in very much the same form: let us distinguish it as the patriarchal method of worship. The head of a family was accustomed to offer sacrifice, and no doubt if Job be taken as a type thereof family prayer and household religion were maintained, But you see very early the indication that man, although he could not forget God, for the deluge had struck to the very heart of manhood an awful dread of the Most High, began to interpose symbols and visible objects between God and himself. The use of teraphim became very common; so that in the house even of Abraham’s ancestors teraphs were found; and when we come down to the time of Jacob, we find one of his wives stealing her father’s images, thus proving that Laban, one of a once God-fearing family, had become a worshipper of God through the medium of images. Thus was it among those who still had some knowledge of God; but the nations being dispersed, soon lost the pure idea of the invisible One, and worshipped gods of their own devising. From the plagues of Egypt, which were no doubt intended to be a blow against all Egypt’s gods, we find out that, in addition to the worship of the calf or bull, the Egyptians paid religious reverence to flies, the river Nile, the elements, beetles, and all kinds of creatures; and throughout the world, as a general rule, through the introduction of visible symbols of the unseen Being, the Lord himself had become forgotten, and spiritual worship had almost ceased, except in one elect household; and even there, alas! how fallen had spirituality become!

Keeping to the line of grace, we shall now introduce you to theceremonial form of worship which God instituted after the more spiritual method had entirely broken down. He saw that the children of Israel whom he loved were but a mob of slaves; their spirits had been broken by bitter bondage; like the poor African race of the present day, they seemed as a whole incapable of rising at once to mental dignity, and needed to pass through a generation or two before they could as a nation achieve manly self-government. So when he brought his people out of Egypt the Lord did not try them with an altogether spiritual form of worship; because of the hardness of their hearts among other reasons, though he was still to be worshipped as a spirit, yet he gave them certain outward signs by which they might be enabled to understand his character. A great deal has been made of the symbolical worship of the Jew, as if it were an excuse for the manmade symbolism of the Roman and Anglican Antichrist. We would remark that nothing ought to be made of it at all now, since it has been positively declared many times in Scripture that the age of the shadow has gone, and that the age of the substance now reigns. Whatever may or may not have been the excellence of the old Jewish economy—and being divinely ordained, God forbid we should say a word against it—yet the apostle Paul always talks of it as being but a yoke of bondage to which we are no more to submit ourselves, being but the shadow and not the very image of the good things which were to come; and he speaks of it as a thing so passed away, that to go back to it is to go back to the rudiments, and not to go onward in the full-grown manliness of Christianity. If there were no other passage my text might show that the ceremonialism of the Jew is no excuse whatever for ceremonialism now, but that we ought to stand in direct contrast to that, hearing the Savior declare, that whatever may have been before his time, the hour had come when the true worshipper must worship the Father in spirit and in truth.

Remember that symbolical worship was suitable merely to the infancy of God’s church, and that now having received the Spirit of God to dwell in us it would be as unsuitable as would the swaddling bands of babyhood to full-grown men. Besides, even while it existed it was spoken of as soon to be superseded by a new and better covenant. It was frequently broken through by divine authority. Elijah though not at all of the house of Levi offered sacrifice, and prophet after prophet as he arose manifested and declared by his actions that God did not intend to give the Levitical form of worship undivided sway, but that when he poured his Spirit upon special men they were to break through all ritual regulations in order to show that they were not meant to be fixed and permanent.

It is not sufficiently remembered that the most of God’s people in the Jewish nation had very little to do with this symbolical worship. When they were all in the wilderness, and gathered round the one tent called the tabernacle, they might all see the fiery cloudy pillar; but when they came into the land which God had given them, what had they most of them to see? Why the temple itself the most of them would only see once or twice in a year. Scarcely any one ever saw the ark, the cherubim, or the golden candlestick; they were always within the veil, and only once in the year did the high priest enter that sacred place. Even the place where the sacrifices were carried on continually, no one entered but the priests; so that to at least eleven tribes out of twelve the ceremonials were mainly invisible. Little was done outside the court of the priests, but the most of the sacrifices, and of the typology of Judaism, was as much a hidden thing as the spiritual things of God are to us at the present day; and thus there was a great exercise of the spiritual faculties, and comparatively little of outward display. Moreover, it is to be remembered that there was nothing whatever visible for the Jew to worship. It is not so in the symbology of that false Church which is trying to raise up and revive the beggarly elements; there men bow before a cross; a piece of bread inside a box is reverenced and treated with worship; cast-off clouts and rotten rags, called relics, are the objects of adoration; but there was nothing like this with the Jews, they did worship toward the temple, but they did not adore the temple, or mercy-seat, the altar, or any other emblem. Is it not said expressly, „Ye saw no similitude”? When God descended upon Sinai, and all the people worshipped there, they saw nothing which they dared to worship; God was to them still invisible, and they had to exercise their mental faculties in the worship of the invisible God. When at one time it was thought that the miraculous powers of the brazen serpent entitled it to worship, Hezekiah called it Nehushtan, that is, a piece of brass, and broke it to pieces. So that with all its splendor of imagery, embroidered vest, and glittering breastplate, to a great extent there was a powerful element of spirituality even about Aaronic worship; I mean, of course, only to spiritual men. David himself utterly outstripped the outward, when he declared, „Sacrifice and offering thou dost not desire;” and when he said again, „Thou desirest not sacrifice, else would I give it thee.” The prophet declares that God is weary of their sacrifices, and in another place the Lord himself says that if we could come before him with rivers of oil, or ten thousand of the fat of fed beasts, he would not accept us with these. To obey is better than sacrifice, is told us even under the law. So that even there, though not so distinctly as now, the spirituality of worship was taught and declared.

But, dear friends, what became of this accommodation of worship to the childhood of the church? You know that very soon after Israel came out of Egypt they said, „Let us make gods that they may go before us.” They could not do without a visible God. Do not think that when they set up the calf they meant to worship the calf instead of Jehovah, that would be a slander upon them; they worshipped Jehovah through the calf—that was their plea, for they said, „Tomorrow is a feast unto Jehovah.” They thought to represent Jehovah by a bull, „they changed their glory into the similitude of an ox that eateth grass.” Though severely rebuked, it was the constant sin of Israel to desire to worship God under the favourite Egyptian emblem of the bull. At last they had so far gone into idolatry that they were driven far away; and in captivity they were so chastened, and moreover brought into such contact with the abominations of idolatry that they were heartily sick of it, and no Jew has been an idolater ever since. Still, spiritual worship they would not offer, and therefore fell into rigid ritualism, reverencing the mere letter of the law, and fighting over trifling refinements of regulation and observance; so that in Christ’s day they made broad their phylacteries and the borders of their garments, but they forgot the Great Spirit who is to be worshipped in spirit and in truth.

Since that day the Lord has been treated by carnal men in one of three ways; either God is adored by outward symbols as among Brahminists, Romanists, Puseyites, and other idolaters; or else he is worshipped through ritualism, as among too many who claim to be orthodox, who contend for pre-arranged, and unbending forms; written or unwritten as the case may be: or else men show an utter indifference to God altogether, and then rush into superstitious reverence for something or other which is evil, and therefore to be dreaded and spoken of with awe. This is the history of religious worship, that let spiritual worship assume what form it may, man always will if he can, get away from it and forget his God and set up something seen, instead of bowing down before the unseen; hence the necessity of the second commandment in the Decalogue, „Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, and so on.” This is not a command against worshipping another God, that is the first commandment, but a command against worshipping God under any shape, or through any medium or under any symbol; for he is a spirit, and must be worshipped in spirit and in truth and not by symbols. Against this command the human mind is always dashing itself, and in one shape or another idolatry is the ruling religion of mankind.

Christ comes to tell us that now his worship is to be wholly spiritual, even the altar which belongs to antediluvian times is gone, for we have an altar of another kind; even the sacrifice which belonged to the early period has departed like a shadow, because we have the sacrifice of Christ in which to trust. As for the institutions which suited the infancy of the church, they also have disappeared, for now Jesus would have the worship of men enlightened by the indwelling of the Holy Ghost; he would have us understand that a perfect revelation demands of us, that in the perfection of our spiritual powers we should adore the invisible God without the interference of visible signs. Now he would have us cast away all outward types and signs, except the two which he has himself ordained, and even these are types of the Savior’s manhood and not of his Godhead at all, to be only valued because of the spiritual communion which they enable our hearts to hold with Jesus; baptism being intended for spiritual men, that they may enter into the Savior’s death and burial, and the Lord’s supper that the same persons may remember his body broken and his blood shed for them; the water, the bread, the wine, being mere emblems, not to be treated with reverence, but put to their proper emblematic use.

II. I shall now, in the second place, try to ACCOUNT FOR THE EXTREME RARITY OF SPIRITUAL WORSHIP. The reason is, my brethren, because man has fallen. If man were what he once was, pure and holy, I cannot conceive of his wanting holy places and crosses, copes, and dalmatics, crosiers, and chasubles. I cannot conceive of the temptation to bow down before a bull, or a Virgin Mary, or a wafer. There the noble creature walks in paradise, and if he reclines beneath a shady tree, he lifts up his eyes and says, „My Father, thou hast made this grateful shade, here I will adore thee;” or if he walks in the full heat of the sun, he says, „My God, it is thy light that shineth on me,—I adore thee.” Up yonder on the mountain’s brow, or down by the gleaming river, or the silvery lake, he needs build no altar, his altar is within himself; be needs make no temple, his temple is everywhere. The morning is holy, and the evening is holy; he hath no prescribed hour of prayer, it is devotion all day long; his morning bath is his baptism; each meal is his Eucharist. Depend upon it, the nearer we get back to the nakedness of worship, the nearer we get to its truth and purity; and it is because man has fallen, that as his body wants clothing, so he is always dressing up his religion.

Moreover, it is far more difficult to worship God in spirit than in form. To patter through a dozen Ave Marias or Paternosters is so easy, that I can nearly go to sleep over them: to repeat a form of prayer in the morning and evening is a very small matter, and one can be thinking of the shop all the while; to go to church or chapel so many times a week is a cheap duty, and withal one may still be a thief or a hypocrite; but it is hard, very hard, to bring the heart down to humble penitence, and the soul to holy meditation. The last thing that most people will do is to think. The noblest part of our nature is still the least exercised. Humbly to tremble before God, to confess sin before him, to believe him, to love him—this is spiritual worship! Because this is so hard, men say, ” No, no, let me crawl on my knees around a shrine! Let me kneel down before a pyx, let me help to make a cope, or to manufacture some pretty piece of millinery for the priest to wear. Let me go every morning to the steeple house and come out in half an hour, and feel I have done my religion.” That is quite easy, but the hard part of religion is the part of spiritual worship.

And yet again, to worship God spiritually men would have to part with their sins. There is no effect produced upon a man’s conscience by his being sprinkled, or by his taking the sacraments, he can do all that and be as much a pleasure-lover, or a worshipper of Mammon, as he was before; but, to worship God spiritually, a man must give up his sins, must overcome his pride and lust, and his evil concupiscence must be cast out of him. Many persons might honestly declare, „I do not mind worshipping God if it consists in doing penance, or going without meat on Fridays; but if I am to give up my sins, love God, seek Christ, trust to him, I cannot attend to that.” Furthermore, man, for the most part, somehow cannot get the idea of this spiritual worship into his brain, Oh the many times I have tried to preach spiritual worship here, and yet I am conscious that when I try at it I do not interest many of you, and some of you think, „if he would only give us more metaphors, more anecdotes, and so on;” I say I will do that, for I believe we should speak by parable, but sometimes I do not know how to clothe these spiritual things without making you look at the clothing rather than the spirit. It is not your worshipping God by words in hymns and prayers, or sitting in a certain place, or covering your faces at certain times that is acceptable to him; true worship lies in your heart paying reverence to him, your soul obeying him, and your inner nature coming into conformity to his own nature, by the work of his Spirit in your soul; and because men can scarcely get the idea of this till the Holy Spirit gives it to them, this is a reason why it is so rare, so exceedingly rare. There is one other reason, dear friends, why spiritual worship is unusual, and that is because man cannot traffic in spiritual religion. The priest is up at arms directly. ” Oh,” saith he, „spiritual! spiritual! why they will do without me one of these days. Spiritual—why, if you tell these people that every place is holy, and that there are no holy places; and that one believer is as much a priest as another, and that prayer is as acceptable at home, as it is in a particular spot, why,” says he, „there is an end of me.” Yes, sir, there is an end of you, and the sooner the better for the world; for of all the curses that have ever fallen upon the human race the priesthood is the worst. Its claims are imposture, and its actions are full of deceit, In the age of witches and ghosts priesthood might be tolerated, but he who now sets himself up as a priest is as much a common nuisance as a fortune-teller. Nothing has been such a nightmare upon the intellect of man; nothing has sat like old Sindbad the Sailor upon the back of humanity, like the pretensions of priesthood. God forbid that Christianity should even for a moment endorse the lie! Christ has put it all down. Christ says, „All ye are brethren,” and he says of the whole body of his elect, „Ye are a royal priesthood.” Concerning all the saints, Scripture declares, „Ye are God’s clergy,” for that is the Greek word in the passage—”Ye are God’s heritage.” We know no clergy and no laity; we know nothing whatever now of priesthood and of the common people, for ye are made priests and kings unto God to offer spiritual sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

III. Turning from that point, a third subject is this, WHY IS SUCH WORSHIP TO BE RENDERED? Why did not God ordain worship by windmills as in Thibet? Why has he not chosen to be worshipped by particular men in purple and fine linen, acting gracefully as in Roman and Anglican churches? Why not? He gives two reasons which ought to suffice. The first is, he himself seeks spiritual worship. It is his own wish that the worship should be spiritual, And in the second place, he is himself a spirit, and is to be spiritually worshipped. Whatever kind of worship the great Ruler desires he ought to receive, and it is impertinence on my part if I say to him, „No, not that, but this.” It is true I may say, „I am very sincere in all this, very earnest in it. It suits my taste. There is a beauty about it; it excites certain emotions which I think to be devotional.” What is all that but saying, „Great God, thou hast chosen such-and-such a way of being worshipped, but I will not render it to thee?” Is not that in effect saying, „I will not worship thee at all;” for must not worship, to be worship, be such as the person worshipped himself will accept? To invent our own forms of worship is to insult God; and every mass that is ever offered upon the Romish altar is an insult to heaven, and a blasphemy to God who is a Spirit. Every time any form of worship by procession, celebration, or ceremonial of man’s invention is offered to God, it is offered in defiance of this word of Christ, and cannot and will not be received; however earnest people may be they have violated the imperative canon of God’s Word; and in fighting for rubrics they have gone against the eternal rubric that God as a Spirit must be worshipped in spirit and in truth.

The second reason given is, that God is a Spirit. If God were material, it might be right to worship him with material substances; if God were like to ourselves, it might be well for us to give a sacrifice congenial to humanity; but being as he is, pure spirit, he must be worshipped in spirit. I like the remark made by Trapp in his commentary on this passage, when he says that perhaps the Savior is even here bringing down God to our comprehension; „for,” saith he, „God is above all notion, all name.” Certainly, this we know, that anything which associates him with the grossness of materialism is infinitely removed from the truth. Said Augustine, „When I am not asked what God is, I think I know, but when I try to answer that question, I find I know nothing.” If the Eternal were such an one as thou art, O man, he might be pleased with thy painted windows. But what a child’s toy must coloured glass be to God! I can sit and gaze upon a cathedral with all its magnificence of architecture, and think what a wonderful exhibition of human skill; but what must that be to God, who piles the heavens, who digs the foundation of the deep, who leads Arcturus with his sons? Why, it must be to him the veriest trifle, a mere heap of stones. I delight to hear the swell of organs, the harmony of sweet voices, the Gregorian chant, but what is this artistic sound to him more than sounding brass or a tinkling cymbal? As a sight, I admire the choristers and priests, and the whole show of a grand ceremonial; but do you believe that God is imposed upon by those frocks and gowns of white, and blue, and scarlet, and fine linen? It seems to me as if such a notion brings down God to the level of a silly woman who is fond of finery. The infinite God, who spreads out the heavens and scatters stars with both his hands, whom heaven and earth cannot contain, to whom space is but a speck, and time is as nothing, do you think that he dwelleth in temples made with hands, that is to say, of man’s building? And is he to be worshipped with your organs, and your roodscreens, and your gaudy millinery? He laugheth at them, he treadeth on them as being less than nothing and vanity. Spiritual worship is what he regardeth, because he is a Spirit. My brethren, if you could get together a procession of worlds, if you could make the stars walk along the streets of some great new Jerusalem, dressed in their brightest array; if instead of the songs of a few boys or men you could catch the sonnets of eternal ages; if instead of a few men to officiate as priests you could enlist time, eternity, heaven and earth to be the priesthood, yet all this would be to him but as a company of grasshoppers, and he would take up the whole as a very little thing. But let me tell you that even God himself, great as he is, does not despise the tear that drops from a repentant eye, nor does he neglect the sigh that comes from a sinner’s soul. He thinks more of your repentance than of your incense, and more of your prayers than of your priesthoods. He views with pleasure your love and your faith, for these are spiritual things in which he can take delight; but your architecture, your music and your fine arts, though they lavish their treasures at his feet, are less than nothing and vanity. Ye know not what spirit ye are of. If ye think to worship my God with all these inventions of man, ye dream like fools. I feel glowing within me the old iconoclastic spirit. Would God we had men now like Knox or Luther, who with holy indignation would pull in pieces those wicked mockeries of the Most High, against which our soul feels a hallowed indignation as we think of his loftiness, and of that poor paltry stuff with which men degrade his name.

IV. WHAT THEN? What is the practical drift of this? Why two things.

The first is, my dear brothers and sisters, I mean you who have learned to worship God in spirit and in truth, who have got above the beggarly elements of the outward, and can worship him in spirit and in truth, what then? Why, in the first place, let us be particularly jealous of anything which looks at all like going back to ceremonialism. As a matter of taste I have a great liking for noble architecture. Many an hour have I lingered in the ruins of some splendid abbey or our own majestic buildings still used for sacred worship. I have a great delight in a well-painted window. I cannot say that I like most Dissenting painted windows, because they look to me as if they were a sort of would be if you could. I cannot say I have any kind of liking for most of our Dissenting Gothic, for it seems to me such a paltry thing to build a front just like St. Paul’s or Westminster Abbey, and then as if to cheat the Lord to make the back part shabby. I cannot say I care for that kind of thing. But a really splendid place of worship I admire, as a matter of taste. I like an organ very well, as a matter of musical taste. But, my brethren, I feel that these are times when we must stand out even against allowable things, lest going one step we should go another. I do pray you therefore if you have any influence anywhere always use it in favor of simplicity, and if you see at any time in the churches of which you are the members a tendency to creep on to something a little nearer, a little towards the way of Rome, cry „Halt!” Let us rather go back to the barns in which our fathers worshipped, or better still to the hill side, and to the green sward than go forward to anything like symbolism, which will tempt the soul away from spiritual worship. We ought ourselves to guard against falling into formalism by means of simplicity, for we may do it the one way as well as the other, by laying it down as a rule that a service must begin with prayer or begin with singing, that the preacher must preach at such a time in the service, that the service must commence, continue, and conclude in some fixed fashion; that seems to me to have a tendency to breed another form of ritualism inconsistent with worshipping God in spirit and in truth. I am afraid I have hardly grace enough to worship God by two or three hours together in silence as our Quaker friends do. I do enjoy a quarter of an hour’s silence every now and then; to sit quite still seems to me to be an admirable way of getting into contact with God. Our service is so much words, words, words, that I am almost afraid you get to think as much of words as other people do of banners, and flags, and so on. Now, to sit still, to get might away from words, if so your heart keeps to God, is better even than preaching and singing. Juan De Yaldes, a Catholic, but a good Protestant for all that, remarks that the vulgar in seeking to remember Christ by the crucifix do not exercise their mind but stop at the crucifix, and therefore that which was intended to be a help becomes a hindrance; so the learned get their bibles which should help them to think upon divine things, but being content with having read the letter of Scripture they often fail to reach the spiritual truth which it containeth, and so after all do not worship God. Remember that while we should be jealous of anything which would make it easy to be formal of worship which might be adopted, yet we may still after all have missed the main thing, the worshipping of God in spirit and in truth.

Let us make it a matter of heart-searching as to whether we ourselves have been in the habit of worshipping the Father in spirit and in truth. Dear friends, I am jealous of some of you that you do not do this. If the preacher happens to be away you do not feel in so good a frame; somebody else takes my place, and there are certain feeble folk among you who feel as if the sabbath had lost its enjoyment. But God is here, and you might worship God as much surely without me as with me; and though the instruction received from one man may not seem so edifying as that which may come from another, and possibly may not be so, yet still if your object be the worship of God, which should be the main object of our gathering, surely you should do that as well under the ministry of Mr. A. as Mr. B. I am afraid too that many of you are content with singing through the hymn; now all that singing which is not thought-singing is of no use; you may have very sweet voices but God does not regard your voice, he hears your heart, and if your heart does not sing you have not sung at all. When we stand up to pray it may be that the preacher’s words may happen to be suitable to your case, but it is not prayer so far as you are concerned, though it may be as far as he is, unless you join in it. Recollect that if you do not put your hearts into the worship of God, you might for that matter as well be at home as here; you are better here than at home for other reasons, because you are in the way where good may come to you; but for worship’s sake you might as well have been in bed as here. You who have no spiritual worship may even clog the devotions of those who have; an invisible savor of death unto death may be stealing from you, helping to pollute or to render dead the worship of those who truly adore God. At any rate, my dear hearers, if you have not with your whole hearts loved and worshipped God, repent over it, and pray the Holy Ghost to make you spiritual. Go to Christ’s cross, and trust in him; then, and not till then, will you be capable of adoring the most High God in a style in which he can accept your worship. God grant that this may be impressed upon the hearts of all of us, that we may worship God in spirit and in truth.

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Secret Sins (Turn… or Burn) – preached by Spurgeon, read or listen to the audio-sermon

Published on Jun 25, 2012 by 

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Psalm 19:12 King James Version (KJV) Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

C H Spurgeon preached this message on Feb 8th, 1857 in the Music Hall of the Royal Surrey Gardens. It is entitled „Secret Sins” and the text is found in Psalm 19:12  (KJV) Who can understand his errors? cleanse thou me from secret faults.

Self righteousness arises partly from pride, but mainly from ignorance of God’s law. It is because men know little or nothing concerning the terrible character of the divine law that they imagine themselves to be righteous. They are not aware of the deep spirituality, and the stern severity of the law, or they would have other and wiser notions. Once let them know how strictly the law deals with the thoughts, how it brings itself to bear upon every emotion of the inner man, and there is not one creature beneath God’s heaven who would dare to think himself righteous in God’s sight in virtue of his own deeds and thoughts. Only let the law be revealed to a man; let him know how strict the law is, and how infinitely just, and his self-righteousness will shrivel into nothing—it will become a filthy rag in his sight, whereas before he thought it to be a goodly garment.

Now, David, having seen God’s law, and having praised it in this Psalm, which I have read in your hearing, he is brought, by reflecting on its excellency, to utter this thought, „Who can understand his errors?” and then to offer this prayer, „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

In the Lateran Council of the Church of Rome, a decree was passed that every true believer must confess his sins, all of them, once a year to the priest, and they affixed to it this declaration, that there is no hope of pardon but in complying with that decree. What can equal the absurdity of such a decree as that? Do they suppose that they can tell their sins as easily as they can count their fingers? Why, if we could receive pardon for all our sins by telling every sin we have committed in one hour, there is not one of us who would be able to enter heaven, since, besides the sins that are known to us and that we may be able to confess, there are a vast mass of sins, which are as truly sins as those which we do observe, but which are secret, and come not beneath our eye. Oh! if we had eyes like those of God, we should think very differently of ourselves. The sins that we see and confess are but like the farmer’s small samples which he brings to market, when he has left his granary full at home. We have but a very few sins which we can observe and detect, compared with those which are hidden to ourselves and unseen by our fellow creatures. I doubt not it is true of all of us who are here, that in every hour of our existence in which we are active, we commit tens of thousands of unholinesses for which conscience has never reproved us, because we have never seen them to be wrong, seeing we have not studied God’s laws as we ought to have done. Now, be it known to us all that sin is sin, whether we see it or not—that a sin secret to us is a sin as truly as if we knew it to be a sin, though not so great a sin in the sight of God as if it had been committed presumptuously, seeing that it lacks the aggravation of willfulness. Let all of us who know our sins, offer this prayer after all our confessions: „Lord, I have confessed as many as I know, but I must add an etcetera after them, and say, ‘Cleanse thou me from secret faults.'”

That, however, will not be the pith of my sermon this morning. 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 which lies upon the green sward of the professing church, surrounded with the verdure of apparent goodness, and to our astonishment we find beneath it all kinds of filthy insects and loathsome reptiles, and in our disgust as 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 which 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, and 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 endeavour to urge upon all pretenders present to give up, to renounce, to detest, to hate, to abhor all their secret sins. And, first, I shall endeavour to show the folly of secret sins; secondly, the misery of secret sins; thirdly, the guilt of secret sins; fourthly, the danger of secret sins; and then I shall try to apply some words by way of remedy, that we may all of us be enabled to avoid secret sins.

I. 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 which 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 harbouring a secret sin; and thou art a fool for this one reason, that 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, and drawn the curtains, and kept out the eye of the sun, but God’s eye pierceth through the darkness; the brick walls which surrounded thee were as transparent as glass to the eye of the Almighty; the darkness which 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 open to the eyes of him with whom we have to do?” 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 shouldst heap the mountains on its grave, those mountains would tell the tale of what was buried in their bowels. If thou couldst 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, and 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 like the glass hives wherein bees sometimes work: we look down upon them, and we see all the operations of the little creatures. So God looketh down and seeth all. Our eyes are weak; we cannot look through the darkness; but his eye, like an orb of fire, penetrateth the blackness; and readeth the thoughts of man, and seeth his acts when he thinks himself most concealed. Oh; it were a thought enough to curb us from all sin, if it were truly applied to us—”Thou, God, seest me!” Stop thief! Drop thou that which thou hast taken to thyself. God seeth thee! No eye of detection on 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 Sabbaoth. Ah! thou who leadest 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 keepeth a diary of all thine acts; and 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, and 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 gazetted from God’s throne, published by his own mouth, and 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 secresy, for thy sin is this day recorded, and shall one day be advertised upon the walls of heaven.

II. 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,” he 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 parlour, 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; and 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.

„Oh! ‘tis a tangled web we weave,
When once we venture to deceive.”
If I must be a wicked man, give me the life of a roystering 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 which every honest sinner will be ashamed of. He will say, „Now, if I do serve my master I will serve him out and out, I will have no sham about it; if I make a profession, 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 which has hamstringed 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, and cants, and pretends, and 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. ‘Tis said the toad doth wear a jewel in her head, but this man hath none, but beareth filthiness about him, while he pretends to be in love with righteousness. 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 which 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 a life 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; and if you serve God, serve him with all your heart. „No man can serve two masters;” do not try it, do not endeavour to do it, for no life will be more miserable than that. Above all, beware of committing acts which it will be necessary to conceal. There is a singular poem by Hood, called „The Dream of Eugene Aram”—a most remarkable piece it is indeed, illustrating the point on which I am now dwelling. Aram has murdered a man and cast his body into the river—”a sluggish water, black as ink, the depth was so extreme.” The next morning he visited the scene of his guilt:

„And sought the black accursed pool,
With a wild misgiving eye;
And he saw the dead in the river bed,
For the faithless stream was dry.”
Next he covered the corpse with heaps of leaves, but a mighty wind swept through the wood and left the secret bare before the sun:

„Then down I cast me on my face,
And first began to weep,
For I knew my secret then was one
The earth refused to keep;
On land or sea though it should be
Ten thousand fathoms deep.”
In plaintive notes he prophesies his own discovery. He buried his victim in a cave, and trod him down with stones, but when years had run their weary round the foul deed was discovered and the murderer put to death.
Guilt is a „grim chamberlain,” even when his fingers are not bloody red. 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, for it is one deceiver against many observers; and for certain it is a miserable trade, which 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;” 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 sins; for no man is more miserable than he who sinneth secretly, and yet trieth to preserve a character. Yon stag, followed by the hungry hounds, with open mouths, is far more happy than the man who is followed by his sins. Yon bird, taken in the fowler’s net, and labouring to escape, is far more happy than he who hath weaved around himself a web of deception, and labours to escape from it day by day by making the toils more thick and the web more strong. Oh! the misery of secret sins! Truly, one may pray, „Cleanse thou me from secret faults.”

III. But now, next, the guilt 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, in case 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. It is singular how men will measure guilt. A railway servant puts up a wrong signal, there is an accident; the man is tried, and severely reprimanded. The day before he put up the wrong signal, but there was no accident, and therefore no one accused him for his neglect. But it was just the same, accident or no accident, the accident did not make the guilt, it was the deed which made the guilt, not the notoriety nor yet the consequence of it. It was his business to have taken care; and he was as guilty the first time as he was the second, for he negligently exposed the lives of men. Do not measure sin by what other people say of it; but measure sin by what God says of it, and what your own conscience says of it.

Now, I hold that secret sin, if anything, is the worst of sin; because secret sin implies that the man who commits it has Atheism in his heart. You will ask how that can be. I reply, he may be a professing Christian, but I shall tell him to his face that he is a practical Atheist, if he labours to keep up a respectable profession before man, and then secretly transgresses. Why, is he not an Atheist, who will say there is a God, yet at the same time thinks more of man than he does of God? Is it not the very essence of Atheism—is it not a denial of the divinity of the Most High when men lightly esteem him and think more of the eye of a creature than of the observation of their Creator? There are some who would not for the life of them say a wicked word in the presence of their minister, but they can do it, knowing God is looking at them. They are Atheists. There are some who would not trick in trade for all the world if they thought they would be discovered, but they can do it while God is with them; that is, they think more of the eye of man than of the eye of God; and they think it worse to be condemned by man than to be condemned by God. Call it by what name you will, the proper name of that is practical Atheism. It is dishonoring God; it is dethroning him; putting him down below his own creatures; and what is that, but to take away his divinity? 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 when his guilt shall be published, he shall be found to be the very worst and most hardened of men. Take heed of the guilt of secret sin. AH, now if could I preach as Rowland Hill did, I would make some people look to themselves at home, and tremble too! It is said that when he preached, there was not a man in the window, or standing in the crowd, or perched up anywhere, but said, „There, he is preaching at me; he is telling me about my secret sins.” And when he proclaimed God’s omniscience, it is said men would almost think they saw God bodily present in the midst of them looking at them. And when he had done his sermon, they would hear a voice in their ears, „Can any hide himself in secret places that I cannot see him? saith the Lord. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the Lord.” I would I could do that; 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, and turn to him with full purpose of heart! But this know—that thy guilt is guilt discovered or undiscovered, and that 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.”

IV. 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 cairn to-day, the next day you will cast another, until the heap, reared stone by stone, shall become a very pyramid. See the coral insect at work, you cannot decree where it shall stay its work. It will not build its rock just as high as you please, it will not stay until it shall be covered with weeds, until the weeds shall decay; and there shall be soil upon it, and an island shall be created by tiny creatures. 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 be such a fortunate individual, that like Van Amburgh you may put your head in and out a great many times; reset assured that one of these days it will be a costly venture. Again, you may labour 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, the wretch will be singing some day when you are in company; you cannot keep the evil bird still. Your sin will gad abroad; and what is more, you will not mind it some of these days. A man who indulges in sin privately, by degrees gets his forehead as hard as brass. 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 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—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 for ever. 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; 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 traveller 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, it is our business to kill them. Christians must not tolerate secret sins. We must not harbour 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; and God give thee grace to overcome it!

V. And now I come, in finishing up, to plead with all my might with some of you whom God has pricked in your consciences. I have come to intreat you, if it be possible, even to tears, that you will give up your secret sins. I have one here for whom I bless God; I love him, though I know him not. He is almost persuaded to be a Christian; he halteth between two opinions; he intendeth to serve God, he striveth to give up sin, but he findeth it a hard struggle, and as yet he knoweth not what shall become of him. I speak to him with all love: my friend, will you have your sin and go to hell, or leave your sin and go to heaven? This is the solemn alternative: to all awakened sinners I put it; may God choose for you, otherwise I tremble as to which you may choose. The pleasures of this life are so intoxicating, the joys of it so ensnaring, that did I not believe that God worketh in us to will and to do, I should despair of you. But I have confidence that God will decide the matter. Let me lay the alternative before you:—on the one hand there is a hour’s merriment, a short life of bliss, and that a poor, poor bliss; on the other hand, there is everlasting life and eternal glory. On the one hand, there is a transient happiness, and afterwards overwhelming woe; in this case there is a solid peace and everlasting joy, and after it overflowing bliss. I shall not fear to be called an Arminian, when I say, as Elijah did, „Choose you this day whom you will serve. If God be God, serve him; if Baal be God serve him.” But, now, make your choice deliberately; and may God help you to do it! Do not say you will take up with religion, without first counting the cost of it; remember, there is your lust to be given up, your pleasure to be renounced; can you do it for Christ’s sake? Can you? I know you cannot, unless God’s grace shall assist you in making such a choice. But can you say, „Yes, by the help of God, earth’s gaudy toys, its pomps, pageantries, gewgaws, all these I renounce?—

„These can never satisfy,
Give me Christ or else I die.”
Sinner, thou wilt never regret that choice, if God help thee to make it; thou wilt find thyself a happy man here, and thrice happy throughout eternity.

„But,” says one, „Sir, I intend to be religious, but I do not hold with your strictness.” I do not ask you to do so; I hope, however, you will hold withGod’s strictness, and God’s strictness is ten thousand times greater than mine. You may say that I am puritanical in my preaching; God will be puritanical in judging in that great day. I may appear severe, but I can never be so severe as God will be. I may draw the harrow with sharp teeth across your conscience, but God shall drag harrows of eternal fire across you one day. I may speak thundering things! God will not speak them, but hurl them from his hands. Remember, men may laugh at hell, and say there is none; but they must reject their Bibles before they can believe the lie. Men’s consciences tell them that

„There is a dreadful hell,
And everlasting pains;
Where sinners must with devils dwell,
In darkness, fire and chains.”

photo source http://www.shimmerzineff.webs.com

Sirs, will ye keep your secret sins, and have eternal fire for them? Remember it is of no use, they must all be given up, or else you cannot be God’s child. You cannot by any means have both; it cannot be God and the world, it cannot be Christ and the devil; it must be one or the other. Oh! that God would give you grace to resign all; for what are they worth? They are your deceivers now, and will be your tormentors for ever. Oh! that your eyes were open to see the rottenness, the emptiness and trickery of iniquity. Oh! that God would turn you to himself. Oh! may God give you grace to cross the Rubicon of repentance at this very hour; to say, „Henceforth it is war to the knife with my sins; not one of them will I willingly keep, but down with them, down with them; Canaanite, Hittite, Jebusite, they shall all be driven out.”

„The dearest idol I have known,
Whate’er that idol be;
Help me to tear it from its throne,
And worship only thee.”
„But oh! sir, I cannot do it; it would be like pulling my eyes out.” Ay, but hear what Christ says: „It were better for thee to enter into life with one eye, than having two eyes to be cast into hell fire.” „But it would be like cutting my arms off.” Ay, and it would be better for thee to enter into life halt or maimed, than to be cast into hell fire for ever. Oh! when the sinner comes before God at last, do you think he will speak as he does now? God will reveal his secret sins: the sinner will not then say, „Lord, I thought my secret sins so sweet, I could not give them up.” I think I see how changed it will be then. „Sir” you say now, „you are too strict;” will you say that when the eyes of the Almighty are glowering on you? You say now, „Sir, you are too precise;” will you say that to God Almighty’s face? „Sir, I mean to keep such-and-such a sin.” Can you say it at God’s bar at last? You will not dare to do it then. Ah! when Christ comes a second time, there will be a marvellous change in the way men talk. Methinks I see him; there he sits upon his throne. Now, Caiaphas, come and condemn him now! Judas! comes and kiss him now! What do you stick at, man? Are you afraid of him? Now, Barrabbas! go; see whether they will prefer you to Christ now. Swearer, now is your time; you have been a bold man; curse him to his face now. Now drunkard; stagger up to him now. Now infidel; tell him there is no Christ now—now that the world is lit with lightning and the earth is shaken with thunder till the solid pillars thereof do bow themselves—tell God there is no God now; now laugh at the Bible; now scoff at the minister. Why men, what is the matter with you? Why, can’t you do it? Ah! there you are; you have fled to the hills and to the rocks—”Rocks hide us! mountains fall on us; hide us from the face of him that sitteth on the throne.” Ah! where are now your boasts, your vauntings, and your glories? Alas! alas! for you, in that dread day of wonders.

Secret sinner, what will then become of thee? Go out of this place unmasked; go out to examine thyself, go out to bend thy knee, go out to weep, go out to pray. God give thee grace to believe! And oh, how sweet and pleasant the thought, that this day sinners have fled to Christ, and men have been born again to Jesus! Brethren, ere I finish, I repeat the words at which so many have cavilled—it is now, or never, it is turn or burn. Solemnly in God’s sight I say it; if it be not God’s truth I must answer for it in the great day of account. Your consciences tell you it is true. Take it home, and mock me if you will; this morning I am clear of your blood: if any seek not God, but live in sin, I shall be clear of your blood in that day when the watchman shall have your souls demanded of him; oh, may God grant that you may be cleared in a blessed manner! When I went down those pulpit stairs a Sabbath or two ago, a friend said to me words which have been in my mind ever since—”Sir, there are nine thousand people this day without excuse in the day of judgment.” It is true of you this morning. If you are damned, it will be not for want of preaching to you, and it shall not be for want of praying for you. God knoweth that if my heart could break of itself, it would, for your souls, for God is my witness, how earnestly I long for you in the bowels of Christ Jesus. Oh, that he might touch your hearts and bring you to him! For death is a solemn thing, damnation is a horrible thing, to be out of Christ is a dreadful thing, to be dead in sin is a terrific thing. May God lead you to view these things as they are, and save you, for his mercy’s sake! „He that believeth and is baptised shall be saved.”

„Lord, search my soul, try every thought;
Though my own heart accuse me not
Of walking in a false disguise,
I beg the trial of thine eyes.Doth secret mischief lurk within?
Do I indulge some unknown sin?
O turn my feet whene’er I stray,
And lead me in thy perfect way.”

Short Biography:


Charles Haddon (C.H.) Spurgeon (June 19, 1834 January 31, 1892) was a British Reformed Baptist preacher who remains highly influential among Christians of different denominations, among whom he is still known as the „Prince of Preachers.” In his lifetime, Spurgeon preached to around 10,000,000 people, often up to 10 times a week at different places. His sermons have been translated into many languages. Spurgeon was the pastor of the New Park Street Chapel in London for 38 years. In 1857, he started a charity organization called Spurgeon’s which now works globally. He also founded Spurgeon’s College, which was named after him after his death.

Spurgeon was a prolific author of many types of works including sermons, an autobiography, a commentary, books on prayer, a devotional, a magazine, and more. Many sermons were transcribed as he spoke and were translated into many languages during his lifetime. Arguably, no other author, Christian or otherwise, has more material in print than C.H. Spurgeon.

Spurgeon – I could fight the devil if it were not that I had an enemy within

C. H. Spurgeon, "The Prince of Preachers&...

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„I could fight the devil; I could overcome every sin that ever tempted me, if it were not that I had an enemy within.”

A Sermon (No. 83) Delivered  June 1, 1856, by the REV. C. H. Spurgeon at New Park Street Chapel, Southwark. (via http://spurgeon.org where you can read the sermon in its entirety).

Spurgeon minces no words about one of the dangers to which we are exposed to from our  indwelling sin, arising from the fact that sin is within us. Indwelling sin, he tells us:

 …not only prevents us from going forward, but at times even assails us, as well as seeks to obstruct us. It is not merely that I fight with indwelling sin; it is indwelling sin that sometimes makes an assault on me. You will notice, the Apostle says, „O, wretched man that I am, who shall deliver me from the body of this death?” Now, this proves that he was not attacking his sin, but that this sin was attacking him. I do not seek to be delivered from a man against whom I lead the attack: but it is the man who is opposing from whom I seek to be delivered. And so sometimes the sin that dwelleth in believers flies at us, like some foul tiger of the woods, or some demon, jealous of the celestial spirit within us. The evil nature riseth up: it doth not only seek to stop us in the way, but, like Amalek, it labours to destroy us and cut us off utterly. Did you ever feel, beloved, the attacks of inbred sin? It may be, you have not: but if not, depend upon it you will. Before you get all the way to heaven, you will be attacked by sin. It will not be simply your driving out the Canaanite; but the Canaanite, with chariot of iron, will attempt to overcome you, to drive you out, to kill your spiritual nature, damp the flame of your piety, and crush the new life which God has implanted in you.

Spurgeon further describes how this evil heart remains in the Christian-

A volcano is ever a volcano; even when it sleeps, trust it not. …My heart, even though for an hour, it may not have had an evil thought, is still evil. If it were possible that I could live for days without a single temptation from my own heart to sin, it would be still just as evil as it was before; and it is always either displaying its vileness, or else preparing for another display. It is either loading its cannon to shoot against us, or else it is positively at warfare with us. You may rest assured that the heart is never other than it originally was; the evil nature is still evil; and when there is no blaze, it is heaping up the wood, wherewith it is to blaze another day. It is gathering up from my joys, from my devotions, from my holiness, and from all I do, some materials to attack me at some future period.

We must not trust our heart at any time...

The new nature must always wrestle and fight with it; and when the two natures are not wrestling and fighting, there is no truce between them. When they are not in conflict, still they are foes. We must not trust our heart at any time; even when it speaks most fair, we must call it liar; and when it pretends to the most good, still we must remember its nature, for it is evil, and that continually.

I could fight the devil; I could overcome every sin that ever tempted me, if it were not that I had an enemy within.

…this evil nature of thine is very strong and very powerful—stronger than the new nature, if the new nature were not sustained by Divine power.

Behold I am vile !

Job said, „Behold, I am vile.” That word „behold” implies that he was astonished. The discovery was unexpected. There are special times with the Lord’s people, when they learn by experience that they are vile. They heard the minister assert the power of inbred lust, but perhaps they shook they heads and said, „I cannot go so far as that;” but after a little while they found, by some clearer light from heaven, that it was a truth after all—”Behold, I am vile.”

I believe we generally find out most of our failings when we have the greatest access to God. Job never had such a discovery of God as he had at this time. God spoke to him in the whirlwind, and then Job said, „I am vile.” It is not so much when we are desponding, or unbelieving, that we learn our vileness; we do find out something of it then, but not all. It is when by God’s grace we are helped to climb the mount, when we come near to God, and when God reveals himself to us, that we feel that we are not pure in his sight. We get some gleams of his high majesty; we see the brightness of his skirts, „dark—with insufferable light;” and after having been dazzled by the sight, there comes a fall: as if, smitten by the fiery light of the sun, the eagle should fall from his lofty heights, even to the ground. So with the believer. He soars up to God, and on a sudden down he comes. „Behold,” he says, „I am vile. I had never known this if I had not seen God. Behold, I have seen him; and now I discover how vile I am.” Nothing shows blackness like exposure to light. If I would see the blackness of my own character, I must put it side by side with spotless purity; and when the Lord is pleased to give us some special vision of himself, some sweet intercourse with his own blessed person, then it is that the soul learns, as it never knew before, with an agony perhaps which it never felt, even when at first convinced of sin, „Behold, I am vile.” God is pleased to do this. Lest we should be „exalted above measure, by the abundance of the revelation,” he sends us this „thorn in the flesh,” to let us see ourselves after we have seen him.

Spurgeon lays out some necessary duties  on account of the continual filthiness of our heart:

1) In the first place, if your hearts be still vile, and there be still an evil nature in you, how wrong it is to suppose that all your work is done. There is one thing concerning which I have much reason to complain of some of you. Before your baptism you were extremely earnest; you were always attending the means of grace, and I always saw you here; but there are some, some even now in this place, who, as soon as they had crossed that rubicon, began from that moment to decrease in zeal, thinking that the work was over. I tell you solemnly, that I know there are some of you who were prayerful, careful, devout, living close and near to your God, until you joined the church; but from that time forth, you have gradually declined. Now, it really appears to me a matter of doubt whether such persons are Christians. I tell you I have very grave doubts of the sincerity of some of you. If I see a man less earnest after baptism, I think he had no right to be baptized; for if he had had a proper sense of the value of that ordinance, and had been rightly dedicated to God, he would not have turned back to the ways of the world.

Oh! if, when you were converted, your old nature were cut up, there would be no need of watchfulness now. If all your lusts were entirely gone, and all the strength of corruption dead within you, there would be no need of perseverance; but it is just because ye have evil hearts, that I bid you be just as earnest as ever you were, to stir up the gift of God which is in you, and look as well to yourselves as ever you did. Fancy not the battle is over, man; it is but the first trump, summoning to the warfare.

2) Again, if your evil nature is still within you, how watchful you ought to be! The devil never sleeps; your evil nature never sleeps; you ought never to sleep. „What I say unto you, I say unto all, Watch.” These are Jesus Christ’s words, and there is nothing needs repetition half so much as that word „watch.”

You have corruption in your heart: watch for the first spark, lest it set your soul on fire. „Let us not sleep as do others.” You might sleep over the crater of a volcano, if you liked; you might sleep with your head before the cannon’s mouth; you might, if you pleased, sleep in the midst of an earthquake, or in a pest-house; but I beseech you, do not sleep while you have evil hearts. Watch your hearts; you may think they are very good, but they will be your ruin if grace prevent not. Watch daily; watch perpetually; guard yourselves, lest you sin.

3) Above all, my dear brethren, if our hearts be, indeed, still full of vileness, how necessary it is that we shouldstill exhibit faith in God. If I must trust my God when I first set out, because of the difficulties in the way, if those difficulties be not diminished, I ought to trust God just as much as I did before. Oh! beloved, yield your hearts to God. Do not become self-sufficient. Self-sufficiency is Satan’s net, wherein he catcheth men, like poor silly fish, and doth destroy them. Be not self-sufficient. Think yourselves nothing, for ye are nothing, and live by God’s help. The way to grow strong in Christ is to become weak in yourself. God poureth no power into man’s heart till man’s power is all poured out. Live, then, daily, a life of dependence on the grace of God.

…if God loves his people, while they are yet vile, dost thou think thy vileness will prevent his loving thee? Nay, vile sinner, come to Jesus! vilest of the vile! Believe on Jesus, thou off-cast of the world’s society, thou who art the dung and dross of the streets, I bid thee come to Christ. Christ bids thee believe on him.

C H Spurgeon – Our Manifesto (Essential Reading)

from the Spurgeon Archive – a great website to bookmark and read.

A Sermon (No. 2185)
Intended for Reading on Lord’s-day, January 25th, 1891.
Delivered on Friday Morning, April 25th, 1890, by
C. H. SPURGEON,
At an Assembly of Ministers of the Gospel.

„But I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man”—Galatians 1:11.

TO ME it is a pitiful sight to see Paul defending himself as an apostle; and doing this, not against the gainsaying world, but against cold-hearted members of the church. They said that he was not truly an apostle, for he had not seen the Lord; and they uttered a great many other things derogatory to him. To maintain his claim to the apostleship, he was driven to commence his epistles with „Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ,” though his work was a self-evident proof of his call. If, after God has blessed us to the conversion of many, some of these should raise a question as to our call to the ministry, we may count it a fiery trial; but we shall not conclude that a strange thing has happened to us. There is much more room to question our call to the ministry than to cast a doubt upon Paul’s apostleship. This indignity, if it be put upon us, we can cheerfully bear for our Master’s sake. We need not wonder, dear brethren, if our ministry should be the subject of attack, because this has been the lot of those who have gone before us; and we should lack one great seal of our acceptance with God if we did not receive the unconscious homage of enmity which is always paid to the faithful by the ungodly world. When the devil is not troubled by us, he does not trouble us. If his kingdom is not shaken, he will not care about us or our work, but will let us enjoy inglorious ease. Be comforted by the experience of the apostle of the Gentiles: he is peculiarly our apostle, and we may regard his experience as a type of what we may expect while we labor among the Gentiles of our own day.
    The treatment which has been given to eminent men while they have lived has been prophetic of the treatment of their reputations after death. This evil world is unchangeable in antagonism to true principles, whether their advocates be dead or living. They said more than eighteen hundred years ago: „Paul, what of him?” They say so still. It is not unusual to hear dubious persons profess to differ from the apostle, and they even dare to say, „There, I do not agree with Paul.” I remember the first time that I heard this expression I looked at the individual with astonishment. I was amazed that such a pigmy as he should say this of the great apostle. Altogether apart from Paul’s inspiration, it seemed like a cheese-mite differing from a cherub, or a handful of chaff discussing the verdict of the fire. The individual was so utterly beneath observation that I could not but marvel that his conceit should have been so outspokenly shameless. Notwithstanding this objection, even when supported by learned critics, we still agree with the inspired servant of God. It is our firm conviction that, to differ from Paul’s epistles is to differ from the Holy Ghost, and to differ from the Lord Jesus Christ, whose mind Paul has fully expressed. It is remarkable that Paul’s writings should be so assailed: but this warns us that when we have gone to our reward, our names will not be free from aspersion, nor our teaching from opposition. The noblest of the departed are still slandered. Be not careful as to human judgment of yourself in death or in life; for what does it matter? Your real character no man can injure but yourself; and if you are enabled to keep your garments clean, all else is not worth a thought.
    To come more closely to our text. We do not claim to be able to use Paul’s words exactly in the full sense which he could throw into them; but there is a sense in which, I trust, we can each one say, „I certify you, brethren, that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.” We may not only say this, but we ought to be able to say it with thorough truthfulness. The form of expression goes as far as Paul was wont to go towards an oath when he says, „I certify you, brethren.” He means, I assure you, most certainly—I would have you to be certain of it—”that the gospel which was preached of me is not after man.” On this point he would have all the brethren certified past all doubt.
    From the context we are sure that he meant, first of all, that his gospel was not received by him from men. His reception of it in his own mind was not after men. And next, he meant, that the gospel itself was not invented by men. If I can hammer out these two statements, we will then draw practical conclusions therefrom.


    I. First, TO US THE GOSPEL IS NOT AFTER MEN

AS TO THE NODE BY WHICH WE HAVE RECEIVED IT.

Damascus

When every earthly prop gives way, He then is all my strength and stay. If you do not believe in the election of grace, live where multitudes of men come under your notice, and persons most unlikely are called out from among them in surprising ways, and it will grow upon you. Here comes on who says, I have neither father, mother, brother, sister, nor friend who ever enters a place of worship. How came you to believe? I heard a word in the street, sir, quite by accident, that brought me to tremble before God. Here is the election of grace. Here comes another, dark in mind, troubled in soul, and she is a member of a family all of them members of your church, all happy and rejoicing in the Lord; and yet this poor creature cannot lay hold upon Christ by faith. To your great joy, you set before her Christ in all his fullness of grace, and she becomes the brightest of the whole circle; for they never knew the darkness as she did, and they can never rejoice in the light as she delights in it. To find a greatly-loving saint you must find one who has had much forgiven. The woman that was a sinner is the only one that will wash Christ’s feet. There is raw material in a Publican which you seldom find in a Pharisee. A Pharisee may polish up into an ordinary Christian; but somehow there is a charming touch about the pardoned sinner which is lacking in the other. There is an election of grace, and you cannot help noticing, as you go about, how certain believers enter into the inner circle, while others linger in the outer courts. The Lord is sovereign in his gifts, and doeth as he wills; and we are called to bow before his scepter within the church as well as at its portal. The longer I live the more sure I am that salvation is all of the grace, and that the Lord gives that grace according to his own will and purpose.
    Once more, some of us have received the gospel because of the wonderful unction that has gone with it at times to our souls. I hope that none of us will ever fall into the snare of following the guidance of impressions made upon us by texts which happen to come prominently before our minds. You have judgements, and you must not lay them aside to be guided by accidental impressions. But for all that, and at the back of all that, there is not a man here that has led an eventful, useful life but must confess that certain of those acts of his life, upon which his whole history has hinged, are connected with influences upon his mind which were produced, as he believes, by super-natural agency. A passage of Holy Writ, which we have read a hundred times before, took us captive, and became the master of every thought. We steered by it as men trust the pole-star, and we found that our voyage was made easy thereby. Certain texts are, to our memory, sweet as wafers made with honey; for we know what they once did for us, and the recollection is refreshing. We have been revived from a fainting fit, nerved for a desperate effort, or fired for a sacrifice, by a Scripture which became no longer a word in a book, but the very voice of God to our soul—even that voice of the Lord, which is full of majesty. Have you not noticed how a turn of a word in a text has made it seem all the more fitted for you? It looked a very small point; but it was essential to its effect, just as a small notch in a key may be the exact form which makes it fit the lock. How much may hang on what seems, to the unspiritual, to be nothing more than a slight verbal distinction, or an unimportant turn of expression! A thought of primary importance may turn upon the singular of plural of a word. If it be the Greek word itself, the importance cannot be overestimated; but in an English word, in the translation, there may be well-nigh equal force, according as the word is true to the original. The many, who can only read our marvellous English Bible, come to prize its words because the Lord has blessed them to their souls. A simple Welsh friend believed that our Lord must have been a Welshman, because, said he, he always speaks to me in Welsh. To me it has often seemed as if the Well-beloved of my soul had been born in my native village, had gone to my school, and had passed through all my personal experiences; for he knows me better than I know myself. Although I know he was of Bethlehem, and Judaea, yet he seems like one of London, or of Surrey. Nay more; I see in him more than manhood could have made him; I discern in him a nature more than that of man; for he enters the inmost recesses of my soul, he reads me like an open page, he comforts me as one brought up with me, he dives into my deepest griefs, and attends me in my highest joys. I have secrets in my heart which only he knows. Would God his secret were with me as mine is with him up to the measure of my capacity! It is because of that wonderful power which the Lord Jesus has over us through his sacred Word that we receive that Word from him, and receive it as not of man.

    What is unction, my brethren? I fear that no one can help me by a definition. Who can define it? But yet we know where it is, and we certainly feel where it is not. When that unction perfumes the Word, it is its own interpreter, it is its own apologist, it is it own confirmation and proof, to the regenerate mind. Then the Word of God deals with us as no word of man ever did or could. We have not received it, therefore, of men. Constantly receiving the divine Word as we do, it comes to us with an energy ever fresh and forcible. It comes to us especially with a sanctifying power, which is the very best proof of its coming from the thrice-holy God. Philosophers words may teach us what holiness is, but God’s Word makes us holy. We hear our brethren exhort us to aspire to high degrees of grace, but God’s Word lifts us up to them. The Word is not merely an instrument of good, but the Holy Spirit makes it an active energy within the soul to purge the heart from the sin, so that it can be said, Ye are clean through the Word which I have spoken unto you. When thus cleansed, you know that the Word is true. You are sure of it, and you no longer need even the most powerful book of evidences. You have the witness in yourself, the evidence of things not seen, the seal of eternal verity.
    I have taken all this time upon how we receive the gospel, and therefore I must perforce be brief upon a further point.


    II. TO US THE TRUTH ITSELF IS NOT AFTER MEN.

I desire to assert this plainly. If any man thinks that the gospel is only one of many religions, let him candidly compare the Scripture of God with other pretended revelations. Have you ever done so? I have made it a College exercise with our brethren. I have said—We will read a chapter of the Koran. This is the Mahometan’s holy book. A man must have a strange mind who should mistake that rubbish for the utterances of inspiration. If he is at all familiar with the Old and New Testaments, when he hears an extract from the Koran, he feels that he has met with a foreign author: the God who gave us the Pentateuch could have had no hand in many portions of the Koran. One of the most modern pretenders to inspiration is the Book of Mormon. I could not blame you should you laugh outright while I read aloud a page from that farrago. Perhaps you know the Protevangelion, and other apocryphal New Testament books. It would be an insult to the judgement of the least in the kingdom of heaven to suppose that he could mistake the language of these forgeries for the language of the Holy Ghost. I have had several pretended revelations submitted to me by their several authors; for we have more of the prophetic clan about than most people know of; but no one of them has ever left on my mind the slightest suspicion of his sharing the inspiration of John, or Paul. There is no mistaking the inspired Books if you have any spiritual discernment. Once let the divine light dawn in the soul, and you perceive a colouring and a fashion in the product of inspiration which are not possible to mere men. Would one who doubts this write us a fifth Gospel? Would anyone among our poets attempt to write a new Psalm, which could be mistaken for a Psalm of David? I do not see why he could not, but I am sure he cannot. You can give us new psalmody, for it is an instinct of the Christian life to sing the praises of God; but you cannot match the glory of divinely-inspired song. Therefore we receive the Scripture, and consequently the gospel as not after man.

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În cer nu există purtători de coroane care nu au fost pe pământ purtători de cruci.

Charles Spurgeon

C H Spurgeon Page

C H Spurgeon – Eat, Don’t Argue!

From Sword & Trowel Publication (via) Spurgeon.org

Two learned doctors are angrily discussing the nature of food, and allowing their meal to lie untasted, while a simple countryman is eating as heartily as he can of that which is set before him. The religious world is full of quibblers, critics, and sceptics, who, like the doctors, fight over Christianity without profit either to themselves or others; those are far happier who imitate the farmer and feed upon the Word of God, which is the true food of the soul.

Luther’s prayer was, „From nice questions the Lord deliver us.”

Luther’s prayer was, „From nice questions the Lord deliver us.” Questioning with honesty and candour is not to be condemned, when the object is to „prove all things, and hold fast that which is good;” but to treat revelation as if it were a football to be kicked from man to man is irreverence, if not worse. Seek the true faith, by all manner of means, but do not spend a whole life in finding it, lest you be like a workman who wastes the whole day in looking for his tools. Hear the true Word of God; lay hold upon it, and spend your days not in raising hard questions, but in feasting upon precious truth.
    It is, no doubt, very important to settle the point of General or Particular Redemption; but for unconverted men, the chief matter is to look to the Redeemer on the cross with the eye of faith. Election is a doctrine about which there is much discussion, but he who has made his election sure, finds it a very sweet morsel. Final perseverance has been fought about in all time; but he who by grace continues to rest in Jesus to the end, knows the true enjoyment of it. Reader, argue, if you please, but remember that believing in the Lord Jesus gives infinitely more enjoyment than disputing can ever afford you. If you are unsaved, your only business is with the great command, „Believe!” and even if you have passed from death unto life, it is better to commune with Jesus than to discuss doubtful questions. When Melancthon’s mother asked him what she must believe amidst so many disputes, he, knowing her to be trusting to Jesus in a simple-hearted manner, replied, „Go on, mother, to believe and pray as you have done, and do not trouble yourself about controversy.” So say we to all troubled souls, „Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for him.”

SPURGEON in Limba Romana

What the world needs to be told – Spurgeon

(via) DesiringGod.org by Jonathan Parnell including paraphrasing. From .Lectures to My Students, 1875-94, (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 2008), 87-88,(from Desiring God’s „They Still Speak” Series.)

Charles Spurgeon:

Of all I would wish to say this is the sum; my brethren, preach Christ, always and evermore. He is the whole gospel. His person, offices, and work must be our one great, all-comprehending theme.

The world needs to be told of its Saviour, and of the way to reach him. Justification by faith should be far more than it is the daily testimony of Protestant pulpits; and if with this master-truth there should be more generally associated the other great doctrines of grace, the better for our church and our age. . .

We are not called to proclaim philosophy and metaphysics, but the simple gospel. Man’s fall, his need of a new birth, forgiveness through an atonement, and salvation as the result of faith, these are our battle-axe and weapons of war.

We have enough to do to learn and teach these great truths, and accursed be that learning which shall divert us from our mission, or that wilful ignorance which shall cripple us in its pursuit.

Spurgeon and the Love of God

The most serious difference of all between evangelical Calvinism and Hyper-Calvinism arises on the subject of the Love of God. In the fourth and final point in Iain H Murray’s  book ‘Spurgeon v. Hyper-Calvinism, Murray lays out Spurgeon’s case (P 88).

Spurgeon saw that behind the distortion of predestination, and the unwillingness to believe that gospel invitations are to be addressed freely to all men, lay a failure to understand what Scripture reveals about the character of God himself. If God has chosen an elect people, then Hyper-Calvinism argued, he can have no desire for the salvation of any others and to speak as though he had, is to deny the particularity of grace. Of course, Hyper-Calvinists accepted that the gospel be preached to all, but they denied that such preaching was intended to demonstrate any love on the part of God for all, or any invitation to all to receive mercy.

A sermon of 1858 which Spurgeon preached on „Sovereign Grace and Man’s Responsibility” identified this crucial difference with Hyper-Calvinism. He took for his text the words of God quoted by Paul in Romans 10:20-21, „I was found of them that sought me not; I was made manifest unto them that asked not after me. But to Israel he saith, all day long I have stretched forth my hands unto a disobedient and gainsaying people.’ In such words Spurgeon saw proof that God can be said to desire the salvation even of those who persist in rejecting him:

‘Lost sinners who sit under the sound of the gospel are not lost for the want of the most affectionate invitation. God says he stretches out his hands…What did he wish them to come for? Why, to be saved. „No,” says one, „it was for temporal mercies”. Not so my friend, the verse before is concerning spiritual mercies, and so is this one, for they refer to the same thing. Now, was God sincere in his offer? God forgive the man dares say he was not. God is undoubtedly sincere in every act he did. He sent his prophets, he entreated the people of Israel to lay hold on spiritual things, but they would not, and though he stretched out his hands all the day long, yet they were „a disobedient and gainsaying people’, and would not have his love.

Spurgeon regarded the denial of God’s desire for the salvation of all men as no mere theoretical mistake. For it converged with one of the greatest obstacles to faith on the part of the unconverted, that is to say, a wrong view of the character of God. Men „imagine that God is a severe being, angry and fierce, very easily moved to wrath, but not so easily to be induced to love’. The truth of divine love is the last to enter men’s heads.

Spurgeon comments, „We think that ultra-calvinism, which goes vastly beyond the teaching of Christ…gets its support from a wrong view of God. To the ultra-calvinist his absolute sovereignty is delightfully conspicuous. He is awe-stricken with the great and glorious attributes of the Most High. His omnipotence appals him, and his sovereignty astonishes him, and he at once submits as by a stern necessity to the will of God. He, however, too much forgets that God is love…To see the holiness, the love, the justice, the faithfulness, the immutability, the omnipotence, and the sovereignty of God, all shining like a bright corona of eternal and ineffable light, this has never been given perfectly to any human being, and inasmuch as we have not seen all these, as we hope yet to see them, our faulty vision has been the ground of diver’s mistakes.’

If it were not that ‘God is love’ his presence could never have been desirable to sinners. The gospel presents love as the attraction. „God so loved”. It is love that draws, as the record of the four Gospels make abundantly plain. What was it that moved him as he saw the multitude but a compassion for all? (Matt. 9:36) What but love brought him to weep over lost Jerusalem? (Luke 19:41) and to say, „How often would I have gathered thy children…and ye would not!” (Matt.23:37)The preaching of Christ contained a promise of welcome for all and his whole life revealed him longing for the salvation of men and women. ‘None of us,’ says Spurgeon, ‘loves men as Christ loves them. We say,”Sinner, only trust in Christ.” Ah, ye do not know what a great „only” that is. It is a work so great that no man can do it unaided by God…But if anything can call faith into excercise,”he goes on, it is the knowledge ‘that Christ is willing to receive thee'”. Preaching Christ for Spurgeon, had to include the urging of this knowledge upon all:

„If any man thirst, let him come unto me and drink.” He invites men to come, he pleads with them to come; and when they will not come he gently upbraids them wih such words as these, „Ye will not come unto me that ye might have life”… All our Lord’s sermons were so many loving calls to poor aching hearts to come and find what they need in him. „Beloved, there is nothing that so delights Jesus Christ as to save sinners…

But it is more than knowledge of the love of God as taught in SCripture which preachers need. They must themselves be possessed by the love of which they speak. Invitations to trust in Christ preached without love are no invitations at all.

It was Spurgeon’s own persuasion of the love of Christ for the souls of the men that lies at the heart of his weekly evangelistic preaching in London for thirty-seven years. He had no hesitation in concluding sermons with such words as, „Cast yourself upon the Saviour’s love and you shall go down to your house justified”. Sometimes Spurgeon made reference to his own experience, then entreating:

„Do you turn away and say you will not be commanded? Then again will I change my note…I exhort you to flee to Christ. Oh my brother, doest thou know what a loving Christ he is? Let me tell thee from my own soul what I know of him…I thought that Christ was cruel and unkind. Oh I can never forgive myself that I would have thought so ill of him. But what a loving reception did I have when I went to him. I thought he would smite me, but his hand was not clenched in anger but opened wide in mercy…his eyes were full of tears. He fell on my neck and kissed me…I entreat you to stop and consider. Do you know what it is you are rejecting this morning? You are rejecting Christ, your only Saviour…I should be worse than a fiend if I did not now, with all love and kindness and earnestness, beseech you to „lay hold on eternal life, to labour not for the meat that perishes, but for the meat that endureth unto everlasting life”.

Iain Murray here ends with a quote from another Calvinist preacher who similarly entreats sinners with, „The Gospel does not say: ‘There is a Savior, if you wish to be saved;’ but, „Sir, you have no right to go to hell. You can’t go there without trampling the Son of God.”

Spurgeon on Human Responsibility

„If he be lost, damnation is all of man, but, if he be saved, still salvation is all of God”

from a sermon entitled „Exposition of the Doctrines of Grace.

This is the third of four reasons Iain Murray in his book ‘Spurgeon vs. Hyper-Calvinism recounts Spurgeon’s debate with the Hyper-Calvinists of his time. While doing so, Spurgeon lays down the foundation for a doctrine that helps the reader grasp a better understanding of the most debated texts of Evangelical Christians (in the Arminian v. Calvinism debate).

P.80

The two convictions so far stated -that gospel invitations are to be addressed to al, and that the warrant to believe lies in the commands and promises of Scripture lead us to the heart of the dispute- It concerns the place of man’s responsibility, or his free agency. Free agency is not to be confused with „free-will”. Since the fall, men have not lost their responsibility but they have lost their ability, the will, to obey God. Hyper-Calvinism argues that sinners cannot be required to do what they are not able to do, namely to believe in Christ for their salvation. The ability to believe belongs only to the elect, and that at the time determined by the Spirit of God. So for a preacher to call all his hearers to immediate repentance and faith is do deny both human depravity and the sovereignty of grace.

Spurgeon did not reply to this argument, as many have done, by weakening the biblical teaching on human depravity and inability. His sermons prove the truth of his words,”We shall proclaim the doctrine of God’s sovereignty, without toning it down, and electing love without stuttering over it.” He asserted, as strongly as it has ever been asserted, that the will of God is omnipotent both in the provision and in the application of every part of salvation. But his response to the Hyper-Calvinist argument was to assert another equally biblical truth, namely that man is wholly responsible for his own sin. God is not its author. Those who hear the Gospel and reject the Saviour will not be able to plead that sovereignty prevented them from excercising the obedience of faith. None will be able to claim that God excluded them. No, it is on account of sin alone, including the sin of unbelief, that unrepentant sinners will finally be condemned and lost for ever.

Asked to explain such a mystery, Spurgeon constantly replied that it was not his business to do so. His duty was to deal with the whole range of Scriptural truth and to declare it in its true proportions. To limit the message to such truths as we can see to be consistent with each other is to excercise a liberty to which we have no right. The great error of Hyper-Calvinism is to neglect one side of the Word of God because it does not know how to explain both that the will of Godis effective and sovereign in all things and that man is free and responsible for all his actions. „Both are true; no two truths can be inconsistent with each other, and what you have to do is believe them both.” In an early sermon on ‘Sovereign Grace and Man’s Responsibility’ Spurgeon introduced his subject with these words:

„The system of truth is not one straight line, but two. No man will ever get a right view of the gospel until he knows how to look at the two lines at once…Now, if I waqs to declare that man was free to act, that there is no presidence of God over his actions, I should be driven very near to atheism; and if, on the other hand, I declare that God so overrules all things, as that man is not free to be responsible, I am driven at once to Antinomianism or fatalism. That God predestinates and that man is responsible, are two things that few of us can see. They are believed to be inconsistent and contradictory; but they are not. It is the fault of our weak judgement…it is my folly that leads me to imagine that two truths can ever contradict each other.

This truth will be found over and over again in Spurgeon’s sermons. Murray gives another example from another sermon where Spurgeon states:

But I do equally believe in the free agency of man, that man acts as he wills,especially in moral operations- choosing the evil with a will that is unbiased by anything that comes from God, biased only by his own depravity of heart and the peverseness of his habits; choosing the right too, with perfect freedom, though sacredly guided and led by the Holy Spirit…I believe that man is as accountable as if there were no destiny whatsoever…Where these two truths meet I do not know, nor do I want to know.

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