A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Evening, May 3, 1874, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *1/22/2012
And if the servant shall plainly say, “I love my master, my wife,
and my children; I will not go out free”: Then his master shall bring
him to the judges; he shall also bring him to the door, or to the
door post; and his master shall bore his ear through with an awl; and
he shall serve him for ever. [Ex 21:5,6]
For other sermons on this text:
[See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Ex 21:5"]
[See Spurgeon_SermonTexts "Ex 21:6"]
1. The slavery which existed among the ancient Jews was a very different thing from what has disgraced humanity in modern times; and it ought also to be remembered that Moses did not institute slavery in any form; the laws concerning it were made on purpose to repress it, to confine it within very narrow bounds, and ultimately to put an end to it. It was like the law of divorce: Moses found that law, and he knew that the people were so deeply rooted in it that it could not be forbidden; and therefore, as Jesus tells us, Moses, because of the hardness of their hearts, allowed them to divorce their wives. And so, I may say, because of the hardness of their hearts he allowed them still to retain people in servitude, but he made the laws very stringent, so as almost to prevent it. Among other repressive regulations, this was one, that when a slave ran away from his master it was contrary to law for anyone to assist in sending him back again; and with such a law as that standing you can clearly see that no one need remain a slave, since he could run away if he liked. It was no one’s business — indeed, it was a sin for anyone — to force him back again. Now, if a man can go when he likes, his servitude is a very different thing from what still curses many parts of the earth. But the case stood like this. Sometimes people who were insolvent, who could not pay, were compelled by the law to give their services to their creditors for a certain number of years, always limited, as you see in this case, to six. A man who had committed theft, instead of putting the country to the expense of a prison, was sometimes fined for his theft sevenfold; and if he had no money he was placed in servitude until he had bought himself free again, an institution not altogether indefensible, I think, and having a good deal of rough justice about it. Sometimes a person who was extremely poor would sell his services, for the six years which are here prescribed, to some wealthy person, who was bound to house him, clothe him, and feed him; very much like a system which still exists in some parts of our own country, where a person’s services are hired for the year, with so much room and board to be given, and so much wage. Well, the law here says that if a man should have sold himself, or by insolvency should have come to be sold to his master, at the end of six years he might go free. He was quite free to leave his master’s house and go wherever he pleased. But it seems that the servitude was so exceedingly light, and, indeed, was so much for the benefit of the person in it, that frequently men would not go free. They preferred to continue as they were, servants to their masters. Now, as it was not desirable that this should often be the case, and as, if it were permitted oppressive masters might sometimes frighten a servant into such an agreement, the law was made that in such a case the matter must be brought before the judges, and before them the man must say plainly — notice that word — he must say it very distinctly and plainly, so that there was no doubt about it, that it really was his wish not to accept his liberty, but to remain as he was; and then, after he had stated his desire, and given as his reason that he loved his master, and loved the children, and the wife that he had obtained in his service, his ear was to be pierced against the door of the house. This ceremony was intended to put a little difficulty in the way, so that he might hesitate and say, “No, I will not agree to that,” and so might, as was most proper, go free. But if he agreed to that somewhat painful ceremony, and if he declared before the judges that it was his own act and deed, then he was to remain the servant of his chosen master as long as he lived.
2. We are going to use this as a type, and get some moral out of it, by God’s blessing. And the first use is this. Men are by nature the slaves of sin. Some are the slaves of drunkenness, some of lustfulness, some of covetousness, some of sloth; but there are generally times in men’s lives when they have an opportunity of breaking loose. There will happen providential changes which take them away from old companions, and so give them a little hope of liberty, or there will come times of sickness, which take them away from temptation, and give them opportunities for thought. Above all, times will occur when conscience is set to work by the faithful preaching of the Word, and when the man pulls himself up, and questions his spirit like this: — “Which shall it be? I have been a servant of the devil, but here is an opportunity for getting free. Shall I give up this sin? Shall I pray to God to give me grace to break right away, and become a new man; or shall I not?” Such a time may happen to some sinner here. I urge you, dear friend, do not slight it, because these times may not often come; and coming and being wilfully refused, they may never return to you. If you are resolved to be the slave of your passions, then your passions will indeed enslave you. If you are content to be a slave of the cup, you shall find that the cup will hold you by its fascinations as firmly as if you were a captive in fetters of brass. If you are willing to be the slave of unbelief and of the pleasures of the flesh, you will find that they will fasten you as with bands of steel, and hold you down for ever. There are times when men might get free, their prison door is ajar for the moment. “Almost you persuade me to be a Christian,” cries Agrippa. Felix trembles, and resolves to hear more of this matter. Many others in the same condition have been all but free; but they have deliberately preferred to remain as they were, and the result has been that sin has bored their ear, and from that day forward they have seldom been troubled by conscience. They have sinned with impunity. The descending scale to hell has grown more and more rapid, and they have glided down it with ever increasing pace. Have I not seen some such, for whom I hoped better things? The evil spirit went out of them and left them for a while; and oh, if grace had come and occupied the house, that evil spirit would never have returned; but they called back that evil spirit, and he came with seven other demons more wicked than himself, and the last end of these once hopeful people has become worse than the first. Slave of sin, will you be free? Your six years are up tonight. Will you be free? The Spirit of God will help you to break every chain; the Redeemer will snap your fetters: are you ready for liberty? Or does your heart deliberately choose to abide under the bondage of Satan? If so, take heed. That awl of habit may bore your ear, and then you will be beyond all hope of reformation, the victim of yourself, the slave of your sins, the idolater of your own belly, the abject menial of your own passions. “He who would be free himself must break the chain,” is the old saying, but I will improve it, — he who would be free must cry to Christ to break the chain; but if he would not have it broken, and hugs his bonds, then his blood is on his own head.
Christian man, the lesson to you is this. Since the servants of Satan
love their master so well, how well ought you to love yours! and
since they will cling to his service, even when it brings misery into
their homes, disease into their bodies, aches into their heads,
redness into their eyes, and poverty into their purses, oh, can you
ever think of leaving your good and blessed Master, whose yoke is
easy and whose burden is light? If they follow Satan into hell,
surely you may well say —
Through floods and flames, if Jesus lead,
I’ll follow where he goes.
They are the willing servants of Satan; be, with more than equal ardour, the willing servants of Christ.
Our text gives us a second lesson, namely, this. In the Psalms you
will find the expression used by our Lord, or by David in prophecy
personifying our Lord, “you have opened my ear,” [Ps 41:6] or
“you have dug my ear.” Jesus Christ is here, in all probability,
speaking of himself as being for ever, for our sakes, the willing
servant of God. Let us just dwell on that for a moment. Ages ago,
long before the things which are seen had begun to exist, Jesus had
entered into covenant with his Father that he would become the
servant of servants for our sakes all through the long ages he never
reneged on that compact. Though the Saviour knew the price of pardon
was his blood, his pity never withdrew, for his ear had been pierced.
He had become for our sakes the lifelong servant of God. He loved his
spouse, the church. He loved his dear sons, his children whom he
foresaw when he looked through the future ages, and he would not go
out free. Our insolvency had made us slaves, and Christ became a
servant in our place. When he came to Bethlehem’s manger, then it was
that his ear was pierced indeed, for Paul quotes as a parallel
expression — “You have prepared a body for me.” He was bound to God’s
service when he was found in fashion as a man, for then he “became
obedient to death, even the death of the cross.” When he came to the
waters of baptism at the Jordan, and said, “Thus it becomes us to
fulfil all righteousness,” then he, as it were, went before the
judges and say plainly that he loved the Master, whom he was bound to
serve, loved his spouse, the church, and loved her little ones, and
would for their sakes be a servant for ever. When he stood foot to
foot with Satan in the wilderness the archfiend offered to him all
the kingdoms of this world, and why did he not accept them? Because
he preferred a cross to a crown, for his ear was bored. Afterwards
the people, in the height of his popularity, offered him a crown, but
he hid himself away from them. And why? Because he came to suffer,
not to reign; his ear was bored for redemption’s work, and he was
constrained until he had accomplished it. In the Garden, when the
bloody sweat fell from his face, and he said, “If it is possible, let
this cup pass from me,” why did he not put away that cup? If it had
pleased him he might have called for twelve legions of angels, and
they would have come to the rescue; why did he not summon that
celestial bodyguard? Was it not because he had wholly surrendered
himself to the service of our salvation? Before his judges he might
have saved himself. Why did he not? One word when he was before
Pilate would have broken the spell of prophecy, but why like a sheep
before her shearers was he dumb? Why did he give his back to the
smiters, and his cheeks to those who plucked off the hair? Why did he
condescend to die, and actually upon the cross pour out his heart’s
blood? It was all because he had undertaken this for us, and he would
go through it. His ear was bored; he could not and he would not leave
his dearly beloved church.
Yea, said his love, for her I’ll go
Through all the depths of pain and woe;
And on the cross will even dare
The bitter pangs of death to bear.
He would not accept deliverance though he might have done so. “He saved others, he could not save himself.”
5. Now, hear it, you believers! If Jesus would not go free from his blessed undertaking, will you ever desire to go free from the service of his love? Since he pushed onwards until he said, “It is finished,” will not his love by God’s Holy Spirit inspire you to push forward until you can say, “I have finished my course, I have kept the faith?” Can you go back when Jesus goes before you? Can you think of retreating? Can desertion or apostasy be regarded by you with any other feelings than those of detestation when you see your Master bound to the gibbet of Calvary, to bleed to death and then to lie in the cold grave for your sakes? Will you not say, “Let my ear be bored for his service, even as his ear was dug for me?”
6. Let these observations stand as the preface for our sermon; for my discourse, though I will try to make it brief, deals with ourselves, in an earnest manner. Brethren in Christ, I think I speak for all of you who love Jesus, when I say, — we are willing tonight to undertake perpetual service for Christ. To lead you all to renew your dedication I shall speak upon our choice of perpetual service, and our reasons for making that choice, and then I shall call you up, and try to pierce your ears with one of several kinds of sharp awls, which I have here ready for the purpose.
7. I. First, let us speak upon our CHOICE OF PERPETUAL SERVICE.
The first thing is, we have the power to go free if we wish. This
is a very memorable night for me. Pardon my speaking concerning
myself, I cannot help it. It is exactly twenty-four years this night
that I put on the Lord Jesus Christ publicly in baptism, affirming
myself to be his servant, and now at this present time I have served
him four times six years, and I think he says to me, “You may go free
if you wish.” In effect he says the same to every one of you, “You
may go free if you wish, I will not hold you in unwilling servitude.”
There are plenty of places you can go to — there are the world, the
flesh, and the devil. For a master you may have any of these three if
you choose. Jesus will not hold you against your will. Do you desire
to go free, brethren, free from the yoke of Jesus? I can only speak
for myself, and you may say “Amen” for yourselves if you wish, but
not otherwise. “Blessed be his name,” I never wish to be free from
his dear yoke. I would rather say: —
Oh, to grace how great a debtor,
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let that grace, Lord, like a fetter,
Bind my willing heart to thee.
I will speak of him as I find him: I wish to serve him not another
twenty-four years, but twenty-four million years, yes, and for ever
and for ever, for his yoke is easy and his burden is light. It is
said of the Hebrews, “If they had been mindful of the country from
which they came out, they had opportunity to return,” and so have we;
but will we return to the land of destruction? Will we go back to
perdition? Will we renounce our Lord? No, by God’s grace it cannot
be! We are bound for the land of Canaan, and to Canaan we will go. We
have wandering hearts, but grace still holds them firmly, and our
prayer is: —
Prone to wander, Lord, we feel it,
Prone to leave the God we love;
Here’s our heart, Lord, take and seal it,
Seal it for thy courts above.
Well, then, since we might go free if we wish, but do not wish to do
so, we are willing to declare before the judges — that is, before the
public: here assembled tonight, who shall be our judges — that, though
quite able to go free (we say it plainly and without stammering),
we do not have the remotest wish to do so. If the service of
Christ has been a fetter, Lord, put on double fetters. If your
service has been a bond, Lord, tie us up hand and foot, for, to us,
bondage to you is the only perfect liberty. Yes, if it must be so, we
will say it here,
’Tis done! The great transaction’s done.
I am my Lord’s, and he is mine;
He drew me, and I followed on,
Charmed to obey the voice divine
And we will add the words,
High heaven that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renewed shall daily hear
Till in life’s latest hour we bow,
And bless in death a bond so dear.
We are willing to say it publicly and plainly, and we are willing
to take the consequences too. Are we? That is the question. If we
intend to be Christ’s servants for ever, we must expect to have
special troubles such as the world knows nothing about. The boring of
our ear is a special pain, but both ears are ready for the awl. The
Lord’s service involves particular trials, for he has told us, “Every
branch that bears fruit he purges it.” Are we willing to take the
purging? What son is there whom his father does not chasten? Are we
willing to take the chastening? Yes, we would deliberately say,
“Whatever it is, we will bear it, as long as the Lord will keep us
and help us to remain faithful.” We dare not run away from his
service, would not, could not: and nothing can drive us to abscond
from his house or his work, for, exalting in persevering grace, we
venture to say, “Who shall separate us from the love of God which is
in Christ Jesus our Lord?” We will bear the boring of the ear.
Perhaps it will come in the form of more reproach from men. Some of
us have had a very fair share of that, and have been tolerably well
abused up until now, but none of these things move us. Will there be
more cruel mockings between here and heaven? No doubt there will.
Then let them come and welcome. My solemn personal declaration at
this hour is, —
If on my face for thy dear name
Shame and reproach shall be,
I’ll hail reproach and welcome shame
For thou’lt remember me.
11. Do you not say the same, beloved? Will you not serve Christ without any conditions, at all costs? Will you not follow him through the mire and through the slough, and up the bleak side of the hill, and along the crest of the field where the battle rages most fiercely? Indeed, that we will, if only grace is given: if the Holy Spirit will abide in us. Do you not desire to follow the Lamb wherever he goes? Do you shrink from the supreme sacrifice? Do you not long to remain faithful though all should forsake the truth? Yes, we desire perpetual servitude to Christ, and to bear whatever that involves. I speak the heart of every lover of Christ when I say, we do not want to serve Christ a little, we wish to serve him much; and the more he will give us to do the better we shall love him; indeed, and the more he will give us to bear for his dear sake, if he will give us corresponding grace, the more we will rejoice. That is a great life which is greatly useful, or greatly suffering, or greatly laborious for Jesus Christ the Saviour. Do you not feel in your innermost souls that instead of wishing to be set free, you wish to plunge deeper into this blessed bondage, — to bear in your body the marks of the Lord Jesus, and to be his branded slaves for ever? Is this not the perfect freedom you desire?
12. So, then, there is the first point, — our choice of perpetual service.
13. II. Now, secondly, OUR REASONS FOR IT.
14. A man ought to have a reason for so weighty a decision as this. We have served our Master now for twenty-four years and do not want to change, but would like to live with him and die with him and live for ever with him. We speak boldly on a very weighty business. What reasons can we give for such decided language?
15. Well, first, we can give some reasons connected with himself. The servant in our text who would not accept his liberty, said, “I love my Master.” Can we say that? I cannot feel content with merely saying it. It is true, true, true; but if I were to begin to speak of how I love him, or how I ought to love him, I should break down altogether tonight. Even now I choke with emotion. I can feel love in my heart, but my heart is too full for expression. Oh, what a blessed Master he is! Not love him? My whole nature heaves with affection for him. Who can help it? Look at his wounds, and you must love him, if you have been redeemed. Look at the great gash which reached his heart, from where flowed the water and the blood to be the double cure for your sin. Could you fail to love him? I mean him who died for you and bought you, not with silver and gold, but with his own pangs and griefs and bloody sweat and death. Leave him? Oh Saviour, let us not be such devils as to leave you, for we would be worse than demons if we could apostatise from such a sweet Master as you are!
We love our Master, for he has bought us and saved us from the
miseries of hell. And we love him because there never was such a
master, so good, so tender, so royal so inconceivably lovely, so
altogether glorious. Our Lord is perfection’s self, and the whole
universe cannot produce his equal. We cannot now praise the stars,
for we have seen the sun. We could not take up with the lowly things
of earth, for the Lord of heaven has looked upon us, and one glance
of his eyes has enamoured us with him for ever and for ever. Do we
want to leave the service of Jesus? By no means. No such wish crosses
our soul. Beloved, I am sure you have no desire to change masters;
have you? Are you not abundantly well pleased with his treatment of
you? When a servant comes up from the country to take a position in
town, if he goes back to the village, his old friends come around
him, and they say, “Well, John, how did you find the service? Did
your master treat you well? Was the work very hard? Were you well fed
and well clothed?” Now, Christian people, I am not going to speak for
you, but you shall speak for yourselves, to your friends and
relatives, and answer for yourselves their various questions. If you
can find any fault with Jesus tell them about it. Say whether he has
ever treated you badly, and, if he has, report it to all the world.
Do not allow anyone to be led into a bad service if you have found it
to be such. As for me, there was never a worse servant, but there was
never a servant who had a better master than I have. He has put up
with my bad manners, and treated me like one of his own family. I
have been at times a dead weight to his household, but he has never
given me a rough word, “My cup runs over. Surely goodness and mercy
shall follow me all the days of my life.” Tonight I must, even though
I am thought to be egotistical, speak of his lovingkindness towards
me. Twenty-four years ago I was a lad in swimming jacket, and I
walked into the open river on a cold May day to be baptized into the
name of Jesus as timid and timorous a youth as you well might see;
but when I rose from that water the fear of man was gone from my
mind, I hope never to return. For the first time that night I prayed
at the prayer meeting, and this tongue has never since ceased to
speak of his dear love —
Ere since by faith I saw the stream
His flowing wounds supply,
Redeeming love has been my theme,
And shall be till I die.
Now see what my Lord has done for me! If anyone had said to me, “Twenty-four years from this time you will preach to a vast crowd and will have spiritual children whose number cannot be counted,” I never could have believed it. It would have seemed impossible that such a thing could be. Yet it is so. His right hand has done wonderful things for me and my heart reverently extols him. Glory be to his name for ever and for evermore. Leave my Master! Grant, oh glorious Lord, that no such base and loathsome thought may even alight upon my mind. No, dear Master, I am yours for ever, let me kiss your feet again, and be bound for ever to you by new cords of love.
17. Well, my brother, the Lord has treated you kindly, has he not? Come, speak for yourselves. You could rise and tell stories, in your own way, equally as remarkable as mine, and you could conclude each one by saying, “I love my Master. I can only love him.”
The servant in our text, who would not go free, plainly declared that
he loved his wife, so that there are reasons connected not only with
his Master, but with those in his Master’s house, which detain each
servant of Jesus in happy bondage. Beloved, some of us could not
leave Jesus, not only because of what he is, but because of some who
are very dear to us who are in his service. How could I leave my
mother’s God? How could I leave my father’s God, my grandfather’s
God, my great-grandfather’s God? My brother, how could I leave your
God, to be separated from you, whom I have loved so long, so
well? [a] Husband, tender and affectionate, could you leave your
wife’s God? Wife, could you forsake the God of those dear babes in
heaven? They are resting there on the breast of Jesus, and you hope
to see them soon, do you not love Jesus for the sake of those who
once nestled in your bosom? Indeed, and it is not merely earthly
relationship that binds us like this, but we love all the people of
God, because of our relationship in Christ. Truly we can say of his
church, “Here my best friends, my kindred dwell.” Some of the dearest
associations we have ever formed began at the foot of the cross. Our
best friends are those with whom we go up to the house of God in
company. Why, most of the friends that some of us have on earth we
won through our being one in Jesus Christ; and we intend to stand
firmly for the grand old cause, and the old gospel, for the sake not
only of Christ but of his people.
Now, for my friends and brethren’s sake,
Peace be in thee, I’ll say;
And for the sake of God our Lord
I’ll seek thy good alway.
“Because I love my wife and my children,” says the man, “I cannot go out free.” And so we say also.
19. Besides, let me add, there are some of us who must keep to Christ, because we have children in his family whom we could not leave, — dear ones who first learned about Christ from us. Many in this place were first led to the Lord by our teaching, and by our prayers. We could not run away from them, their loving prayers hold us firmly. In them the Lord has hold upon us by new ties. You do not find a woman to leave her husband, as a rule, when there are seven or eight little children at home, no, and no man can leave Christ who has been spiritually fruitful; the seals of his ministry seal anew the indentures which bind him to his Lord. The successful pastor will be kept faithful; he must stand firmly by the church, and by the church’s Head, when there are children born to him by the power of the Holy Spirit through faith in the gospel of Jesus Christ.
20. There are reasons also why we cannot forsake our Lord which arise out of ourselves; and the first is that reason which Peter felt to be so powerful. The Master said, “Will you also go away?” Peter answered by another question. He said, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” Ah, Christian, there is no way for you except to go straight on to heaven, for where would you go? Where else could you go? Some of us are so thoroughly identified with Jesus and his gospel that the world would have nothing to do with us if we were to ask for its friendship. We are committed too much to our Master ever to consider receiving love and friendship from his foes. We have given the world too many slaps in the face to be forgiven by it. We have crossed the Rubicon, and there remains nothing for us except victory or death. Where could a poor wretch hide, who has been a well known minister of the gospel, if he should apostatise? Where could he live? If he should journey to the ends of the earth some would remember his name and say, “Have you apostatised?” In the remotest regions of the globe some would jeeringly say to him, “Have you fallen, have you turned aside?” Where could we go, then? We must cleave to Christ. It is of necessity that we must.
21. And why should we go? Come, brethren, can you find any reason why we should leave Jesus Christ? Can you imagine one? Since my imaginative faculty is not strong enough I will not attempt it. I can see a million reasons for cleaving to him, but not a pretence of a reason for leaving him.
22. And when should we leave him, if we must leave him? Leave him while we are young? It is then that we need him to be the guide of our youth. Leave him when we are in middle life? Why, then it is we want him to help us to bear our cross, lest we sink under our daily load. Leave him in old age? Ah, no! It is, then we require him to cheer our declining hours. Leave him in life? How could we live without him? Leave him in death? How could we die without him? No, we must cling to him: we must follow him wherever he goes.
23. These are a few of the reasons why we would be his servants for ever.
24. III. In the last place, I WANT TO BORE YOUR EAR.
25. Do you intend to be bound for life? Christians, do you really mean it? Come, sit down and count the cost, and, if you mean it, come and welcome! There is the standard! The blood red cross waves at the top of it, will you now in cool blood enlist for life? Every man who wishes to desert may go home. Christ wants no conscripts. Ho, you volunteers! Come here! We want you, and no one except you. The Lord desires no slaves to dishonour his camp. Cowards, you may go! Double minded men, you may go to your tents! But what do you say, you true believers? Will you cleave to him and his cause? Do you leap forward and say, “We can never separate from Jesus; we give ourselves to him for life, for death, for time, and for eternity. We are his altogether and for ever?” Come, then, and have your ears bored.
26. And, first, let them be bored with the sharp awl of the Saviour’s sufferings. No story wrings a Christian’s heart with such anguish as the griefs and woes of Christ. We preached the other morning upon the crown of thorns, [See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1168, “The Crown of Thorns” 1159] and it was our task to bring before you the different items of our Saviour’s griefs; now, whenever you are hearing about him, you ought to say within yourself, “Ah, he is piercing my ear, he is fastening me to his cross, he is marking me for himself, I cannot forsake my bleeding Lord. His wounds attract me. I flee to him afresh. When the world would gladly draw me off from Jesus, I find a central force drawing me back to his dear heart. I must be Christ’s. His sufferings have won me. The bleeding Lamb enthrals me. I am his, and his for ever.” That is one way of marking the ear.
27. Next, let your ear be fastened by the truth, so that you are determined to hear only the gospel. The gospel ought to monopolize the believer’s ear. Some professors can hear any stuff in all the world if it is prettily put, and as long as the man is a “clever” man (I think that is the word). When they hear a preacher of whom they can say, “He is very clever, very clever!” they appear perfectly satisfied, whether the man’s doctrine is good or bad. Now is this not foolishness? What does it matter about a man’s being clever? The devil is clever; and every great thief is clever. There is nothing in cleverness to gain the approval of a spiritual mind. I pray God to give every one of you an ear that will not hear false doctrine. I do not think we ought to blame a man who gets up and goes out of a place of worship when he hears the truth of God denied; I think we ought far rather to commend him. There is a great deal of that soft, willow pattern style of man around nowadays. Let a man talk loudly and prettily, and many hearers will believe anything he says. Dear brethren, we must have discernment, or we shall be found aiding and abetting error. “My sheep,” says Christ, “hear my voice, and they not will follow a stranger for they do not know the voice of strangers.” Now, if you intend to be Christ’s for ever, you must not allow that ear of yours to hear bad doctrine. You must take care that, knowing the truth, you hold to it, and renounce every false way. Do not make your ear a common sewer, into which foul doctrine may be poured, in hope that afterwards Jesus Christ may make it clean again. “Take care what you hear” is one of the precepts of infinite wisdom; and do not let it fail to impress your souls.
28. Furthermore, if you really give yourself to Christ, you must have your ear opened to hear and obey the whispers of the Spirit of God, so that you yield to his teaching, and to his teaching only. I am afraid some Christians give their ears to an eminent preacher, and follow him whichever way he goes, very much to their own harm. The right thing is to yield to the Spirit of God. Which way the Scripture goes — that is the way for you to go; and though we, or an angel from heaven, preach to you any other gospel than what this sacred book contains — though I trust we may not be accursed if we do it in ignorance — yet, certainly, you will be accursed if, knowing it to be wrong, you follow us in preference to following the Lord. Let your ear be open to the faintest admonitions of the Holy Spirit. There would be an end to all the sects and divisions in the church if all Christians were willing to do what the Holy Spirit tells them. Alas! there are many people who do not want to know too much of the mind of God. What the Bible says is no great concern of theirs, because, perhaps, that may not say quite the same thing as the Prayer Book, and they would rather not be disturbed in their minds. Perhaps the Bible may not confirm all the doctrines of their sect, and therefore they leave it unread, for they would rather not be perplexed. Oh, brethren, let names, and parties, and prayer books, and catechisms, and everything else go to the dogs sooner than one word of Jesus shall be neglected. Let us give ourselves up to the Spirit of God and to the teaching of his own Word, for as Christ’s servants our ears have been pierced. Your ear has thus been bored with three awls, and not one of them has pained you.
29. Many young women have had their ears pierced; I do not know whether it hurt them or not. I do not suppose that the operation described in the text pained the man much, though there was a little blood lost, perhaps, when the awl went through the lobe of the ear. I will tell you what some would do with their ears if they were pierced; I would not do it with mine, but an oriental would be sure to do it. What would he do? Why, put a ring in it, and hang it with ornaments. When a Christian man has his ears bored to belong to Christ for ever and ever, God will be sure to put a jewel in it for him. And what jewels ought to hang in the Christian’s ear? Why, the jewel of obedience. Practise the doctrine which your ear has heard. Then there would follow the diamond of joy: the ear which belongs wholly to Jesus will be sure to be adorned with the jewel of the Spirit, which is joy. If we give our heart up to Christ he will hang in our ear many costly gems of knowledge, — we shall know the deep things of God when we are willing to learn them. The ear being pierced, we shall sit like children at Jesus’ feet and learn from him; and rubies and emeralds and pearls, such as deep sea fisheries never knew, shall belong to us; and our ear will be hung with the priceless gem of “quickness of understanding in the fear of the Lord.” “He awakens me morning by morning; he opened my ear to hear as the learned.” There, too, will hang that precious gem of separation from the world. The distinguishing characteristic of “Holiness to the Lord” will be in the Christian’s ear like a precious jewel of inestimable price. When they were selling the Duke of Brunswick’s [b] gems the other day, they found that ever so many of them were not what they were supposed to be; he had guarded them with great care, and scarcely had enjoyed a happy hour in a great anxiety for his valuables, and yet some of them were not worth the keeping. If you will give yourself to Christ, and if your ear is bored, these precious graces which I have mentioned will be pearls of exceeding great price, such as angels might envy you for wearing. There, young women, put these jewels in your ears, and no one will blame you for wearing such costly ornaments. There, good man, you also may go with rings in your ears if these are the rings and these are the gems, and you will not be thought foppish and odd. May the Lord give them to you. As you come to the communion table, come with this feeling: “I am going there to renew my covenant, I have been a Christian these many years, I love my Lord better than I ever did, and I will, therefore, dedicate myself to him again.”
And now, you unconverted people, do you think I have spoken the
truth? If my Master had behaved badly towards me I would have run
away from him long ago; I would not stand here to tell you that he
was a good Master if he were not; but, since he is so good, oh that
you would say, “I would like to be in his service.” Do you have such
a desire? then, dear heart, remember his own words, “Him who comes
to me, I will in no wise cast out.” If you are willing to be his, he
is willing to have you. He is so great a Prince that he can maintain
an endless company of servants without embarrassing himself. There
was never a soul that wanted Christ that Christ did not also want.
Depend upon it, if you go to him he will enrol you among his
household retainers, and allot you an honourable portion day by day.
Seeking sinner, believe in Jesus and live. May God grant you grace
for Christ’s sake! Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Joh 6:37-71]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Dedication To God — ‘My Beloved Is Mine And I Am His’ ” 660]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Dedication To God — The Heart Given To God” 658]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Dedication To God — Jesus, I Am Thine!” 663]
[a] Here the preacher turned to his brother, Mr. J. A. Spurgeon, who was upon the platform with him.
[b] Duke Of Brunswick: Karl III Friedrich Herzog von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel was the son of Friedrich Wilhelm Herzog von Braunschweig-Wolfenbüttel and Marie Elisabeth Wilhelmine Prinzessin von Baden. He was born on October 30, 1804. He died on August 19, 1873 at age 68 at Geneva, Switzerland, unmarried and in exile. See Explorer "http://www.edochess.ca/batgirl/Duke.html"
The Christian, Dedication To God
660 — “My Beloved Is Mine And I Am His”
1 When I had wander’d from his fold,
His love the wanderer sought;
When slave like into bondage sold,
His blood my freedom bought.
2 Therefore that life, by him redeem’d,
Is his through all its days;
And as with blessings it hath teem’d,
So let it teem with praise.
3 For I am his, and he is mine,
The God whom I adore!
My Father, Saviour, Comforter,
Now and for evermore.
4 When sunk in sorrow, I despair’d,
And changed my hopes for fears,
He bore my griefs, my burden shared,
And wiped away my tears.
5 Therefore the joy by him restored,
To him by right belongs:
And to my gracious loving Lord,
I’ll sing through life my songs:
6 For I am his, and his is mine,
The God whom I adore!
My Father, Saviour, Comforter,
Now and for evermore!
John S. B. Monsell, 1863.
The Christian, Dedication To God
658 — The Heart Given To God
1 Oh happy day, that fix’d my choice
On thee, my Saviour, and my God;
Well may this glowing heart rejoice,
And tell its raptures all abroad.
2 ‘Tis done! the great transaction’s done:
I am my Lord’s, and he is mine:
He drew me, and I follow’d on,
Charm’d to confess the voice divine.
3 Now rest, my long divided heart;
Fix’d on this blissful centre, rest:
With ashes who would grudge to part,
When call’d on angels’ bread to feast?
4 High heaven, that heard the solemn vow,
That vow renew’d shall daily hear:
Till in life’s latest hour I bow,
And bless in death a bond so dear.
Philip Doddridge, 1755.
The Christian, Dedication To God
663 — Jesus, I Am Thine! <7s.>
1 Jesus, spotless Lamb of God,
Thou hast bought me with thy blood,
I would value nought beside
Jesus — Jesus crucified.
2 I am thine, and thine alone,
This I gladly, fully own;
And, in all my works and ways,
Only now would seek thy praise.
3 Help me to confess thy name,
Bear with joy thy cross and shame,
Only seek to follow thee,
Though reproach my portion be.
4 When thou shalt in glory come,
And I reach my heavenly home,
Louder still my lips shall own
I am thine, and thine alone.
James George Deck, 1837.