A Sermon Delivered By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *2/27/2012
My soul is even as a weaned child. [Ps 131:2]
1. I was once conversing with a very excellent aged minister, and while we were talking about our moods and feelings, he made the following confession: he said, “When I read that passage in the psalm, ‘My soul is even as a weaned child,’ I wish it were true of me, but I think I should have to make an alteration of one syllable, and then it would exactly describe me at times, ‘My soul is even as a wean-ing rather than a wean-ed child,’ for,” he said, “with the infirmities of old age, I fear I get fretful and peevish, and anxious, and when the day is over I do not feel that I have been in so calm, resigned, and trustful a frame of mind as I could desire.” I suppose, dear brethren, that frequently we have to make the same confession. We wish we were like a weaned child, but we find ourselves neglecting to walk by faith, and getting into the way of walking by the sight of our eyes, and then we get like the weaning child which is fretting and worrying, and unrestful, and who causes trouble for those all around, and most of all, trouble for himself. Weaning was one of the first real troubles that we encountered after we came into this world, and at the time it was a very terrible one for our little hearts. We got over it somehow or other. We do not remember now what a trial it was for us, but we may take it as a type of all troubles; for if we have faith in him who was our God from our nursing mother, as we got over the weaning, and do not even remember it, so we shall get over all the troubles that are to come, and shall scarcely remember them for the joy that will follow. If, indeed, Dr. Watts is correct in saying that when we get to heaven we shall “recount the labours of our feet,” then, I am quite sure that we shall only do it, as he says, “with transporting joy.” There, at least, each one shall be as a weaned child.
2. It is a very happy condition of heart which is indicated here, and I shall speak about it with a desire to promote the increase of such a state of heart among believers, with the hope that many of us may reach it, and that all of us who have reached it may continue to still say, “My soul is even as a weaned child.”
3. I. First, let us think WHAT THE PSALMIST INTENDED BY THIS DESCRIPTION; and we will begin by noticing the context, in order to understand him, and then we will consider the metaphor in order still further to see what he literally meant.
4. First, look at the context; and you will see that he intended that pride had been subdued in him, and driven out of him, for he begins the psalm with this, “Lord, my heart is not haughty, nor my eyes lofty.” We are all proud by nature, though there is not one among us that has anything to be proud of. It makes no difference what our condition is: we universally dream that we have something to boast about. The Lord Mayor is not a bit more proud in his gold chain than the beggar in his rags. Indeed, pride is a kind of weed that will grow on very poor soil quite as freely as in the best cultivated garden. Every man thinks more of himself than God thinks of him, for when a man is in his highest state and at his best, he is nothing but dust, and the Lord knows his frame, and remembers that he is just that, and nothing better. Some poor creatures, however, indulge their pride, and let it run away with them as a wild horse with its rider. They cannot be trusted with a little money but immediately they hold their heads so high that one might think the stars are in danger. They cannot be trusted with a little talent but immediately their genius is omnipotent in their own opinion, and they themselves are to be treated like demigods. And if they are God’s servants, they cannot have a little success in the ministry or in the Sunday School without becoming quite unpleasant to those all around them, through their boastful ways and eagerness to talk about themselves. They can scarcely have enjoyment, even of the presence of God, but that they begin to make an idol of their attainments and graces, and begin to say, “My mountain, my mountain, stands firm. I, I shall never be moved.” Great I grows without any watering, for the soil of nature is muddy, and the rush of pride takes to it mightily. You need never be troubled about a man’s keeping up his opinion of himself, he will be pretty sure to do that, the force of nature usually runs in the direction of self-conceit.
5. This pride very often leads to haughtiness, domineering ways towards others, and contempt for them, as if they were not as good as we are; and if we see any errors and mistakes in them we conclude that they are very foolish, and that we would act much better if we were in their position. If they act nobly and well, this same pride of ours leads us to pick holes in them, and to detract from their excellence; and if we cannot get up as high as they are, we try to pull them down to our own level. This is a base thing to do, but the proud man is always base, loftiness of looks and baseness of heart run in a leash like a couple of hounds. The humble man is the truly great man, and because God’s gentleness has made him great he is sure to be kept lowly before the Lord by the Holy Spirit. The proud man is really little; indeed more, he is really nothing even in the things he himself boasts about.
6. David could say, “My heart is not haughty.” His brother, Eliab, said that he was proud when he went down to carry his father’s present to his soldier brothers, but it was not so. His heart was content to be with the sheep: he was quite willing to follow the “ewes great with young.” When he was in Saul’s court they thought he was ambitious, but he was not so, he was quite satisfied to be a servant there, to fight the battles of Israel. The place of captain over a wandering band was forced upon him, he would sooner have lived at home. And when he was king he did not exalt himself. Absalom when he was aspiring to the kingdom was a far greater man to look at than his father David, for David walked in lowliness of spirit before the Lord. Whatever faults he had, he certainly did not have the fault of vanity, or of being intoxicated in spirit with what God had done for him.
7. Now, it is a great blessing when the Spirit of God keeps us from being haughty and our looks from being lofty. We shall never be as a weaned child until it gets to that, for a weaned child thinks nothing of himself. It is only a little babe; whatever consciousness he has at all about the matter, he is not conscious of any strength or any wisdom, he is dependent entirely upon his mother’s care; and blessed is that man who is brought to lie very low in his own spirit before the Lord, resting on the bosom of infinite love. After all, brethren, we are nobodies, and we have come from a line of nobodies. The most proud peer of the realm may trace his pedigree as far as ever he likes, but he ought to remember that if his blood is blue, it must be very unhealthy to have such blood in one’s veins. The common ruddy blood of the peasant is, after all, far healthier. Big as men may account themselves to be on account of their ancestors, we all trace our line up to a gardener, who lost his place through stealing his Master’s fruit, and that is the farthest we can possibly go. Adam covers us all with disgrace, and under that disgrace we should all sit down humbly. Look into your own heart, and if you dare to be proud, you have never seen your heart at all. It is a mass of pollution: it is a den of filthiness. Apart from divine grace, your heart is a seething mass of putrefaction, and if God’s eternal Spirit were not to hold it in check, but to let your nature have its way, envyings, lustings, murders, and every foul thing would come flying out in your daily life. A sinner and yet proud! It is monstrous. As for children of God, how can they be proud? I fear we are all too much so; but what have we to be proud of? What do we have that we have not received? How then can we boast? Are we dressed in the robe of Christ’s righteousness? We did not put a thread into it; it was all given to us by the charity of Jesus. Are our garments white? We have washed them in the blood of the Lamb. Are we new creatures? We have been created anew by omnipotent power, or we would still be as we were. Are we holding on our way? It is God who enables us to persevere, or we should long ago have gone back. Have we been kept from the great transgression? Who has kept us? We certainly have not kept ourselves. There is nothing that we have of which we can say, “I did this and it is all my own,” except for our faults and our sins, and we ought to blush over these. Yet, brethren, when the Lord favours us, especially in early life — although I do know that it is almost as much so with us who have gotten a little farther on — if you get a full sail and a favouring breeze, and the vessel scuds along before the wind, there is need for a great deal of ballast, or else there will soon be a tale to tell about a vessel that was upset and a sailor who was too adventuresome, and was never heard of any more. We need to be continually kept lowly before God, for pride is the besetting sin of mankind. Oh, that God would give us to be as David was — not haughty, neither our eyes lofty.
8. This is the first help towards being as a weaned child.
9. And next he tells us that he was not ambitious, — “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters.” He was a shepherd; he did not plan to go and fight Goliath, and when he did do it, it was because his nation needed him. He said, “Is there not a cause?” Otherwise he would have still remained in the background. When he went into the stronghold in the cave of Adullam, he never lifted a hand to become king. He might have killed his enemy several times, and with one stroke have ended the warfare and seized the throne, but he would not lift a hand against the Lord’s anointed, for, like a weaned child, he was not ambitious. He was willing to go where God would put him, but he was not seeking after great things. Now, dear brethren, we shall never be as a weaned child if we have high notions of what we ought to be, and great desires for self. If we are great men in our own esteem, of course we ought to have great things for ourselves; but if we know ourselves, and are brought into a true condition of mind, we shall avoid those “vaulting ambitions which surpass themselves.” For example, we shall not be hankering after great possessions. “Having food and clothing” we shall be “content with it.” If God adds to our comforts of life, we shall be grateful. We shall be diligent in business, but we shall not be greedy and miserly. “While others stretch their arms, like seas, to grasp in all the shore,” we shall be content with far less things, for we know that greed after earthly riches brings with it slackness of desire concerning true riches. The more hungry a man is after this world, the less he pines after the treasures of the world to come. We shall not be covetous, if we are like a weaned child; neither shall we sigh for position and influence; whoever heard of a weaned child doing that? Let him lie in his parent’s bosom and he is content, and so shall we be in the bosom of our God. Yet some Christian men seem as if they could not pull unless they are the lead horses of the team. They cannot work with others, but must have the chief place, contrary to the word of the apostle who says, “My brethren, do not be many masters, lest you receive the greater condemnation.” Blessed is that servant who is quite content with that position which his master appoints for him — glad to unloose the latchet of his Lord’s shoes — glad to wash the saints’ feet — glad to engage in sweeping a street crossing for the King’s servants. Let us do anything for Jesus, considering it the highest honour even to be a doormat inside the church of God, if we might be such a thing as that, for the saints even to remove the filthiness from themselves upon us, as long as we may only be of some use to them, and bring some glory to God. You remember the word of Jeremiah to Baruch. Baruch had been writing the scroll for the prophet, and immediately Baruch thought he was a somebody. He had been writing the word of the Lord, had he not? But the prophet said to him, “Do you seek great things for yourself? Do not seek them.” And so says the mind of the Spirit to us all. Do not desire to occupy positions of eminence and prominence, but let your soul be as a weaned child — not exercising itself in great matters.
Very often we seek after great approbation. We want to do great deeds
so that people will talk about it, and especially some famous work
which everyone will admire. This is human nature, for the love of
approbation is rooted in us. As the old rhyme puts it —
The proud to gain it,
Toils on toils endure;
The modest shun it
But to make it sure.
11. But that man has arrived at the right position who has become “careless, himself a dying man, of dying man’s esteem,” who judges what is right before God, and does it caring neither for public nor private opinion in the matter, to whom it is no more concern what people may say of an action which his conscience commends than what tune the north wind whistles as it blows over the Alps. He who is the slave of man’s opinions is a slave indeed. I would sooner go to some barbarous clime where yet the slave whip would fall upon my shoulders, and the cruel fetter would chain me to the floor, than live in dread of such a thing as I myself, and tremble with fear of offending this man and the other by doing what I believe to be right. He who fears God does not need to fear anyone else; but he who reaches that point has undergone a painful weaning, and had it not been for that he would not be able to say, “My soul is even as a weaned child.”
12. Frequently, too, we exercise ourselves in great matters by having a high ambition to do something very wonderful in the church. This is why so very little is done. The great destroyer of good works is the ambition to do great works. A little thing can be done by a Christian brother well; but if it strikes him, “I will have a society to do it, and a committee, and a secretary, and a president, and a vice-president,” (it being well known that nothing can be done until you get a committee, and a president, and all that kind of thing), the brother soon hampers himself, and his work ends in resolutions and reports, and nothing more. But the brother who says “Here is a district which no one visits; I will do what I can in it” — he is probably the man who will get another to help him; and another, and the work will be done. The young man who is quite content to begin with preaching in a little room in a village to a dozen is the man who will win souls. The other brother, who does not intend to preach until he can preach to five thousand, never will do anything, he never can. I read of a king who always wanted to take the second step first, but he was not a Solomon; there are many of these around, not kings but common people, who do not want to do the first thing, the thing they can do, the thing which God calls them to do, the thing they ought to do, but they must do something great. Oh, dear brother, if your soul ever gets to be as it ought, you will feel, “The least thing that I can do, I shall be glad to do. The very poorest and lowliest form of Christian service, as men think it, is better than I deserve.” It is a great honour to be allowed to unloose the latchets of my Lord’s shoes. A young man who had a small charge once, and only about two hundred hearers, complained to an old minister that he wished he could move somewhere else; but the old one said, “Do not be in a hurry, brother. The responsibility of two hundred souls is quite a heavy enough load for most of us to carry.” And so it is. We need not be so eager to load ourselves with more. He is the best draftsman, not who draws the largest but the most perfect circle; if the circle is perfect no one finds fault with it because it is not large. Fill your sphere, brother, and be content with it. If God shall move you to another one, be glad to be moved; if he shall move you to a smaller one, be as willing to go to a less prominent place as to one that is more so. Have no will about it. Be a weaned child that has given up fretting, and crying, and worrying, and leaves his mother to do just what seems good in her sight. When we are thoroughly weaned it is good for us — pride is gone, and ambition is gone too. We shall need much nursing by one who is wiser and gentler than the best mother before we shall be quite weaned of these two dearly beloved sins.
13. Next, David tells us he was not intrusive, — “Neither do I exercise myself in great matters, or in things too high for me.” I have seen many men always vexed and troubled because they would exercise themselves in things too high for them. These things too high for them have been many; I will mention only a few. They have expected to comprehend everything, and have never been satisfied because many truths are far above and out of their reach: especially they have expected to know all the deep things of God — the doctrine of election, and how predestination coincides with the free agency of man, and how God orders everything, and yet man is responsible — just as responsible as if there had been no foreknowledge and no foreordination. It is folly to hope to know these “things too high for us.” Here is a little child who has just come off his mother’s knee and he expects to understand a book on trigonometry, and cries because he cannot; and here is another little child who has been down to the sea, and he is fretting and kicking in his nurse’s arms because he cannot get the Atlantic into the hollow of his hand. Well, he will have to kick, that will be the end of it; but he is fretting himself for nothing, without any real use or need for his crying, because a little child’s palm cannot hold an ocean. Yet a child might sooner hold the Atlantic and Pacific in his two hands, without spilling a drop, than you and I will ever be able to hold all revealed truth within the scope of our narrow minds. We cannot know everything, and we cannot understand even half of what we know. I have given up wanting to understand. As far as I can, I am content with believing all that I see in God’s word. People say, “But he contradicts himself.” I dare say I do, but I never contradict God to my knowledge, nor even the Bible. If I do, may my Lord forgive me. Do not believe me for a minute if I speak contrary to God’s word, in order to appear consistent. The sin of being inconsistent with my poor fallible self does not trouble me a tenth as much as the dread of being inconsistent with what I find in God’s word. Some want to shape the Scriptures to their creed, and they get a very nice square creed too, and trim the Bible most dexterously: it is wonderful how they do it, but I would rather have a crooked creed and a straight Bible, than I would try to twist the Bible around to suit what I believe. “Neither do I exercise myself,” says the psalmist, “with things too high for me,” and I think we do well to keep very much in that line. “Oh, but really one ought to be acquainted with all the phases of modern doubt.” Yes, and how many hours in a day ought a man to give to that kind of thing? Twenty-five out of the twenty-four would hardly be sufficient, for the phases of modern thought are innumerable, and every fool who sets himself up for a philosopher sets up a new scheme; and I am to spend my time in going about to knock his house of cards over? Not I! I have something else to do; and so has every Christian minister. He has real doubts to deal with, which vex true hearts; he has anxieties to relieve in converted souls, and in minds that are pining after the truth and the right; he has these to meet, without everlastingly tilting at windmills, and running all over the country to put down every scarecrow which learned simpletons may set up. We shall soon defile ourselves if we work day after day in the common sewers of scepticism. Brethren, there is a certain highway of truth in which you and I, like wayfaring men, feel ourselves safe, let us travel there. There are some things that we do know, because we have experienced them, — some doctrines which no one can beat out of us, because we have tasted them and handled them. Well, if we can go further, very well and good; but to my mind, we are foolish to go further and fare worse. If a man has reached the Land’s End, and some great genius should tell him to walk on farther than Old England reaches and ridicule him because he will not go a step in advance into the fog which conceals an awful plunge, I think, upon the whole, he may be content to put up with the ridicule. Put your foot down, brother, and see whether there is anything under it — whether there is a good text or two underneath — whether there is a little personal experience underneath, and, if you do not find it, let the advanced thinkers go alone; you had better remain on the rock. “Prove all things” — do not run after their novelties until you have proven them; and what you have proven hold firmly. Be conservative in God’s truth, and radical too, by keeping to the root of the matter. Hold firmly to what you know, and live mainly upon the simplicities of the gospel, for, after all, the food of the soul does not lie in controversial points: it lies in points which we will never have controverted, for “without controversy, great is the mystery of godliness, God revealed in the flesh.” There is the food of the soul where there is no controversy in any devout Christian spirit. Exercise yourself, then, in the plainer matters, and do not imbibe the notion that you must read all the quarterlies, and master “The Contemporary Review,” and the like, or else you will be a nobody; be content to be just such a nobody as a weaned child is, and say, “I do not exercise myself in great matters or in things too high for me.”
14. The same evil comes up in another form when we want to know all the reasons of divine Providence, — why this affliction was sent, and why that, — why father died, — why those two children whom we loved so well were taken from us, — why we do not prosper in our various enterprises. Why? Why? Why? Ah, when we begin asking “Why? why? why?” what an endless task we have before us. If we become like a weaned child we shall not ask “why?” but just believe that in our heavenly Father’s dispensations there is a wisdom too deep for us to fathom, a goodness veiled but certain.
15. We exercise ourselves in things too high for us, too, when we begin considering the results of duty and hesitate to do it. A man’s course is quite clear in the word of God, but he says, “If I do that, how am I to provide for my family? If I do that, shall I not be giving up a sphere of usefulness? I know it would be right to do it; my conscience tells me that I ought to; but other people manage somehow to make notches in their conscience, and they are evidently very useful where they are.” Ah, my dear brother, pray God to lead you in a plain path, and remember, you have nothing to do with results except to receive them as tests of your faithfulness. Results must always be left with God; for if the result of doing right would be that you lost your life, your Master tells you that you must hate even your own life also, or else you cannot be his disciple. You will get helped if you can trust, but if for the sake of this or that you do wrong, — I do not mind how you put it, — you are doing evil so that good may come, and you are grieving the Spirit of God. Your mind will never get to be like a weaned child. It is not the childlike spirit to try to excuse yourself for maintaining a false position. The childlike spirit is to do what our heavenly Father tells us to, because he tells us to, and leave the consequences with him.
16. Thus I have said enough, perhaps too much, about the connection.
17. Now, from the metaphor itself we gather that the condition of heart of which David spoke was this — that he was like one who was able to give up his natural food, which seemed to him absolutely necessary, and which he greatly enjoyed. The weaned babe has given up what he loved. By nature we hang on the breasts of this world, and only sovereign grace can wean us from it, but when we give up self-righteousness, self-confidence, the love of the world, the desire of self-aggrandizement, when we give up trusting in man, trusting in ceremonies, trusting in anything except God, then our soul has become like a weaned child. He has given up what nature feeds upon, so that he may feed upon the bread of heaven.
18. It means, next, that he had at last conquered his desires, his longings, his pinings. The weaning child has his desires strong upon him, and he frets, but the weaned child is content, his desires lie still. And the child of God, when sufficient grace has come, feels no desires for what once delighted him. He submits himself so completely to his Father’s will that, if he is to do without, he does without. Paul said he had learned in whatever state he was to be content with it; there was another lesson which Paul had learned, but he does not tell us so: I have no doubt he had learned in whatever state he was without to be content, which is a good deal more. To be content to be without as well as to be with is a high attainment. Not to have and to be as happy in not having as if one had all he desired is good. Oh, blessed state to be in! not merely taken away from the breasts of earth, but taught no longer to wish for them.
19. Now, a weaned child is dependent upon his mother entirely. He knows nothing about how he is to be fed. He could not feed himself, and he must die if deprived of the care of another; but he rests quietly, free from even a trace of anxiety. I find that the Hebrew gives the idea of a child lying in his mother’s bosom, perfectly satisfied; and David puts it something like this, “Oh my Lord, my soul lies in your bosom like a child who has finished crying and fretting, and is weaned altogether.” Oh, happy man who so depends upon God that he leaves all his concerns with the God of love, and sings sweetly in confidence in God.
20. Thus I have tried to describe the state which the psalmist intended by being “as a weaned child.”
21. II. And now, secondly, WHAT IS THE EXCELLENCE OF THIS CONDITION?
Why is it desirable to be even as a weaned child? It is excellent in
every way. You will know it best by attaining to it, for when you are
weaned your desires will no longer worry you. Curb desire, and you
have struck at the root of half your sorrow. He does not smart under
poverty who has learned to be content, he does not fret under
affliction who is submissive to the Father’s will, and lays aside his
own. When your desires are held within bounds your temptations to
rebel are ended. You wanted this and you wanted that, and so you
quarrelled with God, and your Lord and you were seldom on good terms.
He did not choose to pamper you, and you wished that he would, and so
you fretted like a weaning child. Now you leave it to his will, and
you have peace. The strife is over; your soul is quieted, and behaves
itself becomingly. Now, also, your resentments against those who
injured you are gone; you were angry with a certain person, but your
pettishness has ended with your weaning: you see that God sent him to
do this which has troubled you, and you accept his harsh words and
cruel actions as from God, and you are angry no more. You do not kick
and struggle now against your condition and position, and you no
longer murmur and complain from day to day as if you were harshly
dealt with. No, if God chooses to better your circumstances you will
be glad; if he does not, you just take it as you find it, for you
could not blame his providence. You give your thoughts to something
better than the things of earth, for you now resolve as David did in
Ps 132, which is very remarkable as following the psalm which
contains our text, because there he goes on to declare that he will
build for the Lord of hosts. When your own business is all right, and
you are weaned from all fretting, worrying, and self-seeking, then
you are free to undertake the Lord’s business. He has done for you
what you want, and now you want to do something for him. You have
sought the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all other things
have been added to you, so that you are as happy as the days are long
in June. Look at the birds in the winter. When there is not a leaf on
the boughs they sit and sing; and in the early spring, when the
winter’s cold is still lingering, they pour out their very choicest
songs; and yet there is not a lark or thrush among them that has an
hour’s provision in store. Not one among them has a house or barn, or
gathers anything, and yet, according to Martin Luther’s
interpretation of their song, they sing,
Mortal, cease from toil and sorrow,
God provideth for the morrow.
Happy is the man who comes to that condition! May God bring us there.
23. When we are weaned we have gotten rid of the reasons for future troubles and disappointments. We do not get weaned all at once from everything. One person here has been weaned from confidence in riches, but perhaps his heart, his affectionate heart, is clinging to some human love, some mortal joy. Well, brother, well, sister, remember that where your treasure is your heart will go, and if that treasure is taken away your heart must ache. If we trust in an arm of flesh, we make a rod for our own backs. You never lean upon a man or woman either, and steal away from simple trust in God, except that you are preparing for yourself a trial; it may be in the treachery of the one you trusted; it certainly will be, if you live long enough, in the death of that beloved one. “Dust to dust,” and “ashes to ashes,” will be the end of all earthly joy. If a building leans upon a buttress, if that buttress is taken away it must be weakened; but if it can stand alone, upon its own foundation, then it stands firm. The man who depends alone upon his God, and whose expectation is from him, has not half the occasions for trouble that he has who is leaning here and leaning there, and leaning in fifty places, for each earthly prop will be the cause or occasion of distress at some time or other.
24. III. I have very much to say on this point, but my time is gone. I will only close with the last enquiry, which is this: IS THIS STATE ATTAINABLE?
25. Certainly. David said, “My soul is even as a weaned child.” He did not say that he hoped it would be so. We can surely attain to where David was, for he was a man of like passions with ourselves. No attainment in grace is to be viewed as the monopoly of one man or one age; in fact, we have more advantages than the psalmist, for he lived under a much more poverty stricken dispensation than we do. Now the gates of heaven are wide open, and the treasure houses and the granaries of our heavenly Joseph are free to all Israel; and, if we are at all constrained, it certainly cannot be in the Lord. He does not stint us. Did David say, “My soul is even as a weaned child?” Then no believer here ought to be content until he can say, “By the grace of God I am brought into that same condition.” This sacred weanedness of heart is possible under any circumstances. The poor have often attained it. This week I saw a poor women, entirely dependent upon what was given to her by others, confined to her bedroom, needing to be lifted from her bed, racked with rheumatic pain, and yet as happy as an angel. She was glad and rejoicing in the Lord, and one of her greatest pleasures was to sit on the side of the bed for an hour, when her pain was not so bad but when she could sit up, and get through a chapter or two; and then her heart took for itself wings, and soared up to heaven. Her soul was as a weaned child, she had no anxieties and no fretfulness. Those who took care of her said that such a thing as a murmur never escaped from her. Hear this, you poor ones! Well, and you who are better off may get there in the midst of riches, for David was a king, and yet he did not allow his worldly wealth to canker his spirit. He was as a weaned child, though living in a palace. He could get at the breast of worldly pleasures, and yet he was weaned from it. A man may be in this condition when he is tossed to and fro, and troubled. Business men are apt to say, “It is all very well for you ministers to talk about calm and peace of mind; but if you had to sell flour and bread, or measure out drapery, or look after a lot of clerks, or go into a large factory and look after a group of working girls, you would find it very difficult.” My dear friends, look at David’s life. How tossed about he was! What cares, what trials, what changes, what exceptional alternations of condition, and yet for all that his soul was even as a weaned child. Do you think the religion of Jesus Christ was meant to be kept under a glass case, and that it would make good people out of us if we were locked up in a cloister? No, it is a practical everyday religion, meant for you who have factories, and you who have bakeries, and you who have shops; the religion which cannot stand the wear and tear of everyday life is not worth a cent, and the sooner you are rid of such rubbish the better. We need a religion which we may take with us wherever we go, that will keep us calm and quiet and self-possessed, because we are possessed by the Spirit of God. May we reach this happy state and never leave it.
26. What is the way to get it? The psalmist tells us, “Let Israel hope in the Lord, from henceforth and for ever.” Faith blossoming into hope is the way of sanctification, the road to a calm and quiet spirit. You cannot say to yourself, “I will fret no longer,” and then expect never to fret. No, brother, you must expel one affection by another: one propensity must be vanquished by another. You are too ready to trust in man: trust in God will push out carnal confidence. You are expecting great things from the world, that is foolish: expect great things from God, and you will cease from carnal hopes. You are seeking from day to day for this world’s goods, you feel an ambition to rise: seek after the eternal good, and feel an ambition to get nearer to God, and the other ambition will die. You are worried by fears and anxieties: come and rest your soul upon the faithful promise, and, resting there, your anxieties will cease. I fear that many Christian people think that faith has nothing to do with everyday life; they do not expect to find that it relieves them of anxieties concerning bread and cheese for themselves, and shoes and socks for the children, and all those little troubles and worries which concern a housewife and a father. But, oh, beloved, it is not so. The heathen had their household gods, and blessed be God he is our household God, the God of all the families of Israel. The Lord hears the young ravens when they cry, will he not hear his people? The ravens only cry for food, a dead rabbit or a pigeon is all they want, yet the Lord sees that their needs are supplied, and I find that “not a sparrow falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will, and the very hairs of your head are all numbered.” These poor hairs! These little things! These trifling things! You will never be as a weaned child until you leave these little things with God, for the child has no great things. A child’s matters are all little; although they are great to the babe they are little to us. Leave your little things with God: leave everything with God. Live in God; dwell in God; have no secrets between yourself and God. The troubles of life which fret us most are the little things. If a man goes on a long walk; it is not the climbing, and it is not the slipping down the steep hillside, it is that nasty little stone which has gotten into the shoe which troubles him. You can hardly see it, but there it is, and it blisters his foot and makes him limp. Ah, dear brother, take the little stone to God. Ask him to remove that little vexation from you, for just as with God there is nothing great, so there is nothing little. The greatest philosopher in the world, or the greatest king, if his little child had a thorn in his finger, would not think himself disgraced if he stooped to take it out with a needle; and the Lord who makes all things, and calls the stars by their names, does not dishonour himself when he binds up our broken hearts. Go, then, to your God, and let your soul leave everything with him, by faith being made as a weaned child.
27. “Easier said than done,” someone says. Yes, brethren, except by faith, but to faith it is easy enough; and I boldly say here, I have sometimes found it easier to exercise faith than to talk about it. When I trust God — and I hope I do that habitually — I do not find that to give up anxiety and to trust in God is difficult now, though it used to be. Blessed be my Lord, I cannot help believing him, for he loads me down with evidences of his truth and fidelity. Once get really into the swim of faith and you do not need to struggle, the sacred current of grace will carry you along. Give yourself completely up to the Lord Jesus Christ and the mighty energy of the blessed Spirit, and you will find it sweet to lie passive in his hand, and know no will but his. May God bring you there!
If there is any unconverted person here who cannot understand all
this, I pray the Lord to make him a child first, and then make him a
weaned child. Regeneration must come first, and sanctification will
follow. Believe in Jesus for pardon, and then you will have grace
given to resign yourself to the divine will. May the Lord wean you
from earth and wed you to heaven. Amen.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ps 130; 131]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Sacred Gratitude — ‘Return Unto Thy Rest’ ” 708]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — At Home Everywhere With Jesus” 778]
[See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3564, “Publications” 3566 @@ "No. 1210"]
The Christian, Sacred Gratitude
708 — “Return Unto Thy Rest”
1 My heart is resting, oh my God;
I will give thanks and sing;
My heart is at the secret source
Of every precious thing.
2 Now the frail vessel thou hast made
No hand but thine shall fill;
The waters of the earth have fail’d,
And I am thirsting still.
3 I thirst for springs of heavenly life,
And here all day they rise;
I seek the treasure of thy love,
And close at hand it lies.
4 And a “new song” is in my mouth,
To long-loved music set;
Glory to thee for all the grace
I have not tasted yet.
5 I have a heritage of joy
That yet I must not see:
The hand that bled to make it mine;
Is keeping it for me.
6 My heart is resting on his truth,
Who hath made all things mine;
Who draws my captive will to him,
And makes it one with thine.
Ann Letitia Waring, 1850, a.
The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
778 — At Home Everywhere With Jesus
1 Oh thou, by long experience tried,
Near whom no grief can long abide;
My Love! how full of sweet content
I pass my years of banishment!
2 All scenes alike engaging prove
To souls impress’d with sacred love!
Where’er they dwell, they dwell in thee!
In heaven, in earth, or on the sea.
3 To me remains no place nor time;
My country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there.
4 While place we seek or place we shun,
The soul finds happiness in none;
But with a God to guide our way,
‘Tis equal joy to go or stay.
5 Could I be cast where thou art not,
That were indeed a dreadful lot;
But regions none remote I call,
Secure of finding God in all.
Jeanne Marie Guyon, 1722;
tr. by William Cowper, 1801.