A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, January 16, 1876, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington. *4/30/2012
You love righteousness, and hate wickedness: therefore God,
your God, has anointed you with the oil of gladness above your
fellows. [Ps 45:7]
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1. We know that the anointing received by our Lord Jesus Christ was the resting of the Spirit of God upon him without measure. We are not left to any guesswork about this, for in Isaiah 61 we are told, “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me.” Our Lord applied these very words to himself when he went into the synagogue at Nazareth and opened the book at the place where these words are written, and said, “Today this is Scripture fulfilled in your ears.” The Apostle Peter also, in Ac 10:38, speaks of “How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power”: so that we know both on Old and New Testament authority that the anointing which rested upon the Lord Jesus Christ was the unction of the Holy Spirit. Therefore, by the “oil of gladness” which we have before us in the text is intended to be the Holy Spirit himself, or one of the gracious results of his sacred presence. The divine Spirit has many attributes, and his benign influences operate in various ways, bestowing upon us benefits of various kinds, too numerous for us to attempt to catalogue them. Among these is his comforting and cheering influence. “The fruit of the Spirit is joy.” In Ac 13:52 we read, “The disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Wherever he comes as an anointing, whether upon the Lord or upon his people, upon the Christ or the Christians, upon the Anointed or upon those whom he anoints, in every case the ultimate result is joy and peace. On the head of our great High Priest he is joy, and this oil of gladness flows down to the skirts of his garments. To the Comforter, therefore, we ascribe “the oil of gladness.”
2. From this great truth we learn another, namely, the perfect co-operation of the three persons of the blessed Trinity in the work of our redemption. The Father sends the Son, the Son with alacrity comes to redeem us, and the Spirit of God is upon him; so that Father, Son, and Spirit each have a part in the saving work, and the one God of heaven and earth is the God of salvation. A very interesting subject is the work of the Spirit upon the person of our Lord Jesus Christ. We see the Holy Spirit mysteriously operating in the formation and birth of the holy child Jesus, for by the overshadowing of the Holy Spirit he was born of a woman. This work of the Holy Spirit was revealed to all believing eyes when the Lord Jesus came out of the waters of the Jordan after his baptism, and the Holy Spirit descended like a dove and rested upon him. Before he was said to “grow strong in Spirit,” but afterwards he is described as “full of the Holy Spirit.” Then he was led by the Spirit and inspired by his divine energy, and this was shown throughout his entire life, for the Spirit was with him in innumerable miracles and in the demonstration and power which followed his words, so that he spoke as one having authority, and not as the Scribes. In him was abundantly fulfilled the prophecy which says, “And the Spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him, the Spirit of wisdom and understanding, the Spirit of counsel and might, the Spirit of knowledge and of the fear of the Lord; And shall make him of quick understanding in the fear of the Lord: and he shall not judge according to the sight of his eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of his ears: But he shall judge the poor with righteousness, and reprove with equity for the meek of the earth.” [Isa 11:2-4] The Holy Spirit also had a particular interest in his resurrection, for he was “declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the Spirit of holiness by the resurrection from the dead.” He was “put to death in the flesh, but quickened by the Spirit.” That same Spirit worked even more fully when the Lord ascended up on high, and led captives captive; then, succeeding his ascension, the gifts of the cloven tongues of fire and the rushing mighty wind were witnessed by his disciples, for the Spirit of God was given abundantly to the church in connection with the ascension of the Redeemer. Oh, how sweetly does the Spirit co-operate with Christ to this very day, for it is he who takes from the things of Christ and reveals them to us. He is the abiding witness in the church to the truth of the gospel, and the worker of all our gifts and graces. Jesus gives repentance, but the Spirit works it; faith fixes upon Christ, but the Spirit of God first creates faith and opens the eye which looks to Jesus. Through this entire age it is the particular office of the Spirit of God to be revealing Christ to his people, and Christ in his people, and Christ in the midst of an ungodly and hostile generation, for a testimony against them. Blessed be the name of the Holy Spirit, that he is the divine anointing, and so proves his hearty assent to the great plan of redemption.
3. We now come, however, more closely to the text. The Spirit of God is considered here in one of his influences or operations as “the oil of gladness”: we shall speak of this in the following way. First, the Saviour’s anointing with gladness; secondly, the reason for the bestowal of this oil of joy upon him; and, thirdly, the manner of the operation of this sacred anointing upon ourselves..
4. I. Let us carefully consider THE SAVIOUR’S ANOINTING WITH GLADNESS.
5. We are, perhaps, surprised to read of our Lord in connection with gladness. Truly he was the Man of Sorrows and acquainted with grief, yet this sorrowful aspect was what he presented to the superficial outside observer; and those who look within the veil of his flesh know very well that a mystical glory shone within his soul. Did David not say of him as the King of Israel — “His is great in your salvation: you have laid upon him honour and majesty. For you have made him most blessed for ever: you have made him exceedingly glad with your countenance.” I fully believe that there was never on the face of the earth a man who knew so profound and true a gladness as our blessed Lord. Did he not desire that his joy might be in his people so that their joy might be full? Does benevolence not foster joy, and who is so kind as he? Is it not a great joy to suffer self-sacrifice for beloved ones? And who is so selfless as he? Is there not sure to be happiness in the heart where the noblest motives are paramount and the sweetest graces bear sway? And was this not preeminently the case with our Lord? Let us see.
6. The gladness of our Lord Jesus may be viewed, first, as the gladness which he had IN his work. The Son of God delighted in the work which his Father had given him to do. He declared this delight as God, in the old eternity! “Lo I come; in the volume of the book it is written about me, I delight to do your will, oh God.” This delight he had shown as man even before his great public anointing, for when he was still a child he said, “Do you not know that I must be about my Father’s business?” Evidently, even while still a youth, he anticipated with delight the great business which he had to do for his Father, and beginning in a measure to do it among the doctors in the temple at Jerusalem. But the day came in which he had reached the appointed age, and he at once went out to John to be baptised by him in Jordan, being eager to fulfil all righteousness. Then the Spirit of God came down upon him, and he was openly and visibly anointed, and you see from the moment when he began to stand before the public eye, with what alacrity he pursued his lifework. We find him fasting, but he has been speaking to a woman by the well’s brink, and the joy which he has felt while blessing her has made him quite forget the need for food, and he tells his disciples “I have food to eat that you do not know about.” He felt great gladness in that woman’s joy, as she believed in him, and in the expectation of even more numerous converts from those who were flocking from Samaria, of whom he said “Lift up your eyes now, for behold the fields are white already to the harvest.” That joy in his work made him abhor all idea of turning from its awful consummation, and led him to say to Peter’s suggestion “Get behind me, Satan.” We see it also in such expressions as this, “I have a baptism to be baptised with, and how I am constrained until it is accomplished.” We read that when the time came that he should be received up, he steadfastly set his face to go to Jerusalem. His frequent allusions to his own decease by a shameful death, all showed that he viewed with intense satisfaction the great object for which he was reaching. Once, indeed, his joy overflowed so that others could see it, when he said, “I thank you, oh Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes.” “At that hour Jesus rejoiced in spirit.” Let it never be forgotten that we must not expect to see in the life of Christ great outbursts of obvious exaltation, because he was sent on purpose to bear our sicknesses, and to be “struck by God and afflicted.” His deep joy was concealed by his many griefs, even as the inner glory of the tabernacle of old was hidden beneath coverings of badgers’ skins. He was the sun under a cloud, but he was still the sun. If you have a small burden to carry, you may have an excess of strength which you can display in leaping or running, but if you have an enormous load to sustain your steady bearing of it may be an equally sure proof of your strength: so also, if your trials are light, your joyous spirits may reveal themselves in smiles and songs, but if you are severely afflicted it will need all your joyfulness to keep you from sinking. Our blessed Lord had a load upon him infinitely transcending any weight of sorrow ever borne by the most burdened of his people, and it needed the wonderful joy which I feel sure we are justified in ascribing to him to balance the incredible grief which he had to endure. The uplifting influence of this joy sufficed to bring him into a condition of calm, quiet, serene majesty of spirit. Nothing strikes you more in the Saviour than the quiet peacefulness with which he pursues the even tenor of his way. Now, if he had not possessed great supplies of secret joy his spirit would have been famished for lack of sustenance. You would have found him constantly sighing and weeping; his words and tones would have become a terror to those around him, and his whole appearance would have appeared melancholy and depressing to the last degree, whereas his manner was cheerful and attractive — let the little children who thronged around him bear witness to that. He was a man of sorrows, but he was not a preacher of sorrows, neither does his life or his discourses leave an unhappy impression upon the mind. The fact, probably, is that he was both the greatest rejoicer and the greatest mourner who ever lived, and between these two there was an equilibrium of mind kept up, so that wherever you find him, with the exception of his agony in the garden, he is peaceful and serene. You neither see him dancing like David before the ark, nor yet like David bewailing the loss of one he loved with an “Oh that I had died for you.” He does not, like Elijah, run before the king’s chariot, nor lie down under the juniper to die. He neither strives nor cries, nor causes his voice to be heard in the streets; his peace is like a river, and his heart abides in the Sabbath of God.
7. We see, then, that in his work our great High Priest was anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows, but we also notice that those who are his fellows do in their degree partake in this oil of gladness, and are enabled to feel joy in the work which is appointed to them by the Lord. While our King is anointed with the oil of gladness it is also written of the virgin souls who wait upon his church, “They shall be brought with gladness and rejoicing, they shall enter into the King’s palace.” If any professing Christian man here is engaged in a work which he does not feel glad to do, I question if he is in his right place. There may be occasional fits of depression but these are not because we do not love the work, but because we cannot do it so well as we would desire. We are tired in the work, but not tired of it. The Lord loves to employ willing workmen. His army is not made up of conscripts, but of those whom grace has made volunteers. “Serve the Lord with gladness.” Our Lord does not employ us in forced labour, and treat us like prisoners in jail, or slaves under the lash. I sometimes hear our lifework called a task. Well, the expression may be tolerated, but I confess I do not like it to be applied to Christian men. It is no task to me at any rate to preach my Master’s gospel, or to serve him in any way. I thank God every day that “to me, who am less than the least of all saints, this grace is given that I should preach among the Gentiles the unsearchable riches of Christ.” You teachers in the Sunday School, I hope your labour of love is not a bondage to you! An unwilling teacher will soon make unwilling scholars. Yes, I know that those of you who serve the Lord find a reward in the work itself, and gladly pursue it. I am sure you will not prosper in it if it is not so. If you follow your work unwillingly, and regret that you ever undertook to do it, and feel encumbered by it, you will do no good. No man wins a race who has no heart in the running. In this respect the joy of the Lord is your strength, and just as your Master was anointed with the oil of gladness in his work, so must you be. Yet, beloved fellow labourer, you will never be so glad in your work as he was in his, nor will you ever be able to prove that gladness by such self-denials, by such agonies, and such a death. He has proved how glad he was to save sinners, because “for the joy that was set before him, he endured the cross, despising the shame.” Blessed Emmanuel, you are justly anointed with the oil of gladness above your fellows.
We further notice that our Lord had this oil of gladness FROM his
work. Even while he was engaged in it he derived some joy from it,
though it was only as the gleanings of the vintage compared with the
subsequent results. He leaped in joy as well as sowed in tears, for
many became his disciples, and he rejoiced over each one of these. It
was impossible that the Good Shepherd should have saved so many sheep
as he did without rejoicing when he threw them on his shoulders to
bear them to the fold. Assuredly he rejoiced that he had found the
sheep which he had lost. But the fulness of his joy was left until
after he had ascended on high, then indeed he was anointed with the
oil of gladness, and the voice was heard, “Go out, oh you daughters
of Zion, and behold King Solomon with the crown that his mother
crowned him with in the day of his espousals, and in the day of the
gladness of his heart.” My brethren, the joy of our Lord Jesus Christ
now that he knows his beloved are securely his, and no longer the
slaves of sin and heirs of wrath, is too great to be measured. He
has redeemed for himself a people in whom his soul delights. For them
the price is fully paid, for them the penalty has been completely
endured, for them all chains are broken, and for them the prison
house is razed to its foundation: for them he has bruised the
serpent’s head, for them he has by death destroyed death, and led
captive him who had the power of death, even the devil.
All his work and warfare done,
He into his heaven is gone,
And before his Father’s throne,
Now is pleading for his own.
He now continues to receive into his joy the multitudes whom the Spirit brings to him, for whom of old he shed his precious blood. You cannot conceive of the gladness of Christ. If you have ever brought one soul to Christ you have had a drop of it, but his gladness lies not only in receiving them, but in actually being the author of salvation to every one of them. The Saviour looks upon the redeemed with an unspeakable delight, thinks of what they used to be, thinks of what they would have been except for his intervention, thinks of what they now are, thinks of what he intends to make them in that great day when they shall rise from the dead; and since his heart is full of love for them he rejoices in their joy, and exalts in their exaltation. Their heavens swell their Mediator’s heaven, and their myriad embodiments of bliss, each one reflects his own felicity, and so (speaking after the manner of men) increases it, for he lives ten thousand lives by living in them, and rejoices with innumerable joys in their joys. I speak with greatest fear lest in any word I should speak amiss, for he is God as well as man, but this is certain, that there is a joy of our Lord into which he will give his faithful ones to enter, a joy which he has won by passing through the shame and grief by which he has redeemed mankind. The oil of gladness is abundantly poured on that head which once was crowned with thorns.
9. Now, brethren, you, also, can be partakers in this joy. When he makes you in your little measure to be instrumentally saviours of others, then you also partake of his gladness, but as I have said before, you cannot know its fulness, for he is in this respect anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. “Who is this who comes from Edom, with dyed garments from Bozrah? this one who is glorious in his apparel, travelling in the greatness of his strength? I who speak in righteousness, mighty to save. I have trodden the winepress alone; and there were none of the people with me.” Returning from the battle and the plunder he has a joy with which no one can interfere, for his own right hand and his holy arm has gained for him the victory.
Again, our Lord Jesus has the oil of gladness poured upon him in
another sense, namely, because his person and his work are the
cause of ineffable gladness in others. Oh, I wish I had a week in
which to talk on this point — a week — one could scarcely enter upon the
theme in that time! We sang just now —
Jesus, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fills my breast.
The oil of gladness upon him is so sweet that we only have to think
upon it and it fills us with delight. There is gladness in his very
Exult all hearts with gladness
At sound of Jesus’ name;
What other hath such sweetness,
Or such delight can claim?
What gladness he created when here below. His birth set the skies ringing with heavenly music, and made the hearts of expectant saints to leap for joy. In later days a touch of the hem of his garment made a woman’s heart glad when she felt the issue of her blood staunched, and a word from his lips made the tongue of the dumb to sing. For him to lay his hand upon the sick was to raise them from their beds of sickness, and deliver them from pain and disease. His touch was gladness then, and a spiritual touch is the same now. Today to preach about him is gladness, to sing of him is gladness, to trust him is gladness, to work for him is gladness, to have communion with him is gladness. To come to his table, and there to feast with him, is gladness; to see his image in the eyes of his saints is gladness; to see that image only as yet begun to form in the heart of a young convert is gladness. Everything about him is gladness. All his garments smell of myrrh, and aloes, and cassia. Nothing comes within a mile of him except that it makes you glad to think that he has been so near it. The very print of his foot has comfort in it, and the wounds in his hands are windows of hope. I have known some who have had to carry a cross for his dear sake, and they have kissed and hugged that cross, and boasted in their tribulations because they were borne for him. Fellowship with him has turned the bitterest potion into generous wine. Beloved, if these distant glimpses are so precious, what must it be to see him face to face? I have tried to conceive of it, and I protest that even in attempting the conception my spirit seems to swoon at the prospect of such supreme delight. Only to hear the music of his footfall on the other side of the partition wall raises longings in my heart too strong, too eager to be endured for long. What, death, are you all that separates me from seeing my Lord? I would gladly die a million deaths to see him as he is and to be like him. What, a slumber in the grave for this poor body! Is that all I have to dread? Then let it slumber, and let the worms consume it, for “I know that my Redeemer lives, and that he shall stand at the latter day upon the earth: and although after my skin is destroyed, yet in my flesh I shall see God.” Oh, what will it be to see him? To see HIM who loved us so, to see the wounds with which he purchased our redemption, to behold his glory, to listen to that dear voice of his, and to hear him say, “Well done, good and faithful servant.” To lie in his bosom for ever, truly neither eye has not seen, nor ear heard the equal of this bliss. Even more than the bride longs for the marriage day do we expect the bridal feast of heaven, but of all the dainties on that royal table there will not be one that will be equal to himself, for to see him will be all the heaven we desire. He is better than heaven’s harp or angels, and the cause of greater gladness than streets of gold or walls of jasper.
11. Brethren, can we share this power to distribute joy? Assuredly we can. If the Lord Jesus is with us we can give joy to others. I know some whose very presence comforts their fellows; their words are so full of consolation, and their hearts so overflowing with sympathy that they make gladness wherever they go. Indeed, but the best of you, you sons of consolation, are not anointed with the oil of gladness to the same extent as he was. Above his fellows, even above Barnabas the son of consolation; above the best and the tenderest sympathizers he is thus anointed, and from him there pours out a continual stream of effective consolation which becomes the oil of joy to those who wear the garments of heaviness. So much upon the first point, the Saviour’s anointing of gladness.
12. II. Let us now consider THE REASON FOR THE BESTOWAL OF THIS ANOINTING UPON HIM? It is given in the text. He is anointed above his fellows, because it is said of him, “You love righteousness, and hate wickedness.” The perfect righteousness of Christ has brought this gladness to him, because there must be perfect holiness before there can be perfect happiness.
13. Sin is the enemy of joy. Let the sinner say what he likes, sin can no more dwell with real joy than the lion will lie down with the lamb. To be perfectly glad you must be perfectly cleansed from sin, for until you are so cleansed you cannot possess the oil of gladness to the measure that Christ possessed it. As the believer is delivered from the power of sin he is brought into a condition in which the joy of the Lord can more and more abide in him. Now, in every way Jesus intensely loved righteousness and intensely hated wickedness. He died that he might establish righteousness and that he might destroy wickedness from off the face of the earth; this is why he has greater gladness, because he had greater holiness. Moreover, you know that in any holy enterprise if the business succeeds the joy of the worker is proportionate to the trial it has cost him. In the great battle of righteousness our Lord has led the vanguard, in the great fight against wickedness our Saviour has borne the brunt of the battle, therefore, because he loved righteousness to the death and strove against sin to the agony and bloody sweat, the accomplished conquest brings him the greatest joy. He has done the most for the good cause, and therefore he is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows.
14. Now, notice there is another reason why he is anointed, and there is another view of the anointing. He is anointed above his fellows, which shows that those who are in fellowship with him are anointed too. You observed in our reading that the high priest had the oil poured on his head, but the sons of Aaron who were minor priests were sprinkled with this same oil mixed with the blood of the sacrifice. On Christ this anointing is poured above his fellows, and then upon his fellows in communion with himself there comes the sprinkling of the oil. We have our measure; he has it without measure. Now, beloved, Christ is anointed above his fellows so that his fellows may he anointed with him. Just as he ascended above all things that he might fill all things, so he is anointed above his fellows that he may anoint his fellows; and through the power of the anointing we are told that his people come into the same condition of righteousness as himself. Turn to Isaiah 61, which passage we have already had before us, and you find as follows — “To appoint to those who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that” — notice this! — “that they might be called trees of righteousness”. Now, observe, that we first read, “You love righteousness and hate wickedness, therefore God has anointed you with the oil of gladness,” and then we see the parallel with reference to ourselves, “The oil of joy for mourning, that they may be called trees of righteousness.” He is anointed because he is righteous; we are anointed so that we may be righteous, and thus in Christ we come into the condition in which it is safe for us to be glad, and possible for joy to dwell in us. The oil of gladness cannot come to the unrighteous, but to the righteous there arises light even in darkness. “ ‘There is no peace’ says my God, ‘for the wicked.’ ” The holy oil was forbidden to be placed upon a stranger to God’s holy house; and it could not be poured upon man’s flesh, because man’s flesh is a corrupt, polluted thing. This oil of gladness comes only on those who are born into God’s Israel by regeneration, and are delivered from walking after the flesh; these the Lord makes to be as “trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord, so that he may be glorified.” See then the two reasons why Christ has received the anointing, first because he is righteous himself; and secondly, so that he may make others righteous. Therefore the Spirit of the Lord God is upon him so that he may give the oil of joy to his own chosen, and make them righteous, even as he is righteous, glad as he is glad.
15. III. We will now meditate upon THE MANNER OF THE OPERATION OF THIS OIL OF GLADNESS UPON US. Jesus is anointed with the oil of gladness above his fellows. Now, we have to show that his fellows are anointed with the oil of gladness too. Did not David say, “You anoint my head with oil; my cup runs over?” so that we can say about ourselves what we say about our Lord, we are anointed, for he was anointed. Now, in what respects does the anointing of the Holy Spirit give us gladness? I shall notice eight things, and only touch very briefly on each.
First, we too, through Jesus Christ, are anointed to an office,
“for he has made us” — whisper it to one another in the joy of
delight — “He has made us kings and priests to God, and we shall reign
for ever and ever.” When the oil went on Aaron’s head, you know how
it ran down his beard, even Aaron’s beard, to the skirts of his
garments, and now today this anointing oil, which made the king and
the priest, has fallen upon us too. Blessed be his name, shall we not
be glad? It is very inconsistent with our position if we are not. Are
you a king and do you not rejoice?
Why should the children of our King
Go mourning all their days?
Sweet Comforter, descend and bring
Some unction of thy grace.
May the gladness now come to you. You are priests to God. Shall the anointed priests serve their Lord with gloomy faces? No: rejoice in the Lord always, all you priests of his who are anointed to this blessed work. “Bless the Lord, oh house of Israel: bless the Lord, oh house of Aaron.”
17. We, too, are consecrated to the Lord, for the oil poured upon the priest was the oil of consecration. From that time forward he was a dedicated man; he could not serve anyone except God; he, above all the rest of the congregation, was the man of God for ever as long as he ever lived. So beloved, we have been consecrated: the Spirit of God has sanctified us and set us apart to the Lord, as it is written, “You are not your own; you are bought with a price.” Our Lord said in his matchless prayer, “they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” “Sanctify them,” he said, “by your truth, your word is truth.” Yes, blessed be God, we are consecrated men and women: we belong to the Lord, and are vessels for the Master’s use, hallowed from all other uses to be the Lord’s. “For I will be to them a God, they shall be to me a people.” Does this not make you glad? Are you really set apart to be the Lord’s own sons and daughters, and hallowed to be used by him in his service both here and hereafter, and do you not rejoice? Oh my soul, do you not feel the trickling of the consecrating oil running down your brow even now, and does it not make your face to shine and make your heart happy, because you are now the Lord’s?
18. Thirdly, by this oil we are also qualified for our office. You see the Spirit descended upon Christ so that he might have the Spirit of wisdom, and power, and so be strengthened and qualified to discharge his sacred work. Now, the Spirit of God is upon every believer in this sense. Remember how John in his First Epistle says, “You have an unction from the Holy One, and you know all things,” or “you are able to discern all things.” [1Jo 2:20] And further on, in that same chapter, he says, “This anointing teaches you all things.” [1Jo 2:27] Well, if we are to serve the Lord a main gift is knowledge, for how can we instruct the ignorant, or guide the perplexed, unless we know ourselves? And it is this anointing which teaches us, and makes us fit for the service to which the Master has called us. Oh, does the Holy Spirit then lead us into all truth, and give us knowledge, and shall we not rejoice? Ignorance means sorrow, but the light of the knowledge of God in the face of Jesus Christ means joy. Oh brethren, will you not bless God today for what the Spirit of God has taught you? If you do not, what must you be made of? for he has taught you such wonderful lessons so full of joy. Even if he has never taught you more than this, that whereas you were once blind now you see, he has taught you enough to make your heart rejoice as long as you live. Is he not the oil of gladness?
19. Fourthly, the Spirit of God heals us of our diseases. The eastern mode of medicine was generally the application of oil, and I should not wonder if in the course of years it should be discovered that the modern pharmacy, with all its drugs, is not worth so much as the old fashioned method. Certainly, when the Holy Spirit spoke concerning sick men, and advised that medicines should be used, and prayer for their restoration, he prescribed anointing with oil. I suppose that anointing with oil was mentioned because it was the current medicine of the times, but it could not have been injurious or altogether absurd, or the Holy Spirit would not in any measure have sanctioned it. I will not raise the question, however. But a frequent medicine of the olden time was, undoubtedly, anointing with oil, and it is well known that olive oil does possess very remarkable healing qualities. I have read in books of one or two cases of the bites of serpents having the venom effectively removed by the use of olive oil. It is more commonly used in countries where it grows than here, and it is in many ways a very useful medicine. Certainly the Holy Spirit is that to us. What wounds and bruises have been healed with this oil. Before the Spirit came they were putrefying, they had not been bound up nor mollified with ointment, but now this ointment, mixed according to the art of the apothecary, with the costliest spices, has effectively healed us, and what remains of the old sores and wounds it still continues to heal; and so wonderful is its power it will ultimately take out every scar, and we shall be without spot or wrinkle or any such thing through its healing power. Shall we not, therefore, be glad and rejoice in the Lord, for if restoration to health makes us happy surely the renewal of our spiritual youth should make our hearts bound for joy?
20. Thus also we are suppled and softened. Oil applied to the body supples and softens, and, believe me, brethren, nothing is more akin to joy than softness and tenderness of heart. If ever you meet a hard hearted proud man, he is not a happy man and if he should seem to be happy in his pride it is a dangerous and deadly happiness, and the sooner it is taken away the better. Where God dwells is heaven, and where does he dwell? With the humble and the contrite heart. That is a beautiful expression of David’s, I have drank joy out of it, “Make me to hear joy and gladness so that the bones which you have broken may rejoice.” Oh, there is never a bone in manhood’s system that knows how to rejoice until God has broken it, and when it is broken then comes the mighty Physician and applies the oil and restores the bone to infinitely more than its former strength, and then each of the bones which had been broken become so many new arguments for gratitude, and all our healed wounds become mouths of praise to the Most High. We are thus softened and gladdened.
21. By the oil of the Holy Spirit we are also strengthened. Oil well rubbed into the system was anciently assumed to be a great strengthener, and I suppose it was. Certainly the Holy Spirit is the strength of Christians, and where he is the strength there is sure to be joy. “The joy of the Lord is your strength.”
22. Oil, too, is a beautifier. The Easterners did not think themselves fit for their banquets until they had washed their face and anointed themselves with perfumed oil. They were very fond of locks dripping with oil and faces bright with it. Certainly there is a beauty which the Spirit gives to men, which they can never obtain in any other way. Oh, the excellence of the character that is formed by the hand of the Spirit of God! It is a beautiful thing which even God himself delights to look upon; it is a thing of beauty, and in the most emphatic sense a joy for ever. He who is made handsome with the beauty which the Holy Spirit gives must be a happy man. Other beauty may bring sorrow, but the beauty of holiness makes us like angels.
23. Once more, it becomes a perfume. When oil was poured on a man his presence scented the air around him, and when the Spirit of God is given to us it is perceived by other spiritual minds. Can you not detect in a brother’s prayer that he has been with Jesus? Do you not know by the lives of some of Christ’s dear saints that he is very well acquainted with them? Do you not perceive that they have had a special anointing? The ungodly world cannot tell it, but saints discern it. The nose of the wicked is only pleased by the leeks, and the garlic, and the onions of Egypt, but the believing nose has been sanctified, and it perceives the delicate myrrh and cinnamon, and sweet calamus and cassia, which make up the anointing oil. The rare combination of sacred qualities which make up a holy character will be seen in the believer in whom the Holy Spirit displays his power, and as a consequence he will be glad at heart.
Furthermore, I have many things to say to you, but you cannot hear
them now, for the time is spent. Therefore I will only say, I pray,
brethren, that the anointing may be ours in all the various senses I
have mentioned. I should like all of you to go away happy. You
children of God, be as glad as you can ever be. I wish that a sacred
gladness rang through this house like a marriage peal: yet for all
that, do not forget that Jesus has joy above you all. You may be very
glad, but he is still more glad. You may sing his praises, but he
leads the sacred orchestra of heaven. “In the midst of the
congregation I will praise you,” he says. Rejoice in his joy. I have
often thought it did not matter any more what became of me as long as
he is victorious. A soldier in battle, severely wounded, lies
bleeding in a ditch, but he hears the sound of the trumpets, and they
tell him the commander is coming along, the King for whom his loyal
heart is willing to bleed, and he enquires, “Have they won the day?”
“Oh, yes,” they say “he has won the day, and the enemy are fleeing
before him.” The soldier exclaims, “Thank God, I can die.” It is the
soldier’s joy to die with victory ringing in his ears. Our Lord is
glad, and therefore we are glad.
Let him be crowned with majesty
Who bowed his head to death,
And be his honour sounded high
By all things that have breath.
If it is so we will be content to say, like David, “The prayers of
David, the son of Jesse, are ended.” We have no more to pray for; we
are finished with the world, finished with wishing, finished with
everything, if Christ reigns, and all things are under his feet. May
this joy be yours. Amen.
[Portions Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Ex 30:22-33 29:5-7,21 Ps 45:1-8 Isa 61:1-3]
The reader is earnestly requested to read these passages.
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 45” 45 @@ "(Version 1)"]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — I Will Sing To My Beloved” 438]
[See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus — ‘Thy Name Is As Ointment Poured Forth’ ” 786]
The Sword And The Trowel. Edited by C. H. Spurgeon.
Contents for January, 1876.
Welcome to 1876. By C. H. Spurgeon.
Set a Saint to find a Saint.
A few Personal Recollections of Dr. Brook. By C. H. Spurgeon.
The New Reformation, or The Old Catholics. By Pastor W. P. Cope, of Maze Pond Chapel.
The Life and Adventures of James Hampton. By G. Holden Pike.
Extract from the last Letter of William James.
Recorder Hackett says.
A Review of Dr. Mannings’s New Book, entitled, “The Land of the Pharaohs.”
The Disciples — The Jameses. By Pastor C. A. Davis, Manchester.
Notices of Books.
Price 3d. Post free, 4 stamps.
Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 45 (Version 1)
1 Oh thou that art the mighty One,
Thy sword gird on thy thigh;
Ev’n with thy glory excellent,
And with thy majesty.
2 For meekness, truth and righteousness,
In state ride prosp’rously;
And thy right hand shall thee instruct
In things that fearful be.
3 Thine arrows sharply pierce the heart
Of foemen of the King;
And under thy dominion’s rule
The people down do bring.
4 For ever and for ever is,
Oh God, thy throne of might;
The sceptre of thy kingdom is
A sceptre that is right.
5 Thou lovest right, and hates ill;
For God, thy God, is he,
Above thy fellows hath sith oil
Of joy anointed thee.
6 Of aloes, myrrh, and cassia,
A smell thy garments had,
Out of the ivory palaces
Whereby they made thee glad.
Scotch Version, 1641, a.
Psalm 45 (Version 2) <7.6.>
1 With hearts in love abounding,
Prepare we now to sing
A lofty theme, resounding
Thy praise, Almighty King;
Whose love, rich gifts bestowing,
Redeem’d the human race;
Whose lips, with zeal o’erflowing,
Breathe words of truth and grace.
2 In majesty transcendent,
Gird on thy conquering sword;
In righteousness resplendent,
Ride on, Incarnate Word.
Ride on, oh King Messiah!
To glory and renown;
Pierced by thy darts of fire,
Be every foe o’erthrown.
3 So reign, oh God, in heaven,
Eternally the same,
And endless praise be given
To thy almighty name.
Clothed in thy dazzling brightness,
Thy church on earth behold;
In robe of purest whiteness,
In raiment wrought in gold.
4 And let each Gentile nation
Come gladly in thy train,
To share her great salvation,
And join her grateful strain:
Then ne’er shall note of sadness
Awake the trembling string;
One song of joy and gladness
The ransom’d world shall sing.
Harriett Auber, 1829.
Psalm 45 (Version 3) <8.7.4.>
1 Warm with love, my heart’s inditing
Cherish’d thoughts on sacred things;
With my tongue like ready writing,
I’ll extol the King of kings;
Of whose glory
Ev’ry saint and angel sings.
2 Thou of all the sons art fairest,
Yea, thy lips are fill’d with grace;
All thy fulness, Lord, thou sharest
‘Mongst thy chosen, ransomed race;
And in glory
They shall see thee face to face.
3 Oh most mighty, oh most blessed,
Gird thy sword upon thy thigh;
Be thy Majesty confessed,
Bring thy blood-bought trophies nigh;
Let thy glory
All thy stubborn foes defy.
4 Truth and righteousness, and meekness,
Are the weapons of thy hand;
All thy foes shall know their weakness,
None can Jesus’ power withstand;
‘Tis thy glory,
Rebels bow at thy command.
Joseph Irons, 1847, a.
Psalm 45 (Version 4)
1 Hail, mighty Jesus! how divine
Is thy victorious sword!
The stoutest rebel must resign
At thy commanding word.
2 Deep are the wounds thy arrows give,
They pierce the hardest heart;
Thy smiles of grace the slain revive,
And joy succeeds to smart.
3 Still gird thy sword upon thy thigh,
Ride with majestic sway,
Go forth, sweet Prince, triumphantly,
And make thy foes obey.
4 And when thy victories are complete,
When all the chosen race
Shall round the throne of glory meet,
To sing thy conquering grace,
5 Oh may my humble soul be found
Among that favour’d band!
And I with them thy praise will sound
Throughout Immanuel’s land.
Benjamin Wallin, 1750.
Augustus M. Toplady, 1776.
Jesus Christ, His Praise
438 — I Will Sing To My Beloved <8.8.6.>
1 Oh, could I speak the matchless worth,
Oh, could I sound the glories forth
Which in my Saviour shine!
I’d soar and touch the heavenly strings,
And vie with Gabriel while he sings
In notes almost divine.
2 I’d sing the precious blood he spilt,
My ransom from the dreadful guilt
Of sin, and wrath divine;
I’d sing his glorious righteousness,
In which all perfect, heavenly dress
My soul shall ever shine.
3 I’d sing the character he bears,
And all the forms of love he wears,
Exalted on his throne;
In loftiest songs of sweetest praise,
I would to everlasting days
Make all his glories known.
4 Well, the delightful day will come
When my dear Lord will bring me home,
And I shall see his face;
Then with my Saviour, Brother, Friend,
A blest eternity I’ll spend,
Triumph in his grace.
Samuel Medley, 1789.
The Christian, Privileges, Communion with Jesus
786 — “Thy Name Is As Ointment Poured Forth”
1 Jesus, the very thought of thee
With sweetness fill my breast;
But sweeter far thy face to see,
And in thy presence rest,
2 Nor voice can sing, nor heart can frame,
Nor can the memory find,
A sweeter sound than thy blest name,
Oh Saviour of mankind!
3 Oh, hope of every contrite heart!
Oh, joy of all the meek!
To those who fall, how kind thou art!
How good to those who seek!
4 But what to those who find? Ah! this
Nor tongue nor pen can show;
The love of Jesus — what it is,
None but his loved ones know.
5 Jesus, our only joy be thou,
As thou our crown wilt be;
Jesus, be thou our glory now,
And through eternity.
Bernard of Clairvaux, 1153;
tr. by Edward Caswall, 1849.