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1821. Cords And Cart Ropes

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No. 1821-31:61. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, December 14, 1884, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, February 8, 1885.

Woe to those who draw iniquity with cords of vanity, and sin as it were with a cart rope. {Isa 5:18}

1. The text begins with “Woe”; but when we get a woe in this book of blessings it is sent as a warning, so that we may escape from woe. God’s woes are better than the devil’s welcomes. God always intends man’s good, and only sets evil before him so that he may turn from the dangers of a mistaken way, and so may escape the evil which lies at the end of it. Do not think me unkind at this time because my message sounds harsh, and has a note in it of sorrow rather than of joy. It may be most for your pleasure for ages to come, dear friends, to be displeased for a while. It may make the bells ring in your ears for ever if tonight, instead of the dulcet sound of the harp, you hear the shrill clarion startling you to thoughtfulness. Maybe “Woe, woe, woe,” though it should sound with a dreadful din in your ear, may be the means of leading you to seek and find your Saviour, and then throughout eternity no woe shall ever come near to you. May the good Spirit of all grace put power into my warning, that you may profit by it.

2. This is a very exceptional text. It is not very easy to understand it at first sight. Here are some who are said to draw sin with cords of vanity, which are slender enough, and yet they also draw it as with a cart rope, which is thick enough. They are harnessed to sin, and the harness appear to be fragile, insignificant, and soon broken. You can hardly touch them, for they are a mere sham, a fiction-vanity. What can be thinner and weaker than cobweb-cords of vanity? Yet when you attempt to break or remove them they turn out to be cart ropes or a harness, suited to bear the pull of a horse or a young bull. Motives which have no logical force, and would not bind a reasonable man for a moment, are, nevertheless, quite sufficient to hold most men in bondage. Such a slave is man to iniquity, that unworthy motives and indefensible reasons which appear no stronger than little cords nevertheless hold him as with bonds of steel, and he is fastened to the loaded wagon of his iniquity as a horse is fastened by a cart rope. That is our subject at this time, and may God make it useful to many. Beyond all things I would have you saved, you who are tugging away in the harness of sin. May God grant it. May the free Spirit set you free.

3. I shall first of all explain the unusual description — explain it by enlarging upon it, and quoting examples from daily life. Secondly, I shall enlarge upon the woe that is certainly connected with being bound to sin; and then thirdly, as God shall help me, I will encourage you to yet out of the harness. I pray that you may have these cart ropes cut, so that you may not be drawing iniquity and sin after you any longer. Oh that this might be salvation’s hour for many of you, in which, like Samson, you may break the cords and ropes with which you have been bound!

4. I. First, let us EXPLAIN THE UNUSUAL DESCRIPTION. Here are people harnessed to the wagon of sin — harnessed to it by many cords, all light as vanity and yet strong as cart ropes.

5. Let me give you an illustration. Here is a man, who, as a young man, heard the gospel and grew up under its influence. He is an intelligent man, a Bible reader, and somewhat of a theologian. He attended a Bible class, was an apt pupil, and could explain much of Scripture, but he took to lightness and frothiness. He made an amusement of religion and a sport of serious things. He frequented sermons so that he might talk about them and say that he had heard the preacher. After the sermon, when others were impressed, he was merry. He had discovered some mistake in the preacher, in his pronunciation, in the grammatical construction of a sentence, or in a misquotation from a poet, and this he mentioned with gusto, passing by all the good that was spoken. That was only his way: he did not mean any harm by it; at least, he would have said so had anyone seriously reproved him.

6. He came under the bond of this religious trifling, but it was a cord of vanity small as a packthread. {a} Years ago he began to be bound to his sin by this kind of trifling, and at the present moment I am not sure that he ever cares to go and hear the gospel or to read the word of God, for he has grown to despise what he sported with. The deliberate witticisms have degenerated into malicious scoffing: his cord has become a cart rope. His life is all trifling now. You could not make him serious. He spends his time in one perpetual giggle. Every holy thing is now the subject of comedy. Like Belshazzar, he drinks his wine out of the sacred vessels of the temple. Earnestness has a pleasantry of its own, and a bold spirit yokes mirth and laughter to its cart, and subdues all the faculties of the mind to God, not even excepting humour; but this man acknowledges no Lord within his heart, but laughs at the most solemn truths and does not seem capable of anything higher or better. His life is a sneer. He would pull a feather out of an angel’s wing and wear it in his cap. On the solemn day of Pentecost he would have drawn a picture of the cloven tongues upon his thumb nail so that he might show it as a curiosity. There is nothing sacred to him now, nor will there be until he is in hell, and then he will be finished with his jibes and flouts. The habit of being contemptuous has grown to be a cart rope with him, and it holds him most securely. I say, young men, break those wretched cords of vanity before they strengthen into cart ropes. While there is still only a slender thread snap it, before thread gathers to thread, and that to another, and that to another, until it has come to be a cable, which even a giant could not pull asunder. There are many lamentable cases of triflers ripening into scoffers, and it would be a great pity that you should furnish further illustrations. Avoid trifling with religion as you would avoid common swearing or profanity, for in its essence it is irreverent and mischievous.

7. I have seen the same thing take another form, and then it appeared as frivolous questioning. We are not afraid to be examined upon anything in the Word of God; but we dread a quibbling spirit. I, for one, believe that the more the Word of God has been sifted the more fully it has been confirmed. The result has been the better understanding of its teaching. The pure gold has shone all the more brightly for being placed in the crucible. But there is a habit which begins like this — “I do not see this; and I do not understand that; and I do not approve of this and I question that.” It makes life into a tangle of thorns and briars where ten thousand sharp points of doubt are for ever tearing the mind. This doubting state reminds one of the old serpent’s “Yes, has God said?” If the statement made had been the opposite, the gentleman would have questioned it; for he is bound to doubt everything. He is one who could take either side and refute; but neither side and defend. He could do like the eminent barrister, who had made a mistake concerning his side of the case, and he got up and gave all the arguments most tellingly, until his client’s lawyer whispered to him, “You have done for us, you have used all the arguments against your own client.” The barrister stopped and said, “My lord, I have thus told you all that can be urged against my client by those upon the other side, and I will now show you that there is nothing in the allegations”; and with equal cleverness he went on to disprove what he had proved before. There are minds constructed in such a way that they can act in every way except that of plain up and down. Their machinery is eccentric, it would puzzle the ablest tongue to describe it. I like the old-fashioned consciences that go up and down, yes and no, right and wrong, true and false — the kind which are simple and need no great intellect to understand their methods. We are growing so cultured now that many have become like the old serpent, “more subtle than any beast of the field.” The new-fashioned consciences act upon the principle of compromise and policy, which is no principle at all. To each enquiry they answer, “Yes and no. What is the time of day?” for it is yes or no according to the clock, or according to the climate, or more generally according to its value to him, for so much depends on that. Practically many are saying, “Upon which side of the bread is the butter? Tell us this, and then we will tell you what we believe.” People of that kind begin at first with an enquiring spirit, then go on to an objecting spirit, then to a conceited spirit, and then to a perpetually quibbling spirit. In the case to which I refer, there is nothing earnest; for when a man is a sincere questioner, and is willing to receive an answer, he is on the high road to truth; but when he merely questions and questions and questions, and never stops for an answer, and is nothing but a heap of quibblings, he is not worth clearing away. The last thing he wants is an answer, and the thing he dreads beyond everything is that he should be compelled to believe anything at all. Such a man at last gets bound as with a cart rope: he becomes an atheist or worse; for all capacity for faith departs from him. He is as frivolous as Voltaire, whose forte seemed to lie in ridiculing everything. You cannot save him. How can faith come to him? How can he believe who must have everything explained? How can he believe in Christ himself when he requires him, first of all, to be put through a catechism and to be made to answer quibbles? Oh, take heed of tying up your soul with cart ropes of scepticism — take heed of a truth-denying spirit. May God help you to break the bonds. Enquire, but believe. Ask, but accept the truth; and be in earnest in your resolve that if you prove all things you will also hold firm to what is good. To be always using the sieve but never to be using the mill is starving work: to be always searching after adulterations, but never to drink the genuine milk, is a foolish habit. Quibbling is a curse, and carping is a crime. Escape from it while it is still only as a cord of vanity, lest it comes to be a cart rope which shall bind you firmly.

8. I hear one say, “This does not touch me. I have not fallen either into trifling or into questioning.” No, but perhaps you may be a prisoner bound with other cords. Some have a natural dislike for religious things and cannot be brought to attend to them. Let me qualify the statement and explain myself. They are quite prepared to attend a place of worship and to hear sermons, and occasionally to read the Scriptures, and to give their money to help some benevolent cause; but this is the point where they draw the line — they do not want to think, to pray, to repent, to believe, or to make heart-work of the matter. Thinking, you know, is awkward work, and to them it is uncomfortable work, because there is not much in their lives that would cheer them if they were to think of it. They would rather not see the nakedness of the land. There is an ugly thing which they do not want to have much to do with — called repentance: of this they require much, but they are averse to it. The more children dislike medicine the more they need it; and it is the same with repentance. These people would rather shut their eyes and go on to destruction than stop and see their danger and turn back. To think about the past — why, they might have to mourn it, and who is eager after sorrow? Then there is such a thing as a change of heart, and they are rather shy of that, for they are almost heartless and do not like prying deep. If there were something to be done that could be managed in a day or two, if there were some pilgrimage to make, some penance to endure, some dress to be worn, they would not mind that; but thought, repentance, prayer, and seeking God — they cannot endure such spiritual exactions. If there were some sacrifice to be made, they would do that; but this being at peace with God, this seeking to be renewed in the spirit of their mind — well, they have no mind for it. The world is in their hearts and they have no wish to get it out. They have heard some people say that all conversation about God, the soul, and eternity is dull Puritan talk, so they have picked up an expression as parrots often do, and they say, “No, we do not want to be Puritans. We do not care to be extra precise and overly righteous.” What a misery it is that there should be people who are bound with such cords of vanity as those! These are unreasonable feelings, insane aversions, unjustifiable prejudices: may the Lord save you from them, and instead give you a mind to know him, and a heart to seek after him. Why, as a boy, when I began to feel a sense of sin within me, I resolved that if there was such a thing as being born again, I would never rest until I knew it. My heart seemed set upon knowing what repentance meant and what faith meant, and getting to be thoroughly saved; but now I find that large numbers of my hearers back out of all serious dealing with themselves and God: they act as if they did not wish to be made happy for eternity. They think harshly of the good way. You see it is such radical work: regeneration cuts so deep, and it makes a man so thoughtful. Who knows what may have to be given up? Who knows what may have to be done? Oh, my hearer, if you indulge in such demurs and delays and prejudices in the first days of your conviction, the time may come when those little packthreads will be so intertwisted with each other that they will make a great cart rope, and you will become an opposer of everything that is good, determined to remain for ever harnessed to the great Juggernaut cart {b} of your iniquities, and so to perish. May God save you from that.

9. I have known some men to get harnessed to that cart in another way, and that is by deference to companions. The young man liked everything that was good after a fashion, but he could not bear for anyone to say on Monday morning, “So you were at a place of worship on Sunday.” He did not like to say outright, “Of course I was; where were you?” But he rather said, — Well, he did look in at the chapel, or he did go to St. Paul’s or the Abbey to hear the music. “Oh,” one says, “I hear you were at the Tabernacle the other day.” Yes, he went in from curiosity, just to see the place and the crowd. That is how he puts it, as if he were ashamed to worship his Maker and to be found observing the Sabbath day. Oh, poor coward! That young man at another time was charged with having been seen in the enquiry room, or weeping under a solemn sermon. He said it was rather affecting, and he was a little carried away and over persuaded, but he apologised to the devil and begged that he might hear no more of it. He began giving way to his ungodly friends, and soon he became their butt. One companion pulled his ear that way, and another pulled his ear another way, and in this manner he developed very long ears indeed. He did not go very far wrong at first; but having allowed sinful men to saddle him, they took care to ride him harder and harder as the days ran on. It was only a packthread kind of business that held him to sin by a kind of wicked courtesy; but after a while he became compliant to his equals, and fawned upon his superiors, doing their bidding even though it cost him his soul. He was vastly more attentive to the will and smile of some downright vicious comrade — far more thoughtful of a fool’s opinion — than he was of the good pleasure of God. It is a shocking thing; but there is no doubt that many people go to hell for the love of being respectable. It is not to be doubted that multitudes pawn their souls, and lose their God and heaven, merely for the sake of standing well in the estimation of a profligate. Young women have lost their souls for very vanity, sinning in the hope of securing the love of a brainless, heartless youth. Young men have flung away all hope of salvation in order that they might be thought to be men of culture; they have renounced faith in order to be esteemed “free-thinkers” by those whose opinions were not worth a pin’s head. I charge you, dear friend, if you are beginning at all to be a slave of other people, break these wretched and degrading bonds. I scorn that mental slavery in which many glory. What does it matter to me today what anyone thinks of me? In this respect I am the freest of men. Yet I do know times when, had I yielded to the packthread, I should soon have felt the cart rope. He who sins to please his friend is making for himself a slavery more cruel than the negro ever knew. He who would be free for ever must break the cords before they harden into chains.

10. Some men are getting into bondage in another way; they are forming gradual habits of evil. How many young men born and bred amid Christian associations do that! It is a little sip, and such a little. “I do not take more than half a glass.” Then why run such great risks for so small an indulgence? “The doctor” — Oh you doctors, what you have got to answer for! — “the doctor says I ought to take a little, and so I do.” Eventually the little thread becomes a cart rope: the tale about the doctor ends in doing what no doctor would justify. Will he say, “The doctor says I ought” when he comes rolling home at night, scarcely able to find his way to bed, and wakes up with a headache in the morning? He would have done better to ask God for grace to escape while yet he held little pleasure in the fascinating firewater, and was the master of his appetite. The cart rope is hard to break, as many have found, though I would encourage even these by God’s grace to struggle for liberty.

11. “Well,” says the young man, “that is not my sin.” I am glad it is not; but any other sin if it is persevered in will destroy you. I will not try to describe your sin. Describe it for yourself, and think it over; but will you please remember the deceitfulness of sin — the way in which it comes to men, as the frost in the still evening in the wintry months comes to the lake? The pool is placid, and the frost only asks that it may thinly glaze the surface. The coating is so thin, you could scarcely call it ice; but having once filmed the pool, the sheet of ice has begun; soon it is an inch thick, and in a few hours a loaded wagon might pass over it without a crash, for the whole pool seems turned to marble. So men give way to one evil passion or another — this vice or that; and the habit proceeds from bad to worse, until the cords of vanity are enlarged into cart ropes, and they cannot escape from the load to which they are harnessed.

12. I fear that not a few are under the delusive notion that they are safe as they are. Carnal security is made up of cords of vanity. How can a sinner be safe while his sin is unforgiven? How can he be at peace while he is a slave to evil, and an enemy to God? Yet many imagine that they are as good as needs be, and far better than their neighbours. Surely such as they are must surely be secure, since they are so respectable, so well inclined, and so highly thought of. A man may accustom himself to danger until he does not even notice it, and a soul may grow used to its condition until it sees no peril in impenitence and unbelief. As the blacksmith’s dog will lie down and sleep while the sparks fly around him, so will a gospel-hardened sinner sleep on under warnings and pleadings. At first the hearer had to do violence to his conscience to escape from the force of truth, but at last he is encased in steel, and no arrow of the word can wound him. Oh you who are at ease in Zion, I beseech you to listen to my admonition and flee from carnal security. Oh Lord, arouse them from their slumbering condition!

13. This is a word of warning. I do not have the time tonight to go into all the details. I wish I had. Beware of the eggs of the cockatrice. Remember how drops of water wear stones, and little strokes fell great oaks. Do not play with a cobra, even if it is only a foot long. Keep from the edge of the precipice. Flee from the lion before he springs upon you. Do not forge for yourself a net of iron, nor become the builder of your own prison-house. May the Holy Spirit deliver you. May you touch the cross, and find in it the power which will release you and let you go.

14. II. But, oh, how I wish that every person here who has not yet found liberty, but is harnessed to his sin, could escape tonight, for — and this is my second point — THERE IS A WOE ABOUT REMAINING HARNESSED TO THE CART OF SIN, and that woe is expressed in our text.

15. It has been hard work already to tug at sin’s load. If I am addressing any here who have fallen into great sin, I know that you have fallen into great sorrow. I am sure you have. Much of history is happily covered with a veil so that its secret griefs do not become public miseries, otherwise the world would be too wretched for a tender heart to live in it. Could we lift the tops of the houses, could we exhibit the skeletons hidden in closets, could we take away the curtains from human hearts — what sorrows we should see; and the majority of those sorrows — not all of them, but the majority — would be found to come from sin. When the young man turns to paths of unchastity or of dishonesty, what grief he makes for himself: what woe, what misery! His bodily disease, his mental anguish we have no heart to describe. Ah! yes, “The way of transgressors is hard.” They put on a smile; they even take to uproarious laughter, but a worm is gnawing at their hearts. Alas, poor slaves! They make a noise as they try to drown their feelings; but like the crackling of thorns under a pot such is the mirth of the wicked — hasty, noisy, momentary; gone, and nothing but ashes left. I would not have you proceed in the path of sin if there were nothing in it worse than what has happened to you already. Surely the time past may suffice for folly: you have reaped enough of the fire-sheaves without going on with the harvest. I would as a brother urge you to escape from your present bondage.

16. But remember, if you remain harnessed to this cart of sin, the weight increases. You are like a horse that has to go on a journey and pick up parcels every quarter mile: you are increasing the heavy luggage and baggage that you have to drag behind you. A man starting in life is somewhat like a horse with only a small load in the cart, but as he goes on from youth to manhood, and from manhood to his more mature years, he has been loaded up with more sin; and what a weight there is behind him now! Grinning demons, as they bring the heavy packages and heap them up one upon another, must wonder that men are such fools as to continue in the harness and drag on the dreadful load as if it were fine sport. Alas, that men should sin away their souls so lightly, as if self-destruction were some merry game that they were playing at, whereas it is a heaping up for themselves wrath against the day of wrath, and the perdition of ungodly men.

17. Further, I want you to notice that as the load grows heavier, so the road becomes worse, the ruts are deeper, the hills are steeper, and the sloughs are more full of mire. In the heyday of youth man finds beaded bubbles around the brim of his cup of sin, the wine moves itself aright, it gives its colour in the cup; but as he grows older and drinks deeper he comes nearer to the dregs, and those dregs are as gall and wormwood. An old man with his bones filled with the sin of his youth is a dreadful sight to look upon; he is a curse to others, and a burden to himself. A man who has fifty years of sin behind him is like a traveller pursued by fifty howling wolves. Do you hear their deep bay as they pursue the wretch? Do you see their eyes glaring in the dark, and flaming like coals of fire? Such a man is to be pitied indeed: where shall he flee, or how shall he face his pursuers? He who goes on carelessly when he knows that such a fate awaits him is a fool, and deserves little pity when the evil day comes. Oh you who are drawing the wagon of sin, I implore you to stop before you reach the boggy ways of infirmity, the tremendous swamps of old age!

18. Remember, friends, if any of you are still harnessed to your sins, and have been so for years, the day will come when the load will crush the horse. It is a dreadful thing when the sins which were drawn at last drive the drawer before them. In the town where I was brought up there is a very steep hill. You could scarcely get out of the town without going down a hill, but one is especially precipitous, and I remember once hearing a cry in the streets, for a huge wagon had rolled over the horses that were going down the hill with it. The load had crushed the creatures that were supposed to draw it. There comes a time with a man when it is not so much he who consumes the drink as the drink that consumes him; he is drowned in his cups, sucked down by what he himself sucked in. A man was voracious, perhaps, in food, and at last his gluttony swallowed him; at one grim morsel he went down the throat of the old dragon of selfish greed. Or the man was lustful, and at last his vice devoured him. It is an awful thing when it is not the man who follows the devil, but the devil that drives the man before him as though he were his laden donkey. The man’s worst self, that had been kept in the rear and put under restraint, at last gets up and comes to the front, and the better self, if ever he had such, is dragged on an unwilling captive at the chariot wheels of its destroyer.

19. I am sure that there is no one here who desires to be eternally a sinner: let him then beware, for each hour of sin brings its hardness and its difficulty of change. No one here wants to get into such a condition that he cannot help any longer sinning: let him not be so unwise as to play with sin. When the moral brakes are taken off, and the engine is on the down-grade, and must run on at a perpetually quickening rate for ever, then the soul is lost indeed. I am sure there is not a man here who wants to commit himself to an eternity of hating God, an eternity of lust, an eternity of wickedness and consequent wretchedness. Why then do you continue to harden your hearts? If you do not wish to rush down the decline, put on the brake tonight: may God help you to do so; or, to come back to the text, let the packthreads be broken, and the cords of vanity be thrown aside, before the cart rope shall have fastened you for ever to the Juggernaut cart of your sin and your destruction.

20. III. Now I want to offer SOME ENCOURAGEMENT FOR BREAKING LOOSE. It is time I did.

21. I do not wish to preach a sad unhappy sermon tonight; but I do long to see everyone here saved from sin. My heart cries to God that as long as I am able to preach, I may not preach in vain. God knows I have never shunned to speak what I have thought, and to speak very plainly and very directly to you. I never come into this pulpit with the notion that I must not say a sharp thing, or someone will be offended, and I must not deal with common sins, for someone will say that I am coarse. I do not care the snap of a finger what you choose to say about me, if you will only forsake sin and be reconciled to God by the death of his Son. That is the one and only thing my heart craves, and for that purpose I have given earnest warnings at this time. I may not be spared to speak with you for much longer, and therefore I am all the more earnest to impress you while I may. Help me, oh Spirit of God!

22. Now, listen. There is hope for every harnessed slave of Satan. There is hope for those who are most securely bound. “Oh,” you say, “I am afraid that I have gotten into the cart-rope stage; for I seem bound to perish in my sin, I cannot break loose from it.” Listen. Jesus Christ has come into the world to rescue those who are bound with chains. That is to say, God himself has taken upon himself human nature, with this intention — that he may save men from their sins. That blessed, perfect babe, such as never mother before had ever seen, — that virgin’s child — when they named him, it was said, “You shall call his name Jesus, for he shall save his people from their sins.” He has come to this world in our nature on purpose to save men from their sins. He can cut the harness which binds you to Satan’s chariot. He can take you out of the shafts. He can set you free tonight. You have been dragging on for years, and you think there is no chance for you — but there is more than a chance, there is the certainty of salvation if you trust in Jesus. I remember reading a famous writer’s description of a wretched cab-horse which was old and worn out and yet kept on its regular round of toil. They never took him out of harness for fear they should never be able to get his poor old carcass into it again. He had been in the shafts for so many years that they feared if they took him out of them he would fall to pieces, and so they let him stay where he was accustomed to be. Some men are just like that. They have been in the shafts of sin for so many years that they imagine that if they were once to alter they would drop to pieces. But it is not so, old friend. We are persuaded of better things concerning you, and things that accompany salvation. The Lord will make a new creature of you. When he cuts the harness and brings you out from between those shafts which have so long held you, you will not know yourself. When old things have passed away you will be a wonder to many. Is it not said of Augustine that after his conversion he was met by a fallen woman who had known him in his sin, and he passed her by? She said, “Austin, it is I”; and he turned and said, “But I am not Austin; I am not the man you once knew, for I have become a new creature in Christ Jesus.” That is what the Lord Jesus Christ can do for you. Do you not believe it? It is true, whether you believe it or not. Oh that you would look to Jesus and begin to live! It is time a change was made; is it not? Who can change you except the Lord Jesus?

23. Let me tell you another thing that ought to cheer you, and it is this. You are bound with the cords of sin, and in order that all this sin of yours might effectively be put away, the Lord Jesus, the Son of the Highest, was himself bound. They took him in the garden of Gethsemane, and bound his hands, and led him off to Pilate and Herod. They brought him bound before the Roman governor. He was bound when they scourged him. He was bound when they brought him out bearing his cross. He was fastened hand and foot as they drove in the nails, and so fixed him with rivets of iron to his cross. There he hung, fastened to the cruel tree, for sinners such as you are. If you come and trust him tonight you shall find that for you he endured the wrath of God, for you he paid the penalty of death, so that he might set you free. He bore it that you should not bear it: he died for you that you might not die. His substitution shall be your deliverance. Oh, come, all bound and guilty as you are, and look to his dear cross, and trust yourself with him; and you shall be set free.

24. May God grant that it may be done at this very moment.

25. I will tell you another cheering fact to help you to overcome your sin, and break the cart ropes that now bind you, — There is in the world a mysterious Being whom you do not know, but whom some of us know, who is able to accomplish your liberty. There dwells upon this earth a mysterious Being, whose office it is to renew the fallen, and restore the wandering. We cannot see him, or hear him, yet he dwells in some of us, as Lord of our nature. His chosen residence is a broken heart and a contrite spirit. That most powerful Being is God, the third person of the blessed Trinity, the Holy Spirit, who was given at Pentecost and who has never been recalled, but remains on earth to bless the people of God. He is still here and wherever there is a soul that would be free from sin this free Spirit waits to help him. Wherever there is a spirit that loathes its own unholiness, this Holy Spirit waits to cleanse him. Wherever there is a groaning one asking to be made pure, this pure Spirit is ready to come and dwell in him, and make him pure as God is pure. Oh, my hearer, he waits to bless you now: he is blessing you while I speak. I feel as if his divine energy went out with the word and entered into your soul as you are listening. I trust I am not mistaken. If you believe in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, believe also in the power of the Holy Spirit to make you a new creature, and cleanse you, and deliver you from every fetter, and make you the Lord’s free man.

26. I will tell you one more thing, and I will be finished. Our experience should be a great encouragement to you. I have tried to preach to you who are in the harness; poor worn-out cab-horses to the devil, post-horses {c} of Satan that seem never to have a holiday, dragging your cart of sin behind you through the slush of the foul city of Vanity. The mercy is that you are not horses, but men born for nobler purposes. You may be free, for some of us are free. Oh, what a load I had behind me once: my wagon of inbred sin was a huge one indeed. Had it not been for the grace of God I should have perished in the impossible attempt to move it. I do not think that my load with respect to overt sin was at all like what some of you are dragging, for I was only a child, and had not yet plunged into the follies of the world; but then I had a dogged will, a high spirit, an intense activity, and a daring mind, and all this would have driven me headlong to perdition if the Spirit of God had not worked in me to subdue me to the will of the Lord. I felt within my spirit the boilings up of that secret cauldron of corruption which is in every human heart — and I felt that I was ruined before God, and that there was no hope for me. My burden of inward sin at fifteen years of age was such that I did not know what to do. We have seen pictures of the Arabs dragging those great Nineveh bulls for Mr. Leyard, hundreds of them tugging away; and I have imagined how Pharaoh’s subjects, the Egyptians, must have sweated and smarted when they had to drag some of the immense blocks of which his obelisks were composed, — thousands of men dragging one block of masonry; and I seemed to have just such a load as that behind me, and it would not budge. I prayed, and it would not move. I took to reading my Bible, but my load would not stir. It seemed stuck in the mire, and no struggling would move the awful weight. The wheels were in deep ruts. My load would not be moved, and I did not know what to do. I cried to God in my agony, and I thought I must die if I did not get delivered from my monstrous encumbrance: but it would not stir. I have no drag behind me now. Glory be to God, I am not bound with a cart rope to the old wagon. I have no hamper behind me, and as I look back for the old ruts where the cart stopped for so long I cannot even see their tracks. The enormous weight is not there! It is completely gone! One came by who wore a crown of thorns: I knew him by the marks in his hands and in his feet; and he said, “Trust me, and I will set you free.” I trusted him, and the enormous weight behind me was gone. It disappeared. As I was told, it sank into his sepulchre, and it lies buried there, never to come out again. My cart rope snapped, my cords of vanity melted, I was out of harness. Then I said, “The snare is broken, and my soul has escaped as a bird out of the snare of the fowler. I will tell the story of my deliverance as long as I live.” I can say tonight,

   E’er since by faith I saw the stream
      His flowing wounds supply,
   Redeeming love has been my theme,
      And shall be till I die.

27. Oh, my beloved hearers, believe in Christ as I did. The gospel comes to each sorrowing sinner, and it says, — Trust the Saviour and there is joy for you. There is only a veil of gauze between you and peace; move the hand of faith, and that veil will be torn to pieces. There is only a step between your misery and music and dancing and a life of perpetual delights; take that step out of self and into Christ, and all is changed for ever. Ask Jesus to break your bonds, and with a touch of his pierced hand, he will make you free as the swallow on the wing which no cage can hold. You shall see him, and see your sin never again for ever.

28. May God bless you, and break the cart ropes, and remove the cords of vanity, for Jesus’ sake. Amen.

   Listen now! the Lord hath done it!
      For he loved us unto death;
   It is finished! He has saved us!
      Only trust to what he saith.
   He hath done it! Come and bless him,
      Spend in praise your ransomed breath
            Evermore and evermore.
   Oh, believe the Lord hath done it!
      Wherefore linger? Wherefore doubt?
   All the cloud of black transgression
      He himself hath blotted out.
   He hath done it! Come and bless him,
      Swell the grand thanksgiving shout,
            Evermore and evermore.
[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Isa 5]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Work of Grace as a Whole — All Due To Grace” 235}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Supplicating” 587}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — Jesus Died For Me” 553}

{a} Packthread: Stout thread or twine such as is used for sewing or tying up packs or bundles. OED.
{b} Juggernaut: Hindu Myth. A title of Krishna, the eighth avatar of Vishnu; spec., the uncouth idol of this deity in Orissa, annually dragged in procession on an enormous cart, under the wheels of which many devotees are said to have formerly thrown themselves to be crushed. OED.
{c} Post-horse: A horse kept at a post-house or inn for the use of post-riders, or for hire for the conveyance of travellers. OED.

To My Hearers And Readers.

Dear Friends, — Owing to delays upon the road, I only reached this place on Saturday night, {Januray 31} wearied and weak; but this morning I am refreshed, and hope to rest in real earnest. I should not sit down to write these lines were it not for the persistent requests of many friends who are so kindly interested in me. It is a joy to live in the hearts of others and to be thought of by them. But what is to be said of the great privilege of being thought upon by the Lord? “This honour have all the saints.” Each one of them may say, “I am poor and needy, yet the Lord thinks upon me.” Hence he delights to hear from us because his delight is in us. What joy lies in the assurance that his thoughts towards us are thoughts of peace, and not of evil! “How precious also are your thoughts to me, oh God!” We are often wandering in thought, or we are cast down, and doubtful, and anxious; but he says, “My thoughts are not your thoughts.” “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed, but my kindness shall not depart from you.”

In this confidence let us possess our souls. Our lives, our cares, our trials, our concerns are all considered by a love which never grows cold, a wisdom which never makes a mistake, and a power which never fails. Therefore, let us have delight in the Almighty, and lift up our faces to God, since he takes pleasure in his people, and remembers them in their low estate with a mercy which endures for ever.

                  Yours in the ever-remembering Father,
                  C. H. Spurgeon.
Mentone, February 1st.

The Work of Grace as a Whole
235 — All Due To Grace
1 All that I was, my sin, my guilt,
   My death, was all mine own;
   All that I am, I owe to thee,
   My gracious God alone.
2 The evil of my former state
   Was mine, and only mine;
   The good in which I now rejoice
   Is thine, and only thine.
3 The darkness of my former state,
   The bondage — all was mine;
   The light of life in which I walk,
   The liberty — is thine.
4 Thy grace that made me feel my sin
   It taught me to believe;
   Then, in believing, peace I found,
   And now I live, I live.
5 All that I am, e’en here on earth,
   All that I hope to be,
   When Jesus comes and glory dawns,
   I owe it, Lord, to thee.
                     Horatius Bonar, 1856.

The Christian, Contrite Cries
587 — Supplicating <8.7.>
1 Jesus, full of all compassion,
      Hear thy humble suppliant’s cry:
   Let me know thy great salvation:
      See! I languish, faint, and die.
2 Guilty, but with heart relenting,
      Overwhelm’d with helpless grief,
   Prostrate at thy feet repenting,
      Send, oh send me quick relief!
3 Whither should a wretch be flying,
      But to him who comfort gives? — 
   Whither, from the dread of dying,
      But to him who ever lives?
4 While I view thee, wounded, grieving,
      Breathless on the cursed tree,
   Fain I’d feel my heart believing
      That thou suffer’dst thus for me.
5 Hear, then blessed Saviour, hear me;
      My soul cleaveth to the dust;
   Send the Comforter to cheer me;
      Lo! in thee I put my trust.
6 On the word thy blood hath sealed
      Hangs my everlasting all:
   Let thy arm be now revealed;
      Stay, oh stay me, lest I fall!
7 In the world of endless ruin,
      Let it never, Lord, be said,
   “Here’s a soul that perish’d suing
      For the boasted Saviour’s aid!”
8 Saved — the deed shall spread new glory
      Through the shining realms above!
   Angels sing the pleasing story,
      All enraptured with thy love!
                     Daniel Turner, 1787.

Gospel, Received by Faith
553 — Jesus Died For Me
1 Great God, when I approach thy throne,
      And all thy glory see;
   This is my stay, and this alone,
      That Jesus died for me.
2 How can a soul condemn’d to die
      Escape the just decree?
   A vile, unworthy wretch am I,
      But Jesus died for me.
3 Burden’d with sin’s oppressive chain,
      Oh, how can I get free?
   No peace can all my efforts gain,
      But Jesus died for me.
4 My course I could not safely steer
      Through life’s tempestuous sea,
   Did not this truth relieve my fear,
      That Jesus died for me.
5 And, Lord, when I behold thy face,
      This must be all my plea — 
   Save me by thy almighty grace,
      For Jesus died for me.
               William Hiley Bathurst, 1831.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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