2085. A Dirge For The Down-Grade, And A Song For Faith

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No. 2085-35:265. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, April 18, 1889, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her. {Isa 66:10}

1. A mourner is always an interesting person. We pass by joyful people without a thought; but when we see the signs of woe we pause, and sympathize even if we dare not enquire. The newly-made widow, the fatherless child, the bereaved husband, these have a history in which our common humanity is interested. “One touch of nature makes the whole world kin”; and when that natural touch comes from the hand of sorrow, that kinship is quick to show itself.

2. The highest class of mourner is one whose griefs are neither selfish nor grovelling. He who bears spiritual sorrow on account of others is of a nobler order than the man who laments his personal woes. This man has not only bowed his shoulder to the inevitable load of personal trouble, but he is obeying the command, “Bear each other’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” The most excellent class of mourner is the mourner in Zion, the mourner for Zion, the mourner with Zion. If you love the church of God, you will share her joys; but when she passes through the dark defiles of persecution, or the rushing waters of discord, you will mourn with her. God has a great regard for mourners in Zion: for in loving the city, they love the King. Christ himself has come “to appoint to them who mourn in Zion, to give to them beauty for ashes, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” It is no insignificant work of grace to make a man so one with Christ, and with Christ’s mystical body, that he sorrows with the Lord and his spouse. Whenever the ways of God languish, and we languish also, it is a sign that grace is in active exercise. Those who have learned this heavenly mourning are called to rejoice: “Rejoice for joy with her, all you who mourn for her.”

3. When I take up my parable, I shall, at the first, seem as though I had a scroll written within and without with lamentations. Under the first point we shall enquire, Who are those who mourn with Jerusalem? Next, I would pass the cup of consolation from hand to hand, while we consider, Why may they still rejoice with her? Thirdly, I shall press upon each one this question, Why should we personally mourn with Jerusalem? Surely we each have a portion here.

4. I. WHO ARE THOSE WHO MOURN WITH JERUSALEM? Those who love the church of God, and desire her prosperity; and when they do not see that prosperity, they are depressed in spirit. At this present time, the reasons for such depression are extremely numerous.

5. Nothing can make the heart of the people of God more heavy than to think that the gospel glory of the church is declining. There was a time when the gospel of the free grace of God sounded out from our pulpits as from a trumpet; but that time is past. In years gone by, you could pretty surely count on hearing the gospel if you went into a Nonconformist place of worship; but you cannot think in that way nowadays, for in some places false doctrine is openly taught, and in others it is covertly advanced. In former times good men differed, as they always will, concerning the form of their doctrinal system; but with regard to fundamental points, they were agreed: it is not so now. The Deity of our Lord and his great atoning sacrifice, his resurrection, and his judgment of the wicked, never were moot points in the church; but they are questioned at this time. The work of the Holy Spirit may be honoured in words; but what faith can be placed in those to whom he is not a person, but a mere influence? God himself is by some made into an impersonal being, or the soul of all things, which is much the same as nothing. Pantheism is atheism in a mask. The plenary inspiration of Holy Scripture, as we have understood it from our childhood, is assailed in a thousand insidious ways. The fall of Adam is treated as a fable; and original sin and imputed righteousness are both denounced. As for the doctrines of grace, they are ridiculed as altogether out of vogue, and even the solemn sanctions of the law are scorned as bugbears of the dark ages. For many a year, by the grand old truths of the gospel, sinners were converted, and saints were edified, and the world was made to know that there is a God in Israel; but these are too antiquated for the present cultured race of superior beings. They are going to regenerate the world by Democratic Socialism, and set up a kingdom for Christ without the new birth or the pardon of sin. Truly, the Lord has not taken away the seven thousand who have not bowed the knee to Baal, but they are, in most cases, hidden away, even as Obadiah hid the prophets in a cave. The latter-day gospel is not the gospel by which we were saved. To me it seems a tangle of ever-changing dreams. It is, by the confession of its inventors, the outcome of the period, the monstrous birth of a boasted “progress,” the scum from the caldron of conceit. It has not been given by the infallible revelation of God: it does not pretend to have been. It is not divine: it has no inspired Scripture justifying it. It is, when it touches the cross, an enemy; when it speaks of him who died there, it is a deceitful friend. Many are its sneers at the truth of substitution: it is irate at the mention of the precious blood. Many a pulpit, where Christ was once lifted high in all the glory of his atoning death, is now profaned by those who criticize justification by faith. In fact, men are not now to be saved by faith, but by doubt. Those who love the church of God feel heavy at heart, because the teachers of the people cause them to err. Even from a national point of view, men of foresight see reasons for grave concern. Cowper sang, in his day, words worthy to be remembered now: —

   When nations are to perish in their sins,
   ’Tis in the church the leprosy begins:
   The priest, whose office is, with zeal sincere,
   To watch the fountain, and preserve it clear,
   Carelessly nods and sleeps upon the brink,
   While others poison what the flock must drink.
   His unsuspecting sheep believe it pure,
   And, tainted by the very means of cure,
   Catch from each other a contagious spot,
   The foul forerunner of a general rot.
   Then Truth is hushed, that Heresy may preach,
   And all is trash that Reason cannot reach.

The old motto of the city of Glasgow was, “Let Glasgow flourish by the preaching of the Word.” Our country has flourished by the preaching of the Word; and, under God, she has been raised to eminence, because of her Protestant Christianity; and when she departs from this, the reason for maintaining her greatness will have ceased. This makes us mourn.

6. Another reason for mourning happens when we see the holiness of the visible church beclouded. I trust I am not given to finding fault where there is no fault; but I cannot open my eyes without seeing things done in our churches which, thirty years ago, were not so much as dreamed of. In the matter of amusements, professors have gone far in the way of laxity. What is worse, the churches have now conceived the idea that it is their duty to amuse the people. Dissenters who used to protest against going to the theatre, now cause the theatre to come to them. Ought not many schoolrooms to be licensed for stage-plays? If someone were to see to the rigid carrying out of the law, would they not be required to take out a license for theatricals? I dare not touch upon what has been done at bazaars and fancy fairs. If these had been arranged by decent worldly people, could they have gone further? What folly has been left untried? What absurdity has been too great for the consciences of those who profess to be the children of God, who are not of the world, but called to walk with God in a separated life? The world regards the high pretensions of such men as hypocrisy; and truly I do not know another name for them. Think of those who enjoy communion with God playing the fool in costume! They talk about wrestling with the Lord in secret prayer, but they practise deceit with the world in unconcealed gambling. Can this be right? Have right and wrong exchanged places? Surely there is a sobriety of behaviour which is consistent with a work of grace in the heart, and there is a levity which betokens that the spirit of evil is supreme. Ah, sirs! there may have been a time when Christians were too precise, but it has not been in my day. There may have been such a dreadful thing as Puritan rigidity, but I have never seen it. We are quite free from that evil now, if it ever existed. We have gone from liberty to libertinism. We have passed beyond the dubious into the dangerous, and no one can prophesy where we shall stop. Where is the holiness of the church of God today? Ah! were she what she professed to be, she would be “fair as the moon, clear as the sun,” and then “terrible as an army with banners”; but now she is dim as smoking flax, and rather the object of ridicule than of reverence.

7. May not the measure of the influence of a church be estimated by its holiness? If the great host of professing Christians were, in domestic life and in business life, sanctified by the Spirit, the church would become a great power in the world. God’s saints may well mourn with Jerusalem when they see spirituality and holiness at so low an ebb! Others may regard this as a matter of no consequence; but we view it as the breaking out of a leprosy.

8. Moreover, we see in the church that her sacred ardour is cooling. There is still fervour in certain believers, and fervour of the best kind, for the divine Spirit has not utterly departed from us. We have around us Christian men and women who will do and dare anything for Jesus, and bear witness for him in the open street. Thank God for such! They are a standing protest against a lukewarm age. And we still have our gracious young men who will give their lives to bear the name of Christ among the heathen, amid the fevers of the Congo River. We also have an abundant seed of the faithful, who labour day and night for the advancement of the Redeemer’s kingdom. Still things are not in Israel as we could desire. Very seldom are believers nowadays charged with being fanatical, nor even with being too enthusiastic; and this is a sign that we are below the right heat. When the world calls us fanatics we are nearing that point of ardour which is our Lord’s due. If we were indeed fanatical it would be an error; but when we are called so, since the world’s judgment is erroneous, we may conclude that we are only so earnest that the cold world is inconvenienced by our warmth. Oh, for the passionate love of a Rutherford! Oh, to seek the souls of men with the vehement zeal of a Whitfield, with the persevering purpose of a Wesley! Oh, to be carried away by the divine passion of compassion! Oh, to be completely consecrated to him who is our King, our Lord, our all! His glory should be the one object of our lives. There is reason to grieve over many churches and individuals, that they are neither cold nor hot. Let us be personal and practical, and see whether we have not reason to grieve over ourselves in that respect.

9. There is grave reason for mourning in Zion, because the services of God’s house are neglected. In certain large places of worship which once were crowded to the door, I hear that there are more pews than people. Where the gospel is gone from the pulpit, listeners soon go from the pews. Nothing is more like a sham than the apparent religious provision for this great metropolis; for we have churches and chapels in abundance, so that to build more would seem to be altogether needless; and yet, when we make enquiry, we find the congregations to be, in some cases, so ludicrously small, that if the building did not exist, it would be no more missed than a drop from the sea. “I do not know where to send my converts with the hope that they will hear the gospel,” said a soul winner to me, the other day, concerning a certain London district. I cannot conceal from myself the gloomy fact that the habit of going to a place of worship is being altogether lost in this city. There are streets upon streets where only one or two people are in the habit of attending the house of God. A man becomes even notable because he goes on the Lord’s day to a place of worship. I was amused with one who attended this Tabernacle one Thursday night, and became so much interested in the service that he came on several Thursdays; but when a friend said to him, “Will you not come on Sunday?” he replied, “Oh, no; I have not gone so far as that. I do not feel that I could become a Sunday chapel-goer.” We, from our point of view, think better of the weekday hearer than of one who only attends on the Lord’s day; but his point of view was very different. No one would blame him for going where he pleased during the week, but to observe the Sabbath would be a decided step which he was not prepared to take; for it would involve losing a name for irreligion among his associates. This straw shows which way the wind blows. Alas! there was a time when it was thought to be a duty to observe the Sabbath; but it is now a day for lying late in bed, loafing about in shirtsleeves, or repairing rabbit hutches and pigeon houses! Do not think that I am exaggerating. I am speaking in sober seriousness the sad truth, which has been reported to me by city missionaries, district visitors, and working men who live among it. In many of our villages and country towns there is a healthy habit of church-going and chapel-going, though even there it is not so general as it used to be; but, in London, the general habit is the opposite. This is lamentable. How has it come about? I fear that it is very much the case, because if the people did go to many places of worship they could not understand what they would hear; and, what is worse, if they did understand it, it would not be of much use to them. The criticisms of modern thought are of no value to the working man. If the old gospel is brought to the forefront in all its simplicity, and preached with fervour, we may hope to see the people back again to hear it; but the task of calling them back is not an easy one. Coincident with the prevalence of a questioning theology comes this religious indifference. Under the prevailing form of doctrine, our city is becoming more heathenish than Christian. Between the childishness of superstitious sacramentarianism and the wilful wickedness of doubt, the masses are sliding into an utter disregard of holy things. Reverence is dying out; and as surely as it dies we shall see a fierce attempt at anarchy.

10. The evil over which I now mourn is not only prevalent among the outlying masses, but it taints Christians themselves. Look at your half-Sunday professors, content with only one service, and weary of that! How is it with many Christian people, concerning meetings for prayer? Prayer meetings are the very soul of church work, and they bring down the blessing upon all our spiritual agencies; yet they are despised by our high fliers. In many chapels two services in the week have proved too great an effort for the constitution of the ministers, and too much of a tax upon the time of their hearers, who are occupied with the far superior vocations of card games or lawn-tennis. They could not come out two nights in a week: who would propose such a thing? So a compromise has been invented for the relief of the distressed, and they have set up a kind of service which is half lecture, half prayer meeting, so as to get the pious business all over at once; and a very little affair is that one service. This is not only bad in itself, but it is a sign of something worse. Men who can pray to edification are in some places becoming rare. One pastor told me, the other day, that out of a considerable congregation he found it hard to make up a prayer meeting at all, because he had so few praying men. It is a dreadful impeachment against the churches, but faithfulness compels me to state it, before things grow still worse. You can get a crowd to a concert, but hardly a dozen to prayer! I know what I say. Because of all this, the ways of Zion languish — those ways which once were best trodden, namely, the ways of prayer and praise. Surely the Lord will visit the churches for this. There are grand exceptions, for which God be thanked; but still it is so — that the purely devotional service is at a discount. They will come to hear a clever man; but not to wait upon God. If there had been a magic lantern, or a penny reading, or a recitation with comical songs, the pious people would have strained a point to be there; but to pray is much too dull work for novel-reading, theatre-haunting professors. These remarks will seem strange to good old-fashioned believers; but when they hear them, and know them to be true, I am sure it will cause them to take their places as mourners with Zion.

11. Another very great and grave cause for mourning to all true Christians, is the multitude of sinners who remain unsaved. Oh my dear hearers, did you ever realise what it is for a soul to be unsaved? If, on your way home, you were to stumble over a corpse, you would stoop down and look, and ascertain that the person was really dead, and then what a shock it would give you to find yourself so near the dead! You would not forget it for weeks. Yet men are dead in trespasses and sins, and we believe that it is so; but it does not affect us in any special manner. Lord, arouse us! If we had passed a prison yard, and had seen a man in chains, and heard the clanking of his fetters, the iron would have entered into our souls, and we should have felt sad for the prisoner; and yet around us in this congregation there are men and women securely bound with the chains of sin, and we are not distressed for them. We do not comprehend their bondage. We do not dispute the fact, neither do we feel its sadness. Look at the many all around us who are living in open evil, going after their lusts, plunging deeper and deeper into what must be their destruction. Look at the many who are blind, though they have eyes; who do not hear, though they have ears; who do not feel, though they are rational beings! How can we bear it? How can we bear it, that there should be any among us who do not know God, who do not love the Lord Jesus Christ, who are still in their sins? If an ungodly man could comprehend his own condition, he would not dare to sit still on his seat; and if we had compassionate hearts, and could clearly see the fact that our own children, our own dearest relatives, or our nearest neighbours, were condemned because of sin, and drawing every moment nearer to a terrible judgment, we should bestir ourselves, and we would give God no rest, but cry day and night to him until the perishing ones are saved. An unsaved soul is a sight that might well transform us into Niobes, {a} and cause us to weep perpetual showers of pitying grief, until the arm of mercy should intervene to work salvation.

12. The darkest thought for a true heart is that, while souls are lost even now, the evil does not end here; but they are passing away into that hopeless state in the next world which our Lord speaks of as the place of the worm which does not die, and the fire which is not quenched. They are going from this place, where mercy is proclaimed, to that dread tribunal where the voice of judgment cries, “Depart, you cursed.” They are hurrying away to appear before the great white throne, unsaved, unrenewed, unforgiven! Oh God, have mercy on our fellow men, we pray you; but, first, give us grace to have mercy on them! He who can see a soul lost, and yet is not distressed, how does the love of God dwell in him? We ought to be filled with sorrow, when men perish wilfully under the gospel. When our adversaries tell us that our dreadful belief with regard to the hopeless future of a lost soul, ought to break our hearts, we admit the truth of what they say — admit it to the fullest extent. But we reply, that if they conceive that we are not as tender as we ought to be, while believing that terrible truth which seems to us to be plainly taught in the Scriptures, to what a depth of callousness should we not descend if they could make us doubt what we now believe? If they could persuade us of their comforting fictions, if they could induce us to accept their “larger hope,” should we not cease from that slender degree of pity which their charity may confess we now possess? Brethren, we are as compassionate as they are: though that is not saying much. At least, we dare to incur unpopularity, and the sardonic censures of the wise and prudent, in order that we may give honest warning of the terrible woe which men are bringing upon themselves. They talk as if we were to blame for the hell we proclaim; will they give us an equal share of honour for the heaven we preach? We create neither the one nor the other; but they might at least cause their imputations to face both ways. My brethren, the terrors of the world to come, for those who wilfully reject the Saviour, ought to affect us far more than they do: none are more ready to acknowledge this than we are. Let us lay to heart the sins of our age, the ruin of our fellow men. They do not love God, they do not trust his dear Son, they are mad after sin, they are enemies to holiness: this is a heavy burden to a godly heart. They are dying in their sins, and coming under everlasting punishment; and these things should make us mourners in Zion. I am not too bold when I say that they do indeed cause us great heaviness of heart.

13. I do not think that any man, who really thinks about the condition of the church, and then turns to the condition of the world in reference to the church, can walk up and down our streets exhibiting a perpetual gaiety of spirit. Other truths operate upon us to make us glad, but this drags us down. There must be times when we get alone, and pour out our hearts like water before the Lord, and cry, “Oh Lord, how long before you will display your saving power? How long before your arm shall be made bare, and the work of grace shall be carried on to the rescue of the fallen millions?”

14. II. I have, at least, shown you that we are not without overflowing fountains of grief: but now, beloved, having mourned to you, it is time for me to change my tune. May the Lord cause the fountains of your pity to flow; but, at the same time, enable you to follow me while I say, in the second place, that WE MAY STILL REJOICE WITH JERUSALEM. Why may we do so amid such reasons for mourning?

15. We may rejoice with the chosen of the Lord when we remember, first of all, that God has not changed, either in nature, or in love for his people, or in the purpose of his grace. Before we were born, he was able to achieve his purposes of love, and he will accomplish the good pleasure of his will when we are no longer praying and working here below. When his church was faithful, his divine decree was carried out; and if his church is unfaithful, he is still omnipotent, and can, therefore, work out his great designs. He has not changed his system of working. He intends still to bless the world through the church: he intends to use his saved ones for the saving of others. I believe that he will fight this battle to a happy end using the same tactics as he has used so far, and that in the end he shall have great glory, notwithstanding all the infirmities and imperfections of his servants. An unchanging God is our security for ultimate victory. We fall back on this truth. Our Lord does not know the shadow of a change, and his eternal purpose shall stand. Hallelujah! Hallelujah! let us greatly rejoice.

16. A further reason for joy is this — we may expect the Lord to appear. Take notice of the fifth verse of the chapter before us, for there we read, “He shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.” God will not desert his own cause. Allow no such thought to afflict you. We have felt the hiding of his power: we shall yet see the unveiling of it. We have had to mourn that he allows the enemy to behave himself extremely proudly; but before long he will make them sing another tune. The Lord will wake up like a mighty man who has been sleeping; and then, when he plucks his right hand out of his bosom, he will make short work of the insects that chirp against his glory and Godhead. Jehovah will win the victory, no matter who may oppose him. There never has yet been a dark night for the patience which has not ended in a bright morning for the faithful. Those who sat in darkness, and in the valley of the shadow of death, have seen a great light: it has sprung up when the blackness was most intense, In the middle ages the darkness deepened into sevenfold night; but, as in a moment, God said “Let there be light,” and Luther, and Calvin, and Zwingli, and other stars shone out in the midnight sky, and made the gloom to disappear very speedily. Our glorious God can do so at this present crisis. Oh, for a word from the throne! Oh, for a fiat lux — “light be,” from the Lord and Giver of light, and this darkness which may be felt will be felt no more! I am not discouraged, though I am greatly saddened. The battle is not ours, but the Lord’s. God knows no difficulty. Omnipotence has servants everywhere, and power to create as many more agents of its purpose as there are sands on the sea-shore. Sitting by the fire-place, tonight, a young Luther is preparing, as he looks into the fire, to burn the bulls of the philosophical hierarchy of today. In the workhouse, among the poor children, there is a Moses who shall confront our Pharaoh and deliver Israel’s tribes. The coming man who shall startle the world with his brave witness to the everlasting gospel, is at school. Never have a doubt about it: God will appear.

   Lord, when iniquities abound,
      And blasphemy grows bold,
   When faith is hardly to be found,
      And love is waxing cold,
   Is not thy chariot hastening on?
      Hast thou not given this sign?
   May we not trust and live upon
      A promise so divine?

17. When the Lord shall put on strength, then his church shall be aroused. I read to you in the chapter — “Before she travailed, she brought forth; before her pain came, she has delivered a man-child.” The Lord can soon bring upon his church her fruitful birth-pangs, and make the barren woman to keep house. I hope to see, before I die, a revived church, holding truthful doctrine, agonizing over lost souls, and blessed with hosts of converts. Glory be to the name of the Lord, where everything is like a desert he can make a garden. Aaron’s dry rod shall bud and blossom again. His fold shall be filled, and there shall be a great sound as of the bleating of countless sheep. Since God is almighty in the spiritual realm, as well as in the material world, nothing is too great for us to expect. He who raised up our Lord Jesus from the dead can arouse a dying church; and he who cut Rahab and wounded the dragon can break the power of infidel criticism. Once more he will shake, not only the earth, but also heaven. Therefore let us rest in the Lord, and sing with joyful confidence, since no good thing will he withhold from his church, and no evil thing will he permit to do her damage for long.

18. Oh, that the days of refreshing were come! Then the church shall have many converts, proving her power and increasing her influence. Thousands shall turn to Jesus at the expected Pentecost.

19. Then she shall nourish them well, and feed them with knowledge and understanding. I fear that if, in certain churches, there were to be many converts, they would not know what to do with them; but when the Holy Spirit comes into her midst, then the church shall be a nursing-mother. We read of “the breasts of her consolations”; see verse eleven. How abundantly she supplies loving, living nutriment to her new-born children when God blesses her! Yes, the Lord being present, the ministry becomes a means of spiritual sustenance, comfort, and growth for those who are as little children in grace; and, indeed, all the members of the church become very diligent in their care for those who have recently come to Christ. I pray that it may be so among us. We have added to us, during the last two months, first seventy, and then ninety, new members, for which I thank God. It is a little church in itself; but unless you all look after them, and try to help them on, we shall be embarrassed by such large additions to our number. Oh, that this church may carefully see to all the children whom the Lord gives her; and if so, we shall indeed have the best reason for rejoicing with her! Then we shall sing, “The Lord has increased the people, and multiplied the joy.”

20. At such times there is an abundant degree of peace and joy in all believing hearts. “For thus says the Lord, ‘Behold, I will extend peace to her like a river, and the glory of the Gentiles like a flowing stream.’ ” It is a sad, sad thing when a church is not hearty in its love, and unanimous in its action. We have heard of churches of which the apostle Paul would have said, “I have heard that there are divisions among you”; and when it is so, the power to do good is not present. God will appear for his church, and end her severe dissensions, and knit the hearts of his people together; and when it is so, then there shall be a great rejoicing, and we will take our part in it.

21. Nor is this all: God will raise up men fitted to do his work. Read the twenty-first verse: “ ‘I will also take from them for priests and for Levites,’ says the Lord.” When the Holy Spirit visits a church, he is sure to bestow special gifts, and give special calls. As the Holy Spirit said, “Separate me Barnabas and Saul for the work to which I have called them,” so he will say in our churches, to our great delight. When God sent Pastor Harms to Hermansberg, it was a mere heath, and there were few on that heath who knew the Lord; but under his zealous preaching the whole village was turned into a missionary society. Oh, that we could do anything like it! Farmers and labourers, men and women, became missionaries for Christ to Africa; and a large proportion of the population went abroad, either to preach the gospel, or to form little colonies to work with the missionary, and support him. They sold house, and land, and everything, and so made Hermansberg the starting place of a great evangelizing enterprise. My beloved people, I hardly dare be so ambitious as to hope that you will ever reach such consecration! See how it was among the Moravians: every man becoming a member of their church, became himself a teacher of the Word; every man, woman, and child among them sought to bring souls to Christ. Oh that the power of the Lord would come in that way upon all our churches! And we may expect it, if it is the true gospel which we preach, if it is the gospel which we love, if it is in the power of the gospel that we live. So it must be. The Lord will yet be taking numerously out of the midst of his people to be priests and Levites. What is to become of India, Africa and China, if we go on at the rate at which we have been crawling forward for these many years? Good as all mission work has been, yet what a drop in the bucket it is compared with what remains to be done! Oh, that the Lord would come and quicken his poor dead church with a more divine life! When she is quickened from the crown of her head to the sole of her foot, then the nations of the earth shall know that God is in the midst of his people, even the infinite Jehovah, whose name is salvation. May the Lord Jesus take his servants, as Samson took the foxes, and fasten firebrands to them, and send them among the standing grain, until the whole earth is ablaze with the flame that came down from heaven! How great, then, will be our joy!

22. Brethren, the providence of God is with us. All its terrors, as well as all its bounties, work for the advance of the Lord’s kingdom. The wheels full of eyes all look this way. Brethren, the promise of God is with us. Our Lord Jesus must reign until all his enemies are put beneath his feet. Brethren, prayer is still with us: the mercy seat, the Comforter, and the Advocate. If we know how to use the mighty engine of All-Prayer, we may yet shake the gates of hell, Brethren, the Holy Spirit is still with us. He came down at Pentecost, and he has never gone back again: he remains in his church for ever, and works mightily. We only have to call upon him to carry on his sacred mission, and we shall see greater things than these.

23. III. But now my time has nearly gone, and so I must finish by asking, WHY SHOULD WE PERSONALLY BE OF THE NUMBER WHO MOURN WITH THE CHURCH, AND WHO REJOICE WITH HER? Perhaps some of you do not belong to that honourable company. I pray the Holy Spirit to make you of that host at once.

24. For, first, there is our own sin and ruin to mourn over. I spoke just now of how we ought to feel for a lost soul; but how ought that lost soul to feel for itself? Poor soul, if we ought to mourn for you, how much more should you mourn for yourself! If you should be lost, if I have been faithful to you, I shall be no loser. What if you go down to hell, your mother’s pleadings being in vain, your mother will not be robbed of her glory because you refuse the Saviour. It is your soul, your own soul, your only soul, that is in jeopardy. If a man becomes bankrupt here, he may start in business again; but if you make a bankruptcy of this mortal life, no second beginning is possible. In a campaign, a lost battle is a great evil, yet the next engagement may retrieve the disaster; but if the battle of life is lost, you will never again be able to enter the fray and do better. I implore you, therefore, mourn over your own condition at once. Sitting in that pew, a sinner unforgiven, a rebel against God, with enmity in your heart against your best friend, what a state you are in! May the Lord have mercy upon you! May the Lord make you at once a mourner in the church of God, so that you may, before long, rejoice in her Saviour!

25. Next, I may be speaking to someone who has been a backslider, and is a backslider even now. Are you sighing,

   Where is the blessedness I knew
   When first I saw the Lord?

Well may you say so. By your wretched wandering you have disgraced the name of Christ, and you have dishonoured the cause which you professed to love. You have made the enemy blaspheme, and you cannot wonder that your rest is broken. If anyone ought to be a mourner, you should be. You should take front rank among those who lament for the church of Christ, since you have done her so much damage, that you will never be able to undo it even by a long life of usefulness.

26. Brethren, do you not think that we might all wisely become mourners when we think of our own lack of zeal, and lack of care for the souls of others. The preacher would beat his chest; and he invites you to do the same. Who among us spends half the thought that he should spend upon the conversion of his fellow men? We all think of them a little; I hope most of you are doing something for Jesus and his cause. Not many things are left undone which, as a church, we can do; but the things that are done — are they always done in a right spirit? Are they always baptized in prayer? Are they accomplished by humbly, earnestly, and in entire dependence on the Spirit of God? I am afraid that our faulty service towards other men must place us among the mourners in Zion if there were nothing else to do it. We need not be ashamed to be among them, for if we sorrow with the Lord’s church, we shall also, one day, rejoice with her.

27. May we not add to this our own failures in the matter of holiness? It is easy enough to drag the whole church up, as I did just now, and scourge her as she well deserves; but it is not so easy for each guilty person to whip himself. Yet this is what is needed. Ask — Have I been as holy as I should be? Has my house been ordered properly? Is there family prayer observed, not as a matter of form, but in life and power? Am I towards my children, towards my husband, towards my wife, towards my servants, as I ought to be? Are we as upright and generous as we should be in our business, and in our connection with common daily life? Oh sirs, each of us may become mourners with the church of God if we examine ourselves with care!

28. Let me add that we all have a great concern in this matter, and we ought, therefore, to join with the church in all her griefs. If the ministry of our pastors is not successful, we shall lose by its lack of power. If the gospel is not preached our souls will not be fed. See to it that you do not encourage false doctrine, or wink at the modern apostasy. Suppose the gospel is not preached with saving power, then we shall have our children unconverted, and they will not be our joy and crown. There cannot be a deficiency in the pulpit without its bringing mischief to our households. We are members of one body, and if any part of the body suffers, every other part of the body will have to suffer too. If worldliness abounds, as it does, we shall see our children becoming worldly; we shall see them sucked into the vortex of infidelity and frivolity which now seems to sweep down and carry into the abyss so many hopeful young men and women. None of us will be able to escape scot-free from the terrible damage which evil is working all around. When false doctrine breaks out like the flood waters, it will surge around all our houses. Let us, therefore, cry mightily to God, not for ourselves only, but for the one great universal church, and for this great city, and for this wicked world. Oh Lord our God, arise, for your cause and crown! Take hold on sword and buckler, and plead your own case, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

[Portion Of Scripture Read Before Sermon — Isa 66]
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Church, Christian Fellowship — The Communion Of Saints” 888}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Spirit of the Psalms — Psalm 68” 68 @@ "(Part 1)"}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Public Worship, Revivals and Missions — The Church Awakened” 953}
{a} Niobe: According to the Greek myth, Niobe boasted of her
    superiority to Leto because the goddess only had two children,
    the twins Apollo and Artemis, while Niobe had fourteen children
    (the Niobids), seven male and seven female. By using poisoned
    arrows, Artemis killed Niobe’s daughters and Apollo killed
    Niobe’s sons, while they practised athletics, with the last
    begging their lives. A devastated Niobe fled to Mount Sipylus and
    was turned into stone and, as she wept unceasingly, waters
    started to pour from her petrified complexion. Mount Sipylus
    indeed has a natural rock formation which resembles a female
    face, and it has been associated with Niobe since ancient times.
    See Explorer "http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Niobe"

Church, Christian Fellowship
888 — The Communion Of Saints <7s.>
1 Partners of a glorious hope,
   Lift your hearts and voices up;
   Jointly let us rise and sing
   Christ our Prophet, Priest, and King.
   Monuments of Jesus’ grace,
   Speak we by our lives his praise,
   Walk in him we have received;
   Show we not in vain believed.
2 While we walk with God in light,
   God our hearts doth still unite;
   Dearest fellowship we prove,
   Fellowship in Jesus’ love:
   Sweetly each, with each combined,
   In the bonds of duty join’d,
   Feels the cleansing blood applied,
   Daily feels that Christ hath died.
3 Still, oh Lord, our faith increase;
   Cleanse from all unrighteousness:
   Thee the unholy cannot see:
   Make, oh make us meet for thee!
   Every vile affection kill;
   Root out every seed of ill;
   Utterly abolish sin;
   Write thy law of love within.
4 Hence may all our actions flow;
   Love the proof that Christ we know:
   Mutual love the token be.
   Lord, that we belong to thee:
   Love, thine image, love impart!
   Stamp it on our face and heart!
   Only love to us be given;
   Lord, we ask no other heaven.
                     Charles Wesley, 1740.

Spirit of the Psalms
Psalm 68 (Part 1)
1 Let God arise, and scattered
   Let all his enemies be;
   And let all those that do him hate
   Before his presence flee.
2 As smoke is driven so drive thou them;
   As fire melts wax away,
   Before God’s face let wicked men
   so perish and decay.
3 But let the righteous all be glad:
   Let them before God’s sight
   Be very joyful; yea, let them
   Rejoice with all their might.
4 To God sing praise, to God sing praise:
   Extol him with your voice,
   He rides on heaven, by his name JAH,
   Before his face rejoice.
                     Scotch Version, 1641, a.

Psalm 68 (Part 2) <7s.>
1 As thy chosen people, Lord,
   Once oppress’d, in numbers few,
   Trusted to thy steadfast word,
   And a mighty nation grew;
   So thy church on earth begun,
   By thy blessing shall increase,
   While the course of time shall run,
   Till Messiah’s reign of peace.
2 Soon shall every scatter’d tribe
   To her bosom be restored;
   Every heart and tongue ascribe
   Praise and glory to the Lord;
   Militant awhile below
   Rest and joy shall soon be given;
   Then in rapturous strains shall flow
   Her triumphant song in heaven.
                     Harriett Auber, 1829.

Psalm 68 (Part 3)
1 Kingdoms and thrones to God belong,
   Crown him, ye nations, in your song:
   His wondrous names and powers rehearse;
   His honours shall enrich your verse.
2 Proclaim him King, pronounce him bless’d;
   He’s your defence, your joy, your rest;
   When terrors rise and nations faint,
   God is the strength of every saint.
                           Isaac Watts, 1719

Public Worship, Revivals and Missions
953 — The Church Awakened
1 Now let the slumbering church awake,
      And shine in bright array:
   Thy chains, oh captive daughter, break,
      And cast thy bonds away.
2 Long hast thou lain in dust supine,
      Insulted by thy foes:
   “Where is,” they cried, “that God of thine?
      And who regards thy woes?”
3 Thy God incarnate on his hands
      Beholds thy name engraved;
   Still unrevoked his promise stands,
      And Zion shall be saved.
4 He did but wait the fittest time
      His mercy to display;
   And now he rides on clouds sublime,
      And brings the promised day.
5 Thy God shall soon for thee appear,
      And end thy mourning days;
   Salvation’s walls around thee rear,
      And fill thy gates with praise.
                           John Ryland, 1798.

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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