2276. Forgiveness, Freedom, Favour

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No. 2276-38:469. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, April 10, 1890, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, October 2, 1892.

And this is the manner of the release: “Every creditor who lends anything to his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it from his neighbour, or from his brother; because it is called the LORD’s release.” {De 15:2}

1. This wonderful transaction of “the Lord’s release” came at the end of every seven years. It was according to the gracious law of God for Israel that there should be, first of all, a rest one day in seven. Next, there were feast days one month in seven; and then there came, every seventh year, a year of rest for the land, in which they did not till it, but left it to lie fallow. Then, the seventh Sabbatical year or the fiftieth year, was an extraordinary year of rest and was called the year of Jubilee.

2. I believe that there is a spiritual meaning in this succession of rests; but I do not have time to enter into the explanation of it now, except to say that, doubtless, that last seven of sevens represents the restitution of all things, when the Lord Jesus shall have gathered his people in to rest for ever and ever with himself in his glory. Until then, we go from seven to seven every week; our Sabbaths are so many rungs of the golden ladder by which we climb up to the eternal Sabbath. We bless God that we still retain, at least, that vestige of the seven; for blessed are our eyes that they see, and our hearts that they enjoy, the one day of rest every week. What should we do without it?

3. Once, then, in seven years, there was a year of perfect rest; and I cannot help remarking again, as I did in the reading, what happy people the chosen people would have been, if they had only listened to God’s commands! Only imagine a country where, for a whole year, there would be nothing to do. The land would produce her own fruit, and everyone might eat from it, sitting under his own vine and fig tree, having no tillage of the field or pruning of the vine, but having an opportunity given to him for spending the whole year in the service and worship of the Most High. When the people afterwards revolted from the Lord, and desired a king to reign over them, he told them by the mouth of the prophet Samuel, the manner of the king whom they would choose, so that they might know the difference between the Lord’s rule and their king’s. The earthly monarchs ground them down, and oppressed them, and brought them into all manner of bondage; but the Lord’s yoke was only this, that they should rest and serve him here, and enjoy him for ever hereafter.

4. These high privileges were attended, in the case of the people of Israel, with high spiritual commands. The laws given to Israel were not intended for Moabites, and Edomites, and Egyptians. They could not have understood them; they would probably even have laughed at them; but the spiritually-minded among God’s chosen people, and there were some such, would delight in these commands, and obey them. Look at the command in the present chapter, that any Israelite, who had sold his liberty to a brother Hebrew, should go free at the end of six years. It was a strange command, a blessedly generous one; but it was added that he should not go out empty, but that he should be furnished with abundant help from the flock, from the threshing-floor, and from the wine-press, and that he who gave him this fresh start in life should not do it begrudgingly. The Hebrew has it, “Loading him, he shall be loaded; you shall adorn his neck with your gifts.” He was to have an abundance given to him; and this was to be done cheerfully, not begrudgingly. A delight was to be felt in setting free a brother of the chosen race like this, and starting him once more on the journey of life. It is a grand command.

5. Do you not think that it should always be so, that those who receive much should have much required of them; and that those who serve a generous God should be themselves generous? Is there not reason in that precept of the Saviour, “Freely you have received, freely give?” May not the Lord expect of us much more than he does of others? If you are chosen out of mankind, redeemed from among men, called out from the fallen mass, quickened with a life which they do not know, and privileged with access to God and communion with heaven to which they are strangers, should not the law of God’s house be a higher and a nobler one than a law that could be given to those who are strangers to him, and aliens from the commonwealth of Israel? Do not, therefore, if you are Christians, measure yourselves with others, and say, “If I do as much as my neighbour does, it suffices.” You who are of the blood-royal of heaven, princes in God’s kingdom, will you behave yourselves like paupers? You who have been redeemed with blood, whose every fetter has been struck off, will you act like slaves? Do not let it be so. Rise to your true dignity. Act worthy of your privileges, and accept with joy from your Father and your King a law which others cannot understand, and which they would think unreasonable and impractical. It was so with the laws which were given to these people. It is true that, on one side of them, they were somewhat toned down in certain respects to suit their weaknesses; but in other respects, they were heightened and elevated above what any human legislature would ever have thought of enacting.

6. However, that is not my subject tonight. I want to speak to you about the Lord’s release.

7. It seems to me that this passage, first of all, teaches us concerning the release which the Lord desired his people to give; but, secondly, and typically, it speaks to us of the release which the Lord himself gives to us. He does not command us to do what he will not much more abundantly do himself. “Be perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.” Your Lawgiver is himself an example of the fulfilment of every gracious and noble precept in his own law.

8. I. First, then, let us consider THE RELEASE WHICH THE LORD DESIRED HIS PEOPLE TO GIVE.

9. First, they were to forgive their debtors. They were, at the end of every seven years, to release every man’s debtor from the debt which he had accumulated. I suppose that, as soon as the year began, there was a release given. A man might pay if he could, and he should do so. A man might, at some future time, if his circumstances altered, discharge the debt which had been remitted; but as far as the creditor was concerned, it was remitted. It is the opinion of some commentators that it only means that the man was to be left alone during that year; but that the debt still remained. I do not think that such an interpretation would have occurred to anyone who read the chapter by itself. You can take the idea to the chapter, and foist it upon it, if you like; but it certainly is not there in the natural run of the words. All the Jewish interpreters, albeit that they often twisted their law, are agreed on this, that it was an absolute forgiveness of the debt incurred which was intended here; and I will not give our Jewish brethren any blame for being too lenient in money matters. I think, perhaps, that they may be a little inclined the other way; and if their Rabbis all teach that this was an absolute wiping out of the debt, I think that, for once, I must agree with their Rabbis, and accept their interpretation, since it evidently is the plain meaning of the passage. I am no learned man, and therefore I read the passage as it stands. I think that the Lord would have the creditor at the end of six years absolutely wipe out the debt; and I am more certain of it because he anticipates the objection that many would begin to say, “The year of release is at hand,” and would therefore refuse to lend. Many of them, who were what is called prudent, and who were inclined towards hard-heartedness, would naturally say, “No, we are not going to make a loan when it is so near the time when it will have to be forgiven, and the loan will become a gift.” Hence the Lord says, “Beware that there is not a thought in your wicked heart, saying, ‘The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand; and your eye is evil against your poor brother, and you give him nothing.’ ” Oh, what a relief it must have been to the debtors! And when it was really done, what a comfort and lightness of heart it must have brought to the creditors, too, when they saw their poor brethren able to enjoy life again, and no longer having their days darkened with the shadow of a heavy debt!

10. The next thing was, that they were never to exact that debt again. Observe in the text, “He shall not exact it from his neighbour, or from his brother.” After that year, he was to have no further claim; or if he thought that he had a claim, he was never to use any legal means, or any kind of physical force, or any threats, to obtain what was due. It was to be regarded as done with, as far as any legal claim was concerned. The moral claim might remain; and the honest, upright-minded Israelite might take care that his brother Israelite should not lose anything through him; but, still, according to the divine command, there was to be no exacting of it. My dear brother Williams, in his prayer, spoke of the generosity of God as seen in these commands; and, depend on it, no one except a generous Lawgiver would have made such a law as this. It is noble-hearted, full of lovingkindness; and we could expect that none but a people in whose midst there was the daily sacrifice, in the midst of whom moved the high priest of God, would be obedient to such a precept.

11. Observe next, that they were to do this for the Lord’s sake: “because it is called the Lord’s release.” They were to do it with an eye to a blessing from God: “For the Lord shall greatly bless you in the land which the Lord your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it: only if you carefully listen to the voice of the Lord your God.” It is not enough to do the correct thing, it must be done in a right spirit, and with a pure motive. A good action is not entirely good unless it is done for the glory of God, and because of the greatness and goodness of his holy name. It would ennoble an Israelite to give a release to one’s debtor, and say, “It is called the Lord’s release,” to act, as it were, as lieutenant of the great King of kings. It will ennoble you to give a discharge, not in your own name, but in Christ’s name, and for his sake, because you love him. The most powerful motive that a Christian can have is this, “For Jesus’ sake.” You could not forgive the debt, perhaps, for your brother’s sake; there may be something about him that would harden your heart; but can you not do it for Jesus’ sake? This is true love, that holy love which is the choicest of the graces. That text in John’s first Epistle is not only, “We love him because he first loved us,” but many versions render it, “We love because he first loved us.” Even our love towards men, when it flows out in acts of mercy and deeds of kindness, should spring from the fact that Christ first loved us.

12. And then, like the Israelites, we may look believingly to the gracious reward that God gives. We do not serve God for wages; but still we have regard for the reward, even as Moses had. We do not run like hirelings; but yet we have our eye upon the prize of our high calling in Christ Jesus. A Christian should often perform acts of kindness, for which he may only receive ingratitude, acts of kindness to the unthankful and to the evil, in the full belief that there will come a day when Christ will accept such things as done to himself, and will say, “Come, you blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world: for I was hungry; and you gave me food: I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink.” This law, given to Israel, is a law given to us as far as the motive for keeping it is concerned. Let us do good to all men, for God’s glory, for Christ’s sake, and let us have an eye to that day when every holy action done to the Lord shall receive a reward from him.

13. Next, notice, as you read down the chapter, that they were not only to perform this kindness once, but they were to be ready to do it again. The creditor, who had absolved his debtor once, must not begin to say to himself, “I shall not lend any more; this business of the seven years, this statute of limitations, makes a dead loss of it.” No, if he does think so, the ninth verse tells him that it is a thought in his wicked heart: “Beware that there is not a thought in your wicked heart,” — “in your heart of Belial,” — so the Hebrew runs, as if such a thought brought him down from Israel to Belial, and made the man of God to be a loose man, a man who did not fear Jehovah at all. Beloved, it is the part of Christians not to be weary in well doing; and if they get no reward for what they have done from those to whom it is done, still to do the same again. Remember how gracious God is, and how he gives to the unthankful and the evil, and makes his rain to fall upon the field of the churl as well as upon the field of the most generous. He is good to all, and his tender mercies are over all his works. We may carry the idea of only helping the worthy a great deal too far, until we cease to be imitators of Christ, and rather become dispensers of justice than of love; and this is not the work for a Christian man to do.

14. Next, observe, that while they were to forgive and remit, on this seventh year, the loans which remained unpaid, they were also to let the slave go. He was a Hebrew; but he was so poor that he had sold his land, and now at last he had been obliged to sell himself into slavery. “Take me,” he said, “and I will be your slave, if you give me bread to eat, and clothing to put on”; and the law allowed it, and so there were a few Hebrews who had their fellow Hebrews in servitude to them. That servitude was of an extremely light kind, for if ever one of these so-called slaves ran away, it was contrary to law to return him to his master; he might break the servitude when he pleased. At the end of the sixth year, when the Hebrew slave might go free, it often happened that he had been treated so well in his servitude that he had no desire to go, but he was willing to have the awl thrust through the lobe of his ear, so that he might be fastened to the door-post of his master to remain in servitude as long as he lived. But at the end of the six years, the Hebrew slave was free to go if it so pleased him.

15. Now, according to the law, the slave was to be sent away freely. It was not to be thought a hardship to part with a male or female slave. However useful they might have been in the house or field, however much they were felt to be necessary for domestic comfort or farm service, they were to be allowed to go; and, what was more, they were not to go empty-handed, but they were to receive a portion out of every department of the master’s wealth, from his flock, his threshing-floor, and his wine-press. They were to go away well loaded, even as Israel went out of Egypt, as we read, “He brought them out also with silver and gold.” This was a grand law; and does it not teach God’s people how kind they ought to be? A miserable, miserly hard, close-fisted Christian — is there such a thing? It is not for me to be a judge. One who would take his brother’s labour without payment, and at the end of the term would offer him no kind of remuneration, but leave him to starve — is he a child of God? How does the love of God dwell in him? God would have his people not only do what is righteous, but what is generous; and act, not only justly, but kindly to all with whom they come in contact.

16. Further, this setting free of their brother at the specified time was to be done for a certain reason: “You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you.” How can you hold another a slave when God has set you free? How can you treat another with unkindness when the Lord has dealt so generously with you? Down at Olney, when Mr. Newton was the rector of the parish, he put up in his study this text where he could always see it when he lifted his eyes from his text while preparing his sermon, “Remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God redeemed you.” Would it not do many Christians good if they had that text often before their eyes? Would it not stir up gratitude to their Redeemer, and tenderness towards those who happened to be in subjection to them, tenderness to every sinner that is a slave under the law, tenderness to the myriads who swarm these streets, slaves to sin and self, and who are perishing in their iniquity? This was to be the reason why Israel should act generously towards slaves. Let it stand as a reason why we should act kindly towards all around us.

17. As far as most of us are concerned, it may be that we are not creditors to anyone, and we are not likely to crush anyone by exacting their debts. If we do not happen to be in that position, yet the law is spiritual, and it has its own teaching, and surely it means just this — Let us readily forgive. I do not know how true it is, but I have heard that if that venerable and godly man, Mr. Rowland Hill, had any kind of fault, it was that, sometimes, when he thought that people had acted very wrongly towards him, he could not very readily forgive them. One of his hearers said he remembered that, one Sunday, Mr. Hill had spoken very severely about a certain person, not more severely than was just, but perhaps more severely than was generous, and when he was offering the prayer, “Forgive us our trespasses,” the hearer noticed that the good man hesitated at the words, “As we — as we — forgive those who trespass against us.” He had evidently a little struggle with himself, and he was so sincere and transparent a man that he showed it even in the public service. Do not some of you, at times, find it rather difficult to forgive those who trespass against you? Possibly you have been very angry with your boy this afternoon; it would have been as well to have given him a kiss before you left home. It may be that your dear girl has in some way offended you; it would have been as well to have told her that you had forgiven her. You had good reasons, perhaps, for not doing so; I will not go into them. However, may I ask you to forgive her as soon as you get home? It may be that you will be doing no good to your child by doing what is hardly justifiable as from yourself. Be ready to forgive your children. There is a good reason to make that remark; for I have known people sitting here, who have banished a son or daughter from their house because of some marriage that the parents did not like, or for some other reason. You said, “She shall never darken my door again.” And you are a Christian man! I would say to you, if I knew you were here, “I wish that you would never darken the communion table again until that kind of feeling was gone from you once and for all.” How can you say, “Our Father, who is in heaven,” while there is still towards your own child, whether young or old, something which you say you cannot forgive? Make up your mind never to go to heaven if you cannot forgive people; for you cannot enter the pearly gates while you cherish an unforgiving spirit.

18. Or is it some friend of yours with whom you have quarrelled? You two have parted; you were dear friends once; but now, like a great cliff that has been split in the middle, there you stand frowning at each other. Let it be so no longer. If there is any personal animosity or ill will, let it be cast into the depths of the sea. Whatever may be the story, I do not want to hear it. Surely, the time has come when all that should be wiped out once and for all. “Do not let the sun go down upon your wrath,” is a good precept. I have heard of two friends who had differed greatly, and spoken very bitterly; and the sun was just going down, so one of them said, “I must not let the sun go down on my wrath; I will go, and try to be reconciled to my friend, and halfway to his friend’s house he met his friend coming to him, on the same errand, and they met joyfully to forgive each other.” May it be so with all true Christians!

19. Once again, dear friends, I think the spirit of this release of the Lord is this, Never be hard on anyone. It is true that the man made the bargain, and he ought to keep it; but he is losing money, and he cannot afford it; he is being ruined, and you are being fattened by his mistake. Do not hold him to it. If you have made a losing bargain, you should stand by it; for the Christian man “swears to his own harm, and does not change”; but if the loss is on the other side, cancel the bond as speedily as may be, and do not let the poor man have to go with his tears before Almighty God, and blame you for your cruelty. No Christian man can be a hard taskmaster; no Christian man can be a grinder of the poor; no man, who would be accepted before God, can think that his heart is right with him when he treats others ungenerously, not to say unjustly.

20. That, I think, is the spirit of the first part of my subject, the release which the Lord desired his people to give, what is called, “the Lord’s release.”

21. II. But now, secondly, and as briefly as I can, let us consider THE RELEASE WHICH THE LORD GIVES TO US.

22. Let me proclaim to every sinner here, who acknowledges his indebtedness to God, and feels that he can never discharge it, that if you will come, and put your trust in Christ, the Lord promises oblivion to all your debt, forgiveness of all of your sins. I need not repeat the long black list, for conscience has made you read it up and down, and down and up, and you have become familiar with the roll of your iniquities. The Lord is prepared to wipe them all out; he will do what he asks his people to do: “it is called the Lord’s release.” He will release you from your sin if you believe in Jesus Christ.

23. This release shall be followed up by a non-exacting of the penalty for ever. If you are pardoned by God, he will never exact from you any punishment because of your iniquities or transgressions; no, neither in this life, nor in what is to come, will he require it from your hands. He will give you a full discharge, one that can be pleaded in the High Court of Heaven above. “Who shall lay anything to the charge of God’s elect? It is God who justifies. Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, yes, rather, who rises again.” If you will come to your God, acknowledging your debt, and confessing your inability to pay it, he will wipe it out so that you shall never hear of it again for ever; and if your sins are searched for, they shall not be found.

24. Notice, next, that God will do all this for you on the basis of your poverty. See the fourth verse: “Except when there shall be no poor among you.” They should not remit a debt if ever there should come a time when there should be no poor among them; but, as long as there was a man who was poor, they were to remit the debt. You noticed how we sang, —

   ’Tis perfect poverty alone
   That sets the soul at large.

When you cannot pay half a farthing in the pound of all your great debt of sin, when you are absolutely bankrupt, then you may believe that Jesus Christ is your Saviour. When you are absolutely helpless and hopeless, only believe that Jesus is the Christ, and put your trust in him, and God will remit and discharge all your liabilities, and you shall go away clear before him.

25. I may be addressing a soul here that says, “I like that thought, I wish I could catch hold of it; but I feel myself to be such a slave that I cannot grasp it.” Well, the Lord may allow a soul to be in bondage for a time; indeed, it may be necessary that he should. The Hebrew might be in bondage for six years, and yet he went free when the seventh year came. There are reasons why the Spirit of God is to some men a Spirit of bondage for a long time. Hard hearts must be melted, proud stomachs must be brought down. Some men’s wills are like an iron sinew; some men’s self-righteousness is hard to kill, even though it is shot through the heart seven times. There are many who would be rebellious against God very soon, if they found forgiveness too soon; so he brings down their heart with labour; they fall, and there is no one to help. I may be speaking to one here who has been a long time in bondage. I passed through that state myself, and many a time I have gripped the hand of a poor man or woman in abject distress and despair, almost ready to go into an asylum, and I have said, “I know all about that experience; I know that the Lord does, for a while, permit the heart to be ploughed, and torn, and rent, to make it ready for the good seed.” Have you ever seen God’s ten black horses come out, I mean the ten commandments, have you heard the ploughman crack the whip, have you seen that awful plough that is just behind those horses, and how they have dragged that plough up the soul and back again, and up the soul and back again, until the field of the soul has been ploughed from end to end? Then, when you thought that the work was all done, the horses have been turned sideways, and there has been cross-ploughing back and forth again, tearing up the whole nature, and breaking every clod to powder. God has his harrows at work on some men; yet for all that it is not because he hates them, but because he loves them, and intends to get out of them a heavy harvest of joy and thankfulness in the years to come.

26. Once more, the man was set free at the end of the sixth year, paying nothing for his liberation. Though not free-born, nor yet buying his liberty with a great sum, yet he was set free. Oh Lord, set some soul free tonight! Oh, that every slave here, who was in bondage, may get his liberty tonight, to the praise of the glory of God’s grace!

27. And when the Lord sets poor souls at liberty, he always sends them away full-handed. He gives something from the flock, and from the threshing-floor, and from the wine-press. Some of us were rich, indeed, the first day we came to Jesus. We know more now than we knew then; but we do not possess more than we had then; for we had Christ then, and he is all; and we cannot get more than all. God gave us heaven within us then. Oh, how we laughed for joy that day! We shall never forget it. We were not to be beggars or paupers any more; all the riches of heaven were bestowed on us.

28. There is one thing, which may be said here. This act never seems hard to the Lord. He says to the Hebrew, in the eighteenth verse, “It shall not seem hard to you, when you send him away free.” It never seems hard to Christ when he sets a sinner free. Why, some of you pray as if you thought that Christ was hard-hearted! It is you who are hard-hearted. You pray as if you thought God had to be moved to mercy. It is you who need to be moved to accept the mercy. God is generous enough; he will set you free, and load you daily with his benefits, and delight to do it, if you trust his dear Son. In fact, to make worlds, is nothing to him compared with saving souls. He takes the big hammer of his omnipotence, and brings it down on the anvil of his wisdom, and worlds fly like sparks all over the sky when he is at that work; and he thinks nothing of it. But he rests in his love, and rejoices over his people with singing when he is at work for their salvation. This is the very joy of his heart; it is never hard for him to set free those who have been in bondage.

29. One thing I feel sure of, and that is, if the Lord sets us free, we shall want to remain his slaves for ever. We will go straight away to the door-post, and ask him to use the awl; for, though we are glad to be free, we do not want to be free from him. No, no! “Oh Lord, truly I am your slave; I am your slave …… you have released my bonds.” Once set free, then I wish to be bound to the Lord for ever. Come, dear heart, if you find Christ tonight, if you believe in him, and are at liberty, come and have your ear bored. You do not like baptism; come and have your ear bored. You do not like to join the church, and confess Christ. Well, I know that it may be a “bore” to you; but for all that, come and have your ear bored. Come and say, “I will go out no more for ever. Since the Lord has set me free, I will serve him all my days.”

30. May the Lord bless these words to many, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Le 25:1-7,17-22 De 15:1-18}

1, 2. And the LORD spoke to Moses on Mount Sinai, saying, “Speak to the children of Israel, and say to them, ‘When you come into the land which I give you, then the land shall keep a Sabbath to the LORD.

The Jews had much rest provided for them. If they had had faith enough to obey God’s commands, they might have been the most favoured of people; but they were not a spiritual people, and the Lord often had to lament their disobedience as in the words recorded by Isaiah, “Oh that you had listened to my commandments! then your peace would have been as a river, and your righteousness as the waves of the sea.”

3, 4. Six years you shall sow your field, and six years you shall prune your vineyard, and gather in its fruit; but in the seventh year shall be a Sabbath of rest for the land, a Sabbath for the LORD:

Think of a Sabbath a year long, in which nothing was to be done but to worship God, and so to rest!

4, 5. You shall neither sow your field, nor prune your vineyard. What grows by itself of your harvest you shall not reap, neither gather the grapes of your unpruned vine: for it is a year of rest for the land.

A restful period in a restful land; all land to have rest, and yet to have fruitfulness in that rest; the rest of a garden, not the rest of a task. So it is often with God’s people, when they rest most, they work best; and while they are resting, they are producing fruit for God.

6, 7. And the Sabbath of the land shall be food for you; for you, and for your male slave, and for your female slave, and for your hired man, and for your stranger who sojourns with you, and for your cattle, and for the beasts that are in your land, all its increase shall be food.

There was to be no private property in the spontaneous produce of that year. It was free to everyone; free even to the cattle, which might go and eat what they wished, and where they wished.

17-21. Therefore you shall not oppress each other; but you shall fear your God: for I am the LORD your God. Therefore you shall do my statutes, and keep my judgments, and do them; and you shall dwell in the land in safety. And the land shall yield her fruit, and you shall eat your fill, and dwell in it in safety. And if you shall say, "What shall we eat the seventh year? Behold, we shall not sow, nor gather in our increase": then I will command my blessing upon you in the sixth year, and it shall produce fruit for three years.

Not merely for the one year of rest, but fruit for three years.

22. And you shall sow the eighth year, and still eat from the old fruit until the ninth year; until her fruits come in you shall eat from the old supply.’ ”

They were to have enough for the year of rest, and for the next year in which the harvest was growing, and still to have something left over for the ninth year. They scarcely could need as much as that; but God would give them more than they actually needed, very abundantly above what they asked or even thought.

That Sabbatical year had other blessings connected with it. Let us read about them in the Book of Deuteronomy, chapter fifteen.

1, 2. At the end of every seven years you shall make a release. And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lends anything to his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it from his neighbour, or from his brother; because it is called the LORD’s release.

What a wonderful title for it, “the LORD’s release!”

3. Of a foreigner you may exact it again: but what is yours with your brother your hand shall release;

How was a man to pay when he did not sow or reap during the Sabbatical year? The foreigner did not observe the year of rest; consequently he was bound to pay, and it was only fair that he should do so; but for the Israelite, who carried out the divine law, there was provision made if he was in debt.

4. Except when there shall be no poor among you;

If there were no poor, then there would be no need for this law.

4-6. For the LORD shall greatly bless you in the land which the LORD your God gives you for an inheritance to possess it: only if you carefully listen to the voice of the LORD your God, to observe to do all these commandments which I command you today. For the LORD your God blesses you, as he promised you:

That little clause, “as he promised you,” is worth noticing. This is the rule of God; he deals with us “according to promise.”

6. And you shall lend to many nations, but you shall not borrow; and you shall reign over many nations, but they shall not reign over you.

If God’s people had done his will, they would have been like their language; it is observed of the Hebrew by some, that it borrows nothing from other tongues, but lends many words to various languages.

7-9. If there is among you a poor man of one of your brethren within any of your gates in your land which the LORD your God gives you, you shall not harden your heart, nor close your hand from your poor brother: but you shall open your hand wide to him, and shall surely lend him sufficient for his need, in what he needs. Beware that there is not a thought in your wicked heart, saying, “The seventh year, the year of release, is at hand”; and your eye is evil against your poor brother, and you give him nothing; and he cries to the LORD against you, and it is sin for you.

Moses, moved by the Spirit of God, anticipates what would very naturally occur to many: “Then I shall not lend anywhere near the seventh year; if I do, I shall lose it, for I must release my debtor then.” The hard-hearted would be sure to make this their evil excuse for lending nothing. But here the Hebrew is warned against such wicked thoughts, lest, refusing to lend to his poor brother for this cause, the needy one should cry to God, and it should be considered sin on the part of the merciless refuser.

10, 11. You shall surely give him, and your heart shall not be grieved when you give to him: because for this thing the LORD your God shall bless you in all your works, and in all that you put your hand to. For the poor shall never cease out of the land:

They would have done so, they might have done so, if the rule of God had been kept; but inasmuch as he foresaw that it never would be kept, he also declared, “the poor shall never cease out of the land.”

11. Therefore I command you, saying, “You shall open your hand wide to your brother, to your poor, and to your needy, in your land.”

See how God calls them, not “the poor,” but “your poor” and “your needy.” The Church of God should feel a particular property in the poor and needy, as if they were handed over, in the love of Christ to his people, so that they might care for them.

12. And if your brother, a Hebrew man, or a Hebrew woman, is sold to you, and serves you for six years; then in the seventh year you shall let him go free from you.

He might be under an apprenticeship of servitude for six years; but the seventh year was to be a year of rest to him, as it was a year of release to debtors, and of rest for the land.

13. And when you send him out free from you, you shall not let him go away empty-handed:

To begin life again with nothing at all in his pocket.

14. You shall furnish him generously out of your flock, and out of your threshing-floor, and out of your wine-press: from which the LORD your God has blessed you, you shall give to him.

Who would think of finding such a law as that on the statute-book? Where is there such a law under any governor but God? The Theocracy would have made a grand government for Israel if Israel had only been able to walk before God in faith and obedience.

15. And you shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the LORD your God redeemed you: therefore I command you this thing today.

The memory of their own deliverance out of Egyptian bondage was to make them merciful and kind to their own slaves.

16-18. And it shall be, if he says to you, “I will not go away from you”; because he loves you and your house, because he is happy with you; then you shall take an aul, and thrust it through his ear to the door, and he shall be your slave for ever. And also to your female slave you shall do likewise. It shall not seem hard to you, when you send him away free from you; for he has been worth two hired men to you, in serving you for six years;

He has had no pay; he has been always at his work; he has been worth two ordinary hired labourers; let him go, therefore, and let him not go away empty.

18. And the LORD your God shall bless you in all that you do.

{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — Christ Is All” 551}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — Mercy For The Guilty” 544}
{See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — Just As Thou Art” 545}
The Sword and the Trowel
Table of Contents, October, 1892.
Fellowship with God’s Greatness. A Missionary Address. By C. H. Spurgeon.
“Our Sufficiency is of God.” A Missionary’s Testimony. By N. H. Patrick, of Tangier.
Prayer as the Resort of the Minister of Jesus Christ. By Arthur T. Pierson, D. D.
Mr. Spurgeon’s Last Drives at Menton. By Joseph W. Harrald. (With three illustrations.)
Enlarging the Cap Factory.
Four Mottoes for Earnest Souls. By W. Y. Fullerton.
A Batch of New-comers at the Stockwell Orphanage. (With illustration.)
Dr. Nettleton as a Preacher. By R. Shindler.
Medical Mission Work in Tangier. Letter from Dr. Churcher.
Worthless Weapons. By Robert Spurgeon, Madaripore, Bengal.
A Providential Disappointment. By John Burnham.
Psalm civ. (Poetry.) By Pastor E. A. Tydeman.
Romanism as it is. (Review of “Life inside the Church of Rome,” by the Nun of Kenmare.)
Fishing. By Pastor W. Higlett, Albion, Brisbane, Queensland.
The Rose of Sharon. (Poetry.) by Pastor C. A. Slack, Faversham.
Notices of Books.
Notes. (The crisis at the Tabernacle. Mr. Moody’s meetings at the Tabernacle. C. H. Spurgeon Memorial Fund. C. H. Spurgeon’s Sermons and Expositions. Sermons on the tomb at Norwood Cemetery. Foreign translations of Mr. Spurgeon’s works. Norcott’s Baptism Discovered. “Lady Hymn-Writers.” Tabernacle Prayer-meetings. Poor Ministers’ Clothing Society. Tabernacle Gospel Temperance Society. College. College Missionary Association. Evangelists. Colportage. Orphanage. Personal Notes. Baptisms at the Tabernacle.)
Lists of contributions.

Price 3d. Post free, 4d.
London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and all Booksellers.


Gospel, Received by Faith
551 — Christ Is All <7s.>
1 Jesus, lover of my soul,
   Let me to thy bosom fly,
   While the nearer waters roll,
   While the tempest still is high!
   Hide me, oh my Saviour, hide,
   Till the storm of life be past;
   Safe into the haven guide;
   Oh receive my soul at last.
2 Other refuge have I none,
   Hangs my helpless soul on thee!
   Leave, ah! leave me not alone,
   Still support and comfort me!
   All my trust on thee is stay’d
   All my help from thee I bring;
   Cover my defenceless head
   With the shadow of thy wing.
3 Thou, oh Christ, art all I want;
   More than all in thee I find:
   Raise the fallen, cheer the faint,
   Heal the sick, and lead the blind.
   Just and holy is thy name,
   I am all unrighteousness,
   False and full of sin I am;
   Thou art full of truth and grace.
4 Plenteous grace with thee is found,
   Grace to cover all my sin;
   Let the healing streams abound,
   Make and keep me pure within;
   Thou of life the fountain art,
   Freely let me take of thee!
   Spring thou up within my heart,
   Rise to all eternity!
                     Charles Wesley, 1740.


Gospel, Stated
544 — Mercy For The Guilty
1 Mercy is welcome news indeed
      To those that guilty stand;
   Wretches, that feel what help they need,
      Will bless the helping hand.
2 Who rightly would his alms dispose
      Must give them to the poor;
   None but the wounded patient knows
      The comforts of his cure.
3 We all have sinn’d against our God,
      Exception none can boast;
   But he that feels the heaviest load
      Will prize forgiveness most.
4 No reckoning can we rightly keep,
      For who the sums can know?
   Some souls are fifty pieces deep,
      And some five hundred owe.
5 But let our debts be what thy may,
      However great or small,
   As soon as we have nought to pay,
      Our Lord forgives us all.
6 ‘Tis perfect poverty alone
      That sets the soul at large;
   While we can call one mite our own,
      We have no full discharge.
                        Joseph Hart, 1759.


Gospel, Stated
545 — Just As Thou Art <8.8.8.6., or L.M.>
1 Just as thou art, without one trace
   Of love, or joy, or inward grace,
   Or meetness for the heavenly place,
      Oh guilty sinner, come!
2 Thy sins I bore on Calvary’s tree!
   The stripes, thy due, were laid on Me,
   That peace and pardon might be free:
      Oh wretched sinner, come!
3 Burden’d with guilt, wouldest thou be blest?
   Trust not the world; it gives no rest:
   I bring relief to hearts oppress’d:
      Oh weary sinner, come!
4 Come, leave thy burden at the cross;
   Count all thy gains but empty dross:
   My grace repays all earthly loss:
      Oh needy sinner, come!
5 Come, hither bring thy boding fears,
   Thy aching heart, thy bursting tears;
   ‘Tis mercy’s voice salutes thine ears,
      Oh trembling sinner, come.
6 “The Spirit and the Bride say, Come”;
   Rejoicing saints re-echo, Come;
   Who faints, who thirsts, who will, may come:
      Thy Saviour bids thee come.
                  Russell Sturgis Cook, 1850.

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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