2304. Blinded By Satan

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No. 2304-39:181. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, March 31, 1889, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, April 16, 1893.

The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who do not believe. {2Co 4:4}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 1663, “True Gospel No Hidden Gospel, The” 1664}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2077, “Gospel of the Glory of Christ, The” 2078}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2304, “Blinded by Satan” 2305}
   Exposition on 2Co 4:1-5:9 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3288, “Why the Gospel is Hidden” 3290 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on 2Co 4 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3169, “Believer’s Present Rest, The” 3170 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on 2Co 4 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3244, “Our Light Affliction” 3246 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ro 5:1-10 2Co 4; 5 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3203, “Christ Made Sin” 3204 @@ "Exposition"}

1. The practice of blinding men is a horrible process, too horrible for us to say another word about it; but there is also a spiritual blindness which comes on some men. These are, to begin with, unbelievers. The god of this world does not blind believers; but he blinds the minds of those who do not believe. It is, therefore, a very dangerous thing not to believe in the Son of God. The penalty of unbelief is death and condemnation; and that penalty begins to fall on men when, as a result of their unbelief, their foolish heart is darkened, their intellect loses the power to perceive spiritual objects, and the god of this world blinds their mental vision. Ah, my hearers, how anxious Satan is to secure your destruction, since, rather than that you should see the saving light, he takes the trouble to blind your eyes! May God grant that no man here may die under this dreadful deprivation of light, which is caused by Satanic influence on the minds of men who have not believed in Jesus!

2. Remember that this blindness to spiritual things is quite consistent with much sharpness concerning natural things. A man may be a very keen politician; he may be a first-rate man of business; he may be an eminent scientist, a profound thinker, and yet he may be blinded concerning spiritual truths. How often is it true, “You have hidden these things from the wise and prudent, and have revealed them to babes!” As an old writer says, “Poor, ignorant men often find the door to heaven, and enter in, while the learned are looking for the latch.” Yes, a man may have clear eyes for worldly things; he may be very keen as for his insight into the problems of life; and yet the God of this world may have blinded his eyes.

3. What is even more remarkable, a man may have much scriptural knowledge; he may understand, in the letter, the things of the kingdom of God; he may be very orthodox in his beliefs, and may be able to give an answer to those who ask him what he believes, and why he believes; but still he may have no spiritual perception of the reality of these things. A person may know something of botany from books, and he may even understand the Linnaean system of classifying plants; but he may never, after all, have seen the primrose by the river’s bank, nor have gathered a single flower out of the garden. He is a poor botanist, is he not? He who has studied natural history in his own room, but has never seen a living animal, knows very little about the subject after all. We have many all around us, who can talk about heaven and hell, and sin and salvation, and Christ and the Holy Spirit, who nevertheless have never had one true perception of the meaning of any of these words. They see, but do not perceive; they hear, but do not understand; they are unbelievers, and the god of this world has blinded their minds.

4. Now, I am going to say tonight, first, that this blindness is very common; secondly, that it is done by the evil one on men in different ways; and, thirdly, I shall speak on the kind of treatment that this blindness requires.

5. I. First, then, THIS BLINDNESS IS VERY COMMON.

6. It is revealed in some by occupation with this world. Here is a man, who has lived in this world for a good many years; and all that while he has been thinking, working, proposing, projecting, but what about? Why, about this world! He has generally been concerned with a trinity of questions — “What shall I eat? What shall I drink? What shall I wear?” This man believes that he is to live for ever in another world, that this present life is only like the porch of a house, but that the state to come is the house itself. All these years, thirty, forty, fifty, sixty, seventy — may I say eighty years? — this man has never thought about the eternal world, but only about the temporary world; he has never thought about where he is to dwell for ever, but has spent all his power and strength on the journey to it. This is so unreasonable that I am sure he must be blind; I cannot account for his folly in any other way. Surely, the soul is more important than the body. We think more of the body than we do of the garment it wears; but the body, after all, is only the garment of the soul; the true ego, the I, myself, is my soul. Am I never to think of that, but only to be thinking of my earthly house, my food, my clothes, my daily work? That is the kind of thing that a brute would think of; oxen and donkeys think of what they shall eat, and what they shall drink, and where they shall lie down, if they think at all; and is this all of which you and I think? Surely, that occupation of the mind on what must be of secondary consideration is a proof that the god of this world has blinded the mind.

7. I will give you another symptom, from a different quarter, and that is, the extreme easiness of conscience which we see in many men and women. They can commit a great sin, wash their hands, and then be done with it, as if the very washing of the hand or the wiping of the mouth was quite enough to put away all thought of the wrong. Many will sit here tonight, who have, through a long life, committed a hundred sins of which they would be ashamed to be reminded, and yet they are not ashamed of them. They would only be ashamed to be found out; they are not ashamed of the sin itself. A man truly awakened by the Spirit of God feels the memory of his sin to sting him as with scorpions. He cannot bear it. But the great majority of people do a thousand wrong things, and yet they are not troubled, but feel quite at ease. Some of you are probably within a very short time of death and judgment, and yet you can make sport of sin. How often does it happen that people come to the place of worship, and go their way, having rejected solemn appeals: and they will never hear any more! They have had their last warning. Oh, if they could only know that, during the week, they will fall down dead, or be laid aside by sickness, never to leave the bed again! Yet they trifle, on the brink of fate, on the very verge of everlasting woe. If you saw a man going straight on to the very brink of some dreadful precipice, and you saw him about to take another step, you would say, “That man is blind. I am sure that he is, or else he would not act like that.” People do not go into terrible danger with their eyes open; yet there are many of our fellow men, perhaps many of ourselves, going right on, carelessly and heedlessly, to the very brink of the awful abyss without a thought of danger. They must be blind. This horrible peace of conscience, this quenching of the Spirit whenever conscience does stir itself, this playing and trifling with death and judgment, prove that they are blind.

8. To give you another example, there are many who have presumptuous hopes about the future; at any rate, they do not trouble themselves. I do not know why they are so relaxed; but there are different forms of presumption which enable them to look into the future without fear. One says, “Well, you see, I was christened when I was a child, and I was confirmed as a youth.” Another says, “I have always attended the meeting-house. I am never absent from any of the services. I have subscribed my guinea to the hospital. I am kind to everyone. I think that most people would give me a good name.” Their dependence is on that kind of thing; and they have never looked at what is really required. They will not stop to hear that word, “You must be born again.” They will not listen to Christ when he says, “He who does not believe shall be damned,” whatever his profession or moral character may be. No, but they go on dancing to destruction with a light and merry heart. Surely these people are blinded by Satan.

9. Then see another kind of people, and note their readiness to sin. They yield to the tempter, they yield at the first request; there is no need for Satan to plead with them to do evil. They seem always ready for it, especially if they think that they can escape from trouble by doing wrong. Why, are there not many people who would tell a lie to save a sixpence? Ah to save a penny? The shop was open this morning; the profit made did not amount to twopence, but still the Sabbath was broken for that paltry sum. How many are selling their souls, not to gain the whole world, no, not to gain a fourpenny piece! They think so little of their souls, and their eternal destiny, that, for the sake of a drop of beer, for the sake of an evening’s amusement, for the sake of pleasing a foolish companion, they will fling their souls away, is if they were only pebble-stones not worth the keeping. Ah, sirs, such people must be blind! People who have had their eyes opened spiritually have been known to die sooner than do the least thing that was wrong. Remember the man who was told that, if he would give one farthing to be spent in incense to the heathen gods, his life should be spared; but the man knew the Lord, and therefore he would sooner die than give a single mite towards the worship of idols. Men of God have cheerfully laid down their lives to defend even a slight point of God’s eternal truth; but these men who think nothing of such holy heroism, and are willing to lose their souls for a paltry pleasure, why, they must be blind!

10. I need not stop to say more except this one thing. This blindness shows itself in trifling with eternal things. There is a person here who, not long ago, was very greatly aroused and awakened, even resolved to seek the Saviour then and there; but when in the enquiry room he put off the final decision. There was no reason why he should put it off, except the reluctance of his mind to accept Christ. That was not the first time that he had procrastinated and postponed; yet he is still putting off his reception of Christ. He is not sure that he will live to get home tonight; he is not certain that, should he fall asleep tonight on his bed, he will wake up in this world in the morning; yet he leaves his soul in jeopardy, as if it were a matter of very little concern. A person came here, not long ago, who had taken off a diamond ring when he washed his hands; and all the while he was sitting here, he kept wondering what would become of that ring, whether, when they emptied the water out of the basin, it would be thrown away. He was so anxious about his ring, that he hurried home as quickly as he ever could after the service; he did not wait a week to see about it; yet there are here men who have waited weeks, months, years, ah, many years, procrastinating, and procrastinating! They would not leave their worldly business like that; but they leave the eternal business of salvation or damnation as though it were only as a sere leaf that might be blown whichever way the wind might please. Such people must be blind; I am sure they must be blind. Oh, that they were wise enough to cry, in the language of Charles Wesley’s hymn, —

    Oh God, my inmost soul convert,
    And deeply on my thoughtful heart
       Eternal things impress;
    Give me to feel their solemn weight,
    And trembling on the brink of fate,
       Wake me to righteousness!

11. I could heap up many proofs that this blindness is very common; but I do not have the time to do so, for we must pass on to consider the next point.

12. II. Secondly, I want to prove to you, very earnestly and very pointedly, that THIS BLINDNESS IS DONE BY THE EVIL ONE IN DIFFERENT WAYS.

13. In some, it comes by utter worldliness. There are some people who say, “We cannot attend to that matter; we have enough to do to earn our living.” Others say, “Well, thank God, we do not have to earn our living by the sweat of our brow; but really we have plenty of other things to think about besides turning our attention to that Methodistic stuff.” One says, “I — , I — , ” yes, you may speak it out if you like, you think that God and heaven and eternal things are trifles unworthy of your thoughts. Your house, your horse, your wife, your money, these, of course, are not trifles; these must come first. The world, the world, the world, this is in your heart, and occupies it all. The captain of a whaler said one day to a man of God, who spoke to him about his soul, “Mr. Bertram, it is of no use for you to speak to me about my soul, or ask me to come to the service tonight. You see, I am out here after whales; and all the while that I was sitting, and you were talking, I should be thinking about whales; and when you gave out a hymn, I should just be thinking of whether there was a whale anywhere around. If I were to pray, I should be praying about whales. I have whales in my heart, sir; and there is no room for anything else.” It is so with many, many people. They have their business, they have set up a loom, they have an invention, they have all the materials of a building inside their hearts; and there is no room for God. Their hearts are blinded by utter worldliness.

14. Some, again, are blinded by the devil in a very desperate way, by the love of some favourite sin. I do not hesitate to say it is a general fact that, when men kick against true religion, and when they get offended by being spoken to about it, if you could follow them home, you would find in their conduct some very good reason for their opposition. I remember that, in preaching on one occasion, I happened to allude to the pleasure it gave me to see the gleaners picking up the wheat in the harvest time, as Ruth did, and I said, “I truly believe that there are some farmers who would rake their fields with a small tooth comb, if they could, to get every grain of the wheat up.” I noticed a respectable-looking gentleman, in the front of the gallery, get up, and go out. Someone at the door said, “Why are you going out, Mr. ———— ?” He replied, “I will not stay to listen to such a fellow as that. I always rake my fields three times.” Yes, you see, it was the truth that made him angry; it is usually so. There is a reason for men being angry with the gospel, and turning away from it, when it strikes at some of their favourite sins. Such and such a man says that he does not believe in Jesus Christ. It is not likely that he should; I will not tell you why, but his wife knows. There is another man who keeps a shop. He says that he does not want to be converted. No; if he were, he could not keep that shop; or if he did, he would have to alter the line of business in which he is engaged. Ah, the god of this world blinds men’s eyes with sin! I cannot go into all the particulars; but if there is any man here who has a pet sin that he cherishes, do not let him wonder that he cannot see the beauties of Christ, or the glories of salvation; and do not let him think that we would do anything to win his approbation while he remains in love with that sin. It is with us very much as it was with Martin Luther when he said, “I could be proud to think how badly some people speak of me; for them to speak badly of me, is the highest honour that such as they are, can confer on me.” When you who are living in unchastity and dishonesty speak badly of Christ and of Christians, you only speak according to your own character; and we cannot wish you to alter your tone until God has changed your heart.

15. Many are blinded concerning the things of God by following a party. “Well,” you say, “I could not begin to study these matters of religion, because I am linked in with such a set of people. I know how they would treat me; they would laugh at me first, and they would give me the cold shoulder next. No, really, my dear sir, if you know how I am connected, you would not expect me ever to give any consideration to these doctrines that are preached, whether they are true or not.” It is a pity, it is a solemn pity, that a man should ruin his soul to keep in with his party. I rejoiced to read about the praise that was passed, in the House of Commons, the other night, about John Bright, who deserved much more than was said, especially on this one point, that, whenever his conscience came in conflict with his party, he followed his conscience, and let his party go where it might. Public approbation and applause were nothing to him as long as he could keep clear in the sight of God by doing what he believed to be right. Now, when he dies, every party has a word of honour for him. There is nothing lost, after all, by sticking to what you believe to be right; and if it is so in politics, how much more should it be so in the matter of religion! Cut your sinful connections, leave your evil companions. It would be better to do that than to go with them, applauded and approved, and find yourself wrong at last. Oh, that men had only a grain of grit in them, so that they would never make the things of God, and heaven, and eternal realities, to hang on the breath of men’s nostrils, or the smiles or frowns of their fellow men! But I am afraid that a great many will never come to know Christ, because they will continue to follow their party, or the prejudice of their early education still clings to them.

16. A fourth way in which Satan blinds a great many, and he does it very commonly, is by raising objections to the truth. There is nothing in this world to which you cannot object. I dare to say that there is no fact, however palpable to all the senses, but what you can, if you like, find reasons for not believing it to be a fact. If someone were to assert that I am not here, and that I am not speaking, I have no doubt that, with proper pay, a lawyer could be found to prove it; and what a lawyer could do, a great many, who are not learned in the law, could do as well. To answer objections, is an endless task; it is like trying to empty a flowing fountain with buckets with no bottoms. Men do not object to the religion of Jesus Christ really and truly. It is not this to which they object; but they invent objections, they go around searching after objections so that they may then have an excuse for rejecting Christ. In this way many prove that they are blind; they have a difficulty they cannot get over, and do not intend to get over either; and so they do not see Christ.

17. With others, blindness is caused by wrong inferences. It is astonishing how many eyes are blinded by wrong inferences drawn from truth. We have known one to say, “Well, the mercy of God is very great; it is universal: therefore, I am sure that God will not cast us into hell.” This is a wicked lie derived from a great truth. Another says, “I read that God has an elect people.” That is most surely true; but not the inference that is drawn from it; “Therefore, if I am to be saved, I shall be saved; and if I am to be lost, I shall be lost; so that I need not trouble my head about the subject.” That is another false inference deduced from a great truth. When a man intends to commit suicide, any rope will do; and when a sinner is resolved to perish, he can always find an argument, drawn even from the truth of God itself, as the means of his own destruction. I am not going to answer any of these lies; but only to say that, by these false inferences, many a man has been blinded to his own eternal ruin.

18. Then there is another way of being blinded, and a very common one, too; that is, by general conceit of knowledge. I know a man stone-blind by it. When I met him last, he looked at me, condescended to ask how I was, and he as much as intimated that he was prepared for a little conversation with an inferior person occasionally, and therefore he did not mind speaking about religion with me, he himself being a very superior person indeed, knowing everything, and, if possible, a few things besides. This man called himself an agnostic; and when a man says that he is an agnostic, he is an ignoramus, that is, a person who knows nothing; yet such a man usually talks as if he knew everything, and the appendix at the end of that. He mentions Calvinism, and he says, in a tone of contempt, that his grandmother was a Calvinist! He says that he remembers the Evangelical school, but that they have nearly died out now. You have not talked long with him before you discover that the Lord Jesus Christ and he could never get on together, because the Saviour has said, “Unless you are converted, and become as little children, you shall not enter into the kingdom of heaven”; and this man will never become a little child, not he! If you want the characteristics of a little child, there you have the gentleman; and he wishes you “Good afternoon,” when you begin to quote Scripture. He is not at all the person to receive any instruction of that kind. The “superior” person will always be lost, take my word for it. The more superior he is, the more sure he is to be lost; I do not mean that he is superior, but that he thinks himself so, superior to all teaching. He is not prepared to be a learner, he is ready to be a teacher, and a master of anything you like. He is not the kind of man to enter the gates of heaven; he carries his head too high for that. He is a man of broad thought; and, of course, he goes the broad way. Narrow-minded people go in the narrow way; but then it leads to eternal life, and therefore I commend it to you.

    Broad is the road that leads to death,
    And thousands walk together there;
    But wisdom shows a narrower path,
    With here and there a traveller.

19. We have another set of people who are blinded by some special conceit of false grace. Here is a man who has attended to many duties. Some, of course, he does not care about; but he makes up for duties he does not like by attending to others that are to his taste. He does not pray; but then he sings in the choir! Communion with God — he does not know anything about that; but he takes the sacrament! He has never repented of sin; but then he has found fault with other people for their sins, and he regards that as almost as good! He does not help the poor and needy; but then he has a capital plan for lowering the assessment for welfare! He is always doing some good thing or other, of a kind; but not of the kind that Scripture prescribes. As for believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, that is, by a living faith trusting him, that is beyond his range. As for seeking a new heart and a right spirit, and being converted, and turned from darkness to light, he does not know anything about that: but there has been, after all, a very great improvement in him. He has given up some very questionable practices; and, on the whole, he has done a good deal which ought to be spoken of with considerable commendation. This is the kind of gentleman who is blinded by the god of this world.

20. But it is idle for me to talk about people being blinded except to those who can see; for the blindest man is the man who says that he is not blind, who will not have it that he does not see everything properly, even though he has never had his eyes opened by the Lord. He says that he always could see; it is an insult to suppose that he is blind. He is like the Pharisees, who said to Jesus, “Are we blind also?” to whom Jesus answered, “If you were blind, you should have no sin: but now you say, ‘We see’; therefore your sin remains.” This is sinning against the light; this is sinning with a vengeance. May God preserve all of us from such a sin!

21. III. Now I come to the most practical point, that is, THE KIND OF TREATMENT THAT THIS BLINDNESS REQUIRES. I pray God to bless to you what I have to say on this matter.

22. I should say, first, dear friends, beware lest this blindness is sent as a punishment. Although our blind friends have our loving sympathy, and God blesses them, yet it must be a great calamity to be without their eyesight. Now, blindness of heart is not only a sin, but it is the punishment of sin; and it comes to many as the result of violating conscience, resisting the Holy Spirit, trifling with solemn things, and being desperately set on mischief. Oh, you who have a tender conscience, watch that you do not lose it! You who have the power to sit and hear a sermon, and to feel it, do not trifle with that holy sensitivity. Once lost, so that you can read the Book of books, and hear the most earnest talk, and yet feel nothing, you have lost one of the greatest privileges that you ever had. May God help the man who is going on towards this fatal blindness, and stop him before he gets any further!

23. I would say, also, to you who are in any way blind, beware lest that blindness becomes the herald of your doom. Before Haman was hanged, the first thing that the servants did was to cover his face; and when a man is about to be lost for ever, the first thing that the devil does is to blind his eyes so that he cannot see. Now the poor blind Samson will make sport for the Philistines; now they hope that they can kill him whenever they please. Beware of a blinded conscience; it is the prelude of eternal destruction. May God save you from it!

24. Next, if you have even a little light, value it greatly. If any one of us should be gradually losing his eyesight, I know that he would greatly prize the little sight that he had. How often have I spoken to a friend who has said, “This eye is quite gone, sir; there is just a little light left in this one, and the doctor says that I must wear an eye-patch, and be very careful, or I may lose that.” Oh, take care of the little light you have! If you can feel a little, be very tender concerning that feeling. If you can see a little of the beauty of Christ, be very jealous over that sight. Have I not often said that he who has starlight, if he thanks God for starlight, and uses it, will get moonlight; and he who has moonlight, and thanks God for it, and uses it, will get sunlight; and he who has the sunlight shall yet come to that light which is like seven days in the glorious presence of God? Take care, then, of any light that you have.

25. And then, the next thing is, if you are at all conscious of your blindness, but do not see the full evil of sin, do not see the glory of Christ, and do not perceive the way of salvation, confess your blindness. Go home tonight; and, in your room, alone, acknowledge that you do not see what you ought to see, and do not feel what you ought to feel. Show your sightless eyes to the Saviour, who gives sight to the blind. Do not cloak your sin; confess it. “He who covers his sins shall not prosper: but whoever confesses and forsakes them shall have mercy.” Say with David, “I acknowledged my sin to you, and I have not hidden my iniquity. I said, ‘I will confess my transgressions to the Lord’ ”; so you shall also be able to say with him, “and you forgave the iniquity of my sin.”

26. When you have confessed your blindness, do one thing more, trust in the Lord Jesus to open your blind eyes. Put yourself consciously into the presence of the divine Saviour, and say to him, “I believe that you are able to work this miracle of mercy. I believe that you can make me see the truth, and feel the truth. I believe that you can make me see you, and trust you. Here are my eyes. Lord, I wish to receive my sight! I believe that you can give it; give it to me now!” Ah, perhaps while I speak these words, the flash of the divine light is coming into some dark heart! Salvation does not take hours; it is in one single instant that we pass from death to life. The moment that we believe in Jesus, we are saved. The moment that we look to him hanging on the cross, our iniquity is pardoned. May God grant us that blessed look of faith tonight, each one, for Jesus’ sake! Amen.

27. It may help some to look to Christ if we sing a verse of that well-known hymn, —

    There is life for a look at the Crucified One;
    There is life at this moment for thee;
    Then look, sinner — look unto him, and be saved —
    Unto him who was nail’d to the tree.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Isa 6 Mt 13:10-17 Lu 18:35-43}

1-4. In the year that King Uzziah died I saw also the LORD sitting on a throne, high and lifted up, and his train filled the temple. Above it stood the seraphims: each one had six wings; with two he covered his face, and with two he covered his feet, and with two he flew. And one cried to another, and said, “Holy, holy, holy, is the LORD of hosts: the whole earth is full of his glory.” And the posts of the door moved at the voice of him who cried, and the house was filled with smoke.

Isaiah was awe-stricken by this vision of the glory of the Lord. It was a sight such as few eyes have ever seen. Isaiah was never actually in the holy place, for he was no priest, and therefore he could not stand there; but it was in vision that he saw all this glory, and it was a vision that must have remained in his memory through the rest of his life. The holiness and the glory of God struck him at once.

5. Then I said, “Woe is me! for I am undone; because I am a man of unclean lips, and I live in the midst of a people of unclean lips, for my eyes have seen the King, the LORD of hosts.”

There was, indeed, enough to make him say, “Woe is me!” A sinful preacher, an imperfect preacher, among a sinful and imperfect people, he felt as if the society in which be moved was the opposite of the society in which God dwells. Pure seraphim cry, “Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord of hosts”; but as for us, our very talk is unholy: “a people of unclean lips.”

6, 7. Then flew one of the seraphims to me, having a live coal in his hand, which he had taken with the tongs from off the altar: and he laid it on my mouth, and said, “Lo, this has touched your lips; and your iniquity is taken away, and your sin purged.”

The live coal from off the altar does not represent the holy flame which burns in the prophet’s heart; but it represents purgation, cleansing, participation in the sacrifice, and the putting away of sin. With a blister on his lips, Isaiah stood silent before God.

8. Also I heard the voice of the LORD, saying, “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”

Here we have the Divine Trinity in Unity. “Whom shall I send?” There is Unity. “Who will go for us?” There is the Trinity. God is seeking a messenger to deliver his message to men.

8. Then I said, —

Stammering it out with the blistered lip, —

8. “Here I am; send me.”

Isaiah did not know the errand; perhaps, if he had known it, he would not have been quite so ready to go; who can tell? But God’s servants are ready for anything, ready for everything, when once the living coal has touched their lips. I thank God that I was never called to such a work as Isaiah had to undertake.

9, 10. And he said, “Go, and tell this people, ‘Hear indeed, but do not understand; and see indeed, but do not perceive.’ Make the heart of this people fat, and make their ears heavy, and shut their eyes; lest they see with their eyes, and hear with, their ears, and understand with their heart, and return and be healed.”

That was no gospel ministry; it was a ministry of condemnation. The house of Israel had rejected the prophets, and had rejected God; and in the fulness of time would reject God’s own dear Son. When Isaiah in vision looked forward to all this, he was sent not to soften, but to harden; his word was to be a savour of death to death, and not of life to life.

11, 12. Then I said, “Lord, how long?” And he answered, “Until the cities are wasted without inhabitant, and the houses without man, and the land is utterly desolate, and the LORD has removed men far away, and there is a great forsaking in the midst of the land.

This was a heavy task for the prophet; he had no news of God’s relenting, no signs of divine mercy.

13. But yet —

You never get this deep bass note of divine justice without having a “but yet” to accompany it.

13. In it shall be a tenth, and it shall return, and shall be eaten: as a teil tree, and as an oak, whose substance is in them, when they cast their leaves: so the holy seed shall be the substance of it.”

When the oak sheds all its leaves, it is not dead; there is living sap that will again cause the tree to be verdant. Though the nation was to be brought very low, there was still to be left a remnant according to the election of grace. Sin never reaches such a point in God’s people but that grace triumphs. Still, where sin abounded, grace did much more abound.

This is a dreadful chapter; it shows the sovereignty of God in a lurid light, and reveals how, when sin comes to a certain point, the Lord gives men up, and leaves them to the blindness of their heart, so that even the means of grace, the prophetic message, becomes a means of condemnation to them.

Now we are going to read in one of the many places in the New Testament in which this passage is quoted. In Matthew 13 we read this.

10-12. And the disciples came, and said to him, “Why do you speak to them in, parables?” He answered and said to them, “Because it is given to you to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it is not given. For whoever has, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whoever does not have, from him shall be taken away even what he has.

You can understand this truth if you go into certain museums. I will suppose that you know nothing whatever of comparative anatomy, and you go into the museum of comparative anatomy at Paris. If you understand a little of the science, you will learn a great deal more: “for whoever has, to him shall be given.” If you do not know anything about the subject, you will say, “Well, this is the most uninteresting exhibition I ever saw,” and you will come out with the feeling that you do not know anything. What you did know will have vanished in the sight of all that mass of bones arranged in those extraordinary shapes. You will only feel your own lack of knowledge in that department; you will show your ignorance, and nothing else. So it is in the things of God. If you understand the fundamental principles of true godliness, you will soon understand more; but if you do not comprehend as much as that, even the reading of the Scriptures will be only slightly instructive to you.

13-15. Therefore I speak to them in parables: because they seeing do not see; and hearing they do not hear, neither do they understand. And in them is fulfilled the prophecy of Isaiah, which says, ‘By hearing you shall hear, and shall not understand; and seeing you shall see, and shall not perceive: for this people’s heart is become gross, and their ears are dull of hearing, and they have closed their eyes; lest at any time they should see with their eyes, and hear with their ears, and should understand with their heart, and should be converted, and I should heal them.’

Now the Saviour turned to his disciples, and spoke especially to them.

16. But blessed are your eyes, for they see: and your ears, for they hear.

It is no use having eyes that do not see, or ears that do not hear; and yet I fear that there are many eyes of that kind, and many ears of that kind, in this congregation tonight.

17. For truly I say to you, that many prophets and righteous men have desired to see those things which you see, and have not seen them: and to hear those things which you hear, and have not heard them.”

Now let us read one other passage from Luke 18, to show how the Lord heals the blind, and makes them see.

35, 36. And it came to pass, that as he was come near to Jericho, a certain blind man sat by the wayside begging: and hearing the multitude pass by, he asked what it meant.

If he could not see, he could hear, and he could speak. Use all the ability that you have, and God will give you more.

37-39. And they told him, that Jesus of Nazareth passes by. And he cried, saying, “Jesus, you son of David, have mercy on me.” And those who went before rebuked him, that he should hold his peace:

They told him that he was spoiling the Preacher’s sermon. They had lost his last sentence; they could not catch the Saviour’s meaning, so they cried out to the blind man, “Hold your tongue, sir.”

39, 40. But he cried so much the more, “You son of David, have mercy on me.” And Jesus stood, —

I can see him stop. He had been walking on before, and talking as be went; but prayer can cause the Saviour to be spell-bound. Here Jesus stood, —

40, 41. And commanded him to be brought to him: and when he was come near, he asked him, saying, “What do you want that I shall do for you?”

Our Lord likes us to know what it is that we want. He would have us feel our need, so that we may have a distinct perception of the blessing when it comes, and know just what it is.

41. And he said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.”

He wanted nothing else; but oh, how badly he wanted that blessing!

42. And Jesus said to him, “Receive your sight”:

Notice the echo. The blind man said, “Lord, that I may receive my sight.” Jesus said, “Receive your sight.” With a little turn in the expression, Christ’s answer is the echo of our prayer.

42. Your faith has saved you.

No, surely it was Christ who saved him. Yes, but Christ delights to put his crown on faith’s head, for faith always puts the crown back on Christ’s head: “Your faith has saved you.”

43. And immediately he received his sight, and followed him,

What should we do when our eyes are opened by Christ but follow him? The moment that we can see him, we should begin to follow him.

43. Glorifying God: and all the people, when they saw it, gave praise to God.

May we have cause to praise the Lord tonight for many blind eyes opened!

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — ‘Bless Me, Even Me Also, Oh My Father!’ ” 607}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Man Fallen — Faith In Christ For Cleansing” 474}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Desiring To Submit” 589}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — The Life Look” 538}


The Christian, Contrite Cries
607 — “Bless Me, Even Me Also, Oh My Father!”
1 Lord, I hear of showers of blessing
      Thou art scattering, full and free;
   Showers, the thirsty land refreshing;
      Let some droppings fall on me,
                                 Even me.
2 Pass me not, oh gracious Father!
      Sinful though my heart may be;
   Thou might’st curse me, but the rather
      Let thy mercy light on me,
                                 Even me.
 3 Pass me not, oh tender Saviour!
      Let me love and cling to thee;
   I am longing for thy favour;
      When thou comest, call for me,
                                 Even me.
 4 Pass me not, oh mighty Spirit!
      Thou canst make the blind to see;
   Witnesser of Jesus’ merit,
      Speak the word of power to me,
                                 Even me.
 5 Have I long in sin been sleeping,
      Long been slighting, grieving thee?
   Has the world my heart been keeping?
      Oh forgive and rescue me,
                                 Even me.
 6 Love of God, so pure and changeless,
      Blood of God, so rich and free,
   Grace of God, so strong and boundless,
      Magnify them all in me,
                                 Even me.
 7 Pass me not, this lost one bringing,
      Satan’s slave thy child shall be,
   All my heart to thee is springing;
      Blessing other, oh bless me,
                                 Even me.
                        Elizabeth Codner, 1860.


Man Fallen
474 — Faith In Christ For Cleansing
1 How sad our state by nature is!
      Our sin how deep it stains!
   And Satan binds our captive minds
      Fast in his slavish chains.
2 But there’s a voice of sovereign grace
      Sounds from the sacred Word,
   “Ho, ye despairing sinners, come,
      And trust upon the Lord.”
3 My soul obeys th’ almighty call,
      And runs to this relief;
   I would believe thy promise, Lord,
      Oh! help my unbelief.
4 To the dear fountain of thy blood,
      Incarnate God, I fly;
   Here let me wash my spotted soul
      From crimes of deepest dye.
5 Stretch out thine arm, victorious King!
      My reigning sins subdue;
   Drive the old dragon from his seat,
      With all his hellish crew.
6 A guilty, weak, and helpless worm,
      On thy kind arms I fall;
   Be thou my strength and righteousness
      My Jesus and my all.
                           Isaac Watts, 1709.


The Christian, Contrite Cries
589 — Desiring To Submit
1 Oh that my load of sin were gone!
   Oh that I could at last submit
   At Jesus’ feet to lay it down,
   To lay my soul at Jesus’ feet!
2 When shall mine eyes behold the Lamb?
   The God of my salvation see?
   Weary, oh Lord, thou know’st I am;
   Yet still I cannot come to thee.
3 Rest for my soul I long to find;
   Saviour divine, if mine thou art,
   Give me thy meek and lowly mind,
   And stamp thine image on my heart.
4 Break off the yoke of inbred sin,
   And fully set my spirit free:
   I cannot rest till pure within,
   Till I am wholly lost in thee.
5 Come, Lord, the drooping sinner cheer,
   Nor let thy chariot wheels delay;
   Appear, in my poor heart appear!
   My God, my Saviour, come away!
                  Charles Wesley, 1742, a.


Gospel, Stated
538 — The Life Look
1 There is life for a look at the Crucified One;
      There is life at this moment for thee;
   Then look, sinner — look unto him, and be saved —
      Unto him who was nail’d to the tree.
2 It is not thy tears of repentance or prayers,
      But the blood that atones for the soul:
   On him, then, who shed it, believing at once
      Thy weight of iniquities roll.
3 His anguish of soul on the cross hast thou seen?
      His cry of distress hast thou heard?
   Then why, if the terrors of wrath he endured,
      Should pardon to thee be deferr’d?
4 We are heal’d by his stripes; — wouldest thou add to the word?
      And he is our righteousness made:
   The best robe of heaven he bids thee put on:
      Oh! couldest thou be better array’d?
5 Then doubt not thy welcome, since God has declared,
      There remaineth no more to be done;
   That once in the end of the world he appear’d,
      And completed the work he began.
6 But take, with rejoicing, from Jesus at once
      The life everlasting he gives:
   And know, with assurance, thou never canst die,
      Since Jesus, thy righteousness, lives.
7 There is life for a look at the Crucified One;
      There is life at this moment for thee:
   Then look, sinner — look into him and be saved,
      And know thyself spotless as he.
                  Amelia Matilda Hull, 1860.

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).

Terms of Use

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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