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2353. “Out Of The Depths.”

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No. 2353-40:133. A Sermon Delivered On Thursday Evening, January 26, 1888, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, March 25, 1894.

For innumerable evils have surrounded me: my iniquities have taken hold on me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head: therefore my heart fails me. Be pleased, oh LORD, to deliver me: oh LORD hurry to help me. {Ps 40:12,13}

1. You remember that these were the words of a man of God, a man after God’s own heart, a man undoubtedly the possessor of the grace of God. They were the words, also, of a preacher, one who could say, “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation … I have declared your faithfulness and your salvation: I have not concealed your lovingkindness and your truth from the great congregation.”

2. This teaches us that, however eminent for grace a man of God may be, it may happen to him, sometimes, that the thought of his sin may be paramount over his faith. There are times when the Lord seems to give his servants a new start; it is not a second conversion, but it is something very like it. They are made to see once more the deformity of their character, the defilement of their nature, the inward sinfulness of their hearts, that they may prize more than they have ever done the cleansing fountain of atoning blood, and the wonderful power of the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. I mention this fact so that, if any of you are in severe trouble like that described in the text, you may be comforted by knowing that there are the footprints of a fellow believer in this dark part of the way you have to travel. Others have been here before you, others who were undoubtedly the people of God, others who were saved in the Lord with an everlasting salvation. You have had to write bitter things against yourself; so have other people. Have you ever felt as though you were surrounded by sin, so that you could not look up? You are not the first man who has been in such a plight, and you are not likely to be the last. This part of the road has been frequented by very many of the pilgrims bound for Zion’s city. All the people of God have not taken this route; there are different ways of travelling along the road to heaven; but some of the true saints of God have gone by this rough path, and I mention this fact in order that no troubled heart may fall into despair because of the painful experience through which it is at the present time passing.

3. I. In trying to describe a soul in the condition mentioned in our text, let me say, first, that we have evidently before us A SOUL BESET: “For innumerable evils have surrounded me: my iniquities have taken hold on me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head.”

4. The text describes a man, who is, first, made to see the countless number of his sins. He did not know so much about them before; he said that he was a sinner, and he meant it, but then he wrote the word in very small letters. Now, a further enlightenment has been granted to him; the Spirit of judgment and of burning has come to deal with him, and now he writes the sentence, “I AM A SINNER,” in capitals so large that he wants the whole sky and all the sea as well to make the page on which to emblazon the terrible words. With an emphasis, of which he used to know nothing, he now calls himself a sinner, for sins that he had forgotten come up before his memory. Now he sees that there is a great number of sins in any one sin, like so many Chinese boxes contained one inside another. Moreover, things which he formerly did not recognise as sins he now perceives to be among the deadliest of transgressions. He believed that the imagination of evil is sin, that sin is any lack of conformity to the perfection of God. Now he seems as if he swarms with sins; and yet, a little while ago, he thought himself clean and pure in the sight of God. It is wonderful what a ray of light will do; the sun suddenly shines into a room, and the whole air seems full of innumerable specks of dust, dancing up and down in the sunbeam. The light does not make the room full of dust; it only shows you what was always there, but which you did not see until the sun shone in; and if a beam of God’s true light were to shine into some of your hearts, you would think very differently of yourselves from what you have ever done. I question whether any one among us could bear to see himself as God sees him. I think it is highly probable that, if any man were to see his own heart as it really is, he would go mad; it would be a sight too dreadful for an awakened conscience and a sensitive reason to endure. And when the Lord comes to any of his servants, and reveals sin in its true character, unless there is a corresponding revelation of the cleansing blood, it puts a man into a very dreadful condition of mind. He says that his sins are more than the hairs of his head; he feels that that is a very poor comparison, so he says they are innumerable, they cannot be counted. In the process of trying to count them, we should have sinned again I do not know how many times, sinned in our very judgments about our sins; our thoughts about our sins would only increase the number of them. Now, this is no morbid feeling of a perverted brain; it is a true and strictly accurate statement of a sad fact. It is not possible for any of us to think too badly of ourselves as we really are in the sight of God. Comfort does not come by trying to lessen our sense of sin, it comes in a much better and more effective way, as I will presently try to show you.

5. This man, then, is troubled by the number of his sins. He also seems to be greatly perplexed by a kind of omnipresence of sin, for he says, “Innumerable evils have surrounded me.” He looks that way, and says, “Surely there is a gap there; I have not sinned in that direction.” But no; there are sins in that quarter. He turns sharply around, and he looks this way, and says; “Perhaps I shall find a lane there, through which I may escape; I hope I have not sinned in that way”; but when he steadily looks, he finds that he has sinned there, too. These innumerable evils have surrounded him. David said of his enemies, “They surrounded me like bees”; they were all around him. When a swarm of bees gets around a man, they are above, beneath, around, everywhere stinging, everyone stinging, until he seems to be stung in every part of his body. So, when conscience wakes up the whole hive of our sins, we find ourselves surrounded with innumerable evils; sins at the board and sins on the bed, sins at the task and sins in the pew, sins in the street and sins in the shop, sins on land and sins at sea, sins of body, soul, and spirit, sins of eye, of lip, of hand, of foot, sins everywhere, every way sins. It is a horrible discovery when it seems to a man as if sin had become almost as omnipresent with him as God is. It cannot be actually so, for sin cannot be everywhere, as God is; but it is hard to say where sin is not when once conscience is awake to see it. Our whole life, from our first responsible moment even until now, appears defiled. There are sins even in our holy things; only half the heart is laid on God’s altar, and the sacramental bread itself is defiled as it passes into our mouth. Oh, it is dreadful when the heart is awakened to see that it is even so! “Innumerable evils have surrounded me.”

6. But that is not all; this man is so beset with sin that it seems to hold him in a terrible grip. Read this: “My iniquities have taken hold on me,” as though they were so many griffins, {a} or other monsters of the old fables. They come and fix their claws into him; they have taken hold on him. Did any of you ever feel the grip of a single sin? I hope that you have, for you have never really been delivered from it if you have never felt its grasp. I once knew a young man who did not have a true sense of sin; he believed himself to be a sinner, but he never had a real conviction of sin. He was a working man, steady and upright, and he prided himself on his sobriety and industry. One day, in some little frolic, he upset an oil can, and when his employer came in, and asked, “Who did that?” he said that he did not know. No one ever found out who did upset that oil can, but he knew that he did it. Knocking over that can was not, in itself, an act of criminality; but he felt base and despicable because he had told a lie, and that lie just fixed itself on his heart, and clawed at it, and tore away at it so that he could not get away from its cruel clutches. He came to the house of prayer on the Sabbath day, to try to get rid of this iniquity that had taken hold of him, but it kept its hold month after month, hissing in his ear, “You have been a liar.” No one knew about it but himself; yet that one sin was quite enough to take hold of him, and to fix him with an awful grip. It was in this house that he was delivered from that sin through the precious blood of Christ; and I said within myself, when I heard the whole story, “Well, I am glad that sin took hold of that young man, for there were many sins beside which he afterwards thought of, and acknowledged with tears before his God; but they had all passed by unnoticed, they had never laid hold on him as that one lie had.” Let me tell you, friend, if you have a number of sins which have once taken hold on you, you will be something like a stag when the whole pack of hounds has seized him, and his neck and his shanks and every bone in him seem to feel the hounds’ teeth gnawing at them. I speak what I do know; I have felt these dogs on me, and I have had to cry to God for deliverance; and perhaps I am speaking to some soul that is in that condition tonight. It is no child’s play when this is the case. Here we have to deal with stern facts; and it is only God, by some great act of grace, who can set a poor soul free that is once beset in this way.

7. So, you see, he knows the countless number of his sins, he recognises the almost omnipresence of his sins, and he feels the terrible grip of his sins, tearing at his conscience, judging him, condemning him, breathing curses into him. Oh, if you know this experience, you can follow me when I take you a little further along this dark, dreary road!

8. II. Here is, secondly, A SOUL BEWILDERED: “My iniquities have taken hold on me, so that I am not able to look up.” Do you hear that, “not able to look up?” That is the only hope that a man has when he is under a sense of sin; his one way of escape is by looking up; but the psalmist says, “I am not able to look up.”

9. Does it not mean, first, that he did not dare to look his sins in the face? He felt so guilty, so self-condemned, that, as the judge, when he pronounces the death sentence, covers his head by putting on the black cap, so this culprit felt that he must hide his own face. He wants to have a blindfold tied over his eyes, for he is shocked at the sight that meets his gaze. He dares not look up, that is, he cannot face his sin.

10. It means, also, that he is unable to excuse himself. He used to be as big a braggart as anyone; at one time, he could talk as glibly as anyone about there being no God, and no hell; but that kind of speech is all gone out of him now. The Lord can soon knock such folly as that out of a man. Just one prick of the conscience, and the boaster is brought to his knees, and he does not try to look up for a single moment, to justify or excuse himself. All he can do is to hang his head, and murmur, “Guilty, guilty, guilty.” He knows then the meaning of Dr. Watts’s lines, —

    Should sudden vengeance seize my breath,
    I must confess thee just in death;
    And, if my soul were sent to hell,
    Thy righteous law approves it well.

Now, I may talk to you like this, and you may not feel the force of what I am saying; but if God deals with you, it will be a different matter. You will then be brought into such a state of bewilderment that you will not be able to face your sin, or excuse yourself, or even dare to think of it, the mere thought of it will be too horrible for you.

11. A man in this state of bewilderment dares not look up to read God’s promises. I come to him, and I say, “Friend, do you not know that there is a Bible full of promises for such as you are? ‘This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptance, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners, of whom I am chief.’ ” I put my hand on his shoulder, and I say, “Now, look at that promise.” He cannot look up. We read, in the 107th Psalm, of some who were so ill that, when the most dainty food was brought to them, they shook their heads, for they could not touch it: “Their soul abhors all manner of food; and they draw near to the gates of death.” Well, that is the condition of this man. “But,” you say, “my dear fellow, please look at this passage, ‘All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven to men.’ ‘Whoever confesses and forsakes his sins shall have mercy.’ ” “Ah!” he says, “it is too late for me, it does not apply to me.” Now, this is all a mistake, you know; the Lord is willing to receive you, my dear hearer, however horrible your offences may have been. If you are up to your neck in blasphemy and iniquity, Christ can make you clean in a moment. He has such sovereign power that, with a word, he can forgive you; indeed, and with a word, he can change your nature, and make a saint out of a sinner, an angel out of a very human devil; Christ possesses such power to save the vilest of the vile. So we say to the poor man, “Dear friend, look up! Look up at God’s promises.”

12. Perhaps, we try what effect the testimony of others will have on him. We stand in front of him, and we say, “Please look at us for a moment.” There was a dear brother, who prayed at the prayer meeting before the service, — no doubt he is here somewhere, — “Lord, save the big sinners, for,” he said, “Lord, since you have saved me, I believe that you can save anyone.” Now, that was good pleading; and I can say the same. There are many here who would say to you, “We looked to Christ, and were enlightened. We came with all our sin heavy on us; and we only looked to Jesus, and we found peace, and rest, and new hearts, and changed lives. What he has done for us, he can do for you, for he has demonstrated in some of us, as he did in Paul, all longsuffering for a pattern to all others who will believe in him to everlasting life.” Still, the man cannot look up; his sins have so bewildered him, his sense of guilt has so muddled his poor thoughts, that he dares not look up; and yet he ought to do so. If I were suffering from a certain disease, and a number of people came to me, and said, “We were afflicted exactly as you now are, but we went to Dr. So-and-so, and he cured us almost at once,” I think that I would go to that doctor, and I would try the medicine that had healed others. Oh, I wish that some of you would try my Saviour! You young people, oh that you would try him in your youth! You older ones, I pray that you may be led to Jesus now, though your sin rises like a mountain, for he is able to forgive and to save to the uttermost all who come to God by him.

13. But this poor soul cannot look up yet; so we put our hand on him again, and we say, “But, dear heart, if you will not look to the promises in the Bible, and you will not look to us who are examples of what divine grace can do, yet look to Jesus on the cross. Have you never heard the story of how he lived, and how he died? Do you not know the meaning of those blessed wounds of his? He was the Son of God, and he suffered all this for sinful men. He was pure, and holy, and innocent, yet he died, ‘the Just for the unjust, to bring us to God.’ Must there not be great merit in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ? Look up. Look to him. Look up to Jesus on the cross.”

    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.

But it is no use for us to talk to him; his sins have taken hold on him, so that he cannot look up.

14. So we try again, and we tell him to look up to Jesus on the throne. We say, “Do you not know that Jesus has risen from the dead? He has gone up into heaven, and he is at the right hand of God, making intercession for the transgressors. The business of Christ in heaven is to plead for sinners. Oh, how I wish that you would look up to him! Do!” We plead like this, but our pleading is not sufficient. Spirit of God, break these poor creatures away from their infatuation, and help them now just to look up to the living Saviour who is seated at the right hand of God, pleading for the guilty, for such as they are! Dear hearers, look to Jesus; only trust him; a look will do it. Look, look now. In God’s name, I command you to look! In the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, I do not merely advise, but, speaking by his authority, I tell you to look and live! May he set his seal to that command, as he did when Ezekiel ordered the dry bones to live, and they did live! But yet I know that, apart from the Eternal Spirit, the poor soul will not look up, though looking up is the only way to safety.

15. III. Follow me just for a few minutes more while I notice, in the third place, that here is A SOUL FAINTING: “My iniquities have taken hold on me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head: therefore my heart fails me.”

16. Why, that is the man who used to come in here as big as anyone, and now he cries, “My heart fails me.” You used to sing above all the rest, did you not? And you despised those poor weeping ones; but now your lament is, “My heart fails me.” When a man’s heart fails him, it is as when the standard-bearer of an army faints, everything gets in disarray.

17. “My heart fails me.” You have come to a fainting condition; and when the heart fails, death is approaching. You feel as if you must die, you are so utterly faint. You dare not hope; energy, you have none; what can you do? “To will,” you say, “is present with me; but how to perform what is good I do not find.” You are the man who used to think that you could believe whenever you liked, and jump into sovereign grace whenever you pleased; you do not find it so easy now, do you?

18. “My heart fails me.” This is the language of one in whom fear is working. Why, there is poor Mercy! Poor Mercy! You, as a young girl said, “I will not come to Jesus yet, I can come to him whenever I like”; and now you are fainting outside the gate because the big dog barks at you; and your heart fails you. Oh, do not lie there to die, dear swooning one! Jesus Christ will come to you in all your faintness. Is it not written, “When we were yet without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly?” “When we were yet without strength.” Now, you see what there is in yourself, do you not? Nothing at all. Your very heart fails you; and if sovereign grace does not intervene, you are lost, you know you are.

19. “Yes,” you say, “that is quite true, I am lost.” I am so glad that you confess this, for your confession proves that you are the one whom God has chosen to eternal life from before the foundation of the world. You are the kind for whom Jesus died when he poured out his heart’s blood. You are already called by his grace to come to him, for he said, “Come to me, all you who labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” You are the very characters whom he describes as being the objects of his love. Come to him, just as you are, and cast yourselves on him. Fainting heart, do not wait until you are revived, but faint on the bosom of Jesus! Failing heart, do not wait until you grow strong again, but come and confess your failure, your spiritual bankruptcy at Christ’s feet! Remember, there are none who are declared to be clear of all obligations but those who are bankrupts before the Lord, even as Joseph Hart sings, —

    ’Tis perfect poverty alone
       That sets the soul at large;
    While we can call one mite our own,
       We have no full discharge.

20. “But I have no good feelings,” one says. I am glad of it; come to Christ for them. “But I cannot repent as I wish, or believe as I would.” Then listen to Hart again, —

    True belief, and true repentance,
       Every grace that brings you nigh,
          Without money,
       Come to Jesus Christ and buy.

He wants nothing of you but that you will agree to let him be everything to you. “Free grace and dying love” — I delight to ring those charming bells; oh, that every ear would welcome their blessed music! Poor fainting heart, do you really hear the good news of free grace and dying love, and catch at the message, and rejoice in Christ tonight! May the Lord grant that it may be so!

21. IV. I finish, as the time has nearly gone, by introducing this man to you once more. We have had a soul beset, a soul bewildered, and a soul fainting; but here is A SOUL PLEADING: “My iniquities have taken hold on me, so that I am not able to look up … my heart fails me. Be pleased, oh Lord, to deliver me: oh Lord, hurry to help me.”

22. “Oh!” one says, “I would plead with God, but I do not know how to go to him.” Do you not? Did you ever teach your girl how to come to you when she wanted anything? She comes, and she says, “Father, I want such and such.” You do not send her to school, do you, and pay so much a week to teach her that art? No, she knows it naturally. If there is anything to be gotten from a father, trust a boy or a girl for knowing how to do it. You smile; let that smile go a little deeper. Smile again, if you like, that it may go right down deep. It is in this way that you should deal with God; just as your children, being evil, know how to ask for good gifts from their father, so you should know how to ask for good gifts from your Father who is in heaven; and the more childlike you can be in your praying, the better. If your boy were to come in tomorrow morning, and take out a Prayer-Book, and proceed to read the collect {b} for the day in the same kind of tone that you can hear it read in certain churches, and then say in the same tone, “Father, I know that you are generous and noble-hearted; be pleased to give me the valuable present of five shillings”; you would cry out, “Boy, hold your tongue, I cannot stand such nonsense.” But if he says, respectfully but earnestly, “Father, I shall be very grateful if you will give me five shillings, for there is such and such a thing that I want to buy”; you say at once, “Yes, my boy, certainly; here is the money”; that is to say, if you can do it, and consider it wise. I do not think that God is to be approached in a dignified, stupid way, with intoned prayers, and what Africans call “palaver.” Come to God in the simplest way possible, and tell him all that is in your heart, pour out your desires before him, expecting that he will hear you, and answer you; and go your way rejoicing that you have such a God to go to. The easiest thing in the world to a child of God should be to talk to his Father. He should not feel as if he had to put his best coat on in order to approach the Lord. Let him stand out in the yard, in his shirtsleeves, and pray. Why not? Wherever you are, if you should wake up in the middle of the night, begin to pray. You would not think of going to see a person in your shirtsleeves; but your boy may come to you like that whenever he pleases.

23. A person said to me, some time ago, “Would you mind telling me what to say when I pray?” I answered, “Say what you feel, ask God for what you desire.” “But,” she said, “I am such a poor ignorant woman that I would like you to tell me the words to say.” Then I thought of the passage in Hosea, “Take with you words, and turn to the Lord: say to him, ‘Take away all iniquity, and receive us graciously.’ ” So, the very words were put into the suppliants’ mouths; and in our text, David does, as it were, make a prayer that is suitable for many of you. May the Lord put it into your mouths and hearts!

24. I will only briefly call attention to the drift of the prayer; and, first, it is a prayer distinctly addressed to God. This poor bewildered heart does not look to itself, or to a priest, or to a sacrament, but it turns to God, and to God alone, and says, “Be pleased, oh Jehovah, to deliver me: oh Jehovah, hurry to help me.” Your only hope is in your God; salvation must come from God alone. You know how I pictured this matter some little while ago, about the baby picked up in the street. There is someone who is going to tell us what that baby needs. He needs some milk, and he needs to be washed, and he needs some clothes, he needs nursing, he needs soothing to sleep; he needs, — well, we can go on for a week, and hardly tell all that he needs; but I will put in one word what the baby needs, and that is, his mother. And you, poor soul, you need — you need — you need — you need so many, many things that I will not stop to mention them; I will put them into one word, you need your God. No one except he who made you can ever make you anew; therefore, since you need remaking, recreating, you need your God. Oh, poor prodigal, I know you need a new pair of boots, and a new pair of trousers, and a good dinner, and a great many other things; but most of all you need to go home to your Father, and if you go home to your Father, then you will get all the other things that you need. Cry to God, then, you who have never prayed before. May the Lord, the Holy Spirit, make you cry to your God in Christ Jesus!

25. And then, do you notice the style of the prayer in our text? “Be pleased, oh Jehovah, to deliver me.” It is an appeal to the good pleasure of God. There is no arguing of merit, there is no plea but that of God’s good pleasure. He will have mercy on whom he will have mercy; and he will have compassion on whom he will have compassion. Divine sovereignty is not to be denied. No man has any right to God’s grace; if it is given to anyone, it is given by the free favour of God, as he pleases, and to whom he pleases. Shall he not do as he wishes with his own? But do you, as a suppliant, take this lowly ground: “Be pleased, oh Jehovah, to deliver me, for your mercy’s sake, for your goodness’ sake! Universal Ruler as you are, and able to save whomever you wish, for the rights of life and death are in the hands of the King of kings, be pleased, oh Lord, to deliver me!” That is the way to plead with God.

26. And then you may, if you like, use that last sentence: “Hurry, oh Jehovah, to deliver me!” You may plead urgency; you may say, “Lord, if you do not help me soon, I shall die. I am driven to such distress by my sin that, if you do not hear me soon, it will be too late. Innumerable evils have surrounded me, so that I am not able to look up. I am driven to such dire distress that my case is urgent; oh Lord, help me now!” Oh, how I wish that such a prayer as that might go up from many and many a heart in this audience! You are not truly awakened to a sense of your lost condition if you want to be saved tomorrow. If you are really convicted of sin, your prayer will be, “Hurry, oh Lord, to deliver me.” I pray that you may be brought to that point tonight, so that you may not dare to go to bed until you have found your God; or, if you must go to bed, you may not be able to sleep until you have found your Saviour, and put your trust in him.

27. Dear friends, may God save every one of you! Oh, how I would pour out my very soul in pleading with you, if I thought that longer talk would lead you to Christ! But words are only air and wind. Eternal Spirit, Master of all hearts, come and deal with men, and lead them to Jesus now! And to the Triune Jehovah shall be the glory for ever and ever! Amen.

{a} Griffin: A fabulous animal usually represented as having the head and wings of an eagle and the body and hind quarters of a lion. By the Greeks they were believed to inhabit Scythia, and to keep jealous watch over the gold of that country. OED. {b} Collect: A name given to “a comparatively short prayer, more or less condensed in form, and aiming at a single point, or at two points closely connected with each other,” one or more of which, according to the occasion and season, have been used in the public worship of the Western Church from an early date. Applied particularly to the prayer, which varies with the day, week, or octave, said before the Epistle in the Mass or Eucharistic service, and in the Anglican service also in Morning and Evening Prayer, called for distinction the collect of the day. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 40}

To the chief Musician, A Psalm of David.

If I were to read this Psalm all through as referring to Christ, and to Christ only, I should be correct in doing so; but still, there is such a unity between Christ and those who compose his mystical body that, what is true of the Head, is true of the members. What is true of the Vine, is true of the branches. What is true of Christ, is true of those who are in him. Therefore, this Psalm relates to David as well as to “great David’s greater Son,” and it also concerns every one who is of the royal seed, every true believer in the Lord Jesus Christ. Hence the Psalm begins: —

1. I waited patiently for the LORD; and he inclined to me, and heard my cry.

“I waited.” “Do not beggars wait long at a fellow creature’s door for some pitiful alms, and should I not be content to linger at Mercy’s gate for such great blessings as I am craving?”

“I waited patiently.” Well may we wait patiently until Jehovah’s time to help, since we know that, “Just as a father pities his children, so the Lord pities those who fear him”; and if he is compassionate, we can well afford to be patient.

“I waited patiently for Jehovah.” Those who have been most mighty in prayer have sometimes had to wait for the answers to their supplications. Do not expect the Lord to hear you today or tomorrow. He may hear you before you speak, according to his promise, “Before they call, I will answer”; but he may, for the trial of your faith, make you wait. Are you able to wait? Then you are certain to receive a great blessing.

“I waited patiently for the Lord, and he inclined to me,” bowed down out of heaven, inclined to me, stooped to me, thought well of me, and of my prayer also, “and heard my cry.”

2. He brought me up out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay, and set my feet on a rock, and established my goings.

This is a wonderful song, full of rapturous joy. You know how Orientals were accustomed to cast their prisoners into pits, and these pits were often horribly deep, and dark, and damp; and the mud at the bottom would be such that a man would sink in it. David sings of the Lord, “He brought me up also out of a horrible pit, out of the miry clay.” What a wonderful up-bringing was this; and, since God never does anything by halves, he did not let his servant slip back again, for David added, “and set my feet on a rock.” “He set my feet.” When God sets a man’s feet, those feet are well set; there is no sliding, no slipping, then. The Lord set David’s feet on a rock; and, more than that, established his goings, made them firm, so that when he stirred he did not stumble.

3. And he has put a new song in my mouth, even praise to our God:

Sing, then, believer! You groaned often enough in the pit, sing now that you are on the rock. You were desolate enough in the dungeon; sound aloud your grateful thanksgivings now that your goings are established.

3. Many shall see it, and fear, and shall trust in the LORD.

There you have a picture of a sinner’s conversion and its effects. The man sees the Lord’s goodness to the child of God in distress. He fears; that is, he stands in awe of the great God; and then he also believes, he trusts in the Lord. One saint makes many; one child of God brought up out of the horrible pit leads to the bringing up of a great many others in the same way.

4. Blessed is that man who makes the LORD his trust, and does not respect the proud, nor such as turn aside to lies.

If you trust in God, you will have no reverence for the proud, nor for those who turn aside from God’s Word, and teach falsehood. If you really fear God, you will have no fear of men.

5. Many, oh LORD my God, are your wonderful works which you have done, and your thoughts which are towards us: they cannot be recounted to you in order: if I would declare and speak of them, they are more than can be numbered.

The child of God, reviewing the Lord’s great goodness, feels that he can never count the mercies of God to him, and, as for proclaiming them, that can never be. It will be, perhaps, a part of our eternal employment to tell to angels, and principalities, and powers in the heavenly places the story of the lovingkindness of the Lord which we have experienced here below. If we had no troubles, we should have nothing to tell, but now that we are led in a strange way, and into very difficult places, we can write another page in our diary, which will be worth reading in those days when fictions shall all have been consumed in the fire, but the great facts in the lives of the Lord’s people shall make God to be admired in his saints for ever and ever.

6-8. You did not desire sacrifice and offering; you have opened my ears: you have not required burnt offering and sin offering. Then I said, “Lo, I come: in the volume of the book it is written of me, I delight to do your will, oh my God: yes, your law is within my heart.”

Did I not speak truly when I said that the Christ of God is here? To whom is this passage one hundredth part so applicable as to the Lord Jesus himself? Does not Paul dwell on this passage as teaching the putting aside of the old covenant law, and the bringing in of something better, even the obedience of Christ our Saviour? However, this evening, I wish to read the Scripture in reference to the saints, the Lord’s own people. I trust that many of us, seeing that God does not delight in ritualistic performances, and in the externals of religion, so much as he does in the obedience of the heart, can come to him, and declare with David, “I delight to do your will, oh my God.” Beloved friends, you are not what you ought to be; you are not what you want to be, you are not what you shall be, but, tell me, are you ever happier than when you are consciously doing the will of God? Do you not find misery in sin, and delight in holiness? If you can say that it is so with you, then you are bound for the kingdom; you are on the way to complete victory over sin. Be of good cheer; he who has created in you this very same thing, to delight to do the will of God, will grant you grace to do it. He will bruise Satan under your feet shortly; and your inbred corruptions shall be uprooted yet by the Spirit of his grace.

9. I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, oh LORD, you know.

This is what Jesus can say. He was the Prince of open-air preachers the Great Itinerant, the President of the College of all preachers of the gospel; and I trust that many of us here can also say that, according to our ability and opportunity, we have tried to tell of Christ to those all around us.

10. I have not hidden your righteousness within my heart; I have declared your faithfulness and your salvation: I have not concealed your lovingkindness and your truth from the great congregation.

If any of you have done so, if there has been a sinful reticence about the things of God, if, called to preach, you have not yet preached the full gospel of God’s grace, may the Lord forgive you, and bring you out into a clear understanding of what he has written within your hearts! We cannot tell what we do not know, and we ought not to try to do so; but what was engraved on our hearts by the Holy Spirit, we are bound to tell to others. This gas light was lit so that it might shine, and you received the divine fire so that you might shine to the glory of God. It may be that, in some dark hour, it shall afford you at least a little comfort to be able to say, “I have preached righteousness in the great congregation: lo, I have not refrained my lips, oh Lord, you know. I have not hidden your righteousness within my heart; I have declared your faithfulness and your salvation.” You may be able to use it as an argument in prayer, as the psalmist does: “I have not concealed your lovingkindness and your truth from the great congregation, therefore,” —

11. Do not withhold your tender mercies from me, oh LORD: let your lovingkindness and your truth continually preserve me.

Depend on it, God will take care of us, if we take care of his truth. If we, from cowardly reasons, keep back any part of the gospel, God may leave us to defend ourselves; but if we conceal nothing that he has revealed to us, if we are faithful to the truth committed to our charge, that truth will itself preserve us, and we shall know more and more of the lovingkindness of the Lord.

But what a sad verse is the next one, if it describes the experience of any one of you who have known the Lord!

12. For innumerable evils have surrounded me: my iniquities have taken hold on me, so that I am not able to look up; they are more than the hairs of my head: therefore my heart fails me.

If that is the condition of any one whom I am addressing, be comforted by the memory that another has been along that dark road where you now are found, and follow his example in praying to the Lord to deliver you: —

13. Be pleased, oh LORD, to deliver me: oh LORD, hurry to help me.

David cried like this to the Lord “out of the depths.” Imitate his example if you are in similar circumstances. Say, with good John Ryland, —

    Out of the depths of doubt and fear,
       Depths of despair and grief,
    I cry; my voice, oh Jesus, hear,
       And come to my relief!

14-16. Let them be ashamed and confounded together who seek after my soul to destroy it, let them be driven backward and put to shame who wish me evil. Let them be desolate for a reward of their shame who say to me, “Aha, aha!” Let all those who seek you rejoice and be glad in you:

Here is comfort for all poor trembling seekers; they are only seekers, but let us thank God that they are seekers, and let us say with the psalmist, “Let all those who seek you rejoice and be glad in you.” All true Christians, those who have found Christ, are still seekers; for, after finding Christ, they inflame their souls to seek him more and more. So that our prayer also is, “Let all those who seek you rejoice and be glad in you”

16, 17. Let those who love your salvation say continually, “The LORD be magnified.” But I am poor and needy; yet the Lord thinks on me: you are my help and my deliverer; make no delay, oh my God.

May the Lord bless to us the reading of this precious portion of his Word, for his name’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Privileges, Unchanging Love — ‘I Will Never Leave Thee’ ” 733}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — Supplicating” 587}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — ‘Bless Me, Even Me Also, Oh My Father!’ ” 607}

The Christian, Privileges, Unchanging Love
733 — “I Will Never Leave Thee” <11s.>
1 Oh Zion, afflicted with wave upon wave,
   Whom no man can comfort, whom no man can save;
   With darkness surrounded, by terrors dismay’d,
   In toiling and rowing thy strength is decay’d.
2 Loud roaring the billows now nigh overwhelm,
   But skilful’s the Pilot who sits at the helm,
   His wisdom conducts thee, his power thee defends,
   In safety and quiet thy warfare he ends.
3 “Oh fearful! oh faithless!” in mercy he cries,
   “My promise, my truth, are they light in thine eyes?
   Still, still I am with thee, my promise shall stand,
   Through tempest and tossing I’ll bring thee to land.
4 “Forget thee I will not, I cannot, thy name
   Engraved on my heart doth for ever remain:
   The palms of my hands whilst I look in I see
   The wounds I received when suffering for thee.
5 “I feel at my heart all thy sighs and thy groans,
   For thou art most near me, my flesh and my bones,
   In all thy distresses thy Head feels the pain,
   Yet all are most needful, not one is in vain.
6 “Then trust me, and fear not; thy life is secure;
   My wisdom is perfect, supreme is my power;
   In love I correct thee, thy soul to refine
   To make thee at length in my likeness to shine.
7 “The foolish, the fearful, the weak are my care,
   The helpless, the hopeless, I hear their sad prayer:
   From all their afflictions my glory shall spring,
   And the deeper their sorrows, the louder they’ll sing.”
                           James Grant, 1784, a.

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

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.

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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