A Sermon Delivered On Sunday Morning, April 3, 1859, By Pastor C. H. Spurgeon, At The Music Hall, Royal Surrey Gardens.
Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt? (Mt 14:31)
1. It seems as if doubt was doomed to be the perpetual companion of faith. As dust attends the chariot wheels so do doubts naturally cloud faith. Some men of little faith are perpetually enshrouded with fears; their faith seems only strong enough to enable them to doubt. If they had no faith at all, then they would not doubt, but having that little, and ever so little, they are perpetually involved in distressing surmises, suspicions, and fears. Others, who have attained to great strength and stability of faith, are nevertheless, at times, subjects of doubt. He who has a colossal faith will sometimes find that the clouds of fear float over the brow of his confidence. It is not possible, I suppose, as long as man is in this world, that he should be perfect in anything; and surely it seems to be quite impossible that he should be perfect in faith. Sometimes, indeed, the Lord purposely leaves his children, withdraws the divine inflowings of his grace, and permits them to begin to sink, in order that they may understand that faith is not their own work, but it is first the gift of God, and must always be maintained and kept alive in the heart by the fresh influence of the Holy Spirit. I take it that Peter was a man of great faith. When others doubted, Peter believed. He boldly avowed that Jesus was the Christ, the Son of the living God, for which faith he received the Master’s commendation, “Blessed are you, Simon Barjona: for flesh and blood has not revealed it to you, but my Father who is in heaven.” His faith was so strong, that at Christ’s command he could tread the billow and find it like glass beneath his feet, yet even he was permitted in this thing to fall. Faith forsook him, he looked at the winds and the waves, and began to sink, and the Lord said to him, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” As much as to say, “Oh Peter, your great faith is my gift, and its greatness is my work. Do not think that you are the author of your own faith; I will leave you, and this great faith of yours shall speedily disappear, and like another who has no faith, you shall believe the winds, and regard the waves, but shall distrust your Master’s power, and therefore shall you sink.”
2. I think I shall be quite safe in concluding this morning, that there are some here who are full of doubting and fearing. I am sure that all true Christians have their times of anxious questioning. The heart that has never doubted has not yet learned to believe. As the farmers say, “The land that will not grow a thistle, will not grow wheat;” and the heart that cannot produce a doubt has not yet understood the meaning of believing. He who never doubted his state—he may, perhaps he may, too late. Yes, there may be timid ones here, those who are always of little faith, and there may be also great hearts, those who are valiant for truth, who are now enduring times of despondency and hours of darkness of heart.
3. Now in endeavouring to comfort you this morning, I would remark that the text promotes a very wise principle. If a man believes in anything, it is always proper to ask him the question, “Why do you believe? What evidence have you that what you believe is certainly correct?” We believe on evidence. Now the most foolish part of many men’s doubts, is, that they do not doubt on evidence. If you should ask them the question, “Why do you doubt?”—they would not be able to give a reasonable answer. Yet note, if men’s doubts are painful, the wisest way to remove them is by simply seeing whether they have a firm basis. “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” If you believe a thing you need evidence, and before you doubt a thing you ought to have evidence too. To believe without evidence is to be credulous, and to doubt without evidence is to be foolish. We should have ground for our doubts as well as a basis for our faith. Therefore the text promotes a most excellent principle, and it deals with all doubting minds by asking them this question, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?”
4. I shall endeavour to exhort you in the same way this morning. I shall divide only sermon into two parts. First, I shall address myself to those of you who are in great trouble with regard to temporal circumstances, you are God’s people, but you are severely tried, and you have begun to doubt. I shall then deal with you upon spiritual matters—there are some here who are God’s true, quickened, and living people, but they are doubting—to them also I shall ask the same question, “Oh you of little faith, why do you doubt?”
5. I. First, then, in TEMPORAL CIRCUMSTANCES, God has not made for his people a smooth path to heaven. Before they are crowned they must fight; before they can enter the celestial city they must fulfil a weary pilgrimage. Religion helps us in trouble, but it does not permit us to escape from it. It is through much tribulation that we inherit the kingdom. Now the Christian when he is full of faith passes through affliction with a song in his mouth; he would enter the fiery furnace itself, fearless of the devouring flame; or with Jonah he would descend into the great deeps, unalarmed by the hungry sea. As long as faith maintains its hold, fear is a stranger; but at times, during various great and severe troubles, the Christian begins to fear that surely at last he shall be overcome, and shall be left to himself to die and perish in despair.
6. Now, what is the reason why you doubt? I must come to the words of the text and ask the great question, “Oh you of little faith, why do you doubt?” Here it will be proper for us to enquire: Why did Simon Peter doubt? He doubted for two reasons. First, because he looked too much to secondary causes and secondly, because be looked too little at the first cause. The answer will suit you also, my trembling brother. This is the reason why you doubt, because you are looking too much to the things that are seen, and too little to your unseen Friend who is behind your troubles, and who shall come for your deliverance. See poor Peter in the ship—his Master bids him to come; in a moment he casts himself into the sea, and to his own surprise he finds himself walking on the billows. He looks down, and actually it is the fact; his foot is upon a crested wave, and yet he stands erect; he treads again, and yet his footing is secure. “Oh!” Peter thinks, “this is marvellous.” He begins to wonder within his spirit what manner of man he must be who has enabled him thus to tread the treacherous deep; but just then, there comes howling across the sea a terrible blast of wind; it whistles in the ear of Peter, and he says within himself, “Ah! here comes an enormous billow driven forward by the blast; now, surely, I must, I shall be overwhelmed.” No sooner does the thought enter his heart than down he goes; and the waves begin to enclose him. As long as he shut his eye to the billow, and to the blast, and kept it only open to the Lord who stood there before him, he did not sink; but the moment he shut his eye on Christ, and looked at the stormy wind and treacherous deep, down he went. He might have traversed the leagues of the Atlantic, he might have crossed the broad Pacific, if he could only have kept his eye on Christ, and never a billow would have yielded to his tread, but he might have been drowned in a very brook if he began to look at secondary causes, and to forget the Great Head and Master of the Universe who had bidden him to walk on the sea. I say, the very reason for Peter’s doubt was, that he looked at secondary causes and not at the first cause. Now, that is the reason why you doubt. Let me just probe you now for a while. You are in despondency about temporal affairs: what is the reason why you are in trouble? “Because,” you say, “I never was in such a condition before in my life. Wave upon wave of trouble comes upon me. I have lost one friend and then another. It seems as if business had altogether run away from me. Once I had a flood tide, and now it is an ebb, and my poor ship grates upon the gravel, and I find she has not enough water to float her—what will become of me? And, oh! sir, my enemies have conspired against me in every way to cut me up and destroy me; opposition upon opposition threatens me. My shop must be closed; bankruptcy stares me in the face, and I do not know what is to become of me.” Or else your troubles take another shape, and you feel that you are called to some eminently arduous service for your Lord, and your strength is utterly insignificant compared with the labour before you. If you had great faith it would be as much as you could do to accomplish it; but with your poor little faith you are completely beaten. You cannot see how you can accomplish the matter at all. Now, what is all this but simply looking at secondary causes? You are looking at your trouble, not at the God who sent your trouble; you are looking at yourselves, not at the God who dwells within you, and who has promised to sustain you. Oh soul! it would be enough to make the mightiest heart doubt, if it should look only at things that are seen. He who is nearest to the kingdom of heaven would have cause to droop and die if he had nothing to look at but that which eye can see and ear can ear. What wonder then if you are disconsolate, when you have begun to look at the things which always must be enemies to faith?
7. But I would remind you that you have forgotten to look to Christ since you have been in this trouble. Let me ask you, have you not thought less of Christ than you ever did? I will not suppose that you have neglected prayer, or have left your Bible unread; but still, have you had any of those sweet thoughts of Christ which you once had? Have you been able to take all your troubles to him and say—“Lord, you know all things; I trust all in your hands?” Let me ask you, have you considered that Christ is omnipotent, and therefore able to deliver you; that he is faithful, and must deliver you, because he has promised to do so? Have you not kept your eye on his rod, and not on his hand? Have you not looked rather to the crook that stuck you, than to the heart that moved that crook? Oh, remember, that you can never find joy and peace while you are looking at the things that are seen, the secondary causes of your trouble; your only hope, your only refuge and joy must be to look to him who dwells within the veil. Peter sunk when he looked at outward providences, so must you. He would never have ceased to walk the wave, he would never have begun to sink, if he had only looked to Christ, nor will you if you will look to him alone.
8. And here let me now begin to argue with such of you as are the people of God, who are in severe trouble lest Christ should leave you to sink. Let me forbid your fears by a few words of consolation. You are now in Peter’s condition; you are like Peter; you are Christ’s servant. Christ is a good Master. You have never heard that he permitted one of his servants to be drowned when going on his errands. Will he not take care of his own? Shall it be said at last that one of Christ’s disciples perished while he was in obedience to Christ? I say he would be a bad Master if he should send you on an errand that would involve your destruction. Peter, when he was in the water, was in the place where his Master had called him to be, and you in your trouble now, are not only Christ’s servant, but you are where Christ has chosen to put you. Your afflictions, remember, come neither from the east nor from the west, neither does your trouble grow out of the ground. All your suffering is sent to you by your God. The medicine which you now drink is made in heaven. Every grain of this bitterness which now fills your mouth was measured by the heavenly physician. There is not an ounce more trouble in your cup, than God chose to put there. Your burden was weighed by God before you were called to bear it. The Lord who gave you the mercy has taken it away; the same God who has blessed you with joy is he who has now ploughed you with grief. You are in the place where God put you. Ask yourself this question then:—“Can it be possible that Christ would put his own servant into a perilous condition and then leave him there?” I have heard of fiends, in fables, tempting men into the sea to drown them; but is Christ a siren?1 Will he entice his people on to the rocks? Will he tempt them into a place where he shall destroy them? God forbid. If Christ calls you into the fire, he will bring you out of it; and if he bids you walk the sea, he will enable you to tread it in safety. Do not doubt soul; if you had come there by yourself, then you might fear, but since Christ put you there, he will bring you out again. Let this be the pillar of your confidence—you are his servant, he will not leave you; you are in the place where he put you, he cannot permit you to perish. Look away, then, from the trouble that surrounds you, to your Master, and to his hand that has planned all these things.
9. Remember too, who it is who has placed you where you are. It is no harsh tyrant who has led you into trouble. It is no austere unloving heart who has bidden you pass through this difficulty to gratify a capricious whim. Ah, no; he who troubles you is Christ. Remember his bleeding hand; and can you think that the hand which dropped with gore can ever hang down when it should be stretched out for your deliverance? Think of the eye that wept over you on the cross; and can the eye that wept for you be blind when you are in grief? Think of the heart that was opened for you; and shall the heart that bled its life away to rescue you from death, be hard and stolid when you are overwhelmed in sorrow? It is Christ who stands on that billow in the midst of the tempest with you. He is suffering as well as you are. Peter is not the only one walking on the sea; his Master is there with him too. And so is Jesus with you today; with you in your troubles, suffering, with you as he suffered for you. Shall he leave you, he who bought you, he who is married to you, he who has led you thus far, has helped you so far, he who loves you better than he loves himself, shall he forsake you? Oh turn your eyes from the rough billow; listen no longer to the howling tempest, turn your eyes to him your loving Lord, your faithful friend, and fix your trust on him, who even now in the midst of the tempest, cries, “It is I, do not be afraid.”
10. One other reflection will I offer to such of you as are now in severe trouble on account of temporal matters, and it is this—Christ has helped you so far. Should this not console you? Ah, Peter, how could you fear that you should sink? It was miracle enough that you did not sink at first. What power is it that has held you up until now? Certainly not your own. You would have fallen at once to the bottom of the sea, oh man, if God had not been your helper; if Jesus had not made you buoyant, Peter, you would soon have been a floating carcass. He who helped you then to walk as long as you could walk, surely he is able to help you all the way until he shall grasp your hand in Paradise to glorify you with himself. Let any Christian look back to his past life, and he will be astonished that he is what he is and where he is. The whole Christian life is a series of miracles, wonders linked into wonders, in one perpetual chain. Marvel, believer, that you have been upheld until now; and cannot he who has kept you to this day preserve you to the end? What is that roaring wave that threatens to overwhelm you—what is it? Why you have endured greater waves than these in the past. What is that howling blast? Why, he has saved you when the wind was howling worse than that. He who helped you in six troubles will not forsake you in this. He who has delivered you out of the paw of the lion and out of the paw of the bear, he will not, he cannot forsake you now.
11. In all this, I have laboured to turn your eyes from what you are seeing to that which you cannot see, but in which you must believe. Oh! if I might only be successful, though my words are feeble, yet mighty should be the consolation which should flow from them.
12. A minister of Christ, who was always in the habit of visiting those whom he knew to be eminent for piety, in order that he might learn from them, called upon an aged Christian who had been distinguished for his holiness. To his great surprise, however, when he sat down by his bedside, the aged man said, “Ah! I have lost my way. I thought at one time that I was a child of God, now I find that I have been a stumblingblock to others; for these forty years I have deceived the church and deceived myself, and now I discover that I am a lost soul.” The minister very wisely said to him, “Ah! then I suppose you like the song of the drunkard, and you are very fond of the amusements of the world and delight in profanity and sin?” “Ah! no,” he said, “I cannot bear them, I could not endure to sin against God.” “Oh then,” said the minister, “then it is not at all likely that God will lock you up in hell with men that you cannot bear here. If now you hate sin, depend on it God will not shut you up for ever with sinners. But, my brother,” said the minister “tell me what has brought you into such a distressed state of mind?” “Oh sir,” he said, “it was looking away from the God of providence, to myself. I had managed to save about one hundred pounds, and I have been lying here ill now this last six months, and I was thinking that my one hundred pounds would soon be spent, and then what should I do? I think I shall have to go to the workhouse, I have no friend to take care of me, and I have been thinking about that one hundred pounds of mine. I knew it would soon be gone, and then, then, how could the Lord provide for me? I never had either doubt or fear until I began to think about temporal matters. There was a time when I could leave all that with God. If I had not had one hundred pounds, I would have felt quite sure he would provide for me; but I begin to think now that I cannot provide for myself. The moment I think of that, my heart is darkened.” The minister then led him away from all trust in an arm of flesh, and told him his dependence for bread and water was not on his one hundred pounds, but on the God who is the possessor of heaven and earth—that as for his bread being given him and his water being sure, God would take care of that, for in so doing he would only be fulfilling his promise. The poor man was enabled in the matter of providence to cast himself entirely upon God, and then his doubts and fears subsided, and once more he began to walk the sea of trouble, and did not sink. Oh believer, if you take your business into your own hands, you will soon be in trouble. The old Puritan said, “He who carves for himself will soon cut his fingers,” and I believe it. There never was a man who began to take his own matters out of God’s hand that was not glad enough to give them back again. He who runs before the cloud of providence runs on a fool’s errand. If we leave all our matters, temporal as well as spiritual, in the hand of God, we shall lack no good thing; and what is better still, we shall have no care, no trouble, no thought; we shall cast all our burden upon him for he cares for us. There is no need for two to care, for God to care and the creature too. If the Creator cares for us, then the creature may sing all day long with joy and gladness:—
Mortals cease from toil and sorrow,
God provides for the morrow.
13. II. But now, in the second part of my sermon, I wish to speak of SPIRITIUAL THINGS. To the Christian, these are the causes of more trouble than all his temporal trials. In the matters of the soul and of eternity many doubts will arise. I shall, however, divide them into two kinds—doubts about our present acceptance, and doubts about our final perseverance.
14. There are many of God’s people who are very vexed and troubled with doubts about their present acceptance. “Oh,” they say, “there was a time when I knew I was a child of God; I was sure that I was Christ’s; my heart would fly up to heaven at a word; I looked to Christ hanging on the cross, I fixed all my trust on him, and a sweet, calm, and blessed repose filled my spirit.
What peaceful hours I then enjoyed;
How sweet their memory still!
But they have left an aching void,
The world can never fill.
And now,” says this doubting one, “now I am afraid I never knew the Lord; I think that I have deceived myself, and that I have been a hypocrite. Oh that I could only know that I am Christ’s, I would give all I had in the world, if he would only let me know that he is my beloved, and that I am his.” Now, soul, I will deal with you just as I have been dealing with Peter. Your doubts arise from looking to secondary causes, and not to Christ. Let us see if this is not the truth. Why do you doubt? Your answer is, “I doubt, because I feel my sin so much. Oh, what sins have I committed! When I first came to Christ I thought I was the chief of sinners; but now I know I am. Day after day I have added to my guilt; and since my pretended conversion,” says this doubting one, “I have been a bigger sinner than I ever was before. I have sinned against light and against knowledge, against grace, and mercy, and favour. Oh never was there such a sinner under God’s heaven outside of hell as I am.” But, soul, is not this looking to secondary causes? It is true, you are the chief of sinners; take that for granted; let us not dispute it. Your sins are as evil as you say they are, and a great deal more so. Depend on it, you are worse than you think yourself to be. You think you are bad enough, but you are not as bad in your own estimation as you really are. Your sins seem to you to be like roaring billows, but in God’s sight they are like towering mountains without a summit. You seem to yourself to be black—black as the tents of Kedar; in God’s eyes you are blacker still. Set that down, to begin with, that the waves are big, and that the winds are howling; I will not dispute that. I ask you, what have you to do with that? Does not the Word of God command you to look to Christ. Great as your sins are, Christ is greater than all of them. They are black; but his blood can wash you whiter than snow. I know your sins deserve damnation; but Christ’s merits deserve salvation. It is true, the pit of hell is your lawful portion, but heaven itself is your gracious portion. What! is Christ less powerful than your sin? That cannot be! To suppose that would be to make the creature mightier than the Creator. What! is your guilt more prevalent with God than Christ’s righteousness? Can you think so little of Christ as to imagine that your sins can overwhelm and conquer him? Oh man, your sins are like mountains; but Christ’s love is like Noah’s flood; it prevails twenty cubits, and the tops of the mountains are covered. It is looking at sin and not looking to the Saviour that has made you doubt. You are looking to the secondary cause, and not to him who is greater than all.
15. “No, but,” you reply, “it is not my sin, sir, that grieves me; it is this: I feel so hardened; I do not feel my sin as I ought to. Oh if I could only weep as some weep! If I could only pray as some pray! Then I think I could be saved. If I could feel some of the terrors that good men have felt, then I think I could believe. But I feel none of these things. My heart seems like a rock of ice, hard as granite, and as cold as an iceberg. It will not melt. You may preach, but it is not affected; I may pray, but my heart seems dumb; I may read even the account of Christ’s death, and yet my soul is not moved by it. Oh surely I cannot be saved!” Ah this is looking to secondary causes, again! Have you forgotten that Word which says, “God is greater than our hearts?” Have you forgotten that? Oh child of God! shame on you since you look for comfort where comfort can never be found. Look to yourself for peace! Why, there never can be any in this land of war. Look to your own heart for joy! There can be none there, in this barren wilderness of sin. Turn, turn your eye to Christ: he can cleanse your heart; he can create life, and light, and truth in the inward parts; he can wash you until you shall be whiter than snow, and cleanse your soul and quicken it, and make it live, and feel, and move, so that it shall hear his simplest words, and obey his whispered mandate. Oh do not look now at the secondary cause; look at the great first cause; otherwise I shall ask you the question again, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt”
16. “Still,” another says, “I could believe, notwithstanding my sin and my hardness of heart; but, do you know, that recently I have lost communion with Christ to such an extent that I cannot help thinking that I must be a castaway. Oh! sir, there were times when Christ used to visit me, and bring me such sweet love tokens. I was like the little ewe lamb in the parable; I drank out of his cup, and fed from his table, and lay in his bosom; often he took me to his banqueting house, his banner over me was love. What feastings I had then! I would bask in the sunlight of his countenance. It was summer with my soul. But now it is winter, and the sun is gone, and the banqueting house is closed. No fruits are on the table; no wines are in the bottles of the promise; I come to the sanctuary, but I find no comfort; I turn to the Bible, but I find no solace; I fall on my knees, but even the stream of prayer seems to be a dry brook.” Ah! soul, but are you not still looking to secondary causes? These are the most precious of all secondary things, but yet you must not look to them, but to Christ. Remember, it is not your communing that saves you, but Christ’s dying; it is not Christ’s comforting visit to your soul, that ensures your salvation; it is Christ’s own visit to the house of mourning, and to the garden of Gethsemane. I wish to have you keep your comforts as long as you can; but when they die, still believe on your God. Jonah had a gourd once, and when that gourd died he began to mourn. Well might someone have said to him, “Jonah! you has lost your gourd, but you have not lost your God.” And so might we say to you: you have not lost his love; you have lost the light of his countenance, but you have not lost the love of his heart; you have lost his sweet and gracious communion, but he is still the same, and he wishes to have you believe his faithfulness and trust him in the dark and rely upon him in the stormy wind and tempest. Look to none of these outward things; but look to Christ alone—Christ bleeding, Christ dying, Christ dead, Christ buried, Christ risen, Christ ascended, Christ interceding. This is the thing you are to look to—Christ, and him only. And looking there, you shall be comforted. But look to anything else, and you shall begin to sink; like Peter, the waves shall fail you, and you shall have to cry, “Lord, save me, or I will perish.”
17. But, again, to conclude: others of God’s people are afraid that they shall never be able to persevere and hold out to the end. “Oh!” one says, “I know I shall yet fall away and perish, for look!—look what an evil heart of unbelief I have; I cannot live one day without sin; my heart is so treacherous, it is like a bombshell; let only a spark of temptation fall upon it and it will blow up to my eternal destruction. With such a tinderbox heart as I have, how can I hope to escape, while I walk in the midst of a shower of sparks.” “Oh!” one says, “I feel my nature to be so utterly vile and depraved that I cannot hope to persevere. If I hold on a week or a month it will be a great work; but to hold on all my life until I die—oh! this is impossible.” Are you not looking to secondary causes again? Will you please to remember that if you look to creature strength it is utterly impossible that you should persevere in grace, even for ten minutes, much less for ten years! If your perseverance depends upon yourself you are a lost man. You may write that down for a certainty. If you have one jot or one tittle to do with your own perseverance in divine grace you will never see God’s face at last; your grace will die out; your life will be extinguished, and you must perish, if your salvation depends upon yourself. But remember, you have already been kept these months and these years: what has done that? Why, divine grace; and the divine grace that has kept you for one year can keep you for a century, no, for an eternity, if it would be necessary. He who has begun can carry on and must carry on too, otherwise he would be false to his promise and would deny himself. “Ah! but,” you say, “sir, I cannot tell with what temptations I am surrounded; I am in a workshop, where everyone laughs at me; I am called nicknames because I follow the cause of Christ. I have been able so far to put up with their rebukes and their jests; but now they are adopting another strategy; they try to lure me away from the house of God, and entice me to the theatre, and to worldly amusements, and I feel that, placed as I am, I never can hold on. As well might a spark hope to live in the midst of an ocean as for grace to live in my heart.” Ah! but, soul, who has caused it to live so far? What is it that has helped you up until now to say, “No,” to every temptation? Why, the Lord your Redeemer. You could not have done it so long, if it had not been for him; and he who has helped you to stand so long will never put you to shame. Why, if you are a child of God, and you should fall away and perish, what dishonour would be brought upon Christ! “Aha!” the devil would say, “here is a child of God, and God has turned him out of his family, and I have got him in hell at last. Is this what God does with his children—loves them one day, and hates them the next—tells them he forgives them, and yet punishes them—accepts them in Christ, and yet sends them into hell?” Can that be? Shall it be? Never: not while God is God. “Aha!” again, Satan says, “believers have eternal life given to them. Here is one who had eternal life, and this eternal life has died out. It was not eternal. The promise was a lie. It was temporary life; it was not eternal life. Aha!” he says, “I have found a flaw in Christ’s promise; he gave them only temporary life, and called it eternal.” And again, the archfiend would say, if it would be possible for one child of God to perish: “Aha! I have one of the jewels of Christ’s crown here;” and he would hold it up, and defy Christ to his very face, and laugh him to scorn. “This is a jewel that you purchased with your own blood. Here is one whom you came into the world to save, and yet you could not save him. You bought him, and paid for him, and yet I have him, he was a jewel in your crown, and yet here he is, in the hand of the black prince, your enemy. Aha! King with a damaged crown! you have lost one of your jewels.” Can it be so? No, never, and therefore every one who believes is as sure of heaven as if he were there. If you cast yourself simply on Christ, neither death nor hell shall ever destroy you. Remember what good old Mr. Berridge said, when he was met by a friend one morning, “How do you do, Mr. Berridge?” “Pretty well, I thank you,” he said, “and as sure of heaven as if I were there; for I have a solid confidence in Christ.” What a happy man such a man must be, who knows and feels that to be true! And yet, if you do not feel it, if you are the children of God, I ask you this question, “Why do you doubt?” Is there not good reason to believe? “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” If you have believed in Christ, you are saved, and saved you shall be, if you have committed yourself into his hands: “I know in whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed to him.”
18. “Yes.” one says, “this is not the fear that troubles me; my only doubt is whether I am a child of God or not.” I finish, therefore, by going over the old ground. Soul, if you wish to know whether you are a child of God, do not look to yourself, but look to Christ. You who are here today, who desire to be saved, but yet fear you never can be, never look to yourselves for any ground of acceptance before God. Not self, but Jesus; not heart, but Christ; not man, but man’s Creator. Oh sinner! do not think that you are to bring anything to Christ to recommend you. Come to him just as you are. He wants no good works of yours—no good feelings either. Come, just as you are. All that you can need to outfit you for heaven, he has bought for you, and he will give to you; all these freely you shall have only for the asking. Only come, and he will not cast you away. But do you say, “Oh, I cannot believe that Christ is able to save such a sinner as I am.” I reply, “Oh you of little faith, why do you doubt?” He has already saved sinners as great as you are; only try him, only try him.
Venture on him, venture wholly;
Let no other trust intrude.
Try him, try him; and if you find him to be false, then proclaim it everywhere that Christ was untrue. But that shall never be. Go to him; tell him you are a wretched undone soul, without his sovereign grace; ask him to have mercy upon you. Tell him you are determined, it you do perish, that you will perish at the foot of his cross. Go and cling to him, as he hangs bleeding there; look him in the face, and say, “Jesus, I have no other refuge; if you spurn me, I am lost; but I will never go from you; I will clasp you in life, and clasp you in death, as the only rock of my soul’s salvation.” Depend upon it, you shall not be sent away empty; you must, you shall be accepted, if you will simply believe. Oh, may God enable you, by the divine influence of his Holy Spirit, to believe; and then, shall we not have asked the question, “Oh you of little faith, why did you doubt?” I pray God now to apply these words for your comfort. They have been very simple, and very homely words; but nevertheless, they will suit simple, homely hearts. If God shall bless them, to him be the glory!