2491. Shame Leading To Salvation

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No. 2491-42:541. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, October 31, 1886, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, November 15, 1896.

Fill their faces with shame; so that they may seek your name, oh LORD! {Ps 83:16}

1. This is a very terrible Psalm. It contains some prayers against the enemies of God and of his people that crash with the thunder of indignation. You know that we are told to love our enemies, but we are never commanded to love God’s enemies. We may not hate any men as men; but as they are opposed to God, to truth, to righteousness, to purity, we may, and we must, if we are ourselves right-minded, feel a burning indignation against them. Did you ever read the story of “the middle passage” in the days of the African slave trade, when the negroes died by hundreds, or were flung into the sea to lighten the ship? Did you ever read of those horrors without praying, “Oh God, let the thunderbolts of your wrath fall on the men who can perpetrate such enormities?” When you heard the story of the Bulgarian atrocities, {a} did you not feel that you must, as it were, tug on God’s sleeve, and say to him, “Why does your justice linger? Let the monsters of iniquity be dealt with by you, oh Lord, as they deserve to be?”

2. Such is the spirit of this Psalm. But I like best this particular verse in it because, while it breathes righteous indignation against the wicked, it has mixed with it the tender spirit of love. “Fill their faces with shame”; prays the psalmist, “but overrule your severity for their everlasting good, ‘so that they may seek your name, oh Lord.’ ” The worst fate that I wish on any hearer of mine who is without God, and without hope in the world, is that this prayer may be prayed by honest and loving hearts for him and for others like him, “Fill their faces with shame; so that they may seek your name, oh Lord.”

3. I. To begin with, let me remind you that UNGODLY MEN HAVE GOOD REASON TO BE ASHAMED.

4. Let us talk a little, first, about their wrong to their Maker. If I might take each one of you by the hand, I should say to you, “Friend, you believe in the existence of God, your Maker, do you not? Well, then, have you treated him properly? If you have lived in the world twenty years, or perhaps even forty or fifty years, and yet you have never served him, do you think that is quite just towards him? If he made you, and has fed you, and kept you in being all these years, does he not have a right to expect some service from you? I might go further, and say, does he not have a right to expect your love? Does he ask more than he should ask when he says, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might’? Yet you have lived these many years, and scarcely thought of him; certainly, you have not spoken to him, you have never confessed your faults to him, or sought his forgiveness. For all intents and purposes, you have lived as if there were no God at all. Yet, in your earthly affairs, you are a very honest man, and you pay everyone else his due; why do you, then, rob your God of what is justly his? There is not a man in the world who could say truly of you that you had dealt dishonourably with him. You pride yourself on your uprightness and integrity; but must God alone, then, be made to suffer through your injustice? Out of all beings, must he alone who made all other beings be the only one to be neglected? He is first of all; do you put him last? He is best of all; do you treat him as the worst? If so, I think that such conduct as this is a thing to be ashamed of, and I pray that you may be heartily ashamed of it.”

5. Let me leave that line of thought, and remind you, next, that there are many ungodly men, and I suppose some present here, who ought to be ashamed because they are acting in opposition to light and knowledge, contrary to their conscience, and against their better judgments. There are many unconverted men who can never look back on any day of their lives without having to accuse themselves of wrong; and although they are not Christians, they would scarcely attempt to justify their position; when they act wrongly, there is a voice within them which tells them that they are doing wrong. They are not blind; they could see if they chose to see. They are not deaf, except that there are none so deaf as those who will not hear. It is a horrible thing for a man to be always holding down his conscience, like a policeman holding down a mad dog. It is a terrible thing for a man to have to be at war with himself in order to destroy himself; his better self resisting, and struggling, as it were, after salvation, but his worse self thrusting back the higher part of his being, stifling his conscience, and drowning the cries of any approach to betterness that may be within him. God forbid that men should act like this, and sin against light and knowledge! I venture very quietly, but very solemnly, to tell any who are doing so that they ought to be ashamed of such conduct, they ought to blush at the very thought of acting against such light as they have, and against the convictions of their own conscience.

6. There are some also of my hearers — I speak very positively on this point, — who ought to be ashamed because of their postponements of what they know to be right. They have again and again put off the observance of duties which they know and admit to be incumbent on them. “I ought to repent of sin,” one says; and then he adds, “and I will one of these days.” “I ought to be a believer in Christ,” — he admits that, — “and I shall be, I hope, before I die.” Oh, how fairly you talk, Mr. Procrastinator! You know what ought to be done at once, but you leave it all for the future. Do you not know that, every time a man neglects a duty, he commits a sin? What you admit is your duty, causes you, every moment it is delayed, to commit sin by the delay; and by delay obedience becomes more difficult, and you yourself become continually more likely to commit even greater sin. I think that a man who says, “I ought to believe in Christ, I ought to repent of sin, I ought to love God,” and yet says, “Well, I will do so at a more convenient time,” ought to be ashamed of himself for talking and acting in such a wicked way; I pray God that he may be.

7. I shall come more pointedly home to some when I say that they ought to be ashamed because of their violation of vows which they have made. You were very ill, a little while ago, and you said, “Oh God, if you will only spare my life, and restore me to health and strength, I will rise from this bed to be a better man!” God did raise you up, but you are not a better man. You were seriously injured in an accident, and likely to die, and in your distress you prayed, “Oh God, if you will prolong my unworthy life, I will turn over a new leaf; I will be a very different man in the future!” Well, you are a different man, for you are worse than you used to be before the accident; that is the only change that has happened to you. God keeps a register of the vows that are so lightly broken here below, but so well remembered up in heaven, and the day will come when they shall be brought out to the condemnation of those who made them, and then failed to keep them. If you are determined to be a liar, do not lie to God. If you are resolved to make promises, only to break them, at least do not trifle with him in whose hand your life is, and whose are all your ways. He who must play the fool, had better do it with some fellow fool, and not parade his folly before “him who rides on the heavens by his name JAH.” Think then, dear friends, of vows violated, and blush because of them.

8. Moreover, it seems to me — and I shall leave it to your judgment to consider and approve what I say, — that every man ought to be ashamed for not loving the Lord Jesus Christ, and not trusting such a Saviour as the Lord Jesus Christ is. God in human flesh, bleeding, dying, bearing the penalty of human sin, and then presenting himself freely as our Sacrifice, and saying that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but shall have everlasting life; do you push him away from you? Will you trample on his blood, and consider it an unholy thing? Will you despise his cross? It sometimes seems to me that blasphemy and adultery and murder — tremendous evils though these are, — scarcely reach the height of guilt that comes through refusing the great love of Christ, thrusting him aside whom God took from his bosom, and gave up to die so that men might live through him. If you must spite anyone, spite anyone but the Christ of God. If you intend to refuse a friend, refuse any friend but the bleeding Saviour, who did not spare his very life, but poured out the floods from his heart so that he might save the guilty.

9. So, you see, dear friends, that he who does not love Christ, and does not trust Christ, has good reason to be ashamed.

10. I will not say any more on this first point, except just one thing; that is, a man ought to be ashamed who will not even think of these things. There are great numbers of our fellow citizens in London, and our fellow creatures all the world over, who have resolved not to think about religion at all. There stands the house of God, but in that same street there is hardly one person who ever enters it. There is a Bible in almost every house, but many, nowadays, will not read it, or try to understand it. I should have thought that common and idle curiosity alone might have made men anxious to understand the Christian religion, the way of salvation by a crucified Saviour. I should have imagined that they would have strayed in to see what our worship was like; if it had been the worship of Mumbo Jumbo, they would have wanted to see that, but when it is the worship of the Lord God Almighty, and of his Son Jesus Christ, the multitudes seem to be utterly indifferent to it. From the cross I hear my dying Master cry, “Is it nothing to you, all you who pass by? Behold, and see if there is any sorrow like my sorrow.” Even the voice of his gaping wounds, and the voice of his bloody sweat, and the voice of his broken heart seem to fall on hearts that will not listen, and on ears that are as deaf as stones. Many who come to hear the gospel go their way to their farms and to their merchandise, but they care nothing for him who is worth more than all besides. Oh sirs, in that day when this solid earth shall rock and reel, when the heavens being on fire shall be dissolved, when the stars shall fall like the leaves of autumn, and when there shall sail into the sky, conspicuous to the gaze of all, the great white throne, and on it shall sit the despised Redeemer, you will repent then, and regret when it is too late that you gave him none of your thoughts, but put the affairs of religion entirely aside! Investigate this matter, I charge you. By what your immortal souls are worth, by an eternal heaven and an endless hell, — and there are both of these, despite what some say, — I charge you, since I shall meet you at the judgment seat, and would be clear of your blood, give earnest attention to the things that make for your peace, and consider the claims of God and of his Christ, and seek to find the way of salvation by faith in Jesus.

11. So, surely, I have said enough on this first point; ungodly men have good reason to be ashamed.

12. II. Now, secondly, concerning these ungodly people, let me show you that SHAME IS A VERY DESIRABLE THING IF IT DRIVES THEM TO GOD. Hence the prayer, “Fill their faces with shame, so that they may seek your name, oh LORD.”

13. I have known shame to drive men to God in various ways. Sometimes shame attends the breaking up of self-righteousness. I knew a young fellow, who had been a very upright moral man all his days. He seemed to think that he should go to heaven by his own good works; but he had no notion of a Saviour, and no regard for the things of Christ. One day, being in the workshop, he upset an oil can; and since the employer was rather a bad-tempered man, he enquired sharply who had wasted the oil; and this man, who had always until then been truthful, on this occasion told a lie, and said that he did not upset the can. No one found him out, notice that; he was so highly respected that his employer fully believed that he had not done it; but he went down greatly in his own esteem. He said to me, “Sir, my righteousness went all to pieces in a moment. I knew that I had told a lie; I felt disgusted with myself, and when I got out of the shop, for the first time in my life I cried to God for mercy, for I saw myself to be a sinner.” Now I do not wish any of you to commit further sin, in order that you may understand your true condition in God’s sight. You have done enough evil already, without doing any more; but I should like at least one of these sins to come so sharply home to you, that it would make you feel ashamed, and give up all pretence of self-righteousness, and just come by faith to Christ, and take his righteousness to be your perfect covering before God.

14. I have known this shame to operate in some, when they have done wrong, and have lost the reputation they enjoyed among their fellow creatures. They have been found out in doing wrong, and, sad as it was to them, yet when they felt that they could no longer come to the forefront, and lead as they used to do, when they knew that they must go somewhere into the rear rank, and that, if their true character became known, people would shun them, then it was that, like the prodigal son, they said, “I will arise, and go to my Father.” There is many a man who stands high in popular esteem, but who is never likely to be saved, for he is too proud and self-conceited ever to seek the Saviour. But there have been some others who, for a grave fault, have had all their glory trailed in the mire, and then they have sought the face of Christ. I scarcely care how or why they seek that blessed face, as long as they find it, and are saved.

15. There are two examples, then, in which shame drives men to God: first, when a man has lost his own good opinion of himself, and next, when he has lost the good opinion of others. Filled with shame, he has often fled to Christ.

16. Also I have seen it in the case of failure driving a man to the Strong for strength. There is a young man who has recently come from the country; he knew the temptations of London, but he said to his father and mother, “You will never hear of your son John doing such things.” Ah, John! they have not heard of it yet, but you have done a great many evil things by now, and you ought to be ashamed. If your father finds out, as likely enough he will, you will be ashamed; but, since you have found yourself out, I wish that you would be ashamed before the Lord now. Oh that virtuous John, that excellent youth, that dear young man! You were just going to join the church, were you not? Where were you last night? Ah, not drinking from the communion cup, I will warrant you! Where are you now? Oh John, if you could have seen yourself, six months ago, to be what you are now, you would not have held your head so high when you came away from your native town! But your failure, that wretched broken back of yours, with which you meant to stand so bolt upright, should all help to drive you to God, your father’s God and your mother’s God. My dear friend, please seek the face of the Most High, and begin again; for, John, though you cannot stand by yourself, God can make you to stand. With a new heart and a right spirit, you can do a good deal better than you have done in the past in your own strength, which is utter weakness. I have known of a teetotaller, who has felt himself quite safe because he wore a blue ribbon, {b} to become a drunkard, notwithstanding that very desirable badge. If that is your case, my brother, when you are ashamed of yourself on that account, as well you may be, go to the Lord for a new heart and a right spirit, and then begin again, so that you may truly be what you aspire to be, an example to others. So, you see, that shame in such a case of failure as I have described, may bring a man to Christ.

17. I have also known men to be brought to Christ with shame of another kind, shame of mental error leading to a humble faith. A young gentleman felt that he had heard the old-fashioned gospel long enough, and he should like to go and hear the new gospel. More light is said to have broken out recently; I can only tell you that it comes from some very dark places, and I do not think there is much light in it. But this gentleman thought that he must know about this new light, and he has kept going further and further, and the new light has led him, like the will-o’-the-wisp does, into all kinds of boggy places; and now he begins to feel that he can do a great many things which once he dared not do, until suddenly the thought occurs to him, “Where have I gone to now?” He has become an unbeliever altogether; he who was once almost persuaded to be a Christian has run into very wild ways, and nothing is certain with him; it is all rocking to and fro before him, like the waves of the sea, and there is nothing solid left. Ah! now you begin to be ashamed, do you? You are not, after all, so full of wisdom as you thought you were. Come back, then; come back, and believe the old Book, and trust the Saviour who has brought so many to the eternal kingdom. Believe his words, follow in his track, and this very shame on account of your imagined intellectual prowess, which has turned out to be sheer folly, will bind you in the future to the simple cross of Christ, and you will never go away from it again.

18. I want to suggest one thing more before I leave this part of my subject. In this congregation there must be a good many men and women who might do well to look back on the utter uselessness of their past lives. As I looked along these galleries, at the immense preponderance of men in the congregation, which is so usual with us, I thought, “What a number there must be here who, if they threw the weight of their influence in with us, and sought to do good to others, would be immensely valuable to the Church of God!” But are there not many, perhaps even professing Christianity, who, in looking back on their past lives, will be obliged to say that they have done nothing? What did you ever accomplish, dear friends? There was a lady, who had a large sum of money in her possession, much more than sufficient for her needs; she was a Christian woman, living a quiet, comfortable life by the seaside. One night, as she walked up and down the beach, she said to herself, “What have I ever done for him who died for me? If I were to die now, would anyone miss me? When my life is finished, shall I have accomplished anything?” She felt that she had done nothing; so she went home, and ruminated on what she could do. She began to live very frugally so that she might save all she could, and she accumulated quite a large amount, for she had an object to live for. The Orphanage at Stockwell is the outcome of that good woman’s thought at the seaside; she consecrated her wealth to the starting of a home where boys and girls, whose fathers were dead, might be housed. I can only think of her, and then say to myself, “Are there not many ladies, many gentlemen, many men, many women, who might walk up and down, and say, ‘Well, now, when I die, who will miss me?’ ” I believe that there are numbers of people who call themselves Christians, who might be tied hand and foot, and flung into the Atlantic, and no one would miss them beyond the two or three members of their own families. They do nothing; they are living for nothing. “Oh, but!” they say, “we are accumulating money.” Yes, yes; that is like a crow hiding rubbish behind the door, putting away everything he can get. Poor crow! That is what you are doing, nothing more. To get money is well enough, if you get it so that you may use it well; and to learn is right enough, if you learn with the view of teaching others. If our life is not to be wasted, there must be a living for God with a noble purpose; and those who have lived in vain with multitudes of opportunities for doing good, ought to be ashamed; and such shame should bring them to the Saviour’s feet in humble penitence. May God give such shame as that to any here who ought to have it, so that they may at once seek the name of the Lord!

19. III. I must close by speaking only briefly on the last point of my discourse, which is, THE LORD IS WILLING NOW TO RECEIVE THOSE WHO ARE ASHAMED OF THEMSELVES. Let me say that again. The Lord is waiting and willing now to receive into the love of his heart those who are ashamed of themselves.

20. I do not think that I need say much to enforce this great truth. Is there one person here who is ashamed of himself because of his past sin? Then, you are the man I invite to come to that Saviour who bore your shame in his own body on the tree. You are the kind of man for whom he died. Remember how he himself said, “The Son of man is come to seek and to save those who were lost”; and one sign of the lost is their deep sense of shame, when they get to be so ashamed of themselves that they try to hide away from the gaze of their fellow creatures. If you are ashamed of yourself, Christ is willing to receive you; behold, he stands before you with open arms, and invites you to come and trust him, so that he may give you rest.

21. You are the kind of man to come to Christ, because, first, you have the greatest need of him. In the time of famine, we give the meal away first to the most hungry family. He who has alms to distribute to the poor, if he is wise, will give the most speedy relief to those who are the most destitute; and you, my dear hearer, are like that; if you are ashamed of yourself, you are the bankrupt, you are the beggar, you are the kind of sinner whom Jesus came to save. God’s elect are known by this sign, — in their own natural state they are as poor as poverty itself. If you are empty, there is a full Christ for you. If your last mite is gone, heaven’s treasures are all open for you. Come and take them, take them freely, as freely as you breathe the air, as freely as you would drink from the flowing river. Come and take Christ without question and without delay, take him now and be happy; and the way to take him is to trust him, to trust yourself with him absolutely. He is a Saviour; let him save you. Have no finger in the work yourself, but leave it all to him. Commit yourself entirely and absolutely to that mighty hand that moulded the heavens and the earth, to that dear hand that was nailed to the tree. Jesus can save you, he will save you, he must save you, he is pledged to save you; if you have believed in him, he has saved you, and you may go your way, and rejoice with joy unspeakable and full of glory.

22. Next, if you are ashamed of yourself, you are the man to come to Christ, because you will make no bargains with him. You will say, “Save me, Lord, at any price, and in any way!” And you are the man who will give him all the glory if you are saved. That is the kind of sinner Jesus loves to save; not one who will run away with the credit of his salvation, and say, “I was always good, and I had many traces of an excellent character about me before Christ saved me.” Such a man might try to divide with the Lord the glory of his salvation, so he is not likely to be saved; but God delights to save those in whom there is no trace of goodness, no hope of goodness, no shadow of goodness, the men who not only feel that God may well be ashamed of them, but who are absolutely ashamed of themselves.

23. In preaching on this important theme, I have not used any grace of diction, nor have I made any display of oratory; but I have plainly told you the gospel message, and I have expostulated with those of you who have not considered it. I wish that, by the grace of God, even before this night passes away, you would come and rest yourselves on Christ. The Holy Spirit is here, blessedly working on some hearts. If he is not yet working on others of you, I pray that he may now begin to do so. Remember, my dear hearers, that you are all mortal, and some of you may soon be gone from earth. During the past week, I personally have lost some very choice friends who died quite suddenly. There was a young friend, who was here a Sabbath or so ago; he was taken ill last Sunday afternoon, and he was gone in a few hours. His sorrowing friends are absent today, for he was laid in Norwood Cemetery yesterday afternoon, almost to the breaking of the hearts of his parents and other relatives. I had a dear old friend with whom I have often stayed at Mentone. Last Monday she seemed as well as ever, and on Wednesday she too was dead. A week ago last Friday, I had a letter from a friend at Plymouth, saying that he was coming up to see me, and asking at what hour I could meet him. I said, “Five in the afternoon.” It was our honoured friend, Mr. Serpell. He did not come, but I received a note to say that he was not quite well. On Monday he addressed the Chamber of Commerce, and while he was speaking he fell back, apparently in a fainting fit, and so died. I have, therefore, lost some who have always been good helpers and kind friends to me, and I seem to feel more than ever I did that I am living in a dying world. It might have been any one of you, it might have been myself. Come, then, and let us all seek the Lord at once; let each one of us seek him now. “If you seek him, he will be found by you.” May God grant it, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

{a} Bulgarian atrocities: The April Uprising was an insurrection organized by the Bulgarians in the Ottoman Empire from April to May 1876, which indirectly resulted in the re-establishment of Bulgaria in 1878. The regular Ottoman Army and irregular bashi-bazouk units brutally suppressed the rebels, leading to a public outcry in Europe and the United States, with many famous intellectuals condemning the Ottoman atrocities and supporting the oppressed Bulgarian population. See Explorer "https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/April_Uprising" {b} Blue Ribbon: A small strip of blue ribbon worn by certain abstainers from alcoholic beverages, as a means of mutual recognition, and as a public indication of their principles; hence to take the blue ribbon. Blue Ribbon Army: the association of such Total Abstainers. OED.

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {Ps 12 Jer 8:1-9:1}

12:1. Help, LORD; for the godly man ceases; for the faithful fail from among the children of men.

The Psalm speaks of a very discouraging time, and records a very dreary fact, but the psalmist is wise, and turns to God with that short, sententious prayer, “Help, LORD.”

2, 3. They each speak vanity with his neighbour: they speak with flattering lips and with a double heart. The LORD shall cut off all flattering lips, and the tongue that speaks proud things:

They will not be able to continue speaking falsely and proudly for ever; a shovelful of earth from the grave-digger’s spade will silence them, and a terrible display of God’s justice will make them speechless for ever.

4, 5. Who have said, “With our tongue we will prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” “For the oppression of the poor, for the sighing of the needy, now I will arise,” says the LORD; “I will set him in safety from him who puffs at him.”

That is all it is, only a puff, — the biggest brag of the wicked, the most tremendous threat against the Lord’s people, is only a puff after all; and God will set his people high above all those who puff at them.

6-8. The words of the LORD are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times. You shall keep them, oh LORD, you shall preserve them from this generation for ever. The wicked walk on every side when the vilest men are exalted.

Now let us read in Jeremiah’s prophecy, chapter 8.

Remember, dear brethren, that Jeremiah had the very sorrowful task of warning a people who would not give heed to his warnings. He prophesied evil, — evil which began to come on the people even while he prophesied, yet they would not turn to God. I sometimes think Jeremiah was the greatest of all the prophets, because, in the teeth of perpetual opposition, with no measure of success whatever, he continued to be faithful to God, and to deliver the message with which he was sent, weeping the while over people who would not weep for themselves.

1, 2. “At that time,” says the LORD, “they shall bring out the bones of the kings of Judah, and the bones of his princes, and the bones of the priests, and the bones of the prophets, and the bones of the inhabitants of Jerusalem, out of their graves: and they shall spread them before the sun and the moon, and all the host of heaven, whom they have loved, and whom they served, and after whom they have walked, and whom they have sought, and whom they have worshipped: they shall not be gathered, nor be buried; they shall be for dung on the face of the earth.

This is an awful picture. Here is a nation that would worship the sun, and the moon, and the stars, instead of worshipping God. Here they are, and their bones lie exposed to the sun and moon and stars which they had worshipped, — dead people before lifeless gods. This is all that idolatry produces for the ruined people who have turned away from their true Friend and Helper; their bones lie exposed in the presence of the things that they made to be their gods. How dreadful is the result of sin! No matter what modern preachers say, a sinful course must be a disastrous one. It is in the very nature of things that we cannot go on the wrong road, and still be happy. Wrong must end in wrong, it cannot be otherwise; the universal conviction in the conscience of man teaches us this fact.

3. And death shall be chosen rather than life by all the rest of those who remain of this evil family, who remain in all the places where I have driven them,” says the LORD of hosts.

These people would not have God, they cast him off; and now he casts them so far off that they feel that it would have been better for them if they had never been born, and they would rather die than live: “Death shall be chosen rather than life.”

4. “Moreover you shall say to them, ‘Thus says the LORD; "Shall they fall, and not arise? Shall he turn away, and not return?

The old proverb says, “It is a long lane that has no turning.” So the Lord seems to ask, “Will these men always go on in sin? Will they always turn away from me? They change from bad to worse; will they never change from worse to better?”

5. Why then is this people of Jerusalem slidden back by a perpetual backsliding? They hold firmly to deceit, they refuse to return.

Perseverance in evil is the very venom of evil. When men not only backslide, but continue perpetually to backslide, they are doubly dyeing their garments in the scarlet of iniquity. When men “refuse to return” to the Lord, and continue to refuse to return, surely they are digging extremely deep graves for themselves.

6. I listened and heard, —

It is God who is speaking: “I listened and heard,” —

6. But they did not speak properly:

“I tried to discover whether there was any good in them. I listened to hear them offer a prayer, I watched to see anything like repentance in them.”

6. No man repented of his wickedness, saying, ‘What have I done?’ Everyone turned to his course, like the horse rushes into the battle.

See how God described these people. When he might have expected that some of them would relent, and in their thoughtful moments turn to a better mind, they did not do so; but, like the horse, when he hears the war trumpet, rushes into the midst of the battle, so did these people go headlong into sin with desperate resolve. Careless of wounds and death, they rushed to their destruction. I hope that this is not the case with any of my hearers at this time; I pray God that it may not be so.

7. Yes, the stork in the heaven knows her appointed times; and the turtle-dove and the crane and the swallow observe the time of their coming; but my people do not know the judgment of the LORD.

The birds take wing across the sea when the chill of autumn comes; and, eventually, when spring returns, they twitter about our roofs again, punctual to the appointed time. But men do not come to God in their season; they do not fly from their sins, they do not return to the Lord. The crane and the swallow rebuke the foolishness of men who do not know the time to return to God, and do not know their way back to him.

8, 9. How can you say, ‘We are wise, and the law of the LORD is with us?’ Lo, certainly he made it in vain; the pen of the scribes is in vain. The wise men are ashamed, they are dismayed and taken: lo, they have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?

This test may serve as a motto for some, in these days, who believe themselves to be wiser than Scripture, and who imagine that, in their great wisdom, they are able to correct this inspired Book! Many set up in the trade of “Bible-Makers” nowadays; they profess to be the revealers of revelation, the improvers of this blessed Book of God. Ah! but this passage still stands true, “They have rejected the word of the LORD; and what wisdom is in them?”

10, 11. Therefore I will give their wives to others, and their fields to those who shall inherit them: for everyone from the least even to the greatest is given to covetousness, from the prophet even to the priest everyone deals falsely. For they have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace’; when there is no peace.

This is a very mischievous thing. For the preacher of Christ to be honest and fearless, and to speak unpalatable truth, is right in God’s sight; but to gloss over the great facts about sin and judgment, and to say to the ungodly, “Oh, do not trouble yourselves! ‘Peace, peace’; when there is no peace”; this is to murder the souls of men; and I do not doubt that the blood of multitudes will be on the skirts of those teachers who have tried to make everything pleasant for the wicked, and to suit the age in which they lived. The Lord himself says of the prophet and priest who have dealt falsely, “They have healed the hurt of the daughter of my people slightly, saying, ‘Peace, peace’; when there is no peace.”

12. Were they ashamed when they had committed abomination? indeed, they were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush:

What a striking expression this is! To what a condition of shameless obstinacy have men’s minds been brought when it can be said of them, “They were not at all ashamed, neither could they blush.” The very power to be ashamed was taken from them. Surely, almost the last ray of any hope of salvation must be gone from the man who cannot blush at the thought of his own iniquity.

12-18. Therefore they shall fall among those who fall: in the time of their visitation they shall be cast down," says the LORD. "I will surely consume them," says the LORD: "there shall be no grapes on the vine, nor figs on the fig tree, and the leaf shall fade; and the things that I have given them shall pass away from them."’ Why do we sit still? Assemble yourselves, and let us enter into the defenced cities, and let us be silent there: for the LORD our God has put us to silence, and given us water of gall to drink, because we have sinned against the LORD. We looked for peace, but no good came; and for a time of health, and behold trouble! The snorting of his horses was heard from Dan: the whole land trembled at the sound of the neighing of his strong ones; for they are come, and have devoured the land, and all that is in it; the city, and those who dwell there. For, behold, I will send serpents, cockatrices, among you, which will not be charmed, and they shall bite you,” says the LORD. When I would comfort myself in sorrow, my heart is faint in me.

Because the people refused this testimony, because they seemed set on mischief, and resolved to die, therefore the prophet’s heart was faint within him.

19, 20. Behold the voice of the cry of the daughter of my people because of those who dwell in a far country: “Is not the LORD in Zion? Is not her king in her? Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images, and with strange vanities? The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.”

I will read that twentieth verse again: “The harvest is past, the summer is ended, and we are not saved.” This may be the lament of some of my present hearers; and if it is, may they bow now before the Lord in true penitence of heart, and may he in pity save them this very hour! The harvest is past, the summer is ended; but, oh! may they soon be saved!

21. For the hurt of the daughter of my people I am hurt; I am black; astonishment has taken hold on me.

That is the man to be God’s prophet, the man who makes the sorrows of his people to be his own sorrows, who does not perform the duties of his office as a mere matter of profession, but enters into his service with a weeping heart, longing to be made a blessing to men.

22. Is there no balm in Gilead; is there no physician there?

No; there is none. There is balm in Christ, there is a Physician who once hung on Calvary’s cross; but there is no balm and no physician in Gilead. If there were, —

22. Why then is the health of the daughter of my people not recovered?

9:1. Oh that my head were waters, and my eyes a fountain of tears, so that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!

This is how God’s servants feel about the dying and perishing souls all around them. They cannot bear the thought of the sinner’s awful doom; it brings continuous heart-break and heaviness of spirit on them. That men should perish eternally, that they should bring on their own heads the doom of their own sin, is no small thing, and therefore the Lord’s servant mourns over those who do not mourn for themselves. May God save every one of us, for the Lord Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Received by Faith — Rock Of Ages” 552}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Stated — Mercy For The Guilty” 544}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Expostulations — Return, Oh Wanderer” 521}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Expostulations — Return, Oh Wanderer” 522}


 Just Published. Price One Penny.
 Spurgeon’s Illustrated Almanac For 1897.
 We trust that the many thousands of lovers of the Book Almanac
 will find that it is fully up to the mark of previous years. The
 articles bearing the familiar and ever-prized initials, C. H. S., are
 as numerous as in any former issue; and there is one page entitled,
 “The Heart of the Gospel,” which should be a special favourite. It
 would make a most effective magic-lantern slide, and we hope it will
 be very widely used in that way for the furtherance of the gospel.
 Mrs. Spurgeon has again selected the texts for daily meditation by
 the members of the Text Union, and other readers who have not
 formally adopted the Text Bond; and besides the usual introductory
 letter, there is another communication from her busy pen. The garden
 at “Westwood” has furnished the material for two of the pictures
 and three of the articles in the little book, and this fact should
 help to commend it to all who still love the dear Pastor whose name
 it bears. — Review in “The Sword and the Trowel.”

 Now Ready. Price One Penny.
 John Ploughman’s Sheet Almanac For 1897.
 The Proverbs and mottoes for every day in the year are still
 mainly gathered from those composed or collected by Mr. Spurgeon, and
 therefore the broadsheet should prove as acceptable as its many
 predecessors. The central picture is a representation of a hundred
 thousand of Mr. Spurgeon’s Sermons as prepared for distribution as
 loan tracts by the “Spurgeon Memorial” Sermon Society at Brighton.
 In the middle of the pyramid is the best portrait of the beloved
 preacher who, “being dead, yet speaks.”

 Special “Note” in the November Sword and Trowel: —
 Before our friends purchase all their Christmas presents, we
 recommend them to ask their booksellers to order for them Mrs.
 Spurgeon’s new little volume entitled, A Carillon of Bells, to
 Ring Out the Old Truths of “Free Grace and Dying Love.”
It is to be
 published as soon as possible by Messrs. Passmore & Alabaster, price
 1s. 6d., and will make one of the choicest gift-books of the season.
 It will contain the whole of Mrs. Spurgeon’s “Personal Notes of a
 Text” which have appeared in the Sword and Trowel during the
 past two years.


Gospel, Received by Faith
552 — Rock Of Ages <7s., 6 lines.>
1 Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
   Let me hide myself in thee!
   Let the water and the blood,
   From thy riven side which flow’d,
   Be of sin the double cure,
   Cleanse me from its guilt and power.
2 Not the labours of my hands
   Can fulfil thy law’s demands:
   Could my zeal no respite know,
   Could my tears for ever flow,
   All for sin could not atone:
   Thou must save, and thou alone.
3 Nothing in my hand I bring,
   Simply to thy cross I cling;
   Naked, come to thee for dress;
   Helpless, look to thee for grace;
   Foul, I to the fountain fly;
   Wash me, Saviour, or I die.
4 Whilst I draw this fleeting breath,
   When my eye-strings break in death,
   When I soar through tracks unknown,
   See thee on thy judgment-throne —
   Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
   Let me hide myself in thee.
               Augustus M. Toplady, 1776.


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


Gospel, Expostulations
521 — Return, Oh Wanderer
1 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   And seek an injured Father’s face:
   Those warm desires that in thee burn
   Were kindled by reclaiming grace.
2 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   And seek a Father’s melting heart,
   Whose pitying eyes thy grief discern,
   Whose hand can heal thine inward smart.
3 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   He heard thy deep repentant sigh!
   He saw thy soften’d spirit mourn,
   When no intruding ear was nigh.
4 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   Thy Saviour bids thy spirit live;
   Go to his bleeding feet, and learn
   How freely Jesus can forgive.
5 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   And wipe away the falling tear;
   ‘Tis God who says, “No longer mourn,”
   ‘Tis mercy’s voice invites thee near.
6 Return, oh wanderer! return!
   Regain thy lost, lamented rest;
   Jehovah’s melting bowels yearn
   To clasp his Ephraim to his breast.
               William Bengo Collyer, 1812.


Gospel, Expostulations
522 — Return, Oh Wanderer
1 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
      Thy Father calls for thee;
   No longer now an exile roam
      In guilt and misery;
         Return, return.
2 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
      ‘Tis Jesus calls for thee:
   The Spirit and the Bride say, Come;
      Oh now for refuge flee;
         Return, return.
3 Return, oh wanderer, to thy home,
      ‘Tis madness to delay;
   There are no pardons in the tomb,
      And brief is mercy’s day.
         Return, return.
                  Thomas Hastings, 1834.

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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