2565. Ruins

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No. 2565-44:169. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, February 11, 1883, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, April 10, 1898.

But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. {2Ch 28:23}

1. I have a little to say about the condition of Judah under Ahaz, before I come to personal dealing with souls from this text. God had given to his people a very simple mode of worship. He was the invisible and only living God, and they were to worship him in spirit and in truth; there was to be one altar, and that was to be at Jerusalem; but all the rest of the world was given up to idolatry, and the Israelites were not a very spiritual people, so eventually they wanted something to see, some image, some symbol. When the ten tribes broke away from Judah, they set up images of a bull to represent the strength of Deity. Those who kept to the worship of the invisible Jehovah, without emblems, ridiculed these symbols, and called the bulls, in contempt, calves; but the calf-worship became very strong throughout Israel, and there were many in Judah who were attracted to it. It was the worship of God, but it was the worship of God in a wrong way: for there was a very express commandment which forbade it: “You shall not make for yourself any carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: you shall not bow down yourself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me.” There are still many who worship idols and images; but they say, “No, we do not worship them; we worship God through them.” Just so, but that is as much forbidden in the second commandment as the worship of other gods is forbidden in the first; they are both violations of the divine law. When the people of Judah had gone so far as to worship God through images, they went even further, and bowed down to Baal and Ashtaroth, the sun, and even flies, for Baalzebub, the god of flies, became one of the objects of adoration. Associated with this idolatry was everything that was sinful; I should not dare to tell you what horrible and loathsome abominations were witnessed in connection with the worship of these gods.

2. Do not, however, condemn those Jews and Israelites without remembering another story. In this world, in later times, the Son of God set up a pure and undefiled religion in which there was no similitude of God whatever; but, after a while, those who professed to worship Christ needed to have a cross and crucifix, a picture and image. Of course, they did not worship the cross, or the crucifix, or the picture, or the image! No, but they professed to worship Christ by the help of these things. That was the first violation of the simplicity of worship, and it was in reality departing from the living God. In a very short time, they took to the worship of saints, and from that they went to the worship of cast clouts and rotten rags, until some of us have seen, with our own eyes, bones, — supposed to be the bones of saints, — decayed teeth, and all kinds of rubbish made the subjects of worship when they have been exposed to the gaze of the deluded people. Into such idolatry, by slow degrees, did those fall who professed to call themselves Christians; and only three or four hundred years ago, from one end of this island to the other, the land was full of holy crucifixes, and images, and relics, and I do not know what else; the people were utterly given up to idolatry, and the gospel of God was scarcely known. Then rang out, clear and shrill, the voices of Wycliffe, and Luther, and Calvin, and the like; and, after a while, men arose who said, “We will worship no one but God, and we utterly abhor all these images.” There was for them nothing but the prison, the stake, and all kinds of cruel deaths; but they were steadfast even to the end. You know that brave Hugh Latimer, as he began to burn at the stake in his old age, cheered up his companion by saying, “Be of good comfort, Master Ridley, and play the man; today we shall light such a candle by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out.” And so they did. There came out, to die for Christ, poor, humble, illiterate men and women, and some of noble rank, and even bishops could sometimes take their share of the persecution, and die, until at last men began to hate the idols by reason of the cruelty which was used in keeping them up. Then came a revolt against Romanism, and all over England men smashed the “holy water” basins, and defaced the pictures, and pulled down the images, and treated them with utter contempt, and England was freed from the idolatry under which she had groaned for so long. We thought she would always remain free; but, alas! we only dreamed it. Eventually, there came men in the Established Church, who did not tell us to worship saints, nor did they at first go very far in idolatry; but they said that they must have vestments, incense, and I do not know what else, and now they have boldly set up the crucifix, — that calf of Baal, for it is nothing better than that, — that image which they adore, and which we loathe, because it has become the thin end of the wedge, the first open return to idolatry. Where is true Protestant feeling in England? It seems to me to be almost extinct. All that many care for is an ornate service, something beautiful for the eye to rest on, flowers more abundant than in a conservatory, music sweet to the ear, the scent of incense, and so eventually, unless God prevents it, we shall get back to the old Roman idolatry, and that would be the ruin of this land as it has been the ruin of every land where it has held sway. There was a time when God covered England with his wing, when Spain’s Armada was swept away by the tempest, like chaff before the wind, and God was with our country, and gave her power, and made her to be the empress of the seas; but if she forsakes her God, she will fall from her heights; if this land becomes full of images and idols again, and there is found no one to protest against it, the God who lifted us up will throw us down. He who has used us for his glory will consider us to be unfit for his service, and cast us away with other nations that he has forsaken because of their defilement through idolatry. I will not say more on this matter now, but I will pray about it, and I ask every man who feels as I do to continue to pray, lest it should be said of us, concerning these idols, “They were the ruin of him, and of all Israel”; for so it must be if we forsake the living God, and turn aside to gods that are no gods.

3. Now I come to a more practical matter as far as each individual is concerned; and, first, I shall want you to notice the man ruining himself; secondly, the man in ruins; and, thirdly, other people ruined with him.

4. I. First, look at THE MAN RUINING HIMSELF.

5. Sin will ruin any man; if it is not forsaken, it will eternally ruin him. Ahaz is the type of those who ruin themselves. I daresay many will at once exclaim, “This description does not belong to us.” Perhaps you suppose it never could belong to you. Listen: I have seen those who showed promise to live a holy life turn aside to the grossest immorality; often, they have been men who thought they were past temptation, and believed it was utterly impossible that they should turn aside. Let us speak of Ahaz, and as we do so, let each man take to heart anything that belongs to himself; and what does not belong to him, let him pray God to bless to the one to whom it is suitable.

6. Here, then, was one who, as a king, began life by determining to be his own master. He had been told to worship the invisible God with the simple rites of the law, but he resolved that he would worship what he pleased, and where he pleased, and how he pleased. He was not to be dictated to, he would select his own gods; and worship as many as he pleased. So he did, “but they were the ruin of him.” A man may begin life with this resolution, — “I am not going to be bound by anyone; I shall do as I like, I shall have my own way, I shall be independent, I am not going to be obedient to God, nor to listen to what his Book prescribes, I shall have what indulgences I choose.” If he does so, those indulgences will be “the ruin of him”; that character, which does not have for its corner-stone obedience to God, is a character that will tumble down in ruins one day or another. Oh young man, begin life with this resolve, “I will serve God, I will seek to know his mind and his will, and I will say to all others, ‘Whether it is right to obey God rather than man, you judge.’ ”

7. This man, Ahaz, was also very high-handed in his sin. He set up rival altars, even in the temple itself. Dreadful as it seems, yet he imported an altar from Damascus, and erected it in the place where the altar of God had stood. He went beyond his predecessors in his determination that idolatry should cover all the land, and he persecuted and oppressed the faithful servants of Jehovah. A man may be very high-handed against God, and sneeringly ask, with Pharaoh, “Who is the Lord, that I should obey his voice?” but if he does so, it will be “the ruin of him.” Pharaoh did not find it profitable; he might continue to provoke Jehovah, but, in the end, when God had struck the firstborn of Egypt, the chief of all her strength, he learned that it is perilous for a man to be high-handed with God.

8. Further, Ahaz also lavished great treasure on his sin. All the wealth he had, he was willing to spend in order that he might have his own way, and worship his own gods; yet, “they were the ruin of him.” Perhaps he was ruined all the faster for that very reason; and when a man has plenty of money, and he lets it run away freely, simply so that he may sin against his God, and indulge his evil passions, he may seem to flourish for a while; but let no man envy him, for those passions will be “the ruin of him.” Though the land is full of silver and gold, though there is no end of the horses and chariots, yet, as the Lord lives, if a man shall use these in fighting against God, they will be “the ruin of him.” That is how it will end, sooner or later, and probably sooner.

9. Ahaz also defied the chastisement of God. The Lord punished him by permitting his enemies to invade his country; his people were carried away captive, yet he would not humble himself on account of that; the more he was distressed, the more he sinned. “This is that King Ahaz”; and we have seen men, whom God has struck terribly, but they have not yielded to him. They have even risen from a sick-bed more wicked than when they were stretched out on it, — breaking their promises, casting their vows to the wind, and going back, “like the dog to his own vomit, or the sow that was washed to her wallowing in the mire.” They have said that they cared nothing for pain, sickness, illness; they would not turn to the Lord, and so their sins were the ruin of them. The blows of God came home to them at last, and sin slew them after all.

10. Yet further, Ahaz was extremely clever. He said, “I will make a friend of Tilgathpilneser, the king of Assyria, and he will protect me; I will put myself in vassalage under him, and then the little kings of Syria and Israel will be afraid to touch me, and I shall be left in peace.” Ah! men are sometimes very clever in their sin; at least, they think so. They will not yield to God, they will not become Christians, they are not such fools; they are so sharp, they will do well enough! They have a friend somewhere, they have a card they have not played yet, and a scheme which, when it is revealed, will astonish you; they will do well enough without God, let those who want him pray to him. Yet their sins will be the ruin of them; for the clever men shall be taken in their own craftiness, and shall be destroyed by the very instruments with which they sought to promote their prosperity, even as this man was; for, when the king of Assyria came, he plundered the palace of Ahaz, and took away his wealth, but did not help him in the least.

11. Ahaz was also a man of great taste. That was one reason why he was an idolater; the worship of God, in a simple manner, did not please him, or gratify his refined taste. He was a cultured and aesthetic individual, so, when he went down to Damascus, and saw an idolatrous altar there, he said, “That is my idea of an altar; I will have one like it,” so its pattern was sent off to Jerusalem, and Urijah the priest made himself very busy in carrying out the king’s wishes so that, by the time Ahaz came back, there was his new altar all ready. I can imagine that he said, as he looked at it, “That is the style of altar for me; I want none of your old-fashioned Davidic altars.” Yet those fine ideas of his were “the ruin of him” and I am afraid there are a great many people who will be ruined by their taste, by allowing it to override conscience, and permitting themselves to be guided by their whims and fancies, and not by the teaching of the Word of God. To me, that seems beautiful which God ordains, and that is abominable which God abhors. May it be so with each one of us; but if we allow our own taste to lead us into sin, then we shall find that it will be the ruin of us, and of all who do the same thing.

12. This man — I have not yet completed my portrait of him, — had some to back him who ought to have opposed him. When his predecessor, Uzziah, went into the temple to offer incense, the priests withstood him, and thrust him out; for he had no right there, and leprosy came on his brow, and he hurried to go out; but when Ahaz wanted this new altar, Urijah the priest was quite ready to adapt himself to his lord’s ideas. He would, of course, prefer the old-fashioned low church; but, still, he was a very broad-minded man, and he was willing to have a high church altar set up, if his majesty wished it; and when his majesty said so, and when he came and offered sacrifices on it, Urijah did not say a word against it; how could he? It was a state-church, and therefore the king did as he liked. That type of action is often seen in religious and social life. A man does wrong, and the Christian minister, who ought to speak plainly to him about it, does not dare to do so. Perhaps the minister, who ought to be faithful for his Master’s sake, thinks that, for the sake of peace, he had better not interfere, and so he does not. Then the guilty man says, “It does not matter what I do, I have a priest condoning my actions, I shall be all right.” Yet his sins are “the ruin of him” for all that. “Though hand joins in hand, the wicked shall not be unpunished.”

13. This man, Ahaz, had another thought within his mind; namely, that he would imitate prosperous sinners. “Look,” he said, “at the king of Syria; see how he prospers! I will worship his gods, and then I shall prosper, too”; “but they were the ruin of him.” That is the place where the emphasis of the text comes in. I have known a man say in deeds, if not in words, “I know what I will do. I have no trust in God, nor in his providence; but there is So-and-so, who has a very clever way of making money, I shall do as he does.” Oh, the many who have found that this mode of action has been the ruin of them, when they have broken loose from the bonds of integrity and righteousness, and have begun to play fast and loose with honesty and truth! Take heed, dear friends, not to imitate the prosperous sinner; for if you do, you may be sure that following his plans will be the ruin of you. Do not envy the man who gets rich by what is not straightforward; for he must come to an evil end.

14. It was so with Ahaz, for he abandoned the worship of God altogether. He broke up the holy vessels of God’s house, put out all the lamps which had burned perpetually, and shut up the doors of the house of the Lord. This is the case, nowadays, with men who say that they are finished with religion. No one in their house goes to a place of worship; they have no Bibles to bother them; they care nothing about the Sabbath day. As for themselves, they never darken the doors of any house of prayer; you never see them there any more, and they say, “We have gotten rid of this, and of that, which used to be our custom”; but such conduct is the ruin of them. A man may harden himself until he becomes like the nether millstone, his conscience may seem to be suffocated, and the last spark of goodness to be extinct within him; but he cannot, for all that, evade the impending doom; for his sins will be “the ruin of him.” It is hard work to have to speak like this; but there are some who must have this stern truth spoken to them, lest they should die in their sins.

15. II. Secondly, and very briefly, I want you to look at THE MAN IN RUINS.

16. You say, perhaps, that you will never be in that state; you are not converted, but still you are honest, and upright, and truthful. Well, we shall see; or, in any case, God will see. I have beheld a man in ruins who once seemed a Christian man; he came in and out among his brethren, and they esteemed him. But he was in secret living a defiled life; he was unchaste, and that worm gnawed, and gnawed until, at last, his household was forsaken, domestic comfort was gone; and at this moment I scarcely know where he is. But no one wishes to know, for he has become so abandoned and so foul that those who knew him once can only sigh as they remember him.

17. I have known others of this kind. They were apparently doing well; they were admirable and excellent; they were the delight of every company in which they entered, but they took the intoxicating cup a little, and then a little more, and then secret drinking became visible by certain signs on the face; eventually, business was neglected, other things were not attended to, and now the man may be known by his very clothing; if he is not in rags, he is close to it; his character is gone, for he is a confirmed drunkard; he must admit it, he cannot truthfully deny it. That is another kind of ruin. I have also seen a Christian young man, apparently, begin to go into bad company, and join with those who were merry fellows; it is true they scoffed at religion a little, but he winked at that, for he enjoyed their company. They flattered him, and now he has become just as bad as they are; instead of being shocked at infidel sentiments, he is the first to vent them, — a very ringleader in taking the chair of the scoffer, and sitting there a ruined man.

18. I have seen men ruined as for their peace. They once seemed bright and happy, but they are not so now, their laughter is only a mimic joy; they have sinned, they have turned aside from God, and their peace is marred. In some, their character is ruined; those who know them cannot trust them; so their prospects are ruined. They went aside little by little, and whereas we hoped they would have been useful and honourable men, they are the very opposite: they are like drowning men, they are themselves sinking, and they are pulling others down with them. Worst of all, their soul is ruined; and unless infinite mercy shall prevent it, they are ruined for eternity, ruined past all hope except that one grand hope the door of which stands open, even to the dying sinner, by faith in Jesus Christ. But as yet they are ruined, utterly ruined, though once they seemed to show promise for goodness as any man in the world.

19. Whenever I see a ruins, I cannot help thinking of what it used to be; can you? Here, once sat knights at their tables, while the minstrel poured out the sweetest song; now, all is a desolation! So, in that man was once everything that was hopeful; you would have been glad to go to the house of God in company with him. Look at him now, — the victim of every passion, a waif and stray on the great ocean of vice.

20. When you look at a ruins, you cannot help thinking what it might yet be. It was once a famous church where the praises of God rang out both morning and evening. It might be so still, but the roof is gone, the walls are tottering, and the windows let in the cold blasts. So, I see a man who once seemed to praise God, but he is a ruin, his sins have been “the ruin of him.” What do you often find in a ruin? Go there at night, and hear the owl hooting to his fellow; go by day, and see all kinds of loathsome creatures finding a harbour there. So go to the ruined man, the man who once promised as well as any man among us, but who departed from God, and gave way to sin, and little by little went further and further from the paths of uprightness. Think of him with sorrow. He has lost his opportunity; think what he might have been. Ah! and think what he is now through his sins. “They were the ruin of him.”

21. If I had the time, I would like to indicate many things, perhaps to men here, that will be the ruin of them; but if there is one here who has begun to get away from God, who thinks that he can do without God, I implore him to stop before he goes further, for sin will be “the ruin of him.” There never was a man yet who made a good bargain with sin. There is not one man, now in eternity, whose course in this life is finished, who, when he takes his tablet to count up the result of a sinful life, can say that he was the gainer by it. What if it made him a king, if he waded through sin to a throne? What are his gains today? What if he grew rich; where is his wealth now? Now he can sorrowfully answer for himself that solemn question of our Lord, “What shall it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul?” Oh, that God the blessed Spirit would send these warnings home to some who are beginning to trifle with sin, lest it should be the ruin of them!

22. III. I have one more point to dwell on; not only was there a man in ruins, but there were others who were ruined with him; for the text says, “They were the ruin of him, and of all Israel.”

23. Ahaz ruined all Israel as well as himself; this man did not perish alone in his iniquity. My friends, if you perish in your sin, you will not perish alone. That is one of the most terrible things about evil. If I have preached to you, during my ministry here, false doctrines, and what is not God’s Word, there are many here who must perish with me; but then my lot would be more horrible than that of any one among you, if I have misled you, and if I have not been faithful. It will be an awful thing for a man who has occupied a pulpit, and yet has not preached the gospel, to go before the judgment bar of God, and have to answer for the souls committed to him. That ancient message still needs to be heard: “If the watchman sees the sword come, and does not blow the trumpet, and the people are not warned; if the sword comes, and takes any person from among them, he is taken away in his iniquity; but I will require his blood at the watchman’s hand.” It is this that makes our work so weighty that our knees sometimes knock together when we are thinking of going up to our pulpit again. It is no child’s play, sirs, if there is to be a judgment, and we are to answer for our faithfulness or unfaithfulness. What must be our account if we are not true to God and to man? “Do not speak so sharply,” one says. “You are very dogmatic, sir,” says another. I know what is said; but what is that, compared with clearing my conscience, so that I may stand up in the light of the last great day, an honest man? I have prayed, many a time, that I might be able, at the end of my ministry, to say what George Fox, the Quaker, said when he was dying, “I am clear, I am clear.” If we have been faithful in our testimony, if we have said what we felt, and have not hesitated to speak out for fear of sinful men, and never tried to put velvet on our lips, so that we might restrain the Spirit’s course within us, to earn the approbation of some few people of taste, it will be well with us in the great day of account.

24. “Well,” someone says, “I am not a minister.” No, perhaps you are not; but are you a father? Suppose your boy perishes through your iniquity, what will you say to that? One day, I heard a man, who was given to drink, say to his son, “Open your shoulders, boy, and take it in like a man; I want you to drink like your father.” Who but his father made that boy a drunkard? There was a father who dropped an oath. Do I mean you? you ask. Yes, if you are here tonight; then, when your boy took to cursing and swearing, you did not like it; but who taught him to swear? Are there not many men who will be the ruin of their children’s souls? And are there not mothers, in a different rank of life, who train their daughters for gaiety and frivolity, who will have to answer for the ruin of their souls? Do you not think that there are people, who would like to be thought respectable, who are planning to bring up their children to be victims of sin? They know they are not putting them where they are likely to come under good influences; but where, according to the order of nature, they will be led away from Christ, and from the service of God. Oh sirs, we all have vastly more influence than we think! The working man in the shop thinks that he is the victim of his companions’ bad example; but, if he had more backbone, he might be the master and leader of them. Now he follows suit, and goes with the current; but if he were to be converted, how many he might influence for good! I thank God that, when men are really turned by his grace, those who have been the worst usually become the best. Did you not hear me speak, just now, of grand old Hugh Latimer, who burned so bravely for the faith? Yet he was, before his conversion, one of the most thorough-going Papists in the world, and was so violent that he would have put to death every heretic that he got hold of; but when the grace of God arrested him, he became just as earnest for the gospel of Jesus Christ as he had been earnest against it. If sin will be the ruin of men, — and surely it will, — yet our Lord Jesus Christ knows how to take the ruined sinners, and build them up to be temples for his indwelling. Christ will take the very castaways of the devil, and use them for himself. He delights to stoop over the dunghill, and pick up a broken vessel, that is thrown away, and make it into a vessel fit for the Master’s use. Do we not sometimes sing to his praise that he has taken us from the dunghill, and made us to sit among princes, even the princes of his people? Turn to God, then, you wanderers, turn to Christ; it may be so with you! Look to the bleeding wounds of the great Redeemer! May his Spirit help you to do so at this very hour; and, looking, you shall live, and then your sins shall not be the ruin of you; but the Repairer of these ruins shall come to build you up into a temple for his praise! May the Lord bless these feeble words, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

Expositions By C. H. Spurgeon {2Ch 28:1-5,16-27 Isa 2:6-22}

28:1. Ahaz was twenty years old when he began to reign, and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem:

So that he died before he reached the prime of life; he was cut off by God in the very midst of his sin.

1, 2. But he did not do what was right in the sight of the LORD, like David his forefather: for he walked in the ways of the kings of Israel, —

They had set up the worship of God under symbols, there were the calves of Bethel, the representation of strength: it was the worship of God by imagery, and Ahaz imitated it, and went even further in sin, —

2. And also made molten images for Baalim.

If we worship the true God under some symbol, the next step is to worship a false God.

3. Moreover he burned incense in the valley of the son of Hinnom, and burned his children in the fire, after the abominations of the heathen whom the LORD had cast out before the children of Israel.

The worship of Moloch was one of the most horrible that can be imagined. A bronze image was made red-hot, and then children were thrust into its burning arms to be consumed; and this king went to such a length that he gave his own children to death in that cruel way in the place commonly called by the Jews Topheth, or, the place of spitting, since it was so loathsome to them to think of this false God.

4. He also sacrificed and burnt incense in the high places, and on the hills, and under every green tree.

According to the command of God, there was to be only one altar, and that one was to be at Jerusalem; but these people multiplied their altars; almost every high place must have an idol shrine set up on it.

5. Therefore the LORD his God delivered him into the hand of the king of Syria; and they defeated him, and carried away a great multitude of them captives, and brought them to Damascus. And he was also delivered into the hand of the king of Israel, who defeated him with a great slaughter.

He received blow after blow; God would not let him rest in his sin.

Now turn to verse 16.

16. At that time King Ahaz sent to the kings of Assyria to help him.

The king of Assyria was the greatest potentate in that region, and all the little kings were afraid of him, and therefore sent to him for help when they were in trouble. Ahaz made no appeal to God, for the assistance he required, but he turned to the arm of flesh.

17. For again the Edomites had come and attacked Judah, and carried away captives.

The Edomites had been under subjection to Judah; but now that God had left her, Judah could not hold her position.

18. The Philistines also —

A people whom one might have thought had become extinct, so weak were they that we scarcely hear about them; yet “the Philistines also” —

18-20. Had invaded the cities of the low country, and of the south of Judah, and had taken Bethshemesh, and Ajalon, and Gederoth, and Shocho with its villages, and Timnah with its villages, Gimzo also and its villages: and they lived there. For the LORD brought Judah low because of Ahaz king of Israel; for he made Judah naked, and transgressed severely against the LORD. And Tilgathpilneser king of Assyria came to him, and distressed him, but did not strengthen him.

How vain it is to seek relief apart from God!

21, 22. For Ahaz took away a portion out of the house of the LORD, and out of the house of the king, and of the princes, and gave it to the king of Assyria: but he did not help him. And in the time of his distress he trespassed even more against the LORD: this is that King Ahaz.

A black mark is put against his name, to show how greatly guilty he was. Those who rebel against divine checks, and will not be held in by the providence of God, are to be written down in capital letters as great sinners. They sin with emphasis who sin against the chastising rod.

23-25. For he sacrificed to the gods of Damascus, which had defeated him: and he said, “Because the gods of the kings of Syria help them, therefore I will sacrifice to them, so that they may help me.” But they were the ruin of him, and of all Israel. And Ahaz gathered together the vessels of the house of God, and cut in pieces the vessels of the house of God, and shut up the doors of the house of the LORD, and he made him altars in every corner of Jerusalem. And in every single city of Judah he made high places to burn incense to other gods, and provoked to anger the LORD God of his forefathers.

He set up little shrines, so that every passer-by might worship whatever idol he pleased, and each man might present a little incense; so the whole city was filled with idolatry.

26, 27. Now the rest of his acts and of all his ways, first and last, behold, they are written in the book of the kings of Judah and Israel. And Ahaz slept with his forefathers, and they buried him in the city, even in Jerusalem; but they did not bring him into the sepulchres of the kings of Israel:

There was a holy and reverent feeling among the remnant of God’s people that a man who had lived as Ahaz had done should not lie with the good kings of Israel.

27. And Hezekiah his son reigned in his place.

Now turn to Isaiah, the second chapter, and the sixth verse.

2:6. Therefore you have forsaken your people the house of Jacob, because they are filled with the ways of the east, and are soothsayers like the Philistines, and they please themselves in the children of strangers.

It was God’s command that they should keep themselves separate, and worship him only; but, in the reign of this man Ahaz, they began to practise all the foul arts of the nations all around them. They had “soothsayers like the Philistines,” — men who pretended to divine future events from the flights of birds, or from the entrails of victims, and a thousand other things; they went into witchcraft, and the unhallowed arts of the heathen.

7-9. Their land also is full of silver and gold, neither is there any end of their treasures; their land is also full of horses, neither is there any end of their chariots: their land also is full of idols; they worship the work of their own hands, what their own fingers have made: and the poor man bows down, and the great man humbles himself: therefore do not forgive them.

The poor men worshipped these idols, and the rich did the same. All over the country the people were bowing before some symbol or other, instead of worshipping the unseen God in spirit and in truth. Therefore the prophet foretold that something terrible would happen to them: —

10-16. Enter into the rock, and hide in the dust, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty. The lofty looks of man shall be humbled, and the haughtiness of men shall be bowed down, and only the LORD shall be exalted in that day. For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be on everyone who is proud and lofty, and on everyone who is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: and on all the cedars of Lebanon, that are high and lifted up, and on all the oaks of Bashan, and on all the high mountains, and on all the hills that are lifted up, and on every high tower, and on every fenced wall, and on all the ships of Tarshish, and on all beautiful boats.

These people were wealthy through the natural riches of their land, and through commerce with other nations; they were the votaries of art according to the fashion of the times: and now God declares that, because they were proud, all their treasures should be destroyed, and the things that they boasted about should be taken away from them.

17, 18. And the loftiness of man shall be bowed down, and the haughtiness of men shall be made low: and only the LORD shall be exalted in that day. And he shall utterly abolish the idols.

They set them up at every street corner, they put them even before the house of God itself. On every green hill, and in every grove, they worshipped with filthy rites that can scarcely be thought about without a blush; but God declared that he would sweep them all away, and so he did when he visited the land in his fierce anger.

19-22. And they shall go into the holes of the rocks, and into the caves of the earth, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he arises to shake terribly the earth. In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, which they each made for himself to worship, to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the LORD, and for the glory of his majesty, when he arises to shake terribly the earth. Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for of what account is he?

Can you imagine Isaiah delivering this stern but noble message; elegant in language, poetic and sublime to the nth degree? But what courage it must have taken for him to stand up and deliver this before an idolatrous king and a people who went greedily after him! Truly, the Lord has raised up his faithful servants in all times, and he gives them the courage of lions, and voices that are very terrible, yet the hearts of men are not moved by them. “Cease,” says Isaiah, “Cease from man”; — from the king of Assyria, from all powers in which you trust; — “Cease from man, whose breath is in his nostrils: for of what account is he?”

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Man Fallen — Need Of The Atonement” 471}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Man Fallen — Mourning Over Transgressors” 473}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Expostulations — Treasuring Up Wrath” 526}
 The Sword and the Trowel
 Table of Contents, April, 1898.
 The Young Pastor’s Posy. Meditations by C. H. Spurgeon before he left Waterbeach.
 Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon’s Work-room — The Memorial Chapel at Bexhill. Leper readers of the Sermons. The Sermons in Braille type. Arabic translations of the Sermons. “Personal Notes” on a text.
 The Pastor’s Page. By Thomas Spurgeon. The Student’s Stoop, — an Address Delivered to the Students of the Pastors’ College. (Illustrated.)
 “I know their Sorrows.” Memories of Eastertide, 1897. By F. T.
 “Our Own Men” and their Work. LII. — Pastor E. A. Tydeman (with Portrait), Foot’s Cray, Kent. By J. Chadwick.
 A Pilot-light. By Charles Spurgeon.
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 C. H. Spurgeon’s most Striking Sermons. IV. — By E. A. Tydeman. Discourse delivered at the Baptist Union Meetings at Plymouth in 1875.
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 Notes. — Portrait of Mr. Spurgeon presented with Part IV. of Autobiography. The 400th number of The Sword and The Trowel. Usefulness of Mr. Spurgeon’s Sermons. Rawei, the Maori evangelist. Deaths of Miss Willard, Mr. A. J. Arnold, Mr. G. T. Congreve, and Mr. George Müller. Tabernacle Annual Church-meeting. “John Ploughman” Gospel Temperance Society. Haddon Hall Annual meeting. College. Orphanage. Colportage. Baptisms at the Metropolitan Tabernacle.
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Man Fallen
471 — Need Of The Atonement
1 How is our nature spoil’d with sin!
      Yet nature ne’er hath found
   The way to make the conscience clean,
      Or heal the painful wound.
2 In vain we seek for peace with God
      By methods of our own;
   Jesus, there’s nothing but thy blood
      Can bring us near the throne.
3 The threatenings of thy broken law
      Impress our souls with dread;
   If God his sword of vengeance draw,
      It strikes our spirits dead.
4 But thine illustrious sacrifice
      Hath answer’d these demands;
   And peace and pardon from the skies
      Come down by Jesus’ hands.
5 Here all the ancient types agree,
      The altar and the Lamb;
   And prophets in their visions see
      Salvation through his name.
6 ‘Tis by thy death, we live, oh Lord;
      ‘Tis on thy cross we rest;
   For ever by thy love adored,
      Thy name for ever bless’d.
                           Isaac Watts, 1721.

Man Fallen
473 — Mourning Over Transgressors
1 Arise, my tenderest thoughts, arise,
   To torrents melt my streaming eyes;
   And thou, my heart, with anguish feel
   Those evils which thou canst not heal.
2 See human nature sunk in shame;
   See scandals pour’d on Jesus’ name;
   The Father wounded through the Son:
   The world abused, and souls undone.
3 See the short course of vain delight
   Closing in everlasting night:
   In flames that no abatement know,
   Though briny tears for ever flow.
4 My God, I feel the mournful scene;
   My bowels yearn o’er dying men;
   And fain my pity would reclaim.
   And snatch the firebrands from the flame.
5 But feeble my compassion proves,
   And can but weep where most it loves;
   Thy own all saving arm employ,
   And turn these drops of grief to joy.
                     Philip Doddridge, 1755.

Gospel, Expostulations
526 — Treasuring Up Wrath
1 Ungrateful sinners, whence this scorn
      Of long extended grace?
   And whence this madness, that insults
      The Almighty to his face?
2 Is it because his patience waits,
      And pitying bowels move,
   You multiply audacious crimes,
      And spurn his richest live?
3 Is all the treasured wrath so small,
      You labour still for more?
   Though not eternal rolling years
      Can e’er exhaust the store.
4 Alarm’d and melted at thy voice,
      Our conquer’d hearts would bow,
   And to escape the Thunderer then,
      Embrace the Saviour now.
                     Philip Doddridge, 1755.

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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