2607. Foretastes Of The Heavenly Life

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No. 2607-45:49. A Sermon Delivered Early In The Year 1857, By C. H. Spurgeon, At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, January 29, 1899, (C. H. Spurgeon Memorial Sabbath.)

And they took some of the fruit of the land in their hands, and brought it down to us, and brought us word again, and said, “It is a good land which the LORD our God is giving to us.” {De 1:25}

1. You remember the occasion concerning which these words were written. The children of Israel sent twelve men as spies into the land of Canaan, and they brought back with them the fruit of the land, among the rest a bunch of grapes from Eshcol too heavy to be carried by one man, and which, therefore, two of them carried on a staff between them. I shall not say much, at this time, concerning the Israelites; but I want to show you that, just as they learned something of what Canaan was like by the fruit of the land brought to them by the spies, so you and I, even while we are on earth, if we are the Lord’s chosen people, may learn something of what heaven is — the state to which we are to attain hereafter — by certain blessings which are brought to us even while we are here.

2. The Israelites were sure that Canaan was a fertile land when they saw its fruit which was brought by their spies, and when they ate it. Perhaps there was very little for so many, and yet those who did eat it were made at once to understand that it must have been a rich soil that produced such fruit. In the same way, beloved, we who love the Lord Jesus Christ have had clusters of the grapes of a better Eshcol; we have had some of the fruits of heaven even while we have been on earth, and by them we are able to judge the richness of the soil of Paradise which produces such rare and choice delights.

3. I shall, therefore, present to you a series of views of heaven in order to give you some idea how it is that the Christian on earth enjoys a foretaste of the blessings that are yet to be revealed. Possibly, there are scarcely two Christians who have exactly the same ideas concerning heaven; though they all expect the same heaven, yet the most prominent feature in it is different to each mind according to its constitution.

4. I. Now, I will confess to you what is to me the most prominent feature of heaven, judging at the present moment. At another time, I may love heaven better for another thing; but, just recently, I have learned to love heaven as A PLACE OF SECURITY.

5. We have been greatly saddened as we have seen some professors dishonouring their profession, — indeed, and even worse, some of the Lord’s own beloved committing grievous faults and slips, which have brought disgrace on their character, and injury to their souls; and we have learned to look up to heaven as a place where we shall never, never sin, — where our feet shall be fixed firmly on the rock, — where there is neither tripping nor slipping, — where faults shall be unknown, — where we shall have no need to keep watch against an indefatigable enemy, because there is no foe that shall annoy us, — where we shall not be on our guard day and night watching against the incursion of foes, for “there the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary are at rest.” We have looked at heaven as the land of complete security, where the garment shall be always white, where the face shall be always anointed with fresh oil, where there is no fear of our turning away from our Lord, for there we shall stand firm for ever. And I ask you, if that is a true view of heaven, — and I am sure it is one feature of it, — do not the saints, even on earth, in this sense enjoy some fruits of Paradise? Do we not, even in these huts and villages below, sometimes taste the joys of blissful security? The doctrine of God’s Word is, that all who are in union with the Lamb are safe, that all believers must hold on their way, that those who have committed their souls to the keeping of Christ shall find him a faithful and immutable Keeper. Believing this doctrine, we enjoy security even on earth, — not that high and glorious security which renders us free from every slip and trip; but, nevertheless, a security almost as great, because it secures us against ultimate ruin, and renders us certain that we shall attain to eternal felicity.

6. And, beloved, have you never sat down, and reflected on the doctrine of the perseverance of the saints? I am sure you have, and God has brought home to you a sense of your security in the person of Christ, he has told you that your name is inscribed on his hand, he has whispered in your ear the promise, “Do not fear, for I am with you.” You have been led to look on the great Surety of the covenant as faithful and true, and, therefore, bound and engaged to present you, the weakest of the family, with all the chosen race, before the throne of God; and in such a sweet contemplation I am sure you have been drinking some of the juice of his spiced pomegranates, you have had some of the choice fruits of Paradise, you have had some of the enjoyments which the perfect saints above have in a sense of your complete and eternal security in Christ Jesus. Oh, how I love that doctrine of the perseverance of the saints! I shall at once renounce the pulpit when I cannot preach it, for any other form of teaching seems to me to be a blank desert and a howling wilderness, as unworthy of God as it would be beneath even my acceptance, frail worm as I am. I could never either believe or preach a gospel which saves me today and rejects me tomorrow, — a gospel which puts me in Christ’s family one hour, and makes me a child of the devil the next, — a gospel which first justifies and then condemns me, — a gospel which pardons me, and afterwards casts me down to hell. Such a gospel is abhorrent to reason itself, how much more is it contrary to the mind of the God whom we delight to serve. Every true believer in Jesus can sing, with Toplady, —

    My name from the palms of his hands
       Eternity will not erase;
    Impressed on his heart it remains
       In marks of indelible grace:
    Yes, I to the end shall endure,
       As sure as the earnest is given;
    More happy, but not more secure,
       The glorified spirits in heaven.

Yes, beloved, we do enjoy a sense of perfect security even as we dwell in this land of wars and fightings. Just as the spies brought to their brethren in the wilderness bunches of the grapes of Canaan, so, in the security we enjoy, we have a foretaste and earnest of the bliss of Paradise.

7. II. In the next place, most probably the majority of you love to think of heaven under another aspect, as A PLACE OF PERFECT REST.

8. Son of toil, you love the sanctuary because it is there you sit to hear God’s Word, and rest your wearied limbs. When you have wiped the hot sweat from your burning brow, you have often thought of heaven as the place where your labours shall be over, and you have sung, with sweet emphasis, —

    There shall I bathe my weary soul
       In seas of heavenly rest,
    And not a wave of trouble roll
       Across my peaceful breast.

Rest, rest, rest, — this is what you want, and to me also this idea of heaven is extremely beautiful. I know I never shall have rest beneath this sky, while Christ’s servants continue to be so unreasonable as they are. I have served them to the utmost of my power, yet I am almost hounded to my grave by Christian ministers perpetually wanting me to do impossibilities that they know no mortal strength can accomplish. I am willing to labour until I drop, but I cannot do more than I am doing; yet I am perpetually assailed on this side and the other, until, no matter where I go, there seems no rest for me until I slumber in my grave; and I look forward to heaven, with great happiness, because there I shall rest from labours constant and arduous, though much loved.

9. And you, too, dear Christian friend, who have been toiling long to gain an object for which you have eagerly sought; you will be glad when you get to heaven. You have said that if you could attain your desire, you would gladly lie down and rest; you have longed to lay up a certain amount of riches, you have said that, if you could once gain a competence, you would then make yourself at ease; or, you have been labouring long to secure a certain position, and you have said that, if you could only reach it, you would rest. Indeed, but you have not reached it yet; and you love to think of heaven because it is the goal for the racer, the target of the arrow of existence; the couch of repose for time’s tired toilers; indeed, an eternal rest for the poor weary struggler on earth. You love it because it is a place of rest; and do we ever enjoy a foretaste of heaven on earth in that sense? Oh, yes, beloved! blessed be God, “we who have believed enter into rest.” Our peace is like a river, and our righteousness like the waves of the sea. God gives rest to his people even here: “therefore there remains a rest for the people of God.” We have stormy trials and bitter troubles in the world, but we have learned to say, “Return to your rest, oh my soul; for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.” Did you never, in times of great distress, climb up to your prayer closet, and there on your knees pour out your heart before God? Did you never feel, after you had done so, that you had, as it were, bathed yourself in rest, so that —

    Let cares like a wild deluge come,
       And storms of sorrow fall, —

you did not care one bit about them? Though wars and tumults were raging around you, you were kept in perfect peace, for you had found a great protecting shield in Christ; you were able to remain restful and calm, for you had looked on the face of God’s Anointed. Ah, Christian! that rest, so placid and serene, without a billow of disturbance, which in your deepest troubles you have been enabled to enjoy on the bosom of Christ, is for you like a bunch from the vintage of heaven, one grape of the heavenly cluster of which you shall soon partake in the land of the hereafter. So, again, you see, we can have a foretaste of heaven, and experience what it is even while we are here on earth.

10. III. A true idea of heaven is, that it is A PLACE OF UNINTERRUPTED SERVICE.

11. That idea of heaven as a place of rest will just suit some indolent professors, so I will turn the subject around, and show you that the very opposite idea is also true, and may be more useful to certain people. I do believe that one of the worst sins of which a man can be guilty, is to be idle; I could almost forgive a drunkard, rather than a lazy man; he who is idle has as good a reason to be penitent before God as David had when he was an adulterer; indeed, David’s adultery probably resulted from his idleness. It is an abominable thing to let the grass grow up to your knees, and do nothing towards making it into hay. God never sent a man into the world to be idle; and there are some who make a profession of being Christians who do nothing to serve the Lord from one year’s end to the other.

12. Heaven is a land where they serve God day and night in his temple, and never know weariness, and never require slumber. Do you know, dear friends, the delightfulness of work? Although I must complain when people expect impossibilities from me, it is the highest enjoyment of my life to be busily engaged for Christ. Tell me the day when I do not preach, I will tell you the day in which I am not happy; but the day in which it is my privilege to preach the gospel, and labour for God, is generally the day of my peaceful and quiet enjoyment after all. Service is a delight. Praising God is pleasure. Labouring for him is the highest bliss a mortal can know. Oh, how sweet it must be to sing his praises, and never feel that the throat is dry! Oh, how blessed to flap the wing for ever, and never feel it flag! Oh, what sweet enjoyment to fly on his errands for evermore, to circle around the throne of God in heaven while eternity shall last, and never once lay the head on the pillow, never once feel the throbbing of fatigue, never once the pangs that admonish us that we need to cease, but to keep on for ever like eternity’s own self — a broad river rolling on with perpetual floods of labour! Oh, that must be enjoyment! That must be heaven, to serve God day and night in his temple! Many of you have served God on earth, and have had foretastes of that bliss.

13. I wish some of you knew more of the sweets of labour, for although labour brings sweat, it brings sweets, too, — more especially labour for Christ. There is a satisfaction before the work; there is a satisfaction in the work; there is a satisfaction after the work; and there is a satisfaction in looking for the fruits of the work; and a great satisfaction when we get the fruits. Labour for Christ is, indeed, the dressing room of heaven; if it is not heaven itself, it is one of the most blissful foretastes of it. Thank God, Christian, if you can do anything for your Master. Thank him if it is your privilege to do the least thing for him; but remember, in doing so, he is giving you a taste of the grapes of Eshcol. But you indolent people do not get the grapes of Eshcol, because you are too lazy to carry that big bunch. You would like them to come into your mouths without the trouble of gathering them. You do not care to go out and serve God. You sit still, and look after yourselves, but what do you do for other people? You go to your place of worship; you talk about the Sunday School and the Sick Visitation Society, yet you never teach in the Sunday School, and you never visit a sick person; you take a great deal of credit for yourself while you do nothing at all. You cannot expect to know much of the enjoyments of heavenly glory until you have experienced a little of the delight of working in the kingdom of heaven on earth.

14. IV. Another view of heaven is, that it is A PLACE OF COMPLETE VICTORY AND GLORIOUS TRIUMPH.

15. This is the battle-field; there is the triumphal procession. This is the land of the sword and the spear; that is the land of the wreath and the crown. This is the land of the garment rolled in blood and of the dust of the fight; that is the land of the trumpet’s joyful sound, that is the place of the white robe and of the shout of conquest. Oh, what a thrill of joy shall shoot through the hearts of all the blessed when their conquests shall be complete in heaven, when death itself, the last of foes, shall be slain, when Satan shall be dragged captive at the chariot wheels of Christ, when Jesus shall have overthrown sin, and trampled corruption as the mire of the streets, when the great song of universal victory shall rise from the hearts of all the redeemed! What a moment of pleasure that shall be! But, dear brethren, you and I have foretastes of even that joy. We know what conflicts, what soul-battles we have even here; did you never struggle against unbelief, and at last overcome it? Oh, with what joy you lifted your eyes to heaven, the tears flowing down your cheeks, and say, “Lord, I bless you that I have been able to vanquish that sin.” Did you ever experience a strong temptation, and wrestle hard with it, and know what it was to sing with great joy, “My feet almost slipped; but your mercy held me up?” Have you, like Bunyan’s Christian, fought with old Apollyon, and have you seen him flap his dragon-wings, and fly away? There you had a foretaste of heaven; you had just a hint of what the ultimate victory will be. In the death of that one Philistine, you saw the destruction of the whole army; that Goliath, who fell by your sling and stone, was only one out of the multitude who must yield their bodies to the birds of heaven. God gives you partial triumphs so that they may be the foretaste of the ultimate and complete victory. Go on and conquer, and let each conquest, though a harder one and more strenuously contested, be to you as a grape of Eshcol, a foretaste of the joys of heaven!

16. V. Furthermore, without a doubt, one of the best views we can ever give of heaven is, that it is A STATE OF COMPLETE ACCEPTANCE WITH GOD, recognised and felt in the conscience.

17. I suppose that a great part of the joy of the blessed saints consists in a knowledge that there is nothing in them to which God is hostile; that their peace with God has nothing to mar it; that they are so completely in union with the principles and thoughts of the Most High, that his love is set on them, that their love is set on him, and they are one with him in every respect. Well, beloved, and have we not enjoyed a sense of acceptance here below? Blotted and blurred by many doubts and fears, yet there have been moments when we have known ourselves as truly accepted as we shall know ourselves to be even when we stand before the throne. There have been bright days with some of us, when we could set our seal to the fact that God was true; and when, afterwards, feeling that “the Lord knows those who are his,” we could say, “And we know that we are his, too.” Then we have known the meaning of Dr. Watts when he sang, —

    When I can say, “My God is mine,”
       When I can feel thy glories shine;
    I tread the world beneath my feet,
       And all that earth calls good or great.
    While such a scene of sacred joys
       Our raptured eyes and souls employs,
    Here we could sit, and gaze away
       A long, an everlasting day.

We had such a clear view of the perfection of Christ’s righteousness that we felt that God had accepted us, and we could not be otherwise than happy; we had such a sense of the efficacy of the blood of Christ, that we felt sure our sins were all pardoned, and could never be mentioned against us for ever. And, beloved, though I have spoken of other joys, let me say, this is the cream of all of them, to know that we ourselves are accepted in God’s sight. Oh, to feel that I, a guilty worm, am now at rest in my Father’s bosom; that I, a lost prodigal, am now feasting at his table with delight; that I, who once heard the voice of his anger, now listen to the notes of his love! This is a joy that is worth more than all worlds. What more can they know up there than that? And if it were not that our sense of it is so imperfect, we might bring heaven down to earth, and might at least dwell in the suburbs of the celestial city, if we could not be privileged to go within the gates. So you see, again, we can have, in that sense, bunches of the grapes of Eshcol. Since heaven is a state of acceptance, we, too, can know and feel that acceptance, and rejoice in it.

18. VI. And again, heaven is A STATE OF GREAT AND GLORIOUS REVELATIONS.

19. As you look forward to your experience in heaven, you sing, —

    Then shall I see, and hear, and know
    All I desired or wished below;
    And every power find sweet employ
    In that eternal world of joy.

You are now looking at it darkly, through a glass; but there, you shall see, face-to-face. Christ looks down on the Bible, and the Bible is his mirror. You look into it, and see the face of Christ as in a mirror, darkly; but soon you shall see him face-to-face. You expect heaven to be a place of particular revelations; you believe that there Jesus will unveil his face to you; that —

    Millions of years your wondering eyes
    Shall o’er your Saviour’s beauties rove.

You are expecting to see his face, and never, never sin. You are longing to know the secrets of his heart. You believe that, in that day, you shall see him as he is, and shall be like him in the world of spirits. Well, beloved, though Christ does not reveal himself to us as he does to the bright ones there, have we not had blessed visions even while we have been in this vale of tears? Speak, believer; let your heart speak; have you not had visions of Calvary? Has not your Master sometimes touched your eyes with eyesalve, and let you see him on his cross? Have you not said —

    Sweet the moments, rich in blessing,
       Which before the cross I spend,
    Life, and health, and peace possessing,
       From the sinner’s dying Friend.
    Here I’ll sit for ever viewing
       Mercy’s streams, in streams of blood;
    Precious drops! my soul bedewing,
       Plead and claim my peace with God?

Have you not wept both for joy and for grief when you beheld him nailed to the tree for your sakes, and saw him bleeding out his life for you? Oh, yes! I know you have had such visions of him. And have you not seen him in his risen glories? Have you not beheld him there exalted on his throne? Have you not, by faith, beheld him as the Judge of the living and the dead, and as the Prince of the kings of the earth? Have you not looked through the dim future, and seen him with the crown of all kingdoms on his head, with the diadems of all monarchs beneath his feet, and the sceptres of all thrones in his hand? Have you not anticipated the moment of his most glorious triumphs, when —

    He shall reign from pole to pole,
       With illimitable sway?

Yes, you have, and in it you have had foretastes of heaven. So when Christ has revealed himself to you, you have looked within the veil, and, therefore, you have seen what is there; you have had some glimpses of Jesus while here: those glimpses of Jesus are only the beginning of what shall never end. Those joyful melodies of praise and thanksgiving are only the preludes of the songs of Paradise.

20. VII. Lastly, the highest idea of heaven is, that it is A PLACE OF MOST HALLOWED AND BLISSFUL COMMUNION. I have not given you even half that I might have told you of the various characteristics of heaven, as described in God’s Word, but communion is the best.

21. Communion! that word so little spoken of, so seldom understood. Blessed word, communion! Dearly beloved, you hear us say, “And the communion of the Holy Spirit be with you all”; but there are many of you who do not know the meaning of that sweet heaven in a word, — communion! It is the flower of language; it is the honeycomb of words, — communion! You like best to talk about corruption, do you not? Well, if you like that ugly word, you are very willing to meditate on it. I do so when I am forced to do it; but communion seems to me to be a far sweeter word than that. You like to talk a great deal about affliction, do you not? Well, if you love the black word, — you may have reason to love it; and if you can to be happy about it, you may do so; but give me for my constant text and for my constant joy, communion, and I will not choose which kind of communion it shall be. Sweet Master, if you give me communion with you in your sufferings, if I have to bear reproach and shame for your name’s sake, I will thank you; if I may have fellowship with you in it, and if you will give me to suffer for your sake, I will call it an honour, so that I can be a partaker of your sufferings; and if you give me sweet enjoyments, if you raise me up, and make me to sit with you in heavenly places in Christ, I will bless you. I will bless God for ascension-communion, — communion with Christ in his glories. Do you not say the same? And for communion with Christ in death; have you died to the world, as Christ himself died to it? Then, have you had communion with him in resurrection? Have you been raised to newness of life, even as he was raised from the grave? And have you had communion with him in his ascension, so that you know yourself to be an heir to a throne in glory? If so, you have had the best foretaste you can receive of the joys of Paradise. To be in heaven, is to lean one’s head on the bosom of Jesus; have you not done that on earth? Then you know what heaven is. To be in heaven, is to talk to Jesus, to sit at his feet, to let our heart beat against his heart. If you have had that bliss on earth, you have already tasted some of the grapes of heaven.

22. Cherish, then, these foretastes, of whatever kind they may have been in your individual case. Differently constituted, you will all look at heaven in a different light. Keep your foretaste just as God gave it to you. He has given each of you a separate experience of it, which is most suitable for your own condition. Treasure it up; think much of it; but think more of your Master, for, remember, it is “Christ in you, the hope of glory,” that is your best foretaste of heaven; and the more you believe that blessed truth, the more fully prepared you shall be for the bliss of the joyful ones in the land of the happy.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Ge 49}

1-3. And Jacob called to his sons, and said, “Gather yourselves together, so that I may tell you what shall befall you in the last days. Gather yourselves together, and hear, you sons of Jacob; and listen to Israel your father. Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength, the excellency of dignity, and the excellency of power:

All this was to Reuben’s advantage, yet he was spoiled through one fault.

4. Unstable as water, you shall not excel; —

So it is clear that the greatest strength and dignity and power will not serve a man, so as to make him excel, if he is unstable. There are many such people still remaining in the world; their doctrine changes like the moon, and we never know what it is. Their spirit and temperament constantly change; their pursuits are sometimes in one direction, and sometimes in another; they are “everything by starts, and nothing for long”; and to each of them it may be said, “Unstable as water, you shall not excel.”:

4-7. Because you went up to your father’s bed; then you defiled it: he went up to my couch. Simeon and Levi are brethren; instruments of cruelty are in their habitations. Oh my soul, do not come into their council; my honour, do not be united to their assembly: for in their anger they killed a man, and in their self-will they dug down a wall. Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for if was cruel: I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.

It is a very remarkable circumstance, well worthy of notice, that this curse was turned into a real blessing, especially in the case of the tribe of Levi. It is true that they were divided and scattered, like handfuls of salt, throughout all of Israel, for they were attendants on the Lord’s priests, and they had cities appointed to them so that, while they lived here, and there, and everywhere, it was in order that they might reach all of the people, and prove a blessing to them. Are any of you labouring under a very serious disadvantage? Does it look to you like a curse? Then pray to God to make it into a blessing. I believe that, often, the worst thing that can happen to Christian men is really the best thing, for, while nature would cry out, “The clouds are to be dreaded,” grace can reply, —

       The clouds ye so much dread
    Are big with mercy, and shall break
       In blessings on your head.

8. Judah, you are he whom your brethren shall praise:

His name was praise, and such was his history to be, for David came from that tribe, and great David’s greater Son, whom it is our joy to praise.

8. Your hand shall be on the neck of your enemies; your father’s children shall bow down before you.

While that was true of Judah, it is still more true of him who sprang out of Judah, even our Lord and King, the Lion of the tribe of Judah.

9. Judah is a lion’s whelp: from the prey, my son, you are gone up: he stooped down, he couched as a lion, and as an old lion, who shall rouse him up?

Our Lord overcame his enemies even in the thicket of this world; and all power is given to him now that he has “gone up” again into his glory. Let that man beware who would attack this Lion of the tribe of Judah: “Who shall rouse him up?” If you persecute his followers, you will rouse him up. If you deny his truth, trample on the doctrine of atonement, and reject his love, you will rouse him up. But beware in that day, for terrible is the King of Judah when he is once aroused. Therefore, submit yourselves to him: “Kiss the Son, lest he is angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled only a little.”

10. The sceptre shall not depart from Judah, nor a lawgiver from between his feet, until Shiloh comes; and the gathering of the people shall be to him.

When did the dominion depart from Judah until the Lord Jesus came as the Sent One? And to him, to this very day, the people gather, and more and more shall gather in the latter days.

11, 12. Binding his foal to the vine, and his donkey’s colt to the choice wine; he washed his garments in wine, and his clothes in the blood of grapes: his eyes shall be red with wine, and his teeth white with milk.

It was literally so with Judah, but it is gloriously so with our Lord to this day. It was his blood which yielded the juice of those rare clusters of the choice vine; and now, with garments dyed with his own blood, he comes from Edom, for he has trodden down his foes, and he cries, “I have trodden the wine-press alone; and of the people there was no one with me.”

13. Zebulun shall dwell at the haven of the sea; and he shall be for a haven of ships; and his border shall be to Zidon.

So did Zebulun dwell even until the day when our Lord came, for Matthew writes concerning him, “Now when Jesus had heard that John was cast into prison, he departed into Galilee; and leaving Nazareth, he came and lived in Capernaum, which is by the sea-coast, in the regions of Zebulun and Naphtali: so that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by Isaiah the prophet, saying, ‘The land of Zebulun, and the land of Naphtali, by the way of the sea, beyond Jordan, Galilee of the Gentiles; the people who sat in darkness saw great light; and to those who sat in the region and shadow of death light has sprung up.’ ”

14, 15. Issachar is a strong donkey lying down between two burdens: and he saw that rest was good, and the land that it was pleasant; and bowed his shoulder to bear, and became a servant to tribute.

This was a poor character for Issachar to possess; it was a tame-spirited tribe, that loved rest and ease, and therefore did not fight with the common foe. Issachar lay down between the burdens instead of taking them up and bearing them; may God grant that none of us may be of that lazy tribe! I think that I know some who are; they could do a great deal, but they see that rest is good, and the land is pleasant, so they idle away their days.

16, 17. Dan shall judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel. Dan shall be a serpent by the way, an adder in the path, that bites the horseheels, so that his rider shall fall backwards.

Dan is noted among the tribes for its famous leap, capturing that distant part of the country for itself.

Here good old Jacob, worn out by what he had already said, exhausted by the ecstasy into which as a prophet he had been cast, paused for a while, and panted.

18. I have waited for your salvation, oh LORD.

But he soon resumed his prophecy: —

19. Gad, a troop shall overcome him: but he shall overcome at the last.

Many of God’s servants belong to this tribe, for their life is spent in conflict. They do not seek it, but it comes to them; and, for a time, they seem to be overcome, yet let them clutch at the promise given to Gad.

20. Out of Asher his bread shall be rich, and he shall yield royal dainties.

Well fed, and then yielding correspondingly. There are some people who like to have their bread to be rich, but they yield to the King no dainties. Let it not be so with us; but let us both feed well and yield well.

21. Naphtali is a hind let loose: —

The type of what a Christian minister should be, — indeed, what every Christian worker should be, — “a hind let loose,” one who can say with David, “Oh Lord, truly I am your servant; I am your servant, and the son of your handmaid. You have released my bonds.”

21. He gives goodly words.

He has liberty in speech, freedom of utterance, he is not in bonds, he is as “a hind let loose.”

22. Joseph is a fruitful bough, even a fruitful bough by a well; —

Where he can draw up abundant nutriment, —

22. Whose branches run over the wall:

He does more than he is expected to do; nothing seems to satisfy him, his “branches run over the wall.”

23, 24. The archers have severely grieved him, and shot at him, and hated him: but his bow remained in strength, —

You know how severely Joseph was persecuted by his brethren, yet how the Lord was with him in all his troubles. It appears from these words that he was himself an archer, and that he was not in a hurry to shoot his arrows; his bow remained still. It is the strong who can afford to be quiet; as you go across the village green, a goose will hiss at you, while the strong ox lies down calmly, and takes no notice of you: “His bow remained in strength,” —

24. And the arms of his hands —

Not only his hands, but the arms of his hands —

24-27. Were made strong by the hands of the mighty God of Jacob; (from there is the Shepherd, the Stone of Israel:) even by the God of your father, who shall help you; and by the Almighty, who shall bless you with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies under, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb: the blessings of your father have prevailed more than the blessings of my ancestors into the utmost bound of the everlasting hills; they shall be on the head of Joseph, and on the crown of the head of him who was separate from his brothers. Benjamin shall ravin as a wolf: in the morning he shall devour the prey, and at night he shall divide the spoil.”

Little Benjamin is the last of the tribes.

28-33. All these are the twelve tribes of Israel: and this is what their father spoke to them, and blessed them; everyone according to his blessing he blessed them. And he charged them, and said to them, “I am to be gathered to my people: bury me with my forefathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite, in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field of Ephron the Hittite for a possession of a burying place. There they buried Abraham and Sarah his wife; there they buried Isaac and Rebekah his wife; and there I buried Leah. The purchase of the field and of the cave that is in it was from the children of Heth.” And when Jacob had made an end of commanding his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the ghost, and was gathered to his people.

It is a very sweet thing to die with a blessing on your lips, and it is equally good to live in the same spirit. Our Lord Jesus was blessing his disciples when he was taken from them; and since we do not know when we shall be taken away from our relatives, let us be always blessing them. May the Lord, who has blessed us, make us a blessing to others!

The Standard Life Of Mr. Spurgeon.

Vol. II. 384 pages Demy 4to. 59 illustrations. Price 10s. 6d. Also issued in monthly shilling parts.

C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Compiled from His Diary, Letters, and Records, By his Wife and his Private Secretary.

Press Notices: —

“The second volume of C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography is as handsomely got up, as lavishly illustrated, and as variously interesting as the first. The autobiography proper is linked together by several fascinating chapters from Mrs. Spurgeon’s gifted pen. The volume brings us down to the building of the Tabernacle in 1859. It is full of racy reminiscences of the Pastor’s early ministry. I have read the chapter on his congenial relationships with his publishers with envious interest.” — Great Thoughts.

“The many friends and admirers of the popular Evangelist, who have read the first volume of the Autobiography which dealt with his childhood, spiritual growth, and call to the ministry, will welcome with pleasure the anticipated second volume, that is to take them on through the exciting period of his ardent young manhood to his full and strenuous prime. …… The story of his courtship of the little Puritan maid, Susannah Thompson, his proposal to her in her grandfather’s old-fashioned garden, their unique lovers’ difference, so happily settled; their meetings by the fountain in the Crystal Palace, and the blissful culmination in their marriage before a large and enthusiastic concourse of people, reads like a chapter from a quaint love romance. Nor does the romance end, as is so frequently the case, outside the chapel door. The absolute domestic felicity which glorified every trivial circumstance of their united lives abounded to the last. So fondly does the bereaved wife linger, in a later chapter, over the details of their early married life, conjuring up pictures of their happy home, the little difficulties blessed by mutual loving assistance, the every-day experiences, shared together, which went to make up the sum of their intimate home-life. Since there have been few preachers who, at such an early age, and with such sudden leaps and bounds, have attained to Mr. Spurgeon’s enormous popularity, — for he was preaching to immense audiences at Exeter Hall when he was twenty-one, — there has scarcely been another who has had to suffer so great an amount of hostile criticism as he had at the outset of his ministry. Like a meteor he had shot up to the zenith to shed light on the world, drawing all eyes towards him, and there were many who disputed the quality of his illumination. …… Scattered over the pages are many anecdotes related in the delightfully fascinating and sympathetic style which strikes home to the reader’s heart. …… The handsome tome is embellished with a large number of interesting and beautiful illustrations, the frontispiece being an engraving of Mr. Spurgeon.” — The Newcastle Daily Leader.

London: Passmore and Alabaster, Paternoster Buildings; and from all Booksellers.

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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