2764. The Cloud of Doves

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The Cloud Of Doves

No. 2764-48:49. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, October 12, 1879, By C. H. Spurgeon, At The Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, February 2, 1902.

Who are these who fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts? {Isa 60:8}

 For other sermons on this text:
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 63, “Marvellous Increase of the Church” 60}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2764, “Cloud of Doves, The” 2765}
   {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3051, “Lessons from a Dovecot” 3052}
   Exposition on Isa 60 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2764, “Cloud of Doves, The” 2765 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Isa 60 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2880, “New Tokens of Ancient Love” 2881 @@ "Exposition"}
   Exposition on Ps 103 Isa 59:16-60:16 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 2617, “Shining Christians” 2618 @@ "Exposition"}

1. We believe that, in the latter days, according to the Word of God, men will flock to Christ, and to his Church, in far greater numbers than they have done so far. At present, we have to go to them; but, eventually, they will come to us. Now, we have to search them out, like lost sheep in a cloudy and dark day; but, in those days, they will feel a gracious drawing towards their God, and his Church, and they will come in vast multitudes to worship with the people of God; — yes, they themselves will become the people of God, and bow down before the feet of Emmanuel, the Prince of peace. Why should it not be? Why should we not expect it, and why should not the expectation greatly encourage us in labouring on through these weary years, being well assured that those who sow in tears shall one day reap in joy?

2. Yet, even at that time when, through the full preaching of the gospel, and the effective working of the Holy Spirit, men shall come flocking to Christ in troops, even in that hour the Church will be astonished at the result. She will lift up her hands, and say, “Who has begotten these for me?” She will cry, in the words of our text, “Who are these who fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts?” For, alas! God’s people are often very unbelieving. We have seen something of this spirit even in our own time. There are certain good old Christian people who, if they see a convert added to the church every now and then, are pleased and satisfied; but if there should be a score added in a month, — if there were to be a hundred, — they would hold up their hands, and say, “This cannot be the work of God; there are too many, it is all excitement”; and they would take counsel together, and try to stop it. “Surely,” they say, “it cannot be the work of God, because it is so great.” Now my argument is that, if we are to judge a work by its size, I should say that a little work was not the work of God. My method of reasoning would be this, — the greater the work, the more likely it is to be of God. I do not insist on that being always the case, because God is in the least conversion, if there is only one, as much as in the conversion of thousands; but, still, if a brother begins to throw discredit on a work in any place because large numbers are converted, I am ready to meet him, and to prove that he is wrong. Pentecost was not the conversion of one old woman in a chimney-corner through reading a sermon, — Pentecost was not the bringing in of one dear child of a deacon, one who had been in the Sunday School all his life, — but Pentecost was the conversion, then and there, of three thousand sinners of every kind, through the preaching of the Word of the Lord. And I expect that, where God is especially revealed, and where he gives his churches Pentecosts, we shall have thousands born in a day, multitudes flocking to Christ like doves to their roosts.

3. Let us begin to enlarge our expectations. Already, in this house, we have had the prophecy fulfilled on a small scale. See how, these many years, the multitudes have pressed and thronged to listen to the gospel. What other attractions have we had? We do not have even that wonderful box of music with which men praise God with wind; we have nothing but the plainest possible singing. I am certain that the crowds do not come to hear that; and as for the preaching, I have purposely laid aside all the graces of oratory that I might have had, and tried to make my message as plain and simple as possible. One good man, who is leaving us, said to me, this morning, “I shall miss the plain preaching to which I have been accustomed to. No doubt, there are some rich people, who would like to have it put very finely; but, you see,” he said, “I have no education; and I am glad you have preached so that I could understand you, because the other people can do the same if they like.” Indeed, and they must, too, if they come here, for I never will get away from the simple preaching of Jesus Christ, as plain as I can ever make it. My one work is just to talk about Jesus Christ, and of his blessed gospel, as plainly as I can; and is there anything like it, in all the world, to draw the multitude, to hold the multitude, to impress the multitude, — indeed, and to lead them to fly, like doves, to Jesus wounds, to find salvation there?

4. Now, coming to our text, I think that the passage refers, first of all, to the Israelite who sees multitudes coming to Jerusalem to worship the one living and true God. He stands on the top of Carmel, and he looks across the Mediterranean, and he sees the ships of Tarshish coming in such great numbers across the sea, scudding along before the wind, that he says, “Who are these who fly like a cloud?” Seen from a distance, the great fleet of vessels seem like a cloud; and as they come nearer, those long lateen {a} sails which we, who have been along the coast of the Mediterranean, remember so well, suggest to him the second comparison, “Who are these who are flying like doves to their dovecots?” It was the promise being fulfilled, “the ships of Tarshish first,” the men from the far-off lands hurrying up so that they might worship with the multitude who kept the holy day in the sacred city.

5. Now we may leave both these similes, and use the text as the exclamation of the Church of God when she expresses her amazement at what God is doing in the conversion of sinners: “Who are these who fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts?”

6. I. First, WHO ARE THEY THAT THEY SHOULD BE SO MANY, — that they should “fly like a cloud,” like doves in flocks?

7. The answer to that enquiry is another question, — Why should they not be many? There are a great many sinners in the world; why should not a great number be converted? When many souls are brought to Christ, they are only relatively many. Usually, alas! they are relatively small. We have sometimes rejoiced greatly when we have had as many as a hundred added to this church in a month; yet I have gone away, and said to myself, — “What is that hundred, after all? It is not sufficient to keep pace with the increase of the population.” It makes us very sad to know that the increase of sinners far exceeds the increase of the converts to God. At present, they do not “fly like a cloud.” They come in scores, perhaps, and we are thankful for that; but they do not come as a cloud, and like a flock of doves flying to their roosts. But why should they not do so one of these days? Why should they not do so very soon? If only the gospel is faithfully preached, and the power of prayer is fairly and fully tried, and the Spirit of God is working mightily through the gospel, why should they not come like a cloud? There are plenty of them all over the world. Look at the millions all around us in this nation-city, — scarcely to be called a city, — for it is a very world for multitude. Think of the millions of inhabitants in the British isles, who still remain unconverted. There is no fear of our nets being drawn to shore empty because there are no fish. We may be bad fishermen, but there are plenty of fish. When we fire in among the birds, the flocks are large enough. There is no reason, except bad marksmanship, why we should not hit some among them, for there are plenty of them. When I hear of a minister fearing that his congregation will suffer because another chapel is built near his, I feel ashamed of him. Go and build a whole street of chapels, if you like; if the gospel of Jesus Christ is faithfully preached there, you will fill them. If it is not, you will not. You need not fear however many preachers come near you in such a city as this, so swarming with people as it is. And why should they not be converted in swarms, since there are so many of them? Why should they not “fly like the doves to their roosts?”

8. Has not Christ brought into the world a great redemption? When I see him dying on that cross, I cannot sit down, and watch his amazing sufferings, and then think that he died only for a few, and that, as the result of the travail of his soul, there will be just a few very respectable people redeemed with his precious blood. If you can believe it, you must; but I cannot. I claim for Christ a great reward; I expect that his Father will so abundantly reward him that, when he makes him to see the travail of his soul, and to be satisfied, it will be with unnumbered and innumerable millions of redeemed men, and women, and children, who shall look to him, and live. Up until now, the passion of Christ has only been very partially rewarded. The cross has not, as yet, produced its full crop of blessed fruit. Jesus — that precious “grain of wheat” that was cast into the ground to die, and so to produce fruit, — has not yet yielded the abundant harvest which shall surely come from that marvellous seed-sowing. Oh beloved! by the blood that fell on the sterile earth, and made it fruitful, look for great sheaves and abundant harvests, and begin already to sing the harvest home song in anticipation of that great ingathering. Yes; Christ’s converts must “fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts,” for he has bought, with his precious blood, a multitude that no man can number. They must come in great multitudes, because he has attractions which they cannot resist. Let him only be made known to them, and they must come to him. It has been well said, —

    His worth if all the nations knew,
    Sure the whole world would love him, too.

9. “But they are blind,” one says. I know they are; but can he not open their eyes? “They are deaf,” says another. That also is true; but can he not unplug their ears? “But their hearts are hard,” says a third. Yes, so they are; but can he not soften them, or take them away, and give them hearts of flesh? Oh, with such a Christ as ours, I must believe that sinners must come to him in vast crowds. He must have the heathen for his inheritance, and the uttermost parts of the earth for his possession. God always works according to scale; he never made a great cause to produce a little result; and when he himself becomes incarnate, — when he himself bleeds and dies, — when he gives himself up as a sacrifice for sin, I must expect that men will come to him “as a cloud, and like doves to their roosts.”

10. And why should they not come in crowds when the Spirit of God is quite able to lead them to come? That same Holy Spirit, who converts one, can just as easily convert a hundred. The gospel, applied by the Spirit of God to a dozen souls, can obviously convert a thousand, or a million. Spiritual force is like fire; only give me one spark, and I can set a city all ablaze. One little lamp, overturned by a cow, caused Chicago to be swept away in flames. One match could cause a prairie conflagration of almost unmeasurable extent. There is, practically, no limit to fire; and there is absolutely no limit to the power of the Spirit of God. He only has to work, and the same truth, which converted one soul today, can convert ten thousand or ten million tomorrow. Why, then, should he not make them willing in the day of his power, so that they should “fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts.”

11. Once more, let us remember that heaven is very great, and the preparations which grace has made are very large. That is a most gracious sentence in Christ’s parable of the great supper, “Yet there is room.” If we could enter heaven, at this moment, I warrant you that we should not hear the angels or the redeemed from among men talking about the place being overcrowded. If we went down its shining streets, we should see many mansions furnished and prepared, and the destined inhabitants must occupy them. There is many a sacred joy laid up in store, and those for whom it is intended must have it. Heaven is not a place prepared in vain, which will, at last, prove to be a failure. You may build a city, but you cannot fill it with inhabitants at your own pleasure. I saw, in the South of France, part of a city, with street after street of well-built houses, with fountains, and a cathedral, but the streets were green with grass, the fountains were full of filth, and the houses were inhabited by the poorest of the poor, or else were standing empty. But heaven, at the last, shall not be like that. Oh, no! the wedding shall be furnished with guests. At the great King’s banqueting table, there will not be one empty seat; no David will be missing in that day. The Lord shall gather in all his elect from the East, and from the West, and from the North, and from the South; and they shall “fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts.”

12. II. Now, secondly, WHO ARE THEY THAT THEY SHOULD FLY?

13. Just as the light cloud scuds before the breath of the tempest, so they come to Christ. Just as doves fly with swift wings to their roosts, so they rush to the Saviour; but why do they come to him in such a hurry? These new converts are not to be kept back. Old saints preach patience to them, but they will have none of it. They tell them to wait for a while, but they feel that they cannot wait; so they “fly like a cloud and like doves to their roosts.” Why do they fly?

14. The first answer is, they fly to Christ, because they are driven, and cannot help flying to him. When the Spirit of God lays hold on a man, — and, like the wind, he blows where he wishes, — I warrant you that that man must fly to Jesus. He can hold out no longer; he must repent, he must believe, he must have Christ, and he must have him now. See, there he is, on his knees! He cries to God for mercy; and he adds many tears to his earnest entreaties. He cannot wait for the blessing, and he will take no denial; he cries, “Give me Christ, or else I die.” And well he may, for the blessed Spirit, like a strong North wind, is blowing behind him, and making him to be one of those who fly like a cloud.

15. Why do they fly? They may well fly, because they are in danger. Do you wonder that a man is in a hurry to escape when he sees the gulf of hell yawning before him? These sinners, who are in such a hurry to fly to Christ, are like doves pursued by a hawk. Satan is after them; sin is pursuing them; death is drawing near to them, and hell is close at their heels; so they are rightfully alarmed and distressed. Do not tell me about seeking Christ calmly and quietly; you cannot do it if once your conscience is thoroughly aroused. If you realize that sin is in you, that God condemns you because of your sin, and that, eventually, you may be in a place where hope and mercy can never come to you, —

    In flames that no abatement know,
    Though briny tears for ever flow, —

why, you must fly then! That is not the time for roosting or resting; you must fly, like a dove to its dovecot, when you have a true sense of the danger in which you are placed through your sin.

16. Besides that, these flying sinners have strong desires within them. The dove flies to her dovecot because she wants to be there, and she will not be happy until she gets there. I sometimes see a man throw a pigeon up into the air, so that it may find its way home. It usually wheels about for a little while, as though it were uncertain which direction it should take; but, presently, its keen eye catches sight of some familiar landmark, or by instinct it knows what is its way home, and then, away it goes. There is no turning to the right hand, or to the left; but, straight as an arrow shot from a bow, it flies towards its roost. So it is with a soul that the Spirit of God has once quickened. It longs for Christ, it pines for Christ; it may hesitate, and look around to find the way it is to go to find him; but, at last, it says within itself, “There he is,” and away it goes, like doves to their roosts. Do you wonder that it does so when the sacred instinct, the holy desire, is so strong within it?

17. Why do they fly? Well, they may well fly, because they have such a short time in which to reach the Saviour. I cannot tell, — for I am neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, — but I may be addressing someone who will never see the sun rise again. There may be an unsaved soul, in this place, who must be saved before twelve o’clock shall come around, or that soul will be lost for ever. We have had deaths, before now, while the service was proceeding in this Tabernacle; and such a thing may happen again, and strike us with sudden sorrow as well as with deep solemnity. But, in any case, mortal man has only a short time to live; and some — we do not know to whom among us this may relate, — have a very, very short time to live. The Rabbi’s answer to a foolish question was a wise one. When he was asked “How many days? before he dies should a man repent?” he replied, “One day before he dies; and, since he may die today, or tomorrow, he had better repent at once.” So, as we sang, a little while ago, —

    Come, guilty souls, and flee away
       Like doves to Jesus’ wounds; —

using all possible haste, because the day is far spent, and the night is at hand when you will not be able to find your way to the shelter of perishing sinners which is now available for you.

18. III. A third question is, — WHY DO THEY FLY LIKE DOVES, — that is, all together, — in a flock, — in a flock, so that they look like a moving cloud?

19. Well, the first reason is, because they are all in one common danger; and, usually, when people are in that condition, they give up their bickerings against each other, and join heartily together. Each one, as he becomes anxious for himself, also feels a similar anxiety for his fellows; so they band themselves together, and “fly as a cloud, and like doves to their roosts.” Souls convicted of sin have no time or inclination to quarrel. When a man feels that he must “flee from the wrath to come,” he does not notice that someone else is not respectful to him. No, he thinks of himself as a lost sinner; and lost sinners must not be so foolish as to stand on their dignity, nor even to insist on their rights and privileges. At such times, they are willing to stand in the aisle, or to be crowded up in a corner anywhere, as long as they can only hear the gospel; and they will tolerate anything from their fellow men if they may only find Christ together. It is wonderful what communion of spirit springs up among them. One, who has himself been under conviction, has seen another weeping on account of sin, and he has said, “Well, if I do not find Christ myself, I hope that young man will do so. If I am never to be saved, I do hope that poor woman, whom I saw in such an agony of spirit, may soon find joy and peace in believing.” And, sometimes, when they hardly dare to pray for themselves, they will pray for each other; and when they scarcely have any hope for themselves, they will entertain very kind desires concerning those who have sat next to them, who have been under conviction. They are too much taken up with the solemnities of their condition before God to have time or wish for contention; and, therefore, they do not quarrel and fight, as a number of hawks might do, but they fly together in one band, as a company of dove’s might be expected to do.

20. Besides that, they fly together, because they are seeking one common refuge. They seem to say to each other, “Are you seeking the Saviour! So am I. Are you anxious to get rid of sin? So am I. Are you desirous to be washed in the precious blood of Jesus? So am I. Do you want the Spirit of God to renew you? So do I.” So, in these various points, they are so closely bound together that they fly like a cloud. Besides, the Holy Spirit has already changed their nature to such an extent that they are all seeking what is holy. Once, they were like the hawk, the bird of prey; they were of an angry spirit, and they strove with each other. But penitence imparts to those who possess it a dove-like character. When sin is being mourned over, pride lies low. When transgression and iniquity stare a man in the face, and humble him, he becomes gentle, and tender, and patient; he mourns like a dove without its mate, and he seeks the Saviour, in the hope that, finding him, he will also find peace and comfort of heart.

21. For all these reasons, convicted sinners, when God is dealing with them, get close together, and they “fly like a cloud, and like the doves to their roosts.” I would like again to see such a cloud of them here as we have sometimes seen. When I came back from my holiday, two years ago, and met the hundred and fifty, or thereabouts, who had sought and found the Saviour during the special services, it was a pleasant thing to listen to their hearty singing, and to hear them talk in their own simple, earnest style of the way in which Christ had met them. It was cheering indeed to my heart to see these doves flying like a cloud. Oh, for another such flight! May the Lord send it to us speedily! Let us believingly pray for it, then we shall have it, for he is sure to grant us the desire of our hearts.

22. IV. There is only one other question, which I will try to answer. Let me remind you that we have already had these three enquiries, — Who are these converts that they should be so many as to fly like a cloud? Who are they that they should fly so fast, like a flock of pigeons or doves, hurrying to their dovecots? Who are they that they should fly together, so as to make one cloud, one flock of doves? Now, lastly, let us ask, — WHO ARE THEY THAT THEY SHOULD FLY THIS WAY? I mean, what makes them fly to Christ? What makes them fly to his Church? I can understand that, when they are in danger, they should fly, but why do they fly this way? The answer is, because it is the dovecot of souls. Christ Jesus is the owner of this dovecot; indeed, more than that, he himself is the dovecot.

23. So, first, like a flock of doves, they fly this way, because they are seeking safety, and there is no safety for them except in the Lord Jesus Christ. What is the safety that is in him? It is this. It is inevitable that God must punish sin; but he sent his Son into the world, and laid on him the iniquity of all who will ever believe in him. He punished Christ instead of them; and, therefore, he cannot and will not punish them; for, to punish the same offence twice, would not be justice. To exact the penalty of sin first at the hand of the Divine Surety and Substitute, and then to exact it again at the sinner’s hand, would not be right; and the Judge of all the earth will do right. So, because God has exacted, at the hand of his dear Son, the ransom price for our iniquity, therefore all, for whom Christ died, are for ever clear of all liability; and if you believe in him, you have the mark of those for whom he died. If you trust him, you have proof positive that you are one of his. If you do rely on the merit of his blood and righteousness, that is clear evidence that he gave his life a ransom for you, and you can never be sent to hell. You cannot be punished for your sin, for Christ has borne its punishment. Your guilt was laid on him, and all your sin is gone for ever; it cannot be brought against you any more. This is the comfort of all believers; and therefore these people come flying to Christ to get this safety. Like doves, they fly to the dovecot, so that they may be in safety there.

24. But they need more than safety; they also need rest, and a dovecot is a place of rest for a dove. I went, some time ago, into one of those old dovecots which used to belong, by a kind of right, to large estates. A man must have a considerable amount of property before he was allowed to possess a dovecot. With my guide, I entered a square building, and I saw that, up the four walls, which were very lofty, there were almost innumerable places made for the pigeons, and they all seemed to be full. We could not stay for very many minutes in the place, but we could see many layers of nests of pigeons, all occupied by the softly-cooing birds. That is just what is meant here. When the doves are pursued by the hawk, they fly to the dovecot, and there they find both safety and rest. It is their home; there, they enjoy themselves to the full. And, oh! what a sweet rest we have in our Divine Dovecot, our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ! We are so protected and preserved in him that we rest in perfect security. Jesus Christ is the “home, sweet home” of his people; we find ourselves completely at home when we once get to him. Wherever we wander, there is no place like this home. A swallow has two homes; one here, in the summer; and another in the sunny south, in the winter. I bade the swallows “Good-bye” a week or two ago; but I daresay that I shall soon see some of them again in their other home. But a dove has only one home; winter or summer, she lives in the very same dovecot. So it is with a believer; he has only one home, and that is his Master’s bosom. He loves Jesus, he rests in Jesus, and therefore Jesus is the home of his spirit.

25. Now, in closing my discourse, shall I tell you why some of you love to come to Christ’s house as well as to Christ himself? I think, first, that you like to come where God’s people assemble, because your food is there. It must be one main part of the business of the minister, on the Sabbath day, to feed his people; and if he does that, they will be sure to flock around him, Did you ever stand, in the square of St. Mark at Venice, as the clock struck two? If you have ever done so, you have seen the pigeons come flying down in such flocks that they cover all the ground; you may even walk among them, and they will not mind you. Someone always feeds them at two o’clock, and they know it, and they come then because they are fed. I will be bound to say that, if I were to employ a musician to go there tomorrow at two o’clock, and to play a flute to them, but to give them no barley, they would not come. And if he were to go there dressed in the particular robes adapted to St. Monday, or whatever “saint’s day” it is tomorrow, the pigeons would not come if his hands were empty; but if he gives them barley, they will come, however he is dressed, and whatever music he may play. And we love to come to the house of God because, like doves, we have appetites, and we like to be fed; and if the finest of the wheat is scattered in the form of the gospel of Jesus Christ, we are sure to be there, to eat and to be satisfied.

26. We love to be there, next, because our companions are there. The doves fly to their roosts because there are other doves there that they love; and we sing, with Dr. Watts, —

    My soul shall pray for Zion still,
       While life or breath remains;
    There my best friends, my kindred dwell,
       There God my Saviour reigns.

27. In the midst of the Lord’s people, we have formed associations that will outlast all the ties of blood; for, in that land where they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, ties formed here will endure for ever there. Fathers in Christ will still be fathers there; mothers in Israel will continue to be mothers there; friends in Christ will be friends for ever there. If the gospel had done nothing else for some of us but introduce us to dear friends to whom we are knit for eternity, it would have been an everlasting blessing for us. We fly, like doves to our roosts, because there are other doves there, and we wish to be with them.

28. Some of us fly there, because our young are there. No dove flies so swiftly home as that mother-dove that has young ones awaiting her return; and there is, I think, no man who loves the Church of God better than he does who has young children in it. Remember how the psalmist wrote, “Yes, the sparrow has found a house, and the swallow a nest for herself, where she may lay her young, even your altars, oh Lord of hosts, my King, and my God.” Blessed be his holy name, he is my father’s God; he was my grandfather’s God; he was my great grandfather’s God; he was the God of all my ancestors as long as we have any record of them; and I am glad to say that he is the God of my sons, too; so I must love him, and rejoice in him. Fathers and mothers, I hope you will all have this tie to the Church of God, for it is a very tender one, and also a very strong one. May you come to love the Church of God because your children are there!

29. Last of all, we fly to Christ, and to his Church, because our all is there. Mr. John Wesley used to sing, —

    No foot of land do I possess,
    No cottage in this wilderness; —

and he did not have any; and when the good man came to die, all the wealth he had in the world was less than £10. When he was asked how he would dispose of his silverware, he said that he had only two silver spoons, one at York, and one in London, for everything else had gone into the great cause of his Master; and we best prove that we love Christ when everything we have is given up to him, and all our wealth, and all our strength, and all our joy, and everything else is found in him, so that Christ is all, and in all. When he is all to you, you will fly to him like a dove flies to its roost. May God help you all to do so, for Jesus Christ’s sake! Amen.

{a} Lateen sail: a triangular sail suspended by a long yard at an angle of about 45 degrees to the mast. OED.

Exposition By C. H. Spurgeon {Isa 60}

This is a chapter full of good news, a prophecy of the bright days that are yet to come to this dark world. These dull days are not to last for ever. The reign of wickedness will come to an end, and earth shall have the bright sunlight of Jehovah’s presence. The words are addressed to the Church of God; — it little matters whether to the Jewish or the Gentile Church; for, now, they are all one in Christ, and there is no distinction in the message to both Jews and Gentiles.

1, 2. Arise, shine; for your light is come, and the glory of the LORD is risen on you. For, behold, the darkness shall cover the earth, and gross darkness the people: but the LORD shall arise on you, and his glory shall be seen on you.

We have had abundant proof of the darkness, and of the grossness of that darkness, for these many centuries; now we are to look — and I trust that we can already see it in part, — for the rising of the Sun of righteousness, first on the Church, and then on the whole world.

3, 4. And the Gentiles shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your rising. Lift up your eyes all around, and see: they all gather themselves together, they come to you: your sons shall come from afar, and your daughters shall be nursed at your side.

Or, rather, “shall be carried as by a nurse on her side.” The strong ones — the sons — shall come walking; the weaker ones — the daughters — shall be carried like children who need to be nursed; but they shall all come. Today, the Church of Christ has to “go.” The message to Christ’s disciples still is, “Go into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature.” The Church must send her heralds far and wide to tell the good news; but a blessed change will be accomplished when the nations will come to hear the story, flocking in crowds to listen to it, and Christ will be sought by those who never sought him before.

    Oh long-expected day, begin;
    Dawn on these realms of woe and sin!

5. Then you shall see, and flow together, and your heart shall fear, and be enlarged;

First, the blessing shall seem too great to be real, and the Church shall tremble with fear; but, afterwards, she shall believe in it, and rejoice in it, and so her heart shall be enlarged.

5. Because the abundance of the sea shall be converted to you, —

The sailors shall come to Christ in great numbers; and when they are converted, they will be the best of missionaries. Each ship shall be a floating Bethel, and every port at which they land shall be happier for the good news they will have to tell: “The abundance of the sea shall be converted to you,” —

5. The forces of the Gentiles shall come to you.

The soldiers, as well as the sailors, shall enter the service of the King of kings. Oh, what a happy day it will be when every soldier shall have enlisted beneath the banner of peace! Then they will be able to fight the good fight of faith every day, and to be the means of saving multitudes of precious souls. According to this verse, great importance is attached to the conversion of sailors and soldiers; may God grant that some of us may live to see this prophecy fulfilled!

6. The multitude of camels shall cover you, the dromedaries of Midian and Ephah;

Wealthy nations, of the Oriental type, who ride on camels and dromedaries, and who have long been under the sway of the false prophet, Mohammed, shall yield allegiance to the Son of God.

6, 7. All they from Sheba shall come: they shall bring gold and incense, and they shall proclaim the praises of the LORD. All the flocks of Kedar shall be gathered together to you, the rams of Nebaioth shall minister to you: they shall come up with acceptance on my altar, and I will glorify the house of my glory.

Pastoral people — travellers from place to place in the wilderness — shall come to Christ. There shall be no untamed nation, no barbarous people who shall continue to oppose the coming of that glorious kingdom of the blessed God in those happy, happy days. As for the Church, she shall be so astonished that she shall cry out, —

8. Who are these who fly like a cloud, and like doves to their roosts?

Or, “to their dovecots.”

9. Surely the isles shall wait for me, and the ships of Tarshish first, —

Tarshish was some country far away from Palestine; it is difficult to say exactly where it was, but the Phoenicians made their most distant voyages there. It may have been this very island in which we live; and we know that they came here for tin. It is a very remarkable thing that islanders have usually been the first people to be converted to Christ. If you will, at this moment, think of any places where true religion is strong and dominant, you will naturally think of islands. Then, the mention of ships shows what regard God has for sailors when he says, “The ships of Tarshish first,” —

9, 10. To bring your sons from afar, their silver and their gold with them, to the name of the LORD your God, and to the Holy One of Israel, because he has glorified you. And the sons of strangers shall build up your walls, —

And it is so today. Some, who were total strangers to God, and to his grace, have now become the most earnest ministers of Christ: “The sons of strangers shall build up your walls,” —

10, 11. And their kings shall minister to you: for in my wrath I struck you, but in my favour I have had mercy on you. Therefore your gates shall be open continually;

No alarms of war will cause them to shut the iron gates then.

11. They shall not be shut day nor night;

There shall be free access to Zion, — to the Church, — and to Christ himself, at all times.

11-17. So that men may bring to you the forces of the Gentiles, and that their kings may be brought. For the nation and kingdom that will not serve you shall perish; yes, those nations shall be utterly wasted. The glory of Lebanon shall come to you, the fir tree, the pine tree, and the box tree together, to beautify the place of my sanctuary; and I will make the place of my feet glorious. The sons also of those who afflicted you shall come bending to you; and all those who despised you shall bow themselves down at the soles of your feet; and they shall call you, “The city of the LORD,” “The Zion of the Holy One of Israel.” Whereas you have been forsaken and hated, so that no man went through you, I will make you an eternal excellency, a joy of many generations. You shall also suck the milk of the Gentiles, and shall suck the breast of kings: and you shall know that I the LORD am your Saviour and your Redeemer, the mighty One of Jacob. For bronze I will bring gold, and for iron I will bring silver, and for wood bronze, and for stones iron:

You see, it is better, and better, and better, for that is God’s way with his people; — to bless them, and then to bless them over again, and again, and again, giving them grace piled on grace, grace to qualify them to receive yet more grace.

17-22. I will also make your officers peace, and your magistrates righteousness. Violence shall no more be heard in your land, wasting nor destruction within your borders; but you shall call your walls “Salvation,” and your gates “Praise.” The sun shall be no more your light by day; neither for brightness shall the moon give light to you: but the LORD shall be to you an everlasting light, and your God your glory. Your sun shall no more go down; neither shall your moon withdraw itself: for the LORD shall be your everlasting light, and the days of your mourning shall be ended. Your people also shall be all righteous: they shall inherit the land for ever, the branch of my planting, the work of my hands, so that I may be glorified. A little one shall become a thousand, and a small one a strong nation: The LORD will hasten it in his time.

Oh, that “his time” were come! The happy period is hastening on, and it will come at the right time. We ought not to be dispirited by delays, for it will surely come; it will not tarry a moment beyond the time appointed by God, blessed be his holy name! Amen.

 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Jesus Christ, His Praise — Infinitely Excellent” 436}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “Gospel, Invitations — ‘Now Is The Accepted Time’ ” 494}
 {See Spurgeon_Hymnal “The Christian, Contrite Cries — ‘Bless Me, Even Me Also, Oh My Father!’ ” 607}
 {See Spurgeon_Sermons No. 3565, “Sermon Theme Index” 3567 @@ "Sermons On Birds"}


Jesus Christ, His Praise
436 — Infinitely Excellent
1 Infinite excellence is thine,
      Thou lovely Prince of Grace!
   Thy uncreated beauties shine
      With never fading rays.
2 Sinners from earth’s remotest end,
      Come bending at thy feet:
   To thee their prayers and vows ascend,
      In thee their wishes meet.
3 Thy name, as precious ointment shed,
      Delights the church around;
   Sweetly the sacred odours spread,
      Through all Immanuel’s ground.
4 Millions of happy spirits live
      On thy exhaustless store;
   From thee they all their bliss receive,
      And still thou givest more.
5 Thou art their triumph and their joy:
      They find their all in thee;
   Thy glories will their tongues employ
      Through all eternity.
                           John Fawcett, 1782.


Gospel, Invitations
494 — “Now Is The Accepted Time”
1 Come, guilty souls, and flee away
      Like doves to Jesus’ wounds;
   This is the welcome gospel day
      Wherein free grace abounds.
2 God loved the church, and gave his Son
      To drink the cup of wrath:
   And Jesus says, he’ll cast out none
      That come to him by faith.
                     Joseph Humphreys, 1743.


The Christian, Contrite Cries
607 — “Bless Me, Even Me Also, Oh My Father!”
1 Lord, I hear of showers of blessing
      Thou art scattering, full and free;
   Showers, the thirsty land refreshing;
      Let some droppings fall on me,
                                 Even me.
2 Pass me not, oh gracious Father!
      Sinful though my heart may be;
   Thou might’st curse me, but the rather
      Let thy mercy light on me,
                                 Even me.
 3 Pass me not, oh tender Saviour!
      Let me love and cling to thee;
   I am longing for thy favour;
      When thou comest, call for me,
                                 Even me.
 4 Pass me not, oh mighty Spirit!
      Thou canst make the blind to see;
   Witnesser of Jesus’ merit,
      Speak the word of power to me,
                                 Even me.
 5 Have I long in sin been sleeping,
      Long been slighting, grieving thee?
   Has the world my heart been keeping?
      Oh forgive and rescue me,
                                 Even me.
 6 Love of God, so pure and changeless,
      Blood of God, so rich and free,
   Grace of God, so strong and boundless,
      Magnify them all in me,
                                 Even me.
 7 Pass me not, this lost one bringing,
      Satan’s slave thy child shall be,
   All my heart to thee is springing;
      Blessing other, oh bless me,
                                 Even me.
                        Elizabeth Codner, 1860.

Spurgeon Sermons

These sermons from Charles Spurgeon are a series that is for reference and not necessarily a position of Answers in Genesis. Spurgeon did not entirely agree with six days of creation and dives into subjects that are beyond the AiG focus (e.g., Calvinism vs. Arminianism, modes of baptism, and so on).

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Modernized Edition of Spurgeon’s Sermons. Copyright © 2010, Larry and Marion Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario, Canada. Used by Answers in Genesis by permission of the copyright owner. The modernized edition of the material published in these sermons may not be reproduced or distributed by any electronic means without express written permission of the copyright owner. A limited license is hereby granted for the non-commercial printing and distribution of the material in hard copy form, provided this is done without charge to the recipient and the copyright information remains intact. Any charge or cost for distribution of the material is expressly forbidden under the terms of this limited license and automatically voids such permission. You may not prepare, manufacture, copy, use, promote, distribute, or sell a derivative work of the copyrighted work without the express written permission of the copyright owner.

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