2772. The Minister’s Trumpet Blast And Church Member’s Warning

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The Minister’s Trumpet Blast And Church Member’s Warning

No. 2772-48:145. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Evening, During The Winter Of 1859-1860, By C. H. Spurgeon, At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

A Sermon Intended For Reading On Lord’s Day, March 30, 1902.

Set the trumpet to your mouth. He shall come like an eagle against the house of the LORD, because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law. Israel shall cry to me, “My God, we know you.” {Ho 8:1,2}

1. We do not use instrumental music in the worship of God, because we consider that it would be a violation of the simplicity of our worship. We think it far better to hear the voices of Christian men and women than all the sounds, which can be made by instruments. Yet I am sure there is no Christian here who would object to a minister who can play well on an instrument; and, indeed, a minister is good-for-nothing if he does not know how, spiritually, to give out instrumental music. A true minister of Christ should know how to blow the ram’s horn, so that the walls of Jericho may be made to tremble and fall; he should understand how to play the harp, so that, when any of you are disquieted, he may be to you as David was to Saul, and may drive away the evil spirit that troubles you. He should be able, too, to play on the tambourine, and to lead you out, sometimes, in the sacred song of joy and thanksgiving; he should be able to go out like Miriam, and cry aloud to you, and ask you to follow him, while he says, “Sing to the Lord, for he has triumphed gloriously.” His sermons should often seem to you to fulfil that exhortation of David, “Praise the Lord. Praise him on the loud cymbals: praise him on the high-sounding cymbals.” The minister of the gospel should understand also how to blow the silver trumpet, to proclaim that the year of jubilee is come, and that the ransomed debtors may once more receive their lost inheritance. And there is one instrument on which he should be well skilled, and, which he should often use, namely, the trumpet. I do not mean the silver trumpet, but the war trumpet, — that clear, shrill-sounding instrument that gives the certain sound by which men prepare themselves for the battle.

2. I have to use that trumpet tonight; and, in explaining my text, I will speak of several things that are hinted at here. First, there is a command to the gospel minister:“ Set the trumpet to your mouth”; there is, secondly, the particular reason for this command, in order that he may warn God’s people: “Because they have transgressed my covenant, and trespassed against my law”; then, thirdly, there is another special reason appended, because God was about to execute judgment on these sinners: “He shall come as an eagle against the house of the Lord.” In the second verse we find our fourth point, — the blessed result of the blowing of this trumpet: “Israel shall cry to me, my God, we know you.”

3. I. First, then, here is A COMMAND TO THE GOSPEL MINISTER: “Set the trumpet to your mouth.”

4. The Hebrew has it, “Set the trumpet to the roof of your mouth.” Set it to your mouth; keep it there; do not put it up sometimes, and then take it down again; but have it always in readiness, so as to sound the note of alarm. Set it to the roof of your mouth; blow with all your might, and let men hear that the alarm comes not merely from your lips, but from within your mouth, — from your very heart. With such earnestness you shall sound the trumpet of warning.

5. What is meant by the minister setting the trumpet to his mouth? I think just this. In the first place, that when the minister is dealing with the souls of men, the tone which he uses should be very decisive. He should not set some little Jew’s harp to his mouth, so that people hardly know whether he is making a noise or not; he should blow a trumpet, and produce a decisive sound, so that men may know what sin is reproved, — what virtue is commended. They should never have to ask themselves, “What does the minister mean? Does he really intend to condemn sin, or does he palliate it?” The declaration should be decisive, as the sound of the war trumpet is. When men hear that trumpet sounded in the East, they do not ask themselves, “Does that mean dancing? Is that the sound of those who make merry?” but they say at once, “That means war; we are sure it does. Let us prepare ourselves for the battle.” So it should be with the message of God’s servant. He does not have to say, “If this,” or “if that”; but to set the trumpet of gospel warning to the roof of his mouth, and give out a note that no one can mistaken. For the text means not only a decisive sound, but a clear sound. Of all sounds, perhaps that of the trumpet is the clearest; so it should be with the message of Christ’s servant. It should not be indistinct, and full of hard words that cannot be understood; it should not be a piece of music, the tune of which is so difficult that no man can possibly follow it or even know what is meant by it; but it should be the one, two, three notes of “Awake! awake, you sleepers! What are you doing?” or this even more solemn note, “Awake, you dead, and come to judgment.” “Prepare to meet your God.” There should be something so clear that, the moment the minister’s statement is heard, those who are willing to understand it should have no difficulty in knowing its meaning.

6. Again, in setting the trumpet to his mouth, the minister should not only give a decisive and clear testimony in all his ministry, but it should also he a loud and startling testimony. You know some preachers who put their congregations to sleep; not only because of their monotonous style of address, but because their matter itself is sleepy. The people seem to say, “Well, if that is all the man has to talk about, we may as well be asleep as awake.” Sometimes, they preach the doctrines which teach men to sit still, and do nothing; and then they say, “Well, let us sit still, and do nothing; only, let us sleep by the way, and enjoy ourselves.” There are too many droning preachers that Satan employs to rock the cradle of immortal souls, while he is standing by waiting until the time shall come for him to carry them off. “You play,” says Satan to the minister, “and I will dance for them; and between the two of us, we will lead them to hell.” There will be a fearful amount of blood on the skirts of a man whose ministry has startled no one. When a trumpet is blown in a besieged city, there are many people with weak nerves who are quite frightened, and many children too, and many timid souls that are greatly alarmed; and someone might come to the trumpeter, and say, “Why are you sounding your clarion? Weak women are made to tremble.” “Yes,” he says, “but better that weak minds should be made to tremble than that stout-hearted ones should perish; better these should be alarmed now than go quietly on until the enemy attacks the city, and puts them all to the sword.” A startling time is often to come to the minister; he is not to be content to stick with ordinary subjects, and deal with them in an ordinary manner. He must go out with a “Thus says the Lord,” and, like a new Elijah, he must speak with fire from heaven hanging on his lips, and the thunders of God rolling around his brow. He will never fully discharge his office if he is always playing on the harp, with its soft dulcet notes; he must take down the war trumpet, and sound an alarm, so that all men may be warned by it.

7. I think I may add that, when the minister of Christ blows this trumpet properly, it is one that is pretty sure to be heard further than he himself is seen. Men do not always see a trumpeter when they hear the sound of his trumpet; and let the minister of Christ fearlessly proclaim his Master’s Word, and his line shall go out through all the earth. Let him be honest and faithful, and he need not fear that he shall lack hearers. That trumpet sound, it may be, shall be heard all over England, — across the Channel it shall be heard on the Continent, — it shall go beyond the Alleghenys, and make the Rocky Mountains echo with the sound. Only let him preach the whole gospel, and set the trumpet to the roof of his mouth, and all the world shall hear; or, at least, if they do not hear it, he shall have performed his duty; but many will hear it, for God will always find ears willing to listen to the sound that comes from an honest mouth.

8. II. “Set the trumpet to your mouth.” That is the command to the gospel minister, and I intend to obey it while I deal with the second point, THE PARTICULAR REASON ASSIGNED FOR IT.

9. The reason why Hosea was to become a trumpeter at this particular time was this: the children of Israel had broken God’s covenant; they had gone astray, and transgressed his law; therefore God was angry with them, and was about to strike them with severe judgments. Before, however, he struck them, he warned them. God does not usually give a word and a blow, but he gives a word, and another word, and another word, and then yet another word, and, after all that, there comes the blow; he warns before he strikes. The axe of God, like the axe of the Roman lictor, is bound up in a bundle of rods; he strikes with the rod first, and if that does not suffice, then he draws out the axe, and strikes with it, and its strokes are enough to destroy the soul.

10. Now, with regard to this church, — God, I think, has put it into my heart to speak to you about your transgressions and your sins. And, in this matter, the trumpeter includes himself; and while he addresses the church and congregation, he intends, by it, not to exempt a single person, unless there is one, indeed, who can claim exemption. Well, my brethren, to begin with ourselves, — the members of this church, — is there not good reason that the minister should always have the trumpet to his mouth to warn us of our particular sins? God has blessed us very greatly as a people; we have lived in the sunshine of his countenance; he has been pleased to give us success in our labours beyond our wildest anticipations. Whatever way our brethren turn their hands, God seems to prosper them; — if not in their worldly business, yet certainly in their business for him. Everything, that I am aware of, which this church has undertaken, God has been pleased to give us success in it. But have we not, with all this blessing, very great sins to confess before God?

11. When I sit down and think of myself, I am, to my own self, a wonder and a marvel that God has not cast me off; that he has not said to me, “I will no more speak my Word through you. I will leave you to yourself; you shall be like Samson when his hair was gone.” And, oh! if he should say that to any one of us, where should we be then? Brothers and sisters in the church, may not you, personally and collectively, cover your faces, and mourn, and weep, by reason of your own private and individual sins? Are you perfect? Are you quite clear of guilt? Are your garments; unspotted and unsullied? God forbid that you should say they are, for this would indeed be to vaunt yourselves in pride. No, every man may weep by himself, and his wife by herself, and his children by themselves; for, with us, even with us, there are sins against the Lord our God. I sometimes fear lest, as a people, we should be tempted to pride; lest we should conceive that the success with which God favours us is owing to something in ourselves, — lest we should begin to say, “We are the men, and wisdom shall die with us.” We stand in a position in which God has made us eminent by his blessing; but let us take heed lest, by exalting ourselves, we become like Capernaum, once lifted to heaven, but afterwards brought down to hell. There have been many churches, which God has left because of their sin. Riding through the country, we can see every now and then a large chapel, and when we enquire how the cause prospers, we are told that it is in the worst possible position. “But was it always so?” “No,” it is said; “there was once a servant of God there, and the people gathered around him, and they walked well for a time, and there were many conversions.” But, alas! They fell into sin, and God left them, and there is “Ichabod” written on every piece of mortar in the walls; if you could see it, there is the great “Tekel” of Belshazzar put on the pulpit and on the pew; pastor and people alike have been weighed in the balances, and they have been found wanting. Shall it be so with us as a church? Shall we be found wanting in the time of testing?

12. Shall I tell you — and here I speak without the slightest tone of severity, — one thing in which some of our friends are lacking? A conscientious regard for social prayer. There are some who are constant at the meetings for prayer, but I cannot conceal from myself the fact that there are many whose faces I never see there; or, if I see them once a year, it is indeed a treat. I do not doubt that their business is so urgent that they could not constantly attend; but then I know there are others, who do regularly attend, who have business that seems to me to be equally as urgent; and I think these absentees might come sometimes, at any rate. Now, if we begin by some of us neglecting the meetings for prayer, and if our neglect should increase, we shall then be on the high road to the loss of God’s favour, and to the prevention of all future prosperity.

13. Besides, may I not also say that there are some, I fear, in the church, who have lost their first love? It is remarkable to me that there are so few in this church who have turned out to be deceivers. Sorrowful are the meetings when we have to excommunicate one here and there; but out of so vast a number we have great reason to thank God that they are comparatively so few. But, oh! may there not be many among us who, if they cannot be made amenable to church discipline, are nevertheless rotten at the core? Have we not some who are like trees, fair on the outside, but inwardly their hearts are only fit to be tinder for the devil’s tinder-box? Have we not too many among us who are secretly living in sin, whose business practices would not bear strict investigation, but who, nevertheless, cannot be laid hold of, because there is no gross vice, no open public, and flagrant sin? And, oh! brethren, if these things increase, if this leprosy breaks out in the garments, it will spread, and God will come to abhor his own inheritance, and will say of this church, “I will leave; I will remain here no longer; but I will find a people who shall be more faithful to my Word, who shall live more true to the promises and vows which they have made.”

14. I will set the trumpet to my mouth tonight, on behalf of every member of the church, and on behalf of myself also. Oh brothers and sisters, the time past should suffice us to have done the will of the Gentiles! Let us seek grace, that we may be purged from all our former conduct in the days of our flesh, that we may come out from the world, that we may be more and more separate from it, that there may be a greater distinction between us and the ungodly sons of men, that we may prove to be what we profess to be, — Israelites indeed, in whom is no guile. Oh Christian Church, if you shall fall from your integrity, you will soon fall from your prosperity! Suspend prayer, and you will suspend success. Break down our hedges, let in the hypocrites, — or let them even come in by stealth, — and the wild boar out of the woods will soon waste this church. And where are the good-looking clusters now? Where are now the grapes of Eshcol, and where are the wine-presses gushing with new wine? Famine has devastated the land; black death has covered all the vineyards; and the vines lament, and they are burned up with fire. If God forsakes us, — and he will do so if we turn aside from him as a Church, — then this must be the result. The lamentation that I have taken up must be the lamentation of this church, unless God shall keep us true to him in prayer, and diligence, and holiness. God does not cast away his people for ever, but he often casts away a separate church from its degree of usefulness; he does not put out his lamps, but he does let them burn very low indeed, so that there is scarcely anything but a smoking wick left. May it never be so with us!

15. Having set the trumpet to my mouth for the members of the church, I blow another blast of it to every one of you. Brothers and sisters in Christ, in the days of Jesus, there was found a Judas in the midst of his twelve disciples. “I have chosen you twelve, and one of you is a demon.” Is there not reason to fear that, among the many hundreds in this church, there are to be found some who are like Judas? Oh traitor, if you are still in the ranks, tremble to hear your doom! Oh you deceiver, the day is coming when judgment must begin at the house of God! Though chaff is mingled with the wheat, the rushing, mighty wind is rising now; I hear it, — I hear it in the distance, and soon it will come, and winnow this church, and then, where will you be? Where will you be when Christ shall take his fan in his hand, and thoroughly purge his floor? Do not think, my dear friends, members of the church, that you will be saved, if you are outside of Christ, because you are members of the church. Remember what happened to Joab; he ran right into the tabernacle, and caught hold of the horns of the altar. Solomon said to Benaiah, “Bring him out.” And Benaiah said, “Come out from there”; and he said, “No, but I will die here.” And Benaiah told Solomon what he said, but did the king spare Joab because he had his hands on the horns of the altar? No; he said, “Go and kill him there,” and Benaiah thrust his sword through him even while he had his hand on God’s own altar. So it will be with you. You may put your lip to the communion cup, you may come and sit around this table; you may be a deacon, you may even enter this pulpit as a preacher; but, unless your heart is right with God, with your hand on the horns of God’s altar you must be damned. From the pulpit you must go to the pit; you must descend from the table to commune at the feast of fiends; go from the general assembly and Church of the firstborn, to the general assembly and congregation of the lost in hell. I can blow my trumpet no louder than this to each one of you. Oh, hear it, hear it, hear it, church members! Listen to it, and regard it now, and search and try yourselves, and see whether you are in Christ or not.

16. Yet one more blast from my trumpet, and this is for those who are not members of the church, but who constantly attend the ministry of the gospel. Oh ungodly hearers, the day is coming when you shall have no man to warn you, when you shall have no one to invite you to come to Christ! Sabbath days will not last for ever; eternity is drawing near, and bears in its hand the stamp that must seal your doom. I remember a sermon of William Dawson’s on Death, the three points of which were, “First, Death is following after us; secondly, he will certainly catch us; thirdly, we do not know when.” That third point is a very solemn one, — we do not know when; and what if it should be tonight? Hear the blast of my trumpet, — “Consider your ways”; “Prepare to meet your God.” “Stand in awe, and do not sin: commune with your own heart on your bed, and be still.” “Kiss the Son, lest he is angry, and you perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled only a little.” Sinner, while the lamp holds out to burn, turn to Christ, and live; otherwise know that, when that lamp is quenched, God’s mercy will be quenched too for you, and you will be cast away into the outer darkness, where there is weeping, and wailing, and gnashing of teeth. Remember that ancient message, “He heard the sound of the trumpet, and did not take warning; his blood shall be on his own head.” If all that is said is of no avail to you, then he who blew the trumpet shall be clear, but on your own head shall be your doom for ever and ever.

17. I have to mourn because I cannot sound this trumpet, as I should. Oh, that I had a voice powerful enough to find its way into the poor, dead, stony hearts of sinners dead in trespasses and sins! It would be easy work to preach if we preached to no one but the living in Zion; but to have to talk to hard stones that will not break, and to speak to icebergs that will not melt, that is a work that requires large faith, and often depresses our spirit. Yet we must come back to it again, for the thought of eternity rises on us; we see sinners plunging down to hell in one awful stream; we see the grave glutted with their corpses, and hell swollen with their blood; we see how every night sucks in its prey, and how every day shuts its devouring jaws on the helpless thousands of our race, and we cannot be still; especially when we have before us some who will go from these galleries and from these pews to help to feed the everlasting burnings. Did I say there would be some such? I mean, “Unless they repent, they shall all likewise perish.” If we could only look any one man in the face, and know that he would be in torment within a year, oh, what pity we should feel for him! We could scarcely rest under such a burden. I am quite sure I would not sleep tonight, — I should lie tossing on my bed, crying to God for mercy on that poor man, and I would not wait a moment before I would go to him, and tell him the way of salvation. Ah! but there is not only one, but scores, perhaps hundreds, in this place of worship, who have no hope. They are prayerless men, those whose knees never bend in prayer before their Maker, — hard-hearted men, who have never trembled yet under conviction of sin, and who have never sought and never found Christ as their Saviour. Ah! poor friends, poor friends, we may well weep for you, and sigh for you, and all the more because you will not weep and will not sigh for yourselves. To be on the high road to hell, and yet to be trifling with eternal things; — to be on the brink of perdition, and yet to be jesting at religion; — to be nearing the everlasting burnings, and yet to be breaking the Sabbath day, and treading the blood of Christ beneath your feet; — oh, this is mad work! Bedlam does not have within its walls a man more insane — a more mad, manacled wretch — than the man who knows that the wrath of God rests on him, and yet makes merry, and dances to the sound of his own funeral knell, who goes leaping to the gallows-tree, and, chanting a song, bows his neck to the death-block and the gleaming axe. Oh Spirit of God, it is yours to awaken the dead, and yours to change the heart! Do it, we pray you; for all the blasts of our trumpet cannot do it unless you do take the work in hand.

18. III. Having gone through two parts of the text, — the command to the minister, and the reason found among his people, — I shall next ask your attention for the third point, THE REASON WHY HOSEA SHOULD, AT THAT TIME, ESPECIALLY SET THE TRUMPET TO HIS MOUTH, NAMELY, THAT JUDGMENT WAS IMPENDING ON THE PEOPLE OF ISRAEL: “He shall come like an eagle against the house of the Lord.”

19. Different expositors have given various interpretations of this verse, and applied it to the particular plague which was, at that time, about to fall on the Israelite people; some say it was one thing, and some another. I do not care to enter into these various interpretations; it is enough for me to believe that there is a visitation threatened against the Church of God. What does it say? Look at the text again: “He shall come like an eagle against the house of the Lord.” But will the Lord let anything come against his own house? It cannot be so, surely. Ah! but it is so; and the emphatic name of God, Jehovah, is used, for you see the word Lord is in capitals: “He shall come like an eagle against the house of Jehovah.” If sin gets into God’s house, he will no more spare sin in his house than he will spare it in the devil’s house. God hates sin everywhere; and if sin gets into his own Church, he will flog it out. It is of no use at all for this traitor to go and hide himself in the house of God’s children; the Lord will drag him out to execution, even though he creeps into our bedrooms. There shall be no sparing him; he may hide under the camels’ furniture, but every Rachel shall be made to stand up, and God will find our bronze images, and take them away from us.

20. It seems, then, that a visitation is threatened against the Church of God, — against God’s own house. Notice the form of this visitation: “He shall come like an eagle.” Now, an eagle comes in two ways. First, it comes suddenly. Poised high in the air, so far aloft that you cannot see it, it keeps its wings fluttering as birds of prey are accustomed to do, and with its sharp eyes, so powerful that, at that tremendous height, it can see the smallest fish in the water, it marks its prey, and suddenly down it dashes, as if it had fallen from heaven like a meteor, or like the lightning flash. It is up there where we cannot see it, and suddenly it swoops down, and bears away its prey. Now, such is often God’s visitation on his Church; he comes suddenly, like an eagle, and chastens his children.

21. Besides, here is an allusion to the strong flight of the eagle. When the eagle once stretches his wings to fly, who can restrain his wings? He bears up against the wind; he buffets the storm; he cuts through it as a ship sails through the billows or a fish swims through the sea; on, on, like an arrow from the bow, he shoots to his desired destination. So shall God’s judgments be to his Church; they shall come on his Church irresistibly, and there shall be no escape, there shall be no deliverance. The eagle shall come with such force that nothing shall withstand his might.

22. How true this has been of the Church of Christ in many ages! As I have said before, God has never left his chosen people; but he has often left individual churches, when those churches have become mixed with the world. Look at the Seven Churches of Asia. It would be an interesting and an instructive journey for any of us to make, to go to Sardis, and to Pergamos, and to Thyatira, and to the other places where there once were the churches to which John the Divine wrote a part of the Book of Revelation. We should see that some of them have no inhabitants whatever, — only the bittern and the owl, and the ruins of a long-past grandeur; in others, a few huts, and Bedouin Arabs pasturing their flocks, with, perhaps, not a dozen Christians to be found within a circuit of a dozen miles. God has taken the lampstand out of its place, and quenched the light in darkness. It is just so with the Church of Rome. What prosperity was once there! Paul had, doubtless, a large number who used to gather together in his hired room to listen to him; and if Peter ever went to Rome, and he may have done so, he would, doubtless, have gathered a goodly band around him. We have good evidence that there was a very large number of Christians there, for, in the catacombs under Rome, all along the corridors, many miles in length, there are inscriptions to the memory of Christians. You look at one after another, and there you see the name, — one man with an anchor to show his hope, or another with a dove; and on most of them are these words, “He rests in peace,” or “She rests in peace.” And there are thousands of these; the church in the catacombs must have numbered a great many members, and there they flourished, down there in the darkness of the earth, worshipping God by candlelight when the sun was shining above them, and his brightest rays could never reach them in those gloomy caverns. That church seems to have been a very eminent one; the inscriptions bear the proofs of the very highest and most spiritual forms of piety; and now, the mother of prostitutes sits on her seven hills, and the ancient lampstand is taken out of its place.

23. Again, to give you another picture, which will, perhaps, strike you even more forcibly, look at Germany. In the days of Luther, it was the stronghold of the gospel. You know how Luther used to preach the Word, and what crowds gathered to hear that mighty thunderer, while in simple language he proclaimed the truth, and defied the Pope and the devil too! Things are improving now, I hope; but it might have been said, some years ago, “How are the mighty fallen!” The Lutheran churches had become nearly all Unitarian {a} or Rationalist; they had forsaken the fountain of living waters; they forgot the Lord who bought them, and turned aside to damnable heresy. And why should it not be so here? Unless the Lord should continually preserve a remnant for us, we should become like Sodom, and be made like Gomorrah. That descent may come in an instant; the eagle may even now be watching in the air, and his swoop may be without any warning. There may come sudden destruction, as pain on a woman in travail, and we may not escape.

24. As long as we walk with God, as long as we are true to the faith, as long as we labour for the salvation of souls, only for that time are we secure. But as surely as sin is permitted to spread among us, — if the spirit of lukewarmness, of laxity of doctrine, of prayerlessness, should creep in here, it will be all over with us’. The Lord will say, “Let me leave here”; there will be heard, in this place, what was heard in the temple just before the time of its destruction by Titus. It is said that there was heard within the veil a rushing of wind, and the high priest who was officiating declared that he heard a voice say, “Arise, let us go from here.” That voice has been heard in many places. I could point to chapels where that voice must have been heard, houses of prayer where once there were crowds of hearers, but which are now covered with dust and cobwebs, where scarcely anyone cares to enter, and where those who enter are cold, and dead, and dull, and careless. Shall it ever be so with this church? God forbid! You God of Benjamin Keach, your suffering servant; you God of Gill, your servant who declared the truth in all its fulness; you God of the sainted Rippon, whom you have taken to yourself; you who have been the God of this church for, lo! these many years; you who have kept us beneath the shadow of your wings, and brought us into a position of high privileges and responsibilities, be our God even until the coming of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ, and then for ever and ever!

25. IV. I think I need not say any more with regard to this great and solemn reason why the trumpet is to be blown. Let me, in closing, just dwell for a minute or two on THE VERY BEAUTIFUL AND BLESSED EFFECT OF THIS BLAST OF THE TRUMPET: “Israel shall cry to me, ‘My God, we know you.’ ”

26. In the Hebrew, this expression is very remarkable indeed it runs like this, “They shall cry to me, ‘My God, we know you, — Israel.’ ” I do not know whether you perceive the meaning of this expression; it is, perhaps, difficult for me to say it so as for you to perceive the pith of it. They say, “My God, we know you”; then, as if God did not know who they were, they say, “Israel.” “My God, we know you, — Israel.” They mention their name, and plead it before him. Or else it may be, as another excellent translator says, that they thought perhaps the Lord would not remember them, but he would remember the man with whom he had made a covenant, namely, Jacob, Israel; for they say in the Hebrew, “My God, we know you, — Israel.” Remember Israel; think of him who wrestled with you, and became a prevailing prince.

27. We will be content, however, to take the passage as it stands. “Israel shall cry to you, my God, we know you.” Can you sincerely utter that cry, brothers and sisters? If so, a blast of the trumpet will have had a blessed effect if you can say, “Lord, we know you.” What do you know about him? There is one point in his character I want you especially to remember. If you know God properly, you will know that he is a jealous God. That is one of the first things which he said when he spoke to his people in the wilderness, “I, the Lord your God, am a jealous God.” I do not know that we fully understand the meaning of that word “jealous.” You know what it means in common life, — how, if there is one who has a right to another’s love, if that person suspects that the other’s heart is given away, there is jealousy. Well, now, there is jealousy in God’s heart if his people give to others love that is due to him. And do you know when we are most jealous? It is an object of utter indifference to me who certain people may love, because I have no affection for them; but if there is one on whom my whole heart is set, if that person’s heart were given to someone else, I should feel jealousy. Now, God is not jealous of sinners; he is jealous of saints, of his own people, especially the people he loves best. I remember that an old divine says, “It is a fearful thing to be one of God’s favourites,” — I have thought that over in my mind many times, and shuddered at the thought, — “for,” he says, “God does not deal with all his children on precisely the same rule. There are some of his people whom he makes more his favourites than others; he takes them out, and makes them his eminent servants, puts them in the first rank of the battle, and makes them very useful and very serviceable; he is more jealous of them than he is of any others. He is jealous of all his children, but especially of those children on whom he has bestowed most of his favours.” You remember the story of the poor king of England. When there had been a rebellion against him, and he had put it down, he promised that he would give pardon to all who were concerned in it. He had brought to him the list, which contained the names of those whom he was to pardon. He read the name of his son Richard, and he wept; — “Is Richard a rebel?” He read the name of his son Henry, and he wept again; — “Is he a rebel?” But he had one favourite son, his son John and he saw in the midst of the paper the name of his son John as one whom he had to forgive; he forgave him, but it broke his heart, and he died. The more favour there is, the more jealousy there will be.

28. Now, as a church, we may truly say, not in pride, but in thankfulness, that God has been very gracious to us. He has distinguished us by his grace; he has caused our candle to shine brightly; he has heard our prayer; but he will be very jealous of us if we begin to ascribe the good work to ourselves. If we take any honour for ourselves, and stop praying to him, if our zeal diminishes, if we become lax in our lives, if immoral characters are tolerated among us, God will be very angry with us, and we must expect that, though he will not cast away his own people, yet, as a church, he will take away our beauty, and cause it to fade away like the moth; and the fine gold shall become dim, and the glory shall depart from this portion of his Israel.

29. Now what is the lesson in all this? It is just this, brethren, that I would stir you up to continue in prayer. For some of you, perhaps, the exhortation is not needed, but for others I am sure it is. Thank God we have many in the church who know how to wrestle with God; but, oh! we want more of these. We do not want merely to have the few like Gideon’s men who lapped; but we want to have you all among the lappers, — to have you all wrestlers with God, all diligent in his service, and seeking to extend his kingdom. Let us be, from this day forward, more prayerful than we have ever been before.

{a} Unitarian: One who affirms the unipersonality of the Godhead, especially as opposed to an orthodox Trinitarian. OED.

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[Uniform with A Carillon of Bells to Ring Out the Old Truths of “Free Grace and Dying Love,” and “A Cluster of Camphire”; or, Words of Cheer and Comfort for Sick and Sorrowful Souls.]

A Basket Of Summer Fruit. With In Memoriam. — A Song of Sighs. by Mrs. C. H. Spurgeon.

Press Notices:

“This little work consists of a number of charming papers instinct with spiritual life and power. The beauty of expression has also been given to the writer, so that everything she writes is like the title of another of her books, ‘A Carillon of Bells.’ Sweeter or more heavenly music it would be difficult to find. The ‘In Memoriam’ reproduced here, is a pathetic lament over the loss of her sainted husband, mingled with songs of praise and fine expressions of hope, but revealing the depth of the wound in the heart of the one who knew him best.” — The Baptist.

“Especially appropriate for presentation to people of deeply religious minds who are seeking quiet consolation in spiritual matters.” — The Sheffield Daily Independent.

“These little messages are very specifically adapted for those who, like their author, have long enjoyed the fragrance of the flowers of Paradise, and are looking forward to a not very distant reunion with loved ones who are ‘not lost, but gone before.’ ” — The People’s Journal, Dundee.

“Some of these sermonettes are marked by much spiritual insight and strength, while all are imbued with a tender and sympathetic spirit. Now and again, by some simple illustration, the authoress brings home the truth with much quiet force. Here is fruit, and well-chosen fruit, too, for every palate.” — The Primitive Methodist.

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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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