3036. Proving God

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No. 3036-53:193. A Sermon Delivered On Lord’s Day Morning, October 19, 1856, By C. H. Spurgeon, At New Park Street Chapel, Southwark.

A Sermon Published On Thursday, April 18, 1907.

Prove me now. {Mal 3:10}

1. It was my pleasure and my privilege, some time ago, to address you from all of this verse: “‘Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and prove me now by this,’ says the Lord of hosts, ‘if I will not open for you the windows of heaven, and pour out a blessing for you, so that there shall not be room enough to receive it.’”

2. If I rightly remember, we had at that time enough room; but very soon afterwards, when we strove to serve our God more, he did really pour out such a blessing for us that we did not have enough room to receive it. Then we enlarged this house; still the blessing flowed so copiously that there was no room to receive it, and I might have preached again from the same text, to remind you again of the promise. This morning, feeling that we are about to enter into a new enterprise {b} to God’s honour and glory, I thought I would endeavour to stir up your pure minds by way of memory, for which purpose I select such a text as this, “Prove me now.”

3. According to the laws of our country, no man can be condemned until his guilt is proved. It would be good if we all carried out the same justice towards God which we expect from our fellow men; but how frequently will men condemn the acts of their God as being harsh and unkind! They do not say so, — they dare not; they scarcely affirm that they think so; but there is a kind of lurking imagination hardly amounting to a deliberate thought, which leads them to fear that God has forgotten to be gracious, and will be mindful of them no more. Let us never, my friends, think harshly of our God, until we can prove anything against him. He says to all his unbelieving children who are doubtful of his goodness and his grace, “Prove me now. Have you anything against me? Can you prove anything that will be dishonourable to me? When have I ever broken my promise? In what have I ever failed to fulfil my word? Ah, you cannot say that. Prove me now, if you have anything against me, — if you can say anything against my honour, — if you have so far not received answers to prayer and blessings according to promise. Do not set me down as false, I beseech you, until you have proved me to be so.”

4. Moreover, not only is it unjust to think badly of anyone until we can prove something against him, but it is extremely unwise to be always suspicious of our fellow creatures. Though there is much folly in being overly credulous, I question if there is not far more in being overly suspicious. He who believes every man will soon be bitten, but he who suspects every man will not only be bitten, but devoured. He who lives in perpetual doubt of his fellow creatures cannot be happy; he has defrauded himself of peace and happiness, and assumed a position in which he cannot enjoy the sweets of friendship or affection. I would rather be too credulous towards my fellow creatures than too suspicious. I would rather they should impose on me, by making me believe them better than they are, than that I should impose on them by thinking them worse than they are. It is better to be cheated ourselves sometimes than that we should cheat others; and it is cheating others to suspect those on whose characters there rests no suspicion. We acknowledge such morality among men, but we do not act so towards God; we believe any liar sooner than we believe him. When we are in trial and trouble, we believe the devil when he says God will forsake us. The devil, who has been a liar from the beginning, we credit; but if our God promises anything, we say, “Surely this is too good to be true,” and we doubt the fulfilment, because it is not brought to pass exactly at the time and in the way we anticipate. Let us never harbour such suspicions of our God. If we say in our haste, “All men are liars,” let us preserve this one truth, “God cannot lie.” His counsel is immutable, and he has confirmed it by an oath, “that we might have a strong consolation, who have fled for refuge to lay hold on the hope set before us” in Christ Jesus; do not let our faith then dally with a fear; let us rather seek grace, so that we may confidently believe and assuredly rely on the words which the lips of God speak. “‘Prove me now,’ if any of you are suspicious of my word. If you think my grace is not sweet, taste and see that the Lord is gracious. If you think that I am not a rock, and that my work is not perfect, come now, tread on the rock, and see if it is not firm; build on the rock, and see if it is not solid. If you think my arm is shortened that I cannot save, come and ask, and I will stretch it out to defend you. If you think that my ear is heavy that I cannot hear, come and try it; call on me, and I will answer you. If you are suspicious, make proof of my promises, so your suspicions shall be removed. But, oh, do not doubt me until you have found me unworthy of trust: ‘Prove me now.’”

5. In these words I find a fact couched, a challenge given, a time mentioned, and an argument suggested. Such are the four points I propose this morning to consider.

6. I. First, then, we have THE FACT, that God allows himself to be proved: “Prove me now.”

7. In meditating on this subject, it has occurred to me that all the works of creation are proofs of God; they witness to his eternal power and Godhead. But inasmuch as he is not only the Creator, but the Sustainer of them all, they make continual proof of him, his goodness, his faithfulness, and his care. I think, when God launched the sun from his hand, and sent it on its course, he said, “Prove me now; see, oh sun, if I do not uphold you until you have done your work, and finished your career; you may rejoice ‘as a strong man to run a race,’ but while you fulfil your circuits, and nothing is hidden from your heat, you shall prove my glory, and shed light on my handiwork.” When the Almighty whirled the earth into space, I think he said, “Prove me now, oh earth, and see if I do not perpetuate your seasons, and give you ‘seed-time and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, day and night,’ refreshing you with incessant providence.” And to each creature he made, I can almost think the Almighty said, “Prove me now. Tiny gnat, you are about to dance in the sunshine; you shall prove my goodness. Huge leviathan, you shall stir up the deep, and make it frothy; go out, and prove my power. You creatures, whom I have endowed with various instincts, wait on me; I will give you your food in due season. And you, you mighty thunders and you swift lightnings, go, teach the world reverence, and demonstrate my omnipotence.” So, I think, all God’s creatures are not merely proofs of his existence, but proofs of his incredible wisdom, his lovingkindness, and his grace. The lowliest and the mightiest of his created works, each and all, in some degree, prove his love, and teach us how marvellous his nature is; but he has given to man this high prerogative above all the works of his hands, that he alone should make intentional and intelligent proof. They only prove him unintentionally. The things of earth prove God, yet they have no intention of doing so. The beasts praise God; the cattle on a thousand hills low out his honour, and the very lions roar his praise; yet they do not do it with intent, and judgment, and will; and although the sun proves the majesty and the might of its Master, yet the sun has neither mind nor thought, and it is not its intention to glorify God. But the saint does it intentionally.

8. It is a great fact, beloved, that God will have all his children to be proofs of the various attributes of his nature. I do not think any one of the children of God proves all of God, but that they are all proving different parts of his one grand character, so that, when the whole history of providence shall be written, and the lives of all the saints shall be recorded, the title of this book will be, “Proofs of God.” There will be one compendious proof that he is God, and does not change; that with him there “is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.” You will remember how one saint particularly proved the longsuffering of God, in that he was permitted to pursue his career to the utmost verge of destruction; while he hung on the cross, the patience that had borne with him for so long, brought salvation to him at last. He was “in the article of death,” falling into the pit, when sovereign grace broke the fall, everlasting arms caught his soul, and Jesus himself conducted him to paradise. Then again, you will remember another saint, who plunged into a thousand sins, and indulged in the foulest lust, but she was brought to Christ; he cast out of her seven evil spirits, and Mary Magdalene was made to prove the richness of our Saviour’s pardoning grace, as well as the sweetness of a pardoned sinner’s gratitude. It is a fact that the Lord is ready to forgive, and this woman is a great proof of it. There was Job, who was tortured with ulcers, and made to scrape himself with a potsherd; he proved “that the Lord is very compassionate, and of tender mercy”; from him we get evidence that God is able to sustain us amid unparalleled sufferings. Let me note how Solomon proved the bounty of God. When he asked for wisdom and knowledge, the Lord not only granted his request, but added riches and wealth and honour to him; and how did Solomon magnify this proof of divine bounty as he translates the experience of his dream into the counsel of his proverbs? While he advises us to get wisdom, he assures us that “length of days is in her right hand, and in her left hand riches and honour.” And then, once more, how great a proof of God’s special providence in maintaining in this world “a remnant according to the election of grace,” do we derive from the history of Elijah! There sat the venerable seer, beneath a juniper tree, in the lone desert, — a great but sorrowful man, — an honoured but a dejected prophet of the Most High. Do you see him as he comes to Horeb, takes up his lodging in a cave, and complains in the awful solitude of his soul, “I, even I only, am left; and they seek my life, to take it away?” Oh, had his fears been realized, what a blank would earth have been without a saint! But Elijah proved from the mouth of God the impossibility. He learned for our sakes, as well as his own, what a reservation God has made in times of direst persecution. It is proved that there shall always be still a Church in the world while earth’s old pillars stand.

9. Nor need we suppose that the testimony of the witnesses is closed. Each of God’s saints is sent into the world to prove some part of the divine character. Perhaps I may be one of those who shall live in the valley of ease, having much rest, and hearing sweet birds of promise singing in my ears. The air is calm and balmy, the sheep are feeding all around me, and all is still and quiet. Well, then, I shall prove the love of God in sweet communings. Or, perhaps, I may be called to stand where the thunder-clouds brew, where the lightnings play, and tempestuous winds are howling on the mountain top. Well, then, I am born to prove the power and majesty of our God; amid dangers he will inspire me with courage; amid toils he will make me strong. Perhaps it shall be for me to preserve an unblemished character, and so prove the power of sanctifying grace in not being allowed to backslide from my professed dedication to God. I shall then be a proof of the omnipotent power of grace, which alone can save from the power as well as the guilt of sin. The various cases of all the Lord’s family are intended to illustrate different parts of his ways; and in heaven I do think one part of our blest employ will be to read the great book of the experience of all the saints, and gather from that book all of the divine character as having been proved and illustrated. Each Christian man is a manifestation and display of some attribute or other of God; a different part may belong to each of us, but when everything shall be combined, when all the rays of evidence shall be brought, as it were, into one great sun, and shine out with meridian splendour, we shall see in Christian experience a beautiful revelation of our God.

10. Let us remember, then, as an important fact, that God intends us to live in this world to prove him, and let us seek to do so, always endeavouring as much as we can to be finding out and proving the attributes of God. Remember, we have all the promises to prove in our lifetime; and it shall be found, in the last great day, that every one of them has been fulfilled. As the promises are read through now, it may be asked, “Who is a proof of such a promise?” Perhaps the question relates to some promises of almost universal application, and millions of saints will rise and say, “We proved the truth of that.” Or there may be a promise in the Bible that it will seldom fall to the lot of one of God’s children to prove: it is so special, and few shall have been able to understand it. But notice, there will be some witnesses to attest to it, and all the promises shall be fulfilled in the united experience of the Church. Such, then is the fact, — God allows his children to prove him.

11. II. And now, secondly, we have here A CHALLENGE GIVEN TO US: “Prove me now.” “You who have doubted me, prove me. You who doubt me, prove me. You who tremble at the enemy, prove me. You who are afraid you cannot accomplish your work, believe my promise, and come and prove me.”

12. Now, I must explain this challenge to you, concerning the way in which it has to be carried out. There are different kinds of promises given in God’s Word, which have to be proved in different ways. In the Bible there are three kinds of promises. In the first class I will place the conditional promises, such as are intended for certain characters, given only to them, and only to them on certain conditions. There is a second class, referring exclusively to the future, the fulfilment of which does not relate to us at the present time. While there is a third and most glorious class, called absolute promises, which have no conditions whatever, or which graciously supply the requirements that the conditional promises demand.

13. To begin with conditional promises: we cannot prove a conditional promise in the same way as an absolute one. The manner of proving must be in accord with the character of the promise to be proved. Let me mention, for example, “Ask, and you shall receive.” Here it is quite obvious that I must ask in order to verify the promise. I have a condition to fulfil in order to obtain a benefit. The way to test the faithfulness of the Promiser, and the truth of the promise, is plainly this, — comply with the stipulation. Very different is the promise, and equally different the proof, when God says, “I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes.” Here we have the simple will of the Almighty. Such a promise is to be proved in a very different way from the fulfilment on our part of condition; but concerning this we shall say more later.

14. In order to prove conditional promises, then, it is necessary for us to fulfil the condition that God has annexed to them. He says, “Bring all the tithes into the storehouse, so that there may be food in my house, and prove me now by this.” No man can prove God, with reference to this promise, until he has brought all the tithes into the storehouse; for it is “by this” this promise has to be proved. Suppose the Lord says, “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me”; the only way of proving him is by calling on him in the time of trouble. We may stand as long as we like, and say, “God will fulfil that promise”; indeed, that he will, but we must fulfil the condition, and it behoves us to seek grace from him to enable us to do so; for we cannot prove such promises unless we fulfil the conditions appended to them. There are many very sweet conditional promises; one of them helped to set my soul at rest; it was this, “Look to me, and be saved, all the ends of the earth.” The condition there is, “Look to me”; but you cannot prove it unless you do look to Christ. Here is another, “Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” What a blessed promise that is! But then you cannot prove the promise unless you call on the name of the Lord. So that, whenever we see the promise to which a condition is attached, if we wish to prove it in our own experience, we must ask God to give us grace to fulfil the condition. That is one way of proving God.

15. But some will say, “Do not these conditions restrict the generosities and graciousness of God’s promises?” Oh, no, beloved; for, first, the conditions are often put to describe the people to whom the promises are made. Hence, my brother, when it is written, “He does not forget the cry of the humble,” the promise fits your chastened soul. When the Lord says, “To this man I will look, even to him who is poor and of a contrite spirit and trembles at my word,” You can perceive, as it were, a description of your own state. And when he says, “I will satisfy her poor with bread,” some of you can take comfort that the promise finds you in the fit condition to receive the blessing. But again, if the condition is not a state, but a duty; then, let it be prayer, — he gives the spirit of prayer; let it be faith, — he is the Giver of faith; let it be meekness, — it is he who clothes you with meekness. So the conditions serve to commend the promises to God’s own children, and to show the bounty of him who gives “grace for grace.”

16. But then there is the absolute promise, and that is the largest and best promise of all; for if they were all conditional promises, and the conditions rested with us to fulfil, we should all be damned. If there were no absolute promises, there would not be a soul saved; if they were all made to characters, and no absolute promise were made that the characters should be given, we should perish, notwithstanding all God’s promises. If he had simply said, “He who believes shall be saved,” we should all be lost, for we could not believe without his grace. Now, the absolute promise is not to be proved by doing anything, but by believing in it. All I can do with an absolute promise is to believe it. If I were to try to fulfil a condition, it would not be accepted by God, because no condition is appended to that kind of promise. He might well say to me, “If you have fulfilled the condition of another promise, you shall have it; but I have put no condition on this one. I have said, ‘I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my ways; you shall be my people, and I will be your God.’ There is a promise without any condition.” Although the child of God may have sinned, yet the promise stands good, that he shall be brought to know his error, to repent, and be wholly forgiven. We can only believe such a promise; we cannot fulfil any condition relating to it. We must take it to God, and say, “Have you said that Christ ‘shall see the travail of his soul’? Lord, we believe it; let him see the travail of his soul. Do you say, ‘My word shall not return to me void’? Lord, do as you have said. You have said it; Lord, do it.” Has he said, “Whoever comes to me I will by no means cast out”? Then go and say, “Lord, I come now; do as you said.” On an absolute promise, I can tell you, faith gets good foothold. Conditional promises often cheer the soul; but it is the absolute promise which is the rock that faith delights to stand on.

17. Now, beloved friends, what promise has been laid on your hearts today? Many of you have one that God gave you when you arose from your beds. I am always sure to have the most happy day when I get a good text in the morning from my Master. When I have had to preach two or three sermons in a day, I have asked him for a morning portion, and preached from it; and I have asked him for an evening portion, and preached from it, after meditating on it for my own soul’s comfort, — not in the professional style of a regular sermon-maker, but meditating on it for myself. Such simple food has done more good than if I had taken a week in preparing a sermon, for it has come warm from my heart just after it has been received in my own conscience; and therefore it has been well spoken, because well known, well tasted, and well felt. What is your promise, then? Is it a conditional one? Then say, “Lord, I beseech you, enable me to fulfil the condition”; and if the promise is applied to your soul with a condition, he will give you both the condition and the promise, for he never gives by halves. Has he put into your soul, “Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts?” Then he will give you grace to forsake your ways and your thoughts too. He will not give you the conditional promise without, in due time, giving you the condition too. But have you gotten an absolute promise laid on your soul? Then you are a happy man. Has God laid on your innermost spirit some of those great and precious promises, such as this, “The mountains shall depart, and the hills be removed; but my kindness shall not depart from you, neither shall the covenant of my peace be removed”? Do not pause to ask for conditions; take the promise just as it is. Go on your knees and say, “Lord, you have said it.” Again, has the Lord promised, “I will never leave you, nor forsake you”? Plead it. Or are you in trouble? Search out the suitable promise, and say, “You have said, ‘When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and through the rivers, they shall not overflow you’; I believe you, Lord! I am tried, but you have said I shall have no trial that I am not able to bear; Lord, give me all-sufficient grace, and make me more than a conqueror.” Go and prove God. Do not be afraid with any amazement. If he gives a promise, he gives you an invitation to prove it. If he gives you a single word, he intends that you should bring it to him, and tell it to him again; for you know he has said, “I will yet for this be enquired of by the house of Israel, to do it for them.” Please, remind the Lord of his own promises, and he will most assuredly fulfil them. Here is a challenge to all the redeemed, “Prove me now.”

18. III. In the third place, there is A TIME MENTIONED: “Prove me now.”

19. Do you know what is the most perilous time in a Christian’s life? I think I could hit on it in a moment, — “now.” Many people — I might almost say all Christians — are always most apprehensive of the present hour. Suppose they are in trouble, though they may have had ten times worse troubles before, they forget all about them, and “now” is the most critical day they ever knew. Or, if they are at ease, they say, — 


   Far more the treacherous calm I dread

   Than tempests rolling o’er my head; — 


and they think no position in life is more dangerous than “now.” The lions are before them, — how great their danger! And when, a little while ago, they lost their roll in the arbour of ease, how dreadful it was then! And when they got to the slippery ground, going downhill, “now” seemed their greatest danger. When they get a little farther, and Apollyon meets them, “Here,” they say, “is the worst trial of all.” Then comes the valley of the shadow of death, and they say, “Now this is the most serious period of my life.” In fact, it is right that we should feel in some degree that “now” is just the time we ought to be guarded; yesterdays and tomorrows we may leave, but “now” is the time we must be watchful. God never lays tomorrow’s promise on my heart today, because I am not in immediate need of it; the promises are given in the time, in the place, and in the way he has designed and intended they should be fulfilled. But no doubt some of you will sympathize with me when I say that “now” is just the time when the Christian thinks he can trust God the least. “Oh!” he says, “if I were in the same state as I was before, I should be happy. I do believe that I could have trusted my Master better then; but just now I cannot lay my head so confidently on the Saviour’s breast. I remember, when I was sick, how sweet the promises were. Then I could say, — 


   Sweet to lie passive in his hands,

   And know no will but his.


But now I am altered. Somehow or other, a languor has come over me. I cannot believe that I am a Christian.” You compare yourself with some brother, and feel quite sure that, if you were only like him, you would have faith. Go and speak to that brother, and he will say, “If I were like you, I should be better off.” And so they would exchange experiences, each failing to trust God under his own circumstances. But the Lord is pleased always to give us a word that suits the particular position we may be in: “Prove me now.” Let me allegorize for a moment. There is a ship on the sea. It is the ship which the Lord has launched, and which he has said shall come to its desired haven. The sea is smooth; the waves ripple gently, and bear the bark steadily along. “Prove me now,” says the Lord. The mariner stands on the deck, and says, “Lord, I thank you that you have given me such smooth sailing as this; but ah! my Master, perhaps this very ease and comfort may destroy my grace.” And a voice says, “Prove me now, and see if I cannot keep you amid the storm.” Immediately the heavens have gathered blackness, the winds have begun to bluster, and the waves lift up their voice, while the poor ship is tossed to and fro on the yawning deep. Amid the screaming of the tempest and the howling of winds, I hear a voice which says, “Prove me now.” See, the ship has been dashed on the rock; she has been broken almost in two, and the mariner sees her hold filling with water, while all his pumps cannot keep her empty. The voice still cries, “Prove me now.” Alas! she almost sinks; another wave will be enough to swamp her; it seems as if one more drop would sink her. Still the voice cries, “Prove me now.” And the mariner does prove God, and he is delivered safely from all his distresses. “They reel to and fro, and stagger like a drunken man, and are at their wits’ end”; but “so he brings them to their desired haven.” Now the ship is sailing merrily along before the winds, and, lo! she comes to the verge of the horizon. The mists have gathered around her; strange phantoms dance to the waves of night; a lurid light flits through the shadows; and immediately the darkness comes again. Something broods around the ship that the mariner has never seen before. The water is black beneath his vessel’s prow; the air hangs damp and thick above him; the very sweat is clammy on his face. Fresh fear has gotten hold of him that he never felt before. Just then, when he does not know what to do, a voice cries, “Prove me now”; and so he does: he cries to the Lord, and is saved.

20. Ah, dear friends, I might give you a hundred illustrations. I think this old Bible speaks to me today. I have wielded it in your midst as God’s soldier. This sword of the Spirit has been thrust into many of your hearts, and though they were hard as adamant, it has split them asunder. Some of you have had sturdy spirits broken in pieces by this good old Jerusalem blade. But we shall be gathered together tonight where an unprecedented mass of people will assemble, perhaps, from idle curiosity, to hear God’s Word; and the voice cries in my ears, “Prove me now.” Many a man has come, during my ministry, armed to his very teeth, and having on a coat of mail, yet this tried weapon has cut him in two, and pierced to the dividing asunder of the joints and marrow. “Prove me now,” says God, “go and prove me before blasphemers; go and prove me before reprobates, before the vilest of the vile, and the filthiest of the filthy; go and prove me now.” Lift up that life-giving cross, and let it again be exhibited; into the regions of death, go and proclaim the word of life; into the most plague-stricken parts of the city, go and carry the waving censer of the incense of a Saviour’s merits, and prove now whether he is not able to stop the plague, and remove the disease.

21. But what does God say to the Church? “You have proved me previously, you have attempted great things; though some of you were faint-hearted, and said, ‘We should not have ventured,’ others of you had faith, and proved me. I say again, ‘Prove me now.’” See what God can do, just when a cloud is falling on the head of him whom God has raised up to preach to you; go and prove him now, — see if he will not pour out such a blessing as you had not even dreamed of, — see if he will not give you a Pentecostal blessing. “Prove me now.” Why should we be unbelieving? Have we one thing to make us so? We are weak; what of that? Are we not strongest in our God when we are weakest in ourselves? We are fools, it is said; so we are, and we know it; but he makes fools to confound the wise. We are base, but God has chosen the base things of the world. We are unlearned, — 


   “We know no schoolman’s subtle art,” — 


yet we glory in infirmity when Christ’s power rests on us. Let them represent us as worse than we are; let them give us the most odious character that has ever been given to man, we will bless them and wish them well. Even though the weapon is a stone, or even the jawbone of a donkey, if the Lord directs it? “Do you not know,” some say, “what wise men say?” Yes, we do; but we can read their oracles backwards. Their words are the offspring of their wishes. We know who has instructed them, and, we know he is a liar from the beginning. Oh fools, and slow of heart! do you shrink from the truth, or do you shrink from obloquy and disgrace? In either case, you do not have the love for your Master that you should have. If you are brave men and true, go on and conquer. Do not fear, you shall yet win the day; God’s holy gospel shall yet shake the earth once more. The banner is lifted up, and multitudes are flocking to it; — the Pharisees have taken counsel together, — the learned stand confounded, — the sages are baffled. They do not know what to do. God has made the little one great, and he who was despised is exalted. Let us trust him, then. He will be with us even to the end, for he has said, “Lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age.”

22. IV. The last division of my subject is AN ARGUMENT, and I have preached on that already: “Prove me now.”

23. Why should we prove God? Because, beloved, it will glorify him if we do. Nothing glorifies God more than proving him. When a poor hungry child of God, without a crust in the cupboard, says, “Lord, you have said that bread shall be given to me, and water shall be sure; I will prove you,” — more glory is given to God by that simple proof of him than by the hallelujahs of the archangels. When some poor despairing sinner, who has been fluttering around the Word, in hopes that he may — 


   Light on some sweet promise there,

   Some sure defence against despair, — 


when such a one gives credence to God’s promise, in the very teeth of evidence against him, do not stagger at the promise through unbelief, then he glorifies God. If you are, this morning, in your own apprehension an almost damned sinner, and you feel yourself to be the vilest of all, if you will believe this, that Christ loves you, and that Christ came to save you, sinner as you are, you will glorify God as much by doing that as you will be able to do when your fingers shall sweep across the strings of the golden harps of paradise. We glorify God by proving him. Test God. This is the way to bring out the glorious points of the Christian character. It is in being exceptionally qualified for the duties of our holy Christian warfare, in being exceptionally courageous, and exceptionally ready, with the martyr spirit, to imperil ourselves for his service, that we may bring glory to God. God says, “Prove me now.” Saint, will you rob him of his honour? Will you rob him of his honour? Will you not do what shall crown him, in the estimation of the world, with many more crowns? Oh, prove him, for by doing so you will glorify his name.

24. Prove him again, for you have proved him before. Can you not remember that you were brought very low, and yet you can say, “This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him, and saved him out of all his troubles”? What! will you not prove him again? Are you not mindful of the goodness you have proved? When you said, “My feet were almost gone; my steps had almost slipped,” did he not support you, so that you could say with the psalmist, “Nevertheless I am continually with you: you have held me by my right hand”? Has your foot slipped? Can you not so far witness to his mercy? Then trust in it to still hold you up.

25. Again, accept this challenge, prove God’s Word, as he has called you to do, and how much blessing it will give to you! Beloved brethren, we endure ten times as much anxiety in this world as we need, because we do not confide in divine promises half as much as we might. If we were to live more on God’s promises, and less on creature feelings, all of us should be happier men and women. Could we live always in faith on the promises, the shafts of the enemy could never reach us. Let us constantly then seek to prove him. How much good Mr. Müller has done by proving God! He is called by God to a special work. What does he do? He builds an orphan asylum, and trusts in God. He has no regular income; but he says, “I will prove to the world that God hears prayer.” So he lives in the exercise of prayer; and though he may at times be brought to his last shilling, yet there is never a meal that his children sit down to without sufficient food. Our work may be different from his; but let us seek, whatever our work is, to do it so that, when anyone reads about it, he will say, “He tried God in such and such a promise, and his life was a standing proof that that promise did not fail.” Whatever your promise is, let your life be seen to be the working out of the problem which has to be proved, and like any proposition of Euclid, which is stated at the beginning and proved at the end, so may we find a text put at the beginning of our lives as a promise to be fulfilled, and seen at the close, demonstrated, proved, and carried out.

26. But, dear friends, let me just conclude by asking those here, who have been brought to know their lost and ruined state, to remember this message, “Prove me now.” Thus my God says to you, oh sinner, “Whoever shall call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.” My dear hearer, are you lost and ruined? Prove God now. He says, “Call to me, and I will answer you”; come now, and call to him. He has said, “Seek, and you shall find”; oh, seek him now. “Knock,” he says, “and it shall be opened to you”; lift up the knocker of heaven’s door, and sound it with all your might; or, suppose you are too weak to knock, let the knocker fall down by itself. He has said, “Ask, and you shall receive; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.” Go, and prove the promise now. Try to prove it. Are you a poor, sick, and wounded sinner? You are told that Jesus Christ is able and willing to heal your wounds, and extract the poison from your veins. Prove him, prove him, poor soul. You think yourself to be a lost one; therefore, I urge you, in Christ’s name, to prove this promise, “I, even I, am he who blots out your transgressions for my own sake, and will not remember your sins.” Take this to him, and say, “Oh God, I need faith to trust your word; I know you mean what you have said; you have said, this morning, by the mouth of your minister, ‘Prove me now.’ Lord, I will prove you now, this very day, even until nightfall if you do not answer me. I will still keep firmly by your promise.”

27. Do this, my beloved, and you will not be gone long before you will be able to sing, — 


   I’m forgiven, I’m forgiven!

   I’m a miracle of grace.


28. Now, do not stand still and say, “God will not hear such a one as I am; my disease is too bad for him to cure.” Go and see, put your hand on the hem of his garment, and then, if the blood is not stanched, go and tell the world that you have proved God wrong. Go and tell it, if you dare. But oh! you cannot. If you do touch the hem of his garment, I know what you will say: “I have tasted that the Lord is gracious. He said, ‘Trust in me, and I will deliver you.’ I have trusted in him and he has delivered me”; for the promise will always have its fulfilment. “Prove me now,” says God.


{a} This sermon had many lines deleted by mistake by the OCR. They have all been restored. Editor.
{b} On the evening of that day, the first service in the Surrey Gardens Music hall was held, when the great catastrophe occurred through a false alarm of “Fire!” See C. H. Spurgeon’s Autobiography, Vol. II

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