A Sermon Delivered on Sunday Evening, by C. H. Spurgeon, at the Metropolitan Tabernacle, Newington.
Now in whom do you trust? (Isaiah 36:5)
1. That question may not be without importance in matters of ordinary life. We have all to trust our fellows, more or less, and I suppose we have all had to smart in some degree, as the result of it. We may trust the mass of men in trifles without any serious consequences; but when it comes to large sums, when all of a man’s fortune, for instance, is staked upon the character and reputation of someone else, then it is not altogether an unimportant question, “In whom do you trust?” Oh, many have rested on some choice friend, and found him play the Judas! How often have our dearest counsellors turned away from us as Ahithophel did from David! How frequently have we confidently rested upon the integrity, friendship, and fidelity of some person whom we thought we knew and could trust, and we have found that “Cursed is he who trusts in man, and makes flesh his arm.” Be cautious, my brethren—perhaps you need not that I should say this to you—but use discretion in all your transactions in life, concerning how far you will trust the sons of men; or else this may be whispered in your ear, and may send you to your bed with a heavy heart. “Now in whom do you trust?” But, surely, if this be important in temporal matters, it is overwhelmingly so in regard to spiritual things. If I become bankrupt in business, I may still set up in business and retrieve my fortune; but in soul matters, if I once make bankruptcy in the commerce of life, there is no hope of my receiving a fresh certificate and attempting to retrieve my losses. Here, if a general is defeated in some great battle, he may yet possibly retreat in such good order, and again gather together his troops to win another battle, and turn the current of the campaign; but once be beaten in the great life struggle, once feel that sin has utterly gotten the mastery over you, and that there is no hope here, and die that way; and there is no more contest possible, you are vanquished; the battle is fought, and the victory is lost for ever. Let us, then, be very much concerned, dear friends, to enquire, and to give an honest answer to the question, “In whom do you trust?”
2. First, let us go around the congregation and collect a little bundle of answers; then, secondly, let us hear the Christian’s answer, and when we have listened to it, let us give the Christian a few words of advice with regard to what his line of action ought to be, seeing he has such a one to trust in.
A Little Bundle of Answers
3. I. First, then, let us ask this question, and collect, I say, A LITTLE BUNDLE OF ANSWERS, “In whom do you trust?”
4. I think I hear some answer, “I do not know that I have thought about the matter at all. You ask me ‘In whom do you trust?’ I shall have to say, I have left the matter of dying, and of eternity, and of judgment, out of my consideration; I hope it is a long time before I shall die, and there is no need to trouble myself before it is necessary, and, therefore, I put the matter off. I feel it is an unpleasant task to make too much enquiry, and, therefore, I have just left well enough alone. I cannot give you an answer, for I have not considered the matter.” My dear friend, do you not think that you are very foolish? Do you forget that you may die this very moment, that there are more gates to death than you dream of; that there is a gate to death, indeed! and to hell, too, from the place where you are now sitting? Have you never heard of people falling dead in the street, of bowing down as Sisera did, of whom it is said, “Where he bowed himself there he fell down dead?” Have you a lease of your life? Are you certain that death is so far off? Have you not walked with dying men? I have. I have talked with them one day, and I have heard the next that they were in eternity. We shall hear the same about you. And is it wise to be trifling with these things as though you knew that you had fifty or sixty years more to live? And suppose you were sure of a long life, would you wish to delay being happy? Do you desire to postpone being made supremely comfortable? Remember, that to have your soul affairs set right in a proper manner, is to obtain present joy and happiness. I do not think that young people ever say, “We are too young to enjoy ourselves; let us wait until we grow older, and then let us be happy,” and yet to be saved is to enjoy yourselves in the most emphatic sense of that term, and to find Christ precious is to be happy beyond all expression. Why postpone what is more pleasant than pleasure itself, and more sweet than honey dropping from the honeycomb? I urge you, dear friends, do think of this matter now, because you may have to think of it when it will only bring you bitterness and grief. That is a dreadful verse, where Christ says about the rich man in hell, “He lifted up his eyes.” Poor soul, why did you not lift up your eyes before? It is too late, for ah! you can see as you look up and see Lazarus in Abraham’s bosom, and yourself with a great gulf fixed, dividing you from him. It is too late for you to look around you now, for there is nothing to see but the consuming flames, and the tormentors who are to be your perpetual companions, with that dark despair, which, like a great gravestone, is to be for ever on your heart. Oh, why did you not lift up your eyes before? Surely the only answer I can get from this poor wretch is, “Tell my brothers so that they do not come into this place of torment, and ask them to lift up their eyes now, and to begin now to consider what shall be their confidence, and what is the basis of their hope with regard to eternal things.” Careless sinner, I wish that those few words might be blessed to you. I would look you in the face and implore you by the living God, by life, by death, by judgment, by eternity, by heaven, by hell, by everything that has power to move a rational being; set your house in order, and consider your latter end, and if you have no trust as yet, God help you to find one.
5. Well, we will try again and ask the question to another. “In whom do you trust?” And I hear one stand up and say, “I thank God I am about as good as most people; I do not know that I have any particular cause to worry myself. If everybody’s life had been like mine, sir, it would be much better for their day and generation. I have never been a gross and open sinner; I have been a man who has set a good example for his family, and brought them up well. When the hospital needed a pound, I put my hand into my pocket and did not bring it out empty; when my poor neighbours have needed charity, they have never found me to be a churl. I hope I can say it will go well with me, and if it does not, sir, it will go badly with a good many.” My friend, I perfectly agree with that last sentence: I am afraid it will go badly with a great many; but I do not see what consolation you ought to get out of that, for company in being ruined will not decrease, but rather increase the catastrophe. Let me say to you that it proves that the sum and the substance of your confidence is, that you are trusting in yourself. Now do you really and honestly think that you are by yourself sufficient to carry your soul through all the pangs and terrors of death, and to bring yourself by your own merit safely to God’s right hand? I think your conscience can remind you of some slips and some flaws: your memory must tell you of some sins, if they are not of the grosser kind, yet of some sins, and let me say to you remember that God has revealed in his own Word this truth, that if any man will be saved by his own works there is one condition which cannot be altered, namely, that he must be an absolutely perfect man: he must never have even sinned so much as once; he must never have had a sinful thought in his heart, or word on his tongue, or act in his entire life, or else he is guilty of a breach of the whole law. Now what do you say to that? This is no mere assertion of mine; this is God’s own Word, and let me give you another passage, “By the works of the law there shall no flesh living be justified.” Oh proud man, do you think there was any need for Christ to die to save us, if we could save ourselves? What, do you think that God’s servants have to say, “The righteous are scarcely saved”; and do you who believe in no Saviour, think it to be such a simple thing to get to heaven that you are going there by your own good deeds? I counsel you (I wish you would take my advice), do with your good works just as the Ephesians did with their magical books: bring them out and burn all of them, for they will never do you good, and they may do you infinite mischief, and come, my good friends, come as you are, to that Saviour who has opened a new and living way, by his own precious blood, and who can do for you what these fine boastings of yours can only pretend to accomplish. He can save your guilty soul from the wrath to come.
6. I do not suppose that I should get from anyone present this answer, which has come no doubt from the lips of very many, “In whom do I trust? Why, I trust in my priest; he has been regularly ordained; he belongs to an Apostolic Church; he tells me that he will forgive my sins if I confess them to him, and that when I come to die he will give me my viaticum;1 he will grease my boots for the last journey, and send me off in such a state that the devil himself cannot hold me with this anointing oil upon me. If I cannot trust a priest, where can I fix my confidence?” I can give you an answer to that last enquiry, where can you trust; but let me appeal to any man of sense who is here tonight, and who may have been relying upon a priest—“What is there in any man, although he be six foot of clay, that you should put your trust in him?” No doubt there have been some mystical incantations performed upon him, but in this century are you such a fool as to believe that he has any grace to spare for you? If you would read the Scriptures, dear friend—only your priest does not care that you should do this, except it is his own version which he has well doctored before you get it—if you read the Bible, you will find that if you are a follower of Christ, you are as much a priest as he can be, that one man is as much a priest as another when he believes in Jesus; for according to Scripture, all saints are a “royal priesthood.” As for myself, although I preach in this place the word of God, I hate the very thought and name of priest, and I wonder how it can be that people calling themselves Evangelical clergymen can speak of themselves as being priests. Priests, indeed, I fear many of them are, but I wonder at the effrontery which should make them take the name and wear it. Priests! Great God! There is only one priest before your throne who can offer acceptable sacrifice, and that is your dear Son, who offers himself for ever as a great sacrifice to you; and as for us, we are only secondary priests under him, and here none of us has any superiority over his brother, for all the saints are made in Christ Jesus kings and priests to God, and they shall reign with him for ever and ever. Do not be misled, dear friend, your priest might as well trust in you as you trust in him.
7. But it is probable, very probable, that I should get another answer if I were to pass this question around. Perhaps a considerable number of people would say, “Well, God is merciful. He is not so severe as to be unkind towards us, and we dare say, although we may have a good many faults, yet since he is a very good and a very gracious God, he will forgive us our sins and accept us.” Then it seems, dear friend, that you are trusting in the mercy of God. Let me say to you that as you state it, you are trusting in what you will never find. If you were very generous, and there were a number of poor people in the city, and you were determined to feed them with bread, and you therefore issued an order that they were all to call at your son’s house, and that there they might have as much bread as they pleased: if they all declared that they would have nothing to do with your son, would not go to his house, would sooner starve than go, and if they all came clamouring to your door, what would you say to them? You would say, “There is bread enough and to spare: I have provided it, my son will give it to you, but if you insult me to my face by telling me that you will not have what I freely give to you because of the way in which I present it, you may go without it.” And this certainly is how God will deal with you. He has treasured up all his mercy in the person of his own dear Son, and there it is—come and welcome. And it is said, that “Whoever comes” to Jesus Christ “shall in no wise be cast out”; but, if you go to God outside of Christ, you will find him to be a consuming fire; and instead of mercy you shall receive justice, and that justice will strike you to the lowest hell. What, shall the King of heaven leave his throne and lay aside his crown, take off his azure mantle, put on the garments of a man, become poor and needy, live in poverty, and die in shame, and yet will you not take grace through such a channel as this? Shall God ordain this better than golden pipe, through which the crystal stream of love and mercy shall run; and do you disdain this pipe? Shall God say that he has treasured up in Christ Jesus all the fulness of the Godhead, and will you turn from Christ, and say, “We will not have this man to reign over us?” Then know this, that the King sits upon his holy hill of Zion, and he will dash you in pieces like a potter’s vessel, because you said, “Let us break his bonds asunder, and cast his cords from us.” Rather let me ask you bend the knee, and kiss the Son. Cling to Jesus, and then,
“Come, and welcome, sinner come.”
Come through Jesus, for in God there is no mercy for those who come leaving Christ behind them.
8. There is only one other answer which I think it is likely I would get tonight, and it might be I should have this: “Well, sir, I do not say that I can trust in my works, but I am a good hearted man; I am a man of good intentions, and though I have a great many faults, yet, sir, I am good hearted at the bottom, and I think God will look at my heart, and he will put me right at the end, notwithstanding my slips and wanderings by the way.” Well, my dear friend, it is very well for you to say you have a good heart, you know, but we have no one to prove it except yourself. That is a very silly thing which people say about men when they die, “Oh, he was rather bad in his life, and loose in his morals, but he was a good hearted man at the bottom.” It reminds me of Rowland Hill’s saying, “Yes, but when you go to market to buy apples, and you see a number of rotten ones at the top, if the market woman says, ‘Oh, never mind, it is only the rotten apples at the top, they are very good at the bottom,’ you will say to her, ‘My good soul, I will be bound to say the best are on the top, and they will not improve as you go down, for generally they will get far worse.’” And so if a man is rotten at the top, bad on the surface, I cannot tell how much worse he may be down below. It is said there was a man who used to swear and drink, who, nevertheless, applied for membership with Mr. Hill, and gave this reason for it, that though he did drink occasionally and frequently swear, yet he was good at the bottom. Mr. Hill said, “Then you think I am going grovelling down through the dirty foul filth of your life to get the little good that is somewhere at the bottom of you! Why, sir,” he says, “it will not pay for the risk of digging it out, and I am not going to do it.” And there is much truth in that saying, “If it is bad at the top it is worse at the bottom, and if it is not good on the surface it will never pay for getting at it.” It will turn out, I am afraid, to be a delusion and a snare. Do not rest in that. If you will not be angry, I will tell you what your heart is; your heart—you that have such good hearts—your heart, I say, is deceitful above all things and desperately wicked. In your heart there are what you little think of—envy, lust, enmities, and murders. All manner of unclean things are housed and caged within your heart. Do not talk about its goodness any more, for when you do, you make God a liar, and how can you expect to go to the heaven where God is, when you are thus insulting him all the while?
The Christian's Answer
9. II. Well, we have finished with these poor answers, and we will come now to THE CHRISTIAN’S ANSWER.
10. “In whom do you trust?” “I trust,” says the Christian, “a triune God—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. I trust the Father, believing that he has chosen me from before the foundations of the world; I trust him as my Father, to care for me, to provide for me in Providence, to teach me, to guide me, to feed me, to correct me if needs be, and to bring it home to his own house where the many mansions are. I trust the Son. He is very God of very God—the man Christ Jesus. I trust in him to take away all my sins, for he suffered their penalty upon the cross; I trust him to put all those sins away for ever by his own sacrifice. I trust him to clothe me with his perfect righteousness, and to adorn me with all his excellencies. I know him to be my intercessor—as often us I pray to present my prayers and desires before his Father’s throne. I believe him to be my resurrection and my life, that, although I die, yet I may live again. I expect him to be my advocate at the last great assize, to plead my cause, and to stand there to justify me. I trust him with all that I have, having no merit of my own, no confidence in my own tears, or prayers, or preachings, or willings, or doings, or believings—I trust him, for what he is, what he has done, what he has promised yet to do—I rely on him, the incarnate Son of God.” “And next,” says the Christian, “I trust the Holy Spirit; he has begun to save me from my inbred sins; I trust him to drive them all out; I trust him to curb my temper, to subdue my will, to enlighten my understanding, to check my passions, to comfort my despondence, to help my weakness, to illuminate my darkness. I trust the Holy Spirit to dwell in me as my life, to reign in me as my King, to sanctify me wholly, spirit, soul, and body, and then to take me up to dwell with the saints in light for ever. Thus I trust a triune God through the man-mediator, Christ Jesus.”
11. And now, dear friends, there is much difference between the Christian’s trust, you will plainly see, and the trust of other men, but to some men this does not look like a real trust. “Why, we cannot see God,” one says. “How do we know all this about the Trinity? We can neither see, nor hear, nor feel God. Is this a real trust?” Can you not trust in a thousand things you have never seen or heard? You take, I believe, banknotes, and yet you never saw the person who signed them or who issued them; there are a thousands things in this world which are real grounds of confidence, and yet you never saw them. Some of you, perhaps, may be earning your living by electricity, you are engaged in telegraphic operations and you believe in electricity, but you never saw it. Every builder trusts in gravity, every engineer in the world has to put his confidence in the law of gravity, and yet no one ever saw this mighty power, but the thing is just as true as though one could see it. Those who have trusted in God find him to be as real as if they could see him. Though unperceived by sense, they find that when they come to him, whom they cannot see, they come to one who is more substantial than things which are seen, which are temporal, for the things which are not seen are eternal. Some have said, “But does God interfere to help his people? Is the trust you impose in him so really recognised by him that you can distinctly prove that he helps you?” Yes, we can, although God has never done a miracle for me; yet he has done what I thought only a miracle could accomplish, and he has performed it in the common order of Providence; and you shall find the same if you trust him with all your heart. He will hear your prayer, and listen to your cry, and deliver you out of deep waters, and from bitter anguish; and although the depths will not be divided, fire will not cease to burn, nor will lion’s mouths be closed, yet you shall be as well delivered as if miracles were still the order of the day. A Christian is sometimes asked whether he has a right to trust God. I have no business to rely upon one of you to do something for me merely because I choose to trust you to do it; I must have your promise before I am wise in my confidence. Now, the Christian has God’s promise for it. He believes that Bible to be God’s book, and, therefore, when he finds God saying anything in that book to him, he believes it to be true, and he even finds it to be so. God has promised his people that, if they trust him, they shall lack no good thing. He invites them to trust, indeed, he commands them to trust; and, therefore, brethren, the Christian is justified in daring to put his confidence in his God. But the worldling wants to know whether God is worthy to be trusted; and the Christian can say, “Indeed, that he is. Our fathers trusted in him, and they were not confounded: we have trusted in him, and we have never found him to fail.” If I knew anything amiss about my God tonight, I would honestly tell it; but I know nothing except this, that he is faithful and true. I rest with my whole soul upon the finished work of Christ, and I have not found anything yet that leads me to suspect I am resting where I shall meet with a failure. No, the older one grows, the more one becomes convinced that he who leans by faith on Christ, rests where he never needs to be afraid. He may go and return in peace and confidence, for the mountains may depart, and the hills be removed, but God shall not change, and his purpose shall not cease to stand. Yes, God is worthy of our confidence.
12. And I think we can say, also, by way of commending our God to others, that we feel we can rest upon him for the future. We have been in strange places, and in very unique conditions in the past, but we never were placed where we could not find in God all we needed; and we are therefore encouraged to believe that when death’s dark night shall come, with all its gathering of terror, we shall fear no evil, for the same God will be with us to be our help and our support. The Isle of Man has for its coat-of-arms three legs, and turn whichever way you wish, you know they always stand; and such is the believer—throw him whichever way you wish, he finds something to stand on; throw him into death, or into life, into the lion’s den, or into the whale’s belly, cast him into fire, or into water, the Christian still trusts in his God, and finds him a very present help in time of trouble. “In whom do you trust?” We can answer boldly, “We trust in him whose power will never be exhausted, whose love will never cease, whose kindness will never change, whose faithfulness will never be sullied, whose wisdom will never be nonplussed, and whose perfect goodness never can know a diminution.”
Words of Advice
13. III. Well now, if this is true, I am to close with SOME WORDS OF ADVICE TO THOSE WHO ARE SO TRUSTING.
14. They are first of all, to drive out all unbelief. Dear brothers and sisters, if we have such a God to trust in, let us trust with all our might, and let us endeavour to get rid of those horrible doubts and fears which so much mar our comfort. Why should we fear, my brethren? “Oh, you of little faith, why do you doubt?” “Oh,” one says, “I do doubt, but I can hardly tell why.” Well, if your God is such a one as he really is, it is an insult to him to doubt him. We say of a rogue, we will trust him as far as we can see him, and some people hardly give their God better measure than that. We never ought to consider a man dishonest until we catch him in some deception. Now you have never found out your God to be untrue; then do not doubt him until you have. Give him your trust until he proves to be unworthy of it. Let us repent for our harsh thoughts of God. I know you said you would be starved, but you are not starved yet. You said you would go to the workhouse, but you are not there yet; you said you would die of a broken heart, but you have not died yet, you have a smiling face tonight. You told your friend you could never get through that trouble, yet you have gotten through it and fifty worse troubles than that; you said you would rather die than live, yet you did live; you have not died and you do not want to die. Now why give God a bad name? When the devil calls God a liar I can understand it, but it is bad for a man’s own child to think poorly of his father. I think it would cut me to the heart if my child could not trust me, and oh how ungenerous, how unkind on your part—no, I will say on my part, on our part, that we cannot put more confidence in this kind generous Father of ours who has never failed us, and who never will. Come, let us not doubt him again. David does not appear to have made any very lengthy trial of the mighty sword of the giant Goliath, and yet he said “There is none like it.” He had tried it once in the hour of his youthful victory, and it had proven itself to be of the right metal, and therefore he is able to praise it for ever after; he has no doubt about the keenness of the edge, or fineness of the tempering; even so, my brethren, let us speak well of our God, there is no one like him in the heavens above or the earth beneath; “ ‘To whom will you compare me? Who is my equal?’ says the Lord.” You may search all around the world and you will find that there is no rock like the rock of Jacob, our enemies themselves being judges. So far from allowing any doubt to live in our hearts, we will take them all, as Elijah did the prophets of Baal, and kill them over the brook, and for our stream to kill them at we will select the sacred torrent which wells forth from our Saviour’s wounded side. My brethren, we are truly guilty in speaking harsh things of our God. When the children of Israel were come to the borders of the promised land, and sent out spies to search it, and see what the prospect was, and how to prepare for the future occupation of it, ten of the men on their return gave a bad report of the country which God had sworn to give to his people. Now, what was the punishment which was inflicted on them for this evil speech concerning God’s gift? Why, they died by the plague before the Lord, and thus God proved his anger and wrath against their sin. It is good for us that he does not punish our evil words and harsh thoughts concerning himself like this. We have often brought up a bad report of our God when we ought to have praised him without ceasing for all his lovingkindness towards us, the sons of men. Brethren, let us give up all repining and fretful speaking.
Were half the breath thus vainly spent
To heaven in supplication sent,
Our cheerful song would oft’ner be,
“Hear what the Lord has done for me.”
Try this plan of turning all your complaints into prayers, and soon we shall hear you singing,—
Oh magnify the Lord with me,
With me exalt his name,
When in distress, to him I called,
He to my rescue came.
Oh make but trial of his love;
Experience will decide,
How blest are they, and only they,
Who in his truth confide.
15. And then, brethren, let us seek the Holy Spirit’s help in this matter. We have often said we would not doubt again, yet we have. Let us ask to be strengthened. We often forget that the author of our faith must be the finisher of it also. It is well even to keep in mind the fact that our faith is like the lamp which was burning in the temple, and never allowed to go out; but it had to be daily replenished with fresh oil. Our faith is an immortal flame, but only so, because God keeps it burning, and he expects us to feed the flame by all possible means, and above all to ask him to give it the oil of grace through the means we employ for that purpose. We shall prove to be foolish virgins if we do not secure this needed sustenance for our lamps. I am sure that many Christians are to blame for their own trials and afflictions of spirit, through dark doubts and unbelief. I know that there is a devil, and that he will seek to flood your fields, and make the fair garden a desolation and a mass of mud and corruption; but I know also, that many Christians leave open the sluice gates themselves, and let in their own deluge through carelessness and lack of prayer to God, to guard and protect them. I know that Satan will try to keep your soul in darkness and gloom, but it is very often your own fault if he succeeds. Walk out into the beams which come from the Sun of Righteousness, stand in the light of God’s reconciled countenance, come to the brightness of the shekinah which covers the mercy seat, and all the powers of darkness, led on by the master fiend of hell, cannot cast a cloud or shadow over the joy and peace of your believing. Of course you will feel the shafts of the foe, if you forsake the shelter of the high tower into which the righteous run and are safe. Confide, then, the custody of your soul to the good Spirit, who is the Comforter, and who will preserve you from those evils which will arise, if you think that you can to your own keeper.
16. Furthermore, let us try to bring others to trust where we have trusted.
17. When a man finds something that is good and safe, he likes to recommend it to his friends: let us speak well of God to all our neighbours; let us tell them, whenever we have an opportunity, that God does not leave his people, that he is not a wilderness to his chosen, and it may be that God will bless our testimony to the bringing in of others. I have often mused on that account of our Lord’s first disciples, where it is written, that Jesus welcomed to his house two of John’s disciples, and, “One of the two who heard John speak, and followed Jesus, was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. He first finds his own brother Simon, and says to him, ‘We have found the Messiah,’ which is, being interpreted, the Christ. And he brought him to Jesus.” Then further on, we find our Lord saying to Philip, “Follow me.” What was the result? “Philip finds Nathanael, and says to him, ‘We have him of whom Moses in the law and the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.’ ” No sooner do these men truly believe in Christ as the long promised Messiah, than they call all others to Christ, so that they may also believe upon him and become his disciples. So also with the woman of Samaria, she leaves her waterpot and goes into the city, and says, “Come, see a man who told me all things that I ever did, is this not the Christ?” Now, with the very same spirit, we should be moved to go and proclaim to others the grace and goodness of the Lord our God. When men engage in that perilous and foolhardy amusement, scaling the summits of ice covered mountains, for no other reason than to be able to say that no one ever risked breaking his neck on that place of the universe before they were foolish enough to lead the way, how do they climb up these almost inaccessible peaks? Why, one man cuts the steps first with his axe, and mounting up, gives a hand to the next, and he puts his feet where the other has trodden, and so they assist each other. And thus it is that we should ascend heavenward, mount higher and higher yourself, ascending daily, and as you ascend, cut steps for others and help them up, so that together you may mount to the skies. If you were overtaken by a deluge, as sometimes happens in the lowlands of Australia, what should you think of doing first of all? Would you not run for the nearest hill, and climb to the top, and get your family and goods, if possible, safely out of the waters on to that hilltop, by your side? Yes, but if you are a man, in the highest acceptance of the word, you would not rest content with that, you would try to rescue your neighbour, and his family, and cattle; yes, everything that was in danger or within reach of the flood, would be, if possible, saved by you, and brought in safety to the side of your own property. Such is life; a flood of unbelief is abroad, “get up into the high mountain,” and lift up your voice with strength, lift it up, do not be afraid, “cry aloud and do not spare,” but proclaim far and wide that there is a refuge here for all who wish to flee from the wrath to come. I think many of us, when we were first seeking the face of an offended God, vowed that if we were ever saved, we would strive to warn others also, and save them from being lost. Did we not say,
Then will I tell to sinners round,
What a dear Saviour I have found,
I’ll point to his redeeming blood,
And cry, “Behold, the way to God.”
Begin then now, to keep your promise; warn all men, and say to each with all your heart and soul,
Oh, be earnest, do not stay!
Thou mayest perish e’en today,
Rise, thou lost one, rise and flee;
Lo! thy Saviour waits for thee.
And if, again, we are trusting in God, let us love him who thus gives himself to be trusted by us. No man can truly trust God who does not love him. The sister graces always live together. They have only one address, for they all live in one home. Whenever there is faith, there love also dwells, and each grace takes up its residence likewise. Some are packed away into cellars or up in attics by many Christians, so that they are not often seen, and you would imagine that they were not at home when you called. I know that the chain of graces is unbroken even when some links are unseen. God has sown the seeds of all the graces and they will eventually in the garden of the heart, all spring up and be to the glory of his name. What I want is, that you should stir up the good thing which is in you. Bring it out to the front and make it appear. Show your love. If it is as a spark hidden in the midst of a heap of refuse, clear out the evil matter, fan the spark into a flame, add fuel to it until you shall be all ablaze with love to God. Nothing short of this will satisfy God, anything else is wrong and should not for one moment be tolerated by us. What! shall I hope for a heaven through the grace of God in Christ? Am I expecting deliverance from ten thousand ills here and from hell hereafter. Do I trust the Most High for all temporal and spiritual good, and am I aware that I do not deserve the least of all the many mercies I am receiving today, and hope to receive in days to come? Do I nevertheless cultivate no love for this loving God, this bounteous benefactor? Then I am one of the basest and most sinful of men because of my heartlessness and vile ingratitude.
A very wretch Lord I should prove
Had I no love to thee;
Rather than not my Saviour love,
Oh let me cease to be.
18. And yet another thought before I conclude.—We must prove our faith by our works.
19. We must labour for the Lord in whom we are trusting: all must see that this is only right and fitting. What have we received, and why have we been made the recipients of these mercies? Is it not that we may go and do for others as God has done for us? Oh God, do you carry my burden, and shall not I carry yours? Oh Christ, do you carry the cross for me, and shall I not carry the cross for you? Oh my Father, do you, as it were, lay yourself down, and become a stone for me to build on, and shall I not desire to be built on you, so that I may help others to rest on you likewise? Christian men and brethren, let us do more for God. Since we find him more and more worthy of our trust, let us launch out into fresh fields of labour, let us seek each day to labour for God, as the poet says,
“No day without a deed.”
So let us have no day without doing something, by which we may advance the honour of the glorious name of our God. We are bound to leave our affairs in God’s hand, and then instead of being idlers and loiterers, we are to go and work in his vineyard as long as it is called today. In this way we can prove our love and show our gratitude, but here let me also call your attention to what is one sure way of augmenting your faith, and increasing your spiritual health, it is this—constant hard working for the Lord your God. Cease working, and you will soon cease believing. You will best secure the constant joy and peace of believing, by living near to God, and, like the Saviour when on earth, always being “about your Father’s business.” Love him as you trust him, work for him as you love him, grow like him as you work for him, and you shall soon come to be with him as you are like him, and his shall be the glory, for ever and ever. Amen.
Though faint, yet pursuing, we go on our way,
The Lord is our leader, his word is our stay;
Though suffering, and sorrow, and trial be near,
Our God is our refuge, and whom can we fear?
He raiseth the fallen, he cheereth the faint;
The weak and oppressed—he will hear their complaint;
The way may be weary, and thorny the road,
But how can we falter? Our help is in God!
Though clouds may surround us, our God is our light;
Though storms rage around us, our God is our might;
So faint, yet pursuing, still onward we come;
The Lord is our leader, and heaven is our home!
[Portion of Scripture Read Before Sermon—Isaiah 37]